The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets
2016-02-11 09:46 by Karl Denninger
in Market Musings , 429 references

Just a little birdie whispering for you, but there's a very nice 1600 target that appears to be greatly increasing in the probability of being hit.

Don't ask what the target is if that doesn't hold.

You won't like the answer.

PS: First mentioned on a private group I run quite a while ago..... the pattern appears to remain in-play despite all the screaming by people like Cramer.....

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So you like Bernie's "Medicare for all" proposals, right?  No more high health insurance bills, no more of the nonsense that you're going through now -- including, if you're young, paying a lot of money for (probably) nothing.

Just like you love Bernie's college plans, right?

Ok, let's do a fact check.

The VA is Bernie Sander's health care model.  It's a socialized medical system for American Veterans.

How's it doing?

The VA's inspector general found that out of about 800,000 records stalled in the agency's system for managing health care enrollment, there were more than 307,000 records that belonged to veterans who had died months or years in the past. The inspector general said due to limitations in the system's data, the number of records did not necessarily represent veterans actively seeking enrollment in VA health care.

In other words 300,000 people may have died while waiting for your utopian care model.

There's a further problem for Sanders supporters -- have you looked at Sander's committee seats?

That's right folks -- Bernie Sanders is on the Veterans Affairs Senate Committee -- the committee that is responsible for the VA health system.

You're not dumb enough to actually want for yourself what has been done to 300,000 vets under Bernie's direct stewardship, are you?

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The ad density on both platforms (Facebook and Twitter) has gone parabolic over just the last few days.

What is this telling you?  Good question, but increased density has the potential to drive off users.

Will it?

I have no idea.  But the potential is certainly there, and if it's realized...... here we go!

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Two articles you should read.

The first is here:

When Canadian physician Dr Jay Wortman realised he was diabetic 12 years ago, he cut carbs (sugars and starches) from his diet to ‘buy time’ before deciding what medication to take. He was amazed, and hugely relieved, to find that all his symptoms disappeared within a few days, never to return. He doesn’t say he is ‘cured’ in the conventional sense. He does say that he is without any symptoms of the condition, which he says is as close to being cured as it’s possible to come. He knows if he goes back to his old eating habits, the symptoms will return, and he will once again be diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes.

This isn't singular, and this isn't some fluke -- he's a real honest-to-god Doctor.  Further, he's implemented this with traditional Canadian individuals, and seen similar if not more-profound results.

I've talked about this for a while here on the column.  I didn't start eating LCHF because I had diabetes; there was no indication that I was aware of that I had trouble coming in that regard.  My reason for doing so was that I was getting fatter, a couple of pounds a year, and it was relentless and non-responsive, other than for short periods, to exercise.

I tried cutting out the fats and eating a mostly-vegetable and some lean-meat (e.g. fish, etc) diet, along with exercise.  I was never able to lose more than 10lbs doing that and as soon as I stopped the heavy workouts it all came back.  Worse, my endurance never really went anywhere (for the better) in terms of exercise tolerance, which meant those workouts were torture.

I decided I'd have enough of that crap and thus didn't go on a diet -- I changed my lifestyle.  In addition to adopting "Couch-to-5k" I cut out all of the carbohydrates from my diet with the exception of green, fresh or flash-frozen vegetables.  The rules for what I did not put in my mouth were simple:

  • No starches (e.g. potatoes, etc)
  • No vegetable oils of any sort with the exception of room-temperature olive oil (e.g. as a salad dressing.)
  • No canned (processed and preserved, usually with added sugars and other crap) foods.
  • No sugars other than those naturally occurring in unprocessed fruits and vegetables.
  • No grains (including pastas)
  • Target for protein was in the 20-25% of caloric intake range.
  • Fruit intake restricted to light in quantity, as would be naturally found (e.g. equivalent in intake to one medium orange a day.)
  • No juices or other means of concentrating foods and absolutely zero "meal replacements" of any sort (e.g. "shakes", snake-oil sold or not.)

Of course there's only three types of food at a macro level -- carbs, proteins and fats.  This meant that by definition if I was only going to eat 50g or less of carbs a day, all of them in the form of vegetables (10% or less of my intake) and I was targeting 20-25% of intake of protein, the rest had to be saturated fats of some form.

You'll hear people espouse a "whole, natural, vegetable-based diet" as an option.  I have a question for those people: Show me the energy intake you achieve by doing that and I'll probably be able to show you processed carbs or starches that you're denying you are eating but in fact are a monstrous percentage of your total intake.

Why?  Because it's virtually impossible to get 1,800 calories a day, close to base requirements, otherwise.  A bowl full of brussels sprouts is ~200 calories.  You'd have to eat nine of them in a day to get 1,800 calories!  Other vegetables are similar, and it's only by climbing into the starchy and grainy things -- or adding sugars and plant-based oils which are where the problem is coming from -- you evade that reality.

This doesn't mean you can't manage to do it on a vegetarian or vegan "whole food" diet.  You can.  It's just very hard, both from a cost and logistic point of view.  I get it that some people have enough drive, for whatever reason (and frequently that comes from some sort of personal conviction about eating animals) to get there.  That's fine but evangelizing about it being "pure" or "good" without noting that you are EITHER going to have to deal with a logistic and cost nightmare or you're CHEATING and 20 years down the road you'll still get the bad effects is dishonest.

Incidentally there are plenty of people who do that cheating and do get the bad effects.  People drop like flies eating so-called "vegetarian" or "vegan" diets and I've seen some damn fat vegans.  That's because their "whole food" claims don't meet up with truth when it comes to what actually goes down their pie hole.  I'm always astonished at the people who claim "vegan" yet eat breads of any sort - and frequently lots of them - and think this is "healthy."

It most-certainly is not; bread in any form is arguably worse in terms of insulin response and thus metabolic syndrome causing than eating pure table sugar out of the package of equivalent mass.  But this is how most people claiming such a food choice manage to hit daily caloric needs; two slices of bread are 200 very-high insulin-response calories, but it would require four servings of broccoli (an entire bunch, roughly) to get the same 200 calories, with close to zero insulin response -- and engender a hell of a lot more cost, time to consume and bulk.

So yes, if you wish to follow the vegan or vegetarian view of food that is a workable approach.  Just be aware that if you're doing it for health reasons, rather than simply out of personal conviction of some sort that the same rules as above apply to eating vegan or vegetarian as those of us who choose to eat "paleo" (mis-named) or, more-properly, "carb-restricted".

An actual accurate name for "carb restricted" lifestyles would be no-fast-carb eating.  As an example Brussel Sprouts do have carbs in them -- about 8g per serving.  Roughly 3g of that is fiber (that is, it doesn't digest and thus while technically carbohydrate it doesn't absorb) and the rest is absorbed so slowly that it has a negligible impact on insulin levels.  If you eat one cup of them, however, you no longer need the orange that day as your entire dietary Vitamin C requirement has been met and yet you only consumed 38 calories!

Fats have zero impact on insulin levels, yet they're both (1) calorie dense (9 cal/gm as opposed to 4 cal/gm for either carbs or protein) and they are a perfectly-acceptable fuel for your body.  Because they do not result in an insulin response they also don't inhibit leptin, which is the enzyme that tells your brain that you don't need to eat.  In short it's not the fat per-se that satiates you, it's the absence of excess insulin in your system.

If your primal desire to eat is stimulated because the leptin signal is absent you are now fighting your most-primal urge to stick your face in the refrigerator and consume its contents.  While some people will win that battle most will and do lose.

Now here's a second link for you to ponder, and it's very sobering.  The definition of diabetes on a clinical level is pretty simple: An elevated A1c, any random glucose reading over 200, or a fasting level over 125.

The problem is this: By the time you manifest any of these symptoms your body's adaptive response has run out of range.  That is, the proper test isn't for these levels at all, but rather for the amount of insulin in your system after it is challenged by a large intake of sugar.  That would tell you whether or not your body at a cellular level is able to easily use the insulin response to neutralize the metabolic poison that is otherwise going to cause cellular damage.

But there is no easy-to-use insulin level test available.  You can get a $20 meter and some strips at any drug store in the US these days and check your blood sugar, and you probably should even if you have no reason to suspect you are diabetic, because the lack of clinical symptoms doesn't mean you don't have a problem.  But the problem with relying on such a test is that said meter will only tell you if your metabolic response is badly enough damaged that it can no longer maintain control -- in other words it's like a device that tells you the roof has just caved in when there's a structure fire rather than a smoke alarm that tells you the damn building is on fire in the first place when it's still easy to put out.

Most people today who eat starches and other fast carbohydrates have some degree of damage in this regard.

A lot of this -- that is, how much insult these regulatory systems in your body can sustain and not give up, appears to be hereditary.  But given enough insult damn near everyone's body will give up, and the real question is why you'd want to insult your system like this on a daily basis in the first place, rolling the dice with your genetic draw.

When you get to the bottom line it's this: If your insulin levels are low you will not store glucose as fat because the mechanism to do so is regulated by insulin levels.  You also won't inhibit the leptin signalling pathway that tells your brain that you're not hungry, and thus you won't turn on that primal instinct to raid the refrigerator.

Finally, polyunsaturated fatty acids as found in vegetable oils are implicated in damaging metabolic pathways.  These are not naturally-occurring products; while there is certainly peanut oil in peanuts, nobody would eat enough peanuts to get the amount of oil that is ingested when you cook with or use said oil "neat."  Canola, corn, soybean, cottonseed and sesame oil, to name a few more, are simply never found in the wild at all.  You'd have to eat an unbelievable amount of actual corn from a cob in order to get a material amount of corn oil, but orders of magnitude more are eaten easily when its used in cooking, baking and similar.  These, along with products made from them such as margarine, are all manufactured and do not naturally occur.

While the lack of "natural occurrence" is not proof of harmfulness in this case there is specific evidence that these oils in fact inhibit essential enzyme pathways in the body.  Exactly how harmful this happens to be is open to a fair bit of debate but do you wish to be the lab rat -- because you are -- especially when you have 200+ million Americans around you who have done so and gotten both fat and sick?  And please do note -- animals are fed corn and other grains to get them fat on purpose for the market. While this is not proof that you'll wind up the same way, it is evidence.....

So if you follow the rules above on what not to eat, does this necessarily mean you will always have bacon in the fridge?  No.  There are other paths.

But none of them involve "shakes" or other "wonder concoctions", all of which are cheats of some form, and whether you get results or not depends largely on whether you're honest about what is actually going in your pie hole.

Try it -- the only thing you have to lose is that extra 20, 30, 50 or 100 lbs.

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As I asked earlier in the day...

How long until the market calls "BeeEss" on Yellen, since Congress spent all day doing so?

It looks like the answer is "about the time she finished testifying"; S&P futures are straight down since, off ~35 handles or approaching 2%.

So far.

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