Addison Wiggin – March 28, 2012
- Andrew Wordes (ignored) vs. Trayvon Martin (hyped): What both say about the coming chaos…
- Three flashpoints this spring and summer for trouble in the streets… and the crackdown that will catch the innocent in its net
- Africa’s largest economy becomes the latest to opt for alternatives to the U.S. dollar…
- Chris Mayer describes “the world we’re moving toward”… with a chart that looks back 2,000 years…
- Jawboning the oil market down… what’s really going on in the world of social media… an unlikely gated community… on our lifetime list of must-reads… and more!
Andrew Wordes shed his mortal coil in a blaze of… well, it’s hard to call it glory.
For the past seven years, he’d been fighting city fathers in Roswell, Ga., over his desire to keep chickens in his backyard. He hired lawyers. It got expensive. So expensive he couldn’t keep up his mortgage payments.
Monday morning, shortly before police showed up to evict him, he called Atlanta’s WSB-TV, where his saga had become a running storyline. A crew arrived.
“I appreciate everything you’ve done,” he told reporter Mike Petchenik. Mr. Wordes then went inside… and blew his house to kingdom come. He’d doused the place with gasoline in advance; his body was so badly charred he wasn’t officially ID’d till yesterday.
Except for your meddling editors here at The 5, nary a soul outside metro Atlanta has noticed.
Wordes is… well, just another 50-something fellow who felt the system gave him a raw deal… and whose protests fell equally silent in death as in life. Like the divorced guy in New Hampshire who self-immolated on the steps of a courthouse last year. No one much noticed then, either.
“It’s certainly further proof of how degraded society has become in the U.S.,” commented our friend and Vancouver favorite Doug Casey at the time, “that something like this could go unnoticed.”
Or to put it in a way that’s relevant to current events: No one’s carrying a sign or wearing a T-shirt that says, “I am Andrew Wordes.”
Nor is anyone “flash mobbing” a drugstore as a professed act of protest on his behalf.
Last Friday, students at a high school in North Miami Beach walked out of class to demonstrate solidarity with Trayvon Martin. Then as many of 100 of them stormed a Walgreen’s and trashed the place.
We’ll assume you have at least a passing familiarity with the essentials of the Martin case. It’s been hard to avoid. We take an interest in it today to call attention to an ongoing forecast of ours — that chaos in the streets will no longer be something you see in the news happening in far-off lands.
And you never know what might set it off. There’s fire everywhere beneath the surface, and the spark might come from the most unexpected of places — even a “gated community” in Sanford, Fla.
Or it might come from a place where it’s all too obvious. Three flash points come to mind right away…
- May 20-21, Chicago: NATO leaders will attend a summit
- Aug. 27-30, Tampa: The Republican Party hosts its 2012 convention
- Sept. 3-6, Charlotte: Then the Democrats take their turn.
Already the powers that be are altering their plans because of the potential for unrest: A summit of G-8 leaders was supposed to take place concurrently with the NATO summit in Chicago.
Instead, the summit has been moved to the high-security confines of Camp David.
They’re also preparing to crack down — hard — on any form of dissent, violent or peaceful.
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is ramrodding new ordinances through the city council that critics have labeled “Sit Down, Shut Up” laws. Fines have been increased, and protest organizers are now required to take out $1 million of insurance to cover any property damage — including that caused by people who weren’t part of the protest.
“It is an attempt by the 1%,” says a statement by Occupy Chicago, “to restrict and regulate the voice of the people when it upsets the structure that put them in power.”
No doubt these three flash points also figure in to the new Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act.
“This law,” writes Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano, “permits Secret Service agents to designate any place they wish as a place where free speech, association and petition of the government are prohibited. And it permits the Secret Service to make these determinations based on the content of speech.”
“Thus, federal agents whose work is to protect public officials and their friends may prohibit the speech and the gatherings of folks who disagree with those officials or permit the speech and the gatherings of those who would praise them, even though the First Amendment condemns content-based speech discrimination by the government.”
Even worse, Napolitano points out, “The new law also provides that anyone who gathers in a ‘restricted’ area may be prosecuted. And because the statute does not require the government to prove intent, a person accidentally in a restricted area can be charged and prosecuted, as well.”
So… you can run afoul of this law even if you’re a “law-abiding” Tea Partier. (We know they’re law-abiding because they take great pains to say so in emails that express offense at our suggestion they share common ground with those dirty hippie Occupiers. Even more below!)
We’re in the process of updating our 2011 forecast for the coming turmoil this spring and summer… including a full solution set about how to prepare. This time, we’ve solicited the help, advice and commentary of our founder and mentor Bill Bonner, as well as a host of luminaries we respect, from Ron Paul and Rick Rule to Peter Cooper, Eric Sprott, Marc Faber and Jim Rogers.
We’re not ready to take the wraps off it yet… but when we are, you’ll be among the first to know.
Stocks are stagnant. Again. Today. The major averages are mostly down, but not much.
Orders for durable goods rose 2.2% from January to February, in the estimation of the Commerce Department. Not bad, but the “expert consensus” was counting on a bigger increase.
The final chapters of “The Recovery” still haven’t been written. Like you, we’re resting agnostically on the edge of seats.
Oil prices are down nearly 2% today, to $105.26 — thanks to another hint about a “coordinated release” of strategic petroleum reserves by Western nations.
Today’s tease came from the French energy minister: “It is the U.S. that has asked for it,” dit Eric Besson, perhaps inadvertently outing the White House’s agenda in an election year.
“France is favorable to the suggestion,” he added.
Gold has lost the oomph it appeared to have had 24 hours ago. The spot price is down to $1,673. Silver’s down more sharply, to $32.25.
Not all of gold’s weakness this morning can be chalked up to dollar strength. The dollar index is up, but not much, to $79.25.
The euro has weakened to $1.329 despite this declaration by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti about the situation in the eurozone: “I believe this crisis is now almost over.”
Shall we file this one in the same drawer with Ben Bernanke’s 2005 declaration: “We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis”?
The yen, meanwhile, is strengthening. At last check, it took 82.794 yen to equal one dollar.
Hence, Abe Cofnas’ “mock trade” of the week is looking good. If the yen ends the week below 84.25, it means a gain of up to 24%. That would be five winners in five weeks for Abe’s exemplary 5 Min. Forecast trades.
[Ed note. As an aside, Abe is in Beijing this week, signing Chinese editions of the book he penned on binary options, to which we contributed a rousing foreword.
“The Chinese have a different mix of fears regarding the futures,” Abe writes by email. “The key driver here, in my view, is fear of missing the boat. This a time of great and fast wealth accumulation. Getting on that bandwagon is the theme.”
“In contrast, the U.S. customer has the fear of not missing the boat, but drowning. Fear of financial ruin.”
In previous works, Abe has studied crowd sentiment and its impact on market direction... bear and bull alike. In his Fear & Greed Trader, he pulls together his insights on crowds with the new techniques pertaining to binaries. It’s an innovative approach... and available for half off the regular fee... but only through midnight tomorrow night. Take a closer look here.]
South Africa is about to join forces with China in a significant manner.
“The nation is expected to become party to endorsing the Chinese currency, the renminbi, as the currency of trade in emerging markets,” according to the Johannesburg City Press. “This means getting a renminbi-denominated bank account, in addition to a dollar account, could be an advantage for African businesses that seek to do business in the emerging markets.”
South Africa will likely make its move official this week at a summit of the BRIC nations in New Delhi.
As the mainstream would have it… with the addition of South Africa, we now have BRICS to build upon. A stunning report from Standard Bank forecasts that by 2015 at least $100 billion in trade will be conducted between the Chinese and South Africa — more than total trade in 2010 between China and the entire Dark Continent (in the sense Henry Stanley would have used the term).
“Over a longer period of human history,” our Chris Mayer told RT’s Lauren Lyster yesterday, “China and India were large economies, and there was more of an equality between them” and the West.
From the chart above, you can see China’s share of global GDP is creeping back toward levels last seen before Britain crushed the Middle Kingdom in the Opium Wars of the mid-nineteenth century.
“That’s the world we’re moving toward,” says Chris, “and it creates a lot of exciting investment opportunities.” Check out Chris’ interview here:
Today, Mr. Mayer is in town conducting an “online adventure tour” appropriately titled World Right Side Up. The details will be fully sussed by next week. The event will be exclusive to you… and won’t cost you a thing… just indicate your interest by entering your email address here.
Our commentary yesterday regarding “Generation Rent” — the young people who can’t afford homes because of, among other things, staggering student loan debt — was syndicated to Forbes.com. We checked this morning to see what sort of traffic it got. Not much: 948 views. No comments. Two tweets.
An item headlined “Dear Fake Geek Girls: Please Go Away” caught our eye from the sidebar. We took a look. Nearly 1,200 words of piffle about how the Internet age has sullied the reputations of female geeks.
Page views: 183,159 views… 168 comments. And 2,131 tweets.
“Regarding gated communities,” a reader writes: “I once went to the Burning Man celebration, a large and boisterous temporary community of 30,000 people that forms up for a week or so in the Nevada desert every year.”
“Yup … it’s gated, all right. The gates keep those who belong in and those who don’t belong out … all probably for the good of all. My friends and I found a small patch of absolutely barren dried mud, which we quickly fenced off … good fences making good neighbors, and all.”
“We called our utopian oasis ‘Green Acres’ … a gated … and barred community. Even within a community of like-minded people, gates and fences seem to often have a helpful cultural function. After all, how can I welcome you ‘in’ if there is no gate or door?”
“Love The 5… keep the tough stuff coming.”
The 5: Not to mention that pesky little concept of “private property.”
“What is your obsession with trying to compare the Tea Party with the ‘occupiers’ (small ‘o’ intended)?”
“Your Venn diagram can probably be justified with twisted thinking, but the overlap is way too large, and presumably intended to emphasize and validate your position on the matter. I’m sure that the occupiers are no more pleased with the comparison than the Tea Party.”
“Since just about everybody doesn’t like something, why not just keep the two separate? Answer is: You love controversy. See how transparent you are?”
“Enjoy your stuff, and always read most of it”
The 5: Our obsession? Oh, lordy. Via letters like yours, the subject won’t die!
“You know,” says a business owner and Reserve member we met last week at Rancho Santana, “I went down to the Occupy protests in New York. I didn’t bother talking to the union people or the people with ‘socialism’ banners. Instead, I talked to some of those kids who seemed like they’d be willing to listen.”
“‘We don’t think government should bail out banks,’ was what I kept hearing from them. I’d answer, ‘Neither do I! And I’m a capitalist. Government bailouts, picking winners and losers isn’t what capitalism’s about.’”
We have no idea whether her yeoman efforts will make any difference. But we’d like to think so.
The 5 Min. Forecast
P.S. The Road to Serfdom, BTW, is on our lifetime list of must-reads. Just this morning, we were leafing through a copy we marked up while doing research in France for the first edition of Empire of Debt.