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.

TPN Podcasts for October 2019

This week Tony answers questions from new QAV Club member Angela about three point trendlines, reinvesting strategies, and challenger stocks, and we analyze gold miner Ramelius Resources.

We try to go a little deeper on the Trump-Ukraine-Biden story than most of the media coverage. Apart from Trump and Joe Biden, we talk about the roles that Viktor Shokin, Mykola Zlochevsky, Viktor Yanukovich, Petro Poroshenko, Dmytro Firtash, Volodymyr Zelensky and Yuriy Lutsenko have in this story, along with American players Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and former CIA official, Cofer Black.

Although you may not think of Israel as part of the Cold War paradigm, it’s played such a huge role in American foreign policy, and we have to cover it. It’s also played, and continues to play, a huge role in the story of oil, which is, of course, a huge part of the Cold War story. Because, as you know, the Cold War was all about economics. In this episode, we give a quick overview of the creation of the State of Israel. In our next episodes we’re going to go deep into the story of Zionism.

On this episode we debunk more claims about the death of value investing and how it relates to the “Japanification” of the economy; I come up with a new nickname for Tony; And we answer a listener question about how quickly he invests new funds.
Our stock analysis of the week is the diversified leather manufacturer SCHAFFER CORPORATION (SFC).

Hand carving a piece of metal type for a printing press would take a skilled craftsman an entire day. Just setting one page of the Bible would take 2600 pieces of type. So Gutenberg needed to come up with an efficient way to manufacture type – which is a lot harder than it sounds. He also needed to invent the printing press. On this episode we go through how he did those things – and then talk about how it was all ripped out from underneath him, just as he was about to have his big victory.

The idea of Jews returning to Palestine had been around since they were evicted by the Romans, but in a modern sense it really started to take shape in the late 19th century after the pogroms in Russia. On this podcast we talk about the vision some of the early proponents of Zionism had, including Leo Pinsker, Moses Hess, and Theodor Herzl.

To kick off our Caligula series, we are doing a commentary on the 1979 epic film, CALIGULA. Written by Gore Vidal, directed by Tinto Brass, produced by Bob Guccione, starring Malcolm McDowell, Hellen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, John Gielgud, Teresa Ann Savoy, fucking, sucking, anal fisting, disembowelling, beheading, and more dicks and pussies than you can count. It’s truly a masterpiece that you need to give a second chance.

This week we have a guest – Cameron Britten from Share Analysis. As longtime listeners will be aware, Tony’s a big fan of several online tools and Share Analysis has been one of those for many years. They had a recent “re-platforming” event which took the service down for a few months. But they are back and we invited Cameron on to talk a little about the history and the future of the service. He also let us know that they are currently running an extended free trial service, so if aren’t already a member, jump over to their website and sign up today.
No stock analysis section of the show today, just the interview.

By 1881, on the eve of the start of the Zionist Jewish influx, Palestine’s population was 457,000—about 400,000 of them Muslims, 13,000–20,000 Jews, and 42,000 Christians (mostly Greek Orthodox). In addition, there were several thousand more Jews who were permanent residents of Palestine but not Ottoman citizens. The overwhelming majority of the population was Arab, about 70 percent rural. Most of the Jews and Christians lived in Jerusalem.
But then foreign Jews started buying land in Palestine. When the first Jews started to arrive from Russia, the governor of Jerusalem was ordered to bar Russian, Rumanian, and Bulgarian Jews from landing in Jaffa and Haifa. The following year he was instructed to stop the sale of state lands to Jews, even if they were Ottoman citizens. But they kept coming anyway.
Many of the Zionists had been lead to believe the land was mostly empty. Many people believe that still today. Of the Palestinians, many Zionists believed they were “primitive, dishonest, fatalistic, lazy, savage”. The Zionist leader Moshe Smilansky, in 1914 wrote:
“We must not forget that we are dealing here with a semi-savage people….”
The cause of the Zionists was supported by certain Western leaders, especially those who were Christian Zionists. Christian Zionists believe that the gathering of the Jews in Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus.

A lot of people have asked us, in our great and unmatched wisdom, to explain what’s going on with Syria, Trump, Turkey and the Kurds.

Commercial opportunities for a printing press went beyond books. One of those was the Fall of Constantinople. In 1453, the Ottoman Empire lead by 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II defeated the army of Constantine XI Palaiologos, the last Byzantine Emperor. To tell this story we also need to talk about The Great Schism, how and why Christianity split into east and west camps. Because there’s nothing Jesus loves more than a little bit of Christian on Christian violence.

This week on the show we talk about some difficulties getting Share Analysis to do what we want; a new analysis tool called QuickFS; stories about Warren Buffett; Cameron’s growing passion around QAV; changes to our portfolio involving Apollo Tourism and Stanmore Coal; and in our deep dive analysis this week we look at Mastermyne.

In 1453, when the Turks took Constantinople, Pope Nicky 5 wanted a crusade and authorized the sale of letters of indulgence—religious documents that released the buyers from penalties for their sins. And guess who printed them?
Then he finally got around to working on his masterpiece and the book he is most remembered for – the “42-line Bible,” aka the Gutenberg Bible. But just before the printing of the bibles was finished, his investor, Fust, took him to court and sued him for overdue repayment of the investment. And Gutenberg was ruined.
He eventually recovered and printed an even more complicated work – The Catholicon, a Latin grammar and a very detailed dictionary.
But the, in the early 1460s, an outright war between two contenders for the seat of archbishop of Mainz got in the way. And Gutenberg was ruined yet again.
He died in 1468, his contributions to printing pretty much forgotten.

This week we have more on the Biden business in the Ukraine including some background on the Euromaidan uprising, the role of energy supply in the regime change and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and the role of the United States (via USAID) in the overthrow of Yanukovych. As evidence for the latter, we play the leaked phone call between Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State, and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, on January 28, 2014 where they discuss who the US is going to install as the new Ukrainian Prime Minister. We also play another leaked phone call from around the same time, between Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Cathy Ashton, where they discuss who was responsible for the violence during the uprising.
At the beginning of the show I play a short clip from Unauthorized Disclosure podcast 36, featuring guest Matt Taibbi where they talk about how propaganda works in the USA right now.

We continue our live commentary on the 1979 epic film, CALIGULA. Picking up where we left off last week, still in Tiberius’ sex palace on Capri, with a lady holding a writhing legless lizard that she is apparently about to place inside her woo-hoo. Around the 18 minute mark of the film. This episode sees the death of Tiberius, the arrest of Macro, a bukake scene, Helen Mirren dancing and doing it doggy style, a possibly historically-inaccurate giant head mower, and Caligula providing a young couple with a wedding present to remember.

I found myself listening to Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler recently (one of my dad’s favourite songs when I was a kid) and it made me think of this week’s show.
“You gotta know when to hold ’em;
Know when to fold ’em.
Know when to walk away;
Know when to run.”
This week we have a lot of questions from club members about when to sell and three-point trendlines. We also talk about Tony’s horse that ran in the Cox Plate and why the checklist doesn’t have a debt-to-equity data point.
Our stock analysis this week is KSL – Kina Securities.

One fascinating witness of early zionism is Sir Ronald Storrs, who, in 1917 became, in his own words “the first military governor of Jerusalem since Pontius Pilate”. In 1940 he wrote a terrific little book, “Lawrence of Arabia, Zionism and Palestine.” This episode explain the roles of Chaim Weizmann, Herbert Samuel and World War I on Britain’s support for the zionist agenda in Palestine. The British were eager to get the Jews to help them defeat the Germans and Ottomans. They also hoped that supporting the zionist agenda would help them secure war loans from the United States – and bring the US into the war. They also hoped that putting a bunch of grateful Jews under a British protectorate in Palestine would help them secure the eastern approach to the Suez Canal, the jugular vein of British commerce.

It’s gloating time in the West with the suicide of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. On today’s show we examine the history of ISIS and how the United States and their allies created the conditions for ISIS and then proceeded to fund and arm it. We look at the media’s near complete lack of skepticism and analysis regarding ISIS and Trump’s claims as they dance on al-Baghdadi’s grave. Meanwhile, some studies suggest the US has lead to the death of an estimated 20 million people since the end of WWII, which makes ISIS’ body count seem like kindergarten.
We also cover the massive protests in Lebanon and Chile and ask why they aren’t getting the same kind of media coverage as similar, but less brutal, protests in Hong Kong and Venezuela.

We continue and finish our live commentary on the 1979 epic film, CALIGULA. Picking up where we left off last week, Caligula is fisting the married couple and he doesn’t even remove his ring. A dark and stormy night leads to night terrors, a super hot threesome between Caligula, his sister and Helen Mirren, a gratuitous but welcome sultry Italian lesbian scene, spinning plates, a Helen Mirren does Madonna dance scene, some torture, a horse in a bed, death, crazy, an orgy on a fake ship, and we close with brains being bashed out on the stairs. It’s one helluva film.