Common Sense from a Common Man

Integrity is not a Four Letter Word
April 9, 2009, 12:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
several small American flags
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been tweeting a lot about the principles I stand for lately and I think some things need to be elaborated on more than just the 140 characters I’m allowed on Twitter.

The principles I believe in are the same as our Founding Fathers.  They’re pretty simple & straightforward:

Pursuit of Happiness
Limited Government

These principles have ALWAYS withstood the test of time.  They transcend any political boundaries as they provide the freedom and choice with which every American, no, every human being on this planet can realize their true potential. That was the prescience of our Founding Fathers – By stating these principles they ensured that no political party could change the foundation this great country of ours is based on.   These Founding Principles limit no one and provide everyone with the foundation to do the best for themselves and the best for each other. Individually and collectively we have forgotten that.

There are numerous examples to prove that not embracing these principles destroys the very things that were given to us, not by a government or group of people, but by a Divine Intelligence.  We can point to China, the USSR, North Korea, Iran as examples of what happens when these principles are overridden for the benefit of the few who want control over the many.  We can talk about how China is a rising power but only need to look at the 1 billion of the 1.3 billion population who live in 3rd world conditions to know that their system is failing miserably.

I say to persons of both parties – Drop the oppressive clothing that the leaders of both parties have draped upon you.  Embrace the freedom and liberty that the Founding Fathers clearly enunciated and do what is right.  Rediscover what has been always yours and use it to create the abundance that you have always had but forgot.  You will realize once again that there is and always has been – enough for everyone.

Am I being naive?  Perhaps but this is my hope for every human being:

To realize my words here ring with truth and then go forth and make the changes for yourself that no government nor any other person could do better.

Now go enjoy the day, rediscover your individual potential, and engage in life.

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The Power of Community
April 6, 2009, 7:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


People talk about community all the time.  There were ninety-four discrete definitions of the term by the mid-1950s.  How can this be?  How can a community mean so many different things to so many different people?  I’ll tell you why – because a community isn’t defined by words, it’s defined by the very people who make up that community.

I’m very priviliged to witness the power of a community from both an online and real world vantage point.  I joined StockTwits a couple of months ago after having seen it mentioned on Twitter.  This weekend I had the immense pleasure of attending LindzonPalooza.  No, LindzonPalooza is not a free pancake with berries breakfast at IKEA. Those berries are Lingon berries; but I digress.

StockTwits was founded by two very smart peeps, Howard Lindzon and Soren Macbeth.  StockTwits is a fantastic community on the web that, in their words,  is an open, community-powered investment idea and information service.  It’s grown incredibly fast to over 30,000 members in just a short few months.

What’s more incredible than the growth?  Easy – the members of StockTwits.  They range from the professionals to the people who are just starting.  I, myself do not trade yet but I am a member because the wealth of information, learning, and sharing that I can get from one single place translates into a Stockmosis© of knowledge.  In other words I learn just by showing up and then learn even more by engaging. I could devote a very long piece to the StockTwits community online but I won’t because you should just get on if you’re even half interested in the markets.  I would be remiss if I didn’t give huge props to the Director of StockTwits, Phil Pearlman, who has done an amazing job with the gargantuan growth in the community and the many other contributions he has selflessly made.

As I mentioned, I had the extreme pleasure of attending LindzonPalooza this past weekend.  This is what did it for me in really experiencing the true power of a community.  Most of the StockTwits who attended, hadn’t ever met each other in person.  The only communication most of us have had with each other is through the StockTwits site.  Here’s where the true power of community showed itself – It was like all of us had known each other for a very long time.

We talked about stocks and all things StockTwits of course.  What was so rewarding for me was the ability to go beyond that.  We took the online world of StockTwits and used that to deepen the real life connections between the members.  There was talk about families, places that we lived, political views, sports, health, and the list goes on.

The people I met there were amazing! Every one of them.  I was truly enriched by all and through all there. I know I made some great friends there and I hope I had the opportunity to at least add a little value to the experience of others.

The true power of any community is demonstrated through the value created for the individual, whether digital or real life.  I can safely say that StockTwits has delivered on that in spades for both.

In honor of Howard, Soren, & Phil and all the members there – I’m long on StockTwits $$.

The Peacock Syndrome
April 6, 2009, 8:18 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

It’s happening again!  Real Estate Agents and Brokers are starting to walk with their heads up, chests out, and proclaiming the market is coming back. Well, there’s always something behind the glorious display of a peacock’s feathers.  What’s behind the feathers of the Real Estate Peacock ain’t pretty at all right now.

There’s a second wave of mortgages coming that hasn’t reset yet.

The 2nd Wave is about to start.

The 2nd Wave is about to start.

From this chart you can see that we have another 2.5 years of Alt-A and Option Arms resetting.  Looking closely, these resets are even more voluminous than the subprime (which are still resetting along with all the other mortgage flavors).

I’m sure everyone has forgotten the Whitney Tilson piece that 60 Minutes did this past December as well:

Next we have the Commercial Real Estate Market wave which, IMHO, is being ignored because we’ve had enough bad news to last us a lifetime.  However, Deutsche Bank has an excellent preso which I’ve included below, showing just what is coming down the road.  The commercial real-estate road is full of potholes that are so big they even have names – Multifamily, Industrial, Hotel, Office, Retail, & Multi Property.  I could post an entire blog about each one of these but just go through the presentation and you’ll see the road ahead has many bumps:

View this document on Scribd

You can read all the articles & presentations, watch all the videos, and look through 1000s of charts but just hop in your car and start driving around.  Look at the office space vacancy; the restaurant parking lots that are close to or are empty;  just drive around and see behind the feathers of the peacock.

To see where we’re actually at doesn’t require a whole lot of intelligence, just some observation, listening, and a whole lot of common sense.

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The Immutable Law of Cause and Effect
January 21, 2009, 8:32 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Our 44th PresidentOver the last several months we’ve heard that this is a new beginning in America.  The election of the first African American President is the start of a new era is what I have heard falsely stated.  I’ve heard countless times how people thought they would never see this day.  I’m really having a hard time wondering why.  Perhaps they don’t understand the Law of Cause and Effect.  Perhaps they don’t realize that the election of the 44th President was an effect of decades of actions.

Let’s begin by re-familiarizing ourselves with the definition of what that Law is – “”For every action there is equal AND opposite reaction.”

Just what were some of the actions (causes) that generated this outcome in our election of the first African American as President?  Let’s be clear:

  • Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railway
  • Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation
  • Rosa Parks and her refusal to sit at the back of the bus
  • Dr. Martin Luther King – His marches and speeches
  • The defeat of the 2nd longest filibuster by Robert Byrd and Democrats AGAINST the Civil Rights Acts of 1960
  • The passage of the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s by Republicans
  • The American People’s recognition that all Americans are created equal.

So for me it was inevitable that we would elect as President of the United States a person of color.  Perhaps the people that said they thought they wouldn’t see the day kept on listening to people who told them how oppressed they were.  Those are the people that wanted control and power.

If we are not ever vigilant against those people, through their use of false projection of envy and the mantle of victimization then we can expect the continuation of divisiveness as we push forward.

The election of the first African American President is the continuation of the goodness inherent in human beings.  It is merely an effect of the causal good nature within each of us.

When the individual moves positively forward in their own pursuits, only then will we as a nation prosper.

The Law of Cause and Effect is immutable and will produce the positive or negative effects that we engage in.  Let’s ensure that the individuals of our nation have the freedom to move in the positive direction of  life, liberty, and the personal pursuit of happiness.

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The Pursuit of Happiness
January 20, 2009, 4:01 pm
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Today we saw the transition of power in a peacful manner for the 44th time in the history of our great nation.  As I watched the address President Obama gave today – one thing stood out clearly to me above anything else.  What started it was this passage from the President’s speech:

“Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.”

We need to be very careful in characterizing and correctly stating what the men and women before us struggled and sacrificed and worked their hands raw for.

They did that first and foremost for the pursuit of their own happiness, their own lives, and their own liberties.  They did it for themselves first and let’s not fool ourselves that their minds, as their hands became raw, were thinking about us.

They were doing what the founding fathers knew to be true then and true today.  That as long as government was limited, as long as government did not get in the way through oppressive taxes, huge impositions by government on individuals, that each person who focused on their personal happiness, their liberty, and their lives would add tremendously to the collective happiness of all Americans.

The President makes a profound mistake by incorrectly reminding us of what makes this country the best in the world.  It is not the One into the Many.  It is the Many into the One.

Perhaps President Obama and the members of our Congress, both Democrat and Republican need to start every day with watching the following:

I strongly urge all Americans to realize, once and for all, what you do to pursue happiness, life, and liberty on a personal level has far greater impact on the collective happiness of America than any government program will or would have … ever.

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Have I Got a Deal for You!!!
January 18, 2009, 9:13 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Nancy PelosiSo I’m coming over to your house today to show you the deal of a life time!  This is going to solve your financial problems once and for all.  Let me explain.

I’m going to take your money away from you and invest it in programs that have proven not to work.  You know, just like the New Deal that FDR did.  But this is going to be the New New Deal folks.  This is different folks:

  • I’m going to create 3 million new jobs.  600,000 of those are going to be government jobs that don’t provide any benefit to the economy.  The rest of the jobs created will help America so you can have smoother rides on the roads and so we can employ thousands to change light bulbs in buildings across America.  Don’t worry I’ll give that job a good title like Energy Effiency Engineer.  (Oh pay no attention to the downer Congressional Budget Office who projects continuing and rising unemployment through at least 2012.  I’m creating 3 million new jobs so who cares if the net is a loss of jobs)
  • I’m going to give you a temporary tax cut of between $500 and $1000.  Yeah I know, nice of me huh.  What to do with an extra $20 dollars a week?  Well you could now afford to go back to Starbucks 5 out 7 days a week!!! I get warm and fuzzy just thinking about being able to have my Extra Hot, 3 Splenda, Non-fat, Sugar-free, Caramel Macchiato.  Oh happy days are here again.
  • I’m also going to ensure that you don’t have to pay a dime for it – well right now that is.  Unfortunately I’ll have to raise your taxes like you’ve never seen before very soon.  Even then you don’t have to really worry about it because the ones who are really going to pay through the nose will be your children and grandchildren and you’ll be dead by the time they start paying so what do you care.
  • I’m going to spend $800 Billion on light rail for you.  We all know how well Amtrak has done and now is the time to capitalize on that with your capital!
  • I’m not going to go into the details – we’re trying to rush this through Congress and now it’s being slowed down because those pesky Wepublicans want to talk about it.  Sheesh.  But you can read all about it here – The spending debacle err the stimulus plan.

Yes I am aware that for every dollar that is spent by the Federal Government we only get $1.56 back.  I’m aware that permanent tax cuts get a better return – for every $1 dollar of a tax cut we get back $3 dollars.  I’m also aware that this program has been tried before back in the day of FDR and failed miserably.  But hey we have Hope and Change!  Come on now this is a once in a lifetime deal here.

Friend – I’m doing this for you because you deserve it.  What better way to waste, I mean invest your dollars, than with meaningless programs that have proven to NOT improve the economy!  I mean if we don’t do this now then Armaggeddon will occur!

Now I’ve got to get back to some real work – Like working on my new rick-roll video (I know my first one with the cats was pretty cool huh?)  I also have to get to work on continuing to help my boss Mr. Obama with his brand like creating ANOTHER organization (when will this guy stop with all these organizations that go nowhere?)  Any way I HAVE to help him out with his personal brand of HOPE and CHANGE.  You know it’s all about Him right?  Just wish I could have sold more copies of my book and I’m going to keep on trying – I got ANOTHER vacation coming up in February – YAY me!

Well there it is folks. Now come on – get with the program and abandon all rational thinking and common sense!

As DeTocqueville said – “The people get the government they deserve!”

HOPEfully Yours,

Madam Nancy Pelosi (NOT THAT KIND OF MADAM – MADAM as in Speaker of the House!)

Obstructionism – Depends on the view.
January 13, 2009, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
United States Capital
Image by _Robert C_ via Flickr

I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter lately about obstructionism.  That Republicans should be bipartisan and vote on the remaining bailout to be dispersed.  I’ve heard that Republicans shouldn’t be viewed as obstructionists when looking to President Obama’s (yeah I might as well call him what he’ll be soon) massive government spending program that, according to him and his democratic brothers and sisters in Congress, needs to be passed immediately or the end of the world will occur as we know it.

So let’s all take a deep breath here – come on – innnn and ooooout. That’s it.  Good – let’s proceed.

So is it obstructionist to vote against the Treasury getting the 2nd $350 Billion of our (taxpayer’s money).  It would be if we had an accounting of where the 1st half actually went to and in detail.  But we don’t.  It would be if we got what we were promised by the Secretary – oversight on how the money was spent but we didn’t.  In fact we got the banks, yes the ones we bailed out, telling us that not only do they not know where the money went but they are not even going to tell us – period.  They’re not even going to attempt to account for it.  Could you imagine if you went to a bank and got a loan and you didn’t account to the bank where it went?  I don’t think you would even get one.

If I was Congress – I wouldn’t let one drop of our taxpayer money go out the door unless there were existing guidelines already in place to account for the money that has been spent and will be spent.  They don’t care – Republicans and Democrats.  Why?  Because they don’t care about the American people.  Come on people from both sides – Your Congress is getting ready to let loose another $350 Billion of our hard earned money and not one dollar of the first half has been accounted for.  They don’t care a tweet about you or me.

As for the Spendapalooza that the Democratic led and controlled Congress is about to unleash on America?  Come on people don’t be obstructionists!!  If our Congress doesn’t spend that money right now and pass this monstrosity very quickly then the world will collapse, just like it did when Paulson talked about it first right?  (Mr. Paulson – have some news for you – my 14 year old daughter manages money better than you sir.)  We’re being told that we should only take one week to review the MOST MASSIVE SPENDING PROGRAM EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.  Why? Because the Anti-Christ might appear or a meteor might impact the earth at any moment?  Because this is the worst economic time since the Great Depression but in fact and actuality during the Carter years it was even worse than it is now?

So Republicans in Congress – if you truly care about the American people – then be the heartiest of obstructionists.  Stop this insanity and go full bore with standing in the way of moronic policies and programs that have never worked.  Provide a sound solution for all Americans so that when you do stand in the way of stupidity you’ll also have a path to prosperity laid out for the American people.

I’m afraid for the Democrats in Congress that I’ve lost all hope for you in doing the right thing.  Aren’t you the ones trying to push the Omnibus Lands bill through – you know the one where you’ve got $1 Billion of our money earmarked to save 500 fish in California? Where you’re banning natural gas reserves that are larger than our current ones right now. Reserves that could help us in our fight against dependence on other countries for our energy needs?

Republicans don’t worry about being obstructionists.  After all, if you’re standing in the way of further destruction of our economy and dumb wasteful spending that achieves nothing in the long term well is that just plain common sense?

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