The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-11-17 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Federal Government , 244 references
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Let's cut the crap, shall we?

Tax cuts have never resulted in any sort of material improvement in the living standard of the ordinary America -- which I define as everyone other than the top 1% of earners.

It has simply never happened.

The last time the tax code was "reorganized" you got more buy-backs and stock options issued to executives.

The same thing happened with all the other tax cut packages since.

Further, when we had the so-called "Reagan Tax Reform" Tipper (yes, that's intentional; I'm speaking of the former Speaker as you got way more than just the tip!) promised to cut spending in order to make them deficit neutral.  He did not do so; no reduction in spending was ever delivered and the deficit exploded.

This will be no different.  In fact, unlike the Reagan-era game nobody is even claiming to intend to reduce spending.

The chimera of "tax cuts" being "good for business" is nonsense as well.  Almost no corporation actually pays the tax rate claimed, especially large firms.  They all cheat -- Apple has been caught in the "Paradise Papers" and others have as well.  The claim of "repatriation" leading to some sort of boom in investment and wages is nonsense as well.

The answer to corporate tax cheating is quite-simple, yet will never be implemented.  It's simply this: You pay US taxes on all economic activity that is directed toward sales and services delivered in the US.  Period.

If you put a call center in the Philippines and it takes US calls the employees there are subject to US employment taxes and all of the economic activity generated aimed at US consumers is taxed as US income.  It matters not where the work is performed -- what matters is where it is directed.

If you cheat and get caught you not only pay the back taxes you pay them twice plus interest as a penalty, and those inside your firm (or otherwise, such as auditors) who expose it get 10% of whatever they cause to be recovered.  That'll make it plenty worth it for them to rat you out.

That's it.  No more "Isle of Man" garbage, no more fancy-pants intellectual property deals, no offshore call centers to eliminate employment taxes on the people answering the phones, etc.  Nope, nope and nope.

Then the small US company is on the same footing as the large multinational.  It's the only way to make it happen.

Further, there is utterly no reason to allow capital gains rates to be taken by money managers and hedge funds.  That one's simple too: You can only take a capital gains rate if your personal funds are at risk in earning the return.  Thus the Hedge Fund folks pay ordinary income rates on those earnings, because it's not their money at risk -- it's yours.

Like most things of this sort there are reasonably-simple and elegant fixes, but there are also an army of lobbyists employed in making damn sure none of their favorite folks get hammered by any of them.

The only thing I see that's good in the proposed changes are the doubling of the standard deduction which is a definite positive for everybody, especially those in the middle class -- most of whom do not itemize.  In fact virtually nobody does with under $100,000 of income because it makes no sense to do so.  In addition, where the individual mandate to get struck (which I rate as having about a 1 in 100 probability) that would be a great thing from a standpoint of freedom -- but it will certainly crash the rest of Obamacare should it occur.

We should also get rid of all interest deductions for both individuals and corporations.  Deducting interest is a scam in that it promotes excessive leverage and punishes thrift, whether the target is a person buying a house or a hedge fund levering up to buy businesses and dismantle them.

Are any of the good things going to happen?  No.

Do I thus find the theater worth following on a minute-by-minute basis?  No.

Do all these Congressfolk on both sides of the aisle and irrespective of House or Senate deserve to be hit by an asteroid this afternoon for the bullcrap they're running on you here, will run tomorrow and continue to when it comes to this issue?

Yes.

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2017-11-16 15:03 by Karl Denninger
in Small Business , 55 references
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HomeDaemon-MCP has now had added to it's bag of tricks an interface to Amcrest IP cameras.

It can now "sense" motion or other events (as defined on the camera) and trigger events on HomeDaemon.  Among other things Amcrest is nice enough to expose a simple HTTP-based API that allows you to move the camera to a given preset and take pictures.

This makes trivial interfacing and extending HomeDaemon's existing capabilities in providing an "alarm" service to include taking of pictures, using the camera's motion sense capabilities as a "trip" and, of course, securely copying them to your private file storage on or off your local network.

This functionality should work with all Amcrest camera devices on the market of reasonably-recent vintage and firmware. I have verified that it is fully functional with both the 1080p (one revision back) and 2k (current) models.

There is no longer a need to trust anyone else with said images other than yourself, ever.  It is trivial to, for example, have the system take images on a timed basis and upload them somewhere, whether that "basis" is predicated on an event (e.g. motion detected somewhere, not necessarily in the immediate area of the camera), to take a picture once a day of your pool water level and email it to you (nice if you are worried about evaporation being a problem so you can ask the neighbor to come turn the hose on for a couple of hours, etc) and more.

See here for more information.

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2017-11-15 13:25 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 4310 references
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Jesus, it's that obvious and CNN ran this crap?

People need to go to ****ing prison for this.  NOW.

Yes, including Gloria Allred.  The yearbook is an obvious forgery and she peddled it on national television; that needs to be good for disbarment and prosecution.

The original tweet from CNN can still be looked at.  We'll see how long it is before they try to take it down.  (Update: It appears one of Getty's photographers shot the original photo; it's been linked in the comments, and I checked it.  It's pretty-clearly the image CNN used and it was also clearly shot in color as it includes portions of the people holding it in the picture....)

I took the image on the right side of their tweet, brought it into Photoshop and increased the size.

I will swear under oath that I did nothing to tamper with the color or tone and in fact did nothing other than increasing its zoom level to 400% because it would be impossible to tamper with the image at said greatly enhanced zoom level without causing visible artifacts in the background and periphery of the letters.  There is also a gradient in the paper caused by a B&W photo being in part of the area where the signature is, which again will cause visible artifacts if I were to try to tamper with it.  In other words I did this to add irrefutable proof that I did not in any way tamper with the image itself.  I also saved the extract from the tweet as a "PNG" which is lossless from my desktop to yours; no compression so there are no artifacts added in my process either; whatever CNN put forward, that's what I (and you) have.

Those are clearly different inks for everything after the first name.

Was the original signature Roy or was it Ray?

Whatever it was, someone added "Moore DA", the date and "Olde Hickory House" in a different ink color.

By the way, the claimant says that Moore knew she had a boyfriend "and offered to give her a ride home" when he assaulted her.  Was the boyfriend's name RAY?

This must be criminally investigated right ****ing now as attempted federal election tampering.  Jeff Sessions, you claim to be "for the rule of law", let's see a search warrant for that yearbook to perform forensic testing of the ink, and if the latter part of the "signature" is not 40 years old indictments must issue right now for everyone involved in this crap or you are a lying, sniveling sack of ****.

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Right here folks.....

Cool video and cute pussy.... smiley

(You dirty-minded jackass... I said CAT.)

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2017-11-14 13:54 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 432 references
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Here we go again...

Americans with blood pressure of 130/80 or higher should be treated, down from the previous trigger of 140/90, according to new guidelines announced on Monday by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Note that this is an or.

This of course means that the doctor cabal gets to brand medical charts (yes, exactly like a car title) on a whim.

Let me explain.

There are myriad things that influence blood pressure.  It typically varies by anywhere from 10 to 20 points in most people over relatively short periods of time.  A cup of coffee will frequently raise it by 10pts -- for a couple hours.

This is not dangerous, but it is sufficient to put you over the "80" threshold and get your chart branded!

140/90 was sufficiently clear of this that transient causes were unlikely to result in you being tagged if you weren't really in trouble.  130/80 where it's an "or", not an and, is not and will result in millions of people being prescribed drugs that are dangerous -- without cause.

Potentially deadly high blood pressure can be brought under control with a wide array of medications, many sold as relatively inexpensive generics. The drug classes include angiotensin receptor blockers, such as Novartis AG’s Diovan, calcium channel blockers, like Pfizer Incs’s Norvasc, ACE inhibitors, including Pfizer’s Altace, and diuretics, such as Merck & Co Inc’s Hyzaar.

All drugs have side effects.  There are quite serious side effects associated with most of these.  That's not to say they don't have a use and proper purpose in the medicine cabinet -- they do.

But prescribing them to people who have quite-possibly transient elevations in blood pressure that are not dangerous in any meaningful way is an outrage.  As noted most of these are available cheaply, but even the "cheap" generics have a cost and the side effects are real.

What are some of those problems?  Fainting (gee, that would be a nice way to whack your head, right?) and kidney issues.  Kidney problems are especially nasty in that they can lead to renal failure which means you get to live on dialysis at ruinous cost -- and then almost-inevitably die miserably.

I also question this claim:

Adults with blood pressure of 130/80 “already have double the risk of heart attack compared to someone in the normal range,” said Dr. Paul Whelton, professor at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and School of Medicine in New Orleans and lead author of the new guidelines. 

Prove it.  I've looked for the alleged evidence and thus far haven't found it.

If you've got it, let's see it.

Let me be more-specific on what I expect you can prove.

High blood pressure tends to be associated with obesity, inactivity, smoking and excessive alcohol use (for starters.)  All four of those are known causes of heart attacks and strokes.  To make the argument that 10 points in systolic blood pressure (e.g. 130/80 .vs. 120/80) results in a doubling of heart attack risk you must show that the blood pressure difference, and only the blood pressure difference, results in the increase in risk.

In other words you need as your "control" group people who are exactly as fat (or not), exactly as inactive (or not), who do the same amount of smoking (or not) and who consume the same amount of alcohol (or not.)

Otherwise what you're seeing is the symptom of the cause rather than the cause itself, and thus if someone presents with a 130/80 blood pressure, is not obese, does not smoke, is not inactive and does not drink to excess you're going to both brand their chart and prescribe a dangerous drug to them that results in no meaningful change in their heart attack risk and thus increases their morbidity and mortality rather than decreasing it.

Let us not forget that doctors and their lobbies have done this before.  For more than 40 years they peddled the lie that saturated (animal) fat was the cause of heart attacks, strokes and obesity.  They did so despite the fact that the ramp in the first two began 20 years after the rate of smoking went up by more than a factor of ten on a per-capita basis along with intentionally ignoring evidence contrary to their claims (such as those eating a Mediterranean diet, the Inuit and other populations.)  In addition it was a known fact since animal husbandry has existed that one feeds animals high carbohydrate diets to intentionally fatten them; both cattle and pork are "finished" on same prior to being slaughtered.

The result of telling us to eat large amounts of carbohydrate and unsaturated machine-processed vegetable fats was more obesity and Type II diabetes, from which the medical system as a whole has profited mightily -- instead of their claim that we would experience less disease.  Not one person has been prosecuted or otherwise held to account for this intentional lie and the harm, both in human misery and death, directly caused by same.

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