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2024-02-08 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 303 references
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The 57-page opinion can be accessed here if you want the "whole story."

I'll summarize and comment instead of going through it line-item by line-item.

The first of two primary prongs of his argument were that Trump was immune as President for any act under the broad penumbra of his official duties.  That is, so long as he was acting as President and not in a purely-private capacity his actions were immune from legal challenge.  This found no purchase with the court, and frankly I'm sort of surprised he attempted it, given the historical record even in the context of Presidents.

For example, Nixon was famously pardoned by Ford who stated at the time he did so in order to prevent an indictment which he expected would otherwise follow Nixon's resignation.  Nixon's actions, of course, took place in the Oval Office and thus certainly were at least as "in the broad penumbra" of the Presidency as were Trump's.  I would have been quite surprised, given that record, if the court agreed with Trump.  In addition you had Clinton and Lewinsky -- there the issue was not indictment but Clinton did agree to forfeit his law license and accept other sanction in exchange for not being charged post-office -- and again, the actions in question, some of which allegedly took place under his desk in the Oval Office, certainly were "within the broad penumbra" of the Presidency.

Oops.

The second prong was that having been acquitted by the Senate in the impeachment trial on the same basic charge Trump was immune under double jeopardy.  But, as I pointed out in my many "peachy podcasts" at the time, impeachment is a political act, not a criminal one.  You can be sued and then prosecuted (or the other way around) without implicating double-jeopardy because civil suit is not a criminal prosecution either, and further once again the record in Nixon's case shows that even though there was no conviction since he resigned in front of impeachment proceedings that were nearly-certain to come that a predicate impeachment and removal was necessary as a lesser-included has very little support and, in fact, if you go beyond the Presidency it has none at all.  There have been judges and other officials who have been impeached, not convicted in said impeachment and then charged criminally for their conduct and further, the argument during Trump's second impeachment was raised (and appears rather sound as it applies to both Nixon and Trump) that one can't impeach and convict successfully once the person leaves office.  To argue that an official can avoid a criminal charge by mere resignation in front of impeachment votes stretches credibility and, indeed, some of the Senators who voted "no" have publicly stated they did so because with Trump having left office they lost jurisdiction to impeach at all.  Maybe or maybe not, but that was the basis of their decision and the court took note of it.

The implication of this decision however extends materially beyond Trump and, in my opinion, that's a good thing.  Right now we have a President who is claiming to have no jurisdiction to shut down the flow of migrants at the border and demanding passage of a new bill.  This is false; 8 USC 1182(f) makes clear that by mere proclamation the President can bar entry of any non-citizen person or group of people if he or she finds that such entry is contrary to the interests of the United States.  Such a decision by Biden would certainly generate lawsuits but they're losers -- the law is clear on this point and said authority is both essentially plenary in nature and explicitly, as codified in said law, granted by Congress.  As such it is at least as valid if not more-so than any "new bill" that could be passed.

Why is this important?  Because as noted in the opinion The President, like all other officials, takes an oath to faithfully execute the laws of the United States and the Executive, which he heads, is the branch with actual authority and in fact the only branch with authority to make arrests, detain, prosecute, jail and (in the case of non-citizens) expel people.  As such a willing and intentional violation is subject to future prosecution including potentially derivative prosecution as an accessory should, for example, a migrant come into the country as a result of said willful refusal to act and then commit a serious crime (like murder, for example.)  This almost-certainly does not implicate, incidentally, "qualified immunity" as it has long been held that an action taken by an official that does not conform with the clear language of the law is not entitled to that protection.

While it is certainly true that we've had a paucity of Executives willing to actually enforce the law over the last few decades (witness 15 USC Chapter 1 for more examples than you can count) it remains a fact that this decision is a two-edged sword and might well cut equally well against both Biden and the members of his Administration when it comes to their actions related to the border once his administration leaves office.

People have said "well that means you could prosecute President {X} because he droned people!"

Yes, indeed it does mean exactly that, if such an act is a crime under US law.  Being President does not make you immune from law in the United States; that is one of the defining differences between the US and those nations that have other forms of government.

If we are a nation that does not recognize "The Divine Right of Kings", and in fact America was in no small part founded on the very premise that such is ethically and legally bankrupt, then its hard to find fault with the court's analysis in this case.

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Go on back and read the original if you'd like as I score along from last year's prognostications....

  • The virus "response" is collapsing and will continue to: DING DING DING!  There are still a handful of people screaming at the top of their lungs and making a spectacle of themselves much like a 2 year old that has been told they cannot have another candy, but the uptake on the latest shots is what it is and the sales job has failed.  What's astounding are the people who are trying to re-write history, especially those who threatened others and now try to claim they didn't, or try to claim they did not prognosticate that we would go through a "winter of being dead" if we didn't comply.  Well, we didn't comply and we're not dead, and now here are in winter again.  I'll leave the rest for the -NAD side of the blog.

  • That collapse and the increases it brings in cost will accelerate the detonation of the federal budget via CMS.  DING!  Over two trillion was spent there last fiscal year ending September 30th and its not stopping either; through November, which is one sixth of the fiscal year (two months) the current total is $306 billion .vs. $291 billion last year.  While that is "only" a 5% increase thus far if you think we can keep paying that, uh, no.

  • Other schemes peddled as "medical advice" will be increasingly explored.  I'm going to call that a "push" and bring it forward, although I could probably take credit for it -- specifically with regard to certain medications.  But its not clear that I will "win" that argument thus far, so we'll see.

  • Severe dislocations due to mandates through industry.  POINT!  Its literally all over the place from various firms screaming about "back to the office" to pilot shortages to severe military recruiting problems and, not surprisingly, nursing.  All of these had one thing in common -- they all had mandates and some of them (like the military) have now tried to say "oh, come back please, we didn't mean it."  Uh huh.

  • Cost-shifting in "online shopping" will crack.  MISS. It is what it is but the prediction I made as a part of it, which was that the "order today, have tomorrow" game is getting screwed with in a big way, appears to be verifying -- at least in my experience albeit with a few exceptions.  I'd say that "time to get it to 'ya", if you're not paying specifically for speed, is up somewhere around 30%.  Nonetheless the prediction was it would blow up in people's faces and it did not, so no point for me.

  • The market is not done going down.   MISS.  Surprisingly so too for me, but it is what it is.

  • The Omnibus insures inflation is not over either.  POINT.  Oh I know, last few months "core" is coming in supposedly but let's cut the crap folks -- roughly double the Fed's "primary gauge" isn't "normalized" and reality is what it is.  

  • Rates are not done going up.  POINT.  The IRX started at 4.32 (roughly) and is now at 5.2.  That's almost a full point higher.  The TNX is basically flat, but the curve inversion is worse, and not by a little (in fact on the TNX-IRX it is three times worse), than it was on 12/31/2022.

  • Business is going to have to return to employees being functional.  MISS.  I expected a crap ton of firings and while they're starting now December alone doesn't count.  I can't take credit for it when its six months+ late, although look before because I'm carrying that one forward.

  • DEI and ESG will be increasingly recognized as DIE.  NEAR MISS, but I get the point over Harvard, MIT and UPenn among others.  This one's not over either.

  • Russia isn't going to be "beaten" and the Ukraine support will vanish.  Point.  The vanishing is happening (no supplemental yet eh?) and Russia definitely hasn't been beaten.  The war's not over yet but anyone who thinks Z's troops were going to stomp Putin (with our assistance or otherwise) has been sadly wrong, and plenty of Ukrainians are dead as a consequence.

  • The impact of the Omnibus will be historic, and nasty.  MISS.  Some of the most-egregious provisions are still in there but not yet recognized, and thus while some have been (and even reversed, such as the near-total ban on drilling) not enough for me to take credit for it, so nope.

  • Green energy is headed for the dustbin and firms are in trouble.  POINT!  Ford, GM and similar are all running away from EVs.  So is virtually everyone else, although there's still a brave face on it coming from various quarters.  It doesn't work thermodynamically and the cars are piling up on lots among other things.  

  • DeSantis will either take the RNC pole position or blow up.  The latter -- POINT.  You have to chuckle when Haley is nearly beating him, and she is.  DeSantis is losing by thirty points or more to Trump.  I'd say that's "blown up."

  • Political shifts are going to increase in ugliness.  POINT!  Comity?  What's that?

  • Economic and political disparities in areas between "red" and "blue" are going to produce actual fractures in supply lines and cooperation.  POINT!  Blue cities screaming about "migrants" that they refuse to get behind blocking at the border, proving without question that their "support" was in fact nothing more than a desire to screw other states?  Well.... yeah.  Among other things.

  • Illegal immigration forces policy changes.  Nope.  Not yet.  There are signs of it, including rumblings about calling up the Guard and putting down crossings by "whatever means must be used" but thus far other than the fencing that Texas put up (and they won a court challenge on Biden's people cutting them too) it hasn't folded back on the government yet, but no point for me.

  • Housing is nowhere near done going down.  POINT.  We ain't there gentlemen; the market continues to remain locked, although I am seeing plenty of price-cuts here it doesn't matter as they're not moving.  This is going to be a huge story forward and will be below once again.

  • Auto prices, specifically used cars, are going to collapse.  MISS but just barely.  The various "feelers" at the auction level say I might be off by a month or two and it IS starting, along with the incentives coming back on new vehicles.  Nonetheless its no point for me, but I'm going to carry that one forward into next year as well.

So how's this look.... I count twelve points, 1 push and six misses for a hit rate of 12/19 = 63%.  Not bad.

On to 2024!

Let's do the two pull-forwards first and then the rest:

  • Car prices - kaboom!  Its starting already, and some of the biggest collapses are going to come in the EV area.  Simply put those who want them bought them and nobody else wants them.  You can't get around the charge time and distance requirements and it matters not what you mandate; people do not want them, especially when the credits expire and suddenly they cost wildly more than a gas-powered vehicle.

  • Businesses will be forced to cut those who do not produce.  The inflation squeeze is not over and the "RIP" meme stuff sounds great but only works when labor is in control of the equation.  The tide is turning on this folks, and with the below on the economy if you're one of those people who has played that game you're first to get a pink slip.

  • The "great congressional reset" put forward by the current speaker, that is returning to regular order with his extensions expiring, are going to amuse -- and fail.  We'll see if he has the rocks to stand firm when the other bills fail to be completed by the end of January.  He said "no more extensions and CRs" but when he said that originally I disbelieved, said so in public and still do.  Therefore my prediction (for the point) is that no return to regular order, which means there will be at least one and possibly several more "extensions", "Omnibus" and "CRs", which in turn brands the GOP as a pack of liars.

  • Silly season, otherwise known as the federal elections for November, will bring multiple surprises -- and upsets.  What this means is that to get the point either (1) someone other than Trump or Biden has to actually win (whether by oddity or being knocked out) or (2) a serious third-party challenge must actually get onto the ballot or some state-led action (e.g. barring Trump from the ballot successfully) has to occur and throw the result from what it would otherwise be.  If either Trump or Biden wins I do not get the point.

  • Congress will not materially reign in spending and a secondary inflationary spike will start to hit before the end of the year.  It is what it is and right now Congress is driving a roughly eight percent inflation rate.  Oh, you think its 4% right now?  Uh, no it isn't; short-term absorption can temper what would otherwise show up but can't stop it, and that short-term stuff goes away.  Specifically there is a drawdown on excess reserves that is almost gone and will soon be gone, and there's nothing The Fed or anyone else can do about that.  It is serving as a buffer right now but that is ending, and soon.  The usual pipeline delay is still there -- which means coming into the elections things get quite interesting.

  • There will not be four, five or six rate cuts.  No point if there are four or more.  Less than four and.... ding!

  • There will be at least a 10% drawdown from the closing market price of the SPX on 12/31, and I get two points for a 20% or greater one.  If the market goes up in the early part of the year its not 10% from there, its 10% from the 12/31 price.  Yes, this means I might by buying some PUTs and no, that's not investment advice although I do consider them "on sale" at the moment with the VIX trading around 13.

  • Housing begins to crack in a serious form.  It is too early, and this year will remain too early.  If you have to move then do so, because selling a bubble and buying one is a net zero, but for the love of God do not take on leverage to acquire real estate in any form at this time.  You're asking for it straight up the chute.  It will be years before a reasonable bottom comes -- best guess is three to five years out.

  • AirBNB and similar are done.  Yes, there will still be short-term rentals and places like the Smokies are not going to have them disappear by any means, but the salad days are over and all these firms and their "hosts" are in for some serious financial trouble. $200 a day for a stay and close to that base price again in fees and such, including exorbitant cleaning fees and "expectations" (e.g. "you do the laundry and take out the trash or get fined") are going to disappear as people increasingly decide that a hotel is a better deal (and a lot of the time -- it is!)  Anyone who bought one of these with leverage (e.g. has a note on it) is going to get ruined and the recent practice in places like Sevier County of assessing all said properties are commercial (they are) and subjecting them to commercial property tax and other rates should and this year will expand.  This in turn means both the revenue and expense sides of the balance sheet for these sorts of properties are going to get squeezed against the owners; anyone in them with leverage is exposed to being financially destroyed.

  • A serious revolt begins as regards illegal immigrants (or "migrants" if you prefer.)  This probably does not involve mass-violence although it might.  It does involve economic revolt in all respects, particularly when it comes to those places that are Democrat-controlled (e.g. cities and similar) and it will come from those who already are trying to claw their way up, meaning already-present Black and Hispanic Americans.  Given the upcoming elections this has every possibility of not just shaping state and local elections but national outcomes as well.  This is and will remain all about economics - when all is said and done people vote their wallet and that not only never has changed it never will change.  This is the biggest threat to Democrat office-holders in November by far; their "open border and handout" policy was crafted in a way to screw Red states and areas but that was always intellectually bankrupt, particularly while Democrat-heavy places extolled their "sanctuary" status.  Now they have to deliver on their promise and to do it they must take from those who elect them which is not very popular with said electorate (big shock, right?)

  • The Middle East conflict will not be settled; it will instead expand and become a serious problem.  I'm not all that good at prognosticating the twists and turns of military insanity, but if you think there's any indication that its going to calm down over the next year may I recommend a psychiatrist -- you need one.  Significant disruption to international trade is already occurring and is likely to expand and we, in America, have ceded our authority and capacity to absorb it on an inflation front, having squandered that in the little adventure over in Ukraine.  This is already leading to wild increases in container transport prices and it just takes one sunk ship for insurance to become essentially unobtainable for commercial trade.  This is not WWI or WWII where even with armed military escort transports were routinely sunk.  We lack the capacity, given the ridiculous increase in ocean-bound shipping, to provide such protection (leaky though it would be) even if we wanted to.  In short essentially all global trade relies on the lack of military action by belligerents in any focused sort of way on said trade routes and we simply cannot escort same and thus secure it.  At the same time we can "see" everything (and so can everyone else) in the satellite age so the premise of "surprise" across oceans is for all intents and purposes void as well.

  • America will walk away from Ukraine; while nobody will have "won" Ukraine will have to sue for peace on essentially the terms Russia wanted originally.  You can't take and hold ground without boots being there and Ukraine simply has fewer boots available -- and plenty of theirs have run away rather than enlist and fight.  This was utterly predictable from the outset; Ukraine is not and has never been a cohesive society.  I pointed this out originally when this dust-up started -- there are four "rough" factions within the nation and they all hate each other sufficiently to be willing to slaughter the others, given even a weak excuse.  Its been that way for a thousand years and is why the USSR basically allowed them to be "autonomous."  Nonetheless whether we or anyone else likes it the Russians have their naval port and will not give it up and unless you're willing to fight a nuclear war over it you're crazy to try.

  • We will be forced to deal with the realities of the medical and pharmaceutical business -- and it will start this year.  It won't be over and done this year by any means, but the hiding of the sausage is simply untenable at this point and while there is still lots of hand-waving the capacity to absorb it and drive more spending into the health care field on worthless and even harmful actions has now gone so far it threatens the fiscal survival of the nation.  The people who refuse to adapt to this and get their own health in order -- which I've been talking about for the last ten years in volume -- are going to have a very bad time of it.  Don't be one of them.

  • DEI will have a rough year.  By December the winds of change will be everywhere.  Harvard's issue with Gay is the tip of a very large iceberg.  That onion will get peeled and Harvard will be essentially forced to do it by firms that, if they don't, will start boycotting their graduates.  There are already winds of this afoot in regards to Harvard's Law School and that is going to spread.  Right now these places are all saying "its not about Harvard's students" but that's false; it is very much about their students and what they become while there, whether they entered the college with that point of view or not.  This is not limited by any means to three universities and a few fields either; if you look at all the cyber break-ins over the last few years in very large, and allegedly-capable companies it should be immediately-obvious that the basic problem is that competence is absent in places where it shouldn't be.  That's the fundamental problem with "DEI" when you get down to it; you are hiring, admitting, promoting, passing and generally advancing on metrics other than competence.  This is only possible without getting destroyed by competitors when you can force others to do it too which is why the Ivys getting involved in this has been successful for this long and so has it been in "industry."  It may have taken the Israeli/Palestinian issue to force this abject fraud onto the front page but now that it has it won't go away and the notice that it does and will lead to bad outcomes across industries will get noticed.  This is not a one year thing but my bet (for the point) is that this is the year in which it gains enough currency to be "a thing" and the pendulum shift becomes unmistakable.

  • The big "R" (Recession) will be evident, although possibly not yet declared, in 2024.  Note that the NBER is frequently six months or more behind on that, so anything that officially turns down from June onward is unlikely to be officially declared by the end of the year.  I will take the point if its evident whether formally declared or not, but will not take it if its nebulous or not in evident bloom by the end of December '24 (in other words, I won't cheat.)

As always I reserve the right to amend and add things from now until 12:01 AM January 1st at which point it is what it is and we go forward with the scoring from there.

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2023-08-11 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 572 references
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.... be willing, to be President, that is.

But -- as always I refuse to "run"; therefore, if the people of this nation want me to be President they'll have to draft me.

I believe any citizen should be willing to accept being drafted in that sort of fashion.  I'm 60, so hardly a spring chicken, but its entirely reasonable to believe that I'll live out two terms in office without going either demented or dying outright.  Unlike most these days I don't have an extra 100+lbs hanging around, I require no prescribed medication of any sort but I will tell you right up front that I'm not going to submit to the poking and prodding that some people think should be routine nor is any such going to be published if I was to win the office.  If you need to see up my ass in order to vote for me, in short, you can go screw a goat right now -- vote for someone else.  There shouldn't be a "White House physician" and in my opinion you shouldn't vote for someone who needs one.

Feel free to judge my general medical fitness by my Athlinks profile however, along with the results, or just come to the next race I enter in the future and debate with the clock if you'd like.  I'm good with that and you should be too.

In addition I will execute a binding legal document containing my pre-election resignation from office which will give any citizen (and only citizens) the right to bring suit to eject me from said office if I violate any of the platform planks below.  Again, I view public office as a contract where politicians view it as a mechanism for grift, scam, fraud and self-enrichment.

Speaking of platform, here's what you get if you draft me.  Note that unlike the other candidates all this is within Executive power and none is a "flex" or expecting to get away with anything.  I'd argue that to claim that which you can't do without cooperation is fraud in the inducement and you won't find any of that here.

  • I am a strict Constitutionalist.  There currently is a presumption that a bill is Constitutional within the Executive; I specifically state, in advance, that I intend to dishonor that.  Therefore all bills presented to me must, as their first clause(s), cite the specific authority under the Constitution that enables them.  Any bill missing this clause, or which contains language outside it, will be vetoed.  Any and all agencies or departments operating under the Executive shall comport with the clear language of the Constitution (as currently amended) in all respects.

  • There is no right of entry into the United States unless you are a citizen or lawful permanent resident.  Further, the forcible entry into the United States by foreign nationals on an organized basis is legally an invasion and shall be treated as such and repelled as required.  Any nation facilitating such an invasion shall lose all trading status with the United States, without exception.  America shall treat those who disrespect our border yet claim to be "partners" as co-conspirators.  Those who believe they can bully America in this regard are wrong and will pay for it.  Yes, I understand there are many business interests who will "implore" me not to do this.  They should be imploring the other nations to cut that crap out, and if they don't or fail in doing so, well, there is risk in offshoring production into nations that are hostile toward America's interests.  Welcome to paying the costs because I mean it and will do it.  On my inauguration day the current invasion will end, one way or another, and all who are here illegally will find that my Executive will enforce, to the maximum extent permitted by long-standing law, all sanction against persons here illegally.  There are long-standing laws, for example, that forbid money laundering and tax evasion; those who attempt to use "remittances" as part of such a scheme to work under the table and expatriate funds will find themselves arrested, deported and barred on a permanent basis from re-entry into the United States as such is already a felony and it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  There is and shall remain a lawful process for entry into the United States and those who follow it shall have priority at all time and in all respects, with no deference given to those who have entered on an unlawful basis.  I will solicit a change to the 14th Amendment via the proper process to clarify that birthright citizenship shall only extend to the circumstance where the mother is either a lawful permanent resident or citizen at the time of said birth and that such an event shall not, under any circumstance, confer a right of citizenship or permanent residency for any other genetically-related person.

  • I will not sign any bill I have not read, in full.  Yes, every single word on every single page will be personally read first.  The American people deserve no less than a President that fully understands every single law and all of its impacts that he or she signs into law while in office.  Since as President I must either sign or veto a bill within 10 days any bill that cannot be reasonably read, including all cross-references to existing law and be understood within the rational workload of the Presidency will be immediately vetoed as having been presented with obviously-fraudulent intent to obtain my signature without my knowing what's actually in said bill.

  • Any attempt by Congress to "sneak" a provision into a bill that, during any negotiation I might have participated in with the members of Congress prior to it reaching my desk, but which I was not apprised of or which is materially altered will result in the bill being vetoed -- without exception.  I will not stand for attempted fraud in the legislative process under any circumstances and irrespective of the excuses made for it.  This is a long-standing practice in Washington DC and it shall never be seen within the Executive during my term.

  • I will sign no budget bills that do not include a primary and operating surplus of at least 3%, except in time of declared war.  If Congress demands deficit spending then they will have to override my veto.  I will of course negotiate exactly how we will reach said primary and operating surplus, but we shall or I will not sign into law any appropriation bill.  Attempts to back-door that by presenting bills "piecemeal" will result in the later ones being vetoed, and yes, I mean it -- and it shouldn't be a surprise since I'm putting it right here.

  • I will not sign any bill, nor take any Executive Action, to prosecute or assist in a war without a vote of Congress to enter said war and delineate the terms on which we are in it, irrespective of who the alleged beneficiary is.  The War Power is reserved to Congress, not the Executive.  This does not prevent me from "hot pursuit" and should such be required I will warn all foreign governments and non-government actors: There will be no warning and no second chances if you pull something that demands such a response.  You'll get it, immediately.  But beyond that, nope.  If I have reason to believe we should do more then I'll go to Congress and get it authorized and it will be paid for unless Congress authorizes a direct war declaration.

  • All entities violating 15 USC Chapter 1 will be prosecuted, criminally so and shall name every director and officer individually if said is a corporation.  The existing DOJ "guidelines" that prohibit criminally charging said companies and the refusal to charge directors and officers in nearly all cases will be rescinded by Executive Order immediately upon taking office.  Any US Attorney who refuses to bring said charges will be summarily dismissed and replaced, without exception.  The current practice of allowing firms to break felony laws and merely pay fines which they can force customers to eat shall end on my first day.

  • No person in my Administration nor any immediate family member will trade any security, in any form, while in office and all information gained will be treated as "inside information" and, upon evidence that said individual disclosed it to a third party who then traded upon it they will be, if possible under existing law, prosecuted and in any event such an act will lead to summary dismissal from their position.  Period.  All persons desiring to serve in my Administration will sign a legally-binding contract that prohibits them from consulting or working for any entity that has had business before my Administration and where they have had contact with said policy for a period of five years after leaving said employment.  There will be no exceptions to this policy; you serve the people and you shall not be part of any "revolving door" nonsense using your position as a means to personally enrich yourself as soon as you leave said employment nor will your wife or husband have an incredibly prescient trading record as a result of you working for the American people.  This scam will not continue during my term in office within the Executive under my control.

  • I will direct CMS such that no entity that imposes any form of disparate billing of any sort may receive funds from CMS, without exception, and all such prices must be publicly posted and charged evenly.  Everyone pays the same price for the same goods and services in any entity that receives funds from Medicare or Medicaid.  No exceptions, no ifs, ands or buts.  I can't do it everywhere via Executive action but I can do it within CMS, and will.  That will end medical tyranny in the United States on my first day in office.  I would like to see this bill passed, but I'm President, not the Speaker of the House so what I can do on my own in the Executive I will, and then we'll sort the rest out.

  • To the extent that I can do so via CMS policy, I will enact "no cure, no pay" within Medicare and Medicaid There are likely limits on how far this can go under existing executive authority, but if there is a future pandemic or other health emergency during my term this absolutely can be part of the response and, it is likely, it can be imposed for many routine circumstances as well.  Your tax money should not be used for worthless -- or even harmful -- medical measures and under my administration it won't be to the maximum extent I can implement this change.

  • All existing emergencies at the Federal Level that have been in existence for more than 12 months will be revoked on my first day in office.  The remainder will be reviewed within 30 days and all that do not have a demonstrable reason to remain will be revoked upon completion of each review.  No emergency during my term will have an initial term of more than 30 days; any authority beyond that must come from Congress and I will promote and attempt to pass a bill codifying this into law.  Enough of the "government by emergency"; there are an insane number of existing, non-terminated emergency declarations and they're all gone on my first day.

  • I will demand that Congress revoke the EPA, and any other federal agency, capacity to regulate carbon emissions of any sort.  Until they do not one bill will pass my desk with other than a veto.  Energy independence and carbon-based fuels are why we have a modern society; you may not like it but I'm quite sure you prefer to have both heat and transportation over not.  There are few issues where I am willing to put this sort of marker on the table; this is one of them.  There are many good things that have come from environmental regulation but carbon is not a pollutant; it is plant food.  In addition we cannot, and will not, manage to stop Africa and Asia, particularly India, from advancing their societies -- nor should we.  If there is an argument to make on energy efficiency it has to be made in the marketplace on the economic benefits.  People will buy more-efficient things if they're cheaper on a total life-cycle basis including impacts on durability, comfort and the discounted time value of money.  If you can't make the argument on that basis then the so-called "improvement" is a lie and the ability to impose it by force will be removed.

  • I will demand that Congress revoke all criminal and civil immunity from every branch of private industry under every circumstance, and will issue targeted vetoes against any bill touching any industry benefiting from same until it occurs.  The pharmaceutical industry is a large part of this -- but not all of it.  If an industry argues that it "won't" produce a thing our society needs without that then let them withdraw and as soon as they do the government will fund said production, subject to the right of first refusal by said private firms.  Holding people hostage (as the pharmaceutical industry did with the DTP fiasco) will be met with the government stepping in and criminal charges if any sort of organized action occurs as such is a violation of 15 USC Chapter 1.  Executives will go to prison if they try to get around this with various forms of arm-twisting.  I have no problem with throwing rich and powerful people in prison if the break the law and you shouldn't either.

  • The DEA will be directed to de-schedule cannabis.  It does not meet the legal requirements to be scheduled and never did; this was an outrageous fraud and said frauds must end.  This has to go through formal process (e.g. notice in the Federal Register, etc.) but it will happen starting on my first day in office.  All other scheduled drugs will be similarly reviewed for compliance with the actual statute and those that do not meet the requirements will be shifted into the correct category or de-scheduled as appropriate.

  • I shall solicit Congress to revoke the bankruptcy exemption on student loans and remove from the Federal Government all involvement in same on an immediate and permanent basis.  This requires an act of Congress but it has to be done.  Post-secondary education is a racket and has been driven by the incremental policy moves of Congress and the Federal Government in regards to student lending.  Obama's federalization of student lending is a proven failure and must be reversed and all such loans ejected from the federal portfolio.  This will end the FASFA scam as well; an adult is just that, and it is none of a university's business how much their parents make or have.  Only Pell and Stafford will remain as federal programs pending review of their efficiency and distortions on the educational marketplace.  We cannot end the various forms of discriminatory conduct in education nor the raw exploitation of young adults without doing this.  Existing borrowers should be able to discharge said debt, and I will promote a change in the Bankruptcy Code that provides that if one does so all credits so-earned and the degree is also revoked to provide a strong disincentive for strategic default.  Those who got talked into $100,000+ of debt for what proves to be a worthless degree, on the other hand, should be able to discharge same.  At the same time PSLF and related programs must and to the extent can be eliminated by Executive action will be ended; non-profits should have to compete in the marketplace like everyone else for employment and suppressing wages in the public sector is damaging to the economy and individual people.

  • Roe has been stuck by the Supreme Court.  I shall neither attempt to reinstate it nor will I take any Executive action to enact federal bans on what the Supreme Court has returned to the States.  This is a debate that has to happen at the state level and the determination as to whether common ground can be found must take place there.  It may be that this is where it stays forever -- that I do not know, but what I do know is that attempting to enact a federal abortion ban is exactly the same sort of tyranny that was in place on the other side with partial birth abortions where a child half-born could be killed with impunity.  Corner cases make bad law and I will not participate in either side of this debate's attempt to ram said corner cases down the American people's throats.

  • I will impose Wage and Environmental Parity Tariffs on imports from all nations, whether directly or via intermediary nations, that despoil the environment, use forced or otherwise coerced labor, and that subsidize or otherwise tamper with pricing via state support, including but not limited to those nations that engage in or suborn intellectual property theft and/or destruction.  This will be imposed without fear or favor; no nation will be exempt.  Those nations that trade fairly and freely with the United States will find the same is extended to them.  Those that have not, or do not, will be paying the entire laden cost they attempted to shift off via tariffs on everything that is sourced or passes through their country.

  • I will immediately end all involvement within the power of the Executive within Ukraine.  Congress of course may not concur, and they do have the capacity to override spending vetoes, but where the Executive has unitary capacity to make decisions that bear in this area said withdrawal will occur starting on my first day in office.  We were largely responsible for creating this mess all the way back to Maidan and we will, within the limits of my power, stop doing so.  All sanctions related to said activity will be immediately dropped.  If foreign nations wish to fight they ought to make that determination on their own merits, such as they are, and bear the consequences.

  • I will establish a Presidential Commission with a mandate to report on the engineering steps required to bring the ORNL LFTR prototype to production and then will present that to Congress on a crash-program basis with the intent of commercial power production within five years.  This will undoubtedly include expedited permitting and review processes that will require immediate sign-off or rejection -- and no delays.  No Federal agency under the Executive will be permitted to sit on any such review during my tenure.  It is my expressed intent that the United States have a closed civilian nuclear fuel cycle and all such measures necessary to do so, along with extraction of liquid fuels from coal, will be undertaken with appropriate budgetary requests to Congress to do so.  We can be entirely energy independent in the United States and within my two terms, assuming I get a second one, we will be .

  • All renewable fuel mandates (e.g. Ethanol and biodiesel) will be allowed to sunset or, if not subject to sunset within the next two years, be dropped.  The emissions reductions from ethanol in particular disappeared once closed-cycle engines were introduced and essentially all road engines are and have been for more than 20 years.  This program no longer has a benefit in the form of pollution reduction but it imposes wild expanses of cost both on transportation fuels and food.  If ethanol makes sense on a per-BTU basis to put in fuel then it will be done by the market itself, not on federal mandate.  If it does not make sense then it will disappear as it should.

  • I will endeavor to abolish the GSEs entirely through Congressional action.  Until they are anyone who participates in any form of fraud -- including attesting they are buying a house to live in when they intend to or do rent it in whole or part -- will find themselves defending an indictment against them.  All parties to said fraud will be named and charged, including the Realtors, Title firms, lenders, attorneys and any other entity who has reason to know or does know of said abuses.  This is a significant factor that has driven the unaffordability of single family housing and in each and every case it is criminal act.  Strengthening families means making sure they can afford a place to live.  If you're a part of these abuses and extraction industries you will go to prison and forfeit the property in question upon conviction.  Period.

  • The best defense against potential changes in climate, which we cannot control for multiple reasons (which I'm happy to debate) is to have a strong economy and apply engineering to the challenges rather than attempt that which cannot succeed as we are a mere 330 million people out of 8 billion on this planet.  We have no more right to tell others how to live than they do in the other direction.  What we can do is mitigate to the extent reasonable and possible -- and in many cases, it is not only possible it can be done with benefit to the economy and productivity of our nation as a whole.

  • The Armed Forces are supposed to be a fighting force that we hope never need be used.  There is no place in it for "woke" anything, whether predicated on race, sex, gender or anything else.  Any members of leadership who are not best-suited for the job will be removed and replaced.  Standards will not be lowered to suit "social values."  We hope and pray that we never need lift weapons in anger, but hope is not a strategy and thus we must always be prepared for the possibility that indeed we will be called upon to do so.

  • The office of the President has often issued "dietary guidance."  Here's mine and you get it in advance: Stop eating fast carbohydrates.  The "food pyramid" was a scam and almost-exactly inverted as to what you should and should not consume.  This was driven by commercial interests, not the health of Americans.  I'm a living example of what I believe in this regard and we will destroy the obesity epidemic in America without pharmaceuticals.  It is simply a matter of what goes in your pie hole; your body knows, like every other animal, how to regulate food intake all on its own if you stop poisoning it.

  • The FDA has apparently claimed "sovereign immunity" with regards to claims they are concerned will be proved false in open court.  To the extent this case is still under litigation I will expressly disavow same on my first day by Executive declaration.  If the case has been disposed of an Executive Order will be issued on said first day to specifically disavow same on a forward basis government-wide.  No federal agency will ever, during my Administration, claim a right to lie to the American people.  If such an agency does lie not only will it be legally accountable for the harm but I will further strip any personal liability shield that said individuals may otherwise claim and the individuals involved will be forced to answer for said lies in their personal capacity.  There is a clean argument to be made for qualified immunity for mistakes and that I will permit to continue but that does not extend to deliberate acts and no person will commit such an act in a department I have control over, directly or otherwise, while I am in office and get away with it.

  • Judicial nominations will be made on the basis of strict construction of the Constitution and a demonstrated capacity and record in doing so.  Appointments in all other respects will be made only upon merit with all other characteristics explicitly disregarded.  All "quotas", whether soft or hard, with respect to race, sex and similar are not only repugnant to the position they're federally illegal as discriminatory conduct for or against a protected class and have no place within my Executive or the nominations it produces -- period.  Merit comes back to the Executive on my first day in office in all respects.

If you believe that something else ought to be added make your case in the comment section.  I'll edit this Ticker as appropriate and will pin it until the time of the election.  I very much doubt there are even five percent of the American people who want an actual Constitutionalist in office who puts America first, will defend our borders including with deadly force and trade sanctions if necessary, will stop inflation on an immediate and permanent basis and will not allow any sort of "special interest" or Congressional game-playing to ram-rod provisions of law through an Executive signature issued without knowing every single word contained in a bill and what it does.  I also suspect almost-nobody wants an Executive that both respects the boundaries and tripartite system of government we have even when its inconvenient for whatever position they wish to advance.

Perhaps I'm wrong -- but I doubt it.

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As is my typical practice I "score" last year's predictions first, and then make some new ones.  I'm probably my own worst critic in this regard but scoring is critical; poor reflection on the past leads to bad decisions forward, and we should all strive to improve.

So with that said here we are:

  • Inflation will not calm down.  Bullseye.

  • The Democrats are going to get obliterated in the midterms.  Clean miss; I didn't even hear the whizz of that one going by.  No, the narrow margin in the House isn't worth even a fraction of a point.

  • The Fed will be force into draining liquidity.  Bullseye.  They didn't like it, they tried to avoid it, but they're doing it.

  • The USSC will split the abortion decision.  Miss.  They instead overturned Roe, which was not what I expected.  I expected a decision confirming the first trimester Roe holding and underlining it.

  • The equity market is extremely vulnerable. Bullseye.  How's your 200.5k doing?  It didn't move the election, however.

  • There is no short-term supply chain relief coming.  I'll take a 50% credit on that one although there is a cogent argument both ways.  Since there is, fine, half-point.

  • Business is going to get it in both holes.  Bullseye.  Between labor productivity which I correctly predicted would be hammered as a result of what firms did with mandates and similar, along with inflation and uncertainty of supply, has hammered businesses in all corners.

  • The blue hives are in particularly-serious trouble.  Bullseye.  This data showed up directly in the midterm elections and continues.  Detroit-style crime and breakdown conditions did indeed manifest all over the blue hives this year.

  • Significant geopolitical trouble.  Nuclear bullseye.  If it was legitimate to give myself two points I would, but it isn't.  Ukraine anyone?

  • Ghislaine.  Miss.  And not a close call either.  Since this is on the "not-censured" side I'll leave it at that.

  • Biden is finished.  Miss.  Surprising, but miss.

  • Business uncertainty lifts in the back half.  Miss.  If anything its gotten worse.  More on this below.

  • Housing, as a bubble, is done.  Ding-ding-ding-ding.  Buckle up Buckwheat, this is just getting started.  More below.

  • The medical complex has a serious problem.  Nuclear bullseye.  More below and I thought we might not get it this year about Septemberish, but I was vindicated.  "Here it comes."

  • The credentialism of the so-called top-schools will deteriorate / collapse.  Miss.  Not yet, at least not visibly.  I think it is happening but it doesn't count if its not evident to the common  man, so nope.

  • Trump is done, along with Trumpets.  Half-point.  He demonstrably ruined several seats in both the House and Senate, and likely cost the GOP the Senate with who he backed in the primaries, leading to unwinnable races in the general.  But, it wasn't the collapse I expected, at least not yet.  I do, however, have to take the half-point that DeSantis was the winner of that because whether you like it or not he was.

Ok, so how's this all add up?

16 predictions were made, and of them I score it as 9 points, for 56%.  All-in I call that not bad for predictions over a year's time.  As I also pointed out in last year's entry I intentionally omitted anything related to a specific virus because the Google censors had deemed my views and predictions on same to be "misinformation" even when what was being cited were formal, published scientific studies.  We now know, of course, that they were not "misinformation"; in fact they were decent prognostications and deductive reasoning that in nearly every case has been vindicated, and further it is now proved that the government stuck its foot on the scale and violated the First Amendment in doing so, specifically with Twitter and, it must be assumed, all other social and electronic media organizations.  

Those of you who read the -NAD side of the site know that I haven't shut up about such things, just removed them from places where so-called "advertisers" and "big tech" can complain about and attempt to levy punishments based on same.  That will continue in the coming year and likely beyond but the reasons for that form part of the next prediction series, so with that said here we go.

  • The virus "response" is collapsing -- and will continue to.  The pattern is ridiculously nasty, so far beyond any sort of statistical burying (despite the CDC trying to do so) and, in other nations, the same data is evident.  Indeed its an unbroken pattern with no exceptions that I've been able to find.  People can point fingers and call you a nut only until their loved ones start being disabled or worse because they followed the narrative, and the side effect profile starts to show up beyond the virus and its effects.  All of this is happening and will continue.  This spells bad news in a number of related areas because the destruction of trust within the medical system, which they earned and deserve, is going to get people killed for other reasons.  While what was done was statistically unsupportable and relied on unproved claims, essentially all of which have now been disproved, that does not mean everything in the past was also disproved.  Semmelweis anyone?  This is going to suck, in short, but the medical industry has only itself to blame for it.

  • That collapse and the wild cost increases it is bringing will accelerate the detonation of the federal budget via CMS.  I've predicted this for a long time and in fact in the 1990s put a mid-to-late 2020s timeline on it, then revised that to 2024 about 10 years ago.  We crossed the $2 trillion threshold in spending this last fiscal year, close to a third of all federal dollars spent and that's not all of it because Medicaid is a federal/state combined program and getting accurate data on state spending is difficult.  The Federal Government is studiously trying to avoid any sort of debate on this but at a certain point that the curtains are on fire and avoiding the checks bouncing means inflation cannot be tamed comes into full view and demands a response.  I am not predicting that collapse will come this year to get the point on this prediction, but that it is wildly evident will become clear and said debate will ensue (or I have to score it as a "miss.")

  • Other schemes and BS peddled as "medical advice" will be increasingly explored.  There is already evidence in the scientific papers that the mad push to vegetable oils and similar was basically underwritten by... you guessed it -- the people who made those products.  In 2011 I discarded the oft-repeated claims of what you "should" eat for what my own research said was a better and sustainable choice.  It was; I lost 60lbs, it has stayed off and, at least as importantly, my athletic performance skyrocketed and even today, at 59, I'm faster than I was when it comes to cross-country road running at the age of seventeen.  I require and consume no prescription meds and unlike most men of my age "everything still works as its supposed to in a man" if you get my meaning.  I'm not predicting that all of this will disappear, of course, but the prediction of the general view that "Beyond Meat" is the answer to anything is going in the dust bin along with said companies will, if it occurs, give me said point.

  • The consequences of corporate and government mandates will manifest in severe dislocations through industry.  We're already seeing it.  Southwest and their flight disruption is not just Southwest; it is not only a "oh we have a system engineered to remove all unnecessary cost" (which then has no redundancy in it so when something goes wrong it all goes to Hell immediately) it's everywhere in the airline industry and elsewhere.  It has been known for a decade that there's a problem coming with qualified pilots and part of the entire nonsense with increasing automation and such in cockpits, along with pressure to reduce qualifications.  Rather than make the investments in both training and pay to incentivize people to take that path the choice was made to lower standards and press existing employees.  That never turns out poorly, right?  Uhhhhh.... yeah, ok.  Health care is another example; people are screaming about shortages of beds and similar but there are beds -- just no staff, so entire wings are shut down because you need the staff to run that wing, and you don't have said people.  Management has gotten awfully arrogant, often with government backing (e.g. jab mandates) when it comes to employees and the bill for that will become increasingly critical this coming year.  All-in this is probably a good thing for society as a whole as labor/management balance is just that, but it won't come without pain and adds further inflationary pressure.

  • The cost-shift game in "online shopping" will crack.  This is a late one that I didn't previously have on the list but I truly believe it now.  Amazon, in particular is in trouble.  This is probably not specific to them either, but is most-acute there.  They have, for years, evaded what amount to net operating losses in their online marketplace through AWS sales.  But cloud is not a panacea; its just someone else's computer, and overhead is never free.  The more people who deal in a transaction the more it costs, always for the simple reason that nobody ever works for free.  There are already clear signs of this, where the "non-Prime" shipping that used to be a three or four day affair (2 with Prime) is now often quoted as close to two weeks.  Obviously the company is moving inventory around when they don't have everything in one place so as to avoid multiple shipments.  That's an indication of stress and its present.  We'll see how bad it gets, but if you're used to the "order it today, have it tomorrow" game I think you're in for a big surprise.  That squeeze is not local to one company and leads to.....

  • The market is not done going down.  Yeah, you didn't like that decline did you?  It's not over.  Trust me, I know both sides of this argument having been both an employee and a CEO, but what's happened over the last three years is egregious and outrageous -- and has consequences.  I'll be specific: We'll see at least another 10% decline from prices as of 12/31 sometime during the year, and a 20%+ decline is not off the table, or I won't take the point.

  • The Omnibus insures inflation is not over either.  Remember that inflationary pressures take six to twelve months to go through the system.  There was an indication of this relaxing in the last few months of the PPI but the Omnibus is going to reverse that.  Thus the odds are very high of a "false dawn" in that regard.

  • Rates are not done going up.  If you invest as if they are you're going to get it in every hole you have.  There are hundreds of firms, especially in the tech space but certainly not limited to there, that have survived and had their stock prices go to the moon over the last ten years specifically because of ever-decreasing rates.  This year is the second after that ended and short-term debt is going to roll over.  What you see this year in terms of that impact on balance sheets and earnings is nowhere near the full depth of it and you will hear repeated claims that it is.  These claims are knowing lies because corporations have been taking their revolvers and similar short-term facilities and issuing debt out the curve for a long time precisely because they could borrow at 2% or in some cases less.  That paper now is frozen and has to be held to maturity by whoever bought it lest they take a huge capital loss, but when it rolls, and it will, it will be at double or higher the previous rate.  This is going to go on for the same 10 years the original trend did and there's nothing that can be done about it.  If you think this won't translate directly into stock prices and cause a bunch of bankruptcies you're wild-eyed crazy.

  • Business is going to have return to employees actually being functional, and if you're not you're going to get fired. The Twitter example is going to play out nationally.  For those who haven't been paying attention Musk fired more than half the staff and the site still functions just fine.  This is proof positive that said half were not doing anything that keep the lights on and this is common through industry. More in the next point.

  • DEI and ESG will be increasingly recognized as resulting in DIE.  This won't play out entirely in one year, but it will start in earnest this year.  There are plenty of people who think they can double down on this and force it to not only continue but expand.  They're wrong and they're about to get a very expensive and personal lesson starting with the loss of their job and recognition that their lavish lifestyle does not square with the income that can be generated in the fast-food industry.  Refusal to recognize that the end of "free money" means you must actually produce and that means meritocracy wins and all else loses will lead you directly to the nearest Federal Bankruptcy Court.

  • Russia isn't going to be "beaten"; that is, Ukraine can't win -- and their support will vanish.  This year is my prediction for that.  Whatever side you're on for this makes no difference when it comes to outcome.  There is simply no path for Ukraine to force Russia to give up.  The one wild-card in the mixture is the possibility (much-rumored) that Putin is very seriously ill with cancer and may succumb.  The odds of it all going sideways, if that occurs, are very high.  In short the last thing you want is for him to drop dead as he is likely far more reasonable than whoever might replace him.  If Putin is indeed terminally ill as some claim the odds of this issue escalating into a no-bullshit real war that involves the entire Eurasian land mass are very high.

  • The impact of the Omnibus passed in the waning hours of 2022 will be historic, and nasty.  fundamental tenet of our Constitutional government is that no Congress can bind the next one.  Never before has Congress even attempted to circumvent that constraint, having respect for the institution above all else.  That seal has been broken now and its going to get ugly.  Neither party can claim to be above this since the threshold to begin debate in the Senate on the bill was 60 votes and they got them, so trying to pin this entirely on the Democrats (which has already started) will fail.  Yes, the House majority is slim, but a majority is a majority and as with votes one vote is as good of a margin as one million.  Those are the rules of the game and everyone knows it.  I'm expecting a severe reaction as the more-egregious provisions in that 4,000 page monstrosity come to light but while technically it can be repealed it won't be as the Senate is in Democrat hands, like it or not.

  • Green energy is headed for the dustbin and the firms in same are in serious trouble.  We'd all like a planet that is not despoiled but the fact remains that alleged "green" energy is unsustainable, cannot meet America's needs (or anyone else's) and the capacity for smaller-scale storage and use (e.g. EVs and similar) doesn't exist in terms of the resources necessary to make and maintain them as a displacement of existing ICE vehicles rather than as "sports cars" and other niche products. Further, the projections of an ever-warming planet that will produce "catastrophic" outcomes unless we cut carbon use to zero are fantasies as has been and will become increasingly clear.  There are multiple decade-long-period climate-related oscillators well-recognized in meteorology and the pattern is clear -- they're turning.  The claims that the recent cold snap were "unprecedented" are nonsense; Nashville, for example, in 1985 took a winter storm hit that was worse than what we just went through in terms of temperature -- by a lot.  In fact the daily mean temperature during that event was -5F, wildly worse than the single-digit figures we just put up.  The entire premise of shutting down all the coal plants was that this would never happen again because the planet is getting hotter and thus that capacity wasn't needed, even though we told people to stop installing gas furnaces and rely on heat pumps.  Wrong.  I very distinctly remember the late 1970s and early 80s weather patterns and the winters were nasty.  That cycle (yes, its a cycle Marge!) appears to be coming back around much to the chagrin of Greta and her adherents.  If you can't engineer a power grid to supply that plus a reasonable margin in addition, including provision for all the people added to the state since 1985 you have no business being involved in public policy when it comes to critical infrastructure -- period.  Essentially all of the companies in the "green energy" space continue to operate only as a consequence of massive direct and indirect subsidy, including putting their toxic waste in other nations such as China.  As this shifts and tolerance there wanes (and it will!) the economic capability to continue this scheme will end.  Further, if you think this recent storm in Buffalo was bad contemplate what it will be like with no natural gas allowed for heating, particularly when the power goes off and all that's left are small personal generators sufficient to run a circulating fan but definitely not a heat pump, strips or electric space heaters.  If the people let this happen and do not force governments to cut that crap out there will be major waves of death that result in future winter seasons.  NY and other states have banned natural gas as fuel-fed heat sources in new construction and intend to force everyone off existing plant.  I predict you'll see the start of a serious pushback on all that this year and to get a point, that's what has to happen.

  • Ron DeSantis will either basically cement his front-running RNC position or self-destruct; no middle ground.  He recently asked for and got a Grand Jury to investigate any materially false statements related  to the Covid vaccines by their manufacturers and the medical industry.  There are state fraud laws that bear on this and this is a rather high-stakes gamble on his part along with that of his state Surgeon General.  I am reasonably sure what the record shows if it surfaces.  If the Grand Jury whitewashes (or worse, stalls) and fails to produce a work product the political damage to DeSantis will be severe.  However, factual findings, however they go, likely vindicate and seriously help him politically.  Either way I expect a resolution this coming year and will take a point for either extreme but not if Trump is still materially in the game but he isn't politically finished (whether he admits it or not doesn't matter.)

  • Political shifts are going to increase in ugliness; there is no "reconciliation" in the new Congress.  Two points have already come into focus on this -- the first being the Lake fiasco in Arizona where clear human action had to have taken place that did implicate the results -- this was proved -- and under Arizona law intent, that is malice, is not necessary for a contest to win.  The Judge ignored the law and ruled only on intent, ignoring the actual standard in the Statute.  That's going to get appealed, obviously.  But what might actually be worse is what has come out about Santos (R-NY) in his recent "win"; he essentially fabricated huge parts of what he presented as his personal history to voters.  He flipped the district too so this really is an election that mattered.  Of course we all know politicians lie and trade on information as well; indeed that sort of game is so well-established that it makes professional wrestling look honest and thus one has to wonder if all the strum and furor is just noise.  Whether these two incidents go anywhere or not my prediction is for more of it, more strife and more nastiness, not less, and I'll put a stake in the ground: At least one eye-popping egregious event that reaches into the realm of undeniable criminality  that even the most-partisan cannot deny will occur this year by at least one of these clowns in the House or Senate.

  • The economic and political disparity between "blue" and "red" area will grow and start to produce actual fractures in supply lines and cooperation.  The number of pundits who have ignored what is clearly in the data from the last election stun me, frankly.  I've never seen more stupidity in that regard in my 59 orbits around the flaming ball responsible for all of global warming (and indeed life) on this rock.  The "Red" states where middle fingers went up to mandates to any degree at all (none of them sufficient) gained population and thus their "Red" voting percentages increased.  Those places that played lockdown mania and worse lost people, and disproportionately they lost productive, high earning people who pay taxes in size.  Those people moved to the Red states and it is clearly visible in the Governor's races in this last election.  The pundits all refuse to deal with the fact that in politics a win is a win and thus what happened actually decreased those "blue" races that can in the future be flipped "red" because once you win by one vote siphoning off more votes from some other jurisdiction does not help your victory but damages the capability for the other state or locale to flip red as well.  The same of course applies in reverse.  A pluralistic society cannot function reasonably if the various factions refuse to get along and while you can pass all the laws mandating "full faith and credit" you'd like (I remind you said is in the Constitution) you can't force someone to like someone else and as we've seen full faith and credit isn't worth the paper its printed on when it comes to many areas already, including but certainly not limited to areas such as immigration and marijuana.  To be clear -- I'm not predicting a revolutionary-style event between states, but I am predicting substantial trouble that reaches into supply lines and interstate cooperation.  So far, with the exception of lots of noise and a few states banning "official travel" this hasn't happened so for it to start would be a major shift.

  • Illegal immigration forces policy change this year.  Buried in the Omnibus just passed is a provision that bans the use of any additional federal funding to secure the border.  A quarter million people attempting to enter this nation a month without prior authorization is not a "humanitarian" situation, it is an invasion as these are intentional acts taken with knowing disregard for the law.  This is not only not sustainable its already well beyond the point that one or more states with said border should have declared what's going on an invasion and acted on their own, as the Constitution requires the Federal Government to do and in the absence of same they can indeed step in, with doing so being entirely Constitutional.  The odds of this setting off a political crisis approach 100% and thus I'm reasonably sure this one will score.

  • Housing is nowhere near done going down.  If you haven't sold yet you're not at the bottom.  If you're holding on thinking you missed the window -- you're wrong.  I'm starting to see the cracks here and Real Estate is always local to a large degree but deals are falling apart at a much-accelerated rate and sellers are increasingly forced to cut prices bigly or nobody buys.  Its always true that a properly priced house will sell but "properly" might be 20% off what you see in the other listings, none of which have moved in the last two months!  If you think this trend has bottomed and thus property taxes are stable and will be able to be raised on a net collection basis IMHO you're nuts.

  • Auto prices, specifically used car prices, are going to massively collapse.  Some of the practices I'm hearing about are unbelievable and almost-certainly wind up as frauds perpetrated into the securitized markets for car loans.  These unsound practices in the face of ratcheting inflation will result in repos headed through the roof and there will be plenty of supply by this time next year in the used market, which means dealer capacity to play games with "market adjustments" on new cars will evaporate.  The squeeze in that business will get quite-acute, blunted only by the shortage of new cars and as a result floor lines are likely basically non-existent so the debt won't kill them.  That's the good news, but hunger for business has a way of fixing inflated prices when supply is plentiful, and I expect it to.  Indeed, I'm looking forward to quite-possibly being able to do such a transaction myself in this coming year.  If you think Carvana's 52-week stock performance is a one-off you're about to get a rude surprise.

I hope everyone enjoyed the relative "salad days" of the last 10 or so years; they're over and this isn't one of the predictions since it isn't something that will be a 2023 event in particular.  Rather, the new way to look at it is "embrace the suck" much as it was in the early 1980s and didn't really start to clear up and improve until the middle of the decade.  If we're lucky things will start to get better in about five years -- if not, well, the 1930s might in fact be the best fit for how bad it will get and how long it will last.

As always I reserve the right to add or revise prior to 12:01 AM January 1st 2023, and will exempt this thread so it will remain available through the year for commentary and review.

Good luck!

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As is my practice I will do this once again....

But first, scoring last year.

  • Harris/Biden inaugurated.  Yep.

  • Senate NOT going 50/50.  Miss.  It did and is.

  • Rumblings of secession.  Yep.  Multiple states, with the most-noted being Florida, surprisingly enough.  Nonetheless this was not really much of a rumble and a "Cesar" in DeSatan is arguably worse than Biden, so on balance its a miss.

  • Covid insanity collapsing.  Nope.  Karen still screams.

  • Dooming public acceptance of jabs.  Depends on how you count it.  If you count it on coercive tactics that's a solid score. Acceptance is just that -- not a gun up the nose.  I'm taking that point.

  • Inability to interdict spread will be resisted -- and won't matter.  Yep.  Delta and now Omicron have proved all the "mitigations" were worth zero.  Now even CNN admits it, yet it doesn't matter, as I predicted.  I said we'd learn an effective nothing, and, well, we learned an effective nothing.

  • Bread and circuses still work.  Indeed.  Now the backlash, but that's for this coming year, isn't it?  Yep.

  • Inflation is coming.  Oh boy, did it.  Do I get two points for that one?

  • The money-printing grab-bag will continue.  Alright, do I get two for this one as well?

  • The left will go back to violence.  Well...... I guess that one is tougher.  On the one hand yes, but on the other no.  This one is a tough call, but what I thought I'd see is not what we got, although we got plenty with wildly-elevated murder rates and monstrous amounts of smash-n-grab and similar.  I'm going to be tough on myself and score that as a miss, as what I thought we'd get was more-akin to "burn it all to ash" ala "I can't breathe!" style nonsense.  We didn't, so it's a miss.

  • They'll ignore the lessons of Christmas Day in Nashville in 2020.  Yep.  And we have paid for it, but not in really ridiculous terms.  Yet.  Log2j, lots of service outages, but.... no "grand" exploit.  I said I wouldn't be surprised, so that wasn't a "it'll happen", and what I did expect (ignoring it) did, so I'll take that point.

  • Political violence escalation. Nope.  Not yet anyway.  Clean miss.

  • Bond market coming apart.  No, although you have to wonder what Powell is actually thinking.  He's lying by the way, but so far getting away with it.  Miss.

  • Strum and furor out of DC, but no real progress. Check.  I don't know how in the Hell I could have predicted that one better.  Let's Go Brandon!

  • My cat will remain my best friend.  Indeed.  The list of people I hang around with and actually like (as opposed to a purely-transactional experience) has gone to nearly zero, and I doubt it will change in the future.  Point.

So I score it as 9 to 6.  Not terrible for a one year prognostication.

How about for 2022?

Well, here we go, because why not?  I will intentionally omit anything related to the virus directly because of where this is posted, and because of the censorship of the big techs.  Never mind that you all know where I come down on most related topics in that respect anyway, so let's keep it to social, political and economic for this year.

  • Inflation will not calm down.  Yes, it will ebb and flow some, but this is a math problem at the end of the day and until Congress cuts it out it isn't going to stop unless The Fed says "nuts!" and, so far, they haven't.  Incidentally for those who say it will be "hyperinflation" you're nuts; I'll take the other side of that bet every day and twice on Sunday.  But in terms of trouble in the supermarket, yep.

  • The Democrats are going to get obliterated in the midterms.  Let's define that: They absolutely lose the Senate and I'll give it 50/50 they lose The House.  In any event without the Senate anything Biden wants is done, and so is anything Pelosi wants, no matter if she keeps the gavel or not.  My prediction is that the Senate will be at least 52-48 and it might be worse than that for the "D" side, so even if they can peel off a defector it doesn't help.  In short Biden's administration has about six months of actual life left in it after which its a dead letter with the upcoming elections and then the change in power comes the following January.  As I've pointed out for 20 years despite the screaming people always vote their wallet and the Democrats have literally stolen their wallets with inflation.  They're done, even though Trump caused half of it or more they're going to eat the blame for it, just as Carter did.  If the bracketing predictions (above and below) prove up in 2023 inflation will ebb as the Republicans take control of the legislature and 2024 will mark the end of the current Democrat party; all that will be left is the screaming Socialists like AOC who will be lucky to have 150 seats in The House.

  • The Fed is going to get forced into actual liquidity drains.  Not the lies of the last couple of months, real drains.  By spring, with inflation still raging, they'll have little choice -- and inflation is shifting away from fuels (which become less relevant in terms of "need" as heating season winds down anyway) into other core staples.  There comes a point at which the exponential nature of this deterioration is going to force their hand and I think we're a couple months away from it happening.  They won't like it, but they'll do it.

  • The USSC will "split the baby" on the abortion decision and nobody is going to like it.  This could be very dangerous in terms of court-packing except for one problem -- the Democrats can't get it through Congress, and they lose this upcoming November.  Ditto for any other decision that could threaten "court-packing."  It's not going to happen folks; you can't do that on reconciliation and there's not a snowball's chance in Hell you get it past a filibuster.

  • The equity market is extremely vulnerable over the next six to nine months.  Risk:reward is wildly unfavorable.  It will shift coming into the elections but for the time being I would be very, very selective about anything with exposure to a blow-up in the term structure (meaning any firm with potential debt coverage issues), any of the "social" stocks and anything levered to government tax farming.  I'll put the odds of a blow-up from now until the last few weeks before the election, defined as a 25% draw-down or worse, at 50:50.  The compounding effect of that on the midterm elections, if it occurs, will be substantial.

  • There is no short-term supply chain relief coming.  The problem is simply this: It's only smart to offshore labor to China when you can use wage and environmental disparities; it is otherwise stupid since transportation is never free.  In an inflationary environment this is especially nasty because if the supply chains lengthen you also increase your risk in that regard.  Being unable to quote prices with a reasonable degree of forward accuracy makes long-duration, long-distance supply chains wildly dangerous.

  • Business is going to get it in both holes.  Between labor productivity and costs, which will continue to deteriorate due to multiple factors (inflation, how business has treated employees, supply chain issues and more) and the inability to put any sort of forward pricing certainty in place there is serious trouble afoot.  Those with the longest international supply chains and heavily labor-intensive outfits get it the worst, but nobody is immune.  Businesses can claim its about "mandates" all they want but from the perspective of the employee it is all the fault of their boss, period, and they're right.  Businesses can tell the government to screw goats and shut down, refusing to comply with mandates by refusing to operate.  How long does DC or any other city or state survive without food, fuel, power and similar?  Hours.  Who has the power in this relationship again?  Yeah.  May I remind you (again) that the only difference between sex and rape is consent?

  • The blue hives are in particularly-serious trouble.  Mandate all you want; you can't force people to come.  All of these locations are wildly dependent on leisure, business travel or both.  Those who live in such places can and will go out of said cities on a temporary basis to do things such as eat, and if it continues they can and will move.  This is a losing game in a big way for these cities and towns.  The losses when it comes to hospitality and optional firms such as theatres, restaurants and similar, along with the tax revenue losses, will be catastrophic and once someone packs and moves they're gone and won't be coming back.  I'm expecting a quarter to a third or more of all remaining restaurant and similar firms in the blue hive cities to permanently close within the next 12 months and without the tax revenue city services cannot be provided.  If the city governments do not relent before warmer weather comes Detroit will be reprised in multiple places including New York, Chicago, Boston and elsewhere.

  • Significant geopolitical trouble breaks out.  I'll give it one of two places -- Ukraine or any of the Chinese issues, specifically their Muslim population and Taiwan.  Of the two Ukraine has the higher probability.  The facts of the matter are that Europe has sucked off our military spending for decades when it comes to such matters and frankly, if they're pissed off about both energy and defense they should have done something about it instead of whining and shutting down their existing energy sources.  I have zero sympathy for them and I don't care if Putin decides he's had enough of NATO.

  • Ghislaine Maxwell's trial is not the end of that story.  I'll predict that it blows up this coming year in a lot of people's faces.  What you've seen at CNN, for example, I'll bet is just a start.  This crap has been going on for a very long time and the "bench" on it in terms of who's in it up to their necks is deep and long.  It does not end with her by any stretch of the imagination, nor with one dude at CNN either.  While I don't expect the entire sordid mess to come apart in 2022 I do expect serious cracks in the dike and they don't have enough fingers to try to plug the holes.  Watch this one closely as it could easily go prompt critical and if it does all bets are off in terms of the scope and depth of the damage.

  • Biden is finished this year.  He's done.  Either he dies literally or he bows out due to "health."  It's wildly clear at this point the man is an empty head with advanced mental deterioration.  Repeated strokes, and he's had several, have a way of doing that to people and so does age-related dementia generally.  Like it or not here comes Kamala but it won't matter because of the above; she's even less liked than Biden is, so Seat Warmer Harris it shall be.

  • Business uncertainty lifts in the back half.  Yes, I know, I said it looked like crap up front and will be for most of the year.  But not all, and with the Federal Government basically out of the picture as of the first of 2023 economically and market-wise the forward view looks better.  Beware holding a bearish view politically or economically beyond the November elections; you are likely to get your face ripped off.

  • Housing, as a bubble, is done.  God help you if you overpaid and it wasn't a lateral move.  For those whom it was, you traded one bubble for another so provided you didn't dump your equity percentage blowing the rest on other things you won't be hurt badly.  For those who entered into it from 2020 forward and especially for those who thought the investment side was going to continue to skyrocket you're going to get it in both holes.  Between cities doing rankly stupid things (such as NY mandating no natural gas in new buildings) that will wildly raise operating costs, tax term structure going to Hell in anywhere blue and the collapse in real labor value among productivity and costs you've got pressure on all sides in this part of the market.  My base case is that returns are wildly negative accounting for that over the next five years and 20-50% capital losses are possible from top to bottom.  Those who reset their leverage thinking the current prices were "a floor" are in for a date with Mr. Hands.  This is not a one year story and the worst of it is not a 2022 story either, but it will become apparent this year.  I do not expect things to clear until 2024-25 or even perhaps later.

  • The Medical Complex has a serious problem on their hands - both in credibility and cost.  Sure, some will be ok, but not much of it.  I suspect this trend is generational and may not clear for a decade or more.  It will be quite interesting to see the screaming and whining that comes out of these folks as their naked swimming becomes exposed for all, and it will.  This is the year it becomes apparent to enough people to matter.  Since this is 20% of the economy, one dollar in five, its an economic earthquake that will send shockwaves through colleges, government agencies and businesses.  This has been a long time coming and both fully earned and deserved, especially for the TikTok dancers and those exhorting othersIf you're in that sector with investments get out -- it will be radioactive within six to twelve months and stay that way for years.

  • The credentialism of the so-called "top schools" will deteriorate markedly and some may collapse.  The idea that you can con people into paying $50,000/year to sit at home and watch zoom calls is flat-out insanity.  It has long been apparent that the majority of the "value" in such places is the "ins" you get by going there, living there and hob-nobbing with people in low places -- not the education "per-se."  That these institutions are so arrogant as to believe they can destroy the social interaction that is the very basis of their current value equation and not have that blow up in their face is astounding, but here we are.  This is a realization that should have come 20 years ago, but like all such ego-driven nonsense it tends to go on a lot longer when the red warning light is on before someone blows off their own hand -- or head.

  • Trump is done, and so are those who cling to him.  Run away now or be run over.  The man will become glowing nuclear waste before the election.  Exactly who fills the vacuum is not currently known, but the leading odds dude is likely DeSantis.  I don't like that very much but it is what it is and the bench sucks on both sides of the aisle -- it's not just the GOP in that regard.

As always I may add more to this and revise predictions until 12:01 on January 1st, 2022 at which point other than typos its a time capsule and we'll see how it all plays out come the end of 2022.

Oh, as for that wee light in the tunnel referenced up top?

IT'S A TRAIN.

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