Over the Lines

Apparently, bragging about predatory sexual assault is over “the line”. I have been wondering where the line was for some time.

We all knew this election was going to get ugly. We all knew this was going to plumb the depths of personal attack and warped reality, straying far from the many things we need to work out as a people. We all knew that it was going to be sick, weird, and ultimately just unreal.

So here we are, adrift in that spot on the map labeled “Here be Dragons”. Taking a metaphor from Columbus Day, we’re in that terrible moment when there is no sign of land and just about anything can happen. Our biggest fear should be that we’ve seen this story before and we can only hope that it doesn’t wind up with new horrors far away from the civilized authorities – horrors like genocide, slavery, and plunder.

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The Final Countdown

This is a critical week in the Presidential election. No, that’s not because of the Vice Presidential debate, which will start right after this is posted. You can decide for your self just how important it is and then revise your estimate downward a week later. Don’t worry, we live in a time of negative interest rates so there is indeed a lower standard of importance than whatever you are thinking.

No, this is the week for the final jobs report. Not the last one before the election – that comes out the Friday before. That will be too close to the election to really sink in, so this is the last one that we can be sure will count. Will it be good and favor Obama III: The coming of Hillary? Or will it be a disaster and herald the arrival of, well, a much worse disaster named Trump?

Bet on a solid 180k gain that will seem decent enough to be called a win. But you never know with these reports. Here’s why.

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Patriotism

This is a piece first run for the election eight years ago, and updated a bit for today.

Election Day is not a national holiday, at least not in the traditional sense. But it is the one day that our nation asks something from all of us, even if it’s just a few minutes. If you follow calle ocho through Little Havana in Miami on Election Day, you’ll see a long line houses with the red white and blue of US and Cuban flags stretching off into the horizon. Families sometimes come together across generations, as with any holiday, before they go off to vote. Cuban exiles in Miami are a people that know what it means to be free because freedom and good times are often best measured against their opposite.

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Confidence is Back!

Barataria has asked the question several times before – given that things are a lot better than they have been in a long time, why are people so down on the economy?

After posing a few potential reasons, we may have the answer – it was largely an artifact of the presidential campaign. That would make the most sense given that the Conference Board index of Consumer Confidence has hit 104.1, the highest it has been since 2007. Combining that with a strong net approval rating for President Obama, which has been tracking around +8 (52 approve, 44 disapprove) and we have the net positive we should expect.

Will this transfer over to Sec. Clinton in time for the election? Given her performance at the first debate, the answer is that it should.  It’s all coming just in time.

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Terror Sinks In

The bombing on Sunday by Ahmad Khan Rahami has left behind a large number of questions. Why did he do it? Was he directed in any way? How was he “radicalized”? How did he get past the FBI? There appear to be a few answers to what was clearly a “lone wolf” attack not directed by Da‘ish (ISIS) but clearly inspired by them, and not many answers are satisfying.

It seems that we will have to get used to these attacks, which is a chilling or angering thought to many Americans. For that reason, the resonance of this attack in the wake of the Orlando Pulse shooting and a stabbing in St Cloud, Minnesota has a greater effect than the more deadly coordinated attacks in France. Da’ish is leaving it’s mark.

But what will this mean in an election year? We can’t say yet. The possibility that this may play into Trump’s hands is even more chilling, as that would mean lasting damage to the US.

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