Friday, June 19, 2020

Fact Check: Ted Cruz is Awesome IX

Watch Ted Cruz summarize what's going on at the U.S. Supreme Court under John Roberts.  And while he accurately captures the absurdity and lawlessness at the court, it needs to be put in context.  For this is a time in America when going surfing, cutting hair, attending a gym, or going to church can land you in jail, but rioting, looting, arson, and assaulting a cop are actually celebrated.  

Oh, and stock valuations are at all time highs in the middle of a global pandemic and shutdown.  Absurd times indeed.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Fact Check: A February Recession Was Predicted Here, Correctly

The current recession began in February according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.  Since COVID-19 was not in play in February, the Fed and Jerome Powell caused this recession exactly as I predicted in May, 2019.  Below is the piece that correctly called it:


Fact Check: The Truth About Recessions from 5/19/2019

"ANOTHER BUSH, ANOTHER RECESSION" - That was the bumper sticker that appeared on my despondent friend's car right after the election of George W Bush.  Haha, I thought, that's not how recessions happen!

You see, I'd been to business school and was taught that there was something called "the business cycle" that determined when recessions happen.  The theory was that economies inevitably grow too fast, peak, and then shrink. It was just what happened, we were told.

Except that's not what happens.

It turns out The Federal Reserve (Fed) causes recessions.  At least every one in modern times. They decide if, when, and how a recession occurs. They can turn elections. They can drive markets.  In many ways the Federal Reserve is the most powerful government institution in the U.S.  They have more power over our day to day lives than any other branch of government.  And they are unelected.

Here's the proof:  There have been nine recessions since 1954.  Each one followed two specific Fed caused conditions:

  • A marked increase in the Federal Funds rate
  • A negative spread between the 10-Year Treasury Bond, and either the Federal Funds rate or the 1-Year Treasury.  Also known as an inverted yield curve.

There were no exceptions.  You would think that  in sixty five years at least one recession would be strictly tied to economic issues.  But not a single one occurred independent of those two deliberate Fed caused conditions.

Click on the graphs below to see them in greater detail.  Grey bars are recessions.  Or use these links to see the interactive originals:  10-Year Treasury minus Fed Funds  ,  Fed Funds Rate  (The first two recessions on these graphs had inversions in the 10-Year minus the 1-Year.)

10-Year Treasury minus Fed Funds (Yield Curve) 1954-2019

Fed Funds Rate 1954-2019

There were two times when those two conditions did not result in a recession and there were two cases when only one condition was present.
  1. 1966 had both an inverted yield curve and a Fed Funds hike, but no recession ensued.  1966 immediately followed the Kennedy/Johnson tax cuts which stimulated the economy enough to overcome the Fed caused weakness.
  2. 1995 had a flat yield curve and a rate increase, but again no recession followed. 1995 also came on the heels of anticipated tax cuts promised by the congressional election of 1994 and The Contract With America.    
  3. 1998 had an inverted yield curve, but no Fed Funds hike or recession.  1998 also followed the 1997 signing of the tax cuts first passed by the House in 1995. 
  4. 1984 had an increase in the Fed Funds rate, but no change in the yield curve.  1984 also followed the Reagan tax cuts of 1981, and preceded the promised tax cuts of 1986.
CAVEAT: The only times recessions did not occur there were recent or anticipated tax cuts.  Hopefully, 2020 will prove similarly resistant following the tax cuts of 2017.

Curiously, of those nine recessions, all but one coincided with Republican presidents.  None occurred while the GOP held both houses of congress.  All tax laws originate in congress.  All interest rate policy originates at the Fed.  Presidents originate neither. 

This is all worth noting now that the Fed has initiated both conditions following eight years of ~ 0% rates under Obama.  The tightening from .12% to the current 2.41% amounts to an increase of 1900%,  the largest ever in percentage terms.  And in May 2019 the yield curve predictably inverted.  (The graphs above only go to March, 2019 when the yield curve was still slightly positive. )

It looks like the next recession is scheduled to begin precisely as we head into the next election. It will likely begin sometime between February and September of 2020 based on past timelines.  (See CAVEAT above.)

Maybe my Al Gore supporting friend was right after all... though for all the wrong reasons!

[UPDATE 7/30/19]
The Fed is expected to cut rates at their next meeting a day from now,  but it will have no impact on the scheduled recession which is already baked into the economy.  The only thing the president can do at this point is pray his 2017 tax cuts and ongoing deregulations overcome the Fed caused weakness and avoid a recession. My money is on the Fed, only because they are experts at causing recessions, and they have way more power and experience than Trump in these matters.


Footnote 1:  Here's why these particular Fed actions cause recessions:  The essential raw material for economic vitality, aside from humans, is credit.  When the Fed raises its Fed Funds rate, banks and lenders pay more for their own credit which ripples through the economy raising borrowing costs.  If the increase is too fast and too much, the yield curve inverts which temporarily misaligns lenders and borrowers.  Lenders want to lend at the higher short rates and borrowers want to borrow at the lower long term rates. Credit slows, and a recession follows.

Footnote 2:  Of course the Fed does not operate in a vacuum.  They would argue they are acting on economic conditions.  Still, the timing and predictability of recessions following those two Fed actions cannot be denied.

Footnote 3:  The reason this analysis only goes back to 1954 is because that is the extent of available Fed data for the 10-Year minus Fed Funds.  The 10-Year minus 1-Year does not exist as a single graph but both can be plotted on the same graph by visiting the FRED site.

Here's the result:

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Fact Check: Candace Owens Nails It!

Candace Owens drops a few truth bombs, as only she can.  This is the most powerful and interesting thing I've seen since this whole sordid George Floyd affair began.  Here are the bullet points:  

  • Black society uniquely celebrates their criminal class and elevates them to martyrdom.
  • George Floyd was a member of the criminal class and is now being elevated to martyrdom.
  • Martyrdom aside, his unjust death is a separate issue, which has thus far been dealt with by the criminal justice system.
  • But the rioters don't care about the criminal justice system because they claim that his killing is part of a pattern of systemic racism by cops.  The data prove this is a false narrative, despite perceptions to the contrary.   
  • Race riots are often timed to occur every 4 years during presidential campaigns.
  • Virtue signaling white liberals will pay no price for these riots, but blacks just signed-up for 60 more years of poverty.
Watch the whole thing.  Twice.  Then share it.  This needs to be heard.
Here's the link:

[UPDATE] This video has gone mega-viral with 10s of millions of hits on numerous platforms.  And today, Rasmussen has Donald Trump polling over 40% among black voters.  (Romney got 6%) Candace's "alarm clock" is working.   

Monday, June 1, 2020

Fact Check: The Stock Market Is A Cryptocurrency

Astute investors will tell you that the stock market is a discounting machine.  It takes estimated future cash flows and discounts them back to current values, and that is what determines stock prices.  It's a definition that has served investors like Warren Buffett well for decades.  It is also a definition that has much less relevance today.  You see, in the short run, and maybe forever more, the stock market is now a cryptocurrency.

From Wikipedia:
cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange wherein individual coin ownership records are stored in a digital ledger or computerized database using strong cryptography to secure transaction record entries, to control the creation of additional digital coin records, and to verify the transfer of coin ownership.
This definition also applies to today's online trading in stocks. The records are kept on digital ledgers on secure computers which verify transactions and ownership.  

Interestingly, stocks and Bitcoin are suddenly more closely correlated:


Now consider these paraphrased quotes:  

  • "The Stock Market has no unique value at all,"
  • "You're just hoping the next guy pays more. And you only feel you'll find the next guy to pay more if he thinks he's going to find someone that's going to pay more. You aren't investing when you do that, you're speculating."
  • "Stay away from it. It's a mirage, basically...The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is a joke in my view."
If you replace "The Stock Market" with "Bitcoin", these are direct quotes by Warren Buffett. 

As I write this today in the midst of a global pandemic, there have been nightly riots in 75 140 U.S. cities.  Burning, looting, mayhem, and destruction reign everywhere.  It's even spreading into the suburbs.  Churches, malls, government buildings, banks, even The White House itself has been targeted.  Anarchy and chaos are gripping the country.  So what is the stock market doing today?  It's up.  

On Friday when the market closed, we lived in a society largely governed by the "rule of law", a foundational concept necessary for an ordered society and a strong economy.  Today, we can forget that illusion.  It no longer exists.  Yet the "discounting machine" known as the stock market thinks anarchy is going to help "future cash flows"?  Is this how a rational discounting machine would behave?

It's not, but it is how a rational cryptocurrency would behave.  Cryptos know that The Fed, along with other central bankers, will increasingly turn to helicopter money to paper-over failing economies.  That will only serve to undermine the existing government fiat currencies and increase flows into alternatives.  

The old alternative, gold, is cumbersome to transact.  But cryptos are nimble and light light.  Same with stocks.  There was a time when trading stocks cost real money and took real time.  Now it's almost free and instantaneous.  

And unlike crypto or gold, stocks often pay dividends.  They are now the perfect alternative to holding anything else.  Rioting and looting ensure the Fed will continue to drop even more helicopter money to gloss over the damage this will inevitably do to our economy.  That money will flow first into stocks.  

Think of the stock market as a cryptocurrency and it will all make sense.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Fact Check: Did Dr. Fauci Help Create The Pandemic?

If you aren't watching Chris Martenson's daily Coronavirus updates, you are missing out on the best single journalist covering this pandemic.  His latest entry connecting the dots between the coronavirus, the Wuhan lab, and Dr. Anthony Fauci will have your jaw scraping the floor.

My opinion of Dr. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) has "evolved", shall we say.  Like most Americans, I first became aware of him through his constant media presence and his presentations at the White House press briefings.  Here was a guy with the credentials and experience to give us the straight poop on this mysterious virus.  Fauci was the veteran fireman we needed to fight this runaway blaze.  I considered him a national treasure.

But then he lied about masks.  I forgave him, though, thinking he was probably just protecting the health care workers who were having trouble getting them for themselves.  Next he lied about hydroxychloroquine.  OK, maybe he was trying to protect the Lupus patients who were complaining they couldn't get it?  Next he lied about the virus potentially being man-made in a lab.  At this point I'd seen the science, and something was very fishy.  But then he lied about Remdesivir.  This was the last straw for me.  Turns out, fully 20% of the NIH panel that reviewed Remdesivir had financial connections to Gilead Sciences, the company that holds the patent!

But that's just the tip of the Fauci iceberg.  It turns out that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the fireman we are all depending on to put out the fire, is also likely one of the arsonists that lit it!  Watch below and make up your own mind.   

I, for one, am over this arrogant prick.  Fuck Fauci.  National treasure, my ass.  I hope everyone soon recognizes the damage he has intentionally, or accidentally, done to the world and all its suffering people.       

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Fact Check: Did Trump Set a Trap With The Disinfectant Question? [UPDATED]

With this question, Donald Trump set off the yuuugest firestorm ever:
"A question that probably some of you are thinking of if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting. So, supposedly we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. (To Bryan) And I think you said you’re going to test that, too. Sounds interesting, right?" 
"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that, so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me. So, we’ll see, but the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute. That’s pretty powerful."

Pundits, journalists, comedians, actors, musicians, ordinary folks, scientists, doctors, and even some twitter trolls, pounced!  How could he say such a thing?  Is he nuts? Is he a complete moron?  Did he just advise Americans to inject Clorox into their veins?  Could he possibly be more dangerous?  IMBLEACH!

Typical headlines looked like this:

'Jaw-Dropping’: Trump Slammed for Touting Dangerous New Virus Treatments After Favored Drug Is Discredited

Forget the matter of whether or not those reactions are even remotely justified by the question asked -  could Trump have actually been onto something?

Turns out the answer is... YES!

  • Since the 1940s doctors have practiced Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation (UBI) to treat pathogens and diseases in the blood.  Apparently it works.  Here's a paper I found at NIH.GOV that calls it "The Forgotten Cure"  Note that today this is done with fiber optics bringing UV into the blood stream.  
  • One of the things I keep hearing from doctors is that the lung pathology of COVID-19 looks a lot like HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema).  Turns out, alcohol vaporization in the lungs has been known for decades to be effective at treating pulmonary edema.  Here's a paper from the 1950s titled,  "Alcohol Vapor by Inhalation in the Treatment of Acute Pulmonary Edema" .  Alcohol was the disinfectant Trump referenced in his question, because he had just been told it was particularly effective at killing coronaviruses.
  • [UPDATE]  Here's a video which was banned from YouTube and Twitter in response to the collective anti-Trump freak-out.  Apparently, doctors at Cedars-Sanai have developed a UV light specifically for coronavirus that is inserted into the lung.  The video is still up on Venmo for now, though Blogger, a Google Co, will not allow me to embed it here!  All I can do is provide the link: AYTU Healight from Healight on Vimeo.
Look, I don't know if Donald Trump intentionally set a trap for the dim-witted and uninformed, but it sure looks like that's exactly what he's done. Again. Unexpectedly.

P.S. The headline above from The Daily Beast that says Trump's "...Favored Drug Is Discredited" is an obvious reference to hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) which recently got some very misleading negative press.  Is HCQ another trap?  Consider that HCQ is still the number one drug for COVID in the world, usually along with zinc and anti-biotics.  How do you think Chris Cuomo emerged from his basement unscathed?  And how about Boris Johnson?  And Justin Trudeau?  And Tom Hanks?  Not to mention whole nations.   



Monday, April 6, 2020

Fact Check: The Truth About Socialized Medicine [UPDATED 4/14]

The COVID-19 pandemic is, among other things, an historical opportunity to compare healthcare systems around the world.    Though it's still too early to draw any final conclusions, a couple of patterns have already emerged.
The graph below plots the top 40 COVID-19 countries based on their Heritage Economic Freedom ranking and their case fatality rates (CFRs) as of April 14th, 2020.  (China, Russia, and Pakistan have been left out due to unreliable data.)

You'll notice that most countries in the first two quadrants of economic freedom are tightly grouped in the bottom left corner of the graph.  Economic freedom correlates with low CFRs.  But there are also countries with very high CFRs in the free group.  In all cases, these outlier countries have the highest degrees of one-size-fits-all nationalized free healthcare, aka socialized medicine.

It seems the more nationalized and rigidly socialized a healthcare system is, the more deadly it is.  (Sorry Democrats, Progressives, and Socialists.) Meanwhile, economically free countries with strong private healthcare components are performing the best in this pandemic.  The U.S., Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Israel, and others with blended private and public healthcare systems have consistently lower CFRs than their fully socialized counterparts.

(raw data below)

Caveats:  1. It is very early in the pandemic.  2. Each country is on a different part of the pandemic timeline.  3. Data is sketchy at this point.  4. Each country has a unique demographic mix.  5. Some countries are doing well AND have nationalized healthcare.

To be clear, every country, including the U.S., has some degree of government guaranteed healthcare. Some countries have the one-size-fits-all universal free systems, some are totally nationalized w/ a fee, some have nationalized insurance, or single-payer, some are blended public and private systems (i.e. The U.S.), and there's everything in between.

One of the big differences between nationalized countries is how they do it.  For example, total nationalization vs insurance nationalization makes a big difference.  Take Canada and UK:  In the UK, everything is nationalized - all health workers work for the national system and the facilities are owned by the system.  In Canada, the healthcare workers etc. are not nationalized, but the insurance system is single-payer. Canada has a low CFR so far, and UK is quite high.  Neither has a fraction of the ventilators or ICU beds per capita as the U.S.

     (Data sources:  Worldometers and Heritage)

Friday, March 27, 2020

AOC Reacts to COVID-19

(If video doesn't play,  try pressing the "YouTube" button.  Links are buggy these days.)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Fact Check: Socialism Kills!

It's way too early to close the book on this, but there's already a strong correlation between economic freedom and COVID death rates.  Free markets save lives, and an unfree market (ie: socialism) kills.

To make this graph, I took the top 100 countries in the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom and calculated the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) as of 3/26/20 based on raw data from Worldometers.

I only included countries that had both significant COVID cases and could also be considered reasonably reliable data sources.  (China is not in the top 100, and I don't trust their numbers anyway.)

I'll update this periodically, and we'll see if it holds.  Below is the raw data.

(Note: The two outliers in the first quadrant are UK and Netherlands, which both have socialized medicine yet relatively free economies.  Again, it's very early in the progression of this pandemic, and there's a lot of data uncertainty.)

Economic Freedom
Cases Fatalities  Case Fatality Rate
683 2 0.29%
Hong Kong
453 4 0.88%
2806 13 0.46%
11811 191 1.62%
1564 9 0.58%
United Kingdom
11658 578 4.96%
1877 41 2.18%
3897 37 0.95%
538 1 0.19%
802 2 0.25%
7431 434 5.84%
1306 4 0.31%
299 4 1.34%
United States
81864 1173 1.43%
1453 9 0.62%
958 5 0.52%
2840 71 2.50%
Czech Republic
1925 9 0.47%
2031 23 1.13%
Korea, South
9241 131 1.42%
2693 8 0.30%
43646 262 0.60%
3346 14 0.42%
6847 49 0.72%
1399 47 3.36%
1029 22 2.14%
1045 4 0.38%
1221 16 1.31%
6235 220 3.53%
893 78 8.73%
3544 60 1.69%
56197 4145 7.38%
29155 1696 5.82%
707 45 6.36%
3629 75 2.07%
892 26 2.91%