Bernie

Musk to be investigated by SEC over tweets

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CM has always thought that Elon Musk is the ultimate salesman. CM has also wrote that the biggest risk to being a short seller was then”cult” status of the company. On any rational investment grounds the stock is ridiculously priced but as the old adage goes, “the market can stay irrational longer than you can remain solvent!

Tesla is a car company that is worth more than GM, Ford & FiatChrysler combined. One that trades at 5x Daimler in valuation terms, a luxury competitor that is in the sweet spot of its product line up and rudely profitable.

Back in June, Musk bought $35mn worth of shares in Tesla. The whole idea that someone is willing to fork out $75bn on a whim seems somewhat implausible. Is it safe to assume that all of 100s of lawyers, bankers and brokers would need a little bit of time to prepare the necessary documentation to cement such a ridiculous sum? Or is money now just so free and easy that a billionaire deploys a vault full of cash loaded full of Zero Halliburtons into a private jet after a few phone calls?

SEC enforcement attorneys had already been gathering general information about Tesla’s public statements on manufacturing goals and sales targets. Now SEC attorneys are investigating whether his tweets about securing funding were factual.

CM is not accusing Musk of insider trading albeit as a matter of course the SEC should investigate when he knew about his mega financier. One wonders how it is that we know so little about the buyer, the term sheet, the question of shareholder approval and how “secure” it is? Taking it private will remove the lens of quarterly reporting but it doesn’t remove the fact of how dreadfully the company is run or how amateur production is. Even if public scrutiny is removed, the problems of profitability don’t disappear and the need for funds, credit ratings etc if he taps public markets for debt capital remain.

If Musk pulls it all off and the company becomes a roaring success then CM will gladly eat a whole humble pie and openly admit it was wrong.

As to the SEC investigation let’s hope it has learnt the lessons of its bumbling incompetency over Bernie Madoff and doesn’t miss anything that might be bleeding obvious.

Populism isn’t just for rednecks

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It is hard not to think of NY Democrat voters following in the path of what got Jeremy Corbyn cemented as UK Labour leader. Those tired of the Blairite Tory-lite Labour Party of old swooped in on a hardline socialist agenda. Tory’s pretending to be liberals. No thanks, they cried. Democrat-Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AO-C) romped home in NY booting 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley out. While NY has long been a deep blue state, clearly Crowley wasn’t seen as progressive enough. As a disciple of Bernie Sanders, AO-C embodies the idea that the only way the Dems stand a chance is to offer a proper “hard” alternative. Free education, healthcare, open borders and rattling cages in Texas tickled voters pink. Right out of the Bernie Sanders’ playbook. Full credit to her for nailing the mood of the electorate. No one can blame her for that. She even hammered progressive NY Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for not backing her prior to the primary, tweeting,

Unsurprising, but disappointing that @SenGillibrand didn’t even bother to talk to nor consider me before endorsing…You‘d think a progressive leader would at least be interested in how a no-corporate money Bronx Latina triggered the 1st NY-14 primary in 14 years on prog issues.

She has a point. It isn’t that Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters aren’t left. It is just that they, like Gillibrand, appear to be frauds of the faith the party proclaims it instills. Pretending to have a socialist progressive agenda while living it large behind huge gated mansions and in the pockets of the lobbyists funded by the major corporates. AO-C appears the real deal. Better to be an authentic socialist. Democracy ironically delivered her win. No doubt she’ll trounce her GOP opponent.

While AO-C is at this stage a one-off, her success could well pave the way for a blue-print for winning the true heart of the Democrat voters. Apart from self-professing that she ticks a lot of the diversity boxes there is something refreshing about what she represents. That populism is not just reserved for bigoted and racist angry white male supremacists. However this has unintended consequences for further polarizing a country. We only need look at Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant and chased across the street. Then to have Maxine Waters encourage people to hound Trump administration officials out of restaurants or gas stations. Is this the America Americans want? Surely most are appalled by such behaviours.

We might laugh at such a notion as fringe but Rasmussen Reports noted yesterday, “Thirty-one percent (31%) of Likely U.S. Voters say it’s likely that the United States will experience a second civil war sometime in the next five years…59% of all voters are concerned that those opposed to President Trump’s policies will resort to violence, with 33% who are Very Concerned. This compares to 53% and 28% respectively in the spring of Obama’s second year in office.”

Miriam Webster Dictionary tweeted that “‘Socialism’ has been our top search (+1500%) since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary win last night.” There is a touch of irony in a recent CIS survey of millennials which showed that 63% of university graduates were in favour of socialism despite more than half (51%) hadn’t heard of Chinese communist revolutionary Mao,  responsible for as many as 45 million deaths during the ‘Cultural Revolution’. Similarly, 42% didn’t know of Lenin, the father of modern communism, or World War II Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, responsible for the deaths of up to 43 million people.

Of interest, such a wave of socialism delivered by AO-C will only serve to feed the mentality of the sharks that elected Trump. AO-C has exposed just how policy-lite the likes of Waters, Pelosi and Schumer are. They realise Trump will romp home in 2020 unless there is a real alternative. Whether we like to admit it or not, Trump still has the highest approval rating of any Western leader – Trudeau, May, Macron, Turnbull and Merkel included. Incumbent Democrats have only shown their jealousy. The previous State of the Union speech spoke volumes of the inane levels of bitterness.

Americans are sick and tired of self-serving politicians. They want policy not public shaming and grandstanding. They want to see action not the use of children for political purposes. Whatever the stance of Americans on illegal immigrants at the border, decades of inaction has led to the sorry state it is in.

Of course it is easy to point fingers at POTUS for his insensitivity yet how soon it is they forget he has issued an executive order to ban separation from parents. How they overlook that countless numbers of innocent children used by smugglers that have died as they were abandoned in the desert across the border by their ‘supposed’ parents once ‘compassion’ was granted. All this prior to Trump taking office. That 80% of illegal immigrant girls and women are sexually assaulted before reaching the border, according to HuffPo. Hardly the type of humanity anyone with a pulse wants to see.

The viral Time Magazine photo-shopped cover of a little girl crying was used with great effect by the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) to raise $20mn via crowdfunding! $20 million!! Even after it was revealed that the child – stolen from her father – was never separated from the mother (who left her other 3 kids behind) and paid a smuggler to get to the border, RAICES still shamelessly uses the picture to boost its funding target to $25mn. That shows the power of just how willing Trump haters will go to support organizers with questionable ethics. Oh the irony of Democrat Chuck Schumer rejecting the very changes to the immigration laws they themselves put forward. At least AO-C seems to be walking the talk, however misguided her altruism may be.

Michael Moore correctly said before the 2016 election that “Trump is the Molotov cocktail in the system”. Despite his often vulgar methods, he has merely publicized long festering wounds created by decades of indifference. One can shout from the  roof tops at record low unemployment, record financial markets and economic growth but beneath the surface poverty remains above that seen before the GFC and income disparity has never been wider. AO-C should be sending shivers down the spine of the DNC. The incumbents though the cost of derailing Bernie Sanders was a one off. Now AO-C has exposed just how shallow the status quo is. Maybe Nancy Pelosi summed her fears best herself,

They made a choice in one district. So let’s not get yourself carried away as an expert on demographics and the rest of that. Within the caucus or outside the caucus, we are — again, we have an array of genders, generations, geography, and there is opinion in our caucus, and we’re proud of that. The fact that in a very progressive district in New York, it went more progressive than — Joe Crowley is a progressive, but she’s more left than Joe Crowley, is about that district...”

Not even Pelosi’s record breaking 8-hr speeches talking about the pride felt in her grandson wanting to be Hispanic will ever trump someone like AO-C whom seems to carry the liberal cause with the type of fervor that matches their social virtues. Populism indeed works both ways.

CM always said at the time of Trump’s election that the best outcome of his victory will be that it causes more people to deeply rethink about how much their vote truly counts. Democracy delivers. From the richest to the poorest, everyone has equal say. More politicians are slowly waking up from the slumber that incumbency in politics is no longer a given. That is a good thing, even if CM is not a fan of what AO-C supports. Then again that is a matter for American citizens alone to make, not CM’s.

Really?

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Really? Does Newsweek honestly believe that 59% of Republicans don’t want a woman president in their lifetime? Could it be GOP supporters don’t want to see a woman made president solely on the basis of gender? Is that irrational?

It is highly conceivable that many Republicans would back someone like US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, if she ever runs given her strength and purpose, regardless of how appalled Democrats might be. Even worse, the Democrats would die a thousand deaths knowing her Native American/Sikh background would singlehandedly outflank almost any identity driven political candidates the DNC could field itself.  To be thrashed at its own game when the opposition party doesn’t even know the rules. The irony!

However Newsweek would not be budged going straight down the line of how poor old Hillary Clinton was the innocent victim of rampant sexism. Aren’t Republicans bigger racists than sexists?

Newsweek’s Tim Marchin wrote,

Clinton’s candidacy was, of course, a big moment for women in U.S. politics. No other woman has ever earned the nomination of one of the major parties. After her loss in the election—to a man accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct—2017 became a year that was, in many ways, defined by women leaders…Millions of people took to the streets across the world in the Women’s March shortly after Trump’s inauguration. More recently, the #MeToo movement has helped shed light on just how many women have suffered from harassment, discrimination and assault. The movement has also revealed accusations against a number of men in positions of power.”

Marchin would have been far better off  conceding that Clinton’s campaign of identity politics (Obama 2.0) was on the ballot paper. It wasn’t wanted. The electorate preferred to place a serial p*ssy grabbing silver back with an agenda that better suited their needs.

Marchin might have reflected that Clinton ran her campaign like a coronation rather than a democratic election and deplorables voted for the guy who actually made the effort to see them. He may have pondered that even having an advantage of getting the questions before hand (aka cheating) saw her lose. To have her husband randomly meet the Attorney General on an airport tarmac days before the FBI testimony. Mere coincidence and who wouldn’t talk about the grandkids? It had nothing to do with her gender. It had nothing to do with those darned white women controlled by their red-necked husbands on voting day. She was an awful candidate.

More shameless clickbait journalism which tries to shame Republicans with a gotcha question bound to have wide interpretation. Here’s an idea for the Democrats – run a better candidate.

Madoff wasn’t so long ago

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It was just over 9 years ago that Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty to a Ponzi scheme that cost investors over $65bn. While many happily point fingers at greedy banksters we tend to forget that despite Harry Markopolos, handing the SEC (the US regulator) the details of the case in 1999 on a platter it failed to act. His testimony points directly to the kind of problem that exists with government regulators – no track record in the fields they legislate. In the 9 years prior to Madoff pleading guilty, Markopolos caught him at the $6bn stage. The SEC after multiple investigations turned nothing even with a treasure map provided by Markopolos that someone with markets experience would have discovered in 30 minutes. Throw on all the other scandals (ratings agencies etc) that the SEC failed to capture and it cost taxpayers $700bn.

Willful negligence? I gave a speech at the Japanese financial regulator (FSA) on fraud and insider trading  at the time of the Kobe Steel data scandal. When presented with comparable data with other exchanges the blind eye is no less scandalous. So before hanging the financiers out to dry perhaps people ought to question the regulators whose incompetence and inaction is at fault. If you give a child a box of matches unsupervised then don’t be surprised if the whole house burns down.

If in doubt just blame Russia – everyone else seems to

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Next time you’re pulled over for speeding, reprimanded by the boss or late for a meeting just blame Russia. Never had there been a more convenient excuse than this. If you wake up with a hangover it’s probably Russia’a fault for slipping something in your drink too and I’m pretty sure that the taxi that didn’t stop was probably due to a Russian hack.

Rasmussen’s latest poll on what people think of the Russian claim conducted on Dec 12-13 revealed:

“56% of Likely U.S. Voters believe it’s more likely that many in the media are working to get Clinton elected president. Just 26% disagree and say it’s more likely that the Russian government is working to get Trump elected.”

While the Democrats have been arguing that Russia was involved in tricking 64 million odd Americans into voting Trump now some in the UK are claiming Brexit was due to Russian interference. Of course it’s an easy hook for a media beat up. Putin is a bully with no respect for others is the accusation so meddling in elections . He doesn’t pretend to be a choir boy in world affairs and he certainly doesn’t mince words. Journalists tread on egg shells when interviewing him unlike any other politician out there.

In reality America’s cyber agencies  hack Russia as much as Russia’s hacks China which in turn hacks America which hacks China which…you get the point.

Like I said many may not like the result but looking for every excuse u fee the book to try and protest a result smacks of exactly the problem in the first place – the Democrats should have selected a better candidate but the failed to do so in the proviso it was “Hillary’s turn.” Perhaps Sanders should blame the Russians…perhaps Debbie Wasserman-Schulz was acting on their behalf. Hang on a minute that was an internal skewering…,

What is it Democrats don’t understand about democracy?

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What is it Democrats don’t get about democracy? I’m serious – what is it? The amount of blame placed on people who got up and voted for Trump, especially the supposed #WhiteLash. Could it be that the biased media so close to Election Day was 98% cocksure Hillary Clinton would romp home that many would be Democrat voters believed the utter exaggeration of Trump’s nigh on impossible to win and complacently sat on their safe space sofas and realized the folly of their mistake when it was too late. To hear the young people chant “this is not my President!” while they trash public and private property. These same people who whinge at the “lack of intelligence” of Trump’s redneck backers show themselves to be the dumb ones for conforming to groupthink driven by an out of touch media who only fed them with the bias formed in an echo chamber they wanted to hear. The signs were obvious. Did they not see those outer city yokels doing it tough while they blissfully chewed on A-5 wagyu steaks washed down with new world merlot from Argentina behind their gated compounds?.

This election showed Democrats out of touch with midde America. Trump won because he listened and appealed to those who didn’t believe in the bulldust spouted by the Ivy League political masters because they weren’t living that prosperity.

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The above map points to the typical intolerant double standards of the liberal left. While they cry outrage at Trump’s locker room talk they remain silent about their own when Weiner is busted for sexting minors and the well known sexual misconduct of Bill Clinton is spoken of. Didn’t they cry “when they go low, we go high”? When an election is run in the gutter on both sides that sort of moral high ground doesn’t exactly win hearts and minds.

So while the Democrats preach diversity, equality, LGBT rights and free education they have no shame in mocking Republicans as coming from “Dumbfuckistan” which if the shoe was on the other foot and Trump supporters hailed Democrats from Demfuckistan they would be assaulted as bigoted white trash, disrespecting the Muslim community by using “-stan.” That’s the beauty of the diversity mob – you’re only one of them if you strictly conform to the letter of their ideology. Stray off message and you’ll be  instantly labeled bigoted, racist, intolerant and probably deplorable  for good measure.

Now it seems those champagne socialists (aka Hollywood celebrities) don’t want to leave after all. Well there is a surprise. While they harped on about equality and diversity (Miley Cyrus even cried on camera about how her life would be ruined if Trump won) they won’t stick to their promises because they know their fragile egos and bank accounts wouldn’t grow outside America. Funny how the situation changes. Amy Shumer now says she was joking.

Reverend Al Sharpton (another who threatened to leave) said, “I think that there’s going to be — rather than going to a blame game, we need to analyze, this man’s going to be president and all that many of us have fought for during our lives is at stake. And we are not going down without a fight and Donald needs to know that.”

I have absolutely no sympathy for people complaining about a result they had a chance to influence had they exercised democratic rights. It is irrelevant that whites voted for Trump. More blacks, Hispanics and other minorities voted for Trump than Romney in November 2011.  Say all they want about divisiveness and every other insult in the book because they didn’t like the outcome they would be better off looking inside themselves at the hypocrisy of what Democrat stands for. They stand for social justice on every form of victimology which now extends to protesting those who exercised democratic rights. They are victims of their own stupidity.

Complain all they want about what a vulgarian Trump is but they had a chance to stop it. Perhaps if Bernie Sanders wasn’t shafted because it was Hillary’s turn to be President the Democrats might have won. Now I hear the “she won the popular vote (by c.200,000)” so it is an unfair result but the election was well known to be based on electoral colleges. Thems the rules folks.  I’m sorry but Democrats also helped Trump into the Oval Office. They may have detested him as a person, they may think of him as a liar, bigot, racist etc but he won that election despite every hurdle and obstacle thrown in his way. Perhaps Trump isn’t as dumb as you made him out to be? With a majority in the House and Senate perhaps he’ll get much more done than many expect. The expectations are that low.

He is already breaking election promises apparently. Seriously people – when a man looks down a camera in front of millions after being busted for lewd talk tells you “no one respects women more than me” you can’t claim you didn’t know that. He knows you know he knows you know. Clinton on the other hand thought she knew you knew she knowed you didn’t know. It’s subtle but another reason why his authenticity pulled this election off.

In closing, hopefully the message here is simple. Instead of Democrats hurling insults at white racists and bigots perhaps they should open their eyes and know they were the very same accomplices that allowed such division to fester. Don’t blame them when it was you that played a role in beating them down into abject poverty. They were the victims of an establishment that didn’t care about them and they chose to be agents of change. They might not have letters after their name but don’t pass them off as stupid when the ones crying they’ve been duped are indeed you.

Clinton Foundation supposedly bought Khizr Khan for $375,000

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This US election campaign just keeps plunging new depths. Anonymous have hacked the bank account of lawyer Mr Khizr Khan, who spoke at the DNC (with his wife by his side) admonishing Trump for his bigoted views on Muslims and not knowing real sacrifice. It seems the Clinton Foundation has paid him $375,000 for ‘services.’

Now Clinton’s campaign is all over a leak that Trump recorded a tax loss of over $900mn. The question is whether he “broke a law”? As the late Kerry Packer said to a tribunal “anyone in this room that doesn’t try to minimize their tax ought to have the heads read!”  

Tax evasion is a serious crime. Tax avoidance is fair game. Sadly it’s usually only the wealthy that can afford tax lawyers who can find loopholes. The average taxpayer doesn’t make enough coin to exploit the same trade. Call it unfair but why not blame the guy who gets a massive tax break when he buys a Tesla paid for by the guy who mows his lawn from the back of a pick up?

You have to laugh at the moral equivalence bandied about by both sides. Is tax avoidance worse than paying bribes? Is a philandering husband worse than a man divorced 3 times? Is deleting emails and using bleachbit to cover evidence worse than screwing contractors on a tower? Is stating a case pledging support to idealistic Millennial Bernie Sander’s supporters after lying to them better than fat shaming someone who has turned out less pure than made out? It’s the two wrongs argument.

What gets me is many of my learned friends that are Democrats just will not admit that Clinton is highly unethical. I am happy to admit that Trump is not holier than though but I find him at least more in touch with reality on how bad things are in the US (his strongest card). I’d think more highly of Democrats for saying she is a disgrace but the lesser of two evils.

is it any wonder a recent Gallup poll suggested that 57% of US voters don’t want Trump or Clinton but a third major party.

I really wonder whether Trump releases both barrels at the next debate. Apparently Nigel Farage is coaching him. I don’t think anyone is unaware of his poison tongue so targeting her on her unethical behaviour which he failed to do  in debate 1 could bury what is left of her next to non existent credibility.