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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Barack To The Future

Beating the summer heat some time back, I watched a National Geographic series on the 80s.  There was some good commentary and some bad.  Some of the commentators were not historians or close observers of the facts, but just pop culture twinkies (or should I say ding dongs) who were pretty random.  One knot head said that the meaning of the entire decade was Back To The Future, that all people wanted was to return to the 1950s and little of significance happened, it was a terrible time, etc.  As he ranted, I could tell he was a lib who merely hated the politics of Reagan/Bush.  At first I just rolled my eyes and forgot him.  But later, I realized that this is indeed how some pop culture idiot sees the world—movies are real and reality is not. They just try to tell explain reality metaphorically as a movie.

Heck I could turn the tables on them with a movie of my own.  Let’s call it Barack To The Future.  It would begin with a young handsome Muslim guy named Hussein Obama living in the 7th century who gets swept up in jihad. He comes from a background of Arab slave traders but he happens to be ¼ African because his grandfather hit up on a slave woman who was Kenyan.  Obama is not a fighter.  Being bright and a smooth talker, he manages to hook up a nice cushy job in Andalusia, where he quickly loses his Islamic fervor and becomes a Nothing, but swears he will always stand with the Muslims. 

Hussein has a mad scientist side-kick in the movie named Hawkins who is also jaded by religion, but who invents a time machine and transports Hussein forward after he gets in a scrape with alcohol. (He accused a local police chief of racism and then offered to smooth matters over with a Beer Summit, which did not go over well with the Imam.)  So quickly Hussein is forwarded in time to become Charles IV of France, the playboy king that everybody agreed had great potential but he refused to lead, or at least led from behind and drowned his country in debt.  So, covering the departure as a jousting accident, Hawkins sends Obama forward again, trying to find him an era fitting his style.  He assumes the title of James II of England in the 1680s. James gets run out of the kingdom because he wants to nullify everything Parliament passes with an executive order.  With the peasants pounding at the castle door, James flees and Hawkins has to send Hussein to a new time.

Obama then is transported to Italy.  He likes to write, Hawkins has discovered—the kind of guy who would write two autboiographies before he had even become a public figure.  And he’s narcissist.  Thus Benito, his new name, founds the fascist movement as an socialist alternative to communism.  Hawkins coaches him along with careful development and Hussein gets to try his hand at writing policy.  Thus Benito Mussolini pens the National Socialist platform that has national pensions, national health care, national ownership of auto companies (because if you got their money, their health, and their transportation, you got ‘em controlled.), gun control, and government control or ownership of the key industries like banking.  In a truly clever plank, Benito crafts total separation of church and state.  There shall be no politics spoken within a church building and no faith to be spoken outside the building.  So the outside becomes completely secular and Christians, such as the powerful Catholic Church are silenced effectively.  Alas, Benito, the crappy warrior, gets himself involved with a fellow National Socialist in Germany who wants to take over the world.  Everyone else allies against them and in the end, Hawkins narrowly rescues Hussein-Benito making use of a floating skateboard, while a Mussolini lookalike gets shot and hung from a lamp post instead.  It is a close call. Hawkins has to send him forward once again. 

And thus Obama lands in Hawaii as a lad with a rather confusing birth certificate and upbringing shrouded in secrecy.  This time Hawkins wants Hussein to develop more slowly in politics.  Benito was almost successful, but Obama is capable of a better act.  Teleprompters, community organizing, and oratories later, Hussein is President of the United States.  In fact the story is rather a repeat of his past performances.  He has discovered golf and basketball rather than bull fighting and jousting.  He doubles the national debt, but the country survives because it is a strong economy.  He trashes the reputation of America with every ally and foe.  He tries to dictate with executive orders but Congress is full of wussies who won’t impeach him and don’t know how to check his actions. He balkanizes the races, brings in millions of illegal citizens-to-be, and fiddles like Nero while the Middle East and Ukraine burn.  (I know, I know.  This is probably a too unbelievable screen play for thinking audiences.) Eventually, after two terms Obama has finally termed out.  With a new President arriving on inauguration day, He slips out the door into a limo which levitates a few inches above the pavement.  A man on the street is heard to say, “Thank gosh he’s gone forever now.”  But the guy next to him says, “I wouldn’t count on it.  Seems like we have seen this before.”
  And then a big "To Be Continued" flashes over the screen. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Markets are down big.  Wonder how Trump’s investments are doing? I have a few observations for anyone who is panicky.  I have had times I watched my nest egg plummet.  But then when you wake up the next morning, the kids still come pile on your lap, your wife still bakes your favorite comfort food, God’s still available for consultation. Not everything depends on the market. Worst worry is when you need the money for something right away.

Markets crash fast like falling off a cliff and go up slowly and nervously, climbing a wall of worry.  Presidents don’t make markets crash, people bid prices too high, then panic-- millions of people making billions of bad decisions financially.  Nor are recessions the fault of Presidents.  So when you hear some political hack say that it was Hoover’s fault or Bush’s fault, just smile because you are wiser than the President of the United States. 

Crashes often have precursors, but they are hard for most of us to discern. China’s stock market was bid to an unearthly average price/earnings ratio of 60 in May and has been falling for two months.  But most folks didn’t notice and what’s more, there are hundreds of these pessimistic scares each year.  Which ones will cause a real market response?  Sometimes you hear things people say or do that should have been a tip-off. But it only sounds idiotic in the aftermath.  “House prices will always go up!” (2007) or “The future is in the internet.” (2000). But then people have been saying that stupid saying about house prices for years (invented by an unknown realtor talking to the chamber of commerce in ancient Athens).  And sure the internet is important but evidently not enough to support a valuation larger than General Motors for a company that has yet to make any profit as happened in 2000.  There are also benchmarks.  When avg. P/E goes over 20 it usually doesn’t stay there for long.  But in the end, you usually are guessing a market top.

I guessed this market to be long in the tooth.  It is the 3rd longest in US history (#3 out of 37). It was artificially stimulated by QE’s and historically low interest rates. All utterly ironic because Obama,loves to hate Wall Street, but has given us a Fed that is Wall Street’s biggest fan.  Tellingly, 95% of Goldman Sachs contributions going to Dems. 

So if a market seems high and you get nervous, stop buying and store up some cash.  Then swallow your pride as everybody brags about how they made 17% while you sat on a lot of cash.  Just wait and watch.  Comes the crash and it usually is a big emotional event, goes down fast and lasts for at least a week if not a year. (Only in rare instances does the market go down then up in rapid succession, like 1987)  In the end, all the psychology goes gloom and doom.  And it is usually accompanied by low volume and settled lows.  It is accompanied by lots of speculation that having dropped by half it might just drop by half again.  Nonsense.  Is business ownership worth nothing! That’s the time to start bottom fishing.  Console yourself, sitting on cash that now you can buy bargains to replace some of the losses you had in the crash. If you don’t catch the absolute bottom, no sweat.  Become the proud owner of a company that refuses to die.  Then you are ready for the next inevitable market rise. And by conserving some cash during a decline, you have consolation that your portfolio could have taken a worse hit.

To me the amazing thing was all those same people who extolled Clinton’s bull market then lost their ass in the crash from 2000-2002 and swore to never again invest in stocks.  So they bought houses which were never supposed to go down.  Both stocks and houses lost big in 2008-2009. So what now?  Bonds? Interest at historic lows is about to crash the bonds.   

Meanwhile I am waiting to ask the Joe Cool, Golfer-in-Chief, “Is this still Bush’s fault?  Can you rescue the economic damage? What are you going to do now, oh Great Majesty?” Make that arrogant sucker squirm a while. Teach a lesson to the general public in the process.    

Monday, August 10, 2015

Debates and Dems

Watched both debates and all 17 candidates.  Now I am chuckling because the polls show that the people who rose are those who took it to the Democrats and held strongly to conservatism.  Trump held his own and is still at 22-23%.  Rubio, Cruz, Carson, Huck, and Fiorina came up dramatically or strongly while Jeb, Paul and Kassick went down.  Christie is toast—his arguments too complex and his demeanor toward other candidates too combative. 

This is not to say that it matches my preferences. I think Trump is an egotistical dolt who just lips off and orders people around. Is he really conservative or just a con? He doesn’t offer solutions, would probably not be persuasive with Congress and who knows how a dealmaker/salesman would run the federal bureaucracy.  Huckabee, a great plain-talker, is shallow.  Christie was trying to tell him that the looming Social Security and Medicare insolvency must be dealt with or we have NO money for anything else.  Huck would have none of it.  Would he disband the army or raise taxes to fund the entitlements?  Rubio the Unflappable understands how to get the Hispanic vote without amnesty and I think Cruz does too.  Nobody in the news media gets it. And Carson, I think has no future in government, but a great future as commentator.  

Christie is perhaps the most forthright and solution-minded of the candidates, yet all people saw was his combativeness with Paul and he is perhaps a goner.  So is Perry.  This ticks me off because these two guys have perhaps the strongest stump speeches of the party.  And the self-congratulatory news media hogged so much of the debate time, turned the format into rolling interviews with gotcha questions, that these strong qualities were nowhere to be seen.  Time would have been better spent if they would have just given all 17 candidates 10 minutes each to explain their candidacy.  But no, we have to have the jackass questions that sounded more like miniature speeches by the questioners.  So, I salute Trump for giving Kelly the verbal backhand. Trump has his ass full of arrows but drawing fire, he is changing the national discussion.  Bully!

 The Democrats have nearly ruined this country and Americans are distressed over it.  We are nobody’s friend and everybody’s fool among the nations.  We have piled on debt, that if it continues 4 more years, will put us in the same debt/GDP as Greece.  We continue to downsize the military as the world wildfires burn bigger.  For the first time in 400 years of our history, we now have more business failures every year than business start-ups.  That is, we have gone from the entrepreneurs of the world to the innovativeness of Slovenes and Sicilians.  Obamacare kills new jobs, EPA tyrants destroy the rivers, and Educrats can’t educate.  None of this is because of Republicans.  Tell ‘em, Carly!

And crazy thing is, the average Joe knows this. It ain’t rocket science.  Jobs?  Drill, baby, drill and open federal lands to the energy industry.  Build the Keystone.  Take down the regs on CO2 and get our electricity and coal industry back. Lower the corporate taxes and see what the next generation of iphone technology will be.  Since 2010 we’ve lost 16% of our doctors.  So, kill Obamacare and replenish the medical service jobs.  Repeal and replace the IRS.  Give pinkslips to federal bureaucrats, not kids out of college. Build the military back. Then we get our America back along with our jobs.

The media can’t understand Trump’s appeal because he doesn’t bow to the gods of political correctness and politeness.  Maybe we need to get in the Democrat’s faces about this.  Next time someone claims Republicans aren’t compassionate, stop the speaker and say, “So when someone sees their romance crash and then finds themselves pregnant out of wedlock, and you just tell them to get an abortion, what’s so compassionate about that?  When you go around giving out free crud from the government and get them hooked with EBT cards that aren’t even programmed to prohibit buying cigarettes and booze, what’s so compassionate about that?  When the war in Iraq was won but the peace had to be won with a continued presence, you yellow-bellied suckers left and left ISIS to take over and massacre 90,000 Christians.  What’s so compassionate about that?”

Or next time some Dem corrects you, “it’s the Democratic party, not the Democrat party,” say, “Trail of Tears, slavery, Japanese internment camps—what’s so democratic about that?”

The bottom line, R’s are aching for a fight and a feisty leader.  Polls show R’s 70% highly involved with the coming election while Dems are 30-40%.  The guy who sunk badly was Jeb who hemmed and hawed around about how knowing what he knew now, he wouldn’t have gone into Iraq.  Hunh?  Powell presented three reasons at the UN.  1. Saddam trains and sends terrorists, and won’t comply with UN inspections whatsoever, 2. Saddam is a tyrant who kills his own and starts wars to corner the world oil market, and 3. He has WMDs which could be used by terrorists.  So which of these turned out untrue?  Only the last one, or did it?  We now know that the Bush administration hid the discovery of 6000 WMDs so that Al Qaeda wouldn’t go hunting for them.  Tell Jeb to call his brother for details.

More debates, controversies and speeches to come. But if Reagan had been up there, he’d have said, “Well;;;if you look up and down the stage, you see many faces.  Now ask yourself, ‘is there anybody here that you’d choose Hillary or Bernie instead?’  And if you say NO, then let us pledge together as Americans to put this country together again. Our fathers gave their lives on the shores of Okinawa and Normandy to defeat dictators.  We can surely get out the vote.”      

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Banking Monster

                Many folks wonder why the economy is so bad despite Wall Street’s record profits and low unemployment.  Why aren’t people getting raises and why do there seem to be no new businesses?  The usual explanations on the right have to do with heavy regulation and taxes as well as slight-of-hand in government statistics.  True enough. But there is something much more insidious and disastrous which takes some explaining. 

            Small businesses with under 50 employees create 70% of new jobs.  Their partners, the small banks hold only 10% of bank assets but do 40% of the loans.  Prior to 2009, on average 164 new banks appeared per year.  But since 2010 there have only been only two new banks started.  Meanwhile over 400 have failed—all small banks.  So the loan generators are dying and small businesses report it is extremely hard to get much of a loan.  What’s going on?

            What’s happening is that Obama’s socialist revolution is putting money in the hands of big bankers and killing the small community banks.  61% of all bank assets are now under the control of 6 large mega-banks.  In 2008 it was just 35%.  In 2007, the last year of the former expansion, 18% of corporate profits on Wall Street went to the financial sector.  In 2013, the last year statistically available, it was 23%.  Somebody is making a killing in finances but it isn’t the small, hometown banks who lend to mainstreet businesses. 

            Two culprits.  First is Dodd-Frank financial reform passed in 2010, the second is Fed policy.  Frankendodd banned banks from two activities: proprietary trading and ties to hedge and private firms.  Supposedly this was to keep banks from speculating  and getting into conflicts of interest.  But the reality is that anytime a bank trades equities, it is doing proprietary trading.  In other words, the ability of a bank to deal in bonds, contracts, and other equities-- the ability to do their normal business-- was prohibited, except by approval of the government.  Now what?  Compliance is almost impossible for banks to know.  Interpretive questions and being in cahoots with federal bank examiners is the only possibility.  Large banks closed many departments feeling they couldn’t defend their practices.  Small banks, out of compliance, often shut their doors. But when you are Too Big To Fail, you can browbeat the bureaucrats and fight with lawyers.  As a result, most foreign bankers have left our shores and many small banks have closed.  The big guys have inherited the market. 

            After the Shearson-Lehman Brothers bailout, the voters rebelled and many congressmen who voted for the bailout, then voted for the Stimulus, found themselves on the losing end of elections.  As a result, the government has come to lean heavily on the Fed to implement policy.  The QEs were instituted to provide further stimulus after interest rates were lowered to virtually zero, yet further stimulus was deemed necessary.  Result is that government bonds are bought, usually from large banks and institutional investors, putting money in their pockets.  That money sometimes went to buy stocks and sometimes was just stockpiled in the Fed’s depository reserves.  As a result, Fed depository reserves have gone from $43B to $2.5T in 6 years. (Yes. !!!!)  Those reserves are like a bank making deposits in a bank.  Should the economy improve and the bank have reason to loan, they can simply draw upon their own reserves.  Thus, should the economy improve, we are headed to near-certain inflation.  Meanwhile, only the mega-banks can play the game and they are getting very rich. 

            Ironically, Obama, a Democrat, has made the mega-banks and Wall Street crowd quite wealthy while most people are making less in constant dollars than they did 5 years ago.  But this is really not so strange, when you think about democratic socialists and national socialists.  The government’s  idea is to control the economy by owning or being in cahoots with the major industries.  Goldman Sachs donates 97% of their donations to the Democrats and Obama.  Krupp Munitions donated 97% of their political donations to Hitler and the National Socialists.

The tragedy is multifaceted.  Small businesses and jobs and the economy die a slow death.  Big boys with government connections  team with powerful tyrants to control the markets.  The rest of us are all invited to join the peronistas and rail against big business and the rich.
Obama created a banking monster.

For further information, consult the Economist, July 25 edition pages 57-61.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Alas, poor Cecil

Alas, poor Cecil, I knew thee well.  To be or not to be, that is the question.  Whether tis better to suffer the slings and arrows or to succomb to the Veldt of Africa (VA) of the Game Preserve?  Cecil, Cecil, where art thou, Cecil?  If I had a lion son, he would look like Cecil.

For then, with stealth and invidious motive, an evil, rich Republican lured Cecil off the Government Preserve with a job ( yea, and yet a minimum wage job) to feed himself and his family, only to bring destruction.  Oh, the wickedness of capitalism! And what saith this rich Republican?  A mistake, like Polonius stabbed through the curtain?  For Cecil abideth with prosperity on the wonderful Government Preserve.  Lion King C, like President C, hath power and prestige in the ‘hood and many females at beck and call. C. was livin’ large. He wast taken care of by benefits and welfare.  Cecil hath all that a lion doth desire on the reservation, until cheated out of it by an unfair Republican. And what doth these vile, uncompassionate conservatives now now sayeth? They sayeth that Cecil hath slain countless helpless zebras and wildebeests.  What? Do all lives matter?  Nay! Only Lion Lives Matter!  Zebras, pray tell, be half white and do not count.  And what sayeth the plebians of Zimbabwe?  They protest that hundreds of lions be slain each year unto thinning and game management.  They scoffeth at the propensity of lion progeneration, saying “He was just an effing lion!”  Attend not these scoffers and naysayers, for they are not beholden to socialism. They doth not desire the workers paradise!

Perhaps now we can hope for a Rainbow Lion, a male that yet abides another male.  Then all will be well in the world, and woe unto any business that refuses to acclaim Rainbow Lions.  We shall run them out of business--Out!  Out! Damned spot! Out, I say!-- with a strong hand whereunto social media and government regulators.  Yea, Caesar has spoken, “all the world shall be taxed.”
(and hopefully you’ll understand why Cecil gets mourned and aborted babies don’t by the liberals)