Sunday, April 26, 2009

Feedjit Widget Added to Blog yesterday/Pakistan as a Failed State with Nuclear Weapons/Meban Faber Mention in Barron's/

Some may notice that I just installed a Feedjit widget late yesterday that lets me know the general location in the world of someone reading my blog, and the post that they were interested in reading if they found the blog by virtue of a search engine inquiry.  If I receive a lot of interest on a particular topic, I may devote more time to writing about it in the future.  If anyone wants to exclude themselves from this, it is easy, just click "option" in the Feedjit area on the right hand side and then click exclude my browser.  If you keep that cookie which is created by your desire to be excluded, then it will not identify your location on the next log in.  I have for example excluded my own browser so the widget will not note me visiting or writing my own blog.  Some may already know that anyplace that you go on the web knows the general area where you come from.   I just wanted to see if anyone was reading this blog to make it worth my time writing it.  I write and type extremely fast, but it still takes time to do it.  

Over the years I have read articles written by foreign policy experts claiming that a failure to stand up to some potential threat would likely have the same result as Chamberlain's agreement with Hitler at Munich in 1938, when the British Prime Minister gave Hitler the Sudenland in the false hope that it would satiate Hitler's aggression.Munich Agreement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  Sometimes, I disagree with the assessment, as in the case of Vietnam, but I agree that the Munich appeasement argument is applicable to Pakistan's agreement with the Taliban to cede control over the Swath valley in the Tribal Region in exchange for the Taliban to lay down their arms.  The Taliban took this as a sign of weakness and almost immediately took control over a neighboring region by armed force, an area called Buner, just sixty miles from the capital city.  csmonitor.comIn a society bordering on a failed state, it does not take that many determined souls to seize control, as long as they are ruthless, violent and determined to do so, as witnessed by Lenin's successful seizure of control over Russia in the 1917 revolution. Russian Revolution (1917) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Taliban are at least as ruthless and violent as the followers of Lenin.  The Taliban appears to me to have greater ambitions now, the takeover of Pakistan, sooner or later.  A failed state with nuclear weapons controlled by what many perceive to be violent fanatics presents a clear and present danger to national security.  While the U.S. has been concerned about the use of the Tribal areas in Pakistan as a training ground for terrorists that might later attack the U.S., the far greater danger is the takeover of Pakistan by extremists.   

The Center for Disease Control confirmed that the 8 high school students from NYC did test positive for the new swine flu strain.  Their symptoms were reported as mild. 
The CDC announced earlier today 20 confirmed cases in the U.S. so far.  CBS News 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will reportedly announce a public health emergency in the U.S. later today.

Frank Rich noted a new fact for me in his column that connects the adoption of torture to the desire to secure any information connecting Iraq to 9/11.  I reserve judgment on drawing conclusions until I have more information.  Ron Suskind made similar allegations in a recent interview.  Rich relies on a statement allegedly made by a Major in the Army, a psychiatrist, assigned to the interrogation team at Gitmo that pressure to use torture came from  Washington to link Iraq to  9/11.   To me, while the sanctioning of torture at the highest level of U.S. government is bad enough, this would be even worse if it turns out to be true. Is Conservatism Consistent with Support of Bush's Enhanced Interrogation Techniques/NVS, EBAY, COP, Nestle, JNJ, EMC

Barron's refers to a money manager, Meban Faber, who had decent returns last year, in that he only had a small percentage loss, using moving averages to move into and out of an all ETF portfolio.  I do consider moving averages as just one of many factors in making investment decisions.  I discussed the Faber type strategy in an earlier post. A Good Month But Another Awful Quarter/Ingersoll Rand: Awful Guidance and a Dividend Cut/Can No Longer Rely on Dividends as a Source of Income/Alcoa   
For anyone interested in Faber's strategy, it is discussed in this article: Seeking Alpha

Eric Savitz, the Tech Trader columnist at Barron's, seemed a tad more positive in his column until I got to the end of it.  The VMware (VWM) publicly traded subsidiary of EMC had a gloomy report last week and a dreary forecast for the next quarter.  Eric points out that this could be trouble for other tech companies that are "enterprise- centric" like Cisco, Oracle and Hewlett.   Barrons.comI sold my Cisco position recently. 

The latest rally has taken me back into positive territory for the year, up about 5%.  I view that as shaky as I did the rise in the first few days of 2009.     At that time, LB mused that it might be best to sell everything and take a trip around the world, coming back in early winter of 2009. Buy of PGN/Was there really a Black Swan Event?/ Alcoa   It may have worked.  I was up 8% after the first few days of January.  What to Do When There is No Let UP in Bad News/JPM/ECB Rate Cut & the Dollar/BAC & AIG sub Bonds

I did sell 100 shares, about 1/3rd of my position in one of the REIT common stocks owned in my Roth IRA last Friday after it jumped about 5%. HRP: Summary for HRPT PROPERTIES - Yahoo! Finance  I am trying to raise cash in the retirement accounts so that I can complete the transition of the synthetic floaters from the taxable to the retirement accounts for the reasons discussed in prior posts.  Bought GYB/DD/Will Hold Synthetic Floaters In Retirement Account /Changing Allocation In Retirements account to 70% bonds/ Stanford & Dick DeGuerin   I just recently started buying the floating rate synthetic securities and made the decision quickly to transition them to the retirement account, after splitting the positions originally into both retirement and taxable accounts.   I have transitioned already a few of these floaters and will need more cash in the retirement accounts to transition more of them, such as the 100 of GJP which I sold recently in the taxable account and have yet to buy in the retirement account due to a lack of funds.   Bought GYB/DD/Will Hold Synthetic Floaters In Retirement Account /Changing Allocation In Retirements account to 70% bonds/ Stanford & Dick DeGuerinBought GJP/Sold GPX/Will Increase Exposure to Floaters (Floating Rate Securities) with Minimum Guarantees as Inflation Hedge/

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