Chaos & Volatility On The Rise

No, that’s not a ‘click bait’ sensationalist title. Things are getting ‘weird’ out there if you’re trying to be polite, and downright 'chaotic' if you're being blunt.  Everywhere we look, we see signs that the systems that support us are breaking down. 

The economy no longer spins off enough surplus for the elites to take what they consider their share with enough left over for everyone else.  So the wealth gap grows unchecked into politically and socially destabilizing levels.

The oceans are rapidly dying off: with corals bleaching, tide pools acidifying, and phytoplankton disappearing.  Weather weirdness is now so entrenched that all of the 50, 100 and 500-year events that happen each week are mainly reported on locally and garner little national and international attention.

Financial markets are increasingly volatile and dominated by an unruly universe of computer algorithms that now mainly play against each other, having driven off all the humans. 

Politically, we're seeing the former fringes of both parties increasingly come into power as they appeal to increasingly disenfranchised and disappointed electorates.

All of these are signs that the status quo has failed and continues to fail us. But the form of power expressed by our so-called ‘leaders’ today seems nearly incapable of healthy introspection coupled to correct action; preferring instead to do more of the same things that got us into this mess in the first place.

Those of us who can read the signs for what they are, not what we wish or believe them to be, have a special duty to first prepare ourselves for what's coming and then help others. To put on our own oxygen masks first, and then help the others around us.

For a variety of reasons, most of them rooted in archaic evolutionary brain structures, most humans are not well adapted to face change, let alone major change.

And the volatility and chaos that's arising all over the globe is well beyond major change. Therefore it's well beyond the capability of most people respond to effectively -- perhaps even at all.

So it’s up to you, the one reading this, to lead the way by becoming the change you wish to see.  If you want to live in a world of abundance and where everyone is at least minimally prepared for an uncertain future, then begin by building up your own 8 Forms Of Capital: financial, living, emotional, social, knowledge, cultural, material and time.  [Note: The 8 Forms of Capital are fully explained in this podcast with Ethan Roland as well as covered extensively in our new book, so I won’t re-explain them all here.  But the concepts are vitally important, and I encourage you to dig deeper now if you haven’t already]

Market Volatility

Recent market volatility, while pretty far from extreme absolute levels, is remarkably aggressive in terms of its relative swings.  The ups and downs are getting more frequent, packed together in a way that's increasingly concerning to astute market observers.

There are many factors at play here that have created a fragile market structure.  First, the unchecked rise of the machines (computer algorithms) coupled with severe information asymmetry (the very biggest firms have access to tradeable data that you and I never see) has led to a lamentable abandonment of fundamentals in favor of momentum and trend following. 

Second, the central banks have nurtured a very unhealthy market dependence on their words and actions. Indeed, the central banks in Japan, the US and Europe have all shown a severe dislike of falling equity prices, and so routinely trot out a series of officials to make soothing noises every time the broad indexes fall even a few percent.

What are they so afraid of?

Well, for starters, they know full well that the global economy is shaky, at best. Financial markets valuations are so high that you might say they are 'priced for perfection'.

The fear is that if these market ever get rolling to the downside, they'll fall a very long way before finally finding a true bottom. And along that path lies a bevy of failed mega-banks and ruined political careers. So, the status quo has a very strong interest in keeping the financial markets propped up for as long as possible.

However, as mentioned before, these unhealthy market conditions have led to a general retreat by flesh and blood traders leaving only the computers to play financial ping pong with each other.  This means trading volumes have fallen and volatility has increased:

'Paralyzing Volatility' Means Trouble for Wall Street Giants

May 6, 2016

There’s plenty of volatility, but what happened to the volume?

From stocks to currencies and bonds, the upswing in turbulence to start the year is chasing all but the bravest traders from financial markets.

Despite the recent rebound in U.S. equities, volume in the S&P 500 Index is down 23 percent. Speculative bets on the direction of currencies have also dropped to the lowest in two years, while average daily trading among dealers in U.S. Treasuries is close to a seven-year low.

Worries about the outlook for the U.S., Europe and China, as well as mixed policy signals from central bankers around the world, have all contributed to what UBS Group AG Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti called a “paralyzing volatility” that’s scaring away clients and caused industry-wide trading revenue to tumble to the lowest since 2009.

Normally, a rise in volatility tends to lead to higher trading activity as traders jump in to bet on the market’s ultimate direction, according to Gulberg. That hasn’t been the case this time. Violent swings across assets have whipsawed just about everyone as concern deepens over the state of the global economy and the effectiveness of negative interest rates and quantitative easing.

At the start of the year, it took just six harrowing weeks for the S&P 500 to lose 11 percent and then a mere five weeks to recoup all the losses. What’s more, it came within months of its August swoon, the first time since 1998 that bull-market investors have suffered two such swings in close succession.

Even after stocks rallied in February, trading has fallen off. U.S. equity volume has averaged 7.2 billion shares a day since the bottom, compared with 9.3 billion shares a day in the first six weeks of the year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Daily moves in the S&P 500 have also averaged 0.84 percent since August, versus 0.55 percent in the prior two years.

“We’re seeing huge dislocations in markets in this year,” said Atul Lele, the chief investment officer at Deltec International Group. “It isn’t the type of volatility where you see opportunities come out of the woodwork.”


Yes, the so-called “markets” are not really markets anymore.  They are the playgrounds of remorseless computer algorithms which can (and regularly do) turn on a dime and run the other direction simply because that’s where all the other programs are running.

Along the way, traditional traders and investors who do important things like analyze earnings and spot fundamental errors have been routinely trampled and they are doing the sensible thing by backing away.

That’s what I did a number of years back once I understood that the playing field was steeply titled and getting more steeply tilted by the day.  Wall Street is always something of a rigged casino but now the rigging is extremely unfair and completely obvious.

And it’s not just the little guys that are harmed here, even the biggest players are being smacked around in these brave new “markets.”

Hedge funds are doing terribly

Apr 22, 2016

Pity the hedge fund manager.

The elite, highly compensated men—they’re mostly men—who run money for the world’s wealthy are having a devil of a time finding a way to make decent returns. As an asset class, hedge funds lost 0.4% during the first quarter, according to research firm Eurekahedge.

Hedge fund clients have noticed that they’re not making money. As a result, they’ve yanked roughly $15 billion in assets from hedge funds in the first quarter, the worst stint of redemptions since 2009, during the nadir of the Great Recession.


Even the hedge funds, with nearly $3 trillion under management are not big enough, or well-positioned enough, to figure out what’s going on and make positive returns.  This means that you and I stand even less of a chance of gaining access to useful trading information.

The reason for this is contained in this snippet from a FT article on hedge funds:

The [hedge fund] strategy that has been winning the year so far is dictated by computers: systematic hedge funds that surf trends using financial models and algorithms have dominated the lists of the best-performing funds.


Yep – computerized “trend surfing” is the latest hot thing.  Of course, to do that, nothing need be known about the underlying reason for the price moves, only being on the right side of those moves.  If that sounds like a completely societally useless thing to do, except to the extent it lines the pockets of the people playing the game, that’s because it is.

The idea of capital markets existing to align surplus capital with promising ideas has long since given way to a Wild West casino mentality fully supported and coddled by fearful central banks.

This is a terrible ‘reason’ for markets to exist and shows just how far off the tracks we’ve gotten.  The Federal Reserve has a lot to answer for in being the leader of the pack in creating these Frankenmarkets.

At any rate, market volatility is increasing and with it the chance of a market crash also increases.  Twitchy, trend surfing computers with microsecond reflexes are not exactly the makings of a resilient market structure.

Weather Volatility

Now I happen to live in New England USA so the idea of weather volatility is something I have to try and become worked up about.  Hey, weather has always been somewhat unpredictable and chaotic, right?

But recent events have driven home the idea that we are now experiencing highly unusual weather events that even the most ardent Pollyanna would have a hard time overlooking.

Driving all of this is an extreme spike in atmospheric temperatures itself kicked off by a very pronounced El Niño.  Fluid dynamics are notoriously difficult to model but the basic idea is that what are considered stable patterns at one temperature will shift into new patters at a higher or lower temperature.

Think of food coloring dropped in a glass of cold water vs the same dropped in a vessel of hot water the temperature of which is rising.  Yes it swirls in both containers, but far faster and in a more wide-ranging way in the hot vessel than the cold.


While it’s thought that the moderating El Nino will also moderate the rapid temperature spike, we can already see some of the effects brought about by a jet stream with unusual patterns.  The first is in the tragic story of the forest fires that burned through Fort McMurray, which were stoked by a very unusual jet stream pattern that brought temperatures 30 degrees warmer than normal to the area.

Fort McMurray fires

Unseasonably hot weather in Alberta, Canada, is fueling the worst wildfire disaster in the country’s history. An extreme weather pattern, known as an omega block, is the source of the heat.

An omega block is essentially a stoppage in the atmosphere’s flow in which a sprawling area of high pressure forms. This clog impedes the typical west-to-east progress of storms. The jet stream, along which storms track, is forced to flow around the blockage.

At the heart of the block in Canadian’s western provinces, the air is sinking and much warmer than normal. Such a clog can persist for days until the atmosphere’s flow is able to break it down and flush it out.

Centers of storminess form on both sides of the block, and the resulting jet stream configuration takes on the likeness of the Greek letter omega. In this case, cool and unsettled weather is affecting the eastern Pacific Ocean and eastern North America, including much of the U.S. East Coast.

As the Fort McMurray wildfire rapidly spread Tuesday, temperatures surged to 90 degrees (32 Celsius), shattering the daily record of 82 degrees set May 3, 1945. 

More records are likely to fall today. Temperatures are forecast to climb well into the 80s today at Fort McMurray, about 30 degrees warmer than normal.

The videos of the fires in Fort McMurray are quite alarming and many people were caught quite unprepared.  While the loss of life has been kept to a minimum by prompt evacuation calls, at last count more than 1,600 homes had been burnt to the ground, with some residential communities practically burned to the ground.

More on that lack of preparedness in Part II below.

On the other side of the Atlantic another jet stream anomaly brought unseasonably late ice and snow and hard freezes to areas where fruit production and vine growth were already underway ruining the growing season across entire swaths of Europe:

Extreme snowfall and frost damage in Europe

May 3, 2016

In several European countries – such as Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Slovenia, France and Belgium – apples, pears, cherries and grapes were frozen early last week. The snowfall also created challenges with the roofing systems, and occasionally the snow completely ruined things. Snow and cold temperatures are predicted for some places in the coming nights again. NFO, the Dutch fruit growers association, summarised the results per country as follows:


In the cultivation area in the state of Styria the words ‘complete catastrophe’ have been used. About 80 per cent of the fruit harvest would be destroyed (see photo left of the news report in which firefighters remove snow from hail nets in Gleisdorf, the link is at the bottom of this article and external). During the night from Monday to Tuesday the small fruits had to endure temperatures of 2 to 6 degrees below freezing according to the Landwirtschaftskammer. Initial estimates concerning approximately 2,000 Styrian cultivators indicate €100 million Euro in damages for the fruit sector (without grapes) alone. Councillor Hans Seitinger: “This is truly a unique situation, which has not occurred in the last 50 years.”


The Italian agricultural organisation Coldiretti also reported that the fruit cultivation suffered damages from the weather circumstances. The increasingly often occurring results of climate change resulted in more than 14 billion Euro of damages to agriculture in the last ten years, according to Coldiretti. Last winter, Italy had the warmest winter in history. This resulted in an early development of crops.


The longer list of country effects shows that fruit and grape production was just hammered making this a lost growing season for those unfortunate farmers.

In my own small corner of the world there may be zero peaches produced by several New England states, mine included, because it dipped to a bud-killing 18 degrees one night and then 19 degrees the next in April.  Those are very unusual temperatures courtesy of a late season polar vortex itself courtesy of a wonky jet stream.

So no peaches this year.

Yes, sometimes weather does unusual things.  But it is the increasing frequency of such events that makes it increasingly obvious that we had better start planning on them continuing far into the future.

The problem is, we don’t have the slightest clue how to really plan because the new patterns are emergent – they don’t just happen all at once, it’s a process that takes time – and it’s too early to declare anything beyond “change is happening.”

This NYTimes article did a good job of capturing that dynamic:

A New Dark Age Looms

Apr 19, 2016

IMAGINE a future in which humanity’s accumulated wisdom about Earth — our vast experience with weather trends, fish spawning and migration patterns, plant pollination and much more — turns increasingly obsolete.

As each decade passes, knowledge of Earth’s past becomes progressively less effective as a guide to the future. Civilization enters a dark age in its practical understanding of our planet.

To comprehend how this could occur, picture yourself in our grandchildren’s time, a century hence. Significant global warming has occurred, as scientists predicted.

Nature’s longstanding, repeatable patterns — relied on for millenniums by humanity to plan everything from infrastructure to agriculture — are no longer so reliable. Cycles that have been largely unwavering during modern human history are disrupted by substantial changes in temperature and precipitation.

As Earth’s warming stabilizes, new patterns begin to appear. At first, they are confusing and hard to identify. Scientists note similarities to Earth’s emergence from the last ice age. These new patterns need many years — sometimes decades or more — to reveal themselves fully, even when monitored with our sophisticated observing systems.

Until then, farmers will struggle to reliably predict new seasonal patterns and regularly plant the wrong crops. Early signs of major drought will go unrecognized, so costly irrigation will be built in the wrong places. Disruptive societal impacts will be widespread.

Such a dark age is a growing possibility


A ‘dark age’ is simply a time when your prior accumulated knowledge is either lost or is no longer applicable.  There’s much groping about as culture realigns itself and finds its new footing.

The new wanderings of the jet stream have brought unseasonable cold to some areas and drought to others.  It has blocked storms from some areas and dumped unusual amounts of rain in others.

It’s now common to read of “100 year” events, they seem to happen every month. 

These new patterns are noticed somewhere in our animal cores, leading people to report a feeling of anxiety, or that “something is just not right.” 

Certainly there’s no shortage of things that might contribute to that sense, but we need to hold open the idea that we remain attuned to the natural world and as that shifts dramatically all around us, we are deeply affected.


Market volatility is on the increase, as are weather anomalies. Perhaps they're connected in some deeper way that is not obvious. Or perhaps each just represents the logical end stage of a system grotesquely deformed by too much hot money (in one case) and trapped heat (in the other).

If you're waiting for things to become even more deformed before you begin to prepare yourself for a future of disruptions -- don’t.  Get started right now.  Preparing takes time, money and emotional energy. All of those things tend to evaporate once a crisis really gets rolling along.

This new volatility is now here with us. And that has enormous implications -- some we can plan for, and others we cannot.  I can plan on losing peaches now and then but if the rains stop falling, I’m screwed.

In Part 2: How To Prepare For Volatility, we conclude that nobody can predict exactly how or when these changes will manifest.  We are entering a new dark age, one marked by an unknowing.  We can either acknowledge that reality and begin to act on it today, or we can ignore it and assume we’ll have time to react to circumstances later, along with most other people. 

And there's much we can do today -- right now -- that will make a huge positive difference difference in our outcomes should crisis arrive soon. But we need to act soon.

Those who wait will mostly be caught off guard and very disappointed in themselves. It happens all the time -- just ask the residents of Fort McMurray.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Very much welcome the addition of weather/climate volatility to the discussion. As for a major cause look no further than the horrors unfolding in the Arctic and Greenland. Difficult to read about but Robert Scribbler doing a stellar job covering it, and other climate-related developments.
It is hard not to feel that we are in the process of losing our stable climate system, if we haven't done so already.

I think the hardest thing we will do is to live in a world we don't understand. Good luck in your prep. 

Not looking forward to this year's fire season.

I wonder if planting and growing under "hoop" green houses, also called "high tunnels," will catch on with the increased weather stress.  Here are some pictures from Rob Shepler's Potter's Ranch facebook page.  One size green house is massive.  Large enough for fruit trees.

A hoop Green House with a heater running during this last frost.

Building the "high tunnel."

This style of covering is called a "caterpillar" hoop house.

On way to protect low growing crops from frost damage is to have a low tunnel hoop green house built within a high tunnel hoop green house.

Here is a low tunnel.

The instruction manual on how to make these "Quick Hoops" from Johnny's Seeds

I don't fall in the category of "climate change deniers," a term I personally despise.  Point of fact, I have witnessed warmer temperatures over decades in my neck of the woods.
I am, however, less of a fan of the way climate science has been managed.  Sir Francis Bacon would not have approved, to say the least.

The other phenomenon is that the main stream media will print anyone saying that any event is climate change related, without considering the amount or extent of science behind the pronouncement.

I've wondered about some of the claims and, in honor of Al Bartlett, ran the numbers to the extent possible. There is no data available to the masses, that I have been able to find, regarding fires and floods, but there is data available regarding tornadoes and hurricanes.  What I found when looking at major tornadoes and all hurricanes is that the slope of the trend line for both hurricanes and major tornadoes is very slightly negative.  Their frequency is declining ever so slightly since tracking began in the US.

So, I personally, am left with the opinion that, the Midwestern United States seems to be warming over an extended period.  However, I am not convinced the numbers generated by the science for 100 years hence are reliable.  Short of the climate change scientific community excluding members with unshakeable, preconceived notions on the subject, there is no good answer.

Having said all that, here's a scary environmental topic.  We talk frequently about water shortage and atmostpheric CO2 levels.  Has anyone ever wondered how we are doing regarding atmostpheric oxygen?

The article talks about lower atmostpheric oxygen due to burning petroleum products, but I wonder what the impact of our dying oceans is on oxygen and what it will be going forward?

IMO, this article is not entirely accurate, and certainly too late to do the readers any good.
It has been obvious for a LONG time now that we have a "3 dollar bill" stock market which TPTB cannot ALLOW to drop even the slightest, for fear of momentum driven nosedive into the abyss.  But they are far from just jawboning the market up from any attempted sell-off.  They are manipulating derivatives (particularly the VIX) and levering off algos to create short squeezes,–hence the magical reversal of every market sell-off and subsequent "levitation" of the market, without volume.  

Put another way, we have an inverted pyramid with a larger body of derivatives driving a smaller body of stocks underneath.

We also have an inverted pyramid with a financial "economy" on top larger than the physical economy underneath.  That's why continued attempts to explain the stock market with economic factors is not only futile but laughable.

Instead of RISING volatility (measured by the VIX), I see it being killed off completely!  Instead of the stock market crashing, I see it levitating forever (ultimately at the expense of a trashed US dollar, which is part of the plan anyway).

Write an article to refute this thesis, with some specifics (i.e. explaining the mechanics).  Now THAT would be an article worth reading!

I've written and spoken plenty on the topic, with lots of specifics.  Try googling these words and you will several pages of tasty results: Martenson market manipulation

In a nutshell, these computers provide a perfect playground for market manipulators, some of which are just short-term operators spiking prices for their own gains, while others are using the momentum ignition parameters to reverse declines and put hard floors at key technical moments.

Who those operators are would probably be revealed if we understood the particulars that underlie the CME's preferred buyer incentive program for central banks…

I agree with your take on the issue Les. We were having a similar conversation yesterday about the fact that the earths climate has always been in change but the cycles cover such a vast time period that we do not really have time to notice much in one lifetime. 
But our ability to observe and deduce from scientific investigation tells us it is true IMHO. My personal take on the peak oil climate change issue has been virtually the same since my college days. As M.King Hubbert pointed out, the stored carbon in the earth's crust was created over a several hundred million year period of time when living organisms from the earth were absorbing sunlight and storing carbon into what would become fossil fuels.

So we have now converted about half of the total stored carbon contained in fossil fuels and put the residual heat and carbon (among other things) back into our atmosphere in a couple of hundred years. At the same time we have harvested a good portion of those living conversion units (AKA Trees, plankton and other living things green things) which give oxygen back to the atmosphere.

I wonder if good old mother nature will notice. I'm not sure we are being the change we want to see either!

A more important question to me is what is she going to do about it! I say get ready for massive change … including our climate.


People like to say that fiat currency is unbacked.  That's not true; each dollar of base money (Fed deposits and/or currency) is backed by a dollar of assets - usually sovereign debt.  Each dollar of bank deposits is backed (supposedly) by a loan taken out by some hard-working person or company, usually collateralized by property, equipment, oil in the ground, assets of the company, etc.  There is ultimately "something real" behind almost every dollar in circulation, though its ultimately only as real as the validity of the accounting.
Now then - if you wanted to back a currency, you could theoretically choose anything.  Gold, land, sovereign debt, municipal debt, corporate debt - or you could choose equities.

Would you rather have (let's say) shares in AAPL, or the sovereign debt of Italy?  Or Spain?  Or Portugal?  Or Non-performing loans from Italian banks?  Or rotten subprime mortgage-backed securities?

Ultimately, what's wrong with having high quality equities on the balance sheets of our central bank/hedge funds?  Say, just the dow 30?  As a taxpayer, I'd almost prefer them over sovereign debt.

SNB buying AAPL doesn't sound so foolish when you consider the alternatives.  And if we really are in Armstrong's "private wave" where sovereigns end up defaulting right and left leaving bondholders with very little, SNB may have the last laugh.

Of course, price does matter…and ultimately maybe that's the real objection here.  "SNB shouldn't own AAPL because its just too expensive."

The thing that gives me pause is that just about every commentator I read says we're going to have a massive crash in equities.  Except - its the bond market that's at a 40 year peak.  Half of bonds have negative yields.  And when everyone is on one side of the boat, usually something else happens.  And when bonds blow, where will the big money go to hide?  Armstrong says there's only one place: equities.

And isn't SNB buying AAPL instead of sovereign debt evidence of this very phenomenon?

Wow!  I'm not sure which is more fundamentally flawed: our debt based monetary system or your logic.

This year has been brutal for fruit growers.  One way to protect (or hedge) against total crop loss is to diversify. A familiar concept for investors that works with fruit too!  
Plant early and late ripening varieties. Plant varieties that are 1 or 2 plant hardiness zones above and below your location.  Plant varieties that thrive in wet and those that prefer dry conditions.

Much can be done with intensive culture in small spaces. Select dwarf varieties and plant in dedicated beds. Prune aggressively.

Plant a living hedge!


Wow!  I'm not sure which is more fundamentally flawed: our debt based monetary system or your logic.
Well gosh, if its so flawed, it should be easy for you to state the reasons why you think its flawed, and then we can have a discussion on the merits of your fact-based criticism.

Unless of course for some reason you're finding it difficult to generate any fact-based criticism…

Aloha! Greatest growing season ever here in Hawaii. My mango trees are full of fruit! After 18 years here I have never seen such abundance and I do nothing to the trees. No water no fertilizer no pruning! Capt Cook knew …

When a disaster has to be viewed by satellite to really appreciate its dimensions, that's when you know it's a big deal.
These before-and-after roll-over photos show the extent of the complete devastation to some enclaves within Ft McMurray.

And these videos show that Canadian people are incredibly well behaved…self-dangerously so!

I cannot believe that biker did not cut into the open lane and make for it!  Or gun it up the side walk.  He only finally reacted when his skin was being burned by the intense heat.

Or why not one of those drivers in trucks decided it was time to screw the lawns and make use of their trucks capabilities to move over alternative terrain.

But Canadians are also incredibly generous, with AirBnB recording a huge input of "rentals" being offered in the region for $0 to Ft McMurray evacuees.



I don't think I understand all the intricacies of the financial system, but this, I am sure of: Banks print money out of this air (Not backed dollars), then they back it against some real assets when they lend it. The problem is that not all assets are (easily?) convertible into $$$. and when there are too many $$$ in circulation, then there is hyperinflation. But every $$$ still represent something, although smaller in quantity. It is the lending process that links every $$$ to some assets.
This is the simplified way I see it.

Good article Chris.

I find it as an examination of the present state of things, about how a slow decline has started.  Just a couple of examples woven with your narrative that make perfect sense with your article. 

1.  It is not a disaster, but it is a sign of the times where the United States, the richest country on the planet, can no longer spend the money for manned space missions.  Based on our current budget picture, it would appear Americans paying for manned missions into space is a thing of the past, unless we hitch a ride with someone else.


2.  School districts are starting to really cut back budgets.  Here in Vermont, Burlington, by far one of the largest districts in the state, has had to lay off something like 20 professional staff in the last few years.


3.  I am really frustrated at this point when someone observes weather events which are unquestionably out of the norm, and then respond that it is all part of the natural cycles of the planet, or that climate change is some liberal plot by the government. Arg.  Anyway, the climate variability is starting to be an issue for growing seasons, which has always been one of my primary concerns since starting to prep.  Been investigating ways to grow food that stays good long into the winter. 




Build a house on water, in a forest, on a fault line…then not expect Nature's Knock?

Aloha! It is either the current "usual suspects" in government that survives or the People, the Middle Class. The US Fed was created by a Congressional act at the behest of the bankers for obvious reasons so in true corrupt tactics Congress influences the US Fed. Is it in the governments best interest to see the US Fed raise rates when Obama has single handedly created more debt than all other past Presidents combined? Please do not be so naive to think that both sides of the isle differ on debt issuance. History shows both Reps and Dems enjoy creating more debt. Do you think the struggling family in Middle America with $20k on his Visa card wants to see rates go up? Certainly the real estate market doesn't want higher rates.
Only the older Americans who worked hard their entire life and bought into the oft repeated advice of every financial planner since 1950 want rates to go up. These are the fixed income folks who need interest income and dividends to survive. Even pension funds need rates to rise as they too serve the senior citizens of America. Yet who has the US Congress thrown under the bus for decades now? Pretty much anyone they could sucker to vote for them except their "handlers". Here's a novel idea … why not let government live on less for once? Dump income tax and let each US government agency go on GoFundMe or Kick Starter. Let the US Dept of Defense go on Kick Starter for its next fighter jet. Want a dam in your State … GoFundMe! 

If people knew how corrupt government contract bids are they would want the US government out of the process. Suddenly they would realize prisons, schools, dams and roads would be cheaper by at least 30%, just on the labor side! Right now if you want US government funds in your infrastructure projects you may as well have the Mafia, they'd be easier and cheaper to deal with!

US Congress … meet The Bobs!

Not self-dangerous when you look at the larger picture.

The fact that the evacuation was mostly orderly is why so many people are safe despite all the damage.

Cooperation and looking out for the common good are major survival values.