7/23/16 – what this election means to me

It has been 7 months and one week since my last post on this blog. Last week’s GOP Convention however brought me out of my reverie…it is NOT political as I have no love for either party and promise to do this again after the Dem’s have their confab.

Trader Bill

Old Folger’s Coffee ad: “as coffee merchant, John Arbuckle would say, “you get what you pay (vote) for” – or not!

Not long ago, my wife, Mb, had a thought due to some of the weird things Trump was doing: maybe he WANTS to LOSE this election? Could it be that since he didn’t think he had a chance it is now weighing on him of how long he will be out of commission, tied down to the Trump White House in D.C.?

At first, I thought naw, that is absurd with his monstrous ego that needs constant attention. But the more I thought about it and after watching  Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s…er…Trumps for three nights of ‘how not to run a convention, it dawned on me: he accomplished what he set out to do…and more. Odds of election for him are now at 20% but consider:
1. his oldest son declared him the candidate from New York; also gave a speech. Sat with Gingrich smiling on Tuesday night; sat stone-faced while brother Eric spoke Wednesday night (wonder what Pop thought about that?),
2. Eric, as mentioned above gave a speech on what a great dad he was,
3. Ivanka gave a rousing speech, billed as the best of the convention…on what a great dad he was; went to see him at construction sites! Woo Hoo!
But what did we learn? That most likely they had the same speechwriter (the one who plagiarized Melania’s speech – note no apology for saying “I wrote this myself'” – kind of like Trump on Art of the Deal (by the way his ‘co-author’ has denounced him!
The only thing we learned in the entire Trump Convention…sorry, GOP Convention, came from an unlikely source: Ted Cruz (Joe McCarthy reincarnated)…you didn’t think I would say from The Donald did you? PolitiFact ripped him to shreds on his ‘factoids’. No it was when Cruz failed to endorse him, but not to worry, The Newt took care of that saying Cruz left out of his speech that he endorsed Trump…a new low: putting words in one’s mouth for not saying what was written in a vetted speech. Oh, but it gets better: Cruz said he didn’t because, “this is personal”. Now we might have been proud of Sir Ted for this if it wasn’t that he was posturing for the 2020 election…as all the other former opponents who ‘appeared’ to have become Trump minions.
A special place for Gov. Pence. He showed just how humble a Rep/Sen/Gov can be…nearly crawling on the floor uttering words that only a political lackey could do (nevermind the media praise on an excellent speech…nevermind because it wasn’t. It was all that the electorate is tired of: promises….followed by that “you love me, don’t you?” smile. Don’t forget he is against open marriage (oh oh, opposition to Trump AND the GOP who wanted that in the platform but Trump and Co. toned it down. The rest was pure Trump…elect him and we get the Wall as Trump predicted BUT Mexico ain’t gonna pay for it.
Then there was The Donald who had to make his presence known each and every night from that backlit one of him as he came out to greet Malania following her ‘plagarization’ speech.
But to prove the GOP has a big tent….huuuuuggggeeee in fact…they had Duck Dynasty, a kick boxer, and oh so many low-life’s made …well…bigger than LIFE! It was a show to remember: Produced by Donald Trump, Directed by his team (there is no ‘i’ in team but Trump proposes changing the word to ‘i-team’ or ‘me-team’ so there still will be no ‘i’.
Okay, now that I have covered why Trump wants to win on to Hillary. What??? She wants to lose? No, but she has tried awfully hard. On every challenge her mantra is deny, say okay but just a little, let it drag on for months, and never admit that the original rumor was true (for the record, as proven by the GOP Benghazi Report, she was NOT responsible – that friends falls on the military and Ambassador Stevens who was warned by the military not to go to Benghazi but he felt he had to wave the flag (for a last time?). But again she lied…just like Susan Rice did being briefed hours before having to appear on the Sunday talk shows. Of course, the other issue with Hillary is the one that the laws don’t apply to ‘us’ which has happened again and again, and make no mistake about it, the missing appointments in her books and records, and the amazing (a Trump superlative) support for the Clinton Foundation of which Chelsea is Chairman (by the way the rumors of her 900k salary by Politico are false and proven by the financials and tax records…you know the things Trump refuses to release).
Ahem…now to get back on point: Hillary wants to WIN…BILL WANTS HER TO LOSE! What???
Think about it: what kind of politician would meet with the AG on her own plane simply due to a coincidence landing at the same time in Phoenix while an investigation is going on? Only a very stupid one…and Bill is not stupid.
But the one that gave me this theory was his coming out a day before Hillary chose her running mate (Tim Kaine, Gov. Virginia), and saying ‘if the choice was up to me, my pick would be…Tim Kaine). So…less than 48 hours later Hillary names her man…drumroll please…Tim Kaine. Once again proving to Clinton haters that Bill wears the pants in the family…Hillary wears the pantsuits!
Has it occurred to Bill who will be 70 on August 14th, is not fond of the idea of being the first ‘first man’, but more importantly being under full scrutiny by the media and smothered by Secret Service agencies for at least the next four years…and ‘possibly’ the next eight? Bill ain’t that kind of guy so something must be done…but while offering full support (and knowledge) to his wife. Voila! He found it…prove that HE, not Hillary, will be president…don’t you remember during the scandal (the first one), his remark, “you get two for the price of one”? But that was with her being the junior…not him. If she gets sick, will he sit in for her at cabinet meetings and security briefings as proxy?
While long, I hope that was unbiased as I intended it and to those readers who stuck with me to the ‘bitter end’ (which in Naval terms means, the end of the rope…er ‘line’), I do solemnly swear to uphold my pledge (not both of these candidates have already violated the one to support the Constitutioin), of a castration…er…synopsis of the Dem Convention. But I do offer this suggestion to the Democrats: put levity (as I have attempted here), into the convention, be self-deprecating (can a Clinton do that? Is it part of their genetic code?), and do not mention the name TRUMP. Don’t say a word about them…don’t give them prime air time, instead focus on what your party will do for America. Avoid negativity, and make them love…or at least like…the party. Don’t let it be as Don Merideth used to sing on Monday Night Football: “the party’s over…”

If you are still with me, my humblest apologies, but as ribald comedienne Belle Barthe would say: if I embarrass you, tell  your friends! Joan Rivers would say similar but in four letter words.
Trader Bill 

 

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2/15/16…You picked a fine time to leave us, Scalia…and to roil the markets further!

(UPDATE: My prediction yesterday that the stock market would tank due to the inability to get anything done with an even number of  Supreme Court justices half one way and half another…was in a word: WRONG!…does that mean that Wall Street is welcoming more gridlock? Could be…after all they have everything to gain.)

…with apologies to Kenny Rogers, and the late Justice Scalia. Of course, he had no way of knowing he was going to die…especially after two scathing dissents just last week. Was he upset enough about them that he endangered himself?
I mean no disrespect to this jurist, even though I disagreed with many of his rulings and his ‘strict constructionist’ approach to Constitutional Law. Sadly, the GOP saw it differently, even though he was on ‘their’ (read extreme conservative) side, the candidates and the unstoppable Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, just couldn’t help themselves.

It is for this reason that I believe the markets will suffer badly tomorrow (Tuesday), as it adds to the uncertainties that are already shaking its foundations. What about a bounce? We are in danger of going into a secular bear market following a secular bull market within a bear market. Despite the magnitude of the financial crisis, this is the fastest recovery eve…and that should concern you because it usually takes 7-10 years to do that and we started the recovery a year later! Think about it…we are on borrowed time.

Here are my objections:
1. First, McConnell opened his yap as soon as he heard of his death saying no nominee will be approved…or disapproved, meaning the old stalemate is still in play, in this term or until a new President is elected;
2. Unstoppable Senator and would-be presidential nominee, Ted Cruz, said that there is precedent for the President to not make an appointment in an election year, and if he did for the Senate to refuse to act…really? It has happened just ONCE before and that is not a precedent.
3. Senator Mark Rubio said that there is a ‘pattern’ of President’s not making appointments in their last ten months (is that a coincidence or did he just make it up); Rubio needs to read the Constitution on the rule of advise and consent.
It is insulting to use the death of a Supreme Court Justice for their own personal gain…and to say that ‘no matter’ who Obama nominates, there will be no up or down vote. Isn’t that like, I’m going to take my bike and go home? It is they who are denying the Constitutional right of the President to make appointments, but the key is in the language the GOP is using, and it is not good for America.
If the GOP has its way, and there is no reason they shouldn’t succeed, we will have a vacancy in the 2017 term for much of it, especially if a Democrat is in the Oval Office. A 4-4 decision is worthless, and think of all those extremists state governments (dare I say Texas?) that will pass all kinds of laws that won’t be able to be repealed until at least 2018! Well done, GOP, well done!
I, for one am frankly appalled at the near 40 attempts to destroy the ACA and the push by ALL GOP candidates for prohibiting ANY abortion. Of course, this will only apply to the poor who can’t afford another child (shades of the Catholic Church’s reasoning: to increase the number of Catholics…but at least they did some good). Rape or incest or anything else, including the health of the mother are not to be considered. But there is one thing…one major thing…these brilliant people who have no regard for science…have forgotten: you can make a woman have a baby…but you CANNOT make her take care of it. Therefore, it becomes the obligation of the government to do just that. So let’s do that and increase the number of people in poverty…already at least one in three children are living at the poverty level. Is this what you want for a legacy?
Think about this: we elect a president for four years…only in the first, and maybe the second (althought Obama didn’t even get that), they can get something done…as important as the ACA was, Obama used up all of his political capital on it and it is a flawed piece of legislation that could have been good and like many other countries if he hadn’t caved to the pHarma lobby for support and the GOP hadn’t insisted on preserving ‘states rights’ (sic) by insurers only being chartered by states. But even if flawed, don’t fall for the GOP trick of ‘repeal and replace’ because it will never get replaced…America loses.
This term for the Supreme Court has just about run out and now it is split 4-4, and if there is a swing vote it will be Chief Justice John Roberts, who Cruz admits he voted for but only to support his president? This man is sick and frankly reminds TB of ‘Tailgunner Joe’ McCarthy! He scares me almost as much as Trump. I say, almost as much because with Trump you don’t have a clue what he will do next: boots on the ground…banning Muslims from travel…perhaps banning the Muslim religion…telling lies and when confronted just keep repeating them till you wear them down. He still hasn’t backed down from his statement about Muslim’s cheering on 9/11. While I am not impressed with the Dems (I was a lifelong GOP’er until McCain chose Palin…and what did that get him?
The party likes to say that all are welcome to run as they have a ‘very wide tent.’ Really? Then why doesn’t anyone break ranks and give a damn about the American people they are sworn to serve.
Back to Cruz…he has played down that his wife is a Managing Director of Goldman Sachs…and has taken a leave to ‘help with his campaign’. He conveniently forgot two half million dollar loans, one from Goldman and the other from Morgan Stanley…a violation of campaign laws. But before we get too critical of him, what about Hillary’s $600,000 payment from Goldman for three speeches? First, she won’t release transcripts of the speeches (boring!), but more importantly she told Chuck Todd on MTP a week ago that while she has accepted donations from the big banks (after all they were in her state when she was a Senator and suffered terribly after 9/11,,,pullease!!!). She went on to say that “you have to be able to tell the good players from the bad players” – really??? Then how come you couldn’t even identify Goldman as a bad player….weren’t you there watching Sen. Carl Levin skewer Lloyd Blankfein (both graduated first in class at Harvard Law a year apart – but to watch Blankfein you had to wonder if he went to college anywhere?
Believe it or not, despite Bernie’s leftist views, he might be the best choice since some people who have been polled say they like EITHER Trump or Sanders??? But Bernie, unlike Obama, knows how to work his way around Congress…would he succeed? All I know is he is a true believer…
I have to admit a fondness of sorts for John Kasich…at least when he talks he makes sense…just wish he would stop with the theatrical gestures.
In closing, I will bring up a proposal I jumped on board with decades ago: a ONE TERM, SIX-YEAR PRESIDENCY…same as a Senator only no second chances and frankly that is what the founding fathers that the GOP loves to talk about wanted: Representatives who would come to Washington for two years and carry the message of their constituents, then go home and be back among them; and more importantly that six year term for Senators…staggered for continuity and thus no need for people to make a career in Washington. Would have loved to hear Justice Scalia tell me his views on this.

Don’t take any wooden nickles!

TB

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2/5/16…my introduction to ETF’s

(Note: I originally wrote this for a post on seekingalpha.com, but it wasn’t submitted and it is probably better suited to this venue. The follow-ups hopefully will be posted there.)

In the beginning, there were no ETF’s…there was no indexing. Then along came the Efficient Markets Hypothesis, aka the Random Walk, and modern portfolio theory was on its way. That led to many events both good and bad due to faulty constraints and conditions, and misinterpreting the theory.
The worst case of it and most public was by a Nobel Laureate of all things who played a major role in the development of the theory, Myron Scholes. That involved the formation and collapse of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM). LTCM was headed by John Merriwether, who had been a professor and left to run the risk-arbitrage desk at Salomon Brothers. After being involved in a scandal of fixing ‘non-competitive’ bids in U.S. treasury auctions, he decided to use his options theory and start what at the time became the biggest trading company of all time. The firm had a load of PhD’s, including Merriwether, two Nobel Laureates, Robert C. Merton and Myron Scholes, who were the experts in options theory. It’s collapse in September 1998, was the biggest in history and threatened the entire financial system . In the long lead up to the collapse, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, the ‘maestro’ took a laissez faire approach as he did with a total of three crises on his watch. However, just after he was appointed in 1987, came the dotcom bust, which he handled brilliantly. His explanation for doing nothing in the others was that you don’t know you are in a bubble until it busts. That from the Fed Chairman. Myron Scholes was dumbfounded at what went wrong, and reportedly Merton said to him, “Myron, it’s just a theory.” That is exactly what the Efficient Markets Hypotheses is.
Among the faulty assumptions in the Random Walk Hypothesis are: 1. All information on a stock is known by all market participants, therefore the price of a stock at any time is the equilibrium price; 2. There are no short trades; why did it take so long for ‘geniuses’ to realize there are faulty assumptions?
It is the very assumptions in the Random Walk Hypothesis that gave an impetus to portfolio indexing and ultimately to ETF’s. Professor William F. Sharpe, PhD, and now emeritus at Stanford University, began consulting with Wells Fargo Investment Advisors in the 1980’s. In 1986, the management was hired away by a New York bank setting up an investment operation in San Francisco. Wells hired a colleague of mine Frederick Grauer, PhD (and only one of two Phi Beta Kappa’s I have ever run across int the investment business), at Merrill Lynch. He was promised a significant bonus if he could simply maintain the assets at their current level plus more if he could grow the assets, which he did. Grauer was the most brilliant person I have ever met in 43 years of investment experience. At Merrill, we figured he would be there for a year and then come back to mother Merrill. How wrong we were.
The first thing he did was to create what I believe was the first index fund in a bank (the prior management had done a lot with beta’s). I know this because I set up the first account for him at Merrill Lynch to use U.S. Treasury Bills as a way to ‘park ‘ funds until securities were purchased. Rather than a sales force, he made the heads of five different divisions the sales force and with his knowledge of how to present a case they were all very successful. He pioneered the use of this method as a way of adding value during the month, but always back in the market by month-end, something many indexers do today (a perfect example is what happened on last Friday’s month-end which culminated in a sharp rally in the final half hour of trading with large volume on the close).
Grauer hired an executive secretary, Patricia Dunn, who he mentored and who would eventually head up WFIA when Grauer retired. She was college educated and a quick study (not just a secretary as Carly Fiorina would say who started the same way and who Dunn would eventually replace as CEO at Hewlett-Packard).
When WFC sold the fund management group to Barclays Global, Dunn became CEO and came up with the idea of the ETF. Products similar to ETF’s had been attempted in the early 1990’s but were eventually abandoned, but Dunn came up with a way to resurrect them in the form of an ETF which she developed (I verified this with Grauer, who said the idea was all hers). Using sales techniques that had been designed by Grauer, a force of institutional salesmen was formed in 2000 to educate investment managers on the use of ETF as a tool in portfolio management. ETf’s were off and running!
As head of the fixed income department at a San Francisco investment advisor, one of my colleagues handed me a notice he had received on the new fixed income ETF’s which I was unaware of but called them. They were under the name iShares and I arranged a meeting with a representative and was sold on it right then. Later, I was invited to participate in a focus group on them and found that already some managers were using them for 100% ETF portfolios.
The attraction for small advisors was cost. Less money and resources spent on research and much lower transaction costs to develop a portfolio. Larger advisors, like mine, balked at the idea as they felt they were paid to ‘manage the assets’. While I tried to convince them otherwise, it was futile. I finally gave up and started my own company…one man, and made good use of ETF’s.

Part Two will cover how ETF’s work and what caused the rapid growth of them and eventually resulted in such broad acceptance that roboadvisors came into being many of them making use of them. Of course with every new product, abuses occur and funds are created which are not suitable for investment accounts.

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2/2/16…what are the markets telling us?

Markets don’t lie…unlike politicians, especially those seeking the presidency. Since November 3rd, the market has struggled to hold its ground and then fell going into yearend. From their it has been down and downer. Both the indices and many individual stocks (mainly financials), have seen repeated opening gaps…almost all to the downside and with no meaningful bounce…not even a dead cat bounce (a 50% retracement).

Ah, but last Friday was different you say…no it was not, it just appeared that way. Virtually every index and most well-traded stocks rallied with a big burst in the final half hour of trading, both in volume and price, with huge volume and price jumps at the closing bell.

What does TB attribute it too? Nothing…absolutely nothing…fundamental that is! What it was was monthend following a disastrous start to the year (as January goes, so goes the market is the old saw and it pretty much happened that way last year. I was making comments to articles on Seeking Alpha, where I have penned four so far and have submitted another one on ETF’s. I warned to not put in any orders at the open on Monday or to even trade on Monday, and was proven correct. This downtrend is not over yet.

It is too early to call as to whether we are going from a bull market in a secular bear market that goes back to 2008, and is one of the longest running bulls ever. P/E’s weren’t sending out warning signals but they were at pretty high historic levels…and still are.

Stay away until the smoke clears…go have coffee, a glass of wine, or a shot right out of the Makers Mark bottle…it’s your call.

Good luck, all!

TB

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1/11/16…have you been to Seeking Alpha?

TB has had three articles published on Seeking Alpha (www.seekingalpha.com). They are all under his name and include reader comments. I suggest you take a look at it is an excellent website.

The three articles are:

12/7/15: Bank Of America: A By-The-Numbers Performance Analysis

12/14/15: U.S. Banks: How Will The Banks Perform With A Rate Increase …

12/19/15: Fannie And Freddie Both Need To Stay ‘In’, Or The Housing Market Will be Out…

1/6/16: Bank Of America – A Numbers Comparison To Other Banks Part II…

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10/30/15 …God Bless America – PLEASE!

Years ago, TB was fed up with Congress (think it was about the time they shut down the government the first time, when The Newt was Speaker of House). He noted that in some states the legislature only meets every other year but the Governor can call a special session in the off year but only for specifically named issues.

Thinking about it, TB wondered if a state can have government every other year, perhaps we should try that with Congress, AND if that worked out maybe eliminate Congress altogether. Silly thought, no? NO!!! But TB now wants to add the presidency to the proposal…and don’t forget the Supreme Court that brought us the Citizens United decision…splendid!

Speaking of Citizens United, which fully empowered the Koch brothers, who own more Congressmen…not to mention local politicians thanks to the Superpac that spreads crap and prevents those running for office from getting their pitch on TV. Before you say that the decision was strongly for, note that former Justice Sandra Day O’Conner (you do recall she was a Reagan appointee), was appalled by it. Imagine a corporation as an individual…you can’t send a corporation to jail, and if youi fine them as AG Eric Holder did (recall he said he couldn’t sleep at night considering what would happen to those poor investors if their senior officers went to jail?), putting shareholders in double jeopardy after seeing share prices fall and then having to pay the miscreants fines!

But guess who is scared now? Besides you and me! The Koch’s because The Donald is a loose cannon who has stated he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy…never mind that he doesn’t know what he is talking about, and makes you wonder about the people who admire him for saying what he thinks, which he does…but that isn’t necessarily what the ‘thought’ in the past, or even yesterday. Frankly, Trump is a narcissist and egocentrist. He avoided the draft, and brags that the money he is spending is all his…good, Donald…keep spending because you still won’t be president. You’re fired!

Don’t know what to think about Ben Carson except his concept of economics has no resemblance to reality…and you nearly fall asleep when he speaks; then there is Sen. Ted Cruz…what a guy…even after Boehner got the debt ceiling raised in the House, he pledged he would filibuster…guess his kidneys are weak because the Senate also passed it…along with a budget resolution. Note to Hillary: it doesn’t take a village…just for the House Speaker to resign…his last task was his best. Sen. Mark Rubio comes across well but again…what does he stand for…Jeb Bush likewise. Whose left? Ah, Carly. master at keeping the lie alive.

Ms. Fiorina says that Tom Perkins who was on her board and called for her ouster at HP, now says she was the greatest CEO. Huh? About that she is right: Perkins took out a full page ad in the WSJ? or the NYT, whatever saying just that. Now let’s dig deeper: Tom also contributed $25,000 to her campaign which to him is about the same as a Starbucks Coffee. Wait a minute, didn’t JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs, contribute to Obama?…and Romney? You betcha, just a matter of amounts. Carly also has an inability to admit when she is wrong…like the ‘film’ that only she saw a fetus squirming in after an abortion while the docs decided where the brain should go..so even when the mother came out and said it was still-born. Now that’s Chuzpah – the same thing the destroyed her in her ill-advised run against Sen. Boxer.

But here’s the worst thing about Carly: first she said that as soon as she is elected she will “scrap the tax code”. Please remember that only Congress can do that and who do you think keeps making the tax code longer? Special interest groups, duh! Then she said she wanted it so you could file your return on a postcard…hey, didn’t the Gipper say that 35 years ago and in the meantime the returns have become more complex. There is only one phrase that describes this: pandering to the people. It is an insult. By the way, a friends ex-boss was appointed by Reagan to head the IRS. He was excited about all the changes he wanted to make, and he was a partner in a Big 8 CPA firm. He quit in disgust a year later failing to get any changes made…and he isn’t the first.

Huckabee…not unless you are a born-again. This leaves John Kasich…who does understand government budgets and spending…yes he does…but when he punctuates every statement jabbing his forefinger at you, it gets tiring and offends a lot of his potential voters. Wonder if that is how he would do a SOTU speech? Hopefully not.

Ok, to the Dems…Bernie Sanders can sure stir up the pot but he isn’t election material…scratch him. Hillary is OWNED by Wall Street so we will get more of the same…TB says this because while Obama said he respected Volcker he listened instead to Clinton cronies, Summers, Emanuel, and Daley…what a guy! If TB was Volcker he would have sued to have his name removed from the ‘Volcker Rule’ – make it the Obama Rule instead. it is a sham.

Now let’s go back to the 2000 election…Bush, aka Dubya was the pick of the GOP…but they needed someone with experience…so who did they choose to add ‘gravitas’? Dick Cheney, who along with Rumsfeld convinced Bush to go to war against Saddam in something only Don Quixote could appreciate. By they way, Bush 41 tried to advise his son to stay away from the neo-cons having dealt them in the Reagan administration. His son hung up on him! On the ruse of getting Osama Bin Laden we went into Afghanistan…we were going to be out as soon as we caught him…but he had already fled and we’re still there in what along with Iraq are the two longest wars in U.S. history. We succeeded in destroying the balance of power for the first time since the Brits did it a hundred years earlier, and now WE, the people and the world are paying for it.

That little (?) segue brings us to Hillary who the GOP is doing their best to get elected to the Oval Office by harping on Benghazi even when they and we know, ad nauseum, that the Ambassador went to Benghazi despite being warned not to go…got it? Now forget it! If the GOP looses to Hillary this will be the root cause…and it won’t help the American people.

Hillary is smart and fully competent for the job, it’s just that the Clinton’s believe everything can be fudged when it comes to them. That is why I was so disappointed to see Biden decide not to run. Because if he had, and if he chose Elizabeth Warren as his running mate, we might actually get something done against Wall Street. He isn’t a genius but he has gravitas and common sense and an ability to work with Congress while Warren cut her teeth on Jamie Dimon and the rest of Wall Street and is hurting them so bad in the Senate that I bet Dimon wishes he had let her head up the consumer protection commission.

America is supposed to be for the people and when we are told that the Constitution is a sacred document that must be upheld, they just don’t get it. It was written for the mind of fifth grade education and made to be FLEXIBLE. Imagine if we had made the changes that would have prevented anchor babies, and so many other things that we squabble about today but nobody does anything about.

You know why TB admires Abraham Lincoln? Because he said if keeping slavery would hold the nation together he would be for it, and if abolishing it would he would do that. THEN, after the war he showed his brilliance even more by the Emancapation Proclamation that shouldn’t have even been necessary if we had done what we said in the Declaration of Independence: that ALL men are created equal …and that should have extended to women.

We are a nation in decline, we don’t respect others – or ourselves. People died for this country…for this? Tom Brokaw was right: our parents and grandparents were the greatest generation…hang your heads in shame with me…we are a part of the problem. Why? Because OUR parents didn’t want us to suffer the hardships that they did…now what have we got.

A disgruntled American,

TB

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10/13/15 …how big should a brewery be?

Certainly, not so big that it dwarfs all competitors! SABMiller and AmBev are already the two largest in the world. SAB’s portfolio includes Miller, Stella Artois, Peroni and more…they recently bought a 50% interest in Lagunitas…will it go the way of Sam Adams? Probably, if they do the same and boost production…Lagunitas isn’t even a micro brewery anymore, and it shows.

Lots of talk about a monopoly…DUH!!! It will be left up to the EU to decide…and since SAB is paying $106 BILLION for AmBev, and get this…if it is deemed a monopoly, AmBev will collect a $3 billion termination fee. To TB, this implies that the fix is in! Either that or SAB is downright stupid! Most likely, they will be fined and on their way. Is this a great world, or what?

…OR WHAT!!!

TB

Note: TB is writing this at the request of a reader who noted it has been more than six months (9 actually!), since a blog was written here. He requested that I not do all the daily research and just write when something interests me. Sounds like a splendid idea. My new vocation…writing http://www.traderbillonwine.com is more fun and hopefully will turn into a book, and TB will be famous and rich!!! Hey, if Roxie Hart in Chicago, but without the murder!

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