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2023-03-29 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 284 references
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We need the following law:

Upon conviction, or if the perpetrator(s) of a murder are either killed in the act or kill themselves during or following the act, all papers, effects and other materials related to said person are deemed to be in the public domain and subject to immediate release and distribution.  This includes but is not limited to their full medical and psychiatric records, social media pages, text and email messages and similar.  No redactions of any such material is permitted and any tampering with or destruction of said material is a felony carrying a 20 year of "serve every day" prison sentence for such person who tampers with, or permits such tampering, to occur.  No person, whether private party, corporate actor or government employee, is exempt from this statute and its penalties.

Such release does not prohibit their use by the police or other agencies in prosecuting potential accessories.  In fact this statute is intended and designed to result in the public demanding accountability of all persons as accessories where it is appropriate as determined in a court of law.

If someone commits a homicide and is either convicted or dead they have no estate property or privacy interest in their personal effects.  If there is a manifesto, it is now public.  If they were under treatment for some disorder or known to be using sort of drug (legal or not) it is now public information.  Their text messages, emails, social media pages, all of it including all archived copies and records -- all public.

The lines of legal culpability are pretty bright; if you drive someone to the bank, they rob it and shoot a teller, whether you have culpability is defined by a pretty well-developed set of standards.  If you had reason to believe something unlawful was going to happen -- which doesn't have to include a teller being shot -- you stand as an accessory before the fact and you get the same punishment as the robber.

Are drug companies and physicians potentially liable in these cases?  Quite possibly.  If there is a correlation they're aware of and refuse to act, then yeah, let's have the court system sort that out.  Let's have both criminal and civil law come onto the field and find out where it goes.  Perhaps it leads to culpability and perhaps not, but that's why we have a justice system.

I've long argued that a whole class of drugs should never be used except under residential confinement conditions in young people under the age of 24, and perhaps even a bit older.  Why?  Because there is a documented association with them turning said people into rage monsters.  We don't know precisely why that happens but that it does is well-understood and thus this is exactly the same sort of situation that arises if you fire a gun into the air: It is very unlikely that the bullet, which goes up and thus must come down, will hit a person but if it does  hit a person you can and should be charged with negligent manslaughter.

How tough is it to pass such a bill and get it signed?  It should be easy.

Where are the state legislatures and governors who claim to care about these events?

In the pockets of the likely-culpable medical and pharmaceutical concerns and physicians, that's where.

And you let them do it.

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2023-03-20 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 432 references
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The social media space is all "a-twitter" about Trump allegedly being arrested for an offense related to alleged "hush money" and Stormy Daniels.

I do not know the precise charge or even if the reports are real; this appears to be a state matter in some way related to either the "pay for silence" act itself or how the money was moved around.  Exactly how this implicates a legal violation is unclear until we know what they charge him with, if they do; it is generally not unlawful to pay someone to shut up (witness all manner of legal settlements that include confidentiality clauses, non-disclosure agreements and similar) but there are exceptions.

The outrage on the right is of course predictable.

Personally, I could care less and if you are one of those folks who thinks this is a reason to go to war (whether "civil" or not) IMHO you're out of your mind.

Trump had plenty of opportunities as President to stop the two-faced, "two class" legal system in this nation: One for people who are favored, and another for everyone else.  Let's start with Hillary, who he repeatedly said he was going to "lock up."  That was not a political claim either; she had clearly, openly and deliberately violated black-letter law relating to classified material handling by setting up an email server in her house and then funneling classified material through it in a bid to prevent all of her traffic from being subject to legally required record-keeping by federal employees.  That really is illegal and literally the day Trump was elected he stopped talking about and did not direct his Attorney General to make good on that campaign slogan.

Or, if you want something a bit more personal than some abstract record-keeping requirement who remembers "A girl in Iowa" during Trump's Presidency?  In 2021 the accused was found guilty of murder but within a quite-short period of time after the criminal act itself we knew the accused was an illegal invader who had no right to be here in the United States. He, like so many others, was employed by local farming interests -- heavily GOP, of course, since most farming areas are.

Trump had the full authority as President to issue a NPRM and, under proper process, require the use of E-verify for every employer in the United States -- including of course all farmers.  Requiring the control number from that system on every 941 that is filed (employment tax return which all employers must file under penalty of perjury, and pay the amounts owed) would have put an immediate, full and permanent stop to the use of "undocumented" labor in the United States provided those who didn't comply were prosecuted.  Tax fraud in that sort of instance is ridiculously easy to prove and its a criminal offense.  Of course this would have been tremendously unpopular among certain groups of people (farmers in particular) which, in Iowa, are a very serious voting block, never mind in other agricultural states, most of them "Red."

Trump of course did nothing of the sort even though it is a fact that had the convicted individual not been in the nation Mollie Tibbetts would be alive today.  There are several other examples and while you can claim that illegal aliens are not "more disposed" to criminal activity if you'd like that is not the point -- the point is they do commit crimes and you can't commit them here if you're not here.  Every single one of those crimes is preventable by simply demanding such persons not be present in the United States, and since they're here illegally there is every basis in the law to do exactly that.

So pardon me if I really don't care if a NY Prosecutor makes a public and political spectacle out of this.  After all being arrested for whatever Trump is alleged to have done in violation of NY Law pales beside the murder of a 20 year old woman who's only offense was attempting to maintain personal physical fitness by going for a jog, and the wildly outrageous and illegal employment of persons all over this nation that Trump had every ability to stop, as has every other President, and yet he refused because people with political and economic power want to break the law for economic advantage and, in the process, screw law-abiding Americans out of the jobs they would otherwise have at a higher, market-based and law-abiding wage.

This is not, incidentally, the only example.  Exactly zero of what was done with his "2 weeks to slow the spread" that turned into a three year disaster was proper.  No part of the PREP Act, for example, enables the government to censor information whether directly or by conspiring with others. Yet they did exactly that, did they not?  What did Trump do about this?  Nothing.  Indeed he gave legal force through his HHS Secretary, backed up with billions of dollars, for protocols that were used in hospitals and killed patients, never mind allowing State and local governments to intentionally ship infected people into nursing homes without a single federal indictment issuing against a single person involved.  That was and is manslaughter so spare me the outrage since your much-loved Orange Man did nothing to stop or punish it, despite having plenty of federal legal tools with which to do so -- like, for example, removing that which he, personally, put in place through HHS that incentivized these acts.

If Mr. Warp Speed gets the stuff-n-cuff treatment I will quaff two fingers of high-quality single-malt just on that basis alone.

Oh yes, Biden has done the same and more, but Trump had the capacity, as President at the time, to call a hard stop on this insanity in March of 2020 and he not only refused, he personally ratcheted up the fear porn and enabled the lockdowns.  Yes, the states executed on that but it was Trump who backed all of it including the "bonus protocols" for hospitals which remain in place today.

So no, I do not care if he gets personally abused by the NY Prosecutor.  After the last three years, and putting in place the domestic economic spending policies that are now likely to lead to a catastrophe worse than 2008, never mind further enabling the medical monster that is now one third of the federal budget and yet ridiculously violates 100+ year old felony criminal law (15 USC Chapter 1) on a daily basis am I supposed to care if a bit of karma visits him?  Do recall, dear reader, that he did promise to stop that during his 2016 campaign in three separate platform planks and every one of them disappeared, never to be seen again, within minutes of the election being called for him.  I stated before the election I would not participate in that sham because I had every expectation he was going to do exactly that -- and I was right.

Whether or not there's an actual offense here I will reserve judgement on until I see the facts -- but in terms of whether I care if Trump gets treated in a different way than anyone else may I note he has, through his political and in fact business life, been the instigator and beneficiary of said disparate treatment all along and pointedly refused as President to enforce the rule of law evenly on more occasions than I can count, so if he gets reamed by his own double standard I not only do not care I laugh at, and shall toast, the irony.

Good luck Donald.

And as for those of you who wish to and are stoking outrage over this?

Go look in the mirror because you, like everyone else's, failure to demand the government actually enforce the law and instead cheering on the breaking of same when when and only when it benefits you is why we're here as a nation today.  It is why the BLM riots and arsons went unanswered.  It killed your Gram during the pandemic and screwed your kids out of two+ years of education.  It is why we're a hell of a mess budget-wise with The Fed and everyone else furiously trying to keep all the plates in the air -- and they're very likely to fail.  Now those of you who are "outraged" appear to be engaged in precisely the same selective crap.


Well then where was the general strike in 2008?  How about to enforce "lock her up"?  How about in March of 2020 when Trump did his little "15 days" speech, which, at the end of the 15 days, he reneged upon directly?  Where was in response the "oh, I'm an essential worker while the bar is closed eh?  Tough crap; no groceries for you until my friend the bartender is open on an unrestricted basis as before and I can go have a drink -- until then YOU CAN STARVE!"  How about in 2020 when you all said the election was stolen?  You didn't believe that either, did you?

A general strike is perfectly legal; nobody can compel you to actually work.  That's forbidden under the 13th Amendment.  Refusing to labor is legal, period, it is non-violent and if in fact half of the 60% of the adult, working-age population, which is the employment:population ratio I remind you, was to stick up the middle finger government would be forced to cave in to whatever the demand is; absolutely nothing in our government or economy can be maintained on any sort of rational basis if half the people in this nation who are allegedly "employed" simply sit at home and refuse to return until the crap -- and screwing -- stops.

Exactly zero percent of those who make such claims actually mean it and will put skin in the game.

Masturbating in public is disgusting yet that's exactly what you've been -- and still are -- doing.

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2023-03-12 08:25 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 379 references
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We should never forget that humans are in fact animals.

There's this trope that has been run on people from childhood forward that is near-universal: Animals generally have rational behavior and its our poor impulse control in many cases that is the issue.  Priests run that nonsense, its taught in schools and is all over the television in various nature shows.

Anyone with 30 seconds worth of thought ought to know its BS.  If you've ever owned a cat you know its nonsense.  A cat will kill birds or rodents it does not intend to eat and it will "play" with humans with its pins out in full-malice mode.  People say "oh the kitty doesn't know."  Oh yes it does.  Cats, like all other animals, have different and highly-individual dispositions.  I grew up with a tom in the house that required you don elbow-length heavy leather gardening gloves if you wished to "play" with him and not wind up with serious claw and bite damage; Gotto was quite the monster during such times.  He was an outdoor cat and often came home with significant damage (particularly to his ears) from fights and such, presumably with other male cats, and often delivered "presents" on the rear porch step.  One of those presents was a full-grown Raccoon that out-massed him by a fair bit, which he killed but did not eat.  You'd think the 'coon would have won that battle but there he was on the step one morning, very dead with Gotto meowing to be let back inside.

Likewise Animal Planet and similar like to make "nice-nice" about mating rituals.  The truth is something else entirely.  If you've ever been around chickens with a rooster or two you know exactly what I'm talking about.  I lived in Florida for 20 years on the water and several times while on my dock relaxing in the late afternoon saw a pod of dolphins -- all males save one female they had corralled up into water about a foot deep so she could not escape and they were taking turns.  It was quite explicit, that the dolphins doing it were male was really obvious (yes, Matilda, it does stick out when they're into what they're about to do) and very not consensual.

Humans have tried, over the ages, to put in place structures that tamp down such things.  How serious we are about it is open to some dispute.  Unfortunately "social structures" -- including governments -- are in many ways indistinguishable from gangs if the population refuses to demand that the rules be followed equally by all and, if they're not, that they remove those who are refusing in an organized fashion using whatever force is required to do so.

Epstein anyone?

If you don't force said "government" and its attached "favored people" to live by those same rules it is indistinguishable from that gang of male dolphins running a train on the single hapless female.

We have seen plenty of such examples over time in human history.  Many seem to believe that this is a recent phenomena -- it is not.

Nor is the human tendency to claim that such is "isolated" or even to not care because someone is not personally impacted.  The foolish notion that if you're not getting it good and hard now you won't in the future if you sit on your hands is also as old as humanity -- and equally wrong.

America allegedly burnt "the divine right of Kings" -- that is, the capacity of the government and its favored minions to exempt itself from the law when The Founders penned the Constitution.  It took very little time for that notion to be disabused, and over the last 240-odd years it has only accelerated.  The premise of the Constitution is that one does not have "rights" bestowed by Government as an entity cannot give what it does not first possess; that which you have as a consequence of being human is yours, but it cannot obligate anyone else to do any more than leave you alone.  To claim and enforce otherwise is the definition of slavery and, once again, I refer you to the male dolphins off my dock who I'm sure were all convinced that it was utterly essential to the survival of the species that they corral and impregnate said hapless female, whether she liked it or not.

Correct or not that was their position and they were willing to execute on it -- and did.

Where were the other dolphins who said "nope!" and broke that up?  Nowhere to be found.

Are we better than that?

Well, there's 330 million of us here in America, roughly.

Plenty of people were willing to incarcerate or even execute those who refused a shot that, we now know, doesn't work "as advertised."  May I note that Congress and its minions were exempt from the mandates forced on others?  There are plenty of humans who when challenged with this try to rules-lawyer the test; "oh it makes it much less likely you'll get really sick or die" they now say.  But that's not what you were promised, is it?  We all know what the politicians and so-called "experts" claimed so if you're using that now as justification then you are the thug because you are fully aware you're lying, just as Biden, Trump, Fauci, Birx and everyone in your state and local public heath and doctor's offices were all the way back to December of 2020.

We underwent two years of riots and general lawlessness because a drug addict ODd.  That's conclusive, by the way; all you had to do was read the ME report, which was published.  Whether the cops contributed to the death is a clean question and that's why we have trials and, allegedly, a public process for accusations like this.  You can agree or disagree that the outcome was just but what's very clear and without question is that exactly zero of the burnt businesses and other riot damage was inflicted on anyone who had any culpability whatsoever in the original incident.

Who went to prison for those riots -- which were national in scope, I might add.  Essentially nobody yet Arson upon a building is supposed to be one of the most-serious crimes one can commit because it always implicates the risk of killing humans; someone may be in the building or die trying to put the fire out.  We seem to have lost our collective consciousness when it comes to this, have we not?

These are just two small examples.

A much-larger one is the collusive action of not only tech firms but the government as well to censor speech they do not like.  Did we not just witness another example of that on the Senate floor with Chuck Schumer?  Collusive behavior of this sort, with or without the government, has been illegal where market power exists for over one hundred years and it is both a civil offense and criminal felony.  The number of prosecutions for same, never mind immediate ejection from said chamber for that clear violation of the Constitution has been..... zero.

Are we in fact better than those dolphins, or the rooster -- or not?

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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?


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