International Forecaster Weekly

Separate, But Connected

We know that the world is slowing. We know that everything from the ISM’s, to PMI’s , to large truck sales, to rail shipping to you name it, is fading.

Bob Rinear | August 7, 2019

I was going to title this article “Dreams really can come true” because I want to tell you a really heartwarming story. But in the strangest twist of fate, it’s tied to the news of the day, which of course is the two “shootings.” Let me explain.

I met a young man named Art Cooksey, back in the year 2000. At the time, I was working on launching a project with Richard Romano ( brother of Ray Romano from everyone loves Raymond) and a couple other folks that were involved in the project. Art came up to Pennsylvania, to be part of the project.

From the minute I met him, I saw that he was a visionary, and he had tremendous drive. After a short while of knowing him, I found out his Mom had written a book called “Childhood, it should not hurt” referring to childhood abuse, and that art was deep into the mental health aspect of things.

I helped his mom launch her book (Got the autographed copy of course!) and talked to Art about what he was trying to do. He had a vision of doing remote physical and mental health sessions with trained doctors, from the home. He also had a vision of using mobile “health stations” in nursing homes and assisted livings, where people could go and connect online to various Doctors and psychologists, and get help.

The problem at the time was that he was ahead of the technology. Wifi had only come out two years earlier, and adoption of it was very slow. His “mobile” health stations worked, but there was no infrastructure to make it work. Yet he never stopped pursuing his dream. As the technology improved, his vision for using it continued to expand.

Originally called “let’s talk counseling”, the name has evolved to where Let’s talk Couseling is just one component of the umbrella - Let’s Talk Interactive. Over the years, they’ve developed such things as Video Conferencing & Telemedicine Software Suite, Telemedicine Carts & Equipment, Virtual Clinics, Provider Networks, Behavioral Health Screen & Assessments, etc.

Back in June, on a pilot trial run, Art was asked to install Telehealth kiosks in 6 state prisons, where inmates could interact with medical doctors, to mental counselors about their issues. If they had anger management issues, they could reach the right doctor, if they had sexual impulse issues, they could talk to the right counselor, etc. It was a stunning success.

On the heels of that, he was asked to install Kiosks in 12 schools in the pan-handle of Florida for the start of the new school year in a few days. But maybe most importantly, on Monday the Governor of Florida’s wife, had a private presentation of the kiosks and their abilities. She’s a very strong voice for mental health awareness, and thinks this is amazing.

I’m really proud of Art. He never quit. He worked around the clock, with anyone that would listen that “telehealth” is the future. Now the future is truly here. So, how does this possible combine with the two mass shootings we’ve heard of? Mental Health.

Let’s get down to Bob basics. Anyone that is so despondent, so sick that they’d pick up a gun and go shoot innocent strangers has huge mental problems. In fact, in virtually every big time shooting event, the perp was found to have had a history of mental issues, and more times than not, were actually ON drugs to help with their issues.

Years ago, States used to have “mental Hospitals” where the truly mentally ill people were sent for treatment. As the fundings dried up, the hospitals closed and they went the rout of letting these people try and help themselves by mainly using drugs.

This is where Art’s “Let’s talk counseling” seems to be so important to me. If you’re in high school and you’ve got issues, from being bullied, to having suicidal thoughts, to depression, etc, you probably don’t want the stigma of asking for help. You don’t want to be taken to the “shrink.” You don’t want anyone to know.

How great would it be, if kids could go into a private kiosk area, and connect with a mental health professional, that they could talk to about their issues, where no one knows? No asking mom or dad for a ride to a doctor. No embarrassing talks with the Pastor, or the school nurse. Just a one on one, with someone that could possibly help them. Well folks, that day is here, and Art and his team are “This close” to making it all happen.

By the way, these little machines are incredibly interactive. They have a camera on them that the doctor can control. They take blood pressure, temperature, oxygen levels, EEG’s, etc. So, suppose you’re in a school that doesn’t’ have a full time nurse. The kid can use the kiosk, and the nurse/doctor on the other side of the state can “zoom in” on the cut, bruise, scrape, etc, and recommend that he or she goes home, or to the hospital.

You all know I’m a gun guy. You also know I’ve been screaming for 30 years that guns aren’t the problem, the person is. More times than not, that person that commits a horrendous act, has mental issues that didn’t just pop up yesterday. Most shooters have years of giving clues about their issue. Many of them have friends that could have/should have said something to the proper people, but didn’t because they didn’t want the headaches.

For the past 30 years, these people with big problems couldn’t get help without the stigma of reaching out for help. Those days might be closer to ending and I’m all for it.

Dreams do come true. And if your dream helps other people, then you’ve won the gold star. Art’s got some stars coming. Thanks for listening.

PS: Evidently there’s going to be a press release on Thursday at 9:30 am, concerning Mrs. DeSantis’s views on the telehealth kiosk machines. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see it.

The Market:

The current story is that the market had that horrible 900 point dump, because China let their currency devalue. I think that’s a bit misleading. I think it was the “Excuse” they used to lighten up, not the reason.

We know that the world is slowing. We know that everything from the ISM’s, to PMI’s , to large truck sales, to rail shipping to you name it, is fading. The market really doesn’t care that much, because all the baloney about the market going higher on “earnings” is just that, horsecrap.

This market has gone higher on insanely low interest rates, rounds of QE, and a trillion in stock buy backs. They’ve been willing to shrug it all off, basically because of the idea “Where else is there to go?” If you’re a pension manager, with a charter to return 6 – 8% a year, what are you going to do, buy negatively yielding German bunds? Or US Treasuries at 1.76%? Nope, you’re going to hold you nose and buy stocks.

But they are genuinely scared now. Earnings really weren’t that good, hundreds of companies had analysts lower their expectations, which they beat. Cars are slowing, rail and air shipments are slowing, and we’ve got a trade/currency war brewing. Their charters generally suggest “protecting the base” along with growing it. Protection is in short supply.

On Tuesday they put in a bounce. It was actually overdue. We had lost 1200 DOW points in 4 sessions. But can it sustain itself? Ask this question “what could send it higher?” The answer is a deep rate cut, and/or some thaw in the China situation. Until we get a clear path to either one, there’s NO reason for stocks to go higher, other than the “there’s no other option” and those people are scared. The risk is to the downside for a while folks, plan accordingly.