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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bonddad on Mexico

Bonddad - Mexico and trade and Trump.

Something to think about next time you want to slag Mexicans.


Fortune - Kyle Bass sucks. Quote:
While Bass made 212% returns on his bets against subprime mortgages in 2007, his bet on the oil market isn’t doing nearly as well. Two years ago, the hedge funder began buying into several oil producers with the hopes that the price of oil would rebound in 2015 and 2016. Prices did come back a bit at the beginning of this year, but they have been dropping again lately. As of Monday, U.S. oil slipped to $48 a barrel amid a persistent supply glut that began in 2014. Meanwhile, Iran and OPEC in general have still yet to agree on cutting production.

For Bass, the low prices have resulted in a 7% loss in his main fund this year, and the biggest losing streak in the history of his Hayman Capital, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Well, at least he's done better than the S&P 500, right?
In the same period, the S&P 500 has gained 1.3%.

Well, he's probably in this position for the long-term, right? I mean, he must have known oil was going to go this low, he just had to move a lot of money in:
“I had no idea crude would fall so low,” Bass said in an interview with the Journal,

Well, I guess at least he can feel assured that even though he loses money hand over fist for his idiot investors, at least he can still collect the same old 2% & 20%, y'know, as long as his investors don't flee his shitty funds en masse, right?

Where's my massive repudiation of debt as a dishonest system comes apart at the seams, Gary?

New Deal Demoncrat - road to the next recession. He explains what to monitor for a recession signal. Quote:
So a reasonably likely road map to the next recession looks like this:
1. Interest rates continue to fail to make new lows.
2. House prices and stock prices stop meaningfully appreciating.
3. Inflation picks up to 2% or more as energy prices begin to go up again.
4. Maybe - the Fed raises rates in response to increased CPI readings, perhaps enough to invert the yield curve.
5. Corporate lending stalls, housing turns down, and consumer spending begins to turn down, resulting in a recession.
Or you could just read Gary Wordsalad's blog. I mean, he called the massive repudiation of debt and the coming apart at the seams of a dishonest system back in June 2013, didn't he? I guess that explains why he quit advertising his newsletter's performance around that time. Can't have anything to do with him failing to make a fucking penny during a 2-year S&P bull market.

on the EU dying

Simon Wren-Lewis - I don't think the EU is dying. Then again, "dying" doesn't mean "flying apart as the result of a crisis": Rome was dying long before Larry & the Visigoths. In the EU's case, it's slow suffocation at the hands of the Germans that'll put the EU to sleep.

Hell, maybe I'm too much of a pessimist: maybe the EU will find new life as a transnational fascist dictatorship once Germany and France ultimately follow the lead of Hungary, Poland, Finland, and Austria.


FRB Atlanta - on how their very own nowcast sucks big wobbly donkey dick. I think they know what's causing it:
An optimistic interpretation is that the string of one-sided misses are the result of bad luck—an atypical sequence of shocks that neither GDPNow nor private forecasters could account for. A more troubling interpretation is that there have been structural changes in the economy that neither GDPNow nor the consensus of private forecasters have identified.
Hey: you guys already know how to aggregate GDP numbers for the quarterly GDP reading, don't you? Well, why not just do that same thing for your nowcast? I mean, if you're comparing one made-up number to another, it helps if both are the same methodology, right?

Some news

Some stuff for your Tuesday morning:

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Real estate purchase applications, real estate loans, M1 & M2, and sorta tax withholding all look good. Pay attention to upcoming housing news for more on real estate, which if you'll recall is basically the entire US business cycle.

Econbrowser - duelling nowcasts. And as it turns out, Fed nowcasts are also kinda worthless, or at least so damn noisy that they're worse than worthless.

Tim Duy the Finance Guy - June meeting is significant. He feels that Fed comments suggest a rate hike is definitely on the table. Pay attention to housing, I'd say.

Much more later, the news is getting interesting.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Some weekend news


Calculated Risk - comments on existing home sales. Apparently OK.

New Deal Demoncrat - no, the yield curve is not flat. Um, did anyone think it was? Oh wait - okay, Alhambra thought it was, and whoever recommends you read shit from Alhambra is a fucking idiot.

Calculated Risk - LA port traffic declined in April. Dooooom!

FT Alphaville - funny how bitcoin turned out to be just another boring old valueless asset whose price depends entirely on who's left to take it off your hands, eh? In other words, how the hell are you supposed to have a digital "currency", goldbugs, when it's threatened by extreme counterparty risk? Turns out bitcoin is just another way to buy meth or smuggle money out of Guangdong.

der Spargel - Austria's goin' full Nazi again. Actually, it's not that big a deal, they've been ruled by fascists for decades. But it brings up a question: why is it that people who live in mountainous regions are generally right-wing hatemongers?

Friday, May 20, 2016


The Beaverton - entire NDP caucus murdered by Justin Trudeau.

Tempest in a teapot here in Canada recently, as the horrible Justin Trudeau (gasp) got fed up with the opposition holding up a fucking vote in the House, so he got up and held someone by the arm and walked him to his seat while elbowing a smart-mouth from the pink party, telling her to "get the fuck out of my way" because she was the fuck in his way.

Here's the video of the whole shocking affair!

My god!

Oh, you miss it?

It's good to see that the fucktards in Parliament are still acting like a bunch of idiotic six year olds from fucking Lord of the Flies - I guess you can do that when you spend your whole fucking life sucking on the public teat or getting paid to write propaganda for think-tanks. And they prove their childishness later by trying to score points on Trudeau for the horrible crime of elbowing someone in his fucking way.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was accused of "manhandling" Opposition whip Gord Brown and elbowing NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau in the House of Commons as MPs gathered for a vote on the government's assisted-dying bill Wednesday afternoon.

"I was trying to start the vote, the prime minister grabbed my arm. I immediately told the prime minister to let go of me — now," Brown said in a statement released later.
"Oh no! The bad man touched me! Mommy! Tell the bad man to let me go!"

You weren't trying to start the fucking vote, Brown, you were stalling. Nowhere in the above video do I see you pulling your fucking thumb out of your Nazi ass.

Even more stupidity:
NDP MP Tracey Ramsey said the prime minister swore as he approached Brown and the opposition benches. "He said 'Get the bleep out of the way,'" she said, adding Trudeau "violently" grabbed Brown.
"Violently"? See, this is why we don't vote NDP anymore in my hometown: you're a bunch of fucking whiny sissies. If you're acting like a smartass and getting in someone's way where I come from, you get a slug to the head so hard it could sever your spine.

There was no "violence" in the above video.

Um, except later, where red-faced whiner Mulcair starts yelling at Trudeau like he's about to break down and cry. My god, Mulcair, you should be ashamed of yourself. You look like such a pussy.

Now back to the Fascist party for more stupidity:
Conservative MP Peter Van Loan said it was an "extraordinary example of physical intimidation."

"I witnessed as [Trudeau] strode across the floor with an anger fierce, in his face and eyes, towards a group of individuals. What took place was the prime minister physically grabbing people, elbowing people, hauling them down the way," he said.
"An anger fierce"? Wow, is that so, Pete? Was it also "a fury unrestrained" and "a wrath immeasurable"?

Who are you trying to impersonate, Yoda? Or one of those homo poets who your government defunded ten years ago?

And how many people did he "physically grab" and "elbow"? One of each, maybe?

My god, that's far worse than (say) ordering one's government to refuse to provide consular services for Canadian citizens being illegally detained in communist dictatorships, or threatening to suspend the constitution to go after "activist judges", or firing civil servants who speak publicly, or defunding researchers whose studies contradict government propaganda, or illegally proroguing parliament to avoid a no confidence vote, you fucking Nazi pig.

And we'll punt it back to the NDP to show the world what a BA in Global Political Economy can do for a little silver-spoon bourgeois girl born to the hereditary political class who likes to pretend she cares:
Her NDP MP colleague Niki Ashton said she was deeply troubled by Trudeau's actions.

"I am ashamed to be a witness to the person who holds the highest position in our country do such an act. I want to say that for all of us who witnessed this, this was deeply traumatic. What I will say, if we apply a gendered lens, it is very important that young women in this space feel safe to come here and work here," she said.
Um, Niki, you priveleged little bourgeois poseur: if I apply a gendered lens, what I end up with is the dumb bitch was in his fucking way.

If the little fucking snowflake wants to feel safe to come and work in the House of Commons, then maybe she should grow the fuck up, act like a fucking adult with responsibility, do her fucking job and fucking vote on bills once in a while, instead of getting in people's way like a smart-ass fucking brat on a school playground.

Friday videos: Psychedelic Furs

You gotta admit it's got a fantastic chorus:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Krugman is ever the font of hopefulness: the news

Some news:

New Deal Demoncrat - good news and bad news in this morning's data. I doubt the Fed is going to raise rates just because of an increase in owner-equivalent rent, considering that's just a made-up number with no connection to reality anyway.

The Krugginator - the GOP is not America. He thinks that Trump will face a markedly different and more difficult battle when he squares off against Hitlary. Quote:
Think about Trump’s obvious weaknesses, why Republicans couldn’t exploit them, but why Democrats can.

First, he’s running a campaign fundamentally based on racism. But Republicans couldn’t call him on that, because more or less veiled appeals to racial resentment have been key to their party’s success for decades. Clinton, on the other hand, won the nomination thanks to overwhelming nonwhite support, and will have no trouble hitting hard on this issue.

Second, Trump is proposing wildly irresponsible policies that benefit the rich. But so were all the other Republicans, so they couldn’t attack him for that. Clinton can.

Third, Trump’s personal record as a businessman is both antisocial and just plain dubious. Republicans, with their cult of the entrepreneur, couldn’t say anything about that. Again, Clinton can.

The G.O.P. paralysis on these issues explains why, again and again, Republicans turned to a proven line of attack — that is, proven not to work: insisting that Trump isn’t a true conservative, which matters to voters not at all. Obviously Democrats will be able to go after different and, I imagine, a lot more salient issues.

And there’s one last thing, which I suspect may make the biggest difference of all: Clinton’s campaign can go after Trump’s fundamental buffoonery.
All fine and dandy, except the assumption underlying this is that Democrats vote with common sense while Republicans vote with their droolbibs. Also, it assumes that Hitlary will be able to attack Trump with the tenacity of, say, Joe Biden; but female politicians can't do that. The minute she pipes up and goes on the attack, the press will label her as "strident" and "a harpy", and she'll start losing support. She can't even raise her voice.

Joe Stiglitz - how economists ignore monopolies, and how economists ignore power. Because economics seems to be a fucking joke pseudoscience outside of, say, Berkeley.

Monday, May 16, 2016

NDD weekly indicators

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators basically green across the screen. I agree that M1/M2, tax withholding and real estate look great, and those basically are the US economy.

Then again...

New Deal Demoncrat, later that same day - hey look, the yield curve is threatening to invert. Kinda shows you the limit of Fed policy: any more raises this year and they invert the year curve and cause a recession. At zero inflation, that's bad.

Hey, maybe the Fed should realize that the paradigm is radically different this time?

Friday, May 13, 2016

BBC on forcing women to wear high heels at work

BBC - is it legal to force women to wear high heels at work? Depends on what you define as "legal", and that's what so damn many people miss when they look into a social justice topic like this. It's never about laws as the usual person conceives of them - it's about common law.

At least in my country, Canada, occupational health & safety caselaw has caught up with the real world, and guess what? You really do have the lawyers to blame thank.

See, even in the 80s there really was no such thing as occupational health & safety in Canada. So, for example, my dad had to deliver mail using a bag that got slung over one shoulder, meaning most postmen were crippled by the time they retired. Hell - until recently employers didn't even recognize the worker's right to refuse hazardous working conditions: my dad could refuse to deliver mail to a house with a mad dog, but not to a house covered in ice.

But then, across the working world, the lawsuits started coming. And then the corporate lawyers, tasked with reducing litigation risk, started writing page after page of "best practices" and "employment policies" to cover their companies' asses. And it wasn't enough to write stuff in a manual, either - they then found out that the best practices and employment policies had to be enforced uniformly across the firm, if they wanted to eliminate litigation risk. So the lawyers demanded buy-in by management. Not asked. Demanded.

It got so silly that, at my last employer, I was required to wear safety headgear and goggles when standing beside a highway. (The fact that a 100km/hr car will literally cut right through your body like a knife through warm butter when it hits you didn't mean that I didn't still have to protect my head.) And I was expected to tie off when working on a 45 degree slope. And so on.

I'm amazed, today, at how much employers actually care are concerned about try to avoid workplace injuries. And it's all due to litigation risk. The right to refuse hazardous working conditions didn't suddenly begin to be enforced by the Ministry of Labour, it was the lawyers: they realized if they didn't explicitly write right of refusal into employee manuals, their company would lose every single case brought against them by an employee.

Ladies? Would you like to know how to end the stupid sexist practice of requiring women to wear sexy high heels at work?

Well, if it's really true that high heels cause foot injuries, repetitive stress injuries, arthritis and worse, then you should just go and find, say, 1000 stewardesses from British Airlines who have been forced to wear high heels all day through their careers. Then get a lawyer to tot up all medical record of their shoe-related injuries and ailments, and the cost incurred over their lives to treat these injuries.

Then get them together to file a 7- or 8-figure lawsuit against British Airways.

I guarantee you that the legal departments of every corporation in the civilized world will take notice. And voila: within a year or so*, high heels will no longer be considered "appropriate business attire" anywhere.

Because lawyers.

It does not matter what the law says. It only matters what you're liable for. Make corporations liable for things. It's the one thing they haven't taken away from us yet.**

* - it takes time for lawyers to redraft employer policies. Thankfully not that much time, because litigation risk is such a fantastic motivator.

** - offer does not extend to the USA or other kleptocratic dictatorships

Friday videos - Nomeansno

Yeah, so apparently this song was originally performed by some guy named Jim something:

Whoever this Jim or Jimmy guy was, I guess he was forgotten in the pages of history, especially after Nomeansno kicked his candy ass with their version of the song.