Meet and Greet Link

Meet and Greet it’s Autumn!

Dream Big, Dream Often

dream-big

Don’t forget to use your Sunday to relax and enjoy doing absolutely whatever it is you enjoy!

The Meet and Greet continues today and will conclude this evening so be sure to jump in and have some fun!

And don’t forget, you can leave your link multiple times!!

Meet and Greet Link

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So how connected do we want to be?

rear-window2The Chicago Tribune newspaper (Trib) recently published two (2) articles about the “Internet of Things.” I thought I’d include a photo of the view of my backyard from in the house. Not very “pretty” is it! Lots of wires, the signs of civilization, perhaps I should say, signs of “pre-Internet” civilization!!!

There is a French company, Sigfox®, “provider of network connectivity for Internet of Things devices, ..now live in Chicago.” Here’s an article from the Trib: Sigfox, Internet of Things

The idea is that different devices will offer support to our lives and our “way” of doing business through connections using the Internet as a wire-free conduit. This support would not use cellular technology necessarily.

Two (2) separate areas of Chicago are being “outfitted” with sensors and cameras. The initial idea, as least, is that “traffic” will be monitored, i.e. pedestrian and vehicular. This Trib article also mentions being able to monitor an area for “flooding” issues: Array of Things sensors.

There are several European countries experimenting with such technology and besides Chicago, several other U.S. cities are participating in use of the technology.

Here in Chicago, according to the Trib, collaboration is among the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Isn’t technology amazing! To think that this current “Array of Things” is ultimately possible because of electricity. Of course there are a myriad of inventions “between” the discovery and harnessing of electricity but I don’t believe it would be possible without the use of electricity. Perhaps there will be a comment in this regard from one of my readers.

There are issues being raised about privacy. Actually how “smart” do I want my home to be??? Is it better if my refrigerator orders butter and eggs from the grocer, who is going to make sure none of the eggs are broken? Ok, ok, business enterprises will surely benefit from improved “supply chain” operations, and as we are told “benefits” flow to the consumer or user. And, surely, do I need to “control” my wash machine from a cell phone while I’m flying several hundred miles above the earth???? Now, really!

Am I being too “small minded” or just “very old-fashioned”??? Guess being born in the mid-century has its “ups and downs”. Since I many times link to a light-hearted bit of nostalgia here’s one for you, The Jetsons! If you remember this TV show, then you belong to my mid-century generation (and there’s nothing wrong with that.)

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Passionate
Graceful

How fragile is our Financial System?

In response to the Daily Post words “fragile” and “test”, I offer my postings regarding banking legislation or perhaps “the lack of”, is a better way of expressing my perceptions at this point.

Question: Would the Glass Steagall Act have sheltered the retail customer from the Wells Fargo fraud?

Or, how about the “new” Dodd-Frank Act which is still being “implemented” years after it has been signed into law.

Here’s my reaction to the news about Wells Fargo Bank and its “marketing techniques.” The Hole dug by Wells Fargo Bank.

Guess, my answer to my question posited about would be that “our financial system is very fragile” or is a better word vulnerable?

Here’s another question: how good is our economy if we can’t trust our banks?
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Fragile
Test

The Hole dug by Wells Fargo Bank

Wow, what can I say about the chicanery at the Wells Fargo Bank! It is shocking us here in the States. Here’s one version of the fraud story as reported by Reuters.

The Bank is iconic “Americana.” The Wells Fargo Company dates way back (1852) to the “Wild West” days of the United States. Even the Wells Fargo logo reflects its western heritage with its stagecoach imagery. Funny thing about the illegal activities which employees performed at Wells Fargo, I don’t think even the Glass Steagell Act would have protected the Wells Fargo customers! You see Glass Steagall helped to put a “wall” between the retail and commercial activities that a bank could legally execute and perform. Glass Steagell was revoked by Congress and signed “out of law” by President Clinton around the year 1999.

The “magic” of the Glass Steagall Act was that it protected the retail bank customer from illegal bank activities that probably caused the stock market crash in 1929. The Dodd-Frank Act was enacted in 2008 to create protections and decrease risks in the financial and banking system in the United States after the housing crash in 2008/09. However, in the year 2016 there are still parts of the Dodd-Frank Act which have not been completely executed or installed within the financial/banking system of the U.S.

I don’t know if Dodd-Frank implementations would have prevented the dishonest activities performed by employees of Wells Fargo Bank. It seems to me that integrity, honesty, ethical behavior, and honest business practices are the “fall guys” in this debacle or should I call it a “too aggressively executed marketing program being used at the bank. It would appear that the illegal activities of the employees were driven by “incentives” and “market goals.”

What shocks me the most is the vast extent of the illegal activity and why it was not detected and stopped by management?

I don’t know what scares me more: the idea that bank employees can “play” with my money, or that negative interest rates will sap my money from my bank account. From news that I watch and articles that I read, the world’s financial and banking system is not as healthy as it should be. The repercussions from the financial and banking crash in 2008/09 are still being felt, the “war” in the Middle East still rages, and even container ships of commerce (Hanjin) and trade are adrift in the middle of the International waters of the World.

Guess what I’d like to say to the employees of Wells Fargo…what were you thinking!!! And, to the management of Wells Fargo…where were you when these illegal activities were happening, why didn’t you stop it!!! I worked in the business world and it’s all about bonuses. Wow, they had to flow up the ladder “a-ways”. Gee did it get to the Board Room?

We are worried about Identity Theft these days; I guess this is an example of it on a massive scale. What are the banks going to do to get our trust back? Maybe we will have to keep our savings “under the mattress” or “behind a loose brick” in the basement. Oh, wait, some of us don’t have a basement any more because a basement is part of a house!

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Stump
Generous

Recap of Financial Week: September 9, 2016

Well, I guess it’s time for a “recap” of the “week that was.” I have previously recapped the following financial “points in time” for my and my readers’ edification. Enjoy the “looking glass” view if you wish:
Recap of September, 2015 U.S. stock market
Market recap for week of January 8, 2016

Or, continue to the next paragraph for this week’s catalytic effects on the financial markets. Here’s my candidates “naughty actors” that contributed to the downward drop or behavior of the “DOW” (Dow Jones Industrial Average)

• The Hanjin container ships marooned at sea drama Hanjin. Also see my blog item: Ghost Ship
• Fear of a Fed interest rate increase Federal Reserve Rate Increase?
• “Bad” behavior of Wells Fargo Bank Banks behaving Badly
• North Korea “flexing” their military muscles North Korea
• End of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s financial conference at Jackson Hole Federal Reserve at Jackson Hole. Here’s another blog item I wrote regarding the conference Woodstock for Economists.

and, just for a “light” bit of humor:
• It was only a 4-day work week in the U.S.

I have read and heard on the news recently that the months of September and October are “tricky” or perhaps a better word is “dangerous” months for the “markets.” Well, who am I to argue with that, the 1929 stock market crash happened in October of 1929, the 1987 crash happened in August, 1987 (close enough to September for me). (Incidentally, I was watching a financial TV program the day of the “’87” crash, and yes, I can remember where I was and who was with me at that time.) I lost a couple of “bucks” in the Dot Com crash in 2001. Next came the housing bubble in 2009, seems to me that I starting hearing about “housing” credit problems in the summer of 2008 but anyway, I do know that there was no snow on the ground when the dominoes started to fall.

So, that’s my list of reasons for the U.S. stock market “readjusting” itself today and closing down around 2% or so.

Ghost Ship

I’ve been scanning the business headlines as I usually do to find my next blog topic. Bloomberg® the business news empire of Mr. Michael Bloomberg, has posted a timely article about the Hanjin container ships that ply the oceans of the world delivering trade goods from one nation to another around the world. Bloomberg’s article refers to “ghost ships.” Because of lack of money, legal issues, international trade laws, you name it, these vessels are stranded in International waters or perhaps at a destination port of call. There are rumors that food and water may be “short” in supply for the ship crews.

Again, today I encountered a homeless person on my travel through my home area. As I have seen before, this person was walking the median strip on the highway bridge with a sign. I don’t know the circumstances of this person but as I have mentioned before in my post “Encounter,” seeing homeless people is so troubling to me. The Bloomberg article, is another example of a “homeless” situation; of course, on a very grand scale but one could make a case for connecting the two circumstances. It’s all about “representation” you see. I could make it about “symbolism” or matter of perception.

Perhaps one could call the two situations “a dichotomy” of current economy conditions. On the one hand a “boat load” of “finished goods” manufactured, built, assembled, created, in one or more “foreign” countries and the “ready to purchase or use” product ready to be deliver to customers; on the other hand, people adrift in society with no home, no stable job, no dignity of life. The container ships are “adrift” on an ocean of water and the individual is adrift on an ocean of indignity.

I think the container ships represent the total dysfunction of our global economy. Here in the United States we have a Congress that won’t talk to each other or splinter groups have their own agenda certainly not the agenda of “the American people.” I live in the State of Illinois which still does not have budget and it’s been over a year! I have one cousin who fortunately was able to change jobs so she would be paid! She works in elderly care situations. I have a nephew who lost his job as a teacher! He fortunately has found another job. He got “lucky.”

Are we adrift? Wow, I’d say so. The U.S. stock market is hitting all-time highs again. It looks good, it sounds good. It’s good for a very tiny minority of people “with money.” The US is the place to put money because it seems money is “safe” here. Thanks to certain laws regarding real estate ownership, non-citizens can purchase real estate in the US and I mean million-dollar condos as well as single-family homes for “investment” purposes. At the same time, families are “priced out of the market” and can’t buy a home because of all the “cash” chasing the purchase of a house for sale.

Ah, CASH. Zero percent interest rates have not been introduced here in the States, YET. We are almost there because a “Saver” only earned maybe 0.5% interest on savings. Actually less than that, I think, down to 0.01% or 0.02%. Does accuracy matter with these miniscule rates?

Interestingly, the hullabaloo about the “goods” that are on these container ships consist of a large “inventory” of Christmas goods for retailers here in the States. Ah, Christmas, a time of sharing and cheer and gift-giving. Ah, “retail” which at one time meant going to a “brick-and-mortar” store to purchase your holiday items. Nothing wrong with on-line retailers or on-line buying, I buy on-line just like most other consumers, but I also patronize local stores and I do like to see and feel products that I wish to purchase.

Well, I’ve gone from the International oceans to a highway overpass in this blog entry. Guess I’m trying to “let off” some steam and sort out the situation as usual.

Our last summer holiday (Labor Day) is over and the next two months get real serious because of the Presidential election. There are three (3) Presidential debates scheduled and one (1) Vice President debate scheduled over this period spanning September and October. There is much “talk” about foreign entities “hacking” or influencing the US presidential elections. Politics is always interesting and sometimes “entertaining!” In fact, one of our “third” party candidates might get on the debate podium along side Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. I wrote about that possibility here: Show me the Money.

Well, meet you all in the blogosphere and “stay tuned” for the next episode of one heck of a “soap opera.” Trouble is, whose writing the script, dialogue, and storyline?????
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Silence

Meet and Greet: 9/3/16

It’s a “Meet & Greet”! Have a great holiday weekend everyone.

https://bjfopinion.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/introducing-the-party-of-neither/

Dream Big, Dream Often

DreamBig.PNG

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet and Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

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Melody

This is the first blog entry that I’m writing just in order to meet the criteria of a Daily Post word, in this case: “melody.” Unfortunately the melody that I’m hearing from the U.S. economy is more like a funeral dirge. Sorry for the depressing start to my blog but it’s getting scarier and scarier “out there.” I think my favorite WordPress business writer, blogger Michael Gray, sums things up much better than I. Here are links to two of his recent blog entries:

Dated September 1, 2016
https://mgray12.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/our-way-of-life-is-threatened/

Dated August 31, 2016
https://mgray12.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/what-does-an-economic-collapse-look-like-in-the-21st-century/

Here in the United States, we have two more months until probably the most historic Presidential election since Roosevelt or Lincoln. In order to describe my feelings I will quote the Victorian Age author, Charles Dickens, from his novel “War and Peace”, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

As reflected in the title to my blog page “Mono-economy of the New Millennium,” we are all affected as individuals, families, local communities, and business entities by what’s happening globally, not just “locally” such as the everyday activities of Wall Street.

There was a U.S. television show called “Name that Tune.” This link is to a YouTube clip of the TV show dating from the 1970s:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N59iCNSBIcE. The contestant happened to win US $100,000 that night. She walked away a winner that night. She won on an “educated” guess. So I “guess” that’s what we need to do, vote with our hearts and make the best “educated” guess that we can!

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Melody

Introducing the Party of “Neither”

What a great editorial in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Here’s the link: Neither for President. Evidently the WSJ does not endorse any candidates, “If ‘neither’ could make it onto the November ballot, maybe we’d reconsider our longstanding editorial policy of not endorsing candidates.”

“An unprecedented plurality of 35% responded neither, which means neither meets the 15% threshold to make it into the presidential debates. Can neither get a podium on stage?”

In my blog posting dated August 12, 2016, and titled “Show me the Money”, I offer the reader links to the four Presidential candidates’ websites and their political platforms. I also include a couple of links in my blog that refer to the 15% survey “results” requirement for inclusion in the Presidential debates.

What an interesting dilemma is posited by the WSJ! I mean, what if no Presidential candidate met the 15% “inclusion” criteria? Of course the criteria would be changed. Gee, maybe citizens should be “registered” survey responders in order to participate in the “national surveys.” Or, what if, and I know that this is really silly, but…what if only ONE candidate met the 15% requirement! They would be “onstage” debating against him or herself!

For those who can remember “Alfred E. Neuman,” should I quote him by saying “What, me worry!”
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Shiver

Encounter

My mom and I had an encounter with reality yesterday… a homeless man begging me for a dollar on our local bus service which only operates through the local streets of our village. It was a scary event. Scary because the encounter reminded me of the homeless who are panhandling around our town, scary because the homeless are the “face” of our failure as a nation. Scary for the homeless man awash in a sea of social apathy, scary because of deadlock government inaction, and a US economy which doesn’t know whether it is “up” or “down” among other things, and yes scary because he might have assaulted us or the bus driver because of his desperation. It’s a failure to “fix the problems” and the problems seem more insurmountable in every passing day. I see more homeless people “visibly.” There is a saying “the homeless are always with us”, I don’t know who said it and, for that matter, it doesn’t matter who said it.

It’s now more than 24 hours later and I am “haunted” by the memory of that homeless man. I have thought to myself in the past encounters that I have had seeing homeless people, “there but for the grace of God, go I.” I am a senior citizen and live on a fixed income. I am very worried about the ZERO percent interest rates and how the lack of income from savings is devastating the senior population. The “savers” are being punished and meanwhile others can buy cars (SUVs) at near ZERO percent interest rates because “money” is “cheap” to borrow. What is so ludicrous is that NEGATIVE percent interest rates are now being used by the European banks to try to get companies to “spend” their money instead of storing the money in banks. Basically, if you are a “saver” at a bank, you will pay the bank to hold your money for you! The Federal Reserve “isn’t there yet” but I’ve read some financial news that it could happen here in the States. As an individual and not a company, if I’m forced to spend my savings then I have “nothing”, and actually that is happening anyway because the “non-existent” inflation is very existent for me and other seniors for sure.

Here’s a blog I’ve written previously about Negative Interest Rates.

Unfortunately, my writing this blog item will not help that homeless man. Every homeless person has a “story” as to why he or she is in such a sad and seemingly helpless predicament. Am I trying to relieve my conscious? It just bothers me I guess, our whole economic “condition”. We don’t have to look at the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (or India or other “third” world country) with disgust, horror, curiousity, or smugness (I hope not), we have the “unfortunate” right here among us, just open our eyes.

And, of course, “except for the Grace of God, go I.”
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Witness