The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Editorial]
2017-02-18 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 2071 references
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I'm roaming right now, and what I see is, well, disturbing.

Man came from ape, right?  Sort of, anyway -- whether you think God did it or Darwin was responsible, the path is mostly the same.  We argue agency, not outcome.

But what the hell has happened to people in the last 50ish years?

People of WalMart is supposed to be a spoof.  It's not.

People I knew who I haven't seen in 20, 30 years -- my God what happened to you?

I find old pictures, and gaze at them.  We all get older, we get some lines to our faces, our hair is more-gray, and similar.  But gee, is that it?  No.  And both you and I know it.  And that's just the physical side of things.

We have a divided nation.  Half wants to kill the other half.  More than a few actually mean it; it's not a metaphor, it's a desire.

"Let it go"?  You can't be serious.

If the change comes slowly among those you hang out with you don't really recognize it.  If you walk into a scene you haven't been in for the last 20 years and see the change "all at once".... well....

"I need a drink -- or six -- now" was my initial thought.

The next thought?  Sell everything, buy some land away from all this crap, put up a block house, get some chickens and goats and **** it all.


What the hell has this nation turned into?  It may have happened more or less slowly, but it's happened.  Yes, there are normal people left.  But how many?  In big cities, where the population is centered?  Good luck.

You may know that there's a "dystopian" video floating around out there that basically says that the big cities turning into literal hell is not fiction, but inevitable.  It's a government video.  I would poo-poo it except.... I'm seeing it right now.

Oh my.

Prayer is not only inadequate, it's idiotic at this stage.

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2017-02-12 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 1127 references
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Looks awfully similar to 2008.

Rotation back and forth, with most of the gains coming in a handful of big names with big stories -- but no earnings to back them up.  Claims from the media, including most-notably CNBS, citing 2018 earnings projections that have built in 50% or more increases in earnings -- that have not happened yet -- to "justify" P/E ratios that today stand in the area of 40, 50, 100 or more on current earnings.  These same firms are themselves showing slower growth rates and increases in both spending on "new things" and decreasing margins, along with near-zero growth of customers in the United States.

In 2008 this was happening in banks and...... big tech.

Today it's happening (mostly) in big tech.  But those firms today are even further down the road (if they existed at all) than they were in 2008, and yet..... suddenly, we seem to have magically grown a few new continents for them to expand into (never mind that the revenue available from people in those places, thus far, appears to be near-zero on a per-person basis.)

The market always balances fear and greed; along with this nebulous thing called "liquidity" -- the availability of cheap credit to leverage forward results. What everyone intentionally refuses to consider is that leverage works both ways; it both amplifies profits and losses.  Every turn of the crank irretrievably impacts both in exactly the same amount.  If you buy back shares and reduce the float of your stock by 50% then your earnings are doubled on an EPS basis -- but when the worm turns and you take losses, the losses on an EPS basis are doubled as well.

Nobody believes there will be losses, you see, therefore there is no cost, no penalty, and no risk to turning the crank.

Uh huh.  Sure.

If you think firms like Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and similar are going to grow trees to the sky you're deluded.  Amazon managed to somehow nearly double SG&A expense this last quarter over the same quarter last year.  How did that actually happen and where was that expense from?  By the way, their sales did not double -- not even close. 

You can argue, if you'd like, that there's something special -- "water walking" of some sort -- by these firms.  There's not.  There is plenty of accounting gaming going on, but it's legal to do that within broad limits.  The onus is on you as an investor or trader to actually read said releases and figure out, if you can, what they're doing.  Like, for instance, exactly why Amazon's SG&A doubled -- from what section of their business are they hiding broken-out expenses to prevent you from evaluating, on a fair basis, what the forward profitability of that segment of the business is.....

I have considered banks uninvestable since before the crash.  The reason is simple: I cannot get my arms around their contingent liabilities because the law allows them to hide those liabilities to a degree that putting a number on them with any sort of accuracy is impossible.

You could forgive most of the people in the so-called "analyst" community in this regard up to a point.  You see, the world of ever-lower interest rates has been firmly in place since the 1980s.  That's driven better than half the gains in the markets since 1980 as a purely mathematical matter.  Without that the DOW would stand at 10,000 and the S&P at about 1200 today.

But how do you continue that pattern today when it's not possible to continue the ever-lower interest rate paradigm?  It's entirely possible that we could stall out here and never reverse -- that is, the 10 year Treasury could trade in a range of around 2.2-2.5% for decades.  It has before, and it might again.  But if it does that still doesn't help you expand leverage because you've already borrowed the money at the low rates of the last 10 years!

Note that firms like Netflix, with negative operating cash flow that has persisted through a period spanning yearsonly exist because of their ability to continue to turn that crank!

If that ability to disappears the firm is literally out of business because they have contracted to spend money over the next several years that they do not have, do not generate from operations and cannot raise -- this means their stock suddenly becomes worth zero.

It is not the absolute rate that determines which direction leverage goes it is the change in rate and direction of that change.  If there is no change then there is no change in the bias for leverage.  If rates rise then you wind up with a forced de-leveraging because any money borrowed not to be paid back but simply to be paid coupon upon cannot be held out -- either you pay back those loans or you default, and in a corporate environment that means the firm goes bankrupt and the stock value of said firm is zeroed.

When you look through the economy of today in the United States from 20,000' you find two things that stand out:

  • Forced extraction of money, often apparently in violation of black-letter felony law (e.g. 15 USC Ch 1), supported by either intentional refusal to prosecute or even government involvement in same.  Health care is the standout example, but not the only one. Forced "net neutrality" was one of them from the Obama era, and is the reason Netflix exists at the scale and pricing that it does in the US.  Anything that upsets that apple cart will detonate all the businesses dependent on it.

  • Ridiculous borrowing for uneconomic purposes such as stock buybacks and similar.  Borrowing funds is always dangerous.  It also, however, is sometimes a risk worth taking.  There is no such thing as life without risk.  The question is what's the risk, what's the reward, what's the timeline on that risk and what forward assumptions and their probabilities are you using to measure all three?  That last question, in the last 30 years and especially in the last six or seven has never been asked and expanded upon in public by any firm's public filings I've seen.

Finally, we appear to have a President that cares not for the boundaries of the Constitution when it comes to said extraction, nor will he enforce existing law.  The fact that Trump supports "civil forfeiture" is enough to disqualify him as a President standing alone.  That he has demonstrated no intention to act on medical monopolies is far worse, however, as while civil forfeiture is unlikely to impact you medical monopolies will, with near-certainty, impact either you or someone you love and care about at some point in your life.

You need only get into a car accident that you cannot foresee nor are at fault for to be victimized by this system even if only to a mild or moderate degree.  Your mother or father, or child need only get injured in a pure accident, such as by a snake bite to get rat****ed beyond words and face a quarter-million dollar charge they never consented to.  Unlike many of the injustices this one hoses nearly everyone at some point in their life and yet there is exactly zero outrage in the streets, state-houses or directed at the cops and other law enforcement agencies over any of it.

It was obvious to me in 1997 that the stock market was going to crash and the wonderkind would be zeros.  What people cite as "different" today is that firms like Facebook and Amazon have "actual earnings."  Well, perhaps, but that just changes whether the bottom number for their price is zero, or some small number over zero.  That you have a functional business that actually does generate something beyond what you spend doesn't make your 2% operating margin delivering goods, and what is rapidly trending toward a commodity-style 10% operating margin delivering services, worth the near-200 times earnings your stock sells for today on the premise that you can manage to hold 50% service margins along with the necessary companion expectation that sales volume will expand by a factor of 10.

Last time around the stupidity centered on the premise that the S-1 filings claimed somewhere north of 10x Global GDP for "expected outcomes" -- a radically stupid proposition that should have met with exactly zero willing buyers in the market.

This time around it centers on equally-stupid premises -- such as the idea that AWS is a $200 billion a year business operating at a 50% margin -- a pair of assumptions that together mean (1) there will be no competitors and (2) there will be no corporate data centers.  Either one of those presumptions standing alone is laughable.  Together they are hucksterism far worse than anything P.T. Barnum ever cooked up.

This sort of "analysis" by Wall Street and their willing mouthpieces in the media ought to be good for felony indictments because they are claims that have a statistical probability of occurrence less-likely than an asteroid hit on the White House in the next 72 hours.

Yet just as was the case in 2000, and in 2008, exactly nobody will face any sort of sanction for any of it -- just as nobody has for nearly 40 years in the medical industry for violating 100+ year old law.

You, on the other hand, will pay the price -- just as you will for the medical monopolies -- because we, the people refuse to demand that it change now and that this crap be put to a stop.

As for exactly when the roof will fall on your head, that's unknowable.  Every time it happens someone calls it right, but hundreds, even thousands of people call it wrong, and usually the person who called it right got it wrong previously for the same event.  The underlying cause of 2008 was clearly visible early in 2007, yet the insanity went on (and the market continued to rise) for more than 18 months.  In 2000 the insanity was clearly visible in 1997, I exited in 1998, and yet from the point that "this is stupid" was obvious until it blew was close to three years -- and well more than a double in the Nasdaq later.

I have utterly no remorse, however, over sitting out the "last burst" of run-up in either case -- because the odds are nearly 100% that you won't get the call on the exact time right to exit, and you risk far more than you can make by trying to do so -- or even worse you wind up second guessing on what you think is a "dip to be bought" and finding out that what you just walked into with your money is an elevator shaft on the 100th floor -- with no car. 

The math is never wrong.

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2017-02-10 10:19 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 1477 references
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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 , 403 references
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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."


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 , 2156 references
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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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