Thur. July 18, 2019 – the cookie crumbles

78F and 97%RH. It rained on me in various parts of town all afternoon yesterday. It was like a black cloud followed me around and wanted my auction items to be wet. My wife said she wasn’t aware of any rain. Must have been little cells and I just happened to drive through a bunch of them. Stuff in the back of the truck didn’t get too wet, as long as you keep moving the airflow keeps most of it out of the bed.

Couple of interesting things in this story — https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-16/ex-fox-friends-co-host-flees-us-amid-ponzi-scheme-allegations
First, note that a guy who hosts on Fox is married to a woman who is a former news anchor with MSNBC. It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. Then look at what the arrangement in question tried to do- profit by flipping and renting houses. Then the last line of the article – “As to why Clayton, Natali, and Whalen thought they could become stupid rich in flipping homes and renting them out for investors during a hiking cycle by the Federal Reserve and the eventual turning point in the economy that started in the summer of 2018 — is beyond us. All schemes tend to come undone at the end part of a business cycle. ” –Umm, they thought they could shear a few sheep before the bubble popped, or they thought they were too smart to get caught short when the bubble popped, or they didn’t believe it was a bubble. Bubbles always pop. I love how the author just casually mentions the end though, like everyone knows that’s what happened. Easy enough in hind sight.

And then there is this– https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-16/despite-best-first-half-decade-hedge-funds-fees-continue-fall-0 Hedge funds are supposed to be the smartest guys, Wall Street players. If you were a conspiracy theorist, it might look suspicious that the market is so high, yet all the smart guys are doing so poorly…

“Years of underperforming the market as a result of the Fed’s rigged stock environment where fundamentals no longer matter has led many investors to seek out less expensive alternatives, especially since central banks no longer allow even a modest drop in the market. But hedge funds reported their best first half in a decade this year as managers capitalized on the surge in stocks after their plunge late last year.

Even still, the 5.7% gain across the hedge fund industry paled in comparison to the S&P 500, which returned almost 19% over the same course of time. This came after hedge funds delivered their worst performance since 2011 last year.

And another big fund is calling it quits — https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-17/woodfords-once-iconic-fund-begins-forced-liquidations-vows-no-big-discounts

“Woodford has left thousands of investors without access to their savings after suspending its flagship $4.63 billion equity income fund about a month and a half ago after overwhelming redemption requests.”

— I wonder why those ‘sophisticated investors’ want their money back? They need it to cover something else? They need it for current expenses? They’ve lost faith in the fund?

I’m convinced more than ever that it’s a casino. Rule number one is “if you look around and can’t see the patsy, the patsy is YOU.” If you stayed in, take your gains and get out for a while. If you ‘let it ride’ you are going to leave the table busted.*

In politics, maybe now some chickens will come home to roost–

“Is Somalian-born far-left ‘squad’ member Ilhan Omar ‘married to her brother’? Trump makes extraordinary suggestion about one of his Democrat tormentors

President Donald Trump suggested Rep. Ilhan Omar was ‘married to her brother’
Reignited an explosive rumor that first emerged during Omar’s 2016 campaign
He made the outlandish claim to the press before heading to a rally in NC
Omar has failed to fully disprove the claims of bigamy and fraternal marriage
She has called the rumors ‘baseless, absurd’ and amounting to Islamophobia”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7258833/Trump-claims-theres-lot-talk-Ilhan-Omar-married-brother.html

She got an “islamic divorce”. Alt-media has followed this story since it began. MSM is late to the party.

And that should be enough to kick off some discussion….

nick

*(nothing I write should EVER be considered investment advice, and is for entertainment purposes only, past performance is no guarantee of future performance (and that goes for past bad advice too-even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut.) )

41 thoughts on “Thur. July 18, 2019 – the cookie crumbles”

  1. I’m convinced more than ever that it’s a casino. Rule number one is “if you look around and can’t see the patsy, the patsy is YOU.” If you stayed in, take your gains and get out for a while. If you ‘let it ride’ you are going to leave the table busted.*

    If you think you are safe because you are in “cash” in a money market account at the brokerage/mutual fund company, you aren’t as safe as you think. The #1 lesson from MF Global is that money market “cash” accounts are considered to be the property of the broker, not the customer.

    I saw a story the other day that Corzine is looking for a comeback. Seriously?

    Avoid the words “money market” on an account, even at a bank.

  2. Yeah in 08 my MMA was frozen for over 2 years while they decided what to do after it “broke the buck”. Amex stepped up and made everyone whole, but it took a while.

    n

  3. Yeah in 08 my MMA was frozen for over 2 years while they decided what to do after it “broke the buck”. Amex stepped up and made everyone whole, but it took a while.

    Amex investments?

    They had a big office in Tampa in the 90s. What a scam, even for the employees.

    Every MBA grad from the University of South Florida got an “offer” from Amex to work in their investment office, cold calling people from a printout. Six months and done, giving any legimate suckers -er- investors to the managers on their way out the door.

    The newbie investment advisors didn’t know cr*p. Frat/sorority types. The managers knew even less — classic “Dilbert” boss types.

  4. @greg, I have a ‘legacy’ account from years ago when I had a local private adviser. I get a call from a kid in Minneapolis 2x a year. They just maintain the current retirement accounts. I got out of everything I could that was at all speculative a couple of years ago.

    n

  5. @harold, we needed to be aware of it a month ago, and since hundreds of congolese are trying to cross our southern border, and that doesn’t seem to have stopped, we’re going to be VERY aware of it soon.

    If Aesop is right, sometime before this fall based on previous outbreaks.

    n

  6. @greg, I have a ‘legacy’ account from years ago when I had a local private adviser. I get a call from a kid in Minneapolis 2x a year. They just maintain the current retirement accounts. I got out of everything I could that was at all speculative a couple of years ago.

    Anyone charging 2% of the value of the account annually to manage the money is a crook. IIRC, that was Amex’s deal.

    I’m currently unwinding all of my wife’s 401(k) accounts, putting everything into T. Rowe except a big Fidelity fund. It really is interesting to learn who manages the account vs. where the money actually gets kept. A lot of people at small-medium size businesses get hosed.

  7. @harold, we needed to be aware of it a month ago, and since hundreds of congolese are trying to cross our southern border, and that doesn’t seem to have stopped, we’re going to be VERY aware of it soon.

    The US has a limited ability to treat Ebola, using ZMapp, but the medication is very rare and, IIRC, derived from genetically modified tobacco plants.

  8. There are a couple of vaccines, at least one of which seems to show some benefit to people who are already infected. There is a long lead time for the vaccine, and limited availability.

    The “care” given is mostly hydration support and pain management. You either live or don’t. In 2014 western supportive care had much better outcomes than african ‘care’.

    So far, as reported [by people with incentive to undercount, and from a war torn free fire zone with no real government] ring vaccination helps to limit the spread. No one who has looked at this outbreak thinks the numbers are accurate.

    n

  9. Judge will no doubt be re-elected…

    “Inmate, 77, considered ‘too old to be a threat’ is freed from prison after serving 25 years for murdering his wife and goes on to kill a second woman in an identical knife attack in front of her children

    Albert Flick, 77, was convicted of murdering Kimberly Dobbie, 48, on Wednesday
    Last year, he stabbed Dobbie 11 times outside a laundromat in Lewiston, Maine
    Her two sons were watching and the attack was caught on surveillance cameras
    In 1979, Flick was jailed for 25 years for stabbing his wife 14 times in front of their daughter
    He was released in 2004 then went back to jail in 2010 for assaulting another woman
    But in 2014, a judge released him on the grounds that he was not a threat
    He will now no doubt spend the rest of his life behind bars ”

    — and she is still dead.

    n

  10. “A lot of people at small-medium size businesses get hosed. ”

    The only funds available to us in our 401K were all dogs that consistently underperformed their benchmarks. Like health insurance, or paper products, or washroom soap, someone cozies up to the right person at MediumCorp or SmallBizInc and ‘convinces’ them to choose their offering. What does some HR flunky know about which funds to have in the company 401K anyway? Or which health plan to offer? Or which paper products to buy?*

    The sales people offer the right incentives, and the HR person goes out to lunch on someone else’s dime, and the employees get screwed.

    n

    *this is something I see at every agency auction, pallets of paper towels or soap, and pallets of dispensers that all get changed when the agency changes suppliers. Because none of them fit in competitor dispensers, they change them all, and replace all the existing stocks. You can see the evidence all around you in restrooms, just look at how many different hole patterns there are around the dispensers.

  11. The sales people offer the right incentives, and the HR person goes out to lunch on someone else’s dime, and the employees get screwed.

    That’s how things worked at my wife’s job in WA State. The HR guy was early Boomer or, possibly, a war baby, a real schmoozer from Chicago.

    The 401(k) was managed by a company across the river in Portland, with money kept at Schwab. I’m sure there were kickbacks to the HR guy involved.

  12. I just received an email from Amazon. They are starting to roll out delivery to your car. If you have a newer OnStar vehicle, Amazon can deliver right to your vehicle if you are in a public place. Am I the only one who not only says no, but hell no?

    Re:401k’s. Our company 401k is at Vanguard, and we have access to the retirement age based funds, as well as quite a few of their good index funds.

    I just keep investing, and hope the retirement fund grab happens after I die……

  13. I just received an email from Amazon. They are starting to roll out delivery to your car. If you have a newer OnStar vehicle, Amazon can deliver right to your vehicle if you are in a public place. Am I the only one who not only says no, but hell no?

    That’s only a step behind their “we can deliver *inside* your house, just give us access.”

    No.

  14. Re:401k’s. Our company 401k is at Vanguard, and we have access to the retirement age based funds, as well as quite a few of their good index funds.

    Vanguard or T. Rowe are very good with extremely low fees.

    Fidelity can be iffy depending on who is actually doing the money management behind the scenes. AT&T has a Fidelity interface but State Street (?) managing the funds IIRC.

    I’m consolidating my wife’s 401(k) plans at T. Rowe. When I quit my current job, my 401(k) will go to a Vanguard IRA where I parked my CGI rollover.

    CGI did NOT want me to have a 401(k), encouraging the employee stock purchase plan instead. Bzzzzt. I was only there nine months, and it took me seven to get the 401(k) plan set up.

  15. “Marc Thiessen: Dems are party of illegal immigration – Say Trump isn’t above law, but illegal immigrants are | Fox News”
    https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/marc-thiessen-democrats-say-no-one-is-above-the-law-except-illegal-immigrants

    Am I the only person hearing this message from the dumbocrats ? That the end justifies the means no matter what for illegal immigrants ?

    We cannot applies laws intermittently. If we do, then we will lose our rule of law.

    Hat tip to:
    Fort Bend Herald

  16. “A.F. Branco Cartoon – Friend Of Bill”
    https://comicallyincorrect.com/a-f-branco-cartoon-friend-of-bill/

    “Friend of the Clintons Jeffrey Epstein in jail awaiting trial for sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York. It’s rumored he has hi-level friends also in legal jeopardy. A suicide watch may be in order. Political cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2019.”

    I would not be surprised to see Jeffrey Epstein die of suicide in jail. Five bullets in the front and back and hanging himself.

  17. That’s only a step behind their “we can deliver *inside* your house, just give us access.”

    No.

    What ? That is the last person I want to have access to my home. And office.

    I am nervous even giving our once a week housekeeper keys after she has been helping us out for almost 15 years now.

  18. I think Trump should use Merle’s song:

    The Fightin’ Side of Me

    If you don’t love it, leave it

    They love our milk an’ honey,
    But they preach about some other way of livin’.
    When they’re runnin’ down my country, hoss,
    They’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.

  19. Back from my 2600 mile trip on Sunday evening. Went to CA to see last daughter and family (cute grandkids and grandtwins).

    After 5 days there (hot in Roseville!), headed east to Reno, then Fallon and onto Highway 50 (“Loneliest Highway in America”). High desert, two lane road (good road), not much traffic (a vehicle going the other way every 30 minutes or more) to Ely NV.

    Two nights there. Had planned on doing the train trip at the Ely RR station, but the high altitude was bothering Pam. So relaxed and did some on-line research in preparation for our next destination…

    … Great Basin National Park, and the display of the “Forgotten Winchester”. Found in 2014, the Winchester 73 had been leaning against an old Utah Juniper pine tree for about 130 years. No indication of who it belonged to, although it was made/sold in 1888. One bullet in the chamber – was made between 1887 and 1901. No records found about the rifle, and no bones nearby.

    A fortunate find – the Strawberry Creek camping area had a big fire two years later that mostly destroyed the tree where it was found.

    The Lost Winchester story was interesting, and it percolated a bit in my mind, turning into a fictional story about how it might have gotten there. So the trip was research, and the rifle is on display in the Great Basin Visitor Center. Got to see it, and talk to the rangers there a bit about the rifle. (This link will get you started: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgotten_Winchester )

    Then went to Utah to visit the other daughter and grandkids. Hot up there, along with a nice thunderboomer during dinner at a local BBQ place. We’d thought of going up to Yellowstone, but Pam wanted to get home, so we did the 15 hour trip back home.

    Did stop by at the Malad Gorge state park. Interesting place. Has a part in the short story I wrote as a prequel to the ‘Light Blink’ series. (And I finished the third book – with some help from Steve F who pointed out a few areas of improvement as he edited it.) It’s available on the Big River, so the trilogy is done. Marketing continues (marketing is harder than writing).

    Since returning home, have been finishing up the Forgotten Winchester story. It will get published in about a week or two, with any luck. Enjoying writing it.

  20. The Nightmare Of An America Ruled By AOC And Her Socialist Pals :

    It’s hard to take braying morons like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Terrorist Cheerleader Twins seriously, but maybe we should. After all, these aspiring dictatorettes are the heart, soul, and perpetually open mouth of today’s Democrat Party. We kind of assume they are jokes because, well, they are jokes, but history teaches that the socialist future they advocate is no laughing matter. They are now setting the agenda for one of America’s two great political parties. What would happen if they somehow took power?

    Not so funny anymore, huh?


  21. Had planned on doing the train trip at the Ely RR station

    Been there. Only I operated the locomotive. I was there in September 2017 and it was below freezing at night. Not much in the town, lot of big empty spaces getting there from Las Vegas.

    Highway 50 (“Loneliest Highway in America”)

    We came in to Ely from the south on highway 6, probably the second loneliest road. Miles of nothing, traveling 75 mph and seeing few cars. More than you did but probably not much.

    We’d thought of going up to Yellowstone

    Yellowstone is awesome. It can be tiring and a couple of days is really needed.

    When I went to Crater Lake on my recent trip I was stopped at entrance to pay a fee of $25.00. I neglected to bring my national park pass on the trip. I told the ranger I had my VA medical card. He asked if I was on disability. I said yes, 20%. He gave me a national park access card, had me sign it, and I was on my way.

  22. Fort Lauderdale had a major water outage (caused by what could be
    called a construction accident)…
    I’m glad I have a liter (~ quart) or two stored for any such incident.

  23. Fort Lauderdale had a major water outage (caused by what could be
    called a construction accident)…
    I’m glad I have a liter (~ quart) or two stored for any such incident.

    Swamp water. Live down there and you don’t drink it anyway. The water at my wife’s apartment in Hollywood, FL used to run a bit yellow.

    An outage would make bathing/laundry challenging, however.

  24. Back from my alumni meeting. The presentation was pretty much stuff I already knew, but with some local twist, and how the local divisions are organized.

    Wife is out of town, kids are at camp, it’s just me and the dog tonight. Wild women and parties I guess, or I could go to bed early after watching some youtube….

    I got a feeling I know which one it’ll be.

    n

  25. Wife is out of town, kids are at camp, it’s just me and the dog tonight. Wild women and parties I guess, or I could go to bed early after watching some youtube….

    I got a feeling I know which one it’ll be.

    Tom Cruise dropped the “Top Gun” trailer at ComicCon. Is that an F14 at the end?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PusXl8EU_gA

    The “Jay and Silent Bob” trailer also hit, but I’ll grant you that they are an acquired taste.

  26. “!!Do you want to make some fuk?! . . . . . BERSERKER!!!”

    I was happy to see Jason Lee back on film beyond a Chipmunks movie or Mr. Incredible.

    Lee lives in … Denton (?).

  27. Right, having your car online, accessible to anyone with the right “key”. What could go wrong? Ditto the ability for the police to tell any random car to stop – sure, they would never abuse that, or get the wrong car. And even if someone believes that, how long until the system is hacked?

    Re investment accounts: It sure does sound to me like we’re approaching another downturn. One hint is the fact that the US Fed has warned that interest rates are likely to drop again. Internationally, lots of people want to flee to the Swiss Franc, which our Fed only keeps in check by keeping interest rates negative. They’ve been at -0.75% for a while now, and no change in sight.

    On which subject: I wouldn’t want to encourange random speculation, but I think if I were in the US, I would want some assets in other currencies. It seems to me that a devaluation of the dollar is due…

    – – – – –

    On the political front, I saw some advert or meme or something from the AOC side of things. It listed a bunch of things like “guns don’t kill people”, and “everybody should be responsible for themselves”, and such…

    I don’t remember where I saw it, but anyway I thought – yeah! That’s exactly right, but what is AOC doing, saying this stuff?

    Turned out it was meant as satire. They actually thought all of the things listed were terrible.

  28. Day 7 in NYC. It feels like 8 days too many. Home tomorrow first class on AA. Can’t wait to see the dogs, uh, and the Twins.

  29. Thanks, Mr. Nick. And thanks for keeping this place running. You are actually a mentor to me. I had a dream everybody here moved to Alaska, voted Jenny Governor, and we seceded from the FUSA. The good kind of dream.

  30. “if I were in the US, I would want some assets in other currencies.”

    — yes in an online accessible account. As the people in Crete, and Ukraine found out, sometimes you need someone on the outside to help.

    Venezuela too– now they don’t send aid or stuff to relatives still stuck there, they do electronic transfers in US dollars. The stuff gets stolen, and while there are withdrawal limits, any money is better than no money.

    n

  31. Paypal lets you hold foreign currencies in your online account. I’m not clear on how you get them INTO an account, I think it has to be proceeds of a sale so it doesn’t turn into a FOREX trading tool… worth looking at.

    n

  32. @MrAtoz
    Governor? -laughing- oh heck no. Not unless I get to institute heads on pikes.
    Rest of it sounds pretty nice

  33. Turned out it was meant as satire. They actually thought all of the things listed were terrible.

    The I-5 corridor between Portland and Seattle/Tacoma has a long tradition of hunting on both sides of the political spectrum. Just because everyone has become dependent on government checks in some form doesn’t mean that they automatically turn into Pajama Boys.

    The Lacey, WA Cablea’s had a large gun section when we lived up there, and, prior to Sandy Hook, AR15s were regular Black Friday sale items.

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