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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Many Mourn Tragedy; Some Others' Livelihood Depend Upon It

When most people think about terrible natural disasters like Harvey or something horrific to the national psyche like 9/11, its usually normal, appropriate things like the loss of life and/or property, the financial and emotional suffering of others and what ways can one help to make even a small difference...

Then there's another mindset..  The financier and corporation mindset..
Every time something terrible happens anywhere in the world like a hurricane, tsunami or terror attack, we think back to a scene from the 1997 Bruce Willis-Gary Oldman film 'The Fifth Element' where Oldman's character Zorg head of a giant corporation in his name is talking to a priest-like spiritual figure in his office named Cornelius

Zorg is seeking to find these special stones for a buyer and believes the priest knows where they are

So the scene as shown here word for word from the script, plays out like this (anything bold is from us):
ZORG
Where are the stones?

CORNELIUS
...Why on earth do the stones interest you?

ZORG
Personally, they are of no interest to me,
I'd rather sell weapons..but I have a customer...
so tell me...

CORNELIUS
Even it I did know where the stones were
I would never tell somebody like you.

ZORG
Why?  What's wrong with me?

CORNELIUS
...I'm a priest! I'm here to serve life,
All you want to do is destroy it.

ZORG
Ah, Father... You are so wrong.
Let me explain...

Zorg leads Cornelius into his inner office.

ZORG
...would you like a drink?

CORNELIUS
No thank you.

ZORG
Follow me.. Life, which you so nobly serve,
comes from destruction. Look at this empty
glass.

Zorg pushes the glass with his finger.

ZORG
Here it is... peaceful... serene...
but if it is...

Zorg pushes the glass off the table.  It shatters on the floor.

ZORG
Destroyed...

Small individual robots, both free-wheeling and integrated, come zipping
out to clean up the mess.

ZORG
...Look at all these little things...
so busy all of a sudden.
Notice how each one is useful.
What a lovely ballet, so full of form
and color.  So full of..life!

CORNELIUS
They are robots!

A SERVANT comes in pours water in another glass.  Zorg tosses a cherry
into it.

ZORG
Yes but... by that simple gesture of destruction.
I gave work to at least fifty people today. The
engineers, the technicians, the mechanics. Fifty
people who will be able to feed their children so
they can grow up big and strong.  Children who
will have children of their own, adding to the great
cycle of life!

Cornelius sits in silence.

ZORG
Father, by creating a little destruction,
I am, in fact, encouraging life!  So, in
reality, you and I are in the same business!
At the time yours truly first saw that film many moons ago, it was just a very interesting, humorous scene that seemed to stick in my mind

Then as I got older, I understood there really are people in our day to day world that have that mindset

They aren't wishing people die or suffer horribly per se..   Just enough misery that they or someone else will need the products/services they offer to deal with whatever the calamity is
Think of it like this..

Do you really think medical people, especially doctors and surgeons really wish there be no more illness?   And do you think those who own funeral homes really desire no one die?

So when a tumor is needed to be removed from a breast or some poor soul is to be put into a box, understand not everyone is looking at the situation from the socially acceptable perspective.
We'll never forget after the tsunami in Japan a few years earlier that left so much devastation and death to that country

Not just how the people handled it all but how the financial news networks like CNBC and Bloomberg were implying (some openly saying) that the event was going to be an excellent investment opportunity because rebuilding would take years

We have no doubt if we had turned on those networks earlier this week and probably even at present, we still would have heard analysts come on and display professional glee while guiding viewers to how to best profit from Texas and Louisiana
Even legitimate charitable organizations like the Red Cross do not look at these type of disasters as you would think they would

Certainly they're not celebrating it or thinking 'Goodie!' but detach emotion for a moment and look at things from a perspective of reality..

How much money has been donated to legitimate organizations by caring people since Saturday?  

Individual donation totals we do not know but on the corporate level, $65 million and counting..

How much money do you believe they would have received over the last 4-5 days had there been no Harvey?   
Remember there's still salaries to pay..  Not everyone works in a charity for free

According to Glassdoor.com,  a Lab Technician that works for Red Cross makes over $32k.. Both an Account Manager and Donor Recruitment Specialist make $42k each

A Team Supervisor makes $51k, a Program Manager makes $56k, a Senior Associate and a Manager both make around $71k and a Director makes about $98k each

The head of Red Cross makes just under $652,000 plus expenses
We're not passing judgments or necessarily making them sinister.. People who work deserve to be compensated and be able to pay their bills and have a life and working for a charity for your profession ultimately is no different than working in another business

Just understand that when you donate $20 to a charity, not all $20 is going to those in need and if by miracle of God there were no more natural disasters, pestilences or evil terror attacks in this world, a lot of people in many professions would lose their jobs.

All that said, we still support people helping any way they can 

Even if 5% goes to actually help someone, a little is better than nothing and ultimately it does add up though the real financial assistance will always have to come from government because a few million are drops in the bucket.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Brief History of Presidential Pardons

~ Sheriff Joe Arpaio and President Trump

Yesterday, Trump took some questions from the press about the Harvey-related disaster in Texas and Louisiana, Russia, and other topics

One person asked him about his pardoning of Sheriff Joe in Arizona and we loved the answer the President gave

He could have simply defended his action with a couple words then moved on but instead, Trump took a piece of paper out of his jacket and read this long list of absolute scum that Bill Clinton and Obama pardoned during their Presidencies
Filth like Mark Rich the heavy Bill Clinton donor who was indited by the government for tax evasion and business dealings with Iran while they held US hostages..  He was living on a luxurious yacht in the Mediterranean waiting for Clinton to pardon him on his last day in office

And scum like Oscar Lopez Rivera who Obama pardoned even though Rivera was found guilty of seditious conspiracy, use of force to commit robbery, interstate transportation of firearms, and conspiracy to transport explosives with intent to destroy government property, and later had 15 years added on to his 55 year sentence for attempted escape
Of course we doubt the despicable leftist media mentioned any of it in their daily news coverage..

Just one of those things where you had to watch the press conference on YouTube to get the full response

So we thought it would be interesting to give some examples of past Presidents in history and what kind of acts were pardoned with more of a focus on recent history
George Washington pardoned 16 people as President including two for treason involving their roles in the Whiskey Rebellion

When Thomas Jefferson became President, one of his first acts was to pardon every person found guilty under previous President John Adams' Sedition Act
Andrew Jackson pardoned many people but among the most interesting ones of this nation's history involved a man named George Wilson who was convicted of robbing the United States mails.

For whatever reason, Wilson refused to accept the pardon so the case went before the Supreme Court, and in 'United States v. Wilson' the court basically said a Presidential pardon is only valid if the person being pardoned accepts it; it can not be forced upon someone

So rather than agree to have his sentence commuted to 20 years, Wilson was executed by hanging.
Among Abe Lincoln's many, many pardons, he excused 264 of 303 savage Dakota Indians who attacked and murdered white settlers including women and children in the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862

Andrew Johnson pardoned over 7,000 people including many Confederate generals and politicians as well as three people charged with conspiracy in the death of Lincoln.

Ulysses Grant then pretty much pardoned everyone else who fought for the CSA
Harry Truman gave a pardon of sorts to Oscar Collazo, a man who tried to assassinate him by commuting the death sentence to life in prison

JFK pardoned 575 people including all first-time offenders convicted of crimes under the Narcotics Control Act of 1956 which in effect overturned much of the law passed by Congress...

Nixon pardoned 926 people including Jimmy Hoffa in 1971
Gerald Ford pardons included Nixon, 'Tokyo Rose', 50,000 Vietnam draft dodgers and posthumously restored full citizenship rights to General Robert E Lee

Jimmy Carter pardoned another 200,000 draft dodgers, commuted the sentence of Oscar Collazo from life to time served, commuted sentence of Patty Hearst and restored posthumously full citizen rights to Confederate President Jefferson Davis

Among those pardoned by Reagan was Yankees owner George Steinbrenner who was convicted of illegal campaign contributions to Nixon and obstruction of justice and W. Mark Felt who worked for the FBI and who authorized illegal break ins

What is interesting about Felt is later in life he admitted to being Deep Throat, the informant during the Watergate affair.
George H W Bush pardoned many people including those involved in their role in Iran Contra and Armand Hammer who illegally contributed $54,000 to Nixon's presidential campaign in 1972

Hammer contributed $110,000 to the Republican National Committee just before his pardon.

Among the 459 people pardoned by Bill Clinton besides Marc Rich were:

Henry Cisneros – Clinton's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count for lying to the FBI, and was fined $10,000.

Roger Clinton, Jr. – brother of Bill Clinton. After serving a year in federal prison for cocaine possession.
FALN – Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group that set off 120 bombs in the United States, mostly in New York City and Chicago. The 16 were convicted of conspiracy and sedition and sentenced with terms ranging from 35 to 105 years in prison.

Susan McDougal – partners with Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton in the failed Whitewater deal. Guilty of contempt of court, she served her entire sentence and was then pardoned.
George Bush pardoned Lewis "Scooter" Libby who was Assistant to W. Bush and Chief of Staff to Dick Cheney .  He was convicted of perjury in connection with the CIA leak scandal involving members of State Department who 'outed' CIA agent Valerie Plame. Libby received commutation, not a full pardon.

Among Obama's pardons besides Oscar Lopez Rivera was Bradley Manning (the disgusting transgender is now called "Chelsea") who had been sentenced to 35 years for passing secret documents to Wikileaks

Now compare that to Trump pardoning 'Sheriff Joe'

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Potential Economic Impact of Harvey

Over the last 7 years (A&G's anniversary date is September 6th), we've written quite a lot about the economy, how the last crash was not dealt with directly and responsibly, how we're still in a recession-depression and how the next downturn will be much worse

But even if we had a million visits a day, it still would be nearly impossible to educate people in any meaningful way about how unstable the economy is when there's just so much garbage in the news meant to distract

We just look at the world differently than most

Its not a question of seeing a glass being half empty vs full..  It's more us wondering why everyone else seems to believe they're seeing a glass with some amount of liquid when its really an empty plastic cup
For instance, look at all the coverage thus far of the terrible tragedy going on in southern Texas..

Yours truly has been through one years ago with Hurricane Wilma.. Was without power for two weeks, most stores that somehow were open were cash only, there were long lines for gas and the weather was sweltering

As terrible as that experience was, millions in Houston and thereabouts are dealing with far worse and seems have another couple days of rain to compound the miseries
But back to the coverage of it..

The focus like all hurricanes is first to put some weather person out in the mess so you see them pounded by rain and wind while sitting in the comfort of one's home munching on popcorn

Then once its over, they capture some video of damage then leave

When its a terrible disaster, the media linger for another week and show others' suffering from a bit of a distance
In 2005, the media's big focus was never the everyday person's suffering..   It was how to connect the destruction and misery to George W. Bush so to blame him for everything including the hurricane itself ("It's global warming!")

Of course the first documented case of a hurricane in this hemisphere was journal entries by Columbus in Hispanola back in 1483 making the global warming excuse bullshit, but that's a post for another time..

Anyways, just expect everything involving Harvey to be covered as Trump's fault
Now here's how we see Harvey beyond the terrible suffering of people wholly unprepared for this event..

After Katrina occurred, when all was said and done, it cost the Federal government over $150 billion and this does not account for damage to the local and state economies caused by potential interruption of the oil supply and exports of commodities such as cotton.

Now $100 in 2005 is the equivalent of $125 thanks to money devaluation so that means if Harvey ends up being 100% like Katrina in terms of expense, we're looking at $187.5 billion Federal tab for south Texas...

But we expect it to cost much more..
Hundreds of thousands of residents of southern Louisiana and Mississippi, including nearly everyone who lived in New Orleans, were left unemployed by Katrina.

No paychecks were being cashed and no money was being spent, and therefore no taxes were being collected by local governments.

The lack of revenue limited and will continue to limit the resources of the affected communities and states for years to come, especially with the region already one of the poorest in America with one of the highest unemployment rates before the hurricane..
Now let's take Houston with is the 4th most populous city in the US

Counting the surrounding areas affected, it has been estimated that over 11 million people will be affected in some adverse way from Harvey when its all done --  we're sure over time, that number will climb

As things are at the moment, there are many oil refineries around the Houston area that had to shut down and probably will stay that way for the next couple weeks meaning shortages and long lines in Texas and most likely price spikes in other parts of the country
The local economy of Houston and surrounding areas are basically at a stand-still and if meteorologists are correct about another 12 to 24 inches of rain dumped into that area from now until Wednesday, that entire region is economically dead without heavy amounts of Federal assistance to keep the region afloat

Think a massive tax cut will be passed now?

Then all the insurance costs over time to rebuild all the homes once safe enough to do so..  Doesn't matter where you live - think your premiums won't be ultimately affected?  They were after Katrina..
We could go on and on but the main point is this..

Nation economies do not flourish immediately after disasters.. They spin into recessions and/or recession-depressions

People forget after 9/11 not only did we lose thousands of lives and two towers but we ultimately were in a recession for over a year and had the government not bailed the airline industry out for $10 billion, it might have been worse..
So this all ties in to what we wrote on Friday..

Trump has been acting for the last 8 months like everything good with the economy and stock market is 100% due to him and can only get better

And when you do that, when you take credit for the creation of sunshine, you open yourself up to get blamed for any rain

Whether the economic impact of Harvey plunges the nation into the next recession-depression remains to be seen..  We certainly hope not..

But when the rains stop,  the camera crews go back home and everyone is focused on Labor Day BBQs and college football, the individual and collective suffering of that area is going to be there for a long while..

And goodness knows how much we as a nation will feel the economic impact as a nation or how long..

If you want to donate to help those suffering from Harvey:

https://www.redcross.org

Friday, August 25, 2017

Unfortunately Trump's Biggest Mistake is Something Yet to Happen (But It Will)

When looking at Trump and the question of mistakes, pretty much everyone looks at it in terms of past tense i.e. decisions made

Of course those who hate him believe everything he does is a mistake and in fact he in the Oval Office is the biggest one

And fair-minded people, even loyalists like ourselves can see Trump has not always made the best decisions
But the biggest mistake of the Trump Presidency so far as we see it is not based on something already done but something we expect to happen at some point in next 12 months which he is going to take the blame for because he stupidly decided to take all the credit thus far..

The economy & stock market

Trump says he created over a million jobs..   We love him but no, he didn't

The vast majority of these jobs are simply based on supply/demand..  More customers - more need for employees especially in the service sector
He also takes far too much credit for the stock market rising to daily all time highs..

A lot of it is based on an assumption he will get a massive tax cut for the wealthy and corporations passed which we see as even harder to accomplish than the Obamacare repeal

But as they say in life, the bigger something is, the harder it falls
The economy never recovered from 2008 and ultimately we will get into a new business cycle recession
because to corporations, they are not just inevitable, but necessary to flush bad debt and marginal investments/projects from the system.

Its also a great way for them to fire lots n lots of people en masse, create financial tension and uncertainty for millions then get them to come back to work at less wages
But we believe and have stated often over the last nearly 7 years that the next recession will be more than a business-cycle downturn; it will be a devastating meteor storm that destroys huge chunks of the economy while leaving other sectors virtually untouched.

How this dynamic plays out is simple:  wages for the bottom 95% have gone nowhere for 17 years, while costs have soared far above official inflation for everyone exposed to real-world costs.

So instead of government addressing this situation to the everyday person's benefit, they've allowed the financial sector to fill the widening gap between stagnant household income and rising expenses with debt - credit cards, loans, etc...
This stop-gap works for a while, but eventually the cost of servicing debt consumes the entire budget, leaving little to nothing to save or invest.

Look at Sears for a moment..  The franchise is in a death spiral they can not control..  

More and more vendors are stopping selling goods to them because they don't pay on time (or have the means to pay) and the insurance costs of companies getting back what is owed by them has gotten so high, there's just no incentive to sell to Sears

This means more and more empty shelves which means less profit and less customers and on and on..
That's how government economies work as well.. its like a big rock rolling down a hill.

So absent savings and incentives for productive investment, productivity falters and once that deterioriates, wealth is no longer being generated or distributed widely.

After eight long horrible years of Obama,  where the widening gap was filled with borrowed money, the jig is up: the returns on adding debt have diminished to zero, and the financialization games that were supposed to be temporary emergency measures are now permanent.

And we're now $19.97 trillion in debt..  

Is anyone going to be any more upset when the $20T mark is hit?
Like a field exposed to toxins for 8 long years, all this permanent monetary and fiscal stimulus has weakened the productive economy while causing the most destructive weeds to flourish.

When credit expansion stops, the effect is like a meteor storm: marginal borrowers and lenders crater, and every sector that depends on marginal borrowers and lenders for sales and profits also craters.

Once again, think Sears..
Those sectors that are heavily in debt and dependent on marginal borrowers for sales implode once sales slump. As these enterprises default, all the lenders who issued this commercial debt also blow up.

Every node of the economy that is heavily indebted and dependent on marginal borrowers for sales, profits and taxes will be hit very hard..

Every sector that avoided debt and sales funded by debt will escape with only light damage.

And Trump is giving himself 100% credit for the economy.. Ugh!
We do understand why..

He gets pounded incessantly by the media and even when he's right about something like Both sides were at fault in Charlottesville, he doesn't seem to have the stomach to re-state that truth so the evil left once again controls the narrative

Plus the Obamacare loss was just embarrassing..   That cancer-ridden cadaver fuck John McCain really blindsided Trump and the GOP which his decision to not support the repeal

So Trump must Trumpet the economy but surely he knows that its not sunny skies and clear sailing ahead
And remember, when these things happen, no one really understands, the start date was way before anyone sees or feels the effects of a recession or market crash

Take 2008..  Everyone seems to think the origins were the collapse of Lehman Bros

No.    In fact, the crisis started on August 9, 2007.

That’s when France’s BNP Paribas barred investors from accessing three money-market funds that had subprime mortgage exposure, citing a “complete evaporation of liquidity.”
With that, Northern Rock, a European bank that was formerly a building society, started to wobble, and eventually faced the first bank run in the U.K. since the Great Depression.

This solvent institution eventually collapsed because the bank of England failed to make “lender of last resort” loans efficiently and promptly.

And since like it or not we're a global society in terms of finance and investment, these troubles eventually worked their way across the pond and it took another 12-13 months before we were slammed by it.
That's how these things work..  The shock is instant but never what provokes it

The Great Depression of the 1930s is another example - it did not start with the October 1929 market crashes

Its origins were once again found in Europe with their economic hard times and inability to pay back all the money our banks lent them to fight World War I
So our biggest fear/concern besides the inevitable next recession-depression is that Trump will suffer badly for it; much more than had he kept quiet about touting the market gains and taking credit for everything

And as a result, a rotten Democrat who will be 100x worse than Hillary or Obama will win in 2020 and Lordy help us..

Taking credit for the economy is like taking credit for sunny skies because  its arrogance and hubris at its worst and when it rains, all the blame falls on that person's shoulders

We hope Trump realizes this before its too late

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Squeaky Wheels Always Get the Grease


We start with something in the news that seems like fake BS but is 100% true..

To be politically "correct" and sensitive to the feelings of loser blacks and white-guilt liberal snowflakes, ESPN which is now Entertainment Sports Programming for Negroes, pulled an announcer of Asian descent off the William and Mary vs. University of Virginia college football game they'll be soon telecasting
So OK.. Why?

Because the man's name is Robert Lee and thus concerned it will offend and hurt those worthless people's feelings

Once again, this is 100% true..

Now this is one of those 'non-news' blurbs that are meant to just make you feel tense and people will shake their heads or say 'Give me a break!' but really, where does the response go beyond that?
The other side, the evil people - they're very organized and ready to protest, boycott and/or go on walk-out strikes the moment anyone in Corporate America does anything to bother their fragile sensibilities and extremely weak self-worth

Where's the other side to put so much pressure that the business community stop caving in?

How did good, decent people get so powerless when they're the majority?
The only groups with a semblance of organization and cohesion are KKK and Neo-Nazis but who wants to be associated with that??

Besides, they believe in violence to obtain their goals and that's never been something A&G supports

We much prefer seeing the countless millions of Trump supporters and fair-minded people sick of political correctness and social progressivism at every turn fight economically and put so much pressure upon entities like ESPN and Target (with their tolerance of transgenders), that they stop pandering or suffer great loss of profit
A week or so ago yours truly went to a local McDonalds for lunch.  Ordered take-out

The black girl behind the counter didn't want to say basic things like what the total the order came to, or 'thank you' or 'you're welcome' or 'enjoy your meal'..

Just stared off so she wouldn't have to look at me while expecting me to just look at the register and give her the money like a robot
She seemed to be able to speak or crack a smile and laugh when the black customer in front of me placed his order..

Maybe they were friends or maybe it was just one of those things; that black attitude - 'if you're black, I'm friendly.. if you're white, I'm not'

So even though I knew nothing sincerely would be done especially because she was black, I complained and as expected got the run-around followed by some phony words to the effect they appreciated bringing it to their attention
This of course is the verbal equivalent of making a fist then shaking it in the air up 'n down quickly a few times..

So I decided I would boycott McDonald's for 6 months...

Does it matter?  Will it change anything?  Will they even care?

Of course not but that isn't the point
My money like my time is precious to me..  Does not matter if its $5 or $55,000..  I value it and every individual should value and respect their own money and time as fiercely

Just like the political left does not tolerate difference of opinion and thought, I do not tolerate businesses that disrespect me in ways I deep inappropriate.

Now imagine if millions of people felt that way about bad treatment in a restaurant or store, or how the entertainment, sports and news media treat their values, then got organized and put the same kind of pressure upon these entities as scum like Jesse Jackson used to do (and probably still does) through organizations like Rainbow Coalition
BTW, for those who don't know what often happened (and probably still does) is a corporation would do something that some colored person would take offense to, so he/she would complain to Jackson, Rev Al Sharpton or some other low form of life

Then they would rally and rile up their base of morons to start protesting, striking, boycotting and essentially making as much noise as possible to the sympathetic liberal media

The corporation at this point would want this to go away so they would concede
But that would not be good enough to niggers like Jackson and Sharpton..

The would want a financial gesture to show how sincerely sorry the corporation was, preferably one under the table to whatever organization(s) were leading the protest

Or sometimes the corporation would be quietly extorted before all the protesting in exchange for their public blessing

So the business would cave and want this all swept under the rug, scum like Jackson and Sharpton would profit and now there would be enough money in the coffer to fund the next protest/extortion
Remember years back Michael Richards, the actor who played 'Kramer' on Seinfeld yelled 'nigger' a few times at audience members during a mental breakdown while doing standup?

So what did he do next?

After apologizing profusely, he ran to Jackson and Sharpton and begged their forgiveness!  They weren't in the audience..  Richards didn't specifically call them niggers

Nope.. Richards needed their support and ultimately got it..  For a price of course

Then he went into some kind of pathetic seclusion for a few years travelling the world, converting to Buddhism and tried to figure who he was

That's all true by the way..
This is the world we live in and its been this way for decades though gotten progressively worse because few to none are willing to stand up in any way, even if does not hurt the other..

How many will stop watching ESPN over this asinine display of sensitivity toward rotten people?

None..

How many protested the NFL by sincerely not watching games as long as they tolerated Colin Kaepernick and other copy-cats injecting political and social protest into the National Anthem?

Maybe a few hard-core lovers of the American flag did but otherwise, none..
After Charlottesville, how many took the time to write or tweet Trump to tell him to defend history and put forward some kind of Executive Order making it against the law to take down Confederate statues, monuments and markers?

Maybe a handful at best..  I know I was one..

And how many will sacrifice any sort of mild inconvenience to boycott when a nobody-nothing common worker at a fast food restaurant or store treats you disrespectfully and you can tell there's no sincere effort on the store's part to discipline him/her?

We know the answer..
Blacks will make a stink and get their way..

Whites will shut up and keep taking it

Squeaky wheels always get the grease folks..    Always..