Bob was born in Toronto and began his financial career as a trader on the Toronto Stock Exchange. He relocated to California and became SVP and CFO of a $multi-billion diversified financial entity. He served on the board of many companies in Canada and US. An avid yachtsman, he owns a twin diesel ocean going vessel once featured in Architectural Digest magazine. He maintains a hockey web site. "slapshotreport.com" and currently resides in Sausalito, California.
An article in the March 18 issue of the Toronto Star, a left-leaning publication, got my blood boiling! It is titled “Buying their way to the front of the health-care line.” That is followed, in large bold lettering, by the question, “Should the wealthy be allowed to buy their way to faster health care at private clinics?”
My question to the authors is: Who the hell are you to deny me better health care if I can pay for it?
Uncritical and shallow thinking readers of the Star article will immediately assume the “their” persons referred to in the intros must be bad people. And they will read on to find out how bad they really are, and perhaps learn what they can do to stop them. And stop them they must!
Americans should brace themselves for the coming failure of one of the biggest banks in the country that does not have the word “bank” in its title. And no impressive polished brass safe in the lobby either. Why should Americans care about this bank? Because they own it! And its receivables exceed $1 trillion! How much of those “assets” are actually collectible is a valid question.
This is deja vu all over again. Remember when mortgage lenders required down payments of 20% from home purchasers? Time-tested lending practices assured successful outcomes for lenders and borrowers. Mortgage lenders wisely and correctly knew that home buyers would be less likely to default on their obligations if they had actual “skin in the game” in the form of real cash.
In the final months leading to election day November 8, 2016 the whole world was anticipating Hillary Clinton would be the next POTUS. If you took a poll of people in every one of the 200 or so countries on the planet not one would have predicted a Trump victory. Some folks believe that down deep inside even Donald Trump was reluctantly resigned to defeat.
How does one get to be labeled a pundit? How much expertise is required? The dictionary describes pundit as “an expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called on to give opinions about it to the public.”
They just keep on coming . . . the reasons why The Donald is president-elect. Bill Clinton now goes on record blaming “angry white men” for Hillary’s election loss. Hmmmm.
What about the millions of women who voted for Trump, despite his alleged past transgressions in that certain “department”? Aren’t they angry too? It seems not at Trump. Then who? Could it even be Bill for his past transgressions? Bill leaves them out of his scold for some reason. Doesn’t want to preclude further predatory sexual conquests, I guess.
A few years ago, returning from a few fun days at Santa Catalina Island (a 20 mile voyage from my then home port of San Pedro, California), in mid-channel I noted a blip on my radar screen a few miles ahead off my starboard bow. The “blip’s” observed course was northwest. I scanned the horizon with binoculars and observed what appeared to be a navy ship approximately positioned where the blip was evident. After a few more minutes cruising time the ship was in the exact same position relative to me . . . but much closer. Without the aid of the binoculars I could now easily see the large white numbers on the warship’s port bow. I tuned in to common sea radio Channel 16 to listen for “chatter”. Almost immediately I heard the following message, obviously intended for my attention.
DEFCON is an acronym for “defense readiness condition”. It currently has five levels, the highest number “5” indicating relative calm and the lowest number “1” suggesting nuclear war is imminent. Presumably the next gradation is “Ground Zero”.
Since DEFCON was created in 1959 it has never been designated worse than “3”. That number was invoked on two occasions: (1) Yom Kippur War in 1973 when Egypt and Syria initiated a war against Israel and it was feared the Soviet Union would intervene (sound familiar today?), and (2) an incident at Panmunjom in 1976, decades after the war involving actual hostilities between North and South Korea (1950-1953) had ended.
Hillary Clinton is reprising Lyndon Johnson’s tactic used against Barry Goldwater . . . accuse the opponent of moving the country toward nuclear war. In the 1964 presidential campaign, LBJ employed the now famous “Daisy Girl” ad depicting a child in a meadow picking petals from a flower as a mushroom cloud appears in the background. Similarly, Hillary warns voters that Trump should not be allowed anywhere near the “football” containing the nuclear codes lest he push the button.
Here we are just one month from November 8, voting day in U.S.A., and major bombs are dropping on the electorate to influence voting and bring a merciful end to the political conflict. When will the bombs stop? A history lesson seems appropriate.
In each case, within a month of Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day, May 8, 1945) and the announced date of the Japanese surrender (August 15, 1945), the bombs didn’t cease dropping. They kept on coming until the last moment. And perhaps recorded somewhere are the names of the last combatants killed before peace broke out.
In the Pacific theater the first atomic bomb named “Little Boy” destroyed Hiroshima on August 6th. On August 9th the second atomic bomb named “Fat Man” leveled Nagasaki. Japanese surrender followed just days later.
During Obama’s tenure in the White House the federal government collected $20 trillion in taxes. Oughta be enough to pay for all our stuff, you say! Unh Unh! Not so fast pilgrim!
Over the same period the government spent $29 trillion. Where did it find the extra $9 trillion? We weren’t taxed to fund that additional expenditure because the proletariat would have stormed the barricades surrounding the White House if taxes went up that much, roughly 44%. How would you behave if every regular purchase . . . milk, bread, etc. . . . went up 44%? Torches and pitchforks would be part of every taxpayer’s arsenal.
What happened? Calm down. Easy answer. The federal debt went up by $9 trillion. It’s the same method we all use when we spend more than we bring in, whatever “bring in” means. (see below) Your and my credit cards have limits. Not so the federal government when the trolls we elect get their heads together.
In a recent article carried in Canada Free Press, I labeled my essay “PC= BS”. According to comments, readers agreed that political correctness, particularly as practiced by pols, has exceeded its shelf life and should be relegated to the rusty dumpster out back.
The controversy surrounding Ted Cruz’ speech at the Republican National Convention prods me to revisit PC and pair it with the adage “there are always two sides (at least) to every story”. Without a dog in the fight . . . I can’t vote because I’m a Canadian citizen with legal permanent residency status in the US (legal meaning I didn’t swim across a body of water to get freebies, including a sneaky vote) . . . I can be objective with this piece, even though I pay my taxes in the US.
The genesis for this brief essay is the recent event in Orlando and the attempts to understand how and why it occurred. In the coming days, weeks, months, there will be countless pronouncements on the subject from pundits, beginning at the top (President Obama), all the way down the ladder to bottom rungers like myself. One of us may stumble onto the real answer by chance, or maybe even by logical reasoning.
When you venture beneath the city streets, go through or leap over the turnstile (not recommended . . . a consequence may be a fine, or a broken leg), stroll down the platform to the favored spot where your preferred car will stop, three things can happen. Two are bad. You have a chance to get on the train and reach your destination safely . . . so far so good . . . or you can clumsily fall or be accidentally pushed from the platform and are now reduced to two choices. You are not be able to avoid the oncoming train, its too late, and your ticket has been punched . . . or you jump aside at the last minute, the train passes safely by . . . and you are inadvertently fried by the third rail! The rats will immediately attack! (see below)
There is an almost unanimous consensus among economists worldwide that the most worrisome disease infecting somewhat less than healthy and truly sick economies on almost all continents is low, non, or negative growth. How to correct that situation frustrates and consumes the thinking of political leaders and central bankers everywhere, regardless of which economic school provided the latters’ indoctrination. Pushing on strings has failed. Nothing seems to work. Securities markets are described as boring and directionless. It is like being in jail. You may be minimally fed, clothed, and housed . . . but you’re not going anywhere.
Canada is the second largest country on planet earth . . . and one of the least populated. Density, the number of people per square kilometer, is 3.63, making it 230th out of 244 jurisdictions worldwide. It has long had a policy to increase its meager population. Since WWII, the government paid a “baby bonus” to women to birth children. I had no employer but contributed to the family income as a child. For decades immigration policies have attempted to bring in large numbers of peoples from foreign lands.
The current official stated immigration goal is 285,000 people annually. The government believes it can assimilate that many people, even during a difficult economic climate. Not an easy thing to do. In Canada, like the US, the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force. Officially, the current unemployment rate is 7.1% (2 full points higher than US) . . . but people who have stopped looking for work are not counted in that statistic so the real number is somewhat higher. BTW, the government will never tell you the real number.
Most people recognize the expression “skin in the game” and accept that it means those persons who have something of value at risk have purchased a specific privilege or right deemed worthy of the gamble. Those without “skin in the game”, non-players in effect, are not entitled to the same privilege or right. If you have ever played poker with your buddies you know you are not entitled to be dealt a hand and perhaps rake in a pot or two without having met the requirement to “ante up”.
It is speculated the phrase “skin in the game” draws its origins from William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice in which the antagonist, Shylock, stipulates that the protagonist, Antonio, must promise a pound of his own flesh as collateral, to be exacted by Shylock in the event that Antonio’s friend Bassanio defaults on the loan to which Antonio is guarantor. (Wikipedia)
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