Questions for Bob Doll

Christ in Business – Bob Doll (Full video)

Published on Oct 24, 2014
On February 2014, Gordon-Conwell in Jacksonville hosted an event on Christ in Business. Our speaker was Bob Doll (CFA, CPA), who has been Chief Equity Strategist and Senior Portfolio Manager at Nuveen Asset Management, LLC since November 26, 2012.

I watched this video on Christ in business with low expectations, even so, I was disappointed. He works in the financial industry as a portfolio manager. He seems decent enough, but REALLY needs to check his privilege. He describes losing a previous job because, if I understood correctly, he refused to put an investment into a client’s portfolio because he did not think it appropriate. In this his faith protected him. Because, if I understand correctly, he was being asked to put a bum investment into a client’s portfolio and he put his client first. Good for him.

He also lost his job for “sharing his faith.” There are certain Christians who just won’t understand how inappropriate that is. If someone at work tells you there is sickness in the family or something like that it is fine to say “I will hold your child (or whoever) in prayer.” Even atheists, most of them, understand that as a friendly gesture. But if you ask them if you can pray with them, that is inappropriate. That is crossing a line. Can you imagine a Jew, Muslim, or Buddhist offering to pray with you? No, because no American Jew, Muslim, or Buddhist would possess the sense of entitlement that would allow such rude behavior.

Faith is a prickly subject. My minister once remarked in a sermon that there was a stretch in his life where he commuted on the train regularly. He always took his Bible with him to better study while riding. He always sat alone, no one wants to sit next to a man reading a Bible. That should tell you something about the public display of religion. The mere site of a Bible is enough to repel people. Christians would do well to ask themselves why that would be so. Christ calls on us to refrain from being jerks.

Matthew 6:6New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Let’s talk about his understanding of economics. He is a successful portfolio manager, so it is tempting to think that he understands economics. But he buys into the conventional wisdom that is destroying America. Doll reminds me of those fools who sleep walked their way into World War One. Like Nicholas and Alexsandra he appears to be oblivious to the widespread suffering around him, the extreme state represssion of its own citizens and other growing signs of social dysfuction.

He described the economy being in good shape because, in addition to other things, the federal deficit is down. In fact, that is precisely why the economy is so rotten. There have only been two times in American history that the federal deficit has been in surplus, 1928, and 2000. It is not coincidence that the biggest economic collapses came in the immediate aftermath of federal surpluses. Federal spending into the economy creates money and reduction of the federal deficit takes money out of the economy. Anyone who understands modern monetary theory understands this, and that conventional wisdom is tragically wrong. All the gains of the so-called recovery have gone to the top 1%. This is not a healthy economy.

Moreever he was lyrical about he energy sector, by which he clearly means fossil fuels. So he is OK with investing in the destruction of planet earth. Given that renewables now cost less than fossil fuel you would think that a man styling himself as a Christian businessman might invest in the preservation of God’s creation, but it seems you would be wrong. That is what I mean by sleep walking our way to disaster. Our elite, political and corporate, are like those fools who slipped into World War One.

So here are some questions I would have for Doll if he were sitting with me right now. What does it say about Christianity that the most religious nation with an advnaced economy also has the worst health care system among advanced nations? We pay the most money and get the worst results. What does it say about American Christianity that we tolerate such things? What does it say about our national priorities that we spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined? What is coming down from the pulpit that we tolerate such a state of affairs? What does it say about the US that Gitmo was ever opened? And that it remains open? Why haven’t Christians risen up and insisted that it be closed? Why aren’t Christians as a whole, not just a few faith groups here and there, calling for the prosecution of war criminals. Why is Doll more worried that the Hobby Lobby might have to pay for their employees sexy time than the fact that his government is committing torture on a systematic basis?

What does it say about our morals that so many people need to own guns, and not just a gun, but private arsenals. What is coming down from the pulpit that is turning America into an armed camp? It is not the crime rate, crime is way down. Paranoia is way up, and clearly the churches are not helping.

What does it say about America’s spiritual health that one in thirty of our children are homeless? What does it say about our economic system that vacant houses outnumber homeless people? How can Christians tolerate such a state of affairs?

These are all indications of systematic social moral depravity that Doll completely fails to recognize. And I love it that he is all for giving to his church but begrudges any money for taxes. There are many ways to give to God. One is in the form of tax so the federal government will repair the bridge before it collapses on us. There is no indication that Doll has any sense of social compact outside of his church.

Joe Scarborough is a thug

The Ugly Story in Joe Scarborough’s Political Closet

Grisly Discovery Has Curious Ties to Joe Scarborough

Republicans Are Fans of Killing Reporters Again, Always


Well, all that concern for the health and safety of the press didn’t last long, did it?

We are going to use auctions to set the price on the head of each journalist we take down. Think a kickstarted for bounties. #GotNews

But hey, they’re in good company.


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Discovered? Or Stolen! Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery

Discovered? Or Stolen! Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery

Norton Fights for Initiative 71

DC Marijuana Lawyer Blog

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is urging Republicans in Congress to let the will of D.C. voters stand when it comes to pot policy. via WAMU

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This blog endorses Carol Schwartz for mayor

Will Sommer

In a lengthy statement, available at the bottom of this post, Schwartz says she’s entering the race after being “concerned” about the District following corruption scandals. Schwartz was ousted from the D.C. Council at-large seat that she won in 1997 after losing the Republican primary in 2008. Schwartz’s loss to rival Pat Mara came after she alienated her backers in the business community with sick-leave legislation.

Carol Schwartz is the only candidate running for mayor who has actually done anything for ordinary people.

Eugene Puryear’s testimony on Housing

Eugene Puryear Testimony on Public Housing Budget April 30, 2014
Eugene Puryear‘s oral testimony on April 30, 2014 before the D.C. Council, Committee on Economic Development, fiscal year 2015 budget hearing on public housing.

Tips for Chris Cillizza

Chris Cillizza has a column about how he missed Cantor’s defeat. Sadly he concludes that opinion polls are the gold standard and that he will continue to rely upon them. Big mistake. Opinion polls are commissioned by keepers of conventional wisdom and will have their blind spots. For example, as late as September 1975 presidential opinion polls did not include Jimmy Carter as an option. Big miss. In the summer of 2010 no opinion polls picked up on the issues that would launch the Occupy movement, certainly no indications that it would catch on like a wildfire with occupations sprouting up all over the country. And if you were foolish enough to confine yourself to opinion polls you would think that the suppression of the Occupations ended the movement. Wrong. A former occupier now sits on the Seattle City council. Cillizza should contact Freddie Mac, or Citi, or Wells Fargo, or almost any other bank and ask if any of their executives have been contacted by Occupy Our Homes concerning individual foreclosure cases. Or he could just follow Popular Resistance on Twitter to track left wing activism. Locally he should follow Eugene Puryear and Dan Robinson in Silver Spring. At some point all this dissastisfaction with the legacy parties will express itself by electing emergent party candidates, it could happen this year. Other races to watch are Asher Platt’s in Maine and the Howie Hawkins in New York. In the age of social media you don’t have to travel to a place to get a feel for the zeigesit, just follow the local personalities on Twitter. If it is too much trouble to develop 50 separate twitter lists to follow politics in those states, just subscribe to existing Twitter lists. I gaurantee, there is at least one political Twitter list for each state. Looking at polls will trap you in the conventional wisdom bubble. You need to expand your sources if you want to detect signficant shifts in the zeitgeist.

Waldemar Januszczak on early Christian art

Waldemar Januszczak takes a fascinating look at early Christian art. It seems for the first centuary there was no art to speak of, only symbols, such as ROTAS squares, Chi Ros, the anchor, the fish, and very rarely, the cross.

When representations of Jesus first appeared in Italy, it was not the bearded Jesus familiar to us, but a boyish Apollo-like figure preforming miracles and bringing sweetness and light to all. The early Jesus is hermaphroditic. Not until Mary appears (borrowed from the Egyptian goddess Isis) does Jesus become masculine. Even then, the beaded adult Jesus does not appear until Constantine makes Christianity the official church of the Roman empire. Dark ages Jesus is Zeus like and presides over all. The tortured Jesus does not show up until the Middle Ages (and I would love to know when the tortured Jesus shows up and what the political developments were and which pope was in business). The Zeus-like Jesus is a feature of a state church where God is there to scare people and keep them in line. If they wanted mercy they were to pray to Mary or some other saint.

Which raises the question, what happens then the Protestant Reformation comes along and Mary gets pushed aside? So far as I am aware, Lucas Cranach is the first Prosteant artist to represent Jesus, and we still have the suffering Jesus. We also get baby-kissing Jesus and merciful Jesus protecting the adulteress. Protestant Jesus tends to be more alive, not on the cross like medieval Jesus or the angry Zeus of Dark Ages Jesus.

Go forward into the 17th century and we get Rembrandt’s tender long-eyelashes Jesus.

Now in modern times we have the kitschy praying in the Garden of Gethsemane Protestant Jesus.

Origins of AFRICOM

Crossed Crocodiles

I wrote this for the African Loft in January 2008. It is no longer available there so I am republishing it here. It contains links to documents key to the creation of AFRICOM. Since 2008 AFRICOM has morphed and expanded both size and mission. There has been a mission surge rather than a mission creep. I’ve included links to some crucial documents. For more information on the origins of AFRICOM please read the superb essay: Understanding AFRICOM: A Contextual Reading of Empire’s New Combatant Command part I , part II and part III, or the full version in PDF.

AFRICOM website April 2014   Ghana and US Maritime Forces Complete Combined Maritime Law Enforcement Operation:  For the past 3 weeks, Ghanaian and US maritime forces have carried out AMLEP operations in support of maritime security in Sekondi, Ghana AFRICOM website April 2014
Ghana and US Maritime Forces Complete Combined Maritime Law Enforcement Operation:
For the past 3 weeks, Ghanaian and US maritime forces have carried out AMLEP operations in support of maritime security in Sekondi, Ghana

The Origins of AFRICOM

Early in 2007 Nigeria surpassed Saudi Arabia as the…

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