Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

IMHO FOMC STFU

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A couple of things occur to me about the comments section: (1) there are probably eight people that make up 90% of the comments (2) given the rowdy nature of comments in the market's current state, God help the Internet if and when we actually have an honest-to-God tear 'em up bear market on our hands. This place will be utter pandemonium.

I seem to have gotten my /ES mojo back, since I'm able to hop in and out of positions with pretty consistent profits. The profits are tres petite, but they are profits nonetheless. For instance, during the dreaded 90 minute end-of-day silliness, I managed to bag three-quarters of a point on 20 /ES. Pretty sad, ain't it? But I'll gladly take the $750 instead of a loss, which is what I would be facing if I simply held on, thinking we'd get our typical afternoon pop. The bulls completely dropped the ball on this one, and as I type this, we are, for the zillionth time, ambling at 991.

Wednesday is going to be the typically interesting FOMC announcement day – – the 5th in a series of 8 scheduled meetings this year (the next one is September 23rd). As I say every time one of these comes around, get ready for the standard EKG-like tremors on your streaming charts.

But here's the key point – – I think this is a real fork in the road for July 8th to August 7th rally, because after the gymnastics are done tomorrow, it will either have been (1) a little dip prior to the resumption of the uptrend; or (2) a decent inflection point prompting a continuation of the selling we've seen over the past couple of days.

Take our old friend FAS, for example. As charts go, this looks pretty bullish:

0811-faz

But does that tinted area represent a pullback to create a safer entry for long positions, or will FAS suffer the same fate as its evil twin FAZ and simply having presented a false breakout before retching?

0811-fas

My positions remain steadfastly bearish. I did lighten up today by about half a million, but I'm still in a pure series of bearish positions, with the exception of my TOMO and GLG longs. I'll see you tomorrow morning!

Target Levels?

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Now that the market is starting to behave a little more agreeably (although our paranoia about the final 90 minutes should remain firmly intact), I've got a couple of rough targets of support for the S&P 500 – and they're simple to remember – 950 and 875.

0811-spx

950 marks a trendline as well as a breakout level, and 875 is a
retracement level as well as the cursed neckline of the failed July
H&S.

Some Forthcoming Health System Highlights!

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• Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure! [The bill that just passed mandates audits of small, local farmers.]

• Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed! 

• Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process) 

• Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None. 

• Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services. 

• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Health card. 

• Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer. 

• Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN) 

• Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange. 

• Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans) 

• Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens 

• Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan. 

• Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter. 

• Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No "judicial review" is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed. 

• Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages. 

• Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives. 

• Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families. 

• Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll 

• Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll 

• Page 167: Any individual who doesn’t' have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income. 

• Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them). 

• Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records. 

• Page 203: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." Yes, it really says that. 

• Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected." 

• Page 241: Doctors: no matter what specialty you have, you'll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!) 

• Page 253: Government sets value of doctors' time, their professional judgment, etc. 

• Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries. 

• Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs. 

• Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing! 

• Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions. 

• Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government. 

• Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare companies! 

• Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval. 

• Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on "community" input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN. 

• Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing. 

• Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc.  

• Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals. 

• Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone). 

• Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia? 

• Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time. 

• Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death. 

• Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends. 

• Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient's health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT. 

• Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life. 

• Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN. 

• Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN. 

• Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage. 

• Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing.

Nation Speak with Forked Tongue

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My view of any authoritarian institution – be it a church, a government, or a person's office – is driven by how it regards the individual (more specifically – how it regards me). There seems to be a continuum by which another body might judge a person, ranging on one side as "child" and on another as "responsible adult."

When I was in my early 20s, I was a dedicated Libertarian because I felt that the government should view people as responsible adults. That was naive of me, I now realize, because a lot of adults aren't the least bit responsible. They want (or need) to be treated as children. Some of this comes from their nature; some of its comes from the way the government trains them to behave.

I find being treated as a child by an authoritarian figure to be undignified, which is why I bristle at most of them. The reason I'm thinking of this on this morning is because I was engaged in an email exchange with an individual I respect quite a bit about the Goldman Sachs report referenced in yesterday's comments section.

Even though Slopers are understandably cynical about Goldman Sachs, it's still interesting how GS's public face is part of the "green shoots" club, but their reports created for their own clients paints a picture of doom 'n' gloom that would find itself quite at-home here on Slope. My friend wrote to me, in part:

What’s
fascinating to me is the two-tier information flow—the flow that I see from
private equity, venture capital and high net worth money managers VERSUS what
the media (led by CNBC) outlets are telling investors.  As with this GS report,
all of my “insider” talks have essentially the same bearish/troubled data and
all of the public, media-generated stories (of course led by the President and
Washington “insiders”) are doublespeak and misleading spin.

I couldn't have said it better myself! Because everyone, from Obama on down, is going to treat the American public as children that need to be fed graham crackers, patted on the head, and told that the boo-boo is going to be made all better. A little Bernanke Bactine is all you need!

Whereas the elite – – those with money, those in the know (and those with the good sense to read quality blogs……..) – – will be told the truth. And it will set you free.

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