Grow Your Portfolio the Intelligent Way

Beto’s Tone Deaf Anti-Gun Rally

  • Beto’s Tone Deaf Anti-Gun Rally
  • ETF Talk: Gain Exposure to Europe with this ETF
  • The Importance of Helping, and Turning Ideas into Successful Companies
  • The Wisdom of Purpose

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Beto’s Tone Deaf Anti-Gun Rally

In his youth, Democrat presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke used to be a punk rocker.

His band “Foss,” which still has a Myspace page, did a couple of U.S. tours and made a few “DIY,” or do-it-yourself recordings during the early 1990s. I am not familiar with the band’s music, but there is one thing I can confidently speculate about it — Foss and Beto weren’t influenced by the classic rockers Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

How, you ask, can I make this statement with so much confidence?

The reason why is that during a recent visit to Kent State University in Ohio, O’Rourke argued for his radical, anti-Second Amendment position that the federal government should confiscate all so-called “assault rifles,” such as AR-15s and AK-47s, from the citizenry. He also spoke in support of his proposed ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of military-style assault weapons.

But what’s so special about Kent State University and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young?

Well, I present to you the band’s classic protest song: “Ohio.”

In case you’re not familiar with it, here are some of the lyrics:

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming

We’re finally on our own

This summer I hear the drumming

Four dead in Ohio

Gotta get down to it

Soldiers are cutting us down

Should have been done long ago

What if you knew her

And found her dead on the ground

How can you run when you know?

Now, while the original version of this song is a brilliant, unrivaled classic, another version of the song by Ben Harper is actually my favorite, but I digress.

The wider point here, of course, was perhaps put best by Eric Boehm at Reason.com, who wrote, “Of all the places to argue that only the government should be trusted with guns, Beto O’Rourke picked…Kent State University.”

Indeed, that’s because during a peaceful anti-Vietnam War protest on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard used its military assault rifles by opening fire on the protestors. The ugly incident left four students dead and nine others injured. And of course, it was this incident that prompted Neil Young to write this beautifully haunting anti-government protest anthem.

Beto O’Rourke, photo courtesy Shutterstock

As Boehm writes, “Invoking armed agents of the state gunning down unarmed civilians is an interesting way to argue that Americans would be better off if the government forcefully disarmed private citizens. But hey, I guess that’s why we keep being told Beto’s an ‘unconventional’ candidate.”

“Unconventional” is one way to describe Beto. But in this case, I will describe him more accurately as simply culturally illiterate.

If there were ever an episode in American history that illustrates government’s abuse of the monopoly on force, it’s the Kent State shootings.

And, as Boehm notes, “O’Rourke’s plan to take guns out of private citizens’ hands would not have prevented the Kent State massacre. But it would create lots of new opportunities for agents of the state to point guns at Americans who aren’t a threat to anyone.”

And herein lies the really dark element to Beto’s thinking on this issue. It’s the notion that you, the citizen, cannot be trusted to exercise your Second Amendment rights.

Rather, Beto and his cohorts know best what kind of weapon you need to protect yourself, and if you disagree, well, you are going to be punished by the federal leviathan. And who knows, maybe you’ll even be gunned down by the National Guard during a peaceful protest.

Oh, wait, that could never happen in America, could it?

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ETF Talk: Gain Exposure to Europe with this ETF

The JPMorgan BetaBuilders Europe ETF (BBEU) seeks investment results that closely correspond to the Morningstar Developed Europe Target Market Exposure IndexSM.

The Index is a free-float adjusted market-cap weighted index consisting of stocks that are traded on the primary exchanges in developed countries across Europe. By using a “passive” investment approach, the fund attempts to replicate the Index as closely as possible.

BBEU offers low-cost exposure to developed European countries. The index includes companies in the top 85% of cumulative market capitalization, so small-cap stocks are excluded from coverage — a common concession in the international equity space, though several competing funds reach deeper. Still, a small basket of larger firms means that BBEU is cheaper to manage and allows the fund to charge a low fee relative to its competition.

The exchange-traded fund (ETF) has holdings in developed European countries, with the United Kingdom ranking first with 26.90% of the fund’s assets, France placing second with 17.29%, Switzerland coming in third with 15.31%, Germany finishing fourth with 11.77% and the Netherlands ending up fifth with 5.90%.

Its top holdings are Nestle S.A. (OTCMKTS:NSRGY), Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS), Roche Holdings (OTCMKTS:RHHBY) and HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HSBC).

Source: StockCharts.com

This ETF has $3.75 billion in assets under management, a $76.70 billion average weighted market cap and 536 holdings. Its average spread is 0.05% and its expense ratio is 0.09%, meaning it is relatively inexpensive to hold compared to other exchange-traded funds. BBEU currently trades around $23.85. It also pays a rising quarterly dividend, which provided a $0.146 per share payout on Sept. 24, giving it a 3.30% yield.

BBEU has its largest exposure in Financials, Consumer Non-Cyclical, Health Care, Industrials and Consumer Cyclicals sectors. It could be worthwhile for investors looking to gain exposure to those sectors or developed European countries. However, each person should consider his or her own investing goals and, as always, conduct due diligence to decide whether this fund fits the needs of a given individual’s portfolio.

As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an email. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.

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The Importance of Helping, and Turning Ideas into Successful Companies

When you meet one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs in the cannabis jungles of Colombia, you know the conversation is going to be interesting.

That’s where I met my latest Way of the Renaissance Man podcast guest, Craig Huey, the founder and president of Creative Direct Marketing Group.

Craig is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in marketing and advertising, and he’s helped turn countless small companies into multimillion-dollar corporations by using his expertise in direct response marketing, targeting strategy and accountable advertising.

In this episode, you’ll learn why both Craig and I think the key to being successful is to know your productive purpose in life and to figure out how to implement your vision for helping others.

(Photo Credit: Unlock Your Wealth TV)

You’ll also find out why capitalism is such a conducive economic and political system for those who seek a mutual exchange of values.

Plus, find out about Craig’s latest book, which is a thoughtful critique of the current “Deep State” environment in Washington, D.C., and why this environment is so toxic to freedom.

I absolutely loved my conversation with the eminently intelligent and entertaining Craig Huey, and I know you will too.

To listen to this episode of the podcast, simply click here right now.

For more about Craig, please visit CraigHuey.com.

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The Wisdom of Purpose

“The most depraved type of human being … (is) the man without a purpose.”

— Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged”

What is your productive purpose in life? It’s perhaps the most important question we can ask ourselves, because the answer will define our existence. If we are fulfilling our productive purpose, and if that purpose is the rational pursuit of values, then we are on the path to true happiness.

If we don’t have a well-defined purpose, then we will go through life subject to the whims of the day, or the desires of others. Most importantly, we’ll go through life without ever knowing the joy that comes from true achievement. Don’t let that happen to you. Be a man/woman with a purpose.

Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.

In the name of the best within us,

Jim Woods

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