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The Ostrich Head
Located on Planet Earth -- unlike most politicians and bureaucrats
The Ostrich Head attempts to draw the bigger picture -- the one that ostriches, politicians, and bureaucrats just can't grasp.
Recent Activity
The illegal sacking of elected director Ban Peng Ban Peng DTM, International Director of Toastmasters, was sacked by the Board of Directors in March. That's all we've been told. What the board (and executive committee, namely Pat Johnson and Daniel Rex) haven't been clear about is: Why the Board of... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2011 at Transparency at Toastmasters
I was doing some research recently with my friend, Tim Staermose over at Sovereign Man, and we decided to have a proper look at the iShares Silver Trust ETF (NYSE-SLV) prospectus to see what all this GATA nonsense about it being a fraud was all about. WOW. What a scam. Here are just five of the most serious concerns about this iShares Silver "Trust me" ETF. Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2011 at The Ostrich Head
At first it was minor damage. Then the "possibility" of a release of small amounts of contaminated steam that posed "no significant health risk." Now, as a third explosion rips through Tokyo Electric's reactors and a fourth one catches fire, the company and national authorities continues to deny that there's any significant risk. They're a bunch of liars. This isn't new. A radiation leak at a uranium processing plant in Tokaimura in 1999 that killed 2 and irradiated 600 had the public skeptical about whether Tokyo Electric actually took safety seriously. Sure enough, in 2002 it came to light that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2011 at The Ostrich Head
According to the World Economic Forum, the world needs another $100 trillion debt over the next ten years. Oops... did I say debt. I meant credit. The real message was that the world will go into $100 trillion MORE debt over the next ten years. And that's just you and me. They didn't mention government debt. That's the equivalent of the total debt available at the end of 2009: $109 trillion. There's just one slight problem here: The world can't generate $100 billion in surplus cash over that period. According to the World Bank, the world's GDP was $59.14 trillion... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2011 at The Ostrich Head
According to the Russian Central Bank, Russian gold reserves just hiked 1.1 million ounces in May. Given global mining production is just 6.8 million ounces a month, this represents 16.1% of monthly global mining production. This is the largest one month purchase of gold by the Russian Central Bank, which has been buying gold at a rate of 250,000 ounces a month for the past three years, and comes just as Putin is pushing for a single world currency and last week revealed the currency's first proof coin. At the same time as Russia is quadrupling its gold purchases, Saudi... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
According to the World Gold Council, Vietnam imported $2.3 billion worth of gold last year. With a GDP of just $92.8 billion, that's 2.4% of GDP. Now, that's not a heck of a lot. Most people can save $2.40 for every $100 they earn to put it into gold. Heck, I put more like 10% of my income into precious metals. But what if the rest of the world were to follow Vietnam's lead and invest 2.4% of the world's GDP into gold? With a nominal GDP of $58 trillion (PPP is more like $70 trillion), putting just 2.4% into... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
When I walked out into Sukhumvit Road yesterday there were no more smiles, no light-hearted jokes, and a sense of foreboding permeated every space. When I walked into my local 7/11 I asked why they had covered the windows with newspaper to make the inside of the shop invisible to the outside world. "Snipers" I asked why the alcohol had been removed from the shelves. "Looters" As I walked down the road towards the army's siege cordon the police and soldiers faces were grim. I got a total of one smile from dozens of soldiers and police -- a stark... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
Markets celebrated throughout the world last week when the European Central Bank decided to follow the lead of the US and the UK by printing money by the bucketload. The euro, since it has existed, has been a strong and reliable currency. This isn't because of the underlying governments, which are as bad as governments anywhere. Nor is it because the economies have been strong or weak. It's because the Germany's influence on the ECB prevented it doing anything idiotic, such as printing money, buying sovereign junk debt, or keeping interest rates at absurdly low levels. As a result, the... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
The sinking of Transocean's Deepwater Horizon, operated by BP, has resulted in an oil slick of around 80,000 barrels, and growing by 5,000 barrels a day -- and up to 25,000 a day by some estimates. The 5,000 barrels a day ($400,000 worth) is small change compared to the total costs. If we have a look at what we already know, we can find that total costs should exceed $30 billion: Oil production: $1.5 billion BP will lose its entire production from these wells for the foreseeable future. If we discount the revenues of $146 billion (at $80 a barrel)... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
Following the 2008 financial crisis, dozens of countries bailed out hundreds of banks, costing tax payers trillions of dollars. Clearly, something has to be done to share the burden. The IMF has come up with the fairest idea to share that burden: a global bank tax. This obviously fair and simple way of ensuring that there's a big fund -- to bail out banks tax payers in the event of the next another financial crisis -- is now in danger of failing to become reality thanks largely to Australia and Canada. The arguments put forward by these two recalcitrant countries... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
每日熊(又名鸵鸟头)已通过细读成千上万的审计报告,选定世界上最令人发指的损坏公司。以下是这26页的报... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2010 at 政府愚蠢
The Daily Bear (aka The Ostrich Head) has, through perusing thousands of audit reports, selected the most hideously corrupted company in the world. Here are a few extracts of the 26 page report: Material weaknesses discussed later in our report continued to (1) hamper the [company]'s ability to reliably report a significant portion of its assets, liabilities, costs, and other related information; (2) affect the [company]'s ability to reliably measure the full cost as well as the financial and nonfinancial performance of certain programs and activities; (3) impair the [company]'s ability to adequately safeguard significant assets and properly record various... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
A number of tea parties were held recently in celebration of the Boston Tea Party. For those of you who don't know the history of the Boston Tea Party, it basically marked the end of low-tax British Government Regime and the institution of the high-tax US Government Regime. Not much to celebrate for sure. Now Tea Partiers celebrate the time of year when they've finished paying money to the government (about 35% of their year) and are now earning for themselves. This is clearly misdirected and wrong. These guys really need to take a long hard look at the numbers.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
Baggage fees are a threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of free. But they all evolved from simple government stupidity. And as usual, government stupidity begets more stupid legislation... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
For the tenth month in a row US foreclosures topped 250,000. That's another 274,399 haircuts for banks, Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie, and whoever else is holding mortgage backed securities. In a normal market only a fraction of these foreclosures would result in losses for the banks. Originators usually include the cost of repossessing the property and selling it in the risk assessment, or they used to when I was a banker. Even if only half of these properties result in losses, and that loss is only 20% of the mortgage – two pretty conservative ifs – then that's another $5 billion... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
This is a long-winded egotistical monologue giving you my theory of why Chinese shares have done so well. Stop reading here if you have something even vaguely important to do. I had a ring side seat during the economic meltdown in Korea in 1997 and wrote a Daily Market Comment which became the most widely read research (by foreign institutional investors) on the Korean economy. At the time, I thought I was just a brilliant writer and had a head the size of a beach ball. But the truth is that I was the only one actually telling the truth.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
GM, the car maker that produces more cars than it can sell at a higher price than it sells them, clearly needs to go bankrupt. Ok, so it’s an American icon and gets bailed out. But how about the little guys? The suppliers. The treasury department is working on a plan to bail out the entire industry -- over 4,000 companies -- and prevent them from going bankrupt. Now there’s an idea. The market for cars has shrunk and will go on shrinking as the baby boomers retire and commute on foot between their retirement homes and the Vietnam Veterans’... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
Gross Domestic Product has become the one and only metric that anyone cares about these days, although it’s actual meaning has become completely FUBAR. If you actually read the three words, you’ll notice that the word “service” isn’t included. But as “stuff” became cheaper compared to “services”, two economists at a restaurant started arguing about whether they were buying food or paying for the service. From that point on, GDP became “Gross Domestic Production of Goods and Services”, although how the hell service is “produced” beats me. But the importance of including services in the GDP numbers was absolutely essential,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
That’s right, it’s GM. Warren Buffet loves companies with 36% ROE because they keep making more and more money. The same applies to GM of course, except with negative equity and negative profits, the losses compound rather than the profits. News Item: GM Auditors cast doubt on GM’s viability to survive without another government bailout. How on earth could this have affected the market? What did these forensic accountants find hidden deep in the basement of GM’s headquarters that tipped them off? Could it have been any of the following? * If you add up the total equity of GM,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
That’s right folks. Not only have the US stimulus plans been too small and the record $3.6 trillion budget been way too tiny, but the rest of the world’s governments are failing in their duties to spend tax payers’ money in unprecedented levels as well. The big problem is that US tax payers are saving their money. This is great for the long term US economy, but really bad in the short term (i.e. the coming election cycle). The government can’t tax savings, but by god can it spend them! The even bigger problem for the US government is that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
Freddie Mac, the world’s second most bankrupt listed entity (after Fannie Mae), last week eliminated many fees to lenders that compensate for risks of low credit scores or small equity stakes -- and urged other lenders to follow suit. This is the largely the same management team that steered Freddie to a $25 billion loss in the third quarter last year. The reason for the losses was a failure to use information on credit scores and equity stakes to manage the risk -- most commonly done through charging fees to offset the risk. Now, having partially fixed the system that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
This and the previous administration have spent about $173 billion bucks bailing out AIG — about $120 billion of which has since been doled out to governments, domestic banks, and European banks. Most of the top man­agement was sacked and those that remain — apart from the top tier — are getting paid as usual. The government had its choice: let AIG go, break it up, take it over, or bail out the shareholders with tax-payer money. Having decided to socialize the losses but none of the upside, what’s the government complaining about? Apart from the few at the top... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
According to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the problem is that banks are pulling back “out of a sense of prudence and caution.” Seriously, these banks have got to get their acts together. They’ll never be a Citigroup or AIG if they keep this up. The last thing the economy needs now is prudence and caution, where the market directs capital into only healthy, well-run conservative companies. To make the process more efficient, Secretary Geithner will request that every last bank files quarterly reports on small-business lending rather than the annual filings. By quadrupling the number of reports, banks will clearly... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
Quantitative easing was developed by the Weimer Republic in the 1920s, further developed in Hungary , where the largest banknote ever printed — 100 trillion pengo — originated, and then perfected in modern day Zim­babwe which achieved an annual inflation rate of 89.7 sextrillion percent (152% per week). But faced with the specter of deflation, central banks are taking their cues from the Weimer Republic and Zimbabwean experts. Why? Simply put, deflation is neutral (or even good) for the economy, but really, really bad for banks. We saw what happened with housing price deflation: it crippled the whole system (which... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head
Geithner, knowing full well that he isn’t qualified to actually regulate anything (isn’t that the SEC’s job?) has turned to four experts: Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Barclays Plc. These banks have all demonstrated their ability to fully understand the risks of derivatives and are models of conservative banking and fiscal responsibility except that: Goldman Sachs received a $10 billion bailout directly from the government and, while maintaining it had nothing to gain by its independent advice, advised the government to bailout AIG for $180 billion. AIG promptly paid $13 billion to Goldman. It helps of course when... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2010 at The Ostrich Head