Stealing Signs

By Lloyd Graff

Chris Correa, an employee of the St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team, hacked into the computer system of the Houston Astros. Over a period of two years he stole useful information about Houston’s trade talks, draft evaluations and analytical research. He was tried and sentenced to 46 months in prison. Yesterday, MLB fined the Cardinals $2 million, money which will go to the Astros organization, and it took away two of the team’s high draft picks in the upcoming amateur player draft. No other other people in the Cardinals’ organization were prosecuted for misconduct, but MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Cardinals were “vicariously liable for (Correa’s) misconduct.”

Chris Correa, St. Louis Cardinals employee who hacked into Houston Astros computer system.

As a Cubs fan, I have no real sympathy for the Redbirds, but the prison sentence seems awfully stiff for a baseball peek, compared to stealing millions of Yahoo! files, much less Vladimir Putin hacking both the Democratic and Republican Parties in the Presidential election and then leaking the information.

My guess is that the U.S. probably did some nasty damage to Putin during and after the winter Olympics, so both sides decided to call it a draw for now.

Meanwhile, a little guy named Chris is taking the fall for at least three years in the poke.


The Trump honeymoon with business ended in his first week in office when he actually started doing what he said he would do while running for the Presidency. He really seems to want to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep out the Mexicans and Central Americans. Trump is also threatening a big tariff on imported goods, which will drive up our guacamole tab, but also screw up the auto parts blood flow that depends on the Mexican heartbeat.

From my parochial view as a machine tool dealer, some Mexican heartburn after a decade of eating our lunch with cheap labor and a sweet NAFTA deal is not an awful thing. I view NAFTA as a calculated move by Bill Clinton to gradually stem the flow of illegal immigration into the country from Mexico by building up the Mexican economy. The experiment actually worked quite brilliantly over 20 years as Mexico prospered despite its inefficiencies, drug wars, and bloated oil industry. Illegal immigration slowed to a trickle with as many Mexicans going back to the country as coming in. Desperate people from El Salvador and Nicaragua are trying to sneak into the U.S., but Trump’s oratory about the threat of Mexican rapists coming over in hordes was as ridiculous as building a $10 billion wall.

NAFTA has probably swung a little too far in Mexico’s favor for my taste, and possibly Trump’s bluster is just an elaborate bargaining device, but I fear he is actually serious about some of his threats, which could screw up the car manufacturing business for a couple years as it re-adjusts.

Question: In a world of internet espionage, is a border wall with Mexico obsolete?

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33 thoughts on “Stealing Signs

  1. Donnie

    It’s as simple as this. He campaigned on a promise to build the wall. He won the election. If he wants to win the next election, he damn sure better build that wall. He has a decent way to pay for it, by putting a 20% tariff on the Mexico imports. With a 60 billion dollar import/export deficit, 20% would net 12 billion and wreck the Mexican economy as the flow of imports from Mexico would decrease dramatically. It would probably be better for the Mexican economy, if they simply built the wall for him. Looks to me like he is a man that tries to do what he says and has the Mexican president in a bad position.

    1. Victor

      Hi Donnie,

      I’ve been exporting stuff for 25+ years and I know that generally the buyer ends up paying any import tariffs which they pass on to their customers. Thus, the 20% tariff on Mexican imports, which you say would pay for the wall, would be paid for U.S. consumers. I don’t like that.

      As you say, it is true that candidate Trump did promise to build the wall; but there was always a second part to that promise – Mexico would pay for it (“…and they don’t know it, yet.”). The 20% tariff is not Mexico paying for it – it is you and me paying for it. Are you OK with that?

      Best regards,

      1. Donnie

        Vick, Sure I am ok with that. It is time for them to pay and they will to prevent that tariff. To have the first president since WWII, to do what he says, is well worth the cost.

      2. madman

        Yes, Vick, I am fine with that? I think I can survive without a bit of guacamole & tequila for a few years while this gets worked out.

        The question is, are you willing to pay the inflated cost of dealing with Mexico?

      3. rick

        Realize that Mexico has a VAT tax of 16% on most goods and services. This is never discussed. We also send over $50,000,000 in foreign aid each year to Mexico.

        Also note that $25 billion is wired/remitted to mexico, most from the United States. A majority is from illegals sending money home. Carlos Slim gets a cut on all of that. I thought that the illegals use their money in the US – not so much…

  2. gary lawton

    Good comments Lloyd.
    Building a wall is as ridiculous as his hair is.
    Let’s hope the “hurricane” of the 1st 10 days calms down, but he is doing what he said he would. Should be no surprise.
    I have a very hard time getting past his bombastic, boastful attitude; but let’s hope he and Washington can get something done.

  3. Chuck Schultz

    Actually funding E-Verify would have cut down on illegal immigration at a much lower cost. Those people did not come here for the weather; they came for jobs. Jobs Americans gave them so they could get cheaper housekeeping, child care, construction, and fruit picking. Look at what happened in Georgia when the Ag sector feared the local governments would get involved in checking papers and leave the peaches rot on the trees for lack of help. Was it a coincidence that the INS raided a kosher meat processor in IOWA?
    Everyone should watch “A Day Without Mexicans”, that great dark comedy from California’s English only proposition battle.
    The wall will be a great bone for the construction trade.

  4. rick

    “He really seems to want to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep out the Mexicans and Central Americans.”

    Your statement already indicates your bias. The wall is to define and protect our borders. Mexicans made up 52% of all unauthorized immigrants in 2014. Thant means 48% are OTM – other than Mexicans. Many coming from terrorist related counties. This includes:
    Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Yemen, Afghanistan, China, Albania, Sierra Leone, Liberia.

    So you it would seem to me that you are a borderless globalist, one world government guy. Or perhaps some serous socialist leanings.

    Me personally, I am a Constitutionalist. I believe strongly in the rule of law, including natural law. Either we are a sovereign country, or just a mere territory of the new world order.

    So Lloyd, do you lock your door? Do you know who’s coming and going in & out of your house? Do you care? If you do not care, what is your address? I would like to see what beer selection is available in your refrigerator.

    Perhaps we should adopt the gracious Mexican method:
    Under the Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison. Immigrants who are deported and attempt to re-enter can be imprisoned for 10 years. Visa violators can be sentenced to six-year terms. Mexicans who help illegal immigrants are considered criminals.

    In terms of Trump, it is my opinion that the 20% tax is a bargaining chip. Read “The Art of the Deal”!

    Sorry to remind you about the wall, but in 2006, U.S. President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, then Senator, Barack Hussein Obama II voted in favor. nothing was ever done, just like most of government, so technically President Trump (sounds so nice) following his oath to enforce the law can use this and its appropriated funding to start building the wall right now. I imaging he has those smarter and more ambitious than us working on this as we read, write, surf & blog.

    The wall will be built, the rule of law reestablished and These United States are becoming Greater and Greater by the day!
    Stay safe &
    God Bless!

    1. John Otto

      I read all the comments an of course like Rick’s best. What I find disheartening is that there were 85 likes on Emily’s comment, even though there was zero substantive information to back her diatribe. I really feel confident that your outlook is based on what news sources you believe, or don’t.

      Most of the respondents are Trump supporters that have facts, even though the blog is leftist, they are the people who are not the one’s who feel it’s right; they know its right and are factual. All this whining from those who voted for Hillary is getting old, and personally I think it is really stupid for a CEO to make a statement that alienates half of what might otherwise be customers.

      Starbucks is a glowing example this. I’ll be able to tell a liberal from a conservative in the future by how amped up they are on caffeine, because you will never again see this conservative in Starbucks. PS – did you see what happened to the stock on the announcement date? It dropped off a cliff.

  5. Dave Atwood

    NAFTA had nothing to do with keeping the flow of immigrants south of the border but everything to do with “leveling the paying field” for all nations as part of the “New World Order”. Everyone relying on everyone one else for goods and presto!, we are all just one big, happy family. If you don’t believe that is what Bill Clinton had in mind just go read any of the propaganda of the “Clinton Global Initiative”; that was their whole goal. If we all have to buy from each other there will be no more fighting and we’ll be singing Kumbaya in no time.

    By the way, Trump might be on to something. Two customers have informed me since the first of the year that they know firms planning to bring assembly operations back to the U.S. from Mexico and yesterday one of our major customers informed us to be ready to double production on two parts we supply as their customer is considering closing their operation in China and bringing all production back here, quote: “because of what’s happening in Washington”.

  6. Randy

    From the California perspective, I’m fine with building the wall and paying for it if tariffs are in fact the impact noted of simply raising prices to local consumers. I’m paying for all the benefits given to illegal and overstayed visa recipients anyway and so spread the cost to the rest of the country that does not feel the pain of it in local economy.

    Trump won the election by putting together a coalition of people from diverse groups including social conservatives and blue collar labor union employees that were definitely impacted by cheap labor and the shift to NAFTA for cheap auto industry labor options.

    Someone else commented that he is fulfilling his campaign promises, “Should be no surprise”, but actually IT IS when we consider previous politicians. My 25 yr old son and 27 yr old daughter are struggling to understand how I can support the actions of a man they see as a pig, and they both ask me how holding up this man as an example of Presidential material for future generations is worthy of the office. Certainly a man with big flaws, but one with ideas that have a chance to rock Washington hard enough to get some people to change business as usual.

    1. rick

      I will bet good money that both you children know what a “Lewinsky” is!
      The current President was NEVER caught with a young impressionable lady, more than half his age, under the desk performing acts that were never discussed in public prior. All while speaking to political leaders. Any business owner, business leader, or CEO would have lost everything.

      Your pig comment is from the dishonest media twisting the words of a private hot miked conversation. At the time Trump says….“And when you’re a star they let you do it,…you can grab them…” it was a consensual statement and a hypothetical. It was not a statement of action, but of fantasy. I have heard much worse when a part was not in the vise tight enough, both the tooling and part were ruined.

      not justifying, just clarifying.

  7. brawlerman

    This country has been kicking this can down the road for the last 35 years. If we did something about illegal immigration back then it would have been a lot cheaper and we would not be where we are now. Trump has a lot of bad qualities but I voted for him for 1 reason, to build a wall. Well that and he was running against probably one of the worst candidates I have seen in my lifetime,

  8. Gordy

    I have another way to stop them from coming. Take down the bird feeder.
    When someone arrives in the US illegally, they are automatically eligible for benefits that exceed what the benefits our retired armed forces are eligible for. Non resident aliens can show up at a hospital and produce an anchor baby and become our responsibility. Even more frustrating, they can collect welfare even after they go back to their country as long as they leave the hospital with a birth certificate.

    That is a crock of, well, you know what it is a crock of. Who the heck came up with that anyway? And how is it that this subject never seems to come up at election time?

    Cut off any and all freebies for anyone who cant prove they are a citizen and see what direction they start going. Might leave a little more for the people who made it possible for us to have the freedom to write these posts

    Go ahead and build a wall, but take away the incentive to come and there will suddenly be plenty of money for the build, with our without Mexican assistance.

  9. Ken

    Anything we say here means nothing to the big picture. None of us are president and none of us will fund the wall.
    I’m a Trump man but he was not my first pick but I’m proud of him doing what he said he would.
    With that said, the physical wall is important and it has absolutely nothing to do with espionage with regard to electronic theft, that can be done with or without walls.
    What you want to achieve here is stopping those who refuse to come into our country through the accepted system and legally. We need to know who you are and what you are carrying (disease) and are you a felon or priors and will you do us harm. What can you do for us? This is not a free boat and a free ride nor is it anywhere on earth. You must carry your weight.
    How is it so hard for us to understand this?
    My great grandfather came here with his family legally. Isn’t it slap in the face to every legal law abiding immigrant from our past by allowing these usurpers to come in and dwell illegally? I think it is.
    It’s really that simple.

    With regard to a true refugee then I make a distinction. You must vet them and you must hold and retain them in a safe place and learn of how we can help them and what they can possibly do while we allow them into our nation.
    They must be finger printed, photographed and have some DNA samples taken. Then allow them to slowly blend into our society and only if they assimilate and become American’s can they become citizens.
    Enough said.

  10. rick

    The assertion that we helped Mexico by implementing NAFTA is a feel good story. The truth is that there are some pockets of economic development, however the majority of the country is run by brutal drug lords and a totally corrupt government.

    Had we sealed our borders years ago, the people would have been driven to change things internally rather than picking up and coming here ILLEGALLY!

    I am hopeful that the wall may be the impetus to take down the brutally violent drug gangs and bring accountability to their government.

  11. frank

    Anyone remember a funny little Billionaire who ran for President as an Independent upset the applicant “that giant sucking sound” his description of NAFTA he would have also been the first President to do what he promised. I think Trump swimming against a real Tide his and opposing Parties

  12. Emily

    All of this Trump support is making me sick to my stomach. His is not the mindset of America I grew up with, relate to, or love. Nasty conservative “news” sources are tearing us apart. Now it’s the Millennials who are scared for our future …

    1. rick

      So Emily,
      a “nasty conservative” young lady was beat down & pepper sprayed by three men at UC Berkeley. They kicked her ribs in and stole her Trump hat.

      The dishonest fake news media outlets called the events at Berkeley a “protest”.

      per The Constitution of United States of America 1789
      Ammendment I
      Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people PEACEFULLY to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      These animals, removing barricades, toppled a light poles, and threw projectiles — including fences and firebombs, beat Trump supporters unconscious with metal pipes.

      I imagine this grand institution never taught them the definition of “PEACEFULLY”.
      Forget a real civics class or the history of our founding. The concept of the “negative” rights enshrined in our Constitution.

      I call that rioting, felony assault, attempted murder, felony arson, felony vandalism and property damage.

      All this due to a scheduled speech by Milo Yiannopoulos. This on a college campus where the Berkeley Free Speech Movement of 1964 became a defining moment in a nationwide trend, with students insisting they would not be silenced on some of the most controversial issues of the day.

      Colleges were a place of open expression, crucibles of vigorous analysis, discussion, study and debate. A place where the fundamental human right, freedom of speech should be truely embraced! Such a fundamental right, it is argued, should not be limited except to prevent serious harm to others. Libel or shouting “Fire!” in a movie theater, for example, can cause serious harm and, therefore, are legitimately banned.

      Now once great institutions are just a place where useless people are carefully indoctrinated and molded into the ever more delicate Snowflakes in need of coloring books, fuzzy stuffed animals, puppies and therapy dogs. Creating for themselves insurmountable debt and a lifetime sentence in their parents basement.

      Where were the riots, assaults, and destruction by the so called “nasty conservatives” during President Obama’s administration? The nasty conservatives were totally opposed to all of the administrations policies, BUT there were no RIOTS – imagine that.
      But the BLM rioters were embraced by the Whitehouse.

      I was scared, but now I am reassured that our nation will reclaim its Greatness, and perhaps our useless youth will again learn to accept, overcome and face adversity head on. Think of the teenagers on the beaches of Normandy 70+ years ago running into machine-gun fire. Today this youth tries to set a building ablaze because a popular self proclaimed Gay Conservative is giving a speech and they go nuts.

      so – Have a cup of camomile tea to sooth your stomach, turn off the dishonest media, grab a soft fuzzy teddy bear, coloring book & some crayons, crawl into the basement and don’t worry, America will soon be Great again! Good Luck!
      We WON & we are winning more & more!!!

      1. Emily Halgrimson Post author

        Your response is all over the place, I’m not even sure how to answer. You weren’t really even addressing me or my comments, but seem to just want to insult and air grievances against your enemy, the Lefty Liberal. After reading your response my first thought was, why are you still so angry? Your side won. I hope for the sake of the future that you are correct and we are a path to a better America. If that’s the case and America and the world is a better place in four years, I’ll put on a red hat. Until then this 35-year-old, female, tax paying, homeowner will be fearful for the future, and horribly disappointed by what passes for character in 2017.

  13. Bruskie

    Just 9 years ago we had 45+ multi and single spindle screw machines. 12 to 15 of these machines were running 10 to 20 hours each day with OEM and aftermarket automotive parts, our quality was second to none, our delivery was outstanding. Our biggest problem in those days was finding skilled labor willing to work, we had 21+ people in the departments, a training program, good wages, benefits and a steady work flow. We lost all the automotive business to cheap labor in mostly Mexico and some to Taiwan ROC. The Washington establishment claimed this would be better, they claim that the illegal immigration form the south would end, the trade deals were for the benefit of everyone, yet the flow of immigration continues and most of the people we were forced to lay off never felt the benefit and today when we plead for a change in policy we’re called Deplorable!
    Donald Trump and the wall make me nauseated, but do we really have to wonder how we’ve gotten to this point?

  14. rick

    Remeber, We were all dumped into an Basket of IRREDEEMABLE deplorables.

    In HiLlEry Clinton’s eyes we were not even eligible for the Grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed and Crucified so our sins would be forgiven.

    So because we would not vote for in incompetent liar, just because she was a female.
    What arrogance, and she still wonders why she lost.
    Keep up the good fight!

  15. rick

    Just announced:

    In his first television interview as Homeland Security secretary, retired four-star Marine Gen. John F. Kelly told Fox News he wants the U.S.-Mexico border wall finished in two years – setting an ambitious schedule for the project ordered last week by President Trump.

    “The wall will be built where it’s needed first, and then it will be filled in. That’s the way I look at it,” Kelly said. “I really hope to have it done within the next two years.”

  16. John Otto

    I read all the comments an of course like Rick’s best. What I find disheartening is that there were 85 likes on Emily’s comment, even though there was zero substantive information to back her diatribe. I really feel confident that your outlook is based on what news sources you believe, or don’t.

    Most of the respondents are Trump supporters that have facts, even though the blog is leftist, they are the people who are not the one’s who feel it’s right; they know its right and are factual. All this whining from those who voted for Hillary is getting old, and personally I think it is really stupid for a CEO to make a statement that alienates half of what might otherwise be customers.

    Starbucks is a glowing example this. I’ll be able to tell a liberal from a conservative in the future by how amped up they are on caffeine, because you will never again see this conservative in Starbucks. PS – did you see what happened to the stock on the announcement date? It dropped off a cliff.

  17. John Otto

    I just noticed I can vote more than once for the same comment and Know it’s the ONLY reason Emily had so many likes.

    Liberals being liberals – CHEATING.

  18. Mike Harlan

    Let’s see …
    If we really apply a 20% tariff on all imports from Mexico, basic supply-demand economics says that US consumer prices will go up – for all of the lower cost cars, TVs, appliances, food, etc.that we’ve been importing from Mexico. It also means demand = volume will go down. And when Mexico retaliates in kind, it means the US exports to Mexico will take a big hit, which will hurt U.S. farmers and manufacturers.

    When the Fed sees prices going up = inflation, they’ll raise interest rates.
    That means we’ll end up paying much more $$$ more for interest on all debt – for US govt, for states (especially financially weak states), and cities as well as credit cards and mortgages.
    So with less demand for consumer goods, higher inflation and interest rates, and more govt. & consumer debt payments, I’d expect a recession.
    Tell me again why this is a good idea?

    And by the way, the kind of wall they’re talking about building won’t stop anybody who’s really determined to get into the U.S. And terrorists and drug smugglers can still easily get across the U.S.-Canada border.

    So it sounds like in order for Trump to fulfill a campaign promise (that I think most Trump supporters didn’t take too literally, more as a strong initial negotiating position), we’re going to badly hurt the U.S. economy and jobs, and not do anything effective to stop drugs or terrorists. Really??!
    This sounds to me like it would be a wonderful gift from the Republicans to the Democrats for the 2018 elections, but not a good deal for the USA as a whole.

  19. Mexico

    Yes, in some locations the border wall is an absolute must. It would be only one layer in a multi layer security approach. I work for a large foreign owned multi-national company with employees in every country of the world. There are 10 plus manufacturing facilities in Mexico. I am in daily contact with Mexicans. Great people, who are being screwed by their government/ruling class. Corruption is such a part of daily life that the country will never really prosper until this changes. Impossible for people to build a better life if they are always having to fight off organized crime. Insisting that the US have an open & porous border for them is stupid, short sighted & dangerous. The US could easily give Mexican citizens work visas so those that come to the US do so legally. Many really do not want to leave Mexico permanently, but have to because of difficulty in going back & forth. The border between US & Mexico has been one of the US’s largest national security risks for 35+ years and it is getting much worse. Many of us may not like Trump’s character, but he is only doing what should have been done many years ago. I am in agreement with one of my Hispanic co-workers who is convinced that neither the US nor Mexico governments want to resolve the illegal status of people crossing the border. Maybe the US is finally getting smart. I am happy to have more Mexicans immigrate LEGALLY to the USA. NAFTA does subsidize some of the expense of moving to Mexico. I deal with this frequently. Multi-national corporations particularly lobby for this. Some of our product move decisions are poorly made. The lack of manufacturing knowledge is astounding. We moved one product line off shore knowing it was more expensive to manufacture over seas. Don’t ever believe news reports when companies talk about the high price of manufacturing in the US. Sure some times it is true, but many times it is because the business is run by purchasing and accounting who have no clue what innovation is. Politics.


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