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Thursday, December 1, 2022

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Thoughtful Thursday Morning

Maybe I am being too bearish on the economy.

Maybe there is a shining city on the hill with 1,000 points of light and if I simply close my eyes and believe in it, I will be transported there and everything will be wonderful and China will expand and Europe will expand and the US markets will rise and rise as the 18M unemployed people line up in the streets to cheer us as we all drive past them in our new cars as we head over to the gas station to pay $4 for gas, honking joyfully as we pass by each empty storefront and each abandoned home

It was good to take quick bearish profits, as I warned in yesterday's post because quick profits are all the bears get these days as it was indeed a "Whipsaw Wednesday," and Buffett's warning went in one ear and out the other of investors so quickly that clearly there was no gray matter slowing it down along the way!  I was very proud of our short plays on COF, HPQ, RTP, SRS, RTH and our DUG long but all had a half-life on their success so short you could have run an atomic clock with it.  Fortunately, we had our bounce levels to guide us and our 3 of 5 rule to get out of bearish positions so the damage was more to our pride than our virtual portfolios.

Although I could see the turn in my 9:45 Alert to Members, I didn't have the heart to make any bullish calls as it just seemed like such nonsense.  By 10:12 we were even more concerned that something was up and I said: "Don’t get too excited bears.  As I said in the post, profits need to come quickly off the table – this is not a market for riding 20% profits too far."  Sadly, I then proceeded to make a short play on OIH at 10:26 that stopped out at 10:34 and an incredibly poorly timed idea to get the DIA $93 puts at 11:22, just minutes before the market went flying and stopped that one out too as we flew through our bounce zone of Dow 9,200, S&P 986, Nas 1,946, NYSE 6,400 and RUT 555.   Now that they've held up so well, those levels now become our watch levels to the downside and it makes the previous support levels of Dow 9,100, S&P 980, Nasdaq 1,950, NYSE 6,400 and Russell 550 even less likely to be broken. 

Amazingly, right about 11:30, the markets began a 100-point "parabolic" run for no particular reason (see David Fry's chart) on not even any significant volume and that accounted for 100% of the day's gains.  Of course, the energy sector led the charge with oil up 5% on the day but oil was already up 2.5% ahead of the energy report and that was at 10:30, not 11:30.  While we have real issues with the energy numbers, there wasn't much we could do about it so we looked at bullish plays on UNG and UYG, looking to cash in on the insanity.   The most bullish items I saw yesterday were:

I’d have to say that last one, which hit the wires at 11:57 but was certainly known earlier by the big boys (who sit at the table with the Fed govs) so effectively this was a money dump coupled with the 5% jump in crude for the day – all nonsense that doesn’t change the overall fundamentals but we also have to know when we're beat and go with the flow, even as we look for the exits at all times.  We went into the close still a little bearish overall, with 1/2 covers on our long DIA puts as we now fear the pre-market action but we essentially stuck to our game plan for the week, where we expected a flat Wednesday and a drop on Thursday as we got retail earnings reports and jobless claims.  If we don't get a turndown today, it may be time to throw in the bearish towel…

[Continuing claims for unemployment benefits]8:30 Update:  We have the jobs numbers and 576,000 jobs were lost, right in line with the 4-week moving average (so 2.3M people a month losing their jobs) and up 15,000 from last week and much higher than the estimates of 550,000 jobs lost.  This by iteself shouldn't be enough to tank the markets because, if we didn't care about the 9.3M people that were already on unemployment last week (and we are totally ignoring the other 9M people whose benefits have run out and are considered "out of the workforce"), we sure aren't going to get too worked up about an extra 26,000 people getting pink slips.  After all, look how good it's been for corporate profits to fire all these people!  Heck, we should have done this years ago – what a great economy we would have if we could get rid of all the blood-sucking workers and just sell stuff!

Retail earnings, on the other hand, may actually matter as GYMB, HOTT, PETM and FLWS all lowered guidance since yesterday.  SHLD also had a big miss and none of the reporting companies raised guidance and even companies that beat low estimates, did so on poor revenues overall.  Congress is stepping in to save SHLD and appliance manufacturers with a new "cash for clunkers" program aimed at consumer durables.  $300M has been authorized for the fall for rebates on high-efficiency household appliances, furnaces and air-conditioning systems.  WHR and GE are going to be the big US winners.  We already like GE since they control the media anyway but SHLD is going to be the bargain baby of the group after that terrible earnings report and we'll be looking to dip our toes in on that one as they sell off, looking like $64.44 pre-market (9am).  If the economy is really bottoming, Sears is a bargain.  If the rebate program works, Sears is a bargain.  If commercial real estate comes back, Sears, with 3,900 of the best retail locations in America, is a bargain with a market cap of $8Bn or about $2M per store.  Most likely we'll initiate a play by selling naked puts, perhaps the Sept $65 puts for about $6. 

Asia hadn't seen our jobs numbers or retail sales (after all, those are their manufactured goods we're not buying) as they keyed off our happy, happy markets yesterday and the Shanghai Composite shot up 4.5% this morning, erasing all of Wednesday's loss PLUS 1 point (just for emphasis).  That was such happy news that the Nikkei rose 1.8% but still just under the 10,400 line it needs to prove a rebound and the Hang Seng gained 1.8% (374 points) but not one penny more than the opening gap up that also, almost to the penny, erased all of Wednesday's losses.  This is a market condition the Chinese refer to as: ??????, which means "Manipulated pile of dung," or an "MPD Day" for short

EU markets are up about a point ahead of the US open but off their highs after hearing our jobs numbers.  They too are shaking off news that would worry more rational markets as the UK and German budget gaps widened by huge margins with the UK needing to borrow net $13.2Bn vs $320M projected by "economists," who we've already learned not to listen to but WOW, that's off by a lot!  The recession has left even deeper scars in Germany, where the government forecasts gross domestic product contracting by 6% in 2009.  "Even though economic data as a whole are pointing to a stabilization of the economy, the situation however is still fragile," Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Asmussen wrote in the ministry's August fiscal update. "The crisis and its consequences are far from overcome."

Tax intake has shriveled. During the first seven months of the year, German tax receipts were 5.2% lower than the year-earlier period, while federal government tax receipts were 2% lower during the same period. One of the hardest-hit categories has been the intake from corporate taxes, tumbling 57.9% during the first seven months from a year earlier, while income-tax revenue was down 4.4% in the January-July period on a yearly basis.

We'll see if all this negative news actually matters today.  RTP is a good short at the bell as their earnings were awful and they will only improve if you believe in the commodity fairy and the Sept $160 calls can still be sold naked for $9, which makes an interesting play.  We're not going to do much today, other than watch our levels and see what sticks.  We had really hoped for a bigger sell-off into expiration day as it will be tough to make buys for next period at these elevated prices. 

 

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"I’m still trying to wrap my head around how Nat gas is at a 5-year low but OIH is at $105 – that just does not make sense…"
 
I know, it’s weird. Somehow the reality of supply and demand works in one case but not in the other. I think we will see USO at or near multi-year lows within the next 12 months, barring a big improvement in fundamentals.

Cwan a friend at raymond james likes it, go by at different times check out the parking lot… call some of the marketing and  sales guys they love to talk ask some questions,  then you might try buy write off Oct’s p&c’s @25 check with Phil

On Bloomberg right now they are talking about how demand for office space has collapsed.
 
No matter, SLG up 7.5% today !

You can guess my opinion – so I won’t waste your time making you read it ๐Ÿ™‚

Hee hee, after all that the Aug 101 SPY calls I’m short are only up .045 on the day.

Phil, i still have jan 170c and aug 150 callers…..you advised to DD on jans and roll augs to 2x sept 165’s..  i was thinking of assn the 150’s and go short for a limited time.  …..thoughts?  thanks..

This should make for some fun cocktail conversation at that Dem meeting I am going to with Phil !
Health care/Gel – Better safe than sorry I guess but who didn’t expect the Dems to tell the Republicans to shove it in the end?  The Senate was never in question and I’m pretty sure the House will line up before the elections. Reid just said the other day that "patience is not unlimited and we are determined to get something done this year by any legislative means necessary."  I think the Republicans are so used to the Dems in the minority that they forget how much ass they can kick when they are in power – every major social reform in this country was done over the dead bodies of Republicans and their lobbyists.  Will it be different this time?  Not likely…
Even when the Dems lost the Senate in 1995, the Repulicans never had more than 55 votes and they managed to completely dismantle the constitution and roll back decades of social progress in just 10 years and they never had anything like the House majority the Dems now have, with a max of 231 in 2006 and the Dems have 262 now.  Endless possiblities with this kind of majority and, oh yes, the Presidency!
 
Get a bunch of folks that all think like this in a room together quoting Al Franken and Michael Moore and you just know fun times are at hand !
 
๐Ÿ˜€

ITMN….damn, wanted to get back in under 14…..

Did I say money is on my side?  Silly me!  What was I thinking.. I got time.  That’s it.

Oh no, did I miss the meeting ?   Boy that sounded just exhilirating…. some nice astroturfing.
Cash for Clunkers will end next Monday … news just out.

Eph;   SRS; i don’t know.  its going to continue to deteriorate as it gyrates up and down.  Today was just silly, however.

Started another small short position in SPY after hours. If expiration doesnt get it moving down (option max pain on SPY is $98.0 so worth a punt)  or they ignore the bad housing data at 10.0 (it will be bad) then no real loss.

Cash for clunkers – I cant believe they are planning a "cash for clunky white goods". Can they do a "cash for crappy option positions" ? or "cash for my missus" ? Your govenment is getting desperate, things must be so bad, more than we can see.

Anybody see this about SRS?
"Leveraged-ETF manager facing suit: report"
If somebody’s suing them because they didn’t disclose the risk of putting it into their long-term portfolio, they should instead by suing their financial adviser/broker for not telling them that it was a bad idea. Or they should just live with the loss and realize that they were stupid for playing with something they didn’t understand. I vote for the latter.

Cap
I have been inspired reading Phil’s rants on wealth redistribution and I think it is a grand idea — let’s start with his.
My second inspiration is a result of having been deeply moved by the emotional appeal of the less fortunate among us whom have suffered at the hands of all of us knuckle dragging conservatives. In fact, I am going over to the other side. Enough with this half stepping reform movement! It’s time to declare a National Health Care Emergency!!!
Our glorious Leader, Lord Obama, should issue such a proclamation forthwith. It should encompass the nationalization of all hospitals; doctors offices; treatment centers, etc., including confiscation of all insurance company assets and declaring all existing policies null and void. All personnel – doctors, nurses; orderlies; janitors; cafeterial workers; claims adjusters; clerks; executives et.al., should be immediately conscripted under Selective Service into the newly created National Health Service Corp.
This would solve all the problems. As all personnel would be subject to Military Justice, they will be directed, as Lord Obama sees fit, to render services where and when dictated. The cost savings would be monstrous. Think about it. No more useless insurance company paperwork; no more dreaded profit margins; no more lawsuits ( On second thought, we will have to make some provision for our gallant friends at the trial bar as we surely don’t want them to go wanting).
Why this would show those evil, nasty Republicans and lobbyists who’s boss! And this will show them how genuine patriots shred the Constitution!

Phil/COF – You gave me some confidence this morning! Before you had posted that I should sell the 35’s for .55 I had decided shortly after my original post to use the same strategy and got them sold at .60. Yours was some excellent reassurance, sir. I’m holding out for them to burn out, but we’ll have to see with COF closing at 35.04 today.  
Phil/Zombies – Ha! That was a great list of zombies. I’d like to also add that we’re up against hordes of zombie computers making cold, calculated decisions in their bid to eat away others brokerage accounts.
Cap, others/SRC – I’ve sold some 13puts as there seems to be some consensus that it’s been oversold. Small position, with my stops set and a plan to get out if it goes the wrong direction. You’ve played this one a lot, got any advice? Thanks!

Cap – I meant SRS. Typo, iPhone, Sorry.

LOL wow you have been taking the liberal pills the last couple days Phil.
I don’t know if there are particularly more "slackers" under communism and I’m sure many Europeans would tell you it’s not a particular problem under socialism.
.
Hey! I really can’t allow you to just dismiss this issue. It is a real practical problem in Britain and has been ever since the start of the welfare state in 1920, with the introduction of unemployment insurance. There is little question that program notably drove up unemployment, and lazy people have been fleecing and living off state benefits ever since. Governments of all parties have been vocally and repeatedly tackling this issue over the decades since.
.
I don’t think any of this applies to healthcare, it’s difficult to see how people can profit without effort from coverage. And anyway I cannot support people dying because they are lazy or unlucky.
.
But welfare dependency is a real moral and economic hazard that must be considered as part of any social spending program…if too many people were living off benefits there would be no wealth to analyze the distribution of….

Hello Phil;

you were kind of cautious about BA last week, so are we good now ?
It seems BA and TASR are both buys.
The questions for us that are sitting 90% cash, when how should we start easing in ? wait for the 9100 bottom to be confirmed ? or start easing into the real under priced stuff.
They don’t seem to allow a slip back to floor, well not until this month is closed out anyway.
My feeling is your waiting for something, and reading all you have, you sure as hell are uneasy, and I agree and thats why I’m waiting too. enough rambling ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh pstas, how dramatic!
Many defence companies make good profits out of "socialised" military sales, and so will health companies.

stevenparker, that’s why the unelected gov of NY State, David Patterson (who would have thought anyone could have been worse than Spitzer) last week decided to give welfare recipients free money under the guise of "back to school bonuses" whether or not anyone would be going back to school being a separate issue entirely.
 
Patterson diverted about $180 million in federal "stimulus" "porkulus" money to do this.
 
Never mind of course the state’s multi-billion and growing budget deficit; diminished tax receipts and out of control spending.
 
NY had made enormous progress in reforming welfare; getting people off the roll and back to work, but being the true incompetent, socialist, unelected Democrat that he is, Patterson is in one fell swoop reinstating welfare dependency.  What he thinks he is doing is buying the votes of poor people because he fantasizes that he could possible get re-elected even though his poll numbers are abysmal as in Democratic Congress abysmal.

there has been a spike in the purchase of beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets in NY. Could there be a link?

Hey guys – I’m diabetic and I get fantastic service from the UKs NHS. I have to admit I’ve paid all my National Insurance stamps for 50 years but all the treatment I get is free at the point of delivery. It can be clunky and beauracratic and slow to deliver the latest drugs but its there for nearly everybody – including refugees and political assylum seekers who never paid a single National Insurance stamp. Sure you can get better faster service if you go private and pay – but you dont have too. Dont knock it – you might need it some day.

stevenp., I agree with you on the healthcare and welfare stance.  I think there should be tiers of care in the public option just as there is in the private insurance plan.  Certain things are covered at different levels depending on how much you pay.
 
The thing that is getting brushed under the rug and rapped around the axle at the same time is rationing.  OF COURSE THERE WILL BE RATIONING!  It’s just that no one has the balls to say it.   Once the administrative savings are realized (if any when it’s all said and done) then all you have left to save on is what care you provide.  Should terminally ill people get a procedure that extends their life by 6 months instead of 3?  Personally, I don’t think so.  But that’s what this is about.  Making hard choices.  And no one can stand the heat.  Of course your income should play a part in what kind of care you get.  The poorest will get basic care.  Everyone richer then that will get more.  And for folks out there who will cry and say that’s not fair then I’ve got one question for them.  How about no care?  Because that’s what you’ve got now (the uninsured).

I got to tell ya earnings dont look too shabby, some retailers doing very well due to cost cuts ๐Ÿ˜‰ CRM knocked it out of the park
http://biz.yahoo.com/research/earncal/today.html

This whole health care thing can be summed up very simply, those rich are getting richer  the middle class and poor are getting poorer. Just a matter of time before we demand it. Who will be able to afford proper health care soon? My brothers family pays 26k a year for Oxford. Lets be serious!

TASR:   "Man Catches Fire After Being Tasered By Police"

DB I really feel your comment. I had employer sponsored health care in the US for the last decade.  And I never saw a doctor once. But now I am "self employed" I see no reason to inflate the insurance companies profits in order to have them deny me coverage down the road. If I fall seriously ill (and yes I have paid plenty of taxes there) I shall be back to Britain for treatment  in a heartbeat. 
 
Let’s make no mistake. The current private health care system in the US is inadequate at actually delivering health care, stunningly wasteful and spectacularly socially unjust.
 
But all partisan politics and rhetoric aside, there is no reason why capitalism need be destroyed in order to correct this.

 No Public Option As defined now!
Healthcare in a Gov/ public package will be a disaster, and we won’t live long enough to undo it….That’s what they, the Democratic policy makers are counting on…a coverage doctrine of a Government plan which begin chanting the mantra of deny, deny, deny, litigate which has worked for years in HMO’s and the government will follow suit with no one to appeal to, no one to come to your aide. The only way to reduce costs is to treat & diagnosis earlier or reduces cost by restricting service, period.
 
The most radical approach and one that might work is develop and utilize advanced diagnostics, treating disease prior to an end stage terminal phase, then make medical school free, funded by private foundations and donations, [BTW now being done at U.C.F.]Then have all MD’s do a portion of their rotation providing care to the indigent as part of their rotation.
 
We need to restore the R&D tax credit, to increase spending in the private sector, increase patent coverage for first in class novel inventions; therapeutics and diagnostics, to incent better care not placing your faith in the Government. Most certainly reducing patent protection will result in few innovations and a decline in US productivity.
 
Let me point out to those calling for government plan, look at "Cash for Clunkers," here is what we have heard from the Government on this one…" we don’t know how many cars have been sold under the plan, we don’t know what we owe dealers." So, the government hasn’t paid the dealers. Oh and we are discontinuing this plan which frankly was working too well and we are going to "dollars for dishwashers," better cover the Whirlpool shorts quickly!
 
The equivalent in health care will be, “ of course you need the MRI, but we can’t get you in for six weeks, then, fill out these forms and we will get back to you,” Six weeks later, sorry we are fresh out of our annual allotment of MRI’s at your local facility, you can go to a distant center, or try an X-ray to see what’s wrong with you…then, “sorry, we can’t get you into an X-Ray site for a week or so…but here is an RX for some pain pills,”  .Please, this government can’t patch pot holes and you want to believe that they can provide a lower cost health care option, one word , Delusional!
 
This is the single most important piece of legislation placed before us in the last ten years. Obama tried to ram it home before the break because he knew if any one read this bill it would never get passed. It is criminal, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.  Oh and that possible AMA endorsement, the AMA represents less about 15% of the MD’s out there…don’t get suckered into a “ Hurry up offense,” on this Health Care bill you will be resenting  a rush job on this bill until you die, which will be sooner than you think at this rate!

Colberg … good points.  And Obama is being completely disingenous in his efforts to fire up Phil and his pals, to the point of simply lying (more on this later).
 
And you are 100% right, that they can’t administer this little $3 billion Clunker program illustrates how idiotic the whole idea that Obama claims the gov’t can better administer health care and achieve efficiencies, cost savings, cover more people and improve care.  The thought is so idiotic and absurd it shows how in the tank the press is for Obama that this debacle in the making even merits a serious discussion.
 
Regarding Cash for Clunkers; the amusing quotes tonight from Ray Lahood patting himself on the back for completing such a fantastic and "wildly popular" program.
 
Not so, say the dealers, who are not getting paid.
 
http://www.nypost.com/seven/08202009/news/regionalnews/ny_dealers_in_a_clunk_funk_185420.htm
Read today’s press … "Car dealers are mutinying" over the program.  Hundreds of dealers in NYC alone have pulled out says AAA.  Dealers say they have gottten paid only 2% of the millions of dollars owed to them by Washington.
"Its an administrative nightmare" said AAA president.
1/2 of Pennsylvania’s 950 dealerships have also pulled out.
Under the rules, DC is supposed to reimburse w/in 10 days.
http://www.nypost.com/seven/08202009/news/regionalnews/rocky_road_to_payback_185426.htm
Long Island car dealer Richard Howard quit the Cash for Clunkers program yesterday, saying he’s fed up with the government’s management of it.
"I put the brakes on it," said Howard, general manager of Robert Chevrolet in Hicksville.
Like hundreds of other car dealers in the New York area, he pulled out of the federal program because of the lengthy delays in trying to get reimbursed.
Howard said "business was OK" at the dealership before the Clunkers program began four weeks ago, but he had seen a definite uptick in floor traffic and sales since then.
His dealership sold 25 Chevys under the program’s terms and gave buyers the $3,500 to $4,500 credit Washington mandated.
The feds are supposed to reimburse dealers within 10 days for the credits. But Howard hasn’t gotten a penny back.
"Right from the get-go we had problems," he said, such as accessing the crash-prone Clunkers Web site. Then came problems with filing the required paperwork, "a very time-consuming process."
"It takes about an hour to submit [each one] and they will reject it for minor reasons," Howard said. "If there’s a ‘t’ not crossed or an ‘i’ dotted, they find a way to reject a claim. And on a resubmission, it goes back to the bottom of the list.
"The amount of money we’re talking about is cost-prohibitive," Howard said. "We can’t float hundreds of thousands of dollars in a system that’s broken."

Phil, when you are not drinking the Kool-Aid w/ your Jonestown buddies, please understand the implications of health care rationing:
 
http://hopeychange.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-discussion-about-death-panels.html
 
Mark Steyn explains it very well:
What matters is the concept of a government "panel." Right now, if I want a hip replacement, it’s between me and my doctor; the government does not have a seat at the table. The minute it does, my hip’s needs are subordinate to national hip policy, which in turn is subordinate to macro budgetary considerations.

For example:

Health trusts in Suffolk were among the first to announce that obese people would be denied hip and knee replacements on the NHS.

The ruling was part of an attempt to save money locally.

The operative word here is "ruling." You know, like judges. You’re accepting that the state has jurisdiction over your hip, and your knee, and your prostate and everything else. And once you accept that proposition the fellows who get to make the "ruling" are, ultimately, a death panel. Usually, they call it something nicer — literally, like Britain’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

And finally I don’t think this is any time for NR to be joining the Frumsters and deploring the halfwit vulgarity of déclassé immoderates like Palin. This is a big-stakes battle: If we cross this bridge, there’s no going back. Being "moderate" is not a good strategy. It risks delivering the nation to the usual reach-across-the-aisle compromise that will get Democrats far enough across the bridge that the Big Government ratchet effect will do the rest.

After my weekend column recounted the experience of a recent British visitor of mine, I received an e-mail from a gentleman in Glasgow who cannot get an x-ray for his back — because he has no sovereignty over his back. His back is merely part of the overall mass of Scottish backs, to which a government budget has been allocated, but alas one which does not run to x-rays.

Government "panels" making "rulings" over your body: Acceptance of that concept is what counts.
 
Also:
http://hopeychange.blogspot.com/2009/08/death-panels-contd.html

Ah Phil, you (and O) don’t take losing very well do you.
DOA buddy.

The tactic is the same and it is getting very tired.  Those who expose Obama’s lies, are simply called Liars, usually by Obama himself.  Phil, you have been doing it all day.
 
They’ve Been Here Before   [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
 
An e-mail:

This particular character flaw was revealed early in the presidential campaign when Obama tried to deny he advocated defeat of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in Illinois, then accused the NRLC of lying when they pointed it out.  (The campaign—but not the candidate—later admitted the NRLC was right, but issued no apology.).  It’s a pattern:  Those who expose Obama’s lies are branded as liars.

 
 
The National Right to Life Committee sent this out yesterday afternoon: 

Obama Says "Government Funding of Abortion" is "Fabrication,"
But the White House-Backed House Bill Explicitly Authorizes It
 
WASHINGTON (August 19, 2009) — In a conference call with supporters this afternoon, President Obama said that it is a "fabrication" to say that the legislation backed by the White House would result in "government funding of abortions," and that this is "untrue."  The following comment may be attributed to Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the national federation of state and local right-to-life organizations:
 
Emboldened by the recently demonstrated superficiality of some organs of the news media, President Obama today brazenly misrepresented the abortion-related component of the health care legislation that his congressional allies and staff have crafted.  As amended by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 30 (the Capps-Waxman Amendment), the bill backed by the White House (H.R. 3200) explicitly authorizes the government plan to cover all elective abortions.  Obama apparently seeks to hide behind a technical distinction between tax funds and government-collected premiums.  But these are merely two types of public funds, collected and spent by government agencies.  The Obama-backed legislation makes it explicitly clear that no citizen would be allowed to enroll in the government plan unless he or she is willing to give the federal agency an extra amount calculated to cover the cost of all elective abortions — this would not be optional.  The abortionists would bill the federal government and would be paid by the federal government.  These are public funds, and this is government funding of abortion.
 
In 2007 Obama explicitly pledged to Planned Parenthood that the public plan will cover abortions (see the video clip here).  Some journalists have reported that Obama "backed off" of this commitment in an interview with Katie Couric of CBS News, broadcast July 21, but Obama actually carefully avoided stating his intentions — instead, he simply made an artful observation that "we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care."
 
It is true that there is such a tradition — which Obama has always opposed, and which the Obama-backed bill would shatter.
 
On August 13, NRLC released a detailed memo explaining the provisions of the pending bills that would affect abortion policy, with citations to primary sources. Many of the "factcheck" articles that have appeared in the news media in recent weeks reflect, at best, unsophisticated understandings of the provisions they purport to be explaining, and also give evidence of a weak understanding of Obama’s history on the policy issues involved.  The memo is downloadable in PDF format here:
http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/HR3200NRLCfactsheet.pdf

Slackers/Steve – If you actually care, here’s a very good study on the functional differences between the US an Europe
 
Of course I care. I will read it through and digest. However, arguing that the British share of world GDP has grown faster than the US since the introduction of the welfare state in 1920 is silly and redundant. It clearly hasn’t. Please note that in this context,  "Europe" does not exist. Member nations create social policy, the EU doesn’t.
 
While formulating social spending policy I would encourage you to consider why Britain has a notable problem with slackers and Norway doesn’t. This may help you avoid any parallel issues here.

CLOWNS TO THE LEFT OF ME; JOKERS TO THE RIGHT, HERE I AM, STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU.  (if only…)
AND I’M WONDERING WHAT IT IS I SHOULD DO.    (blame fox news of course).
 
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090820/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_obama_health_care
On the defensive, Obama is embracing a new role of fact checker-in-chief, trying to correct untrue claims such as that the proposals would provide health care for illegal immigrants, create "death panels" or pay for abortions with taxpayer dollars. Aides say the situation has left Obama exasperated.
"Now, c’mon," a mocking Obama told a cheering crowd late Thursday at a Democratic National Committee appearance designed to re-energize activists who were instrumental in his drive to the presidency. "What we’re going to have to do is to cut through the noise and the misinformation."
"I said during the campaign that the best offense against lies is the truth," Obama said. "And so all we can do is just keep on pushing the truth."
Yet for all the gnashing from Republicans and fiscally conservative Democrats, he faces equally tough opposition from lawmakers and activists on the left who insist any overhaul must include a government-run insurance option.
In fact, shortly after his comments Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared the Democratic-controlled House simply won’t approve the overhaul without it.
"There’s no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option," Pelosi, D-Calif., said after a round-table in San Francisco.
Obama told his DNC audience — as well as thousands watching online and listening by telephone — that health care was the toughest fight he has faced in office.
"Winning the election is just the start," he said. "Victory in an election wasn’t the change that we sought."
That election, though, came with his promise of the government insurance option, a provision that Obama’s team now calls "preferred" but not mandatory. During both his Thursday appearances, Obama declined to call it a deal breaker.
"What we’ve said is that there are a number of components to health care," he told Smerconish, who is generally seen as a conservative, although he endorsed Obama last year and supports abortion rights. "I see nothing wrong with having public option as one choice."
He said "the press got excited and some folks on the left got a little excited" when he and top administration aides last weekend made statements indicating that a publicly run health insurance option was just one of several alternatives.
Since then, Obama has faced increasing criticism from his left flank.
"And even though some White House advisers seem to have forgotten, the reason the public option has become central to reform is simple: We’re fed up with the insurance companies and we need real accountability for them," liberal MoveOn.org said in a message sent to its 5 million members while the president was speaking with Smerconish. "They’ve had decades to fix the problems with our health care system, but they haven’t done it."
One caller to Smerconish’s program said he sensed the administration was making a misstep.
"I’m getting a little ticked off that it feels like the knees are bucklin’ a little bit," said the caller who identified himself as Joe. "You have an overwhelming majority in both the House and the Senate, and you own the whole shooting match. … It’s very frustrating to watch you try and compromise with a lot of these people who aren’t willing to compromise with you."
Obama told his audiences he is trying to reach across the aisle to craft a bipartisan plan, even as he blamed Republicans for delay. He peppered his DNC remarks with jokes and jabs at conservatives that had the partisan crowd breaking into applause and laughter.
In response, a spokesman for the No. 2 Republican in the House said he had a question for Obama and his team.
"We would love to know when, exactly — time, date, place — the president or his staff reached out to Republican leaders?" said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Republican leaders in May sent Obama a letter outlining the GOP’s principles and asking to collaborate.
"And the president’s response?" Dayspring said. "Meeting? Nah. Work together? No thanks. Further discussion? Nope. Instead, they went with, ‘Thanks for the letter.’"
While the White House insists Obama is still looking for Republican support for a comprehensive health care bill, Democrats privately are preparing a one-party push, which they feel is all but inevitable. Polls show slippage in support for the president’s approach, although respondents express even less confidence in Republicans’ handling of health care.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Thursday that Obama is struggling to get a health care bill because he has been too deferential to liberals. Romney, who may challenge Obama in 2012, said on CBS’ "The Early Show" that "if the president wants to get something done, he needs to put aside the extreme liberal wing of his party."
______________________________________________________________________________________
Phil, maybe you can help out Obama and answer the question:
"We would love to know when, exactly — time, date, place — the president or his staff reached out to Republican leaders?" said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.
 
This seems to be the answer: bipartisanship nowhere to be found:
 
From First Read:

How serious are Democrats about pushing health care through the budget reconciliation process? Very serious. The president has signaled for MONTHS, not days, that he’s willing to go this route. In fact, he hinted at it in an interview with NBC News two weeks ago in Elkhart. The question is whether the threat of reconciliation is about keeping Republicans at the table talking, or whether it’s a serious option. We can tell you this: We know the president’s experience in the Senate has convinced him that the 60-vote threshold seems a bit absurd to him sometimes. If you can get 55 votes for something, you should be able to get your bill out of the Senate, according to those who have talked with him about this issue.

 
Maybe, Obama should just chuck his and Pelosi’s idiotic plans and start over, as other Democrats are now suggesting:

Reboot   [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
 
From the Kansas City Star:

[Democrat] Rep. Emanuel Cleaver told reporters this morning he’s willing to start from scratch on a health care reform bill, as many Republicans have suggested.
"I’m willing to push the reset button," Cleaver said, although he appeared skeptical about the prospects for any new legislation from a restart of the process. The Missouri Democrat also said health care reform is "too important" to be passed with only Democratic votes, as White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has recently suggested.
Cleaver also said if health reform isn’t passed by year’s end, it won’t happen.  That, he agreed, effectively gives the GOP veto power over any legislation for the next 90 days or so, once Congress returns after Labor Day.

Cap, do you have health insurance? If so who whom is it with? What do you pay? Maybe I can get
that great plan as well.

Because mine isn’t all that good. Discuss tomorrow perhaps?

Doro, yes I have health insurance; b/c I don’t know who you are and I dont discuss this type of Q on the internet, I will have to say sorry, but that’s all for now.   If everyone wants to detail their own health insurance plans, costs and so forth, it would be an interesting discussion.  But probably not where we should be going here on PSW.
 
What I will say is my current insurance like that of many others is less than perfect, but the Dem plans for blowing up our healthcare system won’t make it better; but worse; while adding gobs of debt and tax increases in the process.

Phil, One I have been in the health care space as CEO of Primary Care, which was taken over by Rx Care which was taken over by a large well known HMO, the horror stories on health care would truly make you cringe. This is not political this is real. Currently in the Biomed world as a CEO and company founder, I have seen plenty of hospitals and research centers here and in other countries.
We can run trials just about anywhere in any other country and enroll patients because an experimental drug trial gives better care than is provide under any current Government sponsored program, and it does so faster. America became great by innovations and hard work. not with welfare and government subsidies. I have seen firsthand heath care in other counties, and I wouldn’t trade our broken system for one shiny new Government program anywhere even with the knowledge of how corrupt our system is, and don’t get me started on HMO’s…I would rather suffer trained medical practitioners of my choice over, mid-tier, imported MD’s and RN’s in a Government program, after all who do you think will be signing up to work as these new 50k per year health provider professionals in cost cutting programs, a Harvard or Yale grad, try again, they will be going into plastic surgery or reading radiology reports where the money is good and not impacted by insurance pay outs. Wake up, this is serious. Why do you think every time the market thinks the public option is dead it jumps up…this is not theory. Think in terms of them telling you your Mom, is going the pain pill route, and that surgery is out because she is 80, no matter how good of shape she is in. These Dictums will become the new reality.
It is ALL about money and the last people I would trust with that is also the government.
Slow this process down if you and your Democratic buddies have any clout start with whoooaaaa and fast!
 

Guys, the truth of the matter lies somewhere in between. I worked 30 years in the health care industry, and I am aware of waste and abuse, if not fraud. I am aware of staggeringly offensive practices by insurers. I have had people in my office who were badly screwed by the system. I have seen how the expansion of insurance coverage transformed docs into over-treaters of almost everything, and I have seen how the rabid malpractice ambulance chasing bottom feeders have caused useless testing to expand spectacularly. Costs have risen almost exponentially, and if you don’t have insurance, you face a bill that would claim your lifetime net earnings.
And this is better than it would be if the government ran it.

Oh, and just incidentally, all of us are here because we think (hope) that we learn something that will enable us to pay our new tax bill. Maybe we should stick to that.

Neil Cavuto tonite on O’Reilly … slamming ObamaCare.  Most charitable thing he had to say was this (in response to Q "is Obama then intentionally trying to deceive the American people ?)
Obama "is placing his bets on a Government that has NEVER delivered"   (context being – never delivered on running programs efficiently or effectively).
 
Incoming Canadian Health Care director Anne Dose (sp ?) … "Canadian Gov’t Run System is Imploding".
 
Former head of Canadian AMA Dr. Brian Day – System is broken.  Issues are Access, Not Enough Doctors, Rationing, Exploding Costs (healthcare enormous proportion of provincial budgets and growing).  1 Million + Canadian patients are waiting for surgery (Canada population < 30 million).
 
Just more informed comments …
 
More liars according to Obama….

g’nite … busy options expiration day manana….

Cavuto and O’Reilly discussing Obamacare on FOX. I’m sure that was a positive and insiteful piece……

Ciao, and good noght, Let’s focus on working with or against Mr. Stick and GS tomorrow, as that is our short term goal.

Jeepers guys, can we have an NS> prefix or something for Non-Stock comments, there’s a lot of non-market chatter here to wade through tonight.  Phil, what happened to the separate political posting thread?  I can find 8,000 sites to read about healthcare on, that’s not what I’m paying for here.  I referred a friend to PSW recently and his comment to me after the first two weeks was "too political"!

Good Morning Everyone
 
FTSE up a little but has been pumped up yet again from the overnight lows. Ditto US futures. Bear lesson of the day …
 
The Japan External Trade Organization has released its latest trade figures, which paint a grim picture for foreign trade by the world’s second largest economy. Year to date imports have dropped by 31.9% to $252.9 billion, while exports have plunged 36.8% to $252.2 billion. Most stunning is the disclosure on trade flows with the United States: exports to the US have dropped by 43.5% to $40.5 billion, resulting in Japan’s largest positive trade balance. Another development is that China has now replaced USA as Japan’s primary trade destination. However that is not saying much: trade with China has declined for the 8th consecutive month.

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