Thursday, September 23, 2010

The "Elvis Trade" and the "Rip Van Winkle Trade"

Yesterday, I had a long talk with "Lenny", a prop trader living in New York City with his wife and 3 kids ("prop" traders trade for themselves risking their own capital. Folks that put their money where their mouths are tend to do much better research than your average Joe... and they tend to think... a LOT... about everything... doesn't mean that they (we) are right every time... it just means they are better at admitting when they are wrong... those without that skill do not have capital for long). Lenny is the gentleman that coined the phrase "The Elvis Trade"... "the US$ is fat, sweaty.... but still "The King"... to describe the US$ place as the world's reserve currency.

Lenny has abandoned The Elvis Trade. He is now thinking in terms of the Rip Van Winkle Trade (if any are unfamiliar with Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle...).

"What if you knew you were going to fall asleep and wouldn't wake up for 5 or 10 years.... so you can't trade... where would you put your money"?

That was a rhetorical question...


It is painful to watch the unraveling of a presidency. BHO was the least prepared man for the demands and complexities of the presidency since... well, there might not be a "since". The MTVization of American politics has failed us miserably (not saying McCain would have been a whole lot better... what about Hillary, or Ron Paul, or Mitt Romney? No, we screwed up.

"Fundamental Attribution Error"

There is some good news coming out of this cluster f**&^#. The Liberal Media, in an attempt to throw BHO a life line is now putting out stories like this one. It seems somebody is beginning to recognize that we are investing in our presidents powers that simply do not exist. Duh! Well, Ms. Caroline Baum... I did not see you criticize BHO during the campaign when he claimed that his policies would create 6 million jobs, though, as you rightfully point out the government cannot create legitimate demand in the market place... only now that your champion is going down like a rock in a pond are you marshaling the forces of reality.

Better late than never.


Anonymous said...

Could you expand upon what you mean by "fundamental attribution error" after that one paragraph. Are you trying to say that people over-value personality presentations and don't consider context of the candidates?

As long as people vote for Status quo plutocrat servants regardless of political stripe--its just an exercise in futility discussing mostly fictional differences. I'm really surprised more liberal progressives aren't completely up in arms since we continued war-mongering and actually increased it but using private contract mercs in much larger numbers to hide military footprints. Pres. Obama gave many heated speeches about repealing Patriot act and how he would restore Habeas corpus--its been about 2 years now and this is not the case.

Authoritarian types both in the republican/tea-party/democrat party all continue to push their agenda, while true liberty minded individuals exists as minorities in each of those parties.

You make it sound as though this is just Pres. Obama being inept, rather than this being systemic problems that continue to help a fraction of the people maintain control/wealth/power using government to keep their hands on the levers of power--via pseudo legitimacy of a 'democratic' system. So people can raid your house keep you forever, torture you, without any probable cause--you just need the right people to say go to make it happen. All political power ultimately comes from violence or the threat of violence--tyranny with a veil of legitimacy is the path we continue to move toward it appears.

Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich were the only true "change" candidates last election cyle, yet they are made out to be stooges and the masses fawn over cult of personality and simple slogans--I think you can see why dictators thrive in the world and governments continue to be able to commit genocides--while keeping people focused on some straw man.


bureaucrat said...

As a contributor to the Obama campaign, and a voter for him, I will say again .. Obama was a cry for help .. nothing more .. from a population that knows something is wrong, but cannot easily explain what is wrong, thru the fog of "derivatives," "legalities," "bailouts," "stimulus," etc.

The people know the real jobs are leaving, that we have to hope that you can borrow $1.5 trillion a year forever, and they haven't had a pay increase in 30 years beyond inflation. `Obama was a cry for help.

Nobody expected him to solve this economy in four years. We asked him to do three things, which he doesn't seem to want to shepherd .. stop the wars, stop the bailouts of the rich people, and give us sensible (single-payer) health care. The constitutional law professor seems to be of the mind that life is complicated, and therefore we need complicated solutions, a la 2,400 page laws.

After the House (of Reps) is lost this November, and we have 4 years of Palin or a clone, we will have 6 wasted years, making solutions even harder.

Only good news is that if you want a house or apartment or a car, they are all selling/renting at fire-sale prices, or soon will be. :(

Greg T. Jeffers said...


I quoted that from the article I linked...

Yes, I am saying that Obama IS inept, AND that we have a systemic problem... that in MY OPINION will require a Leader that leads people BACK to self/persona: reliance, sufficiency, responsibility, and freedoms...

BHO is NOT that man (so far).

westexas said...

While working on updating our net exports presentation for the ASPO conference in Washington, D.C. next month, I had a “Holy Cow Batman!” moment.

On the supply side, it appears that projecting the ratio of consumption (C) to production (P) in oil exporting countries can give us a plausible estimate, at least in some cases*, e.g. Indonesia, for when an oil exporting country approaches zero net oil exports (when C/P = 100%). C/P for total global net exports increased from 26.1% in 2005 to 29.1% in 2009. This suggests that global net oil exporters will collectively approach zero net oil exports around 2055. However, a good rule of thumb for net export declines is that the post-peak 50% depletion mark is about one-third of the way into the net export decline, which suggests that the post-2005 global supply of net oil exports (post-2005 cumulative net oil exports) will be about 50% depleted around 2021, eleven years from now.

Following is what BP shows for the C/P ratio for all net exporters with 2005 net exports of at least 100,000 bpd. Of course, the "P" component in 2009 was influenced by some voluntary reductions in production in 2009, but there is "voluntary" and there is "voluntary." With a good deal of production from older fields consisting of what Matt Simmons called "Oil stained brine," in a lot of cases producers needed to reduce the production from their older fields.

Global Net Export C/P ratios (BP):

2005: 26.1%
2006: 26.5%
2007: 27.4%
2008: 28.0%
2009: 29.1%

In simplest terms, I am projecting that the global post-2005 net export fuel gauge will be half empty around 2021.

On the demand side, I looked at the rate of increase in Chindia’s (China + India) net oil imports. BP shows total global net oil exports of 45.8 mbpd in 2005, falling to 42.7 mbpd in 2009. Over the same time frame, BP shows Chindia’s combined net oil imports increasing from 5.18 mbpd (11.3% of total) to 7.28 mbpd (17% of total). At this 2005 to 2009 rate of increase, Chindia’s combined net oil imports would account for 100% of total annual volume of global net oil exports in 2026, sixteen years from now.

*The key to this ultra simple method working appears to be that we need a steady progression in C/P, i.e., domestic consumption taking an ever greater share of production in oil exporting countries. Of course, as we all know our long term projections are probably wrong, at least to some degree; it's just a question of how wrong. However, IMO the only real questions are: (1) The slope of the long term decline in global net oil exports and (2) Who wins (and who loses) the bidding war for declining net exports.

westexas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I suppose I think the "leader" that will lead us back to more personal responsibility/self-reliance etc. is us. There will not be a top down solution--particularly one that lends itself toward drastically less complexity, the agenda of empire will continue. The leader you speak of I believe, is yourself, what your trying to do is a prime example. Individuals/families/small groups will make attempts to make those things happen.

As more do this, the old adage "actions speak louder than words" may start to help others to become motivated toward this--especially given a system that will eventually not be able to keep its social safety net promises.

I don't think a leader will take us toward a Ron Paul type ideology, but more corporatism/authoritarianism perhaps wrapped in the flag and some of the libertarian rhetoric. TPTB have money, influence, networks, and their paws on the levers of government and the laws that exist. I believe at this point its well established that Top-Down leads to degrees of tyranny, often mass murder--with some sort of patriotic justification and can never take into account the diversity of human experience/contexts/beliefs.

Even with some good intentions I find that some of the local Tea-Party people who are getting attention--are warmongers, talk like religious zealots, and don't seem to have a complex view of things--but rather are angry.

Maybe someday people will quit voting for the Status quo people can believe in, but it seems unlikely--emotional manipulation remains the tools of marketing/politics/and Tyrants. Human beings remain mostly limbic creatures and this is why we continue to get 'leaders' who learn what symbols to use to get people riled up. Federalism seems to have taken over and secular humanism has just turned into another form of religion, one based on thousands of years that show that the human beings who tend to take control are the narcissists and high functioning psychotpaths.


Crybaby said...

The US economy has structural problems which have been developing for decades, primarily the lack of savings and internal investment which has occurred on both a personal and governmental level. No President can change this in one year. Most of the millions of jobs lost between 2008 and 2010 were related to the real estate boom, everything from mortgage brokers and underwriters to real estate agents and home builders. Those jobs aren't coming back anytime soon.But its way too early to write an obituary on Obama which all the mindless pundits seem to be doing. Bush's popularity ratings were below 30% before the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and every president since Reagan has lost some Congressional seats in the first midterm elections. People come in with such high expectations that no one can live up to them.
Over time the US dollar will probably become one of several reserve currencies. But keep in mind that it was only a few months ago that the euro was beginning to be regarded as a sham currency, and every Oped journalist for every financial newspaper was speculating on a break up of the eurozone. The ECB has been actively supporting the euro with its purchases of sovereign debt, over $300 billion last week. So that has been putting a temporary damper on the dollar. But everywhere you go in the world, people and merchants are happy to take dollars. If you have dollars to spend the world wants and needs them. The global economy is still highly dependent on the US corporate and individual consumer.

Greg T. Jeffers said...


In the final analysis it MUST BE us that leads us there. And look, a Leftie like you and a Righty/Libertarian like me have both moved to the country, grow food, live simply and modestly, and provide that model for our children... the process is already under way.

My bet is thinking people (like you and I) will meet in the middle... that is, personal freedoms/personal responsibilities... non-thinking people will die of obesity if the option is left to them...

Still, it is HELPFUL to have political leaders with courage AND communication skills at inflection points... Obama could still pull it out... but he would have to abandon the status quo... and it appears that that is not his agenda.

I wonder if Obama would have been elected had he been pro-life... hmmmm... NAFC. Ergo, the Dems are a one issue party... everything else is just noise.

Anonymous said...

ROFL, I'm a lefty? That's pretty funny. I grew up in the country, moved to the city to work, then moved back to the country. I don't like Republican nor Democrat propoganda and never voted for either party--beyond Ron Paul who officially was a Republican this time around.

I will sometimes vote locally for Republicans who fight against gun rights, since in PA they continue to try and pass draconian laws b/c of the problems they have in Philadelphia. Most of PA is NOT Philly, guns aren't weapons for us, they are tools--tools to be respected, but so are chainsaws.

I think the difference is I was never a republican, some people in my age group actually grew up during the independent movement (Perot etc) when non-establishment candidates at least made some serious noise in the typical 2p1p garbage.

I'll have to tell my friends that I'm a lefty, they will get a kick out of that one.

I am a firm believer in actions speak louder than words, clearly this is what is important for our children. I'm afraid that we will have a more scary person come along during 'infection points' that will only make things worse, since as far as I can tell (was born in 1975) overall the US truly has been in decline since the 70's beyond all the debt filled smoking mirrors and the techno gadgets that distract people. Internet is pretty nice though I have to say.

Dextred1 said...


I like Paul, but Kucinich?
I seen him interviewed over the yrs and was never really impressed. Maybe a good word would be LIBERALtarian. He suffers from the same delusion as most libs.

I was just looking over his record. Here are some highlights.

Things I don't like

1.Single payer health care
2. Guarenteed education for all (college and kindergarten included)Can you say fraud and waste. YOu think college is expensive now.
3. Abolishing the death penalty (I know Jeffers is against it, but it is the most basic function of Law to bring retribution).
4. Ban offshore drilling
5. Creating a cabinet level dept of peace. Really? That is just stupid.
6. Preventing privatization of health care. I think it was earlier this yr when he wanted to offer early ss so more people could take those jobs from baby boomers. DUMB, DUMB, DUMB. Who the hell would pay for their benefits? Broke with just the ones we have.
7. Wants’ to ratify Kyoto treaty
8. Outlawing all handguns. Not only unconstitutional, but just the blathering of a fool. Why even say that, except to pump the base up.
9. Restoring rural communities and family farms (sounds good buy how he plans to do this is beyond me, economics dictate growth in regions not politics)

Things I like

1. Repeal of NAFTA
2. Repeal of patriot act. This would be one of those flag waving bills and political stunts you talk about meiyo.(not the repeal, but the bill itself) I hated that bill from the day I heard about it. It walks all over the due process ideals of justice.
3. Ending the war on drugs. I am a clean living person myself, but think the government has more important things to do. Plus it would save some serious money.
4. Legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing non medical possession.

I could not find it, but I think he does not like the fed. I give him a thumbs up for that.

Anonymous said...

I never said I LIKED Kucinich, but I think he was the "change" candidate of the left and was belittled as well for his strong anti-war stance and some of his anti-empire stances, although he like far too many democrats want to control people here, by focusing on items, rather than criminals to give them some fake sense of security--just like Chicago's outright ban provided fictitious safety in that city.

He at least didn't seem owned and could articulate his rationale on many topics, beyond just empty platitudes and simple slogans that most of the dems & rep's did during their primaries.

Ron Paul was really a libertarian, and got booed at every primary--mostly for his anti-empire/war stance.

I mentioned him b/c I think anyone that is a democrat that really wanted change, not the false slogan--would have voted for him. Same with Libertarian Republicans voting for R. Paul. But clearly, these are slivers within these respective parties--and too many people treat politics like they do their favorite sports teams--its about symbolic tribalism and 'winning' when the country continues to lose.

I'm all for a meritocracy, but I don't believe we have anything very close to that in function. I've seen government regulations attempt to even the playing field--I applied at a job at university and was unofficially told I wasn't going to get the job b/c they really "needed" a minority. They ended up hiring a minority--that wasn't even done with their master's degree yet for a position that required significant post-masters experience or a PH.D. That sort of forced 'egalitarianism' is the type of thing that just makes merit a farce.

I want extremely limited government, since legal mafia's and a handful of people/corp's seem to be able to throw out the notion of a 'free market' its far from that and in some 'industries' its laughable. There is no Utopia, the best we can hope for is freedom from tyrants and a large degree of self-determination, there is not true security either, and giving up freedoms for boogie men that are probably less likely to kill someone then they being fat or driving like an idiot is just fear-mongering political garbage.

Gun rights are the tipping point for many people I know, Police react to crime 99% of the time--AFTER--it happens and have no duty to protect you. I think too many democrats are actually relgious--they have too much faith in secularism and the notion that humans can create systems to god themselves over others "for their own good", the same nonsense that frustrates me with 'Christians" whom attempt to focus on making this world into some Christian Nation etc. when ultimately as it says in the bible, the whole world is laying in the power of the wicked one'. Most religions focus on an afterlife--but have been corrupted to get people to kneel down to theocrats/tyrants and philosophies that typically are amok with base prejudices and old school tribalism.

Hopefully Jesse Ventura Runs in 2012, or Ron Paul teams up with him, that would provide at least a reasoned approach at libertarianism that might get some traction--if the powers that be don't squash their voices--as the MSM attempted to do with R. Paul last election cycle.

Anonymous said...


The ECB monetized $300,000,000 of sovereign debt and the Euro went up. There is something very wrong there. The ECB is playing with fire, and the underlying problems are not adequately addressed. If the problems were really corrected the ECB would not need to be buying. Further, it is like shooting heroine. Every fix needs to be bigger to get the same effect.


Coal Guy

Greg T. Jeffers said...


My SINCERE Apologies. I confused you with someone else.