America Gets Swept

May 7, 2001

Portland is the last bastion of semi civil America urban life. Back east in the urban multiplex blobs all pretense of form, function and basic life support have long since ceased; as for California, just wait till the electricity goes off unexpectedly this summer. No commentaries on California's energy crisis have highlighted the obvious case for urban looting and chaos during rolling energy failures. Something to think about, especially if the "rolling blackouts" happen haphazardly and last for several hours during a warm August night in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, back up here in the People's Republic of Portland a peon like myself can walk down the street and recognize a gentleman worth $600 million, Mr. Pamphlin. More incredibly, this guy can actually walk on a downtown street by himself with no bodyguard. Try it in Detroit, Los Angeles, New York or Washington DC and see what happens-Feeding time for the underclass.

America's illusion is now ending. The final gasp of so called American innocence is now fading into the sunset like flatulence after a chili feed. The chili has been long gone; the flatulence is fading and all that will soon be left is the memories. The United States is like the Portland TrailWeenies, er TrailBlazers, in the recent NBA playoffs. Arrogant and incompetent management hiring overpaid, overindulged, spoiled brats with a tendency to choke at critical moments. I believe the United States will be swept by coming events the same way Los Angeles crushed Portland. The rest of the globe will watch in stunned amazement as the United States is eliminated from the game entirely. They will watch and gloat as our economy is shattered by a debt induced collapse, our fiat dollar melts down like the wicked witch in "The Wizard of Oz", and we suffer both military defeat and invasion. And then they will piss on us in triumph and out of the deep contempt and hatred America has rightly earned throughout the world, they will ignore us. The bigger they are; the harder they fall is America's judgment going into the 3rd millennium. The rest of the world will turn their backs on us and let us rot. They will do this because of our greed and arrogance, our foolishness and hypocrisy. Kicking the United States off the United Nations human rights panel was the opening shot in the war to reduce our global role. While I take human rights very seriously, an insolent American corporate oligarchy isn't qualified to lecture Sudan about slavery.

The doom of the NASDAQ and broader economy is reflected by a conversation I held as a result of walking down yet another downtown street. I walk around a lot since I don't have a car. The janitorial supervisor and computer shift leader, from a skyscraper I used to do security at, were out having a smoke and I stopped to shoot the breeze. It seems the computer shift leader has lost $60,000 in the NASDAQ since March 2000. It seems he has lost every cent he put in his 401K plan so far in 2001. It seems he didn't listen when his stockbroker told him to sell half his stocks last year and take his profits. He is "in it for the long haul, for retirement in ten years." The man still intends to keep pouring the maximum amount of money into his 401K plan since, "stocks are cheap and will go back up in a year or two." He went on to say that he made a lot of money when US Bank was bought out and also rode Cisco and the Internet a good part of the way up. However, the man didn't know when to get off and represents exactly why the NASDAQ is doomed. What did I do you ask? Did I yell that he was a doomed fool and should be buying gold? No. I just said good-bye and walked away. If he hasn't figured it out by now, then what could I possibly say to change his mind? Absolutely nothing. I'm afraid to say that a large number of investors are exactly like him. And I'm also afraid to say that it will take more than my words to change their minds. They will eventually see the light, but only when they are in the economic burn ward looking at their melted down portfolios. No, this American populace is convinced they will get rich and so are immune to the economic disaster unfolding around them.

They will not remain immune forever though. I have become increasingly convinced the key issue is jobs. The thing I'm keeping an eye on is unemployment rate increases translating into decreasing consumer confidence, spending and increasing consumer saving. In a word, my analysis is right on target. This is exactly what is happening in my view. Mr. Magoo must feel it also as he is headed towards zero muy pronto.

A one-ounce gold nugget is rarer than a five-carat diamond.

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