Monday, July 31, 2017

The Racket Ratchet

There's a rule of democracy that's been playing out very publicly lately, which is that social welfare, once granted, cannot be revoked. The government can easily expand but can only contract with great difficulty. Many are condemning the Rinos in Congress like John McCain for failing to do what they've campaigned to do for eight years, and what most of them did do when they knew they'd be overruled by a veto. They should be condemned; they're absolutely despicable. And yet they're also inevitable. Someone would have to step up to sabotage democratic reform because that seems to be the law of the universe. It's like in Disney's Sleeping Beauty, when Rose is drawn to the spindle, but is blocked by a stone wall. The magic spell creates a door for her. If John McCain didn't exist the universe would have to create him, just to go commit treason against conservatives one last time before his clock runs out.

A lot of people are blaming Republicans en masse over their failure to revoke Obamacare. We should hold off on that a bit. Most Republicans actually voted for repeal. For straight repeal, even. So the majority of our R-stamped Congress critters actually supported the conservative solution, which is almost surprising given what we expect out of them. And for all the flak Harry Reid is catching, at least he got these measures to the floor, and forced the Rinos to publicly admit they've been completely full of shit for the better part of a decade. The Republicans can't do much when facing traitors in the ranks, and when they're up against the mystical forces that prevent meaningful containment of a democratic government. My condolences to those being reamed by high costs, but keeping the Democratic pile of garbage on the books to fester -- for which no Republican voted for, by the way -- is the best option in the long term short of full repeal, no replace.

Socialism is a racket. A politician can't offer to pay people for their votes, but he can offer to give them other people's money. Somehow if you bribe and steal at the same time it comes out ok, so long bureaucracy gets its cut of the deal. Once they've had a sniff, the people become addicted to the bribe. Like any unhealthy addiction, one must chase an ever-increasing dose to get the same high, and any reduction leads to manic fits of withdrawal. Democracy is a ratchet. It can only exert increasing pressure on the system until it breaks.

What is lacking is some form of pressure release. Legislative reform would relieve pressure, but it is nearly impossible, as reformers will make great enemies out of the handout-addicted voters, the bureaucracy feeding on the overhead, and the politicians and their handlers who exploit the racket for self aggrandizement.

There was pressure relief built in to the framework of our government. Federalism means there is competition between the states. States that govern well will succeed, and states that govern poorly will have to adjust or fail. Just like shops at the mall, the people vote with their feet and their dollars. But federalism is now 70% destroyed. In Missouri, 70% of the state budget is actually determined by the federal government. They tax us, then release the money back as long as we spend it the correct way. Competition between the states is only about 30% effective. But it's probably even less than that, as the scope of the federal branch is so vast. People won't quibble over whether they live in a state with 4% income tax versus 5% when the federal government charges them 30%. The state situation tends to be overshadowed by the federal behemoth.

As described in Distortions in the Financial and Political Markets, our reality-insulating bubbles are inflating unchecked. Expect that the pressure won't be gently released. The release mechanism of the political racket ratchet is broken. The voters gave the Republicans majorities in the House, Senate, and White House, virtually all of whom promised to end Obamacare, and yet it remains. Even with all the right pieces in place this government program can't get undone. Is there any reason to believe that any other pressures on our political and financial systems will be responsibly released? That's not a bet I would take. The democracy-fueled ratchet of fiscal carelessness and denial of reality is under enormous strain, and all signals indicate it can only increase. Plan accordingly.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Christianity is not the West

The alt-right generally embraces Christianity. Not out of feelings of deep religious fervor, but more as a matter of conservatism. Our tradition is one of embracing Christianity, thus returning to traditional values demands a return to Christianity. They also see the decline of religion coinciding with the decline of morality and assume the two to be causally linked.

There is a segment, however, who question the benefit of Christianity to western civilization. This blog falls into that category. (See last year's post, Christianity: the root of the West's downfall?) Some have gone so far as to reject Christianity entirely and are advocating a return to the kind of paganism practiced in early Europe. The response of the Christian alt-right has been to reassert their position that Christianity is fundamental and necessary for Western tradition. Frankly, I find their arguments to be less than convincing. Here's my satirical take on what I hear from them.
Bible around for 1000 years: no mass literacy
Printing press invented: mass literacy
Conclusion: there'd be no mass literacy without the Bible
Pagan Europe rebuffs Persian invasion
Christian Europe rebuffs Muslim invasion
Conclusion: Christianity saved the West
Christianity introduced: Rome falls and Europe enters a thousand year dark age
Ancient western philosophy reintroduced: Church power wanes and era of scientific rationalism begins
Conclusion: there'd be no science without Christianity
Chinese Christian population grows: prospers
African Christian population grows: pestilence
Conclusion: Christianity is the key to prosperity
Spaniards attempt to spread Christianity to save the natives: create Latin America, world's most crime-ridden society
English ignore Christian values and clear out the natives: create the greatest, most powerful nation in world history
Conclusion: Christianity is the source of civilizational power
These are all claims that people make. That Christianity drove literacy, repelled Muslim invasion, birthed science, and bestows prosperity and civilizational prominence. These claims all tend to follow what is probably the fundamental statistical fallacy: the conflation of correlation with causality. In general, the argument is that because the Christian West became powerful, Christianity must make civilizations powerful. (It's a bit ironic that the measure of success for the great anti-materialist philosophy of Jesus is the acquisition of worldly power, although that's beside the point.) Each of the five sarcasms above is a rebuttal to their faulty theories of causality. For instance, they state that China's success is due to its growing Christian population. (Which is only a few percent of the total; China is hardly a Christian nation.) At any rate, even if the trend is there, then why doesn't Christianity make African countries successful, and why is Latin America such a mess?

The major tome of the alt-right is that race and culture matter. They ridicule the notion of what is dubbed Magic Dirt Theory, which is the claim by liberals that just living on the soil within a nation's geographical boundaries makes one a member of that nation. A Dearborn Muslim agitating for Sharia law is just as American as any of us because, hey, he does live in America, right?

But the alt-right has a tendency to their own fallacy: the Magic Church Theory. Spend an hour a week in the church and suddenly one is a bona fide Westerner. One wonders if Magic Church Theorists have visited heavily Christian locales like Brazil and the Philippines.

This isn't meant to be an attack on Christianity, or on the alt-right call for a return to the faith. Christianity is fine as a personal mode of spirituality, as a moral guideline, as a social organization, and as a charitable venture. These things are all fine. But the discussion is in the context of Christianity as a civilizational institution, and the claims are that Christianity is indispensable to Western society and that Christianity, an Eastern religion derived from Judaism, drove the West to prosperity.

One wonders, then, how did the great classical Western civilizations ever become so great and influential without the benefit of Magic Church? In fact, looking at the long-arc of Western history would indicate that Christianity has had a dampening effect on Western success. From the time Christianity was adopted by Rome under Constantine, it was only a couple hundred years until the fall of Rome. For the next thousand years, Christianity was the dominant force in Europe, and not much happened. The only argument the Magic Church advocates can make of the era is that Christian Europe repelled the Muslim invaders, thus Christianity saved the West! But it wasn't the first time the West had met an existential threat and prevailed. The Greeks held off the Persians, for one. Do we attribute this victory to Zeus?

After a thousand years of Christian-dominated dark ages Europe underwent a Renaissance, and it is the advances in post-Renaissance Europe that are being attributed to Christianity. But they forget that Europe also went through a Reformation, or a restriction of Church authority and a move towards secularism, at the same time. Both movements were related and came about as a consequence of the re-introduction of the lost Western tradition of Greek philosophy. After it's re-introduction, as measured by the publication of Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica, it was only 250 years until Copernicus was challenging the Church's authority on scientific grounds and Martin Luther was challenging it theologically. The term Renaissance means a rebirth or renewal. What was being renewed? Western civilization. And it happened at the expense of Christianity, not because of it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

We Must Solve Our Problems or it's Just Going to be Communism

The nice thing about the left is that they have more or less the same solution to all problems, which is communism. So at least you know what you're getting. Predictability is the most important quality to any theory of thought, or at least that's what science tells us. And if we heed the advice of Sun Tzu, understanding the enemy is core to defeating them. The other side of this is that any open problems in society become leverage for the progs to advance their agenda. What we have now is problematic, let's try socialism is basically the Democrat platform.

Perhaps the best way to reproach them is to deal with society's problems. Easier said than done, no doubt, but eliminating liberal power means depriving them of an environment in which they can prosper by eliminating the problems the seek to exploit. Doing so won't quell the radicals. If they can't find a societal flaw they'll just invent one, but they'll get much less leverage out of that than a real problem with supporting evidence that many people in the middle are troubled by.

Let's look at healthcare, since it's in the news lately. One of the major flaws of our healthcare system is its dependency on employment. Lose your job and you lose your coverage. It's cruel. Insurance is intended to mitigate risk. I buy insurance because of the small chance I'll get cancer. I can't truly buy insurance if I already have cancer. There's no risk to mitigate, no uncertainty. I could no more buy health insurance with cancer than I could buy homeowner's insurance while my house is aflame. Insurance companies deny preexisting conditions for a reason. People who are cut off from their insurance benefits are thus stranded, because now there is no uncertainty about the state of their health.

There are a couple obvious solutions to this very real problem. The first would be to remove the government incentives for employment-based health insurance and let the problem work itself out. The second would be for the government to perform its job and to enforce legal contracts. Clearly people buy health insurance because if they succumb to some ailment, they expect the condition to be covered. Losing that coverage because of employment status is a legal loophole that should never have been permitted to start with. If I buy health insurance and get cancer, I expect the insurance company to cover my treatment until I'm cured or dead, whether or not I lose my job.

These solutions are not creative or difficult. They don't require brainstorming or compromise. They're just the obvious application of conservative fundamental principles. The government should not distort the free market. The government should enforce legal contracts.

Despite this really being an easy problem, the government response has only served to worsen the situation. They have responded by outlawing discrimination against preexisting conditions. It's as if the government said you can no longer refuse to grant someone homeowner's insurance just because their house is presently on fire. It fundamentally destroys the purpose of insurance, which is to mitigate risk. The government now forces companies to take on customers on whom they are certain to lose money.

What's interesting about Obamacare is that it's just about the worst possible solution. It is actually worse than just having single-payer (a euphemism for communist) medicine. There are at least some arguments to be made in favor of communist medicine, even though they're naively idealistic or they ignore history, but Obamacare is fundamentally flawed in all aspects. This is no accident. Liberals didn't have the political capital to impose communist medicine, but they certainly couldn't allow the painful problems of healthcare to be solved by the simple application of conservative principles. No, they need problems to exist to leverage their push for communism. They need healthcare to be broken. So they passed the worst legislation possible. Now there's an even bigger problem in medicine, which means there's even more opportunity for a communist solution.

If there is a silver lining to liberalism, it is that they force us to solve our problems. In the software world there is a catchphrase: broken gets fixed, shitty lasts forever. We often don't fix things until we have to. With liberals we can't let our problems fester too long, because they will just turn into communism. This is a great motivator for us to fix the things we should be fixing anyway. Healthcare should not be so expensive that it is the major driver of personal bankruptcy, and insurance benefits should not be tied to employment. By not solving the problem, we give the left leverage for their agenda, which also means the left is intrinsically motivated to create problems and sabotage solutions. The consequences of this for the right are apparent. We must be solving society's major problems, and we must be ruthless in suppressing the leftist propensity for treason. This is the only approach to prevent democracy's tendency to decay into socialist authoritarianism.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Punish, Reciprocate, or Perish

The big news today (are there any slow news days anymore?) is that House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has gone public that Obama White House staff made hundreds of unmasking requests against their political opposition during their last year in office. Not only does this seem to confirm our suspicions of the worst-case scenario -- that the Democrats were using the state security apparatus as a political weapon -- but also that they weren't even trying to cover their tracks. All but one request contained the same boilerplate text as justification for the request. They just copy/pasted it! The amount of hubris is astounding. They were so sure they were going to bury Trump that they didn't put forth even token effort to appear legitimate.

These are serious crimes. Are we the world's preeminent democracy or a 3rd world dictatorship? (Let's not answer that for now.) It should be apparent to anyone not brainwashed by propaganda why White House staff would have made hundreds of requests for intelligence against members of the Trump team. They wanted any excuse to spy on them to uncover a scandal. Anything. It doesn't have to be something big. In 2012 the big Mitt Romney scandal was that the family dog had traveled in a kennel on top of the van. They'd be looking for anything like this they could leak to the media. And actually, they did. Where do you think the Donald Trump Jr.'s recently leaked emails came from? Almost certainly from intelligence gathered by the deep state, unmasked at White House request, then saved to be used as a political weapon.

There are only two satisfactory outcomes from this. This first is that the abusers of the state security apparatus are punished. Who knows how many are criminally culpable, but clearly a number of highly placed aides of the Obama White House need 20 year terms behind bars, at the least. Slaps on the wrist or the sacrifice of pawns is not acceptable.

I strongly suspect this won't happen. Between the Democrat ownership of the corporate media and Session's limp-wristed command of the Justice Department, I'm not optimistic for any sort of justice. Assuming there are no prosecutions, Trump's only good option is a 2-part response. First, he must goad the Democrats and the media into defending the intelligence abuse. (And largely they've done that.) Second, his team must reciprocate. They must do exactly what the Obama White House did. Hundreds of unmasking requests against political opponents. Look for anything. Bribes, tax evasion, questionable canine transport, affairs, drug use, liberally anything embarrassing. Then blackmail or leak it to the press.

If abusing state power as a political weapon is not a punishable crime, then refusing to use it is political suicide. It's like taking a knife to a gun fight. The only practical reasons not to bring a gun to a knife fight are social norms, where one loses status if the culture values a fair fight, or for fear of legal repercussions, such as being charged with a felony and sent to the clinker. Barring those two pressures, there's no reason not to. If we don't punish Democrats for these crimes, we give them complete license to repeat them in the future. If they aren't punished, and those same tactics aren't used to prevent them from re-taking power, then in four or eight years Trump just hands them the keys for state tyranny on his way out the door.

The Compounding Debt Fallacy

It's pretty well known that the US federal government is in debt to the tune of twenty trillion dollars. The Economic Collapse Blog is reporting that, if we account for personal debt as well, such as mortgages, students loans, credit card debt, etc, that number balloons to $41 trillion. That comes out to $329,961 per household, which amounts to 584% of median household income. The numbers are almost numbing and don't even account for corporate debt, state & municipal debt, or debt in the form of unfunded liabilities likes pensions, Social Security, and Medicaid.

You might be asking yourself how it is even possible that we could have so much debt. Can the size of the debt really exceed that of the monetary supply? Is the whole system intrinsically insolvent? Let's look at a couple relevant articles that are highly placed in Google searches on the subject. The first is from ZeroHedge, titled It Is Mathematically Impossible to Pay All of Our Debt. They assert,
There is no way in the world that all of that debt can ever be repaid.  The only thing that we can hope for now is for this debt bubble to last for as long as possible before it finally explodes.
Hoping for the debt bubble to last as long as possible is short-term, almost malicious thinking. The longer bubbles take to pop, the worse the resulting turmoil. In general, the longer the market ignores reality, the more severe the eventual correction will be.

The other item is from Simon Thorpe's blog, in an article titled Global Debt is now 2.5 times the total Money Supply - the system is clearly unworkable. He paints a similarly gloomy picture but goes even further to offer an explanation into how our monetary system would allow debt growth to outpace the monetary supply, as well as offering a systemic fix for the issue.
How on earth did we get into this situation?

For me, the answer is pretty simple. Commercial banks create money when then make loans to individuals, businesses and governments. But when they do this, they create enough money to make the loan, but don't create the money that will be needed to pay the interest. Thus, if a bank creates $1 trillion in loans with interest at 2% and waits for 20 years, the total amount of debt  in the system will have increased to nearly $1.5 trillion. This is what has been happening for centuries, but the effects of that compound interest have now become totally out of control.

It is clearly time for us to change the system. All money should be created interest free. Full stop.
Both his analysis and his conclusion are very wrong. He's wrong because of a very common misconception about the economy, which we'll dub the Compounding Debt Fallacy. The author keeps a blog and a video series dedicated to the discussion of economics and still falls into the trap. We'll walk through the reason his analysis is wrong. After that, you'll have a better understanding of our debt-based monetary system than the vast majority of Americans, even many who dedicate a substantial amount of their time to the study of economics.

The Compounding Debt Fallacy is something like this.
When banks make loans, they create debt that must be repaid out of the monetary supply. Thus the debt will compound perpetually until there isn't enough money to repay the debt.
Or something like that. It's pretty much what Mr. Thorpe was saying in the above quote. These people are often consumed with the notion of runaway debt creation. But they miss two very big aspects of the process. First, the bank actually does create currency when it issues debt, and second, that currency is destroyed when the loan is repaid. Think of debt and money like matter and anti-matter. They are equal and opposite to one another, and, when they meet, they annihilate each other. Some time ago this blog did some thought exercises on the subject of debt creation in a fiat monetary system. Let's run through one again to try to understand all this.

Suppose there is $100 in the monetary supply. (Which also means there's $100 in national debt.) You work in the economy, which means that you trade your labor for money out of the monetary supply. You make enough that you can dedicate $2 each year to housing. The house you want to buy is $10. What do you do? Remain homeless for five years until you save enough to purchase the house? Probably you'll go to the bank for a loan.

The bank says, "We'll loan you ten dollars for a house, and you must repay us a dollar a year for ten years, and it will be paid off. But you must also pay us an extra dollar a year in interest as our service fee."

Noting there is a cold front moving in, you respond, "Ok."

The bank deposits ten dollars into your account. Where did it come from? In our system of fractional reserve lending, the money was simply created. As long as the bank has 10% of the loaned amount on reserve -- in this case, a dollar -- they can generate the loan. They create a mortgage contract and then give $10 to the seller of the home. Here's the part where people who only see one side of the equation lose their minds. Some say, "They created money out of thin air! Runaway inflation! Unsound monetary policy!" Others say, "They created debt out of thin air! Debt bomb! We're all debt slaves!"

The bank created both, the money and its complementary debt. Now the money supply is effectively at $110. Eventually, the bank gets their $10 dollars back. They then use that money to cancel the mortgage bond. This is the part everyone misses. The bond and the cash annihilate each other and we're back to where we started, with a money supply of $100 and privately held debt of $0. The only long-term effect of the mortgage is the transfer of wealth from you, the homebuyer, to the bank, in the form of interest payments. But that's just exactly what we expect to happen. You pay them for providing a financial service.

What's happening here is that people don't understand our fractional-reserve fiat monetary system, so they aren't making the proper critiques or offering valid fixes. For instance, the author's suggestion that all money be lent interest-free is absurd. So he wants all banks to go out of business, and no one gets a mortgage. Cool. People think of money as an asset-backed system, but the dollar is a contract-backed system. In an asset-backed system, the value of money comes from the value of some commodity. Not terribly long ago, US coins contained silver, giving them value, and the paper dollars had value because they were (supposedly) redeemable for gold. So holding a dollar was as good as holding it's equivalent in gold.

Today's money has value because it is created out of debt, and someone has the legal obligation to repay that debt. If the government did not enforce contracts (one of its primary duties), the currency's worth would be equal to its BTU value on combustion. If the government of the United States ever collapses (**crosses fingers**) the dollar will be destroyed with it.

There's nothing wrong with a contract-based monetary system, but that doesn't mean that in practice it is being operated properly, or that it is remotely solvent in the long-run. Going back to the original article, how is there $41 trillion in debt if the money supply is significantly smaller? This is an important question. It's not because banks issue home loans. Either the money supply is somehow not being properly accounted for, or something is very screwy in the way things are being done. The fact that we don't constantly hear people asking the question why doesn't the debt equal the value of the money supply? means that (a) a lot of people don't understand the modern monetary system, and (b) the people who do understand the modern monetary system mostly decide, for whatever reason, not to ask that question.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Conservative Case for Taxpayer-Funded Penis Removal in the Military

Donald Trump has abandoned his supposed conservative principles to make a pointless and offensive attack on a segment of American citizens. He has decided to use his executive power to tell people how they should live, how they should feel, and how they should identify themselves. The most cherished conservative value is freedom from government tyranny, yet not the government is telling the transgendered that they can no longer engage in their right to military service.

The decision violates Christian norms as well. Did Jesus say that trannies shouldn't serve in the military? No. Well really the early Christian doctrine was that no one should serve in the military, one of the major reasons they were so despised by the Romans, but they didn't single out any of the 72 genders in their opposition to martial practices. So Trump's ejection of the gender-atypical is not just anti-libertarian, it is anti-Christian as well.

Finally, Trump's decision violates free-market economic principles. Because the transgendered are oppressed in the marketplace, they are more willing to accept difficult, lower-paying jobs, like enlisted military service. By rejecting these applicants, the President is effectively instilling a minimum wage on military service, thus he is distorting the free market and causing a higher burden on taxpayers.

This decisions stinks. It fails the American ideals of personal liberty and limited government, it fails the Christian ethos of universal equality, and it fails free-market economic principles.

[Except to see some drivel like this being pushed out by the National Review and other pseudo-conservative outlets. McCain, who is only ever in the news for bashing Republicans, is in the news for opposing the tranny ban. Some things are just too predictable to even be amusing.]

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Distortions in the Financial and Political Markets

Financial Markets

If you're a regular to this blog, or to some of the other blogs in the sidebar like oftwominds, then you understand that our financial system is marred by massive market distortions. The market is supposed to work as an information-processing entity that rewards smart enterprises with capital, and smart investors with profits. The investor analyzes companies and decides which, if any, he wants to fund.

In reality, things don't quite work that way. Most people invest through proxy. They give their money to a fund manager who does the legwork of poring through financial data for a multitude of ventures, trying to find those most likely to give the best return. Thus, the valuations of the various companies relative to each other have some basis in reality. But the market overall, that's another picture. Aunt Betty doesn't allocate money to the stock market based on the aggregate financial data available to her. She probably sends a fixed amount. For the vast majority of investors, the amount of money they send to market is determined by (a) their pension program, which they have no control over, (b) their 401(k) policy (most people just put in whatever their employer will match), or (c) the recommendation of a financial adviser. (I'll save you the fee; they recommend 15%.)

Most people don't invest in companies; they bet on the market. For those who do trade their own stocks, mostly they buy index funds when they see a bull market, and sell when they see a bear. [Some buy individual stocks, although not always on the best information. Aunt Betty likes her iPhone, so she buys Apple stock. She doesn't know what dividends are, or why she would want to have those.] The question for the typical investor becomes whether the market will rise or fall. Will people keep pumping money in, or will they get scared and pull out? Company valuations become a minute data point, because the amount of money coming in mostly has to do with the overall health of the economy (or its perceived health) and the monetary policy. The Fed can pump the market by lowering interest rates, or deflate it by raising them. That's a lot of power! No wonder investors watch meetings of the Fed Board in real time. The Fed also owns so many assets, some $5 trillion in toxic assets it acquired from TARP, that it can direct the market at will. They could crash the market tomorrow if they decided to dump everything. So the value of your Google stock next month has more to do with monetary policy than how Google is being run.

The gist of this is the market, previously an engine for efficiently matching investment capital with business enterprises, is now a casino that matches investment capital with monetary policy and the hope that everyone else will keep investing. Think of the difference. In the old system, if you sniffed a sweet investment, you didn't want other people knowing about it. You prefer your investment dollars to be at a premium, thus more valued by the business venture, meaning you might expect better returns, such as higher dividends. None of the FAANG stocks (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) pay dividends. They don't need to. If you buy them you hope everyone buys them, driving the price up, because that's the only way you're going to make any money off them. The old feedback loop has been dismantled. So when will company financial data feed back into market investment? At the next crash, one presumes. The efficient processing of information is gone. Reality only feeds back into the system in intermittent, jarring, and chaotic events.

Political Markets

There are two major ways to view democracy, and probably lots of minor ways. It's a complicated thing. One way to look at it, as suggested by Jim's Blog, is that democracy is a proxy for war. Instead of drawing up sides and fighting it out on the battlefield, we simply count heads to determine who would have won, and put them in charge. Democracy circumvents the horribly self-destructive process of civil war, and everyone gets to go home to their families. We'll come back to this.

The other way to think of democracy is as a marketplace of ideas. The various entities in the nation use the methods of persuasion at their disposal to influence the populace, then we count heads to see who had the best ideas. This is why we hold our freedoms of speech and of the press in such high regard. Those are not idealistic moral judgments. They are absolutely essential to the efficient flow of information in the marketplace of ideas. Without them the market of democracy is distorted, and doomed to eventual, and painful, market corrections. There are some other requirements. The voting public must be rational and operate in good faith. The government must faithfully execute the decisions of the democratic process.

I'm sure you see where we're going with this. In all critical aspects, our democracy-as-marketplace is seriously distorted. The mainstream media is primarily propaganda, not honest journalism. Other avenues of information sharing are corrupted. Just today Twitter killed another trending hashtag damaging to the Democrats. In this one, a DNC IT staffer, who was fired 6 months ago for obvious fraud and apparent data theft, was still being paid by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (remember, she was fired from her position as DNC chair after email leaks revealed she was throwing the election for Hillary), and was only fired after he was arrested by the FBI while trying to flee the country! But those hashtags are removed in favor of Russian conspiracy theory nonsense. Clearly the channels of communication are not conducive to pragmatic decision-making by the populace. The public is fed fiction and believe it to be objective truth.

The other aspects are failing as well. The voters need to be rational and acting in good faith. Well half of them believe the Russia conspiracy theories after 13 months with no evidence and not even a description of the alleged crime. It would seem that about half of the electorate does not satisfy the criteria of rational. And a significant number are ideologically opposed to even having a dialog with their opponents whom they see as literally Nazis. So certainly they are not acting in good faith. The other requirement, that the government faithfully abide the decisions of the people, is also violated. Half of the deep state, and nearly all the propaganda machine, are working to reject the president elected by the people. The government frequently ignores the will of the people, or adopts their preferred policies but does not act on them. Nearly everyone, from both aisles, opposed the Wall Street bailouts, and they still happened under presidents from both parties. A decade ago their was bi-partisan legislation passed to build a border wall. It never materialized. Everyone wanted banksters to be prosecuted for fraud that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. Not one person, not even a patsy, saw jail time. And now, the Republicans own the whole federal government, largely by promising to repeal Obamacare, yet we are seeing that no meaningful repeal will happen, and maybe not even a nominal repeal. 

All the requirements for an efficient democratic market are, well, requirements. The loss of one can destroy everything. All are failing today. The prognosis for a democratic collapse is nearly the same as that for a financial crash. It's not a matter of if, but when.

Let's go back to the other perspective of democracy for a quick second; that democracy is a proxy for civil war, and awards those who would have won on the battlefield. The key requirement for this arrangement to endure is that the people who would have won the war tend to win the elections. At the very least they should not be treated as vanquished chattel. Otherwise, at some point, the would-be warriors start to think, "Gee, maybe we'd get a better deal if we just took this all over by force." Think of our situation now. The military, the police, and nearly all men who own firearms are Trump supporters. Yet he is currently under soft coup by the party populated by gender-fluid feminists and limp-wristed manlets, who want to take all the money they can grab from the former group. They can hardly be reasoned with, and eventually the right wing will realize that they can only defend themselves by physical force, not by engaging in the defunct marketplace of ideas.

The financial and democratic feedback loops in this country are wildly dysfunctional. Remember, the number one rule of economics is the markets always correct. Reality denial is not a sustainable condition. The only practical advice here is to become antifragile. Expect that there will be abrupt and chaotic market corrections in our future. If you don't yet know how you would benefit in those kinds of scenarios, then you are certainly fragile to the inevitable.

Monday, July 24, 2017

What Happened to Country Music?

Lately, I've been listening to some country stations on the radio, for the same reason, I imagine, that people tune in to watch the Jerry Springer show. Sometimes you want to see a trainwreck. My interest was peaked after hearing some comically bad country music the other day in Walgreen's.

It's no secret that what gets called country these days isn't truly country. Most of what I hear is pop rock sang with a twang and often with some traditional instruments like fiddles and banjos added to the mix. The beat is straight-forward rock (in 4 with emphasis on 2 & 4). You don't really hear waltzes or western swing anymore. Melodies are based off the relative minor pentatonic rather than the major, making the music more similar to rock and blues than country. Most annoying of all, lyrics are no longer written to tell a story but are just a bunch of country keywords glued together to pander to their audience.

These features are all well on display in a song I heard this morning, which I guess was a big hit a few years ago. All the features are there of the "pop rock plus twang" pattern, in addition to the cliche lyrics. Just listen to the first verse: truck, boots, mud, tractor, toolbox, tailgate, etc.

You can see why people would like the song. It's simple & fun and clearly directed towards women, which is fine. By why call it country? You couldn't even call this "red dirt" country, which infuses rock but still generally keeps a light shuffle to it. If you insisted it's country you'd have to call it club country. Can you imagine old-timer farmers actually listening to this crap in the fields?

But that's not even the worst of it. A lot of new country is trying to be like hip hop and other urban genres. If people enjoy the music and will pay for it that's fine, but it's only a parody of the country genre, so stop calling it that. Here's the current number one hit on the Billboard's Top 40 Country. Go ahead and listen to it. Or just listen to a small part, it's all the same.

This isn't even a music video (the backdrop is static), yet this 5-month-old video has 78 million views! Clearly, people are listening to it. Yet, there is not one iota of the country genre in this song. They didn't even bother with the twang & banjo. The vocals here are mostly in the style of urban black singers and highly processed in the modern fashion. It is 100% contemporary roots & blues. It should be on the Billboard R&B list, not the Country list. Perhaps Sam Hunt has such impeccable country cred that he can get away with an R&B song, the way Garth Brooks could work in a gospel tune without anyone complaining. But looking at his videos on YouTube, I'm guessing not. Here's another one of his.

It's a fine song, with much better lyrics than most modern country, but it's still another example of pure R&B without one shred of country sonic attributes. The Nashville definition for country seems to be "white guys singing in whatever style from a list of preferred buzz words." Reject the definition. If a station plays Luke Bryan all day it's club music, not country. If it plays Sam Hunt all day it's an R&B station, not a country station. A rant against corporate pop country might seem a bit silly on a Monday morning, but it fits into a major theme of this blog: the rejection of a culture permeated by dishonesty.

Friday, July 21, 2017

But What About His Tax Returns?

The recent post There Will Be No Obituary for the Left stated
This is all they have left. You don't throw those kinds of hail mary's unless you're completely desperate and the clock is running out. Today my google news feed said nothing about what was the biggest and virtually only story in the news just two days ago. Instead, I saw something about Sessions Russia connections (lol) and a story about how the CBO says Trump's budget won't balance. They're either going back to old news that already went no where (seriously waiting to start hearing about tax returns again soon) or giving, gasp, valid and deserved criticism of Trump's policies.
This was done somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but recall, the left can no longer be satirized. From my Google news feed today.

Satire and prediction have become one and the same. They've circled back around. It's back to Taxes Taxes Taxes. Will Rachel Maddow be vindicated after all? I wonder how far they'll regress. Do you think they'll go all the way back to Trump has no mathematical chance to win the Republican primary? Actually, that's probably a fair prediction. At some point, we'll hear up and down about Trump's stiff primary competition from some National Review favored neocon. Expect that soon after the 2018 Congressional elections are wrapped up.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Welfare Warfare

Border battles are heating up in the EU. The major entry point into Europe for "refugees" has been the Italian Coast Guard, who "rescue" the migrants from the Mediterranean, as Zerohedge reported on the process late last year.
NGOs, smugglers, the mafia in cahoots with the European Union have shipped thousands of illegals into Europe under the pretext of rescuing people, assisted by the Italian coast guard which coordinated their activities.

Human traffickers  contact the Italian coast guard in advance to receive support and to pick up their dubious cargo. NGO ships are directed to the “rescue spot” even as those to be rescued are still in Libya. The 15 ships that we observed are owned or leased by NGOs have regularly been seen to leave their Italian ports, head south, stop short of reaching the Libyan coast, pick up their human cargo, and take course back 260 miles to Italy even though the  port of Zarzis in Tunis is just 60 mile away from the rescue spot.
Here is a map of the rescue zone.

The migrant boats are usually unpowered with no chance to make it to Europe. Smugglers call the Italian coast guard and then drag the life boats out to the nearest waters that can be considered international. The Italians, afraid of being called racists, dutifully perform the daring rescue operation and haul them up to Sicily. By the thousands per day.

This was all prophesied by Gadaffi before Obama/Clinton saw to his brutal murder.
There are millions of blacks who could come to the Mediterranean to cross to France and Italy, and Libya plays a role in security in the Mediterranean.
Italy is not the preferred destination of most migrants. They try to get to the most lucrative welfare states, particularly Germany and Britain. However, many of the migrants remain in limbo in Italy, unable to legally cross into the other countries. The migrants are responding to the incentives provided by northern European countries, but are backlogging in southern Europe. Italy, under great strain by the migrants, is now threatening to unleash up to 200,000 migrants into the Schengen zone by issuing them temporary humanitarian visas. They surely feel they'd be justified, as they are bearing the brunt of the migrant invasion, yet on the other hand they're the ones steaming down to Africa every day to provide free ferry rides to Europe.

Austria has responded, and here's where it gets good, by threatening to militarily shut their border with Italy.
Austria has warned it will send soldiers to close the border with Italy in 24 hours if Rome decides to take the "nuclear option" and grant visas to almost 100,000 migrants stranded in the Mediterranean country.
What a difference a year or two makes. In 2015 Europe threw open their borders in the most egregious display of virtue signaling the world had ever experienced. Anyone who even hesitated to show support was labeled a racist. Most on the right predicted what would happen. The cultural enrichment would soon wear out its welcome, European society would begin to fracture at the seams, the Schengen agreement (and likely the entire EU) would be destroyed, and eventually we'd see the return of civil war to Europe.

And now, just two years later, we have European countries bailing out of the EU and threatening to use their armies for their intended purpose: defending national borders. Talk about a continental schism. In many European countries it is actually illegal to criticize the migrants or migration policies on social media, yet other countries are mobilizing troops to stop the invasion. The good news is that Europeans seem to be transitioning from the heart-warming sentiment of all immigration is good to the realization that there is some limit to how much immigration may be permitted. Now they're just haggling over numbers.

In the meantime, European countries are stuck playing hot potato with the transcontinental guests seeking to leech off welfare. They're playing blackmail with blacks. The gravest threat that can be made to a European country is to flood them with migrants, whom they will be compelled to house and feed. Austria is taking the threat so serious they are willing to militarize their border. It's only been two years. One wonders where we'll be in another two.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Parasitic Degeneracy

When we talk about degeneracy in modern society, we are using the proper term. The first definition I could find for the term degenerate is,
Having declined, as in function or nature, from a former or original state.
That seems about right. Broadly speaking, there seem to be two types of societal degeneracy. Technical degeneracy would be the decline of a society's technology, organizational structures, and infrastructure. Technical degeneracy is typically caused by entropy when a society's energy allocation can no longer fuel societal complexity, as described by Joseph Tainter, which he terms as collapse.

The second type is cultural degeneracy and that is what we tend to mean when we talk about degeneracy. The driver of cultural degeneracy, at least as far as we're seeing in our own society, is the mindset of moral relativism; that no moral code can be considered superior to any other. Under moral relativism, the highest sin is to judge another. Fat shaming, slut shaming, and "homophobia" are phrases used like accusations of crime. Looking down on another's lack of virtue, a vital function in a healthy society, is now castigated as oppression. Social order can no longer exist because the imposition of even basic norms of behavior requires infringing on the sacred individual's right to unlimited moral license. This is easy to see in America. In the most tolerant locations, the bums just defecate on the sidewalks and no one dares stop them.

Cultural degeneracy destroys the society. We've not only reached the point at which degeneracy is normalized, but have actually gone past that mark. In normal degeneracy, we are forced to tolerate bad behavior. The next step is parasitic degeneracy, in which we are forced to subsidize bad behavior. Before, it was oppression to not permit low behavior. Now it's oppression to not fund it. We must provide sex-change operations to help people destroy their reproductive organs. We must buy syringes for druggies so they don't get sick. We must pay for those who resort to abortions in lieu of birth control (which we also must pay for). And so on.

The mantra of parasitic degenerates is if you don't pay for me to engage in behavior you disagree with you are guilty of the high sin of oppression. It sounds stupid, of course, but half of your fellow countrymen have been brow-beaten, shamed, and guilt-tripped into adopting this mindset. The Communist Manifesto states that the bourgeoisie will supply the rope with which they will be hanged. Well, isn't that what's happening?

It may seem that parasitic degeneracy implies funding anti-societal behavior among the low-lifes and basket cases, but it is not limited to that sector. One of the more visible symbols of this behavior in action can be found these days in the White House Press Corps. First, it's an outrage that the Press Corps exists at all. It's open bribery for the White House to curry favor from those charged with providing some level of public oversight to the government. That's corruption, but now things are much worse. What's the one thing worse than the government paying bribes to get what it wants? The government paying bribes to get the opposite of what it wants. The Press Corps members, paid a government salary, are in open revolt against the current government. Their behavior is reprehensible. It's all theater so these ideologically possessed maniacs can repetitiously fire off barbed questions at the president's spokesmen for the sole purpose of demonstrating how hostile they were. It's despicable, and yet if Trump were to dismantle the Press Corps (which he should) we would hear for weeks nonstop that he had subjugated the free press like a 3rd world dictator. By refusing to pay them for their vicious behavior. Clearly, parasitic degeneracy permeates our society, from the very bottom to the very top.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


I heard a nice folk version of John Lennon's song Imagine as I was driving my daughter to daycare. The song could easily have been called Anthem of the Left. It has always struck me, even when I was young, as an ode to communism, but perhaps more accurately it is an example of pure r-selected yearnings. Imagine no competition.

It seems fitting to have heard the song on the way to daycare. Another phrase for imagine is play pretend, which is exactly what kids do all day at daycare. My daughter's new thing is she sees fairies at daycare, and sometimes at home too. It's adorable, because she's 3. If she was 33 it would be a manifestation of some madness.

Yet what we have today is a lot of adults who like to play pretend. Imagine no countries or possessions. So imagine global communism. Communism is theoretically intractable and has failed every time it has been tried. But you can't explain these things to liberals. Liberals are like children. They mostly engage in throwing tantrums, name-calling, violence & lack of self-control, demanding allowances, rebelling against authority figures, creating scary bogeymen, making impossible demands, and, most of all, playing pretend.

Imagine. It's the perfect song for the children of the left. Our major goal as a society should be to provide them a sandbox to play in.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Maximum Hyperbole

This came up on my facebook feed the other day, posted by a liberal friend. It wasn't a viral meme or anything, just something he wrote. But it struck me as being the most hyperbolic thing I've ever read. I used to comment on these things. In this case, I was able to quickly create a 3-point rebuttal to dismantle the notion. But what's the point? At some point it feels like lecturing the neighbor's dog not to bark on a Sunday afternoon. The dog's going to bark regardless, and from a certain perspective it makes sense for the dog to bark.

I realize that there is no real need to go into this for most readers here. But one of the major benefits of writing a blog is it's therapeutic value, like a journal. One can put the rebuttal out for people who might appreciate it, while not annoying those who can't be bothered to think. Lincoln used to write letters to people who were annoying him and then not mail them. I can guarantee you that if he was alive today he would be a prolific blogger writing under a pseudonym. At any rate, my 3-point rebuttal.
  1. The Republicans opposing the bill come from the conservative wing, not the liberal. That in itself is all you need to know. (And, in fact, the defection today of two more conservative senators doomed it to the waste bin, where it properly belongs.) They might respond that no liberal Democrats support the bill, but that only means that they are all, every one of them, partisan hacks who don't know what's good for them. They won't support any legislation proposed by Republicans. They would probably reject single-payer healthcare if it came from the wrong side of the aisle. The Republican plan is not repeal; it is rename. The major tenets of Obamacare remain. The government has still declared lordship over one sixth of the American economy. The Senate bill keeps all that in place, but renames it and makes it a Republican program. So the left keeps, conservatively, 90% of their favored policy, while all the downside is pushed over into their opponent's court. No savvy businessman would ever turn down such a sweet deal. The Republican say "we'll give you liberal healthcare and take all the blame when it fails." And the Democrats despise it! Their lack of leadership is laughable. On the other hand, we can reasonably blame the failure of the bill on Trump. No, he didn't invent the healthcare fiasco, but at some point he changed his campaign promise from Repeal to Repeal & Replace. He clearly did so to try not to scare off the blue-collar Rust Belt Democrats who ended up giving him the election, but at the cost of not being able to actually carry out the promise of substantial reform. Still, no change in policy is our second-best option, so we'll take it. The Democrats think they've won a victory here. Let them play pretend, I guess.
  2. The principle underlying the notion that not providing state-run healthcare is equivalent to murder is generally that not providing people with anything is equivalent to stealing that thing. We've heard this kind of stuff before from that camp. For instance, feminists shriek into the night about the evil Republicans denying their right to healthcare by not paying for their birth control. Not giving them birth control is the same as forcing them to be pregnant against their will. And forcing someone to be pregnant against their will is rape! So not giving them money is rape. It's just a shakedown. The problem with the principle that not giving is the same as taking is that there is no limitation to it. Not giving someone a home is the same as kicking them out on the street. Society should provide food or it is inflicting starvation on the destitute. There's no end to the things society should provide. Status, entertainment, companionship, sexual satisfaction, even indulgence of addictions and fetishes must be provided by the state, or it is causing people to live in agony. We're already living in a world where the taxpayer is obligated to provide sex-change operations and hormone "treatment" for the mentally ill.
  3. The final rebuttal to this is that it is profoundly hyperbolic. Passing the Senate bill, which would have cemented Obamacare into the legislative record, was seen as equivalent to killing millions of people per year. This is so easy to disprove that it's pointless. Can liberals show that after the law went into effect around 2011 that millions of people were saved per year? Of course they can't. And that assumes the Senate bill repeals Obamacare, of which it does nearly the opposite.
This shit is so stupid we shouldn't even be talking about it. But tens of millions of your fellow Americans believe it to be true. This is the fundamental flaw of democracy. Anyone who could believe such utter nonsense should not be allowed within 200 yards of a ballot box. In democracy everyone has equal say in who the president is. Where is there an analog to this approach to managing large organizations? Look at businesses. They face constant competition, and poorly organized businesses are ravaged by market forces. And there are no businesses of consequence where all workers have equal say in who the CEO is. Do companies set policy based on the opinion of the majority? No. If they tried they would fail, yet we have no problem running a country that way. There's this expectation that the country is just fated to perpetual success. It's a sucker's bet. Short the system.

Democrats Terrified of Losing Illegal Votes

Despite the left's snarky and endless "52%" comments, Trump was probably right that he won the popular legal vote. There is a fair amount of evidence to support the claim, including data from past elections, polling results of illegal immigrants, and the fact that the limited investigation into the 2016 election (from which Jill Stein profited handsomely) only revealed rampant voter fraud in Democrat strongholds like Detroit. In fact, the recounts were quickly closed down when they began to increase Trump's victory margin.

Trump's response has been exactly what he should be doing: working to purge illegal voting from the rolls. If illegal voting is significantly reduced, combined with the fact that he'll surely do even better in 2020 than 2016 among legal voters, means he stands to win a massive re-election victory. What's makes this all the better is that the left has been crying for months that the election was rigged. So Trump has not just the legal justification to purge fake votes, but the moral imperative to do so as well. All he has to do is mumble something about stopping Russian interference and he's made a more coherent statement than anything the election-denying left has uttered since November 8. (And probably well before that.)

What is the left's response? Concern for the sanctity of the election process? A realization that, by broadcasting nonstop hysteria about a rigged election for the last eight months, they can't possibly object to efforts to secure the voting process? Of course not! They're doing what they always do. Lies and deceit. Here's a video from the left that showed up on my facebook feed. It's a message from Jason Kander, who ran for governor of Missouri and was strongly defeated by his Republican opponent. I remember I actually preferred him as a candidate but refused to vote for anyone who endorsed Clinton. Well good thing, because I didn't realize he's a social justice retard. Really we should make that assumption at this point: anyone who's willing to publicly identify as a Democrat these days is probably left-wing nut until proven otherwise. Here's his piece. It's only 30 seconds. It opens,
The Trump administration is actively working to undermine faith in American democracy.
What a blatant falsehood. The whole point is to purge illegal votes that undermine faith in American democracy. For someone to go in front of the world and parrot blatant falsehoods means that person is either (a) a sociopath or (b) what Jordan Peterson would term as ideologically possessed. The third possibility is that the person has been otherwise corrupted (bribed, blackmailed, etc) but even then those people still probably fall into either (a) or (b). For the side that has called the election rigged for months and paid millions of dollars to legally contest the election through recounts to then accuse anyone of undermining faith in democracy is just juvenile and insane. The despicable man continues,
[The program] is all about making it harder to vote. So if one of your friends tells you that they're going to pull their voter registration in response to this, you tell them that's exactly what the other side wants them to do.
If your friend is going to pull their registration because the federal government is reviewing rosters it's because they're are illegally registered. Duh. Super duh. They're trying to spin this narrative that the reason hundreds of people in Colorado are revoking their voter registrations is that they are normal hard-working Americans being intimidated by evil Drumpf. Bullshit. They are revoking their voter registrations because they are either illegally registered in multiple districts or because they have no right to vote in America to begin with. Duh.

Kander is advocating that, to resist Trump, American citizens risk charges of felony voter fraud and illegal aliens risk deportation. Democrat voters are just cannon fodder for the power-hungry neurotic leftist elites. These people aren't just wrong, they're evil, but if they want to chew up their own over petty obstructionism, that's fine by me.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Bubble is Still Inflating, for Now

Here's an excellent discussion between two Wall Street traders of our current economic situation, particularly the role of the Fed in directing the markets.

The major takeaway of this is that, while market irrationality is at an order of magnitude higher than we've ever seen before, expect the stock market and real estate bubbles to continue inflating in the short run thanks to signals from Janet Yellen that the Fed will continue its unprecedented era of loose monetary policy, rather than continuing with the policy of increasing interest rates announced shortly after the presidential election. The guest, Greg Mannarino, describes the conundrum the Fed is in. They still hold a ton of toxic assets from the great bank bailout of 8 years ago. Many of those are in the real estate sector. If the real estate market gets hot, those sub-prime assets get, well, less sub-prime. If the real estate bubble pops again, those assets become even more sub-prime, more worthless. The Fed is in a position where it's distorting market reality by keeping the rates low, yet it wants to be able to unload those toxic assets before the bubbles pop. That is the world we live in now. The Federal Reserve can determine not only who the economic winners and losers are but holds so many assets in the market that it can determine the direction of the market at its discretion. Buying into the stock market is no longer a chance to invest in business ventures based on performance metrics as much as it is a bet as what the fiscal & monetary policy will be. It's a big casino.

The advice given by Mannarino is as follows. This is my take on it, I'd recommend just spending the half hour to listen to the video yourself if you can.
  • Invest in hard assets, like gold and especially silver, whose prices are being suppressed by the monetary policy. Mannarino also sees cryptocurrency as being suppressed. (I don't know how this is done.)
  • Stocks are going up in the short-term, but it's hard to know how long that will last. I would not recommend investing in stocks long-term at this point, nor keeping most of your investments in stocks. 
  • The bond markets are being suppressed. These might be good to buy now while they're cheap. If you're a 401(k) holder, (and especially if you're near retirement), consider moving most of your assets into bond instruments.
Mannarino clearly takes an antifragile approach to investing. He will come out ahead in either situation by being smart about it. Follow his advice. This economy is going to tank in the short-to-middle term. Maybe we have a decade, but that's not that long. And maybe we only have days or weeks. We can't know the exact timing, but we do know the market is strongly insulated from reality, and the number one rule of economics in the universe is that the market will eventually correct itself, one way or another.

What Mannarino is doing is really an antifragile approach to investment. Yes, he has a ton of insight into market works, but ultimately his strength is that his position improves no matter when the correction occurs. Be antifragile yourself. The question you should ask yourself is, "how will my position improve when the economy inevitably disintegrates?"  You're much safer to keep 10% of your retirement investment in high-risk/high-yield stocks and the rest in bonds than you are to keep most of your investment in low-risk "safe" stocks. The stock market is not safe. In the first case you make money whether the market goes up or down. In the second you make a lot of money in an up market, but you lose your shirt in the crash. That is a fragile position.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

There will be no obituary for the liberal narrative

If the progressive / media narrative was to be totally obliterated, what would that look like? We on the right spend a lot of time deconstructing the propaganda, with the unspoken expectation that, if we keep at it, if we keep exposing the logical failures of their position, and provide a more internally consistent depiction of reality, that eventually the truth will be unavoidable. It's a common theme in movies where a character finally realizes the error their ways and comes to the right side of things.

But it's naive to think we're going to have some hero's victory moment. The left is not going to come forward and admit they were wrong. The best we can hope for is quiet sidesteps. The people who were loudly liberal will become quieter. The people who were once quietly liberal will start to become quietly conservative. And the people who were quietly conservative become loudly conservative. The over-simplifies the dynamics, but the point is we aren't going to see a headline in the New York Times to the effect of Liberal Narrative Crushed, Conservatives Vindicated. The transition won't be broadcast in the literal sense, but it will be apparent to the informed observer.

We're there. Perhaps I'm not the most informed observer, but I'm calling it. What has happened this week is the spasmic death throes of the mortally wounded liberal narrative. They just went all-in on a shitty hand and lost the bluff. Yes, they went all in. They followed the kill-shot playbook. First, the New York Times runs an opinion piece suggesting that the actions of the Trump team constitute treason. This is the left's strongest possible move. The New York Times is still considered to be the paper of record. The left pretends they are a credible organization that refrains from hyperbole, and many moderates just assume that it must be so. When the NYT runs something like that, the argument is if it's in the highly respectable New York Times, there must be some validity to it. Then the rest of the mainstream media gets license to run with it as if it was credible. There's a cost to all this. They erode the credibility of their supposedly sober institutions, like the New York Times, which weakens their ability to use the tactic in the future. There are two motivations for this behavior: irrationality (get Drumpf at any cost!) and framing the public discourse. Like a magician who misdirects away from the trick, the liberals do not want the media to have to focus on the activities of the Democrats so they distract at any cost. They are buying time, trying to run out the clock. What they are buying is weeks and months of narrative control, but they are paying for it with institutional credibility that takes years and decades to build. In the long run it's a losing strategy. It's like the corporation who buys out a popular company just to own the brand name. They cut quality but maintain the prices that people will pay for the brand name. The corporation sucks the life out of the brand like a vampire. The left is willing to cannibalize its own institutions, rather than backing off to rest and regroup.

That's the dynamic generally. Established media like the New York Times take on substantial risk when they run with uber-partisan treason-bait hyperbole. But in this case there is so much more downside than the normal situation of being called out for false reporting and, as we've seen lately, having to issue retractions or even sacrifice staff. This move left a huge gaping flank against the group they're ultimately trying to protect and promote: the liberal elite. Here is just some of the blowback out of this. It's so severe one wonder is the Trump team didn't leak the DJTJ emails themselves.
  • Reopens Hillary's collusion with Ukraine. She's done just exactly what Trump's team may have shown interest in doing. It's like berating a guy for showing interest in killing his wife (but not doing it) when you killed your own wife. (Standard Alinksy tactic.)
  • Reopens Hillary's actual collusion with Russia
  • Reminds us that Hillary's team took a no-ethics approach to receiving any helpful information, such as when they accepted debate questions from CNN.
  • Opens an investigation into why this Russian lawyer, whose social media shows routine anti-Trump material and her participation in anti-Trump events in the US, was seen associated with Democratic officials (even sitting with them in Congress) at around the same time she was supposedly collaborating to help Trump steal the election.
  • Opens an inquiry into why the Obama's Justice Department allowed this Russian spy into the US without a valid visa under "extraordinary circumstances." The only circumstance here is the insane level of circumstantial evidence.
  • Opens the question of how the New York Times got DJTJ's emails. Was he hacked? Did a government agency acquire them and leak them to the press, which they've been doing nonstop since before Trump even took office. Which reminds us, in case people had forgetten because of all the media distractions, Barrack Obama was wiretapping a presidential candidate, and then the president elect.
Not only does this expose each of these six incidents to public scrutiny, each far more significant than the Trump's decision to see if the lawyer really had serious dirt on Clinton corruption, but it might have actually helped us tie together the Democrats' nefarious plotline. It seems highly likely that the Russian lawyer was a honeypot set by the left so that the Obama administration could justify a FISA warrant against Trump. I posted DJTJ's emails a couple days ago, and the part from the Russian lawyer reads very much like, "I am high level Russian government lawyer with top secret information regarding Hillary Clinton and would like to visit you from Moscow to rig American capitalist election."

So there's all that, but even more significant has been the public response to this. I've still got a ton of liberals on facebook, but I didn't see much at all about the DJTJ emails. This was being billed as a smoking gun by none other than the New York Times. The left came out swinging hard and their own people kinda of balked at it. Maybe they're getting as sick of this shit as we are. Then the right responded with the obvious contradictions (like Clinton doing almost exactly what Trump didn't actually do) and all the other points listed above, and the story got dropped like a hot potato. I don't think we've seen a major fake news story die in two days like this. 

This is all they have left. You don't throw those kinds of hail mary's unless you're completely desperate and the clock is running out. Today my google news feed said nothing about what was the biggest and virtually only story in the news just two days ago. Instead, I saw something about Sessions Russia connections (lol) and a story about how the CBO says Trump's budget won't balance. They're either going back to old news that already went no where (seriously waiting to start hearing about tax returns again soon) or giving, gasp, valid and deserved criticism of Trump's policies. And in this case, one that edges on the side of being a conservative argument. Ye gods! Is the insanity over? You can bet it isn't, but the liberal attack machine has been defeated this round. They've lost the Dump Trump crusade, and paid a mighty price for the war. Now it's time to start talking about this Obama wire-tapping and Democratic election rigging.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Resist RINOs and Neocons

A group calling themselves Resist Fascism is organizing a 100-hour anti-Trump protest at the Fox News building in New York City. This is a result of the left's naive and one-dimensional view of the media landscape. They think of CNN and Washington Post and New York Times as centrist. In spite of all evidence to the contrary, such as nearly all of their campaign donations going to Democrats, their collaboration with Democrats that was revealed by the DNC leaks, and that their coverage is blatant propaganda, their media model is that the mainstream media is center, there are a few fringe token publication on the far left (there have to be, to justify the centrist label for mainstream rags) and Fox News represents conservatives, with perhaps Breitbart as the extreme right.

I've seen this in arguments with lefties when I criticize the media. If I make a point about CNN, I hear, "Well Fox News...blah blah blah." It is simply assumed that I watch Fox News, and support them, as Fox News is the other team. These simpletons have the model that you are either a CNN / Post / Times person, or you are a Fox News supporter. So they direct their liberal angst at Fox News. Good. Because frankly, fuck Fox News. They aren't ideologically conservative, and they aren't even pro-Trump. They have some very pro-Trump opinion people, like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson (the only show I would watch if I did), but they also give platforms to people like Sheppard Smith, an anti-Trump rabbit who is billed as a newscaster rather than an opinion show, and Trump's biggest rival Megyn Kelly, who left after deciding she deserved a hefty salary increase. A study from Harvard University determined that Fox News coverage of Trump was, on the whole, negative. Not 90% negative like the supposedly centrist mainstream news orgs, but still majority negative. How poetic that these liberals are holding an anti-Trump protest against an organization whom the most revered lefty academic institution has found to be mostly anti-Trump. I can only imagine their protest slogans.

What do we want?

For Fox News to stop being mostly anti-Trump, and start being fully anti-Trump.

When do we want it?


As described in Resolution of Ideology, if we can properly fragment and layer our ideological signal then we can actually get lefties to do some of our legwork for us. Fox News is, at best, watered-down conservatism and, at worst, moderate liberalism wearing a conservative mask. We want them attacked. No safe quarter for halflings! Protesting them will put pressure for Fox to either appease the lefties (thus revealing their true nature) or to reject them fully and lurch towards the right. The more aggressive and deranged the lefties protest the moderates, the more likely they are to come to our side. I noticed throughout the election cycle that newcomers to r/the_donald were more likely to make the move because of disgust with liberal behavior than from ideological considerations. Our approach to these protests should be to trick them into thinking we oppose these protests, as well as doing anything possible to annoy them so to maximize their vicious and childish public behavior against moderates.

Now take a moment and try to picture what the spokeswoman for this lefty political action group would look like. I'll gives some white space to not give it away.

Here is Sunsara Taylor, the spokesperson for Resist Fascism.

A surprising lack of the sort of "I'm a leftist" signaling we'd expect out of a visible member of that community. Purple hair, nose piercings, gaudy tattoos, massively thick-rimmed concern glasses, and overt displays of non-femininity (manly features & stylings, poor hygeine, fat & proud, etc.) are all missing. She's fairly attractive, for a lefty at least, and at first glance you might even mistake her for one of us. Except I had to really work to get that still, where she's displaying relatively pleasant body language. The following is her more typical expression in that video.

There can be no doubt that is an agitated and angry person. The scowled brow, flared nostrils, and the calling card of the triggered liberal, that furled upper lip. Look familiar?

Even the spokesperson for the group, while on camera being interviewed by a friendly news outlet, can't restrain the raging emotions underneath. This isn't an ideological battle. It's group therapy for some very deranged people. There's nothing we can do about all the crazy people, so we should try to make them work as best as possible for us. I can think of no better use for them than to go out on the streets acting crazy while proclaiming their liberal values and attacking mainstream fake conservatives. Gee, I hope they don't firebomb the National Review. *wink, wink*

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trump-Russia Interactions

The big news story today is that some emails leaked to the media show that Don Trump Jr, as well as Kushner and Manafort, met with a Russian government lawyer claiming to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Junior tweeted the email chain out, probably to get ahead of it before the media published it.

Are they damaging? They sure seem to be. They substantiate the narrative that the Russian government supported the Trump candidacy and that there was at least the intention of some indirect collaboration between members of Trump's team and Russian government employees. There is nothing illegal here, but there are certainly ethics questions.

The defense coming from Trump's fan base at r/the_donald is that it's perfectly reasonable for Trump's campaign to have accepted the offer of information relevant to the campaign if it doesn't violate the law. The left, on the other hand, see this as smoking-gun proof of treason. There's a problem with both sides of the issue: Hillary Clinton did something very similar when she accepted CNN debate question during the Democrat primary (amongst other things). So while the case might be made that meeting a Russian lawyer to receive controversial information is condemnable conduct, it cannot be made by anyone who supported Clinton when we knew full well from the DNC leaks what she was up to.

In the same manner, Trump supporters who cried foul at Hillary quietly accepting and using the debate questions must do the same regarding the willingness of Trump's team to accept and, had it actually been provided, use information provided by a foreign government agent that would damage a political adversary. Either Clinton and Trump's teams both engaged in unacceptable behavior, or neither did.

I would suggest that Trump supporters call out the recently revealed actions as unethical. We don't believe political candidates should be fed information from foreign governments. However, ultimately the actions are probably defensible on the grounds of When They Go Low, We Go Low. That is, given that Clinton was herself receiving information from foreign entities (such as Ukraine), and receiving information from the media that shouldn't have been receiving, let alone the tens of millions of dollars she was receiving from foreign governments indirectly through the Clinton Foundation, she opened the tactic for fair use by all parties. Bombing Japan is unethical. Bombing Japan after they bomb Pearl Harbor is fair game.

The concern here is that liberals are being hypocritical by condemning Trump but not Clinton, and we risk falling into the same mindless partisanship. We need to be very clear about how Team Trump's actions were unethical, yet how they were probably justified in the context of the behavior of his opponent. I have to say also that it probably wasn't wise for the team to accept the meeting in the first place. What good would dirt on Clinton have done? There's dirt on her a mile deep; her supporters don't care. One wonders how Manafort, a seasoned political operative, was naive enough to fall for all this. Also, how will Trump respond? In a fair world, he would admit the mistake, apologize, and possibly even fire Kushner over his role in the event. In the real world, however, apologies are taken as confessions by the left and firings chum the water. No one's getting impeached or fired over this. Conservatives need to pressure Trump on the issue, while also reminding everyone about Clinton's worse transgressions, and it'll all blow over eventually. In fact, the major outcome of all this will be to further enrage and frustrate liberals. That is certainly a silver lining.

Friday, July 7, 2017

2 + 2 = 5

William Briggs wonders if the liberal elite aren't intentionally coercing the population to recite absurdities as a method of mind control. From his recent post Why Are Elites Making Us Say Men Are Women?:
What most don’t grasp is that the elites, most of whom are not men pretending to be married to one another, want you to lie. They do this to show who is in charge. Once everybody accepts the lie about gmarriage, the elites will push on to new territory, as they are doing with men pretending to be women. And after that fiction is commonplace, some new outrage against Truth will take its place, and so on, until the populace it pliant and cowed.

For Heaven’s sake, did anybody not read 1984? What the purpose of torturing Winston to say 2 + 2 = 5? That the Party really believed that mathematical fiction? No! It was to subjugate and for no other reason.
The deliberate approach to forcing party members to believe blatant falsehoods was personified by O'Brien, whose task was to coerce Winston to believe, not just to recite, but to believe the party dogma. Even though Winston's rebellious actions had more than earned him the death penalty, he was kept alive anyway because it was vital to the state that no party member could successfully resist. [On a side note, wouldn't the novel have been very awkward if Winston had committed suicide? It seems there might be room for some fan fiction there: Winston commits suicide and it triggers the downfall of Big Brother.]

Certainly the left want us to recite a slew of absurdities. Do they require that we believe them as well? Recall from the post Religions, Cults, and the Alt Right that the major difference between a religion and a cult is that the religion requires its members to profess logically improbable beliefs for social acceptance, whereas a cult demands purity of belief. Thus, Big Brother is the epitome of a cult, as its primary mission is that all party members fully believe the government propaganda. (But not the commoners; no one cares what they think.) And yet we have O'Brien, the representative of the inner party, who must understand that the party line is bogus by insisting that Winston first believe 4 + 4 = 5, and obvious falsehood, on his way to believing in the party. But how can that be? If the point of the cult is that all members must believe, is it likely that the core of the group doesn't actually believe?

I wager that it's not likely at all. It's certainly possible that a cabal of sociopaths would engineer such a cult, but not that it would maintain itself for very long. I don't think most of the liberal elites are comparable to O'Brien. They might not purely believe the dogma, but they're at least able to convince themselves that they do. Certainly there are sociopaths in the group that are aware they are playing pretend. Hillary Clinton will pretend to believe anything she needs to believe to be in good standing with the most powerful cabal. But generally the intellectual and elite core of the left probably believe in liberalism. Think of people like Saul Alinksy or George Soros. It doesn't seem likely that they've gone to such extremes just to accumulate petty power. Sure, that's probably the subconcious drive, but it's hard to believe that Soros would be orchestrating an open-borders, global communism movement if he didn't truly believe that it was best for the world. In literature the best villains are the ones who we can empathize with, or at least understand. The only other explanation for his actions, rather than him being a cunning but misguided dreamer, is that Christian dogma is accurate and Soros is literally possessed by the demonic powers of Satan.

Rather timely, this showed up on my Reddit feed today.

The relevant quote is:
Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.
Ultimately it doesn't matter whether or not the promoters of liberal nonsense actually believe it. Do we care whether the drug dealer peddling to kids is hooked on the smack himself? No, we don't. We hold him accountable either way. Do we care if adherents to dangerous religions, like radical Islam, actually believe the dogma? No, we are left to deal with them no matter what their level of personal fervor is. Ultimately this post is kind of worthless. Who cares what they really think? The effect of the lies is the same either way, and is no different than any other malignant religion.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Tie Goes to the State

Illinois passed it's first budget in three years today by raising personal and corporate income taxes and by overriding the governor's veto, which was accomplished by several Republican senators going along with the action.
Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights said he supported the budget plan because it is "immoral" for the state to carry a huge backlog of bills and pay $800 million in late-payment interest.

He compared the standoff to a game of "chicken."

"If it requires some of us to blink to save our state, so be it," Harris said.
If budgetary showdowns are merely a game, then one rule is becoming clear: the tie goes to the state. As governments grow insolvent, they face a dilemma. Either they reduce spending (shrink the state) or they increase taxation (grow the state). When things do come to an impasse, you can safely bet on growth of the state. House Republicans under Paul Ryan wrote Barrack Obama a blank check, and now Illinois Republicans are batting for the left as well.

A Democrat stronghold, Illinois is a high-tax welfare state dominated by Chicago politicians. 90% of the state is effectively a fiefdom held by that city-state in the northeast corner. Much of the financial woes come from the egregious moral hazard of deferred spending in the form of pensions. State pensions are such a scam that they ought to be forbidden by the constitutions in all 50 states. Pensions are a great way for politicians to buy votes and be long-gone before the bill comes due. Well, the bill is coming due. The decision to raise the state income tax from 3.75% to 4.95% is not, in isolation, an extreme measure, but Illinois already has high sales taxes, high excise taxes (on gasoline, alcohol, etc) and very high property taxes. The median household income in Illinois is $60K, which means the median increase in tax burden is $720 per family. That's quite a burden on an income of $60K where they're already paying twice the national real estate taxes and a hell of a lot more for gas and booze than we are just across the Mississippi River.

The bill was the work of Democratic House Speak Michael Madigan, who commented:
The people in this chamber did not do what was easy today. But we did what was right for the future of our state.
What utter nonsense. This was the easiest, most short-term possible solution for the budget crisis. The other two options were (1) to continue to do nothing, which would have exposed themselves to unrelenting pressure as the state's budgetary fiasco was drawing the national spotlight, or (2) to address the spending that had outpaced revenues by over $6 billion a year, and make painful budget cuts that would draw endless rage from aggrieved groups (mostly liberals). Those are both much more difficult options. Throwing money at the problem so it will go away for a while is always the easiest short-term solution, especially when it's other people's money. Perhaps you could argue the tax raise was absolutely necessary to avoid the junk rating that would further degrade the budget condition, but to claim their course was the difficult one, or the best long term answer, is a bold lie.

Now, the sad part of all this, is that this is a terrible outcome for conservatives, because it is a short-term fix whose expense is put onto the citizenry. I mentioned back when RinoCare was in the news that if we can't fix healthcare, we at least want to make sure the burden is put onto the state, not us. Increasing state debt speeds up its inevitable demise. In the meantime, tax payers need to have every possible asset available to become personally prepared for any calamity, which they can't do if they are being sucked dry to prop the state up. Our order of preference should be something like this:
  1. Conservative solution (small state)
  2. Accelerationism
  3. Band-aid fixes
  4. Liberal solution (communism, basically)
This budget is somewhere between 3 and 4. It would have been better for the typical downstate Illinois taxpayer if there was no tax increase at all and the state continued to collapse under the weight of its own debt. Instead the state's tentacles have dug even further into the taxpayer wallets. The state in its death throes will always try to suck the people dry to save itself.