There was a cat sleeping on my porch
She didn’t know what I had witnessed
The lacerated skyline of metropolis
A bleeding out of her twin sons
Flying lancets piercing steel hulls
Black smoke seasoning the azure sky
As the falling man descends to the concrete
Incendiary ideas born in Bronze
To please a prophet on a white horse
Hatred of the good for being the good
Crumbles a once-proud icon
Falling ash blankets District streets
A macabre concoction of concrete, bone, blood
Fury rises in the giant’s heart
Rage and revenge burn white
Country targeted, let there be fight
Two decades later, let there be flight
There is a cat sleeping on my porch
While the world remembers
— Jim Woods, September 7, 2022
On Sunday, we mark the 21st anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001.
And yet the passing of more than two decades hasn’t been enough to fade our scars. And for me, those scars will never be allowed to fade.
Etched on my personal black box recorder are the memories I had circa 1999, when I checked in at the World Trade Center lobby to report to work for my first day at Morgan Stanley. The firm’s training program for new advisers/traders took place in those Twin Towers, and in the weeks that followed, I spent many an afternoon high atop the Manhattan skyline, learning the business inside the iconic monument erected to celebrate capitalism, Western achievement and the wealth of nations.
Their boldness, their glaring simplicity, their twin-brother like stance and their defiance of the rest of the New York City skyline were all part of the reason the World Trade Center was targeted for destruction by forces whose primary directive is death to the infidel.
On that day, when the blue skies were pierced by the stiletto insertion of commercial jets into the towers, I watched the events unravel from some 2,500 miles west. A condo nestled at the foot of the Hollywood Hills hardly seemed congruent to the billowing smoke oozing out of the structural siblings.
The only connection in my mind was… my mind.
A mind having been there just a couple of years earlier, wondering what it would be like to actually be there in that moment.
Wondering if I would have been incinerated along with the roughly 2,600 other souls that were extinguished that day.
Wondering if I would have acted heroically, the way so many did.
Wondering if I would have succumbed to the cowardice that so often accompanies paralytic fear.
I would like to think I could have been a hero. I need to think I would have been a hero.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to find out.
Instead, from afar, from the safety of Hollywood, I watched. All day, all night, I watched. Compelled by the horror; compelled by the enormity. Thinking to myself, “Will this be the world from here on?”
Would the world be plunged into war? At that moment, I wanted war. I wanted vengeance. I wanted to pound those responsible, and the philosophy that animated these acts into a pulp.
I still want to.
I want to stoke the burn of that day. I want to remember the collapse of icons.
I want to keep calling out the life-hating, celebratory death cult of ideas that is radical Islam, and I want to rejoice in its defeat.
The scars of history must never be allowed to heal, and no salve of time should be permitted to mask the day America would be altered forever.
Note: For the full immersion experience, I invite you to listen to a special audio essay of “The Cat and the Horror.”
ETF Talk: Invest in Emerging Markets and High Yields with This Fund
iShares Self-Driving EV and Tech ETF (NYSEARCA:IDRV) tracks a market-cap-selected and -weighted index of equities related to self-driving vehicles.
IDRV focuses on companies that produce autonomous driving vehicles, electric vehicles, batteries for electric vehicles, or technologies related to such products. The list of industrials covered include autonomous and electric vehicle manufacturers, autonomous driving technologies companies, electric vehicle battery producers, electric vehicle battery materials producers, and electric vehicle charging and components producers.
The fund allows for stocks from both developed and emerging economies, as well as companies of all market cap sizes. The index will be reviewed and reconstituted annually and rebalanced semi-annually.
The index is composed of equity securities of companies listed in one of 43 developed or emerging market countries that derive a certain specified percentage of their revenue from selected autonomous or electric vehicle-related industries. The fund generally will invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the index and in investments that have economic characteristics that are substantially identical to the component securities of the index. It is non-diversified.
IDRV has $444 million in assets under management and a 0.14% average spread. Its expense ratio is 0.47%, meaning it is relatively inexpensive to hold in relation to other exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
With the fossil fuel industry fading in tandem with the emerging renewable energy market, this play could be a great addition to your portfolio.
However, as with any opportunity, potential investors should conduct their own due diligence in deciding whether or not this fund fits their own individual investing needs and portfolio goals.
As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an email. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.
In case you missed it…
Ask Me Anything
I’ve noticed a growing trend in the alternative media and podcast world where authors are doing a segment called, “Ask Me Anything.” This is where the author responds to reader inquiries about virtually any subject on readers’ minds. I love these segments, as I find myself wanting to know the opinion of thinkers I admire and/or who provoke a different perspective in me.
This week, I’m announcing a new, periodic feature in The Deep Woods called, simply, “Ask Me Anything.” This is where you can write in and ask me literally any question you want about any subject you want. Logically, I get a lot of inquiries about the markets and the economy, as that is largely our professional focus here. And this week I’ll be responding to a couple of market questions I’ve received lately.
But when I say “anything,” I mean just that. From what I think about the latest trends in music, literature, pop culture, sports, politics, fashion, ufology, art, horsemanship, pet care, cars, diet and exercise, martial science, cosmology, philosophy, Porsches, Jeeps, relationships — if it’s a subject I’m curious about, and know something about, I will be happy to engage in conversation about it.
Now, with that said, let’s begin our first “Ask Me Anything.”
Mark C. writes: “Jim, I heard you were personally acquainted with the novelist Salman Rushdie. Is that true? Also, do you have any insight on his medical condition after the heinous stabbing attack? And why haven’t we seen that much in the media about this and why hasn’t there been a greater outcry over this attack?”
Jim: Mark, the answer is yes, I am privileged to be personally acquainted with Salman. I met him on a couple of occasions through some mutual friends in the fashion and TV world, where his ex-wife was a well-known personality. Unfortunately, I don’t have any personal pipeline into his current condition aside from what is known publicly, but the latest reports are he is off a ventilator and “articulate,” according to one recent report.
As for why we aren’t hearing a lot about this situation and why there hasn’t been a greater outcry, well, here the answer is, sadly, predictable. It is the cowardice of many media outlets, and the generally apologetic nature of their stance toward violence spawned from radical Islam. To this day, the “fatwa” calling for Salman’s murder is still in place, and until the world gets serious about calling out this evil for what it is, i.e., theocratic bullying that threatens free minds everywhere, I suspect these horrific ideas will continue to plague the world.
Jonathan R.: “What is your opinion of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies now that they’ve been slammed this year?”
Jim: I remain a fan of Bitcoin and the concept of cryptocurrencies in general despite the “crypto winter” of 2022. I think that Bitcoin should be a small portion of your long-term portfolio along with traditional assets such as gold, fixed income, and of course, equities.
I recently had investor and “Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary on my podcast, and he mentioned that the real catalyst for the next big boom in cryptocurrencies is going to be, somewhat paradoxically, the rise of regulation. O’Leary explained to me that once cryptocurrencies officially become a regulated asset class, then big money players such as pension funds and sovereign wealth funds will be permitted to embrace the asset class. Once they do, even if it’s just for a small percentage of the massive assets they hold, it will fuel the next big leg higher in the value of this emerging assets. So, if you own Bitcoin here, I say continue doing so.
Crystal C. writes: “Cat or dog? Which kind of person are you, and why?”
Jim: “Those who know me know that I am a proud owner of a fierce and princely chow chow dog. Yet I also am the owner of a persnickety Persian feline, who I consider the real queen of the castle. And while I love dogs, I must admit I am more of a cat person. To learn why, I refer you to a line from a fun comedy movie that I recommend called, “Meet the Parents,” starring Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller.
I love dogs, but I’m more of a cat person.
In an exchange between the two, DeNiro’s character “Jack” asks Stiller’s character “Greg” why he doesn’t like cats. When Greg says he doesn’t not like cats, but rather just prefers dogs, Jack responds by saying. “So, you prefer an emotionally shallow animal? You see, Greg, when you yell at a dog his tail will go between his legs and cover his genitals and his ears will go down, a dog is very easy to break. But cats make you work for their affection, they don’t sell out the way dogs do.” Yes, it’s humor, but often the truest ideas are conveyed best via comedy.
James W. writes: “Do you think Donald Trump should run again for president, and if so, would you support him?”
Jim: I DO NOT think Trump should run again, and I do not think he is the best chance Republicans have of winning back the White House. Here, I agree with my colleague, the great Dr. Mark Skousen, who recently wrote, “Trump faces huge legal and political obstacles. Not only will he need to overcome possible criminal charges, but he will have to convince a large group of Democrats to switch sides and overcome a very large group of ‘Never Trump’ voters. The fact is that the Republicans are living up to their reputation as the ‘stupid party.’ Their candidate may win the party nomination but then lose in the general election.”
A much better Republican alternative, in the opinion of both Mark and I, is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. As Mark writes, “He (DeSantis) is a graduate of Yale and Harvard law; a Navy veteran who spent time in Iraq; a former U.S. Congressman (2013-2018), a good family man with three children, and governor of the third most populous state in the union — and who is so popular he will likely be re-elected by a landslide? Like Trump, he is forceful in defending his principles and taking on the establishment media, but unlike Trump, he does not personally attack fellow Republicans.”
Mark even offered readers a poll to see what they thought of the idea that DeSantis would be the best Republican candidate for 2024. As of this morning, more than 71% of respondents agreed with Mark and I in thinking DeSantis would be the best candidate. If you would like to participate in this poll, simply click here.
Charles R. writes: “Do you think stocks will make a comeback and finish the year higher, or will the selling pressure continue to keep markets down?”
Jim: “While I think there are plenty of known headwinds that can keep markets trading lower for longer (Federal Reserve rate hikes, quantitative tightening, inflation, geopolitical unrest, oil prices, earnings contraction, GDP contraction, etc.), I am of the opinion that the bulls are itching to run. We witnessed that from mid-June to last Friday, and the reason why was because Wall Street was basically pricing in a “Fed pivot” toward a less-hawkish monetary policy.
Well, Fed chair Jerome Powell disabused us of that “Fed pivot” notion, indicating instead that we are in for some “pain” ahead. Now, when a Fed chair warns of pain, it behooves us to listen. Yet the resilience of the bulls is something that cannot be counted out, and if the Fed just does what everyone thinks it will do between now and the end of the year (i.e. it raises rates as expected and refrains from any more hawkish surprises), then I suspect the bulls can wrestle back control of things over the next several months.
As for “finishing the year higher,” well, that would be a bold call that I am not prepared to make as we enter September. I do, however, say that stocks will be higher in the second half of the year, and I say that because historically speaking, whenever there is big selling in the first half of the year, there has been big buying in the second half of the year. And while history doesn’t always repeat itself, it does have a charming tendency to rhyme.
If you have a question and/or comment for me, and would like it to be featured in my next “Ask Me Anything” issue, I invite you to do so here.
Hey, life is basically just one long conversation with reality, and the more insight we can gain from that conversation, the better humans we will be. So, be the best human you can and let’s converse.
Speaking of which, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at the W3BX conference Oct. 10-13 in Las Vegas. Join some of the biggest names in the industry, including my colleagues Bryan Perry and Jon Johnson, along with our Publisher Roger Michalski, to learn more about investing in blockchain, cryptos, NFTs, the Metaverse, mining and all things Web3.
The Web3 sector is expected to grow from $3.2 billion to $81.5 billion by 2030. The more you know about it, the more potential money you can make from this explosion.
Click here now to learn more about the conference and be sure to enter the code “EAGLE” when you register to save 20%. I’ll see you in Vegas!
On Holding Anger
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
Though I never want to forget the events of September 11, 2001, I am also reminded that holding on to anger too long is self-destructive. And though one must act in response to enemies, one also must preserve one’s own inner peace. It’s a delicate balance and difficult to achieve — but I’m working on it.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.