Friday, March 23, 2018

Calm words from Liz Ann Sonders

My favourite market commentator has some calm words to get you through the "OMG can an idiot president really cause a collapse in world trade" fears:

Liz Ann Sonders - quit piddling your frilly little pink girl-panties.

Unfortunately Jeffrey Kleintop is still around, shitting all over her reports with his fucking unqualified idiot free-trade nonsense that he got from his BA in business admin and his MBA - neither of which are an economics degree, or even a political economy degree.

But you can just ignore his crap, which is easy to find in her write-ups because it's always hyperbolic emotional nonsense, and focus on Liz's sensible commentary:

With the recent myopic focus on tariffs and trade over the past several weeks, investors might have forgotten that the underlying foundation of the U.S. economy remains solid, although the softer retail sales report caused the Atlanta Fed GDPNow model to dip under 2% for the first quarter, which now has only a couple of weeks left. In spite of these weaker first quarter growth projections, business sentiment remains very optimistic. The NFIB small business optimism index is at its highest level since 1983, with a record-high reading for its “good time to expand” component. In addition, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Non-Manufacturing Index (covering about 88% of the U.S. economy) dipped only slightly to 59.5, while the forward-looking new order component rose to a quite robust 64.8. The accompanying ISM Manufacturing Index (covering the other 12% of the U.S. economy) rose to a robust 60.8, while orders remained strong. And actions are increasingly backing up these positive surveys, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that according to FTR Transportation Intelligence, heavy truck orders were up 76% in February relative to the year ago period.

Additionally, the labor market remains strong, with forward-looking jobless claims recently hitting their lowest level since 1969 and the latest monthly jobs report showing a surprisingly strong 313,000 jobs were added in February. The unemployment rate remained at a low 4.1%; with its flat reading reflecting a jump in the labor force participation rate from 62.7% to 63.0%. Perhaps most calming to the markets was that average hourly earnings were up only 2.6% year-over-year; down from the downwardly revised 2.8% in January, and calming some fears about more aggressive Federal Reserve policy after the prior month’s hotter wage reading.

Read her every week, it's free and Liz is a genius.

Uber is just a scammy gold exploreco, here's why

Getting into annoying discussions about Uber at school in a transport policy class, so I'm going to unload here.


Uber really just gains traction by being another genocide-of-the-proletariat story: hey, wouldn't it be great if we just got rid of 4% of the US workforce that make a living driving? It's a totally bourgeois story.


Hey, remember when Uber was a taxi company? Yeah, that worked until the London cabbies put an end to it.

Fact is, Uber was only "revolutionizing" taxi service by inventing a poorly-thought-out workaround for labour laws, where they asserted their drivers were private contractors. Once they had to treat drivers like everyone else treats drivers, they had to get out of the taxi business.

I think there might have also been a problem in Uber not owning plates. See, taxi services get regulated with a plate system, which is an enforced restriction of supply. That is needed for their industry to stay profitable: in an unregulated libertarian free market, driving becomes a zero-entry-cost perfect competition environment, and by definition nobody can make money in one of those. I'd like to know if there was ever a suit against Uber for operating in a market without plates.

And in any case, Uber shows how fucking stupid they were by trying to operate in a perfect competition market: that is not where you start a new business, ever, and hopefully they're fucking teaching this in first-year business school.

So, now they pivot out of the taxi industry to become a "self-driving car" company.

No, self-driving cars will not be allowed onto the road until tort law catches up. That's what makes this Arizona case so important: it will establish who has liability for tortious injury caused by a self-driving car.

And I'm sorry, but no trucking company is going to dump their driver Sanjeet for a robot, because Sanjeet is the guy who can take the blame for a fatal collision. With Sanjeet replaced by a robot, either the trucking company will have to assume total liability as owner, or they'll be renting from Uber who will then have to assume liability as owner.

And no, you don't make money by creating a business that just buries you in liabilities. And no, existing companies absolutely never change their mode of business to increase their liability. Ever.

So Uber can't make money in self-driving logistics.

So now Uber falls back on the idea of taxis... just that now they'll be self-driving ones.

Which is stupid. Gwynne Dyer (who is generally fiercely intelligent in the field of political economy, but is way out of his fucking wheelhouse here) repeats the vacuous crap that

The long-term impact of autonomous vehicles on private car ownership will be just as great. A recent KPMG survey of car industry executives found that 59 per cent of chief executives believe more than half of today's car owners will no longer want to own a car by 2025 — just summon a cheap self-driving taxi whenever you want to go somewhere.

It's Uber on stilts. Self-driving taxis will be everywhere, and respond to the summons in just a minute or two. No parking problems ever again, and far less congestion on the roads because a taxi fleet one-quarter as big as the current total of private cars would suffice to meet even maximum rush-hour demand.

which ignores the fact that we fucking have that now. Right now you can hail a car that takes you anywhere you want to go. It's called a taxi. And nobody takes them. I know for a fact that during the day, my urban neighbourhood only has 3 cars in my dispatch area from one of the three taxi companies. Those taxis ain't replacing more than 0.01% of my neighbourhood's car fleet, and it's not going to change.

Again, the only way Uber could increase usage is by reducing cost to patrons, which can't be done profitably otherwise taxi companies wouldn't need licensing systems to constrain supply.

And Uber has never been profitable - even when they were running their cab service all over the western world in violation of labour laws, they still needed a constant influx of cash from printing shares just to stay in business. If you can't make money in that paradigm, you're not going to make money in a new paradigm that just copies it.

Uber is nothing but a bullshit gold exploreco, spinning bullshit stories to people who don't know anything, so they can print more shares and sell them to suckers. Their real business is eating share capital.

And the fact they just handwave their way through liability issues and labour law issues and the fucking iron rule of perfect competition markets shows they have no fucking clue what the real world is.

Friday videos: there was still good music after Nirvana

Fun fact: after the whole grunge scene exploded, and suddenly you had shit acts like Helmet and Cell getting million-dollar advances to put out nothing but fucking garbage, there was nevertheless still a small piece of the original US noisecore movement that was still alive.

Like Superchunk:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Pooty-Poot's election was a sham, you say?

No kidding? An election in Russia turns out to be a sham?

Reuters - Pooty's so nice, they voted for him twice! It was swell of him to provide free bus rides for all his voters.

And then provide free bus service for them to vote all over again down the street.

And so on.

Monday, March 19, 2018


The hayseeds dumping SPY and QQQ today don't realize they're reacting to a fucking ex-div.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ha ha, reality intrudes yet again on the Bitcoin wankfest

Ha ha!:

Daily Express - Bitcoin crashing again, as reality intrudes on the libertopian fantasy. Quote:

The drop comes after it was revealed cryptocurrency investors could face hefty tax bills as the IRS closes in.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, anything purchased using a digital currency is liable to be taxed as a capital gain.

So anyone who has cashed out or paid for anything using cryptocurrency may have capital gains to report to the IRS.

One Reddit contributor earlier this week claimed they had discovered they owe the IRS $50k because they traded in cryptos.

Fucking libertopian buffoons. "Oh, reality doesn't matter to us! We're the future! Fiat currency is dead! Long live the new flesh!"

New computer - thoughts

Had to buy a new computer this semester - the old one was still running Vista, and was 32-bit, and since I'm taking a load of GIS classes, I needed something new and powerful to run ArcGIS Pro. So I dropped $1200 on a high-end gaming tower.

Two thoughts:

1) I dunno why people are so down on Windows 10. It works fine. It boots up in fricking 5 seconds, man. That is fast. Yes, it looks a bit chintzy with all its "hey, let's install paid apps like you're a dumbass Chromebook user!" schtick, but with that in mind it's still better than Vista. It's almost as good as Win98.

2) I dunno why people are so down on Edge. I'm in the middle of a browser file upload right now and Edge is taking up like 0.6% of CPU to do it: the same work in Firefox would take three entire fucking chips and 2GB of RAM. I certainly would prefer being able to install loads of ad and script blockers, but I'm not going to install Firefox's worthless bloatware to do it, and I had a bad experience with Chrome.

Friday, March 16, 2018

How screwed the US is

Two articles on how screwed the US is right now:

Calculated Risk - Larry Kudlow is usually wrong. The guy completely screwed the pooch on the US housing bubble. Read how.

Bonddad - Real M1 and M2 growth lowest since 2010. Hello imminent recession! Especially with another Trump clown in charge of the Fed.

Friday videos: yup so I'm back to pushing limits here

In honour of the UK's National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day, here's Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch Me":

And what's funny is, this isn't even remotely the most inappropriate thing I've ever posted on my blog.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Lesson about explorecos

I guess the lesson is that even if a company's got a really great deposit, it can still fuck over all the shareholders and be worth zero fuck all.

On this day....

On this day in 1781, songwriter William Herschel discovered your anus while in his bath.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The blockchain pipedream

Nouriel Roubini - the blockchain pipedream. Wherein he tells everyone that bitcoin and blockchain are just bullshit. Not that anyone's going to listen to him if they're invested, of course.

You're telling me...?

Wait, isn't the Nasdaq at an all-time high again?