Not sure how the extra time pressure is going to affect the outcome, if at all, but I’m running very late today. In fact, it is exactly 10:29 a.m. as I sit down to these musings, whereas I would more typically start closer to 7:00 a.m.
Some wit once observed that work expands to fill the time available to do it. Another – I think it was the guy who wrote The 4-Hour Workweek – has it that if you decrease the amount of time available to do your work, you will deal with that work far more efficiently and effectively.
Let’s put the theory to the test…
The U.S. Monetary System and Descent into Fascism: An Interview with Dr. Edwin Vieira
In a recent article for this service (Precedents for a Police State), I referenced a very interesting interview I had just conducted for paid subscribers to The Casey Report with constitutional lawyer and monetary authority Dr. Edwin Vieira.
After having received a number of requests asking permission to forward the interview on to others, we decided to allow a broader distribution of the report. Call it a public service, because what Dr. Vieira has to say about where things are headed, and what may be the last remaining hopes for turning this country around, is important for as many people as possible to read.
Here’s the full text of the interview; please feel free to pass it along.
On the Topic of Fascism
Relying on only a limited number of sources (as too many do, especially when those sources skew toward a similar view) can warp one’s perspective… even to the point that what one believes seems to be reality. But reality is actually completely different (this is a big complaint of mine about the global-warming believers… sorry, make that “global climate change believers”).
I mention this because it increasingly seems apparent to me – and I am sure to many of you as well – that the U.S. is actively morphing into a police state. Hardly a day goes by without one or more reports hitting my desk that feature outrageous incidents in which the “authorities” have taken inappropriate measures that deal excessively harshly with a situation.
The arrest of people for dancing at the Thomas Jefferson Monument in Washington D.C. is just one of many recent examples.
Which has me wondering if it is only those of us who are especially attentive to threats to personal liberty who sense the stench riding in on shifting winds? Is it similar to how, after buying a white Volkswagen, all of a sudden one notices how many white Volkswagens there are on the road? In other words, is it only because we find it personally relevant and important to us that we take notice, while the masses continue through life unaffected and otherwise oblivious?
Evidence that suggests that the larger masses are sensing the same growing corruption of the constabulary can be found in a disturbing, yet interesting, post and video from the always excellent Reason.com site.
It’s disturbing because during a routine meeting of the otherwise mundane D.C. Taxi Commission, a journalist is accosted and arrested for the heinous crime of taking a photo. It is interesting because the audience, made up of everyday folk, rally to the reporter’s defense – even though the reporter is white and most of the audience is black. In addition to booing the police officers, the audience decides to walk out on the meeting in protest, despite a sycophant of the tax commissioner urging them back to their seats.
The Reason reporter, who recorded the incident on his camera phone, was then also arrested and spent the day in jail.
I defy you to watch that video without being both disgusted and somewhat encouraged by the signs that “we the people” may be growing tired of being pushed around. While democracy has its many flaws, once public outrage reaches a tipping point, the politicians do tend to start paying attention.
We can only hope.
The Greater Depression Is Now
I’d now like to turn my attention to the unfolding Greater Depression. That phrase was coined by my dear partner Mr. Casey a decade or so back as a way of describing the economic crisis he foresaw as inevitable, and which is now materializing.
Because I think it is important for every organization to constantly challenge its own assumptions, I’ve long acted as something of a devil’s advocate here at Casey Research. By constantly pushing our analysts to revisit their assumptions and calculations, it is my firm intention for us to spot the fork in the road that indicates it is time to shift strategies away from investments designed to do well in the face of a currency debasement and to something else.
Being attentive to that fork in the road is hugely important, because even though we urge our subscribers not to overdo their exposure to inflation hedges, we recognize that many do. Many a good person had their clocks cleaned in the early 1980s solely because they had become overly enamored of their precious metals – so much so that they stopped thinking of them as an asset class and began thinking of them more in the terms one might associate with an amorous dinner date. Thus these investors were utterly unprepared when said date stood up and broke a dinner plate over their heads.
With that brief setup, I want to make our views clear: While we correctly anticipated the current correction in precious metals, this correction is but a blip in a secular bull market that is very much intact.
Doug Casey has often said that the unfolding crisis is going to be even worse than he expects (which is saying something), and the longer the rest of us at Casey Research study the tea leaves, it is hard to disagree that the Greater Depression is still ahead.
- The eurozone is growing increasingly desperate. Watching the heads of Europe dither and debate over further bailouts to the unhappy Greeks and other troubled PIIGS – before ultimately reaching back into the pockets of the equally unhappy citizens in Germany and the decreasing number of still-functioning economies in the eurozone – reminds me of a down-on-his-luck blackjack player. He’s mortgaged his home to play the game, but is now down to his last chips. He doesn’t want to risk his remaining resources, but has no choice, because to walk away now will mean taking up residence in a cardboard box. And so, reluctantly, he shoves across another pile. The problem is that the game is rigged – and not in his favor. As the PIIGS start to default and either leave the eurozone entirely or are shunted off into some sort of sidecar organization, there will be great volatility in the euro and in the European markets.
- The U.S. debt situation is far worse than anyone in Washington is willing to admit. We keep hearing calls for more, not less debt creation. But if people would stop kidding themselves and tally up all the many demands the U.S. government has against it, the actual debt-to-GDP ratio rises to something on the order of 400% – and even that is likely understating things. As Dr. Vieira points out in his interview, the fundamental flaws in the U.S. monetary system – flaws that have given license to the bureaucrats to smash the limousine of state straight into a wall – have required a remaking every 20 to 30 years or so. The problem is that there is pretty much nothing else that can be done to save the status quo at this point, and so the monetary system is likely to collapse. That means big changes ahead, including – or perhaps starting with – a poisonous ratcheting up of interest rates.
- China’s miracle mirage. While having aspects of a free market, the hard truth is that China is run as a command economy by a cadre of communist holdovers. This is apparent in the cities that have been built for no purpose other than creating jobs and boosting GDP. It is also apparent in the growing inflation in China – the inevitable knock-on of the government’s decision to yank on the levers of money creation harder than any other nation at the onset of the Greater Depression. Meanwhile, signs of social unrest crop up here and there. Though so far they have been swiftly put down, there is no question that the ruling elite has to walk a very fine line. If the Chinese economy stumbles seriously, all bets are off. That we are talking about the world’s second-largest economy means this is not of small consequence.
- Japan is essentially offline. Reports from friends in Japan – including one who was initially skeptical about the scale of the problems at Fukushima – have now changed in tone by 180 degrees. You can almost feel the growing sense of desperation as the already massively indebted nation begins to slide toward an abyss. There is little standing in the way of the world’s third-largest economy’s slide.
- The Middle East is in flames. This, too, is far from settled. As usual, the U.S. government has been hopping here and there in an attempt to maintain its influence, but at this point pretty much everything is up for grabs. The odds of the U.S. retaining the same level of influence in the region that it has enjoyed over the last century are slim to none, especially now that even the Saudis are shipping more of their oil to China than to the U.S. Again, big changes are ahead.
In a moment, I’ll share an article Bud Conrad just sent over on matters related to this topic, but I want to go clearly on record that nearly everything about today’s world is going to change over the coming decade… much of it for the worse.
But that doesn’t mean that people – you – can’t come through this in more or less good shape, just as our parents and grandparents made it intact through the last Great Depression. Pay attention and take action, and you’ll do far, far better than most.
Some investment ideas…
First and foremost, protect yourself against the collapse of the U.S. monetary system. It is not as simple as ducking into the nearest coin store and loading up, though that should certainly be one part of your strategy. Between now and the end game that leads into what we can only hope will be a new money based on something tangible, there will periodically be opportunities to make big moves with your portfolio. The current correction is beginning to get very interesting for us bargain hunters.
I could give you a big pitch here for our precious-metals-oriented services here, but won’t. I will say, however, that if you are new to the sector, do yourself a favor and sign up for our three-month no-risk trial to BIG GOLD – and do it today, so you can begin bottom fishing.
As Doug also likes to say, you should do whatever you want in this world, as long as you are willing to accept the consequences. If you are willing to risk going down with the ship, then do nothing.
Some other investible ideas…
* Everyday essentials. Energy is the classic essential. Sure, energy use and prices will ebb and flow with the economy, but ultimately everyone uses energy every day, and the people in emerging markets want to use a lot more of it. Carefully thought-out investments in energy, ideally bought on the dips, belong in everyone’s long-term portfolio.
* Breakthroughs to a brighter future. Throughout modern history, companies that make significant technological advances transcend bad economic times. Do you think that the company that finds a cure for a common variety of cancer will be weighed down, even by a stock market crash? Hardly. (Speaking of which, Alex Daley, who writes our Casey Extraordinary Technology, reminded me over a game of golf recently that there are three companies he is following in that sector which are now showing serious promise of curing cancer within the next few years. “C’mon, really?” I asked. “Yes, really,” he answered without hesitation.) In cautious amounts, these sorts of potential breakthrough stocks belong in your portfolio.
* Investing in the inevitable. A ton of charts and data point to just how unusual and unsustainable today’s low, low U.S. interest rates are. When these sorts of baseline trends eventually change direction, they tend to move in the new direction for years, and even decades. No one can pick the bottom, but anyone who is paying even a little attention can and should be getting positioned to profit from a sea change in U.S. interest rates while they still can.
* One foot over the border. History has shown that having even one foot over the border can make the difference between losing everything, and coming out just fine. Internationalizing your assets is not always easy or convenient, but that doesn’t make it any less urgent that you do so.
As for crisis investments, no one has been focused on that longer or better that Doug Casey and the team here.
The bottom line is that while the scale of the crisis is beginning to become more widely apparent, and reading and thinking about it can become fatiguing for those of us who have been on this story from the beginning, the base case for a Greater Depression is fully intact. We need to gird our loins and continue to take active measures to prepare – with the caveat that even in this base case there are prudent measures you can take to assure that not all your eggs are in one basket.
In time there will be a fork in the road, and by paying close attention we’ll spot it, even while the masses are led on to a different fate by the true believers, as so typically happens.
But for the reasons just touched upon, and which are further addressed by our own Bud Conrad below, that fork in the road is still well ahead of us. And before we get there, we’ll have to be very careful in order to successfully navigate the road just ahead.
We’ll do what we can here at Casey Research to get you through.
The Dollar in a Global Context: No Place to Hide
By Bud Conrad
In the latest publication of The Casey Report, I reviewed my outlook for the year, showing how we have made progress so far on the items I watch in the economy and for investing. I use the position of the dollar compared to other currencies as a starting point for viewing the big picture, as it touches everything. I adjusted my view for stocks downward, and reaffirmed the importance of our traditional investments in precious metals. Here is the big-picture view I developed:
The dollar is vulnerable. The budget deficit of the U.S., the wars, the inability of Congress to agree on ways to fix the deficit, the long-term unfunded liabilities of retiring baby boomers, the expansion of social services like health care, the demands for covering unemployed citizens, and the uncompetitiveness of the U.S. in manufacturing on a global basis all combine to suggest that the dollar is a doomed currency in the long term.
If the dollar looks weak, one may ask if other currencies might look like safe-haven alternatives. The three alternatives are just as flawed as the dollar: The euro is plagued by weak PIIGS. The Japanese yen is under pressure from massive government debt and demands to rebuild after the tsunami that will keep deficits out of control. The Chinese renminbi is being printed at bubble-bursting speeds that make the U.S. Federal Reserve appear stable by comparison. The point is that none of the other fiat currency alternatives provide a safe haven as a store of value either.
In the short term, stopping the egregious printing by the Federal Reserve to soak up the huge budget deficits of the Quantitative Easing 2 (QE2) will probably provide a boost for the dollar because the Federal Reserve will not be printing up new money. But I consider this merely a temporary measure, since the federal government will surely need someone to buy all its deficits (treasuries) so that it can keep its programs and wars going. The Fed will be forced to return to money printing, especially if the economy appears to be weakening again and needing stimulus.
The Federal Reserve has been keeping rates low with the hope of avoiding deflation, supporting stocks, and the implied hope that it would raise housing prices enough to keep the toxic waste of overleveraged mortgage-backed securities from collapsing on banks’ books. That last item has not yet occurred. The Federal Reserve’s goal of keeping rates low creates problems for the dollar, which is why the Fed has announced its conclusion of the money printing associated with QE2. Stopping QE2 has bolstered the dollar in the short term, but it will be weakening again unless rates in the U.S. rise. Higher rates attract investment and raise the currency exchange rate in the short term. Already many of the rates of the world’s central banks have started an incremental rise after having also cut rates in the worst crisis since World War II. This trend will continue.
By the fall, we will see interest rates rising because the Federal Reserve will not be supplying new money to buy these treasuries, and because the debt ceiling on federal government borrowing will be removed to keep operating. At that point we will see a slowing of the economy, partly from rising rates, but also from recognition that the extreme liquidity that was being provided by the Federal Reserve is no longer available. Higher costs of commodities, most particularly energy and food, are slowing the economy. The Federal Reserve will want to be supporting the incumbents for the election in November of 2012 by starting a new easing program six to nine months before that. So the Federal Reserve will be back to creating new money and destroying the purchasing power of existing dollars around the beginning of 2012. Despite Bernanke’s announcement this week that QE2 is at its end and that the Fed is staying with low rates for an extended period, I think he will be forced to return to a QE3 by the beginning of 2012. It may not be called QE3 but the goal will be the same.
In an environment of increasing loss of confidence in all the fiat currencies of the world there remains only one reasonably important safe haven: physical assets. We are not done with the rise of gold, energy, and agricultural prices.
For a more comprehensive view of my analysis with 17 charts, tables, and pictures, sign up for a risk-free subscription to The Casey Report.
Another View of the FOMC Press Release of June 22, 2011
Following is the complete text of the Fed’s Open Market Committee press release, direct from the Fed’s website, on that august body’s latest prognostications. As one expects, it is full of the usual smooth talk carefully massaged to avoid rocking the boat.
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in April indicates that the economic recovery is continuing at a moderate pace, though somewhat more slowly than the Committee had expected. Also, recent labor market indicators have been weaker than anticipated. The slower pace of the recovery reflects in part factors that are likely to be temporary, including the damping effect of higher food and energy prices on consumer purchasing power and spending as well as supply chain disruptions associated with the tragic events in Japan. Household spending and business investment in equipment and software continue to expand. However, investment in nonresidential structures is still weak, and the housing sector continues to be depressed. Inflation has picked up in recent months, mainly reflecting higher prices for some commodities and imported goods, as well as the recent supply chain disruptions. However, longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.
Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The unemployment rate remains elevated; however, the Committee expects the pace of recovery to pick up over coming quarters and the unemployment rate to resume its gradual decline toward levels that the Committee judges to be consistent with its dual mandate. Inflation has moved up recently, but the Committee anticipates that inflation will subside to levels at or below those consistent with the Committee’s dual mandate as the effects of past energy and other commodity price increases dissipate. However, the Committee will continue to pay close attention to the evolution of inflation and inflation expectations.
To promote the ongoing economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with its mandate, the Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. The Committee continues to anticipate that economic conditions – including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run – are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate for an extended period. The Committee will complete its purchases of $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of this month and will maintain its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its securities holdings. The Committee will regularly review the size and composition of its securities holdings and is prepared to adjust those holdings as appropriate.
The Committee will monitor the economic outlook and financial developments and will act as needed to best foster maximum employment and price stability.
But what does it all mean? One way to interpret the language is to push it through the filter of Wordle, which then creates a snapshot of the relative import of words used in the text. Here’s the snapshot. Anything jump out at you?
So, what’s the government going to do about inflation? Cut back its spending so that the money engines can be cooled off? Well, not exactly. When I first read this next entry, I thought it was a joke. But it’s real… The government is once again seriously considering changing the way CPI is measured in order to dupe the dupes, aka John Q. Public, into thinking that inflation is running at lower levels than it is. Here’s the article from the NASDAQ website.
Change to Inflation Measurement on Table as Part of Budget Talks – Aides
By Corey Boles and Janet Hook
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Lawmakers are considering changing how the Consumer Price Index is calculated, a move that could save perhaps $220 billion and represent significant progress in the ongoing federal debt ceiling and deficit reduction talks.
According to congressional aides familiar with the discussions, the proposal would shift how the Consumer Price Index is calculated to reflect how people tend to change spending patterns when prices increase. For example, consumers tend to drive less when gas prices increase dramatically.
Such a move is widely seen by economists as resulting in a slower rise in inflation. That would impact an array of federal programs that are linked to CPI including the Social Security program and income tax brackets set by the federal government.
The proposal could lower federal spending by around $220 billion over the next decade, based on calculations by last year’s White House deficit commission, which recommended the change as part of its final report.
According to two congressional aides familiar with the budget negotiations, the shift is being “seriously discussed” as part of the ongoing talks to strike a budget deal, that would be used to ease the passage of a required increase in the country’s debt limit.
Those talks involve Democratic and Republican lawmakers from both chambers and are led by Vice President Joe Biden. The group held its latest meeting Tuesday as they strive to reach the broad outlines of a compromise on federal spending by the end of the month.
In a press conference that took place before the meeting, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) declined to comment on the specific proposal, other than to say that “a lot of things are on the table.” But asked whether the proposal would be interpreted as a tax increase and therefore a non-starter for Republicans, Cantor said it could be seen as both impacting tax rates and benefits paid out by the federal government.
When asked about the idea after the meeting, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D., S.C.) said everything is being discussed.
It is a rare proposal in that it would likely lead to both lower benefits paid to seniors and higher taxes paid by most people who pay federal income tax. As such, it could allow Republicans to argue they are tackling federal entitlement programs such as Social Security, and permit Democrats to say they are increasing taxes as part of any budget deal that is reached.
It could be easier for both parties to agree on than a significant overhaul to the Medicare proposal or an increase of taxes on wealthier Americans.
“It’s certainly something that is going to be considered,” said James Horney, director of federal fiscal policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank. “There are questions whether it would be politically easy.”
Several senators that are not party to the Biden-led talks voiced support for the proposal including Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D., N.D.), while Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.), a member of the Republican leadership team, said it should be looked at as part of the negotiations.
David again. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say I again: In its degraded state, the government will do pretty much anything it can to keep the status quo going as long as it can.
A case in point is the iconic hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic circa the 1930s. It ultimately became impossible for businesses to keep ahead of the rapid price changes – at one point, things got so bad that in a three-day period the mark lost 4/5 of its value, and barter became a dominant form of exchange for those businesses that somehow managed to keep their doors open. That is, it worked until the government passed a measure requiring those business owners to keep their shops open and accept the state’s paper marks in exchange for their tangible goods. The outcome was as predictable as it was catastrophic.
Unfortunately for the government, rigging the CPI to show lower numbers is not the same as actually lowering the numbers.
People know that inflation is already running at higher-than-reported levels, and to the extent that the government tries to say otherwise is only going to further damage its credibility. And the one thing a debt-laden government operating on a “trust us” monetary system can’t afford is to lose its credibility.
But there’s one more thing.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, in an economic depression it is not the poor who initially suffer the most, but the middle class. (The wealthy, of course, have sufficient ballast in their boats to weather pretty much any storm.)
It is when the ill effects of the depression begin eroding the narrow margin of existence of the poor (and the new poor) that the real trouble begins. And few ill effects hit the poor harder than those related to commodity inflation – as in when filling up a gas tank to get to a minimum-wage job requires trading off on food for the family.
We’re reaching that point and will definitely reach it before this is over. At that time, almost anything will be possible, including widespread social unrest, followed by a military-style response.
And on that note, it’s time for a laugh…
The Queen Is Indian
I have to confess to being a big fan of English humor, which is why I so liked this bit of video with somewhat typical politically incorrect British humor. (Click on the image below to view the video.)
A Banker’s Perspective
Another British joke, with apologies to my friends in the industry…
A banker parks his brand-new Porsche in front of the office to show it off to his colleagues.
As he’s getting out of the car, a lorry comes speeding along too close to the kerb and takes off the door before zooming off.
More than a little distraught, the banker grabs his mobile and calls the police.
Five minutes later, the police arrive. Before the policeman has a chance to ask any questions, the man starts screaming hysterically: “My Porsche, my beautiful silver Porsche is ruined. No matter how long it’s at the panel beaters, it’ll simply never be the same again!’
After the man finally finishes his rant, the policeman shakes his head in disgust.
“I can’t believe how materialistic you bloody Bankers are,” he says. “You lot are so focused on your possessions that you don’t notice anything else in your life.”
“How can you say such a thing at a time like this?” sobs the Porsche owner.
The policeman replies, “Didn’t you realise that your arm was torn off when the truck hit you?”
The Banker looks down in horror.
“BLOODY HELL!” he screams. “Where’s my Rolex?”
For You Pet Lovers
I confess to being an equal opportunity fan of both dogs and cats.
From a Dog’s Daily Diary
8:00 a.m. – Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 a.m. – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 a.m. – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 a.m. – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 p.m. – Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 p.m. – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 p.m. – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 p.m. – Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 p.m. – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 p.m. – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 p.m. – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!
From a Cat’s Daily Diary…
Day 983 of my captivity.
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.
They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.
The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.
Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little hunter” I am. Bastards.
There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.
Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow – but at the top of the stairs.
I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released – and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously mentally challenged.
The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now…….
What’s Really Going On in the Energy Patch
Speaking of higher gasoline costs, this week I came across an excellent analysis of one of the biggest hindrances to mitigating the nation’s high energy prices and wanted to share it with you. Here’s the lead-in from the article on The SPPI Blog, the title of which is Obama, EPA, Environmental Lobby Responsible for Low Oil Reserves:
President Obama’s speeches sum up his views on oil, natural gas, and energy prices in just 44 words.
“We have less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. We’re running out of places to drill. We’re running out of oil. We need to end our $4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to oil companies. We need to invest in clean, renewable energy.”
As Congressman Joe Wilson would say, “That’s a lie!” Or at least a deliberate distortion of facts.
That’s It for This Week…
As I wrap up, it is 2:30 p.m. – time for a late lunch. Sorry if I was a bit frenetic today.
It has been one of “those” weeks, and I’m not sad to see the last of it.
Oh, before I go, I wanted to mention an excellent movie you might want to check out (it’s available on Netflix instant download). As background, my son and I have been working our way though the Sergio Leone classics (eg. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, For a Few Dollars More, etc.). While many people don’t appreciate Sergio for the excellent director he is, I think the guy was something of a genius. Henry Fonda called him the best director he had ever worked with. His movies, though marked as a product of a bygone time by virtue of luxurious pacing, never fail to pull me in and keep me in until the final suspenseful scene.
In any event, coming to the end of the available films we stumbled across Duck, You Sucker, directed by Leone and starring James Coburn (in the best role I have seen him in) and Rod Steiger (always excellent). We almost didn’t watch it because the title is so stupid – but I am glad we did. It is far ranging, fascinating in its quirkiness, full of some remarkable action, humor, drama, and more. I promise you, there will be a couple of scenes that will surprise (and maybe shock) you, but all in all, it’s one of the best westerns I’ve seen.
And with that, it’s off for a bite and on to other business.
Until next time – hang in there!