Culturalism · investing · Personal Finance

The Federal PRESERVE of Wall Street

Some people ask me how I’m able to stay sane as an investor during times like these. The answer is quite simple: just pay attention to the federal government.

As most already know, the Congress approved a $2 trillion monstrosity by voice vote yesterday, with the only visible opposition coming in the form of representatives AOC and Thomas Massie. Beyond its inclusion of various stimulus programs, the legislation creates a fat bailout fund for larger companies, and allows the Federal Reserve to leverage up to $4 trillion in support of the economy (Read: Wall Street ).

In the words of Powell the Owl:

“Effectively one dollar of loss absorption of backstop from Treasury is enough to support $10 worth of loans. When it comes to this lending we’re not going to run out of ammunition.”

Some Democrats openly demanded oversight for $500 billion in assistance that corporations will have partial access to through the bill, and succeeded in establishing an inspector general to monitor disbursement of the money. In response, Republicans began to weep miserably.

Just kidding. In reality, El Orangelo was several steps ahead of them, placing his ink on the bill accompanied by a fancy signing statement, which effectively allows him to ignore parts he doesn’t like. According to the man himself:

“I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [inspector general] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required.”

In relation to congressional oversight requirements for specific funds he added:

“These provisions are impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement with respect to the execution of the laws.”

In other words, the money is already compromised. If that wasn’t enough, the legislation also shrouds Federal Reserve meetings in deeper secrecy, establishing an effective wall against FOIA requests.

So Wall Street will be fine, although your currency is another question. But don’t worry, you can forget all that and just rage against Thomas Massie.

Culturalism · Personal Finance

Paranoia Nation

We have already considered the negative impacts of Corona Derangement Syndrome (CDS) on the economy and the world. But even all that pales in comparison to a new story on the block.

On, an article was published with the title “My Grandma Isn’t Taking Coronavirus Seriously Enough And It’s Terrifying.”

At first glance, the piece might come off as a touching tribute to an elderly relative at risk from the advancing virus. That is, until the reader reaches sentence two:

“In New Jersey, a quick 18 miles and two river crossings from where I am in Brooklyn, my 88-year-old nana is probably sleeping after another long, semi-quarantined day of watching the news, chain-smoking cigarettes and worrying about me.”  

Yes my economic chickens, our author is petrified over an octogenarian who apparently partakes in multiple cigarettes daily. God bless the grandma for her old age, and I wish her 88 more, but doesn’t the granddaughter’s reaction seem a bit odd? Her nana was presumably warned of the risks of smoking at some point, yet continues on regardless. She has lived longer than most people, and still appears tough as a cookie. Coronavirus would probably die trying to make her sneeze even once.

As it has been said, what makes a crisis devastating is less the cause, and more the reaction.  

Culturalism · investing · Personal Finance

Goldman Takes Third Blood

In my last video, I warned folks about Wall Street’s likely attempt to weaponize the Coronavirus panic in service of their financial interests. I also noted that Goldman Sachs has cultivated such a close relationship with the federal government that it managed to completely destroy a competitor (Lehman Brothers) during the bailout negotiations of 2008.

But there is more. As markets reel from the virus’ impact, our lovely friends have released an updated report on U.S. GDP for the second quarter, suggesting an upcoming 24 percent drop.

How convenient. Sounds like a great way to further tank the economy, allowing the Goldmanites freedom to make a killing on shorting strategies, plus accumulate dirt cheap shares.

Now hold on, the skeptic might say, what happens if the market declines so Goldman Sachs is also in trouble?

It’s quite simple. They just give a ring to the Treasury Department, led by none other than Steven Mnuchin, the retired Chief Information Officer for Goldman.

If you watch your 401k undergo further decline in the following weeks, just remember who is walking in “Fields of Gold.”


How Technology Destroys Customer Service

“Dynamic technology is changing our lives for the better.”

We have all heard something along these lines over the past two decades. First it was the, then smartphones, now smart everything. The oft-celebrated Internet of Things is forecast to make existence more convenient, less time-consuming, and more user-friendly.

Sure, tech has created positive change and unified people across the world. It has given us new industries, aspirations, and means of communication. All one must do is dream, and type in a Google search.

But there is something else: the wondrous change has  allowed corporations to turn a middle finger to the individual consumer. The customer is no longer “right” in our world; as an entity we hardly exist. In fact, we remain little more than a credit card swipe and a flicker of lights in the data center’s tower aisle.

I was thinking about this yesterday as I picked out an appliance for my new house. Being the deal-sensitive person I am, I went on the Bank of America app to change my cashback category to home improvement stores. After all, why not get twenty bucks back on a sizable purchase?

As it turned out, the app did not permit me to change the category, and advised logging in to online banking, which I did. On the website, I received a message saying I needed to use to app to change the category, or login to online banking. Obviously, neither option worked.

Feeling rather annoyed, I tried using “Erica,” the virtual assistant. When I inquired about the category change, she feigned digital ignorance by asking me to repeat the question. BOA’s customer service number was no better, leading me through a maze of menu options before claiming to “not understand” the request.

You might say this is a one off, but I’m seeing it regularly. Last year I booked an appointment with Best Buy to have a remote start installed in my rover. I paid the fee, got numerous reminder emails, and drove almost an hour to the GeekSquad bay. The door was locked, and no one answered the phone. After finally getting in touch with the manager, she bluntly announced that her technician had quit the previous week.

Instead of exploding, I calmly called Best Buy’s customer service, where I ended up speaking with five different representatives, each holding unique titles and demanding I repeat the story over again, before they made up an excuse to transfer me. I was stonewalled continuously, and eventually disconnected from the “Customer Care Manager” who could barely speak English.

Around the same time frame, I ordered a video game on Amazon as a Christmas present for a family member. After my other items showed up, I saw that the game was delayed by almost a month. I promptly attempted to contact Amazon and cancel the order. Like with the others, I was led through an endless maze of virtual assistants, disconnected numbers, and general indifference. All for something that should have been a simple, one-click solution.

Of course one cannot email any of these companies anymore, because they don’t want a paper trail if the underlings screw up and promise something they refuse to afford.  At best you’ll get to use chat, or maybe a 1-800 number. How joyous.

But at least we have “smart” refrigerators.


Let’s Talk About Sexism

It wasn’t moments after Elizabeth Warren called it quits that our girls at Hufflepuff had put out an article attempting to deflect her failure onto the alleged “sexism“ of primary voters. The article, which reads like a winsome, brooding teenager, features the following quotation from Rebecca Katz:

“At a certain point, the narrative that a woman can’t win and that a white man would be the safest candidate to take on Trump became self-fulfilling.”

Fascinating. At what point was that? When John Delaney and Seth Moulton dropped out? Before or after Buttigieg conceded? Somewhere in Tulsi Gabbard’s universe?

The argument is a ridiculous one, seeing the advantages that Warren held going in, including superior name recognition, and a status as one of the two main progressive options for voters. She even led in primary polling for a period last fall, and had no shortage of speaking time at debates, especially towards the end of the cycle.

No, this post-disaster claim about leftist women who lose needs to be put in its place. Whenever a man is forced into the position of losing to a woman, society will relentlessly mock him for it using crude gender assumptions, but still insist he be a “good sport” and concede honorably.

On the flip side, a progressive woman is NEVER at fault for failing to win in her own right. We all remember 2016, when Clinton’s demise was explained away using the sexism crutch, with special emphasis on Trump’s “looming” behind her on a debate stage. As if that was too much for her to handle.

 If humans want to achieve real equality, then we should stop giving leftist women an easy way out of moments when they lose face.

Does that make me sexist?

Culturalism · investing

How The Spanish Flu Hit Stocks

There’s been a gross deal of speculation about an (even bigger) Coronavirus outbreak, one that could cost countless lives and send the world economy into tailspin. It makes jolly good fodder for the internet activists of our time, but how accurate is the claim?

That depends. The folks over at Global Financial Data put together some nice info looking at the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed tens of millions of people. The first graph shows the various peaks of the outbreak those years ago:

Credit: GFD

Next we have a trace of the stock market:

Credit: GFD

As you can see, the market was not visibly impaired by the rise of the flu, although the period also encompassed part of World War I.  After the nominal end of the flu wave, which was relatively close to the finish of the First World War, the market experienced a period of handsome growth.

The applicability of the 1918 situation to today, or vice a versa, remains dubious, and yet it suggests that hysteria may not be the proper answer.


Does Anyone Bother Reading?

Sure, Breitbart’s comment section is a poor sample size, but let’s humor the gods for a moment. We have a story entitled “Italian Governor Quarantines Himself After Staffer Tests Positive for Coronavirus”.

While the piece doesn’t explicitly name Attilio Fontana’s political affiliation, it helps clue readers in by noting his criticism of the Conte Government’s response to Coronavirus. Additionally, there is mention of  Matteo Salvini’s negative opinion of Conte, suggesting kindred feelings on at least that issue.

Fontana is also regional president of Lombardia, one of the two more reliably right-wing provinces of the Mediterranean country, and  a hotbed of support for Salvini’s Lega.

With all that information available, how does the empowered Breitbart reader respond? By assuming he’s a leftist. Here we go:

“Oh poor baby leftist runs and hides!!! No lossless he does the better off the country will be. Whata bunch of flakes the Italians are.”

The same commenter made this reply to a different article, also on Italy:

“WHY was Salvini voted out?!?!?!!? These people are nutz and get what they deserve!!!!!!”

Folks, with the advent of the Google search, it’s not that hard to square information before making a statement. Just count to ten and breathe.