Not all crashes happened during Shemitah Year

Non Jews are starting to get a little frantic about the end of Shmitah 5775. I’m starting to see it everywhere. I just saw an article about how people in India are even getting a little nervous. Now it’s the “supermoon” final tetrad lunar eclipse of the four blood moons on Succot in 3 weeks or so.

The eclipse will supposedly happen as the moon is at its closest distance to Earth, so it will look abnormally large, and I read that it will be visible from Jerusalem at around 2am.

There’s this kabbalistic Jewish guy at Yearsofawe that seems to think Moshiach (the Messiah) is coming and revealing himself on Hoshana Rabbah, the final day of Succot. He’s really esoteric and reminds me of that episode of Star Trek Voyager when 7 of 9 has an overload of data and weaves all these whacked out conspiracy theories that all sound more or less plausible, but it turns out she’s just nutty.

To reiterate my position, I find all of this somewhat entertaining, which is why I write about it. It would be nice if it all worked out nice and neat, but I’m not willing to bet on it. I’ve already placed my bets for an eventual total collapse of the financial world, but they have no time limit on them. Betting on this would be betting the farm on a very highly leveraged put contract on the entire world that expires on September 28. Or October 5. Or whatever date you think it is.

For the gentiles, let’s clarify a few things. The crash of 1987 did not happen on a Shemitah year. It happened on the 26th of Tishrei of the following year, 26 days after the Shemita of 1987 had already ended. Gold did peak on January 21, 1980, nearly collapsing the dollar, on a Shmitah year. The 1973 stagflation arguably began on a Shmitah year, though was officially recorded as beginning 1 month later.

The liberation of Jerusalem did not happen on a Shmitah year, and neither did Israel’s independence. The crash of 1929 did not happen on a Shemitah year. It happened during Succot of the following year, 20 days into year 1 of the 7 year cycle.

This could be stretched to say that crashes happen somewhere in the end-of-shmitah beginning-of-rishon (year one) around the holidays or thereabouts. But not everything happened on Shemitah.

So if you believe there will be a financial reset, then you’re probably right. But if you’re leveraging everything on a specific date, you’re taking a very big risk with your mind as well as your finances.

“Rafi, you’ll have come up with your own topic today, we’re too busy with the market collapse.”

I just called one of my editors for a topic. He answers the phone and I hear screaming in the background. I ask if everything is OK. He says yeah.

And he tells me, “Sorry, you’ll have to come up with your own topic today. We’re too busy with the market collapse.”

We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The protectionist and statist messages of Disney’s Frozen

My kids are now into Frozen. They watch it several times a week now. The only thing unique about it is that true love, in this case, was between two active sisters instead of a helpless girl and Prince Charming. My younger daughter loves the first song. Though I still haven’t sat through the whole thing yet so I’m still confused as to how the beginning fits in with the end. Because I haven’t seen the beginning yet.

But I did see the end. And the end annoyed me.

There’s these two places somewhere in Vikingville called Arendelle and Weselton. At the end of the movie Arendelle imposes an embargo on Weselton, no trade or business of any kind. One of the good guys, Kristoff, gets a special government monopoly on the ice trade, to the exclusion of all competition. And Queen Elsa is accepted as the absolute ruler.

So in the end, the simple people of Arendelle will have less goods with higher prices, and will have to pay more for ice due to the Elsa-imposed monopoly on ice distribution.

And our children are taught to impose trade embargoes on government enemies and bestow government monopolies on friends of the State.

This doesn’t mean I am banning Frozen from my house. I don’t do that kind of thing. But when they’re older, I hope to teach them its statist messages from a liberty perspective, and we should all be aware of how much Love the State is ingrained in all our culture, from cradle to grave, without being threatened by it.

How to fix your car’s stupid electrical problems

This has happened three times already, but this time I fixed it. This is especially important if you drive an old car that has no insurance on it, aside from required insurance that says that if you hit someone and kill him or injure him with your car for any reason, you can charge the bill to other people that have nothing to do with it.

So about 5 years ago my car wouldn’t start. I took it to the musach (garage) and the clip around the battery terminal was loose. He fixed it for free and I drove off. I could have done it myself. I just didn’t check.

Then about 3 years ago we were at Ikea in Netanya, and I tried to start the car but I heard sparks and fire. So I quickly shut it off and opened the hood. I was too scared to start it again, so we called the grar, the tow truck guy, who could only come the next day. We ended up getting a ride back with some random guy in a big van and I lost my backpack and earphones that day. That was annoying.

The next morning he tried to start it too and saw one of the wires caught fire. There’s this group of three wires in some kind of six-holed electrical breadboard thing. They are each covered with rubber casing, as wires tend to be. The middle wire was bare, so when the car started, the wire caught fire. I had it towed to the nearest garage and the mechanic was very busy, but looked at my car anyway, and immediately gave me a new 10 shekel wire to put in the middle. That’s about $2.60 or so. That was it.

This past May the car wouldn’t start again. Every time I’d try to start it the clock would reset. But I could pop the clutch and roll it down a hill and get it started. I checked the battery terminals to see if the clips were loose. They weren’t. I spent the whole weekend rolling the thing down hills to start it with a lot of near stalls. We finally got home from Zichron Yakov, where we were staying with my father and brother who had just moved in. I got it to my local garage, and the electrician found that the port connecting the battery clips to the wires was loose. So he tightened them for free. That was it. I could have done that myself.

Then, just before I left for the US (I am now back) I got my car fixed for the yearly government test. I got it back just in time for my wife to do her pickups, but it stalled randomly with kids in the car. This time it wouldn’t start even by popping the clutch. But there would be a long start, just no full engine start. Clearly the battery was fine. We called a tow truck, again, who took the car a few blocks to the garage. When the car got off the truck, I tried it one more time. This time it started just fine.

I was pissed. The garage people told me that there was nothing wrong with the car. So I drive it two blocks home.

We get back from the US and we go shopping for food. A hard right turn and the car stalls, same thing, kids in the car, Friday before Shabbat. I disconnect and reconnect the battery, and it starts. On the way back, it dies again. Same thing, won’t start by rolling either. Long start, but no engine run. I disconnect and reconnect the battery again because it worked last time. It starts.

Then we get home, thank God, and on Sunday night I have to go to a neighbor’s house to sign some checks and give some receipts over. I try to start the car, but same thing. Won’t start. It’s dark, but I open the hood anyway, and remember the wire thing from Ikea, and check if they are all securely in the six-holed breadboard thing. I see one of them hanging loose, barely touching the terminal but clearly not in. So I stick it in. And the car starts.

The reason the car kept vacillating between starting and dying is the wire, by inertia, kept moving and either touching the metal terminal or disconnecting, just by the movement of the car. Which is why the big right turn killed the car. The reason I “fixed” it twice was probably just the force of the hood shutting or the serendipity of me moving wires around had moved it enough that it accidentally touched the terminal again.

So an hour ago I take the loose wire out, take some pliers and bend the metal so it catches the terminal more snugly and won’t move out. The same exact wire that the guy had replaced for 10 shekels.

And now the car works fine.

So, if you think you have a stupid electrical problem, first check the battery terminal clips and tighten them.

Then check the battery terminal connection to the wires leading out and tighten those.

Then check that breadboard with six holes and make sure all the wires are securely in there.

If none of that works, you probably need a new battery or fuse.

The Abyss Deepens – China Opens Another 6.5% Down

Shanghai just opened for trading. The index is down another whopping 6.5%. Japan is down another 2%. Europe opens in a few hours.

Where do we go from here? It looks like we’re headed for another down day given the Asian opens. At some point, the Fed is going to give up and announce a new QE4. It is at that point that gold will skyrocket as everyone realizes that QE will never end, not before the dollar is fundamentally revalued down.

Four for Five on Short Calls

On March 23, I said the following:

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Japan’s stock market may be about to put in a long-term top and there are two ETFs you can short to take advantage…

In order to take advantage of a turn south, there are two main options in terms of ETFs one can short, either directly or through options. The first is the iShares MSCI Japan ETF(EWJ) , which has greatly underperformed the Nikkei by 17% over the last year. This could mean it will also lose value faster than the Nikkei itself if and when the BOJ announces a less accommodative monetary policy. The second is the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity ETF(DXJ) , which has the added benefit of underperforming when the Yen rises relative to the dollar.

If the BOJ confirms no more QE, which it has already hinted at, then the Yen is likely to rise relative to the dollar, pushing DXJ down even faster than EWJ, which is not hedged against the Yen.

I went short DXJ when the Nikkei was at 19,750. The top was at 20,952. I was 6% off. DXJ was at $56, and covered at $46. It really tanked today because the Yen skyrocketed, and the DXJ holds short positions in the Yen, which brought it down even further.

On June 1, I said the following:

But, as Austrian Business Cycle Theory suggests, there need not be any actual shrinking in the money supply to bring on the bust after the boom. All that needs to happen is that the rate of increase slows. And if the policy of the People’s Bank of China is indeed to maintain the status quo in the money supply, then we may have seen our top in the Chinese stock market, and its corresponding ETF, the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (FXI), just from last month.

I went short FXI at $48, and covered at $39. It’s now at $34.

The Greek shorts I already wrote about.

On August 13, I wrote the following:

If the S&P (NYSEARCA:SPY) breaks through the 2040 support zone, tested twice since February, then a serious crash is both possible from both a fundamental and technical perspective. The S&P has not gone anywhere since February, and has not stagnated for so long since the 2009 bear market bottom.

Personally, I am going long the VIX here out to November. The closest ETF is the VIX Midterm Futures (NYSEARCA:VIXM), though rollover of contracts and decay makes holding the VIX options directly more attractive for less capital.

And covered this morning.

The only short that has not worked out yet is Italy. I shorted EWI earlier this year, and my position expires in September. EWI has to go to 12 for it to work, and it may not make it. Three weeks to go. We’ll see if I go 5 for 5.

And yes, I’m still waiting for gold to rise. Luckily, there’s no time limit on that one.