Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Brief Bitcoin Q&A

We were recently contacted by someone who had seen our volume on Bitcoin, cryptically entitled “Bitcoins:  What they are and how to use them” which was written on one of those weekend trysts which economic thinkers are prone to, in which a flurry of ideas flies at one’s mind from all quarters and scream to be put on paper.

Bitcoins: What they are and how to use them
Bitcoins: What they are and how to use them

The book, which was literally cobbled together over the span of four days, has been our bestseller recently, which naturally has more to do with Bitcoin than ourselves.

In their inquiry, the reader had three further inquiries which we present below for those who are interested in such matters.  Enjoy!

Q:  What do you think about the relation between physical and virtual currency?

The Mint:  Generally speaking, the relation between physical and virtual currencies can be judged by examining the price for the physical currency expressed in the virtual currency.  However, I think it will be helpful to make a distinction, as the concept of virtual currency is simply another extension, or “strata”, as I like to call it, of something I refer to as the “Monetary Premium.”  Allow me to explain:

The concept of currency stems from the Monetary Premium that is attached to something, ultimately giving it value in trade.  (please read this post for a description of the Monetary Premium concept and its origins: )

Over time, as the division of labor has increased, the need for credit and, by extension, something by which to exchange the monetary premium (i.e. serve as money) in order to settle the debt, has increased as well to the point that, today, all currency issued by government’s is a credit instrument (a liability of the Central Bank) and has only an indirect relationship to anything physical.

Given this, virtual currency, to the extent that it is accepted in trade, is synonymous with all other forms of currency in that it represents an indirect claim on physical wealth.

What many consider to be hard, or physical currency, such as gold and silver, will then have a relationship to either virtual currencies (such as Bitcoin) or credit based currencies (such as US dollars or Brazilian reais) which is expressed as a ratio, or price.  By extension, both virtual and credit based currencies will serve as pricing mechanisms for goods and services.

I hope the above makes sense, as it is getting to a key misconception that many have regarding money in general.

Q:  What is the future of Bitcoin? 

The Mint: As with any currency, bitcoin will have value and be traded until people lose confidence in it.  That said, bitcoin has two flaws that will make it increasingly difficult to use in trade:

1)  By design, there can only be a very limited amount of debt denominated in Bitcoin.  While most see this as attractive (indeed, it is what helps support its value), it will severely hinder the expansion of Bitcoin proper in trade as the algorithm ticks closer to the limit of ~21 million Bitcoins (never mind that many Bitcoins that previously circulated are trapped in wallets on hard drives which are in rubbish heaps now, never to be “mined” again!).

2)  The limitation on Bitcoin creation will dramatically reduce incentives to support the Bitcoin transaction validation process (known as “mining”) right at the time when it is most necessary.  This is where Bitcoin will shoot itself in the foot, and nobody knows what will happen then, but what is certain is that transaction processing will become a paid feature by providers or that it will become so slow that people will gravitate away from Bitcoin to other digital currencies who have no such flaw.

What is likely to occur is that Bitcoin will assume its place as the “gold standard” against which all subsequent virtual currencies will be measured.  In the same way that many national currencies are still measured against gold on the open market, so it will be that Bitcoin, given its finite production, will become, as gold has become, little more than an important point of reference for whatever virtual currency is currently predominately used in trade.

Q:  What is the effect on the world economy?

The Mint:  While the origins of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies may have been experimental and ideological in nature, their increasing acceptance is owed to the fact that they are filling a void in trade.  Namely, mediums of communication facilitated by the Internet have expanded trade exponentially and created needs for mediums of exchange (a way to transmit the monetary premium mentioned above) that national currencies cannot keep pace with. 

The current system of national currencies and banking provide a number of barriers to currency creation which leaves a void that solutions such as Bitcoin are able to fulfill, in the process creating a windfall for those who have successfully speculated in such currencies.

The effect of virtual currencies such as Bitcoin on the world economy, then, has been and will be to further facilitate trade and, by extension, the division of labor in the world economy.  This is a very good thing as it will ultimately lead to a more perfect balance of trade, one that is not subject to the whim of a Central banker’s assessment of the need to expand or contract the money supply.

The latter has implications for the current nation-state which I won’t go into, but the people of the world now can, through the Bitcoin and broader virtual currency story, begin to envision a world economy that is not dominated by currencies emitted by National Central banks, what will happen with that vision is something that is likely to play out in our lifetimes.

Why it is Never a Good Idea to Talk to the Police

Today we came across some information that may literally be a question of life or death.  It is regarding the much vilified Fifth Amendment, better known for its Miranda translation, “The right to remain silent.”

We came across this crucial bit of information via the following article published at

The jest of the article is that, rather than being a hiding place for criminals, the Fifth Amendment, the right to not incriminate oneself, serves an extremely important function in today’s culture where persons are all too often presumed guilty until proven innocent.  The best advice, when approached by a police officer, is to draw on the fifth amendment first and then ask questions later, with an attorney present.

The logic is that, the police, even under the best of circumstances, may unintentionally twist one’s words in a way that implicates them in a crime that one did not commit.  In the worst of cases, the Police use anything one says to frame them.

The article draws on information from the following lecture given by a law school professor and former criminal defense attorney, which deals extensively with this very issue:

With the incredible pressure and awkward situations in which those who are entrusted to serve and protect us are placed in daily, invoking the Fifth Amendment may also be the best way to get them out of a difficult situation.

Paradoxical as it may seem, the next time one is approached by the Police, the best course of action is to simply state, “I invoke my right to remain silent.  If you wish to speak with me, I will do so only with my attorney preset.”  When they ask why, simply state “Because, anything I say can and will be used to incriminate me.”

As society has made the Subtle Change from Principles to Rules, simply being alive and breathing may cause one to break any number of rules, both written and unwritten, no matter how much one tries to do the right thing.

The Police are there to enforce the rules, and we praise them for it, unfortunately the rules themselves all too often serve to pervert justice rather than serve it.  For innocents simply trying to live their life peacefully, the Fifth Amendment may be the best and only source of protection against random prosecutions.

Remy: Raise The Debt Ceiling Rap

What happens when Rap meets Federal spending? Via Reason TV:

Bitcoin hits $200 just ahead of our eBook release

4/9/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

The Bitcoin is currently trading at $235, and fortunately, by forfeiting a few hours of sleep and employing the miracle of digital distribution channels, we have been able to deliver on yesterday’s promise to have our small contribution to the Bitcoin universe available.

Bitcoins:  What they are and how to use them:  A Beginner’s Guide to adopting the Gold Standard in Digital Currencies

It is now available and can be had for just $0.99, or roughly 0.00442340 Bitcoins at the current USD/Bitcoin conversion rate.  You can pay in Bitcoins and download a the PDF here at The Mint.  It is also available in multiple formats over at and on Amazon’s Kindle.  For the time being, you will have to pay the later two distributors in US Dollars.

However, should Mark Coker and Jeff Bezos read and implement the steps in our guide, they will no doubt be well on their way to Bitcoin adoption, as you will be, by the time you read these words.

Bitcoins: What they are and how to use them
Bitcoins: What they are and how to use them

While it is by no means a complete Bitcoin bible, it is akin to a Bitcoin gospel, full of observations, setting, and the practical implications of the Bitcoin’s emergence.  The information contained in the guide will leave the reader with both a solid understanding of what a Bitcoin is, its usefulness in trade, and finally and most importantly, how to use it.

Admittedly, it is a roughly hewn gem.  However, the Bitcoin phenomenon is moving at a pace unimaginable just years ago and time is of the essence.  As such, we are presenting the introduction to Section II as well as the first and most important step to personal Bitcoin adoption, establishing a Bitcoin wallet, today as a public service here at The Mint.  You may click here to read it.

A final note that those of you who have taken the step of purchasing the eBook, to whom which we are eternally grateful, if you do not need to be convinced of Bitcoin’s usefulness, we recommend diving straight into Section II of the guide:  It contains a roadmap which, if followed, will set you well ahead of your online peers in terms of being able to accept and trade in terms of Bitcoins.

As the Bitcoin phenomenon takes off at lightening speed, this may be one of those rare times that it pays to leap before looking.  There will be plenty of time to reflect and read section I and the appendix once you are comfortably retired as a result of being an relatively early Bitcoin adopter.

For, if we are correct, the Bitcoin represents not merely another fad, it will come to represent digital gold, the measuring stick by which all subsequent digital currency issues will be measured.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for April 9, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.44
Oil Price per Barrel:  $93.94
Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.44
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.75%
Mt Gox Bitcoin price in US:  $235.11
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,586 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.6%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.7%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,674
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,534,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,501,300,000,000

Tekoa Da Silva: A Bigger Boom Now Baked In The Cake – Gold and Silver Commentary

3/11/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

With the precious metals seemingly trapped in a state of suspended animation, it is nice to come across analysis that digs into the fundamentals of the precious metals, both at the retail level as well as at the source, the miners.  For a time, we have seen a steady supply of silver at around $30.  The recent push under $30 has almost immediately raised the issue of supply shortages of the white metal.

Supply, of lack thereof, is the most compelling reason to hold silver.  With this in mind, we were fortunate to come across this fine analysis piece by Tekoa Da Silva which we present here for your perusal and enjoyment.  In this video presentation, Da Silva exhibits obvious enthusiasm for the prospects, if you will, for the gold and silver markets based on his conversations with the Perth Mint, who say all of their retail clients are holding their metals in the face of this down draft, and an adviser for the BMO group, who is again seeing a dearth of supply on the horizon as marginal mining projects are shelved.

It all adds up to a continuation of the bull market in the precious metals, as their production is inextricably linked, and demand for them at the retail level is just now increasing.

The much awaited spring rally may be just around the corner.  Enjoy!

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for March 11, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.51
Oil Price per Barrel:  $92.04
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.34
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.06%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,582 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,447
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,481,500,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,377,900,000,000

To Build up the Land part III – The Myth of Overpopulation

3/4/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

We return to the series that started earlier this month, “To Build up the Land.”  If you need to refresh yourself, please take time to read the first two segments by clicking the links below:

To Build up the Land – part I

To Build up the Land part II – Maintaining the Peace

It has been so long even your easily distracted author had to do a bit of review!

It is common in modern day urban environments to lament the lack of open spaces.  Living in structures that are surrounded by other structures and spending time overcrowded streets or public transportation systems tends to solidify the perception that there are too many people in one’s immediate environment.  The feeling is completely normal and understandable.  What is not normal is to wish evil or impose limitations on others because of this perception, for a sober look at the data suggests that, while one’s immediate surroundings may appear to be hopelessly overpopulated, the earth continues to suffer from chronic under population, or a lack of people willing to build up the land, in the parlance of Old Jules.

The answer, then, to a personal state of dissatisfaction with a perceived state of local overpopulation is to remove oneself from the overpopulated environment to a lower density locale.

There is no doubt that the world today is more populated than at any other time in its brief history.  There is also no doubt that increasingly, mankind struggles to adequately nourish itself.  It is an error, however, to blindly assume that an increased population is the root cause of relative shortages of food and potable water.  It is equally erroneous to assume that there are limits to what the land can produce.

In Old Jules’ day, the Sandhills of Northwestern Nebraska were harsh and relatively uninhabited.  Old Jules recognized this as a problem.  Untamed land is largely unproductive land.  The land requires men and women to interact with it so that it will produce fruit and, in turn, allow the men and women to produce their own fruit, so to speak, and so on.

Old Jules, like many inhabitants of what Nabokov called the “Rotting old world,” or Europe, had come to America either in pursuit of greater opportunities or in flight from what was decrease of opportunities in Europe.  This phenomenon was most notable in England, as the Industrial Revolution brought about an exponential improvement in general living conditions and life expectancies, it also brought a population boom which overwhelmed the British Isle.  It was there that the idea of overpopulation bloomed.

As war seemed to grip Europe from time to time, it seemed that the continent was suffering from an overpopulation as well.  However, this feeling had nothing to do with actual scarcity of land.  It was, rather, a result of the various wars, socialist policies, and other acts of aggression which hindered man’s ability to build up the land to its full potential in Europe.

For this reason, during the 1800’s and continuing, in many respects, through today, the greatest immigration known to man has been taking place on both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere of the Americas.

The land was harsh and virgin yet, with a bit of luck and help from neighbors such as Old Jules, those who braved the frontier found an abundance of both resources and freedom beyond their wildest dreams.

What is surprising, or perhaps not, is that this untamed frontier produced not a chaos of fiefdoms waging war against one another, but rather gave birth to perhaps the most honest and upstanding society that exists on the face of the earth.  It is a society largely untainted by the banes of urban existence.  It is a society that understands that the planet, far from having an overpopulation problem, suffers from a lack of people willing to roll up their sleeves and build up the land.

To encourage and help people to choose to build up the land has proven difficult, especially in the aftermath of the farm crisis of the 1970s and 80s in America.  The crisis, which was largely the result of the sinkhole left in the money supply by erratic Federal Reserve policy, left thousands of family farms in ruin.

Even in Old Jules’ day, it was difficult.  It required someone who had a vision for the land and could see past the allure of temporary personal gain so that both the people and the land could carry on their productive intercourse.

Again, we pick up with Mari Sandoz in Old Jules describing Jules’ efforts to assist homesteaders to take advantage of the Kinkaid Act of 1904, an amendment to the original Homesteaders act passed in the 1860’s.  Jules had hoped that the act would reign in the cattlemen and bring in the people that the land so desperately needed to build it up:

“In the evening Jules, rifle across his arm, limped about among the newcomers and felt young again.  It was like Valentine {Nebraska} in the eighties, but different too – many more people and not so young, not nearly so young   Many of these were old – defeated men…

“…The day of the opening long queues of homeseekers waited for hours, only to find that even the sad choice of land that was free had been filed earlier in the day.  There was talk of cattleman agents who made up baskets full of filing papers beforehand and ran them through the first thing.  One woman was said to have filed on forty sections, under forty names, at five dollars a shot.  The land was covered by filings that would never turn into farms.  Yes, the Kinkaid Act as a cattleman law, as it was intended to be……

“Nevertheless Jules was busy.  His buckskin team, colts of Old Daisy, threaded in and out between the hills.  In six months, all unoccupied filings would be subject to contest.  For twenty-five dollars Jules showed the land, ascertained the numbers, took the settler to Alliance to the land office, helped him make his filings, and later, when he was ready to fence, surveyed the homestead completely.  If the homeseeker found nothing to please him, there was no charge.  Otherwise, Jules pocketed the twenty-five dollar fee……

“And every few days some land agent or attorney from, say, Chicago suggested that Jules charge fifty or a hundred dollars and give him a fourth or half of the fee for steering prospects to him.  Jules stuck his cob pipe between his bearded lips and threw the letters into the wood box.

“I am not in this business for the money.  I’m trying to build up the country.”

At the end of this discourse, Old Jules pins down the crux of the matter.  If one is in pursuit of money, overpopulation will always be a problem.  Money, as the good of highest order, is indirectly sought but all, and each additional person on the planet represents another competitor. This is an inescapable fact of the rigid debt based money supply of today.

However, if one’s aim is to build up the land, as was the case with Old Jules, they will quickly see that the truth of the matter, which the failure of the debt based money supply, as do all socialist machinations, serves to mask, is that money really does grow on well tended trees, and what is truly lacking are men and women brave enough to perform their conjugal duty to the land.

For without it, both the land and mankind will grow frigid, and the earth will become a cold and desolate place indeed.

more to come…

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for March 4, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.50
Oil Price per Barrel:  $90.24
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.23
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.88%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,575 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,128
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,421,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,412,400,000,000

What the World Needs Now is Anarchy

We send you into the weekend here at The Mint with a brutal rendition of a sixties classic. Enjoy!
To the tune of “What the World Needs Now is Love

What the World Needs Now is Anarchy

(With apologies to the Dionne Warwick and the more than 100 other artists who have previously crooned this wonderful tune)

What the world needs now is an-ar-chy,
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.
What the world needs now is an-ar-chy,
no not just for some but for everyone.

Lord we don’t need another government,
There are governments and governors enough to rule,
There are rules and regulations enough to obey
Enough to make us all look like fools

What the world needs now is an-ar-chy ,
it’s the only thing that theres just too little of,
what the world needs now is an-ar-chy ,
no not just for some but for everyone

Lord, we dont need another lawman,
there is justice and kindness enough to give,
there is honor and duty in every heart,
If only we’d be left alone, to live and let live

What the world needs now is an-ar-chy ,
its the only thing that theres just too little of.
what the world needs now is an-ar-chy,
no not just for some, oh but just for every every everyone.

what the world (whoa whoa) needs now,
is an-ar-chy
what the world ( oh oh) needs now
is an-ar-chy
what the world (whoa whoa) needs now
is an-ar-chy

Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead has arrived

2/28/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Our latest E-book offering:  Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead, has shipped and will soon arrive on digital shelves across the Internet.

More than a book on personal finance and budgeting, it is a collection of our personal finance tips told through a bakery metaphor.  It is now available and can be enjoyed with a coffee and danish on Smashwords, Amazon’s Kindle, and Google Books.

As an added bonus for visiting our page here at The Mint, you can download a sample budget spreadsheet in Excel format to help you to implement some of the tips here:


Dough: An introduction

dough -/dō/- noun -1. A thick, malleable mixture of flour and liquid, used for baking into bread or pastry. 2. Money: “lots of dough”.

Dough.  Unless you work in a bakery or pizza parlor, you probably can’t get enough of it.  As we began to elaborate this current volume, which, at its base, is a presentation of our unconventional budget tips, we knew that it would be necessary to employ a metaphor to keep fellow bakers, who have any number of demands upon their time beyond budgeting, or seeking out metaphors, for that matter, engaged long enough to revolutionize their approach to money, which in turn will give them time to knead dough, ponder metaphors, compose run on sentences, or indulge any number of whims which may be germinating in the dark recesses of their minds at this very moment.

Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead

Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead

Most of the human race spends the better part of their waking moments either doing something or wondering what they should be doing.  Human action is an ultimate given, and, as the band Rush reminds us in their early 80′s smash, Freewill,

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

The choices available to most of us are limited to the amount of dough that we have available or lack at any given moment.  This goal of this volume is to equip you, fellow baker, to dominate your dough situation and bake the loaves, pastries, or crusts in the style and quantities necessary to satiate your desires.  If we are fortunate, this volume will convince you that the key to happiness is in helping others, however, this is a hypothesis that must be proved by personal experience, and is not the central theme.

The central theme is dough, more precisely, how to manage your dough.  If you have been searching for information on budgeting and personal finance for any amount of time, we don’t have to tell you that there is an exhaustive amount of material available, and finding good advice that fits your situation, is can be as rare as finding a butcher, baker, and candlestick maker together these days.

With this in mind, we present these healthy habits as morsels on a platter.  You may choose to scarf them down in one sitting, which will undoubtedly shock your organism into convulsions, or you can take them in, one at a time, savoring each one while giving your organism adequate time to digest it, maintaining the nutrients and eliminating the waste through the proper channels.

The organism we speak of is your personal or family economy, which in this volume we refer to as the bakery, for all of us are cooking up one thing or another.  We recommend that you treat your bakery with the utmost of care.  This volume is designed to give you the tools to do just that.  If properly used in just the right proportions, these tips will help to ensure that everything you cook up will come out just right.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for February 28, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.53
Oil Price per Barrel:  $91.83
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.19
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.89%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,580 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,054
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,421,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,412,400,000,000

Martin Luther King’s guiding light

Today, the United States of America will live through a day which is charged with irony.  On one hand, its citizens will hear a discourse given with the aid of teleprompters from the Commander-in-Chief of the most lethal killing machine on the planet.  On the other, the same nation will celebrate one of the greatest community organizers and peacemakers of modern times, Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of the Dr. King, we wish to share perhaps some little known facts about the man who immortalized the words, “I have a dream.”

The first is that Martin Luther King was seeking a relatively low-key role in the desegregation movement that he is now recognized as the leader of.  According to the documentary of the Civil Rights Movement, “Soundtrack for a Revolution,” Dr. King was thrust into the leadership role of the movement in Alabama largely so that the local leaders could save face should it fail.

The second, and most enduring, are the tactics which Dr. King employed in mobilizing forces against segregation, those of non-violent resistance.  These tactics made the American Civil Rights Movement both unique and undeniably effective.

In Dr. King’s time, non-violent resistance had been most recently employed on a large-scale by Gandhi in India.  Non-violent resistance is the idea that acts of non-resistance in the face of aggression are more powerful than the all of the weapons and anger on earth, for it is clear that fighting violence with violence tends to lead to further violence.  In order to break the cycle of violence, it must be confronted with peace.

Some of the most eloquent defenses of Dr. King’s moral guiding light have been written by relative unknowns such as Adin Ballou, who wrote the Catechism of Non-Resistance, and William Lloyd Garrison, who penned the Declaration of non-resistance.

In practice, Dr. King employed the tactics championed by Wyatt Tee Walker, who advocated direct but peaceful confrontation in the form of protests and marches.  The premise being that unjust laws, such as those employed to maintain the policy of segregation, would not stand in the face of public scrutiny if peacefully resisted on a large-scale.

Today, in honor of one of the greatest leaders of the modern age, let us embrace non-aggression and turning the other cheek as the ultimate solution to our problems, if even for a day.

Famous quotes attributed to Dr. King:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“the time is always right to do the right thing”

‘Twas the night before Christmas

“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”

By Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Famed Apocalypse Consultant sees wealth squandered as too little, too late as 12-21-2012 approaches

12/13/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

On a rainy Thursday morning in Southeast Portland’s Bipartisan Cafe, we sit, slowing sipping our coffee with REM’s “The end of the world as we know it” playing softly in the background.  The clouds and rain match the mood of our companion, Dr. Roger Doomsday, the world’s leading Apocalypse consultant.  Dr. Doomsday, who has not even touched his mug since it arrived 10 minutes ago, stares quietly out the window at the traffic passing on SE Stark and only wonders what might have been.

After what seems like an hour, the famed Apocalypse Consultant breaks the silence,

“They just don’t get it,” he laments.

Flash back to 1999.  Dr. Doomsday, who had previously helped groups such as the Branch Davidians, the Peoples Temple, and the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God prepare for the coming Apocalypse, was riding a wave of hope.

“I did a great disservice to my early clients,” Doomsday says, in the first of many understatements he would utter.  “Back then, my advice was too practical, I thought ‘hey, if you don’t want to go through this thing and have a better place to go to, why wait around for the Apocalypse?'”

Unfortunately for those of the Peoples Temple, Doomsday’s advice had horrific consequences which led to the greatest loss of civilian life in the US prior to 9/11.

After freeing himself from a slew of civil and criminal charges related to the matter, with the help of a then relatively unknown lawyer named Johnny Cochran, he began to reconsider his methods.

“I thought, rather than telling people to evacuate the planet before the inevitable occurs, why not try riding it out in style?”  He then lets out what we interpreted to be both a chuckle and a sob, “I guess Koresh took my advice a little too far.”

After the Branch Davidian fiasco, in which Doomsday claims his only error was “not counting on the FEDs showing up,” which was understatement number two of the morning, according to our count, the resilient Doctor, with the encouragement of his well paid legal counsel, again changed his approach.

“I began to wonder if counseling people to heavily arm themselves and live as gluttons in far away retreats was the right thing to do, so I dropped the firearms stockpiling from my standard Apocalypse preparedness program in favor of a greater allocation of funds towards revelry.”

Fast forward to Uganda in 1999.  Again, on the advice of Dr. Doomsday, the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God throws an epic party as what they deemed the end of the world as they knew it was approaching.

Unfortunately, a fire breaks out, enacting a heavy death toll on the revelers.  Again, another one of Doomsday’s clients leaves a trail of shattered lives as time nonchalantly marched forward.

“What happened in Uganda was lamentable,” Doomsday explains, “but I felt I was finally getting it right, and my official recommendation never involved open fires.”  Somehow, we felt that he was strangely giving a sales pitch and a disclaimer to us all in the same phrase, like the advertisements you hear on the radio.

With his approach strangely validated, albeit in his own mind, Dr. Doomsday moved from specializing in consulting obscure religious sects to taking his approach, which he called “Party like its 1999,” until The Artist, formerly known as The Artist Formerly known as Prince, formerly known as Prince, successfully sued Doomsday for copyright infringement, to both large corporations and governments.

“While the Apocalypse is always just around the corner, I had an incredible stroke of luck when the Mayan prediction began to be widely disseminated.  With the year 2000 in the past and the Jewish Messiah’s arrival famously unpredictable, I needed something for people to latch onto, an end date they could all embrace.”

For the Apocalypse Consultant, the Mayan’s 12-21-2012 cryptic codex interpretations came like manna from heaven.

“What do they mean? No one can tell, but I can tell you what those native stone carvings and the wild imagination of the archaeologists who encountered them meant to me, about $1 billion, yes, billion in net fees over the past twelve years!” exclaimed the Dr. with more incredulity than joy in his voice.

For the past twelve years, Doomsday has travelled the globe helping both corporations and governments to squander what he estimates to be “Eight centuries of accumulated wealth” in just over a decade.

“Everybody wanted a plan, Citibank, JPMorgan, all the big banks, Cargill, GE, Xerox,” recalled Doomsday, “the Department of Defense even had something called Homeland Security created as a vehicle for passing wealth straight to the sewers of history.  GW himself came up with the name, said it reminded him of home cooking, or something like that.”

“Some took my recommendations too far, too soon,” continued Doomsday, “Enron, Tyco, and Bear Stearns got all excited and blew up early, that was always the danger, blowing through the resources before the Apocalypse arrived.”

“‘How much is enough?’ everyone wanted to know, so I said “you know your retirement calculator?  Just shift your life span to end on 12-21-2012,” he laughed, “worked like magic, and saved me a ton of accounting fees on the back-end!”

He now stares at the commuters passing down Stark on their way to work or school through the Bipartisan’s window as shakes his head.  “I can only wonder what might have been,” he says, with a tone of regret.

While he believes much wealth has already been squandered, he can only wonder what might have been had the corporations fully implemented his recommendations.  However, corporations, who seemed to eagerly embrace his ideas early, have been too slow to act.

Dr. Doomsday’s standard recommendations, which he calls “no-brainers” if the world is about to end, involved a number of disincentives for employees to work.

“Categorically, I told employers to slash benefits and freeze wages, something that many waited until a couple of years ago to do.  Still, many employees saw the writing on the wall and retired, while others, notably union workers, clung to their jobs in the face of deep cuts…I didn’t see that coming!”

The idea was that, with such a disincentive to work, employees would do the math, retire, cash in their 401Ks and party or otherwise spend irrationally with 12-21-2012 in sight.  Simple on paper, but in practice, Dr. Doomsday underestimated the influence of one key factor:  The influence of the Apocal-skeptic.

It turns out, not everyone believed that the world would end on 12-21-2012.  Even when presented with the temptation to spend an estimate 800 years of accumulated savings in just 12, some people just couldn’t take the bait.

“The Apocal-skeptics didn’t believe it.  What was so clearly carved in stone by people smarter than ourselves some 3,000 years ago somehow didn’t register with them as credible evidence.  Only now is my phone blowing up with calls asking how to fast track recommendations which were laid out to debauch the earth over a minimum of 7 years to be executed in a week.  I threw my phone in the Willamette last night…I can’t take it, we had a golden chance and we wasted it, or didn’t, as it were.”

His sorrow is now evident, as a tear streams down his unshaven face.

“I mean, Citi just now laid off 11,000 workers?  They barely have time to blow their 401Ks on unbridled debauchery.  This isn’t how it was supposed to go down.”

Staring back at the window, he cries, “and these people look like they’re going to work!” as he slams his fist on the table, causing the half awake patronage to look in his general direction

“The only ones who truly got it are the Western Governments.  I mean, in sheer numerical terms, they have hit the ball out of the park when it comes to squandering wealth,”  He continues, “the Governments were already squandering an impressive amount of capital, I just gave them a reason to go all the way.”

While Doomsday still thinks the Government overdid it on things like defense spending, education, and cleaning up the environment, activities he says have no place in an apocalyptic mindset, he can’t deny the numbers.

“While I would have preferred to see my program of night club and amusement park development fully implemented, on net, they (Western Governments) have been the most proactive in encouraging leisure, revelry, and the ‘eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die’ mindset that is they very core of my philosophy,” he pauses and shakes his head, “they’ve done their fair share, but the people have failed them.”

He blames the human tendency to plan for the future, a survival mechanism which, he admits, takes time to overcome, as well as the Fiscal Cliff, which he claims is a myth which is perpetuated by Apocal-skeptics in the US congress who have a vested interest in the status quo, for derailing many of his recommendations before they made it out of committee and into various spending packages.

“I admit,” continues Doomsday, “that parts of my program, such as converting ship yards to churn out cruise ships and one of my favorites, constructing fraternity and sorority houses, as well as subsidies for inflatable play structures, seemed a bit far-fetched even for those convinced that the Apocalypse was coming…but our differences were more about how to waste the money, not whether or not it should be wasted,” he sighs, helplessly, “now they are setting up rules for Obamacare!”

Obambacare is a sore subject for Dr. Doomsday.  It was the antithesis of what he deemed a proper Apocalyptic health care system.

“For goodness sake, all you needed were some ERs to mend the thrill seekers.  Primary and preventative care?  Vaccinations?  Treating people with pre-existing conditions?  What are we trying to do, make people think they’ll live forever?!?!?!?!”

He shakes his head in resignation that a once in a lifetime opportunity was lost.

“I did my part, I told people how to properly waste money, gave them an endless bucket list, and the framework for the common man and woman to live out their numbered days in pure, shameless debauchery.  I even led by example.”

{Editors note:  In his last statement, Doomsday is referring to his lifestyle which, up until his personal fortune was exhausted last week, made Hugh Hefner and most gangster rappers blush}.

As the rain falls, we take a look at our iPhone, suddenly, as the digital display ticks another minute towards 12-21-2012, we realized that Dr. Doomsday, like the famous Gambler who spoke with Kenny Rogers, had given us an ace that we could keep.

We quickly thanked Dr. Doomsday, though he doesn’t respond as he stares blankly out  onto Stark street, and bolt out the door, right past the thought of paying the tab.  We didn’t even bother to take his pulse as our internal clock turned up the volume as the seconds began to tick away with an eerie clarity in our mind.

We dialed our 401k provider as we run out the door of the cafe, barely noticed by those half awake on this dreary Portland morning.

“Yes, I need my account liquidated and the funds delivered to me in cash as soon as possible…I know there are fees associated…just do it, I will be by to pick it up within the hour.”

As we begin to dial airlines, the voice of reason screams out, barely audible above the ticking in our head, something along the lines of, “Stop!”

That would be the last we heard from him, as we call our family and friends and invite them to an all expenses paid party in paradise.

Songs referenced in this satire:

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for December 13 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.63
Oil Price per Barrel:  $86.33
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.12
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.73%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,697 THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,171
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,527,700,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,375,100,000,000

Margaret Thatcher’s Last stand against Socialism and Clairvoyance on the Euro

Margaret Thatcher is truly one of a kind.  This brief clip, besides depicting a session of British Parliament at its best, shows Thatcher rebutting the Socialist leanings for her ideological adversaries with classic lines such as, “by lowering the income gap you mean to say that you wish the poor to be poorer, if only the rich would be poorer as well,” and, “I condemn your Socialist policies along with the millions in Eastern Europe who have suffered under them.”

What is perhaps most striking about this discourse, which took place in 1990, is the final part of the clip where Thatcher saw clearly that the Euro currency would mean the end of democracy and Parliamentary sovereignty for the countries who adopted it, a prophecy which has begun to play out in Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and even the economic juggernaut Germany, where all branches of government are at the mercy of the whims of the ECB.

Enjoy the Iron Lady at her best via YouTube:


That’s the sound of the man…Chain Gang from Cadence

For your viewing enjoyment, one of the great, unsung performances in modern film:

The CTP and the Black Locust, a Lesson in Deferred Maintenance

8/15/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

After a brief hiatus we return to our perch here at The Mint where we see the world very much as we left it with one glaring exception:  Prices are rising.

This phenomenon comes as no surprise to our longsuffering readers.  By our imprecise calculations, we saw that the tidal wave of money that the FED unleashed into the economies of the world would begin to hit main street circa March 2012.  We may have been a bit early, but when preparing for an inflational Tsunami, it never hurts to have a few extra months to prepare.

As prices for everything from gasoline to houses rise, it may be natural to assume that this is a temporary increase which will fade as supply and demand come gently back into balance.  For those of this opinion, most notably the members of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee, we have some disturbing news.  The same imprecise calculations which gave us March 2012 as the genesis of this latest inflationary wave tell us that the Tsunami of cash will relentlessly pound the shores of consumers through AT LEAST November of 2015, and that is if the FED raises the target rate at its next meeting on September 12-13, which is highly unlikely.

Those who think that the general public can tolerate the sustained price inflation which awaits in the trappings of the current system are making a fool’s bet, for the current monetary system will not survive this Tsunami.  Our advice?  Sell financial assets and buy real things.   This is all one really needs to know about the current state of the economy.


Our hiatus has not been spent pondering life as we know it, rather, we used the time to prepare for what we thought would be an easy professional examination to attain the CTP, or Certified Treasury Professional, designation.  We thought it would be easy for two reasons.  First and foremost, we work in treasury on a daily basis, which should have given us and edge.

Second, the exam deals with Finance and Banking concepts.  With all due respect to the bankers and financiers of the world, as an accountant by trade, we have always found finance and banking to be rather simple numerical sciences.

We passed the CPA exam back in the days when it was administered in large open convention center spaces with No. 2 pencils.  It was a two day event which was both physically and mentally exhausting.

With this mind numbing experience as our point of reference, we may be excused for thinking that a 3 hour exam and a computer testing center would be a walk in the park.

Nonetheless, we blocked off two solid weeks for which to cram for the CTP exam which, in our accountant’s arrogance, we nearly underestimated.

It turned out that the 3 hours in the testing center were not so much mentally or physically grueling as they were a mind game.  The climax of this game came at the bitter end end of the exam when, instead of flashing our results up on the screen so that we could experience the thrill of victory or agony of defeat in front of twenty others taking various nursing and other such certification exams, the computer instead forced us to take a brief survey regarding our preparation for the exam.

After the survey, the screen directed us to leave the testing center.  What did it mean?  Did we fail so horribly that the computer was too embarrassed for us to deliver the news?

As we left the room in disbelief, we were greeted by the attendant, who during the exam sat behind a glass window and observed us as one observes animals at the zoo.  She handed us a printout.

To our relief and, at this point, surprise, the word “Congratulations” appeared across the top.  We couldn’t help but smile.

And now, here we are.  While we do not feel any different, we are now one of only 23,000 Certified Treasury Professionals in the world.

The Black Locust

With the exam behind us, we prepared for some much needed R&R through the month of August.  We had taken the exam on a Friday and were still catching up on the details of life which we had eschewed during our cramm…er…preparation for the exam.

That very Saturday evening, we drifted into a type of deep sleep that only complete mental exhaustion can produce.  Our slumber was abruptly interrupted by the anxious words of our better half:

“Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?” was our groggy reply, which was a question and an answer all at once, an efficient use language which appeals only to the hopeless utilitarian’s amongst us.

“That loud sound outside…”

Black Locust, Falling Trees
“That loud sound outside…”

As we got up to do a brief inspection of the grounds, we expected to see nothing and prepared in our minds the familiar speculation that the family of raccoons which roams our neighborhood had caused the disturbance.  However, as we opened the front curtains, our jaws dropped.

The large black locust tree which graced our grounds, measuring 25 meters in height and weighing perhaps 10 tons, had split in two and come crashing to the ground in an event that most certainly registered in the Richter scale.  While God had miraculously spared the house from being crushed, the tree was sprawled across the entire front side of the lot.

At midnight, the scene was surreal, what was just minutes earlier a brief 20 second walk to the street was now an obstacle course which could only be duplicated if the producers of “Wipeout” and “Survivor” were to collaborate on a project.

Our limited inspection of the grounds revealed that the tree had split, fallen, and pinned the overhead power line firmly to the ground, snapping the mast and electrical meter from the side of our garage like a toothpick.

As we observed the damage, we took a glance up at the remaining half of the tree, which in the night looked like a giant walking ala the Lord of the Rings trilogy, at any moment prepared to bend down and snatch us up.

Black Locust, fallen tree, power line
The local ecological paradigm shift

It was just to much to process.  We fought the natural urge to fire up the chainsaw and went inside, where we moved our sleeping quarters to the rear of the home, called the power company to disconnect the line, and went to sleep.

The next morning, the neighborhood awoke in shock and awe as they saw the giant that lay slain.  Instead of continuing to recover from the exam, we began, along with our generous neighbors, the grim task of cutting a path to the street.

Two weeks on, we now have had the rest of the tree taken down and what will be, once cut, a great stash of firewood.

Now that a good portion of the grunt work is done, we pause for reflection on the lesson of the tree.

We call the lesson “Deferred maintenance.”

What the tree taught us is that there are two ways to deal with things, be they something as simple as a tree or as grandiose as a nation state’s foreign policy or the world’s financial system.  You can either pay a bit for upkeep along the way at regular intervals, or you can choose not to pay for the upkeep and simply wait to pay an unknowable price when an inevitable breakdown occurs.

In the case of the tree, we had many opportunities to have an arborist prune and treat the tree.  The tree was like a magnet for those in this line of work.  Had we chosen to invest in the upkeep, the tree would have been pruned and inspected.  If we had wanted to keep the tree, it could have been cabled together or a rod could have been placed through it to hold the rotting, diverging hulk together.  As it turned out, we did nothing until the tree collapsed and our hand was forced.

As a result, our views on trees have changed.  Where we once saw peaceful giants all around us, we now see potential house crushers waiting to collapse.

In the case of a nation state’s foreign policy, perceived threats to national interests can be dealt with via diplomacy or, if necessary, small scale skirmishes to keep adversaries either friendly or in check.  If this regular upkeep, if you will, is not performed, the nation state may wait for a Pearl Harbor type of event  to occur before being roused to taking meaningful action.

Finally, in the case of the world’s financial system, the authorities could allow for bankrupt entities to be pruned from the economic ecosystem from time to time, or wait for a blow up of the Central Banking and national currency system.

In all three cases and any number of other examples which could be called upon, it seems clear that taking the route of ongoing upkeep is the most prudent, especially when trying to preserve what is deemed to be the natural order of things.

However, those who either consciously or unconsciously take on the enormous risk associated with ignoring regular maintenance are essentially choosing not to insure themselves against a probable outcome whose only variable is the timing of the event.

If the event occurs at a time when they are not affected by it, they have come out ahead, as they will have should the event occur and turn out to be less catastrophic than had been anticipated.  Indeed, it may even be beneficial if what is really needed is not simple maintenance, but a paradigm shift.

In the case of the tree, we now have sun shining where there once was shade, ideas of what to plant in its place, and great pieces of wood which make us wish we were chainsaw artists.  None of this would have come about had the tree been encouraged to stand.

While there is much to be said for prudent maintenance, sometimes it is necessary to let things go and brace oneself for a paradigm shift, for the inevitable can only be put off so long by the machinations of mere mortals.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for August 15, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.36
Oil Price per Barrel:  $94.31
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.94
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.81%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,603 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  8.3%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,165
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,301,800,000,000
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,941,700,000,000

Soybean prices exploding

The price of corn and soy have been exploding in recent weeks:


Is it just seasonal factors, or is Dr. Bernanke’s inflationary storm hitting main street? One thing’s for sure, the price of beef will drop will drop in the short term.  See the full article at the Business Insider.

A Happy Ending to the Euro 2012 and the Futility of European Elections

For the few who missed it, Spain handily defeated Italy yesterday, proving Moody’s wrong once again and making us 1-0 on Euro cup calls here at The Mint.  The Spanish national team, which has won each Euro and World Cup since 2008, will now go down as one of the greatest national teams of all time.

Spain downs Italy as The Mint goes 1-0 on its Euro 2012 prediction

The continent will now turn its weary eyes to the Olympic games, while those who can afford it prepare for their constitutionally guaranteed summer vacation (no kidding, the EU high court has held it as such).

Unfortunately for footballers and vacationers alike, Europe is operating in a perpetual crisis mode, and it is possible that vacationers will return to a Europe that is quite different than the one they left just 30 days before.  One in which their options are limited and their ATM card doesn’t work.

Yes, what started as a minor Hellenic financial problem has predictibly mushroomed into a political crisis at the highest level of the EU.  Voters, fed up with the bailout/austerity approach to banker welfare, increasingly exercise what is left of their sovereign right to vote out relative conservatives and/or moderates and vote in technocrats and/or populists as their fearless leaders.

Here is another prediction, for what its worth, the populists take Germany in the fall of 2013, Europe’s version of Mega Maid will have turned all the way from suck to blow.   The path of austerity that they are currently on will be but a faint memory as the ECB and policy makers move from bailing out the bankers to bailing out any and every political ally.

{Editor’s note:  A populist, for our purposes, is a socialist who no longer masquerades as a conservative or moderate, they are out of the closet, as it were.}

Yet for all the drama and human suffering that is unfolding, we can’t help but think that this is all simply a high priced publicity stunt to get the doomed Euro currency some air time.

For many of the European peoples, the Euro currency has served as nothing more than an unwanted crash course in math and an agent of larceny on the grandest of scales.  The average Jacque, Giorgos, Jorge, or Giovanni would have been better off in the long run had the Euro never been dreamed up.

Rising Populism in Europe to test the ECB’s commitment to elasticity

However, the continued use of the Euro is an extremely high priority to for a select few with addreses on Wall Street, in The City, and anywhere in Germany.  As such, the current tack for the doomed Euroship is for it to be spoken of in the same context as climate change or terrorism, which invariably involves an increasingly illogical and alarmist rhetoric.

The question of whether or not something should be done is glossed over in favor of handing supreme power to a body who demands that something be done.  The only rhetoric that is allowed beyond fear mongering is a discussion of what the supreme power should do.

And so it is with the Euro.

There will be a number of elections over the coming months in the Eurozone, and not one of them will matter.  The tone in Europe is turning decidedly populist, as George Friedman eloquently describes in his recent Geopolitcal Weekly report via Stratfor:

The Futility of European Elections

The only question that remains is whether or not the ECB will accomodate the populist agenda with an accomodative monetary policy.

Our guess is that they will, for populism has never been bound by fiscal restraint.



As a treasury professional, we have more than a passing interest in money laundering schemes.  For the unitiated, money laundering schemes are generally designed to make money earned through illegal activities, such as trafficking illegal drugs, appear as if it were earned legitimately, allowing it to freely navigate the financial system.

A great deal of the bureaucracy inherent in the banking system is an attempt to thwart would be money launderers.  In the process, they make nearly everyone with a bank account a suspect.

One of the bureaucratic tools employed to nab money launderers is the SAS, or Suspicious Activity Report.  This is why your banker wants to see your identification when you withdraw or deposit a large sum of cash, even though they have known you for years.  The technical threshold for filing such reports is $10,000, but the bankers are further instructed to file an SAS whenever a deposit or withdrawl deviates from a client’s regular modus operandi.

This brings us to Smurfing.  the term came to us via yet another informative report generously provided by Stratfor.  Smurfing is the act of depositing a large amount of cash in amounts under $10,000 overseveral days and/or across several financial institutions for the purpose of avoiding an SAS.  It is ineffective, for sure, yet it is technically a viable money laundering tactic.

The other money laundering technique described in the report (which can be read by clicking the link below) is much more interesting.  It involves money being transferred to China from the US in exchange for appliances which and other goods which are shipped to Mexico and then sold.

The War on Drugs has made drug trafficking so profitable that even it is working as a bizarre sort of stimulus!

The point of the Stratfor report is to highlight the fact that there is an increased incidence of both drug trafficking and money laundering activity now that the US Feds have cracked down on the manufacture of methanphetamines in the 50 states.  This report discusses the results of the law enforcement operation “Dark Angel.” 

However, as the author points out, the lessons learned from Dark Angel may reveal more about money laundering techniques than they do about meth trafficking.

If this is what Stratfor provides for free email subscribers, we can only imagine the insights that a paid subscription would provide.  Their analysis is insgihtful and borders on brilliant.

Without further ado, the report by Ben West:

Dark Angel and the Mexican Meth Connection via Stratfor