Month: October 2016

When A Narrative Gets Caught With Its Pants Down

Narratives are funny things, they can be used to both build up, as well as tear down their underlying realities. However, what they really have the power to do, when used effectively; is to distort reality so much in the mind; reality is now seen to be fantasy – and fantasy is reality. Sometimes in both the creators, as well as recipients.

We all do it, we’re bombarded with it daily in not only advertising, but work, play, from friends, and yes, even from ourselves. If you think I’m off base just try to remember the last “glory days” conversation you’ve overheard. Or, better yet, one where you were actually present. I’ll guarantee it’s not the same as you recall it.

And as far as “ourselves?” All I’ll say is this: How many thought it wasn’t all “that bad” when deciding to go out on a date with an old ex – only to vividly remember precisely why they were an “ex” an hour into that date?

Welcome to narrative building, and tear down 101. And there’s nothing wrong with it. For in many respects; it’s the way the world works.

However, with that said: Regardless if it’s used to enhance, or, for nefarious reasons: the power of building, and using a narrative takes a tremendous amount of resources. Both in tangible, as well as intangible costs.

Yet, the costs associated many times are calculated as “acceptable” for one very fundamental reason, and that reason is this: Once established – it is near impossible for others to overcome the inherent “given the benefit of doubt” shield against all accusations. Regardless of their veracity.

It is for this precise, and unequivocal reason, that shield is worth its weight not only in gold, but every other precious metal and/or gem combined. For once lost – it’s near impossible to buy back at any price.

We may be watching this phenom played out at levels, and in public, seen less than once in generations.

The prudent who watch it for the lessons to be learned (regardless of political affiliation or nationality) will be rewarded in many ways to witness lessons in not only power; but human nature; and business as well. All on a stage which in many ways looks reminiscently familiar to Aesop’s “The Emperor Has No Clothes.” Only this time: it’ll be televised.

(Note: The following has nothing to do with whose guy, or, gal is running for office. I’m not endorsing, nor do I wish to make my own preference known even if I have one. What I am stating is using the current individuals, and their accompanying narratives as examples, times like this for observation, contemplation, in real-time, only comes around once in many lifetimes. It demands attention no matter who, or where, one stands. Period.)

In the U.S. we are currently under two weeks before the final balloting takes place for president. On the one hand you have the self-made billionaire, businessman Mr. Trump. On the other, you have the former first lady, and secretary of state Mrs. Clinton.

Both, are without doubt, not only professional, and superior narrative builders. But as I alluded to earlier: understand, and are serial purveyors of that other most import factor: narrative maintainers. It is fair to say they have been cultivating their narratives (and its associated maintenance costs) all their lives. That’s a phenomenal undertaking and expenditure the likes many haven’t the slightest in understanding of both its true costs, as well as the dedication needed to maintain.

When it comes to Mr. Trump; whatever “slings and arrows” are used against him has always been thwarted by his shield of “I’m a businessman, I can get things done others can’t, and for proof just look at my net worth.”

You may agree, or disagree all you want (and they do) but his carefully built narrative (just repeat the afore-mentioned line when needed) has stood. And to reinforce it? Just look to all the places, or things which bares his name/brand.

Some may not be impressed, but far more are. Why? Go out and try doing it yourself, see how far you get before you start contemplating “Is all this work and risk really worth it?”

When it comes to Mrs. Clinton the same can be said for her shield. i.e., “I was First Lady and have seen the presidency and what’s involved first hand in ways no other has ever had before actually taking the seat. I also know via being Secretary what the real world of friends and foes looks like first hand. I’ve spent nearly my entire live as a public servant, so my life is an open book. And as proof any so-called ‘scandal’ associated with me has been nothing more than some vicious partisan political attack just remember – that’s why I’m running for you, so you don’t have too!”

Just like I stated previous: You may agree or disagree (and they do) but that narrative holds as a shield every time. And as proof?  Here’s the narrative you may have heard once or twice previous: “Then why has every investigation turned up “There’s no there – there?”

And again, maybe you’re not impressed, but once again, as I implied with the previous: “Go out and try doing it yourself, see how far you get before you start contemplating “Is all this work and risk really worth it?”

Yet, with those above narratives holding what it has also done is allowed for others (whether they be individuals or businesses) to use the umbrella of those story lines to feel compelled to throw their own accusations or feelings of discontent against one side or the other feeling the same type of impunity.

And here is where things might be a little more sticky than they might of first thought. Or, worse – contemplated.

For when perceived non-political types wade into the weeds of the political? Collapsing narratives have a way of exposing and/or revealing those who might have thought were exempt from the adverse effects of all things “political.” Let’s use just two of the latest, yet arguably biggest names of billionaire examples: Peter Thiel and Mark Cuban.

Peter Thiel has been a vociferous defender, and ally of Mr. Trump. The same can be said of Mark Cuban for Mrs. Clinton. Regardless of what you may think of either people (and I’m a fan of both) they have put their mouth where their choice lays, in very public fashion and forums.

When it comes to political stakes, they have put both their personal, and some might say, their business reputation on-the-line for their candidates. Again, whether one agrees with their position, most haven’t the intestinal fortitude to do so when there’s so much at stake. This is a game of very high stakes indeed. But here’s where narrative crushing can crush even the most well intended backer.

As of today (and today is a lifetime in politics) Mr. Trump’s shield against the slings and arrows from Mr. Cuban has held. i.e., even without producing his current tax documents he’s still perceived as he was. e.g, a billionaire businessman.

Mr. Thiel, also a billionaire businessman, has defended, stood by, as well as conducted his own personal crusade against what many have perceived as a “corrupt media.” And won in open court. This narrative aligns very well with his candidate of choice. His narrative also enforces (in the eyes of others) his candidates own running narrative. i.e., As long as there’s no real, credible smoking gun stating something on the lines of: “Tax documents prove he’s only worth .13 cents, and has even less in his bank account!” He’s the billionaire businessman he claims he is. Again, other than some credible “smoking gun” the narrative pretty much remains intact and can be assumed to be as strong as ever.

However, Mr. Cuban might find himself in a very precarious position as these final days unravel with the latest real, credible “smoking gun” allegations being made against Mrs. Clinton with a reopening 11-days prior to the election by the FBI. And here’s why….

Say what you want about either narratives and the defenses laid out as to defend them. One can be said is only about “trying to appear wealthier than one might be.” People can take issue with that, and some do. However, the other is about “whether or not one has become wealthy, or gained that wealth because of nefarious means.” Do you think a resolution to the negative whether it be the first or the second has a different connotation for not only the candidate, but their supporters should that be proved correct? Let me use the following as an example….

Mr. Cuban has been unabashed in his calling out of Trump’s so-called “reported wealth.” It’s fair game, and if that’s the game he decided to play in, it’s his prerogative. And his capacity as to foster his assertions are both insightful as well as meaningful. They shouldn’t be dismissed offhandedly. That said, he also took some very, very, forward steps with assertions as to state emphatically a list of questions he would like Mr. Trump to answer in a one-on-one discussion with him.

Why could there be such a problem with this? Easy. It’s becoming more apparent via every Wikileaks document dump that to have any meeting with his candidate of choice – you had to offer that amount of $’s and maybe much (much) more.

The “narrative” of Ms. Clinton where “honesty,” or “doing it solely for the public good” is not only unravelling, it’s appearing more and more there was never any “clothes” to begin with. And if that’s found to be proved with more revelations via demonstrable facts – where does that leave Mr. Cuban and his assertions? Where was his “judgement?” Was he just “blinded” into being a “shill” to a political candidate/party no matter “who the candidate?” Are you seeing the implications here? One is far worse than the other, no?

It’s easy to see (and again, I’m a fan of Cuban, and it pains me to point this out, but, it is – what it is) accusations of “why didn’t you ask the same type of probing questions of your own first?” will be hard to defend against should anything be found out to the detriment of Mrs. Clinton. If it turns out, there is some there – there? A lot of people are going to not only have “egg on their face” but might look more like having been through a carnival dunk tank filled with yolks. And it doesn’t stop there.

Another “narrative” which not only emerged, but has grown steady, gaining strength at every turn during this latest election cycle is that of “rigged.” i.e., Whether it be a coordinated effort for the omission or reporting of stories via the press, or collusion as to carry a contrary narrative to underlying revelations, and far, far more.

Stories, and revelations have been steadily making the rounds confirming, not disavowing such revelations in both frequency, as well as in examples that make even the most died-in-the-wool nay sayer saying, “Wait – what?” Here’s just the latest example, again, in real-time:

As of this writing which is about 24hrs since the latest revelations that the FBI – just 11 days prior to a presidential election – has reopened in an unprecedented manner – the supposedly closed case against the democrat nominee/candidate Mrs. Clinton. And the reason why? “New found evidence.”

Remember, this is evidence that shouldn’t have been around to “be found” in the first place. For if there was – then the entire narrative was sham. Think about that for a moment before moving on. Along with the implications for everyone involved and the narrative that allowed those to get-on-board, and remain-on-board.

Now, want a little food-for-thought as to close-the-loop on the narrative unraveling as to whether, or not, there was any there – there when it comes to the narrative of “rigging?” Consider this if you will….

Would you think this latest, historical, unprecedented revelation via the FBI would be a “trending” topic on any of the predominant social media platforms? Nope: Nothing too see here, thanks for stopping by. Please move along.

You just can’t make this stuff up. Think there’ll be any backlash by users to these platforms if it’s proven out there was “there -there?” One never knows, however, would you want to have your reputation and/or business ethics/bottom-line riding on what you now know? I know I wouldn’t.

Imagine, all of it; years, and years of cultivation. Years, and years of political sweat and tears. Years, and years of countless people, and reputations, all falling apart because someone was caught with their pants down exposing not only themselves, but quite possibly the next “emperor.”

Who said living through history wasn’t as good as the narrative that follows? For when it comes to observing what is currently transpiring: this is the most lewd and rude moments in political history I can recall. And all because one man couldn’t keep his pants on.

Again!

© 2016 Mark St.Cyr

One Of These Things Are Not Like The Other ….

I present with nothing other than an explanation for why the song from Sesame Street® is currently playing in your head.

The GOOD:

From June 27, 2016:

Cramer: One IPO that proves Silicon Valley unicorns have value

From August 9, 2016:

More Squawk from Jim Cramer: Twilio (TWLO) Is the Future of Cloud Computing

The BAD:

From October 21, 2016,

Jim Cramer — Twilio Needs to Find Support at $40

The UGLY:

It seems the ones that took that advice are not the ones that should be first to jump. To wit:

Recent Trades: October 26, 2016

Twilio Inc (TWLO) CEO Jeff Lawson Sold $32.1 million of Shares

CEO, 10% Owner Jeff Lawson sold 830,977 shares of TWLO stock on 10/26/2016 at the average price of $38.6. The price of the stock has decreased by 3.47% since.
CFO Recent Trades:

CFO Lee Kirkpatrick sold 69,740 shares of TWLO stock on 10/26/2016 at the average price of $38.6. The price of the stock has decreased by 3.47% since.
Directors and Officers Recent Trades:

Director James Mcgeever sold 72,861 shares of TWLO stock on 10/26/2016 at the average price of $38.6. The price of the stock has decreased by 3.47% since.

General Counsel and Secretary Karyn Smith sold 13,863 shares of TWLO stock on 10/26/2016 at the average price of $38.6. The price of the stock has decreased by 3.47% since.
Director Scott Campbell Raney sold 503,496 shares of TWLO stock on 10/26/2016 at the average price of $38.6. The price of the stock has decreased by 3.47% since.

Bonus: The RIDICULOUS:

The combined one day sales of these reported insider trading actions ($57.5MM give or take if my math is correct) amounts to almost the entire ad revenue generated of $64.5MM for their entire second quarter of 2016 less than 90 days ago when it reported earnings to a celebrating chorus of watchers and analysts.

Just imagine if they could sell that much of their product in a day – as they can sell their own stock! But hey, “What do I know.”

As always, take from this what you wish. Just trying to do it without that little song playing in the background is quite the “show and tell” of its own, yes?

© 2016 Mark St.Cyr

Why All The Yawning Over The Yuan?

When it comes to China all the main stream media will ever cover is something in regards to a “hot topic of the day” brought about by either a political discourse, or some celebratory exhibition being observed within its boundaries. When it comes to trade, or business topics, they’ve pretty much abandoned them in total, leaving that realm for the “business/financial” outlets.

So it’s no wonder that when it comes to trade, or monetary issues most haven’t a clue. However, one would think when it came to the #1 financial headline generator that had the ability to send markets plunging reminiscent of a “Black Monday” causing global financial panic worldwide, and triggering (the first time in history) a tripping of all three circuit breakers on the U.S.’s major futures markets, while simultaneously causing the Federal Reserve for the first time in its history to openly state “international developments” as a root cause and catalyst to postpone a monetary decision that is supposedly U.S. centric only. The business/financial media would be all over it. Yet? (insert crickets here)

What is that #1 generator you might ask? Hint: The Yuan.

Except for places like Zero Hedge™ and a few others. When it comes to anything about China’s latest currency devaluation (whether by design or not) one would think there was a media blackout on the subject. I find that strange only for this reason: If you remember the day you woke up in August of last year thinking “Here we go again!” Where some markets had plunged over 1000 points bringing back all the fears of 2007/08. The root cause of that was: the Yuan, and its sudden devaluation.

Only after what seemed (and jawboned) like stabilization (and a note to Jim Cramer from Tim Cook on China implying “nothing to see here, move along” added in for extra measure) did the markets bounce back off the lows to then resume their monetary policy captured antics.

So with that all said for context, the question must be asked: Were you aware that the Yuan tumbled to lows not seen in 6 years? Remember – in August of 2015 the Yuan went to a level that sent markets roiling globally. We’re now well under (or above depending how you measure) that level, and falling further.

Do you think with what you now know that that should be a front-page headline across at least one major financial/business main stream media publication? I know I do.

Or, is that now sooooo 2015? I’m sorry, but this is not something trivial. And if you’re in business, or of the entrepreneurial mindset – not paying attention to this matter is not an option. This is where out-of-the-blue type scenarios with tremendous repercussions such as what happened in August of last year originate, then germinate. If you want proof – just think back to that August so many would like to forget.

Now some will think “Maybe there’s no concern because the politburo has it under control?” It’s a fair response, but there’s a problem inherent with the answer, or answers.

First: If the Chinese are doing it in a “controlled” type manner, it reeks of “currency manipulation” tactics for others (think U.S. presidential politics as of today) to latch onto and build support, as well as strengthen a case for retaliation. i.e., placing tariffs, etc, etc.

If you think about it from the Chinese perspective: that would mean you were openly, and intentionally goading as to fuel some version of a trade, or currency war. When you come at it using that thought process; it just doesn’t make sense. Both from a tactical standpoint, as well as political. Hence lies what maybe even a more troubling scenario. e.g., They’ve lost control.

The only other reason more troubling than the first – is the second. For it is here where things become quite precarious, as I’ve stated many times: “The currency markets are where you must keep your eyes and ears affixed. It’s where the real games are played and won.” And losing control of one’s currency has implications for all others, both warranted, as well as unintended. And it seems this latter scenario might be more on point than the former.

In just a little more than a month ago HIBOR (Honk Kong’s overnight CNH funding rates) exploded to their highest levels since the beginning of the year. The reasoning behind this speculated by many was in direct relation to the oncoming of holidays where liquidity can become scarce. It’s a valid point. However, there was another reason just as compelling with far more onerous tones which many failed to connect the dots to. Here’s how Zero Hedge explained it. To wit:

“However, the most likely explanation is that in order to force Yuan shorts to capitulate as 6.70 remains just barely within reach, the PBOC is simply continuing to squeeze the yuan shorts and raising the cost of shorting yuan, as explained last week. Ultimately, the PBoC weakened its yuan fix by 169 pips to 6.6895 versus yesterday’s 6.6726, even as many were expecting the USDCNY to finally breach the 6.70 resistance level, the defense of which may have explained today’s aggressive spike in HIBOR tightening.”

Less than a week later the above was proved out correct when the afore-mentioned HIBOR surge took place. And once again, this is where that “second” answer I alluded to possibly being more of the issue that the “first” brings with it the real concern.

It would appear that China has been actively pursuing a currency strategy to keep sellers (i.e., shorts) at bay by any means available – no matter how dramatic. They have introduced measures which have exploded HIBOR nearly 200% in overnight trading scare tactics as to either punish, or decimate any bearish bets against anyone currently holding, and better yet, even thinking about placing on the Yuan.

The “magical” level implied by the politburo, which they seemed to be telegraphing in no uncertain terms, was at or about 6.70 (USD/CNH.) They’ve held this level, or manipulated aggressive tactical repercussions to ensure a stability at this level since that fateful exhibition in last August when it was evident control was slipping at best, lost at worst.

Since then they’ve shown blatant disregard as to hide their involvement if it meant holding that level through their inclusion into the SDR (Special Drawing Rights basket of currencies,) as well as ahead, during, and following a G-20 meeting. Holding that 6.70 line-in-the-sand has been assumed to be paramount. Until now….

As of this writing the current level is 6.775 and rising. At first glance that number might not look like much. But in currency markets, (especially where leverage is used in multiples that can bankrupt nations let alone “traders” in one fell swoop) it’s very concerning. For it’s far above what China has demonstrated as “acceptable” and could cause retaliatory measures (again out-of-the-blue) by the politburo that have rippling effects throughout the entire currency spectrum.

Which brings us back to those two troubling questions and answers: Are we on, or about, to see a massive currency move by China as to defend its currency against the shorts? Or, has China lost control and we are on the verge of a massive devaluation with impending monetary and trade ramifications to be felt throughout the global markets?

There is a “third” option, but I’m sorry to say – it’s worse that either the above. And that is, much like I’ve stated previous about “weaponizing the Fed” could cause intended distresses via the monetary channel.

China may have decided to strike first, not by intervening, rather, by something more innocuous, but just as devastating: By standing on the sidelines.

I’m afraid we shall find out – much soon than later.

© 2016 Mark St.Cyr

F.T.W.S.I.J.D.G.I.G.T.

(For those who say I just don’t get it…get this!)

Over the years I’ve made arguments that Twitter™ was a “canary in the coal mine” for not only everything social, but also “the Valley” in general, for this I have also been publicly taken to task by so many it’s been hard to keep track, the most funny too me in retrospect, is one that actually took place on Twitter!

That public twit-storm was in response to my daring to publicly make the case that a CEO, no matter who, running 2 companies simultaneously was folly at best, and delusional at worse. But hey – who was I to question for remember: “it’s different this time.”

So, with that said, as many of you know, I’ve also made the argument that IPO’s and all that they entail (i.e., unicorn and rainbow dreams) since the ending of QE was also over. That claim (once again) landed me among the “Doesn’t have a clue” or, “Just doesn’t get it” assaults with many (once again) in either the “Silicon Valley” aficionado set, or the main stream business/financial media. With the major point (as well as example) as to dispel anything I have said previous, while supposedly giving credence as to why the IPO market was not only back, but why it was going to be back “better than before!” Rested on the shoulders of 2016’s version of another I dubbed another  “canary in a coal mine” debut: Twilio™.

So how’s that all working out? Especially with the “markets” still hovering at never before seen in human history highs? Well, as they like to say in “The Valley;” let’s look at some pictures, shall we? To wit:

2016-10-20-tos_charts-2

On the Left is Twitter – To its right is Twilio, both are from their IPO debut to approximately the same time following. Notice anything similar?

I’ll just make this one statement, especially if you were one of those “lucky” enough to “get in while the getting was good.” Does “it’s different this time” bring on any solace or feelings of “crushing it?” Or. should I rephrase that with: feelings of “getting crushed” feel more appropriate?

So what else has transpired as of late that might help frame these “pictures” for a better perspective, especially since there’s been suitable time for the “genius” that was to have a part-time CEO. That – and QE no longer there for “the wind beneath their wings?” Once again, to wit:

Twitter as of 10/20/16 before the close of the day.

Twitter as of 10/20/16 before the close of the day.

Maybe, you might be wondering, “What caused that last drop?” Especially if you were one of the one’s that believed “This thing is going to be sold, and I’m going to get another chance to “crush it!” Only to find out – as I stated in a previous article – once the public “thanks, but no thanks” becomes public? You’re more likely to get crushed. Hence, welcome back to “You are here” way down there. i.e., welcome to the reality of “Price Reduced!”

Now let’s move on to another topic where I also (it’s a recurring theme, but it comes with the territory) made an observation when it comes to falling ratings in both ESPN™, and as of late: the NFL™.

Everyone (and I do mean everyone) has put the reason on “cutting the cord” or “de-bundling” or what ever term you want to use as a reason for the falling ratings. I argued (and surprise, surprise, basically alone) I believed something else was going on. And in particular I pointed to the insertion of politics into the game, as well as broadcasting, was more than likely the true reason for the falling ratings. Once again, my assertions were met with “doesn’t have a clue” type responses. Fair enough, but there seems to be a problem with that defense….

In a survey of over 1000 identified NFL fans: 29% claimed they were watching fewer games. The number 1 reason why? The political protesting.

But, as they like to say in the media – “What do I know.”

© 2016 Mark St.Cyr

(The FTWSIJDGIGT section came into being when things I was being criticized for “having no clue” over the years, came back around showing maybe I knew a little bit more than some were giving me credit for. It was my way of a tongue-in-cheek as to not use the old “I told you so” analogy. I only say this for the benefit of those who may be new or reading here for the first time (and there are a great many of you and thank you too all.) I never wanted to seem like I was doing the “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah” type of response to my detractors. I’d rather let the chips fall, good or bad – and let you, the readers, decide the credibility of either side. However, occasionally, there are times they do need to be pointed out. i.e., something of significance per se that may have a direct impact on one’s business or thought processes, etc., etc, hence these posts.)

Tinfoil: It’s Getting Harder To Leave Home Without It

It used to be when someone mentioned the term “tinfoil cap wearing,” “conspiracy theorist,” “lunatic fringe,” etc, etc. It was usually in reference to a subset of individuals or groups that resided in some dark corners or basements believing “mind control” went far beyond just propaganda. i.e., It was actually the government (or aliens!) sending out undetectable frequencies directly into the minds of the masses. And, the only protection was: tinfoil. With it’s best use fashioned and adorned as a cap. It’s been a running joke (as it should be) longer than most can remember.

Yet, with all that said, it’s getting harder to be out amongst the public as an informed person and not feel as if there isn’t something to all the “lunacy.” For if you speak to nearly anyone these days be it family, friends, coworkers, or the occasional overheard conversations of strangers. You can’t help wondering: how can so many be so clueless? Or worse: how is it they can argue some form of righteous stance about this, or that, all the while they are “knee-deep” themselves in the same (if not worse) muck they say is being slung from the other side?

It’s moved so far beyond ridiculous I’m now starting to believe there is something in the water. However, is it in the tap or, is it in the bottled? For the people able to afford bottled, as opposed to plain tap, seem to have some of the more “crazy” arguments I’ve heard in quite some time. And that’s saying something. It’s the only thing that explains it.

(Note: “informed” would include you dear reader, for the mere act of you reading this, whether you agree or disagree, proves ipso facto that you are searching out information as to draw your own conclusions. And to that – I tip my hat too you.)

So now that you’ve read this far, let’s both don a silvery chapeau and contemplate what might be one of the scariest propositions (if found true) that could change everything (and I do mean everything) as we know it. e.g., “WWIII”

(C’mon, what’s a good conspiracy theory without an apocalyptic conclusion as part of the deal? For if you’re going to go there – just go there is all I’ll say, yes?)

In the U.S. we are currently in the final stages (within 30 days) of the election process where we’ll vote for the next president. And in you were an alien just landed from some distant galaxy you would be hard pressed to not assume Vladimir Putin wasn’t running on the ballot in third-party status. For he’s been mentioned and garnered more free electoral press as it pertains to the campaign than the actual third-party candidate has received – including ad buys. Hence, this is where things get down right loony.

Say what you want about “Russian hackers” infiltrating private email servers and the like. Proving that it’s actually state sponsored, which state (i.e., Russia, China, N.Korea, etc.) is quite another. For it can also be just the garden variety hack (i.e., basement dwelling protesters) or, it could be the sophisticated type, i.e., Anonymous, etc. It’s a guessing game based on circumstantial evidence sprinkled with very suspect actual at best.

However, you know what can’t be denied and is pure evidence based for all the world to see, on purpose?

Military troop movements, missile deployments, a calling home to all diplomats and their children, multi-national communist allied war gaming (e.g. Russian and Chinese navy) on the open sea, all while instructing the Russian population to take part in “live nuclear bombing drills” for the first time since the cold war ended.

That’s what’s been taking place (and a whole lot more) over the last 30 days in the real world. Have you heard, read, or seen anything about it in the main-stream media?

Sorry, trick question. Of course not. Have you heard about the Kardashian’s latest escapades? Again, trick question – you can’t turn on a TV, radio, or go to the grocery store without seeing another version of the same headline. They’re everywhere.

Yet, here is the real question: Can you think of another time when something even resembling the above as it pertains to war, or even the drums of it wouldn’t be the only thing reported this close to an election previously? The silence is so deafening it boggles the mind. For along with this “radio silence” comes forth that other silence – nobody’s taking about it because: nobody knows.

As for proof? As I iterated earlier: just ask someone about it, then watch for the blank stare.

So, as I like to do, let’s not think “outside-the-box” and limit ourselves. Let’s delve more into what I like to call “there is no box” hypothesizing. Where we can let our conspiracy theorist inner person loose and argue assertions and plausibilities without constraints. For remember: facts sometimes prove out that far more lunacy exists in the real world – than the fictional. It’s in the inability to contemplate or, to ” the-getting-there” that blindside most from ever seeing the possibilities that exist. So let’s proceed. And don’t forget your hat….

What if the U.S. drops the “nuclear” option in December? No, not some ICBM. But rather: Raises interest rates.

And not by .25 basis points, but rather, say 50. e.g., 1/2 of 1%.

I know, this is crazy talk (but that’s why we have the tinfoil, no?) But let’s play this through taking the “crazy” view as a possibility. Can it make sense of what we already deem as “crazy?” Sometimes, yes, sometimes no. But you’ll never know unless you try.

Back in May of this year I penned an article titled: “Was The Fed Just Given The Launch Codes?” In it I made some observations as it pertained to “the elites” or “Ivory Tower” type thinking. It was a follow-up from a previous in October where I hypothesized another perilous possibility: “Weaponizing The Fed.

With all that was happening at that time, along with what has happened since, it’s getting harder to push these ideas away, more than it is to embrace the possibilities. And that, in-and-of itself, is causing me more concern with each passing day. Especially when combined with the realities taking place in real-time today.

So what type of “conspiracy” laden scenario can I hypothesize using what we know to be factual, and, what we can conceptualize happening based on what has happened previous? Warning: it might be time to check for any possible tears, or cracks in your metallic helmet, and repair or reapply as much “tinfoil” as one feels appropriate. With that said, let’s continue.

Have you noticed as of late that the more “serious” the Fed. is intoning hawkish tones – the more its Chair Janet Yellen is suggesting monetary lunacy? e.g., “Yellen Says Fed Buying Stocks Is “A Good Thing To Think About

Square this circle if you can: In the U.S. even the idea of negative rates alone is almost too much to handle or contemplate based on capitalistic principles and fundamentals. The backlash and furor alone in just the discussion all but holds it at bay. The finger-pointing at the Fed. currently, along with their trying to defend against “too easy for too long” critics has pushed many Fed. members (even those considered to be doves) to intone hawkish language whenever possible in public as of late to keep the pitchforks and torches at bay.

And yet – the Fed. Chair is publicly affirming (remember: this is only 2 weeks ago) that the idea of openly, and directly buying stocks is something that should be contemplated? Something here just doesn’t add up. Even when using Princeton math. Unless…

What if we were to hypothesize that for whatever the reason, December would be the ultimate time to send the financial world into a tailspin for a desired (“desired” by globalists, or elitists that is) outcome? Many (“many” being common sensical thinkers) would never entertain the idea because of the election in Nov. However, what if there was precedent of, and for, navigating turmoil and instituting the unthinkable precisely at that time? Hint: The interval between the actual election and the swearing-in. e.g., Nov. – Jan.)

One of the most curious things I remember about the financial crisis was the way, then, outgoing president Bush was seemingly instantaneously replaced with the then “president-elect” Obama.

Never before to my recollection had I ever seen a “president-elect” giving speeches or press conferences (especially in times of crisis when there was a live sitting president) equipped with podiums, lecterns, and more in precisely the same configuration, backdrops, and all including presidential seal. You would have thought Obama took over in Nov. rather than January if you didn’t look closely to read the term “president-elect” in the same space reserved for “president” on the presidential seal. Nobody seems to remember that but me when I ask. Yet, if you look back to press clippings from that time, or videos with today’s eye – you can’t miss it.

So now let’s really get into the weeds: What if “elites” or whatever term you want to use for people who think they know what is best for the rest of society, rather, than leaving that up to society itself, and have concluded no matter who wins the election, this whole charade of market stability is about ready to collapse upon itself like a house of cards at any time?

And any time is weeks, or months, not years. What would one do? Wait, and try to deal with the fallout in real-time? Or, bring it down of your own volition and have it fall in some type of controlled demolition experiment of one’s choosing?

I think when it comes to “elites” they believe they can control anything if they are the one’s that initiate it. So, I would go with the latter. And if so, what does that look like? Well, consider this….

Let’s say the candidate of choice for the “elites” wins. How could you employ the triggers with near immediacy that would devastate, or wreak the most havoc on an adversary lest dropping real ordinance? Hint: A release via the monetary equivalent by raising interest rates causing a market meltdown, but in-particular, causing a capital outflow of inordinate proportions out of your adversary, seeking refuge in not only the $dollar, but $dollar denominated securities, and more.

That is – while the $dollar is, still remains/considered “safe haven” status. It doesn’t sound all that crazy when put in those terms does it?

During the most assuredly ensuing period of absolute financial turmoil you (once again e.g. Paulson and Bernanke-esque) convince both the congress, as well as the business community that “Radical action is needed now! Or we all go down in flames.” All the while the current president (much like Bush) steps off to the sidelines where the new (much like Obama did) “president-elect” calls for much of the same, echoing the most assuredly chants of fire and brimstone if “Decisive action is implemented immediately!” No matter how radical or unnerving it may be to commonsense at the time.

You could have a scenario where the wind (as little as there would be except for the bloviating of politicians) of capital flight would be in the desired direction of your choosing, along with the ability to once again push through laws, or just allow for further take over, or more intervention by the Fed. or others in ways never dreamed possible before in a capitalistic society.

All the ground work has already been plowed. Both in some precedents, as well as open rhetoric of the possibilities of going where no modern society has gone before with its capital markets. (Think current Fed. communications)

As for your adversaries? You’d be doing this before they had real-time to test newly formed alliances of monetary trading or swaps in crisis mode. And during a crisis? Money seeks known safety first – not speculative. And the U.S. $dollar, along with its equity markets, as perverted as they are, are still the cleanest shirt in a dirty laundry.

The absolute havoc, devastation, financial destruction, and a whole lot more is almost near unconscionable to even contemplate. Yet, what you have to always remember is this: Elites, or those controlling the power, never think about the destruction happening to them. They always think in terms of “It won’t be us who has to live with our decisions. That’s for others to deal with.”

And if there is any doubt you may have to that last thought. Let me remind you of another story you may not have heard about, and the resulting aftermath when “elites” think “good ideas” that the people must live with and beside – not them.

Welcome to Paris “Scenes From The Apocalypse” circa this month.

A lot of people there once thought “They would never allow that to happen!” Maybe they would like to re-think that again, no?

No tinfoil required.

© 2016 Mark St.Cyr

Twitter Shows The Coming Value Of Social Media – With Its Own

Remember way back in the glory days when the combination of “everything social” and “IPO” meant near instant stardom and riches? For those who might be having a little trouble remembering; it was way back in days past just a little under 24 months ago. Yes, that’s months, not years.

Yet, as far as the many still clinging to IPO cash-outs, or stock option redemption in lieu of salary? It’s bordering on an eternity. And, believe it or not, that waiting game may have just been extended. The reason?

Look no further than the once hailed songbird of both “social,” and in a larger context, much of what being a tech firm in “Silicon Valley” encapsulated: Twitter™

Twitter has truly morphed into the literal “canary in the coalmine” of what I believe portends in the not so distant future for much of “The Valley” and “social media” in general. i.e., Laying on their backs, in the bottom of their cages, with nothing more than rumors and innuendo of either an offer to buy, or worse, an offer to just look. The latter having the worst of consequences once the “Thanks, but no thanks!” formality becomes public.

It would seem, in my opinion, Twitter™ received the equivalent of both in the very same week. Can anyone say (or should I say tweet?) Ouch!

As I stated earlier: “way back” was just under 24 months ago. And what truly took place as to hinder, or tarnish the implied “genius” status of founders, or the brilliance of the “it’s different this time” defense as it pertained to actual fundamental business metrics was The Fed’s ending of QE (quantitative easing.)

And with that has come the realization (albeit very slowly) that “unicorn and rainbow” thinking belongs where it should – in fairy-tales and folklore.

Want proof? Just look back to the ancient texts circa 1990-2000 in the “dot-com mania and crash section” via your search engine of choice. And for those of you old enough to had been “invested” back then? Just remember to have a tissue at the ready is all I’ll say.

For those not familiar, or those painfully trying to forget, the condensed version is this…

First there were cracks in the meme (think “it’s different this time”) then, one by one, once heralded IPO high flyers (think Twitter, LinkedIn™, etc.) began losing value from their peaks. At first it was slowly, then suddenly, and all at once, where they never regained their former lofty valuations. Till finally, the revenue models (think “eyeballs for ads”) along with their assumptions (think “billions upon billions of potential customers!”) were completely destroyed, taking even the largest of players down only a few years later of what was seen at that time as “unimaginable” with the demise of the then king of “new media” AOL™, yesterday’s equivalent of Facebook™ today.

But not too worry, after all, it’s different this time, yes?

Although I’m not as old as Methuselah (if you don’t ask the kids) I penned an article way back when in Sept. of 2014 titled “The Shot Heard Round The Valley World.”  right before the official ending of QE. And in it I made the following argument. To wit:

“But, one shouldn’t read into this as “confirmation” the risk appetite story is not only alive but growing. For that is all about to change.

Once the Fed shuts down the section of QE that has been pumping Billions upon Billions of dollars every month – it’s over for a great many of today’s Wall Street darlings.

Think of it this way: Who is going to fund your next round when they no longer have access to the Fed.’s piggy bank? Let alone pump more money into older start-ups that just haven’t produced any real money (as in net profit,) but have produced nothing more than great new employee digs or benefits?

Tack along side this the culture shock in what will seem near instantaneous with the shunning that will take place of any business resembling the, 3 employee, menial customer base, Zero if not negative profit margin businesses formed with the implicit intent as to be bought up or “acquired” for Billion dollar pay days.

These will be the first to go. That formulation is going way of the now infamous Pets dot-com sock puppet. This will be the first true shock to Silicon Valley culture that hasn’t been seen in many years. And it will be far from the only one.”

Along with this assertion:

“And that won’t be the only monumental shift coming. Maybe, one at an even faster pace: The meaning of IPO.

IPO is not going to have the same term of endearment it now has. I believe it will turn into the last and most dreaded three-letter acronym no one ever imagined in Silicon Valley.

The IPO screams of joy will turn into wails of terror when those VC “angels” meet at many “treps” desk and state – they’re IPO-ing.

No, not getting one set up for the big pay-day. No IPO will mean: “I’m pulling out.” i.e., “Have a nice day. Where’s the rest of my money?”

The once renowned purchases of “Billion dollar babies” will prove out not to be worth two cents in this environment.

Valuations will get crushed and people will be shocked at just how fast a company touted across the financial channels and other media as “fantastic buys” are flogged and fleeced when Wall Street comes back for their “investment.”

If the story or the numbers aren’t there – neither will these once darlings of Wall Street. Regardless of size or stature.”

You saw the ensuing cracks begin during the initial months of 2015 as the IPO market began drying up faster than a puddle in the Sahara as once Wall Street IPO darling stock prices went from “high flyer” to “dropped like a lead balloon” status – and never, repeat, never ascended within earshot of those once “totally worth it!” valuations.

Twitter is just the latest, LinkedIn showed just how much “hype” there was to all these valuation metrics. For without a Microsoft™ buy-out? It appeared when it came to getting more LinkedIn shares? There were more people looking to Link-out.

But not too worry! 2016 was said to be “The year for a rebirth of the IPO market.” That was said during the closing months of 2015. It’s now mid October 2016. How’s that all working out? (insert crickets here)

However, many will state this is all a bunch of “hyperbole” or “uninformed assertions” or better yet, as is portrayed among the main stream financial media crowd as “the doom and gloom-ers looking only to be proved wrong again, i.e., “For just look at these markets!” I leave you with 2 words that were near unconscionable over the last few years.

Two very small words that have monumental implications and should bring panic to anyone in tech, “Silicon Valley,” or still holding dreams of cashing out large on the basis of an IPO built on the “Eyeballs for ads” model. And it’s right there in Palo Alto, California for all to see. That is – if one dares look.

Those two words?

Price Reduced!

And no, that’s not in reference to a Silicon Valley darling such as a start-up. No, those two words belong to that other seemingly invincible meme which was seen as far more stable than the IPO’s that afforded them.

Real estate.

© 2016 Mark St.Cyr

R*: Welcome To The Rock Star Of Central Banking Lunacy

I know more than a few of you reading this looked at the above headline and thought, “Huh? What the heck is R*?” And if you did, chances are, you’re one of the few remaining people with your heads down working tirelessly as to keep whatever en-devour you may be pursuing to stay afloat (i.e., your business, your job, etc.) For you don’t have time to think about esoteric monetary principles or theories now being debated, hypothesized, and pondered in the wood-paneled rooms reserved for Ivory Towered academics, policy wonks, Nobel Laureates, and central banks the world over.

However, with that said, make no mistake; as of today the entire global monetary system is riding upon those two seemingly unimposing characters: R*.

So what is R*?

Basically it is defined as : the neutral rate of interest. Also known as “the natural” or better yet, “The Goldilocks rate of interest.”

If reading the term “Goldilocks” and “interest rates” in the same sentence just made your blood chill? Congratulations – you’re normal. Yet, in the hallowed halls of economic policy wonks? Yes, that is a real moniker. And to prove that point here’s an excerpt from a recent FT article. To wit:

“A crucial part of the debate is a term which had previously been confined to economic textbooks – the neutral rate of interest, also known as “r-star”. It can be best described as the “Goldilocks” rate of interest – consistent with stable economic growth that does not cause inflation to overheat. Not too hot and not too cold.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking shots at the Financial Times™ for trying to explain to the casual reader what R* means. What I am pointing out is this: Suddenly this once obscure term now needs explaining in the first place.

Media outlets such as the FT and others speak to a very specific crowd. i.e., (Ph.D economists, policy wonks, central bankers, et al.) And that crowd knows precisely what R* is and what it means. What I find interesting is just how often this once little known text-book equation and theory has now been referred to by not only The Fed, and in particular: Janet Yellen – but the entire global monetary spokespersons, along with the media and sycophantic think tanks that follow them.

This once obscure economic equation has now practically jumped into every current conversation today as it pertains to monetary policy. Suddenly, it’s everywhere. Nearly every conversation over the past few months whether it be television, radio, or print pertaining to monetary policy can no longer go more than a few minutes without delving into “the neutral/natural rate.” e.g.: R* Even next-in-rotation fund managers have gotten in on the R* jargon bandwagon. And to my thinking – it rings the alarm-bells louder and louder with every increased mentioned. And here’s why: (Remember: This is meant to be an exercise as to grasp the concept of what’s taking place as a result. Not a working explanation of the theory.)

The way I explain R* is this: Think of R* as the “adjustable-rate” or “interest only” mortgage payments on the global economy. Yes, precisely like those wonderful mortgage vehicles that blew up housing and the entire financial system along with it in ’07/’08.

In other words: R• is the working equivalent that’s facilitating corporations to borrow and borrow as to buy back shares, conduct M&A, and more by acquiring ever more debt at low-interest rates while their top and bottom lines continue to deteriorate.

If that sounds a lot like another vehicle (e.g., Liar Loans) from that same period which allowed and facilitated people to buy bigger and bigger, or more houses right before the financial crisis? That’s because in principle – there’s no real difference. i.e., Financially engineer your books to state whatever it is you need (think Non-GAAP) then borrow money against it as to either put on an addition (think M&A) or to just increase your curb appeal raising the perceived value (think buy backs.) Rinse, repeat. Not that dissimilar, are they?

(On a side note: I’m not even adding in the other more concerning fact of enabling governments the equivalent of a blank checkbook, forget about just a check.)

However, if you understand just how eerily similar the above is – here comes the part in which it becomes inherently frightening. Ready?

What was the working thesis during that period, as well as the repeated response when any concern was raised? Hint: “You can always refinance.”

How’d that all work out?

If you remember (or were unfortunate as to take one) adjustable rate mortgages and-the-like were speciously sold, or advised, to people as to not only buy homes or refinance, but also afford homes far beyond their means. Again, to reiterate the presumed working thesis: If the time came when interest rates moved higher or some other measure? They could always just refinance into some other vehicle. i.e., a fixed rate product, etc., etc. And if push came to shove: Just sell for either a profit, or wash.

The problem as we all now know is “refinance” became an empty promise – right before the guarantee of foreclosure, bankruptcy, or both.

Yes R* assumptions for stability and control-ability can turn into WTF* moments of panicked reality in the blink of an eye. All it takes is one (and just one at that) hiccup and the whole theoretical construct comes crashing down along with all those seeming stable lofty values and assumptions when suddenly – no one trusts who’s solvent, if anyone, regardless.

Whether you’re listening to the Fed. or any other central bank today the immediate response along with their working assumptions hinges around the same presumptive arguments that revolved right before the last crisis. i.e., “We have more tools.” “We’ll do whatever it takes.” “Sometimes you just have to believe.” etc., etc.

This is today’s equivalent by both Central bankers, and their gaggle, intoning words of “surety” much like the mortgage brokers, banks, real estate agents, media and more right before the crisis. i.e., “Relax, you can always refinance.”

In the days leading up to the first wave of the financial crisis in 2007 it all seemingly began with what appeared like only “a hiccup” in the ever burgeoning mortgage and real estate market. For then, out-of-the-blue, New Century Financial™, one of the largest subprime lenders went into a death spiral. Approximately 3 to 4 months later it would be gone.

After that? Again seemingly out-of-the-blue, only 3 to 4 months later, what was also regarded as “one of the largest if not largest” subprime lenders Ameriquest Mortgage™ would be gone. This was near inconceivable when less than 2 years prior (’05/’06) it appeared they were sponsoring everything from stadiums, NASCAR™, Super Bowl™, and even the Rolling Stones.

It was hard for anyone to imagine just how violent, as well as devastating this would all turn, again, just barely 24 months after 2005. Especially those who controlled interest rates and monetary policy. e.g., The Fed. (in particular) and central bankers globally.

If anyone cares to remember, during the initial crisis the Fed. then headed up by Chairman Ben Bernanke raised interest rates because? He felt (along with whomever voted along to enact it) that the housing crisis was both contained, and believed, for whatever the reasoning, that during that initial period of panic was precisely the right time to raise.

Question: How’d that all work out? Answer: Don’t worry – they now say they’ll know what to do should something like that ever happen again. Feel better?

Now there are two very important factors I would like to remind you of dear reader that I believe is very germane to this whole argument, and they are these:

First: Before the ensuing financial crisis the Fed. had kept interest rates low as to help ward off the lingering effects remaining in the economy from the dot-com crash just a few years prior. Many educated interest rate and monetary policy adept people and pundits (think James Grant, Bill Gross, et al) were sounding alarm bells that the Fed. was just enabling another asset bubble. e.g., The dot-com bubble being the first, then the subsequent housing bubble.

Second: It was during this period of time (i.e. 2005, you know, right before everything came off the rails) that a little known to the public-at-large Fed. member Janet Yellen, then the Vice Chair was articulating what was then an obscure theoretical model to what is now on the lips and tongues of nearly anyone concerning today’s monetary policy effects: e.g., Neutral monetary policy, or R*

And Third: Not to make anyone nervous, but one of the largest banks in the world with contagion risk  via derivatives (think subprime products for banks) in the 10’s of TRILLIONS of $dollars looks to be entering a phase which many have dubbed “a death spiral.” e.g. Deutsche Bank™. Yet, just to add to the already frightening similarities of the last crisis, now it appears Commerzbank AG™ is raising alarm-bells in unison. The reason for these distresses? Current central bank policies and financial repression. Imagine that.

Make no mistake: On the global scale Deutsche Bank and its portfolio of derivative exposures alone has the ability to cause financial contagion across the global monetary system in ways similar to the initial days of the financial crisis. i.e., Who has exposure to what, along with the resulting freezing up of banks dealing with other banks as the fears feast upon themselves.

But not to worry, after all, we’re told over, and over again when it comes to things like this – “They’ve got this all under control.”f And if that doesn’t make you feel better – take a line of resilience from that real “rock star” of calm and composure. Alfred E. Neuman….

“What, me worry?”

© 2016 Mark St.Cyr

How To Kill A Brand: Just Add The Political Football

There was a time when tuning into a sporting event meant just that: a sporting event. However, now? Sporting events have turned into nothing more than political platforms, sporting better venues, camera coverage, and sideline commentary. Oh yes, and a little sporting activity once known as “the game” as to fill in any remaining dead air.

Today, nationally broadcast sporting events have become nothing more than events to be hijacked by the political topic of the day. But maybe “hijacked” is not the correct word. For I’m of the opinion in many such instances – they are either encouraged, are by design, or both. Depending on which political football is to be thrown onto the field of play.

And let’s make no pretense: when it comes to this “game?” There will be no place for civility, good sportsmanship, fair play, or the observance of rules, etc., etc.

No, once this “football” lands on the field of play – the only rules are – there are no rules, nor any boundaries where one can not venture. Along with no respect for your fellow players whatsoever.

The waged war of verbally thrown antics (and more) against one team vs the other would make a day in the Roman Colosseum look tame. For as you watch these now politicized sporting events, whether large or small, it is hard to miss the voracity of this take no prisoners blood-sport that has evolved; both in the media booths, and on the fields.

If this gamesmanship were focused upon the actual sporting event, and for talent which it is supposed to represent, rather, than the “political football” cause-of-the-day by not only the media, but by the actual players themselves? They might not be losing millions, upon millions, upon millions of viewers monthly.

I make this case for it would appear viewers who just want to sit back and escape the sheer never-ending onslaught of politics now permeating every venue of society as to solely watch, root, and pray for a championship are no longer the customers of sports. At least that is how it feels to someone like myself (and I’m far from alone) who just wants to watch a game.

No, it would seem “sports” has decided the only customers that matters are: You on the Red team? Or, Blue Team? (e.g., Republican or Democrat) Or, are you for, or against, the grievance of the day?

If you tuned it to see that game? Well grab you favorite beverage, snack and get ready to engage! For it will be hurled at you from not only the broadcast booth or sidelines. But from the actual playing field itself. Enjoy! And just as a reminder: If you need to make an additional “beer run” or have to make an unanticipated run for the lavatory? Not too worry – what do you think the actual game is for?

Harsh? Yes. Far from reality? Not by much in my opinion.

This is what far too many sporting venues along with their subsequent broadcasts have become. And – it’s absolutely destroying their brands.

I don’t believe that’s hyperbole, I feel there is now empirical proof to back up that assertion. Yet, it would appear the ones currently oblivious to such conclusions are: the sports media, franchises, sponsors, and advertisers themselves. However, that’s not that hard to understand. For if you look at politics in general – the ones most clueless about brand integrity are – the entire political class. And sports now seem to be emulating them with a vengeance.

So, is it any wonder when such franchises like ESPN™ and The NFL™(just to name a few) begin emulating the political, they begin turning people off? Not only that – seem oblivious as to the reasons why their numbers are falling?

Compare any Bob Iger or Roger Goodell statements as to explain the continuing falling viewership numbers of either ESPN™ or, The NFL. I wouldn’t fault you for wondering if they were explaining business metrics or, the latest presidential poll numbers. The lines have become so blurred I don’t think instant replay could add any clarity.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe there is now empirical proof that it is the politicization of sports that is turning fans away in droves. And it’s gaining momentum. Let me explain:

Back in September of 2015 I penned an article titled “ESPN: Cutting The Cord Or Political Turn Off?” It was in response to what was then the topic du jour “cutting the cord” as to explain the falling viewership numbers at ESPN. I proposed a different argument, to wit:

“ESPN (like a few notable others such as NBC™) has seemingly transformed at near hyper-speed from sports reporting – to political sports reporting. The political edge now rampant throughout the shows, games, interviews, et al is overbearing, overburdening, and overdone.

Here’s what I know from my own experience: It has become near impossible to turn on something that was originally created for pure entertainment value without now being bombarded with how the “political football” issue of the day is being addressed by the commentators, sideline crews, as well as players and coaches. e.g., I tuned in to watch a football game – not a game about how today’s “political football” is handled and won. i.e., gun control, domestic violence, civil unrest, global warming, etc., etc., on, and on.

Important issues all. However, is there no respite today as to maybe catch a breather and just enjoy a sporting event and its minutia without having today’s “political football” and all its baggage forced down my throat by sports casters, players, and more? It would be one thing if these shows mentioned these topics when appropriate. But now? One would think they were watching a Sunday morning news show rather than a sports channel. Everyday 24/7.”

In response to my allegations (to be clear, these were made from my own viewpoint and perspective using myself as the example only) I heard from many in both the media, as well as colleagues that, “I was off base,” or “I just didn’t get it,” and more. Yet, it would seem based on this years ratings revelations I might have been far more on-the-mark than even I realized at first. As for proof? The current ongoing debacle in falling and diminishing viewership of the NFL.

In the U.S. the NFL is the most watched venue, bar none. It has been on a rise without pause for well over a decade if not longer. Till – this year.

Can you think of anything which has garnered the headlines of the sports media or, for that matter, media in general? Hint: It has nothing to do with sports.

Today’s topic is all about a backup quarterback (Colin Kaepernick) being paid millions, upon millions of dollars to sit on the bench. All while he makes public his political views by kneeling and becoming a first round, first choice, go-to player of the political.

Think I’m off base? Well, now it’s all about his views on the presidential race. But that was last week, next week I’m sure he’ll move on to something more sports orientated. Just kidding – that’s wishful thinking. He’s a now a political star. It would appear football is now secondary.

And with that said, the numbers are proving out that millions of once reliable consumers of the NFL are turning away in droves. In their views it would seem this “political football” is no longer worth the price of admission. Even if it is on basic cable.

Every game, of every week (as has been reported) this season has lost ratings. Season openers, Monday night, Sunday’s, Thursday’s. all of them have lost rating share. You want to argue that’s some “cutting the cord” phenom taking place? You could have held that viewpoint last year. But this year? Sorry, that would be more like a politician burying their heads in the sand. Oh, wait. Sorry, we are talking “political football” now so, why would the leadership at these outlets appear any different.

Parents don’t want to have to explain to their young children why players are doing X when they barely understand the rules of the actual game to begin with. And fans of the game don’t need to watch or hear players and broadcasters make political statements while admonishing any of those fans for having either a differing opinion or, just not up to speed on the political topic of this game day. Personally, I’m sick of it. Regardless of the cause. And as the rating continually show – I’m far from the only one.

I didn’t watch a single NFL game last year for the first time that I could remember. I was all set as to resume this year, then, the kneeling started. And with it I decided to take a seat elsewhere. As I’ve iterated previously. it would appear I am far from alone. And the numbers are chronicling it.

The problem is: once you allow politics into a venue where the arguments (whether good or bad) were basically shunned and the emphasis was placed squarely on the venue (e.g., actual game) at hand. The resulting hoopla of political frenzy and additional coverage at first appears to be some sort of “win – win” for both the ratings and subsequent ad revenues charged.

But it’s a “sugar-rush.” An ephemeral boost that doesn’t last, but actually destroys a brand in the end. The only brands (or outlets for that matter) which can play that game are the ones that are designed to play it. i.e., news media, talk shows, etc. But nobody’s watching those like they used to either. For they’ve turned reporting “the news” into today’s sporting event and many have destroyed their brands and franchises along with it.

The sports world is doing precisely the same by way of reversing the medium. But make no mistake, the results are the same, and again, the numbers seem to be accurately keeping that score.

You would think the “sports” media along with franchises such as the NFL and others would be cognizant of all that. But alas, it would seem they’re far too busy making excuses for their falling numbers, just like – you know – politicians.

© 2016 Mark St.Cyr