Straight Talk

Straight Talk

Straight Talk with Frank Barbera: Time to Seek Defense Against 'Hyper-Stagflation'

Monday, June 20, 2011, 9:48 PM

"Straight Talk" features thinking from notable minds that the PeakProsperity.com audience has indicated it wants to learn more about. Readers submit the questions they want addressed and our guests take their best crack at answering. The comments and opinions expressed by our guests are their own.

This week's Straight Talk contributor is Frank Barbera, one of the top experts on precious metal mining companies and editor of the respected Gold Stock Technician newsletter. In his analysis for investors, Frank overlays a macro outlook on top of highly-rigorous technical analysis, and employs a market-timing based approach to reduce the inherent volatility within this high-beta sector. For many years Frank has also managed private equity capital, most notably for the Caruso Fund, with particular focus on precious metals, energy and currencies.


1. How do you view gold and silver prices at current levels?

Gold and Silver both look to be in fairly good shape technically, with Gold still acting exceptionally robust. » Read more

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Straight Talk with Jesse: Concentration of Wealth & Power Is the Root Problem

Monday, March 28, 2011, 6:30 PM

"Straight Talk" features thinking from notable minds that the PeakProsperity.com audience has indicated it wants to learn more about. Readers submit the questions they want addressed and our guests take their best crack at answering. The comments and opinions expressed by our guests are their own.

This week's Straight Talk contributor is 'Jesse', founder and proprieter of Jesse's Café Américain (jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com), one of the more esteemed and veteran econoblogs. Jesse publishes regular observations on the macroeconomic factors impacting the financial markets, as well as exceptionally rich technical analysis - his price forecast charts of gold and silver are 'must reads' for anyone who seriously invests or trades precious metals. Recently, his site was rated as the fourth-most-influential blog in financial media by Mindful Money.


1. Jesse’s Café Américain has emerged as a well-regarded source for insight into the key indicators driving the markets. Can you summarize your overall outlook for the economy and what macro trends investors and traders should be following most closely?

Stagflation has been my forecast for quite some time as the most likely outcome, with a real protracted deflation or hyperinflation as lesser probabilities.   » Read more

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Straight Talk with John Rubino: The Damage Is Already Done

Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 2:01 PM

"Straight Talk" features thinking from notable minds that the PeakProsperity.com audience has indicated it wants to learn more about. Readers submit the questions they want addressed and our guests take their best crack at answering. The comments and opinions expressed by our guests are their own.

This week's Straight Talk contributor is John Rubino, publisher of DollarCollapse.com, a popular hub for news impacting the economy. John is the author of several well-received books foretelling (years in advance) the collapse of the housing market and the decline of the US dollar. Before starting his website, John was a featured columnist with theStreet.com, Individual Investor, and a number of other influential financial publications. His perspective on Wall Street and the currency markets is shaped by his past roles as a Eurodollar trader, equity analyst and junk bond analyst in the 1980s.


1. Several times, you’ve published prescient forecasts when it mattered. For example, you and James Turk published The Coming Collapse of the Dollar and How to Profit From It in 2004 – about a year and half before the US Dollar Index dropped from 90 to nearly 70. Similarly, How to Profit From the Coming Real Estate Bust was released in 2003. What led you to accurately predict these major market moves so far in advance?

I’ve been involved, one way or another, with financial bubbles for most of my life. » Read more

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Straight Talk with Catherine Austin Fitts: We Are Victims of A Financial Coup D'Etat

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 10:14 PM

"Straight Talk" features thinking from notable minds that the PeakProsperity.com audience has indicated it wants to learn more about. Readers submit the questions they want addressed and our guests take their best crack at answering. The comments and opinions expressed by our guests are their own.

This week's Straight Talk contributor is Catherine Austin Fitts: investment advisor and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Solari Investment Advisory Services, where she offers subscribers guidance for navigating the risks of the global financial system and the political economy. (FYI: Chris will be the guest on her weekly podcast, The Solari Report, on Feb 3). Her perspective on Wall Street and Capitol Hill are shaped by her past roles as Assistant Secretary of Housing under George H. W. Bush, and before that, as Managing Director and board member for the investment bank Dillon, Read & Co. 


1. Despite (or perhaps because of) your time as Assistant Secretary of Housing under Bush Sr., you are extremely critical of the government’s financial stewardship. What, if anything, changes with administrations and how much is institutionally baked into the cake?

The federal financial model is institutional, and its ultimate governance is outside of the government. » Read more

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Straight Talk with Paul Kedrosky: Don't Count on Technology To Save Us

Friday, January 21, 2011, 10:38 AM

"Straight Talk" features thinking from notable minds that the PeakProsperity.com audience has indicated it wants to learn more about. Readers submit the questions they want addressed and our guests take their best crack at answering. The comments and opinions expressed by our guests are their own.

This week's Straight Talk contributor is Paul Kedrosky. Paul is an investor, writer, entrepreneur and editor of the widely-followed econoblog Infectious Greed. He is a prolific engine of commentary on the economy, the markets, and society - often looking through the lens of how technology serves (and dis-serves) all three. Paul is also a Senior Fellow at the Kaufman Foundation, an advisor to Ten Asset Management, The Berkeley Center for Innovative Financial Technology, and other companies and venture capital firms. He tweets tirelessly via @pkedrosky.


1. You spend your time focusing on the intersection of entrepreneurship, innovation and the future of risk capital. From your vantage point, what are the most important trends you see right now to be driving – or threatening – the advancement of our society?

The list is endless. High on that list, however, is financialization: the absurd, uneconomic and disastrous distortions introduced into the U.S. economy by its overreliance on the financial sector. » Read more

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Straight Talk with Tyler Durden: The U.S. Is Free-Falling Into Bankruptcy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 10:46 AM

"Straight Talk" features thinking from notable minds that the PeakProsperity.com audience has indicated it wants to learn more about.  Readers submit the questions they want addressed and our guests take their best crack at answering. The comments and opinions expressed by our guests are their own.

This week's Straight Talk contributor is Tyler Durden, founder and chief demagogue of the popular econoblog Zero Hedge. Zero Hedge's mission is to bring back a more critical, rigorous, and informed style of commentary and synthesis for the professional investing public. The blog has experienced explosive growth in it's two-year existence, due in part to its prolific coverage of financial events as well as its unapologetic (some say controversial) editorial approach, which is often highly critical of today's economic and political leaders.


1. What led you to start Zero Hedge? Was there a particular story or moment? For many of our readers, you have become the CNN of the Great Collapse (this is seen as a positive thing). Is this what you set out to be?

Zero Hedge was started two years ago in the aftermath of the Great Financial Crash, as coined by Bill Buckler, when we realized there is a substantial vacuum in information distribution, and to a lesser extent, processing. The financial media world was (and to a great extent still is) dominated by journalists who were learning finance on the job and thus were incapable of putting the dots together on most stories under investigation. » Read more

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Straight Talk with Charles Hugh Smith: Why The Status Quo Is Unsustainable

Sunday, December 5, 2010, 5:57 PM

"Straight Talk" features thinking from notable minds that the PeakProsperity.com audience has indicated it wants to learn more about.  Readers submit the questions they want addressed and our guests take their best crack at answering. The comments and opinions expressed by our guests are their own.

This week's Straight Talk contributor is Charles Hugh Smith, who has been an independent journalist for 22 years. His weblog, www.oftwominds.com, is a daily compendium of observations and analysis on the global economy and financial markets, as well as notable political, social, and cultural trends. Charles has authored a number of books across several genres, including the recent Survival+: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation.


1. Of the many forces at play that you write about within the economy, society, and politics, which ones do you see as the most defining for the future? How do you expect things to unfold?

CHS:  Clearly, demographics and Peak Oil are forces which cannot be massaged away by policy tweaks or financial engineering. I think the exhaustion of Global Neoliberal Capitalism and State Capitalism is apparent, as is the bankruptcy of the two ideologies that more or less define our politics. The reliance on expansion of credit and State power is a dynamic with only unhappy endings. » Read more

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Straight Talk with G. Edward Griffin: What's Coming Next Isn't Pretty

Monday, November 29, 2010, 2:19 PM

"Straight Talk" features thinking from notable minds who you, the PeakProsperity.com audience, have indicated that you want to learn more about.  Readers submit the questions they want addressed and our guests take their best crack at answering. The comments and opinions expressed by our guests are their own.

This week's Straight Talk contributor is G. Edward Griffin -- political lecturer, film producer, and author.  In his best-known book, The Creature from Jekyll Island, Griffin details how money is created and exposes the anything-but-boring history of how the Federal Reserve came into being. The book provides one of the best explanations of how our monetary system works, as well as a prescient foreshadowing of the Fed's bailout of the financial system at taxpayer expense.  


1. Practically everything that you outlined in your book The Creature From Jekyll Island has come to pass.  Bailouts, increased centralization of power, all of it.  Now what happens?  We are having a hard time envisioning the current debt-based fiat money system surviving for much longer (let alone forever).  If not fiat money, then what?   What are the next moves for those who might wish to see the continuation of their extremely lucrative franchise?

GEG:   What happens next also is portrayed in my book, and it isn't pretty. » Read more

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Straight Talk with James Howard Kunstler: "The World is Going to Get Rounder and Bigger Again"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 10:29 AM

"Straight Talk" features thinking from notable minds who the PeakProsperity.com audience has indicated that it wants to learn more about. Readers submit the questions they want addressed and our guests take their best crack at answering. The comments and opinions expressed by our guests are their own.

This week's Straight Talk contributor is James Howard Kunstler, author and social critic. His better-known works include The Long Emergency, in which he argues that declining oil production will result in the decline of modern industrialized society and compel Americans to return to smaller-scale, localized, semi-agrarian communities; World Made By Hand, and its sequel, The Witch of Hebron, all published by The Atlantic Monthly Press. He writes a weekly blog is also a leading proponent of the movement known as "New Urbanism." 


1. When will the average US citizen wake up to the perils of Peak Oil?

JHK:  When a crisis comparable to the 1973 OPEC embargo -- with lines at the filling stations and hefty price-hikes --  whaps them upside the head. » Read more

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Straight Talk with Steve Keen: It's All About the Debt

Monday, November 8, 2010, 11:10 AM

"Straight Talk" features thinking from notable minds the PeakProsperity.com audience has indicated it wants to learn more about. Readers submit the questions they want addressed and our guests take their best crack at answering.

This week's Straight Talk contributor is Steve Keen, Associate Professor of Economics & Finance at the University of Western Sydney and author of the popular book Debunking Economics and the website Steve Keen's Debtwatch.  Steve's research focuses on the dynamics of debt and leads him to believe that debt-deflation is the key issue that will continue to dictate what happens in the global economy.


 1. Much of your research is complex. Can you summarize some of the more important conclusions of your work in ‘layman's’ terms for us?

Steve: Sure. My work is complex in part because I reject conventional economic analysis, which has infected how ordinary people think about the world—just as the Ptolemaic view of astronomy infected people’s minds prior to the Copernican revolution. So to explain my work I have to start with where I differ from conventional “neoclassical” economists, who now are rather like Ptolemaic astronomers—who tried to understand what they see in the sky by inventing more and more “spheres” on which heavenly bodies were supposed to rotate, rather than accepting Copernicus’ far simpler model of a solar system centered on the Sun.

The key ways are that I see the economy as being credit-driven, and out of equilibrium all the time. The economy needs an expanding supply of money to grow, and in our credit-driven economy, most of that expansion is driven by rising debt. » Read more