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Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-02-24 08:17 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 149 references
 

Spicer (Trump's press sec) made some comments that could be construed as a threat to the recreational marijuana industry in some states, and some people are up in arms over it.

Let me point out a few inconvenient facts:

  • Marijuana is not "Schedule 1" because it has no accepted medical use.  It is Schedule 1 because of political considerations dating back decades and, there is a decent argument for, monopoly considerations by the Hearst family at the time.

  • Both recreational and medical weed advocates have done exactly zippo to force a change in that scheduling, and despite the so-called "acceptance" of President Obama for both he did not do so either.  So get your mouth of Obama's schwantz, along with getting your mouth off your Congresscritter's butthole.  The responsibility to do this the right way, which would have been de-scheduling marijuana entirely, lies there and it lies with you.

  • It is my considered position that marijuana does not belong on the narcotic schedule at all -- not only does hemp have perfectly-valid industrial use (clothing, rope, paper, etc) and it was the threat of competition thereof that partly led to it being made illegal but it also has documented medical use (including but not limited to an adjunct to chemotherapy, a primary treatment for certain forms of epilepsy and a treatment for dyskinesis associated with Parkinson's disease.)

None of the "advocates" have made their mission in life to get the substance off the federal DEA schedule and focused their attention, advocacy and political threats there.  Instead they have tried to go around the law, to get willful and intentional refusal to enforce the law made policy and similar machinations, with fairly decent degrees of success.

There is a problem with this approach: It is exactly why this nation is on the verge of destruction.

Let me remind you of the inconvenient facts: Federal expenditures on Medicaid and Medicare are expanding at a roughly 9% annualized, compounded rate.  Obamacare, which had as its essence the use of force to compel the purchase of fraudulent "insurance" by every person in the nation, bought two years of very-material decrease in this expansion after which it went right back to where it had been for the previous couple of decades.

Let me also remind you that willful and intentional refusal to enforce anti-trust law against all medical firms -- hospitals, diagnostic centers, your local physician's group practice, drug companies and supply firms along with insurance "deals" -- is why this rate of expansion has occurred and it will detonate the federal budget within the next five years if it is not conclusively stopped and unwound, returning a now nearly-$4 trillion industry to its former percentage of GDP, which would be about $1 trillion.

That's right -- a reduction of more than 75% in both cost and expenditure must take place now, at which point virtually everyone could afford to pay cash.

May I remind you what not demanding and forcing that change -- which is nothing more than enforcing the Rule Of Law -- means?

  • If you are dependent on continuing medical or pharmaceutical intervention to have a decent life (or any life at all) you are going to be utterly and completely screwed -- or dead.

  • If you are not dependent on same today, but you get sick tomorrow, you will be either bankrupted, screwed (left to suffer), dead or (most-probably) all three.

  • Better than half of all adults today in the United States are, or will be within a few years, dependent on said medical and/or pharmaceutical intervention. smiley

  • These firms and individuals in the "health" business will continue their plunder to the detriment of every other program you want from government, no matter what it is, along with your personal wealth and they both have and will continue to use the government's monopoly on force to take whatever they want from you despite their actions being clearly and obviously, upon simple reading of the statutes in question, contrary to same and this will continue until all of those other programs collapse.

Folks you can no more claim to support The Rule of Law and the Constitution but take a black sharpie marker to the parts you don't like than you can claim to be a Christian and similarly take a black sharpie marker to the 10 Commandments and reduce the count to three!

What is it with the willing and intentional refusal to think logically and then apply the results of same to political activity and advocacy that has permeated 95% or more of the American public?  I recently "disappeared" from the so-called "social side" of life for a week or so including taking in some live music, some pleasant drive time and some hiking specifically to erect the middle finger at that 95% of the American public for this very reason.

I'm going to be doing a lot more of that until and unless the people of this nation wake up and cut the crap.

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2017-02-23 09:25 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 355 references
[Comments enabled]  

There were some "proclamations" made by various "reporters" that "many arrests" (30 was a popular number) were "imminent" and would be made "within a week" after Sessions was confirmed -- on "Pizzagate."

Well, it's been well more than a week, and the only 900lb Gorilla in the room was Flynn's "resignation" (really a firing, as far as I can tell.)  Yes, there have been a handful of raids on various people allegedly abusing kids -- including an "international adoption agency" -- but the number of high level (e.g. political or corporate leadership) individuals accused, apprehended or charged numbers, as far as I can tell thus far, zero.

May I remind readers that the one thing that could really change Washington DC -- and improve life for the average America -- was a restoration of the Rule of Law.

Specifically, in the area of anti-trust (medical care) where the cost would fall by as much as 90% in a day, making "health insurance" unnecessary for anything except true catastrophes.

In addition getting the blackmail-and-bribery crap out of DC, even if only a bit, would be a big step forward too.  You don't really think those "lobbyists" are all just "politely asking" for favors, do you?  After all, lobbyists usually can't even vote in the district or state in question!

But no, it hasn't happened.  None of it.  There's been zero on the medical scams out of Trump, particularly where he can act without Congress and in fact Congress can't stop him: Enforcement of 15 USC Chapter 1 against the entire medical, drug and health insurance industry.  And don't give me this crap about how it's "not possible" because the States have filed suits.

As for "pizzagate", which a few "pundits" (some of whom make their money selling their views) said would have arrests inbound this last week..... where are they?  Hell, Sandusky's adopted son just got accused of diddling kids, but in DC?  Zippo.

That's the easy stuff folks.  The hard stuff is where they try to kill you or your family when you take it on.  Like, for example, the likely truth behind $1,200 "toilet seats" and $500 "hammers" within the DOD procurement process.

What we have seen is that various government departments and agencies leak like a sieve whenever something they don't like might be on the table.  And that leads to a very inconvenient question: Exactly how far off is "accidentally not looking" when you're supposed to when we have hard proof that there are active "leaks" all over the government?

Traitors are traitors; you don't have to do the dastardly deed, you just have to not pay attention at a particular time.  There are plenty of evil bastards who will take care of the rest and leaking embarrassing material is more both dangerous in that you might get caught and requires far more effort than not looking when you should be.

Is there any particular reason to believe any of the crap in this country will ever get addressed -- especially the really ugly and dangerous stuff -- when not even the basic economic actions that require no new laws and in fact are simply directing people to enforce existing statutes are once again intentionally ignored and in fact the scams are cheered on by people like Rand Paul in the Senate?

No.

Yes, the directives out of ICE and the change in our nation's posture when it comes to criminal illegal aliens (most of whom violate not just the law coming here but they also victimize individuals and society generally through identity theft and similar crimes - and those violations are nearly-universal) are positive -- and I certainly hope they continue.

But the problem with cheering on such changes is that they're 5% of the problem and while objectively good are not enough to matter.  Even if Trump goes after the pedo games hard it's not enough to matter. The pushing of "electoral reform" is a joke and in fact I'd argue it's an intentionally false dog-whistle that will force the expenditure of political capital on a useless goalall it would do is change how resources are allocated by candidates in elections.

The 80% of the problem is found in our medical monopoly scams which render the cost of medical care five to ten times as expensive as it would be absent same and the fact that at the growth rates seen over the last 30 years both the private sector and government will detonate within the next four to five years.  Even worse the Republicans have filed bills to "change" Obamacare in ways that will make some of these schemes explicitly legal where plain reading of federal law makes clear they currently are not, guaranteeing you will be screwed rather than helped.

Trump has demonstrated exactly no intent to change anything in this regard -- and that's a fact.

It's unfortunate too because in just a few short years our time is going to run out as a nation in this regard.

The opportunity was there for Trump to be one of our greatest Presidents.

He's squandering it and instead spending his political capital on "red meat" that, while good and proper is in fact simply tinkering around the edges and soon, if he does not act in this regard, the opportunity to avoid this preventable disaster will be irretrievably lost.

I hate being right, but the fact is that absent massive shifts in focus and tone within mere days to a few weeks the jury is in.  The stock market certainly says so: It's up massively, and a big part of where those 'profits' come from are H1b visa holders displacing Americans (does anyone actually believe JP Morgan can't get Americans to do these jobs?), Apple, Facebook and Google doing the same, or, for that matter, Disney.  Why are health related firms, like the IBB (biotech index) not cratering under the premise that 90% of their revenue will disappear when they can't bilk consumers any more?

You know the truth folks and it takes 30 seconds to figure it out -- the market is skyrocketing because companies, and "investors", believe you are going to get screwed longer, harder and more-frequently.

Unless you're a delusional idiot any hope of real change and real improvement for Americans and their lives being heralded by Trump is over.

Enjoy (or protest) the red meat; in terms of outcome it will have exactly as much impact on your life as a dog whistle, and if you're following it then you deserve the outcome when the food promised by said dog whistle is laced with cyanide.

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A few minutes ago President Trump said deficits are out of control.

He's right, of course.

In point of fact the real deficit increase was $1.4 trillion last year.  How do we know this?  Because debt to the penny (an official Treasury site) tells us exactly how much the federal government has "borrowed."

I put "borrowed" in quotes for a reason: Banks, including the Fed, do not actually lend out deposits that were previously made.  Instead what they do is push a button, credit your account and cover the reserve requirement when the money is spent and someone else deposits it.

As such borrowing by the federal government, which is not backed by collateral that has already been made and is removed from the market until said loan is repaid, always and immediately creates monetary inflation.

You cannot control where this shows up in prices but that it does and always will is a mathematical fact.

Last year GDP was operating at about an $18.7 trillion in the third quarter (when the total deficit increase was totaled as well; Sept 30 2016.)  This means that approximately 7.5% monetary inflation occurred last fiscal year.

How much was the stock market up during that time?   From 1951 -> 2168 (S&P 500), approximately, or roughly 11.1%.

Or was it?

No, it was actually up 11.1 - 7.5% in real terms or 3.6%.

What happens if the deficit goes to zero.  Then the market at best grows at about 1/4 of the rate it was before.

This, of course, assumes the stock market got an average benefit from that inflation.  In point of fact it probably got a much larger than average benefit.  Why do we know this?  Because corporate profits have not been accelerating materially and the market is now trading at crazy price:sales ratios -- which have only been seen before in the near term before serious corrections or even crashes.

So again -- what do you expect to happen if the fuel that has driven the market up disappears?

You might want to start thinking about that.

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2017-02-20 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Health Reform , 734 references
[Comments enabled]  

It seems some of the state AGs might be reading my postings.......

But now generic drug executives can expect to face tougher legal repercussions, as evidenced by two federal court lawsuits filed late last year—one in November brought by Eatontown, N.J.-based Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc. against two of its former executives, Jeffrey Glazer and Jason Malek, using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and one in December that 20 states have filed against six companies, including Heritage, after a major antitrust investigation by the state of Connecticut.

Racketeering and Anti-Trust eh?  Gee, that's a good start.

Now go after the hospitals and diagnostic centers and you'll really make progress.

Let me give you a hint: It takes 30 seconds to find a bill from a hospital that has a 90% discount for a certain "insurance."

There's extortion ("buy this insurance or be bankrupted if you need our services") and incidentally an illegally-tied sale (anti-trust again) -- and probably Racketeering there too, since the hospitals are all doing basically the same thing and if you can find a couple of people who are "in on it", well....

This crap has been illegal for over 100 years and yet nobody has been willing to bring charges and suits.

Until now, and at the state level. 

WHERE IS THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Mr. PRESIDENT?

Do it and you get your face on Mt. Rushmore.
Don't do it and you have a failed presidency.

(Yes, I'm aware of the short term economic impact from doing it -- and it won't be pretty.  However, that won't last long, and the intermediate impact will be growth rates we haven't seen since right after WWII.)

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2017-02-18 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 2084 references
[Comments enabled]  

Seriously?

I'm roaming right now, and what I see is, well, disturbing.

Man came from ape, right?  Sort of, anyway -- whether you think God did it or Darwin was responsible, the path is mostly the same.  We argue agency, not outcome.

But what the hell has happened to people in the last 50ish years?

People of WalMart is supposed to be a spoof.  It's not.

People I knew who I haven't seen in 20, 30 years -- my God what happened to you?

I find old pictures, and gaze at them.  We all get older, we get some lines to our faces, our hair is more-gray, and similar.  But gee, is that it?  No.  And both you and I know it.  And that's just the physical side of things.

We have a divided nation.  Half wants to kill the other half.  More than a few actually mean it; it's not a metaphor, it's a desire.

"Let it go"?  You can't be serious.

If the change comes slowly among those you hang out with you don't really recognize it.  If you walk into a scene you haven't been in for the last 20 years and see the change "all at once".... well....

"I need a drink -- or six -- now" was my initial thought.

The next thought?  Sell everything, buy some land away from all this crap, put up a block house, get some chickens and goats and **** it all.

Yeah.

What the hell has this nation turned into?  It may have happened more or less slowly, but it's happened.  Yes, there are normal people left.  But how many?  In big cities, where the population is centered?  Good luck.

You may know that there's a "dystopian" video floating around out there that basically says that the big cities turning into literal hell is not fiction, but inevitable.  It's a government video.  I would poo-poo it except.... I'm seeing it right now.

Oh my.

Prayer is not only inadequate, it's idiotic at this stage.

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