I'm writing this from an airplane. I'm flying back home from the Money Show in Ft. Lauderdale. Security is tight in the airports. I flew in November and there were a 1/3 of the security workers in the airport then there is now. Apparently they are stepping things up in front of any possible Iraq war. First a quick note on the stock market. I landed in Ft. Lauderdale Friday afternoon right before the close. I called Andy to get an update on the market. The markets had gapped down big Friday morning on dismal employment numbers which pointed to a further deterioration in the economy. Yet the markets worked out their losses to close with a small gain while the VIX dropped right to its recent support level. What is noteworthy is that the DOW and the Nasdaq broke through their high of last week. This tells me that we aren't yet out of the small weekly January uptrend. It looks like we are going to see the averages attack their November highs. I wouldn't be surprised if we see them broken to create a last gasp for the bulls with the VIX screaming jump ship by going to the low 20's. Whatever the case I will be holding back for shorting and if we get a 2-3 day pause or pullback I may go long for a short term trade if the indicators suggest that the bounce will continue. Now for the Money Show conference. The Clonaid cult attacked me there. The Money Show is one of the largest annual investment conferences in the United States and Clonaid spent several thousand dollars to put a press conference on the agenda in the same building. I went to it. The speaker was the Vice President of the Clonaid company. I thought we were going to hear details about the supposed cloned baby, but instead I got pitched to make an investment into their company. It's all a big scam. The speaker started out by saying that it was illegal for Clonaid, which is an offshore company, to solicit investors while they were inside the United States and that he wasn't doing that. He then went into a presentation which claimed that cloaning would revolutionize medicine, cure cancer, fix brain damage, and give lesbians and homosexual couples the opportunity to have real genetic children. He closed by saying that Clonaid will one day make billions of dollars, but that he can't solicit investors, but if someone was interested in investing they could click the Clonaid website. The speaker then opened the floor to questions. Sure it's a scam, but what bothers me more is the moral and ethical dimensions of the UFO clone freaks. I raised my hand and asked my question: "You say that you all cloned a baby and are getting worldwide press and attention. After a few more successful cloans you will be getting thousand of people bangning on your door to ask to be cloned or to have their pet cloned, or their mother, or who knows what. What guidelines are you going to use to turn people away? How are you going to decide when it is right or wrong to create a clone and why should the world trust your judgement?" Instead of answering my question, the speaker said that my question sounded like it came from a journalist who wants to scare people and spread fear about cloning. Some Clonaid goons then sat behind me. Later a man next to me asked a question. He introduced himself as a securities analyst and said it was illegal for them to try to solicit investors and wanted to know where Clonaid was located. The man refused to answer. Someone in the front row got up, turned around, and said that he was a stock broker and saw nothing wrong with the Clonaid investment and thought it was a good deal. Obviously he was a plant. I got up and left. Clonaid and the UFO cult isn't just a weird looking woman on TV making claims about supposed cloans. It is a financial fraud. Although, I got see the Clonaid freaks, they are hardly what this Money Show conference is about. There are some things I saw this weekend that I want to share with you. First the conference is a once a year event that is heavily advertised in investment magazines and newspapers. Usually 3,000 - 5,000 attend it, and many of the speakers are visible authors and traders such as Don Bright, David Nasser, Martin Pring, Steve Nisson, Arch Crawford, Linda Rasche, and Oliver Velez. If you subscribe to any trading magazines you'll see many of their ads. Despite all that it looked to me that only 700 to 1,000 people were in attendance. I think the number of active investors is dwindling. No surprise. These conferences are divided up in two sections. First there are speaker panels and workshops second is an exhibit hall with booths. These booths were made up of brokers, trading software, small cap companies trying to attract investor interest. There were about a dozen of these, all but one of which were gold companies. The fact that most of these companies were gold is noteworthy. I can imagine a few years ago that this conference would have had double the exhibitors and they would have been full of internet and tech companies promoting their stocks. Gold is what is hot now and is going to stay that way for sometime. I am mainly going to these conferences to get a feel for the gold community and to find potential private placement opportunities like Renaissance Mining. You have to get the contacts to find out about them. The gold community is small. Very little money is now flowing into private gold companies and Wall Street is still shunning them. Mainstream investors and CNBC have not accepted the fact that gold is at 350 and is in a bull market. They still think that the gold rally will fail and are afraid to commit money. This is why the small companies still use private investors for financing and use newsletters and investment conferences for exposure. The problem is that these avenues open up the possibilities of fraud. I made it a point to have private conversations with the gold CEO's at this conference to get a better feel for things. I spent Saturday night with one of them on a 3 1/2 million dollar yacht watching football and drinking beer. Loose lips are more revealing. I have never had a position in this man's company and don't now. I like this guy and he seemed straight to me. Of course he believes that gold will go up, but warned me that 80% of the small cap exploration companies are fake. He had a 15 year background in the industry and knows most of the key players. I asked him who can the small investors rely on? The analysts don't follow the stocks so all you have are newsletter writers. He laughed and said that most of them are bought off with stock. He told me of one or two that were good, but then added that "you need to understand that they need to make a living." For the record Dave isn't paid to make recommendation. I have never been paid by a company for anything I write and never will be. I did find what I think are some totally unbiased sources on gold. One is a website called www.321gold.com, that is run by a fellow who doesn't accept any payments or advertisements and seeks to just "educate" investors about gold by posting articles that he thinks are noteworthy. A second is a gold newsletter writer named Jay Taylor who has a website called www.miningstocks.com. He doesn't accept payments for promotion either. I've been reading one of his letters while I was in the airport and it looks good. I may try to get him to share some of this thoughts with for the website in the future. I think I found a few good contacts and sources of information from this conference. But there are two comments that two gold CEO's told me that you need to stick in your head. First the man on the yacht told me that it is not the stocks companies with good resources that go up the most, but the ones with the heaviest promotion that does. The way he put it if you have good properties and no promotion the stock will lag, but if you have crap properties and heavy promotion it will fly as gold goes higher. And if you have both then you have a rocket. It looked like he may have been in the first category, because Dave and I were the only ones one the boat with him. Earlier that day I had a conversation with another gold CEO who made a side remark in the middle of our conversation that made the back of my head go off and is still in there. He made the statement that gold companies are the best companies to run, because the balance sheet doesn't matter. Earnings don't matter. People don't know how to value your properties and it is all about its unknown potential and the psychology of gold. The last time I heard CEO's say that their earnings didn't matter was during the Internet mania. Those stocks flew and crashed to nothing. When the gold bull is over most of these gold stocks will go back to nothing. However, they are still in the 1st quarter of their bull run and just like Internets you will eventually see bunches of new companies appear out of nowhere. There is a passage in the bible that says for everything there is a season. That goes for the stock market and the sectors that make it up. This gold run will give us a lot of stories when it is over years from now.