The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets

Uh huh..... remember, this rather pointed first-person report is just an anecdote and doesn't represent what certain leadership elements of this "community" would like to define -- by force if necessary -- as normal....

In rural, small-town Iowa, a group of parents and community leaders is seeking to prevent students from the local taxpayer-funded middle school and high school from attending future versions of an anti–bullying conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.

....

Among the nearly two dozen speakers, “only two” addressed bullying, one attendee estimated, according to EAGnews.org.

The rest of the sessions involved issues such as “how to pleasure their gay partners.”

Middle school girls from Humboldt (pop.: 4,690) had the opportunity to learn “how to sew fake testicles into their underwear in order to pass themselves off as boys.”

When the facially-outrageous behavior of the "presenters" was challenged this was the response:

Nate Monson, executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, said parents who worry about middle school kids hearing about anal sex with strap-ons and analingus are “disgusting.”

“It’s incredibly frustrating that adults are being the problem and being the bully,” Monson told the Des Moines NBC affiliate. “We can do better in Iowa.”

Exactly how would you define do better?  More to the point is it now defined as bullying to point out that demonstrating and explaining strap-ons, anal sex and butt-munching to middle school kids is outrageous?

Is "do better" defined as teaching middle school kids, most of whom are just entering puberty and none of them are of the age of consent in any state in the US, about things they would have zero interest in on their own so they are open to the idea of such an experience with, say, an older person?

Just wondering.....

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

So here we have another article on pharmaceutical industry pricing practices:

Drug makers are even not above scaring the populace if it sells drugs for rare diseases. Your back pain may not be from working out at all but from a disease called ankylosing spondylitis, says AbbVie, a condition that can be treated with its biologic drug Humira for as much as $20,000 a year. (Injectable “biologic” drugs are a new drug industry push because they are so expensive and less susceptible to generic competition than pills.)

The drug industry is also trying to stay a Wall Street darling with new, uber priced drugs—notably hepatitis C drugs. Gilead Sciences sold $12.4 billion worth of Sovaldi at $1000 a pill last year, reports theNew York Times “straining the budgets of insurance companies and Medicaid programs.”

While drug company representatives initially tried to cast the outrageous prices as recouping their research and development costs they quickly back pedaled into admitting the drugs are priced on “value”—what they are “worth” for the patient’s health. Needless to say such valuations come pretty close to the definition of extortion—or offers you “can’t refuse.”

So let's put this sort of thing into a context that's easier for you to understand.

You walk into a grocery store.  You get to the checkout counter and present your basket of groceries.  The checkstand operator asks you to swipe your card first, before ringing them up, and the store's computer checks both your available credit line and bank balance.

It then decides what the basket of groceries on the belt is "worth" to you and what you can afford, setting a multiplier that results, if you happen to have a lot of money (or credit) in a price that is 10x as much as the person behind you pays.

Oh, and to keep you from figuring it out the checkstand doesn't display any prices either; you find out how much your card was hit for your groceries only after you leave the store.

How long would this sort of thing last in the grocery store, the auto repair shop or the coffee shop?

It would take less than five minutes, I suspect, before the police showed up and led the store manager out in handcuffs.

Note that this is not just a pharama practice -- it is true across the board when it comes to medical goods and services in the United States today.

So why, given that one dollar in five spent in this country (that is, one dollar in five of your money!) winds up subject to this sort of outrageous practice are you not right now taking legal but forceful action to stop it -- such as either cutting your income to the point that you pay an effective zero tax rate, refusing to provide any sort of service to anyone in the medical field and picketing everyone involved in this "industry" along with "occupying" your state legislatures?

Do you like being financially "sexed" and thus you declare, on a daily basis, that these practices are not rape?

Apparently so.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

You knew there wasn't only one.... ok, only two....

A technician who said she worked for a company that partnered with Planned Parenthood to harvest fetal tissue said there’s “incentive to try and get the hard stuff ‘cause you’re going to get more money,” in the latest undercover video targeting Planned Parenthood.

“For whatever we could procure, they would get a certain percentage,” said Holly O’Donnell, identified as an ex-procurement technician for StemExpress, LLC. “The main nurse was always trying to make sure we got our specimens. No one else really cared, but the main nurse did because she knew that Planned Parenthood was getting compensated.”

Oops....

I suspected at the time of the first video release that the organization had a bunch more, and would simply wait for Planned Parenthood to try to dismiss and excuse the original as taken out of context.

At which point the hammer would come down.

It did, but the organization's defenders once again ran that same line in the media.

Beware falling pianos.....

smiley

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

Some people think this sort of event is something "new" or "novel." It is not.

If you talk to the reporters who work for various big media companies, they insist that they have true editorial independence from the business side of their companies. They insist that the news coverage isn't designed to reflect the business interests of their owners. Of course, most people have always suspected this was bull**** -- and you could see evidence of this in things like the fact that the big TV networks refused to cover the SOPA protests. But -- until now -- there's never necessarily been a smoking gun with evidence of how such business interests influences the editorial side.

Of course they make such a claim because if this is not true then these "media companies" are literally without anything of value to sell.

But the truth is that the media has always had its "reporting" influenced by the "business interest" side.  Why would anyone believe otherwise?  Media exists on the spending of advertising, and advertisers are not interested in seeing their products and services slammed -- or, for that matter, any story that might lead to fewer sales.

But let's think about what this means for you as a media consumer, particularly if you think you're consuming "hard news."  Are you, or are you being fed propaganda?

Oh, probably the second -- most of the time.

The implications of coordination at the level being allegedly reported here, however, go far beyond simply "paying attention to" the firms that are placing ads in a given media property.  This allegation is one of direct and, arguably, corrupt coordinated actions between a Mississippi Attorney General, motion picture studios and the MPAA.

How far does this rabbit hole reach?  Probably to the earth's core.

Now consider just a few other "stories", such as the near-constant attacks on companies like BlackBerry.  Is it really about their handsets being in some way "inferior" or is it that the company doesn't take all your data and sell it to the various media properties, and if you remove them from the market you enhanced your collection of that data?  Likewise, how about cholesterol and other medical matters, when firms are making literal billions on their pharmaceutical products and running ads in the media for them.  Name an industry and you can find an example and if you have a smoking gun in one what leads you to believe that it's not present literally everywhere?

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

Some of you remember my articles a while back on Sprint; I was convinced the company was a good buy and stuck my neck out when everyone else thought they were swirling the bowl.

I proved to be right, but then a disrupting force came in through M&A -- and I got out.  I was asked at the time what I thought about the combination and my answer was simple: I lack enough information to analyze the situation post-merger, and I have no reasonable expectation of being able to regain that analytical capacity -- therefore, I'm out.

The stock continued to rise for a bit, but now it is in an all-on collapse, hitting $3.11 today down from over $8 a year ago.

So what do you do now?

You stay away for the same reason I argue you wanted out before.

I don't like the internals, I don't like the technicals, I really don't like the firm's debt position against it's free cash or its debt:equity ratio (which is in the stratosphere) and I question the book value.  Oh, and that negative levered free cash flow bothers me too.

It would have been an interesting short if you could get visibility into the combination at the time of the acquisition but there was no good way to do that, and at this price shorting it is folly.  But buying it here is basically buying a long-dated option on the company being taken out, and that's already happened -- which means that it's more-likely to find itself as a written-off piece of the acquirer, much like Nokia's spin-and-sell to Microsoft was.  If you're tempted then buy some cheap CALLs instead, but do it with money you'd otherwise spend on booze and call it a purchase intended to be "for your health" (because it kept you out of the bar.)

Short form: Stay away.

View this entry with comments (registration required to post)
 

Main Navigation
MUST-READ Selection:
Why I Find It Hard To Give A F**k

Full-Text Search & Archives
Archive Access
Legal Disclaimer

The content on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied. All opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and may contain errors or omissions.

NO MATERIAL HERE CONSTITUTES "INVESTMENT ADVICE" NOR IS IT A RECOMMENDATION TO BUY OR SELL ANY FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO STOCKS, OPTIONS, BONDS OR FUTURES.

The author may have a position in any company or security mentioned herein. Actions you undertake as a consequence of any analysis, opinion or advertisement on this site are your sole responsibility.

Market charts, when present, used with permission of TD Ameritrade/ThinkOrSwim Inc. Neither TD Ameritrade or ThinkOrSwim have reviewed, approved or disapproved any content herein.

The Market Ticker content may be reproduced or excerpted online for non-commercial purposes provided full attribution is given and the original article source is linked to. Please contact Karl Denninger for reprint permission in other media or for commercial use.

Submissions or tips on matters of economic or political interest may be sent "over the transom" to The Editor at any time. To be considered for publication your submission must include full and correct contact information and be related to an economic or political matter of the day. All submissions become the property of The Market Ticker.