Tag Archives: Money

Reap the whirlwind

The Twitter share price has been in a forty five degree nosedive since 4th January, long before the current round of de-platforming and account deletion hit. So obviously the clever money is on the move. Fortunately, for those who bought in during their October dip, there’s still time to get while the getting is good.

Personally, I still regard the Alphabet / Twitter / Facebook shares as ‘bubble stocks’ And forgive me for not being a stock market expert, but I would have put in my sell order on Friday when the news of deleting Trumps account hit. I mean, how thick do you have to be to let your politics get in the way of profits? It wasn’t that long ago when some opined that Twitter et al were like betting on a three legged horse in a steeplechase. And if you bought in earlier in the year, there is still time to cash out while the cashing is good.

Might even stop using Amazon too. If Mr Bezos wants to play politics with his companies share price, I’ll be going elsewhere for my online purchasing. Don’t get me wrong, I was quite a fan of Amazon marketplace, but now? Not so much.

Tech stocks are proving, like in the first tech crash to be ‘surfer’ stocks, and the wave is about to hit the beach. Some will ride it out, many, lured by promises of big gains, may be about to find out how tenuous those gains are.

Then there’s the whole ‘clap’ thing people are trying to bring back, which just serves to embarrass many medical professionals. If you’re having issues in your locale with people getting raided because they’ve been snitched on, the most enthusiastic virtue signallers are likely the folks who are the informers.

Maybe it would be fun to snitch right back at them. Let them reap the whirlwind of their own actions.

That all you got?

Sorry to hear the news about Arecibo by the way. A useful tool in it’s day, but superseded by more modern arrays. Still, as a scientific icon it was wonderful to behold. See Scott Manley’s commentary on the collapse below.

Hi-ho, another day on Youtube comment threads, another raft of insults. Oddly enough not here. I keep on posting polite, well-informed comments on YouTube about the efficacy of masks and lockdowns and keep on getting insulted. Just a little light flak, so I must be close to the mark. Good to see that some of my old infection control and aseptic training has come in useful for raising the blood pressure of the partisan and ill-informed.

For those who use name calling as a debating tool, all I can say is; “is that all you got?” Or in the words of much-cancelled philosopher Stephan Molyneaux; “Not an argument.”

As many bloggers have pointed out; if you think surgical masks work outside of a controlled environment like operating theatre, just read the packaging. “Will not protect from airborne pathogens” is one of the texts I’ve read on surgical mask wrappers. Must get some pictures tomorrow when I’m out. Never mind that your street clothes are a regular petri dish of infection, so the moment that mask comes off, you are exposed to all the icky pathogens you’ve supposedly been dodging, so you might as well not have bothered. Never mind that you’ve been re-breathing the bacteria and virus ridden contents of your sinuses. As well as lowering your blood O2 saturation levels.

The only way to be sure of not spreading or catching any disease would be to wear full Hazmat with a full decon unit at your front door to a positive pressure air conditioned home. But that’s a bit extreme. Far better to ensure your immune system is up to snuff. Simple measure like getting a little sunshine where possible, unmasked exercise out in the fresh air. Balanced diet. Maybe some Vitamin D supplements.

Surgical masks at this stage of the game are little better than a totem, a fetish object or idol to hang on to. In a non-surgical environment they’re a placebo at best. Besides, the worst of the pandemic passed months ago. The pandemic proper has been effectively over since late May. No matter what the mathematical modellers say. I say; How often have they been right? On the fingers of one hand… Never? Their predictions of doom are normally out by a factor of ten, which says a lot for any ‘science’ based on their prognostications. As far as I’m concerned they are looking at the numbers wrong. Too many assumptions based on bad premises.

As for the UK vaccine rollout planned for as early as next week. Bad idea. Not enough testing. The BioNTech/Pfizer mRNA vaccine will probably be foisted on UK hospital staff and the public sector first. Me, I’ll just avoid hospitals and needles as much as I can for the time being.

If the vaccine works without too many casualties, and that’s a big if, then maybe I’ll think about getting the jab, just so I can actually bloody well travel to the UK and Europe. Until then I’ll be watching carefully as we have shares in Pfizer, and at the first hint of trouble will dump the lot. Must talk to our broker today. Put contingencies in place. Our exposure isn’t huge, but if our drug company investment went completely down the pan we stand to lose about four figures GBP. A small enough sum, but it would still sting.

On the upside, Mrs S has finally got her new Irish bank account and other financial paperwork sorted out at long last. Which has taken over a month longer than it should. However, here we are. We’re no longer bleeding money hand over fist and our investment portfolio is almost back to where it was. We will pay no capital gains for at least the next two years at this rate. Not unless the markets do something miraculous in the next 28 days. Which is highly unlikely. Seasonal patterns alone indicate a depressed market or ‘market correction’ across the board over New Year.

Until these lockdowns and pointless tiers are removed everything will take an unconscionable time to sort out. Then there is a massive nascent backlog of follow up, which the politicians and so-called ‘experts’ don’t seem to appreciate. It’s just not only civil liberties or economy or mental health of the population, it’s everything. The tax take to pay for all the stupidity will be significantly reduced. So the politicians will have to raid already depleted savings and pensions accounts to make good the shortfall. On top of an estimated reduction in the overall economy of 10.3% (And then some). The July figures say that it’s 17.2% down on February. Add to that the latest round of lockdowns and tiers and we’re looking at something like 25% down overall on 2019. Even though the stock market is significantly up.

Personally, I think that any major uptick will be just a temporary rebound, or “Dead cat bounce“. If the restrictions continue, the overall decline will, too. This isn’t just my opinion by the way, this is based on personal investment experience. Not government figures, but the end result in cold hard cash where we’ve dodged major financial bullets.

On the subject of cash Mrs S and I were fortunate in that we had money put by to pay for our transatlantic move, which has cost us around 50% more than it should because of delays and cancellations due to lockdowns. I reckon we spent somewhere in the region of CAD$10,000 (about GBP5,800 at the time of writing) over budget. Which is about my tax bill for 2018-19. Because of lockdown caused losses my tax liability for 2019-2020 should be a negative value. No idea what 2021 will bring if matters continue. I’d put my resources offshore again if that were possible, but just try and open an offshore account as a civilian with less than seven figures to shift around nowadays. If you’ve forgotten your Grandmothers inside leg measurement you haven’t a chance.

Wall Streets man

Unpacking the last of our personal belongings on Saturday and noted that DJT is fuming over getting beaten in the electoral college that is the US presidential election. Which gave me pause for thought. If massive electoral fraud is not proven and old ‘Sleepy Joe’ Biden is the next US President, I look at it this way. Wall Street and the big corporates got what they wanted.

It doesn’t matter that Biden’s as corrupt as all get out. It doesn’t matter if he’s been picking the public purse through influence peddling. It doesn’t matter that he likes little girls and fondles them in public, and maybe much worse in private. It doesn’t matter that the vote has or has not been been rigged. Biden will do what he’s told because when push comes to shove, he’s Wall Streets man.

Obama was Wall Streets guy, which is how an activist with a minimal Senate term came from almost nowhere to the US Presidency. There was big corporate funding behind him. Clinton was Wall Streets candidate in 2016. Which is why her crimes were glossed over by a suspiciously quiet fourth estate. Trump, on the other hand, might get thrown in the jug on some spurious charge, although I doubt that the Supreme Court, now heavily Republican and constitutional, would allow that. It would take a couple of untimely deaths to shift that balance of power, although Judges that cross the big corporates are known end to up as targets.

All the Green New Deal stuff Biden and Harris talk about will have holes in it big enough for any corporate lawyer worth their salt to drive a truck through. The restrictions will only apply to the ‘little people’ anyhow. This is the reality of the situation. Trump was fun, he annoyed all the right people. However, unless he can prove that the vote was rigged, he’d be better off pulling in his horns and buggering off to play golf. He’s on a hiding to nothing. The US election has been bought and sold by the people who own the world, and BREXIT may well follow it because the corporates and trusts don’t like people doing what they want if it doesn’t make a crooked buck for them.

Besides, Biden hasn’t the intellect, just avarice and low animal cunning, and Wall Street likes that. It means he can be made to dance to their tune. And a merry little jig it will be. Like Trudeau is the corporates man. He does what he’s told and bugger the electorate. Not sure about Johnson, but I have a feeling he’s under heavy pressure to keep on giving the EU second chances. Because the corporates don’t like independence. They like things they can control.

The thing is, all these mainstream politicians are bought and sold. You can always tell who isn’t because a well-oiled propaganda machine is wheeled into action against them. The minute a politician of whatever stripe starts getting the idea they can do what the electorate wants, the boys with the balance sheets go to work. They have margins to maintain. They have NGO’s to do their dirty work and throw them money for this very purpose. Whole tribes of idealistic idiots at their behest, and it’s not just Soros funding them. He’s just the obvious fish in the pond that no-one likes. These activist NGO’s get their money from the big corporates and trusts who use the NGO’s activism to move markets and make money. They even own people within government itself. Which makes me half way surprised that Trump has lasted as long as he has.

So as their funding dries up, all the BLM and ‘hard left’ activists will have to scale back their activities. Less rioting. Less disruption. Because they won’t be needed any more. These activists don’t know, or want to know, that they are the unwitting tools of corporatism, but it’s where they get much of their funding. Because Wall Street and the corporates will have their man in the White House.

Cynical, moi? But of course. I listen to the money men and how they talk. Doesn’t take an Einstein to figure it out no matter what one’s personal feelings are. By way of illustration, there was an interesting (But paywalled) analysis in the UK Times Saturday which tweaked a neuron. About the growth of stocks and bonds under various administrations. One journalist ran the numbers which confirmed my suspicions. A US President of limited impact with a congress and senate in opposition is the best possible outcome for the corporate balance sheets.

Wall Street and the big corporates won this US Presidential election. The rest of us? We don’t really count.

Uncut footage…

…Of a Coronavirus briefing.

Because that’s what we’re in. A ‘war’ without end. Because the political class think they need something to keep the support of a continually frightened and enraged populace. They’re so, so very wrong.

I’d love to be optimistic, but unless the restrictions are fully lifted, we’re all screwed. The economy simply cannot support all those forced into unemployment.

Mrs S has been buying church candles. The big buggers. 100 to 200 hundred hour things. Four Euro’s apiece, which isn’t that expensive. Mainly because she likes candle light. We’re stocked up on oil. Note to self we’ll need a lock for the filler cap. As for the rest. The windows are triple glazed. We are based far from the madding crowd. We’re going to be cosy. I hope my last remaining reader will be comfortable too.

Hitchens has it

Hitchens is right. Masks are useless in this stage of the pandemic. There, I’ve said it (Repeatedly). SARS/COV-2 (Covid-19) has already passed through the available population. With a few isolated exemptions, the death count is minuscule even though case numbers are up, due to increased, and some would say, less than accurate testing. Herd immunity has more or less been achieved, apart from a few places where nature has not been allowed to run it’s course. The numbers do not lie.

Wall street is back on the up, we had an investment meeting today with our broker, and the ‘losses’ we sustained in March to July have dropped from fifty thousand dollars to less than twenty, the pound is up (at the time of writing) three to four cents against the Canadian Dollar, more against the Euro. So, things are improving. If only various governments could lift these pointless lockdowns they’d get better way faster. The money could then flow properly again, creating more and better jobs.

The Euro, without Sterling to use as a cash cow, is going to take a massive hit, possibly even collapse by the end of the year, maybe February 2021. But unless the lockdown is ended soon, most of the other western economies will take yet another, and possibly way bigger hit when the bill for these unnecessary restrictions kicks in some time in 2021.

So we’re shifting our investment portfolio around to ensure we don’t lose everything when the bill for this pandemic comes due. We’ll make all our Government lockdown mandated losses back by mid next year at this rate, but we’ll also have a better idea where the next major financial shock is coming from. Probably because of well meaning but completely economically clueless politicians, but hey, but what’s new?

What the hell?

One of my income streams has just gone belly up. It wasn’t a big one and I had an inkling it was coming so it’s no big deal, just a minor irritation. What made me go into ‘WTF!’ mode was the way in which it was done. “Hey, we want to talk about your contract…” then to be told there was no new contract. Oh well, what the hell, those people were insufferable anyway and deserve the fate that is coming their way next year when their funding is cut completely. At the end of the bad news delivery I was asked to “Have a nice day.” The irony was not lost on me, but I didn’t much feel like laughing.

From my perspective, that income stream had become uneconomical, often taking up way more time than I was being paid for without a bye, leave or thank you. You know the saying, “If you want something doing, give it to a busy man”? Well I was the busy man who kept finding more and more of his day being eaten up without being paid any extra money for more work. So, no great loss. I need the time for another major project anyway. More news about that later in August.

In the interim I’m looking at my share portfolio and am seriously thinking about cashing up. This prolonged lockdown has hit market confidence badly, leaving me thinking that any market bounceback that could have occurred won’t happen. This isn’t to say that some of our investments haven’t made money, just that others have made larger losses. So financially speaking we’re back to square one. As I’ve said before, this whole lockdown business has been badly mismanaged and the economic fallout looming just over the horizon ain’t gonna be fun for a lot of people. The ‘cure’ is going to be much worse than the disease.

The major problem with pandemics is infectivity. A pathogen (Virus, bacterium etc) can only thrive in conditions where it is freely transmissible and a lot of potential hosts are tightly grouped together in unsanitary conditions. Say a block of flats or apartments in the low rent sector, or where the standard of cleanliness is less than reasonable. Or like in facilities where the inmates don’t or can’t observe such rigorous hygiene standards, such as in cheaper care homes or prisons. On the other hand, in single family homes and out in the ‘burbs, the rate of spread slows to a complete halt.

This is why China has had multiple reinfections, housing is mostly cramped and unsanitary compared to Western standards and keeping housing clean enough to eliminate any pools of infections becomes nigh on impossible. Masks won’t help at this stage either, because as has been noted, the closer you are to high concentrations of infectious material, the greater the likelihood of rapid spread. Masks can only reduce the radius of infection. Oh, and stay out of air conditioned buildings if you can. I worked for an air conditioning company for a couple of years and learned about what happens if the maintenance schedules are not rigorously applied or the cooling coil drains get blocked or iced up.

Remember the fuss over Legionnaires Disease? Trust me. The great outdoors is far safer. Bugs like droplets to ride on.

Which makes me wonder at the advice to shut down outdoor facilities like the garden of a pub. We were at a Tim Hortons the other day and they’d shut down the outdoor seating so everyone had to either sit in their cars and drink their coffee, or do so in the epidemiologically speaking far more dangerous environment of the coffee bar.

There’s so much counter intuitive information going around that it’s a wonder people are still venturing outdoors. Although some aren’t. Poor darlings have been terrorised by all the scaremongering being trotted out in the mainstream and all the sensational clickbait headlines. What no-one seems to be saying is that the worst is past.

Likewise, the time for masks has passed, and the only halfway safe ones were the disposable surgical type, as those might not have stopped every bug, but reduced the radius of infection, and being disposable after each use, don’t act as a reservoir of infection like the worthless but rather stylish non-disposables I see so many sporting. First these home made things need boil washing or thoroughly nuking in a microwave after every single use. Second, cloth masks are way more porous than a surgical or N95 mask and thus stop less infectious material. An N95, as Ripper will no doubt remind me, is better at stopping infected droplets than a surgical mask, but still has to be disposed of after each use. These cloth things are better than nothing, but often more use in an armed robbery than against the spread of a virus.

However, from our perspective, no matter what happens the Sticker household is going to be okay. Not rich, but well off enough to put our money into building a decent house and keeping the bills paid with a little aside for travel.

The plan is this; Mrs S watches the finances and I go do. We consult, pay for land, planning and architects. Then when we’ve got all our ducks in a row, I go do some of the low level work, building, logistics, labouring, ring mains, lighting, a little plumbing and non-specialist decorating. Oh yes, and the day to day project management of telling suppliers that if they don’t deliver on time they won’t get paid on time either. Her job is to watch the budgets while I get to do the old walk and talk, set up accounts, negotiate discounts and delivery schedules etc. Which is part of what I did for the people who just dispensed with my services.

Round and round we go, but the pace rarely lets up.

Update: This article in the Times makes for interesting reading and confirms much of what I understood to be true about the origins of the embuggerance known as SARS-Covid19. Yes, it is very likely that the original virus came from bats, but the Covid-19 variant is highly probably derivative from the original found in bat faeces at a copper mining site. It’s a lab grown variant which was accidentally released into the wild. The seven year timeline sounds about right, too. A good piece of work.

Ghost town

A short musical (?) interlude. A blast from the 1980’s. Never liked it myself, and I never liked Coventry much, or the Specials, but having taken a perambulate around the malls and deep into downtown this morning, I think it’s appropriate.

Downtown Victoria BC, a normally slow Sunday bustle has everything but tumbleweed, and the only reason we didn’t see any of that was that we didn’t stay very long. Most of the stores are closed with only a few fast food places offering take-outs. Further out, malls are guarded by single worried looking security guards who apologetically tell any visitors that the stores are mostly closed.

This is a government created economic depression. No lives have been ‘saved’ from the coronavirus. Indeed a number will have been lost as the direct effect of an imposed lockdown which should have lasted three weeks at the most, then the restrictions lifted everywhere but care homes for the elderly and vulnerable with existing pre-conditions.

I haven’t reckoned the total damage to my investment portfolio yet, but between Mrs S and I we think we took a hit of forty to fifty thousand dollars. And we got off lightly.

Bring on the dancing monkeys

I really am going to ditch my FT subscription. The financial information I need to keep ahead of the curve is currently too often buried by a great steaming heap of poorly informed, but very well written op-eds. As for the rest of the press, I’m more inclined to read the National Enquirer or Fortean Times for serious information at the moment. Dear me. The BBC is a joke. The Times and Telegraph aren’t much better than the Wail. The Guardian is full of clickbait op-eds. CNN, MSNBC etc are too busy taking pot shots at Trump. The main Canadian media channels are bought and paid for by our taxes, so they’re little better than trolls or bots. When it comes to real news it’s like the western mass media is in some alternate reality.

Listening to a Q & A session from 10 Downing Street and later another from the White House, I was struck by ‘Journalists’ attempts to finger point and assign blame rather than dig out the real numbers, which is where any worthwhile information resides. It seems that we are poorly served by our mass media, who currently resemble a crowd of dancing monkeys, each desperate for their moment to please and garner a few pennies in their cap whilst delivering nothing of real value.

Then there are desperate for attention ‘celebrities’, virtue signalling and lecturing the rest of us from their fan bases without actually helping out. Some preferring to sing that idiotic Lennon song ‘Imagine’ on a YouTube video, pretending to show us mere mortals that they ‘care’ (Yeah, right). Lennon’s tune is a pleasant enough sequence of notes, but otherwise completely vacuous. It really is like being lectured at and talked down to. And I for one don’t care about air head ‘celebrity’ politics or morals because both derive from a moral vacuum. They can roll around in a cloud of cocaine until their noses rot and bugger each other senseless as far as I’m concerned, but so long as it happens behind closed doors and I’m not expected to like or pay for it, have fun guys.

By way of contrast, might I point to the example of James McAvoy, actor, who has donated GBP 275,000 of his own money to an organisation equipping NHS frontline staff with masks, then rolling up his sleeves and volunteering. Much Kudos and respect to that man. It’s his money. Besides, volunteering will get him an excuse to be out of the house with something worthwhile to do whilst this emergency is on. The fact that such a donation will also be tax-deductible is fine by me.

Speaking of tax, my bill has almost tripled this year, which I’m not totally ecstatic about. This is because Mrs S and I made quite a bit on investments in the last tax year. Unfortunately much of these profits have since evaporated in the current economic downturn. So effectively we’re back where we started at the end of last year. Notwithstanding, I’ve still got my ‘walkaway money’ and our investments will recover, but in the meantime the taxman takes his bite regardless, so I’m down. Significantly. Even though I’ll make it all back and then some in the next 6-12 months.

Nobody likes losing money through no fault of their own, least of all me. But here we are.

Little Blackface needs our money to buy that seat on the UN Security council. Although with the (local) price of gasoline down to under a dollar a litre at present, which is about 56p / litre! You heard me, Fifty six pence per litre, he might have to wait a while for that extra carbon tax money. For example, up province in Prince George, the price of 87 octane has dropped to under seventy five cents a litre, which translates at current exchange rates at 43p GBP (forty three pence) per litre, although I’m not driving that far for cheap gas. By comparison, in December 2019 we were paying 1.40 a litre (80p / litre). All I have to say is, long may the Russo-Saudi oil price war continue. That price war, more than the Wu-flu or mishandling rail blockades by NGO’s posing as First Nations could well be the deciding factor in Trudeau’s well deserved downfall.

Although you’ll never hear that from most of the bought and paid for dancing monkeys. Never mind about the Wu-flu plague.

Quick financial tip; watch for a series of possible (Probable) sovereign debt defaults by certain African nations. They’re deeply in hock to the Chinese and European banks who are all over extended in that region. That is where the next financial crisis will be coming from.

As for the reports of China ‘opening up’ and coming out of lockdown, the Indian English language site video below paints a very different picture. Even if it is someone else’s propaganda.

(Watch this space. Someone is playing silly buggers with YouTube shares – fixing)

Containment

I’ve been hearing rumours that the Covid-19 figures from China are not kosher. There are clues, nothing conclusive, but enough to raise a sceptical eyebrow at the ‘no new cases’ claim coming from the PRC. Maybe even that the death count from Wuhan and other cities is being under reported by at least a factor of three. I mentioned this to Mrs S this morning, and she said she had seen similar stories from outlets with differing agendas, so, okay, not clear evidence but definitely something that makes my bullshit detectors twitch.
What can I say? Doctor, Doctor, I’m suffering from a nasty suspicious mind?
Doctor; Sorry Bill, there’s no cure for that.

Then the ugly fact pops up that this is the fourth(!) and most major pandemic / global virus to come out of that region in the last fifteen years. I checked the WHO’s historical stats available here. First there was SARS, then H1N1 (Swine flu), H7N9 (A form of Bird flu), now there is Covid-19. That is a lot of infections from one region in such a relatively short time frame. One might even be forgiven for thinking there’s something deliberate going on. Either that or they have some serious public hygiene / health issues.

Africa for example has issues with diseases we in the modern west left behind in the 1950’s and latterly the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses. Cholera, Polio and various other diseases etc are endemic but nothing like the disease output of China. There’s also the point that all the four Chinese originating viruses are zoonotics, as are Ebola and Marburg (originating from wild animals). There was also talk of Covid-19 looking like it was born in a lab and let out into the wild by poor containment protocols.

Which begs the thought, why did we in the west outsource so many manufacturing jobs to the PRC? We may get cheaper consumer goods in return, but the downside of this globalist approach is the rapid spread of virulent and fatal diseases with their associated problems. As we are seeing.

The answer of course is lower manufacturing costs and cheap labour. Apple for example wouldn’t be able to make such vast profits otherwise. Nor would other large multinationals.

As an investor I am less than comfortable using Chinese equipment simply because of the well known issue of state slavery in China. Specifically political prisoners used to produce consumer goods. Other countries in the region; Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, have less of an issue and can and do take up the slack when multinationals switch their production. These alternatives do have their public health issues but are are not such sinks of widespread infection. Despite my brokers urging, I have to date refused point blank to put my money into companies who use the PRC as their primary manufacturing and distribution hubs, like Apple for example.

Okay, you might say, some of this is all conjecture on my part, but I say given the actual evidence perhaps it is time to rethink this relationship? Trump, the globalists bête noire and villain in chief (I wonder why?), has set great store in repatriating manufacturing jobs to the USA. Maybe now is the time for other western nations to increase their efforts in this direction? Before the next Chinese-born pandemic rolls around.

As for Gordon Brown, the UK’s biggest failure as Prime Minister, he can fuck right back off to a well deserved obscurity and take his ‘one world government response’ with him. This pandemic is mostly the globalists fault anyway.

Another old saying

Taken from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, act iv, scene iii;

There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.

Today is a good day to take a breath, roll the dice and see what comes up, good or bad.

I may end up a poorer man, but I think not. My broker and I will have a chat this morning and it is my intent to send some investment money winging it’s way marketwards. Which is part of what I do as an investor, take a deep breath and trust people to not piss my hard earned up the wall. After the initial market panic there are people who still need to work, and if I can be in some small way instrumental in helping a company stay afloat, providing capital to pay wages and all the myriad expenses of providing services and goods then my conscience is clear and my heart light.

For my investment I expect a modest return to recoup my losses, first when greatly devalued shares rebound, then reap the dividends, which are essentially interest on a loan made to a given business. By doing this I am not hoarding, hiding my scant resources in commodities like precious metals, but making a gift of faith which, it is hoped, will benefit all concerned.

If everything still goes even further pear shaped, then I will take comfort in the words of Steve Knightley; “You’ll get by” sigh heavily and start over. I’ve had to before.

There is hope out there in these trying times. All you have to do is have a little faith.

A little pain

Just had my broker on the phone in a bit of a flat spin. He tells me our investments are 7% down with this scare over Covid19. By way of context, the Market overall has plummeted 24%. Ouch, right? Now you know why capitalism doesn’t work Bill, got the message? No. We’re not wiped out, we’ve just taken a heavy knock, that’s all. Only lost 7% when others have dropped almost a quarter? I’d say we’re doing pretty well all things considered. The Canadian Dollar has just taken a big hit too, so what we had is worth less. If the markets burn completely then we’re all fucked, royally so.

However, money is like river water, it can evaporate, but then comes down as rain. It can get polluted, but can be filtered and boiled. It has flows and currents but you can’t ‘destroy’ it except by electrolysis. Making it is hard. Hanging on to what you make is harder still until you learn to use the flows to your advantage.

In the meantime Capitalism is working just fine for me. The markets will rebound in a month or so and I will have ploughed a chunk of reserve capital from last years gains back in as the markets bottom out, therefore in the medium term will make quite a handsome profit, the tax man’s bite notwithstanding. For the moment we’re biting the bullet and not doing the headless chicken thing like all so many others.

My investment strategy is fairly conservative anyway and relies on recouping any potential share value losses from dividends, rather than relying on the ups and downs of share value alone. Any paid dividends are saved in a cash reserve and reinvested when the market takes a big hit like about now. It’s not dragon magic. Read the Tao of Warren Buffett. Very enlightening. We did exactly the same over the 2017-18 new year market ‘correction’ and made back well over double our losses.

As for being around when any rampaging pitchfork toting mob comes to call (Sorry, the capitalist pig isn’t in – try the next street over), looking for ‘wealthy’ (Or even modestly well off) people to asset strip, we won’t be. Firstly, we’re three parts of the way up a nice steep hill in a fairly anonymous suburb, so any rampaging mob will be just about having their second heart attack by the time they get to our relatively modest door with the ‘quarantine’ sticker on. Secondly we’ll have faded like a Cheshire cats smile into the background, having moved all our kit out the week before. Thirdly my broker, lawyer and accountant get well paid for protecting and shifting our hard earned. They do their jobs. We make them money.

We’re good at being light on our feet in our family. For background; Mrs S once got caught up in the 1990 Taylor coup in Liberia and I’ve lost the roof over my head a couple of times, so we’re not exactly amateurs at this game. Once bitten etc. All you really need is a light backpack, a spare credit card, a laptop and a few sets of fresh underwear, then take the back roads to the nearest ferry, airport or safe haven. The rest is only stuff. It can be replaced.

What I’m trying to say is; this too shall pass. Don’t lose your heads. Covid19 is nasty but it’s not the Black Death. For perspective; in the UK the excess Winter deaths 2017-18 were about 23,000. Out of a comparable population of 60,000,000, that means a total extra death toll of a smidge over 3,000, which compared to the overall stats is but a pimple. Not much fun if you suffer the full effects, but 88% of those infected may not even notice, or pass it off as a seasonal sniffle. Still, it pays to be cautious.

The economic pain we’re getting at present is only going to last until Spring. Yes it’s unpleasant, but it’s not the end of the world, no matter what the lamestream say. To quote one US President; the only thing we need to fear is fear itself. I say; hang tough and sit it out, then wait for the first person to say “What was all the fuss about?” That’s when you’ll know it’s all over.

Sometimes you get surprised

Well, well, well. You know all that doom and gloom BREXIT was supposed to bring? I’ve just been reading the UK chancellors budget speech and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Tax cuts and infrastructure investment? Now that the EU shackles are off, the UK can and is doing it’s own thing.

As an investor I do have my reservations of course. The whole ‘Green’ thing. Has anyone done the sums on the extra baseload generation capacity and extra infrastructure the UK will need for all these whizzy little electric cars and suchlike? Yet I found nothing in the speech about new power stations apart from wind and solar. That’s going to be a big bloody help when the wind doesn’t blow on a cloudy day.

They’re going to have to get busy building these new Rolls Royce SMR plants, as well as making sure no crazy hippies or other witless nonsense merchants can damage them.

As a concept I like the SMR and the prospect of fast rollout and installation times for small nuclear reactors. I’d like it even better if there was a heavily camouflaged option. One that could be hidden in a place like Corsham Quarries, or other disused MOD sites or mines. Places that could easily be made secure and protected with a lot of rock between them and the outside world. Not that these SMRs will do a Chernobyl, they are being built and designed by Rolls-Royce after all. Unfortunately the reputation of Nuclear Engineering was not best served by a Soviet regime turning off all the safeties just to see how high they could crank up the volume. Nor was it well served by sticking old model boiler reactors on the shores of Japan which are notoriously vulnerable to earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis a la Fukushima. However, what all the anti-nuke faction forget is that nuclear is still the cleanest, safest option when it comes to power generation. You’re far more likely to get damaged by a cuddly toy.

Now if the powers that be can start to get these SMRs in situ before 2030 and at least start to update the electrical grid, then the UK may, and I’m putting a big conditional ‘may’ on that, have all the whizziest electrickery cars a body could desire. If of course someone discovers a new source of available cobalt etc or the much vaunted Graphene batteries prove viable. However, I’m still not totally sold on an all electric vehicle UK. There are journeys they are okay for; urban only commutes for example, but for non-rail travel outside major urban conurbations, trucking and agriculture, electrical vehicles are still, at this part of their developmental cycle, chocolate teapot time.

Mrs S and Youngest, a.k.a ‘North’ are delighted that the EU mandated ‘tampon tax’ is going away. “About bloody time.” Said ‘North’. I am also pleased about the removal of VAT from books and magazines. Then there’s going to be no extra taxes on fuel or Al Cohol and friends? Just what do these Tories think they’re doing? Running an economy? Well hold my breath.

PSBR has shot up, but the BOE have just cut interest rates, so now is a time to invest in infrastructure, not merely spend to buy votes. Necessary investment like the promised 50 billion on broadband. If I was asked, not that anyone is going to, I’d say the UK’s first post-BREXIT budget is a bit of a gamble, but not an unreasonable one. If it were me I’d give the infrastructure improvements the nod and cross my fingers, toes and nostrils, which is what I strongly suspect Bojo is doing. The Tories will score a big win if they only manage to fix the potholes and let the traffic go where it may.

Sounds like a plan.

All for vanity

Canada’s Prime Minister has just returned from swanning around Africa, brown nosing for votes to give Canada one of the currently vacant seats on the UN’s insecurity council. This is nothing more than a vanity project, especially when Canada is being brought to a grinding halt by little more than a handful of Tides-funded fake nations protesters. Now he wants to engage in a dialogue? Do I hear someone laughing? Soros, is that you? Again.

The majority of real first nations are standing on the sidelines going “WTF?” They want pipelines. They want prosperity. I get the sense that they’re very pissed off about these fake nations taking their name in vain.

The Police appear to have been given stand down orders because they do nothing when main highways and rail lines are blockaded, yet will arrest any public spirited citizens who attempt to clear up the mess. Then there are the handful of activists who blocked the Legislature in downtown Victoria. Not sure if they’re still there. Perhaps they’re lecture dodging.

Protests are fine, but physical blockades? No, that’s a step on the road to anarchy. Not acceptable. It could even be described as terrorism. Not that there’s any terror involved for anyone above the level of total wuss.

There’s something going on beneath the surface because even the politicians are getting harassed yet the RCMP and local cops are doing nothing apart from jumping on any people who object to the blockades. Or are the Canadian Police simply doing this in mute protest at being given a big ‘hands off’ by their superiors when it comes to these blockades? By their forced inaction are the lower ranks making a political statement about enforcement? As political as they are allowed to be that is. Maybe they’re so fed up that they’re going to let things go down to the wire. Or are their upper echelons so subsumed by PC culture that the rank and file are ordered not to intervene? I have no idea.

As far as the first nations are concerned, the RCMP are damned if they do and damned if they don’t so maybe they’re simply choosing the least worst option, at least as far as they are concerned. If the country’s economy is heading toward lockdown, they don’t care. Or at least they’re not being allowed to care.

All the time the Federal Government refuse to allow the Police to do their job. All because the vanity of Trudeau wants a seat on the UN Security council, thinking that a worthwhile achievement. Even if the country he is supposed to be head of is slipping into deeper economic trouble. Even if Trudeau’s mate and sponsor George says things will be fine. Well, perhaps fine for someone who profits from the economic chaos engendered by the many NGO’s his Tides foundation gives money to, but not so good for the ordinary Canadian in the street.

I know it’s not all Tides, there’s the Rockefeller foundation and a few others as well as the Saudi’s funding these anti-oil NGO’s. The Saudi’s because they want to keep selling their oil to Canada, Rockefeller and similar US interests because the oil sands directly compete with their interests. Funding these NGO’s is just business, even if it does sabotage Alberta, and by proxy the rest of Canada.

For an informed commentary of what is currently going on, see video below. Max Bernier is right. It is a circus, and all for vanity.

On a personal front, life and work trundle on. These blockades will have little direct effect on me personally because my commute to work measures under ten metres to my windows on the world of finance and business. Which as far as Canada is concerned, look a bit sick. The Trump inspired USA continues to boom with no underlying issues that might cause a step change in the markets. Which is good for me because most of the companies I invest in have significant cross border interests.

The pound is stable, trading up on it’s pre-January 31st value despite the failure of the EU to be even remotely sensible when trying to strike a post Brexit trade deal. The EU want it all their own way and have no real idea about how to handle a proper negotiation. They want something but don’t seem to want to give anything substantial in return. Which will be the EU’s downfall. The UK holds all the aces. Links to global markets, restored fisheries, a veritable queue of negotiating teams including the USA lining up at the door. The EU is still working on the failed model of central banks, imploding economies and quantitative easing.

The only thing that can go wrong for the UK is if Bojo embraces the Green policies being discussed and sends the UK down a fiscal rabbit hole. HS2? Rail links? How very 19th Century. Never mind trying to power them with more wind farms and (derisive snort) solar farms in a cooling climatic phase. Better by far to go down the route of small scale nuclear and hydro than ‘renewables’.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning that Hydro power on a small scale can have the secondary benefit of local flood management whilst churning out stable base load, as well as being able to react quickly to upticks in demand. There are quite a few old UK mill sites that could have their networks of sluices and ponds rebuilt and a modest turbine installed. There’s also the possible added benefit of running trout farms in the mill ponds. Food and power together? Now there’s a project worth considering.

Trying to run a nation on whizzy little battery cars powered by wind and solar ‘renewables’ won’t do any good. Renewables are simply inadequate for farming or industrial use, apart from for subsidy farming. For useful power generation there’s just not enough energy density, even with the up and coming generation of battery technology. Better, and much cheaper to invest in Internet bandwidth, cabling and local distribution hubs. Now there’s an enabling 21st century technology that works. And it’s relatively cheap and flexible compared to building and maintaining railways.

If like me, your desk is at home, all you need to do is log on, hook up your comms and you’re away. Which is what I do. No scabby trains or traffic jams. No aggravation from thoughtless soccer moms or texting titheads. Add to that the advantage of not having to share an office with people I don’t really like or trust. Win-win I think.

Travel plans for 2020 are Southern Ireland this Autumn for a couple of months where we have rented a cottage in the South so that friends and family can pop over for a visit. The flights and accommodation are all now paid for, with a short hotel stay in Dublin for when we stumble thoroughly jet lagged off the plane yet to be organised. Oh my aching wallet. Car hire has yet to be booked and I’m not sure what will happen to my Lemon tree plants while we’re away, but I’m sure they’ll cope.

So, the game’s afoot and we will be gracing the Emerald Isle with out dubious presence this year.

Could be interesting.

The fear factor

While crunching numbers, as I am wont to do because it’s what I earn a crust doing, I was listening to a Timeline documentary on YouTube, where the narrator was telling the tale of the Black Death and the social changes it helped bring about.

The thing that resonated with me was the various fanatic cults that arose during those times, even before the plague arrived in their locale. Convinced that the plague was the wrath of God (Although God has told me he did try to tell them about having a good wash now and then, but no-one was listening – as usual), certain groups of people turned to that good old standby of, instead of trying to deal with their personal hygiene issues and stop killing the cats that kept the rats down, chose self flagellation. That’s right, they went about the streets crying “Woe, woe, we’re all doomed” whilst lashing their own backs with a knout, a nasty sort of cat of nine tails with metal bits sewn into the whip ends. It is said these groups of ‘Flagellants’ as they were known, whipped themselves so hard that their blood would spatter street walls as they passed. It did not save them. In their self-weakened state, most perished.

So it is that I see the “Not my Prime Minister” and anti BREXIT campaigners, driven by their own fear, choose to roam the streets crying “We’re all doomed!” and getting under everyone else’s feet. Rather like the silly ‘Extinction rebellion’ protesters. They achieve nothing and are wasting their own and everyone else’s time. Rather like the flagellants of medieval times. They lack the reasoning ability to connect cause with effect themselves, so in ignorance devolve into a hideously primitive groupthink.

Unfortunately, Youngest is counted amongst their number. Which is a disappointment. I thought she’d learned about people who keep themselves down by being the authors of their own undoing, and that there are no saviours our there. According to her, they’re all apparently terrified that those nasty mustachio-twirling Tories are going to go around gloating over all the “Aha! Some poor people to torment, har-har me proud beauties!” You know, the working people who the Limp Dems and Islington Labour don’t really care about. Except when getting their vote in to support a bunch of unemployables like Corbyn.

What I saw during the campaign was Bojo, the UK’s very unclownish Prime Monster, going around, getting his hands dirty on the shop floor. Which is something I can respect rather than the opposition whose sole electioneering approach was gladhanding activists and loyalists while mostly ignoring the electorate or beating them over the head with scare stories, earnestly trying to re-educate any recalcitrant voter and crying “Vote for us, or the Tories will eat your babies.”. That and calling anyone who didn’t agree with them immediately unpleasant names. Well done chaps. Did it work? No prizes for giving the correct answer.

The thing is that neither BREXIT nor minor variations in the Earth’s climate are going to be harmful. Now they could be, but only if people refuse to rise to the challenge of a bit of extra sunshine rain or snow, or cling to the notion that a bunch of people who have never worked in the private sector over the channel know better than local people with their noses to the grindstone, fixing problems as they arise. Seriously, the immediate future contains more opportunity than threat. At least for the UK.

All the public moaning and groaning from the defeated are like a bunch of mardy teenagers who Mum and Dad have finally called ‘time’ on are achieving precisely nothing. All the Slebs whining like kicked bitches instead of claiming a little grown up dignity and facing their mistakes likewise. Although Lily Allen’s tactic of bursting into tears and sobbing ‘vote Labour’ has given a lot of people a bit of a giggle. It’s not that we’re unkind, it’s just that it’s funny to see all these people who think because they are good at entertaining have any idea about how the world really works.

So all these British slebs who didn’t get their way are going to leave the UK? Yeah, right. But where to? Surely not to that hell hole the Trump-infested US of A? No? Well the Yanks just dodged a bullet there. To the cultural backwater that is Canada? Mm, only if they’re happy to play to the odd bilingual Moose and a couple of puzzled bears. Australia? Watch out for the big hairy spiders and the Salties, not forgetting the deadly drop bears and one extremely unfriendly sheep near Brisbane. Heaven forfend that these ungracious slebs might have to learn another language. Even if they had the brains.

The truth is, as I pointed out to our young companions whilst we were visiting London, despite the odd knife attack, the western world is safer than it has been for quite some time, if ever. Fewer deaths from disease, wars, and even extreme weather events (Explanation here). Fewer road deaths. Indeed, fewer deaths from everything, apart from those claiming a Darwin Award, (Sightseeing on erupting volcanoes and suchlike).

Most of us are living longer and healthier lives to the point where getting a message from HM Queen to centenarians now has to be semi automated. That’s right, more people than ever before in the western world are making three digits, elderly friend included. Even if her wits are somewhere west of their preferred location.

Indeed. it’s getting to the point where pension payouts won’t begin until you’re eighty. Not that it’s a bad thing. One of my cousins just picked up his last P45 at age 79. Wound up his business and was last heard of travelling eastern Europe. Similarly I expect not to officially ‘retire’ until 70. Not that I really mind. Even then I’ll find something to make a few extra bucks on the side. Trusting for state pensions to be your sole source of income in your frail dotage is not a brilliant idea. Personally, I have two pensions in the offing, Mrs S has three and that’s without factoring in our investments. Having lost three pension funds over the years, (2 pots raided by New Labour, one when the company I worked for went belly up big time) I’ve become very cautious about those Ponzi schemes and nowadays employ a broker, an accountant and a lawyer to keep my investments secure. They earn their money.

Oh well, it might not be such a short life after all, and we will have to find our merriment where we may.

That’s interesting…..

You know how you come across certain snippets of information and your head just nods and you do a big internal “Oh wow. That makes sense.” I had such a moment this morning when I heard about a Swedish drug company donating the sum of a hundred grand to the UK Liberal Democrat party. “Okay Bill.” You might say. “Foreign companies donate to political parties all over the world. Big deal.”

Well sort of, and don’t get me wrong I’m inclined to agree, but when it is a particular drug company which is the major supplier of puberty blockers, you might be forgiven for putting two and two together. The two halves of this little equation being the upsurge of the transgender agenda with its surprisingly smooth intrusion into public education, the Limp Dems being very much on board with the whole identity politics thing and the possible financial benefits to the drug company concerned. Not that I approve of foreign interventions in individual nation states, but money is money, politicians are permanently on sale, and a bribe is a bribe, no matter it’s format. Arms companies used to do it all the time because that’s the way certain cultures did and still do business.

Meanwhile, back on my original topic, I was thinking thus; drugs cost a lot, tens, sometimes hundreds of millions to develop, but the applications of puberty blockers are very limited. Ergo there is a smaller market for said drugs than something mainstream, like painkillers for example. Early onset puberty can prove difficult, not only for an underage child, but also for parents and anyone within their social circle. However, early onset puberty to the degree that puberty blockers are required was once a very rare phenomenon. Nowadays we are told that such things are on the increase. Some claim this phenomenon is due to ‘Gender bending’ chemicals like those found in cheap soaps, certain types of plastic food containers and cheap Teflon. Other, more credible studies cite social and racial influences for early onset puberty. Whoops! forgot the trigger warning there. Oh well, can’t be helped. Don’t shoot the messenger etc.

However, there is another, and more sinister agenda here. All of a sudden there are a lot of surprisingly well funded and connected NGO’s and pressure groups pushing an associated use for such puberty blockers via their activist agendas.

Money is coming from somewhere to fund a very small number of vociferous activists who some, even of their own kind, are loath to be associated with. Could it be that the activists have been taking a sly backhander from the company who supply the drugs used to begin a soi-disant ‘trans’ children’s descent into their own bleak futures? Because the perverted activists who have infiltrated the Anglophone education system are pushing vulnerable children that way? Just to increase sales of an expensive drug to vulnerable young people who only think they need it?

Jesus H Christ on a bike! Surely no-one’s that cold bloodedly callous, are they? Are they?

Will this be the next Thalidomide scandal?

Excuse me. I think I’m feeling very nauseous…..