Mike Lathigee News
A dialogue between ICOA’s Mike Lathigee and – ever popular ICOA speaker and lawyer Josh Effron
July 11, 2020
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Members, 
Josh Effron has spoken at our club events several times over the last decade.  He is always highly rated as a top educator and over the last several weeks I have been sharing my thoughts with him. I will share a few of the recent interactions.
Josh has a balanced, peaceful and responsible approach to the hot topic of “Black Lives Matter”.   His family has endured extreme racism with the ‘elimination’ of his grandparents because of their race.   He watches the movement closely.

Query from Mike:
Josh, I continue to be saddened about the removal of statues and other news of the day, but I have lately been posting more than usual, because I am very concerned, not with the sheer number of news stories (that has always been the case) but with people drawing the wrong lessons from these news stories and taking down a great society along the way.

In the case of the statues, I am concerned with the erasing of history, particularly when people are toppling statues of great figures, such as Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

In the case of news stories of police brutality, I am concerned with people who are drawing the conclusion that this means that this is representative of all law enforcement, which it most definitely is not.

In the case of racist attacks, I am concerned with people who are drawing the conclusion that this is representative of a trend in society, rather than the exception to the rule that I know it to be.

The danger with people drawing the wrong conclusions is that it could result in the destruction of the just and moral society that we have created, and that scares me a lot more than individual incidents of police brutality, racism, etc.

What do you think?

Response from Josh:
With that in mind, here is my newest post, in response to https://www.jpost.com/international/hate-crime-investigation-opened-after-jewish-biracial-woman-set-on-fire-633044?fbclid=IwAR2lB22MpFGHycCf6m9WdF0v62EmN_M0t67sUa5AG_FdPzqHNdHSCD4Z9qs :

I hope that they catch those responsible for this. Whenever there is an incident like this one, or the brutal murder of my own grandparents, or any of the incidents of violence against innocents making the news today (whether that violence was motivated by racism/anti-Semitism or occurred for other reasons), I am reminded of the proverbial glass being half empty or half full. While both are correct (i.e., the glass is both half empty and half full), it is a matter of where we put our focus.

I am truly grateful to live in a time and place where we do not need to call upon other people to condemn these actions — they are already doing that on their own. We do not need to demand that those who did this be brought to justice – the relevant law enforcement agencies are already working to do just that. We do not need to demand that society change its ways as a result of this – people’s widespread condemnation of this and similar actions shows that we have already reached the point where more people condemn this than support it, and the perpetrators of this are the pariahs that they should be.
That is why the thing that keeps me sane when confronted with evil is both to work to fight that evil in my own way and to remember that those who perpetrate such actions are in the minority in the Western world of today.

Indeed, when it comes to my grandparents’ murder, I keep my sanity by focusing on the many good people who sign the petitions that we put out every few years to ensure that justice is done (as much as possible, given the legal and political considerations involved, but those are a subject for a whole other conversation).
When studying the history of slavery and white racism in the United States, I keep my sanity by remembering the thousands who died in the Civil War to free the slaves and the many who risked their lives and livelihoods by violating the law to get escaped slaves to safety (the Underground Railroad).
When studying the history of the Holocaust, I keep my sanity by remembering the many Gentiles who risked their lives and livelihoods to save as many Jews as they could (including my hero, Chiune Sugihara, who issued thousands of life-saving Japanese visas to European Jews, throwing out his entire career in the process, as well as the many others, such as Miep Gies, who hid European Jews and/or risked their own lives to get these Jews to safety).
With contemporary incidents of police brutality, I keep my sanity by focusing on the majority of good people (both members of the general public and members of various law enforcement agencies) who, without hesitation, condemn such aberrant actions and demand that those who engage in these crimes be brought to justice.
And with incidents like what happened to this woman, I keep my sanity by focusing on the majority of good people who have come to her support, proving that the thugs who did this to her are the exception, not the rule.
Yes, humanity can get pretty disgusting, but we will only keep our sanity by fighting that evil and by focusing on the good whose deeds, likewise, combat evil.
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi once said, “A little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness.” And if that is so of just a LITTLE bit of light, then we are so fortunate that, today, there is a whole lot of light out there combating and overpowering evil. 
Josh Effron

Then Josh and I were interacting about our concerns with respect to tearing down statues.  We discussed several leaders, and this is one response that Josh sent to me. 

Query from Mike:
Here is something I recently posted regarding the movement to remove statues honoring Ulysses S. Grant:

I am extremely disturbed by the effort to remove statues honoring President Ulysses. S. Grant, simply because he once owned a slave. Grant’s life is one of repentance and of working to constantly better himself, a lesson that we all need to learn.

Yes, it is true that Grant did briefly own one slave – a man named William Jones, who was a “gift” from his father-in-law in late 1857 – but he freed Jones about a year later (March of 1859 ), before the Civil War even started.
Years later, as President, he worked to ensure the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 , which could have resolved the issue of black equality and prevented segregation but ended up being struck down by the Supreme Court in 1883, setting civil rights back almost a century.

Grant underwent a similar moral evolution with regard to his relationship to the Jews. During the Civil War, General Grant enforced General Orders Number 11, which was the most anti-Semitic order in American history. It gave the Jews of Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee just 24 hours to leave their homes, because it was suspected that the Jews were Southern sympathizers. (When President Lincoln found out about this order, he immediately countermanded it.)

However, Grant’s story does not end there. He felt so guilty about what he had done that he spent the remainder of his life repenting, to the point where, as President, he became one of the best friends the Jews ever had in the White House, appointing more Jews to various offices than any President before him. He also attended a synagogue service at Adas Israel Congregation, along with his entire cabinet. This was the first time that a President had attended a synagogue service. When President Grant died, Jews all over sincerely mourned him as a truly great man.

Yes, Ulysses S. Grant was not a perfect person (who is?), but he should be honored for his moral evolution, from slave owner to protector of black rights and from anti-Semite to friend of and advocate for the Jews. His story teaches us that it is never too late for most of us to morally evolve.

Finally, one area that I have spoken about extensively is judicial reform.    At length I have written about my concerns how how the US judicial system is draconian in its ways.   The Black Lives Movement in many respects does not have a clear message and I certainly do not agree with many of its tactics and lack of any meaningful messaging however, one area I hope it can impact is a system where a defendant charged with a crime has less than a 2% chance of winning statistically and that is why so many innocent people take a plea deal. 

In this example below, Josh and I were discussing a “white person” and although what they did was wrong we believed they could have won at trial but the government is always able to find a way to bully a victory.   

Query from Mike:
As requested, below is the Lori Loughlin opinion that I wrote a couple of weeks ago. (It was in response to what you wrote about the police officers being prosecuted for George Floyd’s death; I said that the Lori Loughlin case is another example of a high-profile prosecution that seems to be a miscarriage of justice.)

PLEASE SEE BELOW THIS DIALOGUE ‘STRING’ FOR THE ITEM MENTIONED BY MIKE ABOVE

Response from Josh:
Thank you for your thought-provoking, original, and independent analysis of the situation. It is great to have the situation looked at with fresh eyes and a perspective unencumbered by political correctness, etc.

You are quite correct that all three officers deserve a fair trial. Kueng and Lane seem to have already been tried and convicted by the press, which is quite unfair, particularly given the facts that you laid out about not only how new they were to the police force but also how they had, in fact, questioned Chauvin’s actions. (What more could they have done in their situation, as novice police officers in the presence of a veteran officer who would reasonably be expected to know what he was doing?)

Even Chauvin, who certainly appears guilty and deservant of punishment, must first get a fair trial, have his day in court, and truly be “presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Another high-profile prosecution that has bothered me in recent months – on a completely different topic – is what is happening to actress Lori Loughlin. It certainly appears that she is guilty of paying the money to falsify her kids’ backgrounds to get them into college, but the threat of 40 years in prison for this? That is more than we give most people convicted of rape, in many cases. Frankly, I do not understand how justice is served with her serving any time in prison for this, rather than having to pay a fine and then moving on with life, as this was a white collar crime, not a violent crime. The prosecutors seem to be pandering to the media, rather than truly seeking justice there.

In the end, she was, essentially, forced to plead guilty just to avoid a punishment that seems far too harsh under these circumstances, completely flying in the face of the idea that the burden of proof must be 100% on the government to prove the elements of a crime; basically, her guilty plea seems akin to a forced confession, something that we normally associate with Third World dictatorships and not with the Anglo-American justice system that I so revere. 

Josh Effron
Attorney at Law
Immigrant Rep, Inc.
http://www.immigrantrep.com

Tel: (310) 427-7705
Fax: (310) 988-2886
P.O. Box 4736
Rolling Hills Estates, CA, 90274

I feel I should be permitted to protest the treatment of police officers in the same manner – as protestors are able to demonstrate against the mistreatment and subsequent death of George Floyd


Some people will say that I am crazy to write this article.  Some people will tell me I will get death threats.  Well in the same way the protestors want to be heard I am going to stick up for a few of the officers who have been charged in the George Floyd death.
I am tired of listening to CEO after CEO speak about racial equality and how ‘things have to change’ – and then try to guess which ones are sincere and which ones are just using this whole situation as leverage to further their corporate interests.   CNBC is a long run ‘talk show’ which seems to be just one commercial after another staging executives spouting politically correct things about racial equality – when many of them have never shown any previous interest in the subject matter in their entire career(s). 
I am asking people to consider a few facts before this group of officers is convicted – without a fair trial.  
I see these officers as sacrificial lambs with no chance of a fair trial. I think the Power Brokers across the USA, (who think what is coming will make the Rodney King Los Angeles Riots seem small) will push hard for convictions in the case(s) of these officers.   
Here are a few facts to consider before you rush to judgment on all the officers:
Officer J. Alexander Kueng had not yet completed his third full shift as a police officer.  That is right his third night on the job!   During the arrest he said the words, “You shouldn’t be doing that”. 
He along with officers Tou Thao and Thomas Lane are charged with aiding and abetting murder, as well as aiding and abetting manslaughter.   
Lane was also new to the job, only on the force for four days when the incident occurred.   On the video you can hear Lane saying, “Shall we roll him over” in his concern that Floyd may be in delirium.  He seemed to think things were not being done properly.
Lane, prior to his arrest, worked as a volunteer at the Somali Youth Center helping to tutor disadvantaged kids with science and math activities.  I mention this to put a human face to this officer. 
Two of these officers were new on the job and following the direction of the senior officer Derek Chauvin who worked on the force for more than 18 years.   Chauvin had 18 prior complaints against him.  Tou Thao, who was also involved in Floyd’s arrest, had six complaints filed and five were closed without discipline.  Keung and Lane had no complaints filed.  
Kueng and Lane were new on the job and it reasonable to expect that they would follow the lead of a veteran of 18 years. 
Each of these officers is now facing up to 40 years in prison and if convicted would likely be put into solitary confinement as there is no way they could be put in the general prison population given the circumstances and high profile of this case. 
Yes, these officers used excessive force but one consideration is Floyd had underlying conditions including hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.     
In large part I believe Chauvin can be held accountable but before the entire country rushes to judgement let’s give these police officers a fair trial.    
From a personal perspective, when I went down to the Las Vegas Strip to witness the protest marches I noticed that a large majority of the protestors were white – in their teens and early twenties.   I had expected to see a large section of African Americans between 30 to 70 years old.   Some people seemed sincere and some seemed as though they were just excited to have something to do.  It really made me question that, other than possibly showing support, what these young white kids were doing was filling in time without any understanding of what was going on. Again, some were genuine, but many seemed not to be.
I will speak my truth and people may not like my position but I am sure I am saying what many people are thinking.
You might say I am likely a white privileged male.  Well I am 55 and white but grew up in a house with 6 kids where both parents worked 2 jobs each to provide.  There were no perks, and nothing ever ‘handed’ to is – in any form. I certainly did not grow up in an environment of entitlement. 
The most intense personal example that I had, on the front lines of racial discrimination, was when I was in grade 12. I was a disc jockey and had a gig at the Derby Night Club on Gottingen Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia.   I was told not to play “hip hop” music and only “white” music.  The owner said he wanted a “more white” clientele.
As the night progressed & as I played music, I did not think this was right and so reverted to playing a cross section of music in order to play for everyone. At the end of the shift was fired. 
I believe that there are times when officers use inappropriate force – especially when making arrests on warrants for nonviolent crimes (with implementation first thing in the morning) with many officers – guns drawn – kicking down doors.  In such cases ‘excessive’ seems to cover these procedures.  
Police; however, deal with difficult situations and, with the current pressure on them, they are going to think twice about what they are doing – which will likely lead to unintended consequences – where force may be merited and not utilized resulting in perhaps even more deaths.
We did not know George Floyd and I certainly believe he did not deserve to die this way; however, let’s not convict these officers without knowing all the facts. 
It looks bad for Derek Chauvin and on the face of it hard to defend him in this article but again let’s let the proper judicial process happen. 
One final important point is the media’s coverage of the Corona Virus as – the worst thing to hit humanity in 100 years – resulting in television ratings being off the charts with viewership.   Now the racial protests are getting even more viewership than corona virus and the virus is barely mentioned and it makes me wonder – is it just about the ratings?
I believe the nonstop media coverage of the Floyd story is counter indicated as, in many respects, it tends to feedthe protests.
I really wonder if stations like CNN and MSNBC help to mobilize the protestors by glorifying their actions as guest after guest comes on these channels in support of what they are doing.   I think any rational person will think the looting in some cities was out of control but any discussion on a tougher crackdown is generally being met with widespread condemnation or at least seen as being “politically incorrect”.   
The media has helped feed the protests and thus the consequences.   
Many people are questioning the sincerity of a large number of those protesting. 
In conclusion, people are afraid to speak the truth; however, I will stand and state for anyone who will listen
These officers deserve a fair trial.    

Mike Lathigee

Mike Lathigee News
My philosophical evolution – Robert Mich
June 24, 2020
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Members,
Below is a link to an article – published by member
Robert Mish.
We receive numbers of such submissions from members & read each and reply promptly .

However; we share this submission because it seems to represent a unique perspective on our ever changing political environment and its impact on our perception of ‘self’ – within that environment.

We hope that it may bring some value in these relatively disconcerting times …

As with all of our non ICOA related media – we ask that members engage with what they find informative and disregard that which they do not.
My philosophical evolution – Robert Mich
Mike Lathigee News
Further to – George Floyd Police Officers Deserve Fair Trial but Doubt they will get one!
June 11, 2020
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Members, 
Updating after the last article I wrote about the police officers in the George Floyd case.   I had a few dozen responses and all but one were in agreement and supportive of what I wrote.   That is exactly why I wrote the article – because there is a large percentage of the population whose voices are completely drowned out by the media.  Per my article I was getting sick of watching CEO’s appearing (nonstop) with words of support for this movement which seems to have no clear message – as it has evolved to cover many social inequality issues now. That said It seems the CEO’s agenda is more about enriching their own corporate branding than sincerity. 

Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints Quarterback (for whatever reason) sent a tweet that he was not in agreement with players kneeling during the national anthem and would never agree with anybody disrespecting the United States Flag.   Then he received enormous pressure from the protestor moment and other NFL players and was “forced” to apologize.  Don’t for a second think that what he said he thought was wrong. Today it is for personal safety or under enormous pressure that people have become afraid to speak up for what they think is right – as almost everything is now perceived as racist.  Then Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner has done a complete 180 degree position reverse on players kneeling during the national anthem.    Again this is about pressure and not what he really thinks (if you read and watch countless interviews he has done in the past on the subject).  For him it is just about the money and how to guard his interests and that of owners. 
In summation – these are complicated times and any kind of position is fraught with complicated variables. 

Members know I have spoken extensively about the abuse in our judicial system.   We have 4% of the world’s population and 26% of the world’s inmates.    I have discussed draconian laws, a bail system that forces the accused to accept rather than fight, lobbyists who make money through more people in prison etc.  If the protest moment makes changes to this part of the system it has my full support.  The problem I have is that this protest has no clear message and in many ways I see it being used to further the American system to more entitlement through polarization.  That is not what made America great.  It is Capitalism and citizens in a free America pursuing the American Dream that made it the economic powerhouse that it is.  I agree some things need to improve (certainly in the social justice area) but moving to bigger government and more entitlements is not the way to go. 

Anecdotally a friend of mine applied for a government job and was told, on a few occasions, he was the most qualified candidate.  However, he never got a job and one interviewer told him that they had to hire from a minority pool.  He is a white 31 year old man.  Is this racist?  

Also for the record I went to another protest a few days ago and I continue to observe that a large majority of the protesters are very young and many are white – and for many it just seems to be something to do with their time.   Then the next morning I found out there was several break-ins at places that never had been broken into before.   

We all would like to see change in many areas. However, anyone who seems to challenge the message of the protest moment is attacked. The parade of high profile CEOs speaking to what people want to hear (& unlikely what they really think) with the effect of furthering a polarizing agenda – seems counter indicated to what any of us would like to see – resulting from all of this.
Mike Lathigee

Mike Lathigee News
George Floyd Police Officers Deserve Fair Trial but Doubt they will get one!
June 5, 2020
0

I feel I should be permitted to protest the treatment of police officers in the same manner – as protestors are able to demonstrate against the mistreatment and subsequent death of George Floyd


Some people will say that I am crazy to write this article.  Some people will tell me I will get death threats.  Well in the same way the protestors want to be heard I am going to stick up for a few of the officers who have been charged in the George Floyd death.
I am tired of listening to CEO after CEO speak about racial equality and how ‘things have to change’ – and then try to guess which ones are sincere and which ones are just using this whole situation as leverage to further their corporate interests.   CNBC is a long run ‘talk show’ which seems to be just one commercial after another staging executives spouting politically correct things about racial equality – when many of them have never shown any previous interest in the subject matter in their entire career(s). 
I am asking people to consider a few facts before this group of officers is convicted – without a fair trial.  
I see these officers as sacrificial lambs with no chance of a fair trial. I think the Power Brokers across the USA, (who think what is coming will make the Rodney King Los Angeles Riots seem small) will push hard for convictions in the case(s) of these officers.   
Here are a few facts to consider before you rush to judgment on all the officers:
Officer J. Alexander Kueng had not yet completed his third full shift as a police officer.  That is right his third night on the job!   During the arrest he said the words, “You shouldn’t be doing that”. 
He along with officers Tou Thao and Thomas Lane are charged with aiding and abetting murder, as well as aiding and abetting manslaughter.   
Lane was also new to the job, only on the force for four days when the incident occurred.   On the video you can hear Lane saying, “Shall we roll him over” in his concern that Floyd may be in delirium.  He seemed to think things were not being done properly.
Lane, prior to his arrest, worked as a volunteer at the Somali Youth Center helping to tutor disadvantaged kids with science and math activities.  I mention this to put a human face to this officer. 
Two of these officers were new on the job and following the direction of the senior officer Derek Chauvin who worked on the force for more than 18 years.   Chauvin had 18 prior complaints against him.  Tou Thao, who was also involved in Floyd’s arrest, had six complaints filed and five were closed without discipline.  Keung and Lane had no complaints filed.  
Kueng and Lane were new on the job and it reasonable to expect that they would follow the lead of a veteran of 18 years. 
Each of these officers is now facing up to 40 years in prison and if convicted would likely be put into solitary confinement as there is no way they could be put in the general prison population given the circumstances and high profile of this case. 
Yes, these officers used excessive force but one consideration is Floyd had underlying conditions including hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.     
In large part I believe Chauvin can be held accountable but before the entire country rushes to judgement let’s give these police officers a fair trial.    
From a personal perspective, when I went down to the Las Vegas Strip to witness the protest marches I noticed that a large majority of the protestors were white – in their teens and early twenties.   I had expected to see a large section of African Americans between 30 to 70 years old.   Some people seemed sincere and some seemed as though they were just excited to have something to do.  It really made me question that, other than possibly showing support, what these young white kids were doing was filling in time without any understanding of what was going on. Again, some were genuine, but many seemed not to be.
I will speak my truth and people may not like my position but I am sure I am saying what many people are thinking.
You might say I am likely a white privileged male.  Well I am 55 and white but grew up in a house with 6 kids where both parents worked 2 jobs each to provide.  There were no perks, and nothing ever ‘handed’ to is – in any form. I certainly did not grow up in an environment of entitlement. 
The most intense personal example that I had, on the front lines of racial discrimination, was when I was in grade 12. I was a disc jockey and had a gig at the Derby Night Club on Gottingen Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia.   I was told not to play “hip hop” music and only “white” music.  The owner said he wanted a “more white” clientele.
As the night progressed & as I played music, I did not think this was right and so reverted to playing a cross section of music in order to play for everyone. At the end of the shift was fired. 
I believe that there are times when officers use inappropriate force – especially when making arrests on warrants for nonviolent crimes (with implementation first thing in the morning) with many officers – guns drawn – kicking down doors.  In such cases ‘excessive’ seems to cover these procedures.  
Police; however, deal with difficult situations and, with the current pressure on them, they are going to think twice about what they are doing – which will likely lead to unintended consequences – where force may be merited and not utilized resulting in perhaps even more deaths.
We did not know George Floyd and I certainly believe he did not deserve to die this way; however, let’s not convict these officers without knowing all the facts. 
It looks bad for Derek Chauvin and on the face of it hard to defend him in this article but again let’s let the proper judicial process happen. 
One final important point is the media’s coverage of the Corona Virus as – the worst thing to hit humanity in 100 years – resulting in television ratings being off the charts with viewership.   Now the racial protests are getting even more viewership than corona virus and the virus is barely mentioned and it makes me wonder – is it just about the ratings?
I believe the nonstop media coverage of the Floyd story is counter indicated as, in many respects, it tends to feedthe protests.
I really wonder if stations like CNN and MSNBC help to mobilize the protestors by glorifying their actions as guest after guest comes on these channels in support of what they are doing.   I think any rational person will think the looting in some cities was out of control but any discussion on a tougher crackdown is generally being met with widespread condemnation or at least seen as being “politically incorrect”.   
The media has helped feed the protests and thus the consequences.   
Many people are questioning the sincerity of a large number of those protesting. 
In conclusion, people are afraid to speak the truth; however, I will stand and state for anyone who will listen
These officers deserve a fair trial.    

Mike Lathigee

Articles
MARKET INSANITY by Mike Lathigee
May 27, 2020
0

MARKET INSANITY MAY 26, 2020 by Mike Lathigee:
TAKE PROFITS AND BE CAUTIOUS!

In the last 24 hours American biotech firm Novavax said it had started the first human study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine, with initial results on safety and immune responses expected in July. Vaccine development is a long, complex process, often lasting 10 to 15 years.  The market continues to behave as though a vaccine is a foregone conclusion and that good news is imminent – as today the DOW (as I write this @ 10:22AM) is up over 600 points. Year over year Novavax is now up over 700%.   
Last week Moderna announced all 45 patients in its vaccine trial had developed antibodies against the coronavirus and the DOW surged 900 plus points.   The next day insiders sold over $30 million dollars of their shares (with observers skeptical of the Moderna results) and there is currently a surge in lawsuits against the company.  Lots of lawsuits can be paid for when the market cap of your company has increased by billions of dollars in a short period of time!!!   It is interesting to note that Moderna is now below the share price before it made its “big” announcement and almost the entire executive team is dumping stock – collecting tens of millions every day. 
Both stocks have now risen several hundred percentage points in just a few months creating billions in additional value.  I wonder if we will see continued situations of companies rushing through Phase 1 Trials to show any positive results that will see the value of their stock increase by triple digits.  Yes, there are many protocols and regulations that must be followed, but as we have seen with Moderna, it was more about getting the news out and worry about complete accuracy later. 
There are many professionals with high moral standards in biotech, but the market temptation is big – to skirt the limits, make quick announcement – and see massive gains in wealth.    I think we are going to see this situation happen again and again as so many companies are working on a vaccine. 
It seems the market feeds on any good news and ignores the trade war with China, the high unemployment rates, the surge in bankruptcies, declining consumer spending, rising foreclosures, possible food supply disruptions etc.   This morning I spoke to a landlord, with more than 200 commercial tenants, and less than 40% of them paid rent in May.  Brazil coronavirus deaths have skyrocketed and is likely to surpass the US.  It goes on and on and etc. etc. etc. The most appropriate song that I can think of right now is “We didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel.  Watch the video and listen to the words!
Companies that have no customers like theme parks and hotels are still hanging onto their high valuations and airlines bleeding cash are being propped up.    I am expecting a day in the future to hear “kaboom” and the market will wake up.
A day like this makes little sense – with the Nasdaq now trading at all-time highs.   Yes, the Fed is buying everything in sight to support the market and is just one short of directly buying stocks.   Such a situation is bad for gold, but I believe with Wall Street so ‘out of whack’ – we will see a day of reckoning. 
There is not a logical astute investor I know that believes there is value in investing in 25x next year’s earnings.  Warren Buffett is totally on the sidelines since March in a much higher cash position and currently has “egg on his face” as investors start to pressure him to jump in because he is missing out.  The writing is on the wall when this happens.  If you are in the market, take your profits.    Maintain a position in gold, silver, a large position in cash and wait for the opportunities that will arise.  Believe me there will be great opportunities!!!
I believe we are going to see the market come down hard soon.   We are seeing artificial stock market valuations.  Think of the devastation when we see the likely resurgence of the virus in the late Fall and Winter.   Risk is largely being ignored and all these threats to the economy are unlikely to be overcome. We will see the market spiral down but the only (repeated) caveat is if the Fed continues to feed the market with liquidity – this would keep the party going, at least for the short term.  
It appears the old capitalistic metrics where the markets and the economy are in close correlation no longer exist.   The market is now driven by algo traders – which is 70% of all trading.  The market does not care about my opinion and with these new governing metrics my old school guidance of fundamentals may be viewed as archaic as the current market is only governed by money flows and technical analysis.   So, I believe in what I have written but the “new” traders will tell me that my analysis is outdated.  Time will tell!!!

Articles
Guidance in Turbulent Economic Times
May 26, 2020
0

Some people may say “Mike Lathigee, get a life!” yet – I spent a good deal of last night unable to sleep in thinking about the economy.   The disconnect between Main Street and Wall Street is particularly troublesome for me to process when I see “blood in the streets” and the Nasdaq at (almost) its all time high.   This makes no sense!
In this article (which will be a little longer than normal) I want to give members my observations of what I see happening – but first I will start with guidance – with one addition:
1.     Own Gold: Up to 10% of your portfolio.  Since I have given this guidance, gold has been the best performing asset class.   UPDATE: The club is in advanced due diligence on a gold project that makes sense for club members.   I will keep you posted.
2.     Maintain a very large position in cash.  I believe we will see the house of cards we call the economy, collapse and those with large cash positions will be able to take advantage of these, once in a lifetime, asset buying opportunities.  The only caveat is – the fact the Fed is equipped to prop up the economy through unlimited force feeding of liquidity into the economy & could succeed in keeping all assets artificially propped up which would be bad for those sitting in cash and owning gold.  Generally, when the stock market is moving up – gold falls out of favor.
3.     30 days ago, I stated weight heavily in oil – in your portfolio – because the world needs oil and most large oil companies need oil to (at minimum) trade in the range of $40 to $50 a barrel to survive.  The easiest strategy is to own oil ETFs and these ETFs are up over 50% but I believe there is still more room for them to move as oil prices will, over the next few months, likely hover above $40 a barrel.  Oil has been the best performing asset class over the last 30 days.
4.     At the club we will be looking at Real Estate Opportunities in the coming months; however, the big caveat will be-if the Fed stimulus is able to prevent deflation and an asset blow up.  If so, then the Real Estate opportunity may not be what we hope for – but current owners of properties will be happy as Real Estate could maintain its value.  I see commercial Real Estate Property values collapsing and this might be an area we look at as many commercial tenants are going out of business.
So the new guidance I would like to give you is that, in addition to gold, I want you to consider silver for your portfolio. 
I believe silver is powering into a new bull market after getting clobbered in March.   Typically, silver tends to follow upward movements in gold but several months after gold’s movement upward.    Silver is a much smaller market than gold and any attention it will get will see disproportionate moments to the upside.       There is risk but, in the risk/reward scenario now is the appropriate time to ensure you own silver.  The best way is to own actual bullion or in America pre 1965 dimes, quarter, half dollars and dollars – but currently many of these are selling at a premium.   As a pure play the ETF “SLV” is a conservative way to invest in silver and Pan American Silver is one of the largest silver producers on the planet with symbol PAAS.  
Investors only seem interested in silver when they expect gold to continue to move upward.    It is an asset that can quickly be abandoned and ‘sell offs’ can happen quickly.   The best time to buy silver is when it is inexpensive compared to gold levels.  The easiest way to calculate this is the gold/silver Ratio.  In other words, how many ounces of silver does it take to buy one ounce of gold?  Right now with silver trading at $17.24 an ounce and gold trading at $1735 an ounce that ratio is 1735/17.24 or it takes about 100 ounces of silver to buy one ounce of gold.    Since 1969 this ratio has averaged 50.9 so based on this formula silver is trading at about half of its historic value compared to gold.   
Investors will perceive getting more value from silver investing than gold investing as the concept of hedging to protect investor portfolios grows in these turbulent times. 
Now let me move onto some general observations that kept me up most of the night and why I have concerns about the outlook for the world economy:
-I think we will see a slow economic rebound in the pandemic’s immediate aftermath, but consumer consumption will drop and weaken this short-lived recovery.    Ordinary people will be forced to pare back on their consumption, and we will start to see this in July when the extra $600 per month unemployment benefits stop in July.     
-On Friday night I went to YardHouse which is a well known deep pocketed restaurant chain owned by Darden Corporation.    Darden is a large publicly traded company.  The manager at the local Yardhouse told me they are doing about 30% of normal volume due to the fact they can only fill the restaurant at half capacity.   The bar in the restaurant was closed and he said that – alcohol is were they make all their margins – and the food service is low margin.  
Then on Saturday night I drove to 2 local pubs I like to go to and have a beer. They serve food so they can be opened as part of Phase 2 openings in Vegas, and both were closed.   Then I decided to drive around further and several small restaurants that I know were still closed.  I do not know if they will ever reopen.    When the economy reopens, we are not going to see restaurants, hotels, casinos hire back at levels pre pandemic and unemployment will stay at double digit rates for many months and possibly years.   
I have read reports that it is estimated that up to half the restaurants in New York will never reopen.  How can they survive with such tiny margins and only allowed to be at 50% occupancy?
-The battle between the USA and China will continue and this will create a wave of deglobalization.   That will cause supply chains to break and prices to rise.   Currently there is a trade war and technology war.  USA has decided Huawei is not going to have access to US semiconductors and technology and USA has shut down the transfer of technology to China and China to the USA.   China has been more authoritarian, and we see that manifested now with the control it is placing on Hong Kong.  
-The only reason the markets are moving higher is because of the Fed’s massive monetary stimulus.   It is also supported by the fact that people expect the news about the pandemic to improve and a vaccine will be found.    Also, we are now seeing an interesting situation where people are getting unemployment checks and there has been a surge in day traders as many more people spend time at home.    It is interesting to note that many laid off workers are making more on unemployment than at their previous job and based on my interactions, this seems to be the norm and not the exception.   
Employers will be able, with high unemployment rates, to hire workers back at lower wages without benefits.  It is staggering that we gained 22 million jobs between 2009 and 2019 and now have lost 30 million + in just a few months. 
-I believe we do not have enough testing capability in America, and we will see a 2nd surge of Covid in the Winter of next year.   I think other people are thinking this way as well and, as a result, are saving money instead of spending it and we will see a slash in discretionary spending that will hit Las Vegas particularly hard (where I reside).   In Germany and China, where they already opened a month ago, restaurants still remain empty.   
-We are already at 28% unemployment in Las Vegas – which is the highest in the nation.
Members remember a few years ago when the club hosted Keith Smith the CEO of Boyd gaming as a speaker at a club event.  He spoke about why Nevada was much more diversified and would not suffer as badly in another Recession.  I disagreed and said we are mainly diversifying into sports which is also discretionary spending and I debated with him that, in the event of another downturn, Las Vegas would, once again, be the hardest hit.  A lot can happen in the next year but get ready for cap rates to become compelling in the Las Vegas Real Estate market again.  It will probably take about 12 to 18 months before we see price collapse.  Again, this could be offset by Fed programs – which is something I cannot predict.
-Many are arguing that the Feds ‘force feeding’ of trillions of dollars will cause inflation.  If so, then longer term interest rates will have to increase and if that happens the economy will crash.    We cannot sustain this massive debt – and taxes will have to increase. Otherwise, with higher rates, there will be massive cuts in all government health programs, military etc. 
-I do not see pandemics stopping.   The Wet markets in China are reopening.  I have been there and seen it myself and I know it is part of a long tradition, although it still sickens me.   When you put these exotic animals into cages they interact and create viruses that spread to humans.   In our lifetime we have seen HIV, SARS, MERS, the swine flu, ZIKA, EBOLA and now COVID 19.  
The bottom line is consumers are not going to spend at levels pre pandemic and the stock market is currently trading at 23.5x next year’s earnings.  That is complete insanity.     The Fed will do all it can to flood liquidity into the system; however, there is a real possibility in the next 3 years we will see a DEPRESSION – especially if the pandemic is not able to be contained. 
Remember in early January at the club meeting I spoke for 90 minutes on my outlook for the economy for 2020 and I stated that no one was discussing the possibility of a recession. I spoke, for most of my talk, that this was a possibility and gave 3 reasons why (one of them was a pandemic).    Gold and oil were the right calls for investment – when the guidance was given.  I am working on a gold project that makes sense and will be watching closely the opportunities that will arise in the coming months and again encourage members to take a much higher portfolio position in cash.  
Finally, I am very pleased to let members know that Mark Skousen, has announced FreedomFest will be held this year at Caesar’s Palace Hotel.   The dates are July 13 to 16 and I know I will see many members at the event.  Remember parking is now free (they had no choice as casinos will have to rely heavily on locals again – but I am sure that, in the case of a full recovery, in the future – when we see 40 million visits again they will forget the locals and charge for parking) 
To see a complete list of speakers, ticket info and the agenda go to www.freedomfest.com.  

In Mark’s words, 
“FREEDOMFEST 2020 WILL BE REMEMBERED AS AN HISTORIC EVENT-THIS YEAR WE BATTLED THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS, ENDURED THE UNPRECEDENTED GLOBAL LOCKDOWN AND FOUGHT THE MOST POLARIZING AND IMPORTANT POLITICAL CAMPAIGN SINCE WORLD WAR 2.  WE ARE ENGAGED IN A GREAT BATTLE OF IDEAS.”
Be safe members!
Michael Lathigee 
Investment Club of America President

Disclosure:  I am not a licensed financial advisor.   Any action step you take as a result of my writings is at your own risk.  I have no person benefit from any of the guidance I provide above including if you buy tickets to Freedomfest. 

Mike Lathigee News
May 22 update: Mayor Carolyn Goodman
May 24, 2020
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May 22 update: Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s comments to CNN’s Anderson Cooper last month reportedly damaged Las Vegas’ chances of hosting the NBA upon resumption of its season.  The league was clearly concerned about her comments according to a report from The Athletic.   This video was not about the argument “for” or “against” the reopening of Las Vegas, but rather Mayor Carolyn Goodman is an embarrassment to our city when she speaks and should refrain from comments that have no factual basis.  Since this video has been made there is now a campaign to Recall Mayor Carolyn Goodman and unfortunately to save her political career she is trying to make it seem that it is a ‘fight for those who wish to open the city versus those who want the City to remain closed”.  That is not the issue at all as many people who wish the city to open asap simply do not wish her to be a spokesperson for the cause and in fact would appreciate it she made no further comments.  The situation with the NBA is just one example of the damage she has done that will cost the city many millions of dollars.


To those watching this video. 
Our Mayor has caused profound embarrassment to our city – on a National and International Level.   She has shown her complete disregard for the citizens of the very City she is supposed to lead – and we call for her resignation. 
Even if you don’t live in Las Vegas – please consider supporting a “wake up call” to, not only Mayor Goodman, but to all politicians – that they will be held accountable for their words and actions.
What politicians say (particularly in today’s tech age, where Citizens are able to communicate, organize and mobilize) can and will come back on them.
It may even effect undesirable (for them!) change.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJJDJ38VuaY&feature=youtu.be
Mike Lathigee News
I hope this note finds you.
May 20, 2020
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It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you.  I hope this note finds you well.  I have not been able to attend your meetings of late.  However, I have enjoyed them in the past and always learned something very cool!

I received your email this past Wednesday & I viewed your video from sometime in the fall.  I cannot even begin to tell you how heart-wrenching it was for me to hear you explain what has happened throughout your ordeal with the BCSC.  It is so sad for me to hear and when you spoke of your son and your mom I just lost it.  My heart just went out to you.  I really am so proud of you in standing up and being so willing to give full disclosure about it all – including the personal things.  I know the members who have stuck by you all this time really must have appreciated and further admired you for it.  I was there with you in spirit, as I had seen or heard things along the way, but knew from my past interaction with you that there was more to the story than we knew 

I know how hard you have strived to make this club the greatest thing ever and I’m honoured to know you even within the context of such a miserable situation.  I DO know that you are tough and I do agree with your belief in NEVER NEVER NEVER Give Up so I know that one day you will recover in all ways.  No matter what the judge says, regarding these financial ‘affairs’, you have many friends and family who will always stand by you and in the end – that is what is most important.

God will bring you through this and the members will hold your post for you while you have to take a step back.  I’m sure Steve Hawks will help you in all ways, as well.  Just take deep breaths and know – this is all for some purpose.  You show people what honour and integrity look like – no matter what.  

I do hope I will see you again one day and that I will have the ability to participate in one of your great investments.  I’ve always been a good judge of character and I absolutely would trust you with my money.  Now I just need enough to let you try!   I’m actually getting pretty close.  Things are definitely improving.

Until then my thoughts are with you, Celeste and the family.

I wish you the best Mike ……

Karen Mahoney

Mike Lathigee News
The Stock Market collapsed today – Here is what I should do next.
May 13, 2020
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Members,
Over the last several weeks we have seen a total disconnect between “Main Street” and “Wall Street”.   With the huge surge of bankruptcies, we will see in the coming months a massive GDP nosedive and it made no sense why stocks continued to move up with some “bonehead” analysts even calling for the stock market to hit new highs.
The last few days we are starting to see a sell off and other than specific stocks that would prosper during the covid crisis it remains most prudent to retain a huge position in cash and 5% to 10% of your portfolio in gold.
As members are very aware, I have advocated increasing your position in gold especially since this crisis has begun.   In fact, gold has been the best performing asset class and even on a day like today where the Dow is down over 500 points, gold is up.   In fact, all sectors are down and the only “green” on the screen is gold and some gold stocks.   For those of you who increased your position in gold, congratulations – you have done well and for those members who have not, it is still a prudent investment as a hedge to protect your portfolio.
I remain more convinced than ever in gold as an investment due to the fact the government and Fed will provide more stimulus to support an economy battered by the virus.    The Fed, in fact, announced it is buying bond exchange traded funds for the first time ever and so – with more stimulus members should own more gold. Today the US central bank started purchasing shares of ETFs that invest in bonds. The Fed is doing this to improve market functioning due to the pandemic.
Again, as a reminder – gold benefits from all these stimuli because it is considered a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.  As we talk more about a 2ndwave of global infections this will show strong support for gold.  Gold is up from approx. $1500 an ounce to over  $1700 an ounce since the beginning of the year.   If we see a market catastrophe, I see the price moving much higher which is exactly why all members must own it.
There is a large selection of ETFs with a focus on gold and large gold companies to select from.  Stay away from exploration companies as there are many gold producing companies that, in my opinion, are undervalued and exploration companies are not a risk you have to take.

Here are the key indicators that I am watching closely to see what happens in the coming months:

  1. A vaccine for Covid 19:  Lots of players are spending billions chasing the cure.   Likely not to see success until late 2021. Even when a vaccine is found it will take a few years to vaccinate a global community.
  2. Fed stimulus:  This is always the most difficult market condition as it is artificially created and prevents me from knowing what will happen.  If the Fed throws unlimited stimulus at the stock market and the economy then “yes’ we will likely see stocks continue to sustain value but please realize this is artificial demand and why, again, I believe gold is the safe haven.  However, when stocks move up investors tend to show less interest in gold, and this is always a major problem that gold has – with skyrocketing upwards.   I believe the Central Bankers hate to see gold prices rise quickly as it means less confidence in the overall economy.
  3. Oil Prices: I believe oil remains a good bet because the major companies cannot make money at these prices – even after the large percentage move up in oil prices over the last few weeks.   If we see success in reopening the economy then oil prices will move much higher; however, you know my new favorite word is “boneheads” and I hear these idiots saying, with confidence, that in the next year oil to be back above $100 a barrel.  The odds of this happening are remote, and the possibility of a 2ndresurgence of the virus will continue to keep downward pressure on oil.    (Billionaire Naguib Sawiris from Egypt, is calling for oil to hit $100 in 18 months or less)
  4. US China Tensions:  Phase 1 trade negotiations between China and America have had to adjust due to the virus.  This has caused concern that US-China bilateral relations would deteriorate. Another trade war will see huge downward pressure on stock prices.   Trump in his typically unpredictable manner (and possibly after a bad night of sleep) could decide to wage trade war with more tariffs on China – which would see stock markets fall quickly.
  5. Many retailers will go bankrupt.   A further wave of bankruptcies in airlines, oil, hotels, travel and tourism will result in significant job losses and debt defaults.  This will impact consumer spending – which is the largest part of the US economy.
  6. A (likely) 2ndWave of Covid: As we listen to Covid experts every day almost all are saying there is a (almost) certainty – of a 2ndwave in the Fall after the hot summer months.   I believe if this occurs that, this time, we will have to keep the economy open – but people will continue to change their personal behavior and buying habits which will gravely impact the economy with the major impact being on lower income people in retail, hospitality etc.

Given all these “headwind” forces at play, I stick by my guidance over the last few months:

  1. Own Gold.  Up to 10% of your total portfolio.
  2. Maintain a very large position in cash.  Over 50% of your portfolio and consider higher.
  3. A small position in oil that will likely continue to rise to higher levels.  This is a trading position in which to take profits on gains.
  4. At the club we will be looking at Real Estate opportunities in the coming months; however, the big caveat will be – if the Fed stimulus is able to prevent deflation and an asset blow up.  If so then the Real Estate opportunity may not be what we hope for – but current owners of properties will be happy.    I see commercial real estate property values collapsing and this might be an area we look at.

Finally, I just don’t understand where some so-called experts get their information from.   I have never been a fan of Goldman Sachs for many reasons, but they are expecting US gross domestic product growth of 4% in 2021 – and are very bullish on a market recovery.  Whenever, Goldman says this to the masses I am suspect behind the scenes they doing the opposite.  Remember – they were telling people, in the last financial crisis, to buy subprime debt while they were selling it out the back door.    Goldman Sachs is probably the best politically connected company in the United States with countless Washington insiders.  I would love to be a fly on the wall during some of their high level executive meetings.
P.S. There is one good thing about COVID-19 and that is the fact that “ambulance chasers’ (personal injury lawyers) have cut down on their advertising due to the fact the majority of Americans are driving much less.   However, I don’t see Ed Burnstein, Adam Kutner or Glenn Lerner in a food bank lineup…….yet.

Please forward this message on through your social media channels.

Mike Lathigee News
OIL PROJECT IS IN A GREAT POSITION EVEN DURING THE CURRENT OIL RECESSION
May 12, 2020
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Members,
In these troubled times it is good to get some great news.
The oil project is very well positioned going forward and the TransAtlantic team stated several times that a best case scenario – is an oil recession – which is exactly what is occurring at this time.
Like all of you, I am keen to watch the management team perform and, unlike so many other investments, we are confident all club projects “will see their way to the other side” of this economic hardship.

Trans Atlantic Investors,

I hope this finds you well – considering all that is going on in our country. Since we last sent an update many parts of American have been shut down due to COVID-19, unemployment is at 14.7% as of this writing, and oil futures went to -$37.63 at their lowest point. These are unprecedented times for the entire world.
We are consistently monitoring the global landscape to assure that TransAtlantic is strategically positioned to capitalize on these events.

Below is an update on TransAtlantic, its current holdings and how Management has positioned the company.

  1. TransAtlantic is over 99% in cash. The significance of this cannot be overstated! Our cash buying power is considerably compounded due to depressed energy prices. It would be nearly impossible for TransAtlantic be in a better position than it is in right now. We are at the beginning of an energy recession with a pile of cash ready to take advantage of the right opportunities.
  2. The Fund holds positions in the Keetch, Barton and York (10 wells) fields. Last month the Texas refiners (buyers of all product) cancelled purchase contracts with nearly all operators because of the lack of demand for gasoline due to the COVID shutdown.
    Ground based storage facilities are full with an over supply of product, wells are being shut-in throughout Texas and rig count is consistently dropping. This affects the wells we own positions in. The operators have chosen not to shut-in these wells as it not economically feasible for the long-term. Additional storage tanks have been moved onsite and a new buyer for the product has been secured.
  3. As stated in the previous update, Management is focused on acquisitions of producing fields and has set aside drilling prospects for the time being. We expect opportunities to start presenting themselves this month and next – and for that to last for the next 6 months, possibly longer if the turmoil in the energy market remains or increases.
    Thus far, operator bankruptcies have been minimal, but as bankruptcy filings hit their stride, opportunities should be plentiful. We have already had conversations and/or evaluated numerous acquisition prospects so we are in the position to respond quickly when the right opportunities present themselves.

As TransAtlantic shareholders, you have every reason to be optimistic about your investment. It is a rare occasion to be flush with cash at the beginning of a recession. Management is making every effort to wisely deploy cash in assets that are lucrative for many years to come. Should you have questions you may reply to this email and we can set up a time for a call. Thanks for your time.

Regards,

Mark Hostetler

Manager

TransAtlantic Energy Holdings LLC

D: 702-860-1441

E: markh@welcomehomenevada.com

Mike Lathigee News
Something that is working well for our club president & he wants you to try it!
May 5, 2020
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Like everyone, I was suffering with the “stay at home” orders & with all gyms closed – I was unable to get my usual exercise. This coupled with a continuing heavy workload had definitely increased my stress level. Feeling stressed and out of shape I ran an ad on craigslist to hire a trainer and had many responses.    The best candidate was Forest McDermott.  He has now been with me for 12 sessions and he trains me 3x a week for 90 minutes each. 
This guy is really good at what he does ….!

As I always disclose I have no vested interest in this referral other than “you are part of my tribe” and if something works for me I share it.  
Forest charges $75 for 90 minutes and COMES TO YOUR HOUSE.    
He is professional and knowledgeable.  Frankly. I am so confident in Forest that I will go so far as to say – if you are not happy, after a few sessions with him, I will cut you a refund check personally. 

I often times will push members out of their comfort zone by saying “start now”. In this case, whether it is 1x a week or several times a week – start now!   Health is one of the 4 pillars of the club and I want all members to live healthfully for as long as is possible.    I know many members don’t live in Las Vegas but I still encourage you to look at taking such an action step as hiring someone as your personal trainer.   You are all part of my tribe and I want you all to “live healthy”.  

Don’t be shy if you have not worked out in years because Forest is trained to help all members. He is aware many members are over 60 years of age and this is an area in which he specializes.
Below is some info about  Forest and a picture of both of us after my work out with him last night at my house.

As an ACE certified personal trainer Forest focus was mainly on athletes and bodybuilding competitors. 
As a body builder he competed in a number of shows while living in Hawaii. 
We all know that as we get older our bodies change and with that so do the things that matter to us and our personal goals. 

Becoming a firefighter and natural aging were the two main reasons he quit bodybuilding and went to functional training.
It was with the realization that, in order to live a better life and reach his goals, his training would have to change. 
So he switched to functional training; however, his main focus for clients is the same. That is that we should make the one body we’ve been given the best it can be.
Forest admits that he was extremely fortunate to be the son of a chiropractor/acupuncturist/masseuse and been exposed to a health directed philosophy at a very young age. 
Paired with a vast knowledge in nutrition and dietary needs he brings a comprehensive plan for clients.
Having lived an extremely athletic lifestyle, he’s also had many injuries and knows how to work with them, around them and in many cases heal them. 
He is also a certified EMT and has his BLS (aed/cpr) card, so his knowledge isn’t solely based on sports training, but also on training from the medical vantage point.
Currently in the hiring process with Las Vegas Fire & Rescue his long term goal is to work with Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, serve the community, and continue his training for clients. 
His primary training clientele are individuals like himself who are 40 and over, actively involved in creating a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a fitness and nutritional program that will allow for a healthy body and mind which in turn will provide an overall better life filled with longevity and much more active, and meaningful, years!!

Mike Lathigee News
ICOA DON’T GO LONG IN THE STOCK MARKET, TRADE ONLY! ALSO SEE HOW TO MAKE MONEY NOW!
April 19, 2020
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From the desk of Mike Lathigee
Sunday, April 19, 2020

Members,
We are seeing economic devastation not witnessed, to this degree, in our lifetime.  GDP has fallen off the cliff.  Although the Fed has flooded the market with liquidity to avoid deflation, I am very concerned that we will not see a vaccine any time soon.    The American stock market keeps moving up and is behaving like it is in a bubble separated from reality and not part of a global economic system (of economic pain).   Idiots on CNBC continue to say, “buy on dips” and “great buying opportunities”.   How can these money managers make so much money and be so completely clueless?

It is insane that the S&P 500 is now trading at 18.5x next year’s earnings.  That’s right – the market is not even considering 2020 earnings but trading on expectations of 2021.    SORRY I HAVE TO WRITE THESE WORDS, “I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING”.   Even if we were to recover, and that is a big “if”, there will still be massive bankruptcies and unemployment will not likely return to low levels for at least a few years.   The stock market is fully priced in a ‘recovery’ and there is no upside at all to invest at these levels unless you are a great stock picker – which few are (most investors cannot even read the complicated financial statements). RUN FOR THE HILLS AND TAKE ALL YOUR MONEY OUT OF THE STOCK MARKET!!!  THE RISK/REWARD IS TOO HEAVY ON THE SIDE OF RISK!!!

The only consideration for staying in the stock market is that the Fed keeps printing money and they may soon start to buy stock.  If this is the case then we could see higher stock prices but I would not want to take that gamble and I think Small Business America stimulus should take priority over the “Wall Street Crowd”.

The Fed might be successful due to the fact it has an unlimited budget to print money. Last week it was buying ETF’S with exposure to the Junk Bond Market.  That is right, the Fed was buying JUNK BONDS and once again bailing out the superrich while Small Business America (SBA) loans run out of money with only a fraction of the businesses getting funding.

Remember members I have been SCREAMING FOR 5 YEARS ABOUT THE SHARE BUY BACK SCAM!   I now only hear commentary, on a regular basis, about this self-dealing form of racketeering.   Very few people were talking about this situation for the last several years – but this was a common theme of the Investment Club of America.

Then in January I did the Annual Outlook Presentation at our monthly club meeting and I said GET OUT OF THE STOCK MARKET COMPLETELY.  It was a 90-minute presentation and I talked about 3 reasons why we could see a Recession. I said a Recession was unlikely – but more likely than anyone else around the world is talking about.  Further, I have been also SHOUTING BUY GOLD, BUY GOLD, BUY GOLD, and that has been the number one performing asset class over the same time frame since the club meeting in January.

Money managers are still making tens of millions, or more, even with poor results!   Bloody ridiculous system!  At the same time these bastards enriched themselves with share buybacks and used all the free cashflow of the companies they were running. Now they have their hands out for government bailouts.   Just look at the top 6 airlines using more than 98% of their free cash flow on share buybacks and then, when the pandemic hit, they have no money in their coffers and ask the American Tax Payer for $60 billion (to start and more later).  I say “let them fail” and the American Tax Payer should receive equity at today’s valuation for any money given to these companies.   You will be sickened if you look at the massive bonuses (in the hundreds of millions) these executives, at the major airlines, took over the last 10 years and of course none of that will be liquidated for their irresponsible management decisions.

The probability of a stock market collapse is higher than it has ever been.   As I said in a blog sent last week – you can “trade” this market but being “long” you will have a high probability of being wiped out – with the exception of gold.

If the virus is not contained and the economy is reopened – only to be shut down again – the Fed will have no tools left in its arsenal AND WE WILL SEE A DEPRESSION that will be the GREATEST DEPRESSION EVER!    Again, own 10% precious metals in your portfolio and hope that it does not move up too quickly as that will likely mean a collapse of almost every other asset class.

Yes, let me write it again, I am saying – buy gold – but hope it does not go up too quickly as that means all other assets have collapsed.  Remember it is an insurance hedge for your portfolio and now you need that more than ever!!

A few weeks ago, I suggested an oil trade that did very well and then in a subsequent blog I guided members to take profits and move on.  I am watching oil closely as no energy companies can exist with oil prices this low. There will be many bankruptcies and in 2 or 3 years I believe those who invested in the best oil stocks will see triple digit gains.

Investments in oil at these prices are attractive – but individual stocks are still too risky.  Eventually oil prices will rise, and the best capitalized, best run companies will reward investors.

My most important guidance however, besides OWNING GOLD is to “hoard cash”.   There is going to be tremendous opportunities in many asset classes especially Real Estate as the Asset Bubble has blown up.   So, Hoard Cash!!!

I am also closely watching Insider Buying and Insider Selling Reports.   This is not the only tool that should be used when trading, but it is very important. When I see a CEO “buy” or “sell” a massive stock position it gets my attention to do some research.
I am writing more than ever in the history of the club because we cannot have club meetings.  This is the way I am staying connected to “MY TRIBE”.   I care about the membership and know I am doing all I can with all we are involved in to ensure we get through this.  I believe we are much better positioned than the vast majority of small businesses.

P.S. Members if you find this info useful please post it to all your social media platforms.  We think our message is important and the proper guidance that investors need.

Please see link below for easy posting?

Finally, I just do not see how we are able to completely get out of this catastrophic situation – with so many other countries around the world unable to control the virus.  Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, Nicaragua, and many countries in Africa to name just a few.  Will the United States have to close its borders until there is a vaccine because visitors from these countries will not have proper safeguards in place?  We shall see – but in our hometown of Vegas we are unlikely to see many international visitors for at least a year and I believe Nevada may see a set back that hits us harder than the ‘Great Recession’ of 10 years ago.

News
ICOA – Sad news: Investment Club loses one of its own. GUIDANCE ON WHAT TO DO NOW!
April 15, 2020
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Members
I start this update with sad news.  Freedom fighter, Marcus Mumford, who spoke at a club meeting, a little more than a year ago, has died suddenly (yesterday) at the age of 48.    Marcus fought successfully against the unlimited resources of the Federal Government.  He defended clients in three cases in a row against the Federal Government – and won.   The Federal Government wins 98.6% of all its cases and it was statistically less than 1 in one million that Marcus could accomplish such a feat.    Marcus had an uncontrollable stutter which made such an accomplishment even more impressive.
After Marcus’s success, the Federal Government worked hard to have Marcus disbarred from practicing law, on unfounded accusations, and were successful against him in a few States.  He died an American hero standing up to the tyranny of the injustice that exists in our judicial system.
REST IN PEACE MY FRIEND – YOU WERE A GREAT AMERICAN!!!


Today, I spoke to a club member who, like many of you, is also a friend.   He said, “During this pandemic, in the real world – people are dying, in the real world – there are unprecedented bankruptcies. It makes no sense that the stock market continues to move up – disconnected from reality”

He is right!   The stock market continues its almost daily rally as if the coronavirus will quickly pass and the economy will recover in short order.

There are too many unknowns that investors are not factoring into stock investing at this time.    The market has retraced approximately 50% from its lows.    Earnings season is fast approaching and the results will be catastrophic.    Today Apple led the stock rally – yet there seems to be no consideration for a consumer that has been gravely hurt or is unlikely to pull out his wallet to buy the latest version iphone.  Do you think Apple will sell many iphones to India – which has been completely on lockdown for a few weeks?   Yet I hear “money managers” say that now is a good time to buy Apple.  Complete Idiots!!

Day trading and swing trading make sense to me and I believe there is a lot of money to be made.  Most people are not trained in these skill sets so this is not a strategy I recommend to members unless you have experience.   Investing for the long term at this point could work but only because the Fed has moved its 2009 philosophy from “Too Big to Fail” to its 2020 philosophy of “Nothing will Fail”.  In other words, the Fed has decided to flood the economy and force feed as many dollars into the market as is necessary.


Today I watched on CNBC (sorry to admit that sometimes I watch this station …. long explanation and members have often heard me voice concerns). The CEO of Cheesecake Junior Restaurant in NYC received $5.5m in PPP Government Loans.   The CEO was asked if he was going to pay his staff as per guidelines of the loan and he said “no”.   He said he would use the money for necessary steps to reopen the restaurants and would only start using it for payroll purposes once the restaurant was not only opened, but guests were returning at previous levels.     In other words, “ I will do what I want with the money and not what the government tells me to do” This was a tell tale sign that the government is handing out money with guidelines that a large number of businesses will ignore and I am sure the comments of this CEO unintentionally convened fraud.


At this time anyone buying a “long position” in the stock market is gambling.   There is a good chance, due to the Feds nonstop running of the printing press, that it will “fool” investors into thinking that we are returning to the glory days of another secular bull market with low interest rates and companies using most of their free cash flow for share buybacks – but there is one consideration every investor must heed and that is – if we “reopen the economy” and the pandemic reoccurs with another shut down – the Fed will no longer have any tools left and all asset classes except gold will collapse.

For the last few years, I have been urging members to hold a position in gold.   The last few weeks I have been “pleading” with members to take a position in gold. Those who listened have now invested in the top performing asset class during this same time period.    I recommended members buy physical gold and silver in the past – unfortunately that is no longer possible as any dealer I have contacted is “sold out”.   So that means the best way to own gold now is through an ETF – as most investors are not equipped with the skill sets to analyze individual companies.   GDX and GLD are two options for ETFs.     For Canadian members the best option is CEF where you can actually take your position in physical gold and Sprott Assets Management is a company I respect in this industry.    I know I just said for members not to buy individual companies but Barrick (symbol GOLD) is the world’s largest gold producer and PanAmerican Silver (symbol PAAS) is one of the largest silver companies and I have confidence in both these companies.    I mentioned these companies only because I know members will ask me.
So members the guidance I have given to guide you through the last several weeks has been accurate.  I know that all that matters is results and my guidance has shown to provide the best results.
At the January meeting when no economist, financial analyst, media etc was discussing a possible Recession, I discussed for 90 minutes on stage at that meeting three ways a Recession could happen in 2020.   I told members to take gains and lessen stock market positions to a small position or completely liquidate.   Those who followed reached out and have said “thank you”.   Some did not and all I can do is deliver the message.  AGAIN, THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE ECONOMIST TALKING ABOUT THE PROBABILTY OF A RECESSION IN 2020 BUT AT THE INVESTMENT CLUB WE DISCUSSED THIS IN DETAIL AND TOLD MEMBERS TO PREPARE.
A few weeks ago I wrote in several articles to OWN GOLD, OWN GOLD, OWN GOLD.   Some listened and some did not.  Gold has been the top performing asset class and again I am saying OWN GOLD as insurance for your portfolio and bring the position to 10% of your net worth – up from my previous guidance of 5%.


Here is the outcome I see in the economy:

The Fed will take all steps to ensure we don’t see deflation.   The Fed has bought tens of billions in Municipal Bonds, Assets Backed Securities Etc.  If the Fed is successful, which has a high probability, then we will see a recovery in the stock and bond market but not based on true fundaments but rather massive liquidity injection.   God help every owner of assets if the economy reopens and then the coronavirus reoccurs without proper testing in place.  We will see a DEPRESSION and the Fed will have no tools left.
So it is likely the Fed will be successful and all assets classes will rise but if the Fed is not successful then all asset classes will fall and the lone survivors will be those who held gold.  As I have told members many times – if gold were to increase to $5000 plus per ounce that only means all your other assets have collapsed.  Real Estate, stocks, bonds etc.  Do you now understand why you must own Gold and to a lesser degree silver?
Members – What strategy am I am looking at for the club members to prosper in this environment?   For those who recall 3 years ago I debated with the CEO of Boyd Gaming, Keith Smith (who spoke at our club meeting) – stating that the economy in Las Vegas was not diversified enough and would again lead the collapse of all States as the economy in Nevada  is based on consumer discretionary spending.  He went on and on about how the economy was diversified and Nevada was now in a strong position and I held steady and respectfully said he was wrong.    Now all reports coming out are saying Las Vegas will be the hardest hit city in America with the highest percentage of unemployment claims etc.

So here is the opportunity as long as the economy does not shut down again.  EVERYONE HOARD YOUR CASH!  CASH IS KING!   Unless commercial and residential landlords are bailed out – by the Federal Government we are going to see very attractive cap rates again – similar to 2010.   There will be a glut of properties hitting the market.   We will consider a Real Estate Fund when the timing makes sense and see how things unfold but for right now HOARD CASH, HOARD CASH, HOARD CASH and get ready to mobilize funds for the coming opportunity.
Yes you can “trade” in the stock market but don’t take any “long positions” Don’t listen to money managers as they are always motivated by “money under management” and 99% of them have caused you massive damage by their “buy and hold strategy” in the last several weeks.   I have said too many times, “these people are the most overpaid, undertalented so called professionals in the World.”    I don’t know who I despise more – money managers who can make tens of millions while you lose money or lobbyists on Capitol Hill who act like sociopaths – with no consideration for the American people!
Members – there is no “sugar coating” I call it the way I see it!!

Caveat: Members, The current economic retraction will be the worst since the 1930s but the Fed is fighting hard.   Even with the force feeding of money by the Fed it is likely inflation will remain close to zero.  This is a fact that works against gold, but I remain bullish.   The main catalyst that will propel gold to much higher levels will be a much lower US dollar and again, because the majority of members hold all their assets in US dollars, gold has to be used as an insurance hedge for your portfolio.

Conclusion: Members, if you buy gold and it declines that is fine because it likely means the rest of your assets have maintained their value.  However, if gold increases by several hundred percentage points then it is likely all your assets have collapsed in value and this is exactly why you need to own it as insurance for your portfolio.  



Mike Lathigee News
ICOA Message from the desk of Mike Lathigee / Inflation is the likely occurrence & what members should do to protect themselves
April 10, 2020
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Members,

I have come back from a long day of meetings having been updated on what is happening in the economy. I want to encourage members to increase their position in gold and silver to 10% from my previous guidance of 5%.
For those who followed this guidance – gold futures are at a multiyear high today and I am glad you followed this guidance.  For those who followed my guidance (from my writing of 2 weeks ago) by buying an oil ETF – you have outperformed the markets by a wide margin. At this stage it would be good to take the profits on this trade, which are significant, and move on – as the risk/reward is no longer worth holding the position.
Given the fact that it is hard to purchase physical gold and silver at this time, as all the mints are closed around the world and dealers have little physical coinage on hand, investors are left to buy “paper” in the markets.
As members are aware, I have always advocated possession of physical gold and silver but that is not possible at this time. Physical gold and silver are now trading at a large premium to the actual spot price – which is very bullish for gold and silver.  For example, an American 50 cent piece spot price is approximately $5.5; however, right now – dealers are selling it for $7 plus.

I believe the Fed, with its mammoth stimulus package, will “print all the dollars necessary” to save the stock market.
(I am sure Trump and Powell are best buddies now!)
The Fed Head, Powell, actually said in an interview today that “inflation is not a concern” and the Fed will buy all assets backed securities that require support.    As a result, the Fed has indirectly opened the flood gates to much higher gold and silver prices.

I believe with the unlimited printing of paper money that the stock market will now be “saved” but it will come at a price of less confidence in “fiat” currencies.
Every Federal Reserve Bank is following a similar path and it is inevitable that gold and silver move up.    Those who were buying prior to the Fed Head interview today and ‘gambling’ – frankly you gambled right – but you were speculating and it was not based on any economic data and it was at best a 50/50 crap shoot.
All I can say is if you were buying (the last 3 days) you were lucky that Fed Head “saved your ass” because there was no economic data to support going into the market, and taking a ‘long’ position, until FED HEAD, Powell’s update.

Today the Fed announced another 2.3 trillion dollars stimulus/lending program to support US states and cities ravaged by the coronavirus.   I just cannot see how this gargantuan force feeding of money into the market cannot cause inflation and in turn – higher precious metal prices.

Disclosure: I have no personal benefit by giving guidance to members.  I could be wrong!    I am writing this because I know to date a minority of members do not even have any position in gold and silver and I am following up to encourage members to use the catalyst of today’s FED announcement to take at least a position in gold and silver.   Talk to your financial advisor or you can buy an Exchange Traded Fund like SLV or GDX.    Individual stocks have more inherit risk but Barrick is the worlds largest gold producer and trades at only 8x earnings.     For silver stocks, Pan American Silver, is one of the largest silver producers in the world and has lots of cash in the bank, proven reserves and a world class management team.
Again, I have no personal benefit for any guidance given other than – this is the way I see it ….

In the past I have always told members that precious metals are simply a hedge in your portfolio in the event every other class falls due to a catastrophe – such as a collapse in the derivatives market.

However, it is very possible, with the Fed prepared to buy almost every type of security, and there is even talk of the Fed buying stocks, we could be in a very rare situation that all assets classes move up.  But gold and silver will out perform because gold and silver are priced in US dollars.

Don’t overdo it with silver and gold and again 10% is certainly overweighting which makes sense, at this time for your portfolio.  I know the vast majority of members, over the last 2 years, have bought gold and silver (through the many interactions I have had with them) but if you don’t have any gold and silver – this is definitely time to take a position to protect your portfolio.

Finally, members, the information I am sharing – is about trying to help “my tribe”.
I ask that you share this narrative on your social media in hopes of helping others.
Below is the link.

Mike Lathigee News
The club guidance has proven to be accurate.
April 2, 2020
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Members,
The club guidance has proven to be accurate.

For example, the oil guidance has already proven to be a strong “win” for those who executed the trade.
But remember – this is a trading market and taking quick profits and getting back into cash is a prudent strategy.

For the most part it does not yet make sense to sit “long term” in any position until we have more economic indicators.
Beyond comprehension is listening to money managers (the last few weeks) as they discuss buying stock positions on dips like Apple – when a huge part of the world economy is shut down!

As I have said many times before “Money Managers are the most overpaid, undertalented, “professionals” in the workforce and the vast majority of their guidance over the last several months would have left you reeling with heavy losses.

Remember at the club meeting in January the discussion was:
The market is overvalued.
No one was talking about a Recession then – but we discussed 3 ways a Recession could occur and the guidance that night (and the last 18 months) has been to have little (to no) exposure in the stock market.
We are not trying to “toot” our own horn but we are saying that the club presents guidance that, more often than not, is not available in the popular media .

One of our objectives is to grow the club and we ask that members consider forwarding a few posts (below)
– on social media & help the club get more exposure. 

http://investmentclubofamerica.com/a-risk-reward-investment-scenario-that-makes-sense/

http://investmentclubofamerica.com/here-is-some-clear-guidance-during-these-confusing-times/

http://investmentclubofamerica.com/the-economic-and-social-impact-of-the-corona-virus-and-special-action-steps-to-take/

http://investmentclubofamerica.com/why-will-not-have-a-great-depression-the-key-word-is-mutation/

http://investmentclubofamerica.com/market-guidance-during-this-crisis/

http://investmentclubofamerica.com/investment-club-of-america-icoa-unanimously-demands-congress-to-cease-bailouts/

http://investmentclubofamerica.com/you-can-bet-100-that-lobbyists-on-capital-hill-are-working-around-the-clock-to-ensure-their-needs-are-met/

http://investmentclubofamerica.com/one-of-our-club-members-brett-gordon-has-written-an-essay-about-the-coronavirus-to-share-with-members/

http://investmentclubofamerica.com/the-damage-of-share-buy-backs-and-what-i-have-said-would-happen-for-years-2/

http://investmentclubofamerica.com/the-damage-of-share-buy-backs-and-what-i-have-said-would-happen-for-years-1/