Ok, I admit it. My immediate post-election knee-jerk response to the national snowflake meltdown was to snicker and shake my head in disbelief. This went on for a few hours as the movement grew…with emotionally disturbed people uncontrollably weeping and consoling each other, distorted faces wracked with pain from the deep recesses of their soul…then, in the midst of an arrogant snicker, like a shot of lightning from above, I was hit with a searing thought emblazoned on my brain…
These people just lost their God. Most rejected or abandoned the real God of the Bible long ago…even many (most??) so-called “Christians” have lost God in spirit and truth (the real teachings of Jesus). This is how someone behaves when they’ve experienced a profound loss of hope, and without God all the hope you’ll ever know is right here and right now…centered only on the abilities of you and the fallible human beings you entrust with your future.
The searing thought: This despondent scene, with weeping faces wracked in pain, is what the end times will look like after Jesus returns and many people learn they’ve missed the boat and are locked-in to a horrifying eternity. The group will include Democrats, Republicans, Christian preachers, Satanic Wiccans, nice people, bad people, famous leaders, and the homeless.
Funny as a heart attack. Sobering. Our neighbors, friends, and family could be in that category. Time to get our own lives in order and help whomever we can transition to a real hope and eternal future, brilliant beyond our imaginations…admittedly hard, thankless work. The snowflakes bite, and few of our lives are admirable testimonies to the real Jesus, including my own…but do it anyway…let’s take some arrows for Jesus while we can.
11 Nov 2016
Make America Great Again?
In 2000, when former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was asked her opinion of “the most important human event of the past 2,000 years?” she replied “When a group of Englishmen rebelled against their country and formed the United States of America.”. Whoa. Just stop and think about that for a minute.
America was founded and run through most of its history by people who are vastly different than today’s Americans. In fact, I’d venture to guess that a large majority of our previous generations would oppose the current generation as strongly as the US opposed the former Soviet Union. I’d say most multi-generational Americans know that for fact based on personal experience.
Obama was somewhat correct when he said “You didn’t build that!”. Even on a personal level, our present was created by our past. We stand on the shoulders of previous generations. The current generation creates the future. Future generations will stand on our shoulders.
By any reasonable standard, America has certainly achieved historical greatness…yes, an absolutely exceptional country…by the actions of past generations, not the present one. Future historians will judge and name the present one based on the outcome of our stewardship.
Since it’s obvious to all that “we” are far different from “them”, who, specifically, were the people that created the foundation for America’s historical “greatness”? Who were these rebellious Englishmen Margaret Thatcher referred to? What are some common threads amongst the 11-12 generations of people living in this place from founding until the generation prior to ours?
A good place to start: What were your grandparents like? Great grandparents? How are we different?
Underneath the cacophony / multitude of distracting cultural differences that come to mind, one important thread seems violently severed…a belief in the God of the Bible and Jesus…and all that it entails…profoundly impactful in so many ways. In my own experience, although the separation is clear in the US, I’ve never lived in a place where the line was more vivid than Prague, Czech Republic…striking.
Most current Americans have probably never read Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1678). According to experts, it’s been the most widely read book in the history of the English language outside the Bible. It’s been in continuous publication since 1678, and translated into more than 200 languages. This book had a massive influence on 11 or so generations of Americans. According to The Guardian, “There’s no book in English, apart from the Bible, to equal Bunyan’s masterpiece for the range of its readership, or its influence on writers as diverse as William Thackeray, Charlotte Bronte, Mark Twain, CS Lewis, John Steinbeck and even Enid Blyton.”.
If we want to better understand why our world is spinning out of control, why the call to “Make America Great Again” could be futile, and what the real equation for making America great again truly is, then a read of Pilgrim’s Progress is a good place to start…and remember, previous generations of American’s (and Europeans) were deeply influenced, if not guided, by what you’re reading. Just imagine the difference in outcome between people following Pilgrim’s Progress vs. one with those who aren’t…striking.
23 Oct 2016
A few quick thoughts on fundamentals driving the US 2016 POTUS election…Trump v. Globalism.
- Most people would think I’m a caricature of an American globalist…and I have been for almost my entire adult life. Not many American or European investment bankers / private equity pros that I know have a more globalist professional background and academic training. Since 1987, shortly after undergrad, almost my entire professional career has been dependent on the growth of globalism. Since 1987 I’ve lived in 7 countries outside the US…4 continents…the majority of my adult life…as an investment banker/private equity/strategic planning pro…feeding directly off the teat of globalism…hardline globalism. I returned to the US recently, but still focus IB/PE on international work. If globalism dies, so do my career and niche expertise…vaporized. Aside from a clear conscience and concern for ordinary people behind the 8 ball in the US and Europe, I can see little personal gain whatsoever from publishing this…quite the opposite.
- People voting for Trump need to understand that they are voting to destroy people like me…all the global business, institutional, and academic interests vested in globalism…it is an enormous and powerful group of people globally. You are almost literally backing David in a fight against Goliath. But yes, I’m supporting Trump…the globalism we’ve implemented is not sustainable.
- The academic acropolis, if not Mecca, of globalism is probably Columbia University in NY. In my experience there, Columbia is a nurtured ecosystem where Nobel prize-winning economists, Fortune 500 companies, leaders of global investment banking, and leaders of global investment management interact to form their opinions about how the world should be, and how to move society. From day 1 through graduation, MBA students were inculcated daily in the theology and practical application of globalism…every single course believe-it-or-not had a “mandatory” globalist angle to it…shoved in somehow/some way.
- I can assure you that many of these “luminaries” are more fallibly human than you can imagine. e. they are not the founts of unassailable wisdom and knowledge on this planet. I.e. the Eurozone, 2007-8 Financial Crisis, et al…et al… IMO, generally speaking, they are silver-tongued and academically brilliant…but often lack wisdom/judgment/etc…etc…they are human and often wrong…except their errors can be cataclysmic for our world due to the power we’ve vested in them.
- Globalist theory in a highly condensed nutshell for the purposes of this rambling: All boats rise in a system of expanding global trade…where the Competitive Advantage of Nations (Porter: Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/1990/03/the-competitive-advantage-of-nations ) are developed and nurtured. e. if manufacturing can be done more cheaply, at same quality in country X, all other things equal, move there…the developed nations have an advantage in high value added services and should focus on developing/nurturing those national core competencies…the bulk of the value chain remains in the developed country, and grows as we focus on things we do better than others. “Lesser developed” countries benefit in the same way…by focusing on what they do best. We all benefit…all boats rise.
- Yes, and no. Yes…poverty in emerging markets has been drastically reduced…I’ve seen it first hand. No…albeit very foreseeable to people of common/non-academic sense, the mass transition into service industries expected for American and European workers has been far more difficult than imagined…variables that academics can’t fit into their multifactor models supporting globalist theory. The US labor force participation rate remained stagnated in the 66-67% range from the late 80’s through 2008…during the unfettered reign of globalist theory…no apparently equal benefit to Western employment opportunities. That rate took a nose dive in 2009 and now stands at 63%, a 38 year low (the data: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/labor-force-participation-rate ). Globalist theory has been dismally ineffective in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis…the US/European work forces have not been fully transitioned and are in a period of “dangerous” limbo (very predictable), and politicians (most are trained attorneys) seem to have no idea how to move the needle on LFPR…while the entire Western world needs to be focused like a laser on this stat.
- IMO, a key corollary economic development/management theory that also gained ground during the rise of globalism that few in middle America are tuned into has played a major role in the labor force participation stagnation/decline: Economic Value Added (EVA) / Value Based Management (VBM) / Shareholder Value Added (SVA) are all quantitative approaches to management that rest on the foundation of trickle down economic theory in its most raw form. In a condensed nutshell: cash flow is king…cash flow accumulates to capital owners, who distribute to various constituencies including employees, creditors, et al. The organization should be managed to maximize EVA / cash flow above all else, including any subjective issues that aren’t easily quantifiable…applied EVA is a quantitative economic model that requires outstanding senior management judgment to apply effectively, and everyone thinks they have superior mgmt. judgment…a bad combo. Minimally useful employees are fired / not hired. Most key business decisions are modeled on their EVA impact, including lawsuits, environmental compliance, hiring, etc…etc… I’d guess most global companies use some variant of EVA as a key management process…linked directly to the value of public share price or private equity. e. humans are highly and unemotionally dispensable…all activities are geared towards increasing value for owners…cold, unemotional trickle down. This is a massive cultural change in American history…where many people used to work for one company for life, and the company could be trusted to take care of its people through thick and thin, first and foremost. Hard quantitative approaches to management have generally won the day. RIP “Company Man”.
- It is extraordinary/brilliant/evil? that the globalists, whose theory is underpinned by an extremely Darwinian trickle down economic system…where the owners of capital monopolize power over human prosperity to such an extent, at their whim…and subject to their moral failures…have been able to convince poor voters to support them politically, while at the same time railing against trickle down economics publicly! It is lunacy how any black, Hispanic, or low income voter in the US could ever align themselves with the globalists. When vulnerable people are taken advantage of in this way it crosses the line between brilliance and evil in my book. Pure deception.
- Unfettered, unemotional globalism + poor political leadership + misused EVA + high volume low skill immigration = significantly declining LFPR = social disaster. In this scenario, a “Trump” was inevitable. If Trump loses the election, no fundamentals change…his movement is only going to grow until something gives. The globalists may rue the day they didn’t accept Trump and his relatively mild prescriptions. The inevitable next “Trump” may be a Marxism-infused Bernie Sanders/Trump nationalist combo…the worst nightmare of a globalist. The LFPR needle must be moved positively, somehow, some way, and quickly by experienced people who know what they’re doing and have the skill of real world implementation in a distressed organization environment…will probably require sacrifices / significant adjustments in at least each of the 4 factors above…plus a few major initiatives at Fed gov’t level…I can think of one that could move that needle explosively and help with the theoretical transition…there are things we can do…most of it requiring extraordinary leadership though…and here we are…just humans. And accept-it-or-not, there aren’t many people with the temperament and skill set needed to get us out of this mess…in a distressed company or distressed gov’t…traditional politicians / corporate hacks are the opposite of the type needed for the challenges we face. There aren’t many turnaround leaders I’ve had experience with that people actually like…and at this point we don’t have that luxury frankly. I remember a guy who was shot at…had snakes put in his home mailbox, etc…etc…generally loathed…but highly effective in a distressed situation when an immediate, experienced, steady hand was needed at the helm to keep the ship afloat and move it to safety…and quickly ushered out the door when his time was up. And we’re worrying about locker room language??…from pols who probably surf porn, sleep with their secretaries, etc…etc…?? Check this out: Wikipedia: List of American Federal Politicians Convicted of Crimes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_federal_politicians_convicted_of_crimes .
- There’s a lot more I could write about the topic, but frankly just don’t have the time.
- Actually, there is significant personal gain from me writing this…by the slimmest of hopes we somehow avert disaster, and my children live in peace and prosperity in a close-knit, united country…like the one I grew up in.
So, on Nov 8 vote your conscience, but just remember who Hillary Clinton is and represents (a puppet of unhinged, unrestrained, unadjusted globalism)…and the potential, unquantifiable outcome(s) of the unsustainable path it’s on…and where the anti-Trump attacks are actually coming from… How globalist are you?
11 Oct 2016
From Charles Hugh-Smith, author of Why our Status Quo Failed and is Beyond Reform:
Any society that tolerates this systemic exploitation and corruption as “business as usual” is not just sick–it’s hopeless. No, you can’t fix this layer-cake of pathological deception, exploitation, corruption and racketeering with the usual pathetic “reforms” offered by lobbyists, insiders and think-tank lackeys: the status quo is itself the source of the sickness and the rot.
Very few people, and none in US politics, have the hyper-aggressive personality profile, skill set, independent power base and self-sufficiency to attempt with even a sliver of credibility, the disruption and reform such a corrupted status quo. Bernie Sanders’ implosion showed us that. It will take someone like Trump. If you don’t like him, find another Trump, or cravenly accept the status quo and hold your peace.
22 Aug 2016
Today’s news revealed that Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz declares in his upcoming book that the Eurozone was flawed at birth and is destined to collapse unless huge changes are made.
Joseph Stiglitz is one of the world’s pre-eminent economists and a professor of economics at Columbia University since 2001. Robert Mundell is another Nobel prize-winner and Columbia University economics professor since 1974. Per Wikipedia, “Mundell is known as the “father” of the Euro, as he laid the groundwork for its introduction through his work…”. Did Stiglitz voice his concerns to Mundell while they worked together at Columbia? Somehow I doubt it…it would have been bold for a peer to risk career and criticize a Nobel prize-winner. Conversely, as a Columbia MBA student with relatively little to lose, I did voice my concerns regarding the viability of a Eurozone in light of Mundell’s work on “optimal currency areas”…rather aggressively…and my Europhile Irish econ professor hammered me on my final exam essay for it. 24 years later, after major economic and societal damage is done and the non-viability of the Eurozone is plain for most everyone to see, with little career risk for stating the obvious and an economic implosion in sight, Joseph Stiglitz enters the scene with his “earth-shattering” pronouncement that the emperor wears no clothes.
What we can learn?
- Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale and its message are a timeless insight into the true, non-idealized nature of human beings. It didn’t take intellectual brilliance for the little boy to state “The emperor wears no clothes!”, just naïve honesty…which few humans are capable of. Beware groupthink. Question authority often. Put ego on the line and ask more questions. To assume makes an ASS out of U and ME. Few people like the details…which is where outstanding opportunities are often found, and calamities avoided. Courage is much rarer that any of us care to admit.
- I’m old enough to have lived through countless iterations of the above scenario in business and life in general. Obamacare? No telling what the TPP is really about or actually does in its fine print and details…I doubt there is one human being on planet earth who actually does…yet, like disastrous Obamacare, proponents aggressively try to shove it down our throats prior to even their own full understanding. Time to stand athwart TPP and yell, Stop!!…until politicians, academics, media, and the broad public fully understand what’s in it and debates.
10 Aug 2016
When Donald Trump calls Washington politicians stupid, this must be what he means:
Progression of events?
- Trump magnanimously? invites Cruz to speak at RNC;
- Cruz tells Trump he won’t endorse him;
- Trump thinks for a nanosecond and says, “No problem. Speak your mind.”;
- Trump orchestrates a world wrestling federation ambush for Cruz…plants people in RNC audience who will boo Cruz off the stage when he doesn’t endorse;
- The wild chorus of booing catches fire in the broader audience and with media pundits, who proclaim Cruz’ career in national politics is over;
- Another Trump enemy steps into a tar pit of their own making and goes down in flames.
Let’s assume Hillary didn’t pre-plan any crimes with her email setup or the Clinton Foundation. Folks, we need smarter people than Ted and Hillary in DC.
Trump’s ambush revealed what most people who’ve worked or studied with Cruz have been telling us all along. Hasta luego Count Chocula…it’s amazing you got this far…a fact that should frighten us all. Thanks Donald.
21 Jul 2016
From Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Come my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail, beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the Western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; –
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
I thought I’d share a recent email I sent to someone who asked who I support in the 2016 election:
Re: Who do I support?
Thanks. I needed to go through this exercise again. I.e. who I support and exactly why.
The biggest issues driving my decision:
- The US is profoundly divided, and balkanising at warp speed. Must be reversed. The US is a failing experiment in human unity, held together by a fragile creed, which is crumbling before our eyes…and angry survivalist tribalism fills the void just as quickly as the creed breaks apart. Break-out failure of the US experiment could potentially unleash intra-group violence within a country on a scale never seen. Ferguson, Baltimore, etc… times X and commonplace. Think French and Bolshevik revolutions. Unlike most other countries, we aren’t held together by ancestral blood…which prevents much extreme conflict. Somehow we must be brought back into our creed…quickly. Like him or not, Trump is the embodiment of that strongly unifying creed that has served us well for a few centuries.
- A corrupted financial market structure caused much of point #1 above. IMO, it can be quickly fixed…simple solution (which I have not heard mentioned at any time by any candidate), but will be massively opposed…globally. I’ve written about it…reform the basic structure of vertically-integrated investment banking; i.e. eliminate vertically-integrated ibanking…like it used to be pre-“Big Bang” in London…forget about reforming too-big-to-fail commercial banks for a minute. Someone has to have the cajones to stand up to Goliath with a slingshot and a rock…back to the future is the answer…but modern ibanking is so extraordinarily profitable for its employees it will never be changed without a strong, outsider disruptive leader / reformer supported by the 99%.
- Media is a for-profit industry that seeks to maximise profit at almost any cost to journalistic integrity or public benefit. They aren’t in business to inform us…but to sell advertising to us. In that vein, they’ve turned their coverage of political elections into Roman spectacles of bloodshed…a modern digital Circus Maximus, where they incite the people into massively opposed groups for perpetual “Super Bowl” viewing events / ratings explosions…anything to capture our eyeballs…which they sell to advertisers. In this environment, few people of intelligence and accomplishment would dare enter the political arena they’ve created…so we’re left with the dregs…extreme narcissists, psychopaths, the deluded, people who want to abuse the system for financial gain and will sell their soul to do so, etc… who raise their hands to be our politicians…while the qualified and capable run like hell from public service. We all know we aren’t attracting our best and brightest into the arena…and that must change. The media are bought by the established interests who, not only don’t support guys like Bernie or Trump, they will do everything they can to destroy them. Like him or not, Trump is attacking a corrupted media on behalf of the American public, and we all benefit. His efforts ultimately clear a path for our best and brightest to enter the political arena at some point.
- Our foreign policy, led by both Dems and GOP, is actually driven by an unchanging, unelected, career departmental bureaucracy with agenda’s which perpetuate / expand the power of their jobs. It’s one reason we’re back in a Cold War with Russia…an abject failure of structure that has led us to the brink of WWIII. The solution seems similar in challenge to point #3 above…reverting to the old order which effectively contained Islam. We need a David to fight Goliath. But, referring to point #3 above, the media destroys David’s before they ever get close to the field, much less onto it. Trump is an experienced, battle scarred, entrepreneurial / disruptive exec…our best available choice for a leader who can control the “Deep State” and their self-serving agendas. Our real fight is against the “Deep State”, which is controlled by the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about in his Jan 17, 1961 “Farewell Address” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY . IMO, every single American voter should listen to this 2:30 speech and consider its implications today. Former Reagan speechwriter and WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan describes it well in her blog “The Deep State” http://blogs.wsj.com/peggynoonan/2013/10/28/the-deep-state/ …with comments from ABC News’ Bob Schieffer, Washington Posts’ Bob Woodward, et al. This is what we’re up against people…straight from the mouths of long term insiders…both sides of aisle. You cannot hire a “Mitt Romney” or “Jeb Bush” to successfully handle a change management challenge of this magnitude…polar opposite of the personality / exec style needed at this time…and Americans instinctively know this. Think “Gordon Bethune”…the man who turned around Continental Airlines against all odds…these are the great, iconoclastic American leaders that we need to somehow attract into the political arena…but these people are too smart and emotionally balanced to raise their hands…blame the media and the existing pols who perpetuate the circus, and their military industrial puppet masters. This is not the job for an insider hack beholden to the system.
- The American creed is primarily related to economic mobility. This is badly stuck. It’s not just about enlarging the economy (forget GDP stats), but allowing everyone to rise with the tide. Post 2008 econ crisis, the tide rose, but few had life boats…and many are drowning while a few are partying. This can be fixed, but again, we run into entrenched interests that must be fought aggressively by a David with a slingshot and a rock…interests who battle David behind a veil through their bought and paid for media org megaphones. Nobody in the race but Trump and Bernie have the courage to grab that slingshot, and Trump has by far the best ability to use it. Hillary? Cruz (Goldman Sachs wife)? Rubio? Are you kidding?
- In an environment where the US experiment in human unity is failing in a creedal collapse, many of our most sacred Constitutional rights are being institutionally violated. Uncharted waters ahead. History proves that rights must be both claimed and defended, or we lose them…like sand taken from a beach by unrelenting waves. We need leaders who will defend, but we must claim first. I believe this is part of the Trump phenomenon. Establishment pols have nobody to blame but themselves for the outcome of not defending the citizen’s claims.
- We should take care of current American citizens before allowing anyone else to immigrate here. e. American citizens (especially vets!) should have the right to work, public benefits, housing, etc… before illegals. Aggressively encouraging immigration at this time, even luring them with benefits, housing, jobs, etc… is insanity with a craven political objective.
- Mainstream Islam seeks to convert the entire world to worship of the Islamic god…by violence if necessary. Followers of Islam are by definition violent religious extremists (overtly or covertly) and obviously cannot be appeased. This violent conflict between free people and Islam has been ongoing since 610 AD…nothing new. We need leaders to hear our concerns and defend our freedom from Islam aggressively. We need a Churchill, not a Chamberlain.
- High quality job growth. The current paradigm is untenable, and the political / economic establishments are in a highly precarious, potentially volatile situation until this is fixed. A familiar refrain…straightforward solutions which require bold action. Nobody in the race but Trump has the crisis manager skillset and disruptive personality profile needed to do it…not even remotely close…and I’ve personally interviewed / evaluated hundreds of C-level / senior execs for entrepreneurial private equity leadership challenges. Just because a guy has been CEO of a major co does not make him the right guy for a crisis management / entrepreneurial leadership challenge. Nobody in this race but Trump has even run anything! Obama claimed his campaign was his experience!
- Fed Gov’t Debt: An existential threat to our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Nothing has been done by our elected pols because few have the courage to do anything…we aren’t electing the right leaders…attracting the wrong people.
- NSA surveillance. Our strategy is to defend our freedom by significantly reducing it? I’m against Trump on this one. His position on the Apple issue is wrong and dangerous to American freedom. Global NSA spying on both friend and foe has alienated us from the people of traditional ally countries…a deep resentment from ordinary citizens is growing against us, and has severely damaged our global leadership credibility / trust factor. There is another, more traditional way to secure freedom with minimal sacrifice to that freedom. Only Rand Paul seems aware of the massive, even existential problems created by minimally restrained NSA spying.
- Marx got it right on at least these observations: Envy is dangerous. Envy is untenable. The envious win. Bernie Sanders may lose this race, but his supporters are going nowhere, and their momentum will build if some of their valid, key concerns are not addressed asap.
- In this race, nobody but Trump has the skillset and personality profile to deal with the profound challenges our country faces…nobody is even remotely close to having the right skillset other than Trump. Illegal immigration is not our only key issue.
- Despite what the MSM tells us, Trump’s appeal crosses over a very broad national demographic, and he has the ability to win a landslide general election. Trump isn’t an ideologue. Obama is an ideologue. Bush was an ideologue. Many hard line conservatives oppose Trump because he isn’t conservative enough. In Jeb Bush speak…”lose the primary to win the general”. Trump has crossover in a way that few other candidates in the race could ever legitimately claim. You doubt it…just watch it happen…many Bernie supporters will vote Trump when push comes to shove…and it won’t be quiet.
- In his play for Iowa, Cruz branded himself “Pastor-in-Chief” and has little Dem crossover / independent / moderate Republican appeal outside the South. In fact, Dem strategy is to stir fear in issue voters, then get out the vote…which will be explosive if Cruz is the nominee. Ted has an excellent legal professional background but has never run a popsicle stand. I cannot believe we’re considering people who have never run anything to run the world’s largest, most powerful organization. If you want a theocracy, just write-in your local pastor. America has never been a theocracy, and God gave us free will to reject him, ensuring his people were legitimate lovers. We can’t have a state that enforces an inauthentic worship of God…which is one clear way Islam is outed as far off the path of an all-powerful, sovereign God. Does God need human thugs to force people to worship him, or follow his precepts? America’s clear moral decline is a failure of the church, not the state. Fix your local church.
- Rubio: Are you kidding? Again…I cannot believe we’re considering people who have never run anything to run the world’s largest, most powerful organization. If Trump chooses Rubio for VP, he discredits and significantly harms his movement…this is a movement and less about Trump personally. Movements can be ruthless arbiters of their version of justice.
- Bernie: Justice Scalia’s death was a God-send for Hillary Clinton. Nomination of a Supreme Court justice is more important than a presidential election. The Dem establishment cannot risk Scalia’s ideological twin on SCOTUS now / i.e. risk a GOP win with long shot Bernie, and will crush his campaign quickly. Hillary’s “Emailgate” / Clinton Foundation corruption enquiry, etc… are officially over…Dems will not allow legal investigations to proceed at almost any cost or risk.
- Trump should include a campaign theme “If I win, she goes to jail”. A large chunk of the Dem/GOP electorate will be highly energized by the possibility of equal justice for all. The American electorate are demanding red meat…Trump and Sanders are giving it to them. Trump shouldn’t waste the opp to serve up Hillary on a silver platter…and it appears he’s already going in that direction…brilliant…massive crossover appeal…ignore the MSM.
- Trump’s VP: Gordon Bethune? Newt Gingrich? Someone like Bethune would be powerful…a strong signal that America’s best talent is now getting into the game…people with the best available skillset to right the ship and get us back on track…people we’d never have considered for public service before…non-ideological pragmatists. Newt is unique. He has a disruptive personality…proven ability to get big things done at the fed gov’t level against all odds…a proven fighter who knows how to navigate the fed gov’t labyrinth, and where the skeletons are buried…Trump needs old iconoclast salts like Newt on his team somewhere.
Just my two cents…for what it’s worth.
24 Feb 2016
Are the financial markets your God?
Below, in red type and strikethroughs, I’ve edited an article published today from a major, unnamed financial news group. As financial markets collapse, we should all consider this question. Obviously it applies to all of us, not just the Chinese.
XXX Markets | Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:57am EST
Giving up on stocks the false God: China’s people retail investors seek lower-risk God’s of provision safety first
SHANGHAI | BY xxxx xxxx AND xxxx xxxx
As China’s legions of retail investors flee the country’s tumultuous equity markets lose confidence in the God who underpins the security of their lives, pushing stock prices down around 15 percent so far this year, money is flowing into perceived safe-haven assets such as domestic bonds, gold and the dollar they scramble to any possible provider of security as the power of their false God crumbles before them.
Unlike Western markets where institutional investors dominate many countries, where many individuals had historically, if not currently, placed their faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be the ultimate guarantor of provision in this life, the majority of individuals in officially atheistic China appear to place their faith in financial markets and the State for their life’s provision. account for 80 percent of transactions on Chinese exchanges. Nearly 100 million people have trading accounts.
Their enthusiasm for stocks love for their false God drove his popularity main indexes to record highs in the first half of 2015, but after enduring a major crisis of faith this past summer bust that saw prices plunge around 40 percent, the failure of this God to provide in January sell-off has been the final straw for many, who are now abandoning their God in a desperate search for a replacement.
“I just have a small amount of faith in this God money in the stock market. I had planned to rely on this God for some provision sell when indexes got a little bit higher, but he soon failed me it dropped to this situation,” said XXX XXX, a 22-year-old retail investor in Guangdong.
“I don’t have faith in this God the stock market any more. I think it’s better to look elsewhere for the True God who will reliably provide for me buy dollars.”
Weekly data from the Shanghai Stock Exchange shows people abandoning their God en masse, searching for the True God money shifting into exchange traded funds (ETFs) tracking bonds, gold and money markets at the start of January.
Funds that provide a vehicle for Many Chinese individuals believed the false God had not abandoned followers in other countries, and sought this God’s face to invest in overseas locations, stocks and bonds through the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (QDII) scheme were also popular, continuing a trend that began late last year.
On Thursday, the official Securities Times newspaper reported that so many people had sought this God’s face in overseas locations that people had to be turned away due to this God’s limited ability to provide for all. 10 mutual funds under QDII had suspended or restricted taking subscriptions after strong demand led to quota shortages. These restrictive measures had to be taken, even though this God had recently increased his capability to provide in overseas locations by followed a nearly 10 percent jump in assets of such funds in December alone.
“IN A MESS”
Alongside the renewed failure of this God to provide for their future slide in stocks, ordinary Chinese people investors have been shaken by last week’s acceleration in the decline of their personal savings accounts the yuan, which has have fallen nearly 5 percent since August.
“The theology of this false God stock market is in a mess,” said a 48-year-old woman from Kunshan, a city near Shanghai, working in the accounting department of a bank, who said she had abandoned this God in China and sought his face in the US. bought 500,000 yuan ($76,000) worth of U.S. currency. “This God loves Americans and I will seek his face there Dollar is far less risky.”
That has also fueled demand for gold the worship of Baal, the God of provision in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia.
“Except for gold, all other assets are just bubbles to me Baal is the True God,” said a 24-year-old female investor in Beijing. “I guess I am a pessimist. If there are really some global conflicts, no God but Baal even dollars and bonds could not buy anyone a meal.”
In just seven trading days at the start of this year, assets under management at HuaAn Gold ETF, China’s biggest gold ETF, Baal worship jumped 8 percent, after doubling during the previous six months.
“We notice a rise in gold investment Baal worship whenever there’s concern over savings account yuan depreciation,” said XXX XXX, the fund’s manager. “Buying gold Worshipping Baal also helps people mitigate risk if their primary God fails them. investors avoid risks in equities. It serves double purposes.”
A number of people retail investors who spoke to XXX were also switching their allegiance from their primary God into the most reliable, “risk-free” Gods of recent history. money out of stocks and into wealth management products (WMPs) and principal-protected funds.
“I have changed my allegiance to another God who has proven to be a much more reliable, lower-risk provider. bought different kinds of WMPs from banks. This God has proven himself to be a much The majority of them are backed by bonds, which are less risky provider,” said a 50-year-old woman surnamed XXX, from Guangzhou, who said she had placed great faith in the false God who disappointed her profoundly lost 30 percent of her stock market investment in the summer meltdown before abandoning him selling out in August.
Capturing such a trend, latest data from the Asset Management Association of China showed that faith in these “low-risk” Gods both bond and money market funds nearly doubled in size as of end-December from end-June, while faith in the recently revealed false God equity funds tumbled almost 90 percent in assets under management during the same period.
In an effort to bolster faith in the false God, one of the 2 key pillars of individual provision for Chinese people, and thereby a key lynchpin of social tranquility, China’s banking regulator and main bond clearing house have recently moved to reduce the appeal of the lower-risk, more reliable Gods. high-yielding WMPs relative to the false God equities, asking the lower-risk Gods to limit the attractiveness of their offer. commercial banks to reduce rates offered on such products.
Some people retail investors said they were giving up on hope for a God who could provide for them making a return on their savings altogether, focusing instead on Chinese New Year celebrations next month, also known as the Spring Festival.
“I don’t have confidence in China’s God’s stock market anymore,” said XXX XXX, from Shenzhen, who had placed great faith in the false God invested 100,000 yuan in stocks but abandoned that faith sold of all her holdings on Tuesday.
“I don’t plan to worship any other God’s anywhere invest in any other assets either. I am planning to place my faith in experiences that bring me current happiness spend the money perhaps on traveling around the Spring Festival. I think China’s God’s economy will not be provide so good in 2016.”
A few optimists remained convinced the false God market would eventually provide turn around after despite the latest dramatic failure to do so bout of turbulence.
“I have abandoned faith in the false God pulled out all my money from the stock market, but I’m not intending to worship Baal or any lower-risk God either use that to buy WMPs,” said XXX XXX, a 50-year-old employee at a university from Chengdu. “I’m going to give the false God still waiting for another chance when the time is right to place my faith in him again to get back into the stock market.” ($1=6.57 yuan)
Who is your God and provider?
14 Jan 2016
Public Research Note
VIX up ~28% so far today! Clearly some sophisticated people are getting damn nervous and pre-buying some very bad news. IMO, the VIX is only a low risk buy at this level if you believe we’re about to get bad news on the order of Oct 2008 or Sep 2011. Unless we get that news, I believe the VIX will drift back down into the mid-teens when the dust settles over the next few days. I don’t suggest buying into a one day explosive movement like this…without the corresponding explosive news. The only thing that will generate a reasonable risk-adjusted gain on the VIX from this level is exceptionally bad, almost black swan news…rarely a good strategy to forecast and bet on near term black swan events.
RE: China market: Let’s not forget that despite the major losses of the past few months, the Chinese markets were up ~135% TTM just a few months ago, and these losses have cut the massive gain to ~60%…the retail Chinese punters who drive their market have still had a great year, and would have to still feel some degree of a wealth effect (albeit shaken and cautious) that would find its way into their economy to some extent in the near future. I don’t believe the central planners in Beijing will allow the small Chinese punters and their wealth effect on the economy to get wiped out this year. In the centrally-planned Chinese economy, the gov’t can and will intervene aggressively in the markets to make sure of it. No need to freak out on slowing Chinese growth today…as it seems the markets are doing.
If you want to reduce exposure to equities, fine, but I wouldn’t play this by an extremely speculative roll of the dice on further near term VIX upside. My suggestion is to short the VIX today, take profits next week, then perhaps…perhaps go long VIX when it’s back in the teens and you believe moderately bad news is imminent…that hasn’t already been priced into the market.
NY, NY 21 Aug 2015