Off To Italy…From One Bankrupt Country to Another

I am off to Italy for 11 days and am fired up.

It always feels like the world is going to come to an end when you own stocks and have to head off on the road. Especially when you plan to go as off the grid as possible.

I am always bullish, just not through common stock ownership these days. I own my $aapl (sold some more this week) , $amzn (sold a smidge this week), $arba, $rnow, $lpsn $epay, $siri, $ocz and sold my $intu after a long hold this week. There is no such thing as a bullet proof portfolio. Even Apple was $80 and headed to zero it seems in 2008. In 2008, Tiger Woods was to be the first billion dollar athlete and now the media writes about his financial difficulties. Outlier events happen.

I don’t believe we are in a web bubble, but I liked this post ‘ We have Two Years Left‘ from Thomvest Ventures. I never put price targets on things or predict dates of impending doom, but you can’t blame people for chasing traffic with predictive headlines.

The fighting around our debt ceiling – that we are all responsible for and playing ‘chicken’ with – is just sad. My pal Barry Ritholtz had a great debt ceiling article for The Washington Post. This was the another great post on the subject , albeit depressing. My fave part:

One Last Chance?

Most people think a last minute deal will be reached. If it is, it will be a band-aid placed on a cancerous tumor. The real problems of raising taxes and cutting expenses will be left to some committee, or to some unspecified future legislation. Or, there will be promises to slow the growth in deficits, but not really to return to the days ten years ago when the deficit was only $400 billion. Since nothing of substance will be done here and now, the rating agencies will have every reason to downgrade US debt.

Financial Armageddon may not ensue from this downgrade – the market may just have to get used to the benchmark “risk free rate” being less than stellar, because there is no alternative in market size and liquidity to US Treasuries. Still, it will be a landmark event – an exclamation point to the closing out of the American Century. Certain names will be plastered all over this debacle: Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist, George W. Bush, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama. The Democrats have to be included in this list because they acquiesced in the pay to play system, and have never challenged wealthy donors and corporate lobbyists to start contributing to the welfare of the US rather than continually working to subvert it. All of these men are too deep into the system to realize the subservient role they have played, though they must have a niggling sensation that they spent far too much of their time chasing after big donations.

If you are stressed, there have been plenty of warning signs to sell stock and get off margin (please stop with the margin).

If you are sad, read this article about ‘Khan Academy‘ and get your head straight.

You CAN change the system.

You just can’t change politicians.



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  2. Mark Essel says:

    Thanks Howard, you both ruined my morning (reading about how we got into the debt mess) and made it awesome (loved that Khan article in Wired). Have a great time in Italy, I hear the espresso is good. 

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  5. As far as those bankster gos in america or europe or anywhere else for that matter. I say lets exchange those three piece suits and briefcases’ for a good pick a shovel a bucket and some pinstripes

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