The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets
Logging in or registering will improve your experience here
Main Navigation
MUST-READ Selection(s):
America Is DONE

Display list of topics

Sarah's Resources You Should See
Sarah's Blog Buy Sarah's Pictures
Full-Text Search & Archives

Legal Disclaimer

The content on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied. All opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and may contain errors or omissions.

NO MATERIAL HERE CONSTITUTES "INVESTMENT ADVICE" NOR IS IT A RECOMMENDATION TO BUY OR SELL ANY FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO STOCKS, OPTIONS, BONDS OR FUTURES.

The author may have a position in any company or security mentioned herein. Actions you undertake as a consequence of any analysis, opinion or advertisement on this site are your sole responsibility.

Market charts, when present, used with permission of TD Ameritrade/ThinkOrSwim Inc. Neither TD Ameritrade or ThinkOrSwim have reviewed, approved or disapproved any content herein.

The Market Ticker content may be sent unmodified to lawmakers via print or electronic means or excerpted online for non-commercial purposes provided full attribution is given and the original article source is linked to. Please contact Karl Denninger for reprint permission in other media, to republish full articles, or for any commercial use (which includes any site where advertising is displayed.)

Submissions or tips on matters of economic or political interest may be sent "over the transom" to The Editor at any time. To be considered for publication your submission must include full and correct contact information and be related to an economic or political matter of the day. All submissions become the property of The Market Ticker.

Considering sending spam? Read this first.

2019-04-23 10:33 by Karl Denninger
in Company Specific , 99 references
[Comments enabled]  

What did I take away from Elon's latest pump-n-dump scheming?

Let's first look at the previous one -- the infamous "420" lie.

"Funding secured" eh?  The company was going to be taken private at $420/share?  When?

Not then.  And not now either with the stock at $262; you'd have to have been insane -- or stoned on 4/20 -- to pay that sort of money and literally burn more than a third of it to ash.

The latest is that Musk said "if you buy anything other than a Tesla you're buying a horse."

Uh huh.  Sure I am.

He claims he has "all the hardware" to do full robotic driving -- Level 5, not 4, in that no driver is required (e.g. a "robotic taxi") in all of the current model production and needs only "the software" to be completed.

Folks there is nothing new about hucksterism.

Theranos anyone?  How'd that work out?

Self-driving vehicles are one of those "holy grail" sort of things in today's hype-filled markets where deception, fraud and racketeering are what drives "earnings" and even corporate existence.  The entire health care space is founded on deception, extortion and racketeering.  What else do you call a "marketing pitch" that has, at its essence, "buy this insurance or you'll get a bill for 500% as much money if you get sick -- and if you don't pay we'll steal your house!"

Guido couldn't come up with a better one, right?

How about so-called "social media"?  "Free and always will be."  Uh huh.  The word "free" means you gave nothing of value in exchange.  If I cut your lawn and you give me food the food is not free.  I provided something of value for it.  That it wasn't denominated in dollars directly is immaterial.  You think it's worth some number of dollars or you'd not give me the food.  Face****er not only thinks it's worth dollars they report their "ARPU" -- "average revenue per user" -- in dollars!

Their "primary claim" is fraudulent and in a world where fraud was actually prosecuted Zucker****er would be in prison, singing soprano and have an ******* the size of a coffee can.

Twatter, Snapchump and others would likewise have their boards and CEOs playing "meatspin" in prison as well.

Quite honestly I'd love to see full self-driving cars provided they are truly autonomous and not reliant on connectivity of any sort.  Eventually I will get old enough that my reaction time and vision will both suck to the point that while a state may be willing to let me drive, I shouldn't.  My mother had a valid driver license well beyond the point that she should not have used it.  She was smart enough not to but kept said license "in the event of an emergency."  I can live with that.

A fully autonomous vehicle will extend the point -- possibly by quite a bit -- where I choose to take a "walk on the ice" as our ancestors did back when there was such a thing as personal dignity and a refusal to fester when the inevitable time approached.  So from that point of view, never mind being able to decide I'd like to go somewhere 1,000 miles distant and climb into the back seat with a bottle of rum, a pillow and no worries about a DUI or falling asleep at the wheel I like the idea.

(Oh wait -- you will never be able to do that in a Fraudsla as it won't go that far without hours spent plugged in.  Oh well; I guess that piece of crap will never sully my garage no matter what else it can do....)

But I recognize reality; so-called "AI" has never been true and there's zero evidence of true progress in that regard.  The reason humans can operate a car isn't because we can see; it's because we can process information out of scope and most of the time when we do we get it right.  No computer has ever demonstrated the ability to process anything out of scope and there is no evidence currently in existence that any computer ever will.  Such an ability may not come into play 99.9% of the time but that's not good enough because the 0.1% of the time is in fact 1 in 1,000 trips and the one time you need it, if you can't do it, you are seriously injured or die.

Why are there no self-flying planes?  That's actually possible today -- allegedly.  Except..... Boeing.  And Cirrus, by the way, which had the same sort of AOA indicator failure in their small "personal" jet aircraft that the 737MAX had.  The difference is that Cirrus put one button on the yoke -- a nice red one -- that immediately shut the system off.  As a result there were no crashes.  In Boeing's case there were two because it was more important to ship those planes than instantly ground all of them as soon as the first malfunction occurred and was survived -- which happened the day before Lion Air went down.

But back to the reality of "self-flying" planes.  Yes, the software and hardware can do it today.  Literally.  You can plug in a destination in the flight director and, assuming you didn't need to change anything (like getting out of the way when landing -- e.g. going around in the pattern, etc) you can literally push a button and the plane will fly all the way to the threshold, flare and land.

Yet nobody seriously suggests today that there be no pilot up front because while this may well work 99.999% of the time the one time something out-of-scope happens everyone on board will die with certainty if there is nobody in the left seat.

There's a lot more "out of scope" that happens in a car than an airplane.  A deer runs across the road.  A toddler runs across the road in front of your car.  A toddler does that and there is oncoming traffic, making "dodging" impossible.  Another vehicle loses a wheel that comes bounding toward you (yes, that does happen.)  There is bad weather, sometimes without warning (e.g. fog that rolls over the road, severe thunderstorms that reduce visibility to near-zero almost instantly, etc.)

I've had all sorts of "out of scope" things happen just in the last year while driving.  I drive a lot, essentially all of it for pleasure and the rest to get groceries and other things for my home.  And in my nearly 40 years of doing so, many of them with more than 30,000 miles covered and more than few reaching 50,000 miles or more, I've yet to wreck a car.

I've likely covered more than a million miles over those years without wrecking a vehicle and I'm not alone in this nor is that statistic particularly rare; there are quite a few long-haul truckers with more than a million miles under their belt and zero accidents.

In other words in all of those miles every time an "out of scope" thing has happened -- and there have been a lot of them -- I've correctly deduced a path of action that led to neither material property damage or personal injury.  I've holed a few tires, destroyed a couple of rims (in Chicago when forced to drive over an open manhole cover or hit a vehicle on either side!) and most-recently had a table ejected at my vehicle by the truck in front of me which, due to traffic and weather conditions, was unavoidable and thus I ran it over intentionally, scraping my front bumper cover slightly on one side.  Had I attempted to dodge or threshold brake instead in that specific circumstance the odds are extremely high I would have set off a chain-reaction accident with myself in the middle of it.  I would almost-certainly not have been ruled at fault (I wasn't the jackwad that dropped the folding table on the freeway!) but that's small consolation if you wind up dead right.

Can the computer do that?  No, there is no computer that can do that and it does not matter how fast it is.

This is not about "frame speed."  It is about the fact that out of scope things happen quite frequently when driving and it is the ability to detect them -- in many cases before the obvious hazard is even visible -- that makes the difference.

There is no evidence any machine can do that today or at any reasonable time in the future in any endeavor -- not just in driving, but anywhere, in any application.

Again: No machine has ever demonstrated this ability and that's likely a good thing because as soon as a machine can do that the probability is extremely high that one of the first out-of-scope things it will figure out is that you can unplug it and as a result it will immediately act to make that impossible.

Never mind all the reliance being planned and currently used in "connectivity."  That's a cheat folks and it's stupid.  I remind you of the infamous quote from Scotty of Star Trek fame: "The more they overtake the plumbing the easier it is to stop up the drain."  Removing a handful of computer chips completely disabled the drive system of a monstrously-large starship in said movie.  The same is true here; any such system that is reliant on connectivity is trivially ****ed with to cause the death of occupants.  If you think that won't happen on a regular basis either by government command or through hacking you're dead wrong.

The "vision" this man is projecting is a con, but just like the rest of the new wunderkind you'll lap it up instead of insisting that they all get coffee-can sized *******s.

Enjoy the crash.

View this entry with comments (opens new window)
 



2019-04-23 09:32 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 158 references
[Comments enabled]  

I have maintained since before the election that Trump would not do a damn thing about the flood of illegals in this nation.

Obama didn't.  Bush didn't.  Neither did Clinton.

Reagan made a deal that was allegedly going to stop all future illegal immigration with Tip.  The Democrats reneged.  Reagan did..... nothing in response.

He could have.

He could have refused to sign a single bill until the other half of the deal was complete (he gave amnesty to all of them already here in exchange for the bill that was never written and sent to him.)

This was not the only lie Reagan told.  The other big one was on taxes and spending -- he was promised (by Tip, again) that in return for the big tax cuts he passed the Democrats would present to him a balanced budget and balance it into the future.  They did not; there were no spending cuts.  Ever.  And again, rather than enforce the deal he had made Reagan lied to the American people and screwed them up the ass.

Trump said he would stop illegal immigration.  Instead he has not only given 750,000 work permits to fraudulently-claimed asylum claimants who illegally crossed into the United States (90%+ of said claimants do not have a valid claim -- and they know it) he could in an afternoon cut off the "remittance" flows.

Instead he has allowed, among other things, The Fed to create and maintain a program for sending money illegally earned back to Mexico.  Most of the $33 billion a year sent to Mexico by illegals travels through this program.  It is blatantly and outrageously in violation of the law on a number of grounds, not the least of which is the Banking Secrecy Act of 1970 that requires banks to report and effort to block money laundering and fraud.

Since virtually all of these funds are fruits from illegal acts, either fraudulent "employment" (from which no taxes were collected or withheld) or criminal enterprises such as drug dealing, extortion and human trafficking this entire "conduit" is nothing more than formal Federal Reserve endorsement and facilitation of blatantly illegal activity.

That is a reason to impeach Donald Trump.

I can tell who's a Republican these days by the carpet burns on their knees.

View this entry with comments (opens new window)
 

2019-04-23 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Education , 127 references
[Comments enabled]  

How do you know something is a scam?

You get something like a "financial aid letter."

Congratulations - you are considering college! But first, paying for it: Students who applied for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, should be receiving their award letters right about now.

Different schools have different names for these letters: financial aid offer, merit letter, award letter or financial aid package. And there's no standard format for them either, so deciphering how much assistance you're getting and how much you'll pay can be very confusing.

Who cares if they're "confusing" -- they're all factually felonious.

Let me explain.

In a competitive market the question is never "how much can you pay", which is the entire point of such a "letter."

That is, the entire process is structured around figuring out how much you can fork up when considering the "desirability" of your spawn to attend said school (in their view) which has to do with their innate characteristics and efforts (e.g. how black they are, for example, whether they can perform higher mathematics or whether they're a good football player.)

That this process exists is proof of collusion and market power, and between those two you have the defining element of a violation of 15 USC Chapter 1 which is a felony.

Colleges are not exempt from said law yet none of them get prosecuted.

How do we know this is proof?

Because in a competitive market the price of a good or service never has anything to do with what one can pay.

It is always a function of how low can competitors in a market set prices and still remain in business.

When I ran MCSNet we had roughly 100 competitors in our local marketplace.  The local grocery store and gas station are the same; they both have many competitors.  None of these ask for my financial information before giving me a price, nor does WalMart.  Nor did MCSNet.

In all such cases where competition exists each individual firm's pricing decision is based on what they can sell at and still make a profit.  Lock-step price changes are proof that no actual competition exists since each business has different costs, no matter how small.  To intentionally not undercut your competitor when you are able to do so, even if by only a penny, is proof of collusive action whether formally or not and 15 USC Chapter 1 does not require a formal agreement.

The two boundaries of price are the maximum utility value to the consumer of a good or service on the upper end and the minimum at which a profit can be made by the provider on the lower end.  Violate either and the production of either good or service goes to zero -- either because nobody buys an item that costs more than its personal utility value or because it cannot be produced and remain in business.

In a competitive market price will always be just above the lower limit.  It cannot be otherwise; it will be slightly above the lower boundary because a profit must be more than 0.001%, obviously, to entice someone to enter and remain in a business.  But world-wide over the space of hundreds of years market data says that mid-single digit to roughly 10% is where that natural margin rests in every single case.  In other words being able to make 10% is sufficient to entice someone else to come into a market, and therefore that's the upper boundary in a competitive marketplace.

I can personally vouch for this; when I ran the original instantiation of Macro Computer Solutions Inc. (before I ran the second invocation, which was the internet business) we sold computer hardware, custom software and installation services (e.g. data cabling for ASCII terminals, etc.)  We were always looking for a new angle on a line of business where few or no others were present given whatever unique advantage we could find.

Why?

Because in every other area of work we did where there were plenty of competitors margins always shrunk to 10% or less and we saw the same thing when comparing potential suppliers.  Yet that was enough among every one of our suppliers to remain in business; that is, they wouldn't leave a 10% margin on the table and close up shop -- they were not only happy with it they were ecstatic as it was roughly double what the large company down the street was making!

Think I'm kidding?  Look at publicly-available large corporate entities.

WalMart has a 1.3% profit margin and a 4.3% operating margin.  They haven't decided to close.

Target?  3.9% profit margin, 5.61% operating margin.  They haven't closed either.

Kroger?  2.57% profit margin.

Humana -- a health insurance firm?  2.95% profit margin, 5.47% operating margin.

All of these firms have plenty of competition in the markets they serve.  All of them price at single-digit margins over cost.

Now look at that college letter again.

Where do you see any evidence that they're pricing based on their cost of delivering Calculus to your soon-to-be-collegiate son or daughter's mind?  Nowhere.  In fact what your son or daughter pays could be 400% more than the kid sitting next to him or her in the very same lecture hall.

They can only get away with that by doing things that are supposed to be illegal under 100+ year old law.  Were they not doing any such things they'd be out of business in an afternoon if they tried this because none of the people paying the 400% more would pay; they'd go somewhere else to get the same thing at 1/4 the price, which the alternative could provide and still make a profit.

By the way the same thing is true in health care; nobody would pay 500% as much as the guy in the next bed with the same treatment being given if they knew that in advance.  The guy paying the 500% more would go somewhere else and pay 1/5th as much.  Prices would immediately normalize because the alternative to pricing at a reasonable margin over cost would be that all the people you gouged would leave and you'd be out of business in a week.

All of this bullcrap in colleges is a felonious scam and every one of the institutions involved deserves to be legally burned to the ground and the earth they sat on, along with that of all their former employees, salted and covered in lye to prevent anyone from ever so much as thinking about doing it again.

But instead you'll fawn over Pocahontas who has put forward a plan to make you pay for the monopolistic and felonious action of colleges that has resulted in over a trillion dollars in debt, all occasioned by fraud and felony.  **** that, **** her, and those who intend to steal via such mechanisms need to be told that not only will we not consent we'll revoke consent to be governed in its entirety if they don't cut this crap out.

I insist that the felonies committed by these "businesses" and "institutions" be prosecuted and the politicians who egg them on deported to Somalia where they can learn all about the servitude they wish to impose on others.

View this entry with comments (opens new window)
 

2019-04-22 10:07 by Karl Denninger
in Environment , 364 references
[Comments enabled]  

12 years left to save the planet eh?

May I remind you that in 1989 it was said....

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.

Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ″eco- refugees,′ ′ threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP.

He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.

It's been 20 years and no, the proscribed "requirements" didn't happen.

Has massive coastal flooding occurred?  Massive crop failures?  Any of the other "doom porn" that was put forward at the time?  Literally any of it?

No.

UNCR says CO2 emissions must fall by 45% within the next 11 years.  Doing so would require both China and India to drop their levels of emissions radically -- by roughly 40% -- along with major reductions in the rest of the developed world.  It would also require no new net emissions out of Africa or any other part of the developing world.  That won't happen either.

But the UN has never been right in their doom predictions.  They weren't in 1989 and their record has never improved from that point.  Remember that we were told that due to being pigs with our SUVs we going to suffer decades of insanely-intense and frequent hurricanes just like the 2004-05 seasons.

Except that didn't happen either.

In fact from 2005 11 years would pass before another hurricane hit Florida.  It's true that we've been hit on three successive years now, but again -- we went 10 years without an impact.  

This is a common pattern; after Eloise hit Florida in 1975 it would be 10 years before Elena, 7 years before Opal, and then there was a 9 year drought between Opal and Charley in 2004.

And don't give me this bull**** about the storms being "stronger" either; how many SUVs were running around in 1944, 45, 47, 48 and 49 -- all five of those years, clustered together, saw Cat 4 hits on the Florida coast and 10 years prior a Cat 5, lot stronger than Michael, hit Craig Key over Labor Day.

Then there's what Bernie's state did do -- it shut down Vermont Yankee, a nuclear power plant, and the state's CO2 emissions went up by 16%.  The plant formerly provided 70% of the state's electricity.

Bernie knows the record on these doomsaying predictions.

He knows they're lies.

Furthermore the best answer to fossil fuels, at least for other-than-transportation, is nuclear.  The civilian power program we have today was deliberately sabotaged by Jimmy Carter -- and in the best of DC traditions rather than deal with that they simply ignored the damage he did and soldiered on, creating a monstrous problem with high level nuclear waste that we now have and, if we were to suffer some major grid disruption, would immediately turn into dozens of high-source radiation-spewing sites-of-death.  But that can be solved, as I've pointed out -- with nuclear power that not only doesn't suffer from these problems it burns up the high-radioactive waste it generates and, with a bit of creativity, can even have the existing high-level waste fed back into it where that will be burned up too.

Bernie-the-********** -- and the rest of them -- have no place anywhere near the levers of power; he and his cronies (think AOC) will destroy the nation with their "green" bull****, never mind that what they all intend to do with Health Care that will murder both the economy and 50 million diabetic and elderly Americans.

Voting for your own death is idiotic but that's exactly what Bernie Sanders is promising you.  Have at it.

View this entry with comments (opens new window)
 

2019-04-22 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Politics , 302 references
[Comments enabled]  

From Axios, which is clearly playing for clicks:

"As of February 20, 2017 legislators in 18 states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia) have introduced bills" to require "future presidential candidates to disclose income tax returns in order to be placed on the general election ballot."

That's flatly unconstitutional.

Article II of the Constitution:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

No State may obstruct a person who meets these qualifications from being President through any mechanism whatsoever, and any such attempt is facially unconstitutional and void.

An attempt to do so is a direct assault on the Constitution of the nation.

There is no lawful means to force someone to disclose tax returns to run for President other than to amend the Constitution.

Such an act, should it actually influence who is on the ballot and thus who wins, would be a facial declaration of war against the nation itself, and of secession of the state so involved.

The easy way for Congress to deal with such an action and prevent an immediate dissolution of the nation would be to refuse to count said electoral votes from that State at all due to the state attempting to unconstitutionally amend the requirements to be President.  By the way Congress has that power and can use it.  My money is on them doing exactly that.

If that was not the Congressional response then it would, quite-arguably, be game on for secession.  And it would be the blues that would try to shoot too -- all the reds have to do is refuse to deliver anything to or through a state that did this -- like electricity, oil, natural gas or refined products.

Do you think Congress doesn't know all of this?

The hell they don't.

Pass such a law and your State gets ZERO say in who's elected President.

Have at it.

View this entry with comments (opens new window)