The Bill for Club Med comes due (the concept of Central Bankruptcy eloquently explained), a Parable

5/31/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today the focus of the financial world is on events around the Mediterranean where the Greek and increasingly the Spanish people again find themselves at odds with their respective governments and their IMF / ECB / German debt collectors. 

How did they get there?  The Greeks and arguably the Spanish have been living in the social equivalent of a Club Med ever since they joined the Euro.  The initial sting of higher prices was offset for most by lower borrowing costs.  Life was good.  The advent of the Euro along with a boom in tourism began to feed a property boom in Spain and a government spending boom in Greece.

Alas, as an economy slows, the government is usually the last to know. 

Like the father whose family takes a vacation to Club Med, he is content to let the family splurge with little worry as to how he will cover the bill.  “Just throw it on the credit card, we’ll take care of it later” becomes the mantra.

Unfortunately for the father (who represents the Greek, Spanish, and arguably the US governments in our parable), his bank decides to cut his credit line just before the vacation is over.  The bill comes due and the man frantically negotiates with his bank (the ECB, IMF, and arguably the US FED) to extend his credit line enough to cover the bill. 

Club Med – Paradise Lost!

To make matters worse, upon his return the man finds that the income from his job (the government’s tax receipts in our parable) has been cut due to “the economy*.”  He now has no realistic prospect of repaying his extended credit line and instead must now consider a painful reduction in the family’s standard of living.

Naturally the family, who has developed some expensive habits while away at Club Med, rebels.  The father is now in a no win situation.  On the surface, he appears to have a choice between satisfying his family at the expense of his creditors or vice versa.

In reality, with his reduced income, he cannot satisfy either of them.  This is where the Greek and Spanish governments currently find themselves, and this is where the US Government will soon find itself.

There is, of course, an easy way out.  The man who is in this hopeless situation can declare bankruptcy.  Problem solved, right?  Not so fast.  You see, because of “the economy*,” the bank cannot release the man from his debts and have enough money to make good on its own obligations.

At this point, the Central Banks of the world (which are represented by the bank in our parable) lack not only the credibility but also the practical tools to perform their make believe function as protectors of the value of their respective currencies.

Today we read a piece by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital (run by Peter Schiff) which seems to give logical credence to what we have long suspected to be the case:

“In the end, any meaningful attempt to withdraw liquidity will not only bankrupt the institution (The FED) but also zero out their remaining credibility. That’s why they’ll never even make an honest attempt.”

 The FED is helpless to remove the liquidity it has injected and will soon have to decide which of its member banks to sacrifice if the dollar is to continue as a functioning currency.  Our money is on the dollar and all who rely on it as a store of value to be the sacrificial lambs.

Back to our parable.  Both the man and the bank will continue to pretend to negotiate with each other, giving the illusion that what is now their mutual problem will supernaturally disappear.  The family will continue to pretend to debate which expenditures to cut back on as if it will make a difference.

Unfortunately, the likelihood of the problem disappearing is equivalent to the likelihood of the family being able to go back in time to cancel their trip to Club Med prior to departure.  Such is the nature of debt.

So the bank, the father, and the family find themselves clinging to a myth as they helplessly hurtle towards the unknown.

Where will they end up?

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email:  davidminteconomics@gmail.com

*Definition of “the economy”, circa 2011 – A term used to describe the large scale collapse of Central Banking and the Socialist / Communist economic model that it has created over the past 100 years.  Generally used by politicians and others in authority to “explain” why they cannot pay their obligations.  This explanation is presented to the masses as a failure of capitalism when quite the opposite is true.  Thus, this simple two word phrase is used as an excuse to further the Socialist / Communist agenda and that of the police state that is forming all around the world.

Key Indicators for Friday, May 31st, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $4.17
Oil Price per Barrel:  $102.83

10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  3.05%
FED Target Rate:  0.09% FED IN DESPERATION MODE!!!!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,534

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.25% INFLATION HERE WE COME!!!!
Unemployment Rate:  9.0%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.4%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,579
M1 Monetary Base:  $1,892,800,000,000 THE CRACK-UP BOOM BEGINS!!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,036,600,000,000 MORE FUEL FOR THE CRACK-UP BOOM!!!!

 *See FED Perceived Economic Effect Rate Chart at bottom of blog.  This rate is the FED Target rate with a 39 month lag, representing the time it takes for the FED Target rate changes to affect the real economy.  This is a 39 months head start that the FED member banks have on the rest of us on using the new money that is created.

72 Hour Call for May 31, 2011

Today’s Call:  GSG Commodity Index to rise.  Currently $36.38.

Rationale – Renewed flight to out of financial assets to acquire tangible goods due to continued uncertainty.

Result of Call for May 25, 2011:  Euro to fall vs. USD.  Was $1.4076:1€, Currently $1.4282:1€.  Bad Call.  We are coming to the conclusion that the USD/EUR rate may be impossible to call on a short term basis.

Calls to Date:  Good Calls: 22, Bad Calls: 17, Batting .564

World record truck jump – “Team Hot Wheels – Yellow Driver Behind The Scenes”

Incredible.

Champions Final Highlights, Barcelona vs Manchester United

Simplemente Messi…Visca Barça!


Barcelona v Manchester United by geuzehead

72 Hour Call for May 27, 2011

Today’s Call:  US 10yr Bond Yield to fall (price to rise).  Currently 3.064%

Rationale:  Contagion in Sovereign debt markets to initially benefit US Bonds as safe harbor.

Result of Call for May 24, 2011:  Copper price to Fall.  Was $4.00 / lb, Currently $4.16.  Bad Call

Calls to Date:  Good Calls: 22, Bad Calls: 16, Batting .579

Grants for Democracy? It’s Getting Ugly in Spain, US Housing Capitulates, Greek Government to Default on Austerity and then Simply Default

5/27/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

We’ve said it before, things are beginning to happen at a rapid pace and the authorities are absolutely and completely helpless to do anything about it.  Not for lack of money, have you, for they are second in line behind the banks to pick at the money tree.  No, the authorities lack the one thing that is indispensable to getting things done.  Credibility.

Have things improved for you, fellow taxpayer?  Unless you are a banker, lobbyist, are a contractor who works for a banker or lobbyist, the answer is probably no.

And we haven’t even begun to talk “austerity” on US shores.

But first, we are obligated to take a peek at what the G-8 is doing.  We suspect we know but it is important to confirm ones suspicions.

From the Associated Press:

DEAUVILLE, France (AP) — Rich countries and international lenders are aiming to provide $40 billion in funding for Arab nations trying to establish true democracies, officials said at a Group of Eight summit Friday.

Officials didn’t fully detail the sources of the money, or how it would be used, but the thrust was clearly to underpin democracy in Egypt and Tunisia — where huge public uprisings ousted autocratic regimes this year — and put pressure on repressive rulers in Syria and Libya.

We suspected more aid to someone but this appears even more misguided than we thought.  The first line of the second paragraph is especially laughable but you can see where this is going.  We speculated Wednesday about the events in Palestine getting ready to take center stage, largely as a distraction to the “utter and complete collapse” of the world’s current financial system.

The G-8 is now throwing what is left of their credibility into extending their influence in the Middle East.  They have Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Egypt and Tunisia as footholds.  Will they be strong enough to hang on to this newfound influence?  Only time will tell if the new regimes can be bribed as easily as the old ones.

The credibility of the Western Governments and their worn out welfare state economic models is nearly spent.  In Greece, the IMF / Eurozone bailout participants are finding out that the Greek politicians don’t have the collective stomach to play the repo man on their countrymen’s future.

It appears that the government is refusing more austerity measures and is rethinking whether or not this whole Euro adventure is such a good idea.  Failure to agree now places the spotlight on the IMF / Eurozone plunge protection team.  Will they have the stomach to let Greece default?

The gauntlet has been thrown down, and what happens to Greece will set the tone for how the inevitable sovereign defaults of the Western Governments are likely to play out.  Are the Greeks the Lehman Brothers of Sovereigns?

On the other side of the world, Japan’s sovereign debt was officially downgraded as if to underscore the fact that the world monetary system is hurtling towards a catastrophic failure.

Back in Europe, a sequel to the Greek experience is now playing itself out across the Mediterranean Sea on the Iberian Peninsula.  The youth in Spain are finally arising as they clearly see that the politicians have shamelessly “handed their future” to the nation’s banks.

With protests in nearly every major city, their resolve grows with every passing day.  In Barcelona, one day before Barça plays for the Champions Cup against Manchester, the authorities attempted to clear Plaça Catalunya to clean it in anticipation of the celebrations that would surely take place there when Barça, led by the great Liionel Messi, wins the cup.

With over 100 persons injured between protestors and police officers, they will now have to clean up blood in the square.  The Spanish authorities, not unlike their western peers, just don’t get it.  The old way of doing things is over, fini.  The youth are taking matters into their own hands.  With 45% of the Spanish youth unemployed, their sheer numbers, if they stay at it, will simply overwhelm the authorities.

All the same, we are pulling for Barça tomorrow.

A final piece of news to share with you here at The Mint, the US Housing Market has finally capitulated. In other words, it is now safe to buy a house.  The hope that the US Government and Central Bank could somehow revive this market has left town on the same train as the US Government’s credibility.

The US Government lost its credibility most recently as it continues to bicker over meaningless spending cuts as the nation thunders towards an imminent default on its sovereign debt and by affirming the Unconstitutional Patriot Act, which essentially gave legislative authority for the US to become the wards of an international police state.

The brave souls who gave their lives to create and protect a free America must be rolling over in their graves this Memorial Day.

Will there be a generation brave enough to reclaim it?

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email:  davidminteconomics@gmail.com

P.S.  Please check out our latest 72 Hour Call at www.davidmint.com

Key Indicators for Friday, May 27th, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $4.16
Oil Price per Barrel:  $100.74

10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  3.06%
FED Target Rate:  0.09% FED IN DESPERATION MODE!!!!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,537

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.25% INFLATION HERE WE COME!!!!
Unemployment Rate:  9.0%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.4%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,441
M1 Monetary Base:  $1,892,800,000,000 THE CRACK-UP BOOM BEGINS!!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,036,600,000,000 MORE FUEL FOR THE CRACK-UP BOOM!!!!

 *See FED Perceived Economic Effect Rate Chart at bottom of blog.  This rate is the FED Target rate with a 39 month lag, representing the time it takes for the FED Target rate changes to affect the real economy.  This is a 39 months head start that the FED member banks have on the rest of us on using the new money that is created.

Watch “Desalojo Plaza Cataluña – Violencia policial 27/05/2011” on YouTube

Oprah Shares Invaluable Wisdom in Show Finale

Oprah Winfrey’s final show aired yesterday and the featured guest was Oprah herself. For 25 years, Oprah has captivated audiences a delved into life in ways that few thought possible and even fewer thought advisable.

In Oprah’s words, she “uncovered shame” and at times brought taboo subjects and controversial people on stage with her not to be judged, but to be seen, heard, and understood. In the process she did for television talk shows what Michael Jordan did for the sport of basketball. She raised it to a whole new level.

Oprah’s gift, what has made her personally and her show by extension an undisputed success is her ability to deeply connect to her guests and her audience. She has a genuine caring about her that has given herself, her guests, and perhaps society as a whole permission to bring things once thought unmentionable into the national spotlight.

Once things are brought into the light, the healing can begin.

During the finale, Oprah shared, in her classic warm and engaging style, wisdom that has helped her accomplish the impossible. The following is a brief paraphrase of some of the morsels she offered:

1. Follow your calling. There is something that each one of us was called to do. Find it and do it. Your calling is different than your occupation. If they are one in the same, as they are for Oprah, consider yourself extremely blessed.

2. There is a deep need inside of every person to be validated. Validate people. Look at them. Listen to them. Hear them. Accept them.

3. Listen to God.

4. You are worthy of being happy. There is a difference between thinking that you deserve to be happy and knowing that you are worthy of being happy. You are worthy because you are alive.

5. Nobody but you is responsible for your life. Do not live life as a victim.

A more complete list with direct quotes can be found at The Atlantic.

For those viewers who want to remain in contact, she graciously encouraged viewers to email her personally at oprah@oprah.com  with the promise of a personal response.

While the era of exploring and sharing life with Oprah on weekday afternoons has come to a close, it is certain that Oprah will continue to break new ground via both her website www.oprah.com and magazine “O”.

In the end Oprah, like the Gambler in the famous Kenny Rogers song, let each of us an ace that we can keep.

72 Hour Call for May 26, 2011

Today’s Call: Dow Jones Industrial Average to fall. Currently 12,402.

Rationale:  Dow rose today on mostly bearish news.  Ripe for a selloff.  Key Dow financials components are being seen as weak. Combination of selling and stronger dollar to lower Dow.

Result of Call for May 23, 2011: USD Index to rise. Was 76.14, Currently 75.57. Bad Call

Calls to Date: Good Calls: 22, Bad Calls: 15, Batting .594

Greece to exit Euro and Palestine to take Center Stage

5/25/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

If the events of the past week have not convinced you that there has been a permanent, fundamental change in the financial markets, perhaps nothing will.  As much as the numbers seem to stay the same, one has the sense that something is very, irreparably, wrong.

Trust that sense.

If you are trying to put your finger on what is causing the uneasiness you are feeling, allow us to offer our humble opinion.  The world is coming to the realization that all of the financial rescue programs that have been floated as the “cure” to the financial crisis by various Central Banks and Governments have done nothing useful. 

To put it harshly, they have not only failed, they have made things worse.

What they have done is to buy time for the banks to sell out of their losing positions and be made whole at the taxpayers’ expense.  Now, the jig is up.

The taxpayers see that the fix is in and are calling for the heads of their elected officials.  For the most part, the heads have been handed over peacefully via democratic elections.  Those that still have their heads are quickly backpedaling and distancing themselves from any Government sponsored bailouts.

With the resolve of the Governments of the west to continue “bailing out” the financial sector clearly in doubt, the heavy lifting is left to the ultimate and most deserving scapegoats, the central banks.

But what can they do?  Their only solution involves further exposing themselves for the fraud they are.  “If the central bank can simply print the money to pay debts, why should I work?” is the cry from the Proletariat.

That cry is being heard steadily in Greece and now Spain.

Austerity Protests in Athens today courtesy of occupiedlondon.org

It has taken a different tone in the Arab world, where revolution has increasingly been the rule ever since the Gregorian calendar turned to 2011.  The media explains what is happening in the Middle East as a “cry for democracy,” as if all of these people would be appeased if they could simply have the pleasure of voting for their dictator, as we do in the west.

No, the Middle East is burning due to the confluence of 1,300 years of festering hatred which for the past 90 years has had the Israeli / Palestinian conflict as its flashpoint and rapidly rising prices for basic necessities, which have always been dear in the desert regions.

These rising prices, of course, are the direct result of the debauchery of the currencies by western central banks.

From our vantage point, it is clear that the central banks have no more room to maneuver and that they will soon throw in the towel as well.  Central banking as we know it is expiring.

So who will bail out the western governments and central banks?  The taxpayers who have grown to loathe them?  Don’t count on it.  The simple answer is that no one will.  What logically follows is that the world is about to embark upon an amazing journey called “price discovery.”  A journey that has been delayed for three long years by the meddling of the authorities will now begin without further delay.

One of the first discoveries will be to find out what are Greek Bonds are worth.  Nobody really knows, but unofficially the 10 year note is trading at 51 cents on the dollar.  And now the barbarians from the north are storming down demanding that the Greeks make good on their austerity measures or else lose their support which would mean an almost immediate default by the Greeks.

But with riots becoming a way of life, the Greeks are beginning to wonder aloud whether or not the pain is worth it.  Our guess is that the barbarians will relent in an attempt to save the Euro.  You see, the Greeks still hold the ultimate trump card, as do we all, of defaulting on their debt and doing business in another currency.  For the Greeks, it would mean a return to the drachma.

Will they play it?

With the utter and complete failure of the world financial system at hand, those who soberly decided not to heed Harold Camping’s rapture warning and are looking forward to a world that will exist post October 21.  We believe that the world will increasingly turn their collective attention to Palestine.

We recently read The Haj in an attempt to beef up our understanding of the conflict.  You can read our review of this book at https://davidmint.com/?p=361.

The summary is that Palestine needs a miracle for there to be peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  This conflict will move to center stage as a distraction to the aforementioned utter and complete failure of the world financial system.

What has become crystal clear to us over the past two months is that if there is not peace in Jerusalem, there cannot be peace in the world.  Those of us who believe in Jesus (if you do not, please accept this as an invitation to believe) will not be raptured until there is peace in Jerusalem.   We do not know exactly why, we simply know that this is true.

For if there is peace in Jerusalem, there will be peace in our hearts.

Once we are raptured, the tribulation will begin, which is why we urge you to accept Jesus now.  You have nothing to lose and eternity to gain.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email:  davidminteconomics@gmail.com

P.S.  Please check out our Affiliates!

Key Indicators for Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $4.10
Oil Price per Barrel:  $101.47

10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  3.13%
FED Target Rate:  0.10% FED IN DESPERATION MODE!!!!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,526

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  3.25%
Unemployment Rate:  9.0%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.4%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,395
M1 Monetary Base:  $1,880,400,000,000 THE CRACK-UP BOOM BEGINS!!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,011,900,000,000 DESPERATION!!!!

 *See FED Perceived Economic Effect Rate Chart at bottom of blog.  This rate is the FED Target rate with a 39 month lag, representing the time it takes for the FED Target rate changes to affect the real economy.  This is a 39 months head start that the FED member banks have on the rest of us on using the new money that is created.

72 Hour Call for May 25, 2011

Today’s Call:  Euro to fall vs. USD.  Currently $1.4076:1€

Rationale – Speculation of Greece exiting Euro, which in the long run should strengthen the Euro, to initially cause concern about durability of currency union.  Euro holders to buy dollars until storm settles.

Result of Call for May 20, 2011:  Gold to Rise.  Was $1,514.70, Currently $1,525.90.  Good Call

Calls to Date:  Good Calls: 22, Bad Calls: 14, Batting .611

72 Hour Call for May 24, 2011

Today’s Call:  Copper price to Fall.  Currently $4.00 / lb

Rationale – Copper is currently in a large oversupply and with news of a European Debt Crisis and a further slowing economy copper will continue a slow trend downwards.

Result of Call for May 19, 2011:  Linkedin Corporation to Fall.  Was $104.25. Currently $94.45.  Good Call

Calls to Date:  Good Calls: 21, Bad Calls: 14, Batting .600

Michael Deejay

Fuimos muy afortunados al estar en Barcelona, en el barrio Clot, mientras Dios empezó obrar en la iglesia que se llama El Lokal.  Uno de los integrantes era el Gran Michael Deejay.  Para mi, el definó tecno para su generación.  Su ministerio es su musica, la que toca en los discotecas de Barcelona y toda España y a nivel internacional.  Pueden disfrutar de su musica aquí:

Para mas tracks pueden visitar su página de soundcloud por hacer clic aquí.

Book Review: The Haj

The Haj

By Leon Uris

Originally published in 1984 by Doubleday

We read the Haj for one reason and one reason only.  After the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, we attended a dinner with our Great Uncle.  Our Great Uncle had been stationed in Northern Africa during World War II.

As the conversation inevitably turned to what motivates terrorist attacks, our Great Uncle said that if you want to understand this, you need to read “The Haj.”

Now, 10 years on from that conversation and with our dear Great Uncle departed to be with the Lord Jesus, we have taken heed of his advice to read The Haj. 

The novel tracks the events that occurred in Palestine from 1920’s through the 1950’s, a time when the displaced Jewish population from Europe and Russia was relocating to its traditional home in Palestine after the horrifying events of World War II on that continent.  This relocation caused much friction and eventually war between the Arab populations which had traditionally lived in Palestine.  It is a war that continues to this day.

The Haj follows a traditional Arab family as they are forced to leave their homes as the United Nations passes the Partition Plan for Palestine on November 29, 1947.  The novel details the struggle as the family finds itself perilously driven by a supposed fear of the Jews eventually into the open arms of their Arab neighbors.  What they find is that their Arab neighbors have closed their borders for fear of being overwhelmed by refugees.  The family eventually finds itself in a refugee camp in the West Bank near Jericho called Aqabat Jaber where they find that they are trapped, not by the Jews but by the refusal of their Arab brethren to evacuate them.  

This is perhaps the most astonishing idea presented by the novel, that the Palestinian refugee problem is a result of the Arab surrounding Arab nation’s refusal to negotiate with Israel to allow the refugees to return to their lands, which were now inside the Jewish state.

According to the novel, the Jews were willing to let the refugees return to their villages and to live at peace with them.  It infers that the Arab nations denied this opportunity to the refugees because they wanted to use the refugees as pawns to continue to stir up hatred towards Israel.  If the refugees were to return to their lands, they would lose these pawns.

A secondary reason for this is a circular reasoning that is brought to light in the book through the events at the an international commission in Zurich which attempted to bring a resolution to the plight of the refugees.  The Arab delegates were unable to reach an agreement solely on the basis of their inability to recognize the existence of Israel.  If the state of Israel does not exist, then with who do they negotiate?

Kept in idle in these camps, the Palestinians became prey to a non-stop barrage of anti-Israeli propaganda and many young men were either brainwashed into attacking Israel on suicide missions or sold by their families to be brainwashed for the same purpose.

Whatever the reason, the refugee / martyr problem persists today and is at the heart of the conflict which each day threatens to entangle the entire world in conflict.

The Haj is a raw look at Arab life through the eyes of Ishmael, son of Haj Ibrahim, the Muktar of Tabah, a village in Palestine located in the Ajalon Valley on the main road between Jaffa and Jerusalem.  Ishmael is the youngest son of Ibrahim al Soukori al Wahhabi and, according to tradition, is doomed to become the family shepherd.

While he escapes the fate of tending sheep, one of the many ironies in The Haj is that Ishmael does become the family shepherd.

Tabah’s traditional existence is disrupted with the sale of swampland near Tabah to the Jews by Effendi Fawzi Kabir, a Palestinian absentee landlord who owned great quantities of land and lived in luxury far away in Damascus. Despite initial tensions (the Arabs attack and are repelled by the Jews shortly after the Jews set up camp), the residents of Tabah learn to coexist with the kibbutz that the Jews have created out to the swampland that they have greatly overpaid for.

This tolerable coexistence, which is embodied in the mutual respect and eventual friendship that forms between Haj Ibrahim and Gideon Asch, a heroic leader of the Jewish settlers who is easily mistaken as an Arab.

Throughout the book, we come to understand that Haj Ibrahim is acutely aware of the weaknesses of his culture yet is resolute in his adherence to it.  This inner turmoil marks the Haj’s life and in the end, adherence to tradition wins his internal battle and kills him.

Many reviews of The Haj deride it for its glorification of the Jews and vilification of the Arabs.  This is understandable as the book is a deep exploration of Arab culture during what is perhaps one of its darkest periods.  Honor killings, murder, rape, torture, deception, the woman’s role as chattel in society, backstabbing, grudges, debauchery, sloth, and betrayal are all paraded in front of the reader in what is as often as not an R rated display.

Ishmael sums up what he learns in what he calls “the basic cannon of Arab Life”:

“It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; and the tribe against the world.  And all of us against the infidel.” P.14

Another memorable line from which this view springs is the final discourse of Dr. Mudhil, the Arab archeologist who because of his dealing in artifacts is seen as one of the only Arabs in the West Bank who has contact with the Jews, who voices this fatalistic lament about Arab culture:

“We do not have leave to love one another and we have long ago lost the ability.  It was so written twelve hundred years earlier.  Hate is our overpowering legacy and we have regenerated ourselves by hatred from decade to decade, generation to generation, century to century.  The return of the Jews has unleashed that hatred, exploding wildly, aimlessly, into a massive force of self destruction.  In ten, twenty, thirty years the world of Islam will begin to consume itself in madness.  We cannot live with ourselves…we never have.  We cannot live with or accommodate the outside world…we never have…” P.522

 The book ends tragically with Haj Ibrahim, having been thwarted in every attempt to be free to return to his village, takes a bureaucratic post and gives in to fanaticism.  After killing his youngest daughter for dishonoring him, Ishmael takes his revenge on his father not by the sword but with his words.  He voices the ultimate dishonor, a secret that Ishmael has carried and now uses as a weapon against his father.  The Haj dies of shame.

Sadly, Ishmael, who one thinks will be able to escape to a better life, is drugged by his mother and older brother to be sold into the fedayeen as a suicide bomber.  Ishmael does escape, but only to run mad into the Qumran by the Dead Sea, presumably to die.

A thorough synopsis of the plot can be found here at Wikipedia.org.

The overriding theme of The Haj is Arab fatalism.  Leon Uris was Jewish and in this light it may be seen that his depiction of the Jews as heroic and the Arabs and British as the villains in the events that occurred in Palestine from the 1920’s to the 1950’s and today is simply a product of his natural bias.

Be this as it may, a more accurate description would be that the Arab fatalism and brutality (which again may be a product of Uris’ natural bias) which is presented in the novel would make even the Nazi’s appear heroic.

The Arab / Jewish conflict merely provides a canvas upon which one can superimpose the eternal struggle of love versus hate.  Sadly, in the novel, the reader is left with the sensation that hate has triumphed.

Take heart, dear reader, for love will have the day!  It is guaranteed in the blood of Jesus!  Until then, we must pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  For if there is not peace there, there cannot be peace in our hearts.

72 Hour Call for May 23, 2011

Today’s Call:  USD Index to rise.  Currently 76.14.

Rationale:  Sell-offs in stocks and money fleeing the Eurozone to initially land in US Dollar accounts.

Result of Call for May 18, 2011:  10 Yr Bond Yield to Rise (Price to fall).  Was 3.165%. Currently 3.134%.  Bad Call

Calls to Date:  Good Calls: 20, Bad Calls: 14, Batting .588

Watch “Salvados 23 de enero 2 de 4. Entrevista al Alcalde Comunista de Marinaleda” on YouTube

An interview with a communist mayor on Spain.  While hilarious, the video shows the merits of small scale communism, which is simply a small function of cooperation within a broader capitalist world.

The house they tour is only 15€ per month and is private property of the inhabitants.

The point is that what people think of as communism/socialism works well on a small scale because it is akin to a well run capitalist company and subject to the same immutable economic laws that everyone is.

Communism/socialism breaks down on a large scale when it trys to operate outside of these laws.

Enjoy!

72 Hour Call for May 20, 2011

Today’s Call: Gold to Rise.  Currently $1,514.70.

Rationale – Issuance of Google Bonds simply to lock in low yields seen as sign that inflation will pick up, indirectly lifting gold.

Result of Call for May 17, 2011: July Corn to Rise. Was $7.20 per bushel. Currently $7.58. Good Call

Calls to Date: Good Calls: 20, Bad Calls: 13, Batting .606