What the Sam Adams!
- After tonight, that’s it
- Touched by no hand
- Fury unleashed
‘A standing Army, however necessary it may be at some times, is always dangerous to the Liberties of the People. Soldiers are apt to consider themselves as a Body distinct from the rest of the Citizens. They have their Arms always in their hands. They soon become attachd [sic] to their officers and disposd [sic] to yield implicit Obedience to their Commands. Such a Power should be watchd [sic] with a jealous Eye.’
American revolutionary, Samuel Adams,
in a letter to James Warren, 1776
‘A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.’
James Madison (future President of the United States), address to the Constitutional Convention, 1787
Who says you can’t learn anything from history?
If you don’t read history, to be blunt, you’re an idiot.
By reading history, you can get a picture of how people have dealt with issues in the past. You can see how events transpired. You can get a feel for the motivations and see the outcomes.
You can also picture the consequences of those events.
I bring this up because of an interesting incident in recent days. Not in the world of finance, but in the world of sports.
American Football (NFL) player, Colin Kaepernick, revealed this week that he’s refusing to stand for the American national anthem prior to the start of the football games in which he’s playing.
His basic argument is that he can’t stand up for something, while (in his view) black Americans and ‘people of colour’ (a politically correct term if ever there was one), were being discriminated against, and victimised by representatives of the State.
In other words, the police.
Whether you agree with Mr Kaepernick’s views or not isn’t relevant here. But what is relevant is the increase in the glorification and even deification of the military and police.
The immediate reaction to Mr Kaepernick’s views have brought out claims of how he is disrespecting the military, and those who serve in the armed forces — past and present.
In fact, without a hint of irony in anything they’re saying, their basic argument goes something like this:
‘How dare you disrespect the Flag and those in the military who fought under it? They fought for you freedom and your right to say what you like. But don’t you ever say anything bad about America or the military. Got it?’
At first glance, it seems like a nonsensical response. Kaepernick is protesting about police shootings of unarmed people. Police, not military. But the link between American sports and the military is seemingly unbreakable.
Last year it was revealed that America’s armed forces had spent millions of dollars sponsoring NFL teams.
They spent millions on ‘surprise homecomings’, where a family would be invited to the middle of the football field, to watch a video of their father who was supposedly still on duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Only, shortly after the video ended, the father would emerge from somewhere…disguised as an umpire or mascot…and the tears would flow.
It’s a nice touch, and completely spontaneous…apart from the fact that the armed forces paid millions to the football teams involved to allow them to stage this bizarre piece of theatrics.
If you’ve ever been to an American sporting event, you’ll know that it’s standard practice for a serving member of the armed forces to sing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ before the start of a baseball game…or ‘America the Beautiful’ during the seventh inning stretch.
The military has become a cult, with a cult following. Unfortunately, this cult isn’t necessarily being driven by former soldiers.
It still wasn’t all that long ago that First World War, Second World War Two, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans wouldn’t talk about the wars. They would respectfully keep their experiences to themselves, or talk discretely about it.
Who can blame them? The act of war generally involves killing people. It’s not a subject most want to discuss.
The problem is with the generations that have followed. Those who mostly didn’t serve, somehow see it as their God-given right to proselytise on the virtues and greatness of the armed forces.
They do so by shouting down anyone who isn’t so fawning about the military. They tell you to ‘shut your mouth’ if you dare suggest soldiers aren’t saints.
Perhaps worst of all, it appears to be filtering through to the current crop of armed forces personnel. Your editor for one, can see no reason why armed forces members need to wear their military uniform when out in public.
Why do they do so? There can only be three reasons. To inflate their own ego. To intimidate. Or to attract attention and praise from others.
Both Samuel Adams and James Madison had it right. A standing army is a danger to liberty. It was 230 years ago, and it is today. Not just in the US, but here, and worldwide.
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48.69 points, or 0.26%.
The S&P 500 index fell 4.26 points, or 0.2%.
In Europe, the Euro Stoxx 50 index gained 32.25 points, or 1.08%. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 fell 0.25%, and Germany’s DAX index gained 1.07%.
In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index is up 168.76 points, or 1.01%. China’s CSI 300 index is up 0.42%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index is down 38.09 points, or 0.7%.
On the commodities markets, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is trading for US$46.29 per barrel. Brent crude is US$48.35 per barrel.
Gold is US$1,313 (AU$1,747) per troy ounce. Silver is US$18.74 (AU$24.92) per troy ounce.
The Aussie dollar is worth 75.22 US cents.
After tonight, that’s it
Speaking of the dangers to liberty, that’s the theme of our investment conference, The Great Repression. It takes place in Port Douglas, Queensland from 26–28 October.
That’s just 56 days from now.
But if you want to come, you better be quick. Today is your last chance to secure tickets. The ‘box office’ closes at midnight.
After that, we won’t accept any more bookings. You’ll have missed out on perhaps the only chance in your lifetime to hear famed investor, Jim Rogers, speak live to an Australian audience.
Be clear: no more ticket sales after tonight. You won’t see a ‘last chance’ email in your inbox tomorrow. There won’t be any 24 or 48 hour extensions.
After tonight, that’s it. We have to finalise numbers with the venue, and arrange for all the paraphernalia involved with putting on a conference (event guides, folders, pens, lanyards, and so on).
So, if you want to come, but you just haven’t got around to ordering your tickets, do so now…or miss out. It’s up to you. Go here.
Touched by no hand
In my comments above, I recommended that you read some history, to get an idea of how current events could play out like past events.
In truth, understanding history isn’t just something for textbooks, the classroom, or a quiet afternoon bit of reading.
History plays an important role in investing too.
You’ve probably seen the standard disclaimer that any financial services provider will give you. It will say that past performance isn’t an accurate indication of future results.
That may be true when it comes to the performance of individual stock pickers — your editor included.
As a fundamental analyst, who picks stocks based on the financials of a company, it’s hard not to introduce some kind of emotional element into the decision making.
Furthermore, it’s also hard not to introduce an emotional element when you have one eye on your track record. If you start the year with a few winners, you could turn cautious for the rest of the year, not wanting to give back your gains.
If you start the year poorly, it could also turn you cautious, not wanting to make things worse. Alternatively, it could make you more aggressive, as you try to ‘make back’ the losses.
But whatever, the point is that for most investors, including pro investors, it’s hard to keep emotions out of decision making.
But is that true for all investing methodologies?
Unfortunately, you can never know until after the fact. But with our premium trading service, Quant Trader, I believe we’ve come across something that’s as close as you can get to breaking the mould about past and future performance.
That’s not to say it does break the mould. We only have two years of live trading results, and 21 years of back-tested results.
But based on that analysis, we can say that so far, we have evidence to show that the Quant Trader system can work through any market.
The back-testing covered the period of the dot-com boom and Asian crisis crash. It covered the dot-com crash and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
It covered the resources boom and the worldwide financial meltdown in 2008. It covered the recovery, money printing and stimulus, and the resources bust from 2011 onwards.
Since November 2014, it has been ‘live’. And so far, it has worked in this market. Does that mean it will always work? I honestly can’t tell you for a fact that it will. As I say, you can only know for sure after the fact.
But I do know that part of what makes the Quant Trader system successful is that it using historical data in order to make predictions about future price action.
What’s more, the data that the Quant Trader system produces is untainted by human hands or human emotions. If the signals say ‘buy’, the Quant Trader service will issue a buy recommendation.
If the signals say ‘sell’, the Quant Trader service will issue a sell recommendation. There isn’t any second guessing. There isn’t anyone filtering the signals to say, ‘Hey, I’m not buying bank stocks in this market.’
If the signals say buy, those are the signals the Quant Trader service sends.
It’s a fascinating service, and it’s even led me to question how I’ve personally invested in the past. As far as I’m concerned, this is a service that every serious investor should at least try.
And right now, until Monday, you have an opportunity to do so. To check out all the details on Quant Trader, including how it could help turn you into a better investor, go here for details.
Colin Kaepernick clearly knew not what fury he hath wrought.
We wonder if he would have opened his gob if he had known. After all, it’s one thing to think something that goes against the majority, but it’s something else to say it.
For that alone, we like his actions. Even more than that, we agree with his view.
Still, he’s up against a might foe. The might of the US armed forces and the slurping drones who praise everything it does. Here are a few snippets of the comments directed towards Mr Kaepernick:
‘NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s birth mother has weighed in on his controversial refusal to stand during the American national anthem.
‘His mother Heidi Russo — who put Kaepernick up for adoption when she was 19 — took to Twitter to criticise him for bringing shame to America and to his family.’
‘NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick should “find a country that works better for him” said Donald Trump after the player’s national anthem protest.’
‘Martin Halloran, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, said that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick “embarrassed” himself by publicly criticising police in the United States.’
And on it goes. Remember, only ever speak out against the state if you can deal with the consequences. It and its henchmen (sadly, much of the general public) are not to be trifled with.