The World Is Upside Down: CIO Of Buffett's GenRe Issues Direst Warning Yet

Tyler Durden's picture

A world, in which former permabears David Rosenberg, Jeremy Grantham and now Hugh Hendry have thrown in the towel and gone bull retard, and where none other than the Chief Investment Officer of General Re-New England Asset Management - a company wholly-owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, has issued one of the direst proclamations about the future to date and blasts the Fed's role in creating the biggest mess in financial history, is truly upside down.

While the topic of CIO John Gilbert is Twitter, and specifically the investors in the second coming of the irrational exuberance bubble, about which he says that "following such a crowd is an excellent hedge against ever being financially independent. Gravity wins in time"... what Gilbert is really talking about, is the Fed. To wit:

It should be obvious to everybody by now that such stock market largesse is made in Washington. The specific address is the Eccles Building on Constitution Avenue, home of the Federal Reserve. In fact as citizens and U.S. taxpayers, we think it would be an expression of gratitude if Twitter were to take a little pressure off of the Fed and buy some Treasury bonds themselves.




We may be seeing the leading edge of a wave of credit problems among corporate borrowers in emerging market economies. Lest one think it does not affect the U.S. and other developed market countries, recall the Asian crisis chronology. Thailand devalued its currency in the summer of 1997 and few outside of Thailand cared. But contracting Asian demand reduced demand for oil, and Russia (whose exports are 80% oil) defaulted in August of 1998. Risk spreads widened, and five weeks later, Long Term Capital Management was insolvent. That was a systemic event and caused disruption in markets in general, and a stock market decline. So for those who believe that they are protected from loss by central bank behavior, a little history is in order. As usual.




This is a major component of the downside to the Fed’s program. They have created a systemic risk in the world financial system for which they take little or no responsibility, because that which happens outside the U.S. is not their assignment. But as custodians of the reserve currency, it ends up that way.

Since we obviously agree with everything the GenRE CIO says we can only assume with absolute certainly that he does not speak for his ultimate employer: the man who according to many has benefitted the most from the Fed's largesse: Warren Buffett.

Full letter below (pdf)

History Ignored, Again

It would seem fair if Twitter were to share. The company’s initial public offering was a staggering success, of course. Priced at $26, the stock closed its first day of trading at $45 per share. The company was thus endowed with a market capitalization of $25 billion. The company has no earnings, but who cares. Adding back non-cash charges to produce earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, then adding back the financial value of non-cash employee compensation, the company can be regarded as profitable. Such a number for 2013 may approximate $50 million or so. The company is valued at 500 times such results, which exclude expenses that do have economic value. Correctly accounted, the company makes not a dime. But who cares when circumspection is the investment equivalent of tuberculosis.

It should be obvious to everybody by now that such stock market largesse is made in Washington. The specific address is the Eccles Building on Constitution Avenue, home of the Federal Reserve. In fact as citizens and U.S. taxpayers, we think it would be an expression of gratitude if Twitter were to take a little pressure off of the Fed and buy some Treasury bonds themselves. But that is not our remit, the company would reply. We are here to, well, Twitter.

Happily, not all members of the U.S. government are as pleased as the central bank to induce investors to behave foolishly. On the eve of Twitter’s IPO, Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, offered cautionary remarks on investing in complex or inchoate technology businesses. The stock market ignored her, but her comments were well chosen.

 We have seen this all before and it ends badly. Ms. White’s remarks were presumably pollinated by the lessons of history. By coincidence, in the same week that Twitter completed its offering, another tech firm reported disappointing earnings. That firm was Cisco, which was one of the belles of the stock market boom of the late 1990s. By the peak in early 2000, Cisco was valued at about $500 billion, which was 200 times the company’s then earnings. An impressive valuation, also. But back then, Cisco and brethren were going to change the world. Sort of like Twitter today. Chart 1 is Cisco, tracing out the dreaded where-the-Rocky-Mountains-meet-the-Great-Plains stock price pattern.

Cisco’s valuation has been decimated, and it trades today at only about 11 times earnings, a rather modest valuation, and a reminder that following such a crowd is an excellent hedge against ever being financially independent. Gravity wins in time.

Cisco’s discouraging recent earnings disclosure was particularly ironic, coming as it did in the week that Twitter led the Fed-driven market upward. That is because the company made pointed comments about a sudden deceleration in their businesses in many emerging market economies in the last few months. This is not only a cautionary tale about the uncertainty implicit in technology businesses. We fear that it may precede more such news from a number of firms and emerging countries that have benefitted from the same central bank policies of which Twitter is the lottery winner of the moment.

We applauded Fed Governor Jeremy Stein when, in his paper of February of this year, he broached the subject of unintended consequences of the Fed’s  unconventional policies. We have long held that view. Governor Stein explored a number of evident candidates, including mortgage REITs and high yield bond issuance. One asset class that he did not discuss was emerging market debt issuance, which to us seemed then, and since, as even more important because of its systemic nature. Emerging market borrowers can borrow at very low rates in dollars, and have accepted the opportunity with alacrity.

When Chairman Bernanke broached the subject of reducing bond purchases back in February, long-term rates began a sharp rise that took the yield on the 10-year Treasury from 1.6% to 2.5% to 3.0%, where they remain. While such yields are low by historic standards, the change at the margin is significant. It has already retarded activity in the U.S. mortgage market, for example.

The most important emerging market borrowers have historically been sovereign governments, who could reduce their borrowing costs so long as the currency mismatch did not move against them. From time to time, it did, resulting in such borrowing being referred to pejoratively as original sin in international finance. But at least those were sovereign governments.

An alarming feature as the current credit cycle has developed has been the rapid growth in borrowing by emerging market businesses. Many emerging countries have had boom conditions over most of the period since the Asian Financial Crisis. China’s accession to the WTO in 2001 was followed by a massive investment program that provided a massive and rapidly growing market for the exports of many other emerging nations—and the businesses that produced the coal, steel, copper and cement China required. The Lehman bankruptcy was an abrupt interruption of the boom, but China’s response was a redoubling of investment to overcome the financial crisis. So China’s demand for imports surged again, much of which was satisfied by emerging market vendors from Brazil to Indonesia to Africa.

Those boom conditions coincided with the Fed’s everyday low price interest rate policy. The temptation to borrow in dollars at low rates, and take the chance on  exchange rates, was evidently too powerful for many corporate borrowers. In fact, at the time, the currencies were moving in their favor. Booming exports made for  resilience, or even strength, in their currencies against the dollar. Borrowing in dollars seemed to make all the sense in the world.

The result was a boom in borrowing to match the boom in business. Chart 2 shows the increase in dollar—denominated borrowing by corporations since the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997–1998. It has exploded since the Federal Reserve has suppressed borrowing costs in the last five years.

The result of this roaring issuance is that debt ratios have risen to a level not seen since the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997—1998, as shown in Chart 3

This might be disquieting, but not necessarily troublesome, if the currency mismatch were not an issue. But shortly after Bernanke’s suggestion in May that the punchbowl might be removed, capital began flowing out of the hot emerging markets. The result was downward pressure on their currencies, which in some cases is severe. Chart 4 shows the change in exchange values versus the dollar for a number of affected emerging countries.

The systemic nature of the problem—booming debt issuance in dollars, followed by contemporaneous currency shocks in response to Bernanke’s comments in May—coincides with the sudden slowing in demand for Cisco’s equipment and, perhaps, others as well.

This is a major component of the downside to the Fed’s program. They have created a systemic risk in the world financial system for which they take little or no responsibility, because that which happens outside the U.S. is not their assignment. But as custodians of the reserve currency, it ends up that way.

We may be seeing the leading edge of a wave of credit problems among corporate borrowers in emerging market economies. Lest one think it does not affect the U.S. and other developed market countries, recall the Asian crisis chronology. Thailand devalued its currency in the summer of 1997 and few outside of Thailand cared. But contracting Asian demand reduced demand for oil, and Russia (whose exports are 80% oil) defaulted in August of 1998. Risk spreads widened, and five weeks later, Long Term Capital Management was insolvent. That was a systemic event and caused disruption in markets in general, and a stock market decline. So for those who believe that they are protected from loss by central bank behavior, a little history is in order. As usual. Particularly for Twitter aficionados.

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RaceToTheBottom's picture

I liked this article.  I gave it a 5 of 5.

Chris Jusset's picture

John Gilbert says:

"It should be obvious to everybody by now that such stock market largesse is made in Washington. The specific address is the Eccles Building on Constitution Avenue, home of the Federal Reserve. "

Yes, the numerous bubbles being inflated by the Fed are extremely obvious.  And yet, Congress just sits back and allows it to happen.  Just like it happened in 1999 with the Tech Bubble ... and in 2007 with the Housing Bubble.


Pure insanity.

Doña K's picture

If you were to ask a Buddhist monk to tell you whether Buffet's GenRe or the bears turned bulls of late are wrong, the answer would be they are both right. It's the timing that matters.

And.. If someone objects that they both can not possibly be right. The monk will answer. You are also right. It depends on your perspective view. (where you are sitting)

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle anyone?

StychoKiller's picture

Logic cannot answer HOW a void can be full of things.

jeff montanye's picture

off topic and jumping up but has anyone else had the experience of having this site, uniquely, going blank seconds after accessing it, again and again and again?  logged off, signed in, cleared cookies, reset safari, everything this cyber illiterate could think of and it still kept freezing and blanking.  now that i am not getting blank screens i hesitate to leave.  i googled zero hedge blank screen and got some interesting comments at first.  seemed to deteriorate on repetition.  whatever.  this is the only site i regularly comment on.  what gives?

jeff montanye's picture

started going blank again.  p.s. to dona k also relativity theory.

markmotive's picture

As long as Americans kill each other over $20 toasters, all blowups will be quickly forgotten.

Keyser's picture

Don't you mean Steve Jobs?  Hint: Safari... 


Fíréan's picture

@ Doña K

 The Buddhist's reply was : " A Gold Fish"

Ham-bone's picture

1- Chinese or others aren’t getting out of the dollar and dumping their holdings…dumping seems sensible but simply is not reality based on TIC or other reports of FX holdings.  While true Chinese and others are setting up yuan based trading rather than $’s and now have overtaken the euro, they are still a distant 2nd (though gaining rapidly), true they are buying amazing amounts of gold, true their politicians / bankers talk the dollar down but reality is (as of now) they are still playing the $ game / cheap yuan exports. I’m not saying they will forever, but they are still in the game w/ multiple parachutes if/when dollar goes (non-petro dollar yuan, gold reserves) …Foreigners still have record Treasury holdings (over 50% of all public debt notes/bonds to the Fed’s 20%) and huge $ reserves (one really big thing to note bout QE is that net/net it’s all being purchased from domestic holders of Treasury debt and that foreign holdings only continue rising while domestic holdings are back to ’00 levels despite the increase of $3 T to $12 T of public Treasury debt since ’00) …if foreigners and others start to dump either their T’s or $ reserves, we’ll know quickly as the $4 to $9 Trillion will come back to America looking for a home.

2- if Fed stops buying Treasury’s the stock market collapses while treasury rates head for new all time lows (equity holders would sell everything and go looking for whatever they can get from Treasury’s…and in this scenario the Fed would sell it’s balance sheet of “high quality” Treasurys to those fleeing the stock wreckage…and Fed would sell @ a nice profit as rates collapsed but remittances from the Fed collapsed even further)…not sure how this plays for the "foreigners" but would think they too could sell @ a profit or jus hold on finally receive a positive return, small as it may be?  Of course this assumes petro-dollar still has some role but w/ the assumption that Fed stops buying, then the profligacy would be over and the dollar could be one half or 40% of global trading instead of currently larger role???

3- Fed’s buying Treasury’s does not push rates lower, it simply forces everyone into equities and RE / CRE with new currency with which to buy equities/RE/CRE while retiring Trillions of a former asset class (never to be seen again). IE> less assets available and more currency with which to buy them.  Absent Fed’s QE there is no “growth” and likely little to no inflation so 2% or 1% 10yr yield would be a real positive return (probably the only one that would be available). Fed knows that if it stops QE we are in a depression unlike we have seen before and stock market is gone, RE/CRE despite lower interest rates also collapses…banks blown away...only things left are Treasury’s. Absent the Fed or CB’s or government debasers (ie, congress) none of us would be too excited gold or silver as it would simply be stable, boring old money. Lucky for PM holders, CB's want to make PM holders rich...I digress.

Problem is Fed want’s cats living w/ dogs and equities to keep up new highs while rates maintain low yields (cause the economy really falls apart w/ higher rates and only makes the equities @ record highs look more ridiculous)…you can have one or the other but not both (at least not within a free market).  A middle ground of "some" equity growth and maintaining low yields seems improbable given the massive leverage and it's unwind if the Fed even signalled a little slowing.  Which means if we can't go back and we can't slow down we'll go faster and faster forward as everyone with a brain front runs the Fed in it's final trade...

StychoKiller's picture

Fast, Error-free, Cheap:  Pick two, you can't have all three!

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

Pure insanity if you are not a beneficiary of the said policies. If you benefit and you don't really give a fuck about the consequences then it's not insane at all. In fact I would not expect anything less from human beings and for all those who think they're morals are incorruptable I'd love to give you a run in a position of power.

This is what humans are destined to do given enough time. The behaviour is hard wired in our brain stems. I bet 99% of the posters on this site and I include myself in this 99% have never done a fucking thing to turn the tide against the greedy cunts in power. Sure I've bought gold but that is passive and inconsequential. 99% have never demonstrated, perfomed any acts of civil disobedience, never withdrawn business from an organisation based on moral grounds. Let's face it, we deserve what we get. If you are apathetic long enough, oh the socipoaths will move in and ransack the place. Imagine if a robber came into your house and you had the means to defend yourself but couldn't be bothered and this behaviour was wide spread, well guess what's going to happen.

We deserve it. We deserve Fukushima because who amongst us has boycotted firms involved in NP. Who has picketted and demonstrated at the gates of a NPP. None of us, because we can't be bothered, too busy playing with our iPhones. Think of the absolute power of the masses to be able to simply change behaviour and bankruspt, almost overnight, a corporation like BP for the Gulf of Mexico disaster. Think of that latent, incredible power far greater than all the standing armies in the world, yet we can't be fucked. 

Bring on that asteroid and put this earth out of our misery.

I am working on a website concept called PowerToThePeople. The website is very simple and allows anyone to submit their cause that is directly related to poor corporate behaviour. To be  valid the cause has to be associated with a direct, tangible and lawful action that can be taken against the corporation to place pressure on it to change. Once this simple condition is met any grievance can be aired with proposed action to resolve the grievance. Those causes that attract the greatest following simply float to the top of the pile and gain the most exposure. Invalid grievances that may be submitted as a result of a personal one off bad experience simply won't garner a following and will die a natural death. I dream of being able to bankrupt companies like TEPCO long before they can create untodl environmental damage. I dream of being able to bankrupt these investment bank sons of bitches rigging rates, falsifying documents, falsifying signatures, rigging gold prices and basically being giant fucking assholes.

There is enormous latent power among the most humble of the worlds citizens that could crush these sociopathic mother fuckers into last week. It simply takes some co-ordination and organisation. 

perchprism's picture


 ESAD, you commie blowhard.

Oracle of Kypseli's picture

<<<<< I bet 99% of the posters on this site and I include myself in this 99% have never done a fucking thing to turn the tide against the greedy cunts in power. >>>>

That's why the poor are well taken care and the rich are given a one way trade to play with. And... those whith brains have been given no place to hide.

I stay in cash even if erroding and PM's even if beaten down and I let Rome burn. My optimum ratio 66% cash to 34% PM's. RE is out of the question as it's a drag in movement and taxation whims. No need for profits. Just preservation.

SunRise's picture

BOTA has the point;  becoming Chair Satan is the overlikely outcome of the rallying cry "Go GALT".  Transformers!

WillyGroper's picture

>>>>> My optimum ratio 66% cash to 34% PM's.

Holy Ned you're brave.  

wahrheit's picture

Max Keiser's Karmabanque is another site along these lines.  Vote with your dollars.  Some days I kick myself for spending far more on goods made locally and in the US than I could getting much more for cheaper at Walmart, but in the long run it's worth it to me.  Every day some Chinese junk breaks when I really need it is alone enough of a reminder to keep up what I'm doing.  Other actions within our grasp include pulling your money out of a huge bank and putting into a local bank or credit union.  I was surprised at how difficult it was to pull my meager funds out of Chase.

Zero Point's picture

When I pulled my funds, in cash, they threatened to charge me 2 grand for extra security (not talking big money here, I ain't rich, but don't cry for me either), I threatened to go to the media, and they caved.

It smacked of desperation to me.

It was a stupid move though, I bought a bunch of garbage, and then lost it in a tragic landscaping accident.

Zero Point's picture

Unfortunately, protest as an expression, has been totally hijacked and debased.

This process started in the sixties, and has now reached a point where any protest on any topic is simply disregarded, unless it's MASSIVE.

Then it ain't really a protest, it's a flat out uprising.

Look at the way occupy and the tea party were co-opted. Both sides of the coin would have been a perfect match in the center, this never happened. Gee amazing how that couldn't have happened isn't it?

TPTB have been at this game a long time. They won't go quietly.

Smash the fucking state, just don't ask me to help, because it's very unlikely I'll trust you. See how that works?

See if you can develope a website that combats that little problem.

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

It's got nothing to do with a website, its got everything to do with an idea that resonates strongly enough and with enough people. It does not have to have anything to do with demonstrations or uprisings. It is far more powerful and far more subtle and far more deadly to the TPTB. It's just an idea that occurs simultaneously in the minds of people. It need only be a simple change in behaviour such as opting not to buy petrol from BP. TPTB can do nothing about this. It is  not illegal. It is not confrontational. It cannot possibly engender distrust in anybody perceived to be pulling the strings because the actions are being taken by thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions. Lofty thinking I know but this is the power of the internet. Corporations are incredibly well organised, this is why they can get away with what they do. The masses are not organised, this why they are apathetic and essentially don't give a fuck. We are also herd animals and if there is evidence that other people are taking action however small, however subtle, the herd instinct will provide the momentum.


It would be so easy to change the behaviour of these assholes in investment banking by simply withdrawing business. So fucking easy. They could be sent packing with their tails between their legs. But how to co-ordinate and get the ball rolling without a central platform for collaboration and support and to even seed an initial idea. If businesses were operating equitably then business would flow to them, the entire proces could become self governing. 

Zero Point's picture

Man, you are seriously preaching to the choir here.

Unfortunately, no natural forces are allowed.

Thug rule is the norm. Might makes right.

I guess we're waiting for the similar things really.

You, mass awareness.

Me, pissed off Jesus or some shit.

No way can I see the bad guys not winning from here, as they always have. Any "reset" we see will be as planned and designed and then the survivors will meet the new boss, just like the old boss.

Thousands of years of this shit now.

Fucking money changers in the temple.

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

Hahahaha, "pissed of Jesus or some shit".


That is some funny shit.

Zero Point's picture

Fuckin bring on that asteroid brother.

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

Sounds awfully cynical doesn't it but we as a species have created so much havoc and suffering on this earth that the universe will not miss upright bipedal ape any time soon.

dontgoforit's picture

My folks were kind and generous; hard-working and prayed to God for guidance.  They had great lives - dad passed away at 90; mom will be 97 on her next b'day.  My kids are having pretty good lives so far; they are kind and generous and they pray to God for guidance.  They have families and the cycle continues.  Money is a vehicle for possession of needs and a few wants along the way - not an end in itself.  There is so much good still in the average folks.  I can't help but be happy with the goodness I see in them, and in my parents, and in my kids.  There is hope where there is love.

TruthInSunshine's picture

I will give you an enthusiastic +1 for your comments & thoughtful input, BOTA.

My main issue -and it's more of an "I'm not sure I agree" than a "I know you're wrong" - is that you place a heavy burden on the sheeple to actively revolt, and to throw off the shackles of their fiat debt masters via overt acts of commercial & material disobedience.

They're sheeple; they know no better; they're of learned helplessness.

Wouldn't a more moral doctrine provide them with a Greek Hero, to save them from their ignorance, lust & dimwitted sin, culminating with the necessary death/sacrifice of said hero?

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

I'm not entirely sure TIS. I think the dimwittedness can be leveraged very effectively in the herd mentality. Using the concept of PowerToThePeople it requires are base of thoughtful, introspective people with seed ideas, concerns and there are plenty of people around like this, just look at this site. Then the power of the dumb masses can potentially give the idea it's momentum via social networking. As long as others are involved that's all the herd mentality needs. PowerToThePeople is the sheep dog to the sheep.

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

I'm afraid all the kind human beings in the world don't make up for the desperately horrible suffering that goes on for a very significant portion of the population not to mention the unimaginable suffering of the worlds animals at the hands of horribly callous humans. The best outcome I can possibly think of is a fertility virus that doesn't in itself cause suffering, it just stops us breeding like bacteria. 

MetalFillBoy's picture

"There is enormous latent power among the most humble of the worlds citizens that could crush these sociopathic mother fuckers into last week. It simply takes some co-ordination and organisation."

Ok, fine.  You lead the uprisng and kill the 1%, TPTB.  

Then what???????  

YOU become TPTB.  


Because there always has been, and always will be, a group called TPTB.  And don't lie to yourself in thinking that you will be any different, that you would never do the things that current 1% are doing to the other 99%.  Because if you really have what it take to get the 99% to rise up against the 1%, then you have what it takes to be the 1%.

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 1:9


BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

Why do people quote the bible?

No really, why?

Is it lack of ideas?

Does it make people feel somehow all knowing like they have special knowledge that others lack?

It's ironic that in a thread talking about oligarchal power you bring religion into the discussion. I'll just say this. You have been conditioned from birth (in most cases) to believe in god and all the stories that go along with this.  The bible has arisen out of the abrhamic faiths whose religions have displayed all the qualities of oligarchal power over the minions. Your brain structure has been physically altered by these teachings so I know it is (in every sense of the word) impossible for you to think otherwise. god is real to you because the physical neural network to host these thoughts exists in your mind. We take these internal realities and superimpose them onto the external reality, being outside our mind. The reason there seems to be so much discrepancy between the divine led world that makes up peoples internal reality and the outside world is simply because the internal model is wrong. By defintion the wrong one has to be the internal one because it is the one doing the modelling It either matches or it doesn't. If it doesn't it is wrong. The reason that there is horrible suffering in the external world is because there is no god to intervene and prevent it. Theists immediately state that it is gods will, or he has endowed us with free will and we make the bed that  we then have to sleep in. That's fine for an adult population but that doesn't explain away the horrible suffering of children and animals. Despite this phenomenal and glaring problem for religion the theists will never, ever consider the reality that the suffering occurs because  there is no god.  How the internal models of the human mind incorporating a divine led universe manage to survive in light of the discrepencies is simply testament to the physical nature of the neural network -  that is - it can't be easily changed so we live with glaring inconsistencies but use pyschological tricks such as confirmation bias to make sense of it all. Now I'll be subject to a barage of comments from thesists stating tjhings like "a beautiful sunset is evidence of god". This is an abuse of the english language though and not something I can be bothered responding to. All we need to do is concentrate on the suffering in light of the supposed existence of an all powerful god.

Anyway, who needs an uprising. These cunts just need a governor, an electric shock when they get too crazy, too greedy. If people are empowered to fuck up a company that is doing wrong this will become a self governing process. This is what is missing. People just bend over and get dry humped by Dimon and Blankfein time and time again.

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

Oh, by the way, why is the world so fucked up when a vast majority are supposed to be either christians, muslims or jews,  all Abrahamic faiths. I think the message must have got somewhat lost along the way. What the hell have these priests been doing for the last 2000 years. You have to say, on balance, they have failed. I often ask myself, what would a world without a god be like, how would it function. Would the current state of the world (or any state between now and a 5 billion years ago) be a valid contender for a godless world.

It would be.

FredFlintstone's picture

Here is a thought for you: What if every god-fearing human, whether they be Christian, Hindu, Muslim, etc. said "screw it, BringOnTheAsteroid is correct, I ain't going to follow this path anymore"? All hell might then break loose. I have read a lot of the bible and there are some rather good explanations contained therein for the inconsistencies that you cite. You really cannot have a good understanding of western thought without having rolled up your sleeves and studied this book. 

Oh, and I think your website idea is genius. Let us know when it is done.

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

I've read the bible, all 62 books. If you can make any coherent sense out of them, you are a better scholar than I. At best there are snippets if you like that have a sensible/good message but alas an equal amout of absolute horror that leaves me numb that people claim these books as holy. Again the wonders of confirmation bias allow the human mind to pick the good bits. Confirmation bias can arguably be deemed in the spectrum of mental illness.

What path do you see people are following. I know and have known hundreds upon hundreds of christians and muslims and they do very little different from me, very little. They abide, in general by the rule of law and display the full spectrum of the best and worst of human behaviour. Ironically THE most crazy christians I knowpersonally have had the most horrible marriage break ups I have ever encountered. These are nutter type christians who claim to hear gods voice directly in their heads, who see flashing white lights as, apparently, some signs from god. This one couple broke up and the father lost all contact with his children (beautiful children) as if they had been killed in a car accident. These were poster child christians. Even more ironically amongst my circle of friends the longest lived relationships are between non-married athiests. All this is anecdotal and meaningless though.

All hell has already broken loose, throughout the ages. I would put to you if humans burnt every last bible or holy book or whatever you want to call them, NOTHING would change. NOTHING. For a start the majority of christians don't read the bible anyway. OK, they might read a passage here or there in church, but I mean READ the bible, all 62 stinking books.  Muslims are probably better theists than christians in observing their rituals. Mind you they only have one book to contend with.

I must keep hammering the fact that this is truly "all in our heads". There is nothing in external reality to support the existence of any divine being. If there is and it materializes in the sky one day, great, evidence. It's not going to happen though because it's all in our heads. It's been going on for time immemorial and at it's very heart probably has something to do that we are plancental mammals, that is, we emerge as infants from an omnicient, omnipotent being - our mother. From the perspective of a child this is not meant to be a tongue in cheek comment. From the perspective of the child it is a fact.

It is all truly fascinating from a psychological point of view.

MetalFillBoy's picture

Hello BringOnTheAsteroid,

I have actually quoted this before, but without the Biblical reference, and have gotten very little responses to it (but seems adding the Biblical reference has incited quite a response our of many!).  Ask yourself this: Had I not put the Biblical reference, would you have thought differently about the quote??  I quoted it because your initial post focused on wanting to change the current system into a system that you think would be better.  I disagreed, and used a quote from King Solomon, who is regarded as a very wise man, to back up my point.  I quoted it not because of my belief in God, but because there is alot of historical evidence to back it up!  I think even an atheist could read the books written by King Solomon, and garner much wisdom from it.

"Anyway, who needs an uprising."

It seem my point of you becoming the 1% in the end may have changed your mind on leading an uprising.  Not saying you should not lead an uprising and become the 1%.  At some point, it will happen (an uprising), whether it is lead by you or someone else.  Why?  Because a wise man once said  . . .





P.S.  I don't think people let themselves get screwed (self preservation would kick in at some point if they were).  I think that most people don't KNOW they are getting screwed.  I would use the frog in a heating pot of water, but turns out, that anecode is not  entirely true!  

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

Metal, I would never become a 1%'er because honestly life is too short to be obsessed by human affairs.

Why these cunts need to dominate the world is a mystery to me (well they are sociopaths so maybe not so much a mystery). why they don't take their money and go and immerse themselves in what little beauty remains of the earth is a deep mystery. There is so much to do and see, diving in the Coral Sea, hiking in the montains of Nepal, climbing all the wonderful crags scaterred around the world, backl country skiing in British Columbia, floating down the Kinabatangan river in Borneo, watching sea turtles come ashore and lay their eggs on the GBR atols in million year old rituals, witnessing the Norther Aurora, the salmon run in Alaska . . . . the list goes on and on and on.

It proves to me that these sociopathic cints running the world are simply victims of their genetic make up. They can't stop, sit back and savour the vanishingly small time we have on this planet. These fuckers are tortured into nedding to dominate, accrue wealth beyond what any human being can even ever need. Imagine the rot in the mind, the caustic nature of your psyche if you just have to keep accumulating wealth beyond what you'd ever need. Horrible really. The people cannot be happy.


MetalFillBoy's picture

Hello BOTA,

It proves to me that these sociopathic cints running the world are simply victims of their genetic make up.

I think you hit the nail on the head.  I firmly believe that the 1% are genetically disposed to being leaders.  The rest of us do not have genetic make up to be the 1%.  So we simply follow, instead of leading.  

Are the 1% happy?  I think some of them are happy, and enjoy life.  Some are obsessed, as you suggest, and can't stop getting more money/power/wealth/etc.  But I think there are just as many in the 99% that are obsessed with obtaining <insert random obsession here>.

Now here is one to think about: Are all in the 1% evil???  We seem to focus on the bad 1%ers here at ZH, but I am fairly certain that there are good, honest, morally guided, 1%ers that do good everyday.  But again, that is not what ZH is about, now is it??

Thanks for the thoughtful exchange!



BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

Hi Metal, no, certainly not, you can't cast a net over all 1%'e's as evil. I mean let's face it, the term evil is an emotionally laden word to begin with. How can we even define evil when it comes down to it.

It would be hard to cast Bill Gates as evil even though I'm sure many people here would. There's nothing wrong with accruing massive fortunes if you are smart especially if you then use that accumulated wealth for philanthropic undertakings. It again shows the rot that has set into society. When Bill Gates was the richest Microsoft executive in the world you couldn't go a week without hearing his name in the media. Now that he is one of the largest donors in history to charity, how often do we hear his name. Not very.  

If Buffet gives away 90% of his fortune, does this still make him evil in the eyes of many who thinks he's the devils own son. If congress change the rules to make insider trading legal, are they evil, or are the majority of Americans who can't be bothered taking action to put a stop to it evil. I dunno anymore. 


StychoKiller's picture

Don't look for fish amongst the treetops.

WillyGroper's picture

Not many left in the pacific either.

Hobbleknee's picture

Because it's the most widely distributed book in the history of the world.

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

Mmmm, actually, I think you're right. It is probably is that simple.

I keep thinking, that's it, I'm done with debating religion, but it never ceases to fascinate me when someone else comes along with their internal model that includes god. Simply how people survive with glaring inconsistencies between their internal world and the external world is a source of never ceasing amazement. I mean, if there was a god and ultimate justice I'd love it, it'd be fantastic. If I could pray to god and ask him to give Blankfein erectile dysfuction and an anal fissure and knew it would happen, WOW, but it sure as shit doesn't look like this is the true nature of reality and that's all I really care about.

JoBob's picture

It is because people cannot understand the "why" of complex systems that do not work. To rationalize the failures and lack of understanding, they invented a god and turned the problem over to him/her/it to resolve.  Past that point, "it is god's will" is an acceptable cop-out rationalization. It is too easy not to think and to shift responsibility for personal shortcomings.

Religion: The opiate of the masses.

acetinker's picture

JoBob, here's the thing I believe trips you and asteroid up (that opiate of the masses was Marx?);  Try not to confuse Religion with a belief in a higher power.  You see, I don't claim to know God, but I believe in It.  Religions claim to be the sole holder of all things related to The Creator, and they're full of shit imho.  The much-reviled Masonic Order refers to this entity as "The Self-Evident One".  I'm not a Mason... never wanted to join a club that would consider me for membership... but that description seems most apropos to me.

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

Ace, that is fine and a position taken by many but I refer you back to our origin as a placental mammal and having been created by a higher power. I think ultimately this is the source of your belief. The thing is you need evidence to support a belief only to be sure you're not deluding yourself. I'm not using the term to insult but as a simple fact of the terrible short comings of the human mind.

acetinker's picture

I enjoy a non-confrontational debate, BringOnTheAsteroid, and appreciate your words.  However, the argument about "evidence" cuts both ways, doesn't it?  We are certainly imperfect, being mammals and all... But I like the analogy that follows;

Say you find yourself in possession of a fine Swiss timepiece-  a precisely engineered and manufactured bit of human design.  If you were to carefully dis-assemble such timepiece, and gently place the pieces into a container, seal the container, and begin shaking it (sorta represents the idea of truly random occurence), how long would it take for that timepiece to re-assemble itself into its original working form?

Maybe after a billion years or so, it would become a dilenium crystal, but it's more likely it would become a collection of the elements from whence it came.

I don't expect, or intend to change your thoughts- only to explain mine.  Oh, and I don't think Homo Sapiens was created in God's image- that's more religious bullshit.  My contention is that everything we know, or ever will know is a product a yet to be understood intelligent design.

StychoKiller's picture

Prayer doesn't work that way.

As ye believe, so is it done unto you.

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

I don't think an adult human being can truly believe their internal thoughts are transmitted to something outside the universe that are then considered and acted upon. I simply do not believe this can be the case.