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.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thursday non-update

Market is barfing because the robots got bored. Be thankful they haven't got the launchcodes.*

In the meantime, here's a PSA from The Tinklers and MY GOD ARE THE TINKLERS STILL AROUND?

* - YET

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

the typical hokey-pokey market news

You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out....

Reuters - US companies brighten their earnings outlook. Oh but wait then Disney reported. And then Fossil whiffs, and they're really just a $2B kitsch retailer but whatever. It means Reuters gets to kill more electrons today.

Fortune - Carl Icahn is 149% net short the US. OK, that makes me want to go double-long. Why? Cos he was apparently 18% down in 2015, and I turned a profit even after getting literally slaughtered in the August robopuke. My performance is better than Icahn's. Let that sink in.

South China Morning Post - mystery authoritative source says China heading for big economic policy shift. And Billy Bishop, who's at least a credentialed and informed China watcher unlike most of the clowns out there, thinks this is a hint that Li Keqiang is about to get the axe in favour of Wang Qishan, which is apparently important.

Mother Jones - 70s stagflation never actually happened. Ha! Interesting! Again, it pays to look under the hood of every indicator you come across, instead of following them blindly. In this case, apparently the US "inflation" of the 70s was actually a result of the US calculating home prices as a function of interest, so the rise in interest rates made inflation go up. Back that out, and you get a steady 3%-6% inflation corridor, except for the inflation spikes of the 1980 Iran oil shock and the 1973 "we're going to pull a snit because Israel kicked our asses" oil embargo: basically, it means there was no stagflation, just a simple supply-shock stagnation.

Polemic's Pains - the Chinese San Andreas fault. This bit is insightful:
Last week I was sitting on my hands until just after the payroll when a few things not moving brought me in to buy equities. That 'not moving' thing was the price action 20 minutes after the print where the volume of the ‘huge miss on Non Farm Payrolls’ shouting peaked whilst prices had stpped falling. I couldn’t quite see how they were such a dreadful number and even if they were then equities would get a lift from yields falling and more Fed push back. As it happened, the triumvirate of rates, USD and equities all put in reversals and headed back north and we ended the week correcting out some of the previous days' risk off trends.
It's even more insightful when he switches back to bearish at 2080.

And this bit is funny:
China has been the bear story that won't start giving.
But then he mixes the two and expects Chinese woes to meet the post-NFP bounce... what, this week at 2080 perhaps? Your time horizons might need calibrating.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

not-Friday not-a-video - Courage of Lassie improving on "Bang Bang My Baby Shot Me Down"

Courage of Lassie were a brilliant, criminally-underappreciated band from Canada.

"Sag Mir Wo die Blumen Sind" is my favourite song by them, but I just stumbled across this and it's even better:

Monday, May 9, 2016

a gold & silver carry trade warning

Monetary Metals - paper gold is rising, May 1 report. Here's the important bit:

The trend for the past few months is that carrying is more and more profitable. What does that tell us? It means that more and more firms will enter the [gold] carry trade. A profit attracts people, for some odd reason or another having to do with wanting to make money or something.

Anyways, we know that more market participants are carrying metal because it’s more profitable than it was. Whatever number of people wanted to do it when the profit was 7 cents, we know that more will do it for 14.

What is this telling us about the state of the market for metal? If more and more metal is going into carry trades, then the marginal buyer of metal is this trader who carries metal—whom we often call the warehouseman. The marginal demand for metal is to be carried. This is a dangerous state, because when it flips around, then this marginal demand disappears and then the marginal supply of metal is coming out of carry trades. This is hardly the picture of a shortage driving a durable bull market.

Uh oh.

Happy Akshaya Tritiya!

May 9 is Akshaya Tritiya, which is a gold-buying day, so I guess we'll see gold drop by $50 after today.

But at least this is a good segue into this year's eventually-disappointing India monsoon news:

Bloomberg - strong monsoon forecast for parched India lifts growth forecasts. And that's good, because blah blah India blah blah gold.

Skymet - above normal monsoon for India in 2016. Then again, they screwed up last year's forecast.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

In the news: Gold currency was devalued by fiat all the time, dumbasses

Some Sunday evening reading:

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Negatives are now coincident and lagging, while leading indicators are now all positive.

WSJ RTE - cautious forecaster thinks there's a 60% chance of recession in the next year. That's a good time for this sort of article to come out - when leading indicators are all swinging into positive.

Moneyness - what makes medieval money different? Oh my! Those Murray Rothbard worshipping fruits are going to hate it when they find out that medieval kings were able to debase the money supply by decree, because there were no denominations on medieval coins! Ha! Is there anything gold can do?

BBC - China bans erotic banana-eating videos. And the BBC needed to run this story because all wars have ended and there is no more sadness or starvation anywhere. Because Jesus? No! Because Chinese girls eating bananas erotically!:

I, for one, welcome our new Chinese teenage girl banana-eating overlords.

Bob Lefsetz on Trump

Lefsetz might be a grumpy antiquated dwarf, but he always bats 'em out of the park when the stands are full:

Bilbo Lefsetz - why Trump will win. Quotes aplenty:

Stop making fun of him!

If that worked, somebody else would be the nominee, he wouldn’t have increased his share of the electorate after the debacle in Wisconsin. The more the holier-than-thou say they know better, the more the downtrodden and alienated double-down.

And if you think continuing to label him a racist iconoclast works, you don’t realize that most of those voting for him don’t care what the man says, they just want to shake up the system, they believe in the man, not his outbursts.

This is indeed what the whole primary season has been about: shaking up the system. It's why anyone gave the slightest damn about Bernie Sanders beyond a few fruity commies.

There are only so many redneck yahoos out there. Trump wouldn’t have won the nomination if they were the only ones who cared.

Again, spot on, and it's only the hippie pinkoes who want to make the Trump campaign all about racism and authoritarianism.

Hillary is making the number one mistake of the popularity wars, she’s letting her haters define her. It’s hard to come out from under that. Furthermore, she’s playing nice and being all milk and cookies when we know she’s more cutthroat than the Donald and more experienced. It’s time not only for Hillary to take off the gloves, but to be mean. To zing. This is a heavyweight fight and you cannot win if you’re on the ropes and you don’t punch back.

Again, spot on. The US voters want someone who will drop the gloves; that's the only reason 90% of Sanders supporters gave a damn about him, and why the Sanders crowd are polluting blogs and message boards all over the internet trying to pick fights with Hillary supporters.

But instead, Clinton is going to try to act all professional and presidential, not understanding that the American people all now associate that with the plutocratic kleptocracy that she and her husband have been part of for thirty years.

What do we know about Hillary?

What the right wing wants us to know about her. The email server, Benghazi.

This. She can't even gain control of her own message. And therefore, she's already doomed.

Give people a reason to vote for Hillary as opposed to trying to scare them away from Trump. I mean how scary can the man be, he was in business with NBC, he was on television ad infinitum.

Again, this, and I dunno if it was Lefsetz or the Krugginator who brought it up, but: how the hell do you expect American mass media to bring Trump down to size when they've been building him up as a superstar for a decade?

The money shot is this: I mean how scary can the man be, he was in business with NBC.

Fact is, the last Republican primary was also full of clowns blathering on with their right-wing Jesus-freak authoritarian nonsense (remember "legitimate rape"?), and it yielded a candidate who was an odious scumbag who hated 47% of his own prospective constituents, if you remember:

And yet this hate-monger, who with the above video was obviously referring to black people and hispanics without understanding that the dependent 47% are actually Republican-voting toothless senior-citizen Jesus-freak medicare recipients, still got 47.2% in the 2012 election.

And this was a plutocrat killbot who was unsanitizeable. How much better will Trump do, with his media savvy?

Because Donald Trump will be sanitized. That is what happens to all Republican presidential candidates: they pontificate against minorities and reality all through the primary, then come the main tilt they get mainstreamed.

And by September nobody will remember the crazy shit Donald's said, except for the odd obsessive fucktard with a blog somewhere. Because nobody cares what was on the dessert menu 6 months ago, they only care about today.

If Hillary doesn't have at least a 10% lead on Trump today, she is toast. 

You all just better hope that she's not living in a thick enough Washington kleptocrat bubble that she refuses to recognize this til it's too late.