Three Things You Need to Know - January 11, 2018

'All the Money in the World' and the Hollywood Pay Gap

0.07 percent.

When the world learned that actress Michelle Williams only earned 0.07% of what Mark Wahlberg made for reshoots on the film “All The Money In The World,” outraged erupted.

Sure, it’s a headline that looks bad, but before you cry for the eradication of the male species, maybe you should look at the whole story.

In an effort to reduce controversy and be an Oscar contender, director Ridley Scott decided that he needed to reshoot all of (now-disgraced actor) Kevin Spacey’s scenes in “All the Money in the World.”

Both supporting actors Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams agreed to do the reshoots.

Mark Wahlberg and his agent asked for $1.5 million to do the scenes, while Michelle and her agent negotiated for basically nothing.

Mark and Michelle are both represented by the same talent agency, so why didn’t Michelle’s agent push for a million-dollar payout?

Because Michelle is actually on record agreeing to do the reshoots for free. She said, “I'd be wherever they needed me, whenever they needed me. And they could have my salary, they could have my holiday, whatever they wanted. Because I appreciated so much that they were making this massive effort."

Unlike Wahlberg, the opportunity that this movie presents for Michelle is worth more to her than any salary. “All the Money in the World” could very well be the most important role of her career. It’s possible that she may win an Oscar for her performance. No wonder she was so willing to reshoot without negotiating for more money.

And if I may add, she didn’t do the reshoots for free after all. She was paid $1,000 even though she volunteered to do the job for nothing.

So, Michelle Williams essentially got a bonus for the reshoots and a very real chance at winning an Oscar.

If she wins, she’ll have something Mark Wahlberg and all the money in the world can never buy.

20 Trillion and Rising

The U.S. national debt is over twenty trillion and rising. Most of that is owned by you or the government, but there’s 6.3 trillion Treasury bills, notes and bonds that are held by foreign countries. China is the granddaddy of them all, holding US treasuries totaling 1.2 trillion. It’s been good for China, helping to keep their currency weaker than the dollar, which in turn keeps their exports competitive, and it’s been good for us. Consumer prices for goods remain low, and the government gets more money to spend themselves silly.

Some people try and make all this sound hard, but it’s actually pretty easy. The United States is like a big corporation. Countries like China that purchase our debt in the form of treasuries are like investors. They buy a ten-year treasury, we get the cash but promise to repay when it matures.

Something interesting happened yesterday morning. The dollar, treasuries and stock-index futures all declined due to a rumor coming from China. The rumor was that senior government officials in Beijing had recommended slowing or even halting purchases of US Treasuries. The consequences for that could be huge. China is our biggest investor. Why would they do this now?

Hardly anyone’s talking about the danger the Chinese economy is in. The last few years for them have been the worst in thirty years. Like the rest of the world, they never really recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. Less people are buying their stuff while, at the same time, their labor costs are rising. They’ve racked up huge debt with underperforming loans, and nearly half a billion people live below the poverty line.

If your family invests in the stock market, but then dad loses his job and starts to miss mortgage payments, do you keep buying stocks or do you save your money and prepare for hard times? This is the position China is now in. They see trouble and they’re getting ready. The truth is, they’ve been quietly selling debt and calling in loans since 2016. Japan briefly overtook China as our largest debt holder before, they too, began calling in loans.

This leaves us with a couple choices. The government can either cut spending or they can print money. Which one do you think they’ll pick? But one thing is clear: the global economy is getting ready for something big. Here’s hoping we don’t pour kerosene on a bonfire.

The Erosion of the First Amendment

The First Amendment is not something to be trifled with. Yet, it seems to happen somewhere in the country every day now.

This week in Louisiana, a female middle school English teacher was arrested for speaking at a school board meeting. Her crime? Apparently asking why the school district’s superintendent was getting a $30,000 raise when teachers and other support staff haven’t received a raise in over ten years.

Seems like a pretty fair question. She pointed out that the district’s improved test scores and state ranking are due to the efforts of the teachers, yet they continue to deal with much larger class sizes with no extra compensation.

The teacher, Deyshia [pronounced Day-sha] Hargrave, was not being disruptive. She stood to speak with permission from the meeting chairman after he had opened the floor for audience comments.

But the school board evidently didn’t like Ms. Hargrave’s question very much. One board member pounded his gavel and told her to “Stop, right now – that’s not germane to what’s on the agenda tonight.” Then she was approached by a police officer who told her to leave. Hargrave walked herself out of the room, but the officer followed her.

In the hallway, people attending the meeting could hear a commotion as Hargrave was suddenly handcuffed on the floor, led out of the building, put in a patrol car, and taken to jail.

It was a public meeting. The floor was open for public comment. Hargrave is a citizen simply exercising her right to speak and petition her government. Instead she was silenced and carted off to jail.

Fortunately, a local TV station covering the school board meeting got the incident on camera and the footage has gone viral. After reviewing the footage, the local city prosecutor decided not to pursue charges against Hargrave. That’s the very least the city could do after such a ridiculous, unconstitutional arrest.

By the way, the school board approved the superintendent’s raise at the meeting. The teachers will have to continue waiting on theirs. Meanwhile, at least they have an object lesson about the importance of the First Amendment to take back to their students. And here’s hoping they do, because a lot of America just doesn’t seem to get it.

MORE 3 THINGS

I'm going to introduce you to what is by far the most annoying trend on social media involving a particular emoji. The annoying online trend features the clapping emoji 👏 in 👏 between 👏 each 👏 word.

The technique is most often used — unironically — by the social justice types to express indignation or condescension.

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It's meant to imply that the person who is writing the message is so much more "woke" than you that they are righteously allowed to clap in your face. Just looking at it is enough to test your blood pressure. Among the most recent standouts is the controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson's decision to play a transgender character, which LGBTQ advocates would view as a good thing, right? You know, her being an ally to their cause and all. Here's one of the myriad tweets that sums up the feeling:

For weeks, the social justice types had been raging about Johansson, who was slated to portray a crime kingpin who was born a woman but identified as male in the film Rub & Tug.

In an interview with NPR — naturally — a trans activist had this to say about it:

Casting male actors to play trans women and female actors to play trans men really reinforces the idea that trans men are really women who are pretending to be men and tricking people into thinking they're men as opposed to the truth, which is that transgender men are living authentically as themselves. And we look like men and we feel like men, and we are perceived as men, and there's no reason, like, women should be playing us.

Listen to the full interview here:

Boy, if it weren't already confusing enough…

In response to this so-called backlash, Scarlett Johansson released a statement to her critics, noting to "tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment."

But, finally — as most people do these days — she buckled. She released the following statement:

In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project. Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I've learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive.

What's the source of all this outrage? Because, we all know that the small but vocal mob — who the mainstream media has for some reason given a platform, and whose voice is louder than the rest of ours — is able to bully until they get what they want.

There's no winning.

Let's say that Scarlett Johansson had refused the role to begin with, on the grounds that she will not play a transgender character. You can guarantee the same crowd that's outraged now would be in fits. There's no winning. The best we can do is treat those around us with respect, live humbly and, for heaven's sake, don't clap between every damn word.

We should all be praying for success at the Trump/Putin sit-down

ALEKSEY NIKOLSKYI/AFP/Getty Images

92 percent of the world's nuclear weapons are in TWO countries: the U.S. and Russia. And as I'm speaking right now, the leaders of both countries are sitting down at a table to try and figure out how to coexist with one another. Sounds kind of important right? And even though the media will slap-fight each other to death today in an attempt to turn the Trump/Putin summit partisan, what's happening right now in Helsinki is probably the least most partisan thing happening right now… like anywhere. As in, the entire planet.

If there was ever a time to be partisan… this isn't it. To any Democrat, Republican or mainstream media pundit looking to turn this into some gotcha political narrative… what the hell is wrong with you? The last time the U.S. and Russian presidents sat down for a summit was in 2010… eight years ago! Here's a small rundown of how "cold" our relationship has been since then.

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Russia still has troops in Georgia after their invasion during Obama's first term. Keep in mind, Georgia was a country considering joining NATO. That invasion was Russia's coming out party. It was a warning to the world that things were about to change, and they were just getting started. They would then invade, steal and annex Crimea from Ukraine. They'd also invade, destabilize and wage war in Eastern Ukraine. That war is still going on to this day, but rarely does the media talk about it anymore. And the backdrop to that invasion and silent war was an accusation from the Russians that the United States deliberately encouraged the fall of the Ukrainian president and government.

Meanwhile, Russia continues supplying troops and equipment to their side, and we are now providing military training and anti-tank missiles to ours.

And Ukraine is just one of the proxy wars currently being fought between the two nuclear powers. Syria is the other. In April, we admitted to killing nearly 200 Russians in that conflict.

Over the past four years, over 700 Russian citizens and companies have been sanctioned, 35 diplomats have been declared persona non grata, 2 Russian diplomatic compounds have been closed, one consulate and two diplomatic annexes. Oh… and Russia has ejected over 700 U.S. diplomatic staff.

Between cyber attacks and indictments on Russian intelligence personnel, tensions have never been higher.

Between cyber attacks and indictments on Russian intelligence personnel, tensions have never been higher. Russia currently maintains an arsenal of 6,600 nuclear weapons. We have 6,450. The next closest nuke holders are France with 300 and China with 280. It's not even close. Between Washington and Moscow, there are over 13,000 nuclear weapons pointed at one another.

Forget partisan politics. The two toughest kids on the block just met for a sit-down, and we should all be praying for their success.

It's not just the Twitter mobs, the Leftist extremists and the flagrant fourth-wave feminists who want ICE abolished. As we've seen, there's a growing number of politicians who want to see it as well.

Cue Alejandro Alvarez, who in his 32 years has managed to cultivate his brand as a "serial immigration violator." Alejandro has been deported 11 times. Well, he's facing deportation once again, after allegedly "slashing his wife with a chainsaw." His wife is in recovery and is expected to survive.

RELATED: The cost of unchecked illegal immigration is very real, and very high

Around 3:00 pm last Wednesday, police arrived at Alejandro's. When they arrived, they found Alvarez's wife suffering from "traumatic physical injuries, believed to have been inflicted by a chainsaw." The couple's three children were huddled in fear inside the home. Alejandro's wife was rushed to a nearby trauma center for an emergency surgery.

Alejandro fled the scene of the crime, but was eventually hauled in by police and booked under "suspicion of attempted murder, child endangerment, hit and run, and grand theft auto."

Sounds like the kind of guy who should be in our country illegally, right?

ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley noted that "Immigration officers have lodged a detainer against Alvarez, requesting that local authorities notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement before his release to allow them to take the man into custody."

This is the new reality.

This is the new reality. The immigration agency has to ask for permission, to file requests, to have illegal immigrants who are guilty of crimes dealt with. Luckily for Alejandro, Los Angeles is a sanctuary city, so maybe he'll get another pass and be back on the streets in no time.

UPDATE: Here's how the discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

Why is nobody talking about this?

Alabama law enforcement officials say that an illegal immigrant and an immigrant in the United States on a green card are responsible for the brutal murders of a grandmother and her 13-year-old special needs granddaughter in what investigators say is violence related to Mexican drug cartels.