Common Sense, rest in peace

As I embark on a week at the lake with my family, I came across this essay below and it really resonates with what I see going on a daily basis.

While the minority becomes the force of change, good people sit back and do nothing feeling it does not pertain to them. Others remain mum for fear of being labeled Alt-right or worse.

Well I believe this essay sums up the slippery slope the US has slid bow the last decade.

Today, we mourn the passing of an old friend by the name of Common Sense.

 

Common Sense lived a long life, but died from heart failure at the brink of the Millennium. No one really knows how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He selflessly devoted his life to service in schools; hospitals, homes, factories and offices, helping folks get jobs done without fanfare and foolishness.

 

For decades, petty rules, silly laws and frivolous lawsuits held no power over Common Sense. He was credited with cultivating such valued lessons as to know when to come in from rain, the early bird gets the worm and life isn’t always fair.

 

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adults are in charge, not the kids), and it’s okay to come in second.

 

A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, and the Technological Revolution, Common Sense survived cultural and educational trends including feminism, body piercing, whole language and new math.

 

But his health declined when he became infected with the “if-it-only-helps-one-person-it’s-worth-it” virus. In recent decades, his waning strength proved no match for the ravages of overbearing federal legislation.

 

He watched in pain as good people became ruled by self-seeking lawyers and enlightened auditors. His health rapidly deteriorated when schools endlessly implemented zero tolerance policies; when reports were heard of six year old boys charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; when a teen was suspended for taking a swig of mouthwash after lunch; when a teacher was fired for reprimanding an unruly student. It declined even further when schools had to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student but couldn’t inform the parent when a female student is pregnant or wants an abortion.

 

Finally, Common Sense lost his will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses, criminals received better treatment than victims, and federal judges stuck their noses in everything from Boy Scouts to professional sports.

 

As the end neared, Common Sense drifted in and out of logic but was kept informed of developments, regarding questionable regulations for asbestos, low-flow toilets, smart guns, the nurturing of Prohibition Laws and mandatory air bags.

 

Finally, when told that the homeowners association restricted exterior furniture only to that which enhanced property values, he breathed his last.

 

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son Reason. His three step brothers survive him: Rights, Tolerance and Whiner.

 

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

Author Unknown

 

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Stock answer is we don’t know about next 6 months

How can the equity markets trade looking six months out — as is the traditional metric — when it doesn’t know what the next six minutes will bring?

The Dow Jones traded down 274 Thursday on, pick your poison:

  1. Terrorist attack in Barcelona,
  2. White House finance chief Gary Cohen’s departure.
  3. Algos in control since its August
  4. All of the above

It has to be near impossible to be able to formulate an earnings picture looking out the next quarter, when a 140-character tweet can throw all the analysis into the trash bin.

Here’s a analyst’s note on Friday morning, explaining very succinctly what he is up against when figuring direction of the market:

“In a week where we started by worrying about nuclear war, markets have quickly moved on from this, with yesterday’s weak session more of a response to fears that Mr Trump’s strategy for the economy and business is falling apart and later the terrible terrorist attack in Barcelona,”
Deutsche Bank analyst Jim Reid.

So off of that note we have¬† stocks marginally down for the week. I say that’s not a bad performance even without mentioning the civil unrest in Virginia last weekend.

Silicon Valley’s censorship bumping up against 1st Amendment

Silicon Valley’s huge content aggregators have no Constitutional constraints to uphold the first amendment.¬† Unlike the early TV broadcasters, which were using the public airways, these companies are using pipes owned by themselves or other private firms.

Alphabet’s Google and YouTube as well as Twitter, Facebook, Go Daddy and Reddit can censor the content of any poster or customer for any reason they can cite.

Now given the tech sector’s left-leaning political attitudes, this power to control what appears on their platform has to be bumping up against free speech in the broadest sense.

Of course in any business, if there is a segment of the industry not being served, then there is room for a competitor to come in. However, with the size and capital of these firms cited above, profits are at a premium for any start-ups or smaller competitors.

Perhaps the pendulum is swinging too far left, due to the fact that some Democrats say Hillary Clinton’s presidential defeat can be laid at the right’s “fake news” presence on the web. I think that’s foolish in the sense that there was plenty of real news the campaign had to navigate and obvious couldn’t in the end.

I just think that for all its libertarian beginnings, the web has moved too far left for its own good. And since the trillions of dollars that have been made in the San Francisco Bay area over the years this was probably enviable.

That said, I think we need a test case on the order of “public airways” as communication moves to the digital platforms and not leave it to the individual companies to shape public opinion through what they allow or not allow to be viewed on their services.

Bitcoin $2K rise is fast on “fire & fury”

On Wednesday Aug. 9th bitcoin was trading at around the $3,280 level, rising more than a $1,000 over the last two weeks.

So when President Trump “unleashed” his “fire and fury” warning to North Korea, his remark set up a fast and furious rise of another $1,000 spike to trade at $4,244 Monday morning in New York.

Strong Asian buying over the weekend with Japan taking in almost half of all bitcoin traded over the last two days and South Korea having a stronger than usual presence in the market, according to sales data.

The cryptocurrency has now risen 400-fold in 2017, and is up about 40 percent in August. Bitcoin’s market value is now around $70 billion with roughly 16.5 million of the estimated $21 million coins to be created.

There are hints that US investors are moving in with more vigor as well. US buyers were second-largest block on the coin exchanges over the weekend. Diversification out of securities with the pending gloom of Congress returning after Labor Day potentially derailing the Trump market rally is also a reason.

July jobs report bigger than Mueller’s motions

Friday’s job number of 209K beat the Street’s 180K estimate with hourly earnings ticking up 0.3% as mid-year raises kick in.

Equity futures markets are up 60 points on Dow unchanged from prior, despite the news out of Washington of a special grand jury being impaneled.

The dollar also strengthen on the job news.

The fact that the markets shrugged off Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s actions, speaks more to the continued DC gridlock, which the equity markets see as a buying opportunity.


I would like to acknowledge the passing of a great newspaperman and researcher Jim Marrs.

Marrs was a prolific writer with 14 published tomes and his book, “Crossfire” was used by Oliver Stone for his film, “JFK”.

Marrs was a cub reporter in Dallas on the day of the assassination and worked tirelessly for many years talking to sources within the Dallas police department and Secret Service to construct an alternative narrative to the events on Nov. 22, 1963.

Marrs taught a course on the Kennedy assassination at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Marrs was 74 years old at the time of his death.