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Alibaba has opened and is trading right near $98/share.

This puts the company at a market valuation approximately equal to WalMart.

This is claimed to be "a titan of tech", albeit in China.

Oh smiley

I fully expect this stupidity will go on for a while, but the fact remains that it is stupid, and I don't know when the crack-up will come but I am very sure it will.

The usual refrain will be that "Twitter is a bargain" compared to Alibaba, or similarly eBAY and on and on and on.

Oh please.

Tulips were great currency too - once.  Then they were just pretty flowers, as they were before.

I'm not going anywhere near this piece of crap, but I sure do see the shoeshine indicator lighting up nice and bright in the drug-addled haze of Wall Street.

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It's 9/11, and once again we remember.

I've written several treatises on this disaster and terrorist attack (and yes, it was, you loons) and I will just observe this:

Do not, on my system anyway, run any of the usual crap that certain people run about 9/11.

If you want to get banned, go ahead and do it.

If you want to be un-friended, do it on Facebook, blocked on Twitter, or whatever where I can see it.  You'll have marked yourself as a weak-minded fool.

I'm so tired of the crap.  Really.  I've looked into all of the usual conspiracy garbage, and have spent a lot of personal time on it.  It's crap.  It's outrageous crap.  And if you're still hung up on it you need psychological help.

Lots of it.

PS: President Zero, you're not worthy to stand at the Pentagon.

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I've noticed a few things of late.....

I'm an observer of people, by and large.  I'm the guy who sits and talks with the bartender, or simply sits back and appears to be reading some article on my phone while sipping my Rum & Diet.

I peruse dozens of news sources daily, filtering all with a rather jaundiced eye, as most are horribly biased and many are intentionally dishonest.

But through all of this I've noted a shift -- one that I've seen before, but this time it's more-pervasive, more arrogant, and just generally worse.

It's the destruction of civil order, to be blunt, and the haughty arrogance that one ought to be cheering on what is happening around us.  The so-called recovery.  The roaring stock market.  The whipping out of the plastic card instead of the Jackson for even the most-mundane, and many of those cards are not even credit or debit cards -- they're welfare cards.

People getting mugged in places where it formerly never would have occurred.  Crimes of opportunity, they say.  No... crimes of lack of civility.

The knock-out game you've probably heard of.  What you probably haven't heard, unless you pay attention, is that it's not just a band of black thugs rolling someone for grins that way -- it's also a white guy rolling a woman walking to her car in a place where she feels quite safe -- just because he can, not because he needs to or even because he has lewd behavior on his mind.  The only reason he targets her is that he figures she's unarmed, coming out of a bar where she can't legally carry her gun and have a drink.

The rip-offs and swindles have reached the point that nobody has a reason to respect the law, and the percentage who choose not to is going up -- rapidly.  That $9,000 bandage in a hospital?  It ought to be a felony, but it's an un-indicted and unpunished one, and for each of those another person decides to mug a woman coming out of a bar.  $60,000 for two $100 vials of scorpion anti-venom?  That's good for a dozen more muggings, a home invasion and a rape.  The guy "fixing" TVs that preys on an old guy with a nice television that's out of warranty and takes him for $500, enough for him to have just gone down to WalMart and bought another one?  Maybe he decides to get some of his money back from some random victim on the way home when he can't get the cops interested in arresting the shopkeeper.

A copper tosses an explosive onto a sleeping child in Detroit, and another one does the same thing near Atlanta, both doing grievous injury or worse, neither of the alleged suspects are in the house, and no indictments are issued against the assaulting parties -- that is, the cops.  All of these crimes are seen by millions of people and just 1 in 1,000 of them decides that since there is no law that punishes such things they deserve to take something as minor as a pack of smokes or a bottle of booze they don't have any money to buy.  The next day we have more muggings and robberies.  Maybe a pack of cheap cigars gets ripped off out of a store, but that guy gets shot at from the back and, when he tries to surrender, he's drilled.

Of course the apologists come out of the woodwork and immediately try to brand the dead guy as a thug.  Maybe he was, and maybe he wasn't.  But that doesn't matter; if he was surrendering and you shoot him it's still homicide.  Now we have people who never met him and aren't locals, who have no grudge to bear, who's only contact with him was a short while prior as they were doing work outside in the vicinity, stating that's what they saw.  And yet still, no arrest, because there are certain people for whom the law doesn't apply -- even when the act in question facially appears to be homicide.

We know what came of that, of course -- much more lawlessness, and fast too.  How can you be surprised when the above example was put forth for acceptable conduct?

What comes next?  A cop in Ferguson gets video taped pointing an assault rifle at an unarmed citizen bearing nothing more than a video camera, threatening openly to shoot him -- and identifies himself as "go **** yourself" when asked, on tape.  How many more people decided that day to say "**** the police and **** the law" from that specific incident when said cop wasn't immediately arrested and charged with felony assault?  You'll never know, but I'll bet it's greater than one.

If any of this was an isolated incident then it might be explainable, and containable.  But it's not.  The ripoffs and robberies occur daily in virtually every single hospital in this country, and among most medical providers generally.  The billing of someone $10,000 for a service that wasn't performed is systematic, not an accident.  It is not apologized for when it happens it is instead defended.  The nation's business paper of record runs no fewer than three pieces all featuring the same crap within a couple of days (there was another yesterday, by the way) and not one mentions the blatant cartel-based robbery that underpins the entire medical industry.

Companies set up "red light" cameras to supposedly improve public safety but at the same time shorten the yellows to intentionally create violations that must occur due to the laws of physics, then profit from those who travel upon that road and have no physical means of defense.  Other companies ticket you for violations that never happened, such as "speeding" in a school zone when the school is closed and thus the zone does not apply.  When caught there are occasional refunds -- sometimes -- but never is the party responsible identified, prosecuted for fraud and imprisoned. Both get (unconstitutional) waivers from the protection that any issue at controversy in excess of $20 is permitted a trial by jury where you could show intentional malice in their act.  Instead you're forced to cough up tens or even hundreds of dollars.

Other companies make consumer products that they know will fail a couple of years out -- with a one year warranty.  I have a stereo receiver that I use for music off my computer that is more than two decades old.  It works perfectly.  Today you're lucky to get a couple of years out of anything, and it's intentional.  It's also nearly across-the-board.

Our government swindles you every single day with deficit spending, destroying your purchasing power.  You cheer for your food stamps and how "compassionate" we are, and in fact you hear it in virtually every "mainstream" church.  It's all a lie; there's no compassion involved in robbing people of their dignity and their ability to provide for themselves a nickel at a time.

Speaking of churches, have you ever wondered about their proclamations of an afterlife?  Nobody has ever come back to tell us that it's real, of course, whether it's the puffery of Heaven or the fires of Hell.  In my cynical hours spent with various spirits of the liquid sort I have occasionally mused on whether that is an intentional lie conjured by men as a means of trying to convince the common parishioner not to take revenge in the here and now when his boy is butt****ed in the rectory or some other grievous insult has been perpetrated against him or his family.  After all logic says that a dying man finds no deterrence even when confronted with a death sentence by the civil authorities, and when the church has conspired with said civil authorities to rob the common man in their mentally deranged version of Robin Hood......

Exponential functions are funny things.  They always appear to be harmless and the consequences outliers when they begin, but math tells us that's never true.  Medicare and Medicaid, two of the greatest scams ever foisted on the American people and the states, forming the backbone of the medical ripoff artists in this nation, began that way.  So has the Federal Debt and the destruction of your purchasing power that has come with it, along with the impact of ZIRP -- an "emergency measure" that now, six years hence, looks more like someone's well-used catbox than a thought-out response to an emergent situation.

I was recently sent an email by someone I recognize from commenting here in the past asking at what rate of case expansion would you be concerned over Ebola in the US?  The sender cited a well-known internet site that loves to play charts and numbers, but frequently hypes reality; if they'd been right about either Fukushima or the BP spill I'd be dead at least twice by now, but somehow my fingers are still working.  (I haven't checked to see if I glow in the dark recently.)

I decided against replying to him because I had already answered the question in a recent Ticker -- at no rate of expansion do I care as long as I live in America, provided the virus does not mutate.  If it does, and becomes easily airborne-transmissible then we're ****ed and your only defense is to have enough supplies to "bug in" for six months or more until it burns itself out -- and kills a third of the population in the process. 99% of the people in the country will wind up rolling the dice on being in that 33%, because virtually nobody is equipped to, on short notice, "bug in" that way.  Yet that is the only means of protecting yourself against such a viral agent that's on the loose and has that sort of lethal profile -- bolt the door, refuse to open it, and shoot anyone who tries to break in.

But this same exponential situation applies to the lawless nature of our society today among the so-called elites, whether they be doctors, hospital administrators, politicians or cops.  

There is a point where the "lesson" they are teaching to all of us with their willful refusal to follow the law and the blatant flaunting of it, even at the minor level I saw just this last evening with a Sheriff that drove through an intersection in front of me with his iPhone plastered on his ear, becomes an exponentially-learned lesson.

The opportunity to stop the exponential expansion of lawless behavior expires at that point.

It is not too late today to put a stop to this, if we all demand it and are willing to enforce that demand.  However, if you think you can simply collect your little bit of the skim and ignore the rest, sitting on your ass or even benefiting from it, you're wrong.  When that exponential point is reached you will, without question or exception, become food.

Math never lies -- or sleeps.

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It appears that despite my essay In Closing a substantial part of those who comment on my blog have failed to read for comprehension -- or somehow think that they're going to change my mind on the essence of why I write for public consumption at all.

I speak specifically of the never-ending parade of people who appear to have one -- and only one -- interest in the content of my thought process when it comes to the economy: How do I exploit what is going on to get "mine"?

The unsaid part of the question, however, is the most-important part.  The real question, stated as a full sentence, is this:

How do I exploit what is going on to get "mine" while screwing everyone else in the ass: My neighbors, my associates, MY CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN.

And yes, that is your question.

How do I know this?  Because I put the exact same question before people in my family some 15 years ago over a holiday dinner, and it marked a point where I pretty-much literally walked out for quite some time afterward when the answer was simply, in the end analysis: I deserve it so **** you and yours.

Well guess what folks -- I am certainly no more tolerant of that crap coming from people I know only because of their presence on a message board than I was from my own family.

You want the answer?  I'll give it to you here and now, because it's simple, if that's your goal.

Find the asset classes with the largest delta in P/E and P/S that have positive momentum and go all-in on maximum margin with a moderate stop under each position.  Pick at least a dozen but no more than 20 names and move the stops up to maintain the same percentage gap between price and the stop at least once a quarter; monthly or even weekly is better if you have the time for it.  You will get stopped out plenty of times but the ones that hit and run due to the use of leverage will be home runs.  Do not replace the losers.  This is the very simple model I ran in 2006 and cleared right around 30% on the at-risk funds .vs. ~11% for the SPX on the year, and I was only exposed for six months of the time.  You do the math on the IRR for that strategy.

This will work right up until it doesn't, and when it doesn't it may end VERY badly for you.  If you get gapped over you're ****ed, so be aware that there is no such thing as zero risk, and you're gambling that the party carries on for another year or more.  However, it's a very simple means of exploiting the leverage in the system and its accessibility to you as a common person.  If you can sleep at night doing this, then have at it.  If you want to talk about the nuances you think need to be added to it I will simply point out two things: You're wrong, there are no nuances necessary nor can you predict which ones would work without inside information and that is illegal to trade on, and further, this isn't the place for that discussion on the Internet and if you insist on doing so here your commentary will not be approved and you will leave my property.

There.  We're done with that and you got what you asked for.  It took me one paragraph to explain it.  If that's your interest in being here go away.

For everyone else, go back and read my In Closing essay linked at the top here.  Contemplate that the reason the above strategy can work is because you are ****ing everyone else in the ass by exploiting it and the debasement of purchasing power that has to take place for it to function.  Without that your use of leverage cannot succeed because there is a cost to its use and that will overwhelm the excess returns when one factors for risk.

The simple fact of the matter is that pointing fingers at The Fed, at the ECB, at anyone else is a waste of time and a conspiracy theory without foundation.  The reason we have a monstrous debt bubble is that you demanded it in the form of deficit spending, and by doing so you caused to be put in place a paradigm where the losers must outweigh the winners, and the losers will almost-certainly include and encompass at least those who you care about and likely will include you as well.

The reason for the latter is that there are people who can trade on inside information and not go to prison.  You're not one of them.  Neither am I.  After I sold my company to Winstar I later came to the conclusion that they were going to blow up.  If I had shorted their stock or bought a ton of PUTs I'd have gone to jail.  But those who did so and almost-certainly had inside information on both Bear Stearns and Lehman did not go to jail.  We know the latter happened because the Valukis report stated that Lehman attempted a repo transaction weeks before they failed and had their collateral refused.  You don't think all those short-sellers happened to know that, do you?  But you and I didn't know it until that report was published long after the firm had ceased to exist!

Once you demand a particular structure in society you cannot complain that other people use it for their nefarious needs after you have employed it for your nefarious ends.  Such is the case here.  You allow the "need" for deficit spending because you permit a medical system to exist with outrageous exemptions to the Sherman and Clayton acts that have led to costs being ten times what they should be.  This in turn has led to the "need" for "health insurance" that is not actually insurance but again is sold as same (isn't that fraud?) and more than one quarter of all federal spending, or more than enough, were it to go away, to result in a budget surplus all on its own.

The same paradigm plays out in higher education and for that matter all the way through the public school system as well. Why do you allow the padding to go on?  If a skilled teacher costs $60,000 a year (a decent salary) and 20 kids in a classroom require 200 square feet plus another 100 for the teacher's desk, I can rent that room for about $3,000 a year.  Add $20 per kid for a printed textbook (since when has math or history changed and thus should be subject to copyright?) and $30/year/kid for a desk and chair (expected lifetime of 5 years) and I've got $50/kid or $1,000 for base supplies, $3,000 for the room and $60,000 for the teacher.  Add another grand and that's $65,000, or $3,250 per kid.

You can probably make the case that another $1,000 is reasonable for various other services and comforts.  I'll buy that.  But that still has me well under $5,000 per pupil, per full year, and that assumes a full-year school schedule -- which, incidentally, we could have with staggered years.  You want three months off?  Cool -- that cuts the cost by about 25% and with inefficiency we'll make it a 20% reduction, so $4,000/kid.

Now tell me why I pay one more dime than that in taxes to fund "public education"?  Simply put, I'm not funding education, I'm funding this and that slush fund -- a grift and fraud machine that has been cranked up and used to steal from everyone, and we all support and allow it.

How do you stop this crap?  Simple: User pays.  Would you put up with spending double or more on each of your children if every nickel of it had to come out of your pocket for each of your children, and you couldn't shift any of it to anyone else?  Oh hell no -- that crap would stop tomorrow morning.

Want to know why our economy sucks?  That's why, with dozens of similar examples of people who have looked for, sought, and then asked for support for their little way to "get theirs" all while they assault your ass on a daily basis.  Instead of responding to that with indignation and demands for indictment and, if not forthcoming, doing something about it personally even if it's as trivial as refusing to sit in the pew next to these people on Sunday and giving them the finger when you see them on the sidewalk you instead go looking for a way to get "yours" even though doing so simply adds additional assault to your neighbors and worse, your children!

You want to bitch?  Get up and go look in the mirror.  That's where the blame lies.

It ends when we all demand it does, and not one second before.  It all comes down to deficit spending.  It's unnecessary except for one thing -- and that is feeding the fraud and grift machine at all levels of government and so-called "civil service."

You want to talk about that and how to stop it?  That's a good topic around here.

You want to "get yours"?  You're going to get the same reaction from me on that today that was rendered more than 15 years ago because my view of that attempt has not changed one damn bit.

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Still think you have "freedom" eh?  Still think you're the actual parents of your children, and that you should be the ones making decisions about their lifestyle and heatlh?  Or are you simply where all the liabilities reside for the decision to have them, while the choices belong to someone else -- you know, like a slave?

Police have rejected criticism of their search for a five-year-old boy with a brain tumour removed from a UK hospital by his parents against medical advice.

Ashya King was found in Malaga on Saturday and his parents arrested, following an international search.

His father Brett King defended his actions in a video posted on YouTube, saying there had been a "ridiculous chase".

Hampshire Police said medical advice was that Ashya was in "grave danger".

The parents, it turns out, wanted their kid to be treated using a therapy not offered by the UK's socialized medical services.  Specifically, they wanted to use proton beam therapy rather than what the UK wanted to use (effectively gamma radiation.)  The difference is that proton beam therapy is a more-targeted form of radiation than gamma.  Both are of the same general type, and there is much dispute as to whether proton therapy is as effective in specific cancers.  Then again there's plenty of argument over whether radiation therapy actually "works" (that is, does less harm and good) in these cases to begin with.

Brain cancer sucks, by the way.  The most-effective means of getting rid of a cancer is to (as you'd expect) cut it out with a knife.  That's often impossible when the growth is in the brain, and it's ineffective when the cancer has spread, since in that case you generally can't get it all, and if you don't get it all you've only changed the time before the inevitable -- and usually not by much either.

But this case, as with the case of Justina Pelletier, shows that the government believes that children are in fact their property.  Let us not forget that in Justina's case the state finally came to the conclusion that they were wrong and the parents (and their advocates in the medical system) were right.  That is, they effectively admitted to kidnapping her, in retrospect.

So who went to prison for that?  Nobody, and nobody will either.  Justina, after a year of this, actually had custody of her formally awarded to the state.  

And what is going to happen in this case?  The parents have been arrested and will be extradited back to the UK and, of course, have been forcibly separated from their child.

Doesn't this tell you exactly what sort of relationship the state recognizes -- or doesn't, as the case may be -- when it comes to your children?

We're not talking about a situation here where two parents disagree and someone has to make a decision of some kind (e.g. in the instance of a divorce.)  These are both cases where an intact family disagrees with what a state actor believes about a child born to that family.  As soon as that happens you discover that the state in fact has claimed ownership of that child.

That's utterly outrageous -- but it in fact happens every day and nobody has done a thing to stop it.

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