The Dow gave up a little more ground yesterday.
According to the financial press, Fed chief Yellen’s announcement on rate hikes, expected today, is troubling investors.
The Financial Times, for instance, tells us that Ms Yellen is looking at some ‘worrying data.’
Most likely, she’s looking at the same data we are: falling labour force participation, fewer new jobs, and slower GDP growth.
And she’s probably thinking: ‘Good golly, Miss Molly! How did I get into this mess?’
‘If I do the wrong thing…or even say the wrong thing…the whole shebang could blow up. And then, I’ll get the blame. Not Alan, even though he started this thing. And not Ben, even though he was the one got us on ZIRP.
‘No…little ol’ me…Janet Louise Yellen…it’s me they’re going to blame. What to do? Better play it safe: mumble…hedge…delay…all that data-dependent mumbo-jumbo. They love that.’
Heroes and villains
Ms Yellen is right: The press needs not only to report events but also to explain them.
It needs heroes and villains. Good must come into conflict with evil. Some guys in white hats and some in black hats. ‘Who’ — not ‘why’ or ‘how’ — is the story they will tell.
So when this latest credit bubble blows, they won’t go back to Richard Nixon and study the new money system he put into place 45 years ago…
They won’t examine how the Deep State financed nearly a half-century of expansion…
Instead, they’ll just see the smoking gun and the corpse. Poor Ms Yellen will get the rap.
(Of course, she may rise to the status of heroine, too — like Alan and Ben before her — if she turns her defeat into an ersatz victory with enough stimulus to simulate a recovery.)
In any event, when the next crisis comes, we’ll have our finger ready too…and we intend to point the finger at Ms Yellen.
But pointing at all those who are to blame would take more fingers than we have.
Besides, it’s the ‘why’ and ‘how’ that most interests us…
Arguing with God
We promised to tell you about the play, Arguing with God, written by our friend John Henry.
We thought about it as we read the news headlines on Monday. The devil took his toll in Orlando. But God — at least as described in the Old Testament, and brought to life by John Henry’s provocative play — is certainly not above murder, mass murder, or even genocide.
It is one thing to kill people you don’t know, simply because the Deep State commands it. A convenient cowardice?
But what is it when you kill your own children because God tells you to do so? That was Abraham’s task.
Yahweh, Abraham’s god, told him to kill his only son, Isaac. Abraham was ready to do it, too. He had a knife in his hand when an angel told him to stop.
That was just a test. Any people who were ready to kill their own kin for His sake were the people He was looking for.
Arguing with God is the story of the Jews…and their long, difficult relationship with their God. But it is told in contemporary language, leaving the viewer to make the quick connection: ‘The chosen people’ of antiquity become the one ‘indispensable nation’ of today, for example.
God chose the Jews to be his standard bearers and sent them off to kill and conquer. And no angel intervened…
Instead, God Himself goaded the killers and was upset when they left the job only half done.
In the Book of Deuteronomy, for example, we have the story of the annihilation of the Canaanites.
It is not enough to conquer territory. God orders the Israelites to ‘not leave alive anything that breathes’ and to ‘completely destroy them.’ And not just the fighting men. He wanted to snuff out women, children, beasts of burden…even household pets.
Fire and brimstone
John Henry grew up the son of an Episcopalian minister in Virginia. By the time he left home, he had read the Bible cover to cover seven times.
But it was only when he reread it as an adult, he says, that the violence of the Almighty came fully into focus. He was shocked.
The Old Testament is a story of one outrageous act of murder and genocide after another. The Lord Jehovah is not content to shoot off a few hundred rounds in a night club, for example. He’ll take out an entire town.
Here is what Genesis tells us destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah: ‘Fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven.’
Moses later described what it looked like:
‘The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur – nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, which the Lord overthrew in fierce anger.’
At God’s suggestion, the Israelites exterminated the Amalekites, too. From Book of 1 Samuel: ‘He took Agag, king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword.’
The Book of Ezekiel further reports:
‘The Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.”’
But to the others He said in my hearing:
‘Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.’
So they started with the elders who were before the temple…
And when God was displeased with his people, He practically exterminated them all in the Great Flood.
‘Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made,’ He says in Genesis.
Arguing with God is meant to make viewers wonder about America’s place in the world and its connection to God. But it made us wonder about God himself.
For Markets and Money, Australia
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