Los Angeles – Cesspool of Corruption

Jose Huizar former Los Angeles city councilman seeks to gut corruption case, says alleged $1.5 million in gifts were not bribes.  They were just little gifts of appreciation says his lawyer.

Former Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander was sentenced in January 2021 to 14 months in prison for lying to federal authorities about his dealings with a businessman who provided him $15,000 in secret cash payments and a debauched night in Las Vegas.

Marilyn Louise Flynn, 83, was dean of USC’s School of Social Work when she allegedly paid off Mark Ridley-Thomas, now an L.A. city councilman, when he was on the county Board of Supervisors.

Englander, Huizar and now Ridley-Thomas.  The council is a cesspool of corruption.  The battle over which district includes USC and the surrounding area has something to do with prestige and probably some kind of kick back in an area ripe for development.  After all it is the city council that finally approves every new development.  Since there is little development in the mid San Fernando Valley no one even wants to represent that area since there is little likelihood of new development.

As Pat Morrison wrote in her October 26, 2021 Los Angeles Times column “In 2015, as civic guru Rick Cole was departing his post as deputy mayor in L.A., he explained to me that “a lot of checks and balances are built into the system to avoid corruption and half-baked ideas, but … ironically, most were designed by reformers [who] were petrified of abuse of power. The charter was designed to prevent corruption, not to enable effectiveness. They took effective government for granted. So when you ask questions like, “Who’s responsible for the miserable state of L.A. streets?” you can blame anyone, because almost anybody has a piece of the problem and almost no one has the power to fix it. To avoid one problem, we so diffused power and hamstrung accountability, it’s no wonder we have the results we all complain about.”

I Refuse Your Lousy Pay

The latest jobs report from the federal government provided some shocking information.  The total number of new jobs rose by only 194,000.  The economic experts had predicted about 500,000.  What happened?

Many people are not willing to return to their old jobs.  It’s not just one reason.  The obvious reason is fear of contracting COVID-19.  The less obvious is many people thinking they never did like their old job because the pay was lousy, the hours were too long, and the chances for advancement were limited.  Even the poorly educated are thinking they want a more rewarding occupation so maybe I can find something else to do.

That feeling that “I’ve had enough” according to the BLS report resulted in 4.3 million workers, or 2.9% of the labor force, quitting their jobs in August. That’s the highest rate since the BLS began tracking the data in December 2000.

After all who wants to drive a truck and who wants to deal with difficult patrons? Who in the hell wants these jobs?

To lure those workers back to those mind numbing jobs it is going to take higher pay and that will mean higher prices for everything.  After all businesses still want the same profits they have had in the past.

Now it appears certain that many of these strains, both economic and viral, will continue well into 2022, and perhaps beyond. “There’s just no road map to opening a global economy in a pandemic, and people keep forgetting we’re still in a pandemic,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. Now the recovery not only has to fix what was lost, but also the “scars and wounds have to heal” after hard-hit workers and industries reevaluated their futures,” Swonk said.

Imagine You Were Born in 1900

When you’re 14, World War I begins and ends when you’re 18 with 22 million dead.

Soon after a global pandemic, the Spanish Flu, appears, killing 50 million people. And you’re alive and 20 years old.

When you’re 29 you survive the global economic crisis that started with the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange, causing inflation, unemployment and famine.

When you’re 33 years old the nazis come to power.

When you’re 39, World War II begins and ends when you’re 45 years old with a 60 million dead. In the Holocaust 6 million Jews die.

When you’re 52, the Korean War begins.

When you’re 64, the Vietnam War begins and ends when you’re 75.

A child born in 1985 thinks his grandparents have no idea how difficult life is, but they have survived several wars and catastrophes. Today we have all the comforts in a new world, amid a new pandemic. But we complain because we need to wear masks. We complain because we must stay confined to our homes where we have food, electricity, running water, wifi, even Netflix! None of that existed back in the day. But humanity survived those circumstances and never lost their joy of living. A small change in our perspective can generate miracles.

We should be thankful that we are alive. We should do everything we need to do to protect and help each other.

Re-Read that last line again and AGAIN!

“Too Many Containers Inside the Terminal”

This is all about the supply chain issues. Trucks, warehouses, port docks are all involved in this.

For more than 30 years, Octavio Guadarama’s trucking career has seen its ups and downs. But this is the worst he’s seen it.

“I think they don’t have enough people to move everything,” he said.

On the dock, complaints are with warehouses that receive the goods. At the warehouses, complaints are with the dock that unloads them. For Guadarama, it’s the lack of trucks to get from point A to B.

“There are too many containers inside the terminal but there are no chassis to take those containers out,” he said.

More than 60 cargo ships are parked at sea and waiting to come into San Pedro and Long Beach. The estimated wait time as of today is 12 days. Wednesday President Joe Biden made the announcement that both LA and Long Beach would move to a 24-7 operation, calling it a potential game changer.

“I say potential because all of these goods won’t move by themselves,” he said.

But there’s no timeline as to when that will begin or how. The White House is making the push to clear the supply chain from slowing the nation’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.

“We have to push this cargo out as quickly as we can,” he said.

Today port leaders say it’ll take a commitment of more than just those on the dock. Private companies such as Walmart, Target, FedEx and UPS have agreed to up their plans to work overnight hours to move goods faster.

“You have the commitment of the Biden administration, the commitment of the hardworking women and men in the supply chain to do their very best,” said John Porcari, who works the White House supply chain disruptions task force. “What we’re doing together is to accelerate the velocity of the supply chain using the available capacity, which is at night.”

But some along that chain worry there’s still an equipment issue that has to be solved first. No trucks – no movement.

“If they don’t have no chassis, it’s going to be the same thing,” Guadarama said.

This article posted on line provided by Los Angeles TV station NBC4.

Comic Book Fun is Being Destroyed

Why can’t business leave children alone?

As a child Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Bugs Bunny, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man, Archie (my favorite) were all fun comic books.  Nothing serious and no real social issues were addressed.  No sex even in Archie with his two possible girl friends. I collected comic books and baseball cards.  It was fun!

Now Superman Comes Out, as DC Comics Ushers In a New Man of Steel. The new Superman, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, is concerned about the environment, does not shy away from politics and will soon begin a romantic relationship with a male friend.

Talk about destroying childhood fun this is an abomination.  What preteen cares or understands the issues of the environment, discrimination, sexual orientation, politics and other social issues?

Children should be given time to grow up without having to contend with the issues of adulthood.

The Impact of COVID-19

The world has been dislocated by the COVID-19 pandemic in ways most of us cannot comprehend. Shortages, higher prices, and few of us are willing to work in low paying jobs with no future are outcomes of this world wide catastrophe.

When fewer items are available, consumers are willing to pay more to obtain the item—as outlined in the economic principle of supply and demand. The result is higher prices due to demand-pull inflation.

Employers have faced a number of challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — most recently, a labor shortage. In order to protect profitability, companies will have to pass on the additional costs to the consumer, adding to inflationary pressures. 

cargo ships awaiting a birth at Los Angeles harbor

There is a cargo ship bottleneck trying to get into ports along the California coast. The supply chain is backed up and affecting businesses all the way down to the consumer. Another in inflationary pressure.

Add social behavior caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the world is confronted with an inflationary period with no ending in sight.

Government solution of aid in the form of unemployment benefits, regulations protecting tenants against evictions, and other programs to protect the unemployed causes many to believe the United States is becoming a socialist society.

Those “experts” writing their opinion pieces and appearing on news media outlets don’t really know where this situation is going.  Your opinion an my opinion is just as valid.

‘It takes just “one extra snowflake to start an avalanche — and boom!” Indeed, according to Harry S. Dent Jr., aka The Contrarian’s Contrarian, flurries could come in July: The ever-building market bubble is likely to “blow at the end of this month, if not September,” predicts Dent in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.’

The Conference Board opinion: Looking further ahead, we forecast that the US economy will grow by 3.8 percent (year-over-year) in 2022 and 3.0 percent (year-over-year) in 2023.

My opinion: The sky is not falling. Despite politics we will muddle through despite our lack of a strong leader.  Ignore the noise.

A Navajo contest includes Slaughtered Animals

For the Jews who rejected Jesus as their Messiah, animal sacrifices done in obedience to the Old Testament covenant were stopped in A.D. 70. For the Christian community, animal sacrifices stopped with the death and resurrection of Christ.  In the name culture, customs and language the Navajo Nation are sustaining a savage behavior.  Truly sad.

This was all reported in the Los Angeles Times.

The 69th annual Miss Navajo Nation Pageant began on a Monday just before 7 a.m. with three young women in long colorful dresses and aprons standing over a trio of trussed, bleating sheep.

Niagara Rockbridge blesses a sheep before the butchering competition at the 69th annual Miss Navajo Nation Pageant.
(David Kelly / For The Times)

The contestants patted the animals with small pine branches, blessing them. The women drew knives, grabbed the sheep by their chins and slit their throats. Blood spilled into the dirt. The contestants had one hour to kill, skin and gut the sheep, 30 minutes to clean the intestines and 20 minutes to cut up the meat.

The article did not show any of the slaughtered animals.

Are Government Leaders Stealing from Their Countries?

An unprecedented leak of financial records known as the Pandora Papers has revealed the offshore financial assets of dozens of current and former world leaders and hundreds of politicians from Asia and the Middle East to Latin America. Rich and powerful deny wrongdoing after dump of purported secrets.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained 11.9 million confidential documents from 14 separate legal and financial services firms, which the group said offered “a sweeping look at an industry that helps the world’s ultrawealthy, powerful government officials and other elites conceal trillions of dollars from tax authorities, prosecutors and others.”

Here are some of the biggest revelations in the release:

Jordan king’s real estate empire

Jordan’s monarch, King Abdullah II, used an English accountant in Switzerland and lawyers in the British Virgin Islands to secretly purchase 14 luxury homes worth $106 million, including a $23 million property in California overlooking Malibu Beach.

French Riviera estate

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who is currently running for re-election, “moved $22 million through offshore companies to buy a lavish estate on the French Riviera in 2009 while keeping his ownership secret.”

South Dakota, Nevada havens

One of the most “troubling revelations” for the U.S. was the role of South Dakota, Nevada and other states that have adopted financial secrecy laws that “rival those of offshore jurisdictions” and demonstrate America’s “expanding complicity in the offshore economy,” said the Washington Post.

“A burgeoning American trust industry is increasingly sheltering the assets of international millionaires and billionaires by promising levels of protection and secrecy that rival or surpass those offered in overseas tax havens. That shield, which is near-absolute, has insulated the industry from meaningful oversight and allowed it to forge new footholds in U.S. states” reports the Washington Post

Pakistan’s political elite

Several members of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle, including current and former cabinet ministers, “secretly owned an array of companies and trusts holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth.”

Tony Blair property purchase

The documents show former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife saved around $422,000 by using an offshore company to purchase an almost $9 million office in London’s Marylebone area that was partially owned by the family of a Bahraini minister, the Guardian reported.

None of this is really news.  Most of us understood that the rich and powerful add to their wealth in ways that are marginally legal. They become really unhappy when these kinds of reports appear in the press. Will this exposure change their ways? Uh, they will find new better ways to keep their behavior a secret.

Sorry, We are Out Of Stock

A new MacBook Pro.  There are none in the local stores.  Order today and it will be shipped in two to three weeks.  Charmin Toilet Paper at Costco. Sorry all we have is our own Kirkland Signature in stock.  Orville Redenbacher Kettle Corn at the local supermarket.  There will be a delivery sometime next week.  Rice Krispies.  Try our house brand, it’s really good.

What’s going on?  Why all the shortages?  It’s called logistics or the supply chain.  Logistics is the network of supply chain participants engaged in storage, handling, transfer, transportation, and communications functions that contribute to the efficient flow of goods.

Of course some of this situation is due to high demand but the real issue is the lack of personnel in warehouses, port workers, and the shortage of truck drivers.

When any of the functions don’t work as expected we have shortages and stock-outs.

Why now?  Low paying jobs and the impact of COVID-19 causing many people to remain unemployed or searching other work opportunities. This is a worldwide issue. A shortage of truck drivers in the UK resulted from that country’s departure from the EU.  Non-citizens were forced to leave that country.  The result is not enough drivers to deliver gasoline (petrol) and other products.

China Ningbo-Zhoushan container port on August 15, 2021

Big plans for Christmas shopping? You best start shopping now if there are special things you was to give. The ports have ships waiting to unload.

How can the Democratic Party Retain Control of the House of Representatives?

Unless the Democratic Party has a magic potion we will be seeing a Republican Party majority in the House of Representatives beginning in January 2023.  There are two reasons to reach this conclusion.

Historically the president’s party has lost control of the House in mid-term elections.  Although not all the time. The Democrats won the House of Representatives in 2018. The Republicans won control in 2010 (Obama’s first mid-term election).

The second reason is the results of the 2010 census.  Three of the states gaining additional House seats are Republican strongholds.  It is reasonable to expect their legislatures to ensure the seats they gain have majority Republican registrations. Florida gained one seat. Montana gained one seat. North Carolina gained one seat. Texas gained two seats.  Those five seats will give the Republicans control of the House.  So assuming they hold on to all the seats they currently control the results are obvious.

NPR reports that New York Democrat, and chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, told them that the party is hopeful that an ambitious, multitrillion-dollar economic agenda trumpeted by the Biden administration will resonate with voters when it’s time to head to the polls next fall.   I don’t agree.

It will take a nationwide multi-million-dollar funded campaign to retain control of the House.