1/17/13…the man without a country

From the Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: “My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can’t decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives.” – Rita Rudner

Bloomberg Quote of the Day: “It is never to late to be what you might have been..”         – George Eliot…it is if you die first! TB

Bloomberg Top Stories:

*Bank of America Slides as Cost of bad Home Loans Stalls Turnaround + bad decisions?

*Citigroup Fourth-Quarter EPS of 69 Cents Misses Analysts 96-Cent Estimate – now maybe people will believe TB on the myth of these ‘well run’ banks!

*Yen Weakens for First Time in Three Days as Stocks Fluctuate; Brazil Tumbles

*Boeing 787 Battery Incidents Prompt First U.S. Model Grounding in 34 Years

*Bank of America Reduced Staff by 14,600 in 2012 to Bring Down Expenses–not enough!

*Alcatel-Lucent $2.1 B Loan Buys 2-Yr Respite – Sounds like a hotel for alcoholics?

*Davos Pitch for Resilient Dynamism(?) Confronts Gordian Knot Stymying Growth

*Deutsche Bank Profited as $2 Billion Derivative Masked Monte Paschi Losses

*Al-Qaeda Group Holding Hostages in Algeria Demands France End Mali Attacks

*Militants Say Algerian Helicopter Attack Kills 35 Hostages, 15 Kidnappers – if this was U.S. there would be another investigation of State Department…for political purposes!

*Israel Election Polls to Netanyahu:  Be Careful What You Wish – GOP heed!

*Panetta Ties Delay of U.S. Aid to France in Mali Fight to Legal Questions

*Public’s Cry for Stricter Gun Regulations Often Ends With Thud in Congress

A third straight mixed day with both Nasdaq indices slightly higher (0.2%/0.4%) on Apple rebound to $506, while Dow fell by 0.2% and the S&P was FLAT. Ex-Apple, the S&P and the Nasdaq’s would have been negative…with only INTC gaining 1 pt on the NDQ 100 while GOOG/MSFT/AMZN all lost more than 1 point!. NYSE Financials fell 0.2% – a precursor of today on the WEAK reports of BofA/Citi.Brokers -0.2%; KBW Banks +0.4%, Nasdaq Banks flat. BofA was most active stock – +2% vs 0.7% vs -1.4% and a 1.3% loss and thus negating Thursday’s 3.1% gain. JPM rose 1% on a day that they announced a ‘halving’ of Dimon’s excessive compensation as he was blamed for the London Whale. Total NYSE volume stagnated at a weak 3.16B shares vs 3.13B vs 2.96B – recent range 2.96B-4.2B. Trades executed on the floor of the NYSE also barely budged to a very weak 499M shares vs 598M vs 590M – lowest since 12/28. Recent range 590M-859M. Advance/declines and Breadth were little changed again and slightly negative. New 52 week highs hit 713 a week ago and after bottoming at 308 last Friday, then rebounding to 382 Monday, fell sharply to 270 vs 304. Recent range 270-713. New lows finally fell again to 13 vs 21 vs 11, tomorrow is options expiry!!!. After closing at 22.70 on 12/28, the S&P VIX volatility measurement continues to register complacency ahead of the first options expiry of the year and that could change…fast! It remains near the 12-month low (13.32 on 8/17) slipping to 13..42 -.13. Play at your own peril!

Global stocks slightly higher but led by France (?) +1%! Hang Seng -0.1%, Korean Kospi -0.2%. U.S. stock futures higher after two weak sessions and at top of o/n trading range: DOW +39; SPX +6.70; NDQ +13.50.

The bond market slumped overnight after a lackluster day yesterday and remains weak. The 10 yr note is 1.87% -1/2! vs 1.81%, and the 30 yr 3.07% -1 pt! vs 3.00% –  the old 3% high set on 12/18! Long TIPS also weak at 0.461% –1-1/8 and way off the 0.22% record low set on 12/6! Reverse Repo rate at 0.20%, back to normal. Libor 0.302%, 3 months, and 0.487% six months. Foreign bond rates are higher across the board by 5 basis points, while Portugal (6.15% -11) and Greece (11.20% -27) are lower.

Gold took a lesson from Crude and closed slightly lower at $1683.70 -.70, still above the 200 day m/a ($1667) with huge resistance at $1700, the 40/50 day just below! The $1636 low on 12/21 – lowest since 8/21 is key support. It is down again overnight at $1681.50 -$1.70. Crude was almost a dollar higher following seven dull days after breaking above $92 on 1/2, closing at $94.24 +.96, following the highest close since 8/30 but remains directionless even though it is still well above the 40/50 day, and the 200 day: $91.25! Overnight it is $94.70 +.46, o/n high was $94.87, highest since 9/19/12.

…well not exactly. Unlike Edward Everett Hale’s protagonist, Philip Nolan, tried as an accomplice to Aaron Burr, who wished never to hear the words ‘United States’ again.

No TB’s is more insidious. We have a government that has been corrupted by powerful lobbies…the financial lobby which has prevented any retribution for the financial crisis or prevention of it happening again…do you really believe Dodd-Frank in its watered-down form is going to prevent them from excessive risktaking? Then of course there is the NRA which grades Congress on their voting record and rewards/penalizes on that basis including backing opponents who are on their side.

You have to be sick to listen to Wayne LaPierre and David Keene and think that they make sense. It is the same tired rhetoric which has been in place since Charleton Heston dared them to ‘pry his gun from his cold, dead hands.’

They have no shame, or guilt for Shady Hook, Columbine, Aurora…nothing. No, it is TV, movies and video games that are to blame and of course ‘the only thing that can stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun.’

This is right out of the Wild West where apparently these two dinosaurs reside. They support the NRA ad that accuses not only Obama of being elitist but includes photos of David Gregory and any other commentator who has challenged their stance. But worse than the ‘elitist’ comment…a code word along with all the others so popular in the GOP such as ‘birthers’, lazy, etc. which Colin Powell took the time to point out on Face the Nation Sunday…was their comparing Obama’s children to yours saying if they are good enugh to be protected why aren’t your children…of course if the school was attacked these secret service (?) guards would also protect the others in the school, right?

How do these two men go home to their families at night? TB’s wife would browbeat him from the moment he came in the door until he left the next morning? Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.VA) who had previously earned an ‘A’ from the NRA but when queried by his daughter on why he isn’t doing something, he caved…in a positive way.

It is time that this country not be run by overgrown boys playing with their guns…never mind the psychiatric comparison. They use poor logic and their defense of the Second Amendment is a sham. How can we possibly compare the weapons of today which were unthinkable in the time of the formation of this country with those. Also, people were not as screwed up as they are today. Limiting the type of weapon, the size of a clip, and who can own a weapon are tantamount to our security. The sad thing is now, like always, the fear of any form of gun control causes people to go out and buy more guns. So?

When TB was in law enforcement the first thing you are taught is that it is difficult to hit someone when you are trying to and in a stressful situation…but an accidentally fired weapon has an incredible ability to find a mark. The second…and this is most important is: never…never draw your weapon unless you intend to use it. Never use it as a threat, yet that is what most people do when they are scared and then become pushed into using it or overpowered. No one knows if they have the ability to pull the trigger until under this type of situation. Draw it and fail to use it and you wind up the like women in the movies who are taunted by their attackers and freeze only to be taken captive.

The NRA loves to say that there are more people beaten to death this year than killed with guns. That is disputed but even so, the difference is vast. It takes time and strength to beat someone to death, but a second to kill someone with a gun…not time enough to evaluate the situation and rationally respond. The guy in Florida is now paying for his wanting to ‘play cop’ and there is a dead teenager to show for it.

In Chicago, in the first 15 days of this year there were 25 people killed with guns. Were more killed by beatings? Doubtful NRA! Is their solution to put even more cops out there with guns…or how about citizen militias? We care about Shady Hook, Aurora, Columbine because of the scope of the horror…is it also possibly that these are mostly middle-class white people? How many of you think of what is happening on a daily basis in Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, etc. What have we become?

On the news last night was a young man who had about a dozen guns…assault weapons, etc. obtained legally. He posted a picture of himself holding several on facebook prompting someone to notify police when he said he sympathized with the Shady Hook and Columbine killers. When arrested they found that as a teenager he had murdered his mother with a gun, was tried in juvenile court so no records existed after his treatment for mental illness. How many of these people are running around?

On the question of oversize clips, TB heard an NRA supporter say this: what if four or five men broke in to your home and you only had five shot magazine? You wouldn’t be able to take out all of them and so they could kill you. More of their insane logic. The obvious flaw being how many times in your life have you heard of more than one or two people attacking someone (ganglords excepted)? The only one TB can recall was the Manson Family killings…and in both of those cases nothing would have prevented it. You cannot normally get to your gun in time to prevent a crime. On the other hand a grandfather in Minnesota killed his granddaughter when she had snuck out and came home late. He heard a noise and since she slept at the other end of the house, shot the intruder in the dark. Wonder if he still believes the NRA rhetoric? Not likely.

As one who nearly shot his wife when she came home unexpectedly, it is a horrible position to be in. No punishment for a bad decision can ever absolve one from themselves. So let’s stop protecting people in the one in a million chance that you will be attacked in your home. It ain’t gonna happen…at least most likely won’t.

Another NRA argument is the public wants and deserves the right to have the same weapons for protection as police officers. Thus the Glock’s and assault weapons (used by SWAT teams by the way). We need those over size clips to protect us from the ‘bad guys.’ That is what watching too much TV does to you. In fact, most officers, in other than large cities seldom have to draw their weapons and even less fire them. Is THIS a rational argument?

On one point TB agrees with the NRA: let’s enforce existing laws to the fullest. Confiscate any unregistered or illegally possessed weapon and prosecute them. How about Eric Holder taking some of those officers off arresting corner drug dealers who get sent to prison for ten years…no parole in the federal system either…and show the criminals that they will be taken to task for their actions.

…at least that is what TB thinks…you?  How about querying your representatives on their stand and hold them accountable? Along the way let’s take away their right to gerrymander their districts in favor of incumbents (except in the GOP where the party is wiping out moderates in the primaries for not being conservative enough…ask Lugar, Bennet, and others…a party to be proud of…not!)

Have a great day in spite…show them!


. . .  – – –  . . . (SOS!)  . . .   – – –  . . .  (SOS!) . . .   – – –  . . .  (SOS!)


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