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Learning to adjust to (or ignore?) market insanities. All about Brexit from my brilliant English friend

I dumped Facebook a while back. I couldn’t take all the “stuff” — hacking, Russians, bots, regulation, fines. But it was wrong. So I bite my tongue today. It’s up hugely.

I dumped Tesla a while back. My stomach (and my pocketbook) don’t take kindly to crazy geniuses. I was right. Too many problems.

I bought GE cheap at $9 — one of those prices I never thought it would drop to. Now it’s up a few pennies. Maybe it will reach $11 by the end of the year — for a 22% gain? Which will be better than a slap in the belly with a cold fish.

Amazon reports after the bell tonight. It looks like it wants to touch its all-time high of $2,050. I own a big position.

PTC, a new pick, is down nearly 10% today after desultory second quarter earnings. I like its space — tying up all the bits and pieces of the Internet of Things. At 10% down, it might be a good time to pick up a few shares. First, read the earnings transcript. Click here.

You can’t get emotionally involved in the insanity of the stockmarket. It’s the nature of the beast.

Which is why I spent yesterday morning playing tennis and the afternoon biking around Manhattan. It was a gorgeous Spring day.

The flowers were in full bloom:

The cherry blossom is also blooming.

I asked this nice lady with the biggest camera what the same of the flowers were?

She said she didn’t know. She was French. Go figure:

They don’t have these flowers in France?

Brexit explained

My friend lives in England and explains Brexit thus:

Many of you may wonder what has been going on in the UK on the Brexit `shambles’?

You have to go back more than 4 years to see the facts, and the huge mistakes that UK politicians have been making.

1. Most UK politicians have never had a proper commercial job. They go from University debating clubs, to Assts to politicians, to a ‘safe’ seat, become a junior minister on a parliamentary committee, to a Cabinet ministry, & then maybe Prime Minister. Both David Cameron & Theresa May followed this narrow progression, with survival & the short term uppermost in their minds. Strategic or business thinking are totally absent.

2. Back in 2015 Cameron — having surprisingly won a small majority for the Conservative/Tory party  — decided to confront the party’s long-running antipathy to Europe, & the threat still posed by UK Indep party (UKIP) then led by Nigel Farage. He called a referendum, & assured the EU that ‘Remain’ (in EU) would win. He asked the EU for minor relaxation on ‘Freedom of People Movement’ that is one of the EU’s 4 Freedoms (Goods, Services, Capital being the others). The EU denied this, Cameron oversold what he said he’d achieved, & mistrust of both EU & politicians increased.

3. In June 2016, the Referendum resulted in 52% voting Leave, 48% Remain. Broadly, ‘white van man’ (akin to US rust belt), the Midlands, North, Wales, & the older voted Leave; while the younger, London & the South, Scotland & N.Ireland voted Remain. As with Trump, many Leavers felt ‘left out’ of the prosperity enjoyed by the wealthier London & southerners, not just anti-EU, altho excess immigration did play a part.

4. Cameron resigned & — from poor alternatives — May was elected PM by the Tory party. She began well, giving a speech at Lancaster House outlining what she would seek from the EU which was well received-particularly by Leavers.

5. Although admirably hard-working, Theresa May is extremely stubborn, does not delegate or listen, & has few if any original or strategic thoughts. She is No Leader, & has become the worst PM (Prime Minister) the UK has ever had.

6. She then made a series of basic errors, which progressively worsened the UK’s negotiating position with the EU.

(a) She called an (unnecessary) General Election, hoping to increase the Tory’s small majority when the Labour opposition under Jeremy Corbyn was perceived to be weak. She was a very poor campaigner, & relied on 2 unelected advisers without even consulting her Cabinet of senior ministers on the party manifesto. She lost her majority, so did an expensive ‘survival’ deal with the N.Irish Democratic Unionists whose 10 seats gave her a small majority — but she depended on it for survival.

(b) She called Article 50-whereby UK formally leaves EU-without any serious plan as to what the UK would become, or thought as to how to get there( e.g. a bigger Singapore or Dubai, low personal & corp tax, trading island?).

(c) Worse, she made NO plans for a possible No Deal, which meant — when the prospect later arose — that the UK was not ready. Nor did anyone think about trade over the border between Ireland (in EU) & N.Ireland (in UK).

In any negotiation, one must have a well-prepared fall-back position, ie No Deal, in case things do not go well.

(d) Having appointed a `Brexit Minister’, she herself then took control of the negotiating process, with the top Civil servant reporting to her.

Unsurprisingly, the Minister and another appointed later both resigned.

(e) She then agreed with EU to separate the `Withdrawal Deal’ (including a £39 billion bill!) from the (far more important) future trading relationship — on which negotiations haven’t even begun!

(f) She then agreed ‘Her’ Withdrawal Deal with the EU, & failed 3 times by huge margins, to get Parliament to agree it despite(for 3rd vote)saying she’d stand down as PM if the No’s (DUP, No Deal Tories, & Labour) would agree ‘Her, Only’ Deal. Thus began ‘jockeying for position’ among 3rd rate politicians, to succeed her, further weakening the UK’s Brexit position.

The convention of Cabinet responsibility & unanimity has totally broken down, and even Parliament has tried to take control over a leaderless Government.

The basic problem is that we have a ‘Remainer’ parliament paying lip-service to the narrow ‘Leave’ result of the 2016 referendum, but trying through various subterfuges to Remain in the EU (eg 2nd referendum, stay in customs union, Norway-style arrangement).Parliament even voted to stop ‘No Deal’. But the country still wants to Leave, & is getting increasingly angry with their hopeless, self-serving politicians — many of whom, in both main parties, have been voting against the declared wishes of their constituents, endangering the very democracy we rely upon and (usually!) respect.

Worse, there has been a total lack of leadership from both the Tory Government (May) & Labour Opposition (Corbyn) parties.

Thus, the EU has been able to out-manoeuvre the UK (e.g. refusing any change to the 500+ page Withdrawal Agree’t). UK politicians cannot agree on anything other than ‘Kicking the can down the road’ from original March 29 departure, to April 12, to now Halloween Oct 31! We may now even have the absurd situation where we have to elect new EU representatives in late May almost 3 years after we voted to leave the EU! And we haven’t even started to negotiate the new Trading arrangements, which could drag on for years, especially since all 27 EU countries will have a veto on every element! eg Spain will want Gibraltar back, France will want fishing rights in UK waters, etc.

I originally voted Leave, on the basis that UK should get out of a failing political, economic, & restrictive bloc run by expensive, unelected, empire-building bureaucrats. And we should use our (then) negotiating strength to maintain the best trading arrangements with the EU & worldwide.

But this assumed a plan, & leadership which, as Mrs May’s efforts went increasingly wrong, became totally lacking- & there is no obviously capable successor.

So, some months ago when it became obvious that Mrs May’s only option was ‘Her’ Withdrawal Deal, which is neither leaving nor remaining, I changed my view. We might as well stay in the EU, as a full voting member, & try to form a sub-group with some other unhappy ‘popularist’ EU countries (eg Italy, Holland) to change the bureaucracy & reduce its costs from within, than sign up to the ‘half cock’ proposal we now have but have yet to agree.But the appalling Mrs May is still around, despite renewed efforts to get rid of her, & our other politicians are no better!

Still obsessed with streaming video

The best service I’ve found so far is YouTube TV. I tested it and it’s great. I wrote about it in the last several days.

I also tested DirecTV’s streaming video offering. It’s a total disaster. Here’s a really dumb message I got when I tried to watch CNBC:

Checks are so passé

Most of my syndicate distributions come in via ACH which is cheap and reliable.

Occasionally, I get checks. Then I deposit them via my iPhone camera into J.P.Morgan’s on-line checking app. It’s really good and they keep improving it. Other banks have their own remote deposit apps also.

Beyond mind-flowing

+ Two sons of a wealthy spice merchant are thought to have masterminded the Sri Lankan terror attacks. When police raided their home in Colombo, one of the brothers’ wives detonated a suicide vest, killing her unborn child and two other children, along with three police officers.

+ Saudi has drawn outrage from human rights advocates after it put to death 37 people and displayed a mutilated body of one of them on a pole. The execution was carried out after “sham trials,” Amnesty International said. 34 of the 37 were members of the country’s Shia minority. It was the largest execution of Shiites in the kingdom’s history.

It’s still Passover

Short summary of every Jewish holiday:

+ They tried to kill us. They failed. So, let’s eat.

+ The bum walked up to a Jewish mother on the street and said, “Lady, I haven’t eaten in three days.”

“Force yourself,” she replied.

+ Q: How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: (Sigh) “Don’t bother. I’ll sit in the dark. I don’t want to be a nuisance to anybody.”

Harry Newton, still feeling great about Spring. With all the Brexit mess, I’d be looking for bargains there…They suffer. We pounce?


  1. Lucky says:

    Visited our Mexican dentist yesterday, our dentist of choice for over 22 years. Had very old fillings removed from two front teeth and beautifully replaced. Cost…$150.00 total for both teeth.

  2. Lucky says:

    They are cherry blossoms, Harry. Dogwood are white single blossoms without question one of my favorite flowering trees and so plentiful during the Masters Tournament each spring.