by Shane Ormond
On May 10, 2019
Earlier this month, it seemed like the Chinese trade negotiations would come to an amicable end any day now. But after some unexpected pushback from Beijing, the U.S. is ratcheting up the pressure with tariffs of 25% on more than $200 billion of Chinese goods.
- Elizabeth Warren launches full-frontal assault on Big Tech
- China’s been caught doing what we’ve all known for years
- Stalin’s Zombie Hackers Target Hospitals
- Boeing Stocks Slide After Second Deadly Crash
- Slumming transport stocks point to economic slowdown
South By South Left
Warren’s plan to break up Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook
For some, SXSW festival is an opportunity to take boatloads of drugs and groove on the musical stylings of The Viagra Boys and Goo Munday.
But for other (drier) attendees, it’s a chance to get up close and personal with Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.
And take boatloads of drugs (it’s still SXSW).
Boooo, Play Freebird!
Warren took to the stage on Saturday to outline her plan for an extreme overhaul of U.S. tech regulations.
Under Warren’s proposed regulations, any company with more than $25 billion a year in revenue would be prevented from competing in their own online market places.
Oh No, Bezos: Amazon wouldn’t be able to sell its Amazon basics, Amazon kindles, Alexa hardware or Wholefoods products on Amazon.com. Analysts estimate that private labels accounted for $7.5 billion of Amazon’s sales in 2018.
Upsetting the Apple Cart: Apple would not be able to run its App Store as well as sell its own apps on it. It will have to choose between one or the other.
Better Buy a Billboard: Google cannot own Google ads and promote its own businesses and services through those ads.
Zuckerberg’s Time Machine: Facebook would be forced to undo its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram. It’s unclear how the process of unwinding these companies would work. But Warren says she will appoint regulators to handle the transition. (Way to delegate, Elizabeth!)
Warren is adopting a more extreme, hard-left position in this election. She’s hoping to mobilize the millennial vote, which will soon be the largest voting base in the U.S. (Avocado Toast for President 2028.)
She’s trying to recapture the energy of the Sanders primary that brought out a record number of young voters. But Warren may have overshot the mark on this one.
Sure, the kids like the idea of bringing down big corporations, in theory. But these are the big corporations this generation grew up with.
These are the guys that make their smartphones.
They deliver anything the kids could possibly want to their door in two days or less.
They offer endless free services — GPS maps, instant messaging, music players, social networks, online storage, and more.
Does Warren really think they’ll give all that up for her?
What do you think? Should we break up big tech or give big tech a break? Click here and tell me your thoughts on Warren’s bombastic campaign gambit.
A Plateful of Chinese Fudge
China’s economy 12% smaller than reported
Today in shocking news that surprised no one:
China has been lying about its GDP growth for years.
According to a study by Washington think-tank the Brookings Institution, China’s economy is 12% lower than its been reporting.
Between 2008 and 2016, China fudged its growth by 2% a year. (That’s the same way I ended up 7 foot 5 inches on my Tinder profile.)
Note: The study only examined that eight-year period. It’s likely that the actual figures are much more serious than this.
How the fudge does this happen?
According to the report: “Since local governments are rewarded for meeting growth and investment targets, they have an incentive to skew local statistics.”
So, the initial error seems to come from local reporting. But the government, who is well aware of the inconsistencies, has been doing zero to curb this practice.
As our geopolitical expert Jim Rickards said in his 2014 book The Death of Money:
To contemporary Western eyes, China appears like a monolithic juggernaut poised to dominate East Asia and surpass the West in wealth and output in a matter of years.
In fact, China is a fragile construct that could easily descend into chaos, as it has many times before. No one is more aware of this than the Chinese themselves, who understand that China’s future is highly uncertain.
The twin engines of growth — labor and technology — are both beginning to stall in China. Still, official statistics show China growing in excess of 7% per year.
How does China appear to increase [GDP] when the factor inputs are leveling off? It does so with leverage, debt, and a dose of fraud.
For more of Jim’s insights on the global economy on the oncoming financial crisis, check out his new book The Road to Ruin — available free for a limited time to readers of One Last Thing.
In this frightening, meticulously researched book, Jim pulls back the curtain on a global government plot to conspire against their citizens.
If you want to plan for the risks ahead, you will need Rickards’ guidebook to thinking smarter, acting faster, and living with the comforting knowledge that your wealth is secure.
Boeing Stocks Slide After Second Deadly Crash
Slumming transport stocks point to economic slowdown
Boeing (NYSE: BA) shares slid 6.9% this morning after a deadly plane crash killed 157 people in Ethiopia this weekend.
This is the second time this particular model of airplane, the 737 Max 8, has crashed in six months. And the circumstances are eerily similar.
In both cases, the pilots requested permission to return to the airport minutes after liftoff. It’s not looking good for Boeing whose stock have been tumbling throughout March.
Airlines in China, Indonesia, and other countries announced they would ground all planes of that model until they can be sure they’re not going to keep dropping out of the sky.
The news comes at the worst possible time for airlines whose stocks have been suffering this month.
As Greg Geunthner, editor of the Rude Awakening, reported this morning:
Airline and railroad stocks have been tumbling for the better part of the past three weeks, pushing the Dow transports’ losing streak to 11 sessions, its worst streak since 1972.
The index has only posted five periods in its history where it has declined for 11 consecutive sessions, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
Why do lagging transportation stocks matter?
According to Dow Theory, we can measure the overall health of the economy by examining the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Dow Jones Transportation Average.
If the transports are performing well along with the industrials, we can assume goods are being made and delivered. In other words, the economy is humming along.
While these two averages aren’t sounding the alarm just yet, the extended drop in the transports is certainly adding more fuel to global economic slowdown concerns.
ONE LAST THING
Stalin’s zombie hackers target hospitals
Last Friday, we started looking at a plague of hacking that’s costing global businesses billions of dollars every year.
Ransomware is a virus that steals your data and holds it ransom until you pay off the thieves with untraceable bitcoin. (See, I knew bitcoin was good for something!)
But the sinister element of ransomware is not how victims are targeted, it’s who they target.
As we discussed on Friday, these hackers steal data from big businesses, small businesses and even regular folks like you and me. (To be honest, my laptop could do with a total wipe. My bad-idea folder is looking a little full.)
However, the industry hit hardest by ransomware is by far healthcare. Lives depend on the data kept by hospitals, which means they’ll always pay the ransom.
But there’s another big reason why hospitals have become a major target.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, 75% of all ransomware is created in Russia — and almost all of it is developed by government-trained hackers.
You see, Russia has a different perception of hackers than we do.
While the FBI were rounding up hacker kids and throwing them in federal prison in the 90s, Russia was running government-backed hacker schools, training up the next generation of cybercriminals.
You might be wondering why Russia would train up a generation of criminals like this. Well, Russia’s approach to education is a little… “different” than our own.
Russian engineers and scientists come from polytechnic schools established by Joseph Stalin himself. These schools are built on a foundation of a total rejection of ethics.
Stalin believed ethics would hold back Russian engineers. Students in these schools are told to throw their moral compass in the trash and pursue progress at all costs. Russia’s hackers are educated in these very same schools.
Basically, these guys are trained to be ****holes.
So when these Russian hackers target a hospital, it’s a win-win situation in their mind.
Either the hospital pays up and they bank a nice payday. Or the hospital doesn’t pay, the data is destroyed, and the resulting damage undermines America.
Strangely enough, these attacks are focused on very specific dates that are easy to predict if you know what to look for.
In tomorrow’s edition of One Last Thing, we’re going to look at how investors can play those predictions for a quick boost in gains.
Have you or someone you know been a victim of hacking? Click here and tell me all about it.
Closing Data for 3/8/19:
|S&P Index 500||2,742.99||↓ 0.22%|
- Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares rise as it walks back plans to close all its stores.
- Despite opening almost 240 points down, the DOW is now positive.
- Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) shares are up more than 5% after announcing the purchase of chip maker Mellanox for $6.9 million.
Click here to send us your comments and tell us what you think. Do you agree with us? Do you think our ideas are stupid? Bring it on. We can take it.
None of the big pharma companies are researching Rare Disease Treatments–Martin Shkreli is! He hiked up the price of his drugs so he could research cures to diseases that HAVE NO TREATMENTS AND NO ONE EVEN TRYING TO FIND A CURE. And oh by the way HE GAVE HIS DRUGS AWAY FOR FREE TO UNINSURED PEOPLE. He’s a truly good man who doesn’t deserve the disrespect!
— Leo S.
Hiking the price of a life-saving medicine 5,000% (to $30,000 a month) to research rare diseases is just taking from Peter to pay Paul.
Shkreli said (after the media backlash) if you call him on his mobile, he will get you the medication for free. But there isn’t a single report of a person successfully doing this. And now Shkreli is in jail. And patients report that while a process is now available to apply for aid, it’s needlessly complicated and impossible to actually use.
Another side effect of jacking up the prices is that because it’s so expensive, some pharmacies and hospitals have stopped stocking the drug altogether. It’s becoming harder and harder for doctors to track down enough of the drug to get a patient through the end of the month.
If Martin Shkreli is a “good man,” then Hitler was an Olympic ice skater.
— Shane Ormond
- President Trump has requested a further $8.6 billion for the wall in the 2020 budget.
- A doctor in Sydney, Australia sent a woman 9,000 threatening and abusive texts after failed Tinder affair. (In case you’re wondering: No, the 9,000-text technique does not work.)
- Toymaker Mattel’s Barbie turns 60 this week. Another few years and she can cash out her 401K.
Editor, One Last Thing