Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Handgun lunacy

An ordinary--if distraught--man is sentenced to 7 years in jail for guns he owned legally: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20101130_Family__New_Jersey_man_serving_7_years_for_guns_he_owned_legally.html

The simple fact of the matter is that guns decrease crime. Jamaica puts you in jail for years for the possession of a single bullet, and yet has one of the highest gun related crime rates in the world. Big factor: most of the police are corrupt. How do you defend yourself against a corrupt government? You don't.

That's why we have the Second Amendment, which was nothing less than another part of our checks and balanced system. Many of our Founding Fathers were uncomfortable with the idea of a standing military, since history had shown clearly that such militaries can be corrupted to support a corrupt government. To counterbalance this threat, they envisioned State militias, and universal access to gun ownership.

And to be clear, if you find yourself in a place with no crime, chances are good you are in the country somewhere, where most people in most states have multiple guns.

In my view, Congress needs to make a statement against all forms of restrictions of gun ownership. If it needs to be a Constitutional Amendment CLARIFYING the existing language of the Second Amendment, so be it.

If people are killing people, it is because our culture is in decline; and our culture is in decline because of the socialists who reject reason, custom, and common sense, in this area, as in all other areas where they render their asinine and perverse judgements.

Affirmative Action

I am involved in the contracting process quite often, sometimes with the Federal, State, and local governments. I've done business with all three. And I can say with absolute certainty that racial and gender preferences cost the American people money.

Case in point: my boss quoted some material to the government at price X. He also quoted it through pass-through that had some desirable minority trait--details vary, but in this case it was a disabled veteran--at price X plus 15% or so. They went with the second option, even though it was the same exact material. All that happened was the government signed a contract with the disabled veteran, and he signed a contract with us. He pocketed much or all of the difference. His job? Be a disabled veteran and be in the food chain. I see this all the time: one person companies that I call "cut outs", who just flip contracts.

We need to call Affirmative Action what it is: an integral part of the political spoils system. If you're black and you vote Democrat, contracts will come your way. Same if you're a woman, or Hispanic, or transgendered bisexual performance artist.

The only conceivable case for Affirmative Action is to rectify racism. The simple fact of the matter is that there is NO evidence--NONE--that qualified people are being denied jobs or contracts based upon race. There is MUCH evidence that UNqualified people are being advanced due solely to their race. This is racism.

The secondary implicit argument made by advocates of Affirmative Action--never made explicitly, obviously--is that African Americans and Hispanics and women are too stupid and incompetent to survive an openly fair and competitive environment. I disagree with this assessment.

Yet, it is patently the case that people who are mollycoddled--who are taught shortcuts in the game of life, rather than the rules--develop bad habits of petulance, ingratitude, a sense of entitlement, and poor work ethic. All of these factors do lead to inferiority. This is not an outcome dictated by accident of birth, but accident of political and following social environment.

The simple fact is that any spoils system requires money flowing out of the coffers of the State, and that anyone who can direct this outflow to their people, will ensure the loyalty of those people.

It will be argued that Republicans engage in corporate welfare. In what might that consist? Lower tax rates? Less obstructive regulations?

What do these lead to? More jobs, and better jobs. Remember, no public sector job is sustainable without taking the same (or slightly more) amount of money from the pockets of private enterprise, who then cannot invest it or spend it.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the use of Unions to obtain better working conditions. But when the government MANDATES membership for some professions, and when it allows open labor trusts such as the UAW, then it no longer has anything to do with free markets, and everything to do with just one more aspect of the spoils system.

Every State should be "right to work", no exceptions. This should be the law of the land, by Constitutional Amendment, if necessary.

And we need to get rid of these bullshit "minority participation" worksheets, which are not just used by the government, but by large corporations. This is de facto institutional racism, which I thought we had decided was a bad thing.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

United States of America

We take these words for granted. I have on my wall pictures of both John Hancock and Sam Houston. If you think about it--really think about it--the two are irreconcileable. John Hancock was defending a soon-to-blossom Yankee status quo. Some years later, Houston was defending what became a slave state against the aggressions of the Spanish colonists who had transformed themselves into the "Mexicans".

Ponder South Carolina and Massachusetts in 1776. They were totally different. Yet, they bonded together. They melded. They formed one nation out of many. E pluribus unum.

We fail to appreciate this miracle simply because it happened. Had I sank the winning basket in some championship game, you would fete me because of the circumstances of fate. You would claim me to be special for some reason.

Likewise, we take for granted the surrender of sovereignty by some very serious people in pursuit of what has become a nation. We forget what they staked. We forget the seriousness of their claims.

They had every right to go their own way. They could have forgotten the North--conversely, the South--at any time. Yet, they staked their claim with their fellow colonialists. We should not forget this.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bush tax cuts

I see a lot of conservatives hyperventilating over the extension of the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy. To my mind, this is not a critically important issue. We had a good economy under Clinton, before he enacted the tax cuts.

I am an anti-Keynesian--since his policies were intended to foster socialism--and therefore what has come to be called a "supply sider", which is to say "anti-demand sider", which again is to say "anti-Keynesian" and by extension anti-socialist/fascist.

Common sense economics is embodied in the Laffer Curve, which stipulates that actual goverment revenues will in fact increase up to a certain point as tax rates are increased, then begin to decrease, both as economic investment becomes de-incentivized (the government takes the rewards of your risks, and you suffer any losses privately, a lose/lose situation), and as money is simply invested in more productive places.

It is far from clear, though, that we have reached the point of diminishing returns. Clearly, if we are to have a government, we must pay taxes.

The bigger, much, much, much more important question--which Republicans seem too cowardly to pose in a serious fashion--is the size of the government. The Bush tax cuts worked. Overall revenue increased. And yet with a Republican Congress and a Republican President, overall expenditures skyrocketed.

Did we really need a Dept. of Homeland Security, when the root problem was a series of fuckups by the agencies tasked with intelligence gathering? To the extent the problems were political correctness, do we fix them by giving more power to the same sorts of people, people like Janet Napolitano, whose agency ignored the pleadings of the underwear bombers own father, and whose response to that fuckup is to grope small children or take nude photos of them?

And to be clear, I personally do not think Bush had a hand in it, but 9/11 was clearly perpetrated by a larger group than those men who hijacked the planes. Most conspiracy theorists are not sufficiently light on their feet to see the places where their narrative splits from the necessary to the possible. It is in my view necessarily the case that bombs were set in at least Building 7, and by extension that they were likely set in Buildings 1 and 2. This leads necessarily to the conclusion that people were involved who have not been identified or--probably--caught. This is a serious shortcoming, which manifestly has not been fixed by our so-called Dept. of Homeland Security, which at the moment is refusing even to defend our borders. Nothing desirable was accomplished for this massive expenditure. We need to recognize this, and learn from it.

Perhaps we need to consider abolishing the DHS.

Certainly, and this is the point I intended to make, we need to fire everyone Obama just hired. We then need to continue firing. We need to abolish all Departments and agencies that are not a part of the core mandate of the Federal Government to protect our borders, and regulate relations--within reason--between the States.

We do not need Department of Energy. What do they do? Is it helping? Are we energy independent?

We do not need a Department of Education. Our system is failing, and they are doing nothing to help it.

What we need more urgently than anything is an end to public sector unions. All of them. Teachers unions, AFSME (or whatever it is), and the rest.

In Capitalism, a union is a counterbalance to the ability of business owners to collude to fix wages. The price of labor is set by free market forces, in negotiation between two entities that in theory both want the business to succeed. I say "in theory" since some union leadership--for example the UAW--really cares more about keeping their six figure salaries and power--which itself is an aphrodisiac and desirable for some in its own right--than in protecting ordinary workers. They are quite happy to see mass layoffs and permanent unemployment, if they can keep enough people on the gravy train to keep themselves on the gravy train.

Actually, I should expand on this point, before making the next one.

What Democrats enable, by their economic meddling, is the use of coercive government power to maintain labor monopolies in perpetuity. The UAW bankrupted GM and Chrysler. Their members get extremely generous pensions and healthcare benefits, which are simply unaffordable. Their benefit packages add several thousand dollars to every car which rolls off an American assembly line.

In a free market, these benefits would have been written down to maintain employment. Given a choice, many Union members would have preferred keeping their jobs at a lower wage and benefit package, than to play a lottery where if they win, they keep everything, and if they lose, their job is lost forever. Self evidently, many people have lost, and continue to lose, as jobs leave our shores, preventably and likely permanently. But the government allows unions to mandate membership. This is collusion and is both morally and economically wrong.

What has happened with Obama is that the government has provided the money to keep union pensions and healthcare packages solvent. This means that tax money has been diverted from legitimate public use, and used to fund a minority of American workers, who have gamed the system without creating compensating economic benefits. This is my understanding. It is my further understanding that under Obamacare these same union benefit packages will be immune from taxation, whereas everyone elses--the people producing actual wealth--will be subject to taxation.

Finally, I wanted to comment that public sector unions do not engage in market forces at all. It is one set of politicians negotiating with another. Union leaders negotiate with Democrats, in the main, for wage increases, which are funded with taxpayer money. It is thus a redistributive scheme which is utterly immune from market forces. This means that it is effectively a system of bullying and favor buying, rather than a legitimate activity.

Witness, for example, the teachers unions in New Jersey that wanted continuing pay increases far in excess of inflation, during a recession. This is unconscionable.

In my view, public sector employees need to take what they are given. If we don't pay enough, we won't attract good people. If we pay too much, the taxpayers need to revolt.

Right now, we need to revolt, since the average Federal employee makes a third more than his equally trained and able private sector counterpart.

This is the important issue. We need mass firings, the cessation of large Federal bureaus, the end of public sector unions, the normalization of Federal salaries to their private sector equivalents, and an overall decrease in the size of the Federal Government by perhaps one third.

In exchange for that, I would be extremely happy to let the Bush tax cuts--all of them--expire.

Will stupid people scream? Of course.

Is it certain we will continue as a democracy, or as a prosperous nation? No.

Do we deserve to? That is a really good question. Our response to our current fiscal crisis will provide the answer. If we choose to remain as children, and not adopt the ways of mature adults, then no, we do not deserve to remain free or prosperous.

All nations end. It is just a question of how long they endure. I like to think we are capable of exercising mature judgment, but the jury is still out, and there are many many feeble and yet vocal minds among us.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stoning of Soraya M.

Finally watched this movie. I had been putting it off, since I knew it would not end well. Frankly, it didn't even begin well. Yet, the world is what it is, and it is the task of good people to see it as it is, in all its horror and glory.

My main thought was that Islam in most of the world is characterized as what can only be called gender Apartheid. Why is it that the screaming classes, the moaning classes, the feel gooders, and do-gooders have so little to say about the rights of women in Islam?

Really, it's quite simple: they literally, clinically and very definitionally, have no principles. They reject the Enlightenment. They reject the concept of universal human rights. They reject, really, the rights of women, as a subclass of the more general rejection of human rights. They do not recognize right and wrong.

They only recognize, as I have often commented, legal and illegal. Thus the stoning of Soraya, reprehensible as it was even within the confines of Islam--where women have to prove their innocence, and men have to be proven guilty--was quite acceptable since it involved DUE PROCESS.

It is quite acceptable to try and release guilty mass murderers if, what? If they are tried and the evidence found wanting for ANY REASON.

This is nihilism, pure and simple.

This point is less than obvious. When most people think of nihilists--well, hell, I wonder what they do think of? The Big Lebowski? Nihilists are people who, at the end of the day, believe in--and are willing to fight for--nothing. The people who articulate this doctrine dress fashionably sloppily. They go to yogurt shops and coffee houses. They watch Seinfeld, and Dexter and Modern Family and Dancing with the Stars (or whatever the hell else people watch). They are polite, and tip their waiters at least 15%. They say "cool" a lot.

And they are morally bankrupt, and their ideas have consequences within the REAL WORLD. Real women, in particular, are hurt and killed because they SAY NOTHING about the systematic abuse of women in much of the world.

To be clear, conservatives, by and large, have no desire to express politically a desire to tell other nationsl how to live their lives. We can view Iran as an awful place, which abuses women and genuinely decent people for reasons of sadism and political convenience--a place utterly devoid of the grace of God--and yet not view it as our duty to tell them how their nation should be run, since our goal is in the main the protection of the United States.

Just as consistently, we can view it as morally contemptible--as I do--and call it evil.

Leftists, for their part, are constantly rendering moral judgements, but almost invariably in favor of anyone but the post-Enlightenment West. Chavez is the moral superior of the United States. So is Ahmadinejad. Why? He isn't a "colonialist". He is just a sadistic misogynist and anti-Semite. In Leftoworld, that is hardly a strike against him.

Yet real people get hurt. It is one thing not to condemn him. It is another altogether to render a moral judgement in his favor. One does not move us in a positive direction. The other moves us in the direction of countenancing evil.

For my part, I am quite willing to say that God has abandoned Iran, and most of the Islamic world. Their oil--far from being a blessing--is in my view a curse that has caused their social world to remain in a state of inertia which has prevented genuine moral growth.

Even within this film, a sign was rendered from God, which was ignored. God is not silent, in my view. He is simply faced at times with the willfully deaf. There are in my view few sins which are punished. Willful ignorance is one of them.

I am not a huge fan, but I have read one book by Gurdjieff, "Meeting with Remarkable Men". It was an enjoyable book, in which he was in fact a successful "wiseacre", as he put it, inserting many covert symbolic narratives in the strangest of places. One point he made, which I have remembered, is that he was successful in infiltrating himself into the Qaaba complex, and found God curiously missing. He found the essence of genuine Islam, on the contrary, in Central Asia.

No doctrine which is immune to perception can be enduringly useful. This is really quite simple. What was true in the 7th Century is not true today. No one who fails to see this can, in the end, be considered a good person, or have any reasonable expectation of realizing paradise.

God curses those who are granted sight, and yet refuse to see. It is impossible for me to say I am not one of those people; yet I can say I do my best daily to trip myself up, and see what happens.

Edit: I thought about this, and decided I am being unfair to Islam. To be clear, I'm not afraid of criticizing the religion in public. I'm pretty sure I have to die some time, and getting shot or blown up by an extremist is as good a way to go as any, and from what I can tell much better than dying of old age (or worse: boredom.)

Rather, I think to Christian history. Take Henry the Eighth. He had more than one woman executed to satisfy his lust (and desire for progeny, as I recall.) Men have beaten women in our world for just as long as they have in the Islamic world. I do think women have less rights in the Muslim world, but for all practical purposes that was the case in our own world until quite recently, say the last 100 years.

I think too to the maxim of Lao Tse to the effect that 3 in ten people are good, 3 in ten are neither good nor bad, and 3 in ten are bad. [I was never clear who the tenth person was, but I suppose we can say he or she plops down randomly in one of the three other categories.]

Why would this not apply to all people in all religious and post-religious environments? In the case of the stoning of Soraya, it was fundamentally the social dynamic of witch burning. It was a combination of a type of avarice, cowardice, stupidity, and a desire to express hatred.

It is true, too, that men from time to time feel the need to persecute women. I suppose it is in our DNA. Women do not process the world the way men do--they are "other", in some fundamental ways--and we have testosterone and greater physical strength. This has led to much injustice over the ages.

Our task, as I have often argued, is to rise above our biological heritage, in favor of what I have termed "non-statistical coherence". I view us as beings of light incarnated in what amount to machines. The two are clearly related, and I think at odds with one another.

This is really generic Dualism, with the difference that I believe Spirit can affect matter, in that matter, per se, does not exist outside of spirit. Maybe I am a philosophical Idealist. I don't know the word.

What I want to see--and I'm getting off topic, but it's my blog and I don't have an editor--is an end to philosophizing, and a beginning of empirical data gathering. To what extent can we measure so-called morphogenetic fields? Can we induce them? What is the biological significance of coherent light within our bodies? These are concepts which are simply not being explored.

As I have said often--likely here, but I can't remember--what I envision as the path forward to a benign future is the incorporation of key religious ideas--such as the continuance of the soul after physical death, and the connectedness of all life--into science; and the utilization of the conception of Goodness (or something like it) within existing religious and cultural narratives to facilitate global, gradual change in the direction of light, peace, and sustainable economic sufficiency.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Leftist rejection of Liberalism

I often type, and just sort of watch what happens. That will manifest here as meandering thought. It's like taking a walk through the forest. I am constantly going places I have never been, and often those without paths.

With regard to the previous post, I was wondering how I moved from socialists to Muslims, then it hit me: they share a distaste for Liberalism. People have often wondered how supposed "liberals"--who for example preach the rights of women--can countenance the many abuses of human rights that happen in places like Cuba and Saudi Arabia.

And it hit me: they share foundational autocratic tendencies. I heard on the radio the other day that the number one show right now among Democrats is Dexter (for Republicans it is "Modern Family", about which I know nothing), and I thought about it. What does Dexter do? He murders evil. He attacks it, physically, without debating it. And I think that basic idea resonates deeply in the leftist psyche.

Who are you when you can never affirm a positive moral view in a condition of ambiguity or competing moral narratives? Who are you when every time someone asserts a right to x, y, or z, you have to listen? When no line is too far? When you can be pushed around everywhere? When your only value, tolerance, is implicitly a death pact with whoever has a better idea of who they are than you?

You are nothing. And being nothing makes psychologically normal people abnormal. It induces hatred and resentment, and a feverish quest for a moral absolute, sanctified in either figurative or literal blood. Such is the documented history of Leftism, which is accepted in full by the true believers: the French Revolution, Soviet Russia, Cuba, Maoist China.

Very often, I work intuitively. I have already seen this, and called it "Cultural Sadeism", but from time to time a slightly larger piece of the puzzle emerges.

Responsibility and Utopia

Reasonable people have to ask: given the manifest moral, cultural, social and economic bankruptcy to which Leftism leads, why do people keep following it? Why do they keep trying to impose a doctrine which generates misery, and to use in their efforts to do so deception, torture, murder, and every other devious and amoral device they can conceive? Why? Some of these people have smiling faces. George Bernard Shaw (like Hitler) was a vegetarian.

It seems to me the crux of the issue is that weak people cannot face, in the end, the prospect of rejecting both an other-worldly and an Earthly utopia. If they can't have heaven, then they at least need the fantasy--and it is a fantasy, in the way they format it--of an end to all pain on Earth.

Now, I think that we can build a world in which most unnecessary pain is eliminated, such that we CHOOSE our pain, our challenges, our adventures. But you can't eliminate it entirely. As I see it, in accepting pain, it goes away.

But Socialists don't want to do that. They want to manipulate the outside world somehow so that pain is gone. And they particularly want to be freed from the burden of choice, of responsibility.

No stable moral order, no wholesome desirable "utopia" can come into being except as a result of decent people building it. Yet socialists want to pretend there CAN be such a thing as a collective morality, as a group, as a "society" that is not composed of individuals, each capable of perceiving and thinking for him or her-self.

A slightly sinful person who chooses their life in a condition of freedom is infinitely superior to a person who commits no sin, but has no choice. Given their druthers, such people become vicious very easily. Many Muslims are good examples of this.

Are Muslim women chaste? Do they have any choice? Has anyone asked them their opinions? Would something other than a beating happen if they gave the wrong answer? Neither their men nor women can be considered sexually pure, since they have no choice. Frankly, I suspect a lot of sexual abuse happens in most Muslim countries, reporting which will get you killed.

Net: there can be no useful or valid moral nexus outside the individual conscience, and no utopia that is built by someone other than the sum total of a society, voluntarily.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Keynes sketches--1

I'm reading the General Theory, but felt like typing something. I take a lot of hand notes, but typing is easier. I will underscore with respect to this post specifically, and this whole blog more generally, is that I am often thinking out loud. Most of these sorts of things used to--and in many case still do--go to private "notebooks". But some of it gets out here, for the possible use of somebody.

Keynes basic idea is that production comes from Capitalists, which is to say "savers". (His entire body of work is intended to glorify consumption and denigrate savings. In this, he echoes his Fabian mentor George Bernard Shaw, who likewise denigrated savings.) What he wants to do is integrate these savers into a system at equilibrium, which for him means full employment, and production equal to demand. Like Shaw, he is unconcerned with the details of what is produced, so long as he can control the access to Capital of the producers.

His nightmare scenario--which in popular myth was played out in the early 1930's--is the production glut. Our pot-bellied, cigar smoking Capitalists have invested in, uh, table tennis rackets. Trouble is, the workers can't afford to buy any more. The savings of the savers has bought too much. If they had paid their workers more, and saved less--or, hell, spent it on caviar, claret, and courtesans--then the workers would have the money to buy table tennis rackets and all would be right with the world. But they were too greedy.

So what do they do? Let some workers go, so that they can discount the table tennis rackets, and keep the same amount of money. But what? Now there is less money to spend. What to do?

Never fear, Uncle Debtor is here. Rather than lay those people off, intrepid Capitalist, and create structural unemployment, why not take this free money from the government, to pay off your table tennis rackets? You keep them employed, and they can then buy the badminton rackets you had intended to manufacture. You will need to pay them more, though, which is why we gave you all that money.

What has happened? In the short run, everybody wins. Capitalists get money, and the workers keep their jobs. What else has happened? The money has been created from scratch, by the government. The government now has the right to claim it as a levy in the form of taxation, from the very people who just got the money. Moreover, it has probably caused an inflationary effect, such that the buying power of everyone--workers and Capitalists alike--has diminished.

Keynes talks very specifically--I will be offering the quotes in my formal treatment--about the devaluation of money to destroy the investing class. He allows for some differences of wealth, but no big ones, and none that are in principle beyond the reach of the government, both in terms of graduated taxation, and outright confiscation through money creation.

Think of it this way: let's say someone walked up to you and handed you ten $100 bills, and an invoice, payable in a year, for $1,200. Are you ahead? Is that a smart transaction? This is the essence of Keynesism.

As I view it, the problem is that classical economists have done a piss poor job of coming up with desirable economic equilibriums. Keynes has the appeal of offering (but self evidently not actually fostering) full employment of the sort normal people would want.

The missing link, which nobody seems to be willing to see or discuss, for whatever reason, is the inflationary, confiscatory nature of banking. This is what devalues our labor. This is how our collective innovatory genius gets diluted, such that most of us work long careers, at multiple jobs, and have little to show.

Socialism is not a solution. It is, to invoke the metaphor of Fabius Maximus, a delaying maneuver. It is postponing a reckoning. It is the creed of fools and scoundrels.

We need to imagine a future at rest. I am in full agreement with this. Yet, the way to solve unemployment is to raise the value of labor, and the way to do this is through enhancements in productivity that are NOT STOLEN.

It pains me to see this, but it is PRECISELY the doctrines of Keynes, in tandem with the natural avarice of bankers the world over, which has forestalled this. Not only did Keynes not point us to the promised land, he led us IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. Had he not come along, had he been run over by a bus, or stabbed by a jealous lover of either gender, then the world economy would be much farther along. Everything he advocated has made us less rich, more poor, less free, and more indebted.

You want one name upon which to hang the albatross of our international debt crises? He's your man.

I'll have more to say in coming days.

The essence of the thing

Many years ago, I had a dream of the Rolling Stones planning a party. It was really quite simple. They rented this large old home or castle, put up no decorations at all, but made sure there were plenty of beds and sofas, lot of wine and liquor, and loud music. All their bases were covered. They had been doing this for many, many years, and knew what the basics were. You get the women there, dance, get drunk, and screw. Nothing fancy. They had neither more nor less than needed.

This may seem like a strange way of approaching the idea of professionalism, but it is the most salient, for me, affectively. A true professional will penetrate to the heart of a matter quickly and with little effort. A good police detective will have a good hunch who did the crime the first time they meet them. A talented animal groomer will know very quickly how to calm an animal down.

Or, to take a story I've long been fond of telling, there was once a boiler that wasn't working. It was a large, ungainly machine, that none of the on-staff people could figure out, so they called in an expert. He looked at it for about 5 minutes, then tapped one valve with a hammer. Instantly it started working again.

When they got the bill for $5,000, the owners were outraged. "How", they asked, "could ten minutes work warrant a bill for $5,000? That is $30,000/hour" They asked to itemize the bill.

So he did:

Examimation of machine: $20.00
Labor to fix machine: $10.00
Knowing where to hit it: $4,970.00

They paid the bill.

The point I'm making here is that in life most of what we see is fluff. Most words really don't matter, particularly if they come from politicians.

What we need to see from the Republicans in 2011 is that they GET IT, that they are in the same State, if not zip code of solving problems. Competence is not making sure you get credit for every little spot of grease on your well creased trowsers. It is GOING AFTER IT--the solution, a solution, anything that has at least a shot at working.

What I expect is much less than that. So much the worse for all of us. We'll see. I see little cause for hope--except to the extent they will at a minimum make things worse more slowly--but never cause for quitting.

This post is written in that spirit, of never forgetting the Alamo, nor the sacrifices of our betters to get us to our hand-wringing, intellectually mediocre present.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Local Art

I went to a Lip Synching show put on by parents at my kids school tonight. With a couple notable exceptions, it was awful. It was hard to watch.

Yet, I support mediocrity that shows up. I think the point of art is recreating yourself through spontaneous expression AS WELL AS YOU CAN. It is dumb to expect everyone to possess talent. But if they express what talent they have as well as they can, and grow from the process, then that ritual act was worthwhile.

The Tibetans perform a ritual in which they carve things out of butter. After a time, they melt the butter, and incorporate it into their food. They also make sand mandalas, that are ceremonially destroyed in rivers.

Once this art is gone, what remains is the effect it had on the people who created it, and that can be quite seperate from what it looked like, while existing.

All worthwhile societies give each person in them a space and a time where attention is paid to them, and in which they can rise to the occasion. The point of liberty is enough space to grow.

Economic Growth

As I view it, growth is inherently a creative act. Economies grow when inventors invent, marketers market, and entrepreneurs entrepren (couldn't resist).

When people innovate, they in effect create new money, by creating new value. This fact is hidden by the parasitical nature of our financial system.

Think about this word, "growth". If you ponder it, can you not call to mind an image of a tree growing? When a tree is a seed, it is small. Then cells are added, form is added, and this process is continued until something small is something large. Every single cell which forms that tree is not only created, but recreated for the duration of that tree's life.

In my own terms, the strength of the adult tree is weaked by parasitical vines and molds, which exist on its strength, without adding anything of their own.

Can that tree be forced to grow in the winter? Only with heat. And even then, if the heat ever stops, it will be out of season, and will die.

The ebb and flow of our economic life is the result of the ebb and flow of money creation. If we fix our currency, then what we get is the economic equivalent of the Mediterrean, with long growing seasons, lots of sun, and very little winter.

What advocates of government intervention want to do is dump fertilizer--bullshit in this case--on the tree, to try and force it out of a natural cycle. They want the tree to pretend it's summer when it is winter.

Above all, they want to arrogate to themselves not just control of the economy, but to impose on the rest of us the idea that only they know what to do. This despite never having run businesses, or even done ANYTHING practical with their lives, other than perhaps changing a tire once.

The fact is, all they can do is move around wealth that has already been created, and that has a finite lifespan. It is like saving the tree by cutting it down. You can consume it, but its life is at an end.

Nothing grows economies like confidence in the future and freedom. Nothing kills economies more than uncertainty, and excessive burdens in the forms of taxes and unnecessary regulation.

Think about it: who is in charge when the government is asleep? Who does the work? Everyone else. They forget this. Remember that when a leftist says "The People", what they really mean is "me and mine".

Thus when some hack says Republicans don't "do" anything about the economy, they are betraying a fundamental disdain for, and misunderstanding of, the vast bulk of working Americans and business owners.

Krugman Magic 8 Ball

In toy news, Hasbro recently announced that Paul Krugman will be sponsoring a Magic Eightball for economic prognostication. After looking at the prototype, Republican spokesperson Mitch McConnell complained that no matter how you shook it, the answer always came up "spend more money."

Democrats, however, were quite enthusiastic. According to Berkeley student Ima. B Thistlewhite, the results were "astounding": "Every time I use it, it gets the right answer. It is almost spooky. In fact the only time it was wrong was when I asked it about Defense Department spending."

Despite the controversy, a new Krugman action figure is being developed, with a pullstring which causes it to say "you're not spending enough", "spend more", and "don't worry about the deficits."

Sales are expected to be brisk in California.

Periodic Krugman piece

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/05/opinion/05krugman.html?WT.mc_id=NYT-E-I-NYT-E-AT-1110-L22&ei=5087&en=d1dd38e101e9a450&ex=1305003600&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1289574074-cA2ncPA3IhBKYtTq4zCMqg

Argument: Obama erred by not spending twice what he did, and indebting us twice what he did. Subtext: government action is necessary to create jobs, and that its job is to "do something".

To this, he tries to sneak in the idea that Obama is "bank friendly", but not as "bank friendly" as the Republicans. What should we take away? That Obama is actually a moderate, who has just been trying to get along, rather than a radical socialist whose patent distaste for all forms of private enterprise has had an enormous chilling effect on the optimism of those who actually risk their own money, rather than someone elses.

Recommendation: double down.

My response: read my piece, Keynes in a nutshell. I have been pondering a short addition, and will make it right after I click "post" here.

Tower 7 thoughts

As I explored here, the official explanation of the collapse of WTC7, a 47 story building built according to modern building codes, is that it was the result of the combustion of office furnishings. It is not stated how the fires started, nor are any calculations offered on the difference between the heat needed to damage a steel I-beam treated with flame retardant, and what is possible if you built a bonfire of wood desks and books, which nobody claims happened.

The official account is simply untenable. This leads necessarily to the conclusion explosives were involved, and then necessarily to the conclusion that more people were involved in the plot than have been accounted for. Given how much we have sacrificed in Afghanistan--which war was a DIRECT outflow of the attacks--this is morally wrong.

Personally, I find it impossible to believe George W. Bush had any involvement in this, but the logic is inescapable that SOMEBODY, who has yet to be named, did. This constitutes a national security threat.

I wanted to further comment that given the foregoing thesis, the conclusion seems inescapable that the actual target for United 93 was WTC7. Here is the timeline:

Flight 11 takes off from Boston at 7:59 and crashes at 8:46 into WTC1.

Flight 77 takes off from Boston 8:14 and crashed at 9:03 into WTC2.

Flight 93 takes off from Newark--right across the river--at 8:42. Figuring 15 minutes to hijack it, this would have it crashing at about the same time as Flight 77. Bam, bam, bam.

In my view, the intent was to get coverage, get a lot of cameras, then blow all three buildings. They were supposed to go down together,one after the other.

Remember, too, that the Emergency command center for NYC was in WTC7, and that some high level officials in the Guiliani Administration said they heard explosions prior to either WTC going down. You can Google it, if you care. Their interviews are on YouTube.

What must have happened is that for whatever reason the United 93 crew screwed up. They likely just waited too long.

Their "support crew" must then have had to improvise, rigging some fires in WTC7, then blowing it, hoping that in all the confusion nobody would wonder too long or too hard how a 47 story modern skyscraper just drops like a rock when it hasn't even been hit by a plane.

And that is what happened. People just don't want to awaken to the horrible truth that buildings like that don't just fall down because the curtains are on fire. As the official version commented, this would be the first time in history something like that has happened.

I'm not conspiratorially minded, in general, but it seems clear to me that somebody got away with a lot of murder on that day. May have been unidentified Al Quedists, or someone else. We may never know, but if we are to resolve this mystery, we have to first accept that that is what it is. The story we have been given is plainly wrong.

Quantitative Easing

I've had a couple of days to digest this, and wanted to make some observations.

1) When you devalue a currency, it is like putting your nation on sale. How do you increase exports? Cut your price and your margin. This works both ways: for those with money, all tangible assets in this country get cheaper.

What should have happened is that when the Fed announced the devaluation of the currency was a run on the dollar. Problem is, inflation is always relative, isn't it? And the Europeans have screwed up more royally than we have, and the Chinese have had their country on sale for some time.

Thus the dollar is strengthening, ironically. What those who came up with this policy, though, could have reasonably expected was an immediate discount. Which leads to

2) In concrete detail, we have to grasp what is actually happening. First, the quote from Keynes that should be burned into everyone's mind, since it was quite honest, rare for him:

Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth. Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become 'profiteers,' who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the proletariat. As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.
Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.


Well, the number is now more than one in a million, is it not?

Who gets this money? How does this process work? The fact is, we can't know for sure, since the Fed is--when it wants to be, and breaks no law in so doing--as secretive as the CIA, and less supervised.

But it seems safe to say that what will happen is that checks will be written to large member banks, say Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase. In December, a $50 billion check will be written to each, in exchange for Treasury Bonds they hold, at what may or may not be (likely not) their actual market value. Self evidently, if they could sell them more dearly, they would. They haven't, ergo. . .

Now, it is far from clear those bonds were not purchased initially with money ALSO provided by the Fed. My suspicion is that they were.

Remember, we are not even privy to who all the stockholders are in the system, much less who is given money for what. We do know that the people voting the money out are collecting it as well. They vote themselves money over an expensive breakfast, then figure out how to spend it over an expensive dinner, with cigars and brandy, and hookers and coke, according to their taste.

Anyway, they get these huge checks, and then, what? Well, the skies the limit. GE sits on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, by design the de facto head of the system. Why not buy a bunch of GE stock? Jeff's a good guy, they got a lock on the lightbulb market, and tons of Federal dollars flowing to their green technologies. GE stock goes up, and now these banks have a larger position in GE. They now, to be clear, OWN a part of GE which they have purchased with fiat money.

And the price of GE stock is higher than it would have been, had the number of dollars in circulation remained constant. This is inflation in the stock market, which will affect the valuation of other stocks in unpredictable but real ways.

Maybe they buy a bank in China, if the Chinese will let them. They start making loans to Chinese corporations, and in so doing get an ownership claim on them.

Maybe they buy a diamond mine somewhere.

Maybe they buy a Brazilian energy company. Or Mexican. Or Nigerian.

Whatever they do, they now own things that they didn't earn. The money was given them.

I want you to be clear on this. This is literally like me giving you a checkbook with effectively no limit, that you can use to write checks to anybody for anything. Anything. Do you think you could make money like that? Find some winners? And what if you don't? What if your trip to the racetrack flops? Well, you just write more checks. This is what the Fed does for its core members.

And yet all of us suffer from this process, as Keynes pointed out. This is a formal system for wealth transfer and economic dislocation. Inflation can only happen when somebody gets something for nothing.

3) My suspicion is that the timing was intended to disrupt Republican momentum. If my thesis is correct, that our recovery is jobless since those with capital are scared of Obama and his policies, then we should have seen a collective sigh of relief in the form of hiring in the immediate aftermath of the election. Yet what has happened? A new doubt has been introduced, which will mute this effect considerably, lessening the ability of Republicans to point to the manifest connection of conservatism and economic dynamism and growth.

4) The effect of this money injection will be to keep interest rates on the debt artificially low. This will make the trainwreck we are heading towards less obvious. Currently, we are paying some $400 billion annually on our debt. Given fixed interest rates and our current annual deficits, that is expected to be some $600 billion annually by 2012.

But given our debt, rates should be rising. Given the risk of default over the long term, what we have to pay investors to get them to buy our bonds should be going up. Thus, absent this action, that $600 billion might have been $800 billion, or even a trillion.

Yet, we are still being taxed, through inflation. We will still, in effect, be paying that $800 billion, since the buying power of our currency has been debased. As Keynes noted, this form of taxation, of property confiscation is very subtle, and understood by very few. He himself understood it to perfection. He made a fortune on currency trading. He was a genius, just one committed an evil doctrine, that of Fabian Socialism.

5) It occurred to me this morning that when a debt is paid, that is deflationary, since money lent is inflationary only as long as it is out. This is an open thought I will have to develop further in some cigar smoke, but you can follow my logic in my piece on Money Creation.

Net: it is hard to know who these people really are, and what their real intentions are, but it is plainly obvious that getting and staying really, really rich is a key element.

As I have stated in other essays, it seems to me that the quest for power and the quest for righteousness really are the two primary forces in our political world. Leftism is just one particularly vicious iteration of an age-old desire to rule the world. America is the best-run experiment in world history of a nation based on sincerely held ideals. We have many enemies in our midst, but we can still prevail, in my view.

It all starts with awareness. Share this link if it made sense to you. Copy it and call it your own. Restate it in your own words. Modify it to correct what you see as my mistakes. Above all, though, keep the spirit of wanting the truth and understanding foremost in your mind, and act on it by doing what you can to educate everyone around you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Versions of Hell

My own metaphysics posit that the good go to heaven, no matter their metaphysics, and the evil to hell of some sort.

As I visualize it, hell is a version of the monkey trap. In this trap, used throughout Asia, in my understanding, something desirable to the monkey is placed at the bottom of a bottle, which itself is tied to the ground. The opening to the bottle is big enough to let through an open hand, but not a fist.

The monkey grabs the whatever--for stereotype's sake lets say a banana--and refuses to let go. Since it won't let go, it is easily captured.

As I define it, this is the sort of desire that is damaging.

Hell, then, is a repeated happening that arises out of the unresolved compulsions of the person there. What I want to emphasize is that the goal is NOT punishment, but learning. Yet to the precise extent that person refuses, over and over, learning, the system IS punishment.

Hitler: he finds himself as a young boy--say 11--in a Yeshiva School. Whenever he reads the Torah, it is upside down, and backwards. They give him tests, and he flunks every one. Then he gets held back.

The next year, the same thing happens. This goes on for 1,000 years at least.

In his real life, he never got a high school diploma. How much more traumatic to be held up in a Yeshiva?

Jean Paul Sartre. I really don't like this guy, since he was a piece of shit. He was a Stalinist long after it was known what that meant, a misogynist, philanderer, and Speed Freak. Given what he thought was his genius, I see him in a classroom, too. He is expected to listen, essentially forever, to a dull, unoriginal teacher, who misunderstands everything he said. Yet he can't speak, without being punished. This goes on for a 1,000 years.

Stalin I see ice-fishing. He catches something, and it is an enormous fish which swallows him whole, then shits him out. He emerges to cold water, and an inability to breathe. He gets to the surface, then the shore. Once there, he has no options but to put his line in again. Then he gets swallowed again, and it starts over.

Mao is pursued everywhere by a horde of rats. No matter where he goes, or where he tried to sleep, a large group of rats follows him. He can't rest. He can't stay in one place. Always he is in flight from the rats. This lasts for 10,000 years.

Pol Pot. I actually find it easier to sympathize with Hitler than this piece of shit. Hitler had his people torture people for information. The National Socialists killed because they, in their idiocy, thought it scientifically necessary.

Pol Pot set up many torture chambers, where people were put through a very systematic pain regimen prior to being shot and their bodies dumped wherever happened to be convenient.

Him, I see hanging upside down from a rope, and people beating his head with bats. This is the most unpleasant vision I've had, but if you really get down to it, had Hitler killed proportionately as many people as Pot, then it would have been in the 20-30 million range AT LEAST.

Anyway, I was drinking my nightly Truth Serum, and this is what occurred to me.

The Vampires Lament

Another installment in my semi-occasional Bad Poet's Society series.

My mirror died today.
Or maybe yesterday: I can't be sure.

Once I was there;
now I am gone.

The memory of my always hungry
always keen eyes
Is already fading.

Something is missing, but I
can't see what. My self?

Where was I before? Once I lived among the
living.
Now I walk among the living, dead.

I have fallen up: not into an abyss, but
onto a clouded mountaintop

Where I see no forms or shapes.

Darkness, that is my element.

Yet darkness has no mirrors,
and I miss myself already.

Keynes in a nutshell

The City on the Hill, a two act drama.

Act One.

In the year of our Lord 2009 it was decreed that in order to foster prosperity and economic recovery, a city would be built on a hill, composed of federal employees paid to sit and surf YouTube and Facebook all day. It was decreed that they be paid one third more than private sector people employed to do largely the same thing, since such money would stimulate the economy.

The city was built, and lo and behold private businesses soon surrounded it. Movie theaters were built; strip malls were built; restaurants--especially sushi bars--were built. Soon enough, our 5,000 internet surfers had created 10,000 private sector jobs.

Everything was well. Paul Krugman flipped off Friedrich Hayek, and said "Screw you, buddy, we rule".

Act Two

Then the money ran out. All the Federal employees were let go, and all the businesses that depended on them folded. Everyone moved away and never came back. Paul Krugman was seen wringing his hands, wandering off into the sunset, muttering "if only we had spent more money".

The End.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Address from the President

Greetings!!

Tonight I would like to talk to you, middle America. I feel like we got off on the wrong foot. I used to wonder about you, when I was flying around the country. I thought: who lives THERE? Now, I have realized that what I should have been asking is: how can I help those people? How can I message them?

And pondering it, I have decided guns really aren't that bad. I asked one of my agents to show me his gun just today. I didn't touch it, since it looked dangerous, but I can see how you would want one of those things in areas where there are wild bears.

And religion. Honestly, I can tell you some of my best friends are religious. Seriously. I even go to church myself. I pray and everything. I can see how people would really get into that, especially the singing. I've always like the sound of someone singing in the distance.

So what I wanted to convey today is that we really aren't that different, you and I. Tonight I've even asked the White House chef to make something called "biscuits and gravy", which I understand is also a very popular African American food. I want to understand "y'all", such that we can communicate, talk, and discuss.

So if you think I've been neglecting you, fear not. I haven't had arugula in over six months. That's how plain my tastes are becoming. I'm really just one of you. I'm even thinking about taking a spin around the White House lawn on a riding lawnmower, and wearing an International Harvester ballcap.

We've got two years. Let's make this a great thing, shall we?

Why both Darwin and Gould are wrong

There are two principle narrative in evolutionay biology, each unable to account the actual data we see. The first, that of Darwin, is that random change (mutation) couple with random benefit (natural selection) has over vast expanses of time worked to counter the natural entropy of our universe.

The problem with this account is that it makes predictions that have been disproven. Specifically, it predicts that all species at all times are in the process of modification. All mutations which are not harmful will be retained, and selection between divergent groups will only happen gradually, again over vast expanses of time. Thus we should not have to look for "missing links". They should everywhere. Every species we look at anywhere should show patterns of change over time. They don't. What we see is the sudden appearance of a species, and then NO alteration for vast periods of time, then it disappears again.

Clearly, species evolve over time. One can track changes in moths and insects. One can trace genetic progressions in humans. Yet, we always find the species when we first see it already morphologically evolved. This is absolutely contrary to his thesis. To be clear, we have fossil fields where we can look at vast expanses of time, and have fossils from each era. They stay the same, with only minor alterations.

To solve this manifest problem, evolutionary biologists, rather than considering the (for them) horrible notion of incorporating field theories back into biology, chose to look at the actual record, and work backwards. Their only justification for this were the foundational ideas that biological systems are best understood as self organizing machines, that of course there is no God, and that the record did not support Darwin.

Thus you get Punctuated Equilibrium, in which huge evolutionary changes happen, relatively speaking, quickly. But the entire contribution of Darwin, which made his ideas plausible, was the combination of chance, natural selection, and huge amounts of time. With Gould, the time disappears. Some catastrophe happens, the animals are placed in a do or die situation, and the ones that survive evolve rapidly.

Yet, this posits precisely an interaction between the biological system and the environment. It presumes, in effect, that DNA rolls of the dice can be skewed in favor of survival, that the slot machine can be fixed. Yet, there is no provision anywhere in any theories for this.

We see this notion of ecological niches, in which animals coexist until they can't any longer, then the species which has best adapted to the situation survives, and everything else disappears. Yet, what this would lead us to expect would be a continuity of fossils for long periods, then the disappearance of many, with the winners continuing. And this still doesn't explain how rapid, beneficial mutation can appear simply because it is needed.

I firmly believe that if we can learn the political lessons in front of us, that the Left (and possibly some secretive very rich people for whom some have been fronting) has been lying to us for well over half a century, and if we can grasp the meaning of the corruption of climate science for the Global Warming scam, then at some point it will become possible to question the materialistic narratives of the emergence of life from within the scientific establishment. You have to have this idea that "everything you 'know' could be wrong". Most people who earn Ph.D's assume that whatever the truth is, it's in their labs, and not elsewhere.

I further believe that a time will come when we wonder how it was possible for us to be so stupid for so long.

My take on the TSA

As I think about it, this really is an effort to redefine in a permanent way the relationship between our personal space, and the space of an increasingly overreaching--literally--State. What they are saying is that "We have the right to strip you of clothing, or strip you of your dignity: your choice."

For what? For what concrete good? Israel doesn't do this, and they have had no hijackings in decades, despite being the number one target. No American plane has been hijacked since 9/11, despite not using procedures like this.

People this has nothing whatever to do with security, and everything towards bending reality towards a New Normal in which the State can monitor the most intimate aspects of our personal lives. It really, truly is the beginning of 1984.

To quote Paul Krugman, in another context: be afraid, be very afraid. Then be angry, and make sure this bitch hears enough noise that our Socialist in Chief has to fire her or retract this totalitarian policy.

The way you break people is not through harshness, but through gradually demanding more and more submission--in seemingly small, seemingly necessary ways--until they lose their sense of self entirely. We are far along in this process in this nation, and this is just one more step in that direction. Enough is enough. Our government has NO right and NO justification to demand that everyone who flies on a PRIVATE airline take their clothes off, or get molested.

If you think about it, actually, in large measures has the airline industry not been taken over by the government? Have we not created a federal police force that does not answer to any of the States where it works, and is largely beyond the control of Congress?

Why is it I can't opt out of security? Why is it airlines cannot set their own level of security? Some people are so fearful that this sort of screening is what they would want. Most of us are fine walking through a metal detector, and leaving it at that.

Frankly, my preference would be an airline that carefully profiles its passengers, and only bothers to check people who fit the demographic profile of terrorists. We skip the metal detector entirely. I suspect that would work just fine. As things stand now, rather than violating a few peoples "rights", we violate the rights--severely, in this case--of EVERYONE. Are they going to grope children too? Or force them to pose naked?

This is utter and complete lunacy, and if it stands this alone will be a major issue in 2012. I personally will never submit to it. It is degrading, and goes far past the boundaries that should exist not just between individual citizens, but more particularly between the State and the citizen of that State.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

For want of a nail. . .

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

This is called "sensitive dependence on initial conditions". In any chaotic system, the exact starting point can lead to wide variations in result. I sometimes call this "the tip of the spear", which can be infinitely sharp.

I was sitting in a bar tonight, contemplating a woman. Common enough occurence. What I was wondering is if some one thing I had said or did, or some one or several parts of who I am made a large difference, such that what could have been a rewarding relationship was ended before it began. That rough thought process, I suspect, is common enough as well.

This in turn led me to begin pondering chance more broadly. If some one person had not come in, and given me the chance to talk with her, would that have made the difference? Given a chance, I can be very persuasive. Pondering, I decided I had done some 75% of what would have constituted perfection, and the appearances all indicate that still would not have sufficed. I'm an odd duck. Charming at times, but very unique in my worldview, and way of doing things. It is what it is. I like myself, and have no plan to change--or pretend to change--for anyone.

Pushing even farther out, though, I got to thinking about randomness as an aspect of human experience. How do we manage it? For primitive people, it is sticking together in groups, and doing what has always worked. Yet, their degree of chance fortune and misfortune was no doubt much greater than our own, where accidental premature deaths are no doubt much lower than they were, say, 10,000 years ago.

How do we turn "the tip of the spear" into something which almost always works the same way, rather than leading to wild swings in outcome?

Edward de Bono uses the concept, in discussing perception generally, of what he terms "catchment areas". No matter where rain falls on one side of a mountain, it flows the same way. The same applies on the other side. In effect, the rain is funnelled from a large area to the same spot. It is organized and channelled.

Likewise, what is the role of insurance of various sorts? Is it not channelling chance such that no matter what happens, the same rough outcome is achieved?

And this can be broken down according to my four cultural tasks. For example, someone who believes nothing will be thrown into chaos, given a sudden tragedy. Someone who is a committed Christian will also be hurt, but recover more quickly, and endure far less internal anarchy and dissolution.

Someone who believes in an account of the nature of reality that is non-scientific--which does not accord with observable facts--will be thrown into a tailspin if something happens that cannot be accounted for within that world view. People who believe in science, understand that all truth narratives are contingent, and they expect the unexpected (at least the more intelligent people).

Politically, if you have a narrow, very rigid system of governance--say the rule of the tribal elders--and the elders are killed in a war, you are in trouble. If you view all political organization as originating in individual perception and volition, then you can adapt to anything.

Economically, free markets are the paradigmatic self organizing system.

All in all, it seems we have managed risk well, and can do better. As I said in a post a couple of days ago, if we solve all the material problems of the world, we will have to create new challenges for ourselves, but that can be done with intention, and with a mind to the evolution of such challenges.

Hope this makes sense. Bit tired.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Creation

It seems to me the most creative acts humans can perform occur spontaneously, as internal states. If you think about it, courage is a creative act. Where fear would normally be present, bravery appears. It appears as the outflow of principles which a given person has chosen, and as a result of instincts.

When you look at art, what you are seeing is the physical artifact of a state someone has chosen, that of receiving and transmitting new ideas. Where do plotlines come from? Visual images? Musical arrangements? Dance moves?

At some point are they not non-existent, then suddenly appear, in rough form? And is that rough form not then steadily sculpted with yet more new ideas, until the artist rests?

I would submit that it is this creative gestalt which is most important. The art produced is merely the means needed to achieve the end of creative engagement with life and work (which are in large measure the same thing).

It is perhaps stretching the facts to call it a spiritual discipline, but I am very fond of a system of movement and affective awareness articulated in English by Tarthang Tulku, which he called Kum Nye.

Even the first exercise is quite interesting. You sit comfortably, spine straight. Cross legged is best, if you can swing it. Then you consciously relax every muscle in your body, for some ten minutes. Then you spend ten minutes simply processing every sensation that arises. You don't reject it, or build it: you just watch it. Finally, you visualize something that has made you happy, feel that feeling, then build that feeling, like blowing a small ember into a fire. You can in this way CREATE a feeling of happiness. Try it. Then get the books, parts I and II.

Love, too, is a creation. So much of what is called love in our world is nothing but compulsion, quite often sexual in nature, but sometimes a belief that the other person will somehow solve your problems for you.

Consider this thought experiment: what if we had no genders and no sexual desire? What would love look like then? Would it not look much more like CHOOSING to love someone, consciously?

As I have defined it, love is a desire to help other people create themselves. It can manifest, depending on the context, as both compassion and confrontation. It can be helping someone carry their load, and it can be watching them carry their load without lifting a finger. Always, love is about what is actually beneficial for the other person, and not what feels good for you. War can be an act of love, as can opposing war. In my world, the only absolute principles are the need for individuals to reject self pity, persevere, and learn something every day. Always, you have to ask yourself what the details of each unique situation are, and do what you can to build other people, such that they are independent and able to love others as well as themselves.

It seems to me most of the brutality of modern art flows from a rejection of the possibility of individual moral growth. If individuals cannot grow, then logically their internal states are of little intrinsic importance. That individuals cannot grow, qua individuals, is an intrinsic conclusion of any philosophy dedicated to the principle that everyone is equal not just in rights, but their innate personality traits. The lazy equal the industrious. The intelligent equal the stupid. Socialist leave no room for qualitative distinctions of this sort.

This leads directly to art which is not FOR something--for building communities, for building trust or other virtues--but which rather rejects the very possibility that art COULD be for such things. Yes, it can be used as propaganda, but not for love.

Such an attitude, on the contrary, brings much ugliness. Cows chopped into sections, and preserved. Crucifixes in urine. Paint trails from paint cans with small holes in the bottom, swinging around on a string. What are any of these ideas trying to build? Nothing.

Socialism is always a DETRACTION from human culture. It is not a humanism. It is a form of cultural suicide. Do not even the Chinese, now, want to look back on their own long history with something other than the contempt which was de rigeur under Mao and the fascist punk kids he brainwashed so effectively?

Ideas have consequences. The task I have set myself is showing clearly what the paths are between which we must choose.

Hopefully the foregoing makes sense. I have delayed posting it, since the feeling which gave rise to it is entirely non-verbal, and I wasn't sure I could convey it.

The future

What if all of our problems of money disappeared? What if the entire planet had enough to eat, shelter, access to medical care and all the other things that econonic growth can bring? What then?

It seems to me we would have to invent problems. We need problems, to be happy. But this would be a good thing. We could invent intelligent problems, ones which consistently fostered growth. As things stand, some people are emboldened by, say, war or poverty. They become braver and more compassionate. But many more are ruined, turned into mean, nasty selfish persons.

The root problem with Socialism is that it is a one note song. It has no character, no flavor, no charm, nothing suitable for engendering a world any human would want to live in. Their worlds are grey because in the end, they don't believe human INDIVIDUALS can be improved, morally or otherwise. The only possible task is the improvement of the SOCIETY, and the definition of that begins and ends with the eradication of both poverty and wealth.

Yet no decision in the history of the human species has been made by a group. No thought has been thunk (just go with it) by a group. Decisions are made by individuals and RATIFIED in groups. Thoughts are thunk by individuals, and shared and embraced by groups.

And manifestly if you look at any Communist nation, what you see is not the eradication of Individualism, but the apotheosis of it, in which one man controls a small group of men, who make decisions for EVERYONE. Soviet socialism was not organic. It was not what The People, or The Workers chose. It is what LENIN chose.

Always invert whatever you see coming from the mouth of a leftist, and you will be close to the truth. If they speak of truth, hear lies. If they speak of socialism, think dictatorship of the masses by one person. If they speak of economic growth, hear poverty. If they speak of justice, hear unchecked tyranny.

Krugman, Part two

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/opinion/29krugman.html?ex=1304395200&en=5418dde9be746a20&ei=5087&WT.mc_id=NYT-E-I-NYT-E-AT-1103-L18

He ends it with "be afraid, be very afraid." And we are the fear-mongers?

This is just generic pap for the masses. He's reminding them they are right and the Republicans are wrong. Obama is a conciliatory moderate, but those big meany-head Republicans won't listen to him, and will do the same big meany-head things they did in 1995.

He continues his meme that it is necessary for the government to do something to fix the economy, and that absent help, the economy will not recover. This has been a successful tactic for them. Republicans think ordinary people are quite able to make decisions on their own. It's not that they are saying nothing should be done, but that a tyrannical government is not the right entity to be doing it.

Governments can't and don't run businesses. They provide needed public services that can't be had any other way. Printing money to pay for things the people would be unwilling to pay for in open taxation is not one of those services. "Stimulating" the economy by taking our money and disbursing it arbitrarily and mainly to fellow-travelers is not one, either.

We want to be left alone. Don't try to help us. Obama, go golfing. Pelosi, go find a better plastic surgeon. Reid, go burn up ants with a magnifying glass, or chase Vegas showgirls.

And Krugman, I think you should take up sailing. Buy yourself a big boat with the money you have made advocating economically ruinous policies, and spend the next two years sailing around the world, without a cell phone. You will see how much we needed you when you get back. It might be humbling for you, but frankly you need some humanizing. Not sure if you got the short man thing going on, but you would most bless the world by remaining silent.

Periodic Krugman piece

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/01/opinion/01krugman.html?ex=1304395200&en=ccbeef7810685380&ei=5087&WT.mc_id=NYT-E-I-NYT-E-AT-1103-L20

S2D2. Some of you will know what that means.

Net argument: we need to spend more. Spin this time? Moral factors are preventing it from happening. Rehash of fatally flawed Keynesian arguments, that if no one is spending money, everyone's wealth decreases.

First off, you obviously cannot solve the problem of debt with debt. Private debt cannot be financed sustainably with public debt. If I use one credit card to pay off another, have I really accomplished anything? This point is inescapable.

The goal, of course, always with these people is to transfer control of private capital to either the government, or reliable entities like some extension of the Fed.

Second, let us ask why it is people would not be spending money. First off, dunce that he is, Krugman conflates consumers with businesspeople. BOTH spend money, do they not? When someone builds a new corporate headquarters, expecting growth, does not a lot of money flow into the economy?

For entrepreneurs, one must always weigh risk versus reward. For established businesses, same thing. As exciting as playing the horses can be, when you are risking your own money you want some sense of stability. With Obamacare looming large, and a Socialist in the White House, American businessmen and women have no faith in the future; not enough to bet big on anything, until Obama gets stopped.

And to be clear, the money invested by businesses is the root of consumer spending. Toyota, say, creates a Prius, at considerable cost, since it feels people will spend money on THAT car, who would have sat on their money had it not existed. People who will not pay $2 for an apple WILL pay $1. Hence investments in apple harvesting technology and transportation, making it more efficient, will also spur spending growth.

The solution to slowdowns in spending is innovation. Innovation, in turn, is a function of private individuals, acting in their own interest.

And underlying all of this is the fundamental inflation/deflation/boom/bust cycle that causes slowdowns like this.

Krugman asserts that blaming Fannie Mae is ridiculous, but he doesn't say why. Shortly, I will be laying that argument down in black and white. I have not read his book, but I suspect Thomas Sowell has already done so, as no doubt have others. It's patently obvious. This is a classic inflation/deflation cycle. We are still seeing deflationary pressure from the housing market, which has yet to hit bottom.

Krugman is a paid hack. He shills for an agenda that WILL put us in a Depression, and which will be absolutely ruinous for everyone but he and his.

Hope

I don't believe in hope. Hope is what enables you, when your head is being held under water, to believe it will end soon. If it doesn't, you die. Far better to be able to live without oxygen. I have had my head held underwater figuratively for years, yet survived. Why? I don't hope: I keep moving.

Purpose is the alternative to hope. For me to keep trying, there does not need to be any prospect for success. I do what I do because it seems like the right thing to do, and I therefore choose to do it.

Hope is a dependence on the future. It is a dependence on external events. People whose hopes have been dashed repeatedly tend to become cynical and apathetic. Yet, we can all control our internal states to a great extent. I'm not an unhappy person. Most of the time, I actually feel pretty good, especially considering the emotional asceticism of my life. I laugh a lot; I sing (badly) a lot.

I see so many people getting into these profound funks of one sort or another. It's all falling apart. There's no use. blah, blah, blah.

Maybe thing are falling apart, but I speak from experience when I say the antidote is to get yourself in the game, and work to make things better. Hope is not necessary for this.

It makes no matter how small the effort is, and results don't matter. Obviously, try to figure out what works and what doesn't, but any action forward is better than pessimistic hand-wringing. Fire, then fire again. All great successes in the world have been largely the outcome of small things done by forgotten people.

If you hope in yourself, then you can determine the outcome, n'est ce pas?

Europe

In today's world, it is easy to forget basic history. It sometimes seems to me that is, in part, the GOAL of much of our media, to surround us with so many unimportant details that we lose sight of the big picture. It is for precisely that reason that I consume very little media, spending perhaps 30 minutes daily reading news stories on the internet, and in general avoid editorials entirely. I prefer to form my own opinions.

It is worth noting, though, that much of the continent of Europe has seen autocratic regimes in power within the lifetime of many citizens. Spain and Portugal were ruled by dictators, if memory serves, until the mid-1970's. Ireland and Greece fought civil wars in the 20th Century. Germany, of course, was ruled by the Third Reich (in their view, the first "scientific" one, since they were the first to grasp the essential importance of race and biology; this is one of many reasons we need to watch how the word "scientific" is used); as were most of the nations of Europe for some five years. Italy had Mussollini. Norway had its Quisling government. Austria wasn't sad when Hitler came across the border. De Gaulle, as I understand it, may as well have been a dictator. Sweden, Britain and Switzerland are the only nations I can think of (perhaps Luxembourg and Lichtenstein and some other little nations excepted as well) that have not seen tyranny or civil war in some form in the last 75 years or so.

Further, as I understand the matter, there is NO nation that has a Bill of Rights like ours. There is no nation, as I understand it, that has a Freedom of Information Act. In Holland, Geert Wilders was charged with committing a crime for saying some very obvious, very common sense things about the unwillingness and seeming inability for most Islamic immigrants to join their larger social, political, and cultural order.

One final point: the next time you hear some call America "imperialist", ask them: Compared to whom? In the approximate era when we were fighting our Civil War to preserve the Union and free the slaves, the British were carving out a hunk of Africa that they renamed Rhodesia after Cecil Rhodes. The Belgians were causing mass death. The French were colonizing North Africa, and southeast Asia.

And they were doing this for financial gain. That is what imperialism is. It makes little sense to invade another nation and give them money. You take their money. That's how real imperialism works. You negotiate sweetheart deals or just take things by force.

What we do is spend American lives and money to help other nations form democratic systems which protect liberty. And for that, we often get spit on by many in the other nations, and by our own Left here, which is utterly lacking in the ability to differentiate cultures based on universal standards. They start from the idea that we are wrong, then infer any and all Others, no matter their behavior, must be right. This is the result of long-term conscious indoctrination, and avoidance of adult, responsible judgement.

As I get older, I have more fantasies of what gets called isolationism, but which is really just not going out and forcing stupid, fratricidal people stop killing each other. Say Hussein had gotten a nuke. We could nuke him. Figure out where he is, and take him out. Would significantly more people have died? That would depend on the details. It's a guarantee less Americans would have died, though.

Sometimes I think we should cut our military in half, enact compulsory State militia (National Guard) service for all able bodied citizens, perfect our missile shield, no matter the cost, and just tell other nations that if they screw with us they will get nuked. Self evidently, we build a fence with the Mexican border, and put in place SERIOUS security. All the shores have good sensors. We build superior satellite telemetry, which we likely already have.

It should be said, too, that people obsess about defence contractors. The real money in war is loaning the money for it. Never forget this. And that applies to Wars on Poverty, too.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Making a difference

I was talking with a social worker today who said she didn't like her job. I asked her why, and she said she didn't feel she was "making a difference". Her idea of where to go was the public school system, where she wanted to be an administrator of some sort at some point.

I thought about this, and the only thought that kept coming back to me was: can you really help people who are unwilling to help themselves? Why are so many of the people who claim to be able to speak on behalf of "disadvantaged minorities" not themselves from the same place? Why are they normally white leftists, who figure that without their expertise nothing can get done?

One of the cruelest things you can do for a person is to help them carry their burdens, when their burdens need to be making them stronger and more able. Where is the self organization in the black communities? Where are the block leaders, saying "we need to police ourselves"? Where are the parents, setting up study groups?

It's not a question of poverty. Drop any illiterate person from Japan or China or Tibet in a poor neighborhood, and they will work three jobs so their kids can go to college. Give the poor of almost any nation the chances that the average poor American has, and they will use them.

It's not a question of race. Prior to the upheavals of the 60's, black neighborhoods were every bit as peaceful, and their children every bit as eager to learn--an opportunity often denied them, or offered inequally--as anyone else.

No, the problem is cultural. It stems directly from the basic philosophy offered by the Left, which is that the task is not to lift yourself and the people around you up, but to extort money from the "rich" as retribution for the supposed injustice of inequality of outcome.

Part and parcel of this socialist package is the denigration of God and the church (which has been perverted into an extension of politics), the nuclear family, and self restraint and self sacrifice outright.

It really is this simple. The left wants to argue that black people can't make it on their own. I disagree. They are just the victims of really, really, really bad ideas that have grown legs; and which are reinforced daily by those who depend on the votes of those who have only languished and suffered from their long term loyalty.

You think Democrats help African Americans? Where? What Democrats do is BUY their votes. None of them have to live in the hellholes of most inner American cities, nor do they send their children to the schools where those who vote for them send their own children. They know damn well they would get an inferior education.

This is a complex topic, but quite clearly what has been done, IS NOT WORKING. This means something different needs to be tried. Vouchers would be a good start. I have a few more ideas, but lack the time and energy to defend them at this moment.

"Being" Good

I strongly agree with the statement by Chuang Tzu that "perfect goodness is crooked". I further agree with Lao Tzu who said we should "Renounce sainthood: it will be a thousand times better for everyone."

We have all met people who were self consciously trying to do "good". Most of the time, to me at least, they come across as superficial, not infrequently covertly pretentious and judgemental, and the consequences of whose actions are quite often quite different than what they intended.

Certainly, neither Chuang Tzu nor Lao Tzu were encouraging people to be bad. They were just saying that compulsion and spontaneous Goodness are incompatible. In my own terms, I view personality as a chaotic system, as a system in motion which traces a repeated pattern that is the outcome of the the decisions you make, which necessarily reflect your ACTUAL rather than your stated values. This pattern--imagine drawing a figure eight over and over--will be disrupted if you set a rule that you can NEVER, under any circumstances, go past a certain boundary. In my example, would you not have to greatly constrict your range of motion? Would your 8 not get much smaller? Would you not have to draw slower, and with less energy?

This is the effect, say, of stating that the sexual instinct can NEVER be expressed spontaneously. This rule, in my view, is one of the principle reasons for the social retardation of Islamic cultures. There are some rules--actually many rules, in many iterations of the doctrine--which get you killed if you break them. This makes their culture rigid and, yes, fearful.

At the same time, if there are NO rules, then there is no order, no pattern in the chaos. Plainly, we need some rules in sexual relations. The question is what they should be. In our own society, sex is in our face at the checkout lanes of the grocery stores, on billboards, on the radio, on the TV, at the movies, pervasive on the internet, in many restaurants, and pretty everywhere but church. And some people go there to meet partners.

This is the topic of another post, but in my view we have simply asked too much of the sex instinct. Actually, I will leave that for another post.

For now: no perfect person is a good person. The instinctual bias I at least feel for mild sinners is in my own view quite warranted.

Actually all the biases I have I feel are quite warranted. I can say that with my tongue in cheek since I'm quite aware I am neither perfect, nor perfectable--at least at this stage and manner of existence.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Communism

One needs "bon mots" on occasion. "Communism is cannibalism, barbed wire, and the Gestapo." That's my take. It's a variation on Churchill's summation of the Royal Navy as "rum, buggery, and the lash".

Take two: "Communism is a hate crime."

I already know that "revolution is the opiate of the intellectuals". My point here is that well meaning people will simply DROP any association they may have, with any people or groups who advocate, albeit often implicitly, the crime of Communism.

Communism is a horror. It is vicious men and women killing defenseless men, women and children. There is no good there, and much evil, no matter what apparently harmless intellectuals may say to the feeble minded.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Open letter to Economists

I don't know if any are reading this, but I divide them in two groups: sincere ones, and devious ones. Milton Friedman was sincere. Karl Marx was sincere. Keynes was not, and it's difficult for me to believe Paul Krugman could really be as dumb as he appears to be, so I lump him there too.

For the first group: an old Turkish proverb has it that "no matter how far up the wrong road you have gone, turn back."

This is going to sound arrogant and presumptuous, but I really think even the Chicago School and the Austrian School failed to FULLY grasp the implications of the mere fact of the EXISTENCE of a monetary policy. Intrinsically, the ability to create money constitutes the ability to confiscate wealth through the police power of the state--which is either doing the confiscating, or enabling it through granting banks and others priviledged places in the system (typically with a justified expectation of kickbacks of various sorts.)

As far as I can tell, none of them argued forcefully enough against fractional reserve banking and central banks. They argued against government interference in private enterprise, and specifically against central planning in all forms. This is all too the good, but not enough.

We need radically new thinking. A new paradigm. If you think I'm full of it, confront me, take me on, take me down.

For the devious people: look in your hearts. At some point in your life, presumably you actually wanted to help people. That's why you adopted your politics. Yet, it isn't working. Leftist policies don't work to alleviate human suffering. They CREATE human suffering.

Somewhere along the line all of you, in order to get the power to pursue policies that were politically unpopular, compromised. You decided that a little lie here and there wasn't going to hurt anyone, and that the ends justified the means. But then you forgot the end, didn't you? Other than getting power for you and yours, of course.

What I have put on the table is a solution to the problems of poverty that can be supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. Look at it, evaluate it.

And if it warrants it, advocate it.

Scattered thoughts on the Fed "Stimulus"

My first thought, strangely enough, laying in bed this morning was of the eye on the pyramid on the back of the $1 bill. The pyramid felt like a pile of gold, with an ever vigilant eye on it, protecting it. Researching the matter, I found this link, which puts the creation of the symbols at our founding--symbols which indicate belief in divine providence.

Then I thought about the rough edges on quarters and dimes. At one time, this prevented people from sanding off the edges from silver and gold coins ,and in effect stealing silver and gold. Our coins have not been made from precious metals for many decades, yet they continue the practice. Why? Appearances.

Which brings me to the big topic, the so-called "monetization of our debt". Well, Paul Krugman, you're getting the money in our economy you wanted. Happy?

As I argue constantly, you can't have inflation without somebody getting something for nothing. This point is ineluctable. For this reason, I have also argued that inflation is intrinsically wealth transfer. Take a given Point A. Add inflation, and you find new people owning things they didn't before. This process is subtle, though, so most people miss it.

I would encourage my reader (or readers, if I have more than one) to watch the movie "Life and Debt". One of the things that is striking is that the IMF apparently has always pursued a policy of forcing nations to devalue their currenty, supposedly to "boost exports". Well, think this through. What have you done when you converted a situation in which, say, one Chinese "Mao" (as I call the Chinese currency) is worth one American dollar, and made it so one Mao buys two American dollars? Or two American dollars worth of stuff?

The number of Mao's, relatively speaking, stays the same (absent inflation on their side, too). This means that they can now buy not just our imports--supposedly the point--BUT OUR NATION. They can buy real estate cheaper, here. They can buy companies cheaper, here. They can buy sports teams, rent supermodels, spend a fortune in Vegas, and so on.

Here is what I have come to view as a fundamental truth: all nations need to be largely economically self sufficient. Take Jamaica: in that movie, they go through in detail how the much more efficient American corporations simply took over the Jamaican markets, making them fully dependent on imports. The goal was exports, not imports. The converse of the desired outcome was achieved. And of course many American businesses located in Jamaica. Tourists were drawn, but if you think about it, that too is a type of export, in which money from other nations flows to you.

We are going the Jamaica route, although of course the effects will be much more muted by our already existing very robust economic infrastructure. We can weather the storm, but that is the direction we're going.

Who will be buying us up? Well, where is the money going? To Wall Street. The banks that compose the Fed have just decided it would be just PEACHY if the man at the head of the table would make a phone call and have a check ready for them at the front desk so that they can dump their Treasury Bond holdings. How much? Well, just leave the amount blank, and we'll just go ahead and fill it in. Good? Great, thanks.

To be clear, in a free market (hopefully, of course: they may have used the Fed to buy the bonds in the first place) they purchased securities that paid a yield, say 1/2 of 1% over three years. If you buy it for $100, this means it pays back, assuming that yield is annual, $101.50. This isn't much, but it is better than letting the money sit dormant, in a bad economy.

But what just happened? The Republicans won. Most rational observers believe (I am the essence of rationality: just ask me) that the FACT that many private companies are sitting on piles of cash that would normally be invested in growth is a function of fear. It's unclear what effect Obamacare will have, but it's a reasonable bet it will be much more than anticipated, both in bureaucratic headaches, and out of pocket costs. Cap and Trade has been in play, as are tax increases, which are inevitable at some point. To all this, our President appears to be an ardent leftist, as as such congenitally anti-business and pro-stranglehold on all but the companies that keep him in power (like GE--oh, isn't it interesting that the GE CEO sits on the Federal Reserve Board of New York)

In any event, our economy is now poised for business expansion and job growth. Would this not be a handy time to transition from securites you bought because the economy was in the crapper to cash, that you can then use to buy control of yet more companies? Yes, of course. But what about inflation? What inflation? If you touch the dollar first, it still has its buying power.

The best possible spin on this is that in the process of transferring yet more of our national wealth to Wall Street, actual growth is funded: we make more stuff, more people get paid to make it, more stuff gets bought, etc.

Yet, this money can be used for anything. It can be used to organize anti-Republican activists. It can be used to fund labor unions. It could go overseas to buy up China or India, or Africa. It will go wherever the people getting it want it to go, and we the American people will have ZERO control over that. If people are simply greedy, which is normally a safe assumption, it will get invested wherever the best returns look to be. If they have a political agenda--and how could they not want to protect their cartel?--then some of that money will flow to preventing a close look at the Fed, in whatever way seems practical.

Globalists have long wanted a global currency. Undermining our currency--the de facto global currency--is a necessary precondition to achieving that goal. As things stand at the moment, I don't think ANY proposals to put in place such a thing will get through a Republican Congress.

Yet, we have seen over the last half century or more how effective well run propaganda campaigns can be at changing the minds of stupid people, which candidly is a very high percentage of them. We still hear the name of Keynes with something other than contempt. This should tell us all we need about the power of defective thinking combined with apparent enthusiasm, coming from the mouths of people who are trusted "experts".

That should do for now.