Posts Tagged Hillary Clinton

Trump the bully

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.
– Samuel Johnson

…what if they have neither…only bluster and cunning?

I may not be able to do anything but it is better to try to do something than to see ones’ country torn apart. Here are a few of my concerns starting back during the campaign:

  • “Crooked Hillary” and “Send her to jail” – is that what responsible people do in an attempt…and it was successful..to win…but the country’s highest office???
  • “I know more about ISIS than any of the generals, I am the only one that can destroy them.” – That alone should have told you to run! Elect Mickey Mouse, anyone but…
  • “She has used her office to collect money for her foundation.” – patently false! Yes, contributions provided access but that is what every politician does – in any country! Add to that, her foundation even with its size has been shown to do good both nationally and internationally. What has Trump’s done…besides self-dealing? A sham! He is going to be fined for using foundation funds to pay HIS fines, purchase a portrait of himself (do I need to even comment on that one), is under investigation on the self-dealing which the foundation has admitted to. Contrast to the Clinton Foundation, because they are scrupulous about paying their taxes and not taking advantage of anything that could be questioned…with good reason.
  • “I will release my taxes at the proper time.” – well, Donald,it is long past that time and you should do it before the electoral college meets on Dec. 19th!
  • ‘nuf said about Trump Enterprises, letting his kids run it and saying that is sufficient. Not for a world leader…of the free world at any rate.
  • Challenging the credibility of our electoral system, which has been used as a model for countries around the world establishing democratic governments. It makes us look like hypocrites…which we are and always have been on democracy.
  • He, Rudy Giuliani, and Kellyanne Conway, all calling protestors ‘cry babies’ and not denouncing the protests quickly enough…include Obama on this. Cry babies who won in their states and feel they have been robbed.
  • Criticizing Jill Stein and the Clinton campaign for seeking recounts in at least three states: Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania…Florida could be next. Consider, Stein raised less than $4 million for her campaign but has received over $6 million for recounts. Trump is furious…as he so often is with that hair trigger brain of his. But wait…he was screaming widespread voter fraud and his ego, despite winning the electoral college (so far that is), cannot bear the fact that he lost the popular (sic) vote by more than 2 million votes! If that is the case, he should prove it, of course he has shown, and facts have shown there is miniscule if any, voter fraud. How could it be done on such a grand scale. Would 2 million people risk going to jail? Thus far there has only been one incident reported: a woman who voted twice…for Trump!
  • “I would have had more votes if I had campaigned in California and a few other states” – so? Clinton would have also had she used his strategy. What’s your point?

The people he has surrounded himself with before (two crime families, which somehow wasn’t picked up by the New Jersey Gaming Board, nor was he required to testify before the board as is required by law…but hey, it’s New Jersey, right Chris? Here are a few: Bannon, the chameleon Giuliani, using Hannity of FOX News as a foil, along with Kellyanne before she resigned to run his campaign (wait I thought it was the liberal media that was the problem…FOX with the worst credibility rating of any news (sic) network for mixing opinion with fact. Worse he had not denounced neo-Nazi’s, the KKK, or any fringe group out to destroy the fabric of our nation. A case in point, Richard Spencer, head of the ‘alt-right’ movement (translation: American Neo-Nazi Party), who held a victory rally  for Trump, using the phrase: “Hail Trump, Hail America” (white that is), giving a Nazi salute which many in the audience eagerly gave. Note his comb over, a replica of Hitler’s. We cannot let this stand!

There you have it, a few of the reasons we cannot allow Trump to be president. Keep on going, Donald, and the electoral college might just hand you a stunning defeat. It is critical with our checks and balances destroyed by the prevalence of the GOP control in the House, Senate, gubernatorial states, state legislators, and the equal weighted Supreme Court about to be turned heavily to the extreme right…and while extreme liberal is communism, the opposite is fascism. Hail Trump…or should it be ‘heil’? TB is ‘seeking’ an answer.

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2/15/16…You picked a fine time to leave us, Scalia…and to roil the markets further!

(UPDATE: My prediction yesterday that the stock market would tank due to the inability to get anything done with an even number of  Supreme Court justices half one way and half another…was in a word: WRONG!…does that mean that Wall Street is welcoming more gridlock? Could be…after all they have everything to gain.)

…with apologies to Kenny Rogers, and the late Justice Scalia. Of course, he had no way of knowing he was going to die…especially after two scathing dissents just last week. Was he upset enough about them that he endangered himself?
I mean no disrespect to this jurist, even though I disagreed with many of his rulings and his ‘strict constructionist’ approach to Constitutional Law. Sadly, the GOP saw it differently, even though he was on ‘their’ (read extreme conservative) side, the candidates and the unstoppable Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, just couldn’t help themselves.

It is for this reason that I believe the markets will suffer badly tomorrow (Tuesday), as it adds to the uncertainties that are already shaking its foundations. What about a bounce? We are in danger of going into a secular bear market following a secular bull market within a bear market. Despite the magnitude of the financial crisis, this is the fastest recovery eve…and that should concern you because it usually takes 7-10 years to do that and we started the recovery a year later! Think about it…we are on borrowed time.

Here are my objections:
1. First, McConnell opened his yap as soon as he heard of his death saying no nominee will be approved…or disapproved, meaning the old stalemate is still in play, in this term or until a new President is elected;
2. Unstoppable Senator and would-be presidential nominee, Ted Cruz, said that there is precedent for the President to not make an appointment in an election year, and if he did for the Senate to refuse to act…really? It has happened just ONCE before and that is not a precedent.
3. Senator Mark Rubio said that there is a ‘pattern’ of President’s not making appointments in their last ten months (is that a coincidence or did he just make it up); Rubio needs to read the Constitution on the rule of advise and consent.
It is insulting to use the death of a Supreme Court Justice for their own personal gain…and to say that ‘no matter’ who Obama nominates, there will be no up or down vote. Isn’t that like, I’m going to take my bike and go home? It is they who are denying the Constitutional right of the President to make appointments, but the key is in the language the GOP is using, and it is not good for America.
If the GOP has its way, and there is no reason they shouldn’t succeed, we will have a vacancy in the 2017 term for much of it, especially if a Democrat is in the Oval Office. A 4-4 decision is worthless, and think of all those extremists state governments (dare I say Texas?) that will pass all kinds of laws that won’t be able to be repealed until at least 2018! Well done, GOP, well done!
I, for one am frankly appalled at the near 40 attempts to destroy the ACA and the push by ALL GOP candidates for prohibiting ANY abortion. Of course, this will only apply to the poor who can’t afford another child (shades of the Catholic Church’s reasoning: to increase the number of Catholics…but at least they did some good). Rape or incest or anything else, including the health of the mother are not to be considered. But there is one thing…one major thing…these brilliant people who have no regard for science…have forgotten: you can make a woman have a baby…but you CANNOT make her take care of it. Therefore, it becomes the obligation of the government to do just that. So let’s do that and increase the number of people in poverty…already at least one in three children are living at the poverty level. Is this what you want for a legacy?
Think about this: we elect a president for four years…only in the first, and maybe the second (althought Obama didn’t even get that), they can get something done…as important as the ACA was, Obama used up all of his political capital on it and it is a flawed piece of legislation that could have been good and like many other countries if he hadn’t caved to the pHarma lobby for support and the GOP hadn’t insisted on preserving ‘states rights’ (sic) by insurers only being chartered by states. But even if flawed, don’t fall for the GOP trick of ‘repeal and replace’ because it will never get replaced…America loses.
This term for the Supreme Court has just about run out and now it is split 4-4, and if there is a swing vote it will be Chief Justice John Roberts, who Cruz admits he voted for but only to support his president? This man is sick and frankly reminds TB of ‘Tailgunner Joe’ McCarthy! He scares me almost as much as Trump. I say, almost as much because with Trump you don’t have a clue what he will do next: boots on the ground…banning Muslims from travel…perhaps banning the Muslim religion…telling lies and when confronted just keep repeating them till you wear them down. He still hasn’t backed down from his statement about Muslim’s cheering on 9/11. While I am not impressed with the Dems (I was a lifelong GOP’er until McCain chose Palin…and what did that get him?
The party likes to say that all are welcome to run as they have a ‘very wide tent.’ Really? Then why doesn’t anyone break ranks and give a damn about the American people they are sworn to serve.
Back to Cruz…he has played down that his wife is a Managing Director of Goldman Sachs…and has taken a leave to ‘help with his campaign’. He conveniently forgot two half million dollar loans, one from Goldman and the other from Morgan Stanley…a violation of campaign laws. But before we get too critical of him, what about Hillary’s $600,000 payment from Goldman for three speeches? First, she won’t release transcripts of the speeches (boring!), but more importantly she told Chuck Todd on MTP a week ago that while she has accepted donations from the big banks (after all they were in her state when she was a Senator and suffered terribly after 9/11,,,pullease!!!). She went on to say that “you have to be able to tell the good players from the bad players” – really??? Then how come you couldn’t even identify Goldman as a bad player….weren’t you there watching Sen. Carl Levin skewer Lloyd Blankfein (both graduated first in class at Harvard Law a year apart – but to watch Blankfein you had to wonder if he went to college anywhere?
Believe it or not, despite Bernie’s leftist views, he might be the best choice since some people who have been polled say they like EITHER Trump or Sanders??? But Bernie, unlike Obama, knows how to work his way around Congress…would he succeed? All I know is he is a true believer…
I have to admit a fondness of sorts for John Kasich…at least when he talks he makes sense…just wish he would stop with the theatrical gestures.
In closing, I will bring up a proposal I jumped on board with decades ago: a ONE TERM, SIX-YEAR PRESIDENCY…same as a Senator only no second chances and frankly that is what the founding fathers that the GOP loves to talk about wanted: Representatives who would come to Washington for two years and carry the message of their constituents, then go home and be back among them; and more importantly that six year term for Senators…staggered for continuity and thus no need for people to make a career in Washington. Would have loved to hear Justice Scalia tell me his views on this.

Don’t take any wooden nickles!

TB

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3/30/15…President Cruz…say it isn’t so…please!

(Before we begin, there is an issue in the Constitution which should be addressed, however with our Citizens-United-believing, 5-4 conservative SCOTUS, it won’t. First, those strict-constructionist members of the bench miss the point about the flexibility that the founding fathers deemed of utmost importance if the country was to survive. There was not even rail travel, let alone, airplane, and most people around the world never ventured more than fifty miles from their home towns. Yet if a foreign woman is visiting here and has a baby, her child is deemed an American citizen. Same goes for the illegals who have come here that upset Republicans so much. There is no way the founding fathers could have anticipated this, especially at a time when we needed people to come.

But a more troubling one is the issue that makes a Ted Cruz presidency a dangerous precedent: he was born in Canada but of an American woman, thus making him a citizen and eligible to be president – remember that Obama was only a junior Senator, elected president early in his first term! Let’s say a boy was born of a mother who had moved to Germany and supported Hitler, remained there and then her son returned to seek office as president…he would be eligible to run and what would he do as president? Worse, what if a woman was an Isis convert. That is precisely why the founding fathers wanted only naturally-born U.S. citizens eligible for the highest office. Think about it…

The GOP has run amok…they have lost interest in contributions except from major donors like Sheldon Adelson, whose beck and call is their raison d’etre. On another tack are the Koch brothers who now want to control elections in all states and even what is taught at colleges by contributions with strings to endowment funds. What has the American political system come to? These ‘true believers’ in Milton Friedman’s ‘free-market capitalism (which has been proven to be a myth in the recent financial crisis), as well as von Mises, while extrapolating the theories of Adam Smith (he would no doubt roll over in his grave, as would our founding fathers), are now serving the top 0.1% – or less – of America. But what about the growth of the black and latino vote? If you have no say on who the candidates are as they are predetermined by the money spent getting to the primaries, your vote is meaningless, which makes wonder why the GOP is so concerned over voter fraud and making it more difficult to vote – oh, forgot, the other party could get elected, but like Obama, neutralized by the contributions of the financial sector.

But first, what is happening in the Democratic Party? Which is to say, why won’t the media say anything about other possible candidates than Hillary? Especially when all of her baggage since Benghazi has piled up like the dock before a cruise ship departure. While the Benghazi claims have been defrayed…except on the ‘fact-filled’ Fox channel that caters to the old and senile with their fearless leader in search of truth, Bill O’Reilly (problem is he doesn’t search within for truth). The foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation are problematic enough since they came in while she was secretary of state, but the destruction of those thousands of ‘personal’ emails will dog her all they way to the elections (you can’t disprove a negative, even assuming they truly were personal).

What about the most honest person in politics today, Elizabeth Warren? She has been given short-shrift by the media which is sad. Look at the attention on the GOP side to Scott Walker, and even the inelectable Mike Huckabee, and of course the subject of today’s blog: Senator Ted Cruz from the great State of Texas which brought us such luminaries as Senator Phil Gramm (and of course his lovely wife Wendy, who was a director and on the audit committee of Enron), Gov.Rick Perry, and current Governor Greg Abbott…will skip over G.W. Bush for you to evaluate.

Hillary is most likely not electable…ah, but Warren is an unknown…not exactly, and she has shown she had the guts to stand up to Jamie Dimon and the rest of the financial lobby, which cost her confirmation as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which was her creation. That of course came back to haunt Dimon when she ran for and was elected Senator from Massachusetts, where she has continued to fight valiantly for the people of Main Street over the robber barons of Wall Street.

All that said, isn’t it amazing that the first person to throw his hat in the ring for the GOP nomination for president is none other than first-term Senator Ted Cruz? He has all the markings of a narcissist, and made his rep on his 21 hour and 19 minute filibuster – the longest since the great ones of the Civil War era – over Obamacare, while reciting Dr. Seuss – how charming and how he proved he should not be POTUS!

No matter how much TB dislikes him he has to admit the man is brilliant, just not presidential material.  By all counts he is a brilliant and accomplished debater…he wears down his opponents by continually coming back at them. Is that a good trait in a president? (Note that one of his professors at Harvard Law, Alan Dershowitz, declared him to be “off the charts brilliant”

The comments from former friends are not all so favorable: controlling, pedantic, but he befriended one black student at a time of need and they remain close friends. Cruz’ father was a Cuban emigrant but despite that Felito – his given name, wants to seal the borders…the same old, please close the gate after I get in.

I feel there is little chance of him becoming the nominee, let alone president, but that has been said before…Harry Truman?

Decades ago someone wrote an article on who should be president. He said they don’t have to be smart (look at Wilson, Hoover, or Carter) to do well, and can be dumb and lucky (his example then was the man who became vice president, Dan Quayle), after all it is a matter of luck whether a president has problems unless they are self-induced. Think about it.

There is a tremendous grass roots drive to nominate Elizabeth Warren…is she the last hope for the Democrats? Otherwise, looking at the insane actions of the new majority GOP, and ask how this country can continue as a democracy or democratic republic. The power is now in such a small group that even oligarchy is not the correct term. We are heading for the death of the middle class. That is TB’s biggest fear and why he is bothering to resurrect this blog, only when he has something to say, not on any regular schedule.

As for Mr. Cruz’ ethics, he says he had a voice tell him to run for office, if you believe that. Could he be The Messiah? Also, he says he told his wife that they should sell all their liquid assets to finance his campaign and she agreed. Not her recollection: when he told me he was going to run for president I told him if he does he better find some wealthy donors. End of story.

Thank you for reading,

TB

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12/15/14…they have so many ways to get you!

Quote of the Day from the Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: “Golf is a lot like business. You drive hard to get in the green, and then wind up in the hole.” – Anon
Bloomberg Quote of the Day: “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Claude Monet

Friday’s Market Summary:

A bloodbath…and you were warned. Now here’s another warning: if you think the market is going to go down further, bear in mind that Friday is options expiration – the final quadruple witching of the year! Anything can happen. Most likely case is a ‘rebound’ ahead of it to ‘square’ positions, then its anyone’s guess. We have been disappointed several times in selloff’s that don’t even reach 20%, let the required 25% for a correction. Solution: hands in pockets! Off keyboard!
Worst performer was the Russell 2000 small cap down 2%! This was followed by the Dow 39 -1.8%, then the S&P 500 -1.6%; both Nasdaq’s were off about 1.2%, while Dow Transports and Utilities (?) both declined 1%. Bonds rallied large with the 30-year closing at a new 12-month low of 2.74%, while the 10-year and long TIP closing right on their respective lows ((2.09%/0.83%)!!! Gold was boring, closing only slightly lower, but Crude tanked to another new 5+ year low, closing just above it at $57.52!!! Ah, but cheap gas will keep the economy going! Wanna bet?
Back to stocks: A/D’s and Breadth were very negative; new 52 week lows sunk (stunk?) to and extremely weak 111 from 201, while new lows nearly doubled to a huge 603!!! THAT’S Bearish! Worse, Volatility was sharply higher…on a down day! This plus high volume plus new highs/lows plus A/D’s-Breadth…what does it spell? Trouble ahead! It was the 2nd worst week of the year for stocks (see details below…downright scary!). Will you have a good or a bad year? The next week could decide!

Total NYSE Volume rose to 4.16B shares vs 3.93B vs 4.05B vs 3.95B vs 3.72B. Average volume since 9/30 remains about 3.6B shares or about 600M more than the 12-month average. Shares traded on the NYSE floor (aka REAL) also sharply higher at 941M shares – highest since 11/21 (options expiry!) vs 824M shares vs 913M (1st 900M day since October!) vs 834M vs 770M, For comparison purposes, for the prior 12 months it is a historically weak 722M shares, but since 10/1: 819B shares – including a 1.22B (and two more 1B+ share sessions) – highest since 9/19,. The lowest was 11/1’s 619M share session. April 30 – September 30 we had just SEVEN 800M shares…since 10/1: now at 22 – just one in Nov, and now SEVEN 900M+ days: that is now FOUR 800M days and TWO 900M day for Dec.

A/D’s were very negative: NYSE: -3.8x!!! vs +1.4x vs -4.6x!!! vs +1.5x vs -2.3x; Nasdaq -2.4x vs +1.5x vs -4.6x!!! vs +2.1x vs -2.9x. Breadth was worse: NYSE -4.7x!!! vs +1.2x vs -15.5x!!! (Unbelievable!) vs +1.4x vs -3.8x!!! Nasdaq -2.6x vs +2.2x vs -2.5x vs +2.1x vs -3.3x. New 52 Week Highs nearly halved to an extremely weak 111!!! vs 201 vs 215 vs 207 vs 386! – their range for the year is 39-612!!! New Lows tried to double to 603!!! vs 364 vs 460 vs 467! vs 416. The 2014 range is 24-1043!!! S&P VIX added a full point to its already bearish close ending up at 21.08 with a high of 21.86 – highest since 10/17! During the ‘rally’ it only made it to 15.94 – this despite the early rally! We are now nearing those bearish extremes that had a high of 31.06 (highest since 11/28/11!!!), and now a big possibility with options expiry this Friday! The average of the past 12 months is 14.03, with a low of 10.28!…high close of 26.25 on 10/15/14!

U.S. bond market closed strong at or through the old 12-month lows! Note on 12/2, the 30 yr bottomed at 3.01%. Updating the recent 12 month low yields (10’s 2.09%; 30’s 2.74%! and long TIP 0.83%), 10’s closed at 2.09%! +11/16; 30’s 2.74%!!! NEW LOW +1-5/16, and the long TIP 0.83%!!! +9/16. Overnight back to weak!?! 10’s 2.11% -1/4; 30’s 2.76% -1/2; long TIP 0.84% -1/2…hmmm.
Libor update: 0.243% 3 mos.; 0.341% 6 mos. Both higher but still near their recent record lows! The Fed Funds rate has averaged 0.09% and is currently 0.09-0.11% – back from 0.13%, a 9-month high. T-Bills: 0.01%! one-month; 0.02% 3 mos; 0.19%!!! – why is it rising?
Foreign bond yields slightly, ex-PIIGS, which have been hurting – even Greece, which is back from 8.9%! (Benchmark is 10yr): Germany 0.63%! +1; UK 1.82%! +3; France 0.90%! +1; Italy 1.98%??? -8?; Spain 1.78% -9!!!; Portugal 2.90% -4; Greece 8.58%! vs 8.88%!!! vs 8.70%! vs 8.24%! vs 7.71% vs 7.03%, -25!!! Not for the faint of heart! 10/16’s close was 8.54%! – cycle low: 5.42%; Crisis high: 12.57%. Japan: 0.37%!!! -2.

Gold closed slightly weaker but still holding safely above $1200 closing at $1222.00 -$3.10 – in an ‘inside’ session. Last week’s intraday high was $1238.00 – highest since 10/22/ This is its SIXTH straight $1200+ close since 12/5the selloff began. Well above the 40/50 day again for just the 6th time since 10/21! 11/7’s low was $1130.40, a new 12-month low!). This was only the 2nd time in 31 sessions without a print below $1200. Last close above $1300 was on 8/15. 7/17’s session high was $1346.60, highest since March 19th!!! Support is at $1200 (psych) and the 40 day ($1199!), the 50 day $1204, RES at $1256, the 10/21 high, then the 200 day $1269 – all have bottomed! The 12-month high is $1392.60 on 3/17, highest high since 9/4/13. 11/7’s low was $1130.40! Overnight it is weaker at $1212.50 -$10.00! – with a session low of $1206.50. There have now been 14 highs above $1200 since 10/31. Silver starting to crack – breaking $17 and now at $16.91 -.14, following its $17.27 high! This after a $14.12 recent low, not seen in more than five years!

Crude really took it Friday, first diving to $57.34, lowest since 5/18/09!, then closed barely above $57.52 -$2.43!!! – that is it’s 7th straight ‘lower low’ and close! Consider: 10/25’s high was $84.83. There have now been 47!!! handles since peaking at $107.73 on June 13th, highest since 9/19/13. The record high of $147.27 was on 9/30/08, the low since on 5/15/09 is $56.07: $89.85 is the average! Recent rally high and close are $110.70 and $110.53 respectively. RES at the 40 day ($74.49!), then the 50 day ($76.79!), and lastly the 200 day (94.22!), all STILL increasing their rate of decline! We are now headed for $50!!! The recent range is now $59.32-$112.24 since 3/1/12. Overnight, it had another hughe new low of $56.25 (now its 48th handle), but bounced and is now $58.02 +.21. Ouch! Note that following the financial crisis it traded down to $32.40 on 12/31/08 from a high of $147.27 just three months earlier (-78%!!!).

Overnight Global Markets:

European equities mixed and little changed and remain EXTREMELY weak – now four days! Asia slammed (led by Japan), Korea and India little changed: UK -0.3% vs -1.5%! vs -0.8% vs +0.1% vs -1.5%!!! vs -0.9%; France +0.1% vs -1.5%! vs -0.4% vs +0.1% vs -1.8%!!! vs -0.9% vs +1.3% vs -0.9%; Germany +0.1% vs -1.4%! vs +0.1% vs +0.6% vs -1.6%!!! vs -0.5% vs +1.3%; Japan -1.6%!!! vs +0.7% vs -0.9% vs -2.3%!!! vs -0.7%; Hang Seng -1%! vs -0.3% vs -0.9% vs +0.1% vs -2.3%!!! Korea -0.1% vs +0.3% vs -1.5%!!! vs -1.3%! vs -0.4%; India -0.1% vs -0.9% vs -0.8% vs +0.1% vs -1.2%! vs -1.2%! U.S. equity futures higher – another ‘dead cat bounce’? DOW +77 (40); SPX +11.30 (20); NDQ +26.25 (31). Note these merely offset most of the declines at this time last Friday!

Some random thoughts:

…the U.S. used to be an ‘egalitarian’ country…with the Democratic Party exhibiting that the most. Now both parties…or at least the leaders of the Dems…have abandoned that in favor of the wealthy – especially Wall Street. TB can understand one not calling themselves a Democrat (he refuses to do so), but how can anyone who ‘works’ for a living call themselves Republicans? The joke, folks, is on you! If you needed proof…since Bush 43 took office…look at how the party has intervened to prevent jobs growth and forced us to let our infrastructure rot. TB used to watch the GOP National Convention just to see all those smiling ‘average Joe’s’ sucking up the party line while they were in fact, being mocked. That Romney clip that he didn’t know was being filmed told the whole two-faced story. A travesty!

Equal time you say: Ok, yesterday on Bill Moyers was an interview with John H. MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s magazine. He homed in on the Clinton’s (both Bill and Hillary separately), and Obama, who can now only be called ‘two-faced’. The ‘great black hope’ (for both blacks and whites), let us down. His promise to change the way government does business was hypocritical. First, he had no plan (Lawrence Lessig), secondly he, the Daley’s, and Rahm Emanuel, were his closest advisors. Recall that William Daley, left Citigroup to become Chief of Staff (receiving a $10 million kiss goodbye, which was said to be necessary to get people to leave the private sector). Then in a musical chairs move (he was removed and replaced by Jack Lew, and ultimately Rahm Emanuel who ‘quit’ to run for mayor of Chicago…sweet!). Emanuel won, and replaced Richard M. Daley (the other son of legendary Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley)…isn’t nepotism great?

Now that you have the players, recall that Bill Daley, was Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce…you do remember NAFTA don’t you? That was a bill of goods crammed down the throats of the American people (sorry, TB didn’t realize the repercussions either), that shifted jobs to Mexico. Oh, and the outsourcing continued…India…then China…and guess what is next because they are ‘slightly’ cheaper? Viet Nam and Cambodia! Bill Clinton, friend of the people, not! Oh, and let’s not forget Hillary who preached for equal pay for women and increasing the minimum wage, THEN voted against them as a Senator! The point is they all speak out of both sides of their mouths…

Lee Iacocca wrote a book a decade or more ago, Where are the Leaders? It was short because he couldn’t come up with any! Flummoxed! We are still asking that question today, and may be into and after the next election.

Neither party gives a damn about the working people, only those who pump millions into their coffers (which thanks to the GOP just became easier). Jamie Dimon must be laughing his ass off over the budget ‘deal’ that was just passed…bipartisan by the way. Let’s get this straight: Obama, over the objections of key democrats, urged them to pass the bill. This despite allowing the wealthy to contribute even more to political campaigns and worse, castrating Dodd-Frank! How could a Democrat do this? Simple if you are in bed with the Daley’s. Now do you understand why the last three Defense secretaries, all said that they were overridden by Obama’s insiders?

Now for a positive: TB has followed closely the rising star, Elizabeth Warren, who first designed a consumer financial protection agency, was nominated to head it and had to withdraw after Jamie Dimon, blackballed her. But this woman has guts. She ran for and surprisingly became a U.S. Senator where she has become a thorn in the side of both parties. Is she our last hope? TB thinks so! She is articulate, assertive but not vindictive, and is a populist…something the Democratic Party has forgotten. At this point at least, TB believes she should be the first woman president. If we continue the status quo…it won’t matter who is elected as we morph from ‘egalitarian’ (already done), to an oligarchy, over the dead bodies of our nations founders!

Listen to this segment from Bill Moyers and see if you agree: democrats-bow-wall-street

Wow! Chuck Todd is no wimp! He took on Dick Cheney yesterday and made him look like a zealot…correction, Cheney did that to himself. He even contradicted Bush 43’s statement in his book that he wasn’t aware of the details of the prisoner detainment…I believe that. Meanwhile, Cheney used the feeble excuse that two presidential legal advisors said what they did was not torture. I agree that had we had another attack after 9/11 there would have been hell to pay, but we turned ourselves into the kind of ‘animal’s some Japanese became in WWII. By the way, if you doubt this, see Unbroken, premiers on Christmas Day…don’t recommend you see it then!

Lastly, somehow, David Koch (the guy who gives libertarians a bad name), allowed himself to be interviewed on the Barbara Walters The Ten Most Interesting People of 2014, last night.

“I’m basically a libertarian, and I’m a conservative on economic matters, and I’m a social liberal,” Koch told ABC News’ Barbara Walters during an interview for her special “  Now he has not only denigrated libertarians, but ‘social liberals’.

TB write this as a former Republican, now a man without a party. Have a great week!

TB

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6/18/14 “…you break it, you own it”

Quote of the Day from the Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: “Hamlet is the tragdy of tackling a family problem too soon after college.” – Tom Mason

Bloomberg Quote of the Day: “Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

Bloomberg Top Stories:
*Argentina Planning Debt Swap to Skirt U.S. Order to Pay Holdout Criditors – Goldman again???
*Emerging Market Stocks Decline as Gilts Advance; Pound Weakens After BOE
*BOE Saw Greater Chance of Rate Increase This Year Than Investors Expected – not to worry!
*FedEx Fourth-Quarter Earnings $2.46 a Share Beat $2.36 Analyst’s Estimate – not to shabby!
*GE Said Preparing to Present Improved Offer for Alstom’s Energy Assets – Sellers Market!!!
*Cyprus Said to Sell Bonds as Last Bailed-Out Euro Nation Returns to Market
*Ruble Ends Five-Day Decline as Ukraine Bonds Advance on Cease-Fire Talks
*Petrobras Buys $1.24 Billion of Woe With Delays on Its Pasadena Refinery
*Poloz’s Sway Over Loonie the Envy of Central Bankers Worldwide
*Loonie Flight Besieges Bonds Stung by Record Foreign Exodus
*Fight Over 401(k) Rules Pits mother of COBRA Against Wall Street’s Lobby
*Breaking Bad Meets Fargo revealing Murderous Underbelly of Oil Shale Boom
*Ukraine Pledges Unilateral Cease-Fire in Days to End Eastern Region Unrest – not so, Iraq!
*Iraq Premier Fires Commanders as Troops Fight Islamists North of Baghdad
*Kurd Oil Exports Seen Growing as Region Grabs More Territory Amid Conflict

Tuesday’s Market Summary:

Another quiet day on below average but it was also the first day of the FOMC meeting so all eyes will be on the Fed statement around 2pm…then all hell could break loose. A big question is how they will view the jump in CPI – not that it is a problem or even a trend – but what will they then do about the QE tapering? A lot hangs on the tone of the statement.
All indices were up led by the Russell 2000 +0.8%, with the NDQ 100 coming in FLAT. The rest were all up 0.2-0.4%. NYSE Financials rose 0.6%. but in one of those rare events, the subsectors rose significantly more: Brokers +2.5%!!!; KBW Banks +1.3%; Nasdaq Banks +1.5%. Huh? BofA moved back into its place as the most active stock rising 2% but vs -1% vs +0.1% vs -1.1% vs -2.1%.

Total NYSE Volume was stable at a still weak 2.96B shares vs 2.91B vs 2.58B vs 3.03B vs 2.67B vs 2.69B vs 2.8B vs 2.84B vs 3.1B – that is one big string of weak sessions! Real trades on the floor of the NYSE were also stable at an extremely weak 600M shares vs 604M vs 575M vs 621M vs 532M vs 557M vs 608M. The 12-month average barely held at a very weak 714M shares.
A/D’s were modestly positive: NYSE +1.6x vs 1:1 vs +1.3x vs -1.4% vs -1.6x; Nasdaq +2.1x vs +1.2x vs +1.04x vs -1.8x vs -1.5x. Breadth was similar: NYSE +2.2x vs +1.04x vs +2.2x vs -2.2x vs -1.6x; Nasdaq +2.7x vs +1.5x vs +1.8x vs -2x vs +1.05x. New 52 Week Highs were also stable at 255 vs 251 vs 171 vs 186 vs 193 vs 256 vs 515 – recent low 71!!! New Lows were dead in the water again at a very weak at 38 vs 34 vs 36 vs 30 vs 25 vs 24 vs 25 – recent range is 24-214.
S&P VIX declined but remained above ‘12’ for a fifth straight session closing at 12.06 -.59, the bottom of the range of 12.06 –12.89 – second straight day the low end has been above 12….13 is the key here and the low end is moving higher! There have now been FIVE straight closes above ‘12’ in 16 sessions. You do know that the long-term average is ‘20’, right?

Overnight markets:

Bonds closed weak – FOMC jitters? 10 yr closed at 2.65% -1/2. 30 yr closed 3.44% -7/8. The long TIP, which hit a low of 0.978% on 5/29, closed 1.13% -3/4. Overnight they are slightly better: 10’s 2.64% +1/8; 30’s 3.44% +1/16; and long TIP 1.12% +1/8. Cycle highs: 30 yr high was 3.97% on 12/31; the 10 yr recent high 3.03%! Long TIP was 1.64%. The (record?) low of 0.36% was set on 4/5/13.
Libor update: 0.231% 3 mos.; 0.325% 6 mos., both remain just off their record lows, set recently: 0.227% and 0.320% respectively! NOTE the Fed Funds rate has averaged 0.08% since 5/22/13 and remain slightly higher at 0.09% -0.10%. Foreign bond yields mixed but note that they sold off big yesterday afternoon: Germany 1.39% -1; UK 2.74% -4; France 1.85% -2; Italy 2.82% –; Spain 2.73% +3; Portugal 3.48% +4; Greece, which took out the old lows is now 5.76% -9. The recent high on selloff was 6.75%. Highly volatile!!! Range is now 5.42% to 12.57%. Japan: 0.59% +1.

Gold closed slightly weaker but came back from a low of $1258 at $1272.00 -$2.90, a day after a surge in the European market to a new high of $1285.10 – still highest since 5/27 when it began its plunge. 6/9’s $1240.20 was lowest since 1/31/14!!! It hit $1304.10 on 5/22 – the last time it saw $1300! It remains way below the 40/50/200 days and the psych support level of $1300 with first res at the 40 day $1280, then the 50 day $1285, and the 200 day $1291 – convergence continues and thus formidable resistance! It has fared poorly since the ‘key reversal’ on 3/17, after printing the recent high of $1392.60, highest high since 9/4/13! Jan. 2’s low was $1181.40 – A MULTI-DECADE LOW!!! Overnight it is little changed at $1271.30 -.70 in quiet trading.

Crude had a volatile session trading down to $106.01 before coming back to close at $106.34 -.54, after trading up to$107.69 Friday on Iraq concerns – that is still highest since 9/19/13 – a huge down day. 6/5’s low of $101.60 was lowest since 5/16. 3/2’s session low was $97.37, lowest since 2/4! 1/14’s low was worst since 5/2/13: $91.24! The record high of $114.83 was on 5/2/11, the low since on 10/4/11 is $74.95: $93.60 is the midpoint!!! Recent rally high and close are $110.70 and $110.53 respectively. It remains well above all three moving averages: 40 day ($102.46) then the 50 day ($102.65), and 200 day $100.14. The recent range is $85.61-$112.24 since March 1, 2012. Overnight it is slightly higher at $106.78 +.42.

European equity markets slightly higher, Asia mixed, India giving back Tuesday’s gains: UK +0.3% vs +0.1% vs -0.3% vs -1.1%!!! vs +0.2%; France – vs +0.2% vs –0.6% vs -0.8% vs +0.2%; Germany +0.2% vs +0.3% vs -0.3% vs -0.8% vs +0.1%; Japan +0.9% vs +0.3% vs -1.1%! vs +0.8% vs -0.6%; Hang Seng -0.1% vs -0.4% vs -0.1% vs +0.6% vs -0.4%; Korea -0.6% vs +0.4% vs +0.1% vs -1%!!! vs -0.2%; India +1.3%! vs -0.2% vs -1.4%!!! vs +0.4% vs -0.4%; U.S. Stock Index Futures little changed and cautious: DOW +7 (range 7!!!); SPX +1 (2!!!); NDQ +7.25 (8!!!).
Some random thoughts:

…that was Colin Powell speaking…repeated by John McCain too. We ‘broke’ Iraq, thanks to a couple of neo-cons (Cheney and Rumsfeld), used a force that was too small and moved too fast to safeguard Baghdad from looting…which included the Central Bank and the Museum of Antiquities, arguably the most important in the world! Ah, but we protected the Oil Ministry and all those documents crucial to OUR oil companies! Not surprising the Cheney was the former CEO of Halliburton…is it?

Sure, Saddam was evil, but he alone had Iran wondering IF he had those WMD’s and thus held them at bay…no sooner was he gone than Iranian ‘friends’ came into Iraq and then a Shiite was elected President in the form of Al-Maliki who tossed out the Sunni’s from any place in government (reminds one of Morsi, no?). We have already set a precedent for supporting the overthrow of democratically elected governments so the extension should be obvious.

But that skips over the stupidest move in the entire conflict…one that falls right in the lap of Paul Bremmer…the Viceroy if you will…or even if you won’t! (When writing Inside the Green Zone, Rajiv Chandrasekeran called Henry Kissinger, who Bremmer worked for and asked about him. The reply: “He’s a control freak!” This from Henry Kissinger of all people!

Bush said, ‘the Iraqi’s know who the bad guys are’ so let them decide. Bremmer came in and his first…his very first…order was that no one who was a Baathist should hold a government job…again, nevermind that IF you wanted your job you had to join the party! Not only was he warned against this but part of his first order was that the Red Guard was to be disbanded! So, these guys who appeared…armed and in uniform…were sent home…with their weapons…and instead we pulled people off the streets and trained them for military duty. Well done, Bremmer…you jerk beyond comprehension!

Last night on the news, an Iraqi woman said if only the old army was still there we wouldn’t be facing this…and she is right!

Damned right, we own it! But now what? Imagine that we are/were considering letting the Iranians ‘help’ us…to the dismay of all of our allies! Especially the Israeli’s!

But back to Bush, who declared ‘mission accomplished’ absurdly while landing on the jet of a carrier on the way back from the gulf, said that Rumsfeld was the best Secretary of Defense (later he told Robert Gates he should have fired him later!), and swaggered off into the sunset. Now Obama owns it…what will…or can…he do? Not being a military man and not trusting the military (can you blame him?), the outlook is bleak at best.

It began with Egypt and now the entire Muslim world is at risk…thank you, USA!

As for Hillary Clinton’s epiphany that she was wrong on voting to invade Iraq…get real…how convenient when it is obvious the situation is FUBAR!!! Discount it!

Have a great day!

TB

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6/5/14…potpourri

Quote of the Day from the Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: “A guilty conscience is the mother of invention.” – Carolyn Wells

Bloomberg Quote of the Day: “People many hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” – John C. Maxwell

Bloomberg Top Stories:

*Draghi Takes ECB Deposit Rate Negative in Historic Policy Move – think negative Fed Funds!
*Fewest Americans Filed Jobless Claims Over Past Month Since 2007 – who’s left to let go???
*Jamie Dimon’s Raise Comes Back to Haunt BNP Paribas in U.S. Sanctions Case
*Sprint Nears Deal to buy T-Mobile US, Valuing Carrier at About $31 Billion
*Deutsche Bank Prices Shares at 24% Discount in Biggest Offering Since 2010 – HUGE discount
*Carney Finds Ally in Draghi as BOE Keeps Key Interest Rate at Record Low
*Draghi-Yellen Split Widening to Revive Market Volatility, Banks Hypnotized – oops!
*Hollande Says $10 Billion BNP Fine Would Undermine European Bank Stability – TBTF – WTF?
*Amazon Said to Be Ready to Debut Smartphone to Compete With Apple, Samsung – hmmmm?
*Alfa Bets Pacific Rubiales Stakes Brings ‘Oilman’ Stats in Mexico – viva!
*Hollandes’ Dinner Plans Tonight Include Putin, Obama and BNP – some hand!
*Taliban Swap Reflects Obama’s Drive to Close Guantanamo Prison – but at what cost???
*G-7 Spares Russia New Sanctions Urging Diplomacy to Resolve Ukraine Crisis
*College Graduates in U.S. Struggle to Find Jobs That Are Worth a Degree – 50% won’t!
*Irish Catholic Orphanage Buried 796 Children in Mass Grave Over 35 Years – a cardinal sin!

Wednesday’s Market Summary:

A dull up day punctuated only by the release of the Beige Book for the next FOMC meeting…nothing to see there except indications of enough strength to perhaps persuade them to reduce the taper again. Most indices barely budged (flat to +0.2%) but Russell 2000 was +0.5% followed by the two Nasdaqs+0.4%…zzzzz.

Total NYSE Volume was about even at a weak 2.78B shares vs 2.83B vs 2.5B vs 3.7B vs 2.68B vs 2.92B vs 2.89B vs 2.4B vs 2.74B! …WEAK!! Real trades on the floor of the NYSE however took another header to a very weak 592M shares from an already weak 657M vs 549M vs 916M vs 544M vs 636M vs 657M vs 554M vs 577M! The 12-month average has slipped again to an historically weak 718M shares!!!!
A/D’s were slightly positive – they have been meaningless for days: NYSE +1.1x vs -1.6x vs -1.1x vs +1.1x vs +2x; Nasdaq +1.2x vs -1.6x vs -1.6x vs -1.6x vs +1.4x. Breadth was a tad better: NYSE +1.3x vs -1.1x vs +1.1x vs -1.1x vs +2.6x; Nasdaq +1.7x vs -1.1x vs -1.2x vs -1.4x vs +2.1x vs +4.3x! New 52 Week Highs a little higher at 262 vs 225 vs 318 vs 271 vs 287 vs 229 vs 336 vs 167 – recent low 71!!! New Lows steady at 96 vs 93 vs 57 vs 60 vs 45 vs 61 vs 50 – recent range 45-214.
Watch volatility closely…S&P VIX remains bullish but climbed modestly for a 3rd day to 12.08 +.21 – first close above ‘12’ in NINE sessions while the range of 11.91-12.33 was tight but the important thing was that the high was 12.33 – 3rd ‘12’ print in 8 sessions!

Overnight markets:

Bonds closed about even after taking that big hit Tuesday: 10 yr closed at 2.60% –. 30 yr closed 3.44% –. The long TIP, which hit a low of 0.978% on 5/29, closed 1.15% –, that’s 3-1/2 points in two sessions!!! Overnight slightly better: 10’s 2.59% +3/32; 30’s 3.44% +1/16; and long TIP 1.15% +1/16. Cycle highs: 30 yr high was 3.97% on 12/31; the 10 yr recent high 3.03%! Long TIP was 1.64%. The (record?) low of 0.36% was set on 4/5/13.
Libor update: 0.231% 3 mos.; 0.322% 6 mos., both remain just off their record lows, set recently: 0.227% and 0.320% respectively! NOTE the Fed Funds rate has averaged 0.08% since 5/22/13 and is 0.07% -0.09%. Foreign bond yields lower across the board: Germany 1.42% -1; UK 2.67% -2; France 1.82% -2; Italy 2.96% -6!; Spain 2.84% -4; Portugal 3.60% -5; Greece, which bottomed at 5.83% on 2/24 is now 6.18% vs 6.33! -9 o/n! – the high on selloff was 6.75%. Highly volatile!!! Range is 5.77% to 12.57%. Japan: 0.61% –.

Gold closed essentially unchanged for a second day – but a 6th day of decline on an inside session – at $1244.30 -.20. Tuesday’s $1240.20 was lowest since 1/31/14!!! Off $35 last month! This, after hitting $1304.10 on 5/22 – the last time it saw $1300! It is way below the 40/50/200 days and the psych support level of $1300 with first res at the 40 day $1288, then the 50 day $1289, and the 200 day $1296 – note convergence and thus formidable resistance! It has fared poorly since the ‘key reversal’ on 3/17, after printing the recent high of $1392.60, highest high since 9/4/13! Jan. 2’s low was $1181.40 – A MULTI-DECADE LOW!!! Overnight another ‘inside’ session and currently $1246.20 +$1.80.

Crude also closed essentially flat after making a charge to $103.69 before succumbing at $102.64 -.02, following Monday’s low of $102.10, lowest since 5/20. Friday’s high was $104.50 – still highest since being slammed on 4/22! 3/2’s session low was $97.37, lowest since 2/4! 1/14’s low was worst since 5/2/13: $91.24! The record high of $114.83 was on 5/2/11, the low since on 10/4/11 is $74.95: $93.60 is the midpoint!!! Recent rally high and close are $110.70 and $110.53 respectively. It remains above all three moving averages but very close to first support at the 40 day ($102.17) then the 50 day ($101.91), and 200 day $100.20. The recent range is $85.61-$112.24 since March 1, 2012. Overnight it is a little lower at $102.37 -.27.

European equity markets higher, Asia mixed: UK +0.1% vs -0.3% vs -0.6% vs -0.1% vs +0.3%; France +0.6% vs -0.1% vs -0.3% vs – vs -0.4%; Germany +0.3% vs -0.2% vs -0.5% vs +0.2% vs –; Japan +0.1% vs +0.2% vs +0.7% vs +2.1%!!! vs -0.3%; Hang Seng -0.2% vs -0.6% vs +0.9% vs closed vs +0.3%; Korea -0.7% vs closed vs +0.3% vs +0.4% vs -0.9%%; India +0.9% vs -0.2% vs +0.7% vs +1.9%!!! vs -0.1% vs -1.3%! U.S. Stock Index Futures slightly higher in another narrow range session: DOW +27 (range 43); SPX +1.60 (5); NDQ +3 (11).
Some random thoughts:

…you go to potpourri when there is nothing else significant to say, thus allowing you (the writer) not to dwell on the inane…and you (the reader) to be spared the noise.

First, TB’s bet is that Obama will beg them to refocus on Benghazi after the outrage that was just completed and we now know that in 2012 Hillary Clinton was opposed to the deal. We also learned that yes, at that point they did negotiate with the Taliban…despite protests they didn’t. This leaves Hagel (the Vet), Kerry (the Vet turned anti-war), and Rice (the Sunday speaker), left to defend the deal. Where is Biden…”I know ‘nussing’ “ if he is smart! But then supposing that Bergdahl is in fact a deserter (to do otherwise means you have to disregard the statements of at least three of his former buddies…), and what to do about the six soldiers who died trying to find him??? Some would say he has already suffered enough…what will the families of those soldiers say?

Next item, the $10 billion ‘excessive’ fine to BNP…French President Hollande is upset saying they are being penalized more than U.S. banks…they have a point but only because a) they didn’t cooperate, and b) theirs isn’t excessive…the U.S. banks just weren’t fined enough. As a Bloomberg story today says: if you can’t pay the fine, don’t commit the crime! It goes on to cite an U.S. prosecutor who was outraged after JPMorgan was fined $1.7 billion (one of the more than 300 times since the crisis…without admitting guilt naturally), for ‘enabling’ Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, that the bank gave Jamie Dimon a 74% pay increase! Damn right, he is mad…he would be a fool if he wasn’t – like his boss, Eric Holder! No one…no ONE has either stopped to think how much these banks made of schemes from fixing Libor to foreclosure fraud…and if you can’t make the punishment fit the crime – by exceeding the profit made it is just a cost of doing business and thus no one is accountable and Mr. Dimon can continue to earn as if he were a guru (wait…guru’s don’t make money…they answer to a higher power…true guru’s that is, not financial ones!)

Lastly, since when do nuns…especially Irish nuns operating a home for unwed mothers hide the bodies of 800 children – in a septic tank no less??? How disgusting…what kind of people…who do they think they are? Rapist/murderers in India?

Have a great day…don’t expect markets to offer excitement!

TB

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3/22/11…perception

TB’s Quote of the Day: “I never got anything through that wasn’t accomplished with the help of the other party. – Sam Nunn…he worked hard with Sen. Lugar, and others. We need elected officials like these…not the ones we currently have for the most part.

News Quote of the Day: “The Federal Reserve forgot that it is a central bank for the people of the United States and not a private academy where decisions of great importance may be withheld from public scrutiny. As only Congress has the constitutional power to coin money, Congress delegates that power to the Fed and the Fed must be accountable to Congress, especially in deciding what it does with that money.” Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg News Editor in Chief on the U.S. Supreme Court in their first sensible decision of the last three (corporations can make unlimited campaign contributions, and freedom of speech near military funerals. Hear! Hear! TB

Monday’s stock rally may have caused you to believe…you have to believe…that all crises are past. This is simply untrue and serves as further proof of the markets lack of ability to focus on more than one event at a time…all else gets swept under the rug. The Dow gained 1.5% on volume of just 1B shares…892 million at the 4pm close. Furthermore, after the initial surge it had a series of four lower highs with the 178 point gain being 36 points off the session high…indicating an absence of buyers and only a few sellers. Only 3 of the Dow stocks were down: PFE, KFT, and JPM. Advance/declines and breadth ran between 3-4 times positive, while new 52 week highs ran 224:43. The VIX gapped down for a second straight session, plunged thru the 200 day (21.62) and closed at 20.61 with support again at the 40/50 day 19.17/18.73…complacent again. Little change in the markets overnight.

…is everything says Andre Agassi, while TB prefers “assume makes an ASS out of U and ME.” TB believes however there are many misperceptions about this column, so here is an attempt to clarify them as some questions from readers have come up that require it.

  1. TB is not a perma-bear – he has never, nor will he ever, tell you to sell all your stocks OR when to buy. He will however point out event’s, like yesterday’s reminder on ‘T+3’ or on options expiry of things you need to keep in mind IF you are thinking about buying or selling. On the other hand he will recommend ‘trailing protective stops’ as he did last week and continues to believe are necessary. Sure, he got stopped out on some but locked in profits. The downside to this is the 30-day rule which is moot IF you are trading in a tax-exempt or deferred account. The rebound suggests that these stops should be continued and as the market goes up so should the stops…with LIMITS!
  2. TB is not a guru…far from it. He only makes comments and observations based on events and how they relate to his forty years of experience. Experience is great but it still cannot predict a particular outcome…in fact it can send bad signals, but hubris is much worse which is why TB took John Mauldin to task. Still, TB will read Mauldin…for his Outside the Box articles like yesterday’s must read by James Montier. Like John Ralfe or Jeremy Grantham, when something seems overvalued it probably is. TB will not use Warren Buffett here because his company has grown so large that he has to make less and less value-oriented decisions…IMHO!
  3. TB treats his readers as knowledgeable and capable of making their own investment decisions. This is unlike the Jim Cramer’s and others who have to scream at you to get you do what they want you to do, which may be detrimental to your own gut feeling and philosophy. Simply don’t do it!
  4. TB does not HATE Wall Street or all WS firms. One of the good things is that many previously boutique firms have increased in stature since the crisis. This is no different than TB’s distaste for CEO compensation… it is not directed at other than perhaps the top 100 CEO’s. The rest are NOT overpaid, are hardworking and understand their businesses…they have to. They do not rely on a cadre of yes men, or those with a vested interest in getting the outcome to produce the results they want for their own short-term benefit. TB loathes Goldman, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, the former Lehman and Bear Stearns. In the ‘true’ banks, the arrogance of JPMorganChase (and its CEO Jamie Dimon who has told us that FNMA and FHLMC were responsible for the crisis…he had to look no deeper than himself), and of course Citi who is attempting to deceive investors thru a 1:10 reverse split to make the stock look more attractive to institutions by being safely above $10. Look at the dividends on these stocks and how quickly they began to pay out their absurd bonuses again when but by the grace of God and the taxpayers they would have ceased to exist!

There TB hopes that helps!

Now to the James Montier piece that Mauldin published. In a variation of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” TB believes that those whose opinions he admires most (himself included), can be wrong…dreadfully wrong as the only thing we all do consistently is have 20/20 hindsight. Sadly, we seldom learn from it however. It probably took 30 years for TB to learn from it while chasing the latest hot tip…usually with bad results or minimal gain. So TB takes a little from those he doesn’t admire at times, Jim Cramer, even Mauldin, however he has found very little use for Larry Kudlow.

The complete article titled The Seven Immutable Laws of Investing can be found at Millennium Wave .  The philosophy in those seven laws follows closely to what TB believes. However TB would argue that if you follow them, especially in this era of zero short term interest rates you will, using his inflation forecast, be losing 2.5% a year. So you, and he had better be right. Also, TB doesn’t believe leverage is necessarily evil, but he wants to control it (which is precisely, along with fees that are excessive that he shuns hedge funds and most mutual funds – especially bond funds!)…thus it is important when investing in ANY leveraged asset that you maintain trailing stops…bulls get rich, bears get rich, pigs get…well, you know.

One of the compelling things in this piece his the use of graphs to tell the story, although some were difficult to understand. About 40% of the article is composed of graphs and tables which is very effective. So the ten pages is not an all day read. It is the crux of value investing. Here are the seven points with TB’s comments:

  1. Always insist on a margin of safety – avoid buying at the top
  2. This time is never different – well, yes it can be…in the short run
  3. Be patient and wait for the fat pitch – but keep the bat off your shoulder!
  4. Be contrarian – don’t be afraid to not follow the herd, you know what you get!
  5. Risk is the permanent loss of capital, never a number – quants, pay attention!
  6. Be leery of leverage – but don’t fear it…just understand it and protect against it
  7. Never invest in something you don’t understand – this applies to ‘hot tips’

That should give you enough to dwell on for today…you decide!

. . .  – – –  . . .  . . .  – – –  . . .

The decision quoted above on the Fed’s lame excuse that divulging who got the TARP and TALF funds could cause a run on the banks is pompous, arrogant, and absurd. TB has no problem with keeping it secret at the time but there is no excuse for not divulging it two years or more after the crisis has abated. How else are we to know the risks that were taken in the banking system that created the crisis in the first place. TB believes it was more to protect the all-powerful financial sector and those who control it, who in turn control Congress.

TB finds it amusing that Goldamn wants Warren Buffett to surrender his $5 billion 10% preferred shares and convert them to common stock.  Over the weekend he joked to CNBC:  “I’m going to be the Osama bin Laden of capitalism. I’m on my way to an unknown destination in Asia where I’m going to look for a cave. If the U.S. Armed Forces can’t find Osama bin Laden for 10 years, let Goldman Sachs try to find me.” You go Warren, but Goldamn is more powerful than the armed forces!

 

Paul Krugman wrote the other day how he was amazed at how quickly Wall Street regrouped and smothered Congress with lobbyists, thus taking the guts out of all legislation and regulation. TB has commented before on Simon Johnson’s statement that in every situation where the World Bank had to bail out a country it was because the financial sector got to close to the government. If we can’t see that in our own country then there is no hope for us but to repeat the crisis again and again. Greed is what it is!

Going back to the crisis, there is one key person who could have and would have prevented it: Brooksley Born, who as head of the CFTC pleaded for regulation of derivatives…even after she left it she continued to argue and didn’t care who regulated it but someone had to and the derivatives had to be uniform and exchange traded…can you see why Wall Street fought this…with the able help of Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers? That was woman number one.

Woman number two is Elizabeth Warren who Wall Street has unleashed its fury on for trying to make regulation relevant…the fired their guns and lobbyists at her and convinced key Congressmen to attack her shamelessly and wrongfully. Note that it is only the big banks (the ones we just bailed out) who are fighting her and she is starting to gain support from community bankers who were left out in the cold by the big ‘too big to fail’ boys.

Now there is criticism of Hillary Clinton on the Libya matter. Whether you agree or not, it was an opinion…as were those of Gates and Admiral Mullen…yet she was singled out. Still a right wing article the other day questioned whether she or Obama would have been better as president.

Sarah Palin, who TB has no love or use for, is now trying to look political by traveling around the middle-east making statements so foolish that it is the right that is telling her to zip it. Then of course there is presidential hopeful Michelle Bachman from TB’s new home state of Minnesota. She too lacks an understanding of history.

TB believes that the answer to guiding this country might just be a woman. Hopefully of the caliber of the first three, not the latter two who are doing damage to women in power. Is this the glass ceiling at work? It sure appears so.

TB could argue the same happened to Nancy Pelosi but she is a liberal from arguably the most liberal district in the nation and they consider her too far to the right! Still, it was Obama who let her along with Harry Reid dictate the legislation of the first two years of his administration and who is now turning out to be a better orator than leader. This is sad as TB believed he was the last hope for change. Consider a McCain/Palin administration. Would things be better? Highly doubtful.

Have a terrific day!

TB

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