Threadster: Thinking the Unthinkable

While we don’t personally believe in betting on whether someone is going to live and die, we’re living and dying in times that make considering that impossible to avoid.


As you no-doubt expect, the recent hospitalization of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has the Which of These 5 European Leaders Leaves Office Next page humming. German frowny-face-in-chief Angela Merkel has been the favorite for months, but BJ’s recent travail is shaking the market. While we’re already regretting putting “Angela Merkel” and “BJ” in the same sentence, the fact remains that Boris has rolled over her, climbing on top and – oh wait, that’s no better.

Anyway, the Prime Minister is in the ICU, where he will be, no doubt, the only patient whose hair looks better after a few days of neglect. Outside, the gambling vultures are circling, which has caused in the threads a rare moral argument.

“I’m going to lose money,” says Moench , “but I don’t bet on ppl dying so f all yall.”

“There is nothing wrong in betting for BoJo to die,” says Constitutional Jurist. “I would literally like to see a market, ‘Will BoJo die from coronavirus’.”

“There are life or death implications of the outcomes of most markets on here,” points out a philosophical 79adam97.

 â€˜I feel pretty sick about this,” says Brando9998, bringing the argument full-circle and tipping that he’s decided to abandon scruples in favor of money, “but I’m in on Yes for Boris. If he’s on a ventilator and it’s quite possible he is…he’s in big trouble.”

To be honest, we have a small, residual investment in Boris dating back to the end of the Brexit crisis, and while the pre-virus timing of that investment gives us plausible deniability, morally speaking, the reality is more complicated. Of course we’d never hope for someone to die, but for the last few days we’ve enjoyed the hell out of the probability of his death rising from 7- to 44-cents.

We know we should feel bad about that, but we’re too busy counting our profits to note the loss of our soul.


We are wondering, despite our better judgment, if there is money to be made in the Will Hillary Run in 2020 market. We feel dirty and stupid just typing that, but we are compelled by the unshakable belief of some that the all-powerful Clintons are working their behind-the-scenes magic to install the two-time loser as President.

“Hillary and her crew have done a ruthless and masterful job,” says MyMomSays in one of his several-hundred not-at-all-obsessive, Hillary-promoting posts scattered around Predictit. “The tactical patience has been breathtaking. This is old school. Hillary’s running.”

We would find his confidence in James-Bond-villain-worthy machinations by the Clintons much more convincing had Hillary not run a campaign, last time around, so attentive to detail that it forgot Wisconsin was a state.

“DNC re-scheduled to August 17th,” says JordyHiRoller, we believe raising his eyebrows knowingly as he types, “ONE DAY before the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. You really think this all wasn’t planned?”

Having met Democrats before, our default assumption is no, whatever it is they’re doing hasn’t been planned even a little. But that is neither here nor there. In this case, what we care about – what we would like to thank all Hillary obsessives for – is the creation of opportunity. They have added froth to a market that should logically be as moribund as Will Joe Scarborough Run (1-cent YES, average trade volume 40 shares a day). Their confidence in the Machiavellian mastermindiness of Hillary has YES sitting presently at 10-cents, roughly 1000% above its actual value. The market has swung, in the last 90 days, from a low of 6-cents to a high of 13-cents and back down again.

Something is causing the market to bounce up and down like that, and our old friend Nostrallamas thinks it may be Hillarians looking for affirmation.

“You idiots burned your money over a bunch of not-very-clever sick-burn tweets that somehow convinced you the old hag was running for president,” he writes. “Y’all absolutely have no theory of mind. Just a gross inability to understand people’s motivations for doing things like sending crappy tweets.”

Buying Hillary on a downswing – at, say, 9-cents – means something as small as a tweet or Sleepy Joe coughing during an interview could set Hillarians to drooling and bounce YES shares (or, more accurately, YES! shares) back to the top of the range, boosting per-share value as much as 50%.

The same does not hold if you’re thinking about betting Hillary on the Who Will be the Dem Nominee market. The range is much smaller (3-7-cents) and less volatile, lowering per-share upside.

Our hunch is if something happens to Sleepy Joe, all the anti-Bernie energy would seek someone younger and less baggage-laden than Hillary. Might we suggest a light, refreshing bottle of Amy Klobuchar? The fresh-faced Minnesota maiden is trading at a penny on the nominee board. Her withdrawal generated a huge amount of guilt among moderate Dems, who seem to never have considered her. Being given a second crack at The Klobe would be – we’re guessing – widely interpreted as a message from God.

We’re not saying she has a chance. We are saying that buying a few shares of Amy might be a good, low-cost hedge in case the presumptive nominee spikes a fever.


What with the President firing Inspectors General as fast as he can find them in the White House phone book, there’s a lot of media speculation about Trump going full Idi Amin and issuing a mass pardon of all his henchmen – a term that became popular during the impeachment and then settled back into film noir obscurity.

Despite the fact that the pundit-industrial-complex is aflutter, the calm, entirely logical threadster community remains unimpressed. Markets speculating whether President Gotti will spring Roger Stone, Mike Flynn, and Paul Manafort haven’t budged. In the last 90 days, Stone YES is down slightly, Flynn is up slightly, and Manafort is holding steady.

But as long as we’ve already sloughed-off the moral implications of betting on death and human suffering, consider this: YES shares on the physically robust Stone and Flynn are sitting around 60-cents, but the fast-decaying Manafort is down in the mid-30s. We suspect that’s the market pricing the possibility that the 71-year-old Manafort – who is currently living a quiet life in Loretto, Pennsylvania, under the name #35207-016 – will die before the President gets around to the paperwork.  

Who’s in?

Threadster regrets having taken a couple of weeks off, but not really all that much. The column is a product of @TomSayingThings, who will try to do better.

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