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

The Purple Heart is reserved for those wounded or killed during battle. Awarded by the President, the medal has George Washington's image right there on the front of it. Make no mistake, it is reserved for heroes. True heroes. Men and women who've faced death and still persevered. Soldiers who fought in battle at the cost of their limbs, their lives, or their inner peace. John F. Kennedy earned a Purple Heart for his heroism as a gunboat pilot in 1944. John McCain received one for, well, we all know his horrific story. Colin Powell. Roughly one million Purple Heart medals have been awarded to veterans, all of whom were determined to have fought valiantly, with courage and heart.

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So it was a bit of a head-scratcher to hear comments from Democratic Representative Steve Cohen from Tennessee and self-appointed "Leader in Effort to #ImpeachTrump." During a House Oversight Committee hearing questioning Peter Strzok, Cohen said, perplexingly, that Strzok deserves a Purple Heart. You know, because he's injured by all those mean text messages that HE sent?

As we've seen, other than Cohen's fanboy praise, Strzok hasn't gotten off easy. Thankfully. The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General wrote: "We did not have confidence that Strzok's decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the [Anthony] Weiner laptop was free from bias."

Lack of confidence. I believe that's one of the criteria for a different medal. Not a Purple Heart, though. Sorry, Strzok, you'll have to get your trophy elsewhere.

Time mgazine is back at it again, reporting the real news, doing the proper journalism. One of their latest articles is sure to earn them a Pulitzer. Surely. The article is titled, "Women Are Buying Up Plan B Because They're Terrified of the Future Supreme Court."

Here's how the article opens:

Within hours of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement announcement last month, Emily Hauser was standing at a drugstore counter asking a pharmacist for two packages of Plan B. At age 53, she didn't need the emergency contraception pills — in fact, she wasn't sure who would, or when. But Hauser bought them anyway.

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I like that the article sets up Kennedy's retirement as an apocalyptic event. A recurring theme in the mainstream media, now that I think of it, especially lately. Here's the gist of it:

Across the country, Americans are stockpiling emergency contraception in light of Justice Kennedy's retirement and President Donald Trump's Monday nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. The nation's highest court is on its way to having a conservative majority, making threats against Roe v. Wade seem more dire than ever.

A good article includes backstory. History. The context. Here's what Time had to say about the sudden influx—some would say panic—in birth control:

To understand the interest in buying up Plan B, you need to brush up on Roe v. Wade. Some background: The court handed down the 7-2 decision in 1973, confirming that a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy is covered by the Fourteenth Amendment. Progress has been rocky since then.

Of course they reduce the issue to a series of strawman fallacies.

Ah, yes. Of course they reduce the issue to a series of strawman fallacies. At this point, it's impossible for those inflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome, and now Kavanaugh Derangement Syndrome, to have a civil conversation. They certainly aren't going to budge in their opinion. Our main goal, obviously, is to connect to them as fellow human beings, living in the same chaotic world, and, hey, maybe along the way they'll admit that, maybe, they're a little more biased and deranged than they previously realized.

If all you knew about American politics came from The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, or MSNBC, you'd think that a "Blue wave" is about to swamp the country, with hip, millennial geniuses like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez surfing the crest of the wave. In fact, you would already think Ocasio-Cortez is the greatest hope for America since Barack Obama.

America is a very large country, and reality is usually more complex than the media lets on. But, since the media already has their narrative and superstar Ocasio-Cortez set for this November, there's no room for another young, minority, female, child of immigrants, political outsider, from the ultimate blue-wave state of California, named Elizabeth Heng. Well, there probably would be room for a story like that, except that she's a conservative.

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Thirty-two-year-old Elizabeth Heng is running for Congress against Democrat Jim Costa, in California's 16th district. It's been 40 years since a Republican won in that district.

In the early 1980s, Heng's parents fled the violence in Cambodia and immigrated to the U.S. In 2008, after graduating from Stanford where she was student-body president, Heng opened several cell-phone stores with her brothers in the central San Joaquin Valley. Running her own business and managing 75 employees opened her eyes to a not-so-dirty secret about capitalism trying to survive the virus of progressivism. She says, "I saw firsthand how government regulations impacted businesses negatively. I constantly felt that from Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, they were saying that I was everything wrong with our country, when all I was doing was creating jobs."

That's when she decided to venture to Washington, D.C., where she worked for six years learning the ins and outs of legislation and campaigning. She ended up working as a director for President Trump's inauguration ceremony, a job she managed while also finishing her MBA at Yale.

Fiscal responsibility isn't quite as sexy-sounding as free college for everyone.

One of the biggest lessons she learned working in Washington became the platform she is now running for office on: fiscal responsibility. She says, "In a family or a business, we don't suddenly act surprised when a budget comes up for the year. We get it done."

What a concept.

Still, fiscal responsibility isn't quite as sexy-sounding as free college for everyone. So, don't expect Elizabeth Heng to replace Ocasio-Cortez as the media darling anytime soon.

Desperate as they are to discredit Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, progressives have come up with a brilliant new angle for their attacks on President Donald Trump's candidate: his "frat boy"-sounding first name.

"We'll be DAMNED if we're going to let five MEN—including some frat boy named Brett—strip us of our hard-won bodily autonomy and reproductive rights," tweeted pro-choice organization NARAL.

“Now, I don't know much about Kavanaugh, but I'm skeptical because his name is Brett," said late night show comedian Stephen Colbert. “That sounds less like a Supreme Court justice and more like a waiter at a Ruby Tuesday's. 'Hey everybody, I'm Brett, I'll be your Supreme Court justice tonight. Before you sit down, let me just clear away these rights for you.'"

But as Glenn Beck noted on today's show, Steven Colbert actually changed the pronunciation of his name to sound French when he moved from South Carolina to Manhattan … perhaps to have that certain je ne sais quoi.

Watch the clip below to see Colbert attempt to explain.

Colbert's name games.

Desperate as they are to discredit Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, progressives have come up with a brilliant new angle for their attacks on President Donald Trump's candidate: his "frat boy"-sounding first name.


This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.