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Dave Collum’s 2019 Year In Review: “I Fought The Fed, And The Fed Won”

Dave Collum’s 2019 Year In Review: “I Fought The Fed, And The Fed Won”

Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology – Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum),

“I hope David comes to his senses.”

~ Nassim Taleb (@nntaleb), best-selling author and Professor at NYU

Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • About the Author–A Brief Autobiography
  • Contents
  • Sources
  • Creation of the Year in Review
  • My Personal Year
  • Investing
  • Almond-Eyed Aliens and Other Conspiracy Theories
  • Gold
  • Bitcoin
  • Modern Monetary Theory
  • The Fed and Repo-Madness
  • Share Buybacks
  • Climate Change
  • The Jeffrey Epstein Affair
  • Thoughts on College
  • Political Correctness–Collegiate Division
  • Political Correctness–Adult Division
  • Political Correctness–Youth Division
  • Political Correctness–Corporate Division
  • Civil Liberties
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • Books

The whole beast can be downloaded as a single PDF here, for those who prefer to do their power-reading offline.

If it happened this year & mattered, it’s covered in here…

Introduction

It is that time of year again when I sit down and, in a frenzied stream of subconsciousness, bang out my view of the world. It’s my 11th chronicling of human folly and anthropogenic global idiocy (AGI).1 It’s like when Forest Gump jogs: I start writing, go on too long, and then just stop. Forty years of writing about organic chemistry has taught me that you do not understand something till you finish writing about it. Constrained by time—you can’t write an annual synopsis in May—I have made sure to sacrifice quality not length.

“Huge fan. Please continue to remain above the din.”

~ Guy Adami (@GuyAdami), trader and commentator on CNBC’s Fast Money

*I am the din, Guy.

Figure 1. An original by Candace E. Cornell (my wife) dedicated to Jeff Macke (my Bud and the Banksy of Wall Street).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

David Collum: Everything That Mattered In 2018

David Collum: Everything That Mattered In 2018

And what lies ahead for 2019
The only thing nearly as enlightening as reading David Collum’s epic Year In Review is listening to him and Chris Martenson riff about its highlights.

Strap in, grab some eggnog, and listen to this year’s recap:

Everyone thinks the markets are now correcting. But compared to the size of the correction I think both you and I expect, this is just a drop in the bucket. This is merely the vibrating puddle in Jurassic Park. This is not the big one.

What’s amazing is this recent romp, which has lasted now almost 10 years, is the only gigantic bubble that I’m aware of in which the storyline behind it is just complete garbage.

Every other bubble, like the Tech bubble — well, tech is amazing. The 1920’s bubble — wow, we just invented electric power and cars and planes. There’s always a great, great story.

This particular bubble in which we have had for 10 years is central banks are going to print money to cover our backs.

That’s the stupidest Goddam plotline I can ever imagine.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with David Collum (87m:25s).

TRANSCRIPT

Chris Martenson: Welcome, ,everyone to this Peak Prosperity podcast. I am your host, Chris Martenson. It is December 19th, 2018. Hey, listen, we are here today talking with Dave Collum about his year in review and is continuing our annual tradition. Listen, it’s the best year in review in the business. And it’s, listen, in order to know where we’re going, we’ve got to figure out what just happened. What better than a gigantic romp through where we have just been?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

2018 Year in Review: Part 2

2018 Year in Review: Part 2

And then things got even weirder…

If you’ve not yet read Part 1, click here to do so. The whole enchilada can be downloaded as a single PDF hereor viewed in parts via the hot-linked contents as follows:

Contents

Part 2

Human Achievement

“Opportunities don’t happen; you create them.”

~Chris Grosser

We are now transitioning from economics and markets to the political and social events of 2018. As noted at the outset, I have over a hundred pages of quotes, notes, and anecdotes about Trump, Russian collusion, and the nefarious activities going on in the Deep State. It has grown progressively harder to wrap my brain around what I am actually witnessing. I can no longer write a chapter or two. I may be able to write a book, but certainly not in the months of November or December. It is what it is. I have focused on what catches my eye and what is achievable.

Random topics that come across my field of view that I capture are loosely defined as “Human Achievement”. Who could forget the heroics in Thailand as cave divers saved the Thai soccer team?ref 394 Buddhist teachings by their coach helped them cope with stress and lower their oxygen intake for two weeks. Two heroic cave divers found them.ref 395 Divers from around the world suffering from toxic masculinity—no pussy hats or man buns on those guys—pulled them out. Meanwhile, Elon Musk was show boating with a useless submarine and calling one of the heroes a pedophileref 396 and then gets sued.ref 397

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

2018 Year in Review

2018 Year in Review

The year everything changed

Every year, friend-of-the-site David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. As with past years, he has graciously selected PeakProsperity.com as the site where it will be published in full. It’s quite longer than our usual posts, but worth the time to read in full. A downloadable pdf of the full article is available here, for those who prefer to do their power-reading offline. — cheers, Adam

David B. Collum
Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology – Cornell University
Email: dbc6@cornell.edu
Twitter: @DavidBCollum

“Dave: You are roundly tolerated.”

~Danielle Dimartino Booth, former Fed advisor and founder of Quill Intelligence

Introduction

Every December, I write a Year in Reviewref 1 that’s first posted on Chris Martenson & Adam Taggart’s website Peak Prosperityref 2 and later at ZeroHedge.ref 3 This is my tenth, although informal versions go back further. It always presents a host of challenging questions like, “Why the hell do I do this?” Is it because I am deeply conflicted for being a misogynist with sexual contempt—both products of the systemic normalization of toxic masculinity perpetuated by an oppressively patriarchal societal structure? No. That’s just crazy talk. More likely, narcissism and need for e-permanence deeply buried in my lizard brain demands surges of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that drives kings to conquer new lands, Jeff Bezos to make even more money, and Harvey Weinstein to do whatever that perv does. The readership has held up so far. Larry Summers said he “finished the first half.” Even as a fib that’s a dopamine cha-ching.

“If you think you are too small to make an impact, try spending the night in a room with a mosquito.”

~African proverb

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

2017 Year In Review

Tortoon/Shutterstock

2017 Year In Review

Markets fiddle while Rome burns

Every year, friend-of-the-site David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. As with past years, he has graciously selected PeakProsperity.com as the site where it will be published in full. It’s quite longer than our usual posts, but worth the time to read in full. A downloadable pdf of the full article is available here, for those who prefer to do their power-reading offline. — cheers, Adam

Introduction

“He is funnier than you are.”

~David Einhorn, Greenlight Capital, on Dave Barry’s Year in Review

Every December, I write a survey trying to capture the year’s prevailing themes. I appear to have stiff competition—the likes of Dave Barry on one extreme1 and on the other, Pornhub’s marvelous annual climax that probes deeply personal preferences in the world’s favorite pastime.2 (I know when I’m licked.) My efforts began as a few paragraphs discussing the markets on Doug Noland’s bear chat board and monotonically expanded to a tome covering the orb we call Earth. It posts at Peak Prosperity, reposts at ZeroHedge, and then fans out from there. Bearishness and right-leaning libertarianism shine through as I spelunk the Internet for human folly to couch in snarky prose while trying to avoid the “expensive laugh” (too much setup).3 I rely on quotes to let others do the intellectual heavy lifting.

“Consider adding more of your own thinking and judgment to the mix . . . most folks are familiar with general facts but are unable to process them into a coherent and actionable framework.”

~Tony Deden, founder of Edelweiss Holdings, on his second read through my 2016 Year in Review

“Just the facts, ma’am.”

~Joe Friday

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

2017: Carbon Brief’s end-of-year review

2017: Carbon Brief’s end-of-year review

As the year draws to a close, Carbon Brief takes a look at 2017’s top climate and energy stories through the medium of numbers…

49 countries

For CO2 emissions to fall, they first have to peak. And research published this year suggests that this is already happening.

The report, produced by the US-based World Resources Institute (WRI), suggests that 49 countries – which include the UK, US, Australia, Brazil and Canada – have seen their emissions peak, representing around 36% of current global emissions.

Carbon Brief created an interactive chart of WRI’s data as part of our coverage.

But how much time does the world collectively have left to reduce its emissions in order to avoid dangerous climate change?

At the beginning of the year, Carbon Brief published our traditional carbon budget update, revealing that just four years of current CO2 emissions would blow what’s left of the budget for a good chance of keeping global temperature rise to 1.5C.

However, in September, a new study published in Nature Geoscience proposed that there might be a little more breathing space to meet the 1.5C limit than previously thought.

As lead author Dr Richard Millar explained in a guest post, the study estimates the remaining 1.5C carbon budget from today onwards. This contrasts to previous methods which have been based on cumulative emissions to date. As a result, Millar’s study put the remaining 1.5C budget at around 20 years of current emissions.

The paper caused quite a stir, with parts of the media claiming that climate models – the basis for carbon budget estimates – are “wrong” and have overstated the observed warming of the planet.

Carbon Brief factchecked these claims, showing that the model-observation comparisons in the study depend greatly on the dataset and model outputs used by the authors.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

2017 Year in Review–James Howard Kunstler


2017 was the kind of year when no amount of showers could wash off the feeling of existential yeccchhhhh that crept over you day after day like jungle rot. You needed to go through the carwash without your car… or maybe an acid bath would get the stink off. Cinematically, if 2016 was like The Eggplant That Ate Chicago, then 2017 was more like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, a gruesome glimpse into the twisted soul of America. And by that I do not mean simply our dear leader, the Golden Golem of Greatness. We’re all in this horror show together.

2017 kicked off with the report by “seventeen intelligence agencies” — did you know there were so many professional snoops and busybodies on the US payroll? — declaring that Russia, and Vladimir Putin personally, tried to influence the 2016 presidential election. “Meddling” and “collusion” became the watch-words of the year: but what exactly did they mean? Buying $100,000 worth of Google ads in a campaign that the two parties spent billions on? No doubt the “seventeen intelligence agencies” the US pays for were not alert to these shenanigans until the damage was done. Since then it’s been Russia-Russia-Russia 24/7 on the news wires. A few pleas bargains have been made to lever-up the action. When and if the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Mueller, pounces, I expect the GGG to fire him, pardon some of the plea-bargained culprits (if that’s what they were and not just patsies), and incite a constitutional crisis. Won’t that be fun?

Anyway, that set the tone for the inauguration of the Golden Golem, a ghastly adversarial spectacle. Never in my memory, going back to JFK in 1960, was there such a bad vibe at this solemn transfer of power as with the sight of all those Deep State dignitaries gathering gloomily on the Capitol portico to witness the unthinkable.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

David Collum: We’ve Got A Recession Coming

David Collum: We’ve Got A Recession Coming

A bad one, at that

Whether or not you’ve had time yet to plow your way through David Collum’s excellent 2016 Year in Review, our annual podcast with Dave always brings additional color to light — and this year’s is no exception.

Any model based on an assumed 7.5% return is doomed. As you get low returns, our pensions get in trouble. And whenever the returns shoot above the norm they say “Well, this is excess.” And they scoop it up. So every time they are above water they scoop it up. How? They stop contributing. They start using the money for other stuff. Think of a sine wave oscillating about the mean — even if you guessed the mean correctly, if every time it is on the high side you skim it you’ll never get the mean; and that’s what the pension managers have done. And companies just stop contributing to pension plans and started calling the retained funds “profits”, which causes equities to go up and makes the thing get out of whack.

We’ve got a recession coming, one of the full-blown kind. And I don’t know what will happen. My prediction is that it is going to be a bad one. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that is when things start unwinding, counter party risk kicks in and faulty business models start showing up as bad and they start collapsing. All the accounting problems that built up behind the scenes so that the people cook the books to get their bonuses up and they made these crazy assumptions — under the protective cloak of a recession, CEOs can get away with announcing anything because they say Hey, don’t look at me. It’s a recession.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

2015 Year In Review

macbrianmun/Shutterstock

2015 Year In Review

“To the intelligent man or woman, life appears infinitely mysterious, but the stupid have an answer for everything.”

~Edward Abbey

I am penning my seventh “Year in Review.” These summaries began exclusively for myself, evolved into a sort of holiday cheer for a couple hundred e-quaintances with whom I had been affiliating since my earliest days as a market bear in the late ’90s, and metastasized into the Tower of Babble—longer than a Ken Burns miniseries—summarizing the human follies that capture my attention each year.1–7 Jim Rickards kindly called it “a perfect combination of Mel Brooks, Erwin Schrodinger & Howard Beale.” I wade through the year’s most extreme lunacies as well as a few special topics while trying to find the overarching themes. I love conspiracy theories and detest detractors who belittle those trying to sort out fact from fiction in a propaganda-rich world. My sources are eclectic, but I give a huge hat tip to sites like Peak Prosperity and Zerohedge. If half of what they say is right, the world is a very weird place.

“Ninety percent of everything you read or hear is crap.”

~Sturgeon’s Law

“The amount of time you waste online doubles every 18 months.”

~Collum’s Law

In an e-mail in early April, I told a friend and Master of the Universe that I wasn’t grasping the year’s theme. He assured me the year was young, but I had a deeper angst. I eventually realized that I had ascended Mount Stupid (Figure 1) and may be heading down The Far Side. Whether we are talking Greece, the Middle East, monetary policy, bonds, domestic politics, or sex changes, I am baffled by it all. Maybe life in the third millennium is like a sci-fi movie: it doesn’t have to make any sense.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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