- "You're An Idiot & A Lunatic if You Question 'Safe Spaces' Or 'Microaggression'" – President Of Northwestern
The hypocrisy is breathtaking. Words like “idiot” and “lunatic” are just the kind from which the safe space crowd thinks it should be protected.
Contempt for stereotyping is also high among their pieties. Yet Schapiro told his students, “The people who decry safe spaces do it from their segregated housing places, from their jobs without diversity — they do it from their country clubs. It just drives me nuts.”
But it’s the microaggression thing that’s most interesting. Those who deny their existence are “idiots,” Schapiro says.” They “cut you to the core” and aren’t easily forgotten.
Like that girl from Manhattan in the dorm at Northwestern who told me she could never see any reason to go to the south suburbs (where I am from). Or the union thug when I worked at Jewel who threatened me with retaliation for questioning the political contributions I was forced to make. Or the people in the Cook County Recorder of Deeds office who would shake you down to get a lien search done when I was a young lawyer. Or some of the comments and emails I get here.
I bet everybody who reads this – anybody with motivation, that is, in whatever direction – has their own stories. That’s what gets you out of bed in the morning.
It’s far worse for gays, blacks and certain others. I get that. No comparison. Nobody is defending slurs or bigotry against them. But Schapiro’s obsession with microaggressions extends to everybody, and “micro” just isn’t big enough to worry about.
“If you want to play in the NFL, you gotta play hurt,” football guys say. That’s true everywhere in everything, grownups know.
Except at universities like Northwestern has become under Morton Schapiro.
* * *
Schapiro has defended safe spaces before: In a Washington Post op-ed published in January, he wrote that “the best hope we have of creating an inclusive community is to first create spaces where members of each group feel safe.”
So – to translate – the 'final' solution' to creating a community where we are all equal is to segregate everyone into like-minded groups who do not feel 'safe' in the broad community?
- "I Think It’ll Be A Clown Show" – Why Tomorrow's Debate Is So Important
Craig Bell, a 55-year-old software engineer from Columbus, Ohio, will be one of the 100 million estimated Americans set to tune in on Monday night at 9pm for the first debate between the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees. As profiled by Bloomberg, what he sees will be as important as what he hears. “I don’t know how to say this nicely, but I just want to see which one can act more presidential and more trustworthy,’’ Bell said at a table outside North Market in downtown Columbus.
Bell, and millions of “undecideds” like him, is why tomorrow’s debate has such huge significance: according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered “debate persuadables”—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate.
Slightly more Republicans than Democrats said the debates would be important to them, 37% to 31%. But voter groups that seem poised to pay the most attention include several that Hillary Clinton is counting on to win. Some 49% of Hispanics, 42% of African-Americans and 39% of voters under age 35 say that the debates will be extremely or quite important to them.
The breakdown of the millions of Americans yet to decide who they will vote for is shown below (apologies to Gary Johnson fans: he will not make it tomorrow):
According to Bloomberg, interviews conducted in key precincts of Ohio and Pennsylvania as well as other battleground states found voters who said they’ve ruled out either Clinton or Trump but aren’t yet comfortable with the alternative. Some are considering a third party contender, such as Libertarian Gary Johnson or not voting at all for president. While they care about the issues, most say they’ve heard where the candidates stand and aren’t expecting any new ground to be broken when they meet Monday night at Hofstra University in New York for the first of three scheduled debates.
Still, they may be persuaded, and that’s what the campaigns are betting on. Indeed, as the WSJ adds, the campaigns of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton acknowledged the huge stakes of Monday’s televised presidential debate. “In many ways, with this debate coming up, we’re just starting,” said Robby Mook, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, on ABC Sunday. Added Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, speaking on the same network: “This will be the first time Americans have seen Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on the same stage, and they’re going to be able to make their choice based on what they see.”
The risk, of course, is that the two most unpopular presidential candidates in history succeed in turning away even more potential voters.
“I feel like they are both bad choices,” said Melissa Huber, a 39-year-old day-care provider in Oklahoma. “I’m hoping that through the debate one of them will come out as a preferred option.”
Ms. Huber is thinking of supporting Mr. Johnson, but added that like the abovementioned Craig Bell, Trump could win her over in the debate if he was to “show a little decorum. Show that he can be presidential.”
Arnitress Dowdy, 39, an African-American who hasn’t settled on a candidate and quoted by the WSJ, is inclined to support Mrs. Clinton and is hoping to hear her address issues of race and police violence in the wake of the unrest in Charlotte, N.C.
“I’m not sure who is really well equipped; I just need to hear more,” said Ms. Dowdy, a mother of two in New York. “I know she has advocated for children. I want to know what she will do so things will calm down.”
* * *
The most likely outcome from tomorrow’s debates, however, is that those who have decided on either Trump or Hillary will not change their minds, while the truly undecided will remain undecided. Worse, their confusion may be exacerbated: in that vein, Bloomberg reports that some 74 percent of likely Colorado voters deemed Trump “risky,” to 59 percent for Clinton, and 62 percent said Trump was “scary,” versus 57 percent for Clinton.
A bigger risk, this time for Hillary, is that in a rerun of the seminal 2000 debate between Dubya and Al Gore, she passes off as even more robotic than usual: while more than eight in ten Colorado Democrats described Clinton as “competent” and “responsible,” only about 40 percent said she was “exciting,” CBS News said. When the latter group were asked specifically why they didn’t find her so, the top answer was they had wanted Senator Bernie Sanders as the party nominee, followed closely by the response that Clinton is too close to politics as usual.
Trump did well within his own party in Colorado, being seen as “inspiring” by 72 percent of Republicans. And many Republicans who described him as risky are voting for him nonetheless, the poll showed. Some 91 percent of Republicans felt Trump would change Washington and 86 percent said he can fix the economy.
* * *
For those who do hope to be persuaded, here are some clues during the debate for what kind of leader the candidates will be.
Reece Pavlovich of Columbus, 23, who works in sales for the Columbus Blue Jackets, said whether the candidates try to answer questions directly or dodge them will help him decide.
“It’s a small tell-tale sign, if you can’t answer this one simple question that was asked of you without diverting or trying to blame it on someone else,’’ he said. “I don’t think that you’re fit to make massive world decisions or political decisions that can impact millions or billions of people.’’
Judy Thacker of Palmetto, Florida, 58, a laid-off cook who considers herself an independent, doesn’t like either Clinton or Trump. She wants to see how they interact with each other as a cue for how they would handle themselves on the international stage. “If you watch them speak with each other, that’s how they would speak with a foreign leader if they were in a tight situation and they were trying to work something out and things were getting really hot and heavy like they will be at the debate,’’ Thacker said.
Stephanie Frederick-Weber, 38, who lives near Reno, Nevada, doesn’t think either candidate has articulated a broader vision for the U.S. beyond standard rhetoric and hopes the debate will be an opportunity to get more than prepared speeches and talking points. “The debates are kind of integral because they kind of catch them off guard a little bit,’’ she said.
To all of the above, and millions like them who honestly hope to be swayed, good luck.
The rest, however, will merely be watching tomorrow’s debate just for the shock and entertainment value. As Bloomberg concludes, some undecided voters are so fed up with the race and their choices, they doubt the debate will matter or don’t plan to watch it.
“I think it’ll be a clown show, more than I’ll get a good bombshell out of it,’’ said Ryan Porter of Columbus, 29, a financial adviser. It will be up to Trump and Hillary to prove him wrong, and – in the process – win.
- Bush vs Obama As Explained By Glenn Greenwald In One Tweet
- Dr. Lisa Bardack’s Faustian Bargain
“Oh what tangled webs we weave, when we first practice to deceive.” Sir Walter Scott
When Dr. Lisa Bardack was asked to become Hillary Clinton’s personal physician in 2001, it had to have been a crowning moment in the career of the Mt. Kisco internist. Dr. Bardack could have anticipated little downside. She already had the responsibility — and legal obligation under HIPAA — to protect the privacy of her patient. She and her staff would have to be especially scrupulous in the case of a senator with presidential ambitions, but this should not have posed a serious problem.
Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton corrupts everyone who serves her. And this year Bardack encountered difficulties she could not have foreseen in 2001:
1. Clinton developed serious medical issues.
2. The candidate was being videoed, not only during campaign stops, speeches, townhalls, and the rare press conference, but before and after events — by individuals with cell phones who were under no obligation to obey orders given to servile journalists to turn off their cameras.
3. The internet not only permitted the mass distribution of these videos and photos, but it enabled those who were curious to check Bardack’s reports against information available on reputable medical sites. It also enabled skeptical physicians to share their doubts with hundreds of thousands of readers.
In July 2015, the Clinton campaign asked Bardack to give the candidate a clean bill of health. She was to disclose, selectively, some of her patient’s medical history. But the letter was not widely analyzed until after the disturbing September 11 video by Zdenek Gazda, the Zapruder of 2016. It was no longer possible to dismiss those asking questions about Hillary’s health as right-wing conspiracy theorists, and the campaign now requested a second letter from Dr. Bardack explaining the event. The physician duly issued a report on September 14. Now her real problems began.
Let’s take a look at the two letters and some of questions doctors have asked about the diagnoses and treatment.
Bardack’s summary revealed a couple of major health problems that had not been previously disclosed. We had been told that Clinton suffered an elbow fracture in 2009 and a concussion in 2012. The fact that a woman in her mid-60s would fall twice ought perhaps to have raised some red flags. In particular, unless you’re being tackled or attacked, a concussion can usually be avoided by the body’s reflexes. Arms are extended to break the fall.
But now the public learned that some time in 2009 and in December 2012, the month of the concussion, Clinton had suffered blood clots.
She already had a history of clotting. Running for the Presidential nomination in the fall of 2007, Hillary gave an extended interview on her 60th birthday in which she disclosed that she’d had a life-threatening medical emergency in 1998. The crisis had been kept a secret not only from the public, but from her staff, who were told she had a sprained ankle. Clinton’s foot had swollen and she was in great pain. A White House doctor told her to rush to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where the diagnosis of a blood clot was made. "That was scary,” Hillary said, “because you have to treat it immediately — you don't want to take the risk that it will break lose and travel to your brain, or your heart or your lungs. That was the most significant health scare I've ever had." Clinton assured the reporter that she was no longer on blood thinners. This was probably the last time Hillary spoke candidly about her health.
What Clinton had was a deep vein thrombosis, or venous thromboembolism (VTE). The blood clot is usually in the leg, and in Hillary’s case, it was behind the right knee.
Now Dr. Bardack revealed that Hillary had had two others. The first, in 2009, was another VTE, but the second was still more serious. It was a right transverse cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). This is a clot in one of the two channels between layers of the dura, the membrane enclosing the brain, which receive blood and cerebrospinal fluid. A clot here means that blood flow out of the brain is impeded, and there is the potential for a hemorrhage if there’s leakage into the cerebral tissues. The Johns Hopkins Health Library refers to it as a rare form of stroke affecting only five in one million individuals. It’s treated with anti-seizure medicines as well as anticoagulants, and the complications range from impaired speech, difficulty moving parts of the body, and vision problems to death.
There were two problems in the 2015 letter relating to the clot:
1) Clinton, her physician wrote, “began anticoagulation therapy to dissolve the clot.” But this is not something anticoagulants do. Two of these drugs are mentioned by Bardack: Lovenox, which was discontinued beuing administered to her in 1998, and Coumadin (warfarin).
Bristol-Myers-Squibb, its manufacturer, says explicitly that the medication doesn’t dissolve clots:
COUMADIN has no direct effect on an established thrombus, nor does it reverse ischemic tissue damage.
Every doctor prescribing Coumadin knows this. Because of patient expectations, all reputable medical sites, like the NIH’s PubMed, repeat the warning.
There are thrombolytic (clot-dissolving) drugs, injected by catheter or infused through an i.v., but none are mentioned by Bardack. In any case, the embolisms for which thrombolytic agents are indicated don’t correspond to Clinton’s, and these drugs are never referred to as anticoagulants.
2. A second problem comes with the duration of the symptoms. Bardack says that these lasted for less than two months. But according to Bill Clinton, his wife’s injury “required six months of very serious work to get over.”
Of course it could be that the four addition months of symptoms were the result not of the concussion, but the CVST. However, it would not be easy to differentiate these symptoms. One is instinctively disinclined to take the former President’s word on anything, but there’d be no reason for him to exaggerate the length of time it took his wife to recover.
In any case, what the public was told was an elbow fracture (Hillary sported a State Department sling) and a concussion (she was jokingly presented with a football helmet by her minions) coincided with problems much more ominous.
3. A third issue in the 2015 letter is Bardack’s final evaluation of her patient. Twice she calls Clinton “a healthy female” and concludes that “she is in excellent physical condition and fit to serve as President of the United States.”
While Bardack could hardly have been expected to write otherwise, the truth is that anyone who is on lifelong Coumadin is not in excellent physical condition. As is well known, warfarin was developed as a rat poison, and increases significantly the risk of intercranial intracranial bleeding. A recent ten-year study of 32,000 veterans found that nearly one-third developed intercranial intracranial bleeds while on warfarin. The vets were over 75, but the high figure was still very disturbing, though probably not surprising to most physicians.
Dr. Milton Wolf, a board-certified radiologist, writes, “Coumadin carries a substantial risk for patients, particularly those with fall risk. Spontaneous hemorrhage common, intracranial and elsewhere. I see it commonly, including life-threatening brain bleeds. Normal, healthy patients are NEVER, NEVER prescribed Coumadin.” There are safer anticoagulants. “Coumadin is typically given to those who can’t afford the newer drugs or reserved for cases that are refractory to the safer drugs.” Wolf speculates that Clinton probably has a hypercoagulable blood disorder. Coumadin would otherwise be given only to patients with chronic atrial fibrillation (like the vets) or with prosthetic heart valves, both of which can cause hypercoagulation.
The interactions with warfarin are also sobering. In addition to avoiding both NSAIDs and acetaminophen, users are advised not to use, or to use with caution, antibiotics, anti-fungal medications, anti-depressants, and seizure medication — carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol), phenobarbital (Solfoton), and phenytoin (Dilantin).
Whether or not Hillary has been put at risk by seizure medications, the whole world now knows about her propensity to fall. The airplane and podium stumbles and her being helped up a short flight of steps had gone viral long before the 9/11 collapse. And we know nothing about the falls that have occurred off-camera, except for the one that gave her a concussion. Family friends have told Ed Klein these falls are frequent. And head trauma is the number one concern for patients on Coumadin.
4. Still another disclosure in Bardack’s July 2015 letter raised eyebrows. In addition to taking Coumadin for the rest of her life, Hillary will also be on Armour thyroid until she dies. Unlike CVST, hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid gland, is common. In fact, the most frequently prescribed drug in the U.S. (though not the most lucrative) is Synthroid, synthetic levothyroidoxine, the major hormone the gland produces.
Armour thyroid is an extract of desiccated pig’s thyroid. The therapy dates to the 19th century, and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends that it not be used. But a case can be made for natural thyroid therapy, and one recent study found that more patients prefer it, though there was no difference in the control of symptoms. These include memory problems and difficulty thinking clearly. A physician who is one of the most vocal advocates of natural thyroid switched to a different brand of natural thyroid after Armour changed the tablet formula in 2009.
1. Bardack disclosed that Clinton was given a brain scan for an ear infection after she had “experienced significant improvement in her symptoms.” The physician of a patient “in excellent health” would not normally order a CT scan for an ear infection that was being successfully treated by antibiotics and a myringotomy tube. Bardack’s caution, however commendable, suggests she was worried about some underlying problem.
2. Bardack then discusses Hillary’s pneumonia. When an upper respiratory infection persisted for a week after Clinton had been prescribed antibiotics and allergy medicine, Bardack, on Sept. 9, ordered “a non-contrast chest CT scan, including a CTA calcium score.”
According to Dr. Wolf, a CTA (a CT angiogram) scan always requires a contrast. On the other hand, a CT calcium score study must always be non-contrast, otherwise “the coronary calcifications would be masked by the contrast in the arteries.” The radiologist concluded that “Hillary’s doctor just claimed Hillary got a perfect score on a test that does not exist.”
It’s likely that Bardack misstated what she’d ordered — though one would think she would be extraordinarily careful in a letter that would be read by millions. A coronary calcium scoring CT does not use contrast, while a CTA requires it. A simple thoracic CT, which is what Hillary must have received, may or may not be done with contrast.
3. Then there’s the finding from the scan: “a small right middle-lobe pneumonia,” further described as “a mild non-contagious bacterial pneumonia.”
Doctors immediately questioned this diagnosis. There is no such thing as a non-contagious pneumonia, tweeted Dr. Wolf. How did Hillary pick it up? What about all the reports the campaign circulated about staffers who’d come down with pneumonia, including manager Robbie Mook?
While bacterial pneumonia is not as contagious as viral pneumonia, there is no test to determine whether or not a patient is contagious. A doctor defending Bardack listed three types of bacterial pneumonia not likely to be contagious. The only one that Hillary could possibly have had was aspiration pneumonia.
The dubious adjective “non-contagious” may have been dictated to Bardack by Clinton. The problem, obviously, was that after her collapse, the candidate went directly to her daughter’s apartment, where she presumably exposed her grandchildren to pneumonia, then, 90 minutes later, bounced out of the building, exulting that it was a beautiful day in New York, and embraced a little girl, exposing her, too, to the infection.
Other doctors have also pointed out how the photo-op undercut the “pneumonia” explanation. “I’m feeling great,” Hillary said three times, not something a pneumonia patient is likely to exclaim.
4. Apart from a case of “mild non-contagious pneumonia,” what felled Clinton on September 11th, wrote Bardack, was that “she became overheated and dehydrated.” Even MSM reporters questioned the “overheated” pretext. The day was partly cloudy and the temperature about 80, with a slight breeze. Dehydration is hardly less suspicious. First of all, it’s been used repeatedly for other falls. And medical science has come up with a cure for dehydration. While Marco Rubio was ridiculed for taking a swig of water in the middle his reply to the President’s 2013 State of the Union address, no one who valued his job would criticize Hillary for “re-hydrating” during an event. One would expect that someone who had experienced multiple falls and was on Coumadin would take every precaution to avoid dehydration — especially when it’s such a simple matter.
5. If Hillary’s dramatic recovery casts doubt on Bardack’s diagnosis, so does the fall itself. It was not a swoon, as one might expect, where Clinton appeared woozy, lost consciousness, and her knees buckled. Instead, she becomes stiff and immobile. She is propped up against a bollard. It’s only when the Secret Service agents attempt to propel her forward that she falls. It’s not clear she’s lost conscious; she is just frozen, unable to move.
6. Pictures taken of Clinton en route to the van also undermine Bardack’s explanation. In one, Hillary is being given what appears to be a finger squeeze test.
The test is a neurological exam, sometimes used also as a test for arthritis. There would be no reason to administer it to a patient suffering from pneumonia.
In the second photo, the same woman, Christine Falvo, appears to be monitoring Clinton’s pulse as they walk. Hillary has her other hand pressed against her chest, an unusual position for someone in motion, but a good way to disguise the pill-rolling tremor associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Also present in the photos, inevitably, is the bulky African-American Secret Service agent who clearly has had some medical training. When Hillary froze during a speech on August 4, it was he who rushed to her side, put his hand on her back, kept repeating, “Keep talking, keep talking,” and then shooed away the other agents. Some sites have posted pictures of him holding what appears to be a diazepam injector, used for seizures, but the images are too blurry to positively identify the object.
There is no photo of either the Secret Service medic or Falvo offering the dehydrated Hillary a bottle of water.
7. Bardack’s 2015 letter mentioned the Fresnel prism glasses Hillary wore to eliminate double vision. The 2016 letter makes no mention of the Zeiss Z1 blue lenses she was wearing on September 11th. These are used to help prevent seizures, particularly in photosensitive epilepsy, and improve motor control. They are not normally prescribed for patients with pneumonia or seasonal allergies.
8. Also unmentioned by Bardack are Hillary’s repeated coughing episodes, going back at least to January of this year. Here’s video of eight. Has Clinton had pneumonia for nine months? Or is this a symptom of a neurodegenerative problem causing pulmonary aspiration?
9. Finally, the fact that Hillary was not rushed to a hospital after the collapse and given another CT suggests that her handlers knew exactly what was going on. And it wasn’t pneumonia.
The physician who has put forward the most plausible case that Hillary is suffering from Parkinson’s disease is Dr. Ted Noel, whose videos I linked in a recent blog post.
Though there’s been no sign so far of the pill-rolling tremor or the shuffling gait characteristic of Parkinson’s, other evidence suggests Clinton is suffering from the disease, or experiencing side effects associated with the drug most commonly used to manage it, levodopa, which include disorientation and confusion and dyskinesia (involuntary muscle movements).
Examples of the latter are Clinton’s spasmodic head movements while being questioned by several reporters (attributed by Hillary to her cold chai tea) and, less dramatically, her response to the light show at the end of the Democratic convention.
Dr. Noel has a newer video out that further undercuts Bardack’s credibility. In addition to mentioning Wolf’s point about CT angiography, he carefully describes problems with the oxygen saturation levels reported by Hillary’s physician, and her use of an outdated test to manage Clinton’s hypothyroidism.
If she doesn’t have Parkinson’s, Hillary clearly has some major neurological disorder.
Bardack has already been targeted by Google reviewers. Purportedly coming from Chelsea is a one-star rating and the comment, “My mother died of Parkinson’s after she was diagnosed with pneumonia.”
Lisa Bardack will be fortunate if satiric reviews are the worst consequences for the disinformation campaign she has helped wage in Hillary’s behalf.
- Edward Snowden Warns, Whatever You Do, Don't Use Google Allo
Google Allo, the new “smart” chat app launched on Wednesday, is ‘dangerous’ and should be avoided, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden, because it will “record every message you ever send and make it available to police upon request.”
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 21, 2016
As RT reports, Allo, designed to unseat chat pack leader WhatsApp, promises to deliver quick conversations with features like; “Smart Reply” that can guess your answers and respond to messages with just the tap of a button, and “Google Assistant”, which answers your questions and helps you search for things directly in your chat.
How does Allo plan on predicting your every word and witty emoji, you ask? “The more you use it, the more it improves over time,” which basically means they’ll collect and store as much of your data as possible and then use artificial intelligence to guess your replies.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 21, 2016
However, the efficiency of time-saving typing may end up costing customers their already compromised privacy.
When Google first announced the introduction of Allo earlier this year they, too, had planned end-to-end-encryption in “Incognito Mode” and assured they would only store messages transiently, rather than indefinitely.
However, it now appears that Google won’t be doing that after all. Wednesday’s announcement revealed Google plans to store all conversations that aren’t specifically started in “incognito mode” by default.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 21, 2016
As Snowden pointed out, last year every single one of the NSA and FBI’s 1,457 surveillance requests was granted by the US foreign intelligence surveillance court… and Allo’s stored data (i.e. your data) will be fair game too.
In contrast, all of WhatsApp’s chats are encrypted and unreadable – although they did announce last month that they will now be sharing your contacts and who you talk to with Facebook.
- Trump vs Hillary: The Debate Of The Century… Gets Even Wilder
There is nothing we can say to underscore the importance of tomorrow’s debate that can come close to Goldman’s characterization of what is about to be unleashed in just over 24 hours. As Goldman’s David Kostin puts it, the “upcoming debate ranks as the biggest match-up since the Mayweather/Pacquiao bout”…
… adding that “the first US Presidential debate will take place on Monday, September 26 and viewership may approach Super Bowl proportions with an audience of perhaps 100 million.“
* * *
And it may get even wilder.
As we reported over the weekend, as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump got ready to face off in the first – and perhaps most anticipated in US history – presidential debate, their campaigns were mired in a controversy over guests. The candidates have been accused of using their debate invitations to get under their opponent’s skin — and appear to be trying to outdo each other with their potential guests.
It started when billionaire Mark Cuban, formerly a supporter who then flipped and became an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, last week announced he had accepted an invitation from Clinton’s campaign to sit front-row at the debate on Monday night. In response, Trump threatened to bring Gennifer Flowers, a woman with whom former President Bill Clinton had an extramarital affair. The GOP nominee tweeted Saturday if “dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Gennifer Flowers right alongside him.”
As reported previously, Flowers was eager to accept the invitation: “Hi Donald. You know I’m in your corner and will definitely be at the debate,” she tweeted in response. Bill Clinton testified under oath in 1998, saying he had a sexual affair with Flowers.
However, speculation that Hillary would be eyeballing his husband’s former mistress in the front row quickly died earlier today when members of Trump’s campaign on Sunday denied that Flowers was officially invited and said she will not attend. Trump’s VP candidate Mike Pence confirmed Flowers wouldn’t be at the debate, and said his running mate’s tweet was meant to mock Clinton for “trying to distract attention away from this moment in our national life where the American people are going to see a strong contrast” between both major party’s nominees.
The Indiana governor criticized the Democratic nominee for extending an invitation to Cuban. “Hillary Clinton apparently thinks this is an episode of ‘Shark Tank,’ but this is America,” Pence said on “Fox News Sunday,” referring to the ABC reality-business show Cuban has appeared on as an investor.
“It’s serious business” he added as we reported earlier, flipping the table on Hillary.
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, echoed Pence’s comments, saying Flowers isn’t expected to be at the presidential debate as Trump’s guest. “Mr. Trump was putting them on notice that we could certainly invite guests that make it into the head of Hillary Clinton,” Conway said Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, debate commission Co-Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf warned both major party’s nominees against using their invites to try to disrupt the debate.
“We’re going to frown upon — I will tell you this right now — whether or not a Republican or Democrat or anyone else attempts by use of the tickets in placing people in a front-row or not, to try to impact the debate,” he said Saturday on CNN. Then again, having guest “impact the debate” is precisely what America’s population appears to want, judging by the feverish response over the weekend to the tentative proposals to take the mudslining campaign between the two to an unprecedented level.
“It’s wrong. We would frown upon Mr. Cuban being in the front row if his purpose is to somehow disrupt the debate. Likewise, if Mr. Trump was going to put someone in the front row to try to impact things.”
Quote by The Hill, Fahrenkopf said the debate commission has been working with the both campaigns’ staff and doesn’t expect any problems. “They’re approaching this in a very dignified manner — the way I think it should be approached,” he said.
That said, on Sunday, members of Clinton’s campaign defended the decision to invite Cuban to the debate, touting his accomplishments and denying it’s an attempt to annoy Trump. Clinton’s chief strategist, Joel Benenson, called Cuban a “successful businessman” whose economic beliefs often match Clinton’s. “I think it’s legitimate to have a businessperson sitting there who’s been advocating for you because of your economic policies,” Benenson said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Meanwhile, whether Cuban is present or not, Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, praised the GOP nominee’s debate skills, calling him a “brilliant debater.” “He’s like the Babe Ruth of debating. He really shows up and swings and does a great job,” she said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Monday’s debate, moderated by NBC News’s Lester Holt, is expected to be the most watched ever, with an audience that could exceed 100 million people.
An audience of that size would be something never seen before in U.S. politics.
Which is also why most of the attention will be on Trump. The Republican presidential nominee has never debated another candidate one-on-one in his short political life. Trump has also never debated in such a quiet setting, the Hill adds.
As the GOP primary debates sometimes resembled wrestling matches, with an audience applauding and booing loudly depending on what it heard, Trump – a consummate entertainer and TV personality – seized on many of those moments during the primary campaign to turn the tide.
This time, however, it will be different: At Hofstra University in New York on Monday night, the crowd will be directed to not applaud, cheer or boo, and it will at times feel like two people and a moderator talking in front of a quiet theater audience.
How Trump handles this different setting remains to be seen, as experts say the primary debate format played right into his wheelhouse. “The very crowded stage served him very well,” said David Birdsell, a debate expert and professor at Baruch College, of the primary debate. “He was able to pick fights, land a quick one-off and then fade into the background, becoming a headline without a lengthy examination of his record and changing policy positions.”
Trump’s most notable debate moments came not during a protracted back-and-forth on policy, but when he deployed quick one-liners that disarmed his rivals. While some opponents, like Carly Fiorina at the start and Ted Cruz down the stretch, chose to attack him head on, Trump benefited when other candidates’ battles drew the spotlight, allowing him to pick his spots to strike hard and then retreat.
Additionally, the events themselves will be significantly longer. Networks loaded up the two-hour primary debates with commercial breaks, giving candidates time to collect themselves as well as shortening the event. But the general election debate will be a 90-minute commercial-free event, testing the concentration of the Trump in his first one-on-one debate. As the Hill points out, that could put Trump at a disadvantage, both as a candidate outmatched by his opponent’s policy grasp and with a penchant for controversial comments.
Trump’s debate prep appears to be less concerned about the former while looking to control the latter. Trump is reportedly taking a more hands-off approach with debate preparations, eschewing full-length test runs and deep-dives into briefing books, according to the New York Times. Aides even have expressed concern that Trump is downplaying the difficulties of staying on top of his game for the full 90 minutes.
Instead, Trump, who once owned a United States Football League team, is scouring game tape, footage from old Clinton debates, in the hopes of finding weaknesses to exploit.
And his advisers are cautioning him to avoid falling into Clinton’s traps meant to frame him as unstable, and instead focus on hitting his campaign’s major themes.
Then again, underestimating Trump has proven to be a failure in the past: those who took on Trump in the primary debates caution against taking him lightly—predictions that the Trump train would derail when the political novice took the debate stage fell flat. Frank Sadler, Carly Fiorina’s campaign manager during the primary race, believes it would be foolish to “underestimate Trump.” “There’s this general thought that he can’t sit there for 90 minutes and answer policy questions in an effective manner,” he said. “He’s been effective with the media since he came down that escalator. To think in the brand new format that he would be at a disadvantage, I don’t agree.”
There is also Hillary’s health and stamina: following her recent health shocks, it remains to be seen if Hillary can muster anywhere close to 90 minutes of straight debate without breaks, something that Trump can surely use to his advnatage.
Furthermore, many critics point to Trump’s impulsive nature as potentially his undoing, as his campaign’s greatest missteps have come thanks to controversial comments made while deviating from message. But the potential weakness could also turn out to be a key asset.
Those close to Clinton have told The Hill that she is preparing for “multiple Trumps,” an acknowledgement that they aren’t quite sure who will be standing across the stage from her. “That’s the big unknown here, and it’s a case where it’s making her prep a little bit harder because she’s got to prepare for different versions of Trump—subdued Trump, aggressive Trump,” MSNBC’s Chuck Todd said Friday on “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”
“The Trump campaign is enjoying this.”
What Trump also has going for him are low expectations: his limited debate experience is perhaps the reason why the latest poll by Morning Consult has Trump losing with 29% of registered voters predicting a victory for Trump and 36% predicting Clinton will win. To be sure, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri called low expectations “my biggest concern” during a chat with reporters in the days ahead of the debate on the campaign’s plane, according to ABC News.
It is understandable: coming out of nowhere, and underestimated from day one, Trump is now in a “dead heat” with Hillary according even to the Washington Post.
As The Hill concludes, multiple experts have compared the matchup to the 2000 debate, where a wonky Al Gore showed a mastery of policy but rubbed the audience the wrong way as he audibly sighed through George W. Bush’s answers. Bush emerged looking competent, compared to the expectations, and significantly more likable than Gore. And ultimately, he edged out the sitting vice president. “You have a very similar contest here,” Birdsell said.
“You have a candidate not expected to be able to talk about policy facing one expected to do an absolutely bang up job. The one who did an OK job could up being seen as the winner because he didn’t just flame out entirely.”
* * *
Oh, and Al Gore lost.
Finally, here is a brief visual summary of the key historical moments in presidential debate history.
- Smoking Hot Wives, Gold, And The Dollar (+ Other Good Stuff)
By Chris at www.CapitalistExploits.at
It’s been a while since I did a Q&A, and though I have a number of things I could discuss they will wait for another day for two very important reasons.
Firstly, by doing a Q&A I can reply to questions which typically takes me a bit shorter than it does to write longer articles. This is important because it’s a Friday night and my wife is looking smoking hot…
The second point. Oh, I forget what that was. Onto it then…
I just downloaded your US$ Bull Market Report from Dec. 2014. It seems most of your predictions did not work out and the US$ has been in broadly a sideways to slightly up market since then. The Yen is back to 100.
Your entire thesis on the US$ Bull Market appears to be based on the notion that US interest rates will rise whilst interest rates everywhere else will stay low or fall or even go negative.
Doesn’t your recent podcast on owning gold negate the US$ bull stance? With the FED having postponed its tightening cycle several time and the market now starting to doubt the FED will ever raise interest rates, does your stance from 2014 still stand?
What is your stance on the USD/JPY? It seems the JPY is the new save haven currency which strengthens whenever there is a crisis. Do you still stand by your prediction that the JPY will weaken substantially against the USD?
Where do you buy the currency options (especially USD/JPY) you refer to in your write-up? Could you kindly let me know which exchange they are traded on? (I have market access to all major exchanges).
Let me break the questions down one by one.
Not sure what charts you’re looking at but to get on the same page here is what we said on November 13, 2014:
“A bull market in the US Dollar is underway and its magnitude and duration are likely to catch everyone by surprise. I believe it isn’t out of the question for the USD Index to advance by at least 50% within the next 5 years. If this forecast proves correct, there will be profound ramifications for the global economy and many financial markets, particularly emerging markets.”
The Dollar Report was published a few weeks later so the thesis is the same. At the time it was trading at 86. And today we’re at 95. Didn’t we just catch the biggest move in the last decade?
We’ve been bumping and grinding for the last 12 months and we are forming a converging wedge which typically portends a break. I think we break higher. Maybe I’m wrong but that’s where the weight of probability lies for me right now.
Remember, the dollar spent 10 straight years doing nothing but go down. To expect it to go up in a linear fashion is foolish. It’s not going to happen. Markets don’t work like that. They are non-linear.
The dollar bull thesis is in part due to an interest rate differential – as you mention – but there is more to it than that. The USD carry trade unwinding is arguably a much bigger force behind a rising dollar than interest rate arbitrage.
Then there is the fact that on a relative basis, especially politically, the US looks a whole lot less shaky than does Europe or Japan, where Kuroda-san continues on the path to destroy the yen. This is a ridiculously sad situation given that the two podium donuts on show in the US actually look less bad than the clutch of parasites at the helm in Europe. It is what it is.
USD and Gold
With regards to being dollar bullish as well as long-term gold bullish I believe we are likely to see both rising simultaneously.
The factors driving the two asset classes are at this point in time working to strengthen both. For more on this you can listen to my discussion with Raoul Pal.
I guess this is not really fair if you’ve not been a long term reader as we put out a special Japan report in January 2012 saying we were shorting the yen. It was at 72. Twelve months later at 89, and hit a high of 125 before moving back to 100 today.
For me this is a long term trade I’m happy to have on for the next decade. I actually think it’s possible we get back down to 95 before heading much higher. I’m not prepared to buy the yen in anticipation of that but if we get there I’ll be pressing the short trade. This is quite simply something that I think you can set and forget and not be too worried about short-term noise.
Options on currencies are available via the Saxo platform. If you’re a US citizen then you’re a lepper to Saxo and they don’t want anything to do with you.
Easy enough to get around by using an offshore (non-US) company to open an account. I don’t know of any other platform that offers options on currencies. Perhaps readers can comment below if they know of any.
“Thanks for your fantastic blog – it is much appreciated. I would be very interested in your view on two points:
- China looks like a Ponzi scheme to me too. However in the tradition of searching for non-bias-confirming views, I come accross the argument that Chinese SOE debt is not as bad as it looks because savings are very high, those savings fund corporate loans, and therefore in China debt is often used as a substitute for raising capital in the equity markets. By this reasoning, a debt for equity swap could at a stroke hugely reduce the debt load. An example of this argument is here:
- I have heard you talk about the frequency of six-sigma events in today’s markets. This may or may not be remarkable, but I think we have to exercise caution over this interpretation of a statistical measure. Standard deviations are only applicable to normally distributed events, and financial events are certainly very far from normally distributed. I think that the frequency of n-sigma events is just re-enforcing this fact, though of course their increase does point to a change in the climate. Do you agree with this?
China, a Ponzi Scheme?
This argument has been used before. It’s a variation of “we owe it to ourselves so it doesn’t matter”.
Let’s say you lent money to your cousin Joey who, instead of using using it to grow his business as promised, bought a Bentley (he clearly has terrible taste).
Since you found that, after he failed to pay you back your money on time, he’s put some mileage on it, taken out an additional loan against the car to access some more cash, and dinged it parallel parking which we can’t really blame him for since it’s such a big ugly sucker. You’re family so it doesn’t matter?
What about a debt for equity swap? You get the equity in his “ugly as sin” Bentley. But wait, it’s encumbered and when you net out the debt against the equity you realise the equity is close to worthless. Does it matter?
Here’s the issue. Economists call it pushing on string:
In 2015, total Chinese government debt increased by a CNY4.6 trillion, or about US$700 billion.
Problem is, in 2004, one yuan in new debt generated 73 cents in additional GDP. By 2009, this was down to 33 cents. Today, the ratio is less than 1 to 4. You don’t need me to explain to you that when your debt is increasing four times faster than your income you’re heading fast towards the edge of a cliff.
This is the real tragedy of central bank policy. By these bureaucrats’ warped logic, the fact that the increase in debt is no longer having the desired effect is used as evidence that in fact more debt is required. This lands up being a debt multiplier in that an ever increasing amount of debt is required to achieve the same level of growth. To the point that now we sit with central banks pushing NIRP down our collective throats.
As I mentioned earlier this week, with the help of some birds to explain the situation, we now await blowback.
Six Sigma Market Events
The increase in frequency of such events is unmistakable but not unsurprising.
It points to a period of time that is unlike the periods of time we’ve been experiencing: unchartered waters. Imbalances have consequences and greater imbalances beget greater consequences.
Ergo, more 6 sigma events on the horizon.
Onto the next one:
Thank you for continuing to post unique and insightful content on CapEx! Really invaluable insight. One topic I would like to pick your brain on, and which has been a topic of a few of your latest posts, is inflation:
Over the past 8 years we had an incredible amount of asset price inflation due to QE/NIRP etc. as liquidity remained in the financial system. How likely is, in your opinion, that eventually this will be reflected into CPI/consumer goods?
The potential scenarios I see:
On one hand (Scenario 1 – Deflationary Bust) this asset inflation boom might end a-la ’08, as FED raises rates/dollar strengthens triggering a repricing of asset prices
On the other hand (Scenario 2 – Stagflation), the FED might stay put (after a small raise of benchmark rates) and fiscal policy on a worldwide scale is more accommodating; this will unleash a wave of wage/consumer goods inflation.
I used to think that the most likely scenario was Deflationary Bust followed by even more aggressive QE/fiscal policy which in turn would lead to Stagflation. Now though I am more inclined to think that Scenario 2 is a real possibility (because of structural impossibility of raising rates significantly without triggering a crisis; additionally policy speeches seems to be shifting towards more fiscal easing as well lately).
What are your thoughts? And how should Scenario 2 be traded – short rates or short currencies? So far currencies have been the release valve, but are we going to assist to a paradigm shift whereby rates will have be forced upwards (by inflation expectations/market or as central banks catch up)? Apologies for the long e-mail.
Firstly, thanks for the kind words.
Inflation Showing Up in CPI
To your question on inflation showing up in CPI: you’re dead right. We’ve had asset inflation largely in financial assets to an extent that is truly frightening.
Consider that 50 years ago in pretty much any developed country in the world a home was affordable with just one working parent, healthcare was affordable, college tuition could be saved and paid for by weekend and holiday jobs at the local supermarket checkout counter, and televisions and phones were luxury expensive items.
Today everyone, including kids, has a smartphone, everyone has a TV that can’t be fitted through a doorway without gymnastics. And yet home ownership, especially for millennials, is a pipe dream, college tuition can no longer be paid for by summer jobs, and healthcare insurance requires you to sell your kidney to pay for it, which of course defeats the purpose.
Many consumer goods, on the other hand, have been experiencing deflation though this is due to tech innovation and geographical labour cost arbitrage.
I don’t know when inflation shows up in consumer goods.
Obviously in a bond market rout and currency crisis then inflation typically takes hold in every asset class, including consumer goods. Given that I believe there is no more GDP to be juiced out of the global economy via credit fuelled policies (NIRP, ZIRP), I think it’s prudent to be looking at those asset classes which are in the “need to have” basket of consumer goods.
For example I’m beginning to get pretty interested in the soft commodities. If you take a look at the charts alone it’s hard not to get a little excited.
Should that bring even a whiff of inflation it could spell real trouble for what is now a bond market that is more sensitive to price movement than it’s ever been!
Your question was how to trade. Rates or currencies? Both – they’re reflexively related.
I’m a retired medical doctor and consider myself well read and well versed in world affairs. The first article I read of yours roughly 2 years ago really irked me. It angered me because at the time I was convinced the dollar was going to hell. I’d been reading a lot of material published by [omitted] and it was a constantly repeated theme. I felt like it was the only thing that mattered and I automatically rejected anything that contradicted what I wanted to believe. I was invested in emerging markets and foreign currencies as a result. I honestly don’t know what made me sign up for your free content as I recall thinking you were a complete idiot. Perhaps I simply was convinced you would be wrong and wanted to see your ideas proven for the garbage I was convinced they were.
It only took a few more articles since reading that first one, and as much as I was ready to hate you and see you proven wrong I found myself nodding my head and smiling at your ability to dispassionately see and explain what are very complex financial, social and political issues. I can tell you that over the course of time, I have a newfound understanding of our world, am certainly less dogmatic than I used to be, and your work together with Realvision TV which you introduced me to has played a significant part in that.
You Sir have yourself a dedicated reader.
If you would be so kind, (and I feel bad for asking for this since you’ve given me so much and I’ve given you an email address) you mentioned in an article a while back that the HK market was worth a look. I decided for the first time to act on your thoughts and bought the iShares MSCI Hong Kong ETF. I’m up over 10% and would love to know more on why you thought HK equities were a good bet.
Wow, thanks. I’m glad you no longer hate me. That’s a decent start.
One quick comment and I know I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating. The market DOESN’T care what you or I think. It doesn’t care about opinions, it doesn’t care about who said what or how rich or famous they may be. Dogmatism in investing is lethal. Nobody knows all the answers. Certainly not I.
Question everything and whenever someone is yelling and screaming that XYZ is absolutely going to happen it’s probably a sign to be cautious, especially if they’re selling something. I know a lot of incredibly smart, successful investors, and not one of them thinks they absolutely know what is going to happen. It’s all just probabilities and risk management.
In any event, what you’re referring to was an issue of “World Out Of Whack” back in June:
“While the focus today is on overvalued RE markets, as an investor I can’t help myself from pointing out that with a P/E ratio of just 9x, Hong Kong’s equity markets are today the cheapest in the world, with the Hang Seng Index trading at the biggest discount to global shares in 15 years.
As a reference point consider that most major stock markets typically trade at a P/E of between 15-20x, so we’re looking at an equity market some 40-50% of its highs and an overvalued real estate market at the same time.”
Here is the ETF you bought. We’re up about 14% this quarter:
Cheaper valuations obviously, a stable currency pegged to the USD (for now at least), and the coming second exchange link with China seem to point towards more favourable setup for HK equities. Where would be the first place you’d go if you were a mainland Chinese looking to diversify out of China?
That’s all for now and my apologies to all those who email me and who’s questions go unanswered. It’s not because I don’t love you too.
Have an awesome weekend wherever you are. I’m going to go find that wife of mine…
“My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.” — Winston Churchill
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- A Sunni Muslim Asks: Is "Radical Islam" The Problem Or Is "Islam" The Problem?
In 2015, President Obama told CNN that 99.9 Percent of Muslims Reject Radical Islam. He made the comments in response to a question about the White House avoiding using the phrase “Islamic terrorists.”
Hillary Clinton says “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”
Are they correct?
Obama Rejects Religious War
“It’s absolutely true that I reject the notion that somehow that [Isis] creates a religious war”.
Let’s Be Clear
Clinton claimed that using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” to describe the previous radical Islamic terrorist attack in France — the Paris massacre, which occurred just a few days before she spoke — “gives these criminals, these murderers, more standing than they deserve, and it actually plays into their hands by alienating partners we need by our side.”
“In the end it didn’t matter what kind of terrorist we called [Osama] bin Laden. It mattered that we killed bin Laden,” Clinton sniffed.
By June, Clinton had grown uncomfortable enough with public perceptions of her terrorist-fighting credentials to assure a CNN audience that she was super-duper comfortable with saying the words “radical Islam.”
“From my perspective, it matters what we do more than what we say. And it mattered we got bin Laden, not what name we called him. I have clearly said we – whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I’m happy to say either. I think they mean the same thing,” she said, making a game effort to keep her we got bin Laden without calling him a jihadi talking point alive.
However, when she made her desperate call to Bill O’Reilly after the Nice atrocity unfolded, she was suddenly uncomfortable with the “radical Islam” formulation again, going with “these radical jihadist groups” instead. Perhaps Mrs. Clinton could tell us about some moderate jihadist groups, for the purposes of comparison.
A Sunni Muslim Chimes In
Here’s a video that I would like you to play. The video is by a Sunni Muslim. It’s called By The Numbers – The Untold Story of Muslim Opinions & Demographics.
By the Numbers is an honest and open discussion about Muslim opinions and demographics. Narrated by Raheel Raza, president of Muslims Facing Tomorrow, this short film is about the acceptance that radical Islam is a bigger problem than most politically correct governments and individuals are ready to admit. Is ISIS, the Islamic State, trying to penetrate the U.S. with the refugee influx? Are Muslims radicalized on U.S. soil? Are organizations such as CAIR, who purport to represent American Muslims accepting and liberal or radicalized with links to terror organizations.
- The Obama Gun "Super Owner" – New Study Finds 50% Of Guns Owned By Just 3% Of Population
A recent Harvard study of the demographics of gun ownership in the United States yielded a fairly shocking discovery, namely the emergence of the Obama gun “Super Owner.” The study, entitled “The Stock and Flow of US Firearms: Results from the 2015 National Firearms Survey“, was conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and found that just 14% of all gun owners, or 7.6mm adults and 3% of the total U.S. population, possessed 50% of all guns owned by civilians in the country. Moreover, with a total stock of 270mm civilian-owned guns in the U.S., that implies that these “super owners” possess an average of nearly 18 guns per person.
Gun owning respondents owned an average of 4.85 firearms (range: 1-140); the median gun owner reported owning approximately two guns. As can be seen in Figure 3, approximately half (48%) of gun owners report owning 1 or 2 guns, accounting for 14% of the total US gun stock, while those who own 10 or more guns (8% of all gun owners), own 39% of the gun stock. Put another way, one half of the gun stock (~130 million guns) is owned by approximately 86% of gun owners, while the other half is owned by 14% of gun owners (14% of gun owners equals 7.6 million adults, or 3% of the adult US population).
Another startling discovery in the data, though “oddly” not highlighted in the report, is that the surge in gun ownership per capita seemed to coincide with the start of the Obama presidency and growing rhetoric over new gun regulations. Per the chart below, over the past 20 years, gun ownership per U.S. adult hovered around 1 from 1993 through 2007 but then surged starting in 2008 as an Obama presidency became increasingly likely.
This trend is also reflected in annual guns sales which floated between 4-6mm units per year before surging in 2008.
And perhaps no one has benefited more than Smith and Wesson shareholders…
Meanwhile, the less surprising takeaway from the study was that conservative, veterans living in rural areas were the most likely people to own guns. Shocking.
Guess that, like with military intervention, new gun regulations don’t really work that well if they’re advertised well in advance.
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