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Investment portfolios (.pdf format - Adobe Acrobat necessary to read)
What articles has he published on management?
Examples of Websites created, maintained, and promoted:
Laurent J. LaBrie"What do you think of the war?" "We Europeans are afraid of Bush." These subjects often come up with an American living in Europe. July 4th makes me ponder this experience of being a foreign missionary and how politics affects our ministry. Since I am living in Europe Since it is Saturday and I have some time, I'd like to express my thoughts on the terrorism as an American in Europe and share what helped subscribers to my Markets Outlook avoid the financial damage of 9/11.
4 July 2004
Thank youFirst of all, on this patriotic day, I would like to thank God for the great blessing of freedom. Then a thank you to all of you who serve or have served in uniform defending our great country and all your relatives that have put their lives at risk in fire or under fire for Aurelia and my freedom. Secondly, I would like to thank the Commander in Chief. Yes, he is human and surely has made and will continue to make some mistakes. Yet, led us to put aside selfish thoughts of how much we would have to pay at the pump to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Kuwaitis, Kurds, and Iranians who lived under the shadow of a mass-murdering dictator. Seeing him endure all the slanderous accusations that he desired to conquer a country for oil and yet fulfill his promise to establish democratic self-rule is a tremendous credit to his character. Yes, it is naive to think that the terrorists in Iraq will peacefully accept democracy in the first few years, if ever. As you will see below, democracy chokes the supply line of new terrorists and these people are out for their own best interests. But, I realize that it would be impossible for the President to be re-elected under the shadow of such an unfulfilled promise. You may not think that the war was merited. But, as one of those who helped free 4000 Kurds from Hussein in 1997, I feel much better knowing that the dictator will no longer be gassing hundreds of thousands of fellow arabs. Personally, I manage to stay objective and not let the media overdramatize a few hundred casualties among US troops and Iraqis at the hands of the terrorists and detract from this admirable accomplishment. This 4th of July, we Americans can hold our heads high that we took the risk and delivered freedom to millions. Just don't tell anyone that our Supreme Court (is that a misnomer?) said saving the lives of partially born babies is unconstitutional.
If someone tells you that we could have done the same by educating the Iraqis and reducing poverty, I just read an interesting study from the University of Prague. They found that in the Middle East wealthier and more educated people were more likely to be terrorists. Among high school grads 14% more favored terrorism than among the illiterate and 12% fewer opposed them. In Lebanon, where 33% are impoverished and 23% are high school grads, among the terrorists only 28% were impoverished and 33% had that level of education. However, where people have a political choice, fewer are terrorists. (Wilson Quarterly Spring 2004 p. 91) Lay those stats on the people who said the War on Terrorism is doing more harm than good!
Of terrorism and electionsFrom the media, I can tell there has been much fear of terrorism in the US this year. I know I will be going far out on a limb writing this, but personally, as I wrote months ago, I don't think there is anything to fear until after the election. (This does not mean that we should let our guard down.) Americans are not like the Spanish. Experience shows that giving the US a bloody nose will not make us run and hide but will likely get the attacker destroyed...IF... This 'if' is the whole reason why I don't think there is much to fear from Al Qaida this year. IF we have a strong President with the moral resolve to punch back when most of our allies abandon us. From what I've seen of Kerry, he is not likely to have reacted to 9/11 as George W did. So, unless he is denouncing Gulf War II only to dishonestly win the support of pacifists, he will be less likely to lead a "coalition of the willing." (I don't doubt that this may be campaign rhetoric, as Clinton used it and then invaded Yugoslavia with figures inflated 10-times about how many people were being slaughtered by Milosovic. Many of Kerry's campaign advisors were Clinton's, but I'm going to put cynicism aside and believe he is reasonably honest.) If 2001 is any example, an act of terrorism would boost Bush's popularity as well as his chances of winning the election. A President with a punch is the last thing that Al Qaida wants in 2005-2009. They want a chance to get the US to cower in a hole like they have been able to do with all the left-leaning governments of Europe---France, Germany, Spain, Russia all ran while Italy stood with us. Yes, the socialist president of Romania stood with us, but economic benefit was likely more important than politics in this case.
Al Qaida wants the media to do exactly what they have been doing. They have been weakening Bush's popularity by making people see him as a far-right bully. They want to convince as many people that, based on poor intelligence, he invaded a weak country on the other side of the world, thereby destroying our international relationships with Europe and Arabs. (Although political pundits say that Western Europe is denying help until after the election, I was happy that Jordan and Yemen offered their military to step in to replace the Spanish troops.) By making the terrorist threat seem remote, the need for a strong President is low. This way, Americans will vote for a more passive candidate who promises lower oil prices and less outsourcing to low-cost countries (as if he will have any influence over either of them).
But don't let Al Qaida fool you this year. Their silence is the calm before the storm which I believe will come after November 4th. Remember that like Kerry in 2004, Bush ran an isolationist campaign in 2000, preaching non-involvement in other country's affairs, likely encouraging Bin Laden to strike. Bush and the US got the wake-up call less than a year later. The enrollment list in Al Qaida has grown and they are more stirred up. Thus, I doubt it will be a year after the elections before we get hit again. A stronger FBI and CIA now than under Clinton will mean it will be harder for them to organize a big event or have as many people involved as on 9/11. So it will likely be a soft target--a chemical attack, a single dirty bomb in a mall or something similar, but it WILL happen.
Of money and markets
What fallout do I see settling in your life from a terrorist attack in NY or LA? I know that having told my subscribers to be short the market for the week of 9/11 doesn't make me an expert. However, history has a habit of repeating itself, so I don't expect a change. Fear causes a flee from stocks and the dollar, increasing demand for bonds and gold. Shock disrupts lives and hurts the economy, putting us into another recession. The magnitudes of each of these will be less than in 2001, because we have had practice and they will not surprise us as much.
So how do I think we should prepare? If you are not an investor because you think it is non-Christian, please skip to the end of this letter.
Stocks.For the rest of you, just like I advocated the week before 9/11, I believe it would be wise to be net short the stock market after the election. When incumbants win, the market rises an average of 1.8% in October. When incumbants lose, the market rises an average of 2.5% in November. So, between the two months, we are likely to be in pandemonium when the majority will be happy that their man (whichever it is) has won. It would be good to go against the tide and sell stocks.
Bonds.Many are saying that bonds are dead and some are calling for shorting bonds. I wholeheartedly disagree. The Fed raised interest rates, which I wrote beforehand would be unwise. The next day, CNN seemed to relish that the new job numbers showed the folly of thinking that the economy was strong enough to warrant the 1/4th point rise. (Surprised?) I believe the Fed is shadow boxing as I see a good economy but one where lack of jobs will keep wages and inflation down. Oil is our only threat, and raising interest rates will not have any effect on oil prices, other than putting us into a recession which will decrease productivity and oil demand, which is more likely. Long rates are substantially higher than the inflation rate and are a good buy, especially if we get attacked by terrorists. You will not want to be short bonds if that happens.
Gold and the dollar.As I have been saying since the Spring, gold prices will go nowhere until the Fall and if the terrorists hit, you will want to be in gold. The dollar? That is probably the only asset that will depend on who gets elected President. If we get a weak Chief Executive who just bandages wounds and does nothing to stabilize the world, the dollar will not do well, but few currencies will do well in that case. If the reaction is strong as Bush's was in 2001, currencies and the foreign stock markets will recover the initial shock knowing that the world's policeman by default is still on the beat and Osama Bin Laden does not control the world. History will repeat itself if we decide to let it.
Summary: Al Qaida wants George W. Bush to lose the 2004 election, and so end the War on Terrorism that the people in the United States have waged. Thus, they will likely wait until after the election for their next terrorist act. However, when terrorists do strike the country, they will cause a drop in the stock market and a rise in bonds.
Copyright 2004-6 Laurent J. LaBrie
By the way, I got this e-mail, after which I confirmed Rep. John Kerry's words with his website www.johnkerry.com to ensure accuracy. Pretty negative on the Democrats and their candidate:
From: Jerry Krause
Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2004 1:19 PM
Subject: Setting the record straight on Democrats and WMD's!
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
- President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
- President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
- Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
"We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
- Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Kerry ( D - MA), and others Oct. 9, 1998
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998
"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretar y of State, Nov. 10, 1999
"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
- Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, Decemb er 5, 2001
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
- Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
- Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002
"I will be voting to give the President of the Unite d States
the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein
because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction
in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
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"A good manager is a man who
isn't worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who
work for him... Don't worry about yourself! Take care of those who
work for you and you'll float to greatness on their achievements."---HSM
Copyright Laurent J. LaBrie 2004-2006