The daily view 12/21/2018

Usually the news cycle is slow, especially around the holidays, but there is a ton of stuff going on.

1. Trump administration officially bans bump stocks

Those who possess the devices, which make it easier to fire rounds from a semi-automatic weapon by harnessing the gun’s recoil to “bump” the trigger faster, will have 90 days to turn in or otherwise destroy them from the date that the final rule is published in the federal register — likely this Friday — according to senior DOJ officials.

Not a smart move. Trump is already getting enough criticism from the ‘right’ for not building the wall, and the last thing he needs is to alienate his core NRA constituency. From what I have heard, bump stocks are not even that effective because they significantly impair accuracy.

2. Ann is wrong regarding prison reform:

In invoking Scott Adams, the prison reform bill is a ‘win’ for Trump because although some on the right oppose it, it’s a much-needed legislative accomplishment and it helps him win moderates and blacks. It shows a compassionate side to Trump, much like how he granted clemency to Alice Marie Johnson. Also, the bill the hardly a ‘get out of jail’ card, but rather reduces some sentences from ‘life’ to 25 years, and according to Vox, even if the bill passes, its effect on mass incarceration will be relatively small.

3. Facebook is in the news again for privacy concerns. As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants: Internal documents show that the social network gave Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify and others far greater access to people’s data than it has disclosed

My take is, as I said before, this privacy stuff is overblown. It’s just a vocal minority, the same people who are still mad about Facebook supposedly costing Hillary the election. Sub 100 IQ people don’t care about how their data is being used, which is most of Facebook and Instagram’s userbase. Facebook is a money printing machine, like Google and Microsoft. I predict Facebook is going to $190/share soon. Lawmakers have shown little impetus to do anything about it either. The rationale is, yeah, Facebook may be using more data than they should, but it’s not illegal and Facebook is an American capitalism success story, so leave it alone. Disclosure: I own Facebook stock.

4. What Happens When Facebook Goes the Way of Myspace?

For years, going as far back as 2008, pundits have been comparing Facebook to Myspace or have called Facebook a fad. And they keep being wrong. Myspace is a terrible website that at its peak was hardly usable, full of of spam and browser-crashing CSS layouts and was not even profitable. Facebook is superior to MySpace in every way, and generates billions of dollars of profit a quarter. People said the same thing about TV, personal computers, and the iPhone. “Who is going to spend $700 on a phone?” Apparently a lot of people. Facebook’s longevity is attributable to the fact that 2 billion people use it, versus only 50 million for Myspace at its 2007 peak. This means in order to connect with anyone, you need Facebook, because that is where everyone is.

5. Stock market keeps falling US stock markets drop amid interest rates hike and looming shutdown

The S&P 500 is now 15% off its September 2018 highs. Such corrections are normal and not a cause for concern. Remain long. Compared to bull markets, bear markets and recessions tend to be brief and shallow:

The left is hoping for a recession and bear market in time for 2020 election. Not gonna happen. Buyers will step in and prevent the market from falling the 20% required for a bear market by the official definition.

6. House passes spending bill with $5 billion border wall funding, increasing likelihood of shutdown

Nothing has been passed yet. Have no idea what will happen, but any government shutdown will be brief, as they always are. Trump may compromise by appropriating funding for “border security” instead of specifically a wall. Even if there is funding, that’s no guarantee a wall will be built. It’s likely that during his reelection campaign Trump will promise to use the funding for a wall if reelected. In the eyes of most voters, Trump securing funding will be a win even if the wall is not built or if the wall resembles a short barricade or fence.