So, About The Trump Market

Since Presdient Trump got into office he and his minions have been spouting off at how great the markets are doing under his presidency. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Each and every president inherits (among other things) the economy of their predecesor. Along with the economy, they also start their administration under the final budget of the previous president. The new fiscal year doesn’t start until October 1st of the year after their election. That is, for ANY president, the budget and economy don’t really reflect their fiscal policies until about a year after they take office. In the case of President Trump, that’s January 2018, for Obama it was January 2010, for Bush II, January 2002, etc.

Many people view the markets as a proxy for the state of the economy, and President Trump and his supporters definitely take that view. I’ve heard many, Many, MANY times from them something along the lines of “… the economy is going gangbusters, just look at the stock market!”.

So, let’s do just that.

You’ll find below a series of images. Each is a graph of the stock market from January 1st of the first year of a president’s economy (see discussion about fiscal year, etc. above) to December 31st of the last year of a president’s economy. The images are presented in reverse chronological order for the presidencies of Trump (January 2018 – present), Obama, Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan.

Trump

20180101 - Present Trump Market

  • Open: 24809
  • Close: 24456
  • -1%

Obama

20100101 - 20180101 Obama Market

  • Open: 10430
  • Close: 24719
  • +137%

Bush II

20020101 - 20100101 Bush II Market

  • Open: 10021
  • Close: 10428
  • +4%

Clinton

19940101 - 20020101 Clinton Market

  • Open: 3754
  • Close: 10021
  • +167%

Bush I

19900101 - 19940101 Bush I Market

  • Open: 2748
  • Close: 3754
  • +37%

Reagan

19820101 - 19900101 Reagan Market

  • Open: 1277
  • Close: 2753
  • +116%

Apples To Apples

So, comparing apples to apples, we’ll look only at the percentage increase or decrease under each president (with Trump through 6/22/2018).

  • Trump: -1%
  • Obama: +137%
  • Bush II: +4%
  • Clinton: +167%
  • Bush I: +37%
  • Reagan: +116%

What does this mean? Well, at least up until this point, it means that President Trump has been bragging on the economy of the end of Obama’s presidency… because his own economy is nothing to brag about. In fact, something interesting happens if you sort these by percentage (decending):

  • Clinton: +167%
  • Obama: +137%
  • Reagan: +116%
  • Bush I: +37%
  • Bush II: +4%
  • Trump: -1%

Not only does President Trump finish dead last, the Democrats have clearly, and unambiguously handled the economy better than the Republicans have (if you buy into the markets as a proxy for the economy orthodoxy).

BUT, I hear you say, it’s not fair to compare the whole tenure of previous presidents’ economies with only the first six months of President Trump’s, and there’s some truth to that. If we look at the first 6 months of the Obama economy, the results are actually quite similar to President Trump’s:

  • Open: 10431
  • Close: 10445
  • +0%

Basically stagnant. There is one huge difference, however. President Obama was dealing with the fallout of the Great Recession at the time while President Trump inherited an economy that had recovered and was booming (the boom continued throughout the first year of the Trump Presidency, but as I discussed above, that was actually part of Obama’s economony). So while President Obama turned things around after the Great Recession, President Trump has managed to squander much of the healthy economy that he inherited.

Time will tell if the economy will reverse course under President Trump as it did under Obama, but with trade wars looming, tarrifs growing, deficits exploding, health care costs increasing, and gasoline prices rising, it’s hard to see that happening.

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Those Who Do Not Learn From History

Second Amendment

The second amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It’s been debated ever since its adoption what the purpose of this amendment is. For the sake of this article, I want to focus on just one of the reasons:

Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. … The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard, against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible.

Aftermath of World War I

Europe was in a shambles and the victors wanted to crush Germany to the point that it would never again have the appetite for war. This backfired. What happened instead? A humiliated population living in a country with a tanked economy and ridiculous levels of inflation was ready for a leadership change that would help them regain a sense of pride in their country and take them out of economic depression.

They believed that they had lost their country. A brilliant propagandist (Joseph Goebbels) joined forces with and helped elect a charismatic politician (Adolph Hitler) as Chancellor of Germany. Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanismanti-Semitism, and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. Hitler frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as being part of a Jewish conspiracy. When the Reichtstag building (the Weimar Republic’s seat of power in Germany) was set on fire (by Hitler’s Nazi party), they blamed the others, that is, the communists, the jews, the slavs, etc. and used it as a way to get himself granted special powers to deal with the problem.

The decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German citizens. With Nazis in powerful positions in the German government, the decree was used as the legal basis for the imprisonment of anyone considered to be opponents of the Nazis, and to suppress publications not considered “friendly” to the Nazi cause. The decree is considered by historians to be one of the key steps in the establishment of a one-party Nazi state in Germany.

Things went down hill for Germany and the rest of the world from there. Germany had become fascist.

One common definition of the term [fascism] focuses on three concepts: the fascist negations of anti-liberalismanti-communism and anti-conservatism; nationalist authoritarian goals of creating a regulated economic structure to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture; and a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence, and promotion of masculinity, youth and charismatic leadership.[25][26][27] According to many scholars, fascism—especially once in power—has historically attacked communism, conservatism and parliamentary liberalism, attracting support primarily from the far right.

A (Very) Last Minute Plea

Does any of this sound familiar? A brilliant propagandist (his campaign chair Steve Bannon, form CEO of Breitbart) working to get a charismatic politician (Donald Trump) elected by blaming difficult economic times on international capitalism (that is, the trade agreements like NAFTA and TPP), and “others” (that is, Muslims, illegal immigrants, and thinly veiled references to jews with talk of giving our sovereignty over to the “international banks”). Combine this with the politicizing of the FBI, and you have to ask yourself how long will it take before we end up with some sort of “attack” on our country with (hopefully not) President Trump asking for “special powers” to deal with the attack?

If you are pro second amendment, and believe that one of its main functions is as described above, a Trump Presidency is exactly the situation you believe the second amendment exists.

A vote for Mr. Trump is a vote to start us down the road on which lies the need for gun owners to rise up against their government. Please don’t start us down that road because you believe the lie put forth by that brilliant propagandist Steve Bannon that Hillary “… wants to abolish the second amendment”. We can’t afford it. The world can’t afford it.

 

Clown vs. Clown?

OK.

You’re one of those people that has this sign on their front lawn:

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I get it. Believe me. Many, many people believe that we have a couple of clowns running for President. For the sake of argument, and this article, I’ll grant you that. Here’s a picture of one of the clowns:

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This one is the kind of clown you might have at a toddler’s birthday party… friendly, cares about kids, smiles a lot, makes some kids laugh, but others are a little scared because… clown.

Then you have this one:

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And it wasn’t until after the primaries that you figured out that this one was actually a demon that wants to suck your soul:

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So, now you have a choice: either the friendly clown that loves children but might make you a little uncomfortable, or the demon clown that hides behind a smile but actually feasts on the souls of those same children.

The choice is ours on November 8th.

 

Dogs and Cats Living Together?

Mass Hysteria

Remember that scene in the original Ghostbusters movie when Bill Murray’s character Peter Venkman was trying to explain to the mayor of New York City The kinds of horrible Biblical disasters that would befall the city?

I was watching Meet The Press on this past Sunday morning. And dogs and cats were interviewed together on the show. Michael Moore, the liberal documentarian, and Glenn Beck, the conservative talking head, were interviewed.

Did you hear that? Glenn Beck AGREES with Michael Moore??? They agree that:

  • Reaganite trickle down economics combined with Clintonian trade agreements destroyed the middle class in the Rust Belt.
  • The people there that were affected want to throw a Molotov Cocktail on Washington
  • Donald Trump is that Molotov Cocktail
  • They don’t care if it destroys the government. The government screwed them, and in their mind, the government deserves what it gets

That’s scary.

Trump winning the rust belt gives him the Presidency.

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Hail to The King Baby!

Today is a sad day. Arnold Palmer has died. Those golf fans out there that watched the opening ceremonies for The Masters back in April knew something was wrong when he wasn’t well enough to participate in the ceremonial opening of the tournament with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

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I have a short story to relay about him that I think you might enjoy.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s my parents used to make an annual pilgrimage to The Crosby Clambake (as the AT&T at Pebble Beach was known back then). My mother had lived in Carmel, CA where the tournament was played during some of her single years and still had some friends in the area. They’d take the weekend, attend the tournament and spend some time with old friends.

I don’t remember exactly what the year was when they came back and had a story to tell! On the last day of the tournament after a day of walking the Pebble Beach  golf course following their favorite movie stars and golfers that made the cut, they decided that they needed to relax a little.

For those of you that don’t know the course, take a look at this overhead view of the 18th hole. You’ll notice that not far off the fairway, opposite the ocean, there are several houses.

As my parents were walking along that side of the fairway, a fit of boldness overtook them and they decided to take a seat at a table on one of the outdoor patios at one of these homes! Nobody was home as far as they could tell and, since they’re good people, they knew that wouldn’t be doing any harm. They opened a bottle wine and started watching the people stroll by and enjoyed the beauty of the course and the atmosphere of the tournament.

Until…

A large, burly man, that looked like a bouncer at a rough bar opened the door from the house to the patio, stepped outside, and asked, “Mr. Palmer would like to know what you’re doing on his patio.”

Uhhhh…. right. Check please!

Well, you can imagine that my parents were a little tongue tied, and started to explain that they were tired, and of course they would leave, and they meant no harm, it was just such a beautiful day and beautiful spot… when Arnold Palmer stuck his head out and said “don’t worry about it folks. Enjoy your wine” while flashing his famous smile at them. So, they did and had a fantastic story to tell.

Rest in peace Mr. Palmer. I hope you’re filling out a foursome with Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, and Bobby Jones right now.

 

When Someone Shows You

This election cycle is driving me a little nuts.

I don’t know what I should do. Like many in the U. S., I don’t like either of the major candidates for President. Donald Trump turns my stomach, and Hillary is, well, a Clinton, and all the scandal that’s followed them around for so long leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Here’s the thing, if I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that in both cases my opinion is quite subjective and has been manipulated quite a bit by the respective “other team” for each candidate. So, I decided to try and remedy that situation and look for objective reasons to not vote for one or the other.

Donald Trump

It turns out, I don’t have to look far in the case of Trump. All I have to do is listen to him and believe what he says. Here’s a fairly comprehensive list of the vile bile he’s been spewing for the last year or more. Truly, a reprehensible human being.

quote-when-someone-shows-you-who-they-are-believe-them-the-first-time-maya-angelou-0-84-87

Hillary Clinton

Hillary is a tougher nut to crack. Sure, as I mentioned above, the Clinton’s have been the center of a whole lot of scandal over the years. This has led to the whole “she’s untrustworthy” meme that’s been floating around for quite a while. That’s part of it, but not all of it. I’ve said myself that when I listen to her, she wreaks of insincerity. All of this is again, quite subjective. If I look objectively at all of the scandal surrounding the Clinton’s, the vast majority of it is conjecture based on flimsy (even made up) evidence. Sure, there’s the whole Monica Lewinsky thing, but that’s not Hillary, that’s Bill. As to her standing by him during all that… the cynic in me says that it was all about power and preserving her political career. But that’s just me projecting a motive on her that I don’t know for sure true. There are many, many married couples that go through issues of infidelity and remain together. Who am I to attach a purely political motive to her?

Here’s an article by a self professed liberal trying to answer the question as to why people hate Hillary Clinton objectively, covering issues such as trustworthiness, and corruption.

Where Do They Stand

The chart below comes from The Political Compass. The site covers world politics (not just the U.S.), is non partisan, and has no sponsors (it survives through individual donations).  It has a survey that you can take (and you should) which places you into a cartesian plane with one axis representing economic issues and the other social. The placement of the candidates in this plane comes from statements made in public:

… the positions on the chart are based on speeches, manifestos and, where applicable, voting records .If positions markedly change during the campaign, we will revise the chart accordingly. Already the positions of Trump and Clinton differ slightly from the primaries chart.

 

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Which political quadrant does your candidate occupy?

Where do I Stand?

Take a look:

chart

I took special care  to answer each question with how I honestly think things should be. You should take the test too. Take the time to answer for yourself, not your party affiliation. That’ll give you an objective baseline for how you should consider voting at leat.

It seems that I’m getting more left wing in my old age (which is kinda backwards I know… people tend to get more conservative as they age), but about the same in terms of authoritarian vs. libertarian. That is, I’m solidly libertarian —  I believe that the guiding principle of our democracy is freedom in all things, whether social, fiscal, sexual, recreational, relational, etc.

So, if we just look at the cartesian coordinates for the two main candidates, who’s the closest to me? Two things jump out to me:

  1. Neither main stream candidate represents me
  2. Clinton is closer to me politically than Trump

When all is said and done with all of the above, I’m feeling better about choosing Hillary than I did before.

 

 

Is The Republican Party Committing Suicide?

Interesting interview with a former staffer of both Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush Bruce Bartlett about why he’s voting for Trump (hint: it’s not because he wants him to win).

Bruce Bartlett, a former official in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations and a longtime critic of the GOP’s increasingly conservative politics, sees Trump as both a product of the Republican Party’s decline and a potential catalyst for its eventual reclamation. I talked to Bartlett about why he voted for Donald Trump, what he sees in the GOP’s future, and whether something worthwhile can be salvaged from a political party that looks to be on the verge of cracking up.

Take a look. It’s definitely worth a read.

CarneyWeb Redux

Well, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here… nearly 5 years!!! 

The computer that I hosted the site on has finally outlived its useful life, taking more time and effort to keep working as a web server than I have the time and patience to deal with anymore (yeah, I’m definitely entering the grumpy old man zone :-)). It took a bit of effort, but I was able to get the content from the site imported into an external blog host. The only issue is that I was using a custom text filter to give me some added functionality. The net result is that some of the old content will look strange and some intra-site links won’t be formatted correctly. Oh well. If I figure out a way to fix those issues, I will, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

Then there’s the question as to why I haven’t written anything here recently, and the simple answer is that I didn’t feel like it. Nothing really struck me as worth writing about, and with the host misbehaving (see above), I didn’t bother. Well, things are interesting again! The election, deflategate, artists deaths, hi-tech issues (encryption and Apple), etc. And I have opinions on all of it!

Stay tuned!

For Those That Think It’s Only the Right

In the wake of the horrifying shootings in Arizona, there are those that have said that the hateful rhetoric needs to be taken down a notch or two. In this I totally agree. What I don’t agree with is people like Bill Maher, who last night on Anderson Cooper’s show made the statement that all of that rhetoric was coming from the right and that nobody on the left was guilty of such vile speech. Well, for those of you that agree with him, take a look here. Michelle Malkin has done a tremendous job showing that stupidity and vile, hateful speech knows no political philosophy or party.

EVERYONE needs to dial it back a bit.