In your opinion, what does this blog need more of?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

On gold, world markets, and R2K


Some other reading:

Reformed Borker (Bork Bork Bork!) - it's the global economy, stupid. Read this and you'll want to go long global equities!

All Star Charts - bull flag in small caps. Read this and you'll want to go long IWM!

Jesse's Cafe Americain - gold to da moon Alice! Read this and you'll want to go long gold! Oh but wait:

Jesse's Cafe Americain - one market day later.... Read this and you'll... um... blah blah evil bear raid, blah blah Goldman Sachs, blah blah international Jewry.




Some perspective from Liz Ann Sonders


I'm still sick with a cold, and in addition now have to make up a week's worth of work at school, so thus the lack of posting.

But I just remembered today that I'm still not following Liz Ann Sonders as much as I should, so here's her latest market update:


Liz Ann Sonders - 13 Oct market perspective.

Salient points:
U.S. stock indices have continued to push to record highs, with little apparently able to throw them off course. The grind higher has pushed through natural disasters, the Las Vegas tragedy, domestic political failures, international political tensions, and missile tests and threats from North Korea—an ample “wall of worry” for stocks to climb.

And

Although there is little of the excess that would suggest recession risk is near, we do see signs that the characteristics of the economy and market may be changing. Bond yields have crept higher, international markets have performed better, and cyclical sectors such as energy and materials have outperformed—all potential signs of the latter stages of a cycle.

And

Strong surveys indicate improving economy


ISM manuf. vs. ISM non-manuf.

Source: FactSet, Institute for Supply Management. As of Oct. 9, 2017.
Additionally, the U.S. Citigroup Economic Surprise Index has moved back into positive territory, while several measures of capital expenditures have started to move higher. 
Economic surprises are positive

Citi Economic Surprise Index- US
Source: FactSet, Citigroup. As of Oct. 9, 2017.
And capex looks to be improving

nondefense capital goods orders ex-aircraft
Source: FactSet, U.S. Census Bureau. As of Oct. 9, 2017.
Philly Fed Capex Index
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. As of Oct. 9, 2017.

Read her, she's an example of the exceedingly rare analyst who knows what they're talking about.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Mr. Robot commentary


And as for this week's episode of Mr. Robot, two observations:

1. It is obvious from Elliot's monologue that Sam Esmail feels personally responsible for the election of Donald Trump. Good, that'll teach him.

2. It is obvious from, hell, like ten whole minutes of this episode that Sam Esmail has been reading the Mr. Robot reddit threads for ideas, came across the "Whiterose is building a time machine!" thread, and has decided to incorporate it into the series. Whether it'll be for real or just a troll is still to be determined.


Friday, October 13, 2017

STOP PRESS: THERE ARE NOW SEX ROBOTS


I did not know this was a thing:


San Diego Union-Tribune - world's first talking sex robot is ready for her close-up. Quotes:
News of creator Matt McMullen’s latest invention — he’s been making lifelike silicone sex dolls for 20 years — has created international media interest and a firestorm of criticism from ethicists and futurists who see a dark side to a sex doll
What, a dark side? To a sex robot?
that becomes more “human” with each technological innovation.
OK yeah, if it becomes more human that's dark. I don't want a humanlike sex robot. I want one that shuts up and makes me a damn sammich.
One critic worries that the doll’s artificial intelligence app could be hacked to make it kill its owner (like the vengeance meted out by sex robots in the film “Ex Machina” and TV show “Westworld”).
We have that now, it's called "wife".
And women’s advocates say owners could realistically rehearse plans for violent sexual acts with the interactive dolls.
And what's wrong with that? If I have violent sex with a pumpkin is it a crime? Then who cares about a robot? And is it okay if I have violent sex with a James McAvoy robot, instead of some poor helpless oppressed woman robot?


The Sun - you aren't committing adultery if you bed a sex robot, says law. Yeah like I even care.


Cosmo - 1 in 4 men would consider sex with a robot. Well, duh. If she doesn't have a 60-inch ass, three chins and four multiracial children by different fathers, then she's a novelty. Amirite?


The Guardian - should we ban sex robots while we have the chance? The leftie fascists have to weigh in with their two cents. I assume "while we have the chance" is a nod to the fact that nobody's going to want to ban them when they all have one.


Daily Mirror - sex robot that lets men simulate rape should be outlawed, says campaigner. Oh, Daily Mirror! Whatever it is, you always find someone campaigning against it! How do you do this?


NY Post - sex bot "heavily soiled by barbarians" at tech fair. But it gets funnier:
The ersatz lover — an interactive silicone doll named Samantha — was the star attraction at the Ars Electronica Festival
heh heh... "arse"...
in the city of Linz, where sex-crazed men mounted her and groped her bulbous breasts.
Yes, in Austria. Though I'm sure they're blaming it all on Turkish immigrants.


Men's Health - this orgasming sex robot blah blah don't care. The bonerkiller:
“We are not perverts, and these dolls are not for perverts,” Squire said on ITV'sThis Morning.
OK, well I am a pervert, so let me know when you decide to make something for me, you pompous little wankstain.

Italian students strike over "work experience"


BBC - Italian students strike over "work experience". Quote:

Italian Education Minister Valeria Fedeli defended the centre-left government's education policy. She said internships gave students "complementary skills that enable them to face the future with more knowledge".

[...]

In a statement (in Italian), McDonald's said its outlets across Italy were taking "up to 10,000 students each year", with the aim of helping young people develop skills required in their future employment.

And of course the working for free bit is just icing on the cake, right?

Well, these jobs do "enable them to face the future with more knowledge" - the knowledge that the globalists want to march the working class back into the loving embrace of feudalism, and that at this point the only way to turn this big fucking boat of capitalist kleptocracy around is to gun down all the fuckers responsible.


Friday videos: that crazy Ed Ball again


The strange thing about a song with the lyrics "Ma-n-chester, Manchester Eng-land" is that you don't expect the rest of the lyrics to be all so poetic.



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Got a cold


I've got a cold, here's some news so get off my dick:

Tim Duy - Trump's going to destroy the Fed. By appointing Kevin Warsh, who has no clue what he's doing. And yes, there are people like this in the field of economics.

The Krugginator - again, Trump's going to destroy the Fed.

IPE Zone - and meanwhile, Houston the abandoned hellscape. Contractors can't find the tradesmen to rebuild the city, because they're in Mexico.

I mean, you could easily take all the middle-aged unemployed white men in the rust belt, train them all to be drywallers and framers, and fix your problem right there.

But corporations don't want to train anyone anymore, they don't want to pay decent wages to skilled trades anymore, and thus the US slides back into feudalism.

Remember, in a feudalist economy, productivity growth is 0, wages are subsistence-level, and nobody in the elite cares because they can still make 5-10% profit per year sitting on their investments.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Yellen and Kashkari


Two newsbits:

Jared Bernstein - Trump's best move is to reappoint Yellen. He has a very good point:
There’s an interesting way in which a more hawkish Fed chair–and most of the top candidates other than Yellen fit that bill–would be a double whammy for Trump.

First, raising rates would slow growth, which presidents never like. Second, higher rates strengthen the dollar, making our exports less price competitive, which this particular president really wouldn’t like.
So let's see if President Piddles has the sense to reappoint Yellen.

Neel Kashkari - my take on inflation. I didn't understand the appointment of a lower-level functionary with an MBA, but it turns out that Kashkari has the most sense of the lot - probably because he has no economics background, so he falls back on empirics.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Well, you voted Trump....


Vox - Puerto Rico is all our worst fears about Trump becoming real. Quote:

“People on TV news shows spoke significantly fewer sentences about Hurricane Maria than about Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” he writes, and “the spike in conversation about Puerto Rico right as the hurricane hit was also much smaller than the spike in mentions of Texas and Florida.”

Cable producers surely had their reasons for this. But something anyone in the media could tell you is that cable producers’ news judgment is not an infallible guide to the substantive importance of various stories. In particular, a broad range of issues — potentially including natural disasters in outlying US territories — have an asymmetrical quality to them, where if handled appropriately most people won’t care that much, but if botched it eventually becomes a big deal.

This is why traditionally presidents have relied upon staff and the massive information-gathering capabilities of the American government for information rather than letting television set the agenda. Trump has a different philosophy, however, and spent the post-storm Saturday glued to his television and letting the hosts of Fox & Friends drag him into an ill-advised Twitter spat with NFL stars.

Because Trump wasn’t paying attention, the situation evolved into a catastrophe. And because the situation evolved into a catastrophe, it eventually ended up on television.

The Washington Post reports that by Monday, Trump “was becoming frustrated by the coverage he was seeing on TV.”

[...]

A president who was focused on his job could have asked in advance what the plan was for a hurricane strike on Puerto Rico. He would have discovered that since Puerto Rico is part of the United States, FEMA is the default lead agency, but it’s the US military that has the ships and helicopters that would be needed to get supplies into the interior of a wrecked island. And he could have worked something out. Instead, he didn’t get worked up about Puerto Rico until more than a week after the storm hit, when he saw the mayor of San Juan lambasting him on television. He lashed out with his usual playbook — one that will only make things worse.

[...]

Retired Gen. John Kelly’s background and experience are unusual for a White House chief of staff, but as it happens, his final military assignment was as commander of American military forces in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean basin — basically perfect preparation for the crisis that happens to have struck.

It’s of course entirely possible that things would be going even worse if Reince Priebus were still in charge, but on its face, Kelly’s experience does not seem to be doing any good. And that should be a stake through the heart of the notion that some stable of “adults in the room” are going to save the country from having made a spectacularly inappropriate choice of chief executive.

The one thing we can say for sure is that it’s essentially inconceivable that the next objectively difficult crisis that Trump fumbles will be more in Kelly’s wheelhouse than a disaster requiring a military response in the Caribbean. We’re witnessing the Trump administration at peak performance, and it’s appalling.

Well, as President Truman once said, "the American people know what they want, and they deserve to get it good and hard".*



*yeah I know it was probably someone more like Mencken

A quick market comment....


US equities:

SPY is RSI=74, +2SD. IWM is >2SD, RSI=85. QQQ, however, is not overbought.

Wharrgarbl:

GLD is -2SD, RSI=36. SLV is about -1.8SD, RSI=35. GDX is ~-1.5SD, RSI=42. Gold and the miners are at a thick band of price, so they should have support here. Copper is failing to break down below its SMA(50). GDX is supported at its weekly SMA(50).

Would you go short S&P, long gold miners right here?


Monday, October 2, 2017

Monday news


Seems like the market's climbing a wall of worry again... everyone's doubting it as it continues to scale all-time highs.

In other news, I got 84% on my first Metrics 2 test, which is okay, so I'll be sticking at it.

Here's some high-class reading for those of you who think multisyllabically:

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Everything's still hunky-dory.

IPE Zone - can US stocks still rise? Yes, because there's nowhere else for the tens of trillions of world wealth to go.

CFR - the world's China problem. They just can't get it through their fucking heads that China has figured out that macroeconomic orthodoxy is only one possible solution, and that a strong enough state can do what it wants.

Tim Taylor - demography rebalances Asia. I know for a fact that wealthy old people don't spend down their wealth. And as for India, it's a clusterfuck: the only way it grows is by (1) exporting goods via satellite because their transportation network is a disaster, or (2) generating fake numbers for their real estate values. Neither of those is a recipe for success.

WSJ paywall - many students around the world can't read. As it turns out, the growth economist's assertion that "education spending raises human capital" is bullshit. You have to actually have teaching, not just spending.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thursday stuff


Well, my first Metrics II test was a lot easier than I thought, so I guess I'll stick with it. At least, I need to see what the marking scheme is like.

Anyway, let's catch up with some news of the past few days:

New Deal Demoncrat - Yellen just confirmed 2% is the new inflation ceiling. So when the Fed causes a Volcker recession in the next year, you'll see a deflationary wage-price spiral. Yay! Buy gold!

WSJ Paywall - global growth picks up, but can it be sustained? Writing it off as "the cellphone effect" is nonsense. Cellphones are just another consumption good. If people are buying them, then they have money to spend. Coulda been mangoes for all we care.

IPE Zone - did Xi and Macron just make US stocks great again? Quote:
From Xi Jinping’s China to Emmanuel Macron’s France, politicians are delivering policies that businesses want. As a result, the world economy is growing faster than at any time since the post-crisis bump of 2010. The yuan and the euro have risen sharply against the dollar. A more competitive greenback and the prospect of strong exports have supported U.S. stock prices. A Chinese communist and a French technocrat have done more for American business than Trump has.
Take that, America!

NY Times - US corporations guilty of collusion, face jail time. Haha no. No, there's no such thing as anti-trust law when it comes to gentlemen's agreements between fast food companies to refuse to hire each others' former workers. Yes, there should be, because this is collusive action that restricts free markets. But economic theory, don't forget, only ever exists to make the rich richer and the poor back into the slaves they were before WWII.

Reuters - Republicans fail again! Because they're morons. Thankfully, they've just saved thousands of lives by being morons.

Noah Smith - handwaving on health care. The thing to understand is that John Cochrane isn't a real economist. Yes, he is a pretend economist, and yes he tore the RBC boys a new one when he proved they didn't know undergrad-level econometrics, but he's also a twit who blathers utter fucking nonsense in an attempt to rent his bunghole out to the Republican Party.


Monday, September 25, 2017

News


I'm days away from dropping my Metrics 2. I didn't like a tenured professor being replaced at the last minute with a grad student, but decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.

As it turns out, she refuses to admit when she marked me wrong and doesn't know the math. So that's it for benefit of doubt. I'm not sticking in that class if it means I fuck my chances at grad school with a fucking C.

Here's some fucking news:

Klendathu Capitalist - big week for the once mighty dollar. I think he's being a fucking pussy. When was the last time the USD dropped 11% in a year? Did everyone puke dollars then? So why do you think they're going to puke them now?

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. All good, doesn't matter, it's all about Kim Jong Un and Republicunt health care demolition bills and people wanting to rotate out of tech stocks every month.

Robert Shiller - the coming bear market! Because Shiller doesn't get to clickbait his headline with a question mark. Sorry dickhead, either put your money where your mouth is or shut it the fuck up.

Vox - We asked GOP senators to explain why they're supporting Graham-Cassidy, and all they did was blather incoherent nonsense like little Nazi punks. If you needed any proof that Republicans have no fucking clue what they're voting for and are just in it to take bribes for their votes, this is it.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

For the AfD


In celebration of the probable AfD election victory in Germany this weekend:



And this is the fate that awaits the rest of Europe!:



PS Vladdy Pooty-Poot is still a man-loving pussy bitch.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

This is how to be a bitchy economist


BBC - scientists develop new antibody that attacks 99% of HIV strains. Scientists at Harvard and MIT have helped develop an antibody that basically destroys HIV.

Meanwhile, macroeconomists at Harvard and MIT have written some really crappy books and whored their asses out to the Koch Brothers.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Here's how you do Halloween


BBC - 'decapitated man' halloween display in Tennessee sparks 911 call. With a helpful image of what a 'decapitated man' halloween display looks like:



With a very good-natured response from the police, believe it or not!:
Greene County TN Sheriff's Department wrote on Facebook: "ATTENTION EVERYONE!!! For those of you driving on Chuckey Pike in Greene County: THIS IS A HALLOWEEN DECORATION!

"Do NOT call 911 reporting a dead body. Instead, congratulate the homeowner on a great display."
I guess the homeowner must be white, otherwise the cops would have murdered him and gunned down his family.

Friday evening news


Gotta do a load of econometrics homework this weekend so I don't bomb on the first test.

But first, here's the news!:


Pole Mic Spains - cash is oversold. This guy's even a weirder weirdo than Klendathu Capitalist, but if you're going to get your market opinions from someone it may as well be a weirdo.


PIIE - the Fed buys into secular stagnation. Trust me when I say this is the most important market story right now:
The FOMC's estimate of the so-called neutral federal funds rate had declined from 4¼ percent a few years ago to 3 percent earlier this year and is now only 2¾ percent. With the federal funds rate currently near 1¼ percent, the Fed is almost halfway through its tightening cycle (assuming that the economy does not significantly overheat in the meantime). Moreover, it is possible that the projected neutral rate will decline further, as the FOMC ponders research that suggests the long-run neutral rate might be as low as 2 percent.
Their Fed funds rate has been going up slower than their estimate of the neutral rate has been coming down. So about a year from now, they'll have raised rates up to 2% at the same time as they'll be estimating that the neutral rate has dropped below 2%... which means a Volcker recession in 2020.


Noahpinion - let's whine about the future. I agree entirely:
Our modern society is totally wired and connected, but also totally unequal - "the future is here, it's just not evenly distributed", as Gibson was fond of saying. Hackers, cyberwarfare, and online psyops are a regular part of our political and economic life. Billionaires build spaceships and collaborate with the government to spy on the populace, while working-class people live out of shipping crates and drink poison water. Hobbyists are into body modifications and genetic engineering, while labs are researching artificial body parts and brain-computer interfaces. The jetpack is real, but there's only one of it, and it's owned by a rich guy. Artificial intelligences trade stocks and can beat humans at Go, deaf people can hear, libertarians and criminals funnel billions of dollars around the world with untraceable private crypto-money. A meme virus almost as crazy as the one in Snow Crash swept an insane man to the presidency of the United States, and in Texas you can carry a sword on the street like a street samurai in Neuromancer. There are even artificial pop stars and murderous cyborg super-athletes.

We are, roughly, living in the world the cyberpunks envisioned.
Of course, like any article, it gets better after he says "but...".


Niskanen Center - black liberty matters. A nice big article on how libertarians are actually closet racists, because all they really want is liberty for white people.


Vox - a new study debunks one of the arguments against basic income. One more win for fully automated luxury gay space communism!:



Freitag Deutscherfederalelektionvideo


In honour of the election, let's evilly culturally appropriate the Germans:





Thursday, September 21, 2017

RUSSIA DECLARES WAR!!!! against... wait, who?


BBC News - All of Russia declares war against Morgan Freeman. I enshitten not thee:

Russia has aimed its entire media arsenal at the veteran Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman over his appearance in a video accusing the Kremlin of waging war on America during last year's presidential election.

The video shows the Oscar winner accusing President Vladimir Putin, a known former KGB spy and kleptocrat, of launching cyber attacks and spreading false information in order to avenge the collapse of the Soviet Union.

And of course Mr He-Man Pooty-Poot the Bear Wrestler and Sometimes Bear Lover is incensed by this, kinda like how fellow kleptocrat and banana-republic dictator Rocket Man hates when you make fun of his hair and flabby face.

So He-Man Pooty-Poot the Bear Wrestler and Sometimes Bear Lover will retaliate the only way he knows how: by aiming the entire might of his failed alcoholic empire at Morgan Freeman!

Unfortunately, Pooty-Poot, the Morgan Freeman meme was here first:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Yet more various news


Still not actively TAing yet: hopefully they can assign me a room now.

Here's fun news items:


Calculated Risk - architecture billings growth streak continues. So quit selling S&P you fucking pussies!


Tim Duy the Economics Guy - Fed may have too much faith in inflation forecasts. In which case, yet again, the Federal Reserve will cause a recession and kill thousands just so they can provide more money to the rentier class.


Reuters - Buffett calls US pessimists 'out of their minds'. Well, they're not always 'out of their minds'; sometimes they're just Russian-funded neo-Nazi propagandists. Here's Warren himself:
He noted that since Forbes created its first list of the 400 richest Americans in 1982 -- Buffett was worth just $250 million then -- some 1,500 different people have been included.

All with one thing in common.

“You don’t see any short sellers,” he said, referring to people who bet stock prices will fall.
Would you expect Pooty-Poot to be short US and long gold? Of course not, he's got his own billions stashed away in US equities, like every other tinpot dictator.



Tim Taylor - antitrust in the 1520s. Yes, once upon a time Protestantism (and by that we include Luther Himself) was against monopolies. Of course, back then Protestantism was revolutionary; now it's just another opiate propping up the kleptocracy.


Monday, September 18, 2017

NDD on real median income: YABUT


New Deal Demoncrat - 2016's new high in real median household income.

Yeah, that's fine and all.

But:



This chart, combined with the fact that marginal propensity to consume goes down as income increases, means that household consumption still has a way to go.

Household savings, though, is hunky dory cos the rich are richer.

Thus, NDD, I'm more of a New Deal Keynesian Leftist than thou.

Proving you're stupid


All I have to say about that clown is, if you're seriously making predictions (and not just trying to fill space) by asserting there's a magical fucking 30-month cycle in the market, based on two fucking data points and utterly zero underlying mechanism, then you're pants-on-head fucking stupid and your readers have every right to waste money on your bullshit idiot newsletter.


Oh crap look what's up for Wednesday


Calculated Risk - this week's schedule. Oh crap. Janet's going to be talking on Wednesday. So the market (especially gold miners) might go haywire that afternoon.

BTW, I'd like it if the market stopped going stupid batshit haywire on days of Fed announcements: that would mean that market participants consider it enough of a non-event that they no longer feel it necessary to clear the order book beforehand or to put contextual bots in control of trades.

And that would mean they're starting to get a fucking clue.

New Deal Demoncrat likes Trump now


New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Summary:

Corporate bonds, Treasury yields, and mortgage rates have all improved enough to remain neutral, as does growth in real estate loans. The yield curve, money supply, and purchase mortgages also remain positive, as are the two more leading Chicago Fed Financial Conditions Indexes. Refinance mortgage applications are the sole negative.

Short leading indicators, including stock prices, industrial metals, the regional Fed new orders indexes, spreads, financial conditions, staffing, the US$, oil and gas prices and usage are all positive. Jobless claims nominally are neutral, but adjusted for the impact of Harvey remain very positive.

Among the coincident indicators, positives included consumer spending as measured by Johnson Redbook, steel, the TED spread, tax withholding, the Baltic Dry Index and Harpex. LIBOR remains negative. Rail was positive except for carloads ex-coal.

Despite the hurricane impacts, the economy appears in very good shape over the near term, and retains a positive tone, if more mutedly so, in the longer term.

Just a few weeks ago, though, NDD was less happy about the data. Could it be that his opinion has been changed by Trump twice dumping his own party to work with the Democrats?

:-)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday newsing


So yay, I'm now a TA. So I'll probably be doing an extra year of school to get more GIS and economic geography under my belt.

Here's some news:

BBC - Trump fairly close to DACA deal with... wait, what? The traitor! So as it turns out, an advantage of having an ignorant buffoon as president is that he doesn't really care about any of his promises, or the left-right divide, or anything. Trump may be a malignant narcissist, but at least he's shaping up to be a bipartisan malignant narcissist - which is more than you'd have gotten from some other clown like Jeb Bush.

Caixin Global - Chinese central bank breaks silence on cryptocurrency ban. Well, there goes a big chunk of bitcoin demand, eh? I wonder if this is enough to push crypto into a bubble pop....

New Statesman - development of the welfare state was aided by... wait, what? Seems right. Any theory that suggests the British welfare state was the flowering of a new inclusive liberal democracy must explain how this happened when 90% of British citizens were considered too subhuman to be given the vote. Otherwise it's just mythology. And really, the drive to redistribution had to be advocated by bourgeois intellectual paternalism, in cahoots with Bismarckian authoritarian technocracy, because there was no other hegemony at the time.

Klendathu Capitalist - wharrgarbl. Another blog along the lines of Polemic's Pains, illustrating that you don't have to pay $300/year for Tanashian's wharrgarbl. There's better wharrgarbl out there than him, and it didn't bottom-tick the June 2013 sell-snit.

Friday videos: "Blue Monday" played by... wait, what?


Proving that they didn't need Gillian and her pile of synthesizers in the band at all, except that she was the only one who knew anything about playing music.



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Off-topic reads


I see the neo-Nazis from Russia have quit clicking to my blog. Probably because of all the anti-Russian news I post here.

News:

New Deal Demoncrat - actually, it was a bad JOLTS report. NDD has officially diverged from Bill McBride and everyone else, and is becoming a dooooomster.

Polemic's Pains - ramblings of a mad man. He thinks EM is about to head south? But EM is mostly China, and Billy Bishop says that you have to be an idiot to think Chinese data will look bad during the present party stuff. If EM turns it has to be after Xmas. And then this bit on Bitcoin:
Crypto currencies Initial Coin Offerings have broken the records set in CDOsquared property heaven of 2006/7 by amortising the future value of fresh air - this example of a guaranteed honestly useless coin is Useless Etherium, which would be priceless if it didn’t have a price, but it raised $90,000. So if you can now issue crypto currency backed by nothing and folks will buy it, just imagine how much you could get by backing it with something, anything .. even Italian bad debt -
Yup, being able to sell cryptocurrency in IPOs like this really is the sign of a fucking insane bubble. I should print $300T in Monopoly Money with unique serial numbers, call them a "portable cryptocurrency", and sell them to the wackaloon crowd. I'd make a killing.

Bloomberg - which came first, the opioids or the despair? Good point - you have to study the opioid crisis like a disease to see if there's an epidemiological reason. And people don't die of overdoses because they're trying to kill themselves, good point.

Reuters - Congress calls on Trump to denounce hate groups. The traitors!


TED CRUZ LOVES PORN! Here's what you need to know


BBC - Ted Cruz now likes porn, I saw it on Twitter.

Personally, I don't think Cruz has enough brain cells to masturbate successfully, he'd probably break the thing. But still:
A US Republican senator who once defended a ban on masturbation appears to have 'liked' a pornographic video on social media.

The Twitter account of Ted Cruz, the former lawyer who ran for US president in 2016, 'liked' the two-minute video by @SexuallPosts on Monday.
This can be explained by him also not having enough brain cells to operate a Twitter account successfully.

You decide!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Larry Summers on why the US government cannot be downsized


Larry Summers - why "downsizing government" is bullshit. This is what idiots refuse to know:

First, the population is aging and the Federal government disproportionately takes responsibility for the aged.

The share of the adult population over 65 will have risen from 12.5 percent in 1990 to 19 percent in 2030. Of course, one might argue that as life expectancy increases, the definition of old age should change. Figure 1 show that there will be dramatic increases in the share of the population who are within 15 years of their life expectancy relative to those who are more than 15 years from their life expectancy, so allowing for an evolving retirement age does not change the fundamental picture.



Second, inequality has increased substantially, as depicted in Figure 2. If one of the functions of the federal government is ameliorate inequality, it will experience pressure to expand to even partially offset rising inequality. This effect is potentially large. The share of pretax income going to the top 1 percent has risen by 10 percent of total income. Undoing even a quarter of this would cost about 2 percent of GDP.



Third, the relative price of what the government buys has soared. In fact, according to the CPI the relative price of a TV and a day in a hospital has changed by a factor of 100 since the 1980s. As Figure 3 illustrates, this is a quite general phenomenon with health and education costs rising faster than GDP. Rising relative prices for what government buys necessitates larger government.



Fourth, presumably our defense spending needs to be calibrated to some extent to the defense spending of our potential adversaries. Figure 4 suggests trends in our relative spending that are unlikely to be sustainable.


It is of course possible to argue that government spending has long been excessive and so rising demands on government can be met by curbing past excess. My point is not to argue about the proper size of government, only to note that if one accepts the judgements made in recent decades, the logic points to larger government in the future.


More things of reading with words and shit


Well, R lab isn't going to be hard. I mean, I haven't coded in a while, but these kids really didn't seem to have any idea whatsoever, so I look good in comparison.

Still will have to go in on Fridays to do labs, though. But that seems like a fun thing to do.

Anyway, here's more news:


Calculated Risk - job openings increased slightly in July. Very strong report, he says.

NY Times - yuan rebounds as confidence returns. So I guess we can dump the US and buy China, now?

IPE Zone - Premier League post-Brexit. If only the idiots who voted Leave had known at the time that it would mean they're going to lose all their good footballers! Oh yes, if only they had two brain cells to rub together!

Yahoo News - FBI investigates Sputnik. Gee, really?:
The FBI recently questioned a former White House correspondent for Sputnik, the Russian-government-funded news agency, as part of an investigation into whether it is acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

As part of the probe, Yahoo News has learned, the bureau has obtained a thumb drive containing thousands of internal Sputnik emails and documents — material that could potentially help prosecutors build a case that the news agency played a role in the Russian government “influence campaign” that was waged during last year’s presidential election and, in the view of U.S. intelligence officials, is still ongoing.

The emails were turned over by Andrew Feinberg, the news agency’s former White House correspondent, who had downloaded the material onto his laptop before he was fired in May. He confirmed to Yahoo News that he was questioned for more than two hours on Sept. 1 by an FBI agent and a Justice Department national security lawyer at the bureau’s Washington field office.

Feinberg said the interview was focused on Sputnik’s “internal structure, editorial processes and funding.”

“They wanted to know where did my orders come from and if I ever got any direction from Moscow,” Feinberg told Yahoo News.
Gee, Sputnik as a propaganda arm of a fascist totalitarian state? You think?

Even better:
The probe into Sputnik also comes shortly after the Russian news agency announced a significant expansion in the U.S. capital: It took over a popular Washington FM radio station dedicated to playing bluegrass music and replaced it with an all-talk format with hosts who regularly criticize U.S. policies — as well as one co-host who is a former Breitbart News reporter and Trump supporter. “I’m sure you heard a lot about us,” Gavasheli was quoted as saying by the Washington Post. “Now you can actually listen to us.”
And people just let this happen because what's one more propaganda actor in a country whose right-wing media was taken over by the Mont Pellerin Society and the John Birch Society decades ago?

New AI can tell if you're gay


BBC - new fight over AI that can identify gay faces.

I predict the researchers are soon inundated with emails from lesbians with jpgs of Naomi Watts, Sheryl Crow and Katheryn Winnick, all saying "please solve this argument for us".


Who's the #2 food exporter in the world? The answer will surprise you!


Tim Taylor - guess who's the #2 food exporter in the world? Nope, not the US. Definitely not China. India or Brazil? Make me laugh! Nope, not even Canada, even though we single-handedly fed the Soviets for decades.

The answer will surprise you! That means you're supposed to click through!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Some news


I haven't heard back about my TA-ship just yet, but I'm already behind my readings by 5 chapters and it's only been a week and two classes don't even have textbooks.

So you're going to be hearing less from me til reading week.

New Deal Demoncrat - are consumer indicators rolling over? Well, if so, then $200B in extra spending to fix the hurricane damage should help.

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. And again, the hurricanes are going to mess up the data for a while, so may as well double-long the S&P and go on vacation for a couple weeks.

Noah Smith - an American Whitopia would be a dystopia. Or, more simply, the kind of people who espouse American white supremacy are not the kind of people that I, a purebred Aryan, would ever want to hold up as exemplars of my race.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Some Friday news


I have Fridays off school, for now, but will probably have to start going in to do labs. Among other things I'm learning ArcGIS, GIS-T, Stata and R, and for some reason I can't code like I could when I was a kid. Or maybe they just don't have a clue how to teach you to do that.

Anyway, here's some Friday news:

Tim Taylor - the limited exposure of the US economy to trade. As in, it's only 13% of GDP, quit whining you stupid Americans.

Klendathu Capitalist - the USD bull market. I don't get how it can be an end to a USD secular bull. But still, if we're past cycle middle, it is true that commodities should go on a secular bull in USD terms.

BBC - Facebook uncovers Russian disinfo campaign, hits "like". Yup, the Russians were stupid enough to actually pay for their disinfo advertising.



TRUMP THE TRAITOR!!!!


HAHAHA NICE WHITE HOUSE YOU HAVE THERE REPUBS!!!!

Reuters - Trump collaborates with Democrats on debt ceiling and immigration. OMG LULZ:
President Donald Trump on Thursday embraced a suggestion from the Senate’s top Democrat to end congressional battles over the U.S. debt ceiling, a day after he stunned fellow Republicans by striking a major budget deal with the opposition party.
AHAHAHAHHAAAA!

So Trump is going to make a deal with the Democrats to pass a bill eliminating the debt ceiling!

I guess the Republicans should expect this, since they can't even agree to use their house & senate majorities to actually eliminate the ACA that they voted to repeal like 50 fucking times when Obama was in power.

Friday video: the Jesus and Mary Chain are officially oldies music


A country version of "Blues from a Gun" FFS:



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

And two on North Korea


Billy Bishop says the US can easily pressure China to back then up on North Korea, simply by threatening to give nukes to South Korea and Japan. That's the one thing that will make China budge.

With that in mind:

NY Times - North Korea's nuclear arsenal threatens China's path to power. Decades of Chinese geopolitical strategy gets flushed down the poop chute if China pisses off the US.

Reuters - allowing nuclear weapons in Japan could defuse North Korean threat. The money shot:
“Just by raising this issue of nuclear principles, Japan will push the United States and China to act, and it is something that Beijing is not going to like,” said Takashi Kawakami, a security expert at Japan’s Takushoku University.

“It’s the medicine that China needs to make it act against North Korea.”
And the dominoes fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.


And two articles on Bitcoin


Qz - Robert Shiller says bitcoin is a bubble. Well, we knew that. What happens when everyone is buying a currency, and nobody is selling it, while its amount is restricted? The currency goes up in relative price to the goods it was supposed to be buying, but isn't. Problem is, eventually buying and selling equalize. Then, if things go badly, selling increases and buying stops. Wonder what happens then?

Thing is, in monetary economics, "currency" is nothing special. It's really just a storable commodity, except it's never consumed.

And, even more fun:

FT Alphaville, and not even Izzy Kamizzy this time - Bitcoin is a super circle jerk by 40-something sociopathic autistic virgins. And they really mean it:
Women made up only 8 per cent of California’s population in 1850, after the gold rush brought a flood of men seeking fortune.

The gender imbalance in today’s ICO mania is reportedly worse. While there’s no reliable census for crypto users, one recent estimate says women are just 3 per cent of the Bitcoin community, even though there’s no shortage of women who live in California. Crypto-bachelors appear to be aware of this gender imbalance, but they don’t sound all that unhappy about it.
I dunno, if something is being bought 97% by men, then ipso facto it's not a currency, is it? It's probably something you ejaculate into, instead, right?

And next Alexandra really beats the bitcoin community like a mixed-race stepchild, then stomps a fuckhole in their ass and fucks it dry with this passage:
Of course, it only caught our eye because some techbros seem like they’d rather pay for a fake female team member than hire a real one. And while they often carry on about digital frontiers, it’s highly unlikely they actually want to be in the American West, with its vigilante mobs, willful women and rivals with guns.

No, some of them want to be in Westworld, the fictional Wild West theme park where ticketholders can do whatever they want to realistic humanoid robots, which inevitably leads to all the horrors you’d imagine that scenario would entail when broadcast by HBO. The urge to objectify and dehumanise other people — often women — is both thoroughly human and scary as hell. And a strip club called Legends Room basically asks crypto-bachelors to indulge that impulse to its extreme:

“Someone can go into the Legends Room and pay the young ladies by waving their phone over the QR code on her shoulder. It’s the gamification of the club environment,” Peter Klamka told the Daily Beast.

Gamification? A game where they… they… wave a phone over a glorified barcode, to buy attention from a living, breathing human woman? They wave their phones? Over a barcode? On a person?

Forget old-fashioned stuff like “making eye contact” and “rote niceties”, that’s all history now that we’ve got the blockchain!
Oh man. Alexandra just did this to bitcoin:



"Bah gaw Jim! He's broken in half!"

Wednesday reading


Here's some economics news with which to enlighten your sorry ass:

Calculated Risk - ISM non-manufacturing increased in August. Ignore the manufacturing index: this is the one you should pay attention to, because it's a large part of the US economy.


FT Alphaville - Brainard's framing challenge. Tim Duy notes that it'll be harder for her to get her point across to the board now that the US isn't threatening a slowdown this year.I personally think the Fed is the one place where you can sometimes find economists who aren't wedded to idiotic dogma. Definitely she can convince Kashkari.


The Krugginator - the very bad economics of killing DACA. But forget about the economics, just look at it more simply:
throwing out 800,000 young people who are Americans in every way that matters, who have done nothing wrong, basically for racial reasons.
No, I'm sure there's going to be at least a dozen white Aryans who also get kicked out for having been brought to the US illegally in childhood.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Toosday Noos


So I'm back at university for possibly my final year, or maybe not.

I'm even trying for a TA position, which is funny if you've ever read this blog. But don't worry, I really honestly can do customer-facing with a smile on my face... when there's money involved.

Here's some news:


Jared Bernstein - yeah, as if Trump is really going to accomplish anything. Moderate Republicans will find enough Democrats to go along with a debt ceiling hike, but all other partisan right-wing policy is going to be dead on arrival. Factor that into your stock market strategy.


New Deal Demoncrat - motor vehicle sales vs real retail sales. I actually think there may be a distortion due to cash-for-clunkers. Then again, maybe the US economy really is about to roll over for no reason at all?


Lael Brainard - understanding the disconnect between inflation and unemployment. Well, at least they're understanding there is a disconnect. Now all they have to do is grow a pair of fucking balls and place the blame where it's deserved: on policy. After all, you wouldn't expect real price inflation in a slavery economy, or a serfdom economy, right?


IPE Zone - more on Texas and deporting Mexicans before rebuilding Houston. Face it, the US needs undocumented immigrants. The alternative is - shock! horror! - offering naturalized citizens a higher wage. I mean seriously:
There are plenty in and around Houston who might consider taking on the work, which can pay $20 an hour or more, if ID requirements were relaxed, construction industry officials say.
Are you fucking kidding me? You're bragging about paying $20/hr for construction work? That needs to be at least $30, probably more. But I guess it would pay very little if the people were competing with undocumented Mexicans.


BBC - Azerbaijan laundered billions thru the UK. Kinda funny that you'd choose the UK to launder money through, no? I mean, it's as if they're a corrupt third world hellhole or something....




Raghuram Rajan on the rise of populism


Promarket - Raghuram Rajan on the rise of populism.

Doesn't say much we don't already know, but as he's a member of the economic elite it's informative to at least see what he's saying.

"Wait, is he really linking to Zerohedge?"


Zerohedge - the trouble with global asset bubbles is eventually they pop.

Wait, are they talking about Bitcoin?


Unintended consequences or feel-good jargon


IPE Zone - but who will rebuild Houston? Turns out that undocumented Mexicans are the lifeblood of the US economy, but we already knew this:

Back in 2007, the Washington Post reported on a Tulane and University of California, Berkeley, study that found some 100,000 Hispanic workers thronged into the Gulf Coast region in the wake of Katrina, many of them undocumented. Houston will need a similar migration for it to recover. In 2017, from where will those workers come?

Actually, the whole deportation narrative of the US right wing is a scam, and everyone knows it, because it's the supporters of the right wing who rely the most on undocumented workers from Latin America.

But since it's a scam to gain votes from racism, it's a particularly odious and informative one.

Friday, September 1, 2017

payrolls


Calculated Risk - August employment report is not doomy. But of course a certain Russian-funded neo-Nazi propaganda site frequented by the dumber end of the market had to call it a harbinger of doom.

Yet I look at Bill's charts and see that there's really nothing outside of trend.

BTW, it's funny that, despite being a supposed Libertarian website, that certain Russian-funded disinfo fake news site has to run articles backing up Trump and criticizing "violent left-wing anti-Fascist protesters". I guess that means that Libertarians are in favour of Fascism, or they whole-heartedly support Trump, or they're such pussies that they could never imagine what it's like to actually fight for your beliefs.


Friday videos: Nightblooms


The heck, I never even heard of this band back in 1990. Apparently they were from Holland.




Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Various market newses


Stuff:

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Nothing worth worrying about.


Tim Duy the Economics Guy - market fear is a nothingburger. Quit pissing your panties, SPY is down 2% from an all time high.


Tim Taylor - will the China shock operate in reverse? The suggestion is that demographics will, among other things, drive interest rates back up now that China is oldening. Personally, I have never met a senior citizen who hit age 65 with x savings and didn't continue accumulating savings in retirement. I would like to see the empirics before I believe this story that we're moving into a worldwide dissaving regime.

Oh, and also: Goodhart and Pradhan are assuming that the Chinese government won't modify policy to keep rates from rising, if they don't want rates rising. This is boneheaded: China knows its policy power trumps all bullshit economic theory.


IPE Zone - Canada's plan to keep NAFTA alive. If one side has put a full-court press in play at multiple levels to lobby for maintenance of NAFTA, and the other side is a bunch of idiot Republicunts run by a retard with a 6-year-old's mentality, then what do you really think the result will be? Oh, and:
Remember, the US president does not have sole discretion whether to withdraw from a trade deal like NAFTA. Instead, congress does.
So you can tune out all those idiots in the press with their 2 year college degrees in broadcasting, because not a fucking one of them seems to know how legislation works in the US.

Newest bitcoin participant: Russian Burger King FFS


FT Alphaville - Russian Burger King invents "Whoppercoin". This is silly, and Kadim Shubber does his best Izzy Kamizzy:

Big news out of Russia today. Burger King has launched a new loyalty points program called “WhopperCoin”.

If you buy enough Whopper sandwiches from the fast-food chain and accumulate 1,700 loyalty points, you get a free one.

It’s big, big news. The kind of big news that gets covered by the BBC, the Verge, CNBC and Fortune.

Why is it big news?

Well, because Burger King Russia is calling it a “cryptocurrency”…


‘Now Whopper is not only burger that people in 90 different countries love – it’s an investment tool as well. According to the forecasts, cryptocurrency will increase exponentially in value. Eating Whoppers now is a strategy for financial prosperity tomorrow,’ comments Ivan Shestov, Head of External Communications at Burger King Russia.

Just to be clear, that’s someone calling a fast-food chain’s loyalty points program, which has a fixed conversion rate to B.U.R.G.E.R.S., an “investment tool” that is forecast to “increase exponentially in value”.

You know it's a stupid idea when you can channel Zoidberg:

"A-ha! Once again, the conservative sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!"

Friday, August 25, 2017

Every few years, Jesus punishes Republican presidents with a hurricane.


Weather.com - OMG megahurricane to destroy Texas. A 12 foot storm surge, 2 feet of rain, and 100mph winds will hit Texas soon.

I assume Trump's response is going to be as pathetic as Bush Jr.'s was to the disaster in New Orleans.

This'll turn Texas against the worthless Republicans. Kinda like Bush's Katrina.


Friday videos: Die Cheerleader?


Heavy 1990-ish riff rock, sorta like Loop meets Band of Susans or something.

Never heard their music til recently, but I always saw their name in the Melody Maker live listings back in the early 90s, and I loved their name.





Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jackson Hole stuff


CNBC - at Jackson Hole, the death of a model.

The Phillips Curve is the central theory for the Fed's dual mandate of limiting inflation and maximizing employment, so it's really going to suck when they realize that inflation and unemployment are not necessarily correlated at all.

What's less likely is that academic economists ever fucking realize that wage growth is dependent on political economy, not some stupid fantastical perfect competition model for labour.

Cos once you realize that labour is paid below its perfect competition equilibrium wage, that firms buy labour in an oligopsonistic market, then really the only sensible thing to do is throw out orthodox general equilibrium altogether, ask "what is the actual econometric data telling us", and then look for entirely fucking sensible political economy explanations that have been around since, oh, Das Fucking Kapital.


Post #6000! Note on $VIX and a kitty video


Since the start of the 2nd week of August, $VIX has refused to break back below its 20-day Bollinger mean.

That seems to be a fair bit bearish, and definitely contradicts an "all clear" message for the time being.

Also, though they're still well contangoed, VIX monthly futures have been rising for weeks. This makes me think people are buying downside puts to cover all coming months, not just an expected breakdown this week or next week or the coming manufactured September US debt crisis or something stupid coming out of Trump's mouth anytime soon - it's a broader level of concern. Not the kind of concern that makes everyone puke and go to cash, but the kind of concern that makes people cut longs, buy downside puts, and build cash in order to "buy the dip", maybe.

But the VIX futures seem to say the "dip" might be longer in the making than a day.

Though all this, the R2K and $TRAN charts still look bad, which makes the 2% pullback from alltime highs in SPY and QQQ look much worse than their charts would look in isolation. As it is, the negativity in R2K and $TRAN makes SPY and QQQ's hugging of the SMA(50) below their Bollinger means suggest a further breakdown, not an ongoing consolidation.

People were euphoric since Trump won his mandate. Now they're figuring out the euphoria was misplaced. Yes, the fundamental market valuation really depends on the US economy, and Trump can't do much to fuck that up; but the psychological market valuation depends on Republicans learning that they're fucking stupid idiots with no grasp of economics or policy whatsoever.

Expect that to take a while cos Republicans are fucking morons.

Anyway, in honour of this blog's six thousandth post, here's a video of a kitty cat sleeping in a tiny human bed:




Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Crowdfunding campaign to buy Twitter, ban Trump


USA Today - Valerie Plame wants to buy Twitter, ban Trump.

I mean, while she's at it she could also ban the 100,000 Russian troll accounts.

Then again, maybe Twitter should fucking well do this themselves.


der Spiegel reporter on the Russian mindset


der Spiegel - the mysteries of the Russian mindset. Ever wonder why, over and over again, Russia keeps devolving into an illiberal fascist plutocracy with utterly no citizen input? Or why Yabloko disappeared as a political party? This article explains the Russian mind:

Several months ago, I had a dispute about this with respected filmmaker and theater director Andrei Konchalovsky. He is turning 80 this year, has made some of Russia's best films and has lived in Hollywood for a long time. Despite our disagreements, we were very close to one another in our views of many things. Konchalovsky says Russians have retained the soul of a peasant over the centuries, arguing that Russians never became citizens in the true sense of the word and always positioned themselves in opposition to the state, because the government is always trying to take something away from them. At the same time, he argues, Russians are so enormously patient that they can more easily accept injustices. He also argues that Russian thinking is Manichean -- that Russians only know black and white.

McConnell realized Trump's an idiot



NY Times - Mitch McConnell realizes Trump is an idiot.

Of course, the Republican party is to blame.

1. The Republican party has spent 40 years pandering to the lowest common denominator, fanning the flames of division and feeding crass populism.

2. Um... no, #1 is really all you need to know.


NDD says economic indicators are fine, it's just the President is an idiot


New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Though it's not where the economy is now that's important. It's what dismal hole Trump is leading the economy into that matters.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Our Daniela interviews the Cookie Monster


Apparently he's now a "famed geologist". I guess he discovered the iridium layer or something.



Oh and re the eclipse bringing the end of the world....


Daily Express, the Daily Mail's Daily Mail - solar eclipse: panic in Salem.

Uh... just in case you're worried, the last time there was a total solar eclipse was March 9, 2016. It was visible across Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi.

And no, the end of the world didn't happen in Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi.

Then there was one on March 20, 2015, visible from the Faroe Islands and just off the coast of Iceland.

Iceland, a supervolcano, did not blow up destroying the world on March 20, 2015. If it did I'm sure we would have heard about it. The Faroe Islands, meanwhile, didn't suffer a zombie attack.

Previous to that, Nov 3 2013 saw a total eclipse pass across Africa. Nothing happened, though in the Gulf of Guinea the island of Fernando Poo continued to make people giggle.

And so on, about every year or so on average, the world failed to end with a total solar eclipse.

Just not in Jesusland USA, for several decades, til now.

OMG WILL YELLOWSTONE ERUPT DURING THE ECLIPSE?


No.

But "a Wyoming Woman" says it will! OMG!

K2 Radio - Wyoming woman says Yellowstone will erupt during the eclipse!!!!!! Quote:

Darrah Perez of Riverton is a believer in signs and portents, and has, she said, had a revelation. The total eclipse of the sun, which will pass over the United States on August 21st, will trigger the eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera, sometimes known as the supervolcano.

The caldera measures 35/45 miles and is full of pressurized, molten lava. The Yellowstone Supervolcano is the volcanic field which produced the latest three supereruptions from the Yellowstone hotspot; it also produced one additional smaller eruption, thereby creating West Thumb Lake 174,000 years ago. The three super eruptions occurred 2.1 million, 1.3 million, and approximately 630,000 years ago.

Experts say the ash cloud from a full-bore eruption would blanket most of the United States with devastating results.

OMGwellgonnadie!:

But, scientists say the chances of this are remote for the foreseeable future.

Well... who ya gonna believe? "A Wyoming woman" who "believes in signs and portents", or scientists?

I'm amazed that this story hasn't made it to Zerohedge yet, considering they've ran a whole flood of news on a pending Yellowstone eruption recently, and this is most definitely something that they can blame on international Jewry.

PS for those of you in Ontario, an eclipse will be passing right over us in April 2024, so you'll get a chance to see something better then.

I intend to carry a "the end is nigh" sign on that day.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Steve Bannon fired?



Maggie Haberman on Steve Bannon:

The notion some folks are telling themselves is that if Bannon is gone, this all magically changes. It does not.

Problem #1 is, who does he get replaced with?

Problem #2 is, he probably won't get executed by firing squad; he'll just go back to the internet and troll the President from outside.

But feel free to ooh wow buy the S&P up to its 3:00 PM Thursday level on the news of Bannon's purported firing.


And even Michael Moore is funny again


Apparently his "Broadway production" is a self-indulgent waste of time. But at least he's being funny for a few minutes today:

Reuters - filmmaker Michael Moore says Trump "will get us all killed". Quote:

"This guy's going to get us all killed. There's nobody in charge. This man (Trump) has the nuclear codes," Moore, 63, told Reuters Television in an interview on Thursday.

"I'm hoping somebody in the Pentagon is protecting us. Like, whatever's in that nuclear briefcase it's just some girlfriend's phone number or something[...]".


Friday noos


QQQ is threatening to break its SMA(50). That'd be a big plummet if it came. Wonder if the American Republican investor has panicked enough?

Anyway, some reading:


NY Times - Fed officials confront new reality: low inflation and low unemployment. Quote:

Most Fed officials subscribe to a view of inflation in which prices rise more quickly as unemployment declines. The basic idea is that companies must offer higher and higher wages to keep their workers.

Now, the Fed is confronting “the coexistence of low inflation and low unemployment,” a phenomenon that inverts the “stagflation” experience of the 1970s, when both inflation and unemployment climbed.

The meeting account said most officials continued to regard low unemployment as the most important factor. They said inflation was rising slowly because of temporary factors, like a decline in cellphone service prices. And they remain inclined to raise the Fed’s benchmark rate later this year.

Blaming it on cellphones just shows how utterly ignorant they are. What'll be the next transitory effect keeping down inflation in the $18 TRILLION dollar US economy, hm? Declining pork prices? Framing lumber? An aggressive Piggly Wiggly coupon program?

There are people on the FOMC who believe in hard data and empirics. They are what the press calls "the doves", because they believe in empirical verification, and reality trumping fantasy.

Then there are people on the FOMC who still are wedded to the nonsense bullshit taught in academia based on a homogeneous consumer who can buy a continuous spectrum of consumption, and sell a continuous spectrum of labour, dependent on his utility function which he knows and which satisfies Inada conditions, trading with a homogeneous firm who uses homogeneous priceable capital and homogeneous labour to produce a homogeneous consumption good according to a declining-returns function, that is then sold in perfect competition at breakeven prices, and whatever the hell you do don't mention Sonnenschein Mantel Debreu! These people are living in a fantasy world, and anything they say about economics should be recognized as applying only to the stripped-down fantasy world of their model - not to reality.


Ritholtz - the imaginary debt crisis is here to stay. Quote:

Have a look at the chart below. The total amount of revolving credit outstanding, much of it reflecting credit-card borrowing, peaked in 2008 and then collapsed during the financial crisis. After bottoming in 2011, it slowly began to rise, and almost nine years after the peak has finally reached new highs. There also were new records for the size of the U.S. population, gross domestic product, total household income, net worth and, perhaps most important of all, disposable personal income. This is what tends to happen in an economic expansion.

Go look at the chart.

Or, just realize that the anti-debt narrative originates with 19th-century anti-Semitism, and therefore it's always ever just a right-wing canard, and nothing from the right wing has ever made sense, so you can just ignore the whining from now on.

No, the EFF do not support neo-Nazis, Zerohedge


Since Zerohedge is trying to make the Electronic Frontier Foundation sound like supporters of neo-Nazism, here's a link to the EFF's real post:


EFF - fighting neo-Nazis and the future of free expression. Wherein you learn some things that Zerohedge left out:

We at EFF defend the right of anyone to choose what speech they provide online; platforms have a First Amendment right to decide what speech does and does not appear on their platforms. That’s what laws like CDA 230 in the United States enable and protect.

So contrary to Zerohedge's assertion, the EFF do not say a private company should be forced to publish ideas that it considers odious or dangerous.

It’s notable that in GoDaddy and Google’s eagerness to swiftly distance themselves from American neo-Nazis, no process was followed; CloudFlare’s Prince also admitted that the decision was “not CloudFlare’s policy.” Policies give guidance as to what we might expect, and an opportunity to see justice is done. We should think carefully before throwing them away.

Again, the EFF just wants a transparent process for the removal of neo-Nazi websites. Like, "our company will not provide service to anyone advocating race hatred", or "our company will not provide service to anyone who cheers the murder of a nonviolent protestor, calling her a fat childless whore".

Frankly, I think they're being a bit stupid here. Daily Stormer's takedown is not an item of concern for free speech advocates anywhere.

But if there is a single reason why so many individuals and companies are acting together now to unite against neo-Nazis, it is because a future that seemed unlikely a few years ago—that white nationalists and Nazis now have significant power and influence in our society—now seems possible.

And so they recognize that an individual's moral compass should never be subsumed by airy-fairy bullshit about "freedom of speech".

I'd add that if you compel internet companies to allow neo-Nazis to use their services, you're going to drive everyone with a moral compass out of the industry.

A good point about Trump


I'm not telling you who, cos you wouldn't click through - what's changed in the past few days for Trump. And, from one of the most astute no-bullshit political analysts around, here's the money shot:

Anyone with eyes — eyes not glued to Fox News, anyway — has long realized that Trump is utterly incapable, morally and intellectually, of filling the office he holds. But in the past few days things seem to have reached a critical mass.

Journalists have stopped seizing on brief moments of not-craziness to declare Trump “presidential”; business leaders have stopped trying to curry favor by lending Trump an air of respectability; even military leaders have gone as far as they can to dissociate themselves from administration pronouncements.

Put it this way: “Not my president” used to sound like an extreme slogan. Now it has more or less become the operating principle for key parts of the U.S. system.

Even for Republicans, by the way.

I wonder if they'll even be able to dogwhistle anymore, now that the masses have seen the subtext presented explicitly by Trump?

Well there goes Trump's infrastructure plan


Bloomberg - Trump abandons plan for infrastructure council.

I mean, it's hard to set up a council on infrastructure when the only people interested in associating with you don't own construction companies or engineering consultants.

Like, y'know... David Duke.

I'm only sayin'....

Friday videos: Mono


Japanese postrock quartet tears doom metal a new asshole, then stomps it dry:



That's only part 2 of the song, by the way.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

HERE'S THE TRUMP NEWS YOU NEED TO SURVIVE


Vanity Fair - Trump's implosion cannot be controlled. The CEOs figured this out already and jumped ship; are the Trump admin appointees with brain cells going to be next out the door in disgust? The entire White House is running anonymously to the press to complain about how impossible their job is.

The Economist - Donald Trump has no grasp of what it takes to be President. Well, at least you didn't endorse him in 2016 and make yourselves look even stupider than you normally look, guys.

WaPo - magazine covers after Charlottesville are jarring. Well, if you can't persuade Republicans with reasoning, you might as well try using cartoons.

Newsweek - Trump is just six Senate votes away from impeachment. Haha! Dream on! The Republican Senators who have been criticizing Trump would still never in a million years vote him out of office. And that's even after stipulating that Pence would be an ideal rubber-stamping pet puppy for Republicans.

I at least take solace in the fact that a fair number of people, both voters and beltway insiders, are finally starting to realize how stupid it is to put a clown like this in office for 4 years.


(in a Crocodile Dundee voice:) That's not a populist. THIS is a populist!


Thing about populism is, once you start down that road you quickly find yourself jumping more and more sharks:

Pitchfork - Thor Harris says he's running for Governor of Texas. Quote:


Thor Harris—frontman for Thor & Friends, and former member of Swans and Shearwater—said today that he wants to run for governor of Texas.

Wait, what? Former member of Swans? This Swans?



OK, I'm in!


Standing in front of a rainbow flag, he explained his reasoning. “Howdy, my name’s Thor Harris, and I’m running for governor of Texas, ’cause fuck this.”

I find his political viewpoint intriguing and would definitely subscribe to his newsletter.


When asked if he’s really planning to run, Harris responded to Pitchfork, “Why the fuck not?

Again, that's a far better reason to run than most.


In February, Harris was suspended from Twitter after he posted a joking tutorial about how to punch Nazis. His how-to followed the viral video of alt-right activist Richard Spencer getting punched in the head on Inauguration Day.

OK, so he's definitely not a Republican. If he was a Republican, he'd have posted a video about how he loves sucking Nazi cock, instead of a video about punching them FFS I mean that'd mean punching Strom Thurmond or something.

So, I hereby support Thor's run for governorship of Texas. #1, I'd like to see how deep the populist rabbithole can go, and #2, apparently the Democrats are such fucking sissies that they're not even going to contest the governorship, because that would mean talking to American citizens, and they gave that up decades ago. So we may as well have someone contesting the governorship.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

All the CEOs say he's a waste of time. Sad!


Breaking news:

NBC - literally every CEO quits Trumps council. No, not just that one, but the other one also:

"As our members have expressed individually over the past several days, intolerance, racism and violence have absolutely no place in this country and are an affront to core American values...We believe the debate over Forum participation has become a distraction from our well-intentioned and sincere desire to aid vital policy discussions on how to improve the lives of everyday Americans," a statement from members of the Strategic and Policy Forum council read.

"As such, the President and we are disbanding the Forum," it added.

They understand Trump will be a lot more mellow about it if they share credit with him.

The Campbells CEO stated it in the most simple way possible, just so all the Nazis in the south fucking well get it:

Within minutes, Campbell Soup Co. president and chief executive Denise Morrison issued her own statement, in which she said, "Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville."

Wah, say the butthurt Trumptards! Racism and murder are not unequivocally reprehensible! They're exactly as bad as taking down a statue or saying that black lives matter!

Think the Republican clowns are actually going to get their corporate tax breaks now?

Criticizing Democrats in 1980


New Deal Demoncrat - 1980's "The Changing of the Guard". Wherein he argues that the Democratic Party's turn away from the working class was evident even back in 1980. It's a good read. Here's his conclusion:

Even now, two generations later, as we have seen that when you take economic equity for granted it goes away, Chuck Schumer in 2016 and Mark Penn this year have continued to laud a strategy grasping for suburban Republicans and eschewing the traditional Democratic urban working class. As it turned out, bill Clinton had the priorities of voters fundamentally wrong: social conservatism was categorically more important to a critical mass of (especially white Southern) voters than economic conservatism.

But the ideology that Bill Black spoke of in June was already flowering 40 years ago -- the turning away from traditional Democratic power centers, and from broad government programs anchored in economic populism, in favor of social issues and a commitment to lower taxation and more efficient fiscal prudence -- espoused by a group that grew up in the post-war middle class suburbs and sought to appeal to those suburbanites first and foremost, taking for granted that the broad prosperity that those programs forstered would continue.

I'd add two things though.

The Republicans have followed a long strategy of changing the narrative for the working class/rural/southern Conservative voter. Firstly, they got involved in swinging Christian fundamentalism hard-right, to the point that now apparently American Jesus believes in hating black people and letting poor people suffer.

Secondly, through the Mont Pelerin Society, the right wing has worked tirelessly to brainwash people into thinking that radical right-wing policy is supported by economic theory and brings wealth to all, and that it's not even remotely a trojan horse used to reassign more and more wealth to the kleptocratic right-wing elite.

The Democrats seem to have not bothered trying to speak to the rural, conservative, working class voter, or to address the predominant narrative in his political stance in any way, for over 30 years now. It's as if they gave up on the south after Carter.

And maybe that's because American progressivism has always known that rural, conservative voters are susceptible to the most odious forms of populism, and they want to stay above populist manipulation.

Well, guess what? You gotta do it if you want to accomplish something.