“The poor will always be with you” – Jesus

Ain’t that the truth. I met a couple of homeless people yesterday. They are living in tents beside the Des Moines River. It was 5 degrees last night. The ground is still bare. What’s it going to be like in a week or two? When there’s a foot and a half of snow on the ground? Nearly 10 years ago I felt the need to help brown people “over there”. There are some fantastic groups for that just here in Central Iowa. One is Meals From the Heartland! They bag up rice and beans and send it overseas with very little overhead.

Domestically there are a bunch of good groups. I’m not talking about ones like Red Cross where most of the money goes to offices, overhead and symposiums, I’m talking about ones that meet the need. The can of food. The blanket. The sleeping bag. The propane tank. The pair of boots. Rubber hits the road stuff. The guy I shook hands with yesterday had a pus filled wound oozing from his hand. What about medical treatment? How do you wash when its below 50 degrees?

There are so many classes of poor. The poor “over there” who aren’t living in the richest nation on the globe. The poor here who are barely hanging on but have a roof over their head if not always as much food as they’d like. The poor thrown out of their home but still have family or friends to help out. The poor who have been knocked upside the head by unexpected medical costs. The poor who no longer grasp reality due to a booze or drug problem.

The poor who aren’t in their right mind due to a myriad of mental health problems. As has been brilliantly noted by me before, lack of a “home” is rarely their problem. Its most often just the visible symptom. So where do you give your limited resources? I know a church that devotes its kitchen to providing a meal everyday to people who need it. The organizers seem more interested in recycling uneaten restaurant food then they do in providing a good meal.

Which highlights a problem all of us have: “Are we providing for their need? Or ours? Are we succumbing to our own peccadillos or are we thinking logically? While we are busy “handing out fish“, are we devoting an equal amount of time to “teaching them how to fish“? As mentioned in the paragraph above, one of the organizers of the meals to the needy seems more interested in fulfilling their need to feel good by recycling uneaten food. A prime example is reusing unused baked potatoes from restaurants.

There is nothing worse than using day old baked potatoes in a recipe that calls for fresh. Particularly ridiculous in that example is that a 10 pound bag of potatoes can be had for $5 bucks (if that). That would easily suffice for the amount of people they serve at each meal. Instead they satisfy the fetish of one greenie and serve horribly tasting day old potatoes.

One great example of helping the homeless was from an old movie in the 1940’s. Metropolitan areas would take an old unused warehouse and use it for floor space for cots. Heated, access to a toilet, maybe a shower, safe. The fee was .25 cents (a quarter). For those not familiar with inflation, a 1940 quarter would be worth about $3 bucks today. Not a huge sum by any means. It did require something from the homeless person. The small fee provided for the electricity, water, maybe a staff member to run the place. (500 people at $3 bucks a pop is $1,500 a night. That’s $45,000 a month. Self sustaining.)

We’ve forgotten most of the old ways. The ways that worked. CCC, “missions”, we’ve made the simple act of helping people illegal for the most part. Work requirements, listening to a sermon before help is given, we’ve made philanthropy impossible to give. So now we have people living by the river. We provide tarps and propane tanks. Cold weather sleeping bags. Don’t get me wrong, its important for the guy out there tonight, but is that the long view? Is that Normandy? Is that putting a man on the Moon? Is that the Erie Canal? Is that the Transcontinental Railroad?

Joppa 118 SE 4th Street #120 Des Moines, IA 50309  

(515) 288-5699 Local info@joppa.org

It never ends

Bjorklund, John F.; Bjorklund-79-05-05.JPG; Chicago, Illinois, PC #14 leaving Union Station for Detroit, MI; 1971-04-11; Still Image; 35mm Color Slide; 35 mm; Center for Railroad Photography and Art; Bjorklund-79-05-05.JPG; © 2016, Center for Railroad Photography and Art

[Penn Central Railroad] “Its bankruptcy in 1970 shocked the financial world.” Yeah? How do you figure that Benjamin Graham? I’m nearing the end of The Intelligent Investor by Benny boy there and all I come away with is contempt for American business. He himself describes how Penn hadn’t paid income taxes for 8 years (not having income is a bad thing). He talked about the earnings per share being created out of thin air. That when they bankrupted in 1970 the last legitimate bond had been issued in 1968.

And “the financial world was shocked”? Oh come now. Shareholders were, but nobody on the inside was shocked. They knew. Its all part of the game. Our bought and paid for government came to the rescue in 1976 with this bastard creation known as ‘Conrail’ (Consolidated Rail Corporation), a government funded holding company. Graham couldn’t even be honest there, its a taxpayer funded boondoggle. And the people they bailed out were the owners, not the stockholders.

The shenanigans that have gone on with railroads in this country are criminal. All I know are the crudest of basic concepts, not the finer points of their skullduggery. The way they brought over slave labor from China to build the transcontinental so the barons wouldn’t have to pay real wages. The land taking for nothing. The bribes to insure the railroad went through this town and not the other. The taxpayer funded improvements to the lines. Its just sickening.

And then! When all that wasn’t enough and they drove their monopoly into the ground through mismanagement, the taxpayers bailed them out 1 more time through Conrail! It just never ends.

The Great Divide

That picture for me is the best representation of what I call “the great divide”. The rise of Him (Trump) has caused much consternation in many areas. Sports, Hollywood, families, even within the Republican Party! On the right side of the picture is Trumper Joe Kernen. On the left is Andrew Someone and Becky Whoever. Maybe in the previous groups I listed they are not known to be great thinkers, but business people are supposed to be clear eyed, unemotional thinkers.

Yet Becky and Andrew see the world completely differently from Joe. It all comes down to tariffs. Americans have been conditioned to shriek in horror and drawback at the mere mention of tariffs! When in actuality tariffs have not caused the world as we know it to end. The predicted price spikes just aren’t there. This is in just 3 years. Imagine how obvious it will be if Trump serves another 5? The majority prefers to spout meaningless clichés and have them stand for definitive argument.

They don’t like being challenged by real world testing. I think their business world view on tariffs as bad, coincides perfectly with their political position as liberals. Emotion based. Liberalism is not fact based. An example is how socialism has never worked as advertised anywhere in the world! Yet they are forever trying to make it so! In the same way leaving your markets wide open while your competitors erect tariff barriers, has never led to anything but economic ruin.

When properly applied, tariffs have never not worked.

History is rife with examples of improper tariffs. Farm commodities are a prime example. Sugar tariffs being one of the worst. Congress was simply placating sugar growers 100 years ago when they did it. There was no other reason to apply tariffs than growers wanted to jack up prices. That’s not a legitimate reason. Ditto for oranges, tomatoes, cotton or a host of other commodities. China, India and Brazil are the 3 large, highly tariffed nations. They are exactly the right reason to have equality in tariffs.

Hallmark Channel, Lifetime Wants to Make More Christmas Movies Focused on LGBT Characters

Ha! I saw that Breitbart article this morning and had to laugh. As I brilliantly pointed out years ago, Hallmark doesn’t make Christmas movies! How do people not get this? Semantics? I just don’t get it, “square peg round hole” syndrome, who knows. All I know is that decorating fir trees, talking to Santa and drinking gallons of hot cocoa do not make a Christmas movie (the finer qualities of Lacey Chabert not withstanding).

You’ll see this problem with the use of language on the political pages I hangout on. Democracy vs Republic. It drives some people up the wall. I’m older and understand our society is doomed and there’s nothing you can do about people’s ignorance so let it go. Another misuse of language is referring to your Representative as “Congressman”. Congress is made up of 2 bodies, how can a person be in 2 bodies at once?

One of my all time favorites is the misuse of the words “free trade”. People will say that because Trump wants equality in trade between our nation and our trading partners, that he is somehow against free trade! For the life of me I don’t get it. These people are either stupid or evil, I’m not sure which. When one side has massive tariffs and the other does not, it defies all logic to call that free.

Pearl Harbor

We’re supposed to believe the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise. I don’t see how anyone who has read the evidence can still believe that. Forget radar, forget the intercepted dispatches, forget the political mood that was common knowledge an attack was coming, a man in a guard tower with a set of binoculars could have gone a long way.

Recent historical releases from the 1880’s or so detail the work they were doing with aerial reconnaissance on the coast with hot air balloons. Something like 80 miles with the height and good optics. Flash forward 60 years and the incredible technological advancements of that era, and we’re supposed to believe we were caught unawares?

During the campaign of 1940 while FDR was promising to keep us out of the war, he was secretly ordering bombers and tanks. He’s about the most vile bastard in American history. For the life of me I can’t figure out why Americans are so gullible.

If every choice is the wrong one…

YouTube has allowed me to verbalize what I inherently knew, we’ve been betrayed. Its not just me. People younger than me look at these videos from the 40s, 50s and 60s and they simply cannot believe what life was like back then. Before infrastructure was crumbling, jobs had disappeared and there was a permanent underclass living on the streets.

The greatest nation in the world didn’t just fall, it was pushed. In 150 short years we had outpaced nations that had been in existence a thousand years. We beat them economically, we beat them militarily, we beat them culturally, we beat them like a rug. How does a nation like that fall in just 60 years? In just one lifetime?

The last Secretary of War James Forrestal said to the effect, when every single decision is wrong, its not stupidity, its by design. In these old videos, even if you didn’t know that it was America’s industrial power that won the war, you can see it for yourself. The factories and the things we made only 2 generations ago is just unbelievable.

Even if the people watching these videos couldn’t tell you this, they instinctively know that a service economy doesn’t create wealth. It just shuffles it around. The wealth of a nation is increased by manufacturing goods using the raw materials of the earth. Manufacturing wasn’t moved overseas because it was too expensive here, the corporate decision was made to say to hell with America, our goal is simply to increase profits. And it wasn’t to the shareholder.

Its the same way the decision was made to quit paying dividends to shareholders decades ago. People today have no idea reputable stocks used to pay 4%, 5% or even 6% dividends. All that money is simply being pocketed now. Like when they moved production overseas and were paying pennies on the dollar for labor costs, did the cost of the product go down? No! Executive compensation simply went up!

They didn’t enrich the shareholder, they didn’t enrich America, they only enriched themselves.

Skid row

I remember hearing about LA’s ‘skid row’ as a kid back in the 60s. The picture in my mind was grizzled WW II vets down on their luck, flannel shirts with their sleeves rolled up. Khaki pants and an olive drab ball cap. Grifting for every meal and a pack of ‘smokes’. I thought it kind of odd you’d have a place “designated” for the down and out. But what did I know, I was just a kid.

Flash forward 50 years. 2019. Its worse. Way worse. Downtown. Outside of town. All over town. Its worse. YouTube has some fascinating footage from way back. I first found it with film footage of New York City from around 1910, 1902, 1915. Fascinating! Not stiff photos, actual film. People from over a hundred years ago, smiling, walking, laughing, photo bombing the camera! It is simply wonderful to see a part of these people’s lives who are long since dead.

Then I discovered the footage from Los Angeles. The 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. People driving in and around LA with a home movie camera. You see the people, the stores, the cars, the parks, the homes, the shops, the factories! Ah the factories. Up through the 1960s LA had huge Ford and GM plants. What do you suppose comes with factory jobs?

Good wages. A good tax base for city government. Home building. Well funded schools. Stores to sell goods to those “factory guys”. Cafeterias, auto shops, clothing stores, shoe stores, toy stores and on and on. What else do you see in those “old” films? Happy people, well dressed people, healthy, contented, productive people. Clean streets, tidy neighborhoods. Heaven.

What do you see now? Like in the video above? Tent cities. People using sidewalks for their bathroom. People on the eve of destruction. No jobs. Their lives bottomed out by drug or alcohol abuse. No hope. The pit of despair. But they did ban straws. They did declare themselves “sanctuary cities” so they could hold on to their criminal aliens and not let mean old Trump deport them.

What do you suppose happened to the tax base? The tax base that was the strongest in the world just 50 years ago? How did all this happen in just 1 lifetime? What kind of “leaders”, city, state and federal, could take the greatest nation on earth, and make it look like 3rd world Haiti? Why 1 stone is still standing in DC is beyond me.

“Typhoid scare grips Skid Row.”

This stuff is obvious

Its the year 2019 and the only thing that stands between civilization and savagery is a Narwhal tusk and a fire extinguisher. These countries invite savages in to prey upon the citizenry and the citizens have to make do with rocks and sticks to defend themselves?? I don’t see how the UK survives.

Our government lets Mexico invade this country the past 50 years. People just blindly accept the murder and mayhem that goes with an unsecure border. The flood of drugs and gang members. Its nuts. Why people aren’t remodeling the Capitol is beyond me. The Democrats can’t beat Trump at the ballot box so they think they can remove him through impeachment.

He is stealing from the shareholders

CNBC hasn’t been on my TV for months, close to a year. I am quickly remembering why. They are too political. They are too elitist. And they worship at the Altar of Buffet. God that man is despicable. A good CEO is interested in making the shareholders rich, a benefit of that is making himself rich. Warren Buffet has made himself rich. Every year he flits in and out of the Richest Man in America spot. What does that tell you? Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t pay dividends. Except to Buffet. Get a clue.

Say Buffet is worth around $450 billion. What if he had been satisfied with around $50 billion net worth? What if that $400 billion had been plowed back into shareholder dividends? Can you even begin to imagine what that would have done to the price of shares? The idea of getting truly phenomenal returns? Berkshire Hathaway shares would have been in the stratosphere! He actually would have ended up richer if he’d done what was right.

Seeing your financial future

Many people walked into the global financial crash of 2008 with way too much exposure to the stock market considering their proximity to retirement. I would like nothing better than to punch in the nose those “financial advisors” and union leaders who do not do a better job of advising their people. This stuff is so basic. “Buy low, sell high”, and do not get within 5 years of retirement with the same exposure you had when you were 10, 15 and 20 years out.

What brought this to mind was the market (the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard and Poor’s 500) being at all time record highs. You can find all kinds of historical data that reinforces why a wise person notes times like these. Stats like 50% of the gains in the market occurred on just 33 days (rough example). What they’re trying to show you is that no one knows when the big gains are coming.

Its a matter of wait, wait, wait, wait, boom! Now that we have a 100 year track record to look back on, you can spot certain trends. The 1980’s and 1990’s were probably the biggest boom period stocks have ever seen. Yet people were still caught by the crash of 2000. There should have been some serious profit taking during that 20 year boom. Conversely, the next biggest 2 decade period was the 1920’s and 1930’s. Part of that period was during the “Great Depression”, when stocks were supposed to be “bad”. Ha.

The people who engineered the crash knew exactly what they were doing. In the late 1920’s when everyone was buying high, they stayed out. Waiting for the period after the crash, when everyone else was afraid to buy low. There’s a true story of a secretary who eventually bought a Washington luxury hotel, because after the crash of 1929, she started buying stocks like crazy! (Sylvia Bloom)

Doing the opposite of what the majority of people are doing will rarely harm you when it comes to money. That’s because the people in the know are counting on the “herd effect” in order to fleece the flock. They’re sharks, we’re not. If you understand that you can benefit. Not as well as them, clearly, but you can still benefit. There’s going to be a time to plow money into the market, this ain’t that time.

2019 is coming off a 23% gain. Only 27 times in the past 100 years has the market earned more than 20% in a year. Only 21 times has it earned more than 10%. Now is not the time to buy. The DOW is at 28,100. The S&P 500 is at 3,140. Now this spring or this summer, if they succeed in bringing on a recession to get rid of Trump, that will be the time to buy. When the DOW is at 23,000 and the S&P is around 2,600.

Gold is up $2.50 ($12 to $14.50) in just 14 months. Its okay to be dollar cost averaging into gold, but not to be buying a single big position in it. But if you are within 1 – 3 years of retirement, it is definitely a good time to be dollar cost averaging out of the market, and into something like gold. As soon as the Fed quits pumping trillions into the market, things are going to bottom out. Save your money, wait.

Experts put the day of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 as October 29. The day to buy was October 30th.

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