It’s a quirky song, and I like it.
I love it when someone replies to my posts with something like, “I’m laughing out loud at work and people are staring at me,” or “You owe me a keyboard,” or “That made my day.”
I also sometimes hear that a post was “depressing.”
I never want to depress anyone - I want to educate, inspire, and hopefully amuse.
I personally am very lucky and happy, at least with my local world. I don’t punch the wall. My coping mechanism is generally gallows humor and music. And going outside on long walks. And spending time with people too young to read.
Unfortunately, besides current events, I mostly write about history, especially financial history, and financial history is a tale strewn with bodies.
There are many villains, a few Super Villains (e.g., Bernanke, Summers), and too few heroes.
As Charles Fort wrote, “One can't learn much and also be comfortable."
The Great Jim Grant describes financial markets well:
Science, though, is one thing, finance another. In science, progress is cumulative — we stand on the shoulders of giants. In finance, progress is cyclical — we keep stepping on the same rake.
As I’ve said before, some say history rhymes, while I tend to think it repeats exactly.
Emanuel Derman puts it a bit differently:
Trained economists have never seen a really first-class model. It's not that physics is "better," but rather that finance is harder. In physics you're playing against God, and He doesn't change his laws very often. When you've checkmated Him, He'll concede. In finance, you're playing against God's creatures, agents who value assets based on their ephemeral opinions. They don't know when they've lost, so they keep trying.
Anyway, I’m not an economist so I don’t know what the wrong answer is.
One of the reasons I started writing about financial markets - it’s been about 25 years now, mostly privately - is because the crazy stuff I take for granted about our elite financial (and war) criminals - most people have no idea about, probably because they've been too busy trying to survive.
When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game... Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you.
The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.
I could suggest writing to your Congressperson about some of the issues that inspire/depress you. I don’t think that would work, but you could try.
When Goldman CEO Hank Paulson and his Renfield Neel Kashkari were trying to get TARP passed, calls to Congress were reportedly 300 to 1 AGAINST passage, and Neel’s initial god-awful TARP bill actually lost 228-205.
Then the lobbyists added almost 450 pages of pork and TARP passed.
Meanwhile, everything George W. Bush warned would happen if TARP didn’t pass happened anyway, including the S&P 500 index falling about 40% in the 5 months after TARP passed. Bank bonuses were saved, however.
In 2008, the same year that hedge fund - and former home of Hank Paulson and Neel Kashkari - Goldman Sachs had to magically become a taxpayer-backed “bank” to survive, Goldman Sachs gave 953 bonuses over $1 million, 391 bonuses over $2 mllion & 212 bonuses over $3 million.
As the bravest journalist on Earth today - Whitney Webb - says, "This stuff would be funnier if it wasn't so evil."
So now you’re thinking - hey Rudy, if this is supposed to cheer me up, it’s not working.
Sorry, I’m rollin’ here.
I have hope, ok? I know it’s “not a strategy,” but it’s something.
I know a number of outstanding, hard working, brilliant young people in their 20’s and 30’s (you just don’t see that type on TV) and all the septuagenarians and octogenarians who’ve been running things into the ground for decades won’t be around forever - I don’t care what their pacts with the Devil say.
Yes, it seems like The Terminator was a documentary - but maybe we figure out cold fusion, or zero-point energy, or how to cure cancer, instead of having brilliant people work to create more virulent coronaviruses.
I always hedge that good things might happen.
Personally, I think many, many more people are aware of the scam now than in 2008, and some of them even understand the right people to blame. I like to think I played a tiny part in that. That’s somewhat encouraging.
It’s not [fill in some group you don’t like] that got us here. They’re symptoms - it’s people like the warmongers running our foreign policy forever, the aristocrats who sit on the FOMC, the hyenas on the board of the New York Fed, and the Nazi bankers in Basel.
But worst of all is Congress, which created this Frankenstein, and could put it on a leash. Congress is now so corrupt that they have completely abdicated everything to a private bank cartel, even allowing failed bank regulator and gazillionaire motivational speaker Janet “Peter Principle'“ Yellen, in some sort of cosmic joke, to be Treasury Secretary.
But we didn’t get here overnight.
I am a political party atheist. We’re never going to get anywhere if we keep voting in people like Joe Biden (80 years old, in politics for 52 years) or Mitch McConnell (81, in the Senate since 1985). And no, I don’t support the 76-year old narcissist either.
So what to do?
“Stop looking for political saviors." - Whitney Webb
First off, I suggest turning off all cable news, and, if social media upsets you - including Substack - get off it. And recognize that partisan politics is a dead end.
Next, think bottom up. Help educate people you know about the things you think are important. Don’t force it on them - if they don’t want to know, they don’t want to know. You can’t help everyone. Help those you can. Do NOT drift off into extreme ideology.
Listen to people who disagree with you. I’ve changed my mind on important issues, and I love finding common ground with people I may disagree with on most issues.
I personally focus my work on the (banking) kleptocracy, and the warmongers, because to me they are the root of many of our modern problems. You do you.
Be prepared to be called a “conspiracy theorist.” It’s a meaningless attempt to deflect.
Check your facts - from day one I have always tried to include links to support my position. I always try to find original sources.
You will run into people who will say things like, “Well, if we hadn’t passed TARP atoms would have become too cold to move, and time itself would have frozen.” Be prepared to counter that claim. You probably won’t change their minds. They are lost.
You will run into deranged people who honestly think that Ben Bernanke is a hero. You will hear people repeat verbatim something Noah Smith or Justin Wolfers might say. They don’t know any better. If you’re reading this, you do.
You shouldn’t say “I want to make the world a better place.” That’s something the goofballs throwing paint on priceless artwork think they’re doing.
Instead think, “I want to make my family, my block, my neighborhood, my city, my country better.”
There are lots of opportunities to do just that. Spend more time with your kids. Volunteer somewhere to help people worse off than you. Or maybe run for office, or support a city council or state assembly candidate who is not insane (in California, ‘insane’ is the default candidate.)
If you can’t volunteer, and understandably want to avoid politics, donate, but not to the Clinton Foundation or Trump bears or Hunter Biden’s artwork. And don’t donate to big global groups like Oxfam, which will just use your money to send their big wigs to Davos.
Find local groups that are helping local people in need. I’m not saying don’t donate to help people elsewhere, but at least make sure the “charity” doesn’t spend most of their money on fundraising and salaries.
Someone once asked me, “Why are people so horrible?” A better question is “Why are so many people so good?”
"We have to fight for a better
world neighborhood for our kids." - Whitney Webb
great stuff as always
"...many more people are aware of the scam now than in 2008, and some of them even understand the right people to blame. I like to think I played a tiny part in that. That’s somewhat encouraging."
Reminding everyone, even those of us who were there and more or less knew, who exactly was responsible, and when, and how, is a real service. It's simply too easy for some to never learn, and for others to forget. Think globally, act locally has meaning. As does your work here.