Macro Afternoon

See the latest Australian dollar analysis here:

Macro Afternoon

A strange day for geo-politics as the US goes bananas – literally – which hasn’t upset risk markets as the certainty around a Biden administration becomes pretty clear.   Bitcoin continues to surge, now above the “insert crazy level here” while gold is trying to recover from its overnight breakdown, up slightly but looking weak here at the $1920USD per ounce level:

The Shanghai Composite is falling going into the close, down 0.4% to 3535 points, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index has similarly slipped, down 0.5% to 27576 points. Japanese stock markets are finally finding some life with a big surge on both the TOPIX and the Nikkei 225, the latter up over 1.5% to finish at 27438 points all caused by a much lower Yen today as the USDJPY pair gets back above the 103 handle and previous key support at the December lows. The four hourly chart is looking like an inverse head and shoulders here, ready to burst higher:

The ASX200 finished above the 6700 point barrier by rising nearly 1.6% to 6712 points while the Australian dollar hovered just below the 78 handle, still looking a little listless but technically overbought at the top of its trend channel:

Eurostoxx and S&P futures are elevated going into the European open as the political chaos in Washington is all but absorbed by risk markets. The four hourly chart of the S&P500 is ready to re-engage and go even higher from here, with the 3800 point level the next target above:

The economic calendar tonight includes the latest flash CPI print for the Euro area, plus initial jobless claims and then a few Fed speeches.

Latest posts by Chris Becker (see all)


  1. With the appropriate Carlin quote I offer ….

    Why the Neoliberals Won’t Let This Crisis Go to Waste

    An interview with Philip Mirowski

    Many observers expected that the 2008 financial crisis would mark the end of neoliberalism. Instead, we saw a wave of privatization and sharp cuts in public services. Today, the forces best placed to exploit the coronavirus pandemic are still those who already have power: the neoliberals who’ve been shaping the economic policy agenda for decades.

    The neoliberal though collective has a central unifying plan and is ready to respond to any crisis in a way that benefits them. Even though “the Market” is a god that’s failed, there still isn’t a coherent and agreed upon philosophy that opposes it as far as I know. Instead we get efforts to prop up “the (failed) Market” at all costs with some idpol tinkering around its edges. – snip

    Carlo Antoni and Ludwig von Mises at a Mont Pelerin Society meeting in the early 1950s photo is a banger … lmmao but Culture, Race, lefites and commies, non believers, and generally the ***others*** are at fault and not those that forwarded/funded the neoliberal agenda and its still unfolding outcomes …. hook or crook ….

    • Ukraine fnMEMBER

      Ok so according to this statement:

      ” How are they going to achieve their political objectives? So, they’re driven, essentially, to concede that authoritarianism is the only practical way they are going to triumph. That’s what the logic of their position leads them to.”

      Neoliberal is for all intended purposes is Fascism in disguise. I think we have been there before.

      • I don’t know if that term, in its last trot, is appropriate, although the rhetoric of Trump and supporters on the Hill is worrisome.

        I think St Augustine comes to mind and to ring in the “Perfect System” one can break some of the golden rules. Then again there is always the me vs thee aspect as a two tiered system where the rules only apply to the unwashed.

  2. RobotSenseiMEMBER

    I really didn’t see any indication from DT’s behaviour over the past days, weeks, months that could have in anyway foretold today’s outburst. Completely out of character. A bolt from the blue. Act of God. Statistical improbability. Moment of madness. Freak event. Lotto odds. One in a million. Astronomical. Unheard of. Never to be repeated.

    Truly unforeseeable.

  3. So on a totally different related topic I’d like pick the MB brain trust. If a person has a stock portfolio and is down say 40%, what are the chances of that portfolio turning around with only a little selling of deadwood and small top ups to current positions that were vastly oversold and the purchase of a few new stocks which have either been up or down 25%? And how long would that turnaround usually take? And how much in the green would you get in that time frame?

    And does anyone think we are in a ‘crack-up boom’?

    • Impossible to give opinion because I don’t know how far we are into this bubble. Things can get much worse for such person if stocks get back to reality.
      The second question is the one that matters if I know the answer to that I would have an idea how to play it out.

      • I’m actually now up around 140% but I was down around 40% a year ago and I have just been surprised at how I was able to turn around the portfolio. When I started slowly buying stocks in 2012 I didn’t really know what I was doing and made a lot of mistakes. I have slowly gotten educated over time. I’m now basically in miners producers and explorers in precious metals, battery metals, rare earths etc, some ‘in the process of being commercialized’ tech stocks, a few carefully selected medical marijuana stocks and some assorted others. It took a while to properly understand manias and the cyclical nature of various industries (hence my opportunity to dollar cost average down in a few carefully selected stocks and industries that I’d been watching for several years and thought were considerably less risky than when I initially bought: this risky strategy has performed very well over the past 12 months). I was just trying to figure out if this type of turnaround is normal or not. I do have the advantage of being patient and not having performance requirements which means that I can afford to wait for a cycle to turn and I guess I was lucky that some of those companies were actually good quality, I just screwed up my initial buying process.

      • Actually the portfolio has already turned around in the past 18 months and is currently up around 140% with only minor selling and tipping in of additional capital. I quite like the new energy generation investment theme but I’ve decided to focus on the materials required (and the miners of those materials) rather than a bit further up the food chain as I’m not sure I know enough to pick the winners in that space.

    • robert2013MEMBER

      On the one hand the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent, on the other hand the fund manager in the Big Short looked like he was losing big time before it all turned around. It’s impossible to say without detailed knowledge of what you’re invested in. You’d need a 67% gain to break even. Might take a few years of average returns (5-10% p.a.). Bitcoin has gone from a little over 5k in March to over 35k now. Good luck!

        • Yield on a non productive commodity asset that has no innovation or entrepreneurial aspects, let alone sucks money away from the aforementioned is what sort of capitalism again – ???????

          • You really still believe in capitalism or that what passes for it today is capitalism?????

            Gold has been money for 5,000 years. Fiat currencies are worthless paper supported by nothing but faith, as many will doubtless soon discover.

          • reselling shares to each other is innovative and entrepreneurial in what way?
            I’d put all asset markets in the same basket. Initial offerings aren’t even innovative. It is where the innovation pays off.

          • At work so short form… metals have been used as a symbol of sovereign currency and a medium of exchange outside of the prior. Still it doesn’t change the larger credit aspect or its failures to protect individuals from economic downturns.

            Capitalism is not a monolith and has more to do with complex social interactions than the fables for the unwashed E.g. China is a capitalist nation that retains its sovereignty over the machinations of its or other oligarchs, contra the U.S. going the democracy of money with a side of corporate citizens.

      • Thanks Robert. The portfolio is actually up about 140% atm, I was just trying to get a feel for how long it might take on average to turn things around (almost impossible request I know, but I didn’t want to put in the original post that the portfolio turn around had already occured). I think I started to lay a decent foundation for the turnaround about 2-2.5 years ago and in the last 18 months it took off, but a bit of judicious dollar cost averaging down in mid-April and May of last year (I was too scared to buy during March) really helped. I know you’re not supposed to dollar cost average down but I did my research and I was confident in what I was doing and I turned out to be right, just a h3ll of a lot sooner than I anticipated. I bought some BTC right before the ’17 madness and hodled because I’d done my research and just wanted to see what would happen. I don’t regret that nor do I regret buying gold in 2012 and holding since then too.

          • That is now my fear. I put in a few sell orders to take some profits recently (haven’t gone through yet). But I’m now starting to question all my premises about the economy and everything (I’m a bit uncomfortable that gold has dropped, I would have expected it to rise with the events of this week and with the weaker dollar). My situation at home is becoming untenable so I need my investments to make money so I can buy a house somewhere. Argh the challenges we all face to try and live a life!

            Good luck!

          • Guess it depends on how long, and if and when he sold.
            bitcoins could be easily bought for well under $1 in the beginning, $10,000 at $1 would be worth at todays prices?
            Current price $AU51,000 as I write, so worth 51,000 x 10,000 = $510million AUD
            Invest more, or buy for less by buying or mining earlier and you could be a billionaire.
            I doubt many if any actually held this long though, at least in that large an amount.

      • I started buying gold in 2012, I also bought some junior gold producers then (hello NST and EVN and NCM) I stupidly got stopped out on the Trump election win downdraft and sold the NST and EVN (BIG MISTAKE) and kept the NCM (even bigger mistake). I also had bought into some gold explorers but they went down 90% so I became a long term investor (so funny, but that’s how you get an education). However the portfolio totally turned around in about 18 months, though I think I put in some good foundations for that about a year prior to that. I was just trying to figure out if this was a fast turn around because it seems fast to me, and it seems to be increasing faster too.

    • Not wishing to point out the obvious but
      You appear to be pursuing an investment strategy which consistently loses money.
      So, in my mind, your question becomes
      What are the chances of success (and not simply breaking even but rather achieving a massive upside) when the very same strategy is applied to new group of investments?
      Sorry but the truth is your odds of success are very close to zero
      I think you need to revisit the assumptions that you made when purchasing these equities (or other structures) and really understand why you didn’t get your expected outcome. Often when you do this exercise (and I mean honestly do the work) you’ll realize that the result you got is close to the expected outcome, given the events of the period.
      Truth is it’s not easy to consistently pick winners especially not in volatile equity sectors.

      • Good advice.

        You need to be a contrarian to be successful in investing, especially if you are an infrequent trader (which I am).

        The essence of investment success comes, not from finding a winner that is priced like a winner, but from finding a security that is absurdly mispriced. After all, a winner which anyone with half a brain can see as one would only be overpriced. Don’t get me wrong – a consistent winner like Berkshire Hathaway is a wonderful stock to own and is indeed a very good place to park your money. But you will not make an outsized return from investing in it.

        Many people get things wrong once in a while and this happens more often than you would think. The more people are wrong the greater the upside of a contrarian position – and you can make an obscene amount of money from a contrarian position for which most people in the world are wrong. You just need to find one early and go in big.

        • I’m not a big fan of Contrarian Investing for the small individual investor because they generally lack the skills to understand why a particular equity is priced as it is priced given the prevailing market conditions.
          Fundamental Analysis of stocks is hard work and is usually built on the back of some pricing structure like Net Present Value of future cash flows, which for the individual basically degenerates into wild guessing supported by other numbers pulled from their rear end.
          Generally stocks that get beat down over a short period were either overpriced to begin with, or something is happening which reduces the reliability of projected revenue/earnings. The market might be looking 2 years out while you are saying that next quarter will be a screamer. (or the opposite) in both cases you are likely to lose money by not being in synch with the market. We call this being wrong but for all the right reasons (btw its still wrong and you still lose money)

          • A retail investor should be an infrequent trader and should hold onto a given share for years, if not decades.

            Fundamental Analysis of stocks indeed requires some work so it may be hard for an average person unless one enjoys doing it. I love analyzing the businesses I get interested in investing; how they make money, how capital intensive their business is, what their competitive advantages are, how wide their economic moat is, what their pricing power is, etc. I mean, as an investor, wouldn’t you *want* to know as much about your business as possible?

            I do not quite understand bitcoin, so I have stayed away from it. I still do not quite understand it, so I am still staying away from it.

            As for contrarian investing, I am not talking about a short-term thing. Quite the opposite. Look at uranium, for example. I have been a huge uranium bull and I am convinced that the world got it wrong about the future of the uranium market over the last several years. Rick Rule can explain why this is so.

            But, yes, one needs to know what they are doing regardless of what one does.

          • I agree an individual can “invest” by simply buying a stock that they have very good reason to believe will be in a far superior financial state 10 years from today than it is today.
            Basically it can be summarized as buy Quality and Buy growth.
            But is that what we’re talking about here?
            Popcod’s focus on the reduced price of certain stocks and her suggestion that she intends to “clean-house” replacing the bad investments with new “good” investments do not strike me as the words of someone buying with a 10 year time horizon and doubling down on her underpriced stocks (Dollar cost averaging)
            Instead I see a speculator fixated on what price the Market is allocating to her chosen investment and wondering why it is less than what she paid.
            The strategy Popcod has outlined is one that is guaranteed to fail over the longer term…its guaranteed to fail.

      • The truth is for someone to win someone else has to lose. Profits are paid for by another’s losses. This is something anyone investing in asset markets should really understand. Are you smarter/better than the other players in the market? If not you will be the loser not the winner.

          • I’m sorry but it really is a zero sum game, except in a growing monetary base, and then the bit above zero sum is inflation and in real terms it is still a zero sum game.
            For someone to sell a share, someone else must buy that share and transfer the money to them. Every positive accounting entry for one party has a corresponding negative accounting entry for the counter party in the transaction. when you add all these entries together they will SUM TO ZERO.

            Edit: Big investers have every incentive to hide this fact as their profits depend on others losses.
            If you think I am wrong about this then please explain in clear and logical detail how. I’d really love to know why.

          • A given transaction (that occurs at a given point in time) is zero-sum.

            Owning a stock, in contrast, is not a zero-sum game. An investor, or an infrequent trader, holds onto a given share for years, if not decades.

            If a stock market in a growing economy is closed for a decade and all the investors in said economy own all the stocks in the economy proportionately to the market caps of all the businesses in the economy in Year Zero, then every investor will make money over the next decade because the underlying businesses as a whole will grow in a growing economy (and make money) in said decade.

          • That’s very hand wavy and sounds good. But for the investors to ACTUALLY make money, they need to SELL the share. To another entity. who funds the gains. The money is only made if you can onsell the stock to a greater fool(who may or may not actually be a greater fool).
            The intrinsic value of the underlying company is at best very abstractly related to the share value. There is no way to redeem the share for a portion of actual company value directly.
            Economic theory is great for obscuring and complicating some really simple things.

            Edit: To make it really clear. The people holding shares in a rising market have their profits paid for by the people holding while the market is falling. The fact that it rises more than falls is a function of inflation. Why do you think central banks have a positive inflation rate target and are terrified of deflation. It reveals the emperor has no clothes.

          • Let’s make it simple by letting all the businesses pay out 100% of their earnings as dividends over the decade in which the stock market is closed and no transaction of the shares take place. Since the businesses did not retain any earnings, they would have the same values at the end of the decade as they did at the beginning (they actually should have greater values because the markets in which they operate must have grown in a growing economy).

            The stock owners can then sell all their stocks at the end of the decade to the next generation for what they had paid for a decade earlier when the stock market finally re-opens. They would not make any capital gains or losses from this transaction but will still make decent profits from the dividends they had collected over the decade.

          • Lets make it even simpler. Dividends are not paid.
            My understanding is this is typical in the US share market.

            You are also making the clearly false assumption that cost of shares = value of underlying company.
            Also what does a growing economy mean, other than inflating monetary supply?

          • Many US stocks pay dividends quarterly, but okay, let’s see what would happen if the businesses do not distribute their dividends at all and retain 100% of their earnings.

            If they do that, then their values will grow with time. Even in the worst case that they do not utilize their earnings at all and simply sit on the cash piles, their values will surely grow in a decade.

            What does a growing economy mean? It can mean many things but the simplest way to think is what would happen to an economy when the population in it grows.

          • “If they do that, then their values will grow with time. Even in the worst case that they do not utilize their earnings at all and simply sit on the cash piles, their values will surely grow in a decade.”
            This argument is based on the fallacy that share price is related to underlying company value. I am not a shares expert but will refute with 2 examples I am familiar with.
            At what market cap did Dick Smith Electronics initial offer at? Given they were in receivership not long after, I would posit the actual value of the company was around 0 at that time. Clearly the 2 values do not align.
            Secondly, do you think any Car manufacturer would buy Tesla and all it’s assets for the current Market Cap of Tesla? No way in hell is my answer, and what they would be willing to pay is a far more accurate representation of the “value” of Tesla than what people are buying shares at.

            Economists love stories, however they seem really bad at doing maths and logical deduction.

          • I never said that values and prices are the same. Obviously, they are not. Buffett once succinctly said that prices are what you pay and values are what you get.

            Exploiting mispricing of securities I noted above (in response to “dodgy as”) is nothing other than finding a gap between the value of a business and its ongoing prices!!

          • “Exploiting mispricing of securities I noted above (in response to “dodgy as”) is nothing other than finding a gap between the value of a business and its ongoing prices!!”
            Again, it’s a great story, but THERE IS NO WAY TO CONVERT THE SHARE TO THE UNDERLYING VALUE OF THE COMPANY, other than the groupthink of share buyers that it should be so.

          • Of course there is a way.

            If you own a simple business like a café or a restaurant you would know pretty well how much your business is worth. The revenue will vary from year to year, especially in a year COVID comes along, but you would have a pretty good idea as to how much money your business will generate in a typical good year and in a typical bad year.

            If you are successful and open a second café or a restaurant, you would still know pretty well how much your combined business is worth.

            If you are very successful and open a bunch of chain cafés or restaurants, you may be less accurate because you cannot oversee all the operations by yourself and some of your employees may go rogue, but you would still have a pretty good idea about, on average, how much your combined business is worth.

            If you happen to have a partner in the above business and if you share the business 50–50, you would still have a pretty good idea about, on average, how much your 50% share of the combined business is worth.

      • Thanks for the views, and I appreciate the conversation you and Darth Sidious had. I didn’t put in the original post that my portfolio has turned around and my brokerage account shows it is currently up about 140% (just this week it has gone up 10K, which off an original investment of approx 25K is a bit nuts I think). When I first started buying stocks in 2012 I had no idea what I was doing despite having done what I considered to be research. I did not understand the cyclical nature of many industries, macro-economics or investing trends and I bought quite a few gold miners and explorers at the worst time in the cycle (and consequently got stopped out, if only I’d held my $2k of NST and EVN from 2012: I ended up being a long-term holder when the explorers crashed 90%, too fast for me to sell). I also bought several companies with innovative tech that took a lot longer to get to market than I anticipated (I’m much wiser now), however some of them actually survived and one is doing well (I’ve taken profits on that and kept the rest as they’ve paid a maiden dividend) and another has just made their first commercial sales and is up 450% (dollar cost averaging down on this stock is quite likely going to be the best decision of my life even though it was scary af). I understand that dollar cost averaging down is usually considered verboten in investing, but I did that last year with some gold explorers and miners, some medical marijuana stocks (yup bought those during a mania but lesson learned and I stayed with them because I thought they were companies with potential and all 3 of them have survived and appear to be doing well at this stage of being in a nascent industry) and a couple of rare earth explorers. I have added in some new companies in the past 18 months and some are doing very well and others not as well, but nothing has yet has hit a stop loss or posted any info to the market that is concerning. My post was just to figure out how long an average turn around might take. This took about 12 months of setting the stage and then 18 months of it really turning around. There is still a lot that I need to learn, but I think I’ve made a decent effort. I’m fully aware my portfolio would be considered quite speculative, and it has far more risk than I would like but that is the world we live in these days. There has been an awful lot of research that has gone into my portfolio, even if those decisions were not to sell and ride it out so I could rectify the initial buy mistakes I made (I did sell quite a few stocks that I decided had no future, and I got maybe 75% of those decisions correct so I’m pleased with that). I’m not a trader, I’m more a buy and hold person, and I’m quite patient so I’m fine with waiting years for an investment theme to take off. I am working at improving my buying discipline. I’ve only come to understand the maxim ‘you make money when you buy’, in the past 12 months. The next step is to ensure I successfully sell and bank some of those profits, but that is also something I’m working on.

        • Looks like you have been doing pretty well. You will do well as long as you keep viewing stocks as fractional ownership of the underlying businesses and make transaction decisions based on the performance / prospect of the underlying businesses.

          As for your question regarding the potential turn around time, you should distinguish a turn around of a business and a turn around of an industry.

          An industry-wide turn around will be cyclical. For a commodity business like gold mining, the golden rule is; a solution to high prices is high prices and a solution to low prices is low prices.

          A business-specific turn around is more dangerous because you may not know all the relevant issues. There is also a greater chance that it may never turn around. It is better to go after a market leader in a given sector.

    • Mig why do you hate him so much his an old man that will be dust in 10 more years maximum he’s just speed bump lol but if you hate to get by you cant think clearly remember this

          • Narapoia451MEMBER

            Think how stupid the average person is, then remember half of them are stupider than that (continuing the Carlin theme)

          • Yeah and you guys are the brains of this operation, lol.
            A bunch of arrogant, egotistical, keyboard warriors.
            Like the guy that posts Macro Afternoon.

          • It is all about the information environment you live in. If you consume nothing but pro trump media then you will find yourself agreeing with him.

          • You have great wisdom, Narapoia451.

            Become my apprentice and learn to use the Moron side of the Force…..

          • @Gramus, think you have cause and effect a little backwards there.
            Not “If you consume nothing but pro trump media then you will find yourself agreeing with him.”
            but If you are pro trump then you will find yourself consuming nothing but pro trump media.
            People for the most part seek out information that agrees with their pre-existing notions and avoid that which conflicts, tied to the above comment re: 50% being below MEDIAN intelligence. Average is most likely skewed higher much like income, so probably more than 50% have below average intelligence(assuming anyone can agree on a valid single number measure for intelligence).

    • The statement concludes with
      “While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

      If it’s the beginning of MAGA the. What has the old boy been doing for the last 4 years?

      • The moron does not even know the term “Making America Great Again” long ago was a place to achieve and not something that happened already. Same kinda Bernays PR/marketing shtick treatment that got applied to Meritocracy, original author used it dripping with sarcasm.

        Its akin to SCUMO saying lets make Australia Lucky Again ….

        It never happened so how can you do it a second time – ????? – errrrrrrror ….

        • Arthur Schopenhauer

          Why do you hate your birth place so much?

          There are a lot of amazing things about the US, and a lot of very disturbing things. That is true for all countries, even the one you live in now.

          The founding of the first National Park system, the first EPA, the maintenance of a democracy for 200 plus years, NASA, etc etc etc.

          • I think I’ve stated numerous times over some years that I strongly oppose neoliberalism as a policy choice, how you mangle that into hatred of America is your own drama. I would not have such issues with say a FDR or Eisenhower domestic policy agenda.

            But then some do consider War is a Racket a romantic tear jerk novel …. btw try reading Democracy in Chains one day and get back to me. Oh I almost forgot Bush Jr breaking the rule of not politicizing religion, look at it now, even when the majority of the founding fathers were Deists and did not ascribe to any one fundamental organized religion.

          • China PlateMEMBER

            They also saved europeans from themselves not once but twice in the first half of the 20th

          • “They also saved europeans from themselves not once but twice in the first half of the 20th”

            Eh … late to WWI and largely after the two groups were puffed out, but claim savor status. WWII was only entered after the Atlantic Treaty was signed for the European campaign and then Russia did the most out of everyone else in sorting Germany out, that is after U.S. investors and bankers [Bush] helped get the ball rolling for heir private in the first place. Japan on the other hand could be viewed pre war through the 20 point memo.

      • Use by Alexander Wiley

        The phrase was used by Republican senator Alexander Wiley in a speech at the third session of the 76th United States Congress in anticipation of the 1940 United States presidential election: “What is the way? Here is America. There are 130,000,000 of us. America needs a leader who can coordinate labor, capital, and management; who can give the man of enterprise encouragement, who can give them the spirit which will beget vision. That will make America great again.”[10]
        Use by Barry Goldwater
        See also: Barry Goldwater 1964 presidential campaign

        The slogan was found in some advertising associated with Barry Goldwater’s unsuccessful 1964 presidential campaign.[11]
        Use by Ronald Reagan
        See also: Ronald Reagan 1980 presidential campaign
        A button from Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign

        “Let’s make America great again” was first used in Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign. At the time the United States was suffering from a worsening economy at home marked by stagflation and Reagan, using the country’s economic distress as a springboard for his campaign, used the slogan to stir a sense of patriotism among the electorate.[12][13][14][15] Within his acceptance speech at the 1980 Republican National Convention, Reagan said, “For those without job opportunities, we’ll stimulate new opportunities, particularly in the inner cities where they live. For those who’ve abandoned hope, we’ll restore hope and we’ll welcome them into a great national crusade to make America great again.”[16][17]
        Use by Bill Clinton
        See also: Bill Clinton 1992 presidential campaign

        The phrase was also used in speeches[18] by Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign.[19] Clinton also used the phrase in a radio commercial aired for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary campaign.[20]

        During the 2016 electoral campaign, Clinton suggested that Trump’s version, used as a campaign rallying cry, was a message to white Southerners that Trump was promising to “give you an economy you had 50 years ago, and … move you back up on the social totem pole and other people down.”[21]

        Ugh … so you have one person talking about striving for something and then neoliberal raygun bastardized it to screw peoples heads on backwards as they were getting screwed over, and then the next, and the next, till the biggest PR conman deploys it and turns the country into a Gilligan’s Island episode.

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