Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Deuce and the Wall Street Boogie

   As I was saying, I've been studying the business world for a couple of years now. My intent was to educate myself before opening an online brokerage account and making my first million by investing in, well, whatever the pros said was bound to make me a million. Turns out there are a million experts with at least a thousand different methods for making money in the market, and hardly any of them say "buy really good stocks and hold them forever", which is what I was expecting most of them to say.
   So, what have I learned?

1. The only people who make money in the market year-in and year-out are the brokers who get a small cut of every trade made on the exchanges. Doesn't matter if the market is up or down or bullish or bearish, brokers make money all day every day. Some days more than others, but it's all good.

2. Less than half of all professional money managers beat the returns of the S&P 500 each year. Simply buy an ETF or mutual fund that mirrors the S&P and you'll beat most pros most years.

3. There are legal ways to scam the market if you're big enough and rich enough. Big players in the markets, like sovereign banks, hedge funds, pension funds and large private banks have so much money that they can move the markets just by buying and selling huge blocks of stocks, virtually assuring a profit.
   Elected government officials like your senators and congress critters have "inside knowledge" of legislation and regulatory actions that can predictably effect the markets. They take advantage of this legally. So now you know why every person who enters congress eventually leaves much richer than they were when they were first elected (besides just outright selling their influence).
   High speed traders place their computer servers just blocks from the various exchanges and then connect to the exchanges servers with super-dooper high speed fiber optic cables. This allows them to see and react to market pricing a couple of millionths of a second faster than their competitors and minutes ahead of the general public (most of whom don't even have real-time quotes). The legality of this has been debated and the result seems to be "the devil take the hind most".

4. Most professional money managers do not have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. So, unlike a doctor or attorney who is oath-bound to do their very best on your behalf, your money manager is not legally obligated to give you the best possible. financial advice. Many managers are paid on commission and they push the financial products that will pay them the most commission. Seriously. Legally.

5. Business journalism is mostly just cheer leading, especially on TV. The most prevalent phrase uttered on CNBC is "how do you play this market Fred",  (or Bob, or Harry). If the markets are up it's a good day for America because the economy is "roaring along" and it's a good time to be in the market.. If the markets are down it's "is this the bottom Fred and are you buying the dip, getting yourself some bargains?" TV talking heads talk about the newest, hottest, most innovative "disrupter" businesses and their stocks. Apple, Tesla, Facebook, Twitter , Uber and Airbnb being the current favorites for discussion. It's like whatever celebrity is trending on social media. Replace Apple with the Kardashians, Tesla with George Clooney, Facebook with Jennifer Aniston and Twitter with Taylor Swift. It's a circus.
   There's lots more, but you get the picture.

   So what's the bottom line? How's my portfolio doing, you ask? I have no portfolio...but I do have guns, ammo, water, food, cash and precious metals for bartering.
   Maybe I'll buy the dip after the next big market crash when the bond market collapses and leads the enitre world economy into a super depression and stock prices are down by at least 75% and everybody who was in the market is broke.
   Then I'll be the playa'! Then I can do the Wall Street Boogie!   

Friday, June 26, 2015

Erasing the History of Slavery in the US

So, Mr. Quarter has not felt compelled to post for some time, but today I am moved by the effort to erase all of the historical reminders of the Civil War, War between the States, War of Northern Aggression, etc.  The rationale put forth by the Left, who are driving this movement, is that these symbols are racist, triggers and offensive.  They are saying that it is high time that the symbols of white oppression are put out of our society, equating these symbols with slavery of African-Americans and suggesting they are symbolic of present day oppression of these same people.   Frankly, after considering it, I think it is an excellent idea!  Lets do just that.  Lets remove from sight and mind anything that reminds us of the time, over 150 years ago, when black men, women and children were held in bondage in this country.

That's right, remove it all.  Destroy it and erase it from our historical recollection.  We don't need to remember that time.  It is only a reminder of the way the blacks have been supposedly and still remain oppressed and denied their rightful equality in this American nation.

Of course, there may be a down side.  The Jews of the world recognized this when they said NEVER AGAIN!  They realized that forgetting or letting the world forget what happened to them as a people, genocide and antisemitism, could create circumstances for the same things rear their ugly heads again.  And, more particularly, they wanted to remember as a motivation to never allow themselves to be persecuted in any manner without defending themselves to the maximum extent possible.  The State of Israel was one result.   They were wise in that they never wanted to forget nor let anyone in the future forget exactly what happened and why.  In fact, Jews annually celebrate their own ancestors having thrown off the yoke of slavery with the celebration of one high holy day, Passover.  They do not want to erase these cultural memories.

But Mr. Quarter can envision an outcome unforeseen by the Left for erasing the history of the Civil War and all of its reminders of slavery, but one that will be good for America.  Perhaps in a generation or so, no African-Americans will be reminded that their ancestors were once slaves.  None will use that memory as a reason to claim racial oppression,  a racial explanation for the deterioration of the intact family unit within that community, a racial explanation for the prevalence of young black men being incarcerated for criminal behavior, a racial explanation for the 75% illegitimacy rate within that community, and a racial cause for the failure of the educational system to adequately serve that community.  No longer will ancestral slavery be a basis to suggest that over 150 years after the fact, all of America owes African-Americans reparations for slavery.   Let all of those divisive and poisonous thoughts and feelings be erased as thoroughly as those offending reminders of the Civil War and ancestral slavery that the Left cannot allow to continue.  Perhaps then individual and personal responsibility (or lack thereof) will take its place in the collective mind of the black community as the reason for many of its problems.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Deuce...RISES!

   So I'm talking to the Buddha and I say, "Yo G! Like, what's the meaning of life, know wha I'm sayin'?"
   Buddha stares into my soul with those limpid pools of wisdom us mortals call eyes and he answers, "Live, my son. Just live."
   "Really?", I say. "That's all? Just...live?"
   He assumed the yoga pose 'dachshound sniffing self' and replied. "WORD!"

   I've been on a two year long sabbatical since my last post. After "my" America re-elected Barrack I knew my world view needed an intensive reexamination since I clearly was clueless as to how the world really worked. I'd like to report that I've got it all figured out now, but that would be juuuuuust a  bit of an exaggeration. I, maybe, have like 27% of it figured. Still, I like to think I'm somewhat further down the path to enlightenment than I was.

   For my own sanity I reduced my consumption of news and politics by a significant amount...and I discovered that that is not an easy thing to do. Both because of my own addiction to it (I've been a news/politics junkie since I was a kid) and because politics is ubiquitous in American society.

   To get away from politics I stopped watching FoxNews, CNN and other 24 hour news outlets. I replaced them with ESPN and CNBC. Guess what? They've got a lot of politics too.
   The talking heads on ESPN love it when there's blood in the water. Like their brethren in the news business they're first into the breach when there's enemies of progressive multi-culturalsim to be destroyed and new champions of progressivism to be deified. From the self-immolation of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling over racist comments to the attempted destruction of Heisman trophy winner Johnny 'Football' Manzeil for taking some money for signing autographs, rubbing his thumb over his finger tips in the "cash money" gesture and generally acting like one of a thousand black athletes instead of the east Texas peckerwood he is. ESPN is all over the Washington Redskins name controversy (more racism) and the NFL drafting it's first openly gay player, Michael Sam from the U. of Missouri.
   CNBC is about business news, but business and politics are closer than the Kardasian girls are to their plastic surgeons. The two richest counties in the U.S. are suburbs of D.C. in northern Virginia. Not the upper east side of Manhattan. Not Silicon Valley. Not the gold coast of Long Island nor even the Hamptons. Northern Virginia. Why there? 'Cause that's where the money is sucker! All those other areas of the country can talk millions, even billions, but only Washington can talk trillions of dollars. And there are a hell of a lot of people living in northern Virginia who make their money working for Wall Street and Silicon Valley and big pharma and big oil, and they make it by talking senators and representatives and the White House into giving big chunks of those trillions to their clients. Tax breaks, research grants, zero-interest loans, government contacts, bail outs...all up for grabs.
   If you think love makes the world go around you're delusional. Money makes the world go around. And if you think you're a thinking, sensing feeling human being making rational decisions that best make your life orderly, prosperous and fulfilling...well you've been terribly misinformed. You, my good friend, are a full-time consumer and a part-time voter. You will buy what you're told to buy and vote for whom you're told to vote for. Choice is but an illusion.
   Uplifting stuff, huh? I remember taking the red pill of reality like Neo, but it seems even that was just another trick of the Matrix and I, maybe all of us, are still asleep while powers more ominous than we dare to imagine continue to feed us the soylent green while they suck the wealth and freedom out of us.
   However, not all is lost. I got married after 21 years of bachelorhood. Love may not make the world go around but it sure makes home life better. My wife is a constant reminder that there is still good in the world...and that nobody likes a crotchety old man for very long. Also, countless hours watching CNBC and reading a dozen financial/business blogs has been most enlightening as regards wealth and those who seek it.
       The stock market may be the biggest racket I've ever encountered...