3/6/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
Whether you loved him, hated him, or had no idea who he was, it is undeniable that Hugo Chávez changed Venezuela forever. As the former democratically elected dictator of Venezuela is laid to rest, we can’t help but wonder, would he still be alive today had he worn a beard?
Yes, you read that correctly. Today, at the Mint, we are reflecting on what, on the surface, appears to be a mere personal preference with regards to facial hair. What does it matter that Chávez wore a beard or not? For that matter, what does it matter whether or not any man chooses to wear a beard?
The answer lies in what the beard tells us, indirectly, about the level of stress that the man is experiencing. Hugo Chávez, from what we understand, did not wear a beard. Was his lack of facial hair an expression of his perpetually paranoid behavior? Fidel Castro, who wears one of the more recognizable beards on the globe, and whom Chávez recognized as at least a political father figure, has lived a good long life despite facing political pressures and mortal dangers similar to those that Chávez faced.
It may be a stretch to say that growing a beard will lead to lower overall stress levels which, in theory, should translate into longer life spans. However, it is not a stretch to postulate, as we do today, that the a man who wears a beard is generally experiencing lower stress levels than his smooth faced peers.
While we generally disagree with socialism and large scale government, especially one that gives dictatorial powers to one or a handful of human beings, we admire Chávez for giving lip service to justice for the poor, even if he did use his position to amass a reported $2 billion nest egg. We also admire his anti-imperialist stance, which became his hallmark. While the hypocrisy of railing against imperialism and then using one’s own position of authority to exercise imperial like control over a land mass is not lost on this author, Chávez filled the lives of many with joy and laughter.
If only he had worn a beard, he may still be alive to see the destruction that his socialist policies will bring.
Chávez’s death leaves Evo Morales as the heir apparent to Castro. Will Evo rise to the occasion? If he does, we recommend that he begin by growing a beard, if not literally, then figuratively, and preoccupy himself with relaxation. Socialism requires charismatic father figures that live good long lives.
If, on the other hand, Evo desires to truly work to improve the lot of his countrymen, we offer our open letter to his Excellency, along with advice to grow a beard, as a roadmap for governance and a long and good life. In his own words, “vivir bien.”
Speaking of vivir bien, We were fortunate to visit Venezuela in 1997, about a year before Chávez took office. We had been invited by our best friend’s adventurous parents to adventure with them on their sailboat, the Lady Jane. You can see a few select pictures of the journey interlaced
In November of that year, they found themselves tied off at a slip in an upscale marina in Barcelona on Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. Their previous sailboat, which had been stationed in the Bahamas, had been wrecked in a hurricane a couple of years before and in order to get their new boat insured they were required to be out of the hurricane belt during the high season.
This condition had lead them to sail for Venezuela, and they had found a miniature paradise. They invited four of us to join them for a vacation.
The trip was unforgettable. After a heart stopping ride from the airport in Caracas, through the jungle to Barcelona in the middle of the night, we acclimated ourselves to the refreshingly slow pace of life at the Marina. We dedicated a bit of time to learning to scuba dive as well as the ins and outs of life as a cruiser, which involves taking short trips in a dinghy, fumigating shower facilities before use, and learning to vomit downwind when the battering of the waves against the tiny ship becomes too much.
One incident which remains etched in our memory is a visit to a local night club. After partaking of a few Polars, the national beverage, we were enjoying the night with perhaps two hundred other revelers when men in fatigues, armed with AK47s began to surround the open air night club.
We froze, yet took comfort in the fact that most around us continued dancing and buying drinks as the troops approached. What happened next was terrifying.
The soldiers separated us by sex and made us line up. One by one, we passed through what amounted to a makeshift checkpoint. As we stood in line, we realized that, being the wise traveler that we were, we had left our passport safely back at the Marina. As we approached the soldiers, we offered the only piece of ID we had, our wrinkled up, sweaty visitors visa.
The soldier took it, gave it a confused stare, and returned it to us as we walked on by.
As the shock began to wear off, we realized that we had been subjected to a simple ID check.
We continued to enjoy the night, if not the rest of the trip, in a sober state. This is how the police worked in South America. It was something unheard of in the US circa 1997.
We soon sailed off to Los Roques Archipelago and a couple of other deserted isles which are every bit as beautiful in person as they are in pictures. It wasn’t The Cove of DiCaprio fame, but in ways it resembled it.
We took port again in Bonaire, which has no fresh water, where the water tank has the words “a gallon of water is more valuable than gold” emblazoned on the sides. We had imported Polar ourselves and watched as our friend’s Father and Captain did the duty of presenting our passports to the port authority, something that was an entirely new concept for us.
We relished island life and our new found scuba talents for a time before returning via Curacao to Caracas and then on home, thoroughly impressed and intimidated by the beauty that was Venezuela and the surrounding isles.
Shortly thereafter, Chávez became President, and from what we understand, Venezuela has not been the same since.
Yet we have been left to wonder during our sober reflections on that trip, was it Chávez, or the visitation of six weary sailors that fateful season that forever altered the fate of this happy south american country?
Perhaps we will never know.
Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.
Key Indicators for March 6, 2013
Copper Price per Lb: $3.48
Oil Price per Barrel: $90.46
Corn Price per Bushel: $7.08
10 Yr US Treasury Bond: 1.94%
FED Target Rate: 0.16% ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce: $1,585 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: 14,296
M1 Monetary Base: $2,421,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base: $10,412,400,000,000
We invite you to enjoy a bit of poetry about our time in Barcelona and Spain this Friday afternoon. Have a great weekend and stay fresh!
They told me a year had passed
By David Mint
I sat on the terrace in Les Planes,
Staring blankly at the wooded hills
Beyond the train station
Pondering all that had occurred
I’d arrived in the dead of winter,
I’d resisted the change,
Trapped in my ways,
Until the day that I was broken
At the point of death,
I sat waiting at Sant Pau,
And soiled myself,
Shortly after I’d been called
As I lay in the dungeon,
Of the modernist gem,
Life dripped back into my veins,
Yet only to a point
A changed man,
A blank page,
I was free to travel,
And to love
Free to explore,
Les Heures, Ligonde
Yet it is the people,
The Spirit which we share,
I met my true love,
Now this dream will never end,
We march forward and do not look back
Two becoming one,
I sat on the terrace in Les Planes,
Staring blankly at the wooded hills
They told me a year had passed,
And I did not believe them
5/27/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
We’ve said it before, things are beginning to happen at a rapid pace and the authorities are absolutely and completely helpless to do anything about it. Not for lack of money, have you, for they are second in line behind the banks to pick at the money tree. No, the authorities lack the one thing that is indispensable to getting things done. Credibility.
Have things improved for you, fellow taxpayer? Unless you are a banker, lobbyist, are a contractor who works for a banker or lobbyist, the answer is probably no.
And we haven’t even begun to talk “austerity” on US shores.
But first, we are obligated to take a peek at what the G-8 is doing. We suspect we know but it is important to confirm ones suspicions.
From the Associated Press:
DEAUVILLE, France (AP) — Rich countries and international lenders are aiming to provide $40 billion in funding for Arab nations trying to establish true democracies, officials said at a Group of Eight summit Friday.
Officials didn’t fully detail the sources of the money, or how it would be used, but the thrust was clearly to underpin democracy in Egypt and Tunisia — where huge public uprisings ousted autocratic regimes this year — and put pressure on repressive rulers in Syria and Libya.
We suspected more aid to someone but this appears even more misguided than we thought. The first line of the second paragraph is especially laughable but you can see where this is going. We speculated Wednesday about the events in Palestine getting ready to take center stage, largely as a distraction to the “utter and complete collapse” of the world’s current financial system.
The G-8 is now throwing what is left of their credibility into extending their influence in the Middle East. They have Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Egypt and Tunisia as footholds. Will they be strong enough to hang on to this newfound influence? Only time will tell if the new regimes can be bribed as easily as the old ones.
The credibility of the Western Governments and their worn out welfare state economic models is nearly spent. In Greece, the IMF / Eurozone bailout participants are finding out that the Greek politicians don’t have the collective stomach to play the repo man on their countrymen’s future.
It appears that the government is refusing more austerity measures and is rethinking whether or not this whole Euro adventure is such a good idea. Failure to agree now places the spotlight on the IMF / Eurozone plunge protection team. Will they have the stomach to let Greece default?
The gauntlet has been thrown down, and what happens to Greece will set the tone for how the inevitable sovereign defaults of the Western Governments are likely to play out. Are the Greeks the Lehman Brothers of Sovereigns?
On the other side of the world, Japan’s sovereign debt was officially downgraded as if to underscore the fact that the world monetary system is hurtling towards a catastrophic failure.
Back in Europe, a sequel to the Greek experience is now playing itself out across the Mediterranean Sea on the Iberian Peninsula. The youth in Spain are finally arising as they clearly see that the politicians have shamelessly “handed their future” to the nation’s banks.
With protests in nearly every major city, their resolve grows with every passing day. In Barcelona, one day before Barça plays for the Champions Cup against Manchester, the authorities attempted to clear Plaça Catalunya to clean it in anticipation of the celebrations that would surely take place there when Barça, led by the great Liionel Messi, wins the cup.
With over 100 persons injured between protestors and police officers, they will now have to clean up blood in the square. The Spanish authorities, not unlike their western peers, just don’t get it. The old way of doing things is over, fini. The youth are taking matters into their own hands. With 45% of the Spanish youth unemployed, their sheer numbers, if they stay at it, will simply overwhelm the authorities.
All the same, we are pulling for Barça tomorrow.
A final piece of news to share with you here at The Mint, the US Housing Market has finally capitulated. In other words, it is now safe to buy a house. The hope that the US Government and Central Bank could somehow revive this market has left town on the same train as the US Government’s credibility.
The US Government lost its credibility most recently as it continues to bicker over meaningless spending cuts as the nation thunders towards an imminent default on its sovereign debt and by affirming the Unconstitutional Patriot Act, which essentially gave legislative authority for the US to become the wards of an international police state.
The brave souls who gave their lives to create and protect a free America must be rolling over in their graves this Memorial Day.
Will there be a generation brave enough to reclaim it?
P.S. Please check out our latest 72 Hour Call at www.davidmint.com
Key Indicators for Friday, May 27th, 2011
MINT Perceived Target Rate*: 2.25% INFLATION HERE WE COME!!!!
Unemployment Rate: 9.0%
Inflation Rate (CPI): 0.4%
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 12,441
M1 Monetary Base: $1,892,800,000,000 THE CRACK-UP BOOM BEGINS!!!!
M2 Monetary Base: $9,036,600,000,000 MORE FUEL FOR THE CRACK-UP BOOM!!!!
*See FED Perceived Economic Effect Rate Chart at bottom of blog. This rate is the FED Target rate with a 39 month lag, representing the time it takes for the FED Target rate changes to affect the real economy. This is a 39 months head start that the FED member banks have on the rest of us on using the new money that is created.
Fuimos muy afortunados al estar en Barcelona, en el barrio Clot, mientras Dios empezó obrar en la iglesia que se llama El Lokal. Uno de los integrantes era el Gran Michael Deejay. Para mi, el definó tecno para su generación. Su ministerio es su musica, la que toca en los discotecas de Barcelona y toda España y a nivel internacional. Pueden disfrutar de su musica aquí:
Para mas tracks pueden visitar su página de soundcloud por hacer clic aquí.