Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thoughts While Traveling

Hello all. I come to you this evening from the Admiral's Club at the Miami Airport. This is American Airlines' pay to play lounge, and it is really quite nice. Just had a killer bowl of chicken soup at the bar and a chicken Caesar wrap that was very tasty. I now have 90 or so minutes of sterile luxury to share with you, so I thought I'd share a few comments while traveling.

1. First of all--the reaction to the Jon Stewart post was more than I'd anticipated. Although most of the folks who read this are on the right side of the spectrum, I have a few longtime friends on the other side of the spectrum who look in now and then and provide me with their own commentary, either in person or through the blog. Apparently, I went just a little bit too far by criticizing Jon Stewart, and one of them seems to have signed off of the blog. I consider this unfortunate, because reading through the protest, he or she is clearly intelligent and has a lot to add here. But as is often the case when folks reach their limit, I think this person did a lot of piling on of their own biases and really didn't stay on top of what I was saying. That said, their response was very influential in getting me to think again about my post. Lots to address in it, but as far as I can tell, the argument is 1) Jim Cramer (and apparently all of CNBC) is an un-indicted co-conspirator in whatever criminal gallery is being assembled of those most responsible for the economic crisis we are in. 2) He made a lot of predictions that turned out to be wrong 3) Jon Stewart is a comedian and no one really thinks his show is anything but comedy and satire 4) whereas Cramer has a higher obligation to his viewers and 5) Stewart is right in what he's saying 6) Stewart is an equal opportunity satirist and therefore 6) I'm shooting the messenger.

The more I read this poster's words, the more I began to think that he or she had a point-or more properly, lots of points. More than any post since I started the blog, this one came closest to having me say that I just plain screwed it up and that what I wrote was wrong. Yes, Stewart does lampoon the Obama administration. Yes, he is just the messenger. Yest, Cramer made a lot of wrong predictions, some of them frighteningly wrong. I very nearly got to the point where I conceded....and then I simply couldn't.

Yes--Cramer got things wrong sometimes. But did he get things right? Has he made correct calls? Has he said things on his show that ultimately did come true? Not stuff like "the sun will come up tomorrow", but analysis that showed he knew what he was talking about and that his advice was worth listening to? I watch Cramer about as much as I watch Stewart--in both cases, the answer is once in a while. I find Cramer entertaining and I find his analysis often coherent and insightful. But at the end of the day, HE'S STILL GUESSING about most of the predictions he makes. This again, is the nature if investing.

Next--the timing can't be argued away. Stewart never lifted a finger against either of these two guys on CNBC---until they skewered the President. You can talk all you want about how much Stewart goes after people on both sides of the fence...but how often does he go after people who are going after political figures? Is criticism of politicians solely the purview of the Daily Show? How often in the past has he chosen to go after--in the manner he is here--ANYONE even remotely on the other side of the equation from a Republican or a Conservative? The point I'm trying to make here is that it is NOT IMPORTANT for THIS criticism of Stewart that he may be right about the things he's calling Cramer on (which he appears to be, as he has loads of video evidence----but wait---no video evidence of when Cramer got things right?). What is important is that he has chosen a SIDE here, and I think that his choice belies a clear policy/political preference that most of us on this side of the aisle have always believed he had.

The worst counter-criticism of all is that Stewart is an entertainer who does politics, and Cramer is doing really important stuff in an entertaining way---ergo, Cramer has a higher responsibility. I'm pretty sure Stewart CRUSHES Cramer in ratings, and I'm positive that Stewart dispenses with a lot of "news" on his show (in his own style)--so where is HIS responsibility? Did he have ANY responsibility whatsoever before he started his vendetta against Jim Cramer to check into how successful he's been? How many "good" calls he had made? No. It didn't matter. He had an ax to grind and he had a platform to grind it from.

So at the end of this over longish post, I find myself at a cross-roads...just as content as I was the minute I first published the post that it was worthy of comment, and also a little disappointed that someone who disagreed with me in such a thoughtful manner has decided not to visit the blog anymore. There you have it.


Anonymous said...

While I enjoy watching Cramer every night, one must remember the show is primarily entertainment. The financial networks exist to promote their advertisers financial and investment products. Who would expect them to warn about the credit bubble or coming Washington national debt collapse which will destroy much of the remaining private wealth in America today or what this will do to the dollar, the stock market, bonds, gold or the real estate market?

It is ironic that Jon Stewart and a comedy show instead of the regulators or news media had to bring all of this public. Also in Cramers defense he is far less guilty than most of the other financial media for their efforts together with Wall Street, the politicians & incompetent regulators for what has happened.

China is now worried about their dangerous over investment in US Treasury obligations. Washington ’s long-term choice is either repudiation or monetization. For monetization to be effective, the depreciation in the dollar would have to be substantial and this in turn would dramatically raise prices of imports for American consumers which would mean a tremendous drop in foreign imports. Debt monetization would cause more disruption to exporting nations than selective repudiation of Treasury debt.

The Campaign to Cancel the Washington National Debt By 12/22/2013 Constitutional Amendment is starting now in the U.S. See:


Ron with 30 plus years in the investment business and banking industry.

Anonymous said...

"...a little disappointed that someone who disagreed with me in such a thoughtful manner has decided not to visit the blog anymore."


They didn't de-Friend you on Facebook, did they???

Anonymous said...

People are going to disagree with your opinions. That's the whole point of this blog, isn't it-to get a spirited conversation going with different perspectives? Good for you, Bryan, to be a big enough guy to allow yourself some introspection on the whole matter, but someone disagrees with you so they're going to pack up their toys and go home? Sounds as thin-skinned as our new President.

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