Sunday, November 30, 2008
We had to Destroy the Village to Save it... Black Friday... My Actions... A Christmas Carol
The Old Skin-flint Ebeneezer Scrooge was transformed in the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens...
"We had to destroy the village to save it."
During the Vietnam War, the United States found itself not only battling a shadowy force of Viet Cong, but more importantly an ideology and thinking that was almost imposible to fight. Our attempt to "win" the Vietnamease over through give-aways, acts of kindness, and even fighting their war for them proved to be folly. Communist inflitration became so heavy that one officer at Ben Tre commented "We had to destroy the village to save it."
The rationale befuddled many Americans during the Vietnam War. Destroying the village to save it... Ironically, this week Congress will discuss whether it will "Destroy" the Big Three in order to "save" them. As previously noted, a failure of the Big Three will send a giagantic shock wave through the economy from line-workers, executives, middle management, and secondary suppliers such as out-sourcers. A Big Three failure will effect every single American in one shape or form. Congress would not be destroying the automakers. Quite simply, by doing nothing Congress would allow the Big Three to whither and die... They would be forced to file bankruptcy. Bond and shareholders would have worthless shares, and all contracts would be null and void. If Congress allows the Big Three to fail, then there would be an opportunity to re-organize the manufacturers into a 21st century organization, as opposed to retaining the failed industrial model. To allow another life-line and cash-infusion in the end, would be folly. Under a bankruptcy plan, executives, line-workers, bond-holders, and speculators would be ones on the hook for the financial loss. Congress may well have to destroy the Big Three in order to save them.
Bargin shopping... That is what happend the day after Thanksgiving. Nothing more, nothing less. Cash strapped consumers were out spending... and they are not spending friviously. They are looking for bargins. It is a sad commentary any time shoppers trample another human being to death for a couple of low-priced items... Ironically, the main consumer in our house noted that "The stores were very busy in the morning, but everyone had gone home by noon." Many people are going in to conservation mode... expect hellacious retail numbers within the next two weeks.
The recent run-up in stocks could well be another opportunity to re-short commercial real estate. The story of the week on several TV stations was how commercial real estate was taking a terrible hit. To be precise, chain stores specializing in apparel will be the ones that take a hit. Ironically, I do believe some stores will hold their own. As I have mentioned to fellow reader Boom and Doom, certain specialty retailers will always hold their own. Sports apparel will always have business due to the nature of their product, and the demographic of the clientele. Jerseys and hats become part of a person's persona.
Restaurants, furniture, and jewlery are on the board as well as a few specialty selections from AX that can be found at: www.bigbigbet.blogspot.com
Two weeks ago I sold positions in SPG and VNO puts the day before the big rally started... 180 % profits!!! It was more luck than genius... but something should be said about profit taking... profit is never a dirty word in this trader's book. Still, I am in the black on several other positions. I am continuing to hold WYNN, CNK, BBW, FXI, and RYL since the earliest of those contracts expires in March. I also added MCRI into this rally. Thank goodness it was a low-ball bid or I would be down 25%. One thing is for certain, there is more bad news to be had. It is obvious that unemployment will be heading into double digits before this is all said and done!!! Aside from stimulus checks for basic survival skills, I believe most will curb their appetite for extras like gambling. I am convinced that we are getting a nice "feel good" effect from the Obama administration... after all there is always a honeymoon phase. Just remember, the same reporters that are heaping the laurels and celebrating the arrival of a new President could well be the same ones who write vicious words. If we develop protectionist tarrifs akin to Smoot-Harley, then we will be in for a looong sloooow doooown.
Keeping Christ out of Christmas...
Whether you are a Aganostic, Hindi, Muslim, or Jew, there is nothing to gain by taking Christ out of Christmas. As my wife and I journeyed 15 miles down to the State Theater in Cleveland, paid for parking, and bought tickets for Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" we were treated to a dumbed down version of the play. Scrooge's tortured old soul was supposedly changed through visitations from four ghosts. Scrooge it supposed to be redeemed in mind, body, and spirit on Christmas morning. However, there is no redemption without the birth of Jesus... and that is something that would have Dickens rolling in his grave. In an age of political correctness and multi-culturalism we should genuinely appreciate the aspects of everyone's culture... not destroy it! Taking liberties with stories can destroy them, and the author's true intention. I am not sure whose version of a Christmas Carol was shown last night, but it was not Charles Dickens!!!