Looks like the SEC will be stepping up enforcement regarding crypto trading. I have found it interesting to see how on many of the social sites, those touting and pushing returns and recommendations.

Gary Gensler, Chair of the SEC, regarding crypto:

“Before I conclude, I’d briefly like to discuss the intersection of security-based swaps and financial technology, including with respect to crypto assets. There are initiatives by a number of platforms to offer crypto tokens or other products that are priced off of the value of securities and operate like derivatives.

Make no mistake: It doesn’t matter whether it’s a stock token, a stable value token backed by securities, or any other virtual product that provides synthetic exposure to underlying securities. These platforms — whether in the decentralized or centralized finance space — are implicated by the securities laws and must work within our securities regime.

If these products are security-based swaps, the other rules I’ve mentioned earlier, such as the trade reporting rules, will apply to them. Then, any offer or sale to retail participants must be registered under the Securities Act of 1933 and effected on a national securities exchange.”

Read Mr. Gensler full remarks here

Marketwatch reported in May 26, 2021:

“We have the SEC trying to protect against fraud in manipulation [in traditional stock exchanges,]” Gensler said. “Not so in the crypto world, and so it’s trying to bring the similar protections to the exchanges where you trade crypto assets, as you might expect on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq.”

Gensler also noted the SEC’s cooperation with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.S. Treasury to combat criminal activity facilitated by cryptocurrencies. “They’re keely [sic] focused on anti-money laundering and guarding against illicit activity,” he said, adding that he wants to “augment and support their efforts.” The chairman also suggested that he would like to work with Congress to pass legislation that would enhance investor protection in the crypto space.

Image: Photo by Crypto Crow from Pexels

I have accepted the true doctrines of the Christians

The saints were seized and brought before the prefect of Rome, whose name was Rusticus. As they stood before the judgement seat, Rusticus the prefect said to Justin: “Above all, have faith in the gods and obey the emperors.” Justin said: “We cannot be accused or condemned for obeying the commands of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Rusticus said: “What system of teaching do you profess?” Justin said: “I have tried to learn about every system, but I have accepted the true doctrines of the Christians, though these are not approved by those who are held fast by error.”

The prefect Rusticus said: “Are those doctrines approved by you, wretch that you are?” Justin said: “Yes, for I follow them with their correct teaching.”

The prefect Rusticus said: “What sort of teaching is that?” Justin said: “Worship the God of the Christians. We hold him to be from the beginning the one creator and maker of the whole creation, of things seen and things unseen. We worship also the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He was foretold by the prophets as the future herald of salvation for the human race and the teacher of distinguished disciples. For myself, since I am a human being, I consider that what I say is insignificant in comparison with his infinite godhead. I acknowledge the existence of a prophetic power, for the one I have just spoken of as the Son of God was the subject of prophecy. I know that the prophets were inspired from above when they spoke of his coming among men.”

Rusticus said: “You are a Christian, then?” Justin said: “Yes, I am a Christian.”

The prefect said to Justin: “You are called a learned man and think that you know what is true teaching. Listen: if you were scourged and beheaded, are you convinced that you would go up to heaven?” Justin said: “I hope that I shall enter God’s house if I suffer that way. For I know that God’s favor is stored up until the end of the whole world for all who have lived good lives.”

The prefect Rusticus said: “Do you have an idea that you will go up to heaven to receive some suitable rewards?” Justin said: “It is not an idea that I have; it is something I know well and hold to be most certain.”

The prefect Rusticus said: “Now let us come to the point at issue, which is necessary and urgent. Gather round then and with one accord offer sacrifice to the gods.” Justin said: “No one who is right thinking stoops from true worship to false worship.”

The prefect Rusticus said: “If you do not do as you are commanded you will be tortured without mercy.” Justin said: “We hope to suffer torment for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so be saved. For this will bring us salvation and confidence as we stand before the more terrible and universal judgement-seat of our Lord and Savior.”

In the same way the other martyrs also said: “Do what you will. We are Christians; we do not offer sacrifice to idols.”

The prefect Rusticus pronounced sentence, saying: “Let those who have refused to sacrifice to the gods and to obey the command of the emperor be scourged and led away to suffer capital punishment according to the ruling of the laws.”

Glorifying God, the holy martyrs went out to the accustomed place. They were beheaded, and so fulfilled their witness of martyrdom in confessing their faith in their Savior.

[F]reedom negates and destroys itself, and becomes a factor leading to the destruction of others, when it no longer recognizes and respects its essential link with the truth. When freedom, out of a desire to emancipate itself from all forms of tradition and authority, shuts out even the most obvious evidence of an objective and universal truth, which is the foundation of personal and social life, then the person ends up by no longer taking as the sole and indisputable point of reference for his own choices the truth about good and evil, but only his subjective and changeable opinion or, indeed, his selfish interest and whim.

-Pope St. John Paul the Great

  • Ephesians 1:9-10 – For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
  • 2 Peter 1:3-4 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.
  • Jesus is the mediator and the fullness of ALL Revelation.
  • Our proper response to God’s revelation is to freely assent to it and commit our entire self to God. Since faith is a gift of God, we must have the grace of God to illumine our mind and move the will to believe. For this to happen, we need the help of the Holy Spirit (John 6:44) – no one can come to God unless the Father draws him.
  • God has spoken through Jesus, the eternal Word, who enlightens us all, so that we can dwell with Him (John 1:1-18).
  • Jesus was sent as “man to men.” He speaks the words of God and completes the work of salvation. To see Jesus is to see God (John 5; 17). Jesus perfected revelation in fulfilling the work by words and deeds; by signs and wonders; and through His death and resurrection; and by the sending of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth.
  • Jesus freed us from the darkness of sin and death. He raises us up to eternal life.
  • Obedience should be given to God since He is the beginning and end of all things, can be be known with certainty from created reality by the light of human reason. It is through revelation that religious truths (which by their very nature accessible to human reason) can be known with solid certitude (no trace of error).
  • Through divine revelation, God communicates Himself and the eternal decisions of his will regarding our salvation.
  • The divine treasure from this divine revelation totally transcends the understanding of the human mind.
  • The fullness and completion of revelation is brought to completion in Jesus. This revelation is to be handed on to all generations.
  • Jesus commissioned the Apostles to preach to all people the source of all saving truth and moral teaching, to impart to them heavenly gifts. The Gospel was promised in former times though the prophets. Jesus fulfilled those promises.
  • The Apostles handed on what they received from Jesus. This revelation was not only fulfilled by oral preaching but in writing.
  • In order to keep the Gospel “forever whole and alive within the Church,” the Apostles left bishops as their successors, giving them the apostolic authority to guard and protect the truth. Sacred Tradition and Scripture is like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God.
  • Through the Holy Spirit what was handed to the Apostles assured that the Church “moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.”
  • “Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.”
  • Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture form ONE sacred deposit of the Word of God committed to the Church.
  • The task of authentically interpreting this Word has been entrusted exclusively to the Church. This authority is exercised in the name of Jesus.
  • Because Sacred Scripture is divinely inspired, we must acknowledge that it is without error and for the sake of salvation. Sacred Scripture teaches truth, refutes error, reforms manner and discipline in right living.
  • The Old Testament reveals the knowledge of God and His mercy and love.
  • The New Testament is a divine witness of these realities: the word of God is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe; the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us in His fullness and truth; Jesus established the Kingdom of God on earth; the work of God is made complete in Jesus by His death, resurrection, and ascension; and He draws all men to Himself.
  • The Gospels have a special preeminence among all Scripture because they are the principle witness for the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word – Jesus.
  • The Church venerates Sacred Scripture as she venerates the Body of Christ.
  • “Sacred theology rests on the written word of God, together with sacred tradition, as its primary and perpetual foundation. By scrutinizing in the light of faith all truth stored up in the mystery of Christ, theology is most powerfully strengthened and constantly rejuvenated by that word. For the Sacred Scriptures contain the word of God and since they are inspired, really are the word of God; and so the study of the sacred page is, as it were, the soul of sacred theology. By the same word of Scripture the ministry of the word also, that is, pastoral preaching, catechetics and all Christian instruction, in which the liturgical homily must hold the foremost place, is nourished in a healthy way and flourishes in a holy way.” (Dei Verbum §24)

Source: Dei Verbum, Providentissimus Deus, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (Pontifical Biblical Commission), Humani Generis

Art: Fra Angelico, The Last Supper, c.1450-53

The class action lawsuit against Wells Fargo is moving forward.

What is this case about?

The plaintiffs alleged that the plan sponsors (Wells Fargo fiduciaries) violated their ERISA duties owed to Plan Participants by selecting proprietary products (CITs) that benefited Wells Fargo.

Yes the collective investment trusts (CTIs) were sponsored by...wait for it...Wells Fargo.

Did Wells Fargo business interest influence their decision regarding the selection of the investments for their plan?

Read more about the case here.

Read the Planadviser Magazine article here.

9 December 1958

Glibness is the great Danger in answering people's questions about religion. I won't answer yours because you can answer them as well as yourself but I will give you, for what it's worth, my own perspective on them. All your dissatisfaction with the Church seems to me to come from an incomplete understanding of sin. This will perhaps surprise you because you are very conscious of the sins of Catholics; however what you seem actually to demand is that the Church put the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth right here now, that the Holy Ghost be translated at once into all flesh. The Holy Spirit very rarely shows himself on the surface of anything. You are asking that man return at once to the state God created him in, you are leaving out the terrible radical human pride that causes death. Christ was crucified on earth and the Church is crucified in time, and the Church is crucified by all of us, by her members most particularly because she is a Church of sinners. Christ never said the Church would be operated in a sinless or intelligent way, but that it would not teach error. This does not mean that each and every priest won't teach error but that the whole Church speaking through the Pope will not teach error in matters of faith. The Church is founded on Peter who denied Christ three times and couldn't walk on the water by himself. You are expecting his successors to walk on the water. All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful. Priests resist it as well as others. To have the Church be what you want it to be would require the continuous miraculous meddling of God in human affairs, whereas it is our dignity that we are allowed more or less to get on with those graces that come through faith and the sacraments and which work through our human nature. God has chosen to operate in this manner. We can't understand this but we can't reject it without rejecting life.

Human nature is so faulty that it can resist any amount of grace and most of the time it does. The Church does well to hold her own; you're asking that she show a profit. When she shows a profit you have a saint, not necessarily a canonized one. I agree with you that you shouldn't have to go back to centuries to find Catholic thought, and to be sure, you don't. But you are not going to find the highest principles of Catholicism exemplified on the surface of life nor the highest Protestant principles either. It is easy for any child to pick out the faults in the sermon on his way home from Church every Sunday. It is impossible for him to find out the hidden love that makes a man. In spite of his intellectual limitations, his neuroticism, his lack of strength, give up his life to the service of God's people, however bumblingly he may go about it…

It is what is invisible that God sees and that the Christian must look for. Because he knows the consequences of sin, he knows how deep in you have to go to find love. We have our own responsibility for not being “little ones” too long, for not being scandalized. By being scandalized too long, you will scandalize others and the guilt for that will belong to you.

It's our business to try to change the external faults of the Church— the vulgarity, the lack of scholarship, the lack of intellectual honesty— wherever we find them and however we can. In the past ten years there has been a regular rash of Catholic self-criticism. It has generally come from high sources and been reviled by low. If the same knowledge could be shared uniformly in the Church we would live in a miraculous world or belong to a monolithic organization. Just in the last few years have Sisters teaching in parochial schools begun to get AB degrees. Doubtless the good soul who didn't know papal history would never believe it if she read it anyway, but there are plenty of Catholic sources, all with the Nihil Obstat, that she could pick it up in. The Church in America is largely an immigrant Church. Culturally it is not on its feet. But it will get there. In the meantime, the culture of the whole Church is ours and it is our business to see that it is disseminated throughout the Church in America. You don't serve God by saying: the Church is ineffective. I'll have none of it. Your pain at its lack of effectiveness is a sign of your nearness to God. We help overcome this lack of effectiveness simply by suffering on account of it.

To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness. Charity is hard and endures; I don't want to discourage you from reading St.Thomas but don't read him with the notion that he is going to clear anything up for you. That is done by study but more by prayer.

Neil Irwin – senior economics correspondent for The New York Times suggests asking these 5 questions if you are panicked about inflation.

Irwin aptly points out -“But inflation isn’t so scary if you focus on the precise mechanics by which the value of a dollar changes over time — and how it might affect you.”

Here are the five “essential” questions.

1. Is this a change in relative prices, or a change in overall prices?

Yes, just like Airbnb rentals – prices can fluctuate based on demand and are just the normal happenings of microeconomics).

2. Are the prices of items becoming more expensive likely to rise further, stay the same, or go down?

As Neil Irwin points out – not all price changes have equal meaning for inflation).

3. Are wages also rising?

As long as wages go up, inflation does not have as big an impact – that's if wages go up.

4. Is inflation so high and erratic that it is hard to plan ahead?

The US historically has not experienced erratic inflation with massive swings from one year to the next.

5. Is this really inflation at all, or is it a shift in the price of investments like stocks and bonds?

As Irwin points out – “And while there is plenty to worry about in terms of bubbly signs in financial markets — and what it would mean if they corrected downward, as major cryptocurrencies did on Wednesday — that doesn’t mean they are making ordinary consumers worse off. You can’t eat Bitcoin; you can’t clothe yourself in shares of GameStop.

Sometimes asset prices rise while consumer prices stand still, as in much of the 2010s. Sometimes consumer prices soar while financial assets languish, as in much of the 1970s. Other times, they move together.”

Read Neil Irwin's article at this link.

Photo credit: Photo by Rūdolfs Klintsons from Pexels

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