04 February 2023

Weekend Reading: The Leaven of the Pharisees


"For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy overcomes judgment.

What does it profit, brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, 'You have faith, and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God.  You do well.  Even the demons believe—and tremble!  

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone."

James 2L13-24

"Beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is a pious, hollow hypocrisy."

Luke 12:1

"Not everyone who calls out to me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven."

Matt 7:21

"You put away the light, yourselves; you first pluck out both your own eyes, yourselves; and after that other men’s too, so that the blind may lead the blind, until you both fall into the pit.”

Thomas More, The Sadness of Christ

"Those among the rich who are not, in the rigorous sense, damned, can understand poverty, because they are poor themselves, after a fashion; they cannot understand destitution.  Capable of giving alms, perhaps, but incapable of stripping themselves bare, they will be moved, to the sound of beautiful music, at Jesus’s sufferings, but His Cross, the reality of His Cross, will horrify them.  

They want it all out of gold, bathed in light, costly and of little weight; pleasant to see, hanging from a woman’s beautiful throat."

Léon Bloy

03 February 2023

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - A Revolution of the Heart - And There's the Rinse


"The world would be better off if people tried to become better.  And people would become better if they stopped trying to become better off.  For when everybody tries to become better off, nobody is better off.  But when everybody tries to become better, everybody is better off.   What we give to the poor for Christ's sake, is what we carry with us when we die."

Peter Maurin

“We are slow to master the great truth that even now Christ is, as it were, walking among us, and by His hand, or eye, or voice, bidding us to follow Him.  We do not understand that His call is a thing that takes place now.  We think it took place in the Apostles' days, but we do not believe in it; we do not look for it in our own case."

John Henry Newman

“What we would like to do is change the world— make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do.  And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, the poor, of the destitute— the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor, in other words— we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world.  We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world.”

Dorothy Day


The Jobs Report came in smoking hot this morning.

I no longer track the numbers closely in spreadsheets, but I would strongly suspect that the number this morning was the child of a misapplication of seasonality that will be corrected away some time in the future.

But it is timely, and will make a great talking point for Biden's State of the Union address.

So the outsized Jobs print signaled a hawkish Fed, higher rates for longer, and therefore a stronger US Dollar.

And with that stronger Dollar came a brutal takedown of gold and silver.

When the times comes it nevrer seems like you are short enough, or hedged enough.

But it was nice to see the markets adhering t the same fictionalized story at least, and not wildly divergent like yesterday.

 Gold has nearly completed the kind of backtest of support one might be looking for in a 'W' double bottom.   If it holds, it calls to $2100.

Let's see how it goes next week. 

We are caught up in a polar vortex here, and it is very windy and very cold. 

I am making a very hearty beef bone broth soup for dinner, and will be using the fireplace tonight for the first time this season.

Daisy hates the cold.  Maybe its a holdover from her brief life on the city streets last winter.  

She likes to fall asleep in my lap on cold nights, and we often stay snuggled in the chair under a warm blanket that way until morning, a book on my chest.

Old age is no joke.

She is slowly but surely becoming healthy after her time as a stray.  The young man has infinite patience in her care, and we found a wonderful veterinarian.

It has been time consuming and somewhat expensive.   Even feeding the birds has gotten a little pricier this year.

But in healing others, we heal ourselves.  It's good to see the difference we can make.

Need little, want less, love more.

For those who abide in love abide in God and God in them.

Have a pleasant weekend.


02 February 2023

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - And the Beat Goes On - 'Technical Trades'


"When you view the world from the satisfied environs of Washington — a place where lawyers outnumber machinists 27 to 1 and where five suburban counties rank among the seven wealthiest in the nation — the fantasies of postindustrial liberalism make perfect sense. The reign of the 'knowledge workers' seems noble.

Seen from almost anywhere else, however, these are lousy times. The latest data confirms that as the productivity of workers has increased, the ones reaping the benefits are stockholders. Census data tells us that the only reason family income is keeping up with inflation is that more family members are working.

Everything I have written about in this space points to the same conclusion: Democratic leaders must learn to talk about class issues again. But they won’t on their own. So pressure must come from traditional liberal constituencies and the grass roots, like the much-vilified bloggers...

The more comfortable option for Democrats is to maintain their present course, gaming out each election with political science and a little triangulation magic, their relevance slowly ebbing as memories of the middle-class republic fade."

Thomas Frank, Rendezvous With Oblivion, NYT 2006

The Dollar was up 55 cents.

The VIX rose showing some risk concerns.

Gold and silver were utterly smacked from the word go.

Stocks rallied madly to new short term highs. 

Nothing really new about all this.

Let's call it 'technical trades.'

I had hedged my trading portfolio in anticipation of this sort of predictable shenanigans.

The only real surprise today was the clip of Cathie Wood extolling the safe harbor attributes of bitcoin.

Non-Farm Payrolls tomorrow.

Have a pleasant evening.