$900,000,000,000!

Still not enough to give us a good day in the market? The stimulus news is baked in but the news of a new, more infectios strain of Corona Virus has pushed the UK towards stricter lock-down measures, which the rest of Europe is now considering as well. Christmas is officially cancelled.

The new virus strain is spreading 70% faster than the old one, which has already infected 17.5M of us (5% of the population) in the US with 315,000 deaths and 403,359 new cases on Friday alone, which would be a rate of 17.5M more infections in the next 43 days – just in time for Joe Biden to be sworn in. Since we know Trump will continue to do nothing to slow things down and since this is the spread of the original virus strain in the US – we are well and truly screwed!

Virus Dec 21 2020

So Merry Christmas to one and all, only 4 shopping days left and Retail Sales were down 1.1% in November from October – and that included Black Friday! Usually, around Christmas we survey our Members for shopping reports from malls around the country but this year no one is going shopping so we can only imagine how empty the malls must be. Online shopping is up 29.2% but onlline is only 10% of all Retail so not enough to save the rest. Also, as we have noted before, the kind of retail that's up is masks and gloves and disinfectant – not the kinds of things that you usually go to the mall for.

united-states-retail-sales

How's that recovery looking?

We get our GDP Report tomorrow morning along with Consumer Confidence, Home Sales and the Richmond Fed Report. Durable Goods on Wednesday along with New Home Sales and Consumer Sentiment and, by Thursday, no one cares anymore and the week is essentially over. These next two weeks are likely to be amazingly unproductive for our stay-at-home popluation.

Calendar Dec 21 2020
Trump Dec 21 2020

President Trump is still trying to stay at his home as he's facing eviction on January 20th. In early Saturday tweets, Mr. Trump chided fellow Republicans, “Don’t be weak fools!” and urged them to join a protest in Washington next month. An administration official described the president’s strategy to overturn the election results as: “Let’s throw a giant plate of spaghetti at the wall and hope that at least one noodle sticks.”

  • In an Oval Office meeting Friday with Sidney Powell, a lawyer he ousted last month from his legal team, the president discussed the prospect of naming her a special counsel to investigate his claims of election fraud. The president doesn’t have the power to appoint a special counsel but he does still have the power to launch a nuclear missile attack in his pajamas.
  • The president and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, removed Ms. Powell from the Trump legal team last month after Mr. Trump told advisers he found her claims – including that Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela who died in 2013, was behind the rigging of the election – too crazy. That's too crazy for Rudy Giuliani crazy and that is CRAZY!!! During the meeting, the idea of deploying the US Military to assist in his fight to contest the election results was raised by the President and shot down by his advisers, one of the people said.
  • Earlier in the week, the president in a meeting with Ken Cuccinelli, the No. 2 official at DHS, raised the prospect of the department seizing voter machines as part of the effort to pursue allegations of voter fraud, according to people familiar with the meeting. Lawyers and Mr. Meadows pushed back in the meeting, saying the agency lacked the authority to do so.
  • On Thursday, Mr. Giuliani called Mr. Cuccinelli and again pushed the agency to take control of voter machines, the people said. He was again told the agency doesn’t have the authority to do so.
  • On Sunday Mr. Trump’s campaign filed a new appeal at the Supreme Court related to three cases it lost in the Pennsylvania state courts. Mr. Trump and his supporters have already been turned away by the Supreme Court, which rejected a Texas lawsuit to void 20 million votes in four other states. The court also rejected a Republican request to block Mr. Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania.
  • And as new details have emerged about a suspected Russian hack that compromised parts of the U.S. government with a level of sophistication that surprised even veteran security experts, Mr. Trump for days was silent. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a Republican and a frequent critic of the president, lambasted the “inexcusable silence and action” from the White House on the hack.
  • Mr. Trump, in his first comments on the hack Saturday on Twitter, contradicted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other administration officials by dismissing its severity and questioning whether Russia was responsible. Then he pivoted quickly to the election, saying voting machines could have been infiltrated

This is how close we come, every single day, to losing our Democracy. Every day the President and his team try a new tactic to overturn the election or ignore threats to our country and our people like Russia and the Corona Virus while dismantling environmental and personal rights protections our ancestors have fought and died for for generations before us. It's that easy to lose everything we've built – on the whim of a madman.

One trick Trump hasn't yet pulled from Putin's playbook is the recent poisoning of outspoken Russian Opposition Leader, Aleksei Navalny, who had military-grade nerve toxins put in his pants and, when they took him to a Russian hospital, they were "baffled" as to what was wrong with him yet declared he was too sick to leave the hospital. Thankfully, his family got him out of the country, to Germany, where he was immediately diagnosed and treated (had to be placed in a medically-induced coma). That is how Putin deals with his political opponents!

Russian prosecutors refused to open an official criminal investigation of the poisoning, claiming they found no sign that a crime had been committed.

That is the America Trump is now working so hard to build – one where his will is the absolute law of the land, where his opponents are investigated on trumped up charges and his officials deny any facts that are inconvenient to the current narrative. The American people turned out in record numbers to say that's not a country they wish to live in but we are, every day, just a single judicial decision away from losing the Democracy we have – DON'T BE COMPLACENT!

Just a step cried the sad man
Take a look down at the madman
Theatre kings on silver wings
Fly beyond reason


From the flight of the seagull
Come the spread claws of the eagle
Only fear breaks the silence
As we all kneel pray for guidance

Tread the road cross the abyss
Take a look down at the madness
On the streets of the city
Only spectres still have pity


Patient queues for the gallows
Sing the praises of the hallowed
Our machines feed the furnace
If they take us they will burn us

Will you still know who you are
When you come to who you are

When the flames have their season
Will you hold to your reason


Loaded down with your talents
Can you still keep your balance

Can you live on a knife-edge? – ELP