06/29/20

Volcker 2.0 And Venture Capital

Whilst you were quarantining and attending to the vicissitudes of life, the banking world was undergoing some incredible changes to its regulatory environment.

Last Thursday, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (and the US Securities and Exchange Commission in a tangential manner) agreed to changes to the Volcker Rule (part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act which laid down the law for banks and undue risk).

Believe it or not, the Federales are going to allow banks, commercial banks, to invest their own funds (meaning that balance in your checking account you never touch) in venture capital partnerships.

Yep, old Wells Fargo can send some money to your favorite venture fund and get into the highest risk business imaginable.

“But, there’s more!” — imagine your best Billy Mays OxiClean pitch voice saying those words.

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06/25/20

Racial v Racist

I have been lying low for a few weeks, reading, drinking in the mood in the country, thinking, visiting a new granddaughter Eadie in Savannah, and reflecting on the state of things. I have enjoyed the time away, but it is time to return.

One of the disconnects I see in the world and in the United States, in particular, is the inability to understand the difference between racial differences and racism.

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06/5/20

The Trump Recovery

The May Jobs Report contained some staggering, incredible, unexpected data.

 1. Jobs in the USA in May surged by 2,500,000 after having declined by 20,700,000 in April.

Economists had been expecting a loss of 8,000,000 jobs. Instead, net new jobs were 2,500,000 meaning the economists were off by more than 10,000,000 jobs.

 2. Unemployment dropped from 14.7% to 13.3% whilst the economists were looking for a 19% unemployment rate.

This is the beginning of a substantial recovery and the economy is only starting to re-open. It is a Hell of a start.

I place extra emphasis on the unemployment number falling below 10% as it kills all comparisons to the Great Depression and small improvements will have huge impact. We would also be within 6% of the pre-COVID19 numbers. Keep you eye on this baby.

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06/3/20

Second Acts, Second Chances

America is the most forgiving country in the world. It is the best place on the planet to go bankrupt. Other countries doom you for life plus a year, whilst the USA lets you wipe out your debts and move on.

We Americans are a forgiving people in general. We believe in the second chance.

Right now, we are conducting a test.

The Jeffrey Skilling Test of Forgiveness — Second Chance?

Jeffrey Skilling was the CEO of Enron who went to jail for twelve years of a fourteen year sentence [originally sentenced to 24 years, it was reduced to 14, and he served 12 plus a $40MM fine] for a myriad of charges including securities fraud, insider trading, lying to auditors, and conspiracy while he lorded over Enron.

Jeffrey Skilling on his way to prison.

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06/2/20

Antifa — Strategy And Tactics

Today, we find our streets filled with a much better tactical terror unit in the modern version of Antifa. They have dramatically improved their game in the last five years.

It is time to see Antifa for what they are — a well organized street gang that employs violence as a primary and first use core value to achieve their self-proclaimed political mission. They are, indeed, a domestic terror organization.

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05/31/20

Minneapolis Fails The Test

Minneapolis, you great lovely city, you broke my heart. I had such high hopes for you.

Aerial of Downtown Minneapolis from Stone Arch Bridge

The foundation for my disappointment was a crime — a black man passed a counterfeit bill, was identified, was pursued, was apprehended — all good to here.

Then, it really came off the rails when four of your cops either put their knee on the guy’s neck or assisted the neck-kneeler or watched while it was done. Those were crimes also.

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05/28/20

Hong Kong — Mayday, Mayday, Mayday

Hong Kong is in its last days as an “autonomous” region and part of the “One China, Two Systems” promise. Dust off your funeral suit and dress.

China has cracked the whip and made obvious its intentions to slap the snot out of Hong Kong, to terminate its faux autonomous region nonsense, and to quell any nascent thoughts of freedom.

Let’s examine the time line.

 1. In 1997, the British lease for Hong Kong terminated. The Brits returned Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty based on the promise that Hong Kong would be an autonomous region, though part of China.

 2. As part of that transfer, the Chinese solemnly promised to govern Hong Kong by allowing its own legislature and leadership to continue part of a plan they called “One China, Two Systems.”

 3. This system was to prevail until 2047 — fifty years.

 4. Based on this arrangement, this promise, countries agreed to treat Hong Kong in a manner similar to how they had when the Brits ran the place.

 5. In current terms that means that when the US imposed tariffs on China, these same tariffs did not fall on Hong Kong.

 6. The relationship with Hong Kong was so tight, that almost 100,000 American citizens reside full time in Hong Kong.

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