Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Alabama Senate election: the line?


Well, looks like Alabama is sending a Democrat to the Senate. Roy Moore just couldn't win the state.

Which gets me to thinking:

Used to be, the Republicans were successful in getting elected with overt racism (Reagan's "welfare mothers") and chickenhawk sabre-rattling (Bush's Iraq invasion).

But they had to up the ante when the Democrats decided to join them (Clinton's "welfare reform" and continued bombing of Iraq).

So they became the party of angry Tea Party populism and Obama hating.

But then the Democrats crowded them out of that too (Bernie Sanders).

So, recently, the Republicans experimented with swinging even farther right, into rape apologia, worship of Russian fascism, and impersonating mentally retarded compulsive liars and sociopaths.

And finally, even the Republican base said no, that's just a bit too far for us right now, give us a few years.

So Alabama means nothing in the grand scheme of things, except that maybe Republicans will need to "swing back to the centre".

Saturday, December 9, 2017

So Brexit wasn't about hating foreigners?


der Spargel - As Brexit nears, Britain grows increasingly hostile to EU citizens. Oh, so it's not about hating foreigners?:

The Pasieczna family moved to Great Yarmouth 12 years ago from their hometown of Wroclaw. There were jobs here, with the rural hinterlands dotted with farms, feed lots and meat processing plants. The Polish newcomers felt welcome and settled in quickly. They painted their living room mint green, hung deer antlers on the wall and bought two Yorkshire terriers. When Agnieszka gave birth to a daughter, she named her Diana, "like the princess." Life was good - until the summer of 2016.

It started with little things. "This is England, speak English," said one woman to Agnieszka as she was speaking Polish with her children. "Go back to your own country," Diana was told in school. Then, this spring, her neighbor mounted the first of the cameras on the wall and said: "I'm going to take care of this damn Polish problem!" After several instances of intimidation, Agnzieszka called the police. She was told: "If you don't like the cameras, maybe you should move away."

And

In Stockport, a car dealership wouldn't let a German who had lived in the town for 20 years to test drive a car, arguing that the man's driver's license was no longer valid due to Brexit. Universities are refraining from hiring professors from Spain or the Netherlands in anticipation of Brexit. Banks are refusing loans, landlords are illegally demanding to see British passports. Across the country, people with Romanian, Lithuanian or other accents have had their windows smashed.

And

Theresa May, in her previous role as interior minister, made it abundantly clear that she intended to reduce net immigration to "below 100,000." And she was willing to use any means necessary to achieve that, those close to her said, adding that it seemed to be the only issue she was really passionate about.

May announced back then that she wanted to create a "hostile environment" for illegal immigrants. The residency permit application form was bloated from 12 to 85 complicated pages and the process was made more expensive. In 2013, she sent out billboard vans onto the streets of Britain reading: "In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest!" It was the same tune that the Brexiteers played three years later: Foreigners, whether they were from Brussels or Bratislava, made things in the UK worse than they should be. In future it should be Britain First.

And

In practice, however, things look quite a bit different - as can be seen in the case of Klaudia Orska, a Polish woman who has remained remarkably cheerful despite the bureaucratic odyssey she's been forced to go through.

The 45-year-old has lived for 11 years in the UK. She works for an apartment realtor, pays her taxes and speaks perfect English. In May, she sent off her application for a residency permit to the Home Office. It consisted of hundreds of pages, including notarized documents, photographs, spreadsheets - an entire life reduced to 3 kilograms of paper.

The package arrived and the application fee was deducted from her account. Then nothing happened. Radio silence. After three months, she was sent back all the documents along with a rejection notice and was told to prepare to leave the country. The justification cited for the rejection was her alleged failure to send passport photographs. Even though the photographs were attached to the pile of papers - a pile that seemed to not have been touched.

Orska sent the package back with a complaint, and reapplied. Three weeks later, she was rejected again, this time because her bank account details were allegedly missing and it was not possible to deduct the fee. "It's like Monty Python," she says and even manages to laugh about it. Who knows for how much longer, though. She now finds herself threatened with deportation to Poland.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

All news is bitcoin news


Blah blah, gold miners lose their support and come crashing down, blah blah Mueller investigating Trump's bank accounts at known Russian money launderer Deutschebank, blah blah Republicans vote to add a trillion dollars to the US deficit to give the rich a tax break....

No, I can see in the stats that what you really want is "bitcoin sucks" news.

So here you go:

Barkley Rosser - yup, bitcoin is a bubble, the bad kind. Don't bother reading it: he's an economist, even a very intelligent one.

Cecchetti and Schoenholtz - yup, bitcoin is a bubble, grannies are investing in it now. Though I'd like to point out that the dividend discount model is utter fucking nonsense: portfolio theory is the only model of asset price that makes sense. Also, the one guy is named Kermit, seriously.

And, more related than you might think:

BBC News - who's buying this "hugely popular Putin calendar" that the Russians are on about? Answer: nobody. Nobody's actually buying it. It's fake news. The real kind of fake news, the kind that's actually fake.

But if you have decent Photoshop skills, you could make a fucking fortune selling parody Putin calendars this month. Just send me $0.25 per unit sales for giving you the idea.


gold quickie


Well, at 9:15 someone tried to bust gold down through the SMA(200) and the -2SD Bollinger.

So I guess we'll be seeing a fun attempt at constructing a technical failure for gold today.



John Quiggin on Buttcoin


John Quiggin - Bitcoin now a much bigger waste of energy. It's now taking several gigawatts of energy just to mine Bitcoin, more than the energy draw of most countries.

But also, John says other fun things:

Despite the huge increase in the market value of bitcoins, they seem further than ever from becoming an actual currency. Unsurprisingly, there’s no sign that governments are willing to accept bitcoins as legal tender. Nor is there any sign that they are displacing standard forms of money. On the contrary, bitcoins now seem to be seen as a financial asset, with no real suggestion that they will ever be a general medium of exchange.

As a check on this, here’s a list of firms that accept bitcoin as payment, which fits easily on to a single page. Sydney readers who would like to buy a beer with bitcoin are in luck, or were back in 2014 when the Old Fitzroy got a bit of coverage for saying it would accept bitcoins. There’s another pub listed in London, and that’s about it as far as drinks are concerned. After nearly a decade, Bitcoin acceptance remains the stuff of publicity stunts, not a serious commercial option.

At least by repute, bitcoins are used more extensively in covert transactions such as those involving drug trading, tax evasion and money laundering. But that’s scarcely a good reason to bet on them being around for a long while. If the scale of the problem gets large enough to cause real problems, governments will act to shut the whole system down or regulate it to the point where the compliance costs make the whole idea unattractive.

Keep buying bitcoin!

Monday, December 4, 2017

NDD on the overpriced S&P: not really


Just like that, New Deal Demoncrat wades into the argument about the overpriced S&P:

New Deal Demoncrat - corporate profits versus stock prices. If the companies are actually making the money, then the valuations are absolutely fine.



Short Monday morning market comment


OK, so if you look up a chart for SPY, you'll see it's going parabolic right now.

It seems a bit stupid for the S&P 500 to fly up 83 points in just 3 weeks, especially after a very strong year.

Yes, the US economy is doing fine. Yes, blah blah tax breaks, though those were baked in already over the past year. But 10% since August? Come off it. Things are getting silly.

Weekly SPY RSI(14) is 85. Daily SPY RSI(14) is 77. Not that it can't continue, but it's not very healthy looking.

It almost makes me want to start saying "Shiller P/E!!" to everyone, and you know what I think about Shiller P/E, right?

Might need to switch to another equity market come next year, cos I doubt there's anything left on the table for SPY.

And when I look at the weekly chart for GLD and GDX, I'm not particularly concerned. Still looks like it's bottoming, to me.

If you want to predict where $USD is going, you should figure out what elementary trade theory says a trillion dollars in debt-funded tax breaks should do to a currency's value.

I'm not interested in doing that because I have a ten page essay on minimum income due next Monday. So, it's up to you to do the research.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Weekend Bitcoin news


Just for shits and giggles:


FT Alphaville - why Bitcoin futures and a shoddy market structure pose problems. Wow, so they're initiating an official futures market in Bitcoin, and doing it badly? That's kinda a top signal....

CNBC - North Korean hackers stealing people's bitcoins. Gee, it's sad that you need to rely on a government to protect your private property rights, eh?

Reddit - I am a time traveller from the future here to beg you to stop using Bitcoin. Just cos it's funny.



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

See, this is why America can't have nice things


Oh, Donald. The brain damage that just keeps on giving....

NY Times - Trump retweets British neo-Nazi videos. Don't call them far-right. Britain First is ex-National Front. They are Nazis.

And how does The Donald respond?

He apologized!





Haha jk no, he doubled down:

CNN - White House defends anti-Muslim Trump tweets.

Actually, that's not all of the title:

CNN - White house defends anti-Muslim Trump tweets, AND SAYS IT DOESN'T MATTER IF VIDEOS ARE REAL.

This crazy, wacky post-truth world we live in....


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

More Bitcoin hype


Even Business Insider is writing about it....


BI - bitcoin price shoots over $9900. Quotes, with commentary:

As for how high bitcoin will go, billionaire businessman Mark Cuban told Business Insider the coin will continue to push higher as retail investors pour into the space and folks with large bitcoin holdings continue to treat it more as a collectible than a currency.

"The number of people opening up new accounts and buying bitcoin, even fractionally, is skyrocketing," he said.

Dunno why they interviewed Mark Cuban instead of someone who knows something, but he raises a point.

What happens when they run out of people to open accounts? NASDAQ 2000 happens, is what.

"Yet the people who have it as a true store of value have no reason to sell it as long as demand continues."

Yeah, and then what?

See, one problem is that the bitcoins in your account aren't worth $9900 (or whatever it is as you're reading this).

The marginal bitcoin is worth $9900. And the price of the marginal bitcoin will be different when there are more available relative to demand.

The stuff in your account is only worth what you can sell it for. That's what a "true store of value" means, Mark.

Since the list of merchants that accept bitcoin is still relatively small, so-called holders (or hodlers as they are referred to in bitcoin circles) don't have many places where they can spend their coins, either.

"They can't spend it, so they keep it," Cuban said.

That doesn't make it a store of value or an asset, then. It makes bitcoin a collectible.

"If big holders don’t sell and the number of Coinbase users keeps going up, the sky is the limit."

Um, no, the sky isn't the limit. Earth has a finite investor population, and there is a finite level of reasonable portfolio allocation to bitcoin.

Total value of all the world's gold is $7.5T or so. Total value of all the world's equities is $80T or so.

If total blockchain cap goes over that, then it will have become unbelievably silly. And, parenthetically, it'll also be hilarious to watch as a significant portion of the world's wealth then vanishes overnight.

I don't think it can get that far, but then again I believe humans aren't, in the aggregate, total idiots.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Bitcoin to break $10,000?


Bitcoin is apparently breaking $10,000 tonight.

Which again indicates that people will buy fucking well anything.

John McAfee has only 5000% more to go to save his own penis.

That's eDigital-level multiples right there.

And, by the way, nowadays you buy EDIG on the pinks.