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By Tom Cushing

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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply...  (More)

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Uploaded: Aug 31, 2015

I was interested yesterday to see pundit Ben Stein on the Sunday talkies, confirming one of my suspicions about last week's market gyrations. He may have burst upon the scene as Ferris Bueller's boring teacher ( "? anyone? ? Bueller?), but he's long since established a reputation as a solid conservative economics commentator. I've also read Michael Lewis' Flash Boys, so I know a dangerous little bit about high-speed trading and the huge advantages of being milli-seconds faster in the digital stock trading marketplace.

In Stein's view, last week's crash was not precipitated by China's economic tribulations, or the Fed's plans regarding interest rates, or any other actual, fundamental factor related to the world economy. Those may be matters of longer term concern, but here they were just make-weights. Instead, Stein claims that last Monday's thousand-point plummet was caused by more sinister factors -- the Fed and China providing colorable excuses for the major players to program "Sell!" orders into their processes ? trades that were made at the top of the market. They were enough to set-off a massive tumble, as panicky commoners divested as soon as they could, but not soon enough.

Then what happened? After an adequately precipitous fall in the morning (a thousand points is a good, round number), the "Buy" orders returned in the afternoon. Thus, the Big Boys replenished their accounts for roughly 7% less on-average in the Dow, and watched as the index rocketed back up to near pre made-up-crisis levels. Now, 7% may not seem like much, unless you make it with next-to-no-risk, and in a matter of a few days. In dollar terms, that's a mere $2 Trillion, with a "T," that disappeared into the coffers of the institutional traders.

As always for those who choose to play in that casino, ordinary gamblers who stood 'pat' didn't lose much, other than the time they may have frittered on media frets that all these gyrations were somehow real. In the long run after all, the serfs can avoid starvation, as long as they adequately stock the ample larder of their liege. Their plodding returns are real, based on actual economic performance differentials and sound business management.

Only very occasionally, as in the bubble-driven crisis of 2008, is such a crash 'real' ? albeit precipitated by the banksters' non-value-adding default-swap machinations. And even then, the domestic market and economy have rebounded remarkably from that plunge (thanks, Obama).

But if Stein is right, the finance titans caused and profited handsomely from last week's events ? and for what? Was any value added? No, it was pure speculation, a lucky roll of the dice ? except these dice were loaded for the hedge funds and other high rollers who alone can buy-and-sell at warp speed.

Now, as I said above, I know only a little of what there is to be known about this stuff; I prefer my investments to be more tangible, where I have at least the illusion that I'm in some semblance of control. But if ol' Ben and I are right, here was an example in which a metric (well, you know)-trillion dollars was transferred from ordinary investors to the crusty uppers ? almost overnight, and without merit. And if we're right, why do we the sheeple consent to being continually fleeced?

So, ye readers who know much more about this stuff than I: are Ben and I right, or just paranoid (or both)? If the former, why is nobody writing about it ? resorting instead to those bogus, long-term macro-economic explanations of a blindingly short-term phenomenon? Is it obvious, in a welcome-to-the-party kind of way? And if not, what is it?

Anyone ? Bueller?

Comments

 +   2 people like this
Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 31, 2015 at 5:52 pm

I find your choice of blog topics partisan & insensitive to more compelling timely issues. A white police officer is murdered in Houston 48 hours ago while simply pumping gas by an African-American & subsequently a "black lives matter" protest celebrates the murder with chants of "Pigs in a Blanket fry them like Bacon". But you run another Wall Street blog. You have published many blogs ripping police officer's & alleged police brutality, but nothing about this hate group celebrating the murder of a police officer. When can we expect a blog from you honoring law enforcement & condemning hate groups supported by Democrats?


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Aug 31, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Please somebody explain how the death of a cop is more important than money?

You have some nerve!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 31, 2015 at 6:39 pm

"Cholo": Your comment is one of the most outrageous, disgusting things I have ever heard. God bless the brave law enforcement officers who risk their lives everyday protecting unthankful ignorant people like you.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of another community,
on Sep 1, 2015 at 6:41 am

Am: I left Cholo's comment up because I assume his/her tongue is firmly planted in-cheek.

As to my creative choices, thanks for the input. My blog intends to be topical, without necessarily re-treating the day's headlines. I do not know much about that specific incident, except that it is yet another gun tragedy. I do recall that Houston was a violent place when I lived there in the '80s -- I was pumping my own gas once when two citizens got into it over who deserved the next turn at the adjacent pump. One guy went into his trunk, pulled out a shotgun and chased the other guy into the mini-mart ... and there I stood thinking "I'm about to die here at the Conoco station with my gas hose in my hand." Not what I had/have in-mind.

I note that you vilify an entire movement in your comment, which I think is a dangerous thing. Again, I do not know these facts, but in any demonstration, there are always some haters who are there solely to throw bricks of one kind or another. Demonizing everybody as a result is simplistic and very seldom accurate on the merits.

Did you at least note in this blog that I agreed with a guy who once worked as a speechwriter for Nixon and Reagan? Or is that what you meant by "partisan?"


 +   2 people like this
Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 1, 2015 at 7:20 am

You left Cholo disgusting comment up because you thought it was joke, tongue in cheek. Would you have left a comment up, thought it was a joke, if someone posted celebrating the murder of a gay, or an African-American? Of course not, because of your partisan views tolerate jokes about murder of police officers. Why do you think that hate group is called "Black Lives Matter", and not "All Lives Matter"? Your party, the Democrats, gave them a plank in their official platform. The real news is your party endorsement of this hate group, not Wall Street.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of another community,
on Sep 1, 2015 at 7:29 am

Am: You confuse moderation with approval. They are not the same thing.

Example: I've left your critical and now redundant comments up, despite my personal disagreement with their content.

At the top of the Blogs page, there's an invitation to become a blogger. Perhaps you'd want to consider that option?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 1, 2015 at 9:44 am

Tom: " Redundent"? You still have not answered my question: would have you left up a post joking about the murder of a gay, or African-American, like you left up post joking about murder of a police officer?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of another community,
on Sep 1, 2015 at 9:58 am

No, it was redundAnt, and still is. Good thing I also don't remove posts for disagreeable spelling.

You can find my answer to your question in my response, counsellor. I don't pre-moderate future posts, and I do not generally remove them because I disagree with their content. That's as good as you'll get.

Now, do you have anything to say about the actual blog?


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 1, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Without naming names, some folks are drama queens!

Web Link

i rest my case...

anony


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 3, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Drama Queen: Web Link

The court teaches America a lesson in the LAW! VIVA AMERICA! VIVA!

The law is the law...i rest my case.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing , a resident of another community,
on Sep 4, 2015 at 11:11 am

Here you go, Am, stated much better than I can:

The Republican Party and its acolytes in the news media are trying to demonize the protest movement that has sprung up in response to the all-too-common police killings of unarmed African-Americans across the country.
....

The ?Black Lives Matter? movement focuses on the fact that black citizens have long been far more likely than whites to die at the hands of the police, and is of a piece with this history. Demonstrators who chant the phrase are making the same declaration that voting rights and civil rights activists made a half-century ago. They are not asserting that black lives are more precious than white lives. They are underlining an indisputable fact ? that the lives of black citizens in this country historically have not mattered, and have been discounted and devalued. ...

Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 4, 2015 at 4:44 pm

BLACK LIVES MATTER (WEB PAGE) - Web Link

Incidentally, there are some fantastic images in the International New York Review of Books - You will NOT be disappointed if you view the images!!!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 4, 2015 at 4:50 pm

I made another mistake. The images are in the NY Review of Books - Web Link

check out every image, it's worth every second of your time....


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 5, 2015 at 10:15 am

Dennis Hastert? What happened to your darling REPUBLICAN SPEAKER "American"? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...?

You crow about timely issues and cleverly dismiss giving us an update on former Speaker Mr. Hastert? What gives?

What are you avoiding? How many boys do you suppose your darling Republican leader RAPED? Dozens? I look forward to reading your analysis re: Mr. Hastert.

try to be polite to poor ole cholo pololo mololo


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 5, 2015 at 10:23 am

This group does not need any help in demonize themselves, when they were videotaped chanting in unison at their rally in Minnesota, " Pigs in a blanket, fry them up like Bacon", in reference to supporting killing police officers. This same chant was posted online by that murderer in New York the night before he murdered two police officers. Don\'t confuse hero\'s in the civil rights group like MLK Jr with this hate group, as he was a champion of non-violence & would have condemned this group.

Last year more whites were killed in the US by law enforcement than African- Americans. Blacks are killing their own in violent black inner cities, in record numbers, and that is the real story. The " Black Lives Matter" group should be targeting protest at blacks killing blacks, not at cops who get called into combat in these neighborhoods.

The Police Chief in Milwaukee who is black explained all of this in a press conference, and called on Obama\'s Attorney General, who is black, to meet with him to discuss the problem of black on black crime rates. A spokesman for Obama\'s attorney general said the " attorney general did not have time to meet" with the police chief. Shameful. That should be the story for you confused liberal media to report on, instead of blaming the police for all the problems.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 5, 2015 at 10:31 am

Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 5, 2015 at 10:43 am

The Wall Street Journal: Web Link

get educated american


 +   3 people like this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Sep 5, 2015 at 3:56 pm

@American,

Wall Street may have killed more people in the recent financial crisis (heart attacks, stroke, stress related illness) than were killed in homicides.

Web Link

Web Link

Tom's choice of blog topics is relevant and timely.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 5, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Black lives taken by police: Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 5, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Killed by POLICE in 2015: Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 5, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Latinos murdered by police: Web Link

i rest my case...


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of another community,
on Sep 7, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Am: there is a danger in the righty echo chamber that false things often repeated are later mistaken for true things. For example, from your comment:

"Last year more whites were killed in the US by law enforcement than African- Americans."

Ah, the Bill O'Reilly stat. First of all, counselor, that would only be persuasive if black and white populations were roughly equivalent, instead of about 7-1 different. Here's the CDC's table on ethnicity and risk of being killed by police. Of course it shows that three minorities have dramatically higher risk of being killed by police -- the caucasian number is so low that it does not appear, except to drag down the average risk for all ages to about 1/million. The risk for young black males is at least SEVEN TIMES HIGHER. Web Link

Facts are inconvenient. But wait -- before you go back into your bubble,

"Blacks are killing their own in violent black inner cities, in record numbers, and that is the real story. The " Black Lives Matter" group should be targeting protest at blacks killing blacks, not at cops who get called into combat in these neighborhoods."

Who in the very hell are you to be telling other people what their business "should" be?? Have you walked in their shoes? Can you even conceive of what life is actually like, outside the bubble? Can you not empathize with anybody who's not like you? The arrogance of that 'advice' is incredible. Perhaps all the unhappy people ought to just "be happier" so you can maintain your what -- me worry? -- view of the world.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Sep 7, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Tom,

Your web link. a chart provided by centers for disease control and prevention national center for health statistics.

They list the race, Native American. They cannot possibly be referencing the 562 recognized Indian Tribes in the United States?

If not, they must be referencing the Caucasian population of the United States? If so, why would they refer to them as Native American? Native Americans are aboriginal, identified as Native.

Also, have they compiled this data reasoning that people killed by police is a disease?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 7, 2015 at 6:38 pm

I was born on South Side Chicago, so yes did not grow up in your limousine liberal bubble. I know the streets, growing up, and as an adult working closely with law enforcement. Go on ride along in Oakland my friend for one night, and your opinion of law enforcement will change. They are brave and work daily in combat zones. They are not the problem, " professor", you misguided liberals are.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Sep 7, 2015 at 11:11 pm

@American,

Why not talk about the subject of the blog? People's lives are being ruined by these investment bankers, derivatives traders, and so on. Is that okay with you?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of another community,
on Sep 8, 2015 at 8:13 am

Michael: I an assure you that the Native Americans category in the CDC data is 'first peoples' -- the tribes -- and not all those who happened to have been born here. The CDC has recognized violence as a major health threat, and so compiles statistics, some of which give the lie to comfortable notions that real problems don't exist.


Am: why, you're a regular Bad Leroy Brown!, but then, we can all be whomever we want on the internets Web Link.

As you've effectively hijacked the thread (sorry BobB!), notice the progression here. You make a preposterous claim, and then when multiple posters point out the actual state of things, you slide over into anecdote about riding with cops, by way of developing an ad hominem smear. It's once again as if facts don't matter if they are contrary to your comfortable preconceptions. Except in reality, they do matter.

You also engage in simplistic we-ing and they-ing, to wit: those BLM partisans aren't like 'us,' and if somebody understands their frustration, why, you must be an anti-cop limousine liberal (I happen to be neither, nor am I blind). The label game is ad hominem, it is a baseline Trumpian tactic, and it has sweet-nothing to do with your point.

Now, I recognize that there's a time-honored litigator's tactic that if the case merits are against your client, you must try to confuse the issues and put somebody else on-trial -- in the hope of convincing the credulous. Good luck with that.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Bureau of Indian Affairs: Web Link

The above may be helpful to some of your readers.

nota bene: Lets not forget that one of your recent posters is "registered" indian and loves to pound his chest about his heritage!!! Kinda like Senator Ted Cruz..it likes to claim that it is indeed Latino despite Latinos busting a gut over his claim!

i find it waaaaaaay cute and amusing...


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 8, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Please consider not bickering with one of your recent posters, he likes to split hairs re: numbers, mislead readers, and tease with "facts".

GENOCIDE was committed in against the indigenous people in the Americas. case closed...Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm

another view of genocide: Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 8, 2015 at 3:04 pm

The Gold Rush, Sutter's Mill, The Great California Genocide:

Web Link

enjoy...


 +  Like this comment
Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 8, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Tom: Yes, I get frustrated when people like you accuse me of " living in a bubble" because I am a Republican & currently live in Danville. I responded to your incorrect allegation with the simple truth that I was born on South Side of Chicago, went to public schools, and in my youth and as an adult working closely with law enforcement certainly have life experiences that have nothing to do with living in a "bubble". I only brought this up in response to your false claim regarding living in a bubble.
( I did enjoy your dog on the Internet cartoon though)

I stated facts. Facts, more whites than blacks are killed by police. That is a true statement. You can argue about percents till the cows come home but it doesn't change fact my statement is true.

It is also true that videotape evidence shows members of "Black Lives Matter" group repeatedly chanting in unison at their rally, " pigs in blanket, fry them up like bacon", the same chant that was posted night before by murderer who killed 2 police officers. This is a fact. But your response was to compare them to civil rights heros of the past. MLK Jr was against violence. That is a fact. He would have condemned this group's actions.

You lecture me to " walk in their shoes", but you keep up Cholo's disgusting comment laughing about murder of cops as you noted it was " a joke". Why don't you walk in the shoes of the brave men & women of law enforcement, and their spouses and children, never knowing if they are going to come home safely. I have been to funerals of law enforcement, and it is no joke to see the anguish in the faces of their loved ones.

It is also a fact that the Police Chief of Milwaukee, who is black, was so concerned about black on black crime in his city that he requested a meeting with Obama's AG, only to be told " she did not have time in her schedule". What message does that send to law enforcement?

Tom, I have the facts on this issue, and you know it and thus try to make it personal by falsely claiming I live in a bubble.

Your refusal to admit your error in allowing Cholo's " joke" about murdered police officers, your refusal to admit that those rally chants were wrong and offensive, and your false claim that I must live in a bubble because I don't agree with you, suggests that I am wasting my time responding to your blogs. I rarely agreed with your blogs over the years, but respected your opinions, and you, as a fellow rescue dog advocate & A's fan. I don't anymore. You and Cholo( if he is not really you) can continue to agree on your issues, and tell each other how smart & clever you are. I won't respond to anymore of your blogs. Someone who thinks the murder of a police officer is a joke is not worth my time.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of another community,
on Sep 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm

... and now you change the subject to your victimization and my editorial choices. The beat goes on.

Am, you've left in a huff previously, and you later came back. I expect that'll happen again, but if not -- adieu.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 8, 2015 at 8:25 pm

hi mer-can! I am delighted to learn that you love animals...so do I!

Web Link

your bud...Cholo Pololo Mololo, American Citizen!



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