Protests across the Arab and non-Arab world (Iran) continue after the toppling of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak. Even the Swiss are involved now as bankers hurry to freeze the accounts of the former leaders of the countries in question. Now, answer me this: why does it take an ouster to seize these accounts that everyone knew contained the proceeds of ill-gotten gains. I mean look at the rogue’s gallery that parks money at “venerable” Swiss banks…makes you wonder about that squeaky clean image huh?
A Dollar and a Dream
“A dollar and a dream”… This was the famous ad slogan for the NY lottery several years back.
The lottery is a brilliant business. Your chances of winning are virtually zero. But hey… It’s only a buck!
Well what if you could get hundreds, thousands, or even a million people to give you one lousy dollar just like the lottery? That’s exactly what’s happening here:
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What is going on in countries ranging from Bahrain to Yemen, and now Libya, Iran and even Iraq is a realization by the populace that bad leadership doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture. One wonders why it took so long to figure this out. This regional tectonic shift will have major implications going forward on everything from oil prices to US Defense Policy. But, everything you are seeing today is nothing compared to the Big Kahuna that is waiting to explode down the pike.
As Mubarak crumbled, the US stood still. The outcome of the rioting and the purging of the old guard might play out well in the end. Egyptians are firm in their secular beliefs and while the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt, it is not the major political force in the country. In case you are not familiar with the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s an organization founded in the mid part of the last century bent on overthrowing the government in Egypt whom they considered pawns of the West. More importantly, it is where Ayman Al Zawahari, arguably the de-facto leader of Al Qaeda, got his start. But, in truth, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Iraq and even Iran are nothing compared to the country that the US and the rest of the world should watch with particular attention: Pakistan.
I can pretty much guarantee that the US will not stand idly by if the this tidal wave of change makes its way to Pakistan. The reason is quite simple. Pakistan has something that no other country on the list has: nuclear weapons. There is no “good” faction in Pakistan that can take power. The “good guys” are the lawyers, teachers, and doctors who make up the minority of the population and have little say in what goes on. The scary part of the population are the radical fundamentalists who have strong support and are being held at bay by a strong, brutal military which is adept at playing both sides. Should the military fail to quell any rioting that most likely will occur in the near future, the power vacuum is not going to be filled by the folks who are going to be wishing us well anytime soon.
We are in a new world my friends and while it’s great to see the middle east finally getting shaken up in a good way, history has shown that the first party to fill that power vacuum is not always the best party. Things could get seriously worse in the region before they get better, which I believe will happen over time. The best play here is oil and any optimism from the region that leads to corrections in the price of crude should be viewed as buying opportunities.
Just two weeks ago I mentioned the argument raging over real data about inflation. As I have been writing, there IS inflation everywhere but in the numbers coming out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics which continues to show low inflation. Well, last week the first bombshell dropped. It came from England where the Brits reported that inflation was running at a 4% annual clip, twice the previous number. That’s inflation all around! Now, we all know that governments lie about these numbers, so if the Brits are saying inflation is at 4%, it’s got to be even higher. Why does this matter to us?
Well, consider the British went down the same path that we did and are even slower to recover. They had a banking crisis, a housing crisis, a currency crisis, a crisis in confidence, a recession, horrible consumer spending trends, even lower GDP growth…pretty much everything we went and are going through but even more severely. (Granted housing prices have held up better thanks to foreign inflow of funds from places like the Middle East to buy real estate). The inference that you should make here is that if the Brits are experiencing 4% inflation and we are way ahead of them in terms of recovery, how is it possible that our inflation rate remains under 2%? Got gold?
An Easy Way to Save $472 a Month
Is your credit score costing you thousands of dollars each and every year?
Well… If you’re credit score isn’t perfect there’s a good chance it is.
I have some friends who used to be deep in debt and managed to get out in much less time than they thought it was going to take. Their solution using the information provided here:
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