Aug 19

Today’s News 19th August 2017

  • Pat Buchanan Asks "In This Second American Civil War – Whose Side Are You On?"

    Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Townhall.com,

    "They had found a leader, Robert E. Lee — and what a leader! … No military leader since Napoleon has aroused such enthusiastic devotion among troops as did Lee when he reviewed them on his horse Traveller."

    So wrote Samuel Eliot Morison in his magisterial "The Oxford History of the American People" in 1965.

    First in his class at West Point, hero of the Mexican War, Lee was the man to whom President Lincoln turned to lead his army. But when Virginia seceded, Lee would not lift up his sword against his own people, and chose to defend his home state rather than wage war upon her.

    This veneration of Lee, wrote Richard Weaver, "appears in the saying attributed to a Confederate soldier, 'The rest of us may have … descended from monkeys, but it took a God to make Marse Robert.'"

    Growing up after World War II, this was accepted history.

    Yet, on the militant left today, the name Lee evokes raw hatred and howls of "racist and traitor." A clamor has arisen to have all statues of him and all Confederate soldiers and statesmen pulled down from their pedestals and put in museums or tossed onto trash piles.

    What has changed since 1965?

    It is not history. There have been no great new discoveries about Lee.

    What has changed is America herself. She is not the same country. We have passed through a great social, cultural and moral revolution that has left us irretrievably divided on separate shores.

    And the politicians are in panic.

    Two years ago, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called the giant statues of Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson on Richmond's Monument Avenue "parts of our heritage."

     

    After Charlottesville, New York-born-and-bred McAuliffe, entertaining higher ambitions, went full scalawag, demanding the statues be pulled down as "flashpoints for hatred, division, and violence."

    Who hates the statues, Terry? Who's going to cause the violence?

    Answer: The Democratic left whom Terry must now appease.

    McAuliffe is echoed by Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate in November to succeed McAuliffe. GOP nominee Ed Gillespie wants Monument Avenue left alone.

    The election is the place to decide this, but the left will not wait.

    In Durham, North Carolina, our Taliban smashed the statue of a Confederate soldier. Near the entrance of Duke University Chapel, a statue of Lee has been defaced, the nose broken off.

    Wednesday at dawn, Baltimore carried out a cultural cleansing by taking down statues of Lee and Maryland Chief Justice Roger Taney who wrote the Dred Scott decision and opposed Lincoln's suspension of the right of habeas corpus.

    Like ISIS, which smashed the storied ruins of Palmyra, and the al-Qaida rebels who ravaged the fabled Saharan city of Timbuktu, the new barbarism has come to America. This is going to become a blazing issue, not only between but within the parties.

    For there are 10 Confederates in Statuary Hall in the Capitol, among them Lee, Georgia's Alexander Stephens, vice president to Jefferson Davis, and Davis himself. The Black Caucus wants them gone.

    Mount Rushmore-sized carvings of Lee, Jackson and Davis are on Stone Mountain, Georgia. Are they to be blasted off?

    There are countless universities, colleges and high schools like Washington & Lee named for Confederate statesmen and soldiers. Across the Potomac from D.C. are Jefferson Davis Highway and Leesburg Pike to Leesburg itself, 25 miles north. Are all highways, streets, towns and counties named for Confederates to be renamed? What about Fort Bragg?

    On every Civil War battlefield, there are monuments to the Southern fallen. Gettysburg has hundreds of memorials, statues and markers. But if, as the left insists we accept, the Confederates were traitors trying to tear America apart to preserve an evil system, upon what ground do Democrats stand to resist the radical left's demands?

    What do we do with those battlefields where Confederates were victorious: Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville?

    "Where does this all end?" President Trump asked.

    It doesn't.

    Not until America's histories and biographies are burned and new texts written to Nazify Lee, Jackson, Davis and all the rest, will a newly indoctrinated generation of Americans accede to this demand to tear down and destroy what their fathers cherished.

    And once all the Confederates are gone, one must begin with the explorers, and then the slave owners like Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Madison, who seceded from slave-free Britain. White supremacists all.

    Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay of Kentucky and John Calhoun must swiftly follow.

    Then there are all those segregationists. From 1865 to 1965, virtually all of the great Southern senators were white supremacists.

    In the first half of the 20th century, Woodrow Wilson and FDR carried all 11 states of a rigidly segregationist South all six times they ran, and FDR rewarded Dixie by putting a Klansman on the Supreme Court.

    While easy for Republicans to wash their hands of such odious elements as Nazis in Charlottesville, will they take up the defense of the monuments and statues that have defined our history, or capitulate to the icon-smashers?

    In this Second American Civil War, whose side are you on?

  • Only In Cali: New Bill Would Imprison Healthcare Workers For Using Incorrect Pronouns With Patients

    California has a well-earned its reputation for introducing wacky legislation. Jerry Brown’s bill specifically written to regulate cow farts is a personal favorite of ours.  For those who missed it the first time around, here is a brief recap of our post entitled “Only In California – Governor Jerry Brown Signs Bill To Regulate Cow Flatulence“:

    In yet another attack on California businesses, yesterday Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill (SB 1383) that requires the state to cut methane emissions from dairy cows and other animals by 40% by 2030.

     

    According to a statement from Western United Dairymen CEO, Anja Raudabaugh, California’s Air Resources Board wants to regulate animal methane emissions even though it admits there is no known method for achieving the the type of reduction sought by SB 1383.

     

    “The California Air Resources Board wants to regulate cow emissions, even though its Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) reduction strategy acknowledges that there’s no known way to achieve this reduction.

     

    Among other things, compliance with the bill will likely require California dairies to install “methane digesters” that convert the organic matter in manure into methane that can then be converted to energy for on-farm or off-farm consumption.  The problem, of course, is that methane digesters are expensive and with California producing 20% of the country’s milk we suspect that means that California has just passed another massive “food tax” on the country.

    But a new bill penned by Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco, dubbed the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights (or SB-219 if you’re into the whole brevity thing), takes wacky California legislation to a whole new level.  Among other things, the bill makes it illegal for employees of any “long-term care facility” to “willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.”

    This bill would enact the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights. Among other things, the bill would make it unlawful, except as specified, for any long-term care facility to take specified actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status, including, among others, willfully and repeatedly failing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns, or denying admission to a long-term care facility, transferring or refusing to transfer a resident within a facility or to another facility, or discharging or evicting a resident from a facility.

    Wiener

     

    Meanwhile, here are couple of other actions that will now be considered a crime for healthcare workers in California:

    (2) Deny a request by residents to share a room.

     

    (3) Where rooms are assigned by gender, assigning, reassigning, or refusing to assign a room to a transgender resident other than in accordance with the transgender resident’s gender identity, unless at the transgender resident’s request.

     

    (4) Prohibit a resident from using, or harass a resident who seeks to use or does use, a restroom available to other persons of the same gender identity, regardless of whether the resident is making a gender transition or appears to be gender-nonconforming. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, requiring a resident to show identity documents in order to gain entrance to a restroom available to other persons of the same gender identity.

     

    (5) Willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.

     

    (6) Deny a resident the right to wear or be dressed in clothing, accessories, or cosmetics that are permitted for any other resident.

     

    (7) Restrict a resident’s right to associate with other residents or with visitors, including the right to consensual sexual relations, unless the restriction is uniformly applied to all residents in a nondiscriminatory manner. This section does not preclude a facility from banning or restricting sexual relations, as long as the ban or restriction is applied uniformly and in a nondiscriminatory manner.

    So what is the punishment for failing to observe someone’s preferred pronouns?  Oh, just a year in prison and a $1,000 fine, according to CBN

    Just to clarify, ‘choosing’ your own gender and imprisoning people for failing to observe that ‘choice’ is wholly consistent with ‘science’ but Republicans are ‘science deniers’ for having the audacity to even question inconsistencies in climate change data….got it.

     

    Here is the full text of SB-219:

  • Dilbert's Scott Adams Explains "How To Know You're In A Mass Hysteria Bubble"

    Authored by Scott Adams via Dilbert blog,

    History is full of examples of Mass Hysterias. They happen fairly often. The cool thing about mass hysterias is that you don’t know when you are in one. But sometimes the people who are not experiencing the mass hysteria can recognize when others are experiencing one, if they know what to look for.

    I’ll teach you what to look for.

    A mass hysteria happens when the public gets a wrong idea about something that has strong emotional content and it triggers cognitive dissonance that is often supported by confirmation bias. In other words, people spontaneously hallucinate a whole new (and usually crazy-sounding) reality and believe they see plenty of evidence for it. The Salem Witch Trials are the best-known example of mass hysteria. The McMartin Pre-School case and the Tulip Bulb hysteria are others. The dotcom bubble probably qualifies. We might soon learn that the Russian Collusion story was mass hysteria in hindsight. The curious lack of solid evidence for Russian collusion is a red flag. But we’ll see how that plays out.

    The most visible Mass Hysteria of the moment involves the idea that the United States intentionally elected a racist President. If that statement just triggered you, it might mean you are in the Mass Hysteria bubble. The cool part is that you can’t fact-check my claim you are hallucinating if you are actually hallucinating. But you can read my description of the signs of mass hysteria and see if you check off the boxes.

    If you’re in the mass hysteria, recognizing you have all the symptoms of hysteria won’t help you be aware you are in it. That’s not how hallucinations work. Instead, your hallucination will automatically rewrite itself to expel any new data that conflicts with its illusions.

    But if you are not experiencing mass hysteria, you might be totally confused by the actions of the people who are. They appear to be irrational, but in ways that are hard to define. You can’t tell if they are stupid, unscrupulous, ignorant, mentally ill, emotionally unstable or what. It just looks frickin’ crazy.

    The reason you can’t easily identify what-the-hell is going on in the country right now is that a powerful mass hysteria is in play.

    If you see the signs after I point them out, you’re probably not in the hysteria bubble.

     

    If you read this and do NOT see the signs, it probably means you’re trapped inside the mass hysteria bubble.

    Here are some signs of mass hysteria. This is my own take on it, but I welcome you to fact-check it with experts on mass hysteria.

    1. The trigger event for cognitive dissonance

    On November 8th of 2016, half the country learned that everything they believed to be both true and obvious turned out to be wrong. The people who thought Trump had no chance of winning were under the impression they were smart people who understood their country, and politics, and how things work in general. When Trump won, they learned they were wrong. They were so very wrong that they reflexively (because this is how all brains work) rewrote the scripts they were seeing in their minds until it all made sense again. The wrong-about-everything crowd decided that the only way their world made sense, with their egos intact, is that either the Russians helped Trump win or there are far more racists in the country than they imagined, and he is their king. Those were the seeds of the two mass hysterias we witness today.

    Trump supporters experienced no trigger event for cognitive dissonance when Trump won. Their worldview was confirmed by observed events.

    2. The Ridiculousness of it 

    One sign of a good mass hysteria is that it sounds bonkers to anyone who is not experiencing it. Imagine your neighbor telling you he thinks the other neighbor is a witch. Or imagine someone saying the local daycare provider is a satanic temple in disguise. Or imagine someone telling you tulip bulbs are more valuable than gold. Crazy stuff.

    Compare that to the idea that our president is a Russian puppet. Or that the country accidentally elected a racist who thinks the KKK and Nazis are “fine people.” Crazy stuff.

    If you think those examples don’t sound crazy – regardless of the reality – you are probably inside the mass hysteria bubble.

    3. The Confirmation Bias

    If you are inside the mass hysteria bubble, you probably interpreted President Trump’s initial statement on Charlottesville – which was politically imperfect to say the least – as proof-positive he is a damned racist.

    If you are outside the mass hysteria bubble you might have noticed that President Trump never campaigned to be our moral leader. He presented himself as – in his own words “no angel” – with a set of skills he offered to use in the public’s interest. He was big on law and order, and equal justice under the law. But he never offered moral leadership. Voters elected him with that knowledge. Evidently, Republicans don’t depend on politicians for moral leadership. That’s probably a good call.

    When the horror in Charlottesville shocked the country, citizens instinctively looked to their president for moral leadership. The president instead provided a generic law and order statement. Under pressure, he later named specific groups and disavowed the racists. He was clearly uncomfortable being our moral lighthouse. That’s probably why he never described his moral leadership as an asset when running for office. We observe that he has never been shy about any other skill he brings to the job, so it probably isn’t an accident when he avoids mentioning any ambitions for moral leadership. If he wanted us to know he would provide that service, I think he would have mentioned it by now.

    If you already believed President Trump is a racist, his weak statement about Charlottesville seems like confirmation. But if you believe he never offered moral leadership, only equal treatment under the law, that’s what you saw instead. And you made up your own mind about the morality. 

    The tricky part here is that any interpretation of what happened could be confirmation bias. But ask yourself which one of these versions sounds less crazy:

    1. A sitting president, who is a branding expert, thought it would be a good idea to go easy on murderous Nazis as a way to improve his popularity.

     

    or…

     

    2. The country elected a racist leader who is winking to the KKK and White Supremacists that they have a free pass to start a race war now.

     

    or…

     

    3. A mentally unstable racist clown with conman skills (mostly just lying) eviscerated the Republican primary field and won the presidency. He keeps doing crazy, impulsive racist stuff. But for some reason, the economy is going well, jobs are looking good, North Korea blinked, ISIS is on the ropes, and the Supreme Court got a qualified judge. It was mostly luck.

     

    or…

     

    4. The guy who didn’t offer to be your moral leader didn’t offer any moral leadership, just law and order, applied equally. His critics cleverly and predictably framed it as being soft on Nazis.

    One of those narratives is less crazy-sounding than the others. That doesn’t mean the less-crazy one has to be true. But normal stuff happens far more often than crazy stuff. And critics will frame normal stuff as crazy whenever they get a chance.

    4. The Oversized Reaction

    It would be hard to overreact to a Nazi murder, or to racists marching in the streets with torches. That stuff demands a strong reaction. But if a Republican agrees with you that Nazis are the worst, and you threaten to punch that Republican for not agreeing with you exactly the right way, that might be an oversized reaction. 

    5. The Insult without supporting argument

    When people have actual reasons for disagreeing with you, they offer those reasons without hesitation. Strangers on social media will cheerfully check your facts, your logic, and your assumptions. But when you start seeing ad hominem attacks that offer no reasons at all, that might be a sign that people in the mass hysteria bubble don’t understand what is wrong with your point of view except that it sounds more sensible than their own. 

    For the past two days I have been disavowing Nazis on Twitter. The most common response from the people who agree with me is that my comic strip sucks and I am ugly.

    *  *  *

    The mass hysteria signals I described here are not settled science, or anything like it. This is only my take on the topic, based on personal observation and years of experience with hypnosis and other forms of persuasion.

    I present this filter on the situation as the first step in dissolving the mass hysteria. It isn’t enough, but more persuasion is coming.

    If you are outside the mass hysteria bubble, you might see what I am doing in this blog as a valuable public service.

     

    If you are inside the mass hysteria bubble, I look like a Nazi collaborator.

    How do I look to you?

    *  *  *

    Adams wrote a book about how to persuade yourself to success. Based on reader comments, it is working. His upcoming book, Win Bigly, tells you how to persuade others. (For good.) That comes out October 31st.

  • The Real Story Behind Goldman's Q2 Trading Loss: How A $100M Gas Bet Went Awry

    Goldman Sachs FICC-trading income was an unexpectedly ugly blemish on what was already a poor Q2 earnings report. And while the FDIC-backed hedge fund initially blamed the decline on lower trading revenues, lack of volatility and depressed client activity…

    … there was more to the story. The Wall Street Journal has uncovered what really happened: A $100 million bet on regional natural-gas prices gone awry after production problems at a local pipeline sent prices soaring, decimating Goldman’s short position.

    “Goldman wagered that gas prices in the Marcellus Shale in Ohio and Pennsylvania would rise with the construction of new pipelines to carry gas out of the region, said people familiar with the matter. Instead, prices there fell sharply in May and June as a key pipeline ran into problems.”

    More specifically…

    “Goldman’s key miscalculation last quarter was betting that natural-gas prices in the Marcellus Shale would rise relative to the national benchmark price in Louisiana known as the Henry Hub, the people familiar with the matter said.”

    The quarter was the worst ever for the bank’s commodities unit, which, as WSJ notes, has been one of the firm’s most consistent profit centers, and a training ground for many of its top executives, including Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein. The trading loss “extended a broader slump at a company once known as Wall Street’s savviest gambler.”

    Goldman shares fell 2.6% on the day of the report, which analysts largely attributed to the miss in trading revenues, despite a stronger-than-expected bottom-line profit.

    The investment bank has held on to its commodities-trading business even as most other American banks exited following the financial crisis. It is currently the seventh-largest market maker for natural gas in North America, larger than some energy giants like Exxon Mobil. According to WSJ, trading oil, metals and other physical commodities is increasingly dominated by smaller firms like Glencore PLC and Gunvor Group Ltd. that don’t face as much government regulation.

    “The loss highlights the trade-offs Goldman made in sticking with the risky commodities-trading business, even as other large banks retreated following the financial crisis. Goldman is the seventh-biggest marketer of natural gas in North America, up from 13th in 2011, according to Natural Gas Intelligence—bigger than U.S. energy giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. It has been the only U.S. bank in the top 20 since 2013, when J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. left the business.”

    WSJ explains that Goldman’s position would've produced a profit if a pipeline being built to carry natural gas out of the Midwest had been completed on time. Instead, it faced multiple delays after a series of fluid spills and the accidental bulldozing of a historic Ohio home.

    “Essentially, it was a bet on the timely completion of pipelines under construction to ferry a glut of gas out of the region.

     

    But one of those pipelines ran into trouble this spring: the 713-mile Rover, which would transport gas from the Marcellus to the Midwest and beyond.

     

    Its developer, Energy Transfer Partners, in February bulldozed a historic Ohio home without notifying regulators, and scrambled to finish clearing trees before the roosting season for a protected bat species. In May, federal regulators barred Energy Transfer from drilling on some segments of the route after a series of fluid spills.

     

    The first leg of the pipeline, which had been set to come online in July, isn’t expected until at least September. Energy Transfer said it has “been working efficiently and nonstop to remediate” problems and expects to have the entire pipeline operational in January.”

    In all likelihood, part of Goldman’s short position was accumulated to offset the risk-management needs of the bank’s clients, WSJ reported. Goldman’s counterparties, the drillers operating in the Marcellus shale, reported strong gains in their derivatives books.

    “Goldman was in part likely catering to gas producers in the region that wanted to lock in steadier revenue through swaps and other contracts. Many Marcellus drillers reported big gains in the value of their derivatives portfolios in the second quarter—meaning their trading partners lost money in that period, at least on paper.”

    Of course, the bank’s executives would have you believe the loss was solely the result of Goldman fulfilling its duty to help its clients manage risk, and that the bank’s trades didn’t violate the Volcker Rule (a ban on proprietary trading that was part of Dodd-Frank). As WSJ notes, whether or not a trade violates the Volcker rule depends on who initiated it, how long the bank held the position, and myriad other factors.

    But with President Trump in the White House and with future Fed Chairman Gary Cohn's only nemesis getting the boot earlier today, soon Goldman will be empowered to take much more trading risks with the explicit blessings of 1600 Pennsylvania.

  • 'Art Of The Deal' Co-Author Slams "Racist" Trump, Says "Endgame Is On, Amazed If He Survives Til Year-End""

    Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

    Tony Schwartz, the man who co-authored Art of the Deal with Donald Trump in 1987, now says that the President will likely resign before the end of the year.

    In a series of Tweets earlier this week Schwartz showed his disdain for the President and echoed the sentiments of top Democrats who have claimed that Trump will either be impeached or voluntarily step away from the Presidency:

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    There seems to be a renewed interest from Democrats who are actively working on articles of impeachment that could lead to the President’s removal from office. And though such a move would require a majority vote in the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate, it appears that many Congressional Republicans are now publicly speaking out against the President, suggesting that such a measure could have legs.

    Coupled with an”independent” investigation targeting the President as well as members of his administration and former business partners, it is becoming ever more likely that, as Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robery Kiyosaki recently noted, they are going to find something.

    While author Tony Schwartz has an obvious beef to pick with the President and may simply be pandering to the liberal left, the pressure being put on Trump could force him to resign in order to avoid impeachment and/or criminal charges, whether real or imagined.

    The war to take out Trump’s closest lieutenants has been raging since before he was even sworn in and will continue until the goals of The Deep State have been accomplished.

    As Brandon Smith of Alt Market has warned, Donald Trump may well be first used as a scapegoat by the elite in order to usher in the next phase of crisis and a reorganization of the global order:

    I have been warning since long before the election that Trump’s presidency would be the perfect vehicle for central banks and international financiers to divert blame for the economic crisis that would inevitably explode once the Fed moved firmly into interest rate hikes. Every indication since my initial prediction shows that this is the case.

     

    The media was building the foundation of the narrative from the moment Trump won the election. Bloomberg was quick to publish its rather hilariously skewed propaganda on the matter, asserting that Trump was lucky to inherit an economy in ascendance and recovery because of the fiscal ingenuity of Barack Obama. This is of course utter nonsense.

     

    Obama and the Fed have created a zombie economy rotting from the inside out, nothing more. But, as Bloomberg noted rightly, any downturn within the system will indeed be blamed on the Trump administration.

     

    Fortune Magazine, adding to the narrative, outlined the view that the initial stock rally surrounding Trump’s election win was merely setting the stage for a surprise market crash.

     

    I continue to go one further than the mainstream media and say that the Trump administration is a giant cement shoe designed (deliberately) to drag conservatives and conservative principles down into the abyss as we are blamed by association for the financial calamity that will occur on Trump’s watch.

    If Smith is correct, and all signs seem to be pointing to such a scenario, Trump will blamed for what will likely be the most epic financial collapse in world history. Once those goals are accomplished, a push to remove him from office may become reality.

  • "Almost Cataclysmic": Barclays Reveals Which Restaurants Are Most Exposed To Collapsing Malls

    We’ve spent a lot of time this year discussing the complete collapse of mall-based retailers, a collapse which has resulted in more store closures in Q1 2017 than all of 2016 and will likely claim more victims by the end of this year than any year since the great recession nearly a decade ago.  Here are a couple of recent examples:

    But those mall-based apparel companies aren’t the only ones suffering the dire consequences of collapsing mall traffic.  For years, the casual dining space has become more and more saturated with new concepts resulting in thinner and thinner margins for the restaurant industry.  Now, with foot traffic in malls collapsing these same restaurants are about to experience the brutal realization that declining traffic, massive fixed costs, rising minimum wages and razor thin margins aren’t a great combo. 

    Thankfully, Barclays’ restaurant team, led by Jeffrey Bernstein, has identified which publicly-traded restaurants are about to get screwed the most.  Here’s a summary:

    Of the large publicly-traded casual dining chains, Cheesecake Factory ‘wins’ the ‘most screwed’ award with 93% of their locations heavily dependent on mall traffic.

     

    Meanwhile, proving they went full mall-tard (something you should never do, btw), CAKE’s second largest casual dining concept, Grand Lux, is also over 90% dependent on mall traffic. 

     

    Here are more details from Barclays:

    Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) operates 90%+ of their stores in a location we define as mall dependent. To be fair, CAKE is often viewed as a destination, with its own separate entrance, and therefore less mall-dependent. And most are in ‘A’ malls which house high-end retailers that draw a more affluent consumer. But the consumer shift to on-line shopping is less about affluence, and more about a change in behavior.

     

    BJ’s Restaurants (BJRI) & Olive Garden (DRI) are the only other portfolio leading casual diners with an outsized percentage of stores mall dependent, at ~60% & ~50%, resp. With that said, we are Underweight BJRI & Overweight DRI. Importantly, this analysis is just one component of a mosaic when formulating our ratings. BJRI is expanding from regional to national, and competes within a very competitive varied menu segment, both of which pose challenges. Olive Garden is already a strong national brand, and the only one competing within the Italian segment, while offering a strong value platform.

     

    As for the remaining casual diners, all operate 25-40% of their stores mall dependent. These include the three steak chains, Outback (BLMN), Texas Roadhouse (TXRH) and LongHorn (DRI), all at 30-40%. We are Overweight all three. Steak concepts are more special occasion, and therefore less mall-reliant, with resilience demonstrated by a positive comp for all in 1H17. Otherwise, Buffalo Wild (BWLD) is also Overweight. While comps have eased and wing prices are elevated, the brand is introducing a new c-suite, has three new activist board members, & potential for large refranchising / cost cutting. Lastly, Chili’s (EAT) also competes within a very competitive varied menu segment, and is viewed as over-stored, and is now looking to redefine a ‘very clear identity’.

    Finally, here is a list of states that should probably start preparing for higher restaurant layoffs in the near future…yes, we’re looking at you and your $15 minimum wage California.

  • 'Inconvenient' Fact: Morgan Stanley Says Electric Cars Create More CO2 Than They Save

    For all the funds out there looking to fill their portfolio with “environmentally conscious” companies working diligently to avert an inevitable global warming catastrophe that will result in the extinction of the human race, we guess in lieu of their actual fiduciary duties to simply make money for their investors, Morgan Stanley has compiled a list of how you can get the most ‘environmental healing’ per dollar invested. 

    As MarketWatch points out, it’s not terribly surprising that of the 39 publicly-traded stocks analyzed, the solar and wind generation companies landed at the very top of Morgan Stanley’s environmentally friendly the list

    Morgan Stanley identified 39 stocks that generate at least half their revenue “from the provision of solutions to climate change,” something it said was a central component of investing to make a difference, as opposed to just a making a buck.

     

    “In our view, impact investing needs to begin with companies whose products and services have a notable positive environmental or social impact,” wrote Jessica Alsford, an equity strategist at the investment bank.

     

    Not surprisingly, alternative-energy companies ranked the highest in terms of their positive impact, and the “top five climate-change impact stocks” were all manufacturers of solar and wind energy: Canadian Solar, China High Speed Transmission, GCL-Poly, Daqo New Energy, and Jinko Solar.

    Tesla

     

    What is surprising, however, is that publicly traded electric car manufacturers, darlings of the environmentally-conscious Left, were actually found to generate more CO2 than they save.  As a stark reminder to our left-leaning political elites who created these companies with massive taxpayer funded subsidies, Morgan Stanley points out that while Teslas don’t burn gasoline they do have to be charged using electricity generated by coal and other fossil fuels.

    This is where Tesla, along with China’s Guoxuan High-Tech fall short.

     

    “Whilst the electric vehicles and lithium batteries manufactured by these two companies do indeed help to reduce direct CO2 emissions from vehicles, electricity is needed to power them,” Morgan Stanley wrote. “And with their primary markets still largely weighted towards fossil-fuel power (72% in the U.S. and 75% in China) the CO2 emissions from this electricity generation are still material.”

     

    In other words, “the carbon emissions generated by the electricity required for electric vehicles are greater than those saved by cutting out direct vehicle emissions.”

     

    Morgan Stanley calculated that an investment of $1 million in Canadian Solar results in nearly 15,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide being saved every year. For Tesla, such an investment adds nearly one-third of a metric ton of CO2.

    Ironically, as we recently pointed out, Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) credits (a nicer way of saying taxpayer funded corporate welfare) is pretty much the only ‘product’ that Tesla seems to make money selling and is the only reason they managed to ‘beat’ earnings in Q2.

    I’m referring to zero-emission vehicle, or ZEV, credits. California and several other states require that a certain proportion of the vehicles sold by an automaker emit no greenhouse gases. These cars earn the automaker credits, and if they don’t have enough to meet their quota, they can buy extra ones from someone who does. As Tesla only makes vehicles that run on batteries and emit nothing, it usually has a surplus for sale.

     

    The profit margin on these is very high, perhaps 95 percent. The implied $95 million of profit equates to about 58 cents a share. Tesla reported a loss of $1.33 per share this week — beating the consensus forecast by 55 cents.

     

    This isn’t the only time ZEV credits have played a big role for Tesla. Looking back to early 2013, selling credits has given Tesla’s earnings extra oomph in many quarters, likely taking them above consensus forecasts in some (on an implied basis, assuming that 95 percent margin):

     

    Of course, Q2 wasn’t the first time that ZEV credits played a huge role in padding Tesla’s cash flow…

     

    Ponder that for a moment…as taxpayers we’re actually subsidizing a product (and an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire) that is bad for the environment…

  • Retired Green Beret Warns "A Domestic Destabilization Is Underway"

    Authored by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces) via SHTFplan.com,

    Under the guise of “political correctness,” cities (such as Baltimore, MD) are removing their Confederate monuments one-by-one and under cover of darkness.

    Here, as reported by CBS News:

    “The Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson monument at Wyman Park Dell was removed with a crowd watching.  The Robert B. Taney monument in Mt. Vernon also came down.  Crews are on the site of the confederate Women’s monument at University Parkway to take that one down.  This comes just days after the Baltimore City Council passed a resolution Monday calling for the immediate deconstruction of these monuments.”

    There it is!  Straight out of the movie “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson, as with the character he played, Benjamin Martin: “An elected legislature can trample a man’s rights as easily as a king.”

    Where’s the vote by the people in the city?  Oh, just that the elected officials, mind you, can make such a decision…by their vote, a tyranny in itself.  At the bare minimum, it should have been put to a vote.

    The important thing to keep in mind is that most of these cities, city councils, and their state legislatures are being run by a pack of liberals.  The “paradigm shift” is in full mode: “Democracy in America” did not mention the tyranny of the minority In this case, a minority viewpoint, fueled by Marxists and liberals is attempting to subvert First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution and begin a policy of redaction to support their revisionist history.

    We are right around the corner from a Civil War. 

    The Left is fueling and funding tensions in order to exacerbate them and cause a revolution.  In the middle of this, the President is being blamed and threatened with impeachment.  The root of it is this: the attempt to destabilize the country and cause anarchy.  Black Americans are being used as the vehicle for the destabilization…a vehicle by the oligarchs, such as Soros.  Now with Charlottesville being trumpeted up and down the country, Obama weighs in “with the most popular Tweet ever.”

    I wrote that Barack Hussein Obama II would be back: he will be a most useful catalyst for what is to come.  It was also reported that Hillary Clinton is weighing in on attacking the President, but not with words: with dollars.  Fellowship of the Minds ran a piece that cites the Washington Times.  Here’s an excerpt:

    “Joe Schoffstall reports for The Washington Free Beacon, August 14, 2017, that Hillary has donated $800,000 from her campaign funds to Onward Together — a new political action group that she formed three months ago in May which will fund a number of established “resistance” groups that counter President Trump with direct action and protests.

     

    According to its mission statement, Onward Together is dedicated to “encouraging people to organize, get involved, and run for office” and advancing “progressive values and work to build a brighter future for generations to come.”

     

    Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show that on May 1, 2017, Hillary’s presidential campaign committee Hillary for America contributed $800,000 to Onward Together. In addition, Hillary also funded other “resistance” groups that have “impressed” her, including Swing Left, Run for Something, Emerge America, and Indivisible.”

    Once again, her money and power is wielded to “influence” the way things are.  She is not acting alone, nor of her own initiative.  Read Shadow Party to find the guy pulling her strings.  (Hint: his real name is Georgy Schwarz!)

    By removing the Confederate memorials and markers, a part of American history is effectively being relegated to oblivion.  It is all part of redaction and revision.  The Marxists and Globalists have been relentless in their quest to rewrite American history and demonize whites in general…trying to create a cowed, demure, subservient class of guilt-ridden subjects…to destroy the United States from within.  To destroy the “warrior mentality” of the citizen-soldier of America’s citizenry…that is the objective.  A complete orchiotomy and neutering: nothing less.

    Unless the United States falls, the New World Order/Global Governance cannot exist.  This is the goal: enmesh it in a war (initiated by a foreign nation and/or orchestrated by the U.S.), and destroy it domestically from within “Top down, bottom up,” to quote Van Jones, is their objective.  Their playbook is Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” and the battle lines are being drawn more decisively by the day.  There will come a time when everyone will have to pick a side, and after it begins, the United States may look a lot different than it does now.

  • "The Entire Dynamic Has Changed" Far-Right Groups Becoming Increasingly Visible On Campus

    The “Unite the Right” rally at the University of Virginia last week was only the beginning…

    As far-right groups find fertile ground for recruiting on campus, campuses are bracing for a flood of speaking events and demonstrations organized by white nationalist groups, according to the Associated Press, as many schools have determined that they can't, or at least shouldn't, expel members of hate groups on campus. Leaders of these groups say they will no longer limit their efforts to social media or to flyers posted around campus, but intend to hold public demonstrations to bring the movement “into the sun.”

    "It seems like what might have been a little in the shadows has come into full sun, and now it's out there and exposed for everyone to see," said Sue Riseling, a former police chief at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who is executive director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

    As the AP reports, the young men who participated in Saturday’s rally marched through the Univeristy of Virginia’s campus holding torches and chanting racist slogans. Then the next morning some of them suited up with helmets and shields and clashed with counter-protesters, until 20-year-old James Alex Fields drove his car into a group of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 26. The shift toward white nationalist and other far-right groups operating more openly began last year, when racist flyers popped up on college campuses at an unprecedented rate, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The group counted 161 white supremacist "flyering incidents" on 110 college campuses between September and June.

    Nicholas Fuentes

    These incidents will likely only become more common as leaders of pro-white groups say it’s a cheap and easy way to gin up media coverage.

    “Matthew Heimbach, the 26-year-old leader of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, admits that dropping leaflets on campuses is a cheap way to generate media coverage.

     

    As a student at Towson University in Maryland, Heimbach made headlines for forming a "White Student Union" and scrawling messages like "white pride" in chalk on campus sidewalks. His college years are behind him, but Heimbach still views colleges as promising venues to expand his group's ranks. College students are running four of his group's chapters, he said.

     

    "The entire dynamic has changed," Heimbach said. ‘I used to be the youngest person at white nationalist meetings by 20 or 30 years.’”

    Many colleges are learning first hand that while they can condemn the violence during last weekend’s rally, expelling students because of their membership in a pro-white group would be something of a violation.  

    Scores of schools publicly denounced the violence in Virginia this week, including some that learned they enroll students who attended the "Unite the Right" rally.

     

    The University of Nevada, Reno, said it stands against bigotry and racism but concluded there's "no constitutional or legal reason" to expel Peter Cvjetanovic, a 20-year-old student and school employee who attended the rally, as an online petition demanded.

     

    Other schools, including Washington State University, condemned the rally but didn't specifically address their students who attended it.

    Campus leaders say they walk a fine line when trying to combat messages from hate groups. Many strive to protect speech even if it's offensive but also recognize hate speech can make students feel unsafe. Some schools have sought to counter extremist messages with town halls and events promoting diversity. Others try to avoid drawing attention to hate speech.

    And some schools are simply refusing to dwell on the issue when hate groups spread leaflets around campus, arguing that’s what the extremists want them to do.

    “After flyers promoting white supremacy were posted at Purdue University last school year, Purdue President Mitch Daniels refused to dwell on the incident.

     

    "This is a transparent effort to bait people into overreacting, thereby giving a small fringe group attention it does not deserve, and that we decline to do," Daniels said in a statement at the time.”

    Nicholas Fuentes, a student who attended the “Unite the Right” rally, said he’d like to transfer to the University of Auburn from Boston University because he believes it will be more tolerant of his right-wing beliefs. “I'm ready to return to my base, return to my roots, to rally the troops and see what I can do down there," Fuentes said in an interview this week.”

    *  *  *

    Universities can continue to ban events by conservative speakers who they fear might incite violence, but the message is clear: conservative students will be protected from expulsion at most college campuses, but when it comes to the wrath of their Antifa-loving peers, well, that’s a different question entirely.

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