More Opinion by The Springboard

THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Governor Quinn Offers Up The National Guard

I don't agree much with Illinois Governor, Patrick Quinn. However, his offering up of the use of the National Guard to help to police the very dangerous streets of Chicago is one I think may be a good idea. Whether or not Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel will take the Governor up on his offer is another question.

The fact is that I don't necessarily like the idea of any place in America becoming a police state of sorts, I do think that more needs to be done in very high crime areas such as Chicago, and even in my own city of Milwaukee in Wisconsin where gun crime is especially on the rise.

That being said, I also believe that more policing resources could be used, at least in the short term, to help put more boots on the ground, so to speak.

For example, perhaps the Sheriff's office could redirect some its efforts to the heaviest areas of the city where crimes are occurring. Perhaps as well, state troopers and other highway patrols could redirect their efforts to helping to fight crime rather than policing the nation's highways for speeders.

What really needs to occur, I think, is a discussion about what the root causes of higher crime happens to be, and looking for ways to combat it. An ounce of prevention, after all, is worth a pound of cure. There is a reason these crimes are happening at alarming rates. More policing is a short term remedy. Hitting at the heart of the problem is the long term solution.

Which president would you compare Barack Obama best to?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

...And The Market Slide Continues

Uncertainty of the Fed. That's what they are saying is the cause for the now four day losing streak in the markets. To that I ask the logical question. What uncertainty exactly are we talking about? Is the who? Or the what?

It does not take a genius to fully grasp the fact that the economy is still in the dumps. No news flash there. It does not take a genius to fully grasp that the Obama administration has absolutely no clue about how to fix it. Nor does it take a genius to draw the logical conclusion that the Obama administration isn't going to do anything to fix it.

So here we are. I don't see anything uncertain about that. That seems pretty much set in stone as of this writing.

Of course we do not know who will succeed current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. But we've got a pretty good idea who it may most likely be. Think like Obama for just a second. Janet Yaller is likely to continue to prop up the economy through quantitative easing. Would this be right in line with what Obama would like to see happen? I think the obvious, glaring answer is yes. Prop it up. Because nothing he will do can prop anything, let alone get anything back onto a path of recovery.

"Keep printing me more money, Fed. I'll keep spending. I'll keep looking to raise the debt ceiling," says Obama.

"The cupboard is bare," said the brilliant mind of Pelosi. "There is nothing to cut."

The fact is that the Fed obviously seems to be in consensus that the economy is in a heap of crap still. And as a result it will continue to use QE as a way to help along this wheezing, dying thing. There is not one single economic indicator that would currently suggest otherwise.

So why in the hell is Wall Street selling off claiming uncertainties?

I think the simple answer is that they want it both ways. They want the economy propped up to artificially inflate the markets, and they want the economy to do well enough to support itself. They are not going to get the latter. So the former right now is the only alternative. And they want to be certain that the Fed is going to hold up what the Obama administration is certainly pulling down. In the interim.

To me it is all a load of crap. The new Fed Chairman nomination will shortly be announced. Wall Street will breathe a sigh of relief. The markets will reverse course and start rallying again. And who will make money? Those us of who saw the writing on the wall before the writing was put there.

Little guys like me buying into the uncertainty.

I am accumulating now just like I accumulated at the bottom of the market. I am certain that the uncertainty in the market is simply a panic maneuver. Not a wise one. And I will invest contrary to it, and while I cannot be 100% sure, I think it will mean gains ahead.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wall Street in Flip-Flops...Again

I have written before that I sometimes find the folks on Wall Street to be a comedy of sorts. Today I have this same sentiment based on the news on the Street that today ended a four-day rally because, of all things, the folks on Wall Street were frazzled that just maybe the economy is weaker than they thought.

Just yesterday the DOW rallied triple digits on the news that Larry Summers would not be in contention to be the replacement for current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Instead it looks more likely that Janet Yallen will replace him. If Larry Summers would have been the top successor he would likely have decided to taper the bond buying program currently in place by the Fed. Janet Yallen, however, is more likely to continue it.

To the folks on Wall Street this came as a relief yesterday. Thus the rally.

But, and I have said this before, tapering would in fact be a stronger economic development than not tapering. So what's the surprise on the street that the economy is not as strong as anyone thought?

One word. Duh. That is why quantitative easing is currently the position of the Fed. It is because the belief is by the Fed that the economy needs to be artificially propped up. It needs to be stimulated by low interest rates, and the bond buying program helps to accomplish that.

Perhaps I am missing something, but my take is that tapering should actually have the effect on the markets, that quantitative easing continuing seems to have had originally. The markets, and their underlying businesses would have a much better shot at gains and growth if more Americans are working, more Americans are spending, and when consumer confidence shows signs of improving. All of these things are lacking, thus the Fed continues to see quantitative easing as a means to hold things up in the interim. That is inherently a sign that the economy is weaker.

Still, I don't think today's move really means much. I just felt an urge to state the comedy of it. Yesterday the Street jumped for joy that the economy was crappy enough to warrant continuing easing. Today they sold off because they felt the economy was the obvious same level of crappy enough it was yesterday to hurt their investments.

It just leaves me scratching my head is all.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

After the Navy yard shooting, more talk of gun control of course

Of course all of the usual suspects are turning up in droves touting more gun control laws in the aftermath of the latest Navy yard shooting in Washington, D.C. How many times can it be stressed that gun control laws cannot stop these types of events from happening? Whether or not there are laws controlling who gets guns and who does not, those who are seeking guns will find their way to them, and gun control laws only target responsible gun owners.

Take a quick look at Chicago. If ever there was an example of the Wild West that so often gets brought up when anyone talks about concealed carry, for example, there it is. Chicago is among one of the municipalities with very strict gun control laws. Incidentally, so is Washington, D.C. Gun control laws would not stop the black market for guns. In fact, it may even fuel it.

Had more people been armed at the Navy yard I think one thing is clear. There would be less dead, and the gunman likely would have been shot and killed much sooner. If more people had guns they would have a choice other than to run and be shot at. And what about some of those witnesses who said they could see the shooter shooting from a window? If any one of those witnesses had a gun, not only could they have made note that the shooter was there shooting at people. They could have fired a shot at the window and maybe taken the gunman down.

It is fine to wait for the police to arrive and assess the situation. But while this is happening precious time is wasting away, and people are left for dead. Perhaps if the situation were different, and one of these witnesses had a gun the question from the police would not have to be, "Where's the shooter?" but instead could ask, "Where's the shooter's body?"

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Ridiculousness of Offense

When you think of a Mexican, what readily comes to mind is a little brown faced man with a colorful textile over his shoulder, wearing a sombrero and riding a burro. For the record, not all Mexicans have brown skin. Not all Mexicans wear a sombrero. And few Mexicans actually ride a burro. Yet amazingly, you don't hear stories of Mexicans calling for the abolishment of all such depictions.

Because it happens to be ridiculous, and most Mexicans who I have known actually find this to be a bit of a funny look back at their roots.

Just like our roots in the Old West. How many Americans would find it to be offensive to have us depicted as ten gallon hat wearing, gun toting, horse riding outlaws? I could cite many instances of certain stereotypes associated with myriad ethnicities. Slanty-eyed Asians drawn with simple slits for example.

And of course there are the Indians, and the latest target for the perpetually offended, the Washington Redskins.

Roger Goodell recently said in a radio interview that the league needs to be listening to their fans and if even one person is offended, they need to ensure that they are doing the right things to try and address that.

In some ways I can catch Goodell's drift. It's about the league, and the league is about the fans. But the league is also essentially a capitalist enterprise, and capitalism is about what works. Dan Snyder, the owner of the Redskins football team, has said he will never cave to pressure to change the name. And I think what he is really saying is that so long as the majority of Redskins fans continue to go to games, and so longs as the Redskins franchise continues to be an enterprise that makes money and has support of the majority of the team and fans to be called the Redskins, then the name will remain. I am certain that if the books began to show signs of stress, and that stress could be directly tied to the team's name, then he would likely do as any businessman would do and take into account that perhaps the name hurts rather than helps the franchise, and he would take any steps necessary to remedy that.

This does not appear to be the case right now, and all indicators seem to suggest that the majority of fans are not in any way affected by the Redskins name, and nor is the bottom line affected. So why change the name? Why cave to a few people who want it to be changed?

Where Goodell gets it wrong in my opinion is when he suggests that the minority should have the power to impose undue pressure against the majority. This is not to say that he should not be listening, nor that Dan Snyder should cave. But we happen to live in a world where nearly everyone is offended by something, and if you start to listen too much to any one of these individual and minority offenses, you really begin to become muddled in a constant, and ever more confusing process as to how to proceed.

The Redskins should listen. And the league should listen as well. But they should be listening to the loudest voice in the room more closely.

Personally I think the idea that the Redskins name is somehow pejorative toward Indians is way overblown, and out of whack with logical thinking. But that's just my opinion. Nor do I think that selling a taco using a stereotypical depiction of a Mexican is pejorative.

I think the Redskins is a respected brand, certainly to the fans of the team, and so long as that remains true, so should remain the name.

Take products like Aunt Gemima pancake syrup, or Uncle Ben's rice. These could be considered offensive according to some. But again, so long as the consumers of these brands continue to buy and respect the quality of these products, the companies who produce them will continue to keep them on the shelves. If consumers suddenly stop buying the products, of course the companies would have to make an evaluation as to why. If it turned out that it was the name, or the face on the box, certainly they would have to decide to rebrand the product to remain in line with the demand and preferences of the consumer. You don't come to that decision when the vast majority of your customers like your product exactly the way it is. You only do it when the minority becomes the majority and it begins to hurt the brand, and not a minute sooner.