Communist China, 1995— the dawn of capitalism.

The Hong Kong based guide talked about the free enterprise zones, building projects, golf courses, and roads with a chest full of pride and visible excitement. Capitalism was everywhere along the tour route, and judging from the advertisements on billboards and posters, the world was coming to China!

But although the government was embracing “for-profit” business for the first time, the train-ride out of the country evidenced the abject poverty of what would become a willing and able workforce. Another communist built wall was falling; another socialist society was moving closer to “The Force”.

Today, in the very birthplace of capitalism, an entrenched, arrogant, and incompetent congress equates greedy executives with the demise of capitalism while the economic force field it demeans catapults third world nations onto the leader board of global economic growth potential. Capitalism dead? Hardly.

As congressional fat cats lament the corruption of governments throughout the world, they line their pockets with favors from powerful lobbyists on Wall Street, within drug companies and insurers, and seek the bed of every conceivable public and private special interest group, ad nauseum.

hand-cuffsAn employee of a south Phoenix social-services agency was arrested Monday on charges of embezzling nearly $200,000 in government checks intended to fund parenting programs.

Rosalie Magana was indicted on three counts of theft and one count of fraud after authorities say she stole the checks from Friendly House in December 2006 and January 2007.

Two other women were arrested and sentenced in 2007 for depositing the checks in a credit union, but investigators were unable to link the thefts to Magana until last week.

Friendly House is a 90-year-old social-services agency in south Phoenix. It offers a range of programs, including job training, adult education, family counseling, immigration-law assistance, elder care, a charter school and a food bank.

Magana, 60, has worked in the finance department for six years, according to agency CEO Luis Ibarra. She also picked up the mail.

Three checks totaling $198,000 from the Arizona Department of Economic Security went missing in early 2007.

Magana was indicted last week. Postal inspectors arrested her at Friendly House on Monday. Bond was set at $5,000.
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What is it that prevents America from righting herself? Stupid, blind, unthinking patriotism — willful idiots yelling “We’re number one!” while ignoring all evidence to the contrary.
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wreck_logo227.jpgHow is it that very few investors can make real profits, grow their net worth and consistently beat the market? That’s because it often takes one or more of the following rare traits…

The vision to identify breakthrough products, leaders, and brands.
The knowledge to spot an undervalued gem in a sea of glass
The courage to buy and hold when others are running scared

Occasionally, you’ll come across an investor with one of these valuable characteristics. And it’s likely that person does quite well. But I can’t imagine a person who can offer all three.

That would take two very different and even contradictory approaches…Fortune favors the brave only!!

The global economy looks set for a rocky ride in 2008. But for investors with enough cash in their portfolios this year will offer many opportunities to pick up undervalued assets. Equities in developed markets look particularly cheap.

While economists believe that the US is already in recession, other parts of the world are still enjoying good growth. Nonetheless, lower corporate profitability, inflationary pressure decreased liquidity in international markets and the slow pace of interest rate cuts are likely to spell modest returns across many asset classes.

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staytuned.jpgHi everyone, I will be moving this blog to a new host this week. Nothing will change, but it is possible there will be some downtime, surely not more than a few more hours.

As soon as this is over, I will return to the regular posting schedule. Stay tuned.

Thank you very much for all the support!