#theleft

Now media has an issue with Trump’s $3,100 stake in Sanofi

The story just keeps getting more deranged. Now The NY Times is taking umbrage at the fact that Trump’s family has a $110k stake in a Dodge & Cox global mutual fund that just happens to have Sanofi, the maker of Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine sulfate), as its largest holding. A whopping 2.9%! Which means his family stake would be c.$3,100.

One imagines if that same fund owned stakes in GM or Boeing that he should be accused of skimming off the top because he is ferried in The Beast and flown around in Air Force One. FedEx is in there too. Better keep an eye on Melania and Ivanka’s outgoing courier mail to ensure that UPS is also getting a fair share.

For the benefit of The NY Times, it might help to know that Trump has no legal control over the asset allocation choices made by a global mutual fund other than choosing to buy or sell it. Furthermore, Sanofi has been a dud stock over the last 5 years in terms of performance.

It would be better had the NYT taken pot-shots at Trump’s dreadful choice in asset manager given Sanofi has been such a dog.

Perhaps it would be nicer to think that the drug actually works. Certainly seems more promising than anything else out there to date.

Sad to think that The NY Times would seemingly prefer the drug fails and people die than Trump get a windfall profit in his 401k.

When the people you least expect praise Trump on COVID19 response

The View, hosted by Joy Behar is about as liberal as a show can get. The members of the panel are all suffering chronic Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Instead of wishing that Americans are safe, she tried to pillory California Governor Grant Newsom over his positive remarks about Trump, making out as though he was kissing the ring to get help. He replied,

Let me just acknowledge the frame of your question. We’re involved in over 68 lawsuits with the Trump administration, and so there’s no question we have had our differences of opinion on many issues but I just want to remind you that you and many others that maybe are not aware of this. We have been at this since late January. California got a head start in many respects where no one was really paying much attention. We started working with the administration directly to get these repatriated flights from mainland China into the state of California. Many states turned their back on those flights and those repatriation missions. California embraced them. We also had that “Grand Princess,” that large cruise ship where we worked very collaboratively with the federal government developed strong relationships of trust with emergency planning and how we can bring those passengers back into our diverse communities and all across the rest of the country.

As a consequence of that, our relationship began earlier than most, and so from that perspective, all I can say is from my perspective, the relationship has been strong and I’m not doing it to kiss the ring. I’m not doing it in a way, you know — I’m just being forthright with the president. He returns calls. He reaches out. He’s been proactive. We got that “Mercy” ship down here in Los Angeles. That was directly because he sent it down here. 2,000 medical units came to the state of California, these fms, these field medical stations, and that’s been very, very helpful and to the extent we’re going to need more, and I’ll let you know in a few weeks if that relationship continues.

What were we saying about media narratives that are so removed from the truth?

Why haven’t the media picked up on this Executive Order?

When Barack Obama became president in 2009, he eliminated the White House Health and Security Office, which worked on international health issues such as pandemics. However, after grappling with the 2014 & 2015 Ebola outbreaks he eventually set up the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense team in the final year of his 2nd term.

If we truly believed the media narrative, the spread of the COVID19 outbreak was a direct consequence of the Trump administration disbanding Obama’s 430 person team.

The truth is that during the summer of 2018, Trump’s NSC merged three directorates to make preparation for bioterrorism threats or pandemics seamless. The name was disbanded. Not the function.

Journalists had no qualms shaping the story as yet another Obama legacy torched based on ego alone. Trump Derangement Syndrome rules absolutely.

Which begs the question why there was no widespread reporting or recall of Trump’s Executive Order from September 2019? His demand prioritizes coordination and response to pandemics and the establishment of a National Influenza Vaccine Task Force.

Point 1(e) states clearly,

The seasonal influenza vaccine market rewards manufacturers that deliver vaccines in time for the influenza season, without consideration of the speed or scale of these manufacturers’ production processes.  This approach is insufficient to meet the response needs in the event of a pandemic, which can emerge rapidly and with little warning.  Because the market does not sufficiently reward speed, and because a pandemic has the potential to overwhelm or compromise essential government functions, including defense and homeland security, the Government must take action to promote faster and more scalable manufacturing platforms.

Section 2 goes further,

Policy.  It is the policy of the United States to modernize the domestic influenza vaccine enterprise to be highly responsive, flexible, scalable, and more effective at preventing the spread of influenza viruses.  This is a public health and national security priority, as influenza has the potential to significantly harm the United States and our interests, including through large-scale illness and death, disruption to military operations, and damage to the economy.  This order directs actions to reduce the United States’ reliance on egg-based influenza vaccine production; to expand domestic capacity of alternative methods that allow more agile and rapid responses to emerging influenza viruses; to advance the development of new, broadly protective vaccine candidates that provide more effective and longer lasting immunities; and to support the promotion of increased influenza vaccine immunization across recommended populations.

In short, before coronavirus was even on the radar Trump had already enacted a policy to better prepare industry to be able to supply an actual “response”. Furthermore the team wasn’t disbanded. It was merged on efficiency grounds.

As Mark Twain said,

“If you don’t read the newspaper you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper you’re misinformed.”

Why would anyone celebrate BoJo contracting COVID19?

You have to hand it to a particular bunch of imbeciles who believe that certain people catching COVID 19 is a positive. When UK PM Boris Johnson contracted it one called it poetic justice. Another karma. It is sick.

Social media does amazing things to lure people to write/do ludicrous things in the hope of going viral, presumably to boost their followers, likes, retweets or shares.

Twitter isn’t real life but it exposes the underbelly of how sick society can become.

I’ll never forget an excerpt from my grandfather’s letters while serving in New Guinea in WWII. Amazingly he was able to feel pity for a mortal enemy sworn to kill him. He wrote,

“Well on reading about some of the women you were telling me about I feel a loathing for such hypocritical parasites. Is this what men are laying down their lives to protect? I sometimes wish that they could see how a bloke looks like when he is unburied for a couple of months, a skeleton with boots and clothes on, eaten by ants. A grinning skull and shirt black and stiff with congealed blood. Or a few Japs scattered around a shell hole with leg bones protruding from their boots…

…I wonder and think that these bones were a few months ago living people, with their loves and hates, wives and mothers, and sweethearts, posted as missing, they are frequently seen in the jungle, unburied until found. Then I think of the mongrels safe in Australia and having a great time the bastards – pardon my eloquence but I really get worked up over the mongrels that are not worth the little finger of the boys on the job defending their pseudo honour and their miserable little lives.”

How is it we are able as a society to celebrate the contraction of a potentially deadly disease by anyone?

If a soldier could find empathy at the wrong end of an Arisaka rifle, how is it some can’t find a wafer thin slice of compassion for people who hold a different political opinion that happen to become infected?

One can only imagine what might happen if Trump contracted it? Many are hopeful. Even if they make it out to be a joke.

Even in Australia, some hope PM Scott Morrison contracts the virus.

This is the level of the tolerant left before real economic hardship properly sets in.

MSM relishes trade of economic depression via pandemic over Trump as POTUS w/ no virus

Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) knows no bounds. Yes, the mainstream media (MSM) is celebrating the milestone that the Dow is below the level when Donald Trump was inaugurated.

We have always said that if Trump continued to boast about market gains he would have to wear it on the downside too. Alas, he is being hoisted by his own petard.

Sadly, as much as CNN and others relish the though of Trump out of office, we sincerely doubt the vast majority of Americans would trade a pandemic with catastrophic unemployment over business as usual before the WuFlu with a Trump at the helm.

Markets are forward looking. They anticipate where corporate earnings are likely to be. This market rout has little to do with Trump’s policies in isolation.

We’ve said repeatedly that global central banks have created a debt bomb through reckless monetary policies over the last two decades. They have proved just how little impact cutting rates to zero or throwing $850bn in handouts has on markets. They’re out of ammunition. Confidence is shot. We’re in uncharted territory.

Boeing is the perfect canary in the coal mine. The 737MAX debacle which is imminently due to be on sale again to a market that has effectively vanished. Airlines are cutting routes and it will be up to the zombie lending cycles of aircraft leasing companies to renegotiate rates so they can keep the patient alive. Airlines will push out deliveries.

However before Boeing’s core business troubles, the management embarked on short term incentive chasing buybacks to the tune of $43bn since 2013. The company is trading negative equity and has drawn down ALL of its credit lines ($13.8bn) and now wants a handout.

All of this is the product of two decades of mindless expediency. Governments are just as culpable for allowing greed to override common sense. No lessons have been learnt since 2000 and especially 2008. Blue chips like Boeing and GE are now heading to record lows because of it. Ford Motor is rated junk. How long before Boeing and GE fall foul of the same problem?

We are particularly interested in the next set of results from Parker Hannifin. It is like the global industrial hardware store. All of the major manufacturers use Parker for parts – pumps, hydraulics, pneumatics, valves, hoses etc. When we see Parker’s upcoming report on order flows we can gauge how bad it is at the manufacturing coal face.

This time we are staring at a “global depression” and it would be nice to think the MSM would try to put some context around the ramifications of this virus and the raft of economy killing policies governments around the world are introducing instead of just blaming Trump. Yes, he’s been his normal self during this but is he responsible for the actions of other countries going into shutdowns? Seriously? Do the US Coronavirus stats stack up poorly vs countries like Italy on a relative or absolute basis? No. Moreover COVID-19 cases in the US are a mere fraction of H1N1 swine flu cases which the media made nowhere near the level of hysteria as now. It’s a disgrace how far the media will go for clickbait.

Had the world’s central banks behaved sensibly to stop excessive debt and allowed markets to function freely, this pandemic would have had far less effect than it is now because we would have had the ammunition to fight this war of attrition. Now all our governments and regulators are doing is moving phantom armies across maps trying to stop economic Armageddon.

Macron invites moral hazard

President Macron of France wants to suspend all utility and rent payments for 30 days. So what if Coronavirus lasts 6-9 months? Will landlords get special treatment from the banks to suspend loan payments on those properties forced into providing free rent?What about banks who have to pay for staff with reduced income because loan payments are frozen? Who pays? The very people the government is trying to help.

How long can a country subsidize employers and employees? What will happen when those French citizens who end up 6mths in arrears on rent? Should we expect that they have prudently set aside those payments to hand over as a lump sum to their generous landlords? Will the tenants claim that they had to spend it on other things and ask for the government to pay on their behalf? Of course they will.

These are the first steps to guaranteeing moral hazard. This misguided altruism will backfire big time. The vicious circle will mean the people he tried to help will end up in a worse place after it. Higher taxes, fewer jobs and more handouts with money that has been borrowed or printed.

What next? Bail out restaurants, bars and cafes that are affected by shutdowns?

We are staring at a Great Depression. No one likes to talk about it but we can’t just expect economies to shutdown for 2 months or more and then go back to business as usual once the whole pandemic has been defeated like nothing ever happened.

Take the example of a cafe. Most coffee shops buy in muffins and pastries. So if the coffee shop must cease trading for a while, it will tell its bakery to halt deliveries. Same for the coffee bean makers. And the coffee cup suppliers. They’ll tell their raw materials providers to stop until further notice. And so on and so on. The cafe will temporarily lay off staff. As will the baker, bean supplier and others.

Some staff or owners may have mortgages. Many won’t be able to meet monthly payments. They could default. Their homes could be repossessed by the banks which will then be faced with marking to market the value of the property on their loan books which could technically wipe out all their thin equity. Then the banks will be forced to ask for a bail out. Housing prices implode. Australia, are you listening?

Then home owners struggling to make payments cut back on non essentials. Out go gym memberships and cable TV subscriptions. Buying a latte becomes a luxury.

We are all going to have to realize we will have little choice but to click the big fat RESET button if the economy is to recover properly and soundly. It will be painful and bring out the worst in people but experience is a hard teacher. We’ll get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

And for Australia, which has experienced 28 years of non stop growth, the shock will be exacerbated because of so much complacency.

In a nutshell we all need to relearn the word “personal responsibility“. Governments are only doing everything in their power to remove us having to be accountable for anything.

Let shareholders burn

We buy shares because we expect to gain a return. We all know there are risks attached. As we wrote yesterday on Boeing, it has embarked on reckless buybacks which have compromised the balance sheet. The company has drawn down all of its $13.8bn in credit lines from banks overnight. It is panic stations. It was completely avoidable.

How ironic that companies which are among those that splurged $4.5 trillion on share buybacks just to chase short term management incentives will be the first lining up for taxpayer support to save them from negligent governance.

We say shareholders should suffer the downside of that investment choice. They had the power to remove officers from the companies they entrusted management to. If a company goes belly up, let other players in the market pick up the spoils for fire sale prices.

The Wolf Street correctly noted,

The Trump administration is putting together a rumored $850-billion stimulus package that will include taxpayer funded bailouts of Corporate America, according to leaks cited widely by the media. Trump in the press conference today singled out $50 billion in bailout funds for US airlines alone. A bailout of this type is designed to bail out shareholders and unsecured creditors. That’s all it is. The alternative would be a US chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure which would allow the company to operate, while it is being handed to the creditors, with shareholders getting wiped out.”

All this Trump package will do is encourage the same bad behaviour. We think this is nothing more than trebling down on the problems that hit us in 2008. But hey, it’s an election year!! Reckless.

As usual, the SEC has been asleep at the wheel. Same as in the lead up to 2008. This is what happens when regulators hire clueless lawyers who don’t have a clue about how markets operate. Therefore they miss crucial events.

As for shareholders – you earned it.

The only upside to this market volatility is that no one has talked about climate change for weeks! Probably because when people are about to lose their livelihoods, all of a sudden virtue signaling is worthless. That goes for diversity and inclusion too. Every cloud has a silver lining.