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"Free and critical minds can emerge only by a return to the source-the primary sources. A free and critical mind takes nothing for granted and is not intimidated by "authorities" who frequently may be more confused than the general public. Free and critical minds seek truth without chauvinism or shame." - Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III (1)

“One single bit of information, if missing, incomplete, out of order or just plain wrong, has the potential to significantly alter thought processes, conclusions, decisions and behaviors, even when that one single logic entry exists in a sea of accuracy.”

Friday, November 16, 2012

How Controversy Comes Of Age

Controversy comes of age when a topic has either of the following characteristics and is widely circulated:

1. Someone presents the complete or partially opposite view. For some reason, this creates doubt that is supposedly impossible to figure out. Doubt favors what is already being done.

2. One or more “expert” people somehow considered worthy of listening to, make statements that don't agree in part or in whole on a topic. This is usually accompanied by pieces of paper claiming testing, research and studies. This suggests objectivity. This creates uncertainty. Uncertainty favors more experts, more research and more money.

Treating a topic from an overriding perspective of controversy is like self-administering coercion. Believing something is a controversy predisposes us to believe things, against intuition and against reason. It makes us believe two alternatives have equal validity and therefore should be given equal consideration.

Treating a topic from an overriding perspective of controversy creates a midrange between truth and lies that expresses itself as “we don't know” or “we can't be sure” culture. This is a no man's land where no critical thinking or no spiritual listening takes place.

When a controversy is claimed to exist, it is being used as a tool to maintain that which is false or to get others to entertain that which is false. In the meantime, a few profit while many are harmed.

The word, “controversy” by itself does not imply drama nor does it mean a topic to avoid. Controversy simply means one viewpoint is different from another.

Sometimes differences are left alone as matters of personal choice while others are elevated to the level of dispute. Whether personal or not, some viewpoints are absolutely true or false. What makes controversy the counterproductive concept it is today is its emotional component that attaches us to the topic. Emotion tends to inhibit the chance for properly assessing alternatives. It tends to override the spirit mind. This excessive amount of emotion simply gets the blood racing and wants what it wants irrespective of personal and universal detriment.

Controversy comes of age when we don't.

Related: Financial Information Sources, Gaming The Economy & Our Education

Friday, November 2, 2012

A String Of Surprisingly Good Data From U.S.

The following is the complete text from a TD Economics Report dated November 2, 2012 regarding The Employment Situation Report - October 2012 from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. All statements below are from TD Economics.

Data Release: U.S. job growth accelerates in October to 171K. However, unemployment rises to 7.9% on rebounding labor force participation.

U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by 171K in October, well above the median consensus estimate of 125K. Private sector hiring expanded by 184K, also ahead of expectations for 123K. On the downside, after three months of increases, government payrolls resumed their decline in October, falling by 13K.

Revisions added an additional 84K to payrolls, with September’s previous reading of 114 jobs revised up to 148K. The revision to August was even better, from 142K to 192K.

Goods-producing employment rose by 21K supported by strong growth of 17K in construction employment and a 13K rise in manufacturing employment. Markets had been expecting a decline of 5K.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% from 7.8%. However, the details aren’t as bad as the headline. Household survey employment rose by 410K, but was outpaced by 578K growth in the labor force. The labor force participation rate rose to 63.8% from 63.6% a – its highest level since May.

Average hourly earnings were flat in the month, below expectations for a 0.2% gain. Average weekly hours also fell slightly to 34.4 from 34.5 in September.

Key Implications

Despite the rise in the unemployment rate, this is a very good report. The pace of payroll growth beat even the most optimistic analyst’s estimate and revisions show a much healthier pace of job growth over the past three months than previously reported. Having said that, today’s report was also a reminder that even with relatively strong job growth, improvements in the unemployment rate could be harder to attain, especially as labor force participation also rebounds.

Ignore the naysayers, the U.S. economy is showing incredible resilience in the face of significant challenges. Despite acute uncertainty over the fate of the fiscal cliff and a struggling global economy, America continues to generate jobs at a respectable pace. In fact, this report adds to a string of surprisingly good data from U.S. consumer spending, confidence, manufacturing and the housing market.

While analysts rightly focus on the downside to U.S. growth come the New Year, there is also an upside. If Congress can avoid the fiscal cliff, the prospects for job growth next year appear very good. With a housing market in repair, consumer confidence rising and credit growth improving, the stage should be set for jobs to take off. The fact that businesses are continuing to expand even with huge fiscal uncertainty means that once this cloud lifts, the pace of job creation has lots of room to accelerate. Even with some fiscal drag next year, we expect job growth to exceed 200K a month by the second half of next year.

James Marple, Senior Economist

This report is provided by TD Economics. It is for information purposes only and may not be appropriate for other purposes. The report does not provide material information about the business and affairs of TD Bank Group and the members of TD Economics are not spokespersons for TD Bank Group with respect to its business and affairs. The information contained in this report has been drawn from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate or complete. The report contains economic analysis and views, including about future economic and financial markets performance. These are based on certain assumptions and other factors, and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties. The actual outcome may be materially different. The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its affiliates and related entities that comprise TD Bank Group are not liable for any errors or omissions in the information, analysis or views contained in this report, or for any loss or damage suffered.