TPN Podcasts for January 2020

This week we’re joined by Rudy Filapek-Vandyck from He explains his “super stocks” or “all-weather performer” investing strategy. In the QAV Club extended episode, Tony discusses the effect the Wuhan virus has had on the ASX and our portfolio this week, the latest results from CCP, and we break down the financials of AMI.

After The Peel Commission recommending moving hundreds of thousands of Palestinians off their land by force, the Arab Revolt re-emerged with hundreds of terrorist attacks during 1937-38 against the British and Jews – and even against Arab collaborators. The British cracked down and deported many of their leaders. Irgun, the Jewish militant group, met this threat with their own terrorism. Hitler used the situation to score propaganda points against the Jews and the British.

When Caligula’s favorite sister, Drusilla, suddenly died in 38 CE, he couldn’t cope. He made her a god, to be worshipped as Panthea, the “All-Goddess,” or “all-embracing deity”, Divae Drusillae Sorori Caius Augusti Germanici. One senator declared under oath that he had witnessed how Drusilla rose to heaven.

And now Caligula needed to find a new successor.

After the Great Arab Revolt of 1936, the British pretended not to understand the causes of Arab anger and held The Peel Commission to get to the bottom of it. Peel recommended partitioning the land, giving one-fifth to the Jews –  forcing 225,000 Arabs to move off their land. 

Early in his rule, Lorenzo de’ Medici cracked down on the town of Volterra, resulting in rampage, murdering, looting and raping. Meanwhile, in Milan, on the day after Christmas 1476, Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan, was stabbed by three noblemen as he entered church. And Larry upsets Pope Sixtus IV over a loan request, which leads to an assassination attempt in 1478 on both Lorenzo and his brother Giuliano, also while attending church. It’s known as The Pazzi Conspiracy.

As we’re into “confession season” and have “reporting season” rapidly approaching, Tony shares some of the details of the filters/alerts he uses in Stock Doctor to find opportunities. He also answers a listener question about the benefits of using free cash flow versus operating cash flow.
Our stock of the week is CIA – Champion Iron.

From his sickbed he named his favorite sister, Drusilla, to inherit the imperial “property and the throne”. But when he recovered, he decided to rid himself of some enemies, real or imagined, including Gemellus, Macro and Silanus, his former father-in-law.

Alan MacLeod joins me again to discuss the latest news about Venezuela and Iran. Alan is a member of the Glasgow University Media Group. He is author of “Bad News From Venezuela: 20 Years of Fake News and Misreporting.” His latest book, Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, was published by Routledge in May 2019.

Lorenzo de’ Medici throws himself a jousting tournament to take Florence’s minds off the fact he’s marrying a Roman girl. The ‘Queen of the Tournament’ was Lucrezia Donati, a Florentine hottie who Lorenzo was writing love poetry about, even thought she was married to someone else. His bride, Clarice Orsini, arrived in Florence a while later, and they were married just before Piero died. The marriage wasn’t altogether happy, but at least they did produce Pope Leo X.

But then the troubles started. Florence’s enemies, many of them exiled by Lorenzo’s father and grandfather, think they can take this 20 year old kid.

They are in for a surprise.

Tony answers some questions from listener Jamie in Perth about balance between property and shares. He also talks about a couple of investing books he’s been reading, and in our Club edition we analyse BSL – Bluescope Steel.

Caligula’s absolute favourite thing in the world, apart from spending money, is screwing. And seriously, who can blame him. It’s good to be the king. And, like Ray, he was happy to be a power bottom. He liked horse racing, and was fond of poisoning other team’s horses and riders. He liked actors, and was fond of beating people up who interrupted performances in the theatre. I wish we could do that to people who write moronic iTunes reviews. And then, a few months after he became Emperor, Caligula fell seriously ill. It would be the turning point of his reign.

The Nemi ships were two pleasure barges, one larger than the other, built under Caligula at Lake Nemi. Although there were several attempts to recover them from the 15th century onwards, it wasn’t until 1929 that Mussolini ordered the whole of Lake Nemi would be drained and they were recovered and housed in a museum. And then the Americans decided to drop bombs on them, and they were destroyed, lost forever.

We talk about Australia’s bushfires and America’s assassination of Soleimani.

We look at our portfolio’s month end report and how it compared to the All Ords Total Return index and answer questions from Club Member Mike L about the accuracy of future predictions. Then we talk about commodities trend lines as a source of comfort when investing in coal, and our analysis this week is GRR.

Two days after the death of Piero de’ Medici in December 1469, his eldest son, Lorenzo de’ Medici, aka Larry The Med, became the new ruler of Florence. He was 20 years old. He was a major patron of the Renaissance and the father of the future Pope Leo X.

While the Jews were trying to get close to Mussolini, the Arabs modelled themselves after Hitler. The Husseinis, led by Amin al-Husseini, aka Hajj Amin, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in 1935 set up the Palestinian Arab Party which had its own youth corp, al-Futuwwa, similar to the Hitler Youth and was even officially called the “Nazi Scouts”.

Another Arab terrorist group in 1935 was run by Syrian-born, Egyptian-educated preacher and cleric, Sheikh ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam. He had fought against the French in Syria and eventually had to hide out in Palestine. He organized a terrorist network called the Black Hand. After the “cement barrel incident,” al-Qassam lead an attack on the Jews which ended in his martyrdom, paving the way for generations of young Arab men, and which lead to the “Great Arab Rebellion” of 1936.

Our last show of 2019! Our guest this week is listener Andre Bravo, a Canadian who has a Masters in Applied Computational Economics and works in the weed industry. Oh NOW I have your attention! Andre joined us this week to talk about the app he has written to speed up his own QAV analysis, and then we get his help to analyse our first US stock – Hertz (HTZ.N). It’s an interesting one because we couldn’t use our usual tools and had to resort to pulling up numbers manually. The basic lesson is that the checklist can be used to analyse US stocks. Andre also asks a few really great questions about how Tony uses the checklist and gave a refresher course how on to simulate Stock Doctor’s financial strength rating using other sources of data.

Thanks for all of your support this year! We hope you learned a lot and are feeling more confident in your ability to analyse stocks. We’ll be back next week with Season Two!

TPN Podcasts for December 2019

On this episode:

We have our second QAV Club subscriber guest, Paul, a criminal lawyer from Sydney, who calls himself “a disastrous investor”.
Paul asked Tony a bunch of great questions about the checklist, including drilling down on why Tony doesn’t try to understand a business deeply before he invests in it (like Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch), and about understanding how to factor in shorting.

Cameron reads out some quotes from “Winning The Loser’s Game” by Charles D Ellis and gets Tony’s comments on them.

Our stock deep dive of the week is MRC – Mineral Commodities

Killer Clowns & Terror Drones

The oligarchs have worked out the model for getting people to vote for “killer clowns”. The Democrats gave Trump $738 billion to buy weapons. And America is using drones to terrorize the world.

On 15 August 1929, a rowdy group of Jewish Revisionist activists marched to the Western Wall proclaiming “The Wall is ours”. They insulted the Prophet, Islam, and the Muslim community at large. It lead to large scale riots and violence. The British were powerless to stop it.  This lead a band of Haganah officers set up their own group, called “Haganah Bet” or “Haganah B.” It would later be called Irgun and described as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, British, and United States governments.

According to Suetonius, Caligula was quite proud of his “adiatrepsia” – shamelessness. He lived in habitual incest with all his sisters and was especially fond of Drusilla. He made her divorce her first husband and marry his friend and lover Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. In 37 he interrupted the wedding of Livia Orestilla so he could marry her himself – and then kicked her to the curb 24 hours later. Then he made Lollia Paulina divorce her husband and marry him – but he tired of her in six months. Then he married Caesonia, “a woman of reckless extravagance and wantonness”. Six months into his rule, Caligula fell seriously ill. While he was sick in bed, Macro and Silanus apparently prepared for the worst. They started the wheels in motion for Gemellus to be declared the successor.

From 1921 – 29, there was mostly peace in Palestine. But the Zionist immigration continued unabated. And the larger they got, the more politically aggressive they became. In 1925, a new Jewish right-wing political party, Betar, was created, aligning itself with Mussolini – making them fascist Jews. They urged the Palestine Jews to demand full control of the Temple Mount, the site of the old Jewish temple and called by Arabs al-Haram al-Sharif (the noble compound or sanctuary), the third-holiest site in Islam.

Piero de Medici engineers a commercial coup for the Medici family that makes up for all of their recent losses. He takes over the Pope’s alum business. Alum was the mineral salts derived from volcanic deposits that were used to make dyes for cloth. Essential for the Florentine textile business.
Meanwhile Piero continues to extend Medici patronage to Florence’s artists, including Antonio di Jacobo Benci and Fra Filippo Lippi, one of the craziest and ballsiest guys ever to hold a brush.

On this episode:
* We have our first QAV Club subscriber guest – Murray Bruce from Bruce Insurance in Perth, one of our first subscribers. He asks Tony a question about whether or not he is comfortable purchasing any share that rates well, or does he do additional research on the company before making a buy.
* We discuss how much attention you should pay to stockbroker / investment banker ‘buy’ recommendations, based on an email I got this week about Scentre Group.
* We talk about Melbourne investment management firm Six Park and whether or not they should be proud of underperforming the All Ords.
* In our analysis section, we go deep on Tribune Resources (TBR)

In the early 1920s, violence between Muslims and the Jews continued to escalate. Because they didn’t trust the British to defend their interests, the newly formed (and illegal) Jewish self-defense organization, the Haganah, was formed. Churchill came to visit Palestine – and made things worse. Without a doubt, the British military continued to favor the Arabs. General Sir Walter Congreve, commander of British forces in the Middle East, said in October 1921: “In the case of Palestine [the sympathies of the Army] are rather obviously with the Arabs,… the victim[s] of the unjust policy forced upon them by the British Government.”

How does a 24 year old kid, who’s never even been on a battlefield, let alone lead an army to victory, get declared “imperator”?
How would you handle it if you were granted ius arbitriumque omnium rerum (‘power and authority over all things’) and declared princeps legibus solutus (a princeps not bound by the laws)? Would you be able to handle it?
We know we wouldn’t. Who would we have killed? Find out on this episode.

Finally, in 2002, a poor, uneducated farmer and union leader, Evo Morales, ran for the Presidency, coming third, despite the US ambassador warning Bolivians that they would be punished if Morales won. Then, in the general election of December 2005, Morales did win, becoming the first indigenous President in a country where 62% of the population identified as indigenous. The US, of course, were furious and immediately tried to get him thrown out.

The Pitti faction get Soderini elected gonfaloniere and install an anti-Medici signoria but they can’t get the guilds, who remember the troubles of the pre-Cosimo years, to agree to banishing the Medici. So the Pitti party decide to try an armed revolution, calling in support from Venice and Ferrara. In the middle of all this, Francesco Sforza dies in Milan and his house is taken over by his craaaazy son, Galeazzo Sforza, who liked to rape noblemen’s wives and tear his enemies limb from limb.

This week we talk about why our portfolio outperformed the index by 1300%, the wisdom of Peter Lynch, why Howard Marks wants to stay in the middle, and our stock analysis of the week is Universal Coal.

When the British finally captured the Middle East from the Ottomans in October 1918, under the command of General Edmund Allenby, with the support of TE Lawrence and his Sharifians, Hussein and Faisal, the British immediately tried to walk back on the Sykes-Picot agreement. They figured they did all the hard work, so fuck the French. Most British officials believed that the Arabs could be persuaded to live with Zionism. As Lawrence put it: “There would be no difficulty in reconciling Zionists and Arabs in Palestine and Syria, provided that the administration of Palestine remained in British hands.” In April 1918 Allenby established the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (OETA), headed by Major-General Sir Arthur Money, with Brigadier G. F. Clayton as chief political officer. As you’d expect, they looked down on both Jews and Arabs. Money, for one, said the Jews of Jerusalem were “bringing up the rising generation in their schools to be dirty, idle wasters.… Their men turn out more idle wasters and their women more prostitutes than the rest of the population put together.” And he regarded the Jews “as a class inferior morally and intellectually to the bulk of the Muslim and Christian inhabitants of the country.”

We pick up our series on the political history of Bolivia in 1943 with the government of Major Gualberto Villarroel López, which ended in violence and his assassination a few years later. The country continued to have coup after coup. In 1967, Che Guevara tried to start a revolution in the country, which ended up with his execution by the CIA.
Outrage at Che’s execution lead to a leftist coup in Bolivia under General Juan José Torres – but that was overthrown when Henry Kissinger urged the CIA to “crank up an operation, post-haste.” This resulted a new right-wing military coup, lead by Colonel Hugo Banzer. Torres was arrested, tortured and executed as part of Operation Condor, the U.S.-supported campaign of political repression by South American right-wing dictators, and which ran during the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and the Reagan administrations, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 60,000 people.

In 1464, with the death of Cosimo, his only surviving son, Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici – or Piero the Gouty, ‘il Gottoso’, as he came to be called – took over. He was 48 years old. He would survive – and rule – Florence for just five years. Piero was perceived to be so weak and ineffectual that long-standing friends and allies of the Medici turned against him and the family. It was a decision they would live to regret.

Tony talks about rights issues and some of the complexities involved in knowing whether to take them up or not. I know, right? Sounds boring! It wasn’t actually, I learned a lot. We also discussed a few recent news articles about value investing, Tony reveals his wine of the week, and in our analysis section we breakdown the financials of Horizon Oil.

As I’m posting this late in the day on 2019-12-04, our portfolio is out-performing the All Ords by 1300%!

I know that won’t last, but it’s a nice number to see, even if it’s just for a single day. The ASX had a bad couple of days, down 3.5% since Monday, thanks, so I’ve been told, to Trump’s intention to impose a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina. Our portfolio hasn’t moved much though. Perhaps because we’re already buying the stock at a discount to their intrinsic value?

Still, of course the ASX will pick back up and we’ll be back on track for our 200% benchmark at some point. I wonder how many companies just went QAV positive today?

TPN Podcasts for November 2019

The Balfour Declaration took the form of a letter, dated November 2, 1917, from the foreign secretary to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild, a British banker and zoologist, who headed Britain’s Zionist Federation.
In this episode we explore the Rothschilds and their relationship with Zionism.

Alan MacLeod joins me to discuss the propaganda model and how it applies to media bias on the coverage of Bolivia, Venezuela, Corbyn, Ukrainegate and Russiagate.

We talk about why we sold Apollo Tourism again.
Howard Marks and the “Great Sag”.
Tony explains how to calculate a Discounted Cash Flow in detail.
We talk about our friend Torsten’s new bitcoin film “Cryptopia” and what we think about bitcoin as an investment.
Tony reveals his drink of the week.
And our analysis this week is Tap Oil.

One of the other first things Caligula did when he took power was to release Herod Agrippa from jail – King Herod from the New Testament. The grandson of Herod the Great. Which all gives me an excuse to talk about The Maccabean Revolt and a short history on Judaean politics from 169 BCE to Caligula.

President Evo Morales was recently the subject of a coup, and has fled to Mexico. In order to provide some perspective on the current events, we take a detailed look at the political history of Bolivia – a poor country that has survived an endless number of military coups, often supported and financed by the CIA.

In this week’s jam packed episode, we answer the following questions from new subscriber Tess in Melbourne:

1. During reporting season, how do you decide which companies to put through the checklist given there are 2000 or so listed companies on the ASX?
2. The AFR new 52 week high tables have not been available since July, is there any other place I can source this info or can you recommend an alternative strategy for picking stocks to analyse?
3. I would like to be able to perform my own financial strength analysis as I do not have stock doctor. Cameron went over this briefly in one of your earlier episodes but there are some gaps in my knowledge.

We also talk about the Sohn Hearts and Minds conference that’s happening this week as well as the Wilson Asset Management AGM.

By all accounts, Caligula was extremely popular with the people, as his father, Germanicus, had been. Suetonius reports that Caligula was “the emperor most earnestly desired”. When he entered Rome, the celebrations are said to have gone on for almost three months, and more than 160,000 animals were sacrificed—and eaten.

Things in Palestine really started to heat up in 1908 – the year of The Young Turk Revolution. It was around this time that the violence between the Jews and the Arabs started to escalate beyond what was mostly localised troubles over property rights. And it took on a nationalist feel. The Jews started to arm themselves. The governor of Jerusalem, Azmi Bey, wrote: “We are not xenophobes; we welcome all strangers. We are not anti-Semites; we value the economic superiority of the Jews. But no nation, no government could open its arms to groups … aiming to take Palestine from us.”
In 1915, Britain and France sat down to work out who was going to control what in the Middle East after the war – what became known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement. By 1917, when the Allies were bogged down on the Western Front, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration. They hoped it would bring the American Jews to their cause, would help bring the United States into the war and keep Russia involved – and would stop the Jews from allying themselves with Ze Germans.

We all think we know something of the story of Caligula. We have a picture of him as a destructive monster, an insane sadist. But truth is rarely that simple. Let’s take a look at the sources and their individual biases. And let’s keep in mind that Caligula was Rome’s first true emperor.

Americans were SHOCKED to discover that Russia had interfered in their 2016 Presidential elections. How dare they interfere with the democratic process of a sovereign nation! Of course, those same Americans probably have no idea that their own country has, according to the research done by my guest today, done the same thing over 80 times since the end of WWII. And this number doesn’t even include the number of times the CIA has overthrown governments by supporting coups or regime change. Today I interview Dov H. Levin Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Hong Kong about his research on what he calls his Partisan Electoral Intervention by the Great Powers dataset (PEIG). It shows how many times the USA and USSR/Russia intervened in foreign elections in the years 1946 – 2000.

Cosimo de Medici used his network of bank branches across Europe to do more than just make money. They were also used as an intelligence network. Medici cash was spread far and wide to keep him informed about the machinations of Florence’s – and the Medici family’s – enemies. One major enemy during this period was Milan, lead by Duke Filippo Maria Visconti – Immensely fat, fearsomely ugly, rarely appeared in public, loved to roll around naked on the grass and murder his wives – and who made several attempts to invade Florence, urged on by the enemies of the Medici. When Visconti died in 1447, he refused to acknowledge Francesco Sforza as his rightful heir, so Sforza just marched his army into Milan and declared himself the new Duke, which ushered in a new era of peace between Florence and Milan – but caused huge problems in their relationship with Venice, who appealed to the German Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III to intervene in Italy’s affairs.

This week Tony answers a couple of questions from club member Dave about why Warren Buffet & Berkshire are sitting on a massive pile of cash and how Tony is preparing for a “global market crunch”.
We also talk some more about listed investment companies, the “this time is different” delusion, and some selected quotes from a video Cameron watched by billionaire value investor Howard Marks from Oaktree Capital.
And in our club section we take a look at the financials of gold miner PRU (Perseus Mining).

It’s been a while since we have caught up with Cosimo de Medici. Four years after his return to Florence in 1434, he secured a huge opportunity for Florence, that would have far reaching effects on the Renaissance – hosting the Ecumenical Council between the East and West churches. This saw a contingent of 700 Greek scholars and theologians come to Florence for an extended stay. They brought with them knowledge and documents that would change Florence forever.

Quite soon after the first Zionist emigration to Palestine, tensions between the Jews and the Muslims started to erupt in small scale violence. Zionist settler Ahad Ha’Am wrote that the other Zionist colonists “behave towards the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass without justification, beat them shamefully without sufficient cause and then boast about it.” Another early settler, Vladimir Dubnow, wrote in October 1882: “The ultimate goal … is, in time, to take over the Land of Israel and to restore to the Jews the political independence they have been deprived of for these two thousand years.… The Jews will yet arise and, arms in hand (if need be), declare that they are the masters of their ancient homeland.” And the first violence erupted at the very first Zionist colony, Petach Tikva. It wasn’t based on religious or political or racial differences – it was over land. Villagers who had worked the land had it taken away from them. They saw it as Russian colonialism.

This week Tony explains why he sometimes invests in Listed Investment Companies like Wilson Asset Management. We also talk about what to do with our worst-performing stock SMR, our extremely good end of month results, Tony’s horse that ran on Melbourne Cup day (not as good), and my son Taylor joins us to analyse oil and gas exploration and production company CUE.