Mark Twain

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not all real estate is created equal.

Quote from ABC News:

"What's the price of this case of eternal celebrity worship gone wild?

By the time the online auction closed Monday at 3 p.m. Eastern time, the winning bid among the 25 submitted was $4,602,100."

Crypt Above Marilyn Monroe's up For Auction - ABC News

Crypt Above Marilyn Monroe's up For Auction - ABC News

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Taxman takes on Swiss bank to reveal Canadian fortunes -

On the heels of a landmark settlement that allows U.S. tax collectors a rare peek inside the vaults of Switzerland, lawyers with Canada Revenue Agency are preparing to meet with the embattled Swiss bank UBS in a few weeks to discuss the Canadian fortunes hidden offshore, the Minister of National Revenue says.

This week, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that a lawsuit it brought against the bank, one of the largest managers of private wealth in the world, had pressured UBS into handing over details on 4,450 accounts holding an estimated $18-billion (U.S.) - a major blow to a bank, and a country, that has long prided itself on its discretion and secrecy.
American clients of UBS have been turning in droves to tax lawyers who specialize in voluntary disclosures, the clemency program that allows taxpayers to declare their offshore holdings, plus interest, to avoid prosecution.

Investigators released documents that showed part of UBS unit - known internally at the bank as The Canada Desk - had helped wealthy Canadians funnel as much as $5.6-billion to Switzerland as of 2005.

When asked why the Canada Revenue Agency hadn't taken the same steps as the United States to obtain the details behind those accounts, Mr. Blackburn insisted his agency didn't have access to the same information. He pointed to the role of Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS banker turned informant who has supplied the U.S. Justice Department, the IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission with piles of internal UBS documents.

Mr. Blackburn said he has supplied a list of proposed legislative changes to the Department of Finance. (It is CRA's role to enforce the laws enacted by Finance.) The changes, which he says will clamp down on tax-haven abuse, include a provision that will allow the agency to view all records obtained by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre, or FINTRAC. Currently, FINTRAC is only allowed to pass on transactions where they suspect money laundering, terrorist financing or tax fraud.
Source: The Globe and Mail
Friday, Aug. 21, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chile and copper article quote:

Chile itself is in an enviable position, having squirrelled away $20-billion during the boom times to pay down foreign debt. This left it plenty of room for a $4-billion stimulus package when the economy went off the rails last fall. “It spent no money on bank bailouts,” Mr. McKeough notes.

The country's economy is forecast to shrink by a half of one per cent this year, compared with a 2.75-per-cent drop in gross domestic product for Canada and the United States, 4 per cent for Western Europe and 6 per cent for Japan, he added.

Looking at Chile as copper rebounds - The Globe and Mail

Looking at Chile as copper rebounds - The Globe and Mail

Friday, August 14, 2009

Commodity Prices will not be Contained when Global Economic activity picks up.

Price pressures on commodities like copper are already evident during a period of massive contraction. What can we expect if Global business conditions pick up? China is rumoured to be hoarding copper at this time. What else is happening in these markets below the radar. Weather played a big part in the rise of the price of sugar.

In the west we are living with wildfires and drought conditions which are going to affect the food production in important states like California.

Chart: Economist on the Net, link to full article

News on

"THE price of sugar is higher than at any point in 27 years, having risen much more than prices of other food in recent months."

The price of sugar: Sugar rush | The Economist

The price of sugar: Sugar rush | The Economist

quotes from NYT article lited below: Consumer Prices Hold Steady, Easing Inflation Fears

Consumer prices in the United States were steady last month, easing concerns for now that the record deficit and huge new government spending would spur inflation.
The drop in the last year has been the largest in almost 60 years, occurring as the global economic crisis reduced demand for many goods and services.

“The inflation story was nonsense in an environment where you have such wild excess capacity globally,” said Robert Barbera, chief economist at ITG, an investment advisory business. “I think inflation is below 2 percent for the next two years.”

For all the inflation fear-mongering, the fact remains that prices have, in the near term, declined further rather than turned upwards,” Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak, said in a research note.

Some economists and investors have warned that the government’s rescue plans and big stimulus spending will stoke inflation as the economy heals, setting off worries about the strength of the dollar and rising interest rates.

Consumer Prices Held Steady in July -

Consumer Prices Held Steady in July -

Creative Destruction on a Cosmic Scale -

Creative Destruction on a Cosmic Scale -

quoting article about Solar Energy business

... integrated module makers currently occupy the best position in the solar supply chain...

Soft Results From 2 Solar Shops (JASO, SOL )

Soft Results From 2 Solar Shops (JASO, SOL )

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Change is a constant.

How will you deal with a changing world? You better have a strategy complete with contingency plans if you hope to survive and thrive