Friday, October 9, 2015

Greg Hunter, “Weekly News Wrap-Up 10/09/2015”

“Weekly News Wrap-Up 10/09/2015”
By Greg Hunter’s

“The Russians are putting on a clinic on how to destroy terrorists. They are pulling off a well-planned takedown of just about anyone who stands in the way of the Assad regime. To the Russians, there are no so-called moderate rebels—just terrorists and non-terrorists. Only in the land of the “Wizard of Oz” are there good witches and bad witches. In the real world, witches are witches, and Russia sees things much the same way. They are spending big money and deploying many assets to destroy them. The latest show of force was launched from the Caspian Sea. Russian ships fired 26 cruise missiles into terror targets such as training camps and supply dumps. You can bet the missiles cost around $1 million each and have high explosive payloads that are measured by the ton. These are very big bombs, and they traveled across 900 miles and two countries to hit their targets in Eastern Syria. NATO is stunned, and President Obama looks weak and indecisive in the Middle East. This is bad news for America’s leadership role in the Middle East and bad news for the U.S. dollar.

I don’t know how else to say it. The global economy sucks, and there is no amount of lipstick that can make this pig look good. Just look at these financial headlines in just the last few days, “Fed minutes: Members worried about slower global growth,” “FOMC Minutes Confirm Economy Not Ready For Rate-Hike This Year, Worried About Inflation,” “Global Risk,” “It’s Time For Negative Rates, Fed’s Kocherlakota Hints,” “Day After Deutsche Bank Admits Not All Is Well, Swiss Giant Credit Suisse Also Admits It Needs More Cash,” “Marc Faber Fears Sudden 1987-Like Crash Or Longer-Term “Sliding Slope Of Hope” “I Would Say Don’t Worry” Says Chinese Central Banker As Indian Central Banker Says “World Economy Is Looking Grim,” and “China, Russia, Norway, Brazil, Taiwan Dump US Treasuries.” Economist John Williams from will be on this Sunday. All the real, un-gimmicked data shows the economy sliding into recession. There is no recovery and the powers that be know this.

Former Fed Head Ben Bernanke says more bankers should have gone to jail for causing the 2008 financial meltdown. He makes this claim in a new book called “Ben S. Bernanke the Courage to Act.” It should be called “The Courage to Bailout Your Banking Buddies.” I think his book is nothing more than writing a revisionist history book. He could have made his claim that bankers should have been jailed years ago, but he waited after the statute of limitations expired. This means that crooks that took down the system years ago are still running things, and Bernanke basically admits the crime is still going on.

The email scandal just keeps getting worse for team Clinton. Now, it is revealed the FBI has seized State Department servers as part of their ongoing investigation. We also found out this week that most, if not all, of Ms. Clinton’s 30,000 emails were backed up in a cloud by a Connecticut company. Of course, the server was private and unprotected. We also know that nobody in contact with the private server of the storage of the emails had the type of security clearance needed to be anywhere near these emails. As Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton had the top security clearance in the U.S. government. Probably less than two dozen people in government have this high of a security clearance. The number of possible felonies for Ms. Clinton and her staff are mind boggling. She will not be President, and I wonder if she will even make it to the first Democratic debate.”

“Join Greg Hunter as he talks about these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.”

Thursday, October 8, 2015

"I Asked For; I Was Given..."

“In my youth I respected the world and life, I needed nothing but peace of heart;
And yet I changed despite myself and believed in Iktomi's lies.
He seemed to know all the truth, he promised to make me happy.

He made me ask Wakan Tanka for wealth, that I might have power;
I was given poverty, that I might find my inner strength.

I asked for fame, so others would know me;
I was given obscurity, that I might know myself.

I asked for a person to love that I might never be alone;
I was given a life of a hermit, that I might learn to accept myself.

I asked for power, that I might achieve;
I was given weakness, that I might learn to obey.

I asked for health, that I might lead a long life;
I was given infirmity, that I might appreciate each minute.

I asked Mother Earth for strength, that I might have my way;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for Her.

I asked to live happily, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might live happily.

I received nothing I asked for, yet all my wishes came true.
Despite myself and Iktomi, my dreams were fulfilled,
I am richly blessed more than I ever hoped,
I thank you, Wakan Tanka, for what you've given me.”

- Billy Mills, Oglala Lakota (1938-)
"In Lakota mythology, Iktomi is a spider-trickster spirit, and a culture hero for the Lakota people. Alternate names for Iktomi include Ikto, Ictinike, Inktomi, Unktome, and Unktomi. These names are due to the differences in tribal languages, as this spider deity was known throughout many of North America's tribes. Iktomi can be compared to the African trickster figure Anansi, and to some extent, the transculturated Yoruba Ellegua, also depicted as a trickster disguised in red. Due to his nature as a Trickster as well as patronage of communication, Iktomi is also comparable to the Greco-Roman Hermes/Mercurius (Mercury)."

"In Native American mythology, Wakan Tanka (great mystery) is the supreme being and creator of the Lakota Sioux. Sometimes called Great Spirit, he is similar to the supreme beings found in the myths of many other North American peoples. According to Lakota myth, before creation Wakan Tanka existed in a great emptiness called Han (darkness). Feeling lonely, he decided to create companions for himself. First, Great Spirit focused his energy into a powerful force to form Inyan (rock), the first god. Next, he used Inyan to create Maka (earth) and then mated with that god to produce Skan (sky). Skan brought forth Wi (the sun) from Inyan, Maka, and himself. These four gods were separate and powerful, but they were all part of Wakan Tanka.

The first four gods produced four companions—Moon, Wind, Falling Star, and Thunderbird—to help with the process of creation. In turn, these companions created various gods and spirits, including Whirlwind, Four Winds, Buffalo, Two-Legged Creatures (humans and bears), Sicun (thought), Nagi (spirit of death), Niya (breath of life), and Nagila (shadow). All of these beings were aspects of Wakan Tanka. Together, they created and oversee everything that exists.


Musical Interlude: Chuck Wild, "Liquid Mind, Dream Ten”

Chuck Wild, "Liquid Mind, Dream Ten”

"Liquid Mind" (aka Chuck Wild) originally wrote this music to deal with the anxiety and stress of overwork and the serious illness of friends. The gentle ebb and flow of the music has an immediate "slowing down" effect, providing a serene escape from tension-filled days. Ideal for stress relief, falling asleep at night and to enhance meditative and therapeutic practices. There are few composers with as much love for slowness in their music as Wild. Chuck draws from classical and pop influences as varying as Beethoven and Brian Eno, Bartok and Rachmaninoff, Bach, Chopin and Fauré, Duruflé and Brahms."

"A Look to the Heavens"

“The constellation of Orion holds much more than three stars in a row. A deep exposure shows everything from dark nebula to star clusters, all embedded in an extended patch of gaseous wisps in the greater Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The brightest three stars on the far left are indeed the famous three stars that make up the belt of Orion. Just below Alnitak, the lowest of the three belt stars, is the Flame Nebula, glowing with excited hydrogen gas and immersed in filaments of dark brown dust. 
 Click image for larger size.
Below the frame center and just to the right of Alnitak lies the Horsehead Nebula, a dark indentation of dense dust that has perhaps the most recognized nebular shapes on the sky. On the upper right lies M42, the Orion Nebula, an energetic caldron of tumultuous gas, visible to the unaided eye, that is giving birth to a new open cluster of stars. Immediately to the left of M42 is a prominent bluish reflection nebula sometimes called the Running Man that houses many bright blue stars. The above image, a digitally stitched composite taken over several nights, covers an area with objects that are roughly 1,500 light years away and spans about 75 light years.”

“95 Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness”

“95 Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness”
by Marc

“At the cusp of a new day, week, month or year, most of us take a little time to reflect on our lives by looking back over the past and ahead into the future.  We ponder the successes, failures and standout events that are slowly scripting our life’s story.  This process of self-reflection helps us maintain a conscious awareness of where we’ve been and where we intend to go.  It is pertinent to the organization and preservation of our long-term goals and happiness. The questions below will help you with this process.  Because when it comes to finding meaning in life, asking the right questions is the answer.

   1. In one sentence, who are you?
   2. Why do you matter?
   3. What is your life motto?
   4. What’s something you have that everyone wants?
   5. What is missing in your life?
   6. What’s been on your mind most lately?
   7. Happiness is a ________?
   8. What stands between you and happiness?
   9. What do you need most right now?
  10. What does the child inside you long for?
  11. What is one thing right now that you are totally sure of?
  12. What’s been bothering you lately?
  13. What are you scared of?
  14. What has fear of failure stopped you from doing?
  15. What will you never give up on?
  16. What do you want to remember forever?
  17. What makes you feel secure?
  18. Which activities make you lose track of time?
  19. What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever made?
  20. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?
  21. What are you most grateful for?
  22. What is worth the pain?
  23. In order of importance, how would you rank: happiness, money, love, health, fame?
  24. What is something you’ve always wanted, but don’t yet have?
  25. What was the most defining moment in your life during this past year?
  26. What’s the number one change you need to make in your life in the next twelve months?
  27. What’s the number one thing you want to achieve in the next five years?
  28. What is the biggest motivator in your life right now?
  29. What will you never do?
  30. What’s something you said you’d never do, but have since done?
  31. What’s something new you recently learned about yourself?
  32. What do you sometimes pretend to understand that you really do not?
  33. In one sentence, what do you wish for your future self?
  34. What worries you most about the future?
  35. When you look into the past, what do you miss most?
  36. What’s something from the past that you don’t miss at all?
  37. What recently reminded you of how fast time flies?
  38. What is the biggest challenge you face right now?
  39. In one word, how would you describe your personality?
  40. What never fails to frustrate you?
  41. What are you known for by your friends and family?
  42. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
  43. What’s a common misconception people have about you?
  44. What’s something a lot of people do that you disagree with?
  45. What’s a belief you hold with which many people disagree?
  46. What’s something that’s harder for you than it is for most people?
  47. What are the top three qualities you look for in a friend?
  48. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?
  49. When you think of ‘home,’ what, specifically, do you think of?
  50. What’s the most valuable thing you own?
  51. If you had to move 3000 miles away, what would you miss most?
  52. What would make you smile right now?
  53. What do you do when nothing else seems to make you happy?
  54. What do you wish did not exist in your life?
  55. What should you avoid to improve your life?
  56. What is something you would hate to go without for a day?
  57. What’s the biggest lie you once believed was true?
  58. What’s something bad that happened to you that made you stronger?
  59. What’s something nobody could ever steal from you?
  60. What’s something you disliked when you were younger that you truly enjoy today?
  61. What are you glad you quit?
  62. What do you need to spend more time doing?
  63. What are you naturally good at?
  64. What have you been counting or keeping track of recently?
  65. What has the little voice inside your head been saying lately?
  66. What’s something you should always be careful with?
  67. What should always be taken seriously?
  68. What should never be taken seriously?
  69. What are three things you can’t get enough of?
  70. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  71. What fascinates you?
  72. What’s the difference between being alive and truly living?
  73. What’s something you would do every day if you could?
  74. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
  75. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  76. What makes you feel incomplete?
  77. When did you experience a major turning point in your life?
  78. What or who do you wish you lived closer to?
  79. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
  80. What’s something you know you can count on?
  81. What makes you feel comfortable?
  82. What’s something about you that has never changed?
  83. What will be different about your life in exactly one year?
  84. What mistakes do you make over and over again?
  85. What do you have a hard time saying “no” to?
  86. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
  87. What’s something that used to scare you, but no longer does?
  88. What promise to yourself do you still need to fulfill?
  89. What do you appreciate most about your current situation?
  90. What’s something simple that makes you smile?
  91. So far, what has been the primary focus of your life?
  92. How do you know when it’s time to move on?
  93. What’s something you wish you could do one more time?
  94. When you’re 90-years-old, what will matter to you the most?
  95. What would you regret not fully doing, being, or having in your life?”

From the wonderful "Marc and Angel Hack Life" blog:

"Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda..."

 "It is what it is, and it was what it was. 
Don’t fret the could-haves because if it should-have, it would-have."
 - Unknown

Chet Raymo, “Very, Very, Very, Very, Very...”

“Very, Very, Very, Very, Very...”
by Chet Raymo

"In a short story that was published posthumously in the New Yorker, the inestimable Primo Levi meditated on the limits of language. The story was called “The Tranquil Star.” He writes "The star was very big and very hot, and its weight was enormous," and realizes immediately that the adjectives have failed him: “For a discussion of stars our language is inadequate and seems laughable, as if someone were trying to plow with a feather. It's a language that was born with us, suitable for describing objects more or less as large and long-lasting as we are; it has our dimensions, it's human. It doesn't go beyond what our senses tell us.

Until fairly recently in human history, there was nothing smaller than a scabies mite, writes Levi, and therefore no adjective to describe it. Nothing bigger than the sea or sky. Nothing hotter than fire. We can add modifiers: very big, very small, very hot. Or use adjectives of dubious superlativeness: enormous, colossal, extraordinary. But, really, these feeble stretchings of language don't take us very far in grasping the very, very, very extraordinarily diminutive or spectacularly colossal dimensions of atomic matter or cosmic space and time. We can overcome the limitations of language, Levi say, "only with a violent effort of the imagination."

I spent more than forty years trying to find ways to violently stretch the imaginations of my students (and myself) to accommodate the dimensions of the universe revealed by science. I would project onto a huge screen a photograph of a firestorm on the Sun, then superimpose a scale-sized Earth, which fit comfortably inside a loop of solar fire. I would take the class into the College Quad here near Boston, where I had set up a basketball to represent the Sun, then gathered 100 feet away with a pinhead Earth; we walked together with our pin in the great annual journey of the Earth, and looked through a telescope at the marble-sized Jupiter than I had previously installed at the other end of the long Quad (the next closest star system would have been a couple of basketballs in Hawaii). We walked geologic timelines that took us from one end of the campus to the other.

In one of my Globe essays I used this analogy: “ Imagine the human DNA as a strand of sewing thread. On this scale, the DNA in the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a typical human cell would be about 150 miles long, with about 600 nucleotide pairs per inch. That is, the DNA in a single cell is equivalent to 1000 spools of sewing thread, representing two copies of the genetic code. Take all that thread - the 1000 spools worth - and crumple it into 46 wads (the chromosomes). Stuff the wads into a shoe box (the cell nucleus) along with - oh, say enough chicken soup to fill the box. Toss the shoe box into a steamer trunk (the cell), and fill the rest of the trunk with more soup. Take the steamer trunk with its contents and shrink it down to an invisibly small object, smaller than the point of a pin. Multiply that tiny object by a trillion and you have the trillion cells of the human body, each with its full complement of DNA.”

Or this description from Waking Zero: “The track of the Prime Meridian across England from Peace Haven in the south to the mouth of the River Humber in the north is nearly 200 miles. If that distance is taken to represent the 13.7 billion year history of the universe, as we understand it today, then all of recorded human history is less than a single step. The entire story I have told in this book, from the Alexandrian astronomers and geographers to the present-day astronomers who launch telescopes into space, would fit neatly into a single footprint. If the 200 miles of the meridian track is taken to represent the distance to the most distant objects we observe with our telescopes, then a couple of steps would take us across the Milky Way Galaxy. A mote of dust from my shoe is large enough to contain not only our own solar system but many neighboring stars.”

But as hard as one tries, the scale of these things escape us. If one could truly comprehend what we are seeing when we look, say, at the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Photo above, which I have done my best to convey to myself and others in a dozen ways, it would surely shake to the core some of our most cherished beliefs. Just as our language is contrived on a human scale, so too are our gods.”

The Daily "Near You?"

Lorain, Ohio, USA. Thanks for stopping by.


"Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation,
 then deciding what you're going to do about it."
- Kathleen Casey Theisen

The Poet: William Stafford, "You Reading This, Be Ready"

"You Reading This, Be Ready"

"Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life.

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?"

- William Stafford

"Sharing Grief: Opening to Receive Comfort"

"Sharing Grief: Opening to Receive Comfort"
by The DailyOM

"Grief is part of the human experience, and sharing our vulnerability helps create truly close bonds. When we experience something that causes us to feel shock and sadness, we may feel the urge to withdraw from life. It may seem like remaining withdrawn will keep us protected from the world, but during these times it is important to reach out to those trusted and precious people who care about us the most. Even with our best information and reasoning, we never know when someone else’s experience or perspective can give us additional information that we need. The universe speaks to us through many channels, and when we open ourselves up to receive its messages, we also receive nurturing care from a loving partner in life’s journey.

Grief is part of the human experience, and sharing our vulnerability is what creates truly close bonds in our relationships. Opening ourselves up in this way gets to the core of our being, past all of our defenses and prejudices. When life seems to crack the outer shell of our world, we are both raw and fresh at the same time. It is then that we discover who is truly willing to walk with us through life. We also see that some of those sent to us may not be the ones we expected to see. Regardless, we learn to trust in the universe, in others, in our own strength and resilience, and in the wisdom of life itself.

Sharing grief allows us to ease our burden by letting someone else help carry it. This helps us process our own inner thoughts and feelings through the filter of a trusted and beloved someone. We may feel guilty or selfish, as if we are unloading on someone who has their own challenges. Although, if we think about it, we know we would do the same for them, and their protests would seem pointless. Remember that not sharing feelings with others denies them the opportunity to feel. We may be the messenger sent by the universe for their benefit, and it is on this mission that we have been sent. By sharing our hopes and fears, joys and pains with another person, we accept the universe’s gifts of wisdom and loving care."
- http://www.dailyom.

Paulo Coelho, “Afraid To Change”

“Afraid To Change”
by Paulo Coelho

"We are afraid to change because we think that, after much effort and sacrifice, we know our present world. And even though that world might not be the best of all worlds and even though we may not be entirely satisfied with it, at least it won’t give us any nasty surprises.
We won’t go wrong. When necessary, we will make a few minor adjustments so that everything continues the same. We see that the mountains always stay in the same place. We see that fully-grown trees, when transplanted, usually die. And we say: ‘We want to be like the mountains and the trees. Solid and respectable.’

Even though, during the night, we wake up thinking: ‘I wish I was like the birds, who can visit Damascus and Baghdad and come back whenever they want to.’ Or: ‘I wish I was like the wind, for no one knows where it comes from nor where it goes, and it can change direction without ever having to explain why.’ The next day, however, we remember that the birds are always fleeing from hunters and other larger birds, and that the wind sometimes gets caught up in a whirlwind and destroys everything around it.

It’s nice to dream that we will have plenty of time in the future to do our travelling and that, one day, we will. It cheers us up because we know that we are capable of doing more than we do. Dreaming carries no risks. The dangerous thing is trying to transform your dreams into reality."

"What Would You Tell Him?"

"If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater the effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - what would you tell him to do? I don't know. What could he do? What would you tell him? To shrug."
- Francisco D'Anconia

"How It Really Is"

Satire: "Kevin McCarthy Enters Rehab After Admitting Struggles with Nouns, Verbs"

"Kevin McCarthy Enters Rehab After 
Admitting Struggles with Nouns, Verbs"
by Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)— “House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has entered rehab to deal with his “struggles with nouns and verbs,” an aide to the congressman has confirmed. According to the aide, McCarthy abruptly dropped out of the race for Speaker of the House because his difficulties with those two parts of speech had “spiralled out of control.” “There was an intervention, in which people who care about the congressman sat him down and showed him video of himself talking,” the aide said. “He agreed that he needed help, although it took people awhile to realize that’s what he was trying to say.”

A source familiar with McCarthy’s struggles, however, cast doubt on that official story. “It’s not just nouns and verbs,” the source said. “It’s adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. Kevin’s going to be in rehab for awhile.” In a brief statement to reporters, McCarthy offered a blunt assessment of his situation. “It bad,” he said. “But soon it be less badder.”

The Economy: "The Lowest Interest Rates in 5,000 Years…"

"The Lowest Interest Rates in 5,000 Years…"
by Bill Bonner

SANTORINI, Greece – “Gods were gods. Men were men,” explained our tour guide, Spiros. “The ancient Greeks thought there was a difference. Men had to realize they weren’t gods. They couldn’t do the things gods could do. If they tried, it provoked a disaster. The gods got jealous and punished them.” 

What has changed? There are still things humans can and can’t do. When men get too big for their britches, the gods still punish them. 

A Dangerous Spot: The disaster we were looking at had nothing to do with the hubris of mankind. The problem was geological. Having built their city over the fault line between the African and European tectonic plates, the ancient Cycladians were in a dangerous spot. Every few thousand years there were bound to be fireworks. As it turned out, trouble came – big time – in about 1650 B.C. The earth trembled. A huge volcano rose from the sea, near Akrotiri, and blew up. 

“The people had plenty of warning,” Spiros went on. “There are no human bones in the town. No one was killed by the eruption. They were a seafaring people. They were fishermen. They probably got in their boats and headed for Crete, which you can see from here on a clear day. These people were not Minoans, like the people of Crete. But they traded with one another and knew one another.”

The Journey to Akrotiri: Our cruise ship had entered the crater in the early morning. By 8 a.m., tenders – smaller boats that bring you ashore when the harbor is too small for the cruise ship to enter – were ready to take us to the island. There we boarded a bus for the short drive to Akrotiri. 

“But I doubt they made it to Crete,” Spiros went on. “Because after the volcano erupted, it collapsed into the lagoon, creating the giant crater we see today. This set off a tidal wave that may have swamped the people of Akrotiri. When it hit Crete, it probably wiped out the Minoan civilization. Many think this is the origin of the Atlantis story. I don’t know.” 

There had been people on the island of Santorini for thousands of years before the volcano erupted. They had one of the most advanced civilizations of the time – with indoor plumbing, bronze tools, and professional artists to decorate the inside walls of their houses. They were not an Indo-European people, apparently. Their written language has never been deciphered. Traveling the Aegean Sea in a luxury cruise ship is not a bad way to discover ancient history. But we are not here just to learn about the Greeks and the Minoans. 

The proximate cause of this journey was an invitation from a colleague, Merryn Somerset Webb. Merryn is editor-in-chief of the magazine we publish in London, MoneyWeek. We were bid to join the cruise at Catania and stay aboard until we reach Athens. Along with Merryn, on board are several other MoneyWeek analysts and editors – including Tim Price, John Stepek, and James Ferguson. We are meant to look at modern disasters, not just ancient ones.

The Lowest Rates in 5,000 Years: “Central bankers never wanted to get down to the ‘zero bound,’” explained Merryn yesterday. (The “zero bound” describes the theoretical limit for interest rates – at 0% – that preoccupies so many central bankers these days.) “They are not idiots. They knew it would cause distortions. And they knew they could get stuck there.” 

Merryn showed a group of investors a remarkable chart. Anywhere else, it would have been ridiculously out of place. But since we are visiting 6,000-year-old ruins, it seemed entirely appropriate. “This shows interest rates for the last 5,000 years. How they figured out lending rates that long ago, I don’t know. But what it tells us is that since the building of the Egyptian pyramids – that is to say, forever – interest rates have never been this low. When you think of any financial decision you make… or when you try to analyze any price… you have to remember that it is in the context of the lowest interest rates in the history of the world.” 

In general, lower interest rates mean higher asset prices. That’s because the lower interest rates are, the more valuable other assets are by comparison.

Revenge of the Gods: But woe to the price-fixer who fixes the price of money too low… for too long… and then attempts to raise it. That is the jam in which Janet Yellen finds herself. She is damned if she does – for she will wipe out trillions of dollars from the value of stocks and bonds. She is also damned if she doesn’t – for she will only make the situation worse by driving more money into more unsustainable asset price booms. This is fine by us. Yellen deserves to be damned. She has willingly and wittingly attempted to do what only the gods can do: determine the correct price of credit. She should have known better. 

The rate the market gods would set if left alone could be 2%. It could be 4%. It could be 1%. It could be 4.5%. But it is certainly not zero. An interest rate of zero implies that capital – savings – have no value. And when Yellen’s predecessor, Ben Bernanke, put it there – lower than it has been for 5,000 years – surely, it must have caused the gods to laugh. Now they seek their revenge. 

Humans can successfully fix cars. They can figure out ways to beat casinos and emissions tests. But they can’t successfully fix interest rates. And they can’t beat the gods. Today, the island of Santorini (named after Saint Irene) is once again populated. Donkeys carry large tourists up the cliff face. White houses sit on the rim of the crater like icing on a cake. But the town is so crowded with seasonal visitors it is hard to make your way through the narrow streets. Mobs in shorts follow guides who hold up signs to keep their people headed in the right direction. “Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have a house here,” Spiros announced proudly."

"Told Ya So (Municipal Borrowing)"

Musical Interlude: 2002, “Spirit Moves”

2002, “Spirit Moves”

"What Dreams May Come"

“We are game-playing, fun-having creatures, we are the otters of the universe. We cannot die, we cannot hurt ourselves any more than illusions on the screen can be hurt. But we can believe we’re hurt, in whatever agonizing detail we want. We can believe we’re victims, killed and killing, shuddered around by good luck and bad luck.”
“Many lifetimes?” I asked.
“How many movies have you seen?”
“Films about living on this planet, about living on other planets; anything that’s got space and time is all movie and all illusion,” he said. “But for a while we can learn a huge amount and have a lot of fun with our illusions, can we not?”
- Richard Bach, “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah”
"Chris: Am I– Am I really here?
Albert: What do you mean by “You,” anyway? Are you your arm or your leg?
Chris: Hardly.
Albert: Really? If you lost all your limbs, wouldn’t you still be you?
Chris: I’d still be me.
Albert: So what is the “Me”?
Chris: My brain I suppose.
Albert: Your brain. Your brain is a body part, like your fingernail or your heart. Why is that the part that’s you?
Chris: Because I have sort of a voice in my head, the part of me that thinks, that feels, that is aware that I exist at all.
Albert: So if you’re aware you exist, then you do. That’s why you’re still here.

Albert: Look… your brain is meat and rots and disappears. Did you really think that’s all there was to you? Like, you’re in your house right now. You’re in your house. It doesn’t mean you are your house. House falls down, you get out and walk away.
Chris: But it looks like I rebuilt, huh?
Albert: You see a body because you like seeing one. We’re seeing what we choose to see.

Albert: Thought is real. Physical is the illusion. Ironic, huh?"
- "What Dreams May Come"
“What Dreams May Come”, Full Movie

"Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't." 
- Richard Bach, "Illusions"

"The Worst Thing..."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Economy: Greg Hunter, “V, the Guerrilla Economist-You Cannot Stop This Financial Collapse”

“V, the Guerrilla Economist-You Cannot Stop This Financial Collapse”

Note what is said at 8:50 in...

Musical Interlude: Kevin Kern, “Above the Clouds”

Kevin Kern, “Above the Clouds”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Far beyond the local group of galaxies lies NGC 3621, some 22 million light-years away. Found in the multi-headed southern constellation Hydra, the winding spiral arms of this gorgeous island universe are loaded with luminous young star clusters and dark dust lanes. Still, for earthbound astronomers NGC 3621 is not just another pretty face-on spiral galaxy. Some of its brighter stars have been used as standard candles to establish important estimates of extragalactic distances and the scale of the Universe. 
Click image for larger size.
This beautiful image of NGC 3621 traces the loose spiral arms far from the galaxy's brighter central regions that span some 100,000 light-years. Spiky foreground stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy and even more distant background galaxies are scattered across the colorful skyscape.”

The Poet: James Baldwin, “Amen”


“No, I don’t feel death coming.
I feel death going:
having thrown up his hands,
for the moment.
I feel like I know him
better than I did.
Those arms held me,
for a while,
and, when we meet again,
there will be that secret knowledge
between us.”

- James Baldwin

"A Look to the Heavens"

“These three bright nebulae are often featured in telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the large nebula left of center, and colorful M20 on the right. The third, NGC 6559, is above M8, separated from the larger nebula by a dark dust lane. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. 

 Click image for larger size.
The expansive M8, over a hundred light-years across, is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. M20's popular moniker is the Trifid. Glowing hydrogen gas creates the dominant red color of the emission nebulae, with contrasting blue hues, most striking in the Trifid, due to dust reflected starlight. The colorful skyscape recorded with telescope and digital camera also includes one of Messier's open star clusters, M21, just above the Trifid.”

Chet Raymo, "Seeing"

by Chet Raymo

"There was a moment yesterday evening when the elements conspired to evoke these few lines, spoken by Macbeth:
            "Light thickens,
    And the crow makes wing to the rooky woods,
    Good things of day begin to droop and drowse."
The fading light. The crows gliding down the fields to the trees in Ballybeg:
            "Light thickens,
    And the crow makes wing to the rooky woods,
    Good things of day begin to droop and drowse."

It's all there, in those few lines- the mysterious power of poetry to infuse the world with meaning, to anoint the world with a transforming grace. One could spend an hour picking those lines apart, syntax and sound, sense and alliteration. The t's of light thickening, tongue against the teeth. The alar w's making wing. The owl eyes of the double o's. The d's nodding into slumber - day, droop, drowse.

The poet Howard Nemerov says of poetry that it "works on the very surface of the eye, that thin, unyielding wall of liquid between mind and world, where somehow, mysteriously, the patterns formed by electrical storms assaulting the retina become things and the thought of things and the names of things and the relations supposed between thing." It works too in the mouth, in the physical act of speech - tongue, teeth, those d's gliding deeper into the darkness of the throat.

I stand in the gloaming garden and the black birds glide, down, down to Ballybeg, and I marvel that with so few syllables Shakespeare can- across the centuries- teach me how to see.”

"A Pueblo Indian Prayer"

"Hold on to what is good, even if it's a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe, even if it's a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do, even if it's a long way from here.
Hold on to your life, even if it's easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand, even if someday I'll be gone away from you."

~ A Pueblo Indian Prayer

"Don't You Think?"

"If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time,
 we've destroyed our own brotherhood!
 But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. 
And in the middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once or twice?"
- Richard Bach, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull"

Kahlil Gibran, "The Prophet, on Death"

"On Death"

"You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands
before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides,
that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."

Kahlil Gibran, "The Prophet, On Death"

The Daily "Near You?"

Victoria, Texas, USA. Thanks for stopping by.

Paulo Coelho, "The Good Fight"

"The Good Fight"
by Paulo Coelho

"In 1986, I went for the first and only time on the pilgrimage known as the Way to Santiago, an experience I described in my first book. We had just finished walking up a small hill, a village appeared on the horizon, and it was then that my guide, whom I shall call Petrus (although that was not his name), said to me: "We must never stop dreaming. Dreams provide nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does for the body. Many times in our lives we see our dreams shattered and our desires frustrated, but we have to continue dreaming. If we don’t, our soul dies.

The Good Fight is the one we fight because our heart asks it of us. The Good Fight is the one that’s fought in the name of our dreams. When we are young our dreams first explode inside us with all of their force, we are very courageous, but we haven’t yet learned how to Fight. With great effort, we learn how to Fight, but by then we no longer have the courage to go into combat. So we turn against ourselves and do battle within. We become our own worst enemy. We say that our dreams were childish, or too difficult to realize, or the result or our not having known enough about life. We kill our dreams because we are afraid to Fight the Good Fight.

The first symptom of the process of killing our dreams is lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The Truth is, they are afraid to Fight the Good Fight.

The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are Fighting the Good Fight.

And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams- we have refused to Fight the Good Fight.

When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being. We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. What we sought to avoid in combat- disappointment and defeat- came upon us because of our cowardice. And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breath, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from our certainties, from our work, and from that terrible peace of Sunday afternoons."

Health: “Pull The Plug On Stress”

“Pull The Plug On Stress”
by Dr. Joseph Mercola

"If you are like most people these days, you are plugged into everything from the time you get up in the morning to the moment you unplug the light and drift off- hopefully- into blissful sleep. But is this constant saturation of activity and overbooking taking a toll on your health and happiness? One of the most common problems among busy people, is that they feel fatigued, anxious or depressed. Most of them share a common underlying problem: adrenal burnout.

Adrenal Burnout: Adrenal burnout is the result of living with a constantly aroused sympathetic nervous system- living in a perpetual state of "fight or flight." In adrenal burnout, your body over-produces adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones. Eventually, this causes your adrenal glands- your front line stress defense- to become depleted. This can lead to a barrage of negative health consequences, including:

• Impaired immune function and less resistance to infections.
• Increased blood pressure and cholesterol.
• Weight gain.
• Unstable blood sugar levels.
• Hormone imbalance.
• Insomnia.
• Unstable moods, depression, and anxiety.

And the list goes on. The solution? You must find a way to recharge. There are many ways to unplug from your busy routine. But the most elemental requirement for recharging your battery is addressing your body's basic needs for sleep, exercise and nutrition- because without addressing those, your body won't be able to reboot, regardless of how many breaks you take from your routine.

Paying Off Your Sleep Debt: The first thing you may need to address is a good night's rest. Sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition these days that you might not even realize you suffer from it. If you've shorted yourself on quantity or quality of sleep for any length of time, it's likely sleep deprivation feels normal to you. As a general rule, adults need between six and nine hours of sleep a night. A sleep deficit can have serious, far-reaching effects on your health, such as:

• A weakened immune system.
• Changes in brain activity similar to those experienced by people with psychiatric disorders.
• Putting your body into a pre-diabetic state, so you feel hungry even if you've already eaten.

If you feel tired when you first wake up, you probably aren't getting sufficient sleep. It's best to observe how you feel immediately upon waking rather than after you're up and moving around. Sleep is one of your most precious resources- don't undervalue its importance to your longevity and quality of life.

Recharge Your Battery With Exercise: For decades, I have been a huge advocate of exercise as a critical component of staying healthy. Exercise can do a number of wonderful things for your health from improving memory and problem solving, to lifting your mood and preventing depression, to actually slowing down the aging process. And it can improve your sleep as well! Adding an exercise program to your routine five to six days a week will improve your energy, and will likely increase your productivity for the rest of the day. Grab an exercise buddy and go to the gym, or simply take a walk. Try a variety of things until you find activities that you find enjoyable. Increase intensity of your exercise gradually- you don't have to compete with anyone but yourself. Be sure your exercise routine contains the four principle components- aerobic (cardio), anaerobic (interval), strength training, and core exercises. Variety is key.

Retool Your Fuel: If you put inferior gas in your car, it runs poorly. The same is true for your body. There is no one-size-fits-all diet that will work for everyone because your physiological makeup is unique. Each person's body processes carbohydrates, proteins and fats differently based on genetic background. There are three basic nutritional types: protein type, carbohydrate type and mixed type, and determining which type you are is a simple matter of completing a questionnaire, then refining your food selections as you go, based on how they make you feel after eating. Even the most health-challenged people can really turn their health around by changing their diets to more closely fit their nutritional type. But regardless of which type you are, there are six basic guidelines that offer benefits for all types:

1. Eat as much fresh, organic raw food as possible (at least one third of your intake), particularly vegetables.
2. Eliminate processed food, junk food, soda, sweetened drinks, sports/energy drinks, and all artificial sweeteners from your diet.
3. Eliminate gluten as most people have some degree of intolerance or allergy to it. This includes wheat, rye, barley, spelt, etc.
4. Radically reduce your sugar consumption, and stay away from products containing high concentrations of fructose, such as high fructose corn syrup.
5. Drink plenty of pure, filtered water every day.
6. Don't skip meals.

You might be asking yourself, "If I can't find the time to take a bathroom break during the day, how am I going to make time to cook organically, start up a new exercise program, and go to bed earlier?" The time you devote to your basic nutritional and exercise needs will be time well spent, because when your body has the basic building blocks it needs, you suddenly find yourself with bursts of energy you never had before. And more energy means you'll get more done with the time you have. So, while it may seem burdensome to have to add to your already packed schedule, these activities will actually buy you time in the long run. After all, if you're sleep deprived, you're not as productive as when you're rested. And, nothing clears the cobwebs out of your brain like an hour of sustained aerobic exercise.

If you need to cut something out in order to squeeze the basics back in, then perhaps it's time to re-prioritize. Simple things like a few dietary changes, improved sleep habits, and a more consistent exercise routine can really produce MAJOR changes in your health and energy level, and prevent your adrenal glands from getting toasted. Try it and see! In today's culture of speed and complexity, it is easy to overlook the importance of the basics for health and longevity. Before all others, these essential factors must be addressed."


"Hope gives us the courage to confront our circumstances and the capacity to surmount them."
- Jerome Groopman

Satire: “Ben Carson: Pompeii Victims Should Have Outrun Lava”

“Ben Carson: Pompeii Victims Should Have Outrun Lava”
by Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)— “Citizens of the Roman town of Pompeii who were victims of Mt. Vesuvius’s eruption in 79 A.D. could have survived if they had “just outrun the lava,” the neurosurgeon Ben Carson told Fox News on Wednesday. “Most of the plaster casts we have of Pompeii victims show them basically just lying down and whatnot,” he said. “If I had been in Pompeii and I heard Mt. Vesuvius erupting, you can bet I would have made a run for it.” He said another option open to residents of Pompeii would have been “to fight the volcano.” “Archeologists estimate that the population of Pompeii was about eleven thousand,” he said. “You can’t tell me that if eleven thousand people put their minds to it they couldn’t beat one volcano.”

Carson said he would spend the next week on the campaign trail dispensing helpful tips about how people can defeat earthquakes, tsunamis, and giant asteroids.”

"How It Really Is"

The Economy: “Parasitic Derivatives - One Quadrillion Dollars: Too Big to Understand”

“Parasitic Derivatives - One Quadrillion Dollars: Too Big to Understand”
By David Hague

“I recently returned from two weeks of ‘high level’ meetings with a group of Bankers [this is code for two weeks of subsidized debauchery with bankers] in Rome. As I sat at my desk, I was hoping to motivate myself to pursue a more chaste and pure existence. Unfortunately the Polar Vortex experienced by North America drained me of my good intentions. The bone chilling cold once again had me reaching for my trusty bottle of Jack Daniels for warmth and inspiration. My time in Rome had not been completely ‘wasted’, so to speak. I had secured a contract from the European Central Bank [ECB] to research the topic of Derivatives. I was to present my findings at the upcoming World Economic Forum  in Davos later that month.

One Quadrillion Dollars: Too Big to Understand: Dear Reader, please resist your natural instinct to click away from this commentary at the mere mention of the word ‘Derivatives’. I am acutely aware of the boredom and befuddlement that this word instills in you. At this point I would simply remind you that the derivatives market is estimated to exceed one quadrillion dollars. [This stupidly large number is actually an accurate estimate of the size of the derivatives marketplace]. Despite the fact the derivatives market eclipses the market capitalization of the NYSE by an exponential factor, it is not discussed, reported or tracked because it is simply too complicated and opaque. Warren Buffet’s, comment about ‘weapons of mass financial destruction’ seem to be the beginning and end of any discussion on the topic.

Derivatives are a parasitic financial instrument: For those of you who are unschooled on the topic of derivatives, allow me to explain. Derivatives are abstract financial instruments, which, like parasites, can attach themselves to all manner of stocks, bonds, mortgages, commodity, debt obligations, currency exchange, interest rate fluctuations…in short, anything. Derivatives exist in the ‘twilight zone’ of the banking industry. Like black holes, their presence and massive influence are acknowledged yet the true influence on the global economy of this quadrillion dollar ‘event horizon’ is only theoretical. The near catastrophic disasters at Barings, JP Morgan and AIG are small examples of their destructive powers. However I will offer you Investorpedia’s more clinical definition. “A security whose price is dependent upon or derived from one or more underlying assets. The derivative itself is merely a contract between two or more parties.” 

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, {Kenny Rogers}: One might think of derivatives as a random game of online poker, you don’t know who your opponents are [your counterparty], you do not know if you will be paid [counterparty risk], you do not know if the game is legitimate, [lack of regulation], and your opponents are probably able to see what cards you are holding, [market domination by large banks]. As well, you are making bets that in many instances neither you nor your opponents fully grasp [complexity of the market]. With each wager you are potentially risking not only your current assets, but your future assets as well. [Leverage]. In some cases you do not know how much you are betting. Imagine as well, that you play this game every day with trillions of dollars that you do not have. This is the global derivatives market.

It is all Greek to me: Alternately, as derivatives are often created as a form of insurance, think of them as an insurance policy in which you:

- Do not know the name, address or any contact information relating to your insurer.
- Do not know if your insurer has the resources to pay a claim.
- Do not understand the insurance contract as it is written in Greek.
- Must rely on a shadowy third party [ISDA]  to decide what constitutes a claim. [Credit event]
- Do not know whether your insurer is itself vulnerable to the particular risk you have contracted with it to insure.

His moral lassitude allowed him to excel: Dear Reader, I digress, let me return to my narrative. The aforementioned lucrative contract was secured by two key factors. The first factor was my friendship with Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, the European Central Bank’s [ECB] Global Director of Statistical Creation. My relationship with such an esteemed member of the ECB traced its roots back to Gustavo’s days as a bookie for Wall Street’s elite. I referred so much business to him we became very good friends. His station in life took a remarkable turn when a senior member of the ECB, while in New York on a ‘fact finding mission’ [this is code for visiting his favorite escort] made an outrageously large and incorrect wager on the outcome of the 2010 World Cup. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, the term ‘derivative’ is commonly used in sports betting!) The only way the debt could be settled was for the banker to offer Gustavo a highly paid sinecure at the ECB. Gustavo became the Global Director of Statistical Creation with the responsibility of making up statistics to support whatever fantastical and deranged policies Central Banks around the world were initiating. Remarkably Gustavo’s aptitude for numbers, coupled with his moral lassitude allowed him to excel at his job. It was Gustavo who invented the term ‘Quantitative Easing’ as a benign euphemism for runaway money printing.

Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise’: The second factor that secured the contract for me was a chance remark I made as Gustavo and I enjoyed a ‘working lunch’, with several senior executives who represented many of the world’s largest banks. The working lunch was held at Rome’s exclusive Blue Moon Gentleman’s Club. As the featured dancer left the stage I happened to mention to the assorted luminaries that I had read an article on the subject of derivatives. The bankers looked at me with something akin to awe and reverence. Gustavo whispered to me that the topic of derivatives had been discussed in a recent conference call by the world’s bankers. The conclusion reached at that time was that derivatives were too boring and too complicated for bankers to grasp. Despite JP Morgan’s very public, expensive and monumentally stupid 5 billon dollar derivatives trading loss bankers still choose to remain cocooned in a ‘Cloak of Ignorance’ as it relates to derivatives. Thomas Gray’s lament that where 'ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise' could easily be the mission statement of the global banking industry.

I had read a complete article, I was a ‘de facto expert’: Dear reader, I am not being rude and offensive in my remarks about JP Morgan. Surely you would agree with me that any large bank that loses $5 billion in derivatives trading is ignorant of the properties and risks of derivatives?  The fact that I had actually read a complete article on the subject made me a de facto expert on the topic. Gustavo, in an act of kindness, seized the opportunity on my behalf and pressed his colleagues to retain me to research the topic and make a presentation at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Thus I found myself preparing to dazzle the world’s financial elite with my insights into the risks and opportunities presented by the global derivatives market.  In a rush to complete the deal before the next dancer took the stage it was agreed that I would receive the standard banker’s honorarium of $5,000/hour up to a maximum of ‘whatever it takes’.

At $5,000/hr., you would surely not expect me to be brief: I sat at my desk, sipping ‘Gentleman Jack‘ while I looked out at the bleak weather that made Brooklyn so depressing in the winter. My TV was tuned to CNBC, as I waited for Wall Street to open. I put my crack pipe in its case. Dear reader like many of you [especially those of you who work in the banking industry], I have learned all too well, the dangers of mixing crack cocaine with whiskey on an empty stomach. [Have we not all indulged, to our regret, that particular venial sin  at least once?] I collected my thoughts and began to write my lengthy tome on the derivatives market. Dear reader at $5,000/hr., you would surely not expect me to be brief.

Lions and Tigers and Bears [and derivatives] Oh My!: I do not want to frighten you. However I will share with you some facts about derivatives that will have you reacting as nervously as Dorothy did in the Wizard of OZ when confronted with the thought of Lions and Tigers and Bears. ‘Derivatives, Oh My’, will I suspect be the words that escape your lips.

Size of the derivatives market: 1.5 Quadrillion dollars
Size of Global Stock and bond markets:  175 trillion dollars
Who regulates the Derivatives market? LOL, Regulation is a ‘work in progress’ dominated by the big banks.

How dangerous are derivatives? They almost destroyed the world’s largest insurance company, AIG, as well as the global economy. Seriously, you don’t remember? Just Google the words AIG and collapse. Alternately you might call Jamie Dimon at JP Morgan  and ask him if Derivatives are dangerous. Have recent regulatory changes made the world economy less likely to implode from a derivative fuelled explosion? Actually as one might expect, thanks to regulatory enhancements that had to run the gauntlet of bank lobbyists prior to their approval, the world’s economy is in more danger than ever from a derivatives inspired meltdown.

‘Duck Dynasty’ and ‘Real Housewives’ to the rescue: How much attention does the Main Street pay to the world’s largest and riskiest casino? [AKA: the Derivatives market]. If one were to Google the word derivatives, one will get 34 million ‘hits’. Alternately, if one does a similar search for the words stocks bonds and markets one will get 400 million ‘hits’. The 34 million ‘hits’ generated by a Google search of the word derivatives compares unfavorably with the 37 million ‘hits’ generated by a search of the term ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’, the 209 million ‘hits’ generated by a search of the term ‘Duck Dynasty’ or the 713 million ‘hits’ generated by searching the word ‘Sex’. One must conclude that only when derivatives are discussed by one of the ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ posing nude in bed with one of the cast members of ‘Duck Dynasty’ will derivatives receive the attention they deserve.

Reality bites: Derivatives can only be discussed as ‘Fake News’: Where can one find insights and coverage of the Derivatives Market in the mainstream media? Is Fox News or CNN my best choice? Sadly Dear reader your best choice would be The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Despite the calamitous risk and obvious importance of this topic only Mr. Stewart and his team have dared to share information with the general public. Given the outlandish and frightening risks derivatives constitute to the Global Economy, perhaps Mr. Stewart is correct that it can only be discussed in the ‘Fake News’ format.

Derivatives: better suited for Ripley’s Believe it or not than the Wall Street Journal: How bizarre is the derivatives market? How is the concept of money for nothing propagated by the derivatives market? What is the difference between a chump and a champion in the derivatives market? I will leave it to Shah Gilani in his excellent post in Wall Street: Insights and Indictments  to explain. Suffice to say that one is able to buy insurance in the derivatives market. One can then cause the insured event to occur by collaborating with a third party. All that remains is to collect the insurance proceeds. [To be clear the proceeds are usually in the tens of millions of dollars.] The derivatives market makes the Ponzi-like money printing of the Central banks look like ‘Amateur Hour’.

Who needs ‘Crack’? Dear reader, usually I needed a little help from my friend Mr. Crack to feel as paranoid and euphoric as I did at this moment. Paranoid, because it was clear to me that the derivatives market was truly a weapon of mass financial destruction. Euphoric because I knew that my research would make my ‘Derivatives’ presentation at the World Economic Forum a  groundbreaking ‘tour de force’ that would vault me to the forefront of ‘talking heads’ that pass for experts on mainstream media. Fame, fortune, a book deal and perhaps that elusive Nobel Prize would surely follow. My twenty minutes of painstaking research, had made me one of the world’s foremost experts on this complex subject. [BTW, Dear Reader, by reaching this point in my commentary, you surely now know more about derivatives than most bankers and traders on Wall Street. You should be quite pleased.]

David, you are an imbecile: I decided to reach out to my pal Gustavo and share some of my findings. I knew that it was 3:30 in the afternoon in Paris so I would be able to catch Gustavo just as he arrived for another day of work. “Gustavo”, I intoned, breathless with excitement. “I have uncovered some startling, controversial, and frightening information about derivatives. The luminaries and leading lights who attend my presentation in Davos will be utterly gobsmacked  by my revelations. The media will undoubtedly ensure that my findings go viral. The topic of derivatives will no longer exist only in the dark shadows of the banking industry. The danger that derivatives pose to the global economy will permeate the consciousness of Main Street.”. Gustavo sighed, “David, I do not know if you are stupid or naïve. Every September when you bet $1,000 that the perennially atrocious Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup, I assumed you were simply ingenuous. Your comments today have convinced me that you are an imbecile. Let me assure you that those will not be the findings that you present at the World Economic Forum. Rather you will inform the world that derivatives are a financial instrument that is being used by brilliant and prudent financial professionals to mitigate risk and make the world a safer place.”

The ‘Truth Will Out’: “Gustavo”, I groaned, "that would be a lie. I cannot in good conscience, sacrifice my integrity, my honor, my core beliefs and my good name simply to placate Wall Street and the Central Banks. I have a responsibility to my readers on Main Street to inform them, to warn them, to prepare them for the likely financial chaos that derivatives will cause”. “Gustavo”, I said with iron willed determination, “the Truth Will Out”. “David”, Gustavo snarled, “If you change the tenor of your presentation and indicate that derivatives are the most benign form of financial instrument, somewhat akin to Treasury bills, we will double your fee”.

Move along nothing to see here: Dear Reader, in summary let me say that derivatives are the most benign form of financial instrument, somewhat akin to treasury bills. Gustavo’s immutable logic and persuasive argument was instrumental in helping me reach the correct conclusion regarding the risks to the Global economy posed by derivatives. So, Dear Reader, move along, there is nothing to see here."