‘I am going to blow up the Earth.’
You’d be forgiven for thinking that opening quote comes from the lips of Kim Jong-un. After all, the North Korean despot has already threatened to sink the US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
Not to mention obliterating Los Angeles. And his latest threat — dropping a nuclear bomb on Darwin. That’s right. Darwin. This bloke has really lost the plot.
You do have to give him credit for taking sabre-rattling to the next level, though. And if he had a weapon powerful enough to blow up the Earth — say an illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator — you can rest assured he would threaten to do so. And quite possibly follow through.
Fortunately Kim’s arsenal remains ‘limited’ to a handful of nuclear devices…for now. That’s why we can’t credit him with today’s opening quote. That quote, and our headline, comes from this character:
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That’s Marvin the Martian, a regular patsy of Bugs Bunny’s on the old Looney Tunes cartoons. As you may recall, Earth obstructed his view of Venus. What to do? Blow it up of course. In Marvin’s own words,
‘At last, after two thousand years of research, the illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator. At last… Where’s the kaboom? There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering kaboom! Well, back to the old drawing board.’
Thankfully, for us humans, Bugs had removed the firing pin. We can only hope someone has thought to do the same with this character’s explosive toys:
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All he’s really missing here to join the ‘Looney’ family is the goofy green helmet.
Now Kim Jong-un and his predecessors haven’t been researching ways to destroy their neighbours for 2000 years. But it’s certainly been a multigenerational goal. A psychotic legacy, if you will.
And, rather astoundingly, the rest of the world has tacitly supported the family’s efforts for decades now. Not with direct technological aid. No one’s sent over Oppenheimer’s blueprints, as far as we know. But by providing energy, food, clothing and medicine to the impoverished North Korean people, the rest of the world has certainly served as enablers.
To be clear, I feel for the North Koreans. They have to be some of the most misguided dupes on the planet. And depriving them of oil, food, clothes and medicine is undeniably harsh.
But let me ask you this. Imagine if you had a neighbour who spent all his money on petrol. Not just a few jugs. But an entire shed full of the stuff. And he kept threatening to burn down your house…set fire to your cat…and torch your kids’ school bus.
Would you step in to pay for his family’s groceries and medical bills when he fell on hard times? Or would you sit back and wait until his family wizened up, kicked the maniac out, and sold all the petrol?
So here’s to hoping the good people of North Korea — and certainly the vast majority are good people — wizen up. And that Kim’s Earth shattering kaboom ends with a fizzle.
Now, with our sardonic review of global politics done and dusted, let’s have a look at the week’s top stories in Markets & Money.
This week in Markets & Money
Vern kicked off the week on Monday with a look at the French election results. Whether you support Macron or Le Pen — or couldn’t care less — largely depends on how the media chooses to portray the candidates. As Vern notes, it’s far more about influencing public opinion than reporting the facts.
While Macron looks likely to win the runoff election, Le Pen, and other populist parties around Europe, are steadily gaining ground. Why? According to Vern because, ‘The ruling socialists are running out of other people’s money.’
And Australia isn’t far behind. According to a KPMG report, 40% of Aussie households are subsidising income for the other 60%. How far can our reliance on this level of government wealth redistribution go? When will this inverse pyramid topple? Read the full story here.
On Tuesday Jason took a look at the darker side global politics. Tensions are brewing in the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, Ukraine, and the Middle East. There’s no shortage of potential flashpoints to trigger a full scale war.
Jason narrowed the focus in on the Middle East. He looked at the multiple players involved. And he explained how religion, politics, power and money intertwine to make this one hellacious mess. A mess that could still see Russia and the US directly involved on opposing sides of the conflict.
Now the US is practically awash in oil from the fracking revolution. So you might wonder why they’re bothering mucking around in Syria and Iraq at all. Jason gives you his view on the US’ global ambitions. And he offers his advice on your best investment options if a major war does break out, here.
Turning back to the French elections, in Wednesday’s Market’s & Money Jason noted investors’ exuberance at the first round outcome. Polls now indicate Macron is widely expected win in the upcoming runoff with Le Pen. That saw the Dow run back up to the 21,000 point level. Meanwhile gold — the go to safe haven asset — fell to US$1,262.
Jason cautioned that a victory for Macron is far from guaranteed. Polls have been notoriously off base this last year. If the far-right voters marshal their forces, we could well see another major upset. One that will send a fresh round of shockwaves through the world’s financial markets.
Even without Le Pen taking the French presidency, Jason forecasts a 10% plus stock market correction is on the horizon. If Len Pen wins, the correction would be even more severe. You can find out how you can trade a Le Pen victory here.
If you’ve been following Callum Newman’s work, you’ll want to check out Thursday’s Markets & Money. It’s his final edition before moving on to new challenges at The Daily Reckoning Australia.
Callum explains the mountain of ‘new gold’ Aussie banks are sitting on. That gold is your personal data…as Callum realised on a recent trip to Kangaroo Island. His bank knew about his trip more than a month before he left. Just as banks know most or all of your purchasing habits.
At the moment the banks own that data. But a proposal now before a parliamentary committee in Australia could see that ownership revert to you. What does that mean from an investment perspective? And what do Chinese mega firms Tencent and Alibaba have to do with it? Get the full scoop here.
Finishing off the week, Vern cast his eye to the biggest, most blatant lie of all. Statistics, as you know, can be manipulated to support most any argument. That could be the crime figures allegedly downplayed by the cops in the Gold Coast this week. Or Australia’s dubiously low unemployment levels.
But the biggest lie of all? Australia’s recession free run dating back to 1991. That looks impressive on the surface…until you dig into just how this quarter century of ‘prosperity’ has been achieved. And the mounting ‘payment due’ notices that lurk in the not too distant future. You can read the full story here.
Well, that wraps up another week. Now go enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Managing Editor, Markets & Money