Biden Confessed Ukraine Corruption a Long Time Ago

© 2023 Jim Spence - Let's just make a simple point here because a few news outlets, particularly
those tired of the endless evidence of corruption by the Gambino.......oops. I mean the Biden crime family.

More than three and a half years ago, on December 29, 2019, I posted this column on this site:

© 2019 Jim Spence - More pieces of the bizarre puzzle associated with the Ukraine are being added to the United States political scene almost every day. And very little has anything to do with Donald Trump. However, these reports do explain the desperation of Democrats to try to distract and deceive American voters and their buddies in the news media.
First, there was Joe Biden’s astonishing revelation of how he committed crimes in the Ukraine when he was Vice President. Biden thought he was showing how powerful he was when he confessed on this video. Haplessly, Joe Biden was explaining how he strong-armed the Ukrainian president into firing a prosecutor who was investigating Hunter Biden’s influence peddling/extortion racket in that country. The leverage Joe Biden cited use of on the video, was $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees that the Obama administration was going to provide for the Ukraine. This is breathtaking stuff. There are now reports coming out of the Ukraine that suggest Joe Biden was paid over $900,000 to lobby on behalf of Burisma.

Set aside the foolishness of Joe Biden. Does anyone believe for one moment that Hunter Biden was NOT using his father’s position as Vice President to scam the Ukraine out of some cold hard cash too? Why would a Ukrainian oil and gas company require Hunter Biden’s services? According to Hunter Biden’s ex-wife he is a notorious drug abuser. Of course we are talking ex-wife. However, supporting her claim is the fact that Hunter Biden was discharged from the Navy after testing positive for cocaine. The younger Biden is now embroiled in a paternity lawsuit with a stripper. He is known for frequent drug hazed trips to strip clubs. It also seems that Hunter Biden is refusing to pay child support to the stripper after siring a child with her. Oddly, Biden is also refusing to disclose income associated with the board position he was given at Ukrainian oil and gas giant Burisma. Hunter Biden had zero experience in the oil and gas industry when he was offered a seat on that board. However, it does seem he is a seasoned con artist.

Apparently, the easiest ways for the offspring of prominent American Democrats during the Obama presidency, was to identify places like the Ukraine where U.S. aid was going to go.....and then, simply get in the middle of those giveaways of U.S. taxpayer deals and offer well-connected "help."
Last week news surfaced that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s son Paul Pelosi Jr. was also hobnobbing with oil and gas industry companies in the Ukraine. In fact, it turns out that Nancy Pelosi actually appeared in a promo video produced by her son’s oil and gas shell company, known as Viscoil. Having the Speaker of the House vouch for your shell company is powerful fodder for a shakedown operation. Nobody knows YET, whether or not Pelosi’s son was able to cash in the Ukraine like Joe and Hunter Biden. Pelosi's son seems to be a quite bit sharper when it comes to staying out of the spotlight.
No doubt Hunter and Joe Biden are now in a family tiff because both thinks the other is more stupid. I'm with Hunter in that argument.
Still, it seems strange that so many grown children of high-ranking Democrats have found fertile income producing grounds in the Ukraine. There seems to be gold in them thar hills in the Ukraine. Travel records reveal that Paul Pelosi Jr. visited Ukraine in 2017, to “meet with government officials” in connection with a “business initiative” by his shell company.
Of course, Paul Pelosi Jr. is no stranger to shady dealings, though not in the Ukraine. Pelosi co-founded the company Natural Blue Resources, which the Securities and Exchange Commission charged with securities fraud in 2014. Paul Pelosi Jr. also struck gold with InfoUSA when that company paid him a cool $180,000 a year to serve on the board via a remote location.
InfoUSA is a company that uses data mining technology to identify gullible senior citizens. This information comes to us courtesy of the New York Times. According to the Times, InfoUSA sells their name lists to other companies, including scam artists, who use the leads they buy from InfoUSA to con vulnerable seniors out of their life savings.
Another notable Democrat who has done, “consulting work” for Info USA is William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States. They paid him more than a million dollars for his wisdom.
The plot thickens.

If some schmuck in Las Cruces, New Mexico could watch this video which was on Youtube at the time, and understand that Joe Biden the dementia-plagued godfather of a nakedly brazen crime syndicate, could essentially confess to a crime on video, bragging about what he did for the entire world to see, he was not exactly operating under the same rules regarding crime as the other 350 million Americans, nor was his crack addicted, hooker loving, offspring denying, captain and deputy shakedown artist Hunter.

The revelations we see these days have been known and ignored by a federal law enforcement cadre in Washington for a long time.

It gets no play by CNN or any of the other major networks who long ago forgot their functions as watchdogs for freedom. 


NMSU "Orientation" Day Two Update

© 2023 Jim Spence - Here's an update. These reports come from two students attending the disturbing indoctrination procedures at NMSU yesterday and today.

"It has just been getting even worse as the day goes on today. We had to listen to an entire speech about the transgender club and black club and how they do drag shows and all sorts of stuff.

I just received my student ID and the entire back is filled with important phone numbers and several of the numbers are for Trans mental illness and LGBTQ stuff.

Also I forgot to add that the leader of my girlfriend's group has been teaching them how to get free alcohol around campus and other stuff like that, which is just crazy to me.

And there is a big push about studying abroad. It was explained that everyone should do it in order to understand that there should be no borders and that we need international citizenship explained to us by the dean of the honors college."

These reports my friends, are eyewitness accounts of what students are hearing in exchange for the money we send via taxes, tuition, or contributions to New Mexico State University.


"Orientation" at NMSU

© 2023 Jim Spence - We have a young man who does handy work for us. I met him while I was teaching a short course at a local high school on investments this spring.

He’s atypical of the average 18-year-old. He has learned true work ethic thanks to an astute pair of parents who raised him to understand that in exchange for a day’s wages, he owes his employer a solid day of work.

This young man had originally planned to attend Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, but his academic achievements are so comparatively outstanding, he was offered an astonishing scholarship package to stay in Las Cruces and enroll at NMSU.

Perhaps the State of New Mexico, which is ranked DEAD LAST in academic proficiency at the high school level, is so woefully short of students of his caliber, and so flush with taxpayer dollars, the institution offered him an amazing financial incentive package to attend.

Not coincidentally, he finished in the middle of the pack of his senior class at Mesilla Valley Christian School where academics, not indoctrination is the priority.

Yesterday and today, NMSU authorities are conducting indoctrination sessions for incoming students. Attendance of these types of sessions is required of all incoming students. It is nothing more than a litany of pre-packaged speeches by those who worship at the altar of group identity. As much as sixteen hours per incoming student is being completely wasted as the academic bureaucracy begins the process of brainwashing.

Administrators made sure students were told, including being told by some men dressed up like women and vice versa, what sort of exercise of free speech was frowned upon on campus. This was done as the speech makers themselves exercised their own rights of free speech at the MANDATORY indoctrination session they created as the ultimate form of coercion. What is next? Hostage taking?

This entire charade is cleverly referred to as “orientation.”

Suffice to say, there are bushels full of examples of this Orwellian process going on at the time that this little column was posted. It is a two-day event.

Let nobody reading this column move forward with any illusions. Big Brother’s collective chiefs at NMSU are on a totalitarian mission, not unlike one embraced by almost all of higher education in America. The administrators were merely letting all the peasants know how the system works in the one-party rule arrangement.

These intellectual atrocities are condoned by the entire media enclave and the masses of people. Each behaving like zombies they were trained to be when they went to schools like NMSU. Nobody reports on this reprehensible conduct. If they did, they would tell us there is no need for concern because the so-called “greater good” is furthered by those who feel they are so smart they can best serve society by teaching the rest of us how to think……..or better yet, not think.

We are much farther along in terms of self-destruction than any of us wants to admit. And we are footing the bill, if we work and pay taxes.


Fundamental Realities of Horse Racing Safety

© 2023 Jim Spence - Recently I submitted this editorial piece to the two major online websites of thoroughbred racing. Both Bloodhorse and The Paulick Report chose to ignore it rather than publish it.

As many of followers on this site know, I love horses and have owned, bred, and raced many horses prior to my retirement.

One of the curiosities you begin to understand when you follow racing in these strange times we live in, is that mere appearances associated with bureaucratic processes supersede the importance of actual results. Crony capitalism comes in many forms. And these days it has taken on a distinct odor in horse racing. The creation of HISA is mindful of the creation of government agencies such as the departments of energy and education. Media outlets, no matter how good their stated intentions might be, are intricately bound and woven into a maze of conflicts of interest which are leading to superficial policies that create and fund massively ineffective bureaucracies. The Departments of Education of Energy have wasted billions of dollars with zero results. HISA, which is charged with rulemaking regarding horseracing safety. already has all the looks of a bureaucracy that will insist on being judged by its stated intentions, instead of actual results.

Rapidly, as the 21st century unfolds, we see that the curse of mankind is the false notion that bureaucracies purporting to be "doing something" can solve problems. What bureaucracies really accomplish in the vast majority of instances, is self-perpetuation and self-justification.

Fundamental Realities of Horse Racing Safety

Millions of horse racing fans including owners and breeders applaud the major advancements in safety over the last five or ten years. Those reading the recent media headlines might ask, what advances in safety? However, those paying close attention know there have been significant improvements in recent years.

Let’s clear up some myths. 1) Virtually everyone is interested in improving safety. Those who submit guest columns at Bloodhorse and The Paulick Report that assail the motives of active racing participants as being against safety measures are mostly self-serving. 2) The onset of authority granted to HISA might already be creating false hopes. Another layer of bureaucracy governing all racing safety efforts may or may not contribute to additional safety gains.

In the wake of an outsized number of injuries at Churchill Downs during the current racing meet, where do these recent safety improvements leave us? Let us point directly at the elephant in the room. Racehorses are inherently fragile. Anyone who has ever owned, bred, trained, or raced them knows this is a daunting fact, not an opinion. A mere glance at the body shape of racehorses tells an obvious story. Narrow spindly legs support large muscular torsos of fast-moving athletes. Despite the very best efforts by knowledgeable, caring trainers and vets, fatalities based on severe leg injuries can be significantly reduced, but they can never be eliminated. Spikes are inevitable as a function of mere chance.

Of course, there are grey areas if one considers therapeutic treatments available to trainers and vets. The judicious use of anti-inflammatories seems reasonable. The overuse of anti-inflammatory substances can lead to problems. How can the line be drawn that properly divides “judicious” use versus the “overuse” of anti-inflammatories? Reasonable people can disagree on this subtlety without challenging each other’s motives on safety.

In claiming horses, especially older claiming horses, regulating anti-inflammatory substances is a critical question, since a huge percentage of these equine athletes would need to be retired without varying uses of anti-inflammatories between races. Inflammation and racing go hand in hand, just as it does with all other forms of vigorous athletic competition. The difference being that horses are particularly vulnerable due to the unique nature of their physiques.

What are we to make of all these medication violations in terms of post-race testing? History teaches us that overages in these tests resulting in fines and suspensions have become a matter of routine. The likes of Todd Pletcher, Bill Mott, Bob Baffert, John Sadler, Doug O’Neill, Shug McGaughey, Carla Gaines, Linda Rice, and even all-time winning trainer Steve Asmussen, have all been repeatedly fined and/or suspended for medication violations. While Baffert has been the media whipping boy recently, it would seem that Todd Pletcher has more violations being announced now.

Are we to believe all these men and women constantly engage in PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUG schemes to get an unfair edge at the horse’s expense? Or alternatively, are these people simply trying to use the efficacy of basic therapeutics to help their athletes with routine inflammation? For HISA to set down roots and consolidate dictatorial powers, it must be identified as being the only "good guy" in the process. Its very existence is based on a grossly false presumption.

Perhaps many trainers are falling prey to the fact that horses are not robots. Some animals simply metabolize anti-inflammatories faster than others, who leave a few extra picogram traces of these agents in their bloodstreams on race day.

The spate of public pronouncements about new racing surface investigations aside, everyone should be forced to concede the reality of inherent dangers before engaging in forms of posturing for the purpose of staking out positions sure to be received favorably by casual observers of racing and Washington politicians who are comfortable with establishing powerful new racing bureaucracies and calling it a day.

The behavior of Churchill Downs in early May was particularly instructive regarding the plethora of moving parts and conflicting incentives involved in horse safety. Consider the unilateral decision by a regulatory vet, in the wake of spike in equine fatalities at Churchill, to scratch Forte. Forte is an Eclipse Award winning three-year-old colt who is already worth roughly $20-25 million if not more. Yet after galloping in preparation for the Kentucky Derby, under the watchful eye of his Eclipse Award winning trainer and a team of vets who all deemed him to be sound, the regulatory vet over-ruled the entire team and Forte was tossed out of the race and kept out of the Preakness for technical reasons associated with the vet scratch.

The mission was accomplished fair or unfair, it was a public relations win for Churchill proving they really and truly “care.” The Forte team was the recipient of all doubts that were cast, and Churchill racing re-established its virtue for a few days.

Use of the term “safety” in the effort to attain higher virtue is very powerful. Anyone exploring the incentives embedded in the employment conditions of a regulatory vet, versus incentives of a private vet in charge of protecting Forte, runs the risk of being anti-safety, instead of a being a rational caring individual who loves horses.

Those of us who have bred and raced thoroughbreds recognize the shell game that was played on derby day. Because of the conflicting incentives associated with these two types of vets, you have an unspoken problem here that leaves the door wide open for public relations-related solutions, including dubious sweeping authority being granted to a “third-party” vet, simply because of more deep concerns for “safety” issues held by those who do not provide hands on care for horses every single day. The unilateral scratch of Forte, by a seemingly independent third party, was most likely the result of Churchill Downs facing enormous public relation media pressures on high-profile derby week. This easily explains the choreographed filming of the independent scratching of the horse.

Though it is a patently false assumption, for illustrative purposes, let’s assume that Todd Pletcher and his team and ownership connections are reckless mercenaries who care very little about the animals under their care, versus themselves. Would their collective decision be to risk the loss of a $20-25 million future Eclipse champion stallion, for the relative chicken feed of a Kentucky Derby purse? To assume this is possible, goes against logic and common sense. Yet the posturing of Churchill, in taking a unilateral action to protect Forte from his trainer and private vets, was the essence of message transmitted to the public.

Others submitting columns at Bloodhorse and elsewhere suggest that their highly valuable horses have also been pulled out of high-profile races over the objections of their own private vets when the media heat had been cranked up. The most recent Breeder’s Cup event is but one example.

Now we read where the racing surface at Churchill is being called into question. There is a pattern here producing at least eight fundamental truths regarding safety:

1.  Horse racing is dangerous no matter how many track vets are given the authority to overrule private vets. Sound horses race on spindly legs and large torsos, no matter which vet is in charge, horses and riders are always at risk.

2.  High-profile ultra-valuable horses provide a laboratory for understanding the subtle web of incentives in an industry under constant fire for “safety.” With these types of elite horses, the incentives all rest on their breeding careers. The financial incentives for owners to scratch greatly exceeds their incentives to run. Regulatory vets would be better off more carefully examining claimers under their watch instead of unilaterally choosing to protect heavily scrutinized horses like Forte.

3.  When the never-ending reality of the dangers of racing re-appears during high-profile time frames like “derby week,” entities like Churchill Downs will be inevitably forced to turn up pressures to scratch merely for the appearance of a concern for safety. Not that Churchill is not concerned. It is. But the long list of examples of action taken for appearances should not go unnoticed.

4.  The use of anti-inflammatory therapeutics is not being addressed fairly in the public discourse. The use of these therapeutics is quite legitimate. Overuse of any therapeutic substance becomes problematic. However, heavy-handed regulations including one-size-fits-all anti-inflammatory test result parameters, will not increase overall safety. Sore horses are more likely to deteriorate if inflammation is not treated due to the vagaries of metabolic processes and the fear of positive tests. This is the essence of the day-to-day training dilemma that gets grossly neglected in all discourse.

5.  Perhaps it is time for all of us who love horses and racing, including those who view HISA as the ultimate step forward on safety, to concede that racing will always be quite risky. The pre-emptive actions by Churchill’s regulatory vets during derby week or the lack thereof since derby week, shines the light on public relations-related pressures that are irrelevant to safety. Recent moves to review equine fatalities at Churchill illustrate the circular nature of such pronouncements.

6.  Trainers and their dedicated teams will always be the caregivers of horses on a day-to-day basis. That Churchill, NYRA, and the Stronach Group’s experience pressures coming from the media to “do more” are producing mostly superficial actions, not effective ones.

7.  Since HISA is now the law of the land, let’s hope HISA can add something aside from what HISA already fundamentally brings to the table. Namely, HISA has significant incentives to actively justify itself, as being effective, even at the expense of others. Like all participants in the arena every day, HISA will find solutions to the spindly legs and heavy torsos of thoroughbreds, harder to identify than things that appear to be useful efforts, that are better described as mere illusions.

8.  Perhaps constantly reminding all concerned that racing is inherently dangerous seems to be a much more obvious, honest, and forthright way to reduce the pointless gyrations we are seeing for public relations purposes. Repeating the obvious where horse racing safety issues are concerned is the elephant in the room.

Many of us quickly recognized Forte’s scratch situation for what it was. It never came close to honestly addressing the pressing problem racing faces each day. While honesty is always the best policy regarding the addressing of real risks and problem solving, unconvincing public relation machinations that serve very narrow purposes is what we get.
Forte and his connections became pawns. And the latest pawns are those dedicated professionals who maintain the racing surface at Churchill Downs. Churchill will move the balance of its current racing meet to Ellis Park which is simply another Churchill racing facility. Still, pawns are politically useful to many things except problem-solving. And the media, which partners with pawn users like Churchill, plays the game of obfuscation because they are "good partners," who above all else understand where the bread gets buttered. 


Here's What the Results of Importing Poverty and Exporting Wealth Looks Like

© 2023 Jim Spence - My phone rings from time to time with the calls coming in from friends, family, and former clients. They ask me what my thoughts are on the markets. I'll share them here.

The signs of gross economic policy mismanagement in both Washington and Santa Fe are everywhere. However, a total failure of public education for several generations has created millions of economically illiterate drones who take their cues from other drones working in the media providing us with "news" each day.

The fix for America is simple, but not if simpletons are in charge. Living standards follow the lead of the clueless. They will continue to shrink in the U.S. until there is a return to the same basic supply-side economic policies that finally pulled the U.S. economy out of the abyss forty years ago.

Don't hold your breath on the emergence of common sense. If there is one thing we learn from history, it is that we don't seem to learn anything from history. Below is a tiny sample of recent headlines that illustrate the disaster associated with importing poverty (open borders) while exporting wealth (enrichening energy producers around the world while hampering domestic energy producers). Anyone who thinks these asinine strategies will ever do anything except accelerate our demise deserves to go broke.

Ignoring the Supply-Side of the U.S. Economy


5/15/23 - U.S. consumers keep vehicles for a record 12.5 years on average.


5/11/23 – “Climate risks” to financial stability shouldn't crowd out other risks, Fed's Waller says.


5/11/23 - Initial jobless claims rise more than forecast to highest since October 2021.


5/10/23 - Strategic Petroleum Reserve decreased by 2.9M barrels for the week ended May 5 – EIA.


5/4/23 - Q1 labor costs hotter than forecast, while productivity slides past consensus.


4/26/23 - Business Uncertainty continues to rise in April, in both sales and employment.


4/24/23 - Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey -23.4 in April, worse than forecast.


4/20/23 - U.S. leading indicators drop at accelerated pace in March.


4/19/23 - Economic activity barely budged in recent weeks: Fed's Beige Book.


4/19/23 - Crude inventory decreased by 4.6M barrels for week ended April 14 – EIA.


4/18/23 - Building permits drop more than forecast, housing starts also retreat in March.


4/14/23 - Retail sales fall more than expected in March.


Segregation by Another Name

© 2023 Jim Spence - Sidney Potier passed away in 2022 at the age of 94. He played in some of the greatest movies ever made. Unlike modern era Hollywood superstars, Potier’s net worth was a relatively modest $20 million at the time of his death. Much like athletes from the same bygone eras, Potier's annual income was a fraction of what high profile actors earn today. Still, $20 million is a tidy sum.

My favorite scene from all of the memorable roles Potier played, was the scene with his father in the great film, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. The scene is so loaded with cultural insights it should be enshrined in the Smithsonian Institute and played all day every day for millions of visitors. Instead, it will most likely rest in the dust bin of cinema history.

The scene represents a very real ideological collision course involving the mindsets within the black community in the mid 1960's. Sidney Potier plays the part of an accomplished widower doctor who has fallen in love with the white daughter of two San Francisco liberals. The father of Potier's character plays the part of a retired mail carrier in the film. Potier's character is a man who has made good with the opportunities mom and dad provided for him. Unfortunately, dad is not happy with his son’s decision to marry a white girl. His father has no reasons for his objection, other than the fact that the girl is white.

As the story unfolds, Potier’s character will have none of his father's insistence on cultural segregation. And in scolding his father’s blind prejudice in my favorite scene, he properly frames the problem. He tells his father that the problem is his dad sees himself as a black man, whereas Potier sees himself as a man. Potier's character rejects the segregation his father is insisting on. This observation was correct then and is still so very true today, and yet it is so very lost in a sea of 21st century cultural manipulation.

Dr. Thomas Sowell identifies one of the primary sources of manipulation:

"Creating whole departments of ethnic, gender, and other 'studies' was part of the price of academic peace. All too often, these 'studies' are about propaganda rather than serious education."

This film was made during an era when sweeping changes were taking place in America. It was made a decade after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown vs. Board of Education in the 1950's, in which segregation was ruled illegal. Martin Luther King Jr. was far along in his movement that was changing the minds of America, so that we would all be judged by "the contents of our characters instead of the colors of our skins." And yet here was Potier’s father, in this Oscar-winning film, insisting on strict "cultural segregation," as were millions of whites in my grandparent’s generation.

In the 1960’s, the black father’s views in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, were treated as anachronistic. And by the end of the 1960's, white segregationists had been culturally isolated and ostracized from mainstream society.

Fast forward fifty years. What happened to America? Why has an insistence on group identity (segregation by a different name) been allowed to come back stronger than ever in the 21st century?

Dr. Thomas Sowell further explains this phenomenon for us with two profound observations:

"Sometimes it seems as if I have spent the first half of my life refusing to let white people define me and the second half refusing to let black people define me."


"Over the generations, black leaders have ranged from noble souls to shameless charlatans."

Who are these shameless charlatans Sowell speaks of? These days they are the majority of high profile, self-appointed, and media-endorsed leaders of the so-called "black community." Why should they be singled out as shameless charlatans? It is because they advocate segregation under a different name.

These days there are overt expressions of desires by high profile black race hustlers that all black people should first see themselves as black. These are prevalent themes in popular culture and they are promoted every single day. 

Again we return to Dr. Sowell, this time for more clarity on the cynically manipulative practices white Democrats play in all of this:

"When it is proclaimed that one must become more "sensitive" to various ethnic, linguistic, sexual, or lifestyle groups, neither a reason nor a definition usually accompanies this opaque imperative."

"There is no question that liberals do an impressive job of expressing concern for blacks. But do the intentions expressed in their words match the actual consequences of their deeds?"

Dr. Sowell also explains what the results are of acts of segregation by another name:

"The sad and tragic fact is that the civil rights movement, despite its honorable and courageous past, has over the years degenerated into a demagogic hustle, promoting the mindless racism they once fought against."

And what are we continuously subjected to each day as a substitute for common sense and sound judgments? Let’s allow Dr. Sowell sum it up for us:

"Racism is not dead, but it is on life support - kept alive by politicians, race hustlers, and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as racists."

And this all comes from encouraging people to give in to the self-destructive temptation to think of themselves as members of groups first, instead of as distinctly separate individuals.

It is truly segregation by another name, and many people of all races in America are taking the bait, hook, line, and sinker.


What is the matter with the markets?

© 2023 Jim Spence - The financial markets are covered by the media 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. This is true except in leap years when the financial market media segment gets paid to air commercials for an extra day.

If one watches these media outlets daily, one can become convinced that the latest data point is the most significant one in the world, only to soon be followed by the next one, which is represented as being even more important, once the newness of the most recent data point wears off and the talking heads beat the discussion of it to death.

It is easy to get swallowed up in a sea of information that is represented piece-by-piece as all entirely relevant to investment decision-making. Over my years in the investment business, I witnessed this process over-influencing professionals in the industry time and time again.

This situation begs a few questions. By far the most important question is this one: "If all these data points are NOT relevant, but some are, how does one know which ones are which?"

This is a very simple question with the appearance of requiring a very complex answer. And since everyone wants to apply whatever answer is supplied to this question to the current state of the markets, we’ll skip the generalities and make it applicable to what we see as February 2023 winds down.

First, day-to-day data points are often taken out of context or exaggerated for effect by market participants. The most valid trend of today can be traced back to December of 2021, when the most recent raging bull market came to an end. The raging bull market in bonds came to an end seventeen months earlier, on July 1, 2020.

This being said, there are two very serious conditions affecting the macro-economic picture for the foreseeable future. These two conditions are the combination of 1) stagnant economic performance and 2) very powerful inflationary pressures. In the late 1970’s and into the early 1980’s this very same economic condition was labelled as, “stagflation.”

More than forty years ago the Federal Reserve went about the business of squeezing demand out of the economy to put out the fires of inflation. The Fed did so with the greatest round of monetary tightening the world had ever seen done by a central bank. The steps were necessary to correct a festering situation brought on by the ascension of government as the driving force in the economy. While this Fed policy prescription choked off one of the sources of inflation (excess demand driven by inflationary expectations), it did nothing about supply shortages brought on by those same poorly thought out public policies. Supply shortages were only addressed when supply-side economic policies were put in motion as part of the Reagan economic recovery plan in early 1981. Once those policies took hold, in the following year (August of 1982), they set off an incredible bull market explosion in stock and bond prices that led to the longest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history.

A glance at 2023 tells us the Federal Reserve is finally going about the business of choking off excess demand driven by inflationary expectations with steady increases in short term interest rates. Like chemotherapy, these drastic monetary polices are also producing the side effect of choking the markets. However, there remains a plethora of anti-supply side policies that have led to widespread shortages. These shortages are continuing to be exacerbated by the ill-conceived thought processes of people in high public offices.

The markets might be offering a few fake signals that produce optimism here and there, but in general, the markets are not fooled. They recognize the malignant and lingering effects of stagflation. Stagflation is now dominating the economic landscape and it is not going to be easy to dispatch. Nearly every single data point confirms this. An anomaly data point here and there is not going to change the dangerous secular trend that has put down its toxic roots in our economy. Only tight monetary policies combined with real supply-side economic policies will rescue the vast majority of working Americans from constantly rising inflation and the smothering side effects of ignoring the curing powers that come with actually promoting growth.

The day-to-day coverage of the next critical datapoint by the financial news media will continue to be nothing more than the "show business" it has been for many decades. Shortages will not go away until policies change, nor will inflation. Instead, these conditions will worsen producing a continuation of the negative economic chain reactions we are currently seeing. This makes investments in most equity securities a bit of minefield for the time being.


The Perils of Group Identity

© 2023 Jim Spence - We have posted several columns on the toxic effect of "Group Identity" thinking which tends to categorize people by their so-called group memberships and then purport to speak with one voice for the entire group.

Let's contemplate this gem of a quote from Dr. Thomas Sowell:

"If you want to get each individual's honest opinion, you don't want that opinion to be influenced by others who are present, much less allow a group to coordinate what they are going to say."

                        --- Dr. Thomas Sowell

Or put another way, if there is total agreement between two or more people on topics involving multiple variables, some of the people are not thinking. They are acting as if they were parrots instead.


Evading the Truth Gets Complex

© 2023 Jim Spence - Sometimes reading the sports news is not an escape. Instead, reality can hunt you down, even in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and rattle your world.

The following two paragraphs were reported on the ESPN website on February 11th regarding NMSU’s decision to cancel its men’s basketball program activities indefinitely:

“The Aggies have been embroiled in controversy since November, when forward Mike Peake shot and killed a New Mexico student in Albuquerque in what police called a self-defense case after Peake had been lured to the campus. Per the school's statement, Friday's decision to suspend the season is separate from that case.

New Mexico State University is suspending operations for the men's basketball program until further notice," the school's statement said Friday. "NMSU personnel were recently informed of new allegations, separate from the events that took place in Albuquerque late last year, involving potential violations of university policy.”

These “NEW” allegations involve deeply disturbing “hazing” incidents within the men’s basketball program at NMSU. Las Cruces citizens should know that evidence will be forthcoming very soon of patterns of alarming criminal behavior within the NMSU men’s basketball program. This evidence will reveal a shattering truth regarding problems all over America that are constantly attributed to irrelevant sources.

While these hazing incidents will no doubt be categorized as “separate” from the shooting incident in Albuquerque last year, those who insist these incidents are unrelated, are protecting bogus narratives designed to manipulate public perceptions. These incidents are in truth, directly related to a deplorable situation in plain view.

The fact that former Aggie basketball player Mike Peake got shot, and in the process of retaliating, he shot and killed one of his assailants illustrates, what Dr. Thomas Sowell has to say about the erroneous claims of “complexity” for obvious situations that are right under our noses.

Dr. Thomas Sowell
"Nothing is more complex than avoiding the obvious." --- Dr. Thomas Sowell

No reasonable person would argue that the circumstances surrounding former NMSU basketball player Mike Peake are not very sad indeed. The details of the situation that led to his being shot, his shooting and killing of someone else, and then being dismissed by NMSU, are all deeply disturbing. However, avoiding the obvious, regarding the stark reality of what Mike Peake’s life represents, is even more complex.

On that early morning in Albuquerque, Mike Peake planned to do what more than a few young men often do. Peake broke curfew rules to meet up with a girl in the wee hours of the morning. This mistake in judgment is not unusual. However, what Peake did do that was unusual, was take a gun with him for the planned encounter. As it turned out, Peake used his gun. The boy-girl encounter turned out to be just another gangster culture setup. Peake got jumped by three other young men right after he met with the young lady. Peake had been the target all along. Peake got shot when he began to run away from the beating that he was about to suffer, and then, while wounded, he retaliated with his weapon.

The circumstances surrounding the shootings on the UNM campus involving Mike Peake begs a question. Why would any young man on an athletic scholarship, go any place in the wee hours of the morning where he decided he might need a gun for protection?

The obvious answer is Peake grew up in the pervasive gang culture that defines the south side of Chicago, Illinois. This area, like so many urban areas of America, is bathed in violence night and day. Unabated criminal aggressions and the resulting retaliations occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year in Chicago. The murder totals in urban America have risen to staggering levels. Crime statistics compiled in urban locales such as Oakland, Atlanta, Richmond, New Orleans, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, etc. simply boggle the mind. What do these irrefutable facts regarding gang culture have to do with the fact there is also a disturbing “hazing” problem on the NMSU basketball team?

The answer is simple. The latest “circumstances” surrounding the NMSU basketball program, have everything to do with gang culture coming to Las Cruces and victimizing young athletes that grew up here.

Young people who grow up in violent cultures, get into the habit of using guns, also engage in other criminal activities. Young men who embrace gang cultures often relentlessly “haze” the newest members of their gangs as a matter of ritual. It is all part of a disturbing mentality where many forms of perverse violence are embraced as a huge part of the mix. The fact that horrific hazing has become a problem within the NMSU men’s basketball program, and has now had a direct impact on our community, is not complex, it is obvious. 

Sadly, avoiding the obvious, which is what those in academia and many manipulative politicians have become notorious for doing, is the unnecessarily complex aspect of this obvious reality.

From so many corridors within academia, and most of American popular culture, come relentless calls for more “inclusiveness” and more “diversity” to solve the problems that come with gangster cultures. These haplessly irrelevant and nonsensical cries, which serve no real purposes other than to impose a widespread sense of national guilt, are repeated over and over. So much so, they have created an echo chamber throughout American society. These cries, which may well be sourced in decent motivations in the minds of the millions parroting them, will not solve this insidious gang culture problem, they will only compound it.

There is an alternative to this doom loop. It begins with admitting the truth, which is simple. American society has been more fully integrated, more tolerant, more inclusive, and more diverse, than any other nation on earth for generations. Accordingly, let’s return to Dr. Sowell for another profoundly wise quote that summarizes these non-solutions to the gang cultures, that are continuously poisoning the day-to-day environments that young men like Mike Peake and many of his teammates grew up in.

Dr. Sowell says, "People who pride themselves on their "complexity" and deride others for being "simplistic," should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth."

Much of the national and local discussion of this problem avoids the obvious and evades the truth. The truth is high-profile people in academia and elsewhere in popular culture, who continue to shamelessly charge others with “racism” and divide people into group-identity thinking processes, are never going to end the plethora of problems created by gang cultures, including killings and horrific hazing. Gang style shooting incidents and dastardly hazing crimes may seem separate and unrelated within the minds of academia including NMSU administrators. However, as NMSU now rushes to shut down the men’s basketball program, in the face of widespread crime within its boundaries, they do not seem to grasp the simple truth. It is painfully obvious these two “separate” incidents are directly interrelated. This fact is obvious.

Very sadly, and very suddenly, the latest victims are members of the Las Cruces family of student athletes. And so it seems, that the REAL complexities of avoiding the truth, that come with these nonsensical echo chambers that pretend the gang culture problem actually comes from a lack of "diversity and inclusion," are bringing alarming atrocities to our own community.

Aggie fans and Las Cruces families are now experiencing the direct results of the geometric progression of complex disasters associated with evading the truth.


The Group Identity Malignancy

© 2022 Jim Spence - Recently, one of my closest friends contacted me. He was exasperated and seeking advice. He is a very kind man nearing his mid-sixties now. He grew up in a very loving family. Like all of us human beings, he has had his ups and downs in life and made some mistakes. He is a strong-minded individual with a gentle disposition. If one plays the disposition comparison game, he rates quite favorably versus most men. He is well-educated and well-read. He is also a Christian man with deeply held beliefs. He has two grown children. He loves them both dearly. His daughter is married and has two children. His son, a gay man, is also married.

My friend, like most men from the baby boom generation, struggled a bit when he first discovered his son’s sexual preference. But eventually he came around. Not just to grudging acceptance, but to making very serious changes in his own life including the church he attended. Because of the lack of acceptance and lack of Christ-like unconditional love that was sometimes inferred in some pastor sermons, in recent years, my friend specifically met with pastors of prospective churches in advance. He advised them that he would not continue to attend their church if anything that even hinted at gay bashing surfaced on Sundays.

Despite an open-door policy by dad, the son in this conundrum is very much immersed in his sexual identity. It seems to be, in his mind, the defining aspect of his life. And is so often the case when any group identity is of paramount importance to a person, much more is expected from his family than simply acceptance, an open door, and even unconditional love. There have been unmistakable indications of pressure from son, for the embracing of political/world views that so often seem to be a pre-requisite in the gay community.

We recall two gay men friends of ours who occupied the separate mother-in-law wing of our home for a couple of months between their moves years ago. We refused to accept any rent from these men because we considered them to be our friends. A few months later when we were invited to their home for dinner, one of the men attempted relentlessly to engage us in political discussions. When we did not take the bait, he concluded his efforts by declaring that he had no respect for whatsoever for anyone who voted for George W. Bush. Not long after dinner we excused ourselves and left. It was such an unpleasant experience the relationship was never the same.

Ironically, my friend has rejected the assertions of Christians who ostracize gay people and distanced himself from them, while his son has embraced the wings of the gay community that bash ALL Christians.

The tragic irony of group identity was on full display recently, when a shocking news story emerged last month. It seems that two married gay men in Atlanta engaged in unspeakably heinous crimes. They used their adopted children as sexual objects, including filming them for the purpose of distributing child pornography. These men were arrested and now face charges that could keep them in prison for the rest of their lives if convicted. It turns out one of the men had a criminal record that should have prevented him from successfully adopting children.

If these charges are true, how could these men successfully navigate the adoption system, skirted obvious common-sense safeguards, and gained control of two vulnerable children? Ironically, the answer is this gay couple used a Christian adoption agency to facilitate the process.

Serious questions arise concerning group identity paradigms. Are the millions of men and women around the world with gay sexual preferences responsible for the conduct of others with the same preferences who commit heinous crimes against children? The only proper answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. In no way can any reasonable person hold other people with the same sexual preferences responsible for the actions of others who have those same preferences.

What about the Christian adoption agency? Clearly their screening process failed miserably resulting in the facilitation of an adoption that should have never happened. Are all Christians responsible for the failures of this Christian adoption agency? The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. In no way can any reasonable person hold people with the similar religious views responsible for the actions of others.

In a nutshell, this conundrum magnifies the great tragedy of all human beings embracing group identity paradigms. Group identity, which is encouraged now more than ever before in popular culture, has become a malignancy growing on otherwise loving families in so many ways. All gay men and gay women should be treated as individuals with both virtues and flaws. No better and no worse. All Christians should be treated as individuals with both virtues and flaws, no better and no worse.

Those who blindly embrace their group identity, whatever it is, at the expense of family members who love them unconditionally, but do not accept all that goes with their group identity politics, engage in a process that produces self-inflicted wounds that damage themselves and those who truly love them the most.

We will pray for healing and reconciliation for this father and son. There are many things that are impossible with human beings. But with God ALL things are possible.