The Room

This insightful blog provides a unique perspective on the world that you just won't find anywhere else. The Room is an eclectic mix of geopolitical and market commentary with a personal story thrown in here and there. Never willing to take any subject too seriously, David Galland delivers a "great read" that informs and entertains.

  • The Room – 05/01/2009

    I am writing you in some haste this morning, fueled both by what may be an overdose of espresso and a general lack of sleep due to fulfilling my responsibilities as the managing editor of The Casey Report, the final copy deadline for which is inconveniently today.

    In the interest of not being discovered face down on my desk, a spilled cup of coffee dripping onto the floor, I'm going to take a few shortcuts in preparing this week’s edition of The Room. Namely, relying on other members of the Casey team, as well as our impressive ranks of correspondents, to fill in some holes. I think you'll be happy with the result.

    First, however, a quick word or two is in order about the Chrysler bankruptcy. In last week's edition of this somewhat manic missive, I opined that Chrysler’s bankruptcy was now both inevitable and imminent. Further, I wrote about the proceedings, which have the U.S. Treasury deeply involved in structuring the bankruptcy......
  • The Room – 02/20/2009

    We’re going to be flying low and fast in this weekly scan of the landscape in the quest for items that are 'important,' as opposed to 'merely interesting.' At the top of the list of what we would consider important is the increasing likelihood that the wheels are about to come off the global economy. And, worse, fly through the air and wipe out any number of innocent bystanders. (By now, you and the other readers of our services should already be safely in the duck-and-cover position.) It is becoming clear that more than just our subscribers are beginning to understand the depth, severity, and nature of this crisis: as I begin writing this morning, gold has rebounded to just a few ticks away from the $1,000 mark. By the time I am finished today, we could see that mark taken out. More on that topic later, but first......
  • The Room – 07/10/2009

    In the June edition of The Casey Report, and again in the edition that was put to bed July 2, we warned that the U.S. equities markets were on the edge of the next leg down in the slow-motion crisis now unfolding.

    While there is no such thing as a sure thing, the idea that the worst could be behind the economy is almost unimaginable, given the deep structural flaws and governments doing what Doug Casey correctly calls the 'exact opposite' of what they should be doing.

    Namely trying to solve a debt crisis by adding more debt.

    Of course, as turmoil returns to the broader stock market, investors will again scramble for "safe harbor" investments, and that spells trouble for commodities and commodity-related equities, which are viewed by many as 'recovery' investments....
  • The Room - 09/26/2008

    What a world I have returned to from my cloistered retreat at the beautiful Vivenda Miranda, scenically situated on a cliff outside of the quaint port town of Lagos, Portugal. Everything has changed. Everything is changing. The storm we have so long tried to help you prepare for is upon us. At this point, I can only hope you have your sails rigged for the storm now breaking, because time is running out. The violent volatility I warned of when last I wrote has arrived, with towering waves now rising up and smashing into the economy - and as an unavoidable consequence, our personal portfolios -- from all sides. Overnight the holders of my mortgage, WaMu, failed, the largest bank failure in history. This week, the golf course that I usually play on was taken over by the government... last week it belonged to AIG. As you don't need me to tell you, that same government now wants to spend over a trillion dollars to bail out Wall Street and to shore up the money market mutual funds - which have so far flown under the radar screen despite portfolios stuffed to the brim with bad paper. While no one was paying attention, U.S. automakers used their election year leverage to win approval for $25 billion in low-interest loans....
  • The Room 09/12/2008

    In today's "special" edition of the Room, I want to go somewhat beyond the latest news and observations on same. Instead, I want to discuss the big picture as it relates to the U.S. and global economy. I do so because it is growing more important with each passing day to get a solid fix on where things stand and, more importantly, where they are going next and how you can protect yourself. It's hard to overstate just how unpredictable and dangerous the economic and investment environment has become. While these are topics we'll be covering in today's online event, Casey's Crisis & Opportunity Update, the situation at this point is moving so fast, and is so highly charged, that it is time to pay very, very close attention to things. As you should expect, we have been furiously fingering the tea leaves in an attempt to make actionable sense out of the big moves now in motion. While there is much that we know about the unfolding events, there is also much that is unknowable – for instance, how much longer the long-suffering foreign holders of U.S. dollars will be patient....
  • The Room – 03/20/2009

    I worry I shall disappoint you today. After all, how can mere words, pecked out awkwardly on a shaky airplane table, adequately communicate all that has occurred this week?

    As regular readers may guess, the plane I am on is taking me to Las Vegas for our sold-out Crisis & Opportunity Summit. While the event was deliberately scheduled to give the Obama administration an opportunity to reveal its cards after having been handed Bush's busted hand, the timing has turned out to be especially propitious, coming as it is at the end of a week that seems to be of some historic significance.

    Of course, we wish you were joining us here in Las Vegas -- if you aren't -- but as your correspondent, I will certainly include notes from the event in next week's missive. But that is then, and this is now.

    And now, everything is going to hell....
  • The Room – 02/27/2009

    This morning, as I was looking over dispatches from correspondents around the world -- from Ed in Alberta… Sadia in the UK… Baldy in Indonesia… the 'General' in Portugal...and Nitin in Katmandu -- I began to appreciate what it must have been like to be on the news desk during World War II. I am trying not to be overly pessimistic, but there’s no denying the mass of bad news coming to us from all fronts: the forces of collectivism are using the cover of the crisis they largely created, aided and abetted by capitalism’s quislings, to roll over the individual. Even so, contained within the dire reportage is also some very good news for you personally, and I’ll touch on that as well in today’s missive....
  • The Room - 10/24/2008

    I have woken in the pre-dawn to find our direst predictions coming true, with global stock markets taking yet another pounding and U.S. stock futures limit down. Serving as a proxy for the mindset now gripping governments around the world, French President Sarkozy has announced that the French government will, henceforth, buy shares in important French companies in an attempt to prop them up. 'We will intervene massively whenever a strategic enterprise needs our money,' said Sarkozy, a supposed economic conservative, as he pounded the table on behalf of nationalizing industry. The New Age of big government is upon us. Armed with Harry Potter-like magical monetary wands, they are wildly conjuring a deluge of money from thin air to bind the free market and keep it from facilitating the resolution of economic and investment dislocations created over decades. Bud Conrad tells me he is having a hard time adding up all the fiat money that has been committed to the battle for economic - and, by extension, political - survival over the past couple of months. The numbers rolling off the lips of officialdumb have progressed well past the hundreds of millions, or even hundreds of billions, and have now reached the trillions. In that theme, the Fed announced this week that it would drop over half a trillion - $540 billion, to be exact - on the purchase of suspect commercial paper now clogging the portfolios of 'safe harbor' money market funds. Given that there is a total of $3.4 trillion of your money resting in those very same funds, the commitment of $540 billion - about 16% of the total - should be taken as an indicator of just how bad the problem really is....
  • The Room – 06/12/2009

    Again this week, I was admonished by one of your fellow dear readers, who recommended that I keep my political comments to myself. And furthermore that I, and the entire Casey team, should focus solely on finding the next great investment.

    While I can’t and won’t argue with the latter part of his advice -- that is, after all, our overarching mandate, and a mandate we take seriously - I suspect the real issue is that the political views we occasionally express run contrary to those of the author of this rebuke.

    Even so, if you give the matter any thought at all, you will almost have to conclude that the business of America is now hugely dependent on the business of government.

    As a refresher, the following – compliments of the Encyclopedia of Business – describes the two major foundations economies have typically been built on in modern times: central planning and capitalism....
  • The Room – 03/27/2009

    For this edition of The Room, I'm going to try to tell a story, but using snippets from other sources with, perhaps, a side comment thrown in now and again.

    I am taking this approach because, frankly, since hopping on the plane to Las Vegas last week, the sheer volume of proposed new regulations, legislation, and plain idiocy have outstripped my processing abilities. It seems that every hour or two over the past week, there has been a breaking story that has me saying out loud, 'What, are you kidding?' Or, 'Wow... we're really in trouble now!'

    It came to me as I started writing to you this morning, that these many stories – rather than just random spatters of inanity – together form a distinct pattern. And the pattern seems to point to a new paradigm now materializing here in the U.S. and, by extension, the world.

    As I think the following stories demonstrate, the new paradigm is not one any thinking person will embrace....
  • The Room – 06/19/2009

    Yesterday marked the end of Obama’s first 150 days at the helm of the U.S. of A. None of us doubted that Obama was a savvy and ambitious politician, but even we are impressed by the sheer number of new initiatives the president has undertaken. In less than five months, there are very few campaign promises he has failed to tackle.

    One has to wonder, however, whether Obama may be failing to deliver on the biggest of his campaign promises – that of bringing change to Washington. Weren’t we supposed to see the end of politics as usual and of government waste and pork? Instead, we’ve gotten more of the same, with Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, and their ilk still in charge and Geithner replacing Paulson. The doors continue to revolve between Wall Street and K Street, with the same cabal influencing policy....
  • The Bursting Commodities Bubble

    A steadily growing drumbeat is sounding throughout financial mediadom; a major commodities blowout is in the cards. The most widely quoted reason is a U.S. recession that will sympathetically pop the commodity bubble. It seems to me that these views are intertwined with a changed perception of how the economy works. A new paradigm if you will. People used to pay homage to the notion of a business cycle, a somewhat predictable and even stately progression of economic growth leading to excess, followed by a corrective recession. After which the cycle would begin anew....
  • The Room - 10/03/2008

    We're no longer in Kansas, Dorothy. At this point, the world's financial markets are in the firm grasp of a massive tornado. Our vision is blurred with fast-moving images of abandoned houses, crumbling banks, pontificating politicians, alien-looking Treasury secretaries on one knee, and suicide stock and commodities charts. When the whole mess crashes back on terra firma, the landscape will look considerably different. But, what? We remain convinced that the result, with the unavoidable time lag, will be inflation on an epic, global scale. But if history provides one lesson in rich abundance, it is that the future is unpredictable. Who is to say that the government of these United States -- and of similarly indebted and in-trouble countries "over there" -- aren't too late to the game? Or that even $700 billion, or a trillion... or...?... will not prove to be too little, too late?...
  • The Room – 06/05/2009

    In this week's edition... Unemployment Falls!...Housing Market Bottoms!... introducing the Special Master for Compensation... Gold Can't Be Beaten... Debt Collapse and Inflation.... Big Banks Buy a Smelly Swamp...do you need Adult Supervision?... Saving Private Brown.... and even more!

    All in this week's edition of The Room... read it now....
  • The Room – 05/22/2009

    A dose of sanity returned to the markets this week, starting with cracks beginning to show in the U.S. dollar. Consequently gold, the not-so-barbaric relic, seems to be attracting an awful lot of attention. Instead of falling, as so many pundits have been predicting it should, it has begun to string together a number of impressive up days. Another run at $1,000 in the weeks just ahead is not out of the question.

    Also this week, the U.S. stock market hit a pothole on the road to Happy Days Again, helped along, apparently, by massive selling by corporate insiders......

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