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@Jackson Hole: Be Very Afraid, Bankers are channeling their inner Rothschild

Dear Reader, There is a melancholy overtaking economic commentators such as myself. The kindred spirits amongst the economic intelligentsia who stridently, constantly, warn of the dangers the actions of our central banks, are now overwhelmed by the futility of our attempts to bring this issue to Main Street’s consciousness.  [Dear Reader, please stifle your guffaws at my hubris that allows me to include myself as a member of the world’s economic intelligentsia. Debatably, my curriculum vitae as an economist is quite thin. It requires many redactions, falsehoods and exaggerations prior to being sent to a prospective employer, {along with a fervent prayer that the employer does not check my police record, references, academic credentials or my credit bureau}]. However, my intimate knowledge of the outrageous inner workings of our Central Banks gives me insights heretofore unavailable even to the most celebrated, revered and feted economists. I will explain how I came to be amongst the celebrated elite at the Economic Symposium held at the Jackson Lake Lodge last week end.

The sacred words of the primogenitor of all central bankers, Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Recent events in China, the global stock markets and an offer of employment from the European Central Bank, have inspired me to put down the bottle, battle the delirium tremens [DTs], and put pen to paper, [or finger to keyboard, I guess]. I am going to expose the most shocking and effective Coup d’état that is overwhelming our global governments, our global economy and our way of life. I will explain the apalling, sordid, and somewhat humorous events that have made me uniquely privy to the most secret machinations of our central banks. I will share these insights with you now so that you understand my desperation. First, let me capture your undivided attention. This will strike fear into your heart. To accomplish this, I will quote the sacred words of the primogenitor of all bankers, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, founder of the House of Rothschild. It was he who, famously opined, “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws”. If one casts a discerning eye around the world these words are even more chilling.

Bankers are channeling their inner Rothschild

One realizes that our bankers are channeling their inner Rothschild. They are in the process of, simply put, world domination. Click away from this commentary now if you dare, but before you do, let me declaim to you a passage from the letter that set the wheels in motion in 1863. The letter is from the “Book of Rothschild, Chapter 11, verses 3-12″. The letter ingenuously explains how simple it is for bankers to rule the world. These words, written with unalloyed exuberance and accuracy, are the blueprint being used today to create a “New World Order” ruled by our bankers.

Genuflect when you read these words

Dear Reader, scan these words carefully. I would remind you that decorum and respect requires one to genuflect when perusing the musings of a Rothschild. Here begins the first reading of the words of Rothschild who brilliantly wrote,  “The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favors that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.” These words were written by the Rothschild brothers of London in a missive directed to associates in New York, 1863.  Unless you have been incarcerated, or in a drug or alcohol induced coma for the last few years you surely can make the connection between Mr. Rothschild’s statement and the reality that exists today. [Dear Reader, I am not being judgmental regarding incarceration or coma induced by substance abuse. I myself have been fortunate that during my frequent episodes as a guest of the state, I have always been allowed access to Wi-Fi. Furthermore my fondness for illicit substances, while diminishing my motor skills and brain function has not yet put me in a coma.]

Ridiculous as it seems

Consider these facts as you scrutinize my report from the Economic Summit held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming last weekend.

FACT: The global economy has not improved since the financial crisis of 2008. It has simply been medicated by approximately thirty trillion dollars of additional global government debt that has been accumulated since 2008. In fact, global government debt has now reached the ludicrous amount of 58 trillion dollars.

FACT: Greece, capturing the world’s attention for over a year with their debt crisis, required the most brilliant financial minds in the world to devote 100% of their time to find a solution. The solution, ridiculous as it seems, is to lend Greece money every month so that it can make its monthly payments to its respective creditors. In addition, the brilliant financial minds demanded that Greece raise the level of taxation. [A rather risible solution in a country where tax avoidance is a national sport.]

FACT: France has not balanced its budget since 1974.While lecturing Europe on the topic of sound financial and economic policy during the financial crisis, France has continued to gorge itself on government debt. France now owes 2.5 trillion dollars. One can easily forget the Greek crisis, with a mere 250 billion dollars at risk. One should gird themselves for the real crisis will occur when France, Italy, the United States, Canada, Italy or just about any G-20 country throws in the towel and claims “No Más” regarding the repayment of their accumulated debts.

FACT: China has abandoned any pretense of free market , or controlled economy or any other strategy you can imagine. They have turned their economy and their markets over to the central bankers, who, lacking the experience and finesse of their G-7 counterparts, have made numerous egregious and painful ‘rookie mistakes’ [that may well bring the global markets to a catastrophic end.]

FACT: It is only with the help of international bankers that Dictators or corrupt politicians are able to steal billions, yes I said billions, from their respective countries.

The Jackson Hole Economic Symposium

Dear Reader, Thank you for your patience for letting me set the groundwork for my most stunning revelations that I was made privy to last weekend. Now let me now explain how I came to be an attendee at last week end’s Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.  Upon release from a brief incarceration at the hands of a dastardly private security firm in Kentucky, I thought my nascent career as a financial journalist and economist was over. Little did I know at the time, that within months of my release from captivity, I would be attending the world’s most prestigious financial event; the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s “Economic Symposium”.   Held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the annual conference, which has was first held in 1978, is a chance for central bankers, finance ministers and academics to talk about the world economy in a public but informal setting. However, this year’s event promised to be anything but informal and relaxed.

I know you think I am making this stuff up

The China crisis, the debt crisis, perpetual government intervention in global securities markets, and any other crisis du jour fueled the discomfort of the attendees. Chronically high global unemployment, slowing consumer demand for the trinkets and trash that are the engine of all consumer oriented economies exacerbated the sense of panic amongst the guests at the symposium.  Strident xenophobia in the United Stated was enabling the most powerful and wealthiest country in the world to seriously contemplate spending between 50 billion and 100 billion dollars to build a southern and northern wall along their borders with Mexico and Canada respectively. Even the staunchest conservatives at the symposium were wondering if the elites in the United States were having some form of psychotic break. [I know you think I am making this stuff up but google Trump, Walker and immigration and the results will attest to the veracity of my statement. [Ok I will do it for you, just click on this  link ]

The mythical exit strategy

Add to the global economic stew, the numerous regional conflicts, religious antagonism, rampant money printing and one understands the high anxiety permeating Jackson Hole. This anxiety motivated the hosts [the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City] to expand their guest list. In addition to inviting all the ‘usual suspects’, central bankers had ensured that the attendees included all manner of plenipotentiaries, potentates, provocateurs, poseurs and riff raff from the world of industry, politics, finance, economics, and religion. I can now report to you what I learned at the super-secret keynote presentation that was held in a private location, shielded from the prying eyes of the media. While a powerful cabal of rainmakers, including myself gathered for this hush- hush presentation, spokesman for the bankers remained upstairs at the lodge offering their usual platitudes of, more debt, money printing and low interest rates to the hopelessly acquiescent and uninquisitive members of the media. What was outlined at the clandestine meeting was nothing less than the much anticipated, almost mythical, exit strategy from the current policy of easy money forever.

Let me explain

Dear Reader I suspect at this moment you are having the inevitable “Say What!” moment. One is quite astonished and dumbfounded that a low life wannabe economist, journalist, notable miscreant and inebriate such as myself, should be attending this prestigious economic symposium. Let me explain how I came to be at the center of this pivotal moment in history. My inclusion at this landmark gathering was the result of my friendship with Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, the esteemed Director of Global Statistical Creation at the European Central Bank [ECB]. As I drank and caroused my way through a career on Wall Street, selling all manner of toxic waste to naïve and overly trusting clients, Gustavo was my principal bookie/pimp/lender of last resort. He serviced the sordid needs of many of my colleagues on Wall Street.  His lowly station in life took a significant turn for the better when a high ranking member of the ECB was in New York to exorcize his hedonistic demons. At the end of a night of drug and alcohol induced debauchery the banker had the misfortune of placing a stupendously large and horrifically incorrect wager with Gustavo on the outcome of the 2010 World Cup.

Gustavo became the de facto head of the ECB

The only way the debt could be settled was for the banker to offer Gustavo a highly paid sinecure at the European Central Bank. Overnight Gustavo traded Fulton Street in Brooklyn for the Champs-Élysées [do I really need to say ‘in Paris’].   Sadly for Main Street and “boffo” for the world’s bankers, Gustavo’s hopelessly defective moral compass coupled with his aptitude for numbers and his willingness to blackmail his colleagues ensured that within a startling short period of time he became the de facto head of the ECB. As well, he became the principal source of vision for the global central banking community. It was Gustavo who solved the Greek debt crisis this summer by suggesting a modified Ponzi scheme in which Greece would be loaned the money to repay its creditors. I was most entertained when this solution made headlines around the world. When Gustavo was my bookie and I was into him for “10 G”, I had suggested a similar solution to eradicate my debt. His response was to threaten to call his connected friends to rearrange my body parts.  As my relationship with Gustavo had made me privy [if not a participant] to numerous first and second degree felonies he had committed on his way to the top, he was always willing to take my calls and once in a while throw me a bone in the form of some inside scoop from the world of banking. The resulting reportage helped me to energize my career and inexorably inch me closer to a Pulitzer Prize.

Gustavo’s obdurate refusal to reduce his consumption of drugs

The final piece of the puzzle that found me in Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole was the result of Gustavo’s obdurate refusal to reduce his consumption of drugs and alcohol. The ECB had hired me as his sobriety coach and general factotum to attempt to reduce the cornucopia of noxious substances that Gustavo consumed.  I agree that I was a curious choice for this role but Gustavo was thrilled to have someone on his team who was willing to visit the dark side of town [which is hard to find in Jackson. [Let me clarify for those of you who have never been to the economic symposium: “Jackson Hole  isn’t even a town. It’s a valley. The biggest town, Jackson (population 9,710), lies at the southern end of Jackson Hole. The Fed conference itself occurs farther north, in a lodge in Grand Teton National Park, about 50 miles south of Yellowstone National Park.”], The ECB required me to remain at Gustavo’s side at all times as a barrier against venal temptation This included being at Gustavo’s side during his keynote address to the luminaries gathered at the 2015 Economic Symposium.

The highlight of the conference was the presentation of Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre

The main event was not the boring predictable platitudes from the usual suspects such Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, or Stanley Fisher, Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The highlight of the conference was the presentation of Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, Director of Statistical Creation at the ECB, to the 140 attendees at the conference. Due to the inevitably inflammatory nature of Gustavo’s presentation, the organizers had arranged for his address to be delivered new, purpose-built, and sound-proofed, third level subbasement of the Famous Jackson Lake Lodge.

Whatever it takes

Dear Reader, I was nervous as I sat backstage with Gustavo waiting for the host to introduce him. Fortunately the auditorium with thick with the smoke from the large amounts of sweet sensimilla the attendees were consuming in anticipation of Gustavo’s address. Simply breathing this mixture was enough to calm Gustavo and I. While I had been faithful to my duties as Gustavo’s sobriety coach this had not prevented me from selling several pounds of primo Acapulco Gold to the bankers/airheads [one could suggest that these two wards are synonymous]. Actually because the bankers were all on an expense account they were willing to pay crazy prices. I made a fortune on this brief business venture. The most telling moment occurred when one banker, during my negotiations did not even blink at my quoted price of $550 an ounce. [$200 an ounce more than necessary]. Rather than balking at my offer he laughed and said he would pay “Whatever it takes”. This was appropriate as that phrase made famous by Mario Draghi, [Gustavo claims it was his idea to describe unlimited money printing by the ECB in this fashion.] adequately encapsulates all banker’s attitude toward money and money printing, LOL. Everyone in the room had sparked up an Ace and was well prepared for the evenings activities. To thunderous applause Gustavo took the stage. He put his presentation on the podium, kept his head down, took a deep breath, and waited for the applause to subside. He slowly raised his head and began his remarks. A hush fell over the room.

Potentates, Dictators, Miscreants and Money Launderers

“Ladies, Gentleman, and bankers”. [This received a decent laugh. Gustavo was on a roll.] “I am pleased to report to you that we have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. We control the currency of all nations. We have achieved this in such a mind numbingly convoluted, complicated, complex and confusing fashion that no one understands what we have done”. [Dear Reader, does anyone truly understand Quantitative Easing, Operation Twist, Ring-fencing, whatever it takes etcetera?  There are actually only three people in the world who fully understand these strategies, their operation and their implications. None of these individuals were in Jackson Hole last weekend. Gustavo continued, “The world trembles each time we speak. We simply need to mention the words ‘higher interest rates’ and the world’s stock markets collapse until we say the words “just kidding”. No Governments dare announce any plans, platforms, positions, or predictions until we whisper in their ear that we will let them borrow the money to make their dreams a reality. Potentates, Dictators, Miscreants and Money Launderers are unable to bribe, embezzle, steal, or siphon a single ‘sou’ from public or private coffers without our acquiescence”. [Dear Reader once again, your naiveté astounds me. Whether the issue is price fixing or money laundering, recent events attest to the fact that the banks are the key facilitator. Sometimes their behavior is made public as the previous links attest.]

There is no exit strategy.

Gustavo continued, “Our power is such that even when our transgressions and manipulations are made public, we can rely on the media to focus on the most recent antics of the Kardashians to satiate the public’s need for hard news. The audience mostly fell out of their chairs with laughter as they absorbed this observation. Ladies and Gentleman there is no ‘exit strategy’. We control all the levers of government, we care not a whit who is in power. The moneyed class are so indebted to us or afraid of us there is no one who dare oppose us. We are above scrutiny, beyond the law, out of the reach of the gendarmes, and far too complex for main street to understand. In September or October we will raise interest rates by an infinitesimal amount just to catch everyone’s attention. More importantly our action will be a method ‘pour encourager les autres” to ensure everyone understands our power”. They must understand that resistance is futile. The attendees leapt to their feet. The applause was deafening and lasted a full 10 minutes.

To the barricades

“Ladies and gentleman, our internal analysis indicates that when global government debt reaches 65 trillion dollars in approximately 2 years, all current social and political order unravel. It is at that point we will make our New World Order apparent to the masses. The social and political chaos that the ‘Great Unravelling’ will cause ensure that we will be viewed as saviors when we impose our steadfast and strict governance to end the chaos. The only risk to our plan lies amongst those under 30 year-old. While those over that age are satisfactorily medicated into a mellow stupor. We have noticed that there is a small but dangerous contingent of young people who have noticed how their future is being diminished by the current power elite. These individuals question everything from the debt we are burdening them with, to the environmental havoc we are leaving to them as patrimony. They are even questioning the religious dogma we have fed to them. We must be ever vigilante in our surveillance of these individuals. If they ever shout ‘to the barricades’ we may have a problem”.

Ladies and Gentlemen. I commend you for your steadfast allegiance and your single-minded pursuit of our collective goal. As you go about your business remember our motto, ‘Whatever it takes’

“Dear Reader, Gustavo then threw himself into the audience who were now moshing, as Steppenwolf’s anthem Born to be Wild was played on the loudspeakers. Like a rock star, his adoring fans helped him bodysurf around the room and finally to the exit at the back of the room. It goes without saying that the contents of my commentary should be considered extremely confidential. It must not be shared with anyone. In particular it should not be shared with anyone under 30. LOL


Gold Price to Plunge: My Remarkable Visit to Fort Knox

Dear Reader, my apologies for the stunning revelation regarding the upcoming cataclysmic drop in the value of gold. I realize that my fellow gold bugs will be reaching for some form of chemical assistance to help them regain their composure after contemplating the implications of the title of my commentary. Gold bugs, I am sure, will scour my words to find evidence in my analysis that my statement is entirely incorrect. 

How many times in history has conventional wisdom been spectacularly wrong?

 Sadly for gold investors my source for this horrific news is unimpeachable. It was none other than Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, the renowned Director of Statistical Creation at the European Central Bank [ECB] who provided me with this astounding information. This insight was confirmed when Gustavo and I attended the most recent and most secret annual ‘Conference of Central Bankers’ hosted by the US Federal Reserve and held at the United States Bullion Depository  [ AKA: Fort Knox].  

Believe the “experts” at your own peril

Before you dismiss the possibility of a radical plunge in the price for gold as the most inflammatory form of financial fear mongering, before you blindly accept the conventional wisdom that gold is a Safe-haven investment, I would urge you to consider how many times in history has conventional wisdom as shaped by our leaders, economists, bankers, analysts, pundits and experts been spectacularly wrong. Believe the “experts” at your own peril”.

Peace for our time

To aid your journey down memory lane on the topic of conventional wisdom let me give you a sample of a Google search of the term ‘when conventional wisdom was spectacularly incorrect’:

“At this juncture, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained.” – Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, Congressional testimony, March, 2007  

“The United States are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land.”  Herbert Hoover 1928

 “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” Irving Fisher (economist), 15th October 1929

“It is hard for us, without being flippant, to even see a scenario within any kind of realm of reason that would see us losing one dollar in any of these Credit Default Swap transactions.” Joseph Cassano (Head of Financial Products at AIG), 2007

“My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor.  I believe it is Peace for our time…Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.”  The preceding is the wording of a printed statement that Neville Chamberlain waved as he stepped off the plane on 30 September, 1938 after the Munich Conference had ended the day before:

All I ask is that you allow yourself to be open minded

Approximately 3.3 billion additional examples of wrongheaded conventional wisdom and our experts being wildly incorrect can be found via Google. All I ask is that you allow yourself to be open minded as you consider what I am about to say. Dear Reader, at this point I have no doubt that you have a number of questions such as:

Why would I, an aspiring journalist/economist with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, a rather checkered personal financial history and very spotty curriculum vitae, be allowed to be an attendee at a super-secret conference of Central Bankers?

What is the startling information that proves that the price of gold will fall lower than “a snakes belly in a wagon-rut?”

Why would the meeting be held at Fort Knox?

Let me respond to these questions in brief and at length to give credence to the sad reality that “good as gold” will be nothing more than an amusing anachronism and a cautionary tale for those who would like to believe that there are certain inalienable unequivocal unshakable truisms in the investment and financial universe.

What is an Idiotocracy

 Simply put, Gold investors will become ‘Roadkill’ as our current economic structure completes  its metamorphosis from a capitalist system within a democratic government into an ‘Idiotocracy’ [An ‘Idiotocracy’, when applied to government, is a system of regulation or government, controlled by money, run by useful idiots for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. 

What it is about gold that makes us believe it has value?

First let us quickly agree on what it is about gold that makes us believe it has value [other than being somewhat scarce, pretty, and possessing an interesting atomic structure]. Dear reader, I apologize in advance for the upcoming 50 words that one might feel are somewhat punctilious. The words are necessary to ensure we are all on the same page as I prove that your hordes of gold will soon have the same value as your “Beanie Baby” collection.

      “The biggest issue driving speculation in gold is that the fiat system has completely severed its ties with gold and the medium of exchange is now shifted on printed paper backed by people’s perception of a country’s economic health. Since gold was once used as a primary medium of exchange through the ages, combined with its characteristics, it is traded as a commodity and its value rise and falls opposite to the value of most global currencies. The value of gold now depends on the supply and demand of speculators buying it as a hedge to a weakening currency or an economic collapse. Ultimately, the perception of the herd is what dictates the value of commodities.” [The Econtrader ]

His rather grubby life took a turn for the better

Now that we are on the same page vis-à-vis gold and why it is perceived as valuable, I believe you are sufficiently prepared for the bad news that is about to follow. Let me now answer your questions.

First let me explain how I, an aspiring journalist/economist/ barista with a fondness for Jack Daniels became privy to information that will change the course of history. My entrée into the exclusive world of central bankers was provided by my friendship with none other than Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, the Global Director of Statistical Creation at the European Central bank. My relationship with Gustavo traced its roots back to my time on Wall Street where I self-medicated my way through a career in financial services. Gustavo plied his trade as a drug dealer/bookie/pimp extraordinaire to his exclusive Wall Street clientele [myself included]. His rather grubby life took a turn for the better when a very senior member of the European Central Bank while in the Big Apple for a series of high level meetings. [Code for a drunken binge ending in a hotel room in a cocaine induced coma in bed with two prostitutes] placed with Gustavo, a spectacular, ruinously large, and incorrect wager on the outcome of the 2010 World Cup.

His notional job was to fabricate statistics

The only way the hedonistic central banker could settle the debt to Gustavo and avoid meeting Roscoe, Gustavo’s 300 pound [136 kg.] ‘Manager of Accounts Receivable’ was to offer Gustavo a highly paid sinecure at the European Central Bank [ECB]. Overnight Gustavo moved from Brooklyn to the Champs-Élysées, as the new director of Global Statistical Creation at the ECB. His notional job was to fabricate statistics to support whatever fantastical money printing and debt strategies the central banks around the world were espousing to stimulate growth in the world economy. Remarkably Gustavo’s skill with numbers, coupled with his complete lack of morals and ethics, topped off with an almost sociopathic form of narcissism allowed Gustavo to excel at his job. In short order, his skill and his willingness to blackmail his colleagues ensured that he was the de facto head of the ECB and seen as leader in the Global Central Banking community.

I would probably be a ‘Guest of the State for a nickel or a dime

At that fateful moment that had changed Gustavo’s life forever I had been supplementing my Wall Street income by acting as a driver for Gustavo’s employees. I had become privy to the hedonistic central bankers dilemma when I picked up the two prostitutes after their rendezvous with the central banker that fateful night. In addition, my friendship with Gustavo made me well aware of the staggering number of high crimes and misdemeanors he had committed. I had enough information to put him away for a thousand years. [If the information was made public I would probably be a ‘Guest of the State for a nickel or a dime  myself but I was prepared to take the risk.] This knowledge ensured that Gustavo always took my calls. He was always willing to share a little inside information to help out an old friend/blackmailer.

Reflect on these questions

Dear Reader, while you may still be dubious about the source of my information and the veracity of my thesis please continue reading. As you read please reflect on these questions:

How much gold is there in the world?

Who owns most of the gold?  

How transparent is the gold market?

If gold were to replace fiat currency how many ounces of gold would there be for each person on the planet?

How happy would governments be if gold replaced Fiat currency?

You have to come to Kentucky immediately

Dear Reader now for the exciting part. Your patience will be rewarded. Imagine my surprise when I got a panicked phone call from Gustavo. The call came at a most inopportune moment as I was in the midst of enjoying the effects of a significant Jack Daniels day-buzz. It was time to get up and make some lunch anyway so I raised myself off the floor and answered the phone. As I made my way to the kitchen I listened to Gustavo’s hysterical tirade. “David, I need your help, you have to come to Kentucky immediately” Gustavo was almost crying.” I had not spoken to him since he humiliated me in Paris [but that is a story for another day]. While I was still angry at him for “throwing me under the bus” in Paris I sensed an opportunity. “Why, pray tell, would I go to Kentucky? Gustavo”. I queried. He was almost incoherent and probably drooling as he spat out his answer. “David, I am supposed to address a top secret meeting of the world’s central bankers being held at the  United States Bullion Depository  [AKA Fort Knox] tomorrow. I am the keynote speaker. The subject of my speech is Gold, Fiat Currency, Global Debt, the inevitable collapse of our monetary system as well as car allowances for central bankers.” [I thought it amazing how bankers could find time to discuss car allowances at a meeting focused on the collapse of our global monetary system]

 I smelled a Pulitzer Prize

Gustavo continued, “We are going to be instituting huge changes to the global monetary system. I must prepare the central bankers for the upcoming turmoil so that we can maintain order. Unfortunately I have reacted badly to what must have been a bad batch of Crystal Meth that I mistakenly combined with a bottle of Chardonnay [Salon Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil-sur-Oger 1997]. I need to move around in a wheelchair for a while. I need you to push me in my wheel chair at the top secret meeting tomorrow. The secrets that we share ensure our mutual destruction should they be revealed, hence you are the only one I trust to keep my embarrassing condition from the media. Pick me up at the University Of Louisville Hospital at 9 am tomorrow morning. I have arranged for a limo to pick you up, it is probably outside your door now. It will take you to a private jet at La Guardia, you will spend the night at the Louisville Quality Inn near the airport and pick me up in the morning.” I was insulted that he assumed my personal and professional calendar was so bereft of activity that I could simply drop everything to come to his aid. Sadly, my calendar was quite nugatory. Other that my bi-monthly visits with my parole officer life was quite quiet. However, I felt that attending a super-secret meeting of Central Bankers to discuss gold and the collapse of the global economy might well prove to be the opportunity that would catapult my career to the pinnacle of success. I smelled a Pulitzer Prize. I wondered when the deadline was to be nominated for the 2014 award.

A thunderous round of applause greeted his arrival

 “Gustavo”, I replied “I will put everything on hold and I will be there for you. You can count on me”. In a New York minute, I gathered my suit from under the bed, my shirt and socks from the laundry basket, and my-pre knotted tie from the lampshade, then headed out the door. I will not bore you with details of my journey. Suffice to say 22 hours later, after a pleasant flight [piloted by a remarkable woman by the name of Ima Beauty] and a restful sleep I found myself pushing a wheelchair containing a somewhat pale and shaky Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre into the Main Auditorium inside the fabled Fort Knox. A thunderous round of applause greeted his arrival, the central bankers, leading representatives from the banking capitals of the world, representatives of the financial regulators from the four corners of the globe, as well as lobbyists from every major industry were effusive, almost hysterical in their fawning, fulsome and enthusiastic welcome. 

It revealed an artist’s rendering of a renovated Fort Knox that had to be 10 times the size of the current building

The attendees were obviously thrilled at the arrival of their favorite ‘rock-star’ central banker. As I moved him to the microphone, the curtain behind the podium was unveiled to reveal an artist’s rendering of a renovated Fort Knox that had to be 10 times the size of the current building. Where was this leading I wondered?

Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws

Gustavo began his presentation by asking everyone to “rise and recite the sacred words of the primogenitor of all bankers, Mayer Amschel Rothschild , founder of the House of Rothschild,  Gustavo lead the audience in a recitation of the sacred words that guide all central bankers. “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws”. The audience complied in a reverent, almost messianic fashion. Gustavo continued, “ Seven years ago the world’s central banks launched, with great humility, operation “Grand Slam” in an attempt to formalize our control of the world. I am pleased to report that we have been successful beyond our wildest dreams. The entire world now waits breathlessly to hear even our most random thoughts on the subject of money and debt. Like the most frenzied drug addict, the world is perpetually desperate for our next thought or action.”  As you know we have been monitoring political activity around the globe for a sign that the masses were suitably numb and unable to think clearly, prior to taking our next step.

The new government’s platform was a promise to spend money like a ‘drunken sailor in port’

Gustavo, gaining momentum in his presentation said, “I am pleased to announce that the voters in the province of Ontario [Canada] have given us that sign. A government with a proven track record of corruption, waste, mismanagement, hubris and narcissism was reelected in a landslide victory. The new government’s platform was a promise to spend money like a ‘drunken sailor in port’, add substantially to Ontario’s already monstrous deficits and debt, and then in a feat of magic, worthy of Merlin the Magician, to impossibly balance the governments books in three years.  The masses will now believe anything”. This is the moment we have been waiting for. We must now put an end to the dream on Main Street that there is an alternative to Fiat currency. In 1971 our forebears thought they had accomplished this by directing Richard Nixon to end international convertibility of the dollar to gold on  August 15 1971. Sadly although our actions were successful in creating governments, who would continually take on debt [54 trillion in global government debt  as of this morning], our actions were not ferocious enough either in 1933 or 1971 to crush those malcontents who continue to this day to believe that gold is a suitable alternative to fiat currency. We will not make the same ‘rookie mistake’ twice.”

The only item that remains is to select a crisis to misdirect the public’s attention

 Gustavo was becoming manic in his presentation. He continued, “It is time for us to complete our quest for world domination.  In three weeks the world’s central banks via our acolytes, sycophants and toadies [by this I assume he was referring to elected officials representing the masses in government] will announce our intention to confiscate all personal holdings of gold. This will be done at the same price as we did in 1933, $20.67 [USD] In effect we will have a ‘do over’ of Executive Order  6102 signed on April 5, 1933, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt  which ” forbid the Hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States”  That order allowed our progenitors to criminalize the possession of gold by any individual, partnership, association or corporation. This ensured that all gold in the USA had to be turned over, to the US government on or before May 1st 1933. [Thus the need to construct the United States Bullion Depository , popularly known as Fort Knox, but really it is adjacent to Fort Knox.] We made some ‘rookie mistakes’ that time. We only confiscated the gold in the USA. This time the confiscation will be done on a global basis. Secondly we exempted  things like jewelry, some industrial use gold, gold coins etc. We will not make that mistake twice. Furthermore, unlike Executive Order 6102, this order will never be repealed. The only item that remains is to select a crisis to misdirect the public’s attention as we steal their gold. Please fill out the ballot you were given when you entered.”

All the ‘usual suspects’ are on the ballot

Gustavo instructed the audience. “The ballot offers you the chance to vote on which crisis-du-jour on which we will blame our actions. All the ‘usual suspects’ are on the ballot, as well as a few new ones.” I looked at my ballot. He was right. They were all there, Global Warming, the Middle East, AlQaeda, generic terrorists, Republicans, Democrats, Green Party, oil shortages, environmental concerns, the Middle East, China, Iran, corrupt politicians, were amongst the many options. 

I do not expect you to talk, I expect you to lie.

Gustavo directed the audience, “Please give your completed ballot to Mr. Strangework, the stout man dressed in a Tuxedo and wearing a Bowler hat, on your way out.” At that point, with great temerity a hand was raised in the audience. After receiving permission from Gustavo, he stood up and prepared to ask his question. He introduced himself as Auric, Gilbert Auric, a functionary at the Bank of England. I learned later that the man was hopelessly delusional. He had gone so far as to change his name as an homage to the most ‘Famous Gold Bug in History’. In any event, Mr. Auric obsequiously continued with his question. “Mr. Laframboise-Pierre, when this information is released to the public there will be many questions. Do you expect us to talk”? Gustavo looked fierce, he arose from his wheelchair, stared at the audience and said sternly “No, Mr. Auric, I do not expect you to talk, I expect you to lie.”

You should be ashamed to call yourself a gold bug

Dear reader if at this point you cannot deduce the identity of the most famous Gold Bug in history, after all the less than cryptic hints I have given, you should be ashamed to call yourself a gold bug.

By financial discomfort I assume he meant penury for Main Street

 In any event after the standing ovation Gustavo received following his announcement subsided he continued his remarks. “We realize that our actions may cause some financial discomfort for Main Street. We feel however that the benefits of our actions far outweigh the costs. We feel it is reasonable to ask everyone to sacrifice a little for the greater good of society as a whole”. [By financial discomfort I assumed he meant penury for Main Street and by society I assume he meant the 1%.]

Gustavo was on a roll now

Like you Dear Reader, I was appalled to hear the ‘Facts on the ground’ stated so clearly. Our governments had become quite clearly, servants of the Central Banks and Lobbyists. While many of you have likely suspected this reality, it was shocking to hear it declared as a fact in such an august and powerful setting.   Gustavo was on a roll now. While still a bit unsteady he remained standing and explained to the audience. “In order to ensure your own personal and professional financial safety we will allow all of you here today, in the weeks running up to the seizure of the world’s gold, to put in place your trading strategies in anticipation of the ‘Mother of All Insider Trades’ This will allow you and your organizations to profit beyond your wildest dreams when we ‘drop the hammer’ and reduce the price of gold to $20.67 USD.

They were all grinning like Cheshire Cats

“In the weeks prior to the event our shills on Wall Street will pump the price of gold to $2700/ounce. Then, the ‘Axe will fall’. Depending on the trading strategy you have chosen, we anticipate you and your organizations should collectively profit in the amount of 8.3 trillion dollars”. [In researching this commentary afterward, I learned that $8.3 trillion was roughly equal to the value of all the gold that has ever been mined in history.] Gustavo raised his voice as he said, “I believe that we can count on the world’s Securities Regulators to turn a blind eye to this egregious insider trading in the interests of the long term benefits to mankind”. He smirked as he said these words and looked up at the private box that contained most of the world’s securities regulators. They were all grinning like Cheshire Cats and giving him the ‘Thumbs up’. Clearly even securities regulators would like to be billionaires.

It is even possible that some small benefit, in the form of jobs, will trickle down to Main Street

Pandemonium erupted in the room as everyone realized they were going to richer than King Midas. Even the North Korean delegation seemed to be quite ‘stoked’ at the thought of vast personal wealth. The issue of car allowances for central bankers seemed somewhat irrelevant now. Gustavo gestured to the room and asked for quiet. “As the new leaders of the world we will continue to encourage all manner of civil and nation-state wars. We will keep the perceived threat levels permanently elevated to ensure a continued production or war material. We will remove pesky environmental protection laws, and we will outlaw any car that gets more than 10 miles to the gallon. The oil industry lobbyists were ecstatic. Other similar actions in other industrial activities will also be forthcoming. The profits we enjoy from these activities will quintuple. It is even possible that some small benefit, in the form of jobs, will trickle down to Main Street”. After all, he grinned, “Who will clean up the inevitable toxic spills and fight the wars our actions will cause?” The audience doubled over in a cacophony of laughter at Gustavo’s ‘bon mot’.

Gustavo actually genuflected as he mentioned the name Rothschild

Ladies and Gentleman, Gustavo concluded, “I thank you for your attention. We have a lot of work ahead of us. It will be a difficult journey, but the rewards will be commensurate with our efforts. I would like to conclude my remarks by giving credit to the individuals who created this masterful plan and set it in motion many years ago. Let me read to you a quote from the letter that set the wheels in motion in 1863. The letter is from the Book of Rothschild, Chapter 11 verse 3-12”. Gustavo actually genuflected as he mentioned the name Rothschild.  Gustavo read the quote, “The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favors that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.”  The Rothschild brothers of London writing to associates in New York, 1863.”

Beam me up!

As the audience exited the auditorium and handed their ballots to Mr. Strangework, I slowly wheeled an elated and exhausted Gustavo off the stage. I reflected on what I had heard today and felt somewhat ill. Clearly there was a ‘world of hurt’ coming in Main Streets direction.  Should I expose the banker’s nefarious scheme or should I use the information to become obscenely rich. This would require some serious thought. As we made for the exit two extremely large private security guards grabbed me, threw a bag over my head and hustled me into a waiting van. I heard Gustavo as I banged my head getting into the van. “David”, Gustavo pleaded, “I am sorry my old friend, but I cannot let you out in public until we have executed our plan. You would be far too tempted to expose our actions in order to win your coveted Pulitzer Prize. You will be released after our efforts have succeeded.” I could not believe it. He had thrown me under the bus once again. I hoped the prison to which I was being taken had internet access, as the guards had neglected to find the smartphone I always kept in my sock. Desperate times require desperate measures. The words of Captain James T. Kirk, Captain of the Starship Enterprise, a man who had vast experience in crisis management, came to mind. I closed my eyes, clicked my heels together three times, and uttered the immortal words, “Beam me up Scotty, I think I am in trouble again.”

Truth: The First Casualty of Economics, Banking and the Ukraine

Dear Reader, I opened my eyes and stared at the hard packed dirt that substitutes for grass in Paris’s famed Tuileries Garden. I struggled to raise my head and peer over the lip of the Grand Bassin Octagonal. My eyes were greeted with the majestic view of the Louvre, basking in the warm early morning glow of the unseasonably hot sunshine that had Parisians reaching for their sunscreen in the middle of March. I struggled to overcome the explosions occurring inside my head, the result of the three bottles of Andezon, Cotes-du-Rhone Syrah [an impertinent, cheeky and inexpensive red wine] I had consumed after last night’s International Economic Symposium held at the uber-swank Hotel George V Paris.

My behavior was quite understandable and forgivable

Before you judge me harshly for drinking myself into a stupor and passing out in the Tuileires Garden let me share with you what the world’s greatest economists and bankers postulated about the current state of our global financial system, economic progress and political environment at last night’s meeting. I suspect, Dear Reader, that what you are about to learn will convince you that my behavior, rather than being deplorable was quite understandable and forgivable.  I will explain how the word ‘Truth’ is now merely hollow collection of letters with no meaning.

How to keep a straight face when discussing economics in public

The 415 attendees at last night’s meeting filled the Georges V’s captivating and majestic Salon Vendome to capacity. The topics for discussion for the conference were as follows:

  1. Global Debt and Money Printing,
  2. The Ukraine
  3. The Banking System
  4. How to score a cushy job as a talking head on a major media outlet
  5. How to get a tenured position at a university [with a decent pension plan]
  6. How to keep a straight face when discussing economics in public

It was the discussion of the first three points that caused me to reach for my medication

Obviously the majority of the conference would focus on points 4 and 5 and 6. Personal enrichment was always a ‘hot topic’ at these sessions. However it was the discussion of the first three points that caused me to forego my usual medication [American as Apple Pie, Jack Daniels] and reach for the cheeky French wine I mentioned earlier. [I was in Paris after all].

Something to be scraped of the bottom of one’s shoe

Dear Reader, as part of my commitment to be honest with you most of the time, I should clarify that my attendance at the conference was not as an invited guest. As you may know my career as an Economist/Journalist/Barista has had its challenges. My continued attempts to expose the lunacy and danger of our current economic and banking strategies had turned me into a pariah within the community of bankers and economists. I am shunned at all gatherings of financial luminaries. Rather than with a smile and a handshake, my fellow economists and bankers greet me with a derisory smirk. Generally, my colleagues make me feel as if I am something to be scraped off the bottom of one’s shoe. Last night, in order to attend the conference I had secured a temporary job with the George V as an usher. My assignment was to help the economists navigate the theatre style setting of the Salon Vendome and stagger to their seats. This simple task was made ever so difficult for the attendees as a result of the copious amounts of alcohol consumed at the magnificent dinner, sponsored by one of the many industry lobbying firms hoping to curry favor with the economists. While food had been served at the dinner it was clear that the attendees had found their sustenance in the libation the hotel provided.  One of the sommeliers indicated to me that 1500 bottles of  Emmanuel Rouget Cros Parantoux Vosne Romanee Premier Cru [1985, $800 USD/bottle] had been consumed at dinner.

It’s a Rich Man’s World

As I watched the world’s foremost economists stumble their way to their seats like a barrel of immature orangutans, I had no reason to doubt the sommelier. The lights dimmed, Abba’s classic hit ‘Money, Money, It’s a Rich Man’s World’ blasted over the sound system. [This particular song is the adopted ‘National Anthem’ of the world’s Bankers and Economists.] The keynote speaker took the stage.

My old friend and BFF Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre

Dear Reader, words cannot describe my stupefaction when the key note speaker turned out to be none other than my old friend and BFF, Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre. Gustavo is the esteemed Director of Global Statistical Creation at the European Central Bank [ECB]. Gustavo and I had significant ‘history’ together. For many years he had been my principal bookie ‘back in the day’ on Wall Street when I made obscene amounts of money selling all manner of noxious, toxic [triple AAA rated of course] subprime mortgage pools to unsuspecting investors. At the same time Gustavo plied his bookmaking from the comfort of his previously enjoyed 1995 Honda Civic, usually parked conveniently on Hanover Street to better serve his Wall Street clientele. Sadly most of my earnings were depleted by the compulsive bets I made with Gustavo.

Gustavo’s non–existent moral compass ensured that he excelled

In any event Gustavo’s life changed forever, when a senior member of the ECB, while in New York to visit his paramour placed, with Gustavo, a staggeringly large and incorrect wager on the outcome of the 2010 World Cup. The only way the debt could be settled was to offer Gustavo a highly paid sinecure with the ECB. Because Gustavo lacked morals, ethics, and the ability to discern right from wrong, it was decided that he would become the ECB’s Director of Global Statistical Creation. His job was to fabricate statistics that would support the fantastical and bizarre monetary policies being implemented by Central Banks on a global basis. Gustavo’s non–existent moral compass ensured that he excelled at his job. It was Gustavo who created words and terms like Ring fencing, quantitative easing, whatever it takes, ‘tapering’, to help put a benign spin on the actions of Central Banks.

Overture, Dim the lights, this is it, the night of nights [with apologies to Bugs Bunny]

A hush overwhelmed the room as Gustavo approached the microphone. [Well, to be accurate the sound of random snores indicated that a number of economists had succumbed to the effects of the libation they had enjoyed with dinner.]

How to pretend to believe what one is saying

Gustavo confidently began his presentation: Ladies and Gentleman welcome to the 2014 International Economic Symposium. Before I address the important issues of protecting our pensions, how to become a talking head on television and how to pretend to believe what one is saying when talking with the media, I am required to discuss some notional economic issues. This will ensure that our sponsors our able to claim the cost of this gabfest as a tax deduction. I ask your patience and indulgence as I discuss some economic matters before we get to the ‘good stuff’.

Profligate, permanent, ponderous and profuse

Gustavo moved on to next section of his presentation: He lectured to the economists: First on the topic of banking and the economy I am pleased to announce that Global Government Debt has now reached 53 trillion dollars. This could not have been achieved with your help. Had the leading lights of the economic community not been willing to suspend common sense and proclaim, in lecture halls, newspapers, interviews, books and on television that profligate, permanent, ponderous and profuse government debt was the road to permanent prosperity, there would have been a disaster. Internal studies completed by Central Banks indicate that had the world governments decided not to gorge themselves on debt, over 100,000 bankers and economists would have lost their jobs. It is a testament to your influence, and might I say, your keen interest in self-preservation that made it possible to avoid the devastating impact of bankers and economists losing their jobs.

I had become a ‘cautionary tale’

Need I remind you, that if any of you are tempted, by your conscience, or concern for the 99% or your base interpretation of right and wrong, to publicly expose the inevitable disastrous end game of global debt accumulation, you will be shunned, you will be an outcast, and you will be ridiculed, destined to rejoin the 99%. As he said these chilling words, his gaze turned in my direction, followed by the stares of everyone in the Salon.  A soft spotlight captured me in its glare as I leaned against the wall. Clearly I had become a cautionary tale for all economists and bankers. I was being used as a threat to the bankers and economists in attendance. Do as we say or you too, could become David Hague. Yikes! I must admit Dear Reader, this hurt me, but not as much as the Doobie I had been smoking while listening to Gustavo. When the spotlight captured me I had surreptitiously held the doobie behind my back. It was now burning my fingers. Mercifully the spotlight was finally shifted back to Gustavo and I was able to extinguish the remainder of the burning Sinsemilla.

Special mention goes to economists and bankers in Canada

He continued his remarks; you have all been outstanding in your ability to anesthetize the public into accepting runaway debt. Special mention goes to economists and bankers in Canada who were able to shift the public’s attention from a billion dollars wasted on a non-existent Gas Plant in Ontario to a debate regarding the  Mayor of Toronto’s pathetic yet ultimately inexpensive behavior .

This conference would be held in the cafeteria of a newly renovated Alcatraz or the Bastille

The second landmark event achieved recently was the Federal Reserve’s ability to run their balance sheet over 4 trillion dollars reflecting their leadership in the area of money printing. Once again, this milestone could not have been reached without your help. Had economists chosen the path less travelled and used their influence to describe in detail the inevitable consequences of runaway money printing we would not be here today. In all likelihood this conference would be held in the cafeteria of a newly renovated Alcatraz or the Bastille. Yesterday, the newest member of our banking elite announced that the Federal Reserve would remain accommodative  for a very long time. Kudos to Janet Yellen for acquiescing and acknowledging that money printing is not a strategy it is now a way of life. On behalf of the 1% let me simply say thank you.

Can you say ‘Risk on’

Gustavo smiled at the room as he announced the momentous news that margin debt, [based on figures released yesterday by the New York Stock Exchange], has reached an all time high . He observed, as you know ladies and gentleman the smartest minds in the world work in the financial industry. They have collectively recognized the genius of our approach to monetary policy. Not only are they willing to bet their own money but they are willing to bet other people’s money as well. They have finally heard our message that we Central Bankers have got their back. There is complete confidence in the banking system that we will inflate the market forever. Furthermore Wall Street understands that if there is a minor hiccup such as the notional ‘Financial Crisis of 2008’ we Central Bankers, and our acolytes in government will step in and bail them out. I encourage you to beg, borrow or steal [just kidding, he snickered] and invest all your money in the world’s stock markets. They are headed to infinity and beyond!

A huge roar of laughter overwhelmed the room

Moving on let me briefly discuss the Ukraine. As you know the Ukraine owes western banks around 65 billion dollars . Between the International Monetary Fund, European and American banks, much of this money was made available to the Ukraine in the last 6 years. The purpose of the loans was to help the people of the Ukraine. A huge roar of laughter overwhelmed the room. Everyone knew that the money loaned to governments never benefitted the people. It was stolen, siphoned, purloined, or dissipated by commissions, bribes, finder’s fees and just plain sticky fingers. All ‘the people’ were left with was the debt. One would need a team of archeologists to find any benefit enjoyed by the people of the Ukraine resulting from the vast sums of money borrowed on their behalf.

It would be problematic, to say the least

Once the laughter died down Gustavo continued, it is very important that we keep the World’s attention focused on the issue of ‘Democratic Process’ in Ukraine. It would be problematic, to say the least if the public ever realized that the only motive for caring about the Ukraine was to protect European and American banks. The virtuous loop of money travelling from banks and International Agencies to the Ukrainian Government, then to be siphoned from the Ukrainian Government’s pocket into the hands of the Oligarchs and thus back to the western banks in the form of deposits must be allowed to continue. Imagine what the impact on the stock market and the luxury housing market would be if this tsunami of money stopped flooding through our banks. The room collectively shuddered at the thought. Gustavo continued, what is occurring now is a classic win-win situation, the bankers win and the Oligarchs win. [I thought to myself, if you included the Ukrainian people it would be the classic win-win-lose situation, as the people of the Ukraine will be forced to live in penury for generations due to this ‘virtuous’ monetary and fiscal policy.]

Once again the audience erupted in laughter

The western banking community has observed with great consternation that Russia is attempting to unilaterally, undemocratically, reshape the map of this region by annexing Crimea. They are attempting to infringe on the sacred and sovereign territory of the Ukraine. We cannot condone such a gesture, which will ultimately disrupt the free flow of capital held by Crimean, Ukrainian and Russian Oligarchs into western banks. Once again the audience erupted in laughter and derision. Gustavo stifled his own laughter at his own  ‘Bon mots’,

Borders in Europe, like socks, are changed almost daily

He continued, borders in Europe, like socks, are changed almost daily. Borders in Europe have changed 2,308 times over the last thousand years. At the same time the Great Powers have imposed, changed and re-imposed borders throughout the world whenever their diplomats or geologists have discovered something of value. The hard part, as always is putting a palatable spin on the dislocation to ensure that members of the 99% will sacrifice their blood and treasure to achieve the required change. The peace, prosperity, freedom and tranquility enjoyed by Africa, the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent is a testament to the skill and foresight of the Great Power’s ability to wisely reshape the world. Throughout these tumultuous changes I am pleased to report that not one banker or economist ever lost their job or their fortune due to political upheaval. Once again you should be commended for your contribution to this singular achievement.

During the break there will be an open bar

Finally, let be briefly comment on our banking system before we take a two hour break. I am empathetic to the exhaustion you feel after I have required you to concentrate on economic matters for 15 minutes. During the break there will be an open bar. He continued, I am pleased to announce that 6 years after the so called ‘financial crisis’ we have achieved a 100% protection rate that back in 2008 was thought to be unattainable. Remarkably we have been able to ensure that not one banker or economist has been charged, fined, jailed, fired or inconvenienced despite the fact that under our watch we made 15 trillion dollars disappear.

This collateral damage is a necessary consequence of progress.

The net worth of the 1% has now exceeded pre-crisis levels. Sure there have been some wars, civil strife, famine, and unemployment as capital is stolen, misallocated, and wasted. This collateral damage is a necessary consequence of progress. We have been able to ensure that no new laws limiting banks behavior have been implemented.  Stress tests and capital requirements for banks have been completely eviscerated to accommodate bank behavior that enriches the banks in the short term and will require more bailouts in the future. Banks are ‘good to go’ as we prepare for the next crisis. Once again, give yourself a pat on the back. Your ability to foist absurd yet plausible rationale on all your public communication ensures that the public will willingly acquiesce to whatever the next idiotic iteration our policies espouse.

There would be an open bar

The audience leapt to their feet to provide Gustavo a standing ovation. Dear reader, I have attended enough of these meetings not to be fooled by the applause. They were not acknowledging the wisdom or insights provided in Gustavo’s speech. Rather the economists were expressing their enthusiasm and approval at Gustavo’s remark that there would be an open bar during the break.

Straight into the Bermuda Triangle

There you have it. Dear Reader the inmates have taken over the asylum. Our financiers, economists and bankers have set sail on a course straight into the Bermuda Triangle. That the ship will reach land some day is indisputable. That it will land badly is incontrovertible. The 99%, who seem to have adopted the Ostrich as their ‘National Bird’ would be well advised to ponder these matters to prepare for the consequences of our current economic policies.

I made my purchase

As the audience, energized by the end of the presentation and excited at the thought of an open bar jumped over chairs and tripped over each other to get to the bar I asked the sommelier where I could acquire some cheap wine. Following his directions I made my way to a local market and made my purchase.

It is only fun until somebody gets hurt.

With three bottles of wine in hand I settled into one of the comfy chairs surrounding the Grand Bassin Octagonal in Tuileres Garden. Our current economic and banking strategy reminded me of something our mothers used to say to us when we were growing up. [Usually in reference to playing with matches, scissors, darts or other sharp implements] Our mothers told us “It is only fun until somebody gets hurt.”  I thought about the future we were leaving our children. Maybe we can extend and pretend long enough to ensure the repercussions of our economic and banking strategies land on our children’s heads rather than our own. Perhaps we can ensure that it is not us but our children who are required to ‘pay the piper’. I consumed the wine, toasted the Eiffel Tower, visible in the distance and fell into a blissful sleep.

You have got to be joking! Bitcoin? My report from the World Economic Forum

Dear Reader, I must apologize for my tardiness in filing my report on last month’s World Economic Forum   [WEF] in Davos. This annual gathering of the world’s best and brightest, society’s rich and famous, the powerful and the political, the lobbyists as well as many economists, groupies, and assorted riff raff [Yours truly would fall into the last category.] is, perhaps, the most important harbinger of the prospects for the global economy in 2014.  My reasons for being so late in filing my report will soon become apparent. I arrived in Davos, more excited than I had ever been in my career. A coterie of powerful bankers had retained me to make a keynote speech at the conference on the topic of Derivatives. They had agreed to cover my expenses and pay me handsomely for the opportunity to hear my thoughts on the subject.

Bitcoin: Friend or Foe?

However, when I arrived at the front desk of the opulent Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère I was summarily informed that my reservation had been cancelled. I was given a letter signed by a senior banker, whose name I will not mention, that indicated, that my presentation had been eliminated and replaced by a lecture entitled ‘Bitcoins: Friend of Foe?’

Oh my! No central authority or middlemen

It was not surprising that topic had made its way onto the agenda. Bitcoin could prove to be Main Street’s defense against doltish monetary interventions by Central Banks in the market. According to the ECB’s own research entitled Virtual Currency Schemes, October 2012. “The theoretical roots of Bitcoin can be found in the Austrian school of economics and its criticism of the current fiat money system and interventions undertaken by governments and other agencies, which, in their view, result in exacerbated business cycles and massive inflation.” Bitcoin according to its website is “a consensus network that enables a new payment system and a completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen.” If John Lennon were with us today one wonders if he might not add another verse to his timeless song ‘Imagine’ . Imagine there are no central bankers.  You can see why the bankers, politicians and Wall Street would be terrified. Bitcoin is viewed as anarchistic heresy by Wall Street, politicians and bankers alike. It would put hundreds of thousands of bankers, regulators and politicians out of work. Bitcoin is thought to be more dangerous than the insurgents in Europe and America who hundreds of years ago had the temerity to suggest that democracy was a better form of government than a monarchy, dictatorship or oligarchy. Bitcoin would put control of the money back in the hands of Main Street. It would reacquaint the world with the meaning of the words ‘moral hazard and ‘caveat emptor’.

Those Rat Bastard bankers had hung me out to dry

Dear Reader I digress, back to my predicament. In addition to cancelling my presentation the letter indicated that my security pass for the entire conference had been revoked. I would not receive any reimbursement for my expenses. It suggested that I should leave Davos immediately to avoid being escorted out of town by the security guard who had magically appeared beside me at the desk. Dear Reader, you can’t imagine my vexation. Those Rat Bastard bankers had hung me out to dry.

I could not even afford the price of a Fasnachtsküchlein,

The money spent on my New York to Davos airfare would never find its way back into my pocket. [Well to be honest, it probably would find its way home as the check used to pay for the flight was now going to bounce higher than the CN Tower .]  I had no money and was about to find myself wandering down Davos’s main street, the Promenade, on a freezing cold winter night on my way to financial ruin. I was destitute. I could not even afford the price of a Fasnachtsküchlein, those delicious cookies served most frequently during Switzerland’s annual winter carnival. I certainly could not afford my airfare home. I had been counting on the huge payday that had been promised to me by the bankers to reinvigorate my finances as well as my journalistic career when I spent my last dime.

In fact it was Switzerland’s equivalent of Nevada’s famous Mustang Ranch

Dear Reader, I was down and almost out. I wandered through the bitter cold on a lonely road on the outskirts of Davos when I saw a wonderful sight.  A brightly lit building, with a tacky neon sign indicating that it was the Auberge du ‘Plaisir’, a Gentleman’s Club. In fact it was Switzerland’s equivalent of Nevada’s famous Mustang Ranch, the world’s most famous brothel. I realized that with the World Economic Forum taking place down the road they might be hiring. After a brief conversation with the Manager, a wise woman who recognized that my skills in high finance, banking, management and journalism were quite useless in the real world hired me to run the coat check room for next three weeks [room and board provided]. I got to work immediately.

The Auberge got very busy around 1 p.m. each day

Dear Reader, at this point you are probably thinking that while my story thus far has been intriguing, it has not provided you with any insights from the WEF that you can translate into profitable trading activity. Well, prepare to be dazzled. The Auberge got very busy around 1 p.m. each day. The attendees at the WEF would finish their sumptuous lunch and declare ‘victory’ on the day’s work. They would all pile in a cab and head down the road to the Auberge. Spotting an opportunity, when they checked their briefcases and coats with me, I surreptitiously picked the locks on their briefcases and read all the confidential documents contained within. Dear Reader you will not believe what I learned.

There was nothing to discuss

Surprisingly they all had a copy of the ‘Conclusions and Recommendations’ from the 2014 WEF. This document had been printed a month before the conference had even started. No wonder their work day finished at noon. There was nothing to discuss. The WEF was merely a façade for the world’s Central Bankers and the 1% to impose their vision of the economic future on Main Streets from Buenos Aires to Bombay and everywhere in between. Most importantly it was an opportunity to calm the masses that our leaders have everything under control. The notional ‘conclusions’ of the 2014 WEF are as follows: {from the World Economic Forum, Annual Meeting 2014, Executive Summary, Davos-Klosters, Switzerland 22-25 January }


I suggest you drink several espressos to help keep you awake

An excerpt from the summary reads: [A word of caution Dear Reader before your read this profound and brilliant summary of the thoughts of the world’s greatest minds I suggest you drink several espressos to help keep you awake as you read. Furthermore you probably should have some of your favorite remedy for an upset stomach to calm your queasy innards after you finish reading the excerpt. The realization that the world’s leaders in fact have not a clue as to how to guide us through the morass that is the global economy will leave you quite dizzy. Here is the excerpt:


Like you I had no clue what heterarchies means

“Profound political, economic, social and, above all, technological forces are transforming our lives, communities and institutions. Rapidly crossing geographic, gender and generational boundaries, they are shifting power from traditional hierarchies to networked heterarchies. [Dear reader let me save you the trouble of reaching for your dictionary. Like you and my ‘spellcheck’ I had no clue what heterarchies means, follow the link provided and prepare to be further confused] yet the international community remains crisis-driven instead of strategic in the face of the trends, drivers and opportunities pushing global, regional and industry transformation.

The conclusion is that the world needs to pause and consider the following:

– At an individual level, technological revolutions are changing the context for decision-making and disrupting our conventional learning processes.

– At an institutional level, a hyper-connected world requires systemic, integrated issue mapping to create coherence and overcome compartmentalized thinking.

– At an international level, the formal architecture for global governance was not designed for the interdisciplinary challenges and collective action problems of today. As a result, international cooperation has yet to fully enter the information age and capture its associated productivity gains.”

You have now joined a very exclusive club

Dear Reader you have now joined a very exclusive club. The club’s members are those individuals who actually read the Executive Summary from the WEF. It now includes you, me and the person who typed the summary. If I may take the liberty of providing you a précis of the aforementioned excerpt, in simple terms the most brilliant minds in the universe have concluded that the world is complicated. One can deduce from this excerpt that in the face of such complexity that the explication our leaders will offer will be that continued debt accumulation and money printing are the appropriate course of action. I guess to bankers all problems look the same. One must remember though, that, if all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail!

Agfok: A Gift For Our Kids

Dear reader now I will share a most shocking revelation. In one briefcase I found a ‘Top Secret’ directive indicating that the bankers and governments intended to add a new word to the English language. This addition was motivated by a recognition that the word ‘debt’ as defined by Merriam Webster implies something that is owed and will be paid back. This definition is becoming a very Inconvenient Truth for the world’s bankers and politicians. It has been proposed that the word debt be replaced with the word Agfok, [an acronym for A Gift For Our Kids] This would be a recognition of the ‘facts on the ground’ that the 52 trillion dollars  of global government debt will never be repaid. It will simply be a giant millstone we will tie around our children’s neck as we baby boomers depart this earth.

Convert the payroll of the world’s central banks from fiat currency  to Bitcoin

The next briefcase contained a copy of an email that had been sent to the Human Resources department of all the world’s central banks. The email was an explanation of the process required to convert the payroll of the world’s central banks from fiat currency  to Bitcoin. It appears that the central banker’s public protestations of confidence in the worlds monetary system based on Fiat Currency does not extend to our central bankers desire to keep their own personal finances in order.

Their desire was for relaxation and a happy ending to their day.

Dear Reader you are probably wondering why the guests at the Auberge were not complaining that the briefcases they left under my care were being mangled, bashed and broken into while under my protection. Fortunately they were all seasoned air travelers and were quite accustomed to any checked baggage being treated in this fashion. Furthermore the guests at the Auberge were all very relaxed after a hard mornings work. They did not want any stress or confrontation. Their desire was for relaxation and a happy ending to their day.

My spandex days were long behind me,

I looked up from my research and was startled to see a familiar face smiling at me as he asked me to take his coat and briefcase.  [Honestly he was not smiling he was doubled over in laughter]. Apparently the sight of me dressed in the uniform provided to me by the Auberge amused him. [My employer required that I wear only black spandex pants, shirt cuffs and a bow tie, a look made famous by the Chippendale Dancers]. I will admit that my spandex days were long behind me, but a job is a job.

A wild, reckless, huge and ultimately ruinous and incorrect wager

The familiar face was none other than my old friend, Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, the Director of Statistical Creation at the European Central Bank [ECB]. My relationship with Gustavo traced its inception back to my days on Wall Street when I specialized in packaging worthless securities into triple-A rated investment grade pools of money to be sold to anyone with a pulse. Sadly I spent the large sums of money I earned for providing this public service on myriad types of gambling including significant wagers with my favorite bookie who was none other than the man standing in front of me, Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre. His life began its rapid ascension to its current lofty position when a senior member of the ECB, while visiting New York, in a crack and alcohol induced stupor placed with Gustavo, a wild, reckless, huge and ultimately ruinous and incorrect wager on the outcome of the 2010 World Cup. The only way the debt could be settled was for the senior member of the ECB to offer Gustavo a highly paid sinecure at the ECB. Gustavo became the ECB’s Global Director of Statistical Creation. His job was to fabricate statistics on a global basis that would support whatever “strategy du jour” the world’s bankers and economists were proposing on any given day.

My good friend and former bookie was now a formidable force in the global banking industry.

It was Gustavo who had proposed inventing the word Agfok to replace the word debt. Gustavo’s high tolerance for alcohol, his connections to a constant supply of cocaine, his complete lack of ethics, his unlimited expense account, his skill with numbers and his love of La Dolce Vita made him an invaluable addition to the world’s central banking team.

You treacherous contract-cancelling cretin

As he regained his composure Gustavo looked as though he was going to make a snide remark about my new station in life. I spoke sharply, “Before you say one word you treacherous contract- cancelling cretin I would remind you that no individual earning their living working a coat check room ever caused a global financial meltdown, ruined people’s lives, depleted their savings, and debased the world’s currencies. It is honest work”. Gustavo smirked, “It was not my fault your contract was cancelled. You were not replaced with a Bitcoin presentation. Truthfully, the time you were allocated conflicted with the time the lobbyists at the conference were going to be giving out their swag and bling to curry favor with the attendees.

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 

No one would miss a chance to load up on trips, watches, jewelry and other assorted luxury items to hear you speak. He removed one of the three Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon  watches he was wearing. Clearly he done a ’victory lap’ at Swag and Bling party hosted by the world’s foremost lobbying firms. He handed it to me and said, “Here David take this as a token of my sincere regret at any inconvenience you may have suffered by the cancellation of your contract.”  I took his coat and briefcase with one hand and googled Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon on my Smartphone with my other hand. This trivial piece of bling was worth over a million dollars and Gustavo had three of them, [well two now]. His was so inebriated he surely did not know what he was doing.  I however was quite sober, and knew exactly what I was doing as I put the watch on my ankle. [Dear Reader, are you crazy? Do you think I am going to walk around with a million dollar watch on my wrist for all to see? I might just as well put a sign on my head and say ‘Rob me’. It would be safe on my ankle until such time as I could sell it.] “All right Gustavo”, I said begrudgingly yet with a smile, “I accept your apology”. While I tried to appear outwardly to Gustavo that my forgiveness was reluctant, it was hard to accomplish as my mind was doing the ‘dance of great joy’ at the financial salvation now adorning my ankle.

My ankles were now bedecked with matching watches

“So David, have you found anything interesting in those briefcases?” Gustavo asked. I found his assumption that I was plundering the briefcases both offensive and reassuring. Clearly he was still an ally. “David”, he continued, “If you discover any information that could help me compromise my enemies or frankly, provide the opportunity for some profitable blackmailing I will pay you handsomely for your discovery. I handed him a dozen smart phones that I had purloined over the last few days. “What do I want with a bunch of lousy cell phones David”, he growled. “Gustavo, Check it out”, I grinned as I took one of the phones and showed him how to review the stored photographs. His eyes lit up when he saw the ‘Selfies’ the hapless owner of the phone had taken of himself and his escort at the Auberge. All the phones have similar compromising images of their respective owners. He took off another Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon, handed it to me and thanked me profusely. My ankles were now bedecked with matching watches. I was beginning to feel like a man again.

Your stupidity is only exceeded by your naiveté

“David, I would love to chat with you but I have an appointment upstairs, put the cell phones in my briefcase. I will collect my belongings in an hour.” “Before you go Gustavo, can you save me some time? Can you just tell me if this year’s WEF has anything interesting to say to the world?” “David” he lectured, “as usual your stupidity is only exceeded by your naiveté. The main purpose of the WEF is to gather the world’s most influential people together so that the world’s most powerful lobbyists can explain to them the political and economic agenda for the upcoming year. The second purpose of the WEF is to reassure Main Street that the world’s leaders have ‘got their backs’ and are working to ensure their continued prosperity. This will placate and anesthetize the masses into a state of inertia whilst the world’s elite prepare for the financial cataclysm their leadership has made inevitable. The final purpose of this year’s conference was to put an end to all this talk of digital currencies.” He staggered up the stairs to his meeting.

I ended my brief career in the Swiss hotel industry

Dear reader I was still bristling with indignation at being called stupid and naïve. I was somewhat mollified by the fact that I wearing 2 million dollars’ worth of watches on my ankles.  I handed my bow tie into the Manager of the Auberge and ended my brief career in the Swiss hotel industry. I filed my report on the World Economic Forum and then headed off to Geneva to sell the watches. I was quite prepared to accept Bitcoin as payment for my extraordinary timepieces.




Canada puts the ‘funk’ in the word dysfunctional [and why you should care]

Dear Reader, you probably said to yourself that the premise of this article is absurd and preposterous. Canada is a paragon of fiscal responsibility. It is a bastion of good governance in a confused world of financial instability. It is a shining beacon of democracy, the envy of the world. I would have agreed with you until I received a very disturbing early morning phone call from Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, the Director of Statistical Creation, at the European Central Bank [ECB]. My relationship with Gustavo LaFramboise-Pierre went back many years. He had been my bookie since 1980 when I began my career in the investment industry. His life took a significant turn for the better when a senior member of the European Central Bank [ECB] bet large and incorrectly on the outcome of the 2010 World Cup. The only way the senior member of the ECB could settle the debt was to offer Gustavo a high paying sinecure at the ECB. Overnight, Gustavo found himself living in Paris, with the responsibility of fabricating fictional statistics to support whatever policies were being propagated by the world’s central banks.  Whether the need of the Central Banks was to convince Main Street that ‘Perpetual Money Printing was a valid monetary policy or inveigle the world to continue to surmise that Japan, with a  national debt more than twice the size of its economy is anything but a failed nation state, Gustavo creates a veritable blizzard of data that purports to support whatever alternate reality bankers desire the public to believe. His prowess at inventing new words such as ‘tapering’, ring fencing, and ‘Euro Stability’ made him invaluable. Gustavo’s almost sociopathic desire to enrich himself personally outweighed any qualms he might have felt about perpetuating a fraud on the entire world. Hence he excelled at his job. His performance even had some very influential people encouraging him to consider politics. Gustavo clearly had the ‘Right Stuff’ to be a leader.

Why would the ECB care about Canada?

Gustavo sounded desperate, “David I need your help, I have just been handed a top secret report that expresses deep concern about Canada’s financial stability. The report indicates that Canada could default on its debt and trigger a global meltdown in the world’s debt markets”.  I laughed and asked Gustavo how much wine he had consumed with breakfast.” He was not amused. “I am serious David; this report indicates that Canada is on the edge of the abyss and ready to step off. I need you to do some research for me and help disprove this report.” Gustavo, why does the ECB care about Canada, isn’t that a little out of the ECB’s purview. Shouldn’t you be worrying about Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Cyprus and France?” “David, if Canada’s economy has a meltdown and its debt becomes a problem, it will trigger a domino effect around the world. Canada’s meltdown would be catastrophic to the global debt markets. Europe would be dragged into the abyss”.

Standard consultants fee of $10, 000 [USD] per day to a maximum of $500,000”

I thought he was being preposterous but as a consultant to governments and their agencies I had a keen eye and I saw an opportunity to make some money.  I sounded sincere and indicated that I agreed that it was an important issue that merited analysis. I enquired delicately on the subject of remuneration.  Gustavo was quick to respond.  “We will pay you the standard consultants fee of $10, 000 [USD] per day to a maximum of $500,000”. [I always found it amusing that the ECB insisted in doing business in USD. Did they know something we do not know?]  Gustavo continued, “As usual I expect you to hire my sister and my son as your assistants and pay them each $2,500 per day.” I groaned, Gustavo always did this to me.

Game on

His son was 4 years old and had already accumulated enough money from these types of contracts to put himself through Harvard Medical School. His only contribution would take place if a client wanted the report done in crayon or finger painted. However that still left $5,000 a day for me so it was ‘game on’.

The crack of noon

Gustavo, this project will be difficult and time consuming but I will squeeze it in to my busy schedule.  I hung up and got ready to work. I went out my front door and took my neighbor’s recently delivered copy of the Globe and Mail, Canada’s National Newspaper, so that I could begin my research. Dear Reader I was not stealing the newspaper from my neighbor. My neighbor was a Member of Parliament. He never awoke until the ‘crack of noon’; I would return the newspaper long before then.  I sat down at the kitchen table, prepared my breakfast, [cold pizza left over from a party I had last week end], poured some coffee in my glass of whisky, [Jack Daniels, of course] and opened the newspaper to begin my research. Dear Reader we can, I am sure, all agree that in order for a country to step over the edge and into the abyss of the debt crisis six key elements must exist as a precondition to economic disaster.

Six preconditions for disaster

  1. A dysfunctional and inefficient government
  2. Huge government debt and deficits
  3. High household debt level
  4. A bubble formation in the real estate market
  5. A state of denial must exist in the country
  6. Corruption  must be pervasive  throughout all levels of government

This was going to be the easiest $500,000 [less expense] I ever made.  Canada is the world’s leader in good governance and efficiency. Everyone knows this fact except the anarchists at the ECB that produced the report that had Gustavo so upset.

Prorogation, there is a word you do not see very often

However I got a little queasy when I read the first headline in the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national. The gist of the headline was that Ontario’s unelected Premier was considering calling an election to legitimize the Liberal party’s hold on power.  This curious circumstance was enabled by a little known aspect of Canada’s laws. In Canada, governments are allowed to suspend democracy at their leisure by using something called prorogation. Prorogation of Parliament, is usually activated by a ruling party when the ‘scandal du jour’ is proving to be too intense.  In Ontario democracy was temporarily suspended in 2013. A new premier was appointed by the ruling party without consulting the electorate. Only now, is Ontario’s unelected Premier considering scheduling a pesky and tedious election to see what the opinion of Main Street might be on this issue. Prorogation is an abuse of power . Prorogation should not be confused with Pierogi, [which as we all know is a tasty dumpling.]  Prorogation of Parliament is a procedure to discontinue the meetings of a legislative body without dissolving it. This would be akin to a publicly traded company shutting down its head office for 6 or 7 months to avoid explaining disappointing financial results. Ontario is Canada’s largest province. It owes 280 billion dollars, and its deficits are out of control. It is currently being lead by an unelected Premier.  Prorogation helped the ruling party in Ontario avoid difficult questions about corruption. The federal government was so impressed they decided to suspend democracy for a period of time by prorogation to avoid any oversight on their own corruption problems. Fortunately for both levels of government the outrage one would expect from the people did not occur as Canada’s ‘Main Street’ was transfixed’ by the chaos in Toronto, Canada’s largest city. Like Ontario, Toronto is now governed by an unelected leader. The elected mayor had his powers suspended after, well it’s hard to describe, Dear Reader just Google Mayor of Toronto and any one of the following terms, ‘crack cocaine’, ‘drunken stupor, ‘rant video,’ ‘Jamaican patois obscenities,’ ‘drug lords’ ‘disgusting sexual innuendo’ ‘viral videos, and ‘drunk driving’. Any one of these searches will, I am sure describe adequately, the dysfunctional state of democracy in Toronto.

Fortress Quebec

Thank goodness this was not happening in Quebec, Canada’s second largest province, whose debt issues are even worse than Ontario’s. Oh wait Dear Reader methinks I spoke too soon. Quebec’s only issue is that, like Spain’s reluctant province of Catalonia, Quebec’s government has separation as its main objective. To achieve this goal, Quebec’s government is pursuing an agenda that involves suspending the “Freedom of Religion” currently enjoyed by its citizens.  It has introduced legislation deceptively called, the Charter of Values . This legislation will ensure discrimination against individuals who have religious beliefs. This legislation is an attempt to secure primacy for the ‘pure laine’ of Quebec, by encouraging anyone who is not ‘pure laine’ to leave the province. The separatist Quebec government is attempting to secure ‘Fortress Quebec’ prior to the next attempt at separating from Canada.

By capable I mean not currently in jail

There is an understanding in Quebec that one must move quickly. Quebec’s  Charbonneau Commission, tasked with investigating government corruption is discovering abuse of power on such a massive scale that one wonders if there will be anyone left capable [By capable, I mean not currently indicted or not currently in jail] of governing the province. At least Quebec will not need to worry about Canada’s Senate interfering. Canada’s Senate, the people’s unelected body of sober second thought, tasked with the responsibly of protecting the people’s interest is currently the subject of myriad investigations relating to corruption, abuse of power, fraud, theft, stupidity and hubris.

How do you spell boondoggle?

I then googled boondoggles over a billion dollars in Canada and came up with a startling number of hits. Gun registry, E-health cards, energy plants, G-20 summit, Pan Am Games and I realized maybe Gustavo had a reason to be concerned. OK, so Canada’s governments are dysfunctional, corrupt and inefficient. One precondition met and five to go.

That was quick

Dear Reader I did not need to do any research on the second precondition, huge debts and deficits. By now we are all familiar with the global debt clock . Canada’s accumulated debt, when one considers provincial debt as well, is almost two trillion dollars and rising. Two preconditions for disaster achieved and four preconditions to go.

I owe I owe, It is off to work I go

I was no longer queasy I was distinctly dizzy. I reached for my cold pizza and took a long sip from the bottle of Jack Daniels as I viewed the next article. It related to the third precondition required for a country’s economic meltdown, high household debt. Canadian’s debt soars into the danger zone  screamed the headline.  Canadian’s household indebtedness is now worse than our American cousins debt level was just before they jumped off the subprime cliff and into the abyss. Canadians it seems have a very, dare I say it, American appetite for debt. In December 2013 Canada’s household debt reached a new record. The third item on our list, hopeless amounts of household debt, had been achieved. I placed a thick check mark beside it on my list.

Why are bubbles easier to identify after they burst?

I dipped my pizza in my whisky and turned to the next page. Surely there was some good news. Yikes, I thought as I looked at the next headline. Canada’s real estate market has been fantastic for the last few years. Prices have soared. There is no way that Canada’s real estate market could be a bubble that would soon burst. However the research and comments from Deutsche Bank stating that Canada’s real estate market was overvalued by as much as 60%  was shocking. There clearly is trouble in paradise.

I could make Gustavo’s son work for his fee

Canada’s real estate market was showing all the signs of a classic bubble ready to burst. It also occurred to me that I could actually make Gustavo’s son work for his portion of the fee. He could use his crayons and draw me a nice picture of a bubble bursting for my report. In any event, I put a checkmark beside the fourth precondition, a classic real estate bubble formation.

Don’t tell me I am in denial, I refuse to believe you

Gustavo’s sister, a psychiatrist in Ireland might help me with the fifth precondition for Canada’s economic Waterloo. ‘Denial’ is a very complicated issue. It is the reason that so many diseases and disorders are not treated. In order to get better one must first recognize the problem. If my AA meetings taught me anything it is that you must recognize the problem before you can fix it.  Imagine my consternation when I read the next headline. Canada’s debt problem, the numbers just do not add up . Canada’s debt [almost 2 trillion dollars] when one considers the additional burden of provincial debt is actually one of the most appalling realities in the world. Like governments around the world the Canadian government will proclaim to all and sundry that the problem will be solved within the next ten years.

You want your banker to laugh.

Dear Reader should you wish to amuse your banker, try telling your banker not to worry about all the money you owe them because you have a ten year plan, not to reduce the debt, but to simply stop adding to your debt at the end of 10 years. You can increase the volume of your bankers hysterical laughter by indicating that the cornerstone of your plan is to increase your income by 30% each year by, well, really, let us be honest, like most governments plans to solve its debt problem, your plan is just a dream, similar to Canada’s debt reduction plan.

My most recent AA meeting

My emotions as I read the article reminded me of the reaction of the audience at my most recent AA meeting when I announced that I had reduced my alcohol consumption by 10%. No words were said, but it was clear that everyone in the room was saddened, worried and disappointed with my declaration.  Unfortunately denial is still the main component of Canada’s economic strategy. [Dear Reader I appreciate your concern, it is possible that I have my own denial issues to resolve’] However I had to admit that fifth precondition for a country preparing to cross the ‘Debt Rubicon’ had been met. Denial was alive and well in Canada.

The Big Owe

Prior to my research I would never have believed that Canada had challenges with corruption. However, and I am not clear whether these items should fall under the category, as previously discussed of dysfunctional government or in their own separate category.  I knew now that corruption was not just an inconvenient truth; it was permeating the fabric of Canada’s democracy. From the senate scandals, the corruption inquiries on Quebec, to the abuse of power oozing though countless government boondoggles it is clear that Canada is “in trouble plenty.” Government overspending and corruption has existed in Canada for years. Even Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island is trying to see how far it can go in denying its citizens  ‘Freedom of Information’   There is a reason Canada, in addition to inventing the term ‘Eh’ [pronounced ‘A’] also invented the term ‘the Big Owe’ a reference to the ‘Mother of all Corrupt Boondoggles’, the  multibillion dollar construction and collapse [well sort of a collapse] of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.  [ The Big Owe ]

Ka-ching, significant paydays would be coming my way

While I was now thoroughly saddened by the fact that sixth and final precondition for a country’s sudden economic tailspin had been met. I must admit I was also a little excited. It was times like these that governments reach out to consultants for thoughtful research, analysis, and recommendations. I sensed there would be some significant paydays coming my way. I looked at my watch. I had been hard at work for almost an hour. My only challenge now would be to delay submission of my report for 49 days so that Gustavo’s sister, his son and I could collect the full $500,000 fee.

Wasting away in Margaritaville

I called Gustavo, he was almost incoherent. The luncheon he indicated I was interrupting was clearly taking place in the town made legendary, by a song extolling its virtues. Margaritaville is a popular destination for many bankers. He was quite drunk. “Gustavo, I just want to clarify something. If I do this research and find out that your internal report is actually correct will I still be paid?”  Gustavo, angry at being interrupted in the middle of his luncheon said, “David, if your analysis supports the findings of our internal report and indicates that Canada is quite possibly going to implode and drag Europe and the rest of the world along with it, you will not receive a penny. Are we clear?”  Crystal clear, I thought to myself, I can handle the truth. Gustavo screamed into the phone in exasperation, “We want an honest, in depth analysis that concludes that Canada is great shape and that there is no cause for alarm. Now stop bothering me and ‘Just do it’”. As Gustavo had not seen the inside of gym in 20 years I found his reference to the Nike slogan amusing.

I am a consultant not an idiot

Dear Reader, I am a consultant not an idiot. I must ask that you disregard and forget everything you have just read. I am putting the finishing touches on my report, that much to Gustavo’s delight will declare Canada as the world’s most economically stable and well governed country. You must view some of the facts that you have just read as rare exceptions [no matter how many times these exceptions occur.] Furthermore you must not ask yourself the following question? If Canada is in such precarious shape how many other countries that are believed to be stable, are actually staring into the credit abyss.

Move along, nothing to see here

Please dear Reader, if anyone asks you about Canada’s economic circumstances please just tell them to ‘move along, nothing to see here, just keep moving.’ I wiped the pizza crumbs off the newspaper, folded it neatly and returned it to my neighbor.


Sex, Drugs and Derivatives

Dear Reader I recently returned from two weeks of ‘high level’ meetings with a group of Bankers [this is code for two weeks of subsidized debauchery with bankers] in Rome. As I sat at my desk, I was hoping to motivate myself to pursue a more chaste and pure existence. Unfortunately the Polar Vortex experienced by North America drained me of my good intentions. The bone chilling cold once again had me reaching for my trusty bottle of Jack Daniels for warmth and inspiration. My time in Rome had not been completely ‘wasted’, so to speak. I had secured a contract from the European Central Bank [ECB] to research the topic of Derivatives. I was to present my findings at the upcoming World Economic Forum  in Davos later this month.

One Quadrillion Dollars: Too Big to Understand

Dear Reader, please resist your natural instinct to click away from this commentary at the mere mention of the word ‘Derivatives’. I am acutely aware of the boredom and befuddlement that this word instills in you. At this point I would simply remind you that the derivatives market is estimated to exceed one quadrillion dollars.  [This stupidly large number is actually an accurate estimate of the size of the derivatives marketplace]. Despite the fact the derivatives market eclipses the market capitalization of the NYSE by an exponential factor, it is not discussed, reported or tracked because it is simply too complicated and opaque. The observation that derivatives can be compared to ‘weapons of mass financial destruction’  seems to be the beginning and end of any discussion on the topic.

Derivatives are a parasitic financial instrument

For those of you who are unschooled on the topic of derivatives, allow me to explain. Derivatives are abstract financial instruments, which, like parasites, can attach themselves to all manner of stocks, bonds, mortgages, commodity, debt obligations, currency exchange, interest rate fluctuations…in short, anything. Derivatives exist in the ‘twilight zone’ of the banking industry. Like black holes, their presence and massive influence are acknowledged yet the true influence on the global economy of this quadrillion dollar ‘event horizon’ is only theoretical. The near catastrophic disasters at Barings, JP Morgan and AIG are small examples of their destructive powers. However I will offer you Investorpedia’s more clinical definition. “A security whose price is dependent upon or derived from one or more underlying assets. The derivative itself is merely a contract between two or more parties.” 

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, [ The Gambler ]

One might think of derivatives as a random game of online poker, you don’t know who your opponents are [your counterparty], you do not know if you will be paid [counterparty risk], you do not know if the game is legitimate, [lack of regulation], and your opponents are probably able to see what cards you are holding, [market domination by large banks]. As well, you are making bets that in many instances neither you nor your opponents fully grasp [complexity of the market]. With each wager you are potentially risking not only your current assets, but your future assets as well.  [Leverage]. In some cases you do not know how much you are betting. Imagine as well, that you play this game every day with trillions of dollars that you do not have. This is the global derivatives market.

It is all Greek to me

Alternately, as derivatives are often created as a form of insurance, think of them as an insurance policy in which you:

-Do not know the name, address or any contact information relating to your insurer

-Do not know if your insurer has the resources to pay a claim

-Do not understand the insurance contract as it is written in Greek

-Must rely on a shadowy third party [ISDA]  to decide what constitutes a claim. [Credit event]

-Do not know whether your insurer is itself vulnerable to the particular risk you have contracted with it to insure.

His moral lassitude allowed him to excel

Dear Reader I digress let me return to my narrative. The aforementioned lucrative contract was secured by two key factors. The first factor was my friendship with Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre  the European Central Bank’s [ECB] Global Director of Statistical Creation. My relationship with such an esteemed member of the ECB traced its roots back to Gustavo’s days as a bookie for Wall Street’s elite. I referred so much business to him we became very good friends. His station in life took a remarkable turn when a senior member of the ECB, while in New York on a ‘fact finding mission’ [this is code for visiting his favorite escort] made an outrageously large and incorrect wager on the outcome of the 2010 World Cup. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, the term ‘derivative’ is commonly used in sports betting!) The only way the debt could be settled was for the banker to offer Gustavo a highly paid sinecure at the ECB. Gustavo became the Global Director of Statistical Creation with the responsibility of making up statistics to support whatever fantastical and deranged policies Central Banks around the world were initiating. Remarkably Gustavo’s aptitude for numbers, coupled with his moral lassitude allowed him to excel at his job. I believe it was Gustavo who invented the term ‘Quantitative Easing’ as a benign euphemism for runaway money printing.

Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise’

The second factor that secured the contract for me was a chance remark I made as Gustavo and I enjoyed a ‘working lunch’, with several senior executives who represented many of the world’s largest banks. The working lunch was held at Rome’s exclusive Blue Moon Gentleman’s Club. As the featured dancer left the stage I happened to mention to the assorted luminaries that I had read an article on the subject of derivatives. The bankers looked at me with something akin to awe and reverence. Gustavo whispered to me that the topic of derivatives had been discussed in a recent conference call by the world’s bankers. The conclusion reached at that time was that derivatives were too boring and too complicated for bankers to grasp. Despite JP Morgan’s very public, expensive and monumentally stupid 5 billon dollar derivatives trading loss  bankers still choose to remain cocooned in a ‘Cloak of Ignorance’ as it relates to derivatives. The famous lament that where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise could easily be the mission statement of the global banking industry.

I had read a complete article, I was a ‘de facto expert’

Dear Reader I am not being rude and offensive in my remarks about JP Morgan. Surely you would agree with me that any large bank that loses $5 billion in derivatives trading is ignorant of the properties and risks of derivatives?  The fact that I had actually read a complete article on the subject made me a de facto expert on the topic. Gustavo, in an act of kindness, seized the opportunity on my behalf and pressed his colleagues to retain me to research the topic and make a presentation at the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos. Thus I found myself preparing to dazzle the world’s financial elite with my insights into the risks and opportunities presented by the global derivatives market.  In a rush to complete the deal before the next dancer took the stage it was agreed that I would receive the standard banker’s honorarium of $5,000/hour up to a maximum of ‘whatever it takes’.

At $5,000/hr., you would surely not expect me to be brief

I sat at my desk, sipping ‘Gentleman Jack‘   while I looked out at the bleak weather that made Brooklyn so depressing in the winter. My TV was tuned to CNBC, as I waited for Wall Street to open. I put my crack pipe in its case.  Dear Reader like many of you [especially those of you who work in the banking industry], I have learned all too well, the dangers of mixing crack cocaine with whiskey on an empty stomach. [Have we not all indulged, to our regret, that particular venial sin  at least once?] I collected my thoughts and began to write my lengthy tome on the derivatives market. Dear Reader at $5,000/hr., you would surely not expect me to be brief.

Lions and Tigers and Bears [and derivatives] Oh My!

I do not want to frighten you. However I will share with you some facts about derivatives that will have you reacting as nervously as Dorothy did in the Wizard of OZ when confronted with the thought of Lions and Tigers and Bears. ‘Derivatives, Oh My’, will I suspect be the words that escape your lips.

Size of the derivatives market: 1 Quadrillion dollars

Size of Global Stock and bond markets:  175 trillion dollars

Who regulates the Derivatives market? LOL, Regulation is a ‘work in progress’ dominated by the big banks.

How dangerous are derivatives? They almost destroyed the world’s largest insurance company, AIG, as well as the global economy. Seriously, you don’t remember? Just Google the words AIG and collapse.

Have recent regulatory changes made the world economy less likely to implode from a derivative fuelled explosion? Actually as one might expect, thanks to regulatory enhancements that had to run the gauntlet of bank lobbyists   prior to their approval, the world’s economy is in more danger than ever from a derivatives inspired meltdown.

‘Duck Dynasty’ and ‘Real Housewives’ to the rescue

How much attention does the Main Street pay to the world’s largest and riskiest casino? [AKA: the Derivatives market]. If one were to Google the word derivatives, one will get 34 million ‘hits’. Alternately, if one does a similar search for the words stocks bonds and markets one will get 400 million ‘hits’. The 34 million ‘hits’ generated by a Google search of the word derivatives compares unfavorably with the 37 million ‘hits’ generated by a search of the term ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ , the 209 million ‘hits’ generated by a search of the term ‘Duck Dynasty’  or the 713 million ‘hits’ generated by searching the word ‘Sex’.  One must conclude that only when derivatives are discussed by random ‘Reality TV’ stars during in an interview conducted by Playboy Magazine, {Dear Reader, my prurient sensibilities will not allow me to provide a hyperlink to that particular site} will derivatives receive the attention they deserve.

Reality bites: Derivatives can only be discussed as ‘Fake News’

Where can one find insights and coverage of the Derivatives Market in the mainstream media? Is Fox News or CNN my best choice? Sadly Dear Reader your best choice would be The Daily Show . Despite the calamitous risk and obvious importance of this topic only the ‘Daily Show’ have dared to share information with the general public.  Given the outlandish and frightening risks derivatives constitute to the Global Economy, perhaps the supposition that derivatives should only be discussed in a ‘Fake News’ format is correct.

Derivatives: better suited for Ripley’s Believe it or not than the Wall Street Journal

How bizarre is the derivatives market? How is the concept of money for nothing propagated by the derivatives market? What is the difference between a chump and a champion in the derivatives market? Suffice to say that one is able to buy insurance in the derivatives market. One can then cause the insured event to occur by collaborating with a third party. All that remains is to collect the insurance proceeds. [To be clear the proceeds are usually in the tens of millions of dollars.] The derivatives market  makes the Ponzi-like money printing of the Central banks look like ‘Amateur Hour’.

Who needs ‘Crack’?

Dear Reader usually I needed a little help from my friend Mr. Crack to feel as paranoid and euphoric as I did at this moment. Paranoid, because it was clear to me that the derivatives market was truly a weapon of mass financial destruction. Euphoric because I knew that my research would make my ‘Derivatives’ presentation at the World Economic Forum a  groundbreaking ‘tour de force’ that would vault me to the forefront of ‘talking heads’ that pass for experts on mainstream media. Fame, fortune, a book deal and perhaps that elusive Nobel Prize would surely follow. My twenty minutes of painstaking research, had made me one of the world’s foremost experts on this complex subject. [BTW Dear Reader by reaching this point in my commentary, you surely now know more about derivatives than most bankers and traders on Wall Street. You should be quite pleased.]

David, you are an imbecile

I decided to reach out to my pal Gustavo and share some of my findings. I knew that it was 3:30 in the afternoon in Paris so I would be able to catch Gustavo just as he arrived for another day of work. “Gustavo”, I intoned, breathless with excitement. “I have uncovered some startling, controversial, and frightening information about derivatives. The luminaries and leading lights who attend my presentation in Davos will be utterly gobsmacked  by my revelations. The media will undoubtedly ensure that my findings go viral. The topic of derivatives will no longer exist only in the dark shadows of the banking industry. The danger that derivatives pose to the global economy will permeate the consciousness of Main Street.”. Gustavo sighed, “David, I do not know if you are stupid or naïve. Every September when you bet $1,000 that the perennially atrocious Toronto Maple Leafs   will win the Stanley Cup, I assumed you were simply ingenuous. Your comments today have convinced me that you are an imbecile. Let me assure you that those will not be the findings that you present at the World Economic Forum. Rather you will inform the world that derivatives are a financial instrument that is being used by brilliant and prudent financial professionals to mitigate risk and make the world a safer place.”

The ‘Truth Will Out’

“Gustavo”, I groaned, that would be a lie. I cannot in good conscience, sacrifice my integrity my honor, my core beliefs and my good name simply to placate Wall Street and the Central Banks. I have a responsibility to my readers on Main Street to inform them, to warn them, to prepare them for the likely financial chaos that derivatives will cause”. “Gustavo”, I said with iron willed determination, “the Truth Will Out”. “David”, Gustavo snarled, “If you change the tenor of your presentation and indicate that derivatives are the most benign form of financial instrument, somewhat akin to Treasury bills, we will double your fee”.

Move along nothing to see here

Dear Reader in summary let me say that derivatives are the most benign form of financial instrument somewhat akin to treasury bills. Gustavo’s immutable logic and persuasive argument was instrumental in helping me reach the correct conclusion regarding the risks to the Global economy posed by derivatives. So Dear Reader, move along, there is nothing to see here.

NSA inks landmark deal to share information with Central Banks

Dear reader put away your charts and graphs. Forget about fundamental and technical analysis. Ignore financial statements and trends.  The extraordinary agreement to share information between the National Security Agency [NSA], a host of European, Russian, Canadian and Chinese spy agencies and the world’s Central Banks will ensure that the only relevant force in Global Stock markets will be the trading activity of the world’s Central Banks. Thanks to the data gathering of the NSA and its subsidiary spy agencies around the world, the Central Banks will be privy to the most confidential conversations and communications from the boardroom, the bedroom and the trading floor. Central Banks will now be able to trade with inside information that could only be dreamed about in years gone by.

Market Assistance Directive [MAD]

In the past, only employees at the NSA, their friends and families were able to trade and profit using the confidential information captured in NSA’s confidential PRISM surveillance sweeping activities. The funds these individuals were able to devote to these insider trades were insignificant to the global markets. However this new agreement, [called the ‘Market Assistance Directive’ [MAD] will allow the Central Banks to use their unlimited resources to trade and profit based on inside information on an almost unimaginable scale.

Ask yourself one question

“Poppycock!” you say. “Balderdash!” you exclaim. Dear reader, I too shared your cynicism and disbelief regarding the possibility of such an agreement existing until I spoke with my good friend and trusted confidante  Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, Global Director of Statistical Creation at the European Central Bank [ECB]. Dear reader, before you click away in an indignant fit of outrage at the mere suggestion of this preposterous reality. I would encourage you to ask yourself one question. Would you or any of your trusted friends and honorable family members, if given access to inside information that would allow one to guarantee oneself untold wealth, without fear of legal reprisal, by trading in the stock market based on this inside information, would you or they turn the opportunity down? Dear reader, I thought so. Please continue reading.

It is the norm

Prior to the unique MAD agreement only the thousands of employees of the NSA and other security agencies, their friends and family, their political masters, paramours and twitter followers, have had the ability to use the PRISM surveillance capability to know every grain of inside information that exists in the world. Massive profits on their personal trading accounts are inevitable. It is a denial of human nature to believe that this activity is not only prevalent, it is the norm.

Statistics that would support whatever lunatic policies

But I digress; my conversation with Gustavo would enlighten me as to the New World Order that now permeates our capital markets and our global economy. For those of you not familiar with Gustavo, my friendship with such a highly placed member of the ECB executive traced its roots back to my days on Wall Street and to his days in New York when he was my bookie. His fortunes changed dramatically one day when a senior member of the ECB on a junket to New York placed an astonishingly large, incorrect and foolish bet on the outcome of the 2010 World Cup.  The only way the debt could be settled was for the senior member of the ECB to offer Gustavo an obscenely highly paid sinecure at the ECB. Gustavo traded Brooklyn and Fulton Street for Paris and the Champs-Élysées. He became the ECB’s Global Director of Statistical Creation. His notional job was to make up statistics that would support whatever lunatic policies were being proposed by central banks around the world. Gustavo’s complete lack of moral fiber coupled with his gift for numbers allowed him to excel at his job.

Truthfully I had left my home in New York to avoid some rather inconvenient lawsuits

I was in Rome on business, [well truthfully I had left my home in New York to avoid some rather inconvenient lawsuits from my banks and other sundry creditors relating to my inability to make payments on my credit cards, lines of credit, loans, mortgages, and overdraft fees.] In any event, imagine my surprise as I strolled down the Via Veneto when I spied Gustavo [I surmised that he was in town visiting one of his mistresses] exiting the Gucci store, laden with what appeared to be their entire inventory.

 We strolled to the uber-chic Rome Cavalieri Hotel

I greeted him with a smile and suggested we repair to the nearest bistro for a lunch and libation. I helped with his bags and we strolled to the uber-chic Rome Cavalieri Hotel  on Via Alberto so that we might feast at la Pergola, perhaps the finest restaurant in Europe. Dear reader, I had dined with Gustavo before. I knew that the meal would be charged to his expense account at the ECB. Today my empty wallet and penury would not prevent me from enjoying a culinary delight. We were seated at a prestigious seat by the window that offered us a magnificent view of St. Peter’s Basilica.  Gustavo’s legendary expense account ensured that we received premium service.

Have you won the lottery?

Gustavo, I enquired, “Have you won the lottery? You must have $50,000 of Gucci accessories in these bags?” “David” he giggled, “It is better than that”, he continued. “The central banks, thanks to an agreement with the world’s spy agencies, [this would be the aforementioned MAD agreement] we bankers are now privy to not only the emails  and phone calls of all the world’s politicians, business leaders, journalists, accountants, lawyers but to the innermost thoughts of every citizen who uses an electronic device for communication”.

We relegate to destitution any soul who dares to challenge us

“With this information we can use our resources to control the global markets. Now there is no trade, no event, no market information that we bankers do not know in advance. We can literally make as much money as we want. At the same time we relegate to destitution any soul who dares to challenge us. All we had to do to finalize the agreement was to promise to kick back 20% of our profits to the senior members of the spy agencies and 10% of our profits to their political masters.”

Remy Martin Black Pearl Luis XIII

I almost choked on my Remy Martin Black Pearl Luis XIII  Cognac as I digested Gustavo’s statement. Little did I know that this particular brand of Cognac that Gustavo had requested, was worth $30,000/bottle. [Oh, how glorious it must be to be a banker with an expense account.] However, as a frequent beneficiary of Gustavo’s largesse I guess I should not complain.]Gustavo” I exclaimed, “Do the words insider trading, market manipulation, extortion, thievery, invasion of privacy, immoral, illegal and just plain wrong not mean anything to you bankers?” “Don’t you read the papers David?” He replied.

You cannot put bankers in jail

“Bankers have been given immunity from prosecution for any misdeed or imperfection no matter how damaging it is to the markets, the global economy and society. HSBC ,  JP Morgan Chase , European banks , the list goes on. Banks are fined but no individual banker goes to jail.  How many times do bankers need to skate  on corruption charges before you get it through your thick skull that you can fine the bank but you cannot put bankers in jail?” Gustavo postulated.

Richer than King Midas

He continued, “We central bankers will share the data gathering efforts with the world’s commercial  or retail banks for a [big] fee. Our prudence will ensure that the inside information is shared fairly.” The profits the banks will make on these trades will guarantee their survival. Furthermore it will ensure the bank executives become richer than King Midas . It is truly a win-win situation.” I poked at the remainder of my appetizer, ‘scampi carpaccio with two caviars’, and eagerly awaited the first course, ‘liquorice consommé with sweet pepper cream and squid salad’. Gustavo had come a long way from his days making book from his car outside Madison Square Garden, I thought to myself. His notion of win-win was certainly unique.

There are two types of wealth in this world

“Gustavo”, I replied, “I don’t know where to begin. How does any of this help Main Street and the masses? This sounds like a conspiracy by the 1% to own the entire universe”. “I am glad you brought that up David” he slurred. [The effects of his overindulgence of the Cognac was starting to have the usual impact] “That whole silly Occupy movement and its childish 99% versus the 1% was our creation. The 1% is a phrase we coined to give us cover as we filled our pockets. You see David; there are two types of wealth in this world. The first is wealth created by innovators, creators, entrepreneurs, risk-takers, hard workers, savers: diligent, honest, principled, prudent, responsible men and woman”, Gustavo pontificated.

Bankers have ‘got your backs

“These remarkable people, as they created wealth also created jobs and enhanced their community. The world rightfully respects, celebrates, admires, encourages and emulates their efforts. The other type of wealth is created by creatures like me who scam, suck, pillage and plunder the public purse and Main Street’s wallets. We create nothing.  We central bankers and our commercial and retail cousins contribute nothing. We take what we can while convincing the masses that we ‘have got their backs.’  Can you believe that bankers are still able to pay themselves tens of millions of dollars a year after the damage they have done to the global economy?” Gustavo opined.

Consultants, lobbyists and other assorted leeches

His sermon continued, “If the public ever thought about it for a moment, their anger would not be focused on the notional 1% who accumulated their wealth the old fashioned way [They earned it] Rather the anger would be focused on the ‘10%.’ The scoundrels like myself: bankers, consultants, lobbyists and other assorted leeches who drain the public’s purse while adding to their own personal fortune”. I was quite taken aback. Candor, honesty and critical self analysis were not attributes I usually expected from Gustavo. I smiled at the waiter as he delivered my main course, a very appealing ‘soya poached fillet of beef with garlic dandelion and wasabi purée’. I continued my conversation with Gustavo by asking him why he was sharing all this information with me. Was he not concerned that I might publish some of this, clearly confidential, information? “David, have you heard nothing I have said, Bankers are immune from prosecution”. He said sardonically.

Unless you write your commentary in crayon and pass it out on street corners

He looked sternly in my eyes as he said, “Furthermore, unless you write your commentary in crayon and pass it out on street corners, either we or the NSA will become aware your attempt to undermine our dominance. We will simply disable your computer and delete your files. If you persist in inconveniencing us we will turn your file over to our ‘Blackmail’ department who will examine your life with a fine tooth comb, discover your secrets and threaten you with exposure unless you cease and desist.”

SPECTRE is in charge

Dear reader, like you, based on Gustavo’s insights, I could not help thinking that the players in our global capital markets were more reminiscent of James Bond’s nemesis, SPECTRE [SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion] than a functioning system for the free and fair exchange of goods and capital. I said as much to Gustavo as I had the first bite of my Caciocavallo Podolico . This cheese is the pride of Italy. At $500/lb, it has the same value by weight as silver. I would strongly recommend this taste sensation should you ever be dining with a banker and their expense account.  As I waited for his response, [he was busy talking to his broker], I gazed out the window at the Vatican and wondered if there might be spiritual salvation to guide us through the financial quagmire we had entered. I then remembered that the Vatican Bank scandals  indicated that there would be no guidance from that direction. [Oh please dear reader, curtail your disapproval. Just Google ‘Vatican Bank scandals’ and see for yourself.]

La Dolce Vita

Gustavo smiled at me as he hung up his phone. “I just made a million dollars in two hours based on information this new MAD Agreement’ provided me”, he boasted. “The best part is that because I have set up Trusts in tax havens   around the world I will not have to pay any taxes. Isn’t life grand?” I sighed as gazed through the window and watched a beggar appealing for donations from shoppers on the Via Veneto. I guess this is what ‘la Dolce Vita’  is all about?