"New data shows Trump is lying far more as the midterms approach. More than 1000 lies in October alone, more than any other month of his Presidency." Nov 5, 2018 @TheBeatWithAri
The results of the U.S. midterms tomorrow
In December 2017, the 10yr less 2yr Canada Government bond spread narrowed to just 32 beeps away from inversion.
A year and half later the wide reached 230 beeps in May 2009, 2 months after the pit of gloom crash bottom.
We should start watching for further narrowing now especially with equity markets at their historical tops.
Market history is littered with downturns that followed new Republican presidents: Hoover (1929), Eisenhower (1953), Nixon (1969), Reagan (1981), and Bush (2001). The Trump bubble will likely prove to be the mother of all Republican presidential ebullience bubbles. Trade wars are not positive at all for the markets. They are what exacerbated the Great Depression and they should be one of the key triggers of the bursting of the China bubble.
Here's Who Could Lose the Most in a U.S.-China Trade War
Bloomberg, January 23, 2017
The U.S. is Canada's biggest trading partner (74% of our total exports and 65% of total imports StatsCan March 2017 data); so we pay attention to our southern neighbour; bigly.
The chart above is my look at Canadian household debt and the observation that Federal Direct Investment into Canada has now been net negative for 20 years with the just published 2016 data update. That's a trend and notice it's now at an historic wide for the last two years.
Foreigners have not been willing to invest in Canada in a net positive way for the last 20 years and Canadian investors prefer to seek their fortune offshore where labour costs are cheaper and regulations less onerous. "Canada’s fall to the third most attractive region in the world for investment is reflective of Alberta’s continued deterioration, as investors continue to view the province as less attractive for investment." Fraser Institute March 2, 2017
Canadians have made a massive long term leveraged bet on domestic housing which is a negative yielding asset that needs cash flow to sustain it. If you have recently signed up for a 25 year mortgage, you should consider asking your employer for a 25 year employment contract; you may need it if most of our business is with the U.S. All bets are off on the future.
I covered what I think to be President Donald Trump's characteristics on November 14, 2016, namely that his tendency is psychopathic and fascist: "Trumped" November 14, 2016, but Let me add some more descriptors.
Kleptocratic from the Greek, literally means "rule by thieves" (Wikipedia).
- ITEM: Trump Kleptocracy Watch: An Update. The New Yorker April 4, 2017
- ITEM: Kleptocrats manage to nationalize risk while privatizing profits. Washington Post January 5. 2017
- ITEM: Trump will turn America into an 'all-out kleptocracy' like Russia and Ukraine. Paul Krugman November 15, 2016
Sociopathic Narcissist: Donald Trump, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Sociopathy, by John C. Espy Karnacology, March 01, 2017
Here is the introduction:
With all of the discussions going on about Donald Trump’s ‘narcissism’, I thought I might offer a broader clinical perspective regarding sociopathic narcissism. Clearly there is great ongoing discussion about Donald Trump’s ‘narcissism’, however, I believe what has been errant in the discussion is that Trump is by definition not just ‘narcissistic.’ Trump’s narcissistic manifestations also appear to be well entrenched in sociopathy.
From a pragmatic standpoint an ‘amount’ of narcissism is necessary for being successful as it is for living. What is imperative to understand, is that our now president appears to have a definable mental illness that appears to manifest as a narcissistic personality disorder with sociopathy.
This primitive form of narcissism is by definition an intractable and realistically untreatable mental illness that even under the most ideal of clinical circumstances is only manageable at best. In Mr. Trump’s case it is manifest in apparently shady business dealings and in politically oppressive ways. However, the etiology is not business per se or political by nature but rather psychological. What we see manifest in individuals who are primitively bound within this commingled pathological structure takes on the following dynamics:
Sociopathic narcissism is not a diagnosis that is mysterious or one that looks like magical realism. Rather, like most clinical processes it has a relatively well defined structure (within having almost a complete lack of intrapsychic structure) and is also relatively predictable, once the individual has revealed enough of how their sociopathic narcissistic dynamics manifest. First, as we have seen demonstrated repeatedly, and using Mr. Trump as an example, narcissists seek out others who will behave in an obsequious manner, not just while in their physical presence but also who will parrot their projections while out of their physical presence.
In clinical circles that possess a familiarity of sociopathic narcissistic personalities, there is a slang that refers to those who encircle a sociopathic narcissist, particularly one with power, as ‘pandering whores.’ The term is clearly derogatory, particularly for those who seek to achieve secondary gain from riding the coattails of a sociopathic narcissistic individual or those who also manifest the same psychological structure, but have not been able to, if you will, get the traction to achieve the ‘greatness’ or notoriety of the one that they cling too. In essence, they become ‘great’ only in the shadow of the one they bark for.
A primary source of anxiety that lives within the sociopathic narcissist is a terror of ruinous disillusionment which would ultimately terminate in a catastrophic exposure of what is in essence a fraudulent existence. As the risk of exposure intensifies, be it in a dyad or more macro group structures, their intrapsychic constellation becomes increasing more fragile and their manifest behaviour becomes more erratic.
As Timothy L. O'Brien, the executive editor of Bloomberg Gadfly and Bloomberg View succinctly put it: Two things have always driven the president: self-aggrandizement and self-preservation. Bloomberg, May 10, 2017.
Trump's need for self-aggrandizement and self-preservation is the easiest filter to use to put all Trump news through when assessing whether Canada and your income is going to be better off as a result of the news. If it is good for Trump, check your wallet.
This following interview of Trump by editors of The Economist magazine where Trump asks "Have you heard that expression ("prime the pump") used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do."... will probably elicit more additions to your own list of descriptors.
DONALD TRUMP, the President of the United States, along with Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, sat down for a conversation with editors from The Economist on May 4th, 2017.
The Religious Right
Part of Putin's Playbook
If you want a glimpse of where we’re headed as a country, look to Russia. For years, conservatives — especially fundamentalist Christian conservatives — have held Russia as an ideal to which they could aspire. As Vladimir Putin cracked down on the free press and the rights of his Muslim and LGBT citizens, many conservatives came to see him not as a brutal autocrat but as a paternalistic defender of traditional values. Many white supremacists likewise fawn over Putin’s Russia. Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, now famous for being punched in the face, called it the sole white power remaining in the world, and Klansman David Duke has said he believes Russia holds the “key to white survival.” J. Ryne Danielson, February 2, 2017
Why Vladimir Putin does the bidding of the Orthodox Church against the evangelical Christian religions. Copying from the playbook of Joseph Stalin, Putin revived the Russian Orthodox Church to intensify patriotic support and presents himself as a defender of Christian civilization, because he saw the church had an ability to arouse the people in a way that the party could not.
Dan Loney's February 19, 2017 blog post details an update from Harry Dent about Dent's view on a probable correction low for Vancouver housing prices. I have mashed up Dent's retracement projection with my Plunge-O-Meter fantasy.
A few months ago I spent three days with world renown economist Harry Dent. We had a conversation regarding the state of Vancouver area real estate. He stated that he expected the real estate market to correct 43% in Vancouver from it’s high. This week his office sent me this chart which shows a projected crash of -64%. (FEB 19, 2017)
The classic Fibonacci retracements are 23.6%, 38.2%, 50%, 61.8% and 100%.
But there are just too many interference inputs that could either reinforce or cancel any potential arc of change. The most basic influence I point to is the ability to turn debt into equity. If one is highly leveraged against a real estate holding, it's not a problem as long as there is sufficient cash flow to service the debt. But this can be a very fragile relationship because of the risk from unaccounted inputs that began their historical arcs decades ago (Technology, Emerging Markets, Governance, Demographics etc).
The Bank of Canada estimated that more than 20 percent of all insured mortgages were contracted by households that have loan-to-income ratios of more than 450 percent. Hilliard MacBeth for MACLEANS October 12, 2016
Dent figures the Vancouver bubble began in 2003. I suggest it began in 2005. Dent projects another 14 years (2032) before we reach the price lows; the Plunge-O-Meter currently targets the fall of 2021, or 4.75 years from now. Could it happen? Maybe.
On the price chart in the spring of 2005 there was a 4-6 month plateau period while buyers and sellers twitched like a herd. When the credit spreads narrowed and the yield curve began its journey towards inversion, the commodity stampede began. Plunge-O-Meter
I suggest that there would probably need some very dramatic inputs to change the current sentiment of buyers in Vancouver who, although they have been thinning out according to sales volumes, are still willing to short cash at what appears to be the top of the market that has been in place since July 2016 and a clear divergence from the ebullience of today's Trumpian stock and bond markets.
I think the input drama that changes the Vancouver housing price regime has to come from these very liquid, fast moving stock and bond markets.
Whatever the sentiment shock is, that causes another extreme selloff (Wikipedia list of stock market crashes and bear markets), the need for speed to turn debt into equity will expose the weak hands very quickly, they need to act fast and get ahead of the competition.
Only deep pocketed knife jugglers will prevail until we approach the final lows and then new buyers will be rewarded without any technical market timing analysis. Long before that, we may see a rebirth of interest in the income approach fundamental.
Charles Nenner Interview February 21, 2017
Market Crash Recession
by the 5th of November, 2017
Yellen Will Raise Rates in March
FEB 15, 2017 BNN Interview of Jim Rickards
March 15, 2017 is the Date to Watch
Everything Will Grind to a Halt
David Stockman FEB 27, 2017
Moderated by Prof. Sebastian Edwards, a former chief economist of the World Bank; this discussion reveals the surprising insights of UCLA Anderson Forecast economists Prof. Ed Leamer and Prof. Jerry Nickelsburg, FEB 16, 2017
David Frum on Trump
"This is the most phoney baloney administration ever"
The election of Donald Trump could mean a gradual shift in the nature of the American political system. The much vaunted checks and balances might be unable to stop a slide into a new kind of authoritarianism. This is how David Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic and a former speech writer, imagines one of the possible futures that await the U.S. He joins The Agenda to talk about political implications under Donald Trump. Published on Youtube Feb 9, 2017
The Rolling Stones - Doom and Gloom
I have to get this off my chest before I return my attention back to the turmoil brewing that is real estate in Canada because the Trump Presidency will be headed by a psychologically defined Psychopath and his vice president who will be one step away from the oval office also "believes it his 'calling' to legislate his religious views into public policy."
Bye bye secular humanist civil government; hello to religious and political ideologues.
Here is the Hare Psychopathy Checklist. "Each of the twenty items is given a score of 0, 1, or 2 based on how well it applies to the subject being tested. A prototypical psychopath would receive a maximum score of 40, while someone with absolutely no psychopathic traits or tendencies would receive a score of zero. A score of 30 or above qualifies a person for a diagnosis of psychopathy. People with no criminal backgrounds normally score around 5. Many non-psychopathic criminal offenders score around 22."
01. glib and superficial charm
02. grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
03. need for stimulation
04. pathological lying
05. cunning and manipulativeness
06. lack of remorse or guilt
07. shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
08. callousness and lack of empathy
09. parasitic lifestyle
10. poor behavioral controls
11. sexual promiscuity
12. early behavior problems
13. lack of realistic long-term goals
16. failure to accept responsibility for own actions
17. many short-term marital relationships
18. juvenile delinquency
19. revocation of conditional release
20. criminal versatility
Does anything sound familiar?
And here is Umberto Eco's definition of Facism from Wikipedia:
In his 1995 essay "Eternal Fascism", Umberto Eco lists fourteen general properties of fascist ideology. [UR-Fascism] He argues that it is not possible to organise these into a coherent system, but that "it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it". He uses the term "Ur-fascism" as a generic description of different historical forms of fascism. Eleven of the fourteen properties are as follows:
"The Cult of Tradition", characterized by cultural syncretism, even at the risk of internal contradiction. When all truth has already been revealed by Tradition, no new learning can occur, only further interpretation and refinement.
"The Rejection of modernism", which views the rationalistic development of Western culture since the Enlightenment as a descent into depravity. Eco distinguishes this from a rejection of superficial technological advancement, as many fascist regimes cite their industrial potency as proof of the vitality of their system.
"The Cult of Action for Action's Sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
"Disagreement Is Treason" – Fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action, as well as out of fear that such analysis will expose the contradictions embodied in a syncretistic faith.
"Fear of Difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
"Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
"Obsession with a Plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often combines an appeal to xenophobia with a fear of disloyalty and sabotage from marginalized groups living within the society (such as the German elite's 'fear' of the 1930s Jewish populace's businesses and well-doings; see also anti-Semitism). Eco also cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
Fascist societies rhetorically cast their enemies as "at the same time too strong and too weak." On the one hand, fascists play up the power of certain disfavored elites to encourage in their followers a sense of grievance and humiliation. On the other hand, fascist leaders point to the decadence of those elites as proof of their ultimate feebleness in the face of an overwhelming popular will.
"Pacifism is Trafficking with the Enemy" because "Life is Permanent Warfare" – there must always be an enemy to fight. Both fascist Germany under Hitler and Italy under Mussolini worked first to organize and clean up their respective countries and then build the war machines that they later intended to and did use, despite Germany being under restrictions of the Versailles treaty to NOT build a military force. This principle leads to a fundamental contradiction within fascism: the incompatibility of ultimate triumph with perpetual war.
"Contempt for the Weak", which is uncomfortably married to a chauvinistic popular elitism, in which every member of society is superior to outsiders by virtue of belonging to the in-group. Eco sees in these attitudes the root of a deep tension in the fundamentally hierarchical structure of fascist polities, as they encourage leaders to despise their underlings, up to the ultimate Leader who holds the whole country in contempt for having allowed him to overtake it by force.
"Everybody is Educated to Become a Hero", which leads to the embrace of a cult of death. As Eco observes, "the Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death."
"Machismo", which sublimates the difficult work of permanent war and heroism into the sexual sphere. Fascists thus hold "both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality."
"Selective Populism" – The People, conceived monolithically, have a Common Will, distinct from and superior to the viewpoint of any individual. As no mass of people can ever be truly unanimous, the Leader holds himself out as the interpreter of the popular will (though truly he dictates it). Fascists use this concept to delegitimize democratic institutions they accuse of "no longer represent[ing] the Voice of the People."
"Newspeak" – Fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.
Does anything sound familiar?
Stephen K. Bannon
"Bannon and Breitbart Media were Trump before Trump"
QUOTES from the interview of Stephen K. Bannon
by Ken Stern, Vanity Fair, August 17, 2016:
Bannon and Breitbart Media were Trump before Trump, creating the political philosophy and the political army in waiting that has been the engine for the candidate’s astonishing rise in American politics.
A former employee of Breitbart described him (Bannon) to me as “Donald Trump but more intelligent.” He didn’t mean it as a compliment, and was instead referring to the opportunism, the personal vindictiveness, and the lack of a moral center that have become defining characteristics of Trump.
Breitbart, under his (Bannon's) leadership, after all, has become “Trump Pravda,” as one former staffer described it to me (Ken Stern, Vanity Fair).
Trump is a “blunt instrument for us,” he (Bannon) told me (Stern) earlier this summer. “I don’t know whether he really gets it or not.”
QUOTES from Trump's New Chief Strategist, Stephen K. Bannon
via Gizmodo, NOV 13, 2016:
“I’ve got a cure for mental health issue. Spank your children more.”
“I, Donald Trump and the rest of the alpha males will continue to dominate the internet without feminist whining.”
“Women should just log off. Given that men built the internet, along with the rest of modern civilization, I think it’s only fair that they get to keep it.”
“As insane as my suggestion sounds, it’s genuinely the best recipe for harmony between the sexes until women can stop lying about “abuse” and “harassment” or at least learn to take it as well as dish it out.”
“Breitbart beat other news organisations such as CNN, The Hill, and The Guardian with a total combined 9,098,013 Twitter and Facebook interactions, of which 89% came from Facebook and 11% from Twitter.” “This October, Breitbart News broke company traffic records, generating over 240 million pageviews and 37 million unique visitors.”
The Left is Responsible
"Stop Apologizing Liberals"
Bill Maher, January 27, 2017
As does Dave Chappelle and others, I wish Donald Trump the chance to do well. The U.S. is going to need all its patriots both left and right.
The Dave Chappelle SNL monologue video link here or here for Canadian viewers.
History, Charts & Curated Readings
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement; and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense
Balance Of Trade
Rent Or Buy