By Jack Kelly
Whenever you think that 2020 is wild and out of control, something new pops up that seems even weirder. As you may be aware, President Donald Trump had what was intended to be a huge rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma this weekend. His hype team bragged about one million people buying tickets. The event only had about 6,000 folks attending, which—while my math is bad—is far less than a million. To be fair, former Vice President Joe Biden probably couldn’t draw six people to his basement broadcasts.
It seems that young Gen-Z (“Zoomers”) are savage AF. They placed massive amounts of orders to get tickets for the Trump extravaganza without having any intention of going. “My 16-year-old daughter and her friends in Park City, Utah have hundreds of tickets. You have been rolled by America’s teens,” veteran Republican campaign strategist Steve Schmidt tweeted on Saturday. The tweet garnered more than 100,000 likes and many responses from people who say they or their kids did the same. With everything this generation had to deal with, I think they’re going to be hard as nails and badass saviors of our country. Millennials may not be too happy, as it seems Gen-Z isn’t too fond of them.
i’m awake at 3 am and i just want everyone to know what gen z says about millennials on tiktok….. pic.twitter.com/zduy5QmBCG
— al (@local__celeb) June 14, 2020
You may be surprised, but the mass media had a field day mocking Trump’s small showing. One thing that the news didn’t comment on was that maybe his supporters were smart enough to be concerned about catching or spreading Covid-19 and decided to stay home and just watch it on television.
Mick Mulvaney, the then-White House chief of staff, sold $215,000 to $550,000 of his stock holdings in March, while the president was still claiming the economy was in “great shape.”
At the time, Trump said about Covid-19, “We’re talking about very small numbers in the United States.” The cases would soon go “down to zero” and the virus would “disappear.” Trump cheerfully claimed, “Our economy is doing fantastically. Numbers are coming out very well. The consumer in the United States is unbelievably strong, stronger than ever before, I believe.”
On the very same day that Trump pumped up the economy and stock market, it was reported that Mulvaney sold between $215,000 and $550,000 of his investment portfolio. On March 4, the date of his selling, the Dow Jones index was a little over 27,000. Three weeks later, the stock market crashed down to about 18,500. The market did rebound since then, but not to the level at which Mulvaney sold at.
It’s reasonable to presume that an insider, such as Mulvaney, really knew the true extent of what was coming hard at us. His insider-trading type of action echoes allegations of insider trading levied against a handful of Senators who sold their stock holdings in February, right after being informed in a private meeting about the potential devastation caused by the coronavirus. No actions were taken against them at this time.
It’s frustrating that we have over 45 million Americans who filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March and things aren’t getting much better. Just last week, we saw a number of large companies enact massive layoffs.
24 Hour Fitness
The gym chain, 24 Hour Fitness, kicked off the week with a Chapter 11 filing. CEO Tony Ueber explicitly blamed the temporary closures caused by Covid-19 in a statement Monday.
The telecom giant is closing 250 stores and cutting several thousand jobs, according to one of its unions.
The hotel chain said on Tuesday it’s laying off 2,100 employees, or roughly 22% of its corporate workforce, as the lingering effects of coronavirus continue to depress demand for leisure and corporate travel.
The banking giant resumed plans to cut 35,000 jobs, roughly 15% of its global workforce, saying that the coronavirus pandemic has made the overhaul it announced earlier this year even more urgent.
So, we’re losing jobs, but gaining more Covid-19 cases—great! Arizona, Florida, California, South Carolina and Texas all reported record-high, single-day increases in coronavirus cases on Thursday, as states continue to ramp up testing and the virus reaches new communities.
Arizona health officials reported 2,519 confirmed cases on Thursday, surpassing the previous single-day high of 2,392 reported on Tuesday. Florida officials announced 3,207 new cases Thursday morning, shattering the state’s previous single-day high of 2,783 new cases also reported on Tuesday. California officials reported Thursday 4,084 new cases that were confirmed on Wednesday.
South Carolina officials reported 987 new cases Thursday afternoon, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 21,533 and marking another all-time high, single-day increase. Texas reported 3,516 new cases Thursday evening, topping the previous record of 3,129 reported on Wednesday.
The record-setting numbers come amidst an ongoing tide of new infections and increasing hospitalizations reported among a slew of states across the American South and West. Some states now seeing a rise in infections were among the first and most aggressive to reopen.
It’s hard to really know the truth anymore. Have these cases led to deaths? Is it really that bad or is the press pushing this as the riots have stopped and they need something else to scare us with? It’s terrible that we even have to ask these questions. It shows our increasing lack of faith and trust in our institutions and political leadership.
Speaking of a lack of trust….Wirecard, a formerly fast-growing German-based fintech company that connects online merchants, consumers and the banking system, was rocked last week by allegations of fraud. The once-heralded tech company reported that over $2 billion it claimed to have didn’t exist. On Friday, CEO Markus Braun resigned. The stock price plummeted over 85%, destroying $12.5 billion in market value.
Wirecard started out small, providing services for porn and gambling sites. Over time, the tech darling grew dramatically. The company boasted about 6,000 employees in 26 countries and reported revenues of over $2.2 billion in 2018. Its stock price hit $213 in September 2018 and was one of the top 30 German companies trading on its stock exchange—worth about $26.9 billion. It is now valued at about $2.2 billion and falling fast.
Braun earned about $3 million a year at Wirecard. He invested millions of dollars of his own money and borrowed $150 million from Deutsche Bank, a company that’s been the subject of numerous regulatory infractions, to invest into the company. As the stock price rose, Braun, who owned 7%, became a billionaire on paper. Braun has vehemently denied knowledge of any improprieties. However, in light of his substantial holdings, lush compensation, coupled with reporting by the Financial Times and other publications and vocal short sellers, it makes one wonder.