FROM 9/11 TO 9/15
by Andy Hoffman, Miles Franklin
It’s early Monday morning, on the first day following the “Shemitah” prophecy – that in the next 12 months, dramatic changes to the world political, economic, and social climate will occur. As you can imagine, global “manipulation operatives” are working overtime to prevent “last to go” markets like the “Dow Jones Propaganda Average” and paper gold and silver from revealing the reality of the worst economy of our lifetimes; the most precipitous, irreversible financial destruction in history; an unprecedented level of global overcapacity; and generally speaking, the shredding fabric of a dying, artificially orchestrated status quo.
No matter that physical Precious Metals demand – as discussed in yesterday’s “the story of 2016” – is at an all-time high, whilst inventories are vanishing and supply on the verge of an historic plunge. Or that, whilst the PPT desperately tries to prop the Dow, Chinese stocks have again resumed their inexorable plunge. Or, what’s this? Commodity prices are in freefall anew – with Goldman Sachs’ belief that WTI crude could potentially fall as low at $20/bbl in firm agreement with my long-standing view, per my “direst prediction of all” article from eight months ago.
Or that stories of escalating Middle Eastern tensions; expanding European immigration crises; leading Presidential candidates proposing building a wall across the Mexican border; or America not only imposing sanctions on the nation with the world’s second most nuclear weapons – Russia; but its largest creditor, China, for so-called “computer hacking” crimes that are likely a figment of the U.S. “Ministry of Truth’s” imagination. So much so, China’s President, Xi Jinping is considering the cancellation of his upcoming White House visit. In other words, the ill-effects of the terminal, cancerous phase of history’s largest, most destructive fiat currency Ponzi scheme are being seen and felt in all aspects of life; which sadly, will in hindsight be viewed as the first inning of an extended extra-inning affair.
That said, government-executed algorithms have today’s pre-FOMC markets feeling like a church at midnight – as quiet as can be, like the eye of the proverbial hurricane. And thus, I figured it would be a good time to remember 9/11 – which after 14 years, has largely faded from the “biggest story ever” to a mere footnote in history, which most psyches, in true self-defense mode, have chosen to block out.
But first, let’s go back to February 1993, when I was hired to work at Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, on the 105th floor of the North Tower (i.e., Tower One). I couldn’t have been more excited to leave my dead-end compliance job at S.G. Warburg Securities – even if the job, “calling” the action on the 30-year U.S. Treasury Bond trading floor, paid just $20,000/year. And then, the first World Trade Center bombing occurred, just days before I was scheduled to start my new job.
It was quite a big story at the time – even if just six people died, in what turned out to be a botched attempt to blow up the towers with a car bomb in a sub-basement parking lot. People I met afterwards told me they were terrified, walking all the way down from the top floors through thick smokescreens, shrieking tenants, and the uncertainty from wondering if the loud BOOM they had just heard would be duplicated.
Fast forward to September 2001, and I had been gone from Cantor Fitzgerald for five years – having worked there from March 1993 through February 1996. Despite the lack of “sophistication” Cantor’s trading pits featured, I had fond memories of my three years there – first, on the aforementioned U.S. government bond trading floor; and afterwards, the much smaller Canadian bond floor.
A newly minted CFA, I was working at Salomon Smith Barney on 388 Greenwich Street, which I had joined in May 1999 as an oilfield services, equipment, and drilling sell-side analyst. As you can see, SSB’s offices – i.e., the “Travelers Building,” with the big orange umbrella out front – was a mere ten blocks from the World Trade Center, with my office squarely on the south side of the building, looking directly at the Twin Towers.
Much of the initial moments following the attacks are a blur, so forgive me if I can’t remember everything. However, I distinctly remember my colleagues huddled by the window watching a fire in the North Tower – and speculating that a plane had likely crashed into it, just as occurred in the Empire State Building in 1945. I certainly don’t recall seeing the South Tower getting hit; or frankly, anything other than the Travelers’ Building’s alarms going off, and walking down the (I believe 35) floors to the ground. At which point, I simply walked – along with countless others – a few blocks south, to watch what was rapidly morphing from an aberrational plane crash to a fear-filled environment of uncertainty.
Unfortunately, there are few images on the internet of where I stood. However, this one of the West Side Highway – in the above map, the double-yellow lined road directly next to the Traveler’s building – was perhaps a block or two away. By then, the South Tower, too, was on fire – and I was well aware of the dozens of friends and colleagues I made and worked with during those three years. As well as the thousands of other people trapped above the fire lines – in the North Tower, on the 93rd floor; and in the South, the 77th. Within minutes, I could see dozens of faces, and flailing arms, atop said fire lines; and not long afterwards, people jumping to their deaths.
By then, word was rapidly circulating amongst the crowds – care of the televisions in every restaurant, bar, and bodega – that another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Our eyes were glued to the towers, but bigger thoughts – of World War III, for example – were on our minds. And simultaneously, the police were busy barricading the cities’ bridges and tunnels. No one was allowed in, and no one out. And as you can imagine, due to the sheer volume of fearful New Yorkers – as well as their friends, relatives, and colleagues the world round – cell phone signals were overwhelmed, leaving the entire world unable to communicate with those inside the “Ground Zero” Manhattan had become. As for me, I not only had my thoughts firmly planted on those I knew at Cantor Fitzgerald – all of whom died; but my brother, who worked across the street at 130 Liberty Street, in a building which has since been demolished due to damage incurred that fateful day.
When the Towers finally fell, it was a fait accompli for those of us watching – as we knew it was inevitable at that point. And when I finally reached my home in Park Slope, Brooklyn late that night – after the police allowed pedestrians to over the Brooklyn Bridge – I knew an era of innocence had permanently passed. And so, to those whose psyche’s attempt to “block out” this ugly episode of human history, I urge you to fight that impulse – and remember those that died that day, for a cause I still don’t understand. Or those that died as a direct result of 9/11’s aftermath. And, equally important, the freedoms we have all since lost.
On that note, I really don’t feel much like writing about economics and finance in my last half page today. I am extremely upset about recalling that hideous day – particularly when I consider how badly the global political, economic, and social fabric has been torn in the ensuing 14 years, from “9/11 to 9/15.”
And thus, I’ll simply end with a few quotes from the very “TBTF” banks most incentivized to pretend all’s well – following their “leader emeritus,” Alan Greenspan, who last week espoused “debts, deficits, and entitlements will all come to a head in the next few months.”
First, from none other than Goldman Sachs, which essentially runs the global Central banking system – not to mention, Australia, whose newly elected Prime Minister is yet another Goldman alum. Yes, the same Goldman Sachs that has spent the past five years cheerleading the “recovery” that never arrived, claims that not only is oil likely headed for $20/bbl, but that the Fed should not only not “raise rates” on Thursday, but lay the groundwork for additional easing.
And next, one of the largest brokerages in the “Land of the Setting Sun” – Daiwa Securities – which this weekend espoused…
“Of all the possible risk scenarios the meltdown scenario is, realistically speaking, the most likely to occur. And if China’s economy, the second largest in the world, twice the size of Japan’s, were to lapse into a meltdown situation such as this one (MY NOTE, IT WILL), the effect would more than likely send the world economy into a tailspin. Its impact could be the worst the world has ever seen.”
Ladies and gentleman, the historic economic collapse suggested by Goldman and Daiwa above – i.e., the “Big One” – has unequivocally commenced. And this, following 697 Central bank rate reductions; $15 trillion of overt “QE” efforts; unprecedented debt and industrial capacity expansions; and who knows what other fiscal and monetary stimulus “behind the scenes.” Let’s face it, the eye of the post 2008 financial crisis hurricane has passed. And now that global financial markets sit poised in the precipice of collapse, as the “end of belief Central banks can save us” rapidly approaches – not to mention, the end of available-for-sale physical silver; the “eye of the 2015 hurricane” appears likely to be passing as well. Which is why, once again, we plead for you to PROTECT YOURSELF, and DO IT NOW.