2020 in Review: A Look Back

2021 is coming in hot and fast but 2020 was a year that should not be quickly placed on the back burner.

So much has happened in 2020 that it is easy to forget many of the events as they occurred globally and filled up the news airwaves.

Here are some good compact reviews of most of the biggest notable events:

US centric 2020 review– world events included..but mostly from US perspective.

Australian/Europe centric perspective of 2020 review:

Covid-19 focused 2020 Review:

2020 events remixed to a short soundtrack:

Christmas Grinch Florida Judge Overruling CDC Eviction Moratorium Protections Letting Landlords Evict People During Pandemic During the Holidays

Because of the pandemic hitting the US very hard with business closures and loss of jobs and income, the CDC has issued a moratorium on evictions to keep those unable to pay their rent or mortgage from being made homeless and adding to the worsening problem of people being exposed to Covid.

This has been a lifeline to many folks who are struggling with finances just to get food, let alone making housing payments.

Unfortunately there is no joy for folks behind in housing payments in Escambia County, Florida, because the judge there, being the only one taking on eviction cases in that county, had taken it upon herself to decide the CDC eviction moratorium was “unconstitutional”.

So Judge Patricia Kinsey has decided for whatever reason that this would be a good time to challenge the constitutionality of a ruling meant to protect those who through no fault of their own find themselves unemployed and with limited income, if any, and force these people into homelessness during the worse medical crisis in modern history- in the winter.

Naturally, corporate landlords in that county are making a beeline to her to get their evictions granted.

Where is the humanity???

Linked article describes the situation and ordeal of some who have been evicted by her ruling.

Article info: Link

The “Great Conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn Happens Tonight- Otherwise Known as the “Christmas Star”: Last Seen 800 Years Ago

Saturn and Jupiter have been aligning closer in their orbits to make for a special event where they will appear to be one bright star to the naked eye. This type of Conjunction is rare and was last seen 800 years ago.

Some speculate that this type of event could have been the “star” that the Biblical Magi and Shepherds followed en route to visit the baby Jesus.

Today is also the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere marking the start of winter.

They will appear the closest tonight before their orbits show them moving away according to our perspective.

The event is best viewed in the SW sky right after sunset – the locations will be in the same area as the sun sets near the horizon.

More info on this and how to locate:

Article: Link

How to watch online: Link

Many People Still Don’t Know What Day Trading is: Article on Losing Trading/Gambling Addiction

I saw this article on a person who decided to try day trading and wound up losing big bucks instead. No surprise there. The surprise came when the reporter provided a definition for what “day trading” is that left me scratching my head.

The story of the hapless trader is a common one- he did well with long term investing, thought he could do even better with day trading and wound up losing most of his account. The traders problems go past not being able to trade, and more towards gambling addiction.

One can call themselves a trader to add a level of professionalism, but what he was doing was really gambling and enjoying the rush of placing “bets”.

In truth, day trading done right is as structured and ordered as long term investing. This difference is the long term investor is using a much longer time horizon to base their actions on.

Here’s how the writer defined day trading:

“Professional day traders spend hours every day sitting at their computers, watching charts and trying to profit from tiny fluctuations in stock prices.”

Actually this is more of a definition of high frequency trading, where computers are rapidly trading on minor price fluctuations.

Unless one is a broker, the cost of commissions make it too expensive for the typical retail trader to trade minor movements, and so instead look for bigger moves during the day.

The ideal trade is to get in a trade that has an extended move up of down for the day, rather than taking many smaller trades. That requires skill at knowing the best time the enter the market, which is a key separator from the investor, who doesn’t need that precision. The day trader needs that precision because they are only in the market for the day, and time isn’t on their side. If they don’t pick the high or low point accurately, they will run out of time for the day before being profitable.

An investor who seeks the optimum time to get in the market is identical to the day trader- the difference being time of operation. The market looks similar in all time frames, which makes this possible.

Here’s an example of two market time frames:

Example 1

Example 2

One is a 10 minute chart spanning hours and another is a daily chart spanning months. You’d be hard pressed to tell which is which with no axis labels.

The key for market timing in both cases is to be able to determine the best entries/exits.

I approach day trading from a “short term swing” perspective. I look for the optimum time to get in – either near one of the high points of the day heading lower or near one of the low points heading higher. As a result, I typically make only a few trades rather than dozens as the reporter was suggesting. Bottom line is not all traders operate the same way and reporter’s are more likely to write about their assumptions rather than accuracy in reports on trading.

Article Info: Link

“Timeshare Family/Baby” Ordering Service- Good Thing or Bad?

This isn’t a new thing but it’s the first I’ve heard of it. Apparently for those who are looking to meet that special someone and get involved in a long term relationship that leads to marriage and kids, there are relationship websites that cater to folks who want to skip through the search for “Mr/Ms Right”, and just request a match up that will result in having a child to share between them while they go about their separate lives. In other words, it’s a meeting place for adults who want to create and raise a child without the “hassle” of finding a compatible mate- the solution being two strangers basically have a child together then take turns raising the child in their respective homes. 😲

Of course the arrangement of a child being raised in 2 homes headed by each parent can happen as a result of relationship break up, but I never heard of people willingly seeking to start a family at this step.

Is this a positive or negative for the children? The first thing that comes to mind that if they want to have a child to raise without a relationship, why not adopt? That would give a parent to a parentless child which would be a bonus to both.

The next concern I think about is what if one of the people involved decide they don’t like being a parent when facing the reality of the time commitments and lifestyle changes that go along with it? If one person just bails, the other is now a full time parent whether they wanted it or not. Raising a child is a project that can’t be “shelved” if there is a change of heart down the line. Is this a risk that could happen? Well, if the people in question feel too “inconvenienced” to find an actual mate just to have a part time kid to take care of, than I think the risk is real.

Of course there’s the eventual awkward conversation that will arise when the child asks why the two parents not just don’t live together, but never lived together and never had a relationship other than to have a child.

Time will tell if this is a good idea overall – what do you think?

Article Info: Link

Metropolitan Opera Hosting Free Nightly Opera Streams

The NY Metropolitan Opera is hosting free nightly streams of past performances.

They start at 6:30pm EST and can be viewed on demand until 6:30pm the following day when the next opera is made available to stream.

Schedule for this week:

Monday 11/16/20: Verdi’s Don Carlo

Tuesday 11/17/20: Gounod’s Faust

Wednesday 11/18/20: Dvořák’s Rusalka

Thursday 11/19/20: Verdi’s La Traviata

Friday 11/20/20: Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites

Saturday 11/21/20: Puccini’s Turandot

Sunday 11/22/20: Berg’s Wozzeck

More info- extended schedule: Link

Opera Playbill Info: Link

Biden Declared Winner and President Elect— Trump Refuses to Concede in Tantrum Tweets

It took a few extra days for total vote counts to proceed, but on Saturday, Nov 7, the news networks proclaimed a winner – Joe Biden beats Donald Trump!

Stats so far show Joe Biden as having received more votes than any presidential candidate in history, beating Obama’s 2008 record.

Cities across the US are in open celebration:

Global leaders congratulating President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris along with thier ancestral countries of Ireland and India wishing them well.

Meanwhile, an ever defiant and eternally unpresidential and unprofessional Donald Trump breaks norms again with rejecting the count and claiming fraud in a Twitter tirade:

When the news media called a victory for Trump in 2016, he readily accepted the results, but now he says this:

Trump is acting like the overly distraught man in the movie Trading Places when he realized he was now bankrupted by bad trades but can’t accept the reality:

President Trump Melts Down in Historic Tirades Against Democracy as Election Count Moves Against Him

As the votes continue to be tabulated for the remaining contested States of Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia, the count keeps shifting in Biden’s favor, continuing to close the door on Trump’s path to winning. It looks like Joe Biden will be the President Elect.

Election counting is taking longer for the following reasons:

  1. There were more mail/absentee ballots uses this year due to the pandemic and people wanting to avoid going to vote in person. Many States were not initially equipped to quickly count so many mail returns.
  2. Many States have rules that ballots are not allowed to be processed until the day of the election so they couldn’t get a head start in dealing with the deluge of mail ballots.
  3. Besides mail ballots, there were big in person turn outs that had to be processed as well.
  4. Close races can’t be called early and full counts have to be taken to ensure accuracy.

Because of the two big groups of votes, one by mail and the other in person, as the votes were processed from one type to the other, there was an expected likely shift to take place. Most democrats were using mail ballots while most Republicans voted in person. This meant that if mail ballots were processed first, the count would weighted in favor of Dems until the in person ballots were counted as well.

This meant that the colors of those States could easily swing from Blue to Red or Red to Blue depending on which group of ballots were first processed. Live in person ballots are typically processed first in many States.

Based on Trump’s past behavior, it was feared that if Trump saw that he was winning on election night before the mail in ballots were fully counted, he would prematurely declare victory and try to stop any further counting.

Bernie Sanders expressed this worry two weeks prior to the election.

Sure enough, true to form, Trump became the first President in US history on election night to openly and flagrantly attack democracy by wrongfully declaring himself the winner and claiming “fraud” if he doesn’t win.

Trump Lies about Winning Election- Calls to Stop Vote Count.

Let this sink in, the President of the United States is attacking democracy and the voting process. It’s the antithesis of American patriotism and belief in our constitution and ideals. This was a new low in American politics.

Trump gave another speech full of lies on Nov 5 make false accusations with no credible evidence to back anything up.

You would never expect a sitting POTUS to be such a sore loser to stoop to this level in a desperate bid to win at any cost. This is action unworthy of anyone bearing the role and responsibility of POTUS.

Another dark moment in America for this President.

Who Will Win? Trump Vs Biden: 2016 Vs 2020: CW Vs TTID

Now that debates are over and less than a week remains until Election Day, the big question remains of who is likely to win?

The odds are definitely in favor of Joe Biden winning:

Biden is shown as the heavy odds favorite with having 290 likely Electoral Votes (270 needed to win) compared to Trump’s 163, with 85 votes remaining in swing States. And yet…

Democrats remain terrified that the “specter of 2016” will reappear, giving Trump another surprise come from behind victory no matter what the polls say. Republicans remain positive that the polls are wrong and Trump will win again.

Where is the reality of the situation?

To get to the most realistic take of the race, one has to take their biased blinders off, which for many is a near impossible task with the extreme polarization among both Democrats and Republicans. As a trader, it’s in my blood to not take sides when analyzing a situation to determine where the edge is. Many traders have problems because they become biased to being long or short and then find it hard to change their beliefs even when they keep losing. Getting out of that mode is a big roadblock for many, but once you do, it’s much easier to analyze situations impartially.

Back in August 2015 I saw Trump had true potential to win despite his big underdog status even among his Republican Primary competitors. Republican rivals didn’t believe in his chances which led to them not taking him seriously until it was too late. Democrat pundits at the time were certain another Republican would eventually win, but were proven wrong.

When Trump won the Republican Primary, Dems thought they had the race in the bag with HRC, even though the polls showed a close race. We all know how that turned out when the Dems had to concede victory to Trump.

In 2016, Trump beat the “Conventional Wisdom” and scored an upset victory over Hillary Clinton. Can this happen again in 2020, or was it a fluke?

In the trading world, the opposite stance of assuming conventional wisdom, “CW”, is “This time it’s Different”, or “TTID” for short. TTID is used to counter CW by making the case that events and the situation are different now to make CW invalid.

Conventional wisdom indicates Trump is on a path to losing while TTID supporters point to Trump winning.

CW is a strong force simply because it is much more often right than wrong. CW is composed of a collection of past events and how they play out over time- basically it points to the continued trend of events playing out similarly to the past. TTID asserts that a “trend breaker” is in place that changes the rules and outcome.

Here’s the thing- CW isn’t right all the time, but it holds true most of the time. When CW slips and something unexpected happens, some folks will call it a game changer and that CW is dead. It’s extremely rare for that to happen though, because CW is the “trend” and the trend tends to remain consistent. You see this in the stock market all the time. A company’s stock sky rockets against all odds, and some folks say the old rules don’t apply anymore, only to see the stock eventually reverse and crash back into reality. Market examples of this are the dot com boom/bust and the housing market boom/bust. Market bubbles are just showcased examples of TTID vs CW.

Let’s look at Trump- these are the things he had in his favor in 2016:

  1. Trump was an “unknown” outside of NY/NJ. To most of America, he was considered an outsider compared to career politicians.
  2. We now know that Trump never intended to win the 2016 election, but used it for publicity. As such, he had the liberty to speak his mind freely with no worries about repercussions. He made daily headlines saying “non PC” things that politicians avoid and it gave him more of an outsider look that resonated with many Americans.
  3. With no political record, Trump could state what he’d do with no judgement on past political errors. He was running on a clean political slate.
  4. His opponent , HRC, took a popularity hit with a tough primary race, her private email server controversy/investigation, hacking and release of her campaigns personal emails that also increased tension between Dem progressives and centrists.
  5. HRC took an atom bomb hit to momentum when less than two weeks before elections, FBI lead Comey announced a reopening of the email server investigation. This was likely the death blow to her campaign.
  6. Record low voter turnout- the lowest since WWII. Many Dems were not motivated and just stayed home.

Those things aligned to help Trump eke out a victory which was razor thin in some swing states, but still a victory nonetheless.

The situation for Trump in 2020, however, is far different:

  1. Trump is now known to all, America and the world politically. He may still claim he’s an outsider, but it doesn’t have the same effect now that he’s close to the end of his 1st term in office.
  2. Trump now absolutely wants to win the election and that will clearly change one’s behavior. This poses a limiting factor in his strategies.
  3. Trump now has to defend his political record and it’s filled with controversy and scandals along with unfulfilled promises such as a better healthcare plan or factory jobs returning. He is responsible for the longest government shutdown in history. He is also the first President that has been impeached by the House that is running for reelection. He also made history as the first President to have a member of his own party vote against him in the Senate impeachment acquittal vote.
  4. Biden is not Hillary. He doesn’t have the large animus as being part of the “Clinton Legacy” like she did. Clinton also had to deal with the misogynist dislike of those against having a woman President.
  5. Rather than being a bombshell against Biden, the “Hunter laptop” story line isn’t gaining any traction as it was called out as Russian Propaganda by many media sources and CIA/NSA people, while Trump had his own October surprise of catching Covid-19 along with several members of his administration and needing to be hospitalized for a few days. It highlighted his failure to control the spread of the disease throughout America.
  6. Early voting turnout is smashing records in favor of Biden. People of all demographics are voting in much higher rates than in past election years. This is shaping up to be one of the highest voter turnouts in recent history. Higher voter turnouts typically favor Democrats over Republicans.

Trump’s numerous controversies and failures to deliver on promises such as healthcare has cost him support in many suburban areas as well as among women.

It’s clear that 2020 is in no way similar to 2016 and the edges Trump had then no longer exist.

Trump has added some new “edges” in the form of USPS slowdowns to keep mail ballots from being counted and ensuring SCOTUS has a majority of conservative justices in case another election controversy ensues that winds up in the Supreme Court. These “edges” should appall everyone as being attacks against democracy. However the reality of this scenario is reduced significantly if Biden wins by a large margin that can’t be challenged in court, which Biden appears to be on track for.

When looking at the big picture, if the trend for high voting turnout continues into election, Biden is the heavy favorite to win and there will be no surprises.

Projected Winner: Joe Biden