Wednesday, December 17, 2014


"Tom, I'm still seeing double."  Tom is my surgeon and neighbor.

"Charlie, the operative word is seeing."

We're back, a good way from perfect but lookin' really good...and feeling even better.

Big doings while sidelined on just about everything so the trick is going to be how to weave the past with the present beginning with the election which, as he challenged it would be, was all about Il Duce's policies of the past six years.  Yeah, Il Duce.  No point of being clever about it anymore, let's just call it as it is and hope he doesn't end up on a lamppost.  He, his policies and his party got killed which is going to shape the next two years but of course that hasn't stopped him in his imperial quest the latest being the "normalization" of relations with Cuba about which other than the Castro boys, the Venezulus, the Nics and other assorted vermin and despots in Latin Land, who benefits?  Certainly not the Cuban people and the U.S.  But, forward he goes, trailed by an increasingly smaller group of sycophants and hangers-on, wandering from one alternative universe to another.  The problem is he has chosen a high stakes game in which he holds less than half of the aces.  If he loses one of his challenges--just one--be it a real risk in with the Supremes involving Obama Care and Executive authority, or a disaster in foreign affairs,  the economy could be brutalized.  It is therefore critical that the Republicans, having been wildly successful, prepare for what they have fought and the fall-out from the same.  Not to have in place contingency plans to deal with success would be critical.  It all begins in two weeks.

On the bright side, the complete collapse in energy prices has been the second most important event in the past month and a half, providing what amounts to a huge tax break to the American consumer and massive upheavals in the geopolitical landscape especially in regard to Russia.  Tsar Vlady's imperial ambitions may have been seriously derailed by a world awash in oil and the prospect of burgeoning new supplies of energy arriving in western Europe in a much shorter time frame.  The Saudis bless them, have chosen sides in this one and from our standpoint, all the bad guys are getting squeezed.  If Il Duce's mob aided in that, good on em'.  But times are not good for the Rodina, Belarus--couldn't happen to a nicer bunch--and Venezuela just to name a few.  The Zulus could be real close to asset sales and thoughts of default just past the first of the year assuming Duce doesn't do something even stupider and bail them out.  Emerging market funds are the other side of this picture, however, with people like Allianze and...ready for it...PIMCO, up to their eyeballs in dodgy paper with the former holding a big number in Russian private sector.  Nobody's going in the tank over this but there might well be a cut back or two in bonuses this year.  Cry for them.

A third important and truly encouraging piece of news was the roll-back of a small part of Dodd-Frank which sent crazy Lizzy into an apoplectic state which was certainly fun to watch.  Poor Lizzy, the minute her back was turned, WHAMMO, right in the neck from my old bud Chuck Schumer whose motto has always been, "Gather ye campaign contributions while ye may..." and the easiest gathering spot is Wall Street.  But this is not going to go away and blood is going to be spilt.  More on this in coming episodes and on the Federal Reserve which today said it ain't doing nuttin'.  The market, which had been awful for ever it seemed immediately went up 300 points.  And a Merry Early Christmas to all!  Who says it's not about interest rates?

Finally, it became more and more we have been suggesting...that the next year is going to be all about Europe, the Union and the Euro.  Baring external political events, this is the game to be played and the one to watch which we shall be doing carefully and with great regularity.  So, I am really looking forward to the coming months and trying to tie all this together.  I hope you're still with me and thanks for all the good wishes I received.  Believe me, they were very heart warming.

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