The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-02-10 10:19 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 1474 references
[Comments enabled]  

This may be in the context of immigration, but it speaks to the broader point:

The writer, Brookings fellow and Lawfare editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes, had noted the order skipped over a key part of the U.S. code on “inadmissible aliens” which Trump had publicly recited on Wednesday in defense of his immigration restrictions.

The statute reads in part: “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

The claim is correct; this is the actual cite: (read it for yourself at the link!)

(f)Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline.

The law makes clear that the President has essentially unquestionable authority to restrict entry of immigrants by mere proclamation for any amount of time he or she deems appropriate. There is no provision for that decision to be reviewable by a court; the only redress is political (via impeachment.)

The opinion claims that there is no such thing as "unreviewable" decisions when it comes to constitutionality.  That's true but intentionally misleading.  The Congress and Constitution delegate certain powers to certain places.  A clear act beyond the delegated power is, of course, reviewable whether it is claimed to be or not.

But in this case the statute has been on the books for decades (the 1950s, to be exact) and has been used in this exact context by a huge number of previous Presidents -- including Obama.  In fact when Obama suspended all immigration from Iraq he did so on this exact basis and with this exact statutory authority.  When Jimmy Carter suspended all immigration from Iran he did so on the same basis, with the same authority and did not have to, nor did he even attempt to show that the suspension was due to threats of terrorism.  In fact Carter's suspension was a purely punitive act aimed at Iran for the actions some of their people took on their own soil.  Yes, those actions were aimed at the United States (the taking of hostages in our embassy) but they took place there, not here. Nonetheless that action was both lawful and constitutional.

The court didn't even cite the statute that Trump used to issue his executive order.  It instead tried to use a section of the Immigration code that bears on numerical immigration targets which specifies that in that context you may not discriminate on a number of bases -- nationality being one of them.  The problem is that Trump's order doesn't bear on that section of US Immigration Law at all; it instead relies on the lawful authority of the Executive to suspend immigration from any class of persons when it is, in the opinion of the Executive, in the national interest to do so.  The facts are that Obama took the same action against Iraqi immigrants for the same reason and that the same security concerns have continued to occur since, including a documented incident where two arrests were made early last year.

Folks, you may agree or disagree with the action Trump took.  This Ticker isn't about that.

It's about the willful, intentional and unconstitutional acts of the 9th Circuit that continue a long tradition in the US Court system of acting as if controlling law, including the Constitution, does not exist whenever it suits some particular group of people.

Any government body that does such a thing by accident must be called out.  If it was an accident then said body will immediately correct its mistake.

Any government body that does such a thing through evidenced intent must be disbanded and removed from power.  If it is not, when such a means exists (and it certainly does, as the Constitution gives the power to Congress to disband or reorganize any part of the court system; the only Constitutionally-required court is the Supreme Court) then all such co-conspiring components of the government have declared themselves illegitimate.

~240 years ago our nation went to war over this exact issue and the extraction -- otherwise called "theft" -- that was taking place upon the citizens as a result.

Today we have the same thing going on but at an even larger scale and with far more injury than was the case 240 years ago.

We have, in this instance, a court that has stated a factual lie as the basis of its deliberation -- that no "immigrant" from the named nations has been arrested or linked to terrorism.  That's a damned and knowing lie; in point of fact there have been many such arrests and most of those arrested have either been convicted or are still awaiting trial.  In fact Obama suspended immigration from one of those nations for this exact reason after we caught "immigrants" here plotting an attack.  The judges of the 9th Circus deliberately lied to both the public and arguing counsel prior to issuing their "decision", and it was upon this lie that their decision was predicated.  As just one example of more than a dozen over the last two years two Iraqi-born individuals who came here as refugees were arrested last year.  I remind you that Iraq is one of the nations on the list.

Trump's order for the purpose of evaluating the means by which those people got into the country and to take whatever corrective actions are necessary to prevent repeats is not only logical it's legal under the authority delegated to him by Congress and expressed in US Code. That the 9th Circus deliberately ignored the clear text of that section of law because they didn't like it and instead selected a section of law that does not bear on the issue is not "interpreting the law", it is literally blacking out the sections of law they do not like, which is not within their Constitutional power -- only Congress can do that through repealing said law.

It is this very same willful and intentional refusal to follow the law that has led to the issues with our health care system.  The law, which not only exists in statute it has been tested at the US Supreme Court says that monopolies and similar acts in restraint of trade are not only unlawful civilly in many cases they are criminal felonies.  This was tested in 1979 when insurance companies tried to claim an exemption under Mccarran-Ferguson, which is also law, and they lost.

That's supposed to be the end of the discussion until and unless Congress passes something to change the state of said law.

Congress has not done so.

The courts, along with the Executive, however, have refused to enforce said law, just as they have done here with Trump's order.

The result is that a $40,000 hospital bill comes with a more than $38,000 "discount" if you have a certain kind of "insurance."  Such a pricing disparity is clear evidence of collusive intent to restrain trade and tie sales unlawfully, that is, to compel you to purchase something you do not want by threatening to bankrupt you if you don't have it.

That's illegal folks.

Either the law applies to everyone or it applies to nobody.  If the latter then there is no law that should be respected by anyone.

Do you want to live in such a nation?  You do, right here, right now, today.  You are being financially raped on a daily basis in exactly this fashion.  Those of you on the left cheering for the 9th Circuit order are cheering for your own financial rape, destruction and ultimately your own death at the very hands of those same people.

Health care is simply one aspect of this abuse -- yet it is a very large one, spanning close to 20% of our entire economy.  There are others.  "Net neutrality" means that if you don't want to buy Netflix service you still pay for it in your Internet service because Hastings managed to force carriers to pay the majority of his transport costs.  That's nice if you want to use Netflix but if you don't then it's a tax leveled on you and given to the company!  That's theft at literal gunpoint.

I can cite literally dozens of additional examples, all of which wind up screwing you.

And while there will be plenty of "I told you sos" if there is a terrorist incident originating from one of these rapefugees the fact of the matter is that the underlying issue is both far more grave and pervasive than whether a few nations have entry of their nationals into the US curtailed until we can verify that the credentials they have actually represent who they are.

The underlying issue is literally the difference between a Constitutional government and a firearm-toting mob that takes whatever it wants, including your life, whenever it wants.

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2017-02-09 12:01 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 401 references
[Comments enabled]  

I find it simply astounding to read articles like this:

Since Trump took charge at the White House, executives at companies including the Cleveland Clinic, Facebook, and Uber have come under internal pressure to answer for not just their policies but their politics. Employees like Hanley are pushing top bosses to sever their personal or professional ties to the administration, registering their dissent with protests, walkouts, and open letters. A handful have even resigned.

You got to be kidding me.

As a former CEO I will tell you what my response would be to any such "petition", "pressure" or otherwise:

"This company is not a democracy. You're fired."

Period.

The utter idiocy of a firm taking a political position that is opposed by half the nation, no matter on which side of the political spectrum it rests, ought to be considered by fiduciary law experts as a per se cause of action if said firm is a public company -- and lead to immediate lawsuits.

What possible upside is there to pissing off at least half of the potential customer base you might have -- that is, half the nation?

If the "pressure politics" folks think that they can "win" by arguing the opposite side of this -- accede to this pressure and take our position or we will boycott you they need to understand that their argument is a lose:lose proposition across the board.

It's one thing if you have 90% of the nation behind you on something.  It's quite another when the country is split almost exactly down the middle; in that instance any engagement, on either side, costs you half your customers and most will never come back no matter what you do in the future.

If you want a reason to short everything that has a customer-facing presence in the United States, especially social media that has nobody other than consumers to sell (not sell to!) this has to be the best argument I've seen in two decades for it.

As for Silicon Valley and their "immigration" screaming that's on the list of the dumbest things I've seen in decades as well.  H1b abuse is a simmering pot that most people are not particularly aware of, but now all of these firms including all the big names in the tech space on the west coast including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple and others have gone out and declared that they are (1) addicted to cheap immigrant high-skilled labor and (2) they are and insist on continuing to be able to screw up the ass well-educated young people graduating from college in the United States by favoring cheap Indian citizens to take jobs that would otherwise go to those highly-skilled and intelligent US Citizens!

The risk of such nonsense ought to be apparent -- these are the very people who are the best of the US, many of them were cajoled into taking out huge college loans which they now have to pay off in order to obtain that education and they are likely to have far better than a minimum wage income to spend in the future -- and can quite-easily tell all of these firms to go******up a rope when it comes to any sort of "engagement" or "spending" on their products.

Wake up America -- and put all of these firms out of business by cutting their revenue from you to zero.

As for those who will whine "you're costing Americans their jobs" I will simply reply that those who are stupid deserve to neither own companies or have a job, and it does not matter what nationality you are in that regard.

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2017-02-07 11:43 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 2137 references
[Comments enabled]  

Senator Rand Paul previously announced intent to file a bill that, among other things, would make legal price-fixing and collusion in the medical industry.

The text of that bill is now available:

(a) Application of the Federal Antitrust Laws to Health Care
Professionals Negotiating With Health Plans.--
(1) In general.--Any health care professionals who are
engaged in negotiations with a health plan regarding the terms
of any contract under which the professionals provide health
care items or services for which benefits are provided under
such plan shall, in connection with such negotiations, be
exempt from the Federal antitrust laws.

Let me point out, once again, why Rand included this in his bill.

15 United States Code Chapter 1 makes explicitly illegal any sort of price-fixing or collusion where market power exists.  It provides both heavy civil ($10 to $100 million per instance) fines for persons and corporations, respectively, and in addition provides for felony criminal penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment for all persons involved.

The insurance industry tried to argue in the 1970s that Mccarran-Ferguson, a law which provides limited exemptions to 15 USC for insurance firms, shielded them -- and pharmacies -- from prosecution under these laws.

The case went to the Supreme Court and the insurance and pharamacy firms lost.

Normally, when such a thing happens the industry involved immediately changes how it operates because it has to.  The law exists, the case was brought, it went as far as it can go in the court system and the highest court in the land said stop that crap right now.

But that didn't happen in this instance.

Instead the health-related industries put up their middle finger toward both the people of this nation and the United States Supreme Court, instead deciding to bribe Congress through their lobbying.  They not only didn't change their behavior they accelerated it.  Thus we have abuses of alleged "patents" (where no real change in formulation has occurred yet a "new drug patent" is issued for what amounts to a non-innovation), they pay off one company not to compete .vs. another (a black-letter violation of the law) they got Congress to make illegal the importation of drugs made by the same companies that happened to pass through other nations, and they "convinced" (through God knows what method) both federal and state attorneys general in both political parties equally to ignore not only the 100+ year old body of law in 15 Unites States Code but also all 50 state consumer protection laws and federal FTC regulations that bar deceptive practices such as refusing to quote a price before a service is performed or billing two different people wildly different prices, often by 10x or more, for the exact same thing.

Let me further point out that while "Drug Reimportation" was banned by Congressional Action (that is, a law) restraint of trade intended to increase the price in the United States remains illegal.

Every combination, conspiracy, trust, agreement, or contract is declared to be contrary to public policy, illegal, and void when the same is made by or between two or more persons or corporations, either of whom, as agent or principal, is engaged in importing any article from any foreign country into the United States, and when such combination, conspiracy, trust, agreement, or contract is intended to operate in restraint of lawful trade, or free competition in lawful trade or commerce, or to increase the market price in any part of the United States of any article or articles imported or intended to be imported into the United States, or of any manufacture into which such imported article enters or is intended to enter.

Yes, it may be illegal (because Congress made it so) for you to buy pills made here and then exported in some other nation and re-import them for resale but the act of restraining trade so as to price something at 2, 5, 10 or 100x what it sells for somewhere else was not made lawful.  Such an act remains illegal (if you claim otherwise then find the law that explicitly exempts same from this section of US Code and cite it) -- so where are the charges against every single US pharmaceutical company that has done exactly this?

The governments of this nation exist only with the consent of the governed.  A government may declare itself illegitimate by failing to uphold the law, becoming nothing more than a racketeering mob carrying firearms to dispense violence upon anyone who disagrees with its schemes.

The people of this nation have twice over the last ten years recognized that this theft is destroying them wholesale.

Obama was elected twice, in no small part, on his "promise" to reform health care.  He instead advanced the scam through Obamacare -- a bill written by the medical industry after he told the people that it would be written to benefit them.  Trump was elected, in no small part, because of the failures of Obamacare.  But as soon as he won the (thin) premise in his campaign website of medical reform disappeared and now we have two bills filed by Republicans, one of which not only recognizes the illegality of what has been going on since 1979 but promises to make it legal as Trump's and the Republican Party's "answer" to Obamacare's screwing of the public.  In short the Republican response to you getting screwed is that they expect you to take it longer and harder!

Rand Paul as a Senator has simply underlined what every Senator, member of the House and last several Presidents, including Donald Trump, have done and are doing today and have every single day since 1979:

These men and women, through their collective action and intentional inaction, along with the attorneys general of the 50 states and the law enforcement apparatus attached to them, have declared both State and Federal governments to be illegitimate as they have through their own action and intentional inaction reduced the government to nothing more than a heavily-armed mob tasked with stealing one dollar in five that is spent in this economy.

Let me remind you of the magnitude of this theft -- over $2 trillion a year and easily the largest act of theft ever against a people anywhere in the history of humankind.

Three Presidential elections ago, in 2007/2008, I began writing on these issues in The Market Ticker.  I had been following this issue closely since the 1990s when I ran MCSNet "in the time of Clinton" because this problem posed an existential threat to not only myself personally but also to every one of my employees and the company.  I spoke out about it at the time and was ignored.  I have raised hell since 2007 about it here in this column and have been ignored.  The people of this nation have decided that when their political party wins they will fawn over him or her and ignore the willful and intentional refusal to enforce the law at both the State and Federal level that has led to this situation and will inevitably result in the destruction of the countrywhile if their candidate loses they will whine, complain or wear vaginas on their heads while marching in protest and, occasionally, riot -- because they lost.

In short the people of this nation have proved that they will spend their political capital on abortion, gay marriage, whether a man who dresses as woman because he wishes he was one can******in the woman's room, whether said person as a teen can shower in the girl's locker room in a public High School, whether a baker can be put out of business for refusing to make a gay wedding cake and dozens of other "issues" that, while certainly a matter of political difference have exactly zero relevance compared to a segment of our economy that takes one dollar in five from every person in this nation with over $2 trillion a year being stolen (that's over $6,000 taken from every person in this country every yearand literally threatens every man, woman and child in the nation with bankruptcy, death or both in order to continue to do so on a daily basis.

May I inconveniently remind you that for those that earn a minimum wage income were this scam to be stopped that person's $15,000 pretax annual income (50 weeks of 40 hours @ $7.50/hr) would in fact have the same purchasing power as $21,000 because the other $6,000 that is currently being stolen, directly and indirectly, would be theirs!  For someone in that income bracket this would be a 40% increase in their income!  Can you name any change you could make in our economy other than this that would bring anywhere near that benefit to those in the economic middle class and below?

What could you do with an additional $6,000 a year for every person in your household -- every year?  For a couple that's $12,000 per year to spend on a mortgage, sending your kid(s) to college (if you have two kids it's not $12k/year, it's $24,000!), building your retirement fund or whatever else you may choose!

This crap has been going on for 37 years beyond the point it was declared unlawful by the United States Supreme Court under a set of laws that have existed for more than 100 years and, I remind you, were put in place because exactly the same sort of acts were being practiced by a group of "businesspeople" that were known, historically in the time, as "Robber Barons"!

I keep running into people who think I should "not give up" and "not stop writing and doing what I've been doing."

My reply is that I am not Don Quixote and I will not tilt at windmills.

Since the people of this nation, including those who keep imploring me to spend the last few years of "relative normal" conditions in this country writing and advocating, not only have failed to stand and demand that this crap stop at all levels of government, backed by all lawful recourse that is available up to and including a general strike over the last decade while I have been doing so they have instead chosen to parade around with vaginas on their heads, riot or wear red "MAGA" hats, I now choose to enjoy what time remains in peace and quiet while turning my back on those who have turned theirs not only on this issue but on their children and the future of this nation.

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2017-02-07 06:05 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 513 references
[Comments enabled]  

Get up, go in front of your mirror, strip.

What do you see?

A belly?  A fat ass?

Be honest.  There's nobody there but you.  No, all bodies are not beautiful.  You're either somewhat normal for a human, you're thin as a rail or you're a fat ****.

Half of all in America over the age of 18 are the latter, as are the majority of those over 65.

That sucks.

Now go to your medicine cabinet.

What's in there?

Aspirin, mouthwash, an anti-histamine?  Ok.

One, three, a half-dozen prescription drugs?  Not so much.

Read this Ticker again.

Cut the crap.  Trump is not going to address medical monopolies.  Not only has Trump now said that he probably won't do anything until 2018 (which, I remind you, will be right into the maw of the next Congressional election -- in other words nothing will be done) the Republicans have been filing bills that do nothing to address the problems and in at least one case, Rand Paul, both make it much worse and admit that the entire system is riven through with currently-illegal conduct because they propose to make said conduct lawful.

Unless Trump does what he has not promised to do (actually fix health care's unlawful and outrageous pricing mechanisms), and he won't, if you're dependent on the medical system you are ****ed.

Let me define "****ed": Bankrupt, dead or both.

As an aside there are plenty of people who say I cuss too much.  I respond that in a situation like this there are perfectly reasonable uses for the word "****" or, for that matter, any cuss word in the lexicon.  Being rendered broke, dead, or (probably) both due to the outrageous conduct of both a large segment of our economy and intentional refusal to enforce the law at both state and federal levels certainly ought to qualify.

Are there issues you might not be able to control?  Yeah.  Lots of them.   You could have high blood pressure that is not related to being fat.  You could have some genetic disposition to being screwed.  You could have some odd disease that is both genetic-linked and hard to deal with.

But the majority of the population either has medical problems that are related to being fat or will if they don't stop being fat.

It's being fat folks. It's not "healthy but big", it's not "all bodies are beautiful", or anything of the sort.

It's being fat.

I was fat, and getting fatter by the year.

I changed that in 2011.

I am no longer fat.

I am not hungry; I rarely want food before approximately noon.

I do not count calories (a war you cannot win over the long term, given the accuracy you must maintain.)

I am objectively in better shape, in terms of athletic ability, than I was as a teen.

And, it appears, whatever metabolic damage I had accumulated did largely -- and maybe completely -- heal over the last few years.

You can do this too.

You had better in the next few years, and it will take that long to get there, especially on the healing of any accumulated metabolic damage to the best of your body's ability, because the US "health" system is going to blow up -- catastrophically.

If you are dependent on it when it does you will either suffer horribly, die, or (probably) both -- in that order.

This isn't a joke. It's not a conspiracy theory. It's not hyperbole.

It's fact, and you can either accept it and deal with it or suffer the consequences.

Look folks, I was severely metabolically compromised.  I know I was.  I didn't have the labs to prove it, but I didn't need them.  Neither do you if you quit lying to yourself.  Have gut?  You're metabolically compromised.  Period.

Today?

I often have a fasting blood sugar in the upper 60s or 70s.  My A1c runs around 5.3.  I am not hungry in the morning; I often don't want anything to eat until close to noontime.  I cannot drive my blood sugar, even intentionally as a test, over 110. I have nothing in my medicine cabinet other than some ibuprofin and aspirin -- neither of which I need more than occasionally.  My BMI is 22 -- RIGHT UP THE MIDDLE OF NORMAL.

Honestly?  I'm a bit heavy right now -- ~5lbs or so.  Not a big deal.

How long do you have before it all goes to Hell?  I don't know.

But I do know this -- when it does, and it will, if you're not independent of said medical system you are ****ed.

Don't be, if you can avoid it.

Thus ends the sermon.  Change, or not.  Your choice.  But the time to change is running out -- do it now, in short, or not at all -- and suffer the consequences.

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2017-02-05 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 1351 references
[Comments enabled]  

What more needs to be said?

In Bangalore, India, heart surgeons perform daily state-of-the-art heart surgery on adults and children at an average cost of $1,800. For the record, that’s about 2% of the $90,000 that the average heart surgery costs in the United States. And when it comes to the quality of the heart surgery, the patient outcomes are among the best in the world.

Why?

Simple: There is no financialization.  

You can't make someone else pay for your medical treatment in India.

Most families in India have no health insurance, and often need to borrow the money to pay for surgery.

And there are no guarantees on the debt either: You can't exactly repossess a heart operation!

Quality?  Better than in the United States.

How about drugs?  Let's talk insulin:

The medication had identical action to what's sold in the U.S. And its preloaded syringes, with a sophisticated calibrating mechanism, were more accurate in dose than any I've seen. What was most remarkable was the price — less than 10% of what it costs Americans with diabetes today. The combination of massive scale and appropriate pricing accounted for the 10-fold difference.

What's missing from this article?

Any mention of the fact that the only reason drug prices haven't dropped like a stone is that it's illegal to import that Insulin here to the United States.  Were it not Novartis and the other insulin makers here wouldn't sell a single dose at 10x the price, especially when their dosing systems are inferior.

I've often said that the total cost of medical care would drop by 85% if we simply enforced the law, specifically 15 USC Chapter 1, against all medically-related firms -- including pharma, hospitals, device makers and doctors.

This article is evidence that I'm being conservative and the actual drop might even exceed 90%.

Of course to do that you need to take all the monopolists -- which means damn near all of the doctors, hospital administrators, drug company executives, "pharmacy benefit managers" and more out back and........

 

 

 

Indict them.

If we don't, and if we keep doing what we've been doing then eventually those who are condemned might just decide to take some of them out back and do something a less-lawful than indicting them.

Will Trump do anything about this?

Based on the best evidence available to date, NO.

Don't bet your first nickel on him doing a damn thing about any of this, despite it being very clear that mere restoration of a competitive market would make "health insurance" entirely unnecessary for essentially everyone in the United States.

Pfizer has already said they have no intention of altering their pricing model after the recent pharma meeting. Why should they until and unless their entire executive office gets indicted on many-thousands of counts of federal felonies under 15 USC?

In the meantime if you need treatment for something serious -- get on a plane.

If you currently have, or are on the path toward a chronic condition that requires continuing medical assessment and treatment if it's possible to stop or reverse that you had better or you're going to be bankrupted, dead or both.

And if you're already past the point of being able to do anything about it?  Make peace with God.

Until and unless Trump does start indicting this entire segment of the economy (or he makes clear that if they don't cut the crap right now he will, and if challenged, he does) he is not your friend, he will not stop the detonation of this nation's finances nor your financial and personal destruction and yet it is entirely within his power to do both right now, without Congressional involvement since the laws necessary to do so already exist.

Trump may be my President just as he is yours if you live in the United States, but any President who has the power of the Executive to put a stop to this crap under existing law and fails to do so, when it constitutes nearly one dollar in five spent in America today and 37% of last year's federal spending is a five-alarm dickhead, irrespective of what other policies he may or may not implement.  That refusal literally kills hundreds of thousands of Americans a year and financially ruins millions more -- far more than any terrorist or even war has managed to claim.

And that's a fact.

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