Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mentor Moments

"If you don't know who you are the market is a very expensive place to find out." The Money Game

"The market will find and exploit any flaw in your personality." R. E. McMaster

I spent 40 years in exchange traded markets. Most of that time in futures markets as a floor trader. An unorthodox career path meant I never enjoyed the benefit of a mentor. Instead I had "moments of clarity" when I recognized I was hearing or reading something important to trading. What follows was one of those moments.

Three of us were having breakfast after a very busy morning in the bond markets. Bill (name changed) a scalper in the bond pit had been trading 6 or 7 years straight out of college. He traded his own account, a classic local floor trader. Joe asked him how the trade was going and what kind of size he was trading. Bill said he was trading 10 to 20 contract positions and things were going well.  Joe remarked that he remembered Bill trading 100 or 200 contract size positions a few years back.
Bill responded - and here the lesson begins - "I did trade bigger size but I found I didn't make any more money, only endured more risk. Finally I realized the larger size trades didn't suit me and led to poor decisions. So after evaluating my history I gave myself three rules. Now I am performing consistently with much less stress. First: limit myself to 20 contracts or less. Second: if I am down on the day by more than $2000 I exit and quit for the day, no matter what time of day. Third: If I am profitable by more than $4000 on the day I quit for the day as soon as the position is closed, no matter what time of day . I realized when I get outside those parameters my performance worsens and lose discipline."

Now this was a guy who accumulated and kept a million dollars in t-bills as a backup against a bad trading accident. A very successful trader. But he recognized his own limits and incorporated that into his methodology.

Get to know your own psychology as well as Bill and you stand a very good chance finding a trading style that will allow you to succeed.

Friday, September 11, 2015

9/11 Never Forget Never Forgive

Eternal Vigilance Is The Price Of Freedom

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Great Interview of Lacy Hunt

Chris Martenson interviews Lacy Hunt.  Link

Highly recommended. Comes from the Peak Prosperity website.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

All Cultures Are Not Equal - Some Of Them Suck

I received this email today and found its message an important illustration that all cultures are not equal. Certainly that is not the politically correct view but is accurate. The disregard for human life in many of the middle east countries is disgusting.

Subject: Kindness repaid

Snopes verifies this article here:

By Dr. Arieh Eldad an M.D. at Hadassah Hospital in Israel

I was instrumental in establishing the "Israeli National Skin Bank", which is the largest in the world. The National Skin Bank stores skin for every day needs as well as for wartime or mass casualty situations.

This skin bank is hosted at the Hadassah Ein Kerem University hospital in Jerusalem where I was the Chairman of plastic surgery.

This is how I was asked to supply skin for an Arab woman from Gaza , who was hospitalized in Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, after her family burned her.

Usually, such atrocities happen among Arab families when the women are suspected of having an affair.

We supplied all the needed Homo-grafts for her treatment. She was
successfully treated by my friend and colleague, Prof. Lior Rosenberg and discharged to return to Gaza.

She was invited for regular follow-up visits to the outpatient clinic in Beersheva.

One day she was caught at a border crossing wearing a suicide belt. She meant to explode herself in the outpatient clinic of the hospital where they saved her life.

It seems that her family promised her that if she did that, they would forgive her.
This is only one example of the war between Jews and Muslims in the Land of Israel. It is not a territorial conflict. It is a civilization conflict, or rather a war between civilization & barbarism. Bibi (Netanyahu) gets it, Obama does not. I have never written before asking everyone to please forward onwards so that as many as possible can understand radical Islam and what awaits the world if it is not stopped.

    ~ Dr. Arieh Eldad

Those who condemn Israel for its actions should stop and consider the enemy they face. The people in Gaza are not the enemy, the nihilist groupthink  of barbarous cult is the enemy. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's Not the Gold, It's The Standard.

It's not the gold, it's the standard that is important. Or with apologies to Robert Frost good fences make good legislators.
Whenever the idea of returning or not to some kind of gold standard backing of currency is discussed
both sides seem to focus on the gold (barbarous relic etc) which is in fact a secondary issue.  The critical portion of the debate is the "standard".  The standard merely needs to be a real item of measurable quantity and useful intrinsic quality, it need not be gold. It could be silver, barrels of oil, bushels of corn, or tons of iron. Gold just has some useful advantages.
But the important part is an unambiguous value for the standard. Paper or fiat currencies have many conveniences but ultimately must rely on the integrity of the governing authorities. Unfortunately the governing authorities have inevitably failed this task. Throughout history failed every time, I repeat, every time.
The standard acts as a fence or boundary reining in abusive fiscal behavior. Governments grow and assume more power when unchecked, apparently this is just part of human nature. When the public users of a currency have the ability to express concerns about excessive spending and currency creation by turning in the paper and demanding the promised standard (gold, corn or whatever) it acts as an important brake on bad governing behavior.
Paper currency and legislators are like an un-fenced yard full of puppies. Sooner or later something shiny is going to draw them into the street.
Good Fences Make Good Currencies too.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Favorite Warren Buffett Quote

I have been an admirer of Warren Buffett since I first read about him in the 1970's in a book SUPERMONEY by Adam Smith the very good sequel to the brilliant THE MONEY GAME. (Both books are highly recommended)
Mr. Buffett is famous now and is widely quoted as he deserves to be. But my favorite comes from an answer to a question asked at one of the annual meetings for Berkshire Hathaway a decade or so ago. The shareholder asked Mr. Buffett's opinion on the outlook for Japan.  Mr. Buffett responded by saying it was a good question, but he did not feel particularly qualified to answer. Then he continued (from my memory, not word for word) when I think about something I decide if it is important or not and is it knowable or not. If it isn't important  or if it isn't knowable I don't spend time on it. Your Japan question is important, but for me it is not knowable so I don't think about it.
That remark stopped me cold as I realized how smart that is and how completely I failed in that regard. I still fail at it but I am improving.

Is it important, is it knowable? If it isn't both don't spend time on it.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

ukrainian journalist speaks more truth than the entire U.S. media complex

this very good article on ZeroHedge today.

July 4th holiday weekend is a very good time to be considering what this Ukraiian journalist wrote in his commentary on change in Ukraian governance. " “Why don’t we use the American Constitution? It was written by really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and they’re not using it anymore…”

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers Day 2014

This note is a reprise of my post on Father's Day 2007 just after my father passed away. I have nothing but fond memories for my father and my admiration for him grows every day as I try to live up to his example of integrity and genuine kindness.

"My father passed away yesterday. His death was not tragic nor unexpected since his health had been failing for a long time and we had been told to plan for less than 6 months. He passed quietly in his sleep without the stress and trauma of heroic medical efforts. Yet I am crushed. Dad was not particularly successful in any of the ways that greatness is usually measured. He achieved neither fame nor wealth, but, he may have been the best person I know. Generous to a fault, scrupulously honest, he treated everyone of any station with respect and kindness. I am a father and grandfather now and could not have had a better role model. Dad was the best.

Bruce Blackmore Lawrence
March 18, 1918 San Antonio, Texas -- June 16, 2007 Dallas, Texas

Awarded the Bronze Star and several other combat medals during service in World War Two.
Survived by his wife Ruth, children Laird, Rees, and Bruce Jr., granddaughter Kate and great granddaughter Isabelle.

He was the world's best Dad and I will miss him."

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Tim Price: We All Lost

Tim Price wrote a really good piece on central bank policy pointing to the same issues I have been ranting about, only better. Check it out here "We All Lost"

includes this great quote of Ludvig von Mises;
“The most important thing to remember is that inflation is not an act of God, that inflation is not a 
catastrophe of the elements or a disease that comes like the plague. Inflation is a policy.” 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Frankfurt we have a problem

Frankfurt, We have a problem.

Yesterday Mario Draghi to great anticipation of the markets unveiled a slew of policy actions designed to help lift European economies, fight deflationary pressures, and weaken the Euro. That is exactly the way the markets responded, briefly, two hours actually. Then the Euro firmed up again.

What’s a central banker got to do to trash his currency? Well first his has to outdo the other central bankers and governments. But Draghi also has to outdo Obama and that is a tall order. Obama is using unconventional tools like economic sanctions against half a dozen countries, and more importantly against individual citizens of those countries. For example, what are the odds a rich oligarch from Russia is going to deposit large sums of money in the US in the futures? Wealthy people in around the world hare repeatedly being shown that their assets in the US will be seized if their home country government does something to annoy the US government. Furthermore the Snowden revelations about NSA electronic spying on practically every bit of electronic information source means the US government likely knows where in money in the US is depositied already. Those are pretty strong incentives to hide stolen billions in the Euro rather than the dollar. Financial Orbit shared the following Gave-Kal chart today. One would normally expect the blue exchange rate to tail off and follow the interest rate differential.  Many factors are at work here, of course, but rising wariness about a surveillance based government with little regard for legal protections makes a poor refuge. The Dollar brand is and has been badly damaged by the authoritarian leanings of the current US administration.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Richter: The Big Hoax Of The Wall Street Hype Machine

Wolf Richter of the Testosterone Pit wrote :

The Big Hoax Of The Wall Street Hype Machine

Follow the link to read the article.  The point of the article which reads a a negative comment on the  stock
market is not to predict any imminent directional moce. The point is to highlight the manipulative practices of Wall Street that are designed to mislead individual investors and capture their money. Wall Street has become an environment of very smart people demonstrating  questionable integrity and acting unethically. A high class carnival run by clever and charming con-men.  Most are not "Wolf of Wall Street" types  who want to steal every dollar you have but instead want siphon off a measly 1 or 2% in perpetuity. Be careful out there.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Central Bank Speak translated.

Action Economics posted the following news from European authorities comments this weekend:

Central bank action continues to dominate market swings with accommodative policy stances expected to help underpin and boost economic growth. But, last week both the FOMC and the ECB acknowledged they are in uncharted territory. The Fed Minutes revealed policymaker concerns that there has never been a tightening while holding a large balance sheet, and thought it might be best to consider a range of policy options and be prepared to mix tools as warranted.
The ECB's Weidmann said negative interest rates are unchartered territory and he warned that risks and side effects need to be taken into account. These uncertainties among policymakers regarding various policy tools, outcomes, and spillover effects could make for dicey trading over the coming weeks and months. Meanwhile geopolitics will play a supporting role in the aftermath of the elections in Europe and Ukraine. Though they aren't key factors for the markets, they could have an underlying impact farther down the road.

My translation: We continue to be confident in our policies. Looking ahead we do not know what to do or when to do it, we disagree with one another, and we have no experience with this situation before. Also many other unknowns and uncertainties may cause us to change our minds because, you know, shit happens. But we remain fully confident.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Misdirection And The Carnival Barkers Of Credit

Misdirection and the Carnival Barkers of Credit.

Every now and then I am compelled to annoy with another screed about the dangers of the Central Bank.  Let me first say I believe Fed officials are intelligent, well meaning, and superbly educated. I could add self-important, insular, and arrogant, but I won’t.  My purpose today is only a reminder.
Any and every thing the Fed does and says has a purpose. That purpose is to influence opinions and thus behavior. There is always an agenda. Fed officials are the carnival barkers of credit. Truth is not relevant. The purpose is to shape a consensus in financial circles that control the direction funds are flowing.  Misinformation and misdirection are utilities. The magic trick is not to make the elephant disappear when the audience glances away.  The trick is to make the audience glance away. It is no accident that the magician’s assistant is half naked and wearing sequins. Lady Gaga explains the Federal Reserve's jawboning process very clearly: “I’m telling a lie in a vicious effort to make you repeat my lie over and over until it becomes true.” My reminder is figure out where they want you to look because then you might be able to figure out where they don’t want you to look.  That is where the elephant is. ( Ben Hunt of Epsilon Theory is excellent on this subject}

Central Bankers are not liars by nature and once in a while some pure truth slips out. Recently Esther George gave us this when discussing QE and the taper getting into this unconventional policy was uncharted waters and I can assure you that getting out of this will be equally experimental for us.”  That is an important and unusually candid remark. The enormous and creative effort by the Fed to support and revive the economy can be debated pro and con. But an undeniable fact is that the policy is a tar baby from which the Fed faces a difficult exit. How does one withdraw all that stimulus without stalling the economic recovery? The world is watching ready to react and change investment allocation the minute they sense interest rates will increase.  A lot of misdirection will be required.
Last year Bernanke mentioned the taper of QE and set off what is now called the “Taper Tantrum” in the credit markets as rates lurched sharply higher only to fall a good ways back again as the Fed really did not do much of anything. I hear that referred to as a mistake, but I disagree. I believe Mr. Bernanke put a pin to the balloon and relieved a lot of pressure. This may be a little boy cried wolf strategy. Create a few mini panic sell offs in bond markets to desensitize the markets and dull responses to policy changes. If so, it was just the beginning.  Keep your eyes on the elephant, don’t watch the shiny stuff.

Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from another.  Wikipedia

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance  …  it is the illusion of knowledge.  Stephen Hawking

“All the perplexities, confusion, and distress in America arise, not from want of honor or virtue, but from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.”  --    John Adams

“Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has been stolen.” 
Friedrich Nietzsche

"When it becomes serious, you have to lie," Juncker

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

President Peaceprize Closes In On A New War

From Zerohedge just now:

Here Come The Boots On The Ground: US Troops Heading To Eastern Europe

It seems the truce "deal" is well and truly dead...
The question now, of course, is - what will Putin do in response to this action?
As for where these troops may be arriving from the answer is simple: that other US military intervention success story - Afghanistan. From Reuters:

Foreign adventures the historic fallback for unpopular politicians. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"In Texas we call that a lie."- John Mauldin

John Mauldin in his Outside The Box letter today included remarks that so accurately echo my feelings on 
the recent actions by Brandeis University that I am going to lift those remarks whole.

Speaking of which, one of my personal heroines is Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Her courage in confronting the oppression of women at the risk of her own life is inspiring. In person she is a quiet, reserved, formidable force of nature. This last week she suffered an unjust, cowardly affront to her courage and her work dedicated to helping those who can’t help themselves.
Brandeis University decided to offer Ayaan an honorary doctorate for her efforts on behalf of women in Muslim societies. When the decision was announced, a group of students, faculty members, and the usual politically correct pressure groups campaigned to have the university withdraw the honor. Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence quickly capitulated. Not even bothering to sign his own notice, he offered that Ayaan’s story is “compelling,” whatever that means. But, he added, “That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of the statements earlier.”
That is simply Academic Bullshit. First of all, no one requested or forced Brandeis to offer the degree in the first place; it was their own clear choice. Secondly, after two best-selling books and hundreds of public appearances, Ayaan has made her views well-known. That she has criticized certain aspects of Islamic culture is no secret. For the Brandeis administration to say that they were unaware of her views stretches one’s sense of credulity beyond the limit. In Texas we would simply call it a lie.
I would be interested in the views of those who opposed her. Precisely which of the practices she condemns would they like to see maintained? Female genital mutilation, honor killings, forced marriage, or Sharia law? Perhaps treating women as property is deemed appropriate by some people.
The simple fact is, there is a portion of the academic community that is so politically correct that they are socially useless. In the name of being tolerant they tolerate acts so despicable as to be worthy of shunning. They have the discernment of a fruitfly. And that is probably an insult to fruitfly-kind. -- John Mauldin
Thanks to John fo speaking out. Incidentally Outside The Box is a consistently interesting newsletter.
Outside the Box is a free weekly economic e-letter by best-selling author and renowned financial expert, John Mauldin. You can learn more and get your free subscription by visiting

For more on this story I suggest you follow this link:
Feminists and others on the Left are usually very good at “outrage,” especially when it can be expressed on behalf of what they believe is an oppressed group. Which is why it is both surprising and disappointing that they missed two amazing opportunities recently to be rightly outraged on behalf of women both in America and internationally.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Via ZeroHedge--What Happens If A US President Stops Speaking, And Nobody Claps

great video clip at ZeroHedge --must watch it is short--  Clip 

Looks like some folks realize "the One" is really "the Wind" , and empty blowhard.

Thanks to ZeroHedge for putting up the film clip.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tim Price: Forty centuries of learning nothing

Tim Price of The Price of Everything blog has apparently written a blog post expressly for my benefit. I commend this piece to you. This is the very topic I have been thinking about a great deal recently. I will expand on why in a later post but Tim so perfectly prepares the way that I will defer to him. The title refers to a book ‘Forty centuries of wage and price controls:
how not to fight inflation’ (The Heritage Foundation, 1979)
Robert L Schuettinger and Eamonn F Butler

This chart is part of the post and should get your attention. If it doesn't you must work at a central bank.

The chart below, courtesy of the St Louis Federal Reserve and Incrementum AG, shows the 
expansion of the US monetary base since 1918; the three separate iterations of QE are marked: 
US monetary base since 1918 

The subject of growing inequality and income inequality is one of the hot political topics of the day and I believe the single biggest cause of the worsening trend is ignored because it challenges the very foundations
of the big government crowd.  Big government imposes costs and failure to account for and pay these costs
cannot be wished away with legislative gimmickry. It has been tried again and again for 40 centures  by every form of government and failed every time. Perhaps we should rethink!

Friday, February 21, 2014

A New Policy Idea For OBummer And More Proof Of Euro-Kleptocracy

Article on Zerohedge click the headline for link:

Austria Demands "Profitable" Bondholders Pay Up Before Bad Bank Bailout

While, for now, depositors at Austria's Hypo-Alde-Adria-Bank (nationalized in 2009) have not had assets confiscated, Austrian authorities are shifting in an unusual (scary precedent-setting) direction. Amid the resignation of the bank's CEO, the government is taking aim at 'speculators' who dared to buy the bank's bonds below par - and made money therefore on the back of the taxpayer. "What financial markets expect is not always what you want politically," Austria's finance minister warned, "if someone buys today at a lower price, saying ‘shortly, I’ll get 100 back,’ that’s what’s agitating the people."It seems Europe has a new template.

More detail at the link above.
BBL comment:
So as I read it if one buys the bonds of a failing institution at discount upon the announcement of
government backing you will now be targeted for making that profit. Why then buy the bond.  Why bid at all, and yet it is bids that drive the price back up.   Another case of Ready, Shoot, Aim.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

European Social Elites Need To Take Back Some Of The Money They Had Been Letting You Keep

Reuters Exclusive: EU executive sees personal savings used to plug long-term financing gap

(Reuters) - The savings of the European Union's 500 million citizens could be used to fund long-term investments to boost theeconomy and help plug the gap left by banks since the financial crisis, an EU document says.
The EU is looking for ways to wean the 28-country bloc from its heavy reliance on bank financing and find other means of funding small companies, infrastructure projects and other investment.
"The economic and financial crisis has impaired the ability of the financial sector to channel funds to the real economy, in particular long-term investment," said the document, seen by Reuters.
The Commission will ask the bloc's insurance watchdog in the second half of this year for advice on a possible draft law "to mobilize more personal pension savings for long-term financing", the document said.
But more alarming news shows up in ZeroHedge coverage of this news.

Europe Considers Wholesale Savings Confiscation, Enforced Redistribution

 In a nutshell, and in Reuters' own words, "the savings of the European Union's 500 million citizens could be used to fund long-term investments to boost the economy and help plug the gap left by banks since the financial crisis, an EU document says." What is left unsaid is that the "usage" will be on a purely involuntary basis, at the discretion of the "union", and can thus best be described as confiscation.
Read further in the Zerohedge article to discover the paper from the IMF that is calling for these kinds
of measures.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Codevilla: Live Not By Lies

A wonderful post by Angelo M. Codevilla follow link for the entire post:

Live Not by Lies

A portion of his article

Being human, politicians lie. Even in the best regimes. The distinguishing feature of totalitarian regimes however, is that they are built on words that the rulers know to be false, and on somehow constraining the people to speak and act as if the lies were true. Thus the people hold up the regime by partnering in its lies. Thus, when we use language that is “politically correct” – when we speak words acceptable to the regime even if unfaithful to reality – or when we don’t call out politicians who lie to our faces, we take part in degrading America.

Read the rest of the article it is not lengthy. 
Hat Tip to the Instapundit

Sunday, February 9, 2014

How about that? The glass is half full.

A wonderful post from Motley Fool

50 Reasons We're Living Through the Greatest Period in World History

Follow the link for a very positive and uplifting article. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Morgan Housel for writing the article.

a couple of samples:

5. The average American now retires at age 62. One hundred years ago, the average American died at age 51. Enjoy your golden years -- your ancestors didn't get any of them. (note I am 63 and very grateful for this improvement.)

Consider this: In 1900, 1% of American women giving birth died in labor. Today, the five-year mortality rate for localized breast cancer is 1.2%. Being pregnant 100 years ago was almost as dangerous as having breast cancer is today.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Outstanding speech by Cathy McMorris Rodgers in response the President's State of The Union speech.

Rep. Rodgers gave a positive opposition response to the President's speech.  I hope the GOP
will take this kind of tone going forward. Respectful, positive, and resolute in support of personal freedom
and freedom of opportunity rather than equality through extortion.

Link to outstanding GOP response to the State of the Union speech last night.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Don Coxe Weekly Commentary

Below is the link to Mr. Coxe's last free weekly commentary.  He explains his plans for a new institutional advisory service and for a monthly commentary suitable for individuals at his new site. I wish Mr. Coxe the best in his new venture. I have read his commentaries when I could get them for over a decade and find him to be informed , literate, and without an agenda.  He takes a truly long term view with historical foundation for his opinion and I am grateful for the learning experience he has provided.

Friday the 24 January 2014    Coxe weekly comment

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My candidate for President when Obummer goes.

This is Pat Condell one of my favorite people even though I have never had the privilege of meeting him.
Please click link to view is comments with which I agree.  Maybe he would be better for Secretary of State.