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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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.

One day inside the bifurcated America we have today

Apologies for the late post. Still trying to get better from my dental accident.

On Friday we get the July employment picture from the Labor Department. If you look at the labor situation against the stock market record-breaking run up this summer, then you get the picture of a bifurcated America.

As the retail sector sheds stores and thousands of part-time workers these numbers don’t hit the headline number, since they are not full-time jobs. However, as some of these companies while paring down their headcount, their stocks have price support as expenses are slashed with the closings and firings.

Yes there are pockets of the US doing very well as stock charts move up from the left axis toward the right. New York, Los Angeles and selected hubs of the 1 percenters have been having a field day over the last 10 months since the election. This despite the fact that many of these despise the president.

But look at most of America, there’s a bleak outlook for the future. They put Trump into the White House, but little has changed for the better in their lives. Congress has been stonewalling the administration on any initiatives to help most Americans who have been suffering since 2008.

So Friday we will get 180,000 jobs created, which is not true because it’s based on guesstimates, and the unemployment rate will probably remain around 4.3%. But none of those numbers will affect most Americans, but the top-echelon Americans will make plenty of cash when the market moves higher on the news.

That’s the example of one day inside the bifurcated America we have today.

Now the Fed joins the Pols on the sidelines in DC, stocks will soar

Fed chief Janet Yellen slammed on the brakes Wednesday when announcing a pause in rate hikes.

The move sent markets into a spasm for a brief moment as the VIX (or fear index) fell to its all-time lowest level and bond yields jerked higher before leveling off. Stocks had the most muted reaction moving slowly higher.

So now we have all of Washington on stand still as stocks will move higher. Nothing coming from Congress to worry equities and the Fed will not be able to raise rates again this year.

As far as paring back its balance sheet, we will see what happens there on Friday.

The feds will release the first look at Q2 GDP, which by most estimates will come in at 2% plus or minus a tenth of a point. This is not the growth Trump is looking for, but since none of his economic initiatives have been implemented or really discussed it’s just more of the same for the last eight years.

Since I’m a betting man, I believe the Q2 GDP will come in at 1.7% and be revised down in the coming months. There’s just no reason to believe that Americans are spending their meager salaries on anything but the essentials.

But let’s look at the latest White House/Russia/Election news story, which will be covered by the NY Times or Washington Post, and let the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq hit a new all-time high. Keep Trump on the defensive, bottle him up in a Cabinet pissing match, so the rest of America can continue to suffer from neglect.

No need for stimulus or middle class tax cut or infrastructure spending. No, keep Washington on the sidelines and Wall Street will reward the 1 percenters with higher returns.

The health of Americans is tied to the US economy

As I wrote yesterday, the Trump/Russia fiasco is sucking all the oxygen out of the room, causing a political standstill in DC, which is benefiting markets and hurting the average American.

While the markets see there is little cause for panic of having a Trump impeachment, the circus is keeping any new regulations or even filling in new Trump Administration appointments from moving forward, keeping the volatility index near single digit levels.

Unfortunately, the US economy cannot run on its own during this “do-nothing” time. Looking at projections for the Q2 GDP, you will see how growth is falling off the table.

The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow monitor started the quarter with a 4.3% growth projection in early May. It’s current measure of GDP is down to 2.5%, which is in the center of Wall St.’s consensus. The low on the Street consensus is 2.2% and falling.

So as the straw-man focus on Russian involvement in the election continues, the economy suffers, while the investment classes pull in more profits from their scare-free capital deployments.

This environment does little for the typical Trump supporter who is suffering in perhaps two part-time jobs, with no benefits. Remember this as well, these people have been suffering for as long as a decade in this situation.

How long can the family accept this stress and suffer in near-poverty before they breakdown? The suffering can be shown with the growing number of divorces and separations, but it also shows up in illnesses as diet gets worse due to lack of cash to buy healthier food. Over the last decade you can see in studies how Americans have put on weight due to poor diet.

The left-wing media’s vendetta against losing the elections by propagating false narratives to keep the White House on the defensive is doing some real, direct harm to Americans, who can least afford stand still, because they are dying.