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This letter has been published since October of 1997, and along the way we have called so many trends, plays, opportunities that frankly there's no way we could put them all here.  The important thing to consider however is that we didn't just get it right lately, we've gotten it

This letter has been published since October of 1997, and along the way we have called so many trends, plays, opportunities that frankly there's no way we could put them all here.  The important thing to consider however is that we didn't just get it right lately, we've gotten it right through bull markets, bear markets and flat markets. This is tremendously important to you as the investor.

Why is that important?

Unfortunately people love to revise history. The very same talking head market pundit that didn't see the melt down coming, and lost 55% in his fund in 08, is now telling everyone that he knew all along what was going to happen. We've seen this revisionist act a thousand times. If they were so smart why didn't they hide in cash and avoid the meltdown? Because they didn't have a clue. It's really that simple. But, the next time they're on TV, they have to lie about it all and re create history so they don't look stupid.

If an analyst or pundit is only right in a bull market, what good are they?

They're worthless. When markets are in "bull mode" any monkey with a dart can make money and look smart. It's when the wheels come off that separates the greats from the frauds. It's knowing when to hide that saves people's fortunes. What good is it if you make a fortune, only to see it all get wiped out during a growling bear market?

Now everyone's a genius again

In the beginning of January 09, there has been a tidal wave of analysts that are now trying to look smart after loosing their shirts, by changing their tune, and acting as they really understand the world markets, and the power player agendas. Our point is simple. Were they smart a year ago? Five years ago? Ten years ago?

WE HAVE NEVER HAD A LOSING YEAR

That's quite a claim, and it just happens to be true. Our own 401K has never lost a penny. Not once. So, as you listen to the so called experts on TV, ask a simple question. Can they say that? 99.9% of them cannot.

Just to show you that we didn't just get lucky lately, here's some trades/trends we predicted years ago:

On a Looming Recession (May 14, 2000) - "One thing that is clear, though, that needs to be expressed: Rate hikes generally take 6 to 9 months to trickle down into the actual economy and slow things down. Now that we have already gotten 6 increases, it is slowly starting to take its bite. Recent CPI and PPI reports have been very strong, but the 'fringes' are indeed starting to feel the heat." May 21, 2000 "Not only is the act of raising rates bad for the stock market, there is a growing number of analysts (and myself) who think that the natural cycle of the economy was just beginning to slow on its own and that by shoving these rate hikes at us, we very well could get thrown into a 'mini recession.'"

The Outcome - January 8, 2001, from Reuters: "The sputtering U.S. economy will sink into recession in the first half of 2001, snapping its longest expansion in history, Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley Dean Witter forecast."

On the Shaky Eurodollar (June 11, 2000) - "I tend to think that as long as the Euro stays above 90 cents to the dollar, our own markets will not be 'upset' and we can move higher. But, if several of the European countries keep selling gold and printing money, they could weaken the Euro again … If that happens and the Euro falls again, we will feel the effects of it here again in our own stocks."

The Outcome - The Euro slipped to 83, helping take the US stock market down.

On Precious Metals (August 8, 2000) - "...if any of you follow the metals market at all you will see some very interesting things going on. Palladium is at an all-time high. Just last year it was trading at about 400 per ounce and just a few weeks ago it was over 900. Why? Because of several very interesting things going on there. The main supplier has always been Russia, but production problems and the fact they actually cut back on selling it has caused a bit of a 'squeeze.' But along with slowing production, demand is soaring! Why? Because palladium is the metal that auto manufacturers use in pollution control devices like catalytic converters. So as our government makes ever-stricter air quality guidelines, automakers have to use more and more palladium. With big demand and low supply, it is on fire. "Some of that fire has spilled into platinum and rhodium, two other metals they 'can' use instead of palladium, but it isn't as efficient and they have to use more of it, so for their 'cost basis' it's a wash. Still, platinum is up nicely. Palladium remains the metal of choice by far. (Taking a position in 'mining' companies that produce palladium, platinum and rhodium is a very wise choice)."

The Outcome - Palladium slid back to 700 before soaring to over 1000 by the end of the year.

On the End of Interest-Rate Hikes (June 25, 2000) - "For the most part, our record of predicting the FED's decision (on raising or lowering interest rates) has been pretty good. I have lost track, but I think it stands somewhere around 20 and 3. (20 right, 3 wrong). So what do I think they are going to do at this meeting? Well, I 'think' they will be smart and do nothing, meaning no rate hike."

The Outcome -The FED did not raise rates at its June meeting, stood pat through the remainder of the year and lowered rates by a startling 50 basis points at the beginning of 2001 in the face of rapidly souring economic conditions.

On Oil (June 20 and 27, 2000) - "...if you are patient, we think the resurgence in oil rig day rates and the 'spread income' from a barrel of oil's price will indeed keep the oil sector in play for the rest of the year. OPEC's decision to raise output by about 700K barrels a day (plus their cheating on quotas which they always do) means we have about a million barrels of oil a day coming on line. That should pull barrel prices down to about 25 bucks and at that price everyone makes dollars."

The Outcome -Hovering in the mid-30s during the summer, the price of a barrel of oil drifted down to 26 by December.

On Other Energy Sources (October 5, 2000) - "Natural gas is going to be a real problem as is propane … Electricity is a massive problem and the guys who generate the stuff, or make ways to make what we have go further are ultimately going to win."

The Outcome -The price of natural gas doubled and propane rose 33%.
Now, how about some more recent "stuff?"

Here's some predictions from our Dec 30, 2007 issue, as we looked out towards 2008 and what it might bring us. PLEASE COMPARE THESE PREDICTIONS FOR 08, TO ANY OF THE PREDICTIONS FROM THE TOP CNBC PUNDITS!

Today's Obnoxious Rant

Not too long ago I put out an issue suggesting that "some one" has to be 100% wrong about the economy and the markets. I make that rather simple observation via the dichotomy between what I suggest is going on, versus what 95% of the talking heads on TV say is going on. For instance CNBC had a guest on this week and he said that 1) stocks were undervalued, 2) stocks should go up 20% in 08,3) the subprime mess is finally run it's course and it's probably time to buy home builders and 4) the economy will be humming along quite nicely.

I on the other hand suggest 1) we are in a recession and have been for a year, 2) inflation is staggering, and we are in a period of "stagflation" with a bent toward even worse pricing pressure 3) the market is manipulated by trillions of Central bank dollars to keep the appearance of things being fine and 4) it's still going to end badly.

*The outcome? We witnessed the largest financial collapse in our planets history, while central banks printed trillions, and inflation roared, causing 4.00 dollar gas, insane food costs, and a market that fell by 50%.

I don't know that there's ever a "normal" year, but this year we've got to deal with a sack full of lying politicians, each trying to bully their way into the Oval office. The only one that makes a lick of sense is Ron Paul and I strongly urge you all to get acquainted with the dear fellow if you don't know of him. Unfortunately the true power people that control the media and the politicians are keeping him out of the headlines perfectly. You'll hear about Obama as Oprah Winfrey uses all her hot air to hype him, and you'll hear about Clinton as people who liked her hubby want him back in office. You'll hear about Romney and Huckabee. But Ron Paul? Nah, you won't hear much about him. Because he stands for all the things that large lying media hates such as truth, personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, constitutionality. All things foreign to todays' politicians and media heads.

*The outcome?  We watched the show unfold perfectly, Ron Paul was pushed aside, and Obama went on to win.

The day that they pronounced Ethanol as the savior for our energy strapped, gasoline addicted nation, I screamed "fraud". It won't work here, they can't copy Brazil, Brazil uses sugar cane, we can't. So they forged ahead with this silly plan and what's it done? Is gasoline cheaper? Uhm, no. Is foodstuff more expensive? Every day. As they continue to grow more biofuel corn, it displaces food corn and everything goes up in price. Cattle eat corn to fatten. Pigs eat corn to fatten. You can't grow corn and wheat at the same time, so there's less wheat. Do you drink beer? The hops and barley fields are being scaled back for more biofuel corn. This won't end right away folks, so food prices will continue to soar.

*The outcome? Food prices posted the biggest increase EVER seen in 2008, and food costs even at the production level soared to the point that the largest poultry producer on earth went bankrupt.

Since Bankers and Wall Street are the Alpha apex creatures of fraud, they went ahead and screwed each other, and now they don't want to lend to each other. This will thaw out over time as they find new ways to defraud each other and the public at large. But for the time being there are trillions sitting in derivatives that were borrowed on, insured on, bought and sold on, and no one, absolutely no one has a clue what they might be worth. Isn't that something? How about having a whole closet full of paper contracts that you bought for say 10 million dollars, with the idea that for the most part you've secured a nice income, with good protection, only to find that the whole mess might be worth 3 million or 9 million depending on whom you talk to?? That wouldn't make you happy. So, the process of trying to place true values on hundreds of layers of derivative junk is going to take some time. The fall out will be continued reluctance to lend to each other.

*The outcome? Here it is 13 months later and they still can't figure out how to price their toxic junk, and the credit market still won't lend.

As people continue to default on their homes, and don't have the ability to do cash out refi's any more, the rate of credit card usage is soaring, and so is the amount of them in arrears. This is the next trouble spot, and as we said years ago when they changed the bankruptcy laws "this is gunna get ugly". In years gone by, you could run up 8 grand at christmas, and then go buy yourself a new car. Then a phone call to Capital One to do a cash out refi on your house and in two weeks you'd have a check for 45 grand in your hand. Pay off the cards, and go do it all over again. I called it the "Bank of house". Now that bank has been closed and we are going to see much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Trust me on this one folks, there is a very very good reason why retail sales this Christmas weren't as robust as they hoped. People didn't have money before, they simply had a cash ATM machine in the form of a house. Now that the house isn't going up in value, they lost that ability to cash it out. So now they're using credit cards, and checking their mail boxes for new ones every day. They have no other money. This will only get worse. Credit card delinquencies, and bankruptcies will rise all throughout 2008.

*The outcome? Bankruptcies continued roaring higher, hitting new record levels each month. Credit card delinquencies posted new default records. Houses lost the most in a single year since records began.

The dollar got pounded over the last several years, and rightfully so. Our currency isn't backed by anything what so ever, nothing but a promise. "Backed by the full faith..." what a bunch of hooey. Faith in What? The American economy that has to borrow billions each year from the Communist Chinese? LOL, give me a break. If it wasn't for our military, we'd be looked at for the economy we really have, a third world, banana republic sort of economy. As they continue to debase what's left of the value of a buck ( approximately 7 cents) it will sink further.

*The outcome? The dollar fell, and lost more value, while we became even MORE dependant on foreigners buying our junk treasuries.

China will host the Olympics on 08/08/08 and they've been spending money like it's going out of style to put on a grand show for the world. Hey, why not? They got all that money from building and selling consumer items to the worlds best consumers (us) and now they're going to show off what they can do. But once the games are finished and the tourists go back home, I suggest that some of the infrastructure projects they were working on will stop being funded, and economic activity will slow sharply from where it's been. Coupled with a drastic slowdown in US purchasing of goods and the Chinese are going to face their own troublesome market in 2008.

*The outcome? China's market dropped by over 50%, causing them to declare a half a trillion dollar stimulus package to ward off recession.

My best guess is this; We are already in a recession and it's going to get a lot deeper. I said in 2006 that we'd see a recession in 2007 and we have, although they've doctored the numbers to narrowly avoid it being official for now. Let's just say that I got that one right, despite the silly numbers out of Uncle Sam. Now my guess is that we have a wickedly volatile market for most of 2008, where drop outs and run ups of 500, 600, 800 points are almost normal. Then, as we see 08 coming to an end, we will hear more about how the housing market isn't coming back, credit is still tighter than it should be, energy costs have hindered the consumer even more, baby boomers aren't able to retire, yada yada yada. That will begin the long slow journey to a much lower market.

*The outcome? We entered the deepest recession since 1930. Housing continued to collapse. Wicked market spikes of 400 points became DAILY events. We slid to lows not seen since 2003.

I'm going to consider 2007, the end of the rising market, and 2008 the wickedly volatile up and down mess that often signals turning points, followed in 09 buy a long slow dripping market. That's not to say we couldn't see the DOW bust up and hit 15K for a moment in an orgiastic spasm of FED induced splendor. But it would still be a climax high, setting the stage for the inevitable slide lower. Our best  single idea will be to continue buying gold bullion on dips, and taking positions in long dated market puts such as against the DIA's and SPY.

*The outcome? Those very same ideas of buying gold on dips has resulted in 25% gains and our long dated puts were cashed out with some of them gaining over 400%.

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