From Icarus To Humpty Dumpty – The Art & Science Of Spending Other People’s Money

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by Tyler Durden

Via MN Gordon of,

“We have assembled a best-in-class team of policy advisors to drive President Trump’s bold plan for job creation and economic growth.” Gary Cohn, Chief Economic Advisor to President Trump

Promises of Slop

The art and science of spending other people’s money is not an occupation suited to just anyone.  Rather, it’s a skill reserved for the professional world-improver.  To be successful, one must act with a zealous devotion to uplifting the down and out, no matter the cost.

Lawyers, bankers, economists, and government philosophers with fancy resumes, whom attended fancy schools.  These are the devoted fellows who comprise President Trump’s team of economic policy advisors.  Moreover, these are the chosen associates who are charged with bringing Trump’s economic vision to fruition.  Are they up to the task?

Only time will tell.  But, already, it’s quite evident that Trump’s economic policy advisors have their work cut out for them.  During Trumps speech to Congress on Tuesday night, he called for more jobs, more education, more military, and more affordable health insurance.

By all accounts the speech sounded delightful.  Promises were made to spread the government’s slop far and wide.  Trump pledged offerings that just about anyone and everyone – with the exception of grumpy face Bernie Sanders – could standup behind and applaud.

Indeed, articulating these plans is one thing.  Using the force of government to execute them is another.  This is where the advisors come in.

From Icarus to Humpty Dumpty

According to Wall Street, President Trump said all the right things.  On Wednesday the DOW jumped up over 300 points to over 21,100.  And despite yesterday’s pullback, the DOW ended the day above 21,000.  What’s going on?

New York Fed President William Dudley says the market’s “animal spirits have been unleashed.”  He also says “the case for monetary policy tightening has become a lot more compelling.”  The case being, as noted by Dudley, “sturdy” jobs gains, inflation increases, and rising optimism for both consumers and business owners.

Hence, Dudley and the Fed may increase the price of credit at the next FOMC meeting later this month.  In fact, as of yesterday, CME Group puts the odds of a pending Fed rate hike at over 75 percent.  Bloomberg puts the odds at 90 percent.  In other words, unless the stock market crashes before March 15, it’s highly likely the Fed will raise the federal funds rate.

Maybe the market will crash before March 15.  Maybe it will crash after.  Maybe it won’t crash at all.  Who knows?

One analyst at Bank of America, with a creative metaphorical mind, has somehow penciled out a market path leading to a great fall in the second half of 2017.  But first, says Michael Hartnett, investors must finish climbing the “wall of worry.”  At that point, his “Icarus Trade” will turn into the “Humpty Dumpty Trade.”  Thus, the great fall.

A 30 Year Mess in the Making

No doubt, Trump’s economic advisors are facing a tall order.  Stocks are extremely overvalued.  The Fed’s unwittingly jawboned itself into a March rate increase.  Yet GDP, as reported for the fourth quarter 2016, slouches along at just 1.9 percent.

At the same time, it’s projected the government will hit the debt ceiling on March 16 After that, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will have to take “extraordinary measures” – shuffle money around – to keep the lights on.  By October, if Congress doesn’t raise the debt limit, the lights fade to black.

Somehow Trump’s advisors have to figure out how to boost the economy without boosting spending.  So far their plan only accounts for half of the equation.  That is, to boost the economy by pumping money into defense and infrastructure.  But if spending isn’t going to also increase, where’s the money going to come from?

Earlier this week it was reported that Trump wants to increase military spending by $54 billion without increasing the deficit.  The $54 billion increase would be offset by cuts to other government departments and agencies.  While this proposal doesn’t increase the $500 billion deficit, it doesn’t decrease it either.  In short, a half trillion dollars will still be added to the debt.

In the meantime, in just under two weeks there will be an abundance of excitement emanating from Washington DC.  Specifically, a rousing Congressional debt ceiling standoff will commence.  Reagan era Budget Director, David Stockman’s calling it a fiscal bloodbath:

I think we are likely to have more of a fiscal bloodbath rather than fiscal stimulus.  Unfortunately for Donald Trump, not only did the public vote the establishment out, they left on his doorstep the inheritance of 30 years of debt build-up and a fiscal policy that’s been really reckless in the extreme.

People would like to think he’s the second coming of Ronald Reagan and we are going to have morning in America.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it looks that promising because Trump is inheriting a mess that pales into insignificance what we had to deal with in January of 1981 when I joined the Reagan White House as Budget Director.”



Who Needs Dollars? Russia and China Are Now Dominating Global Gold Production

Cheap paper for gold. Not a bad deal. At all.

Devalued paper for gold. Not a bad deal. And in partnership with China — an ally, BRICS member, and fellow petrodollar-dumper.

You can file this one under “Russia’s economy is about to collapse”.

Despite what the New York Times may have told you, the devaluation of the ruble has tremendous benefits for Russia’s economy.

The major benefit is that a cheap ruble makes “made in Russia” highly competitive in foreign markets.

Agriculture, manufacturing — even gold is now cheaper to produce in Russia. And Moscow is reaping the rewards:

Russia remained the world’s third largest gold producer in 2016 behind China and Australia, data from the Finance Ministry showed on Tuesday.

Russia’s gold mining industry has benefited from strong gold prices, up 8.5% in dollar terms last year, and the impact of domestic currency weakness, hit by a fall in oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in Ukrainian crisis.

This is really the giant cherry on top of the “Russia is about to collapse” cake.

The ruble “apocalypse” not only breathed fresh life into Russian industries — it also allowed Moscow to convert cheap paper into gold.

Isn’t that called alchemy?

China is way ahead in gold production — 453 metric tons in 2016. And Russia isn’t far behind second-place Australia with 288 metric tons.

Russia surpassed U.S. gold production for the first time in 25 years back in 2014. With cheap operational costs, expect the Russian gold rush to continue.

Russia and China are already actively dumping U.S. Treasuries for gold. And together they are now openly defying Washington’s geopolitical plots.

Devalued paper for gold. And in partnership with China — an ally, BRICS member, and fellow petrodollar-dumper.

Things are looking up!


Minimally invasive heart surgery

Robot-assisted heart surgery

In minimally invasive heart surgery, heart (cardiac) surgeons perform heart surgery through small incisions in the right side of your chest, as an alternative to open-heart surgery.

Surgeons don’t cut through the breastbone (sternotomy). Rather, they operate between the ribs, which may result in less pain and a quicker recovery for many people.

In minimally invasive surgery, your heart surgeon may have a better view of some parts of your heart than in open-heart surgery. Similar to open surgery, some minimally invasive heart surgery procedures may require stopping your heart temporarily and diverting blood flow from your heart using a heart-lung bypass machine.

Minimally invasive heart surgery may be performed to treat a variety of heart conditions.



15 Quotes From a Modern Day Zen Master That Will Change Your Perspective on Life

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Ever heard of Mooji? If not, he is one of the greatest modern day spiritual teachers that has helped countless people achieve their goals of inner peace.

Mooji encourages his students to question who or what they are at the deepest level. One of his well known exercises is to identify the natural feeling ‘I am’ or ‘I exist’ and staying with this for 5 to 7 minutes at a time.

Another is to come to the recognition that everything (thoughts, emotions, sensations) can be perceived, and then inquiring, “Can the perceiver itself be perceived?”

Below, we share some of his most biting quotes on the journey of discovering who you truly are.

Everything is a blessing

“Don’t be too quick to interpret the moment. Just keep quiet. My encouragement would always be: never think anything is against you, everything is blessing. Why should it be different? Just be quiet. Let it all work itself out.”

On your thoughts

“No thought has any power. You have power. And when you identify and believe in the thought you give power to the thought.”

Let go and trust in life

“If you do not trust life to unfold, the mind takes over and it becomes a game of strategy, motivated by anxiety. This mistrust is unfair. Life has given us so much, and yet we do not trust it.”

Some of your friends will be marathon runners

“Some beings will walk with you for the duration of this bodily existence, up to the very end. Some will come with bright promises, bright lights, but they fade quickly. Others come, they don’t look like they will go very far, but they are marathon runners; they’re there with you all the time. You cannot determine this… Somehow in the flow of your own unique river, you will see that everything is as it should be.”

The world is beautiful and free

“Don’t remind the world that it is sick and troubled. Remind it that it is beautiful and free.”

Something is there taking care

“Who reminds you to breathe and to beat your heart? Something is there, taking care…”

Go beyond everything

“Go beyond everything. Don’t collect anything. A king does not need to go shopping in his own kingdom. Nor does he beg. Remember, you are the inner reality-pure awareness only.
All that arises are appearances in consciousness. Don’t bother with all that. Rest only as the awareness. This is the secret.”

Sink into this timeless moment

“If you give yourself one complete minute of focused presence, to simply stop; even to listen to your heart beating, it will take you out of your head and introduce you to the moment which is complete in itself. It is not on the way to another moment. It is not a bridge to another opportunity. It is the timeless perfection So stopand sink into this timeless moment.”

Our natural state of being is happy

“You need nothing to be happy – you need something to be sad.”

Illuminate the world with your being

“There is a mystery within all beings bursting to reveal itself, in the ones who become quiet enough to discover it. In this discovery a benevolent force shines spontaneously from your presence towards all beings, and this light cannot help but illuminate the world.”

On freedom

“When you can bear your own silence, you are free.”

Be nobody

“If I could give you only one advice, I would say: Don’t identify with anything. Be completely empty – no one. Be no-body and see if you lose anything but delusion.”

Let go

“The greatest step towards a life of happiness and simplicity is to let go. Trust in the power that is already taking care of you spontaneously without effort.”

The ego

“Life cannot be against you, for you are Life itself. Life can only seem to go against the ego’s projections, which are rarely the truth.”

Seeing the true selves of others

“If you could look inside the Heart of any and every single human being, you would fall in love with them completely. If you see the inside as it really Is and not as your mind projects it to be, you would be so purely in love with the whole thing.”


The Real Reason Why Society Hates You If You Don’t Have Kids

by Tracy Moore

People who violate social norms fill us with disgust

Over 200 introductory psychology students at a large U.S. Midwestern university agree: People who don’t have children are not only miserable, but deserving of our moral outrage. That is the result of a new study that found that deliberately not breeding makes you look like a bad person who lives a purposeless life devoid of real joy. Bonus finding: Men and women without kids were equally despised, proving that there is no gender limit to our disgust toward those who do not procreate as directed in the handbook Being a Correct Adult.

The study, published in Sex Roles, carries the torch of three decades of cited research that has consistently found that deliberate non-breeders (as opposed to the infertile, who get a pass) have always been disliked. Previous studies have found these rogues among us are rated less positively, are seen as being less psychologically fulfilled and are, in essence, maladjusted bastard people. (One exception: A 1983 study found that the only thing we hate more than a child-free person is a pregnant woman who is not happy about her pregnancy.)

The question then, isn’t whether we hate people who don’t want children, but why we hate them so much. Study author Leslie Ashburn-Nardo, an associate professor of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, set out to prove this based on a few hypotheses. Her theory is that because having children is such a powerful, strongly held norm — something we’re conditioned to want from our own childhoods — that opting out violates the social code. (She cites Pew Research from 2010 saying that just one in five women in the U.S. will choose not to breed.)

Those who violate it face backlash just as women face backlash for being too aggressive, and men do for being too humble. The moral outrage this violation of the social code causes makes people think of the child-free as less happy. In other words, because most of us have kids, it’s very difficult for us to imagine that everyone doesn’t want them — and anyone who doesn’t is probably miserable, the suckers.

To test the theory, she had the college students read one of four paragraphs about a fictitious former student, James or Jennifer, who had either no children or two children, under the guise that the study would be about testing intuition. The story read as follows:

James (Jennifer) lives in Columbus, Ohio. He (She) graduated from [name of university] with a degree in biology in December 2002. After graduating, he (she) worked as a pharmaceutical sales rep to pay back some student loans, but after a couple of years he (she) decided that career wasn’t a good fit and investigated other options. In summer 2003, James (Jennifer) married his (her) college girlfriend (boyfriend). They decided to have no (two) children and when surveyed in 2005 they had stuck with this decision.

Students were then asked to predict how happy they thought these people were, with their marriages and lives overall, as well as their decision to have or not have children, or their likelihood of getting divorced. Then they ranked their disapproval, anger, outrage, annoyance and disgust toward these characters.

Ashburn-Nardo said in the study’s press release that she believes the results — that the child-free were believed to have less fulfilling lives, and evoke disgust — demonstrate that we’re so invested in the idea that one should procreate that anyone who doesn’t is simply seen as wrong. “Having children is obviously a more typical decision, so perhaps people are rightfully surprised when they meet a married adult who, with their partner, has chosen to not have children,” she explained. “That they are also outraged by child-free people is what’s novel about this work.”

Not only does this make people with children sound like smug assholes they are (though the study was conducted with young adults who have not yet procreated), it’s also not great news for the child-free, who will likely feel the need to offer up more reasons why not having kids is just fine…