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The Wall Street Greek blog is the sexy & syndicated financial securities markets publication of former Senior Equity Analyst Markos N. Kaminis. Our stock market blog reaches reputable publishers & private networks and is an unbiased, independent Wall Street research resource on the economy, stocks, gold & currency, energy & oil, real estate and more. Wall Street & Greece should be as honest, dependable and passionate as The Greek.

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Thursday, July 04, 2013

The 4th of July – My American Heritage

Independence Day
We want to take this moment to wish our dear friends, readers and fellow Americans a happy Independence Day. A little known fact about “The Greek” is that he is a patriotic American citizen, born in the United States with a childhood dream to become President of the United States, among seven other things. Yes, I have been a limitless dreamer since the start of it all.

What some of you may not know about me is that I am a patriot, and that I believe fully in my heart in what the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution assert for our nation. I would defend those God given rights with passion if need be. Before our government ever offered it, my father offered the U.S. government (a sheriff in Houston Texas to be specific) to serve our armed forces in Korea in exchange for American citizenship. Unfortunately, or fortunately, he was turned down and did not become a citizen until decades later.

Two of my uncles have served in the armed forces, with my Uncle John having been a Ranger (paratrooper) in Korea, who thankfully was returned home safely to us just before that infamous battle known to you as “Hamburger Hill.” He does not speak of his time in service, and we do not ask him about it, but we are so very proud of him.

My Uncle Tom served as a marine, and boy is he the epitome of the American marine. He’s the toughest mother I’ve ever known, and I’ve known some tough guys. You know, I delivered pizza as a kid, and in some bad neighborhoods where I needed to carry a blackjack to ensure my safety. Well, once when threatened by some thugs who were eating on my car, after I got them off it, I knew exactly who to call. I told my uncle they threatened to “get me” after work, and he showed up in the parking lot with a gun and a bat. He was an expert marksman and a Master Sergeant, having served in Japan.

Our American heritage extends back to my grandfathers on both sides of the family, with my Grandfather Markos having ventured to America before World War II. It was both fortunate and unfortunate, as he ended up stuck here while the rest of the family had to endure Nazi occupation of our island. My father, in his childhood, with his starving siblings and mother left the island via a miraculous journey in the middle of the night on an overfilled boat at constant risk of sinking due to its excessive weight (one inch separated the sea and the ship’s rim). They endured the final year of the war in Egypt as refugees, where my father’s Grandfather Antonis died and remains buried. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a foreman at Bethlehem steel in Pittsburgh, PA. He led a group of Greek American painters and was the boss in every aspect of his life. Somewhere, I have a classic photo of him and his men around his Baby Overland Ford (NYSE: F); I’ll be sure to share that someday. For now, I’ll share my best wishes to my fellow Americans on this day marking our independence.

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

NYPD Police Brutality Against NYC Council Member at Occupy Wall Street

police brutality OWS Occupy Wall StreetSomething great happened on the way to Occupy Wall Street. He was a Hispanic citizen of New York City, and he wanted to see what was going on down there. He had received a call from a protestor, desperately pulling him to observe the brute force with which the city was “cleaning house.” His wife, who was counting on him to make his daughter’s college application interview, begged him, “Please, just don’t get arrested.” He reassured her that of course he would not get arrested. After all, who would arrest him?

advocacy for poorOur founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.


NYPD Police Brutality Against NYC Council Member at Occupy Wall Street (OWS)

He arrived and purposefully avoided the crowd to keep out of harm’s way, his wife’s words echoing in his mind. He walked across the street on Broadway, where he said there were no protesters. He approached police officers and told them who he was and asked to have closer access to the situation. They denied him initially, but he wanted to make sure they knew who he was, because that should matter. They would not even open their ears as they pushed him with brute force, using batons, and treating him like a common criminal. That’s when one officer acted on a sort of passion; he was apparently pretty psyched up for the day, his chance to bust some heads I suppose.

New York City Council Representative Ydanis RodriguezCity Council Representative Ydanis Rodriguez was forced to the ground, with his head repeatedly smashed against it. After giving him some of the business that little men with small voices take daily, the cocky cops arrested him too. They would have nothing to do with his pleas. With the same disrespect that they first faced him, they forced him into a police van and let him sit there bleeding for two hours. It was 13 hours before he was allowed to speak with an attorney, and 18 hours before his ordeal ended and we could learn about it. Here’s Representative Rodriguez’s personal account of the ordeal:

"They kept pushing," Rodriguez said. 'The force was so strong when they were pushing me. Then suddenly a police officer jumped from the middle of the street. He threw his body in front of me and started hitting my head on the street. ... I was assaulted by NY police officers." The police account of the confrontation was quite different than the respected representative’s view. The police complaint filed against him, which includes a count of resisting arrest, alleges: Rodriguez walked up to metal barriers on the southeast corner of Maiden Lane and Broadway and declared he was going to go through. When an officer told him he could not proceed, he said he would anyway, and made contact with a female police officer--knocking her of balance. Like any poor sucker from 125th street and up, who gets caught up at the wrong place at the wrong time knows, and as Rodriguez’s attorney stated, “the complaint is a product of fiction.”

Representative Rodriguez wasn’t alone that day, as countless others were arrested matter of factly like him and with disregard for American law and human rights. Also, the incident itself is not an isolated one to the day only. It happens daily in New York City and probably in other cities across the country as well. It is in fact a problem that I want to use this example to expose very clearly. I want you to remember it, because some day, this same injustice could happen to you when you are deemed by your protectors and maybe even legislators as a threat for simply voicing your opinion, which is your American right. Don’t you forget that!

And if it happens to you, and you are not a public figure, you will find it much more difficult to overcome than Representative Rodriguez. It will do more than just spoil your day. It can effectively ruin you, especially if you are poor and can’t afford good legal defense. You may have to accept a plea deal, admitting to doing something that is a complete lie just to more economically escape the ordeal. How would this record affect the rest of your life, one in which employers have a large pool to choose from that includes people without such an incident.

This is what many Americans face daily and it is a form of persecution, and it is unfair! A pool of mostly minorities is buried by this system, this free license the police have to lie and to arrest on a whim; it is an injustice they apply in the name of justice. You see, police officers are only men, as faulty as any other man, believe it or not.

In their defense, each morning they go to work knowing it could be their last day. Each “call” they make could bring upon them an assailant determined to take their life. And so they enter situations with that in mind. It affects them and how they work. However, they have also allowed an improper mentality to dictate how they approach every situation. There are instances, like the one we’re discussing today and even less intense situations, in which a certain evil overcomes them and they dictate what is right and what is wrong, and abuse their power.

This has to change, and it will only change when public figures stop defending the police, which they do with reckless abandon against human rights. In this case, the Deputy Mayor took to the defense of the police officers, even against the clear report of the distinguished representative. If he could dare to do so in this instance even, then what does a police officer have to fear. The system has his back, and he can do no wrong. He is the God of the street. Instead, the system of checks and balances needs to be enforced. It is a privilege to be a police officer, and there is a long line of unemployed people willing to take the job. We’re not doing anybody any favors by giving free reign to brutality.

In Greece, when a police officer shot an unarmed teenager at point blank range a few years ago, every teenager and almost everybody else stormed to the streets and set fire to them. They burned down police stations even, and they forced the government to review the police officers involved and the entire system. Is that what it’s going to take here? I think none of us wants that, but some sort of pressure must be applied to the government to ensure the proper and fair enforcement of power.

Thus, this great injustice served to a representative of the government is a sort of blessing. He has witnessed firsthand what happens to the little men of New York City daily. We hope that Representative Rodriguez, enriched with this wisdom, will help to restore order to the NYPD, because he is in a position (and it seems chosen) to make a difference for all of us.

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Article interests The New York Times (NYSE: NYT), Gannett Co. (NYSE: GCI), A.H. Belo (NYSE: AHC), Daily Journal (NYSE: DJCO), Journal Communications (NYSE: JRN), Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE), Media General (NYSE: MEG), E.W. Scripps (NYSE: SSP), McClatchy Co. (NYSE: MNI), The Washington Post (NYSE: WPO), Dex One (Nasdaq: DEXO), Martha Stewart Living (NYSE: MSO), Meredith (NYSE: MDP), Private Media (Nasdaq: PRVT), Reed Elsevier (NYSE: ENL), Reed Elsevier Plc (NYSE: RUK), Dolan Co. (NYSE: DN), Disney (NYSE: DIS), DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA), Cinemark Holdings (NYSE: CNK), Regal Entertainment (NYSE: RGC), RealD (NYSE: RLD), Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE: LGF), Rentrak (Nasdaq: RENT), Carmike Cinemas (Nasdaq: CKEC), LYFE Communications (OTC: LYFE.OB), New Frontier Media (Nasdaq: NOOF), Public Media Works (OTC: PUBM.OB), Independent Film Development (OTC: IFLM.OB), Point 360 (Nasdaq: PTSX), Seven Arts Pictures (Nasdaq: SAPX), Affinity Medianetworks (OTC: AFFW.OB), Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA), Vivendi (Paris: VIV.PA), Liberty Starz Group (Nasdaq: LSTZA), McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP), Pearson Plc (NYSE: PSO), John Wiley & Sons (NYSE: JW-A, NYSE: JW-B), Scholastic (Nasdaq: SCHL), Courier (Nasdaq: CRRC), Noah Education (NYSE: NED), Peoples Educational Holdings (Nasdaq: PEDH), Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS), Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Books-A-Million (Nasdaq: BAMM).

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

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Monday, May 02, 2011

9-11 Eyewitness - Osama Bin Laden Death has Shaken True Evil

Osama Bin Laden dead killed

Only Through Turbulent Waters Can We Transgress Evil to Find a Peaceful Consequence

The day after the death of Osama Bin Laden, a 9-11 eyewitness finds pain intertwined with peace.

9-11 Eyewitness - Osama Bin Laden's Death Has Shaken True Evil

911 eyewitness testimonyLate Sunday evening, the White House prepared the press and public for a surprise presidential press conference. It was an announcement long overdue, and so late in coming that we could not have even imagined it. Just a day after an attack on Libya nearly killed Gaddafi, we thought perhaps this briefing was related. Then sweetly, the news leaked that U.S. Special Forces reached and killed Osama Bin Laden, the sinister and devious leader of al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization that destroyed the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers and three thousand innocent Americans, including my colleagues on Wall Street. For those of us who shuttled through the Financial District in Downtown Manhattan daily, that dark shadow shattered our hearts. But at last, after several shots in the dark, a righteous bullet begun on its journey long ago by another president has finally eliminated this true evil from the earth.

But while Americans exhale and exclaim that justice is served, many of us are remembering solemnly yet again our lost brethren who only went to work one morning and never returned, who died because they were scheduled to be in the Trade Center on Tuesday, rather than Thursday, as I was scheduled. For those of us who felt the fumes burning our lungs and our eyes, those eyes that watched with disbelief as our brothers leapt from burning death to assured demise; whose throats itched from the fine debris we breathed in that day and thereafter; who had our solemn silence in the fall days that followed regularly interrupted by the slamming down of steel remnants of legendary structures on their transport to a damned place called Fresh Kills, sanctified by the blood of innocence - for us this is not a happy day. It is as if we have been transported back to September 12th all over again, so while we have some further closure, we also have renewed pain.

Now, while Americans embrace justice, the enemy becomes more likely to flail out at us. In places where America is viewed with jealousy; where the red, white and blue flag is burned; and where the effigy of every American leader is regularly defaced; where American journalists are beheaded simply because of their religion or nationality; in those places this justice is viewed instead as a reason for new vengeance. So, while May should have been more peaceful absent of this heinous excuse for a so-called religious leader, instead it becomes a month of high concern.

I remember now the famous words of someone I read often, "He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword." Killing only begets killing, so brace now my American brothers, because the enemy will come. But, it is written that no matter how horribly we suffer on earth, a righteous final victory is ensured. Thus, have no fear but of God and of His final judgment. Therefore, I say let them come. We will be ready, with our righteous God and our hopeful ideology. For only through turbulent waters will we disrupt an evil world, in order to embrace it in a peaceful consequence.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Moral Consequences of Political Rhetoric

moral consequences of political rhetoric
Questioning What's Right

As I watched Sheriff Dupnik discuss the moral con- sequences of political rhetoric after the Arizona shooting of US Representative Gifford, I found myself nodding and agreeing vehemently. There are certain things you read or hear that just ring true, and Dupnik was spot on. So I felt compelled to weigh in on a subject that has been bothering me for quite some time.

Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.


The Moral Consequences of Political Rhetoric

syndicated columnist bloggerThe latest to chime in on the impact of widely broadcast extreme political rhetoric was Sarah Palin, who called "finger pointing irresponsible," this week. That is quite funny to me, since it is a perversion of the discerning argument made by the clear thinking and wise speaking Clarence Dupnik, the now famous Sheriff of Arizona's Pima County. I agree with Palin that finger pointing is irresponsible, and that the exaggerated act of the same by Palin and too many of our leaders, pundits and reporters today is exactly the problem.

The discerning Dupnik gained the immediate attention of the nation when he said that the senseless shooting of Congressional House Member and human being (lest I remind you) Gabrielle Giffords, was the result of the angry mood of the nation. He further clarified for the frenzied fanatics watching Fox News and reading the Daily Kos, and I agree and enhance, that this manic mood has manifested mostly due to the biased and purposeful, and often senseless and illogical, political rhetoric that comes out of the mouths of politicians, reporters and pundits. It is more so the result of this refuse, better deposited in the toilet than on television, that the nation complains today more than it works to restore itself.

And when these messages reach the ears of the innocent, and redirect the naïve toward hatred and anger, do not think that those responsible have not sinned in broadcasting them. There is a finger Mrs. Palin should fear, which is a responsible one, and one to which she claims to adhere, but it is not of this earth and its foolishness. To do good is not simply accomplished by standing with a party of religious conservation, but to stand for good works and good deeds, and to do them yourself unselfishly, humbly and quietly. If anger and hatred are the fruits of your works though, then more evil is accomplished than good. I'm not only pointing the finger of blame at Sarah Palin or Republicans of any sort, but at every individual who feels obligated to speak loudly before wisely into microphones, for the sake of reaction, ratings and call backs.

And when these messages reach the ears of the unsophisticated of mind and the mentally ill, the discernment of their bias is lost, but their push is set forth. It was once said by someone wiser than I that leading the innocent to sin is far worse than sinning yourself. And don't tell me that we are not to blame for the recipient's interpretation of the message, when the message is intentionally incensed to spur reaction significant enough to bring about action. It's votes they want, but as public relations demons direct votes, they also unfortunately direct mischief, and in this case murder. So subtle is evil that we can miss it before our eyes, and if it can take the greatest of intentions to ruination, then it can certainly take the tailored tempest to tirade.

Shame on you America, for allowing this state of affairs to exist! What would Martin Luther King say about our world? Where would John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan stand on the state of politics today? They would be ashamed of us, and rightly so! Demand that our politicians stop serving evil masters while attempting to shape our minds to their liking, and insist they instead start on serving their constituents honorably by scribing solutions. In that case, and if hearts are soft, it will not matter economically, socially nor with regard to foreign affairs what political party dominates our government, since their undiluted good deeds will dictate our deliverance.

Leaders do best by example, and in these days their example has been to divide from and hate our brothers and neighbors because of party affiliation. In times I should be too young to remember, or perhaps which no man has yet seen, our leaders led us by virtue and by righteousness. That is the only admirable scenario befitting of a nation created on the greatest of ideals.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Wishes 2009

Thanksgiving wishes
We here at Wall Street Greek thank you for your ongoing interest in and support of our independent effort, and for the value-added insight you have contributed through commentary to our articles and reports. We appreciate and welcome your thoughts, and pledge to you to remain an open-minded institution willing to challenge the status quo when we find good reason.

Thanksgiving Wishes 2009

From the moment President Lincoln asked our nation to set aside a day for thanksgiving, Americans have taken the opportunity to mindfully consider his request. Over the years, our nation has celebrated the holiday through both economic boom and times like the current. Despite the difficulties of the day, of which there are now many for most of us, we should always remember to remain thankful for what we still have. Even if that only gift this year is continued life, I wish we could be thankful for it, because it is a great gift that is bigger than temporary struggle. Life, by its very nature, is full of opportunity and offers great reward, which comes at the cost of struggle.

This blog and blogger is not one that holds neutral position on controversial issues for the sake of political correctness, and is one based on the faith of its founder. Therefore, I would be remiss not to note my view of the importance of faith through struggle. The difficult days of life do not have to be endured alone, because we have a great advocate. The greatest reward is available to those who give love selflessly and without prejudice, especially when we have little to give.

In difficult times, I request from you, hopefully without intrusion-but nonetheless, to remember those who are even less fortunate. Though I have no authority nor ability to say so, I promise you that in so doing, you will be remembered. I beg you to ignore the faults of men and the deceptions of evil, and to give steadfastly of yourself and blindly to the open hand and to love your fellow man with all his faults.

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, and we are fortunate that the process of doing so allows us to notice more clearly those less fortunate. We thank you again, and pledge to sincerely and actively remember and work for those less fortunate through our own personal and Wall Street Greek organized efforts. Therefore, we are launching a new page entitled "Give to Charity," where we list charities we work with and for, or otherwise support, and which we hope you will help as well.

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. (Tickers: Nasdaq: ACMC.PK, Nasdaq: XCBFX, Nasdaq: ADJEX, AEF.AX, Nasdaq: NRAAX, Nasdaq: NRACX, Nasdaq: NBSLX, Nasdaq: NBSRX, Nasdaq: NRARX, Nasdaq: NBSTX, Nasdaq: VCSRX, Nasdaq: EGSBX, Nasdaq: EGSAX, Nasdaq: EGCYX, Nasdaq: EGCCX, Nasdaq: AHRAX, Nasdaq; AHSRX, NYSE: DIA, NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: NYX, NYSE: DOG, NYSE: SDS, NYSE: QLD)

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Give to Charity

give to charity
Wall Street Greek supports good causes, including the charities listed here below. If you are considering to give to charity, we hope you will consider these specific goodwill workers listed here. These are charities we have gotten to know intimately in some cases, and where we have also given time and effort.

We only list charities here that we view legitimate. However, any gift you make to a listed charity is of your own decision making and review. We will not be held responsible for any dealing between individuals and these charities. Still, we support these efforts below, and want to see the greater enabling of their good work.

In the future, our own blog's founder will seek to raise capital for a charity he has planned over the course of a lifetime. Please check back with us from time to time, as we hope to make that dream into reality as well, if God wills it. Whether you help these specific organizations or others, please give to charity, because without your charitable giving, their good work is not possible.

Give to Charity

  • Mercy House - An Orthodox Christian Community of the Moscow Patriarchate, Mercy House was opened in 1993 to serve the needs of the poor in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It continues to do so, but also serves now as a parish dependence to the monastery in Treadwell, NY. While the Lower East Side has greatly improved over the years in terms of poverty, it may never have needed spiritual nourishment more than today.

  • Emmaus House - A homeless outreach facility in Harlem, Manhattan, New York. Provides food, clothing, love and more to those in need within the community and throughout New York.

  • Jan Hus Presbyterian Church & Neighborhood House - Provides food, clothing, shelter and other services for those in need who knock on the door.

  • Ronald McDonald House - Helps the families of children in need of health care services, lodging and other care to stay together while they receive those services far from home.

  • CROP Hunger Walk - Help us to feed the hungry throughout the world and within the United States.

  • A Georgian Church in America - Please email us (below) if you are interested in helping a Georgian Orthodox congregation to establish the first Georgian Church in America and in New York City. A large group of Georgian Americans are congregating regularly now in a mission within a Catholic high school in New York City. We would like to help them to raise the money they need to buy their first property, and to grow their wonderful congregation within sound walls, and with the love of God.


Contact us by emailing: Charity@ WallStreetGreek .com

Visit the front page of Wall Street Greek to see our current coverage of Wall Street, economic reports and global financial markets. Tickers: Nasdaq: ACMC.PK, Nasdaq: XCBFX, Nasdaq: ADJEX, AEF.AX, Nasdaq: NRAAX, Nasdaq: NRACX, Nasdaq: NBSLX, Nasdaq: NBSRX, Nasdaq: NRARX, Nasdaq: NBSTX, Nasdaq: VCSRX, Nasdaq: EGSBX, Nasdaq: EGSAX, Nasdaq: EGCYX, Nasdaq: EGCCX, Nasdaq: AHRAX, Nasdaq; AHSRX, NYSE: DIA, NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: NYX, NYSE: DOG, NYSE: SDS, NYSE: QLD.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year?

Visit the front pages of Wall Street Greek and Market Moving News to see our current coverage of economic reports and financial markets.

happy new year years eve dayHappy New Year? More like melancholy new year, or maybe, here's hoping to a better new year! It's definitely not a happy New Years Eve nor Day, nor does it feel right to wish anyone a happy new year this time around.

I suppose the folks in Gaza don't want to hear those words today. No fireworks were ignited in Dubai or Egypt either this year. Pilgrims in Israel are not mistaking incoming rocket fire for bottle rockets either. In Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador tension is mounting, so a little alcohol might have been poured for sanity's sake.

I would expect those harmed by the Madoff scheme are not in a celebratory mood either. The charities that had to close their doors because of Mr. Madoff's greed are definitely not feeling it. Alcohol seems better served in the form of Molotov Cocktails in places like Athens, London, Paris, Beijing and Moscow, as unrest sprouts many angry heads seeking change.

The growing group of unemployed and those anxiously anticipating unemployment in the U.S., especially in Detroit and malls across the country, probably didn't splurge on a night out. The rest of us who lost a fortune in the market certainly didn't. Yeah, I would say this image we have here still works though, because the bottle is unopened and the glasses have been quietly ignored... hats abandoned.

Let's face it, there's not much to look forward to in the near-term. All we have is hope. Still, thank God for hope, because hope led men to cross the Atlantic to discover this great country. It was hope, kept alive, that led a black man to become president. Nothing other than hope led millions of the world's tired and poor huddled masses to America. So hope may be all we need in 2009. God bless hope and you. Best wishes in the new year from The Greek.


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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Warm Wishes from "The Greek"

Visit the front pages of Wall Street Greek and Market Moving News to see our current coverage of economic reports and financial markets.

merry christmas from the greekIn this joyous time of warm hearts and good tidings, we here at Wall Street Greek wish you all a happy holiday. This year especially, we know many of you are in need of money or something else. For this reason, we will incorporate more information on the many government programs recently initiated to help you. I'm also available to talk to always and for everyone, and I will try to respond to your comments at the blog more often. Shortly, we will have forums for discussion purpose as well. If you would like a more private medium, you can email me at WallStreetGreek@gmail.com.

Perhaps the greatest gifts I can offer are not stock picks, nor economic forecasts, but my words and my heart, which is open to you. I hope that I give you something more than the bland financial reporting you find across the Internet. I hope we help you navigate financial markets of course! But, I also hope we sometimes educate, sometimes uplift, sometimes inspire and even conflict. Because, when my thoughts conflict with your beliefs, it leads to debate, the consequence of which is a sharing of knowledge. This fosters a greater understanding of varying views, and often improved knowledge either here or there, or on both ends.

Today and Faith

While financiers would label the remainder of this note "style drift," no man is two dimensional. I have more interests and concerns than just those limited to Wall Street. Days like today allow me to share some of my other interests with you, if you care to know.

Now I know many of you are agnostic or atheist because I usually lose you on articles like these. I happen to have great faith. However naive that may sound, I know that my open-mindedness has only solidified my faith, because the hardest thing for an analyst to believe in is something invisible, or intangible. I ask you to tolerate my faith, as I tolerate your opinions. From time to time, I will author "feel good" stories here, which I label "life" topics. I hope atheism or religious labeling does not harden any reader's heart enough to close ears from life topics that concern many, if not all of us. The focus of this blog is all things financial, and factors that interplay with financial. Nothing else will ever become staple here, except goodwill.

That said, for me God is not a myth nor legend, but a personally well-proven reality. While I cannot prove God to an atheist in two sentences, I can say that a man with his eyes closed, or who will not look, will never see. One important note: while myths fade and die, faith in a higher power has lasted through millenniums. I believe that occurrence is impossible without substance and truth. Even the skeptic must admit to a possibility of that. Too often, I find skeptics argue against God without first having any base of knowledge on the topic. A well rounded debate can only occur when both sides have been researched thoroughly, so I encourage that, and Matthew in the New Testament is a great place to start. I'll note that I'm no authority on the subject and not preaching from some illusory pulpit born of ego.

So, in conclusion, for me and many of you, today we celebrate one of the greatest days for mankind. Thus, it is unnatural for me to not express so in my holiday greeting, and I hope you understand this. I view those of you who disagree with my religious views as my brothers, sisters and friends nonetheless, and look forward to many engaging debates over coffee or beer. I love Jew, Muslim, Hindi, Buddhist, Catholic and Protestant as much as any Eastern Orthodox, many of whom are often even harder for me to love. So now you know that when I say God bless you, I mean it literally. I ask you to keep me up to this high standard when I inevitably slip. You might also try to not crucify any person when they slip, and try to show love to even strangers you would normally not engage. For a writer, as you might expect, fighting "the criticism" temptation can prove extremely difficult.

I think I've kept you long enough on this festive day. Please enjoy it peacefully with your family and friends. Still remember, whether you believe in God or not, the worthwhileness of sincere goodwill is not debatable. God bless you, warm wishes and good day. Please see our writers' warm wishes expressed via the comment link to this article.

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Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. (Article interests: AMEX: DIA, AMEX: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQQ, NYSE: NYX, AMEX: DOG, AMEX: SDS, AMEX: QLD, AMEX: XLF, AMEX: IWM, AMEX: TWM, AMEX: IWD, AMEX: SDK).

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Think of Others on Thanksgiving Please

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The Wall Street Greek team wishes you and yours a happy Thanksgiving. In these very difficult times, it can seem like we have little to be thankful for, if anything at all.

Allow me to share a personal testimony and maybe help you through a rough patch. When I attended college, at Temple University in North Philadelphia, I use to drive through my mother's old neighborhood adjacent to the school. It warmed me to see the old J&L Luncheonette sign still hanging there decades later, and it prepared a kinship for me with the very poor people who live there now. It was something I did when I was down and depressed to remind myself that my own struggles weren't so bad. It was something I did to humble myself, so as to not feel sorry for my second hand jeans, which were full of holes, that I pretended to wear for the style. It allowed me to not think about the thousands of dollars in student loans I was building. It kept me from worrying about my father's business and my family's future, as he lay immobilized by back injury. It distracted me from my exhaustion after 16 hour study days filled with library time in between classes. It kept me from crying as I passed other students in the halls.

I grew up poor, but I didn't realize it. My father did a good job of filling the refrigerator and our stomachs, though we complained about empty or even absent Christmas trees. You can be happy without material wealth, if you remember what's really important in life. It's love, family and friendships; it's faith, compassion for others and continual effort.

So, if you lost your job this year and you feel bad, don't bury yourself in alcohol. If your marriage is on the rocks because of hard times, don't give up on it. If a loved one has passed on or someone is in ill health, don't let it kill your spirit. Make the most of the rediscovery of your heart. Instead of worrying about your own struggles, give comfort to those you love and even think of those less fortunate.

Why don't you do something. Why don't you give. Please see the videos here, each and every one of them. Show them to your children. Take something valuable with you from this Thanksgiving.


I use to spend more money riding the subway home than I would taking a cab, because of all the open hands I would pass on my way. Even so, I never felt like I was helping enough. I appeased myself, like many of us do, by thinking "some day when I reach my goals and get some money, I'll really help these people." Jobless and poor (yes poor) I passed a soup kitchen one day on my way home from church. A thought came to mind... why not now? Why couldn't I help people now, instead of when I get rich? What's stopping me or you?

So I went one day, and I volunteered. Let me tell you. It's a lot harder to actually do than it is to say you will do. Try it and see. I found myself, a grown man, nervous. I found myself, an old Wall Street big shot, now the servant of the meekest of men. I actually trembled from my nervousness, though nobody noticed. I even spilled some soup on a hungry man. Imagine your only pair of pants stained. He was upset, and I tried to console him by telling him, "now you have some for later." It was of course meant to take his mind from that concern and maybe bring a smile to his face, but it was also the sad truth, which is not so funny. Not the first time I put my foot in my mouth, nor will it be the last.

Many of us don't give because we create justifications in our minds why these folks don't deserve help. We say, "he's a drunk. he'll just buy a bottle of booze with my hard earned money." We say, "he's young. he can work. he can get a job." We say, "he's sick and dirty. I might catch some disease from him." We say, "I don't have enough for myself." Worst of all, we say "I gave that other guy last week a dollar, or I gave at the office." That does the man before you little good, and his needs are at issue. These justifications are judgments on our part, and as you know, we should not judge, lest we be judged.

A man once approached me outside 30th street station in Philadelphia as I caught a train back to New York. He said, "I came from Pittsburgh for a job interview and I don't have enough money to go home. Can I have $20 please." I'm not stupid. I know the odds of that story being truth are very low, but that's not my judgement to make. I gave him $20, but I warned him of the penalty he would bear if that story were a lie. Whether you believe in God or karma, you realize there are penalties for our actions.

I once saw a man in the middle of winter walking up Park Avenue, at around 26th street Manhattan. It was 20 degrees Fahrenheit. He was homeless, pulling something but wearing only a blanket around the bottom half of his body. As I hope you would also do, without thinking, I put down my coffee, took off my sweater from my own back (my favorite sweater), and standing there in a cafe half naked, put back on the second sweater I had worn over it and rushed outside and gave the man the shirt from my back. That man took it, lifted up the cover of his wheeled home and goods, and placed the sweater in it and continued to walk up the street half naked.

What lesson do you take from this? Do you think he fooled me. Am I a fool? He clearly was half naked in order to gain sympathy; it was after all freezing. It was a brilliant plan he was pulling off. Still, we cannot judge him. I was initially angered, but not for long. We can never know what he has in his pull cart, who it's for, or how he lives and what he needs. If it takes such dramatic ploy to gain him clothing to wear, then what does that say about the generosity of mankind, or lack of it. We have to give, because we cannot discern truth from lie, nor the purpose of lies which are often designed to confuse truth and incriminate the innocent.

I've come across plenty of reasons not to help people, including my own limited resources. I once gave a man 50 cents while I was a month behind in my rent. He then said, "I only need another 50 to get a beer." I even encountered a millionaire in a soup kitchen. Should I have decided that all "clients" are millionaires? The source driver of these anomalies is to fool givers of heart out of giving. Don't be fooled. Give, and ignore these tricks and traps of the devil to stop you from giving.

Does your neighborhood feed the homeless? If not, why not consider organizing a soup kitchen, and perhaps a network of kitchens to allow these people to find meals each day. I want you to know that the reward gained is a spiritual one, and an undeniable one at that. You will never feel more happy than you do when you are providing life essential necessities to others. Their sincere appreciation is a beautiful gift, one we should view undeserved (for us). It's our duty, not something for praise. I'm not seeking praise from you in writing these words. In fact, I'm embarrassed. But I have hope.

I hope my personal testimony leads to intraspection, but I'm no better than you. Just last week I reacted poorly to someone, and am responsible for my own faults. I'm simply seeking to make you think, perhaps inspire you to give. At least, to forget your own troubles in these hard times and remember that guy sleeping on the sidewalk on this frigid night. By the way, there's a picture of him atop this article in case you missed it. He was cold, starving, hurt, unloved and alone...for our sake. Now you have one more reason to ignore the suffering, since these words were written by a "Jesus freak." However, that image was not meant to depict Jesus here. It was meant to depict God.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you, whether you have a computer to read it or not. Be warm, be dry, be well-fed and be loved.


Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Life's Real Bankroll

They tell me, Greek, don't discuss politics or religion. Don't you understand this is a "no no?" But, this is my forum, and my interests and hopes extend beyond economies and equities. There are in fact, significantly greater issues we must address, whoever and wherever we are. Plus, I'm a stubborn S.O.B., and conforming is not in my character.

By: The Greek

Many of you may have guessed that I'm a member of the Greek Orthodox church. However, unlike many "believers" who wear blinders to the views and lives of members of other religions, I see people as one common group. I look for the common message in people of faith, and there is one we all share.

I see belief in God prevalent in a world scientifically advanced, but I no longer ignore the reason why. I see thousands of churches and other places of worship, new and old, that have survived thousands of years of so called evolution and progression. Don't you think there's good reason for the survival of belief then?

What survives through centuries? Not bones, not truths (they become myths and legends), not castles, not governments, not nations, not races. Belief in God remains as the wind shuffles the dust of everything else by. At the risk of losing some of you, I'll tell you why belief continues to exist. It's because the presence of real evil reinforces belief in the generations that come to pass. God has a reason even for his tolerance of evil.

The Church Heals Wounds

Over the past few days, the Pope has healed old wounds, and I'm very happy about that. The immoral actions of some members of clergy have served a purpose you see, evil's purpose. Consider if you will what leverage is gained over the masses by turning thousands away from the church. The devil can manage his end game strategy to massive scale. Rather than gaining one soul by one tedious soul, he turns the media glued masses away from God through the sins of men of the cross, or symbol of your choosing.

Has the devil not turned thousands away from God by his construct of the premise of hypocrisy upon God's servants? I've heard it said time and again... they say, "I don't go to church, or follow the Catholic faith. Look at the priests. If they can commit sin, then what can I believe in." So, the devil undermines broader belief by discrediting God's servants.

What the Pope did in America this past week was great. He recognized the flaws of men, even those within his church. I only wish he would also shed light on what whispers in their ears. But, rather than wish, perhaps I'll shed that light.

Even in this modern day, amazing society, we are nothing but ants. We place our names on buildings, companies and even other people, and we think we are kings, but we are nothing but ants. When a football player scores a touchdown and then points to the sky, do not view him as a hypocrite. Do not think God has no purpose in football, a game. Even that touchdown could not be scored without God willing it. The message sent by that wide receiver is true, however insignificant the forum may seem to you. Nothing happens without God's will.

Whether Citigroup (NYSE: C) rises or falls is insignificant to the real bankroll we build in life. It is in fact, a distraction from it. But, we do it to survive. Scanning back thousands of years, one man had salt and another had sheep. They traded some of each for the purpose of their own survival.

Today, we buy shares of Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) and sell shares of IBM (NYSE: IBM) for that same purpose, to survive. Trade has evolved to its most progressed form in capitalism. Still, there's something intrinsically wrong with self purpose.

While there were many things wrong with Communism as well, the worst of which was the suppression of religion, the goal was perhaps noble. Be careful now. Don't you dare label me a Communist, or you'll find me at your door. I'm what's called a humanist, and also a Christian! By placing God first, and the good of humanity at the fore, we build wealth beyond understanding.

It's clear this is going to be a multiple-part article. I think we've covered enough for now. I'll be looking to sneak into Yankee Stadium to see the Pope. If anybody can score me a ticket, send me a note.

God bless.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sharing My Personal 9/11 Experience

I feel there is no better way to share my thoughts with you on 9/11 than through my own eyes and an email (found below) written to friends just after I arrived home on that tragic day.

I remember sitting in my apartment on Thursday September 13th, thinking I had forgotten something, that I needed to be somewhere. And as I recalled that I was late for a meeting, that I had registered for a conference taking place that morning in the Twin Towers, I broke into tears, as those beautiful symbols of American capitalism and opportunity were no longer there. As I realized that my life's path was possibly altered by a mere 48 hours and as I thought of those whose fate was also determined within that time-span, I wept uncontrollably.

We all witnessed it, but for those of us who smelled the fuel of the fire, whose eyes filled with smoke and hair filled with soot, for us, it was life altering. Before 9/11, I consistently worked until 10 pm on weeknights, and never left the office earlier than 9 PM. I worked most Saturdays from 12 pm through 12 am and many Sundays through the winter. My friends would telephone me from bars on Saturday night and call me crazy, but they knew why I was so crazy. You see, I was living my dream, working on "Wall Street", but I was not earning enough yet to cover my educational debt expenses and cost of living. I was determined to succeed in the endeavor I set forth on from childhood. What seemed like a mountain to climb, just making it to downtown NYC, was just one step in the mountain range that lay before me to attain my long-term goals.

All that hard work eventually paid off, as I was promoted into a special role within my firm, and I achieved success as evidenced by my performance. I was proud to say that I achieved that success without a moral or ethical sacrifice. I followed 40 companies as a sell-side analyst, without an assistant, when most of my peers on the street followed 12-15 with one or two junior analysts providing help. To do that properly, you either make personal sacrifice, as I did, or you make a poor ethical and moral decision to take shortcuts like many of my colleagues did and all of my supervisors. I was unwilling to violate the fiduciary responsibility I owed to our clients. You see I was raised right, and I turned out to be an honest guy with strong ethical values. I was viewed as a threat to many of my supervisors because of my high moral standards. I would call them on the error of their ways and refused to be a "yes-man", and that led to a degree of dislike and mistrust from some of them. However, I would not change a thing.

I remember walking from my office on Broadway one late evening, tired and frustrated with the slow rate of my own personal financial progress, and at that moment, as if designed by God, I looked up. Before me was a street sign and it read "Wall Street". I became overjoyed, so much so that I screamed "I work on Wall Street!" Nobody heard me but a homeless man and a couple of other fools who probably needed to hear it anyway. Sometimes we become so enthralled within our daily struggles that we forget about how far we have come. It was an epiphany for me.

After 9/11, I rarely worked a Saturday again and never on a Sunday. I still had my all-nighters before leaving for vacation and an occasional late night, but regularly left by 7:45 to catch the last Mario's Van Shuttle up the East Side. Although I was one of maybe five hard-working, good analysts in the office when I left, I still felt like it was early. I needed balance in my life, and I found it. Soon after, I met a great girl who I married, and have since altered my thinking quite a bit. Before 9/11, I would have considered getting my first Wall Street job the greatest accomplishment of my life, whereas now, I'm sure it will be the birth of my first child, however basic a human event that may be. It is still a miracle beyond any other.

For a good while after 9/11, many of my friends and colleagues used alcohol as a crutch, but I'm happy to say, they all seemed to make it through that tough period. We made it through together. Our friendships strengthened and our priorities changed. Now I will conclude this post with the unedited email I wrote to my friends and family after that horrible day. I wish the families of those lost my deepest sympathies and an assurance that they shall never be forgotten. They were my peers. They were regular people who got up to go to work one morning and were targeted by barbarians blinded by their cause. As I told people on that long walk home that morning, they have awakened a sleeping giant and they will regret the war they so naively sought.

The unedited email I sent to friends after 9/11:

"I'm ok. I was in a cab with 3 other people on the highway staring at the smoke coming out of the first tower, wondering if it was really happening and what had happened, when we saw the second airplane hit the South Tower. The ball of flame that came out was just unbelievable. I wandered around,watching the buildings burn. talked to people that were inside and got out, even one guy from 99th floor. talked to a guy who was covered in soot, who was alive only because he was inside his car when debris hit it. I was breathing dust and there was a coating all over everything. a woman was crying cause her son worked inside one of the buildings. I hugged her and told her I would pray. I was gathered around a car radio with a bunch of people when someone screamed the tower is falling!!!! I heard a rumble and looked over the building in front of me waiting for the building to come and crush me. My building is about a 5-10 minute walk to the WTC. I decided to walk north along the river. as I walked I saw people running toward me with a dust cloud chasing them. they were panicked. we were too far from the building, but if it was falling sideways, it could knock others down toward us. I kept going through the dust with others, north, not toward the building. I reached an open area and waited to see what was left of the WTC. as I stared up there into the dust, I noticed an American flag waving; I could have rewritten the Star Spangled Banner right there and then.... and before my eyes, the second tower fell into nothingness. my eyes still have dust in them. I felt very angry that someone was rejoicing somewhere about the murder of innocent civilians. I expect major and severe retaliation against the responsible cowardly enemy. I am more than ready to enlist against that enemy, or any that would do something like this. No question, this is the first attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, and now, I understand war. I walked 90 blocks home and got here at 2pm. only now do I cry, as I think about the people I saw jumping to their deaths, exchanging burning for a quicker, less painful end. I always thought this was possible, but today, it still felt surreal. God help us get through it. We will I'm sure, just as that American flag did.

God Bless America"


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Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Greek On Life & Rocky Balboa

I want to personally thank Sylvester Stallone for his contribution to society in creating and writing the words spoken by this inspirational character. Sylvester, before he became famous, spent some time working at a metal products fabricator and wholesaler on American Street in Philadelphia. I know this because my father and I would shop there for sheet metal used for restaurant kitchen wall cover etc. They were very proud of him.

The story of this man's own personal triumph, as detailed in the DVD version of his first film, Rocky, written and produced by him, is something worth owning. One particular piece within that documentary that I found interesting was that Stallone was offered $100,000 for his script. He turned it down, despite being near penniless, and made the film himself. Had he accepted the money, he would probably still be an unknown actor today. Instead, he turned down the lesser treasure to continue in the pursuit of his dream, and the rest is history.

I think that this particular scene, in the conclusion to the saga, Rocky Balboa, will go down as one of the most inspirational scene's in filmmaking history and be shown again when Sylvester is inevitably honored into the industry's hall of fame. Fictional characters in film like Rocky, Zorba, George Bailey, have inspired me, as have triumphant characters of real life like Peter Lynch, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy. Thank God for men like these and for genius like Sylvester's.

There's a Greek song with the lyrics, "I was born different. I am from those who win when they lose." Rocky's quote fits in with this character trait perfectly, and is something people like me, who find hope with each morning's first light despite a seemingly endless stream of challenge, live by. Never quit. Never give up. Like Rocky says, "life isn't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." God bless those of you facing struggles. I say to you, keep standing. Fighters fight!

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