"Free and critical minds can emerge only by a return to the source-the primary sources. A free and critical mind takes nothing for granted and is not intimidated by "authorities" who frequently may be more confused than the general public. Free and critical minds seek truth without chauvinism or shame." - Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III (1)



“One single bit of information, if missing, incomplete, out of order or just plain wrong, has the potential to significantly alter thought processes, conclusions, decisions and behaviors, even when that one single logic entry exists in a sea of accuracy.”


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dark Pools: Open Letter To Congress, SEC & FINRA From Everyday Citizens & Retail Investors

We'd love to invest wisely but don't have a chance to find our way out of the 99% if we are kept in the dark – dark pools.

Dark pools are private stock exchanges. Retail investor orders are automatically sent through these exchanges. Though these exchanges are private, there is no benefit to retail investors. The only way out is to directly route an order to the broader market but there are many exceptions limiting the ability to even do this.

Common Sense

Brokers/dealers and all other market makers would not be engaged in this practice if it was not profitable. It's obvious also maximizing profits for clients is not a concern. Furthermore, if a market maker can see all the orders its firm gets and execute trades within this group before giving the broader market access, this is an advantage to the firm only.

Dark pools prevent orders from being seen on Level II quotes which defeats the purpose of Level II – to see the range of Ask/Bid orders.

Obviously, if two or more firms do this among themselves, they are creating a pre-emptive market that only they have access to. This allows them to skim and glean profits like cherry pickers which is as easy as taking candy from babies (retail investors). The retail investor experience essentially always feels like being fresh meat. We are a means to fee income for everyone else.

How can there be market transparency in a dark pool which creates blind spots?

Everyday citizens trying to make wise investment decisions cannot do so when there is not complete price discovery and volume discovery. Dark pools fragment information worse than it already is.

Dark pools offer the best of both worlds for those who are privy to the information and privy to deciding what to do with orders. Dark pools only serve the interest of the brokers, dealers, market makers, institutions and accredited investors. These people already have high frequency trading, better information, an army of researchers, an inside track and inside information. Plus, the market makers know what the intentions are of their clients but the clients do not have the same information regarding other clients.

If you add this to High Frequency Trading, retail investors are pushing snowballs uphill while market makers and institutional investors are using heavy equipment and underground tunnels to always come out on top.

Plus, market makers are permitted to post one-sided quotes and unpriced indications of interest. This putting out of “feelers” is sneaky, underhanded side-dealing that further harms retail investors.

What Must Be Done

Make dark pools and high frequency trading illegal. Also defragment the market or provide for a central clearing location for orders that can be seen by all, big, small, Wall Street and Main Street.

At a minimum, make direct order routing the default for all order types because this is the expectation of the public. If not, then make direct order routing possible for any and all types of trades.

If something is not done today, right away, once retail investors jump back into the market with both feet in 2013, it will be a feeding frenzy in dark pools and a lot of carnage, worse than the 2000 Dot.com wailing and gnashing and worse than the equity drain from retail investors stemming from the 2008 market free fall. The added tragedy is that retail investors don't have a clue. We believe online trading means equal access.

Distribution List:
Senator Jack Reed, Senate Banking Committee
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Trading and Markets at tradingandmarkets@sec.gov
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Office of the Ombudsman

References:
Do Dark Pools Harm Price Discovery?
Lighting Up Dark Pools and Dissing Dodd-Frank
Senate Panel Eyes Dark Pools
Vow Of New Light For “Dark” Trades

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Extremists For Love – President Obama's Second Inaugural Address, Dr. MLK, Jr., Sister Souljah & Jesus

In Why We Can't Wait, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. writes, "So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."[1] This is startling if we only think of extremists in the negative sense; however, if we look in the opposite direction, we will discover the full meaning of his words.

Some definitions for “extreme” are: (a) of a character farthest removed from the ordinary; (b) exceeding the bounds of moderation; and (c) farthest, utmost, or very far in any direction.

These definitions appear negative because they've been mostly used in negative contexts. This imbalance has caused us to forget there are good extremists. Dr. King embraced being an extremist himself and presented Jesus as another example.[2]

Anyone reading Jesus' teachings will quickly encounter extremes as high as Heaven is holy and as low as Hell is evil. Jesus commands love for neighbors as we love ourselves.[3] This necessity continues. Sister Souljah identified it as the critical component in achieving a united state with our brothers and sisters. Her detailed description of love involves wanting for someone what we want for ourselves; and wanting it so much, we will give the other person what we have and do without because we'd rather suffer than see that person suffer.[4]

This noble thinking continues to receive the same fate Jesus' teachings received. It is immediately stamped as negative extremism. On the opening page of No Disrespect, Sister Souljah confirms this sweeping treatment. "So everything I believe is said to be extreme."[5]

This is exactly the response President Obama's second inaugural address is receiving from Sadducee-like thinkers. They claim the President's insistence on pursuing equality is aggressive, divisive and too liberal, i.e., too fair. The Republicans claim the President's agenda is not designed to bring the nation together even though inclusiveness and equality are cornerstones of the U. S. Constitution which was established “in order to form a more perfect union.” If returning to the ideas of the Constitution won't bring us together then we must start with harmony and Plan A instead.

It is being said President Obama is overreaching trying to address so many goals. In other words he is shooting for twinkling stars when he should be shooting for dissipating fog. In the meantime Constitutionalized goals don't match institutionalized results. For this God Blessed America, many voters want the President to lower his standards below those of the Constitution so they don't have to adjust to decency.

Positive extremism is not just for public figures. If we consider ourselves civilized we must be extremists for love. Extremes such as discrimination, excuse, lie, confusion, hoarding, starvation, limitation and the unnatural must be met with the full force of justice, responsibility, truth, harmony, sharing, nutrition, possibility and the natural. The pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of positive extremes. Until we pursue them individually and collectively, we can't come anywhere near meaningful change. We can't evolve. We will stay stuck being social without the social benefits.

We were born to be extremists. It is our duty and job. In order to answer Dr. King's question we must use introspection to help us decide between being an extremist for hate or an extremist for love.[6]

Being extreme fulfills dreams. Will we be worthy of the eulogy Dr. King wanted? Will someone say we tried to love and serve humanity? So far, this cannot be said for the nation.

Notes:
[1]Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Can't Wait, (Mentor), p. 88. [2]King, p. 88. [3]Matthew 22:39. [4]Sister Souljah, Oral Discourse on Relationships (University of Illinois, February 17, 1996) [5]Sister Souljah, No Disrespect,(New York: Vintage Books, 1996), p. ix. [6]King, p. 88.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Unconditional Love & Friendship - Telling The Truth And Avoiding The Error of Omission

Most of us will encounter that moment when we become aware of something our friend doesn't know but should know. Sometimes this information is not pleasant. Suddenly, telling the truth becomes complicated. We hem and haw past unconditional love and usually end up making the error of omission by deciding not to tell our friend the truth. Instead we decide it's a good idea to tell someone else whose business it isn't which always only makes things worse.

Once we decide not to tell the truth we offer poor excuses as good reasons. We believe the other person doesn't want to hear the information or will be upset with us. We superimpose our thoughts and emotions onto the friend. The problem with this broken logic is none of it changes the truth or forms the basis for friendship.

In these instances, emotion influences reason and reason ignores wisdom. The only thing worse than mind-centered living is emotion-centered living. When we choose not to tell, we do friends, ourselves and the truth a disservice. We participate in deception because we must pretend not to know what we know.

The decision to tell a friend the truth is no different than telling a friend how we feel about anything or what we want or what we don't want. Each of these decisions involve the truth, feelings and possible reactions.

Friendship without honest open communication doesn't exist. Sooner or later the truth emerges and the friend always asks or wonders who knew, for how long, why didn't somebody say something or at least send an anonymous letter? At this point, we finally realize, uncertain unpleasantness involved with telling the truth is much easier to deal with than the certain unpleasantness and betrayal associated with not telling the truth.

The real decision comes down to doing the right thing or doing the fright thing. Telling and truth are certainties, feeling and reaction are not. Unless a friend has told us they prefer not to know the truth, then we must tell it without delay, avoid the error of omission and thus avoid making things worse.

When something needs to be said it comes down to the friend's right to know and being a friend. It's in the contract. How a friend feels about the truth is never in our control and not our responsibility; however, it is in our control and responsibility to say what needs to be said. Finding courage never loses friendship. Telling a friend the truth and avoiding the error of omission form the foundation of unconditional love.

Related:
"Cool People,” a poem from Eloquence: Rhythm & Renaissance.
Socialism Is Really Being Social
Shame On You
Holy Words Of Love

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hidden Costs Poem - Finding Money & Other Valuables By Applying Resources Differently

Hidden Costs

by Usiku

I don't spend time, I use it
The more I make this choice
I save and find money
Rather than waste and lose it
When I spend time, it's gone
When I use it
The value I get lasts long
If I review my list
Will I find another hidden cost?
Something expensive I've missed
While busy applying myself
But not all my resources?

Related:
An Achievable Advantage
Spirituality Meets Money Mentality
Day 5: Choosing To Succeed Or Fail
Day 7: Love & Happiness, Ready Or Not?
The Need To Be With Someone

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Our Fatal Flaw – The Absence Of Harmony. The Root Cause of Many Problems

Our fatal flaw is thinking survival depends on technology when, in fact, it depends on harmony. Mind-centered living is unable to achieve this awareness and thus sets itself up for an exponential list of morphing problems that seem different but have the same root cause – the absence of harmony.

Even a make-believe “fiscal cliff” in the U. S. stems from the absence of harmony. Not just harmony in the group sense of “let's just work together,” but harmony in the individual sense. Before Congress can work together in keeping with their fiduciary duty to every citizen, harmony must first exist in Congress in a majority necessary to efficiently move legislation into and out of law. This requires harmony to exist in the majority of voters. This requires harmony to be the societal default.

Harmony must be the national dream. Harmony must determine the type of government and economic system. Harmony must continue to inform them both. When this happens, the infringing of personal freedoms and civil liberties become almost nonexistent.

This requires harmony to be taught, which requires harmony to be the most frequent reason for which anything is fought. When it isn't, any problem thought solved will not be. It simply becomes one or more forms of the same problem.
A problem solved without harmony becomes many.

Control & Greed Problems

Many problems stem from a loss of individual power. When the connection to individual power is lost, the powerless become starved for power and power hungry. Because they perceive their condition as hopeless, they look outside themselves to compensate. One way to seek power and feel re-energized is through things such as food, drink, intoxicants, entertainment and possessions. Another way is to drain energy from others through manipulation, greed, conflict and places of authority. Government entities are prime places used by the power hungry to exert control and make decisions that affect lives. These entities are used to multiply greed and commit extensive crimes.

Food Problem

We moved from the country into cities and too far from direct to indirect food production. Instead of growing our own food, we depend on farmers, processors, manufacturers, truckers and stores. These extra wasteful steps have contributed to increased pollution, resource depletion and health issues. Instead of working the land so food goes from land to mouth, we prefer trading our personal resources to get money so we can buy food.

Because we are unaware of what it takes to grow food, we waste a lot and destroy a lot of the ecosystem. We have numerous efforts to feed the hungry, school children and the elderly. We are malnourished, sick and cancerous. We face shortages of nutrients to grow food because there is very little recycling of nutrients back to the source of production. These resources are piled up, causing a landfill problem. All of these problems are due to the absence of harmony.

Cancer Problem

Each cell in our bodies is a living being that needs nutrition and needs to avoid toxins. This is optimal. When a cell must try to live and perform its functions in antagonistic, stressful conditions, malfunction is bound to occur. When it does occur and the cell multiplies, cancer is the result. Therefore, cancer is a malnutrition and toxin problem that develops in a cellular environment absent of harmony.

Using The Wrong Key Is The Problem

Obviously today's education system was designed by an absent-minded professor who forgot the key to being whole is whole learning which integrates academic theory, real life, religion, government, education, all sciences, knowledge of self and the natural world. Students have not been taught to seek oneness of spirit, mind and body with their duty-filled dependence on the ecosystem.

Here's a basic case in point. Supposedly humans today know more than has ever been known yet high school graduates, college graduates and longtime adults don't know what to eat to be healthy. Not knowing what to eat is caused by not knowing ourselves and this is due to the absence of harmony.

Land & Water Problem

Many problems stem from land ownership and water rights. Land and water provide the ability to meet basic needs. This is one part of the requirement for total freedom. This is why the enslaved in America were never set free by anyone because land was never given back. Without land owned free and clear, the enslaved became different slaves (sharecroppers and employees). The limited intent of the Emancipation Proclamation created partial freedom for some but not complete freedom for anyone. Since there was no intent for real freedom, the enslaved were left exposed to a variety of problems such as Black Codes, Jim Crow, voting restrictions, murders, segregation, lack of foundational wealth and despicable inhumane behavior of those in government and the general public who believe their survival depends on inhumanity.

Freedom never exists without permanent access to land and water as a means of survival, especially when, man-made systems superimposed on the ecosystem, falter.

Land problems exist for many who do have land. We prefer to cover land with food (grass) for grazing animals. Since there are no grazing animals around, resources are required to cut and remove this food because we not interested in using the land to feed ourselves or allow our land to become natural habitats filled with food, shelter and nesting material. We prefer to go visit natural habitats. Under this scenario, we curse having to cut the grass while hoping the grass grows in fully. We then throw away the nutrient clippings and the nutrient leaves. This is more wasted food. Then we buy bird seed, fertilizer and grass seed instead of allowing the grass to feed itself, seed itself and naturally meet the needs of many other life forms. We are left with problems such as soil aeration and imbalances of other animals and insects. We continue our headstrong ways even though more mature plant coverage on our land would extract more carbon dioxide from the air and thus lessen the impact of climate change.

One Final Fix

Without harmony, we cannot connect past, present and future. We can neither learn from the past, appreciate the present nor pay forward for the future. We cannot bring our inheritance and our legacy into our current living space. This is counter to evolving because it does not allow building on the past or uplifting the future. Because our comprehension is not comprehensive, we are operating counter to evolution.

For example, we will always expend enormous resources trying to deal with the basics of food, shelter, medical care, freedoms, rights, fairness and justice because we have no respect for inherent rights. Specifically, we have very little shared space, very little shared resources and no acknowledgment of common origin. Yet, it's expected everyone should share the work, but it's rejected everyone should share the wealth. We disrespect natural laws established by Higher Powers and refuse to extend our personal liberties to others. Removing human interference with inherent rights will reduce crime in many areas.

Since everything was once in natural order, most problems are the result of abandoning this solution. Because problems are increasing, especially basic ones, we must reassess our basic approach. It only takes a little bit of critical thinking to realize we're listening to the wrong folks. Advances do not involve tradeoffs, side effects or create new problems.

During this Dark Age, we have mostly relied on the singular approach of technology (which includes science) to deal with problems. Example and experience are clear; technology, by itself, will not solve anything. It requires proper use. If technology is used without regards to harmony, it will create more problems. Nowadays, despite periodic technological change, we still have a plethora of basic problems all related to one thing – neglecting to define the root cause as the absence of harmony. Since the problem is the absence of harmony, the solution is the presence of harmony. Harmony is the final fix to our fatal flaw.

Related: Day 9: Harmony Is Energy Conservation
G-8/G-20, Groupthink, Morality Crisis