Category Archives: Of Interest

Classical Hip Hop — a radio show about Jazz, Rap, and Classical Music.

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I was having this dream that the symphony’s soloist couldn’t make it to a concert, so they hired a street musician named Ned to play funk saxophone with the symphony. In my premonition, the audience loved Ned so much they put thousands of ones in Ned’s saxophone case which he left on stage (at Carnegie Hall) and he was able to get off the streets for a few weeks.

In real life a few days later after this premonition, I was at Walt Disney Concert Hall which I inappropriately call “Symphony Hall” since I’m an East Coaster origionally. There were several world class school bands playing who were the best of their class. One band had 63 members and came all the way from Malaysia to play music that was far harder than any high school band could possibly master. Last, there was a professional wind ensemble of 101 members called Symphonic Winds from Woodland Hills, California.

Symphonic Winds of Los Angeles area was so good, I could tell while they were tuning up that they were top notch. Their performance was so good that I was blown away (pun intended). Their performance went from a accoustical gale to an symphonic typhoon which filled the whole hall with glorious sounds. After the performance, I wondered if the musicians had a scotch to “unwind” (another inexpensive pun on wind instruments — sorry.)

But, what if there were a radio show called classical hip-hop. The theme song would have a hip-hop drum beat with a funk saxophonist taking turns playing or dueling with a classically trained violinist and pianist playing contemporary sounding music. What an odd sound idea. But, the diologue of the DJ’s would be even more interesting.

JAZZY: (gravely voice) Hi, this is jazzy Fred, comin’ at ya in New York. How y’all doin today? We have a lively program from some cool classical cats like Vivaldi, Levi-Strauss, and more.

EDWIN: Ah yes, the harmonious sounds of the Baroque era. By the way, that is Strauss, not Levi-Strauss. You wear Levi-Strauss’ work, you listen to Strauss.

JAZZY: Oh… Gotcha. Well, anyway, you know what time it is.

EDWIN: Actually, I don’t, I left my watch at home and I’ll be damned if I know where I left it.

JAZZY: Well, you’ll find it — player.

EDWIN: Actually, I’m more of a listener than a player.

JAZZY: I hope you don’t mind Edwin, but I invited a cool cat up to the studio to hang with us. We go way back.

EDWIN: I wish you hadn’t done that. I’m unfortunately quite allergic to cats.

JAZZY: Well I bet you ain’t allergic to this cat. Boy you should hear him play.

EDWIN: I have a long string right hear, I’m sure we will have ample fun watching this feline play with it.

JAZZY: Here he is. Shorty — how you doin?

SHORTY: I’m doin all—- right….

EDWIN: Hello Mr. Shorty, I was going to inquire as to whether or not you had been neutered, but I see that the question no longer needs to be presented to you.

SHORTY: Neutered? After my first wife cranked out triplets, I considered it now that you mention it. But, my wife wasn’t down with that.

EDWIN: I see. Well just give her a stiff drink and perhaps she’ll appear to be more down.

SHORTY: When I first met Jazzy, I asked him if he played jazz or if he played it straight. He asked me what playing it straight meant. I explained to him that meant classical music. He was sober in those days.

EDWIN: Well indeed yes, there is nothing worse than curvy music, especially in this day and age. But, modern classical music does tend to be rather dissonent. I’m not sure if there is anything straight about it.

SHORTY: So, Jazzy, how do you like my new threads?

EDWIN: Now I see why you call him a cat. He likes threads so much, he must be a cat in human form.

JAZZY: Nah, ya-see, calling a brotha’ a cat is a manner of speaking. It just means a guy who likes to hang out.

EDWIN: So, would a “cat” then chase tails?

JAZZY: Oh my God. You actually used an experession that we would use for the first time. This is a triumph for classical hip-hop, where worlds collide.

EDWIN: Yes, where worlds collide, but without all of the predicted meteor showers and the like.

If you are sluggish paying people you owe – metaphysical realities

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The beginning of the month was very sluggish in sales. I knew our industry was slow, but it had never been this slow in over ten years. Since I “study” metaphysics by observing reality, I was thinking that perhaps there is a metaphysical solution to this problem. Sales had been down by 40% and I was not sure if I would have to change the way I do business to compensate for this loss. However, I noticed one thing. I was behind paying my programmer by a few weeks. I owed him $3000. The minute I wrote the checks and put them in envelopes, the incoming money flow shot up immediately.

Another thing I noticed is that tything or giving money to reputable charitable organizations really helps keep your income up. Metaphysically speaking, if you help others, and sacrifice your heard earned money for the sake of someone else’s welfare, the universe will help you succeed. The universe’s goal is to help the worthwhile people make their way up the totempole and keep the selfish people at the bottom.

So, if business is slow, or you need better luck, be better about paying people, tything, and do daily prayers as well!

Does it make sense to have a minimum wage or raise it?

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It seems nonsensical to have a minimum wage. In a free market economy wages are set by supply and demand. The minute some socialist government like the government of the United States wants to start meddling with wages, there will be a lot of unemployment. Young boys who have never had a job are not worth minimum wage. They’ll sit around unemployed and then get into selling drugs while illegal Mexican immigrants take the jobs that those young boys were morally entitled to. Although the illegal immigrants are paid under the table, they are paid a market wage which is about $4 per hour which is a lot less than the $10 per hour in California. Now, they want to raise the minimum wage.

Minimum wage means unemployment for blacks and more illegal immigration which brings crime, drugs, kidnappers, mafia, and more. Having minimum wages increases the chance that employers will have to break the law out of economic necessity. After all, how can you hire Americans and give them benefits, when your competition is hiring illegals for $4 per hour with no health insurance?

Since America is a country that is selective about which laws they enforce, you should have less laws. Less laws means less problems enforcing whatever laws you keep. If they enforced illegal immigration laws, there would be fewer workers which means higher market value wages. In that case, the market wage for restaurant work and other cheap labor might be $12 to $15 per hour without government meddling.

What about having a maximum wage? Nobody has ever talked about it before. Maybe doctors shouldn’t get paid more than a certain amount. Maybe a clerk at McDonalds shouldn’t make more than $15 per hour no matter how good they are. I feel we are regressing deep into socialism while China has become a playground for capitalists. Invertendo is the word my spiritual Master uses to describe this situation where we become the opposite of what we were and someone else becomes what we were instead.

Investing and knowing the company culture

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Do you invest in stocks? I have been doing so for years, but I’m paying a lot more attention to my investments these days. I created an algorithm for picking the best stocks based on several factors. But, one of the most important factors was something I overlooked at first.

I see a psychic regularly, and he is able to channel departed souls as well as living human beings. Since I believe that Warren Buffet is the wisest of any investor I’ve ever heard of, I decided to channel him for stock guidance. Rather than just asking him what stocks he likes, I asked his consciousness what factors he thought were important that weren’t in my algorithm.

My stock algorithm takes into consideration P/E ratios, stability of earnings, equity ratios, growth rates, dividends, credit ratings with S&P, longevity of the company, and more. But, I felt that I must be missing something.

Stock Tip #1 — company culture
Warren’s consciousness told us that the company culture is very important, especially of the management. As an investor, you cannot get to know the management of a company just by reading about them which puts you at a huge disadvantage. But, he said that some of the companies I was interested in had a bunch of narrow minded old guys running the show and that they would probably run the huge company into the ground. It was more than 100 years old, more in debt than any other company of its class, and with a mediocre credit rating as well. It’s sad to see such a huge and well established corporation look like it will go under in the next 20 years, but that was the reality that I was seeing. So, the answer was obviously not to buy a single share of it.

Stock Tip #2 — intuition
This next tip came as somewhat of a surprise to me. But, Warren’s consciousness told me that I need to trust my inner feelings and intuition when picking stocks. Coming from a great investor from a Western culture, this came as a surprise. But, maybe this is a good idea. I actually used my intuition a bit before when picking bonds. I had a great feeling about Coca-Cola’s future just like Warren does. But, I didn’t like something about Johnson and Johnson. Warren Buffet doesn’t own any JNJ stock, but I have 15% of my investment money in JNJ. I feel they are a stable company, but something is just off in my feeling about them. Wells Fargo had a wonderful feeling about it. But, the company where I felt best is Starbucks. Starbucks is much smaller than the huge conglomorates I usually put the majority of my cash into. They are a little fish that could get out-done by a competitor or bought out by a conglomorate in the food industry such as Proctor & Gamble or Kraft Heinz one day. But, I can’t deny this feeling of enthusiasm and growth potential that I feel.

So, should I trust my feelings, or just invest based on what the numbers are telling me?
I decided to let my feelings be part of my algorithm and represent up to 10% of the points awarded to any particular stock.
Good idea?

Should people have an official email registered with the government?

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In this digital age, it seems that everyone has at least twenty ways that they can be contacted. The U.S. government requires us all to have a physical address where we can receive mail. But, why not have an electronic address registered as well? What if we are out of the country and can’t get our mail? Or what if we just prefer electonic mediums as a backup for important corresponpondances.

One issue I have with the internet is that governments seem to be decades behind the eight ball in regulating what is going on. There is so much cyber hacking, pornography, spam, and other bad stuff going on. Our government is always there to tax us, but do they protect us as well? Not so much, at least not in 2016 on the internet.

There could be an official separate folder in all email accounts where government or official mail such as bills could come which would be spam free. Additionally, the government could take a closer look at the spam that is coming in and try to determine what is legitimate and what is not. We use opt-in lists, but I still get spammed every day in my gmail account. I thought gmail knew how to filter this stuff out. Maybe not! Or maybe I need to mark more of it as spam so they’ll get a hint.

One day the government will catch up and one day the internet might be the primary form of corresondance. If you have five email accounts, you’ll have to register one with the government and keep that one. But, there’s a great advantage here. If you move, you need to change your physical address. But, what if you could keep your email address for life? Maybe that is not such a bad idea especially if the address could be queriable in government records so your old friends could look you up. Currently, Facebook serves that niche, but what if uncle Sam could?

When should you invest in a stock vs. an index?

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My friend is very pro index while I am more pro buying stock. But, there are times when indexes are better than buying stocks.

Stock Buying Diversification
Some argue that diversification is “safer” or a better practice when buying stocks. The S&P crashed by about 60% in 2009 and there is nothing “safe” about losing 60% of your money no matter how diversified it is. You are not safe in a fund, because you do not know what you are getting or how badly it will crash. Additionally, many of the companies you are getting might have PE ratios that are far too high to be a suitable investment and might have unsound financial practices as well, not to mention inefficient business practices. I like to invest in the best and forget the rest. I once had a safe mutual fund and lose more than half my money in 2002 when the market crashed. I learned a valuable lesson. Know what you are buying and see how hard it crashes when it crashes. Now, that we have had a 2002 crash and a 2008 crash and a 2015 reset or perhaps two resets, I am familiar with checking stocks to see how badly they crash.

My Stock Algorithms
I created a clunky, but suitable algorithm for picking stocks. I use it along with my basic judgment as no algorithm is perfect — at least no algorithm that I am smart enough to create. In any case, I didn’t want to invest in too many stocks as it becomes too much work to track. So, I decided to have four main stocks where 85% of my stock money would go and then have a handful of others each having a smaller investment of about 2-3% of my total stock expenditures. It took a few days for me to decide on my lucky four, and I made sure they were all in different industries as well. I made sure that three of the four stocks were stable in previous crashes because I don’t want to lose my money. Having four stable stocks that don’t crash is a lot safer than a mutual fund with 100 stocks that all crash every time there is a stock market crash. Additionally, my big money is going into companies that are roughly 100 years old, and they survived the Great Depression making them very stable, not to mention their stable financial and managerial practices.

When are Indexes Good?
For older companies that have been around since the Great Depression, there are so few of them, and they are such large conglomorates, that I don’t think you need to diversify so much. Coca-Cola owns 500 different beverage companies. They have more diversification within that one stock than most mutual funds. I can analyze each older company by hand since there are so few around. But, newer companies that don’t have a stable track record, don’t have stable income and engage in innovation require diversification. It is possible that an industry with 300 players could be reduced to two players after the others get weeded out. Innovation is a risky game and the minute someone beats you innovating a popular product, then you could lose most of your business.

For Biotech and Tech, indexes seem like a better idea than buying stocks with the exception of IBM which is a much more established conglomorate that does not engage in innovation. Between Apple, Verizon and Samsung, how can you know which company will out do the other one in a few years. I suspect Apple will win the game, but the Koreans might surprise us all as they are pretty smart over there. Between the various biotech companies, how do you know which one will have the next breakthrough? Most of those companies are less than 25 years old. It is so unpredictable and none of the companies have a solid track record. For these types of unpredictable industries a fund is better. Additionally, for utility companies, their margins are so low and their debt is so high, it might be safer to buy a fund.

So, for me, I’ve decided to get both stocks and indexes. But, probably more stocks than indexes. I will be investing in a biotech index in the next few weeks. That is one of the fastest growing market segments. I don’t know if they’ll continue to grow, but I suspect they will until they can figure out how to clone us.

I found my perfect work environment

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Unfortunately, this perfect work environment is 500 miles away, so I can’t go that often. But, I feel so good there. Ukiah, California is in the middle of nowhere roughtly 200 miles north of San Francisco, CA. I go up there from time to time to work. There is nothing to do there. It is an hour North of Wine Country where you can enjoy amazing food, wine and cool people. It is an hour East of the Ocean where you can enjoy gardens, beaches, parks, great beer, wine, and more restaurants. But, there is nothing much to do in this tiny town. They have a very nice health food store with amazing pastries, and a few passable restaurants. But, I find that I am ecstatic and get a lot of work done in this small town.

I typically will go up to meditate in an ashram in Nevada city for a few days before going to Ukiah. After meditating seven hours a day, day after day, I’ll need to catch up on my work. So, in Ukiah, I bring phone lists and am on the phone all day long. But, in Ukiah, I achieve balance.

I’ll meditate three times a day which is perfect. I meditate in the morning, after lunch, and before I go to bed. I am unable to be so regular about meditating at home for some reason. I work and work and work without tire as well. Finally, I’ll walk around for an hour with vigor since I feel so good. There is nowhere good to walk, so I walk around the hotel for an hour which feels great! There’s a Starbucks next door, Jack in the Box, and Mexican food nearby as well as a few Chinese joints within a few minutes drive. The Brewery has great burgers and there are a few fancy places to eat too. For me, the town is just a place to feel amazing.

Do you have a place where you feel amazing? Maybe you should visit there and bring your work. If you run an office, perhaps you should set up your office there. Too many people are packed into big cities. Sometimes it is nicer to be in the countryside in a place where you can be happy!

Don’t invest in junk bonds unless you are an expert

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In the world of investing, it is easy to fall prey to dangerous investments. If you have a good broker, they will steer you out of harm’s way. If you want to invest in bonds or stocks, the first thing you should do is to check their credit rating. S&P does credit ratings and so does Moody’s. The ratings systems are similar, but start diverging when you get into the BBB or baa range. The two do not translate directly into each other. So, it’s complicated.

AAA investments are by far the safest. They are almost guaranteed to pay you back, but the return on investment might be a lot lower as a price you pay for safety. AA is the next best bet on the S&P scale with roughtly a (.2)% chance of default in any given year. Those are odds I can handle if I am diversitifed. A+, A, and A- are around a (.3) to (.7)% chance of default in any given year. Once you get into BBB territory, then you are in a lot of risk. If you invest in a 45 year old bond that is BBB, there might be a 1.5 chance per year that they default, but after 45 years that turns into more of a 65% chance of default. Do you really want to take that risk unless the monthly payments are high?

Then, there are Illinois and their partner in crime Puerto Rico. These two territories have bonds up the yin-yang who are not looking like they will get paid off. Investors are picking them up at half price hoping for the best.

In my opinion, the biggest issue with this whole investing fiasco is that most financial entities put themselves into too much debt. First they borrow a little, and then a little becomes a lot. It’s easy to get into debt, but not so easy to get out. Once your debt is beyond a particular point — depending on how old your establishment is and what industry you’re in — then, your credit rating goes down and your interest rate goes up putting you in an even worse situation.

When I invest in stocks or bonds, before I even look at the credit rating, I look at how in debt you are, and how much your debt fluctuates from year to year as well as how stable your income is in a recession such as 2009.

In any case, my broker emailed me with rates for utility and trash bonds. I replied:

“I said I wanted junk bonds, not trash bonds!”

Stock investing: understanding the SDR stock algorithm

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What is SDR? This is not a term that shows up on Investopedia or Wikinvest. That’s right. I invented it because I wanted to have a better understanding of risk analysis. As I look at hundreds of stocks, it is impossible for me to determine risk. I don’t know the industries well, or the people running these companies. I have only common sense, articles on the internet, and numbers to crunch. How much a company makes per share matters a lot to me as a metric for “return” on investment as well as dividends and growth averages over the life of the company. However, risk is also another important criteria.

SDR means:
(stability in income) : debt ratio.
If you look at a company’s financial records, you can see what their earnings have been year after year after year. It is generally good to buy a stock that is growing in income. If every year that goes by, the company makes more and more money, your stock will probably go up in value as it will affect the stock’s price per earnings ratio which is one of the most critical metrics in stock analysis.

Earnings growth & stability
What I do is to look at the company’s earnings over the last twenty years and calculate an average percentage growth. Unfortunately, in the real world growth is compounded, so you will be forced to use “the rule of 72” which you can look up on the internet. Putting 72’s aside, I look for income stability, particularly in recessions. I am terribly afraid that my stock investments will go bust if there is a bad depression similar to 1929. So, if I see a stock that survived the great depression, and didn’t do too badly in the recession of 2008 & 2009, then it has some stability to it. I analyze how stable or unstable the consistency in their income per share is, and add that to my stock algorithm.

Is unstable earnings bad?
However, after long and careful thought, I decided that a company with unstable income is not the worst thing. If you hold that company for twenty years, the fact that they had a bad year in 2021 and 2027 won’t phase you assuming they don’t go out of business completely and assuming you don’t need to sell the shares suddenly during a bad year. If a company is deep in debt, that is not necessarily a horrible thing assuming its income is relatively stable at all times including economic downturns. I learned that companies like Coke, Pepsi and Kraft stay steady in bad times while Mastercard, Starbucks, and Sam Adams did not do as well.

The basic idea is that a company that is deep in debt that also has unstable income is a likely candidate for bankruptcy in the next decade or so. It is unclear when a company would go under, but it happens all the time. If income is not stable, but the company’s equity ratio is high — you might be safe. If the income is stable but the debt is high, you also might be safe. Ideally you would have low debt and stable income, but that is only the care with very few companies. The point of this article is that I no longer analyze debt ratio as a separate issue as its relevancy only matters when combined with income stability stats.

In short, in my algorithm gives stocks up to 20 points. 3 of those points are earned from the SDR portion of the algorithm. Perhaps I should give more as two of the stocks I just bought just fell about 10% the day after I purchased them — gulp! If you have low debt and stable income you get all three points. If you have unstable income with high equity or vice versa, you might get two out of three points. But, if you are lacking in both departments, I might assign you a negative rating since the risk would be quite severe! I created a table to go over all possible scenarios including moderate debt and moderate income stability, moderate to low, and various gradations. If you like my idea for this component of a stock buying algorithm, you can create your own table and fool around with it until you get it how you like it. Algorithms are not for everyone, but if you do things like buying stocks or hiring outsourcing companies — you need some type of an algorithm combined with a good sense of people!

Syria vs. Botswana: Sex & AIDS vs. Violence

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It seems that all cultures are off balance to a point. Some cultures have sex too much and develop venareal diseases and AIDS. Other cultures suppress sexuality and those cultures have pent up frustration.

Many of the black African nations have out of control sexual behavior. AIDS has been a serious crisis in many parts of Africa for decades now. Botswana is a text book case of the worst part of the world concerning the AIDS epidemic. A nation littered with small shacks inhabited by orphaned children whose parents died of AIDS. Is this part of God’s divine plan to make the human race more moral — or destroy us? Looks like it is!

Meanwhile in many of the Muslim and Hindu countries, they have the opposite problem. Human beings are designed to need to be touched by the opposite gender. The problem is if you touch them the wrong way, you can get pregnant before you’re married, AIDS, or other diseases. However, if you restrict relations between men and women, people (particularly male people) get very frustrated and can develop a culture of hostility and violence. In India, the Hindus are very rough and insensitive people. Not all of them, but fi you live in India, your toes will get stopped on in all kinds of ways every single day. The Hindu religion requires respect of women, but a woman cannot walk through a park in Bangalore without being followed by sexually deprived men, molesters and gropers. Women are routinely followed, harrassed, yelled at, and badgered by men in India. So, the result of sexual repression is widespread molestation. Meanwhile in Syria and some of the Middle-Eastern countries the same frustration boils over in the form of genocide and mass murder in the form of warfare.

So, it looks like either way you cut the cake you lose. If your culture has sex, you get diseases, and if you don’t, you get molestation, rape and murder in widespread proportions. How can humans deal with this problem? One of the answers lies in spirituality. Many religious texts do not restrict relations between men and women except for intercourse, while religions and religious sects or cultures add another few layers of restrictions that do not exist in the texts which might be their idea of “best practices.”

It is not forbidden for a married woman to have a friend who is a man. But, it is not a best practice as the husband might not be okay with it, etc. But, before people are married, keeping the genders separated is not mentioned in any religious text that I’m aware of — Hindu, Muslim, Christian, or Jewish. Only intercourse is forbidden.

It seems that following the instructions of the angels instead of the instructions of off-balance human interpretations is the key to solving the problem of moderation. There also needs to be a legal way for Indian men to get their frustrations relieved so there are no more gropers. Gropers even grope men, and society allows this in India. The police rarely do anything while in America you go to jail and are marked by the legal system as a sex offender for life. It looks like America is a little too uptight about these things while India needs to be a little more uptight. And that my friends is what I call balance.

Stock investments get tricky with mergers and sudden changes

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I just bought a whole bunch of stocks. For years I kept my money in cash out of fear. It took me a long time to research my stock options. At first I tried to diversify into as many segments as I could. I got oil stocks. tech, medical, food, industrial, banking, and more. But, then I started to see what Warren Buffet liked to invest in. After all, he is the best investor in the world according to me.

Finance my boy!
He did not diversify so much. He had more than 35% of his money in the financial sector with considerable holdings in IBM, and other big blue chip industrial companies. He had a little oil, and a negligable amount in medical and utilities. Basically, his strategy is to put 92% of his money into seven or eight stocks he likes, and then have a tiny percentage in two dozen other stocks which were diversifications.

Diversification?
I also agree that diversification is over done. It is better to put your money in good stocks. It doesn’t make sense to put your money into risky sectors like airlines or unstable sectors like auto manufacturing. I even had medical sector stocks that just didn’t perform. So, I sold a lot of stocks and bought more Wells Fargo, IBM, Coke, and other stocks that performed well for the last 100 years.

It takes coordinating
I’m a conservative investor, and not very well informed. But, I noticed that some of the stocks I just bought were part of mergers. A merger can drastically affect the profitability of a stock as well as its ticker price. When companies come together, there is a lot of coordinating, new computer systems, and logistical matters that could take years to work out. The idea is that there will be more efficiency after a merger. I hope that is correct.

CBI’s merger
I purchased several hundred shares of CBI. They had acquired another company, but their profits were nil after that for two quarters. I was thankful a few days ago when I saw modest profits during the first quarter of 2016. If a stock doesn’t make money, the ticker price could quickly go down the drain if investors lose confidence.

Sudden Debt
I also noticed that Whole Foods (my favorite market), Mastercard, and Visa had all acquired some huge new debts over the last year or two. Why do these companies suddenly need so much money? What are they doing with it? It leads me to have doubts. Whole Foods credit rating went down the drain after they borrowed so much. My worry is that they might have some new financial leaders who will bury them in debt. These wonderful companies could eventually sink in debt after a decade and become worthless after being household names for such a long time. I will continue to watch their equity ratio stats as that is one of my most important stats in my stock picking algorithm. If the debt continues to grow, I’ll sell at a loss if necessary. But, let’s hope for the best. I don’t know what they are doing with the money. I’m just disturbed that there is a sudden change!

Summary
The face is that when you purchase stocks, you really don’t know who is in charge of these companies, or what stunts they are going to pull. If I were recommending stocks to a friend who doesn’t know much about the market, I would tell them to stick to huge conglomorates with very conservative business practices such as Coke, Pepsi, IBM, Wells Fargo, Kraft-Heinz, or Proctor & Gamble. I believe these companies will thrive while most of the others will eventually crumble. You might get rich slow, but your money will be safer with these six picks than most others!

Buying government bonds? Think again!

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I am about to buy some government bonds. But, I have taken a closer look at international investment options. Many of the popular funds put a lot of money into the U.S. government, Japan, and other well established companies. However, if you look at the debt to GDP ratios of U.S. and Japan and see how it keeps growing, that will make you start wondering.

America is at 104% debt to GDP.
Unfortunately, the largest contributors are not China and Japan like we think. It is the social security administration. And when America goes bankrupt and we become the land of paupers as my guru predicted, people who paid into the social security system (which is mandatory) will not get their money back, or at least not the total amount. The SS administration is a ponzi scheme where the young pay into the system so the old can retire. Personally, I feel we should all have retirement accounts that we control as well as medical accounts.

Japan is at 229% debt to GDP
How can Japan afford the interest payments on this phenominal debt? The answer is that interest rates in Japan are negative, at least for the time being. How can this be? The same scenario is in Norway. It looks like the entire world is going upside down in ways that are completely unpredictable. But, what happens if interest rates rise in Japan? The entire government will go broke within a few years! After seeing what is going on, I’m convinced that the banks artificially keep rates low to keep the government in business, otherwise they will all go underwater. Meanwhile, real estate prices have been going down little by little every year for twenty years. Is this what America has to look forward to? How bizarre. I think it is entirely possible since the government is the slave of banks and the banks are the slave of the government!

What if there is a depression?
Some of the less stable countries like Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela, Brazil, African nations, etc., could easily go broke if there is a severe worldwide depression. So, when I look at credit ratings, what I really want to know is how well you’ll do during “the big one.” In California we talk about having a big earthquake called the big one. But, how about a huge financial calamity?

Currency devaluation
Some countries like India offer competitive interest rates, but have currency devaluation. You might get 9% or 6%, but how good will that be if the currency loses value at a rate of 5% per year, or perhaps 20% in a particular year?

Summary
There are many depressing things to think about when it comes to international bonds. Worldwide economic downturns, devaluation, and governments that are drowning in debt (and perhaps sake.) Will you ever get your money back? Or will you make a fortune if interest rates go down even further? Or maybe this is all part of God’s plan to end lending money for interest by making all interest rates in the world zero or even negative. That means you pay someone to borrow your money. Get real!