Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Harry Potter

It occurs to me that a recurring theme in the Harry Potter books is the need to solve a mystery for which too few clues have been provided. Harry is constantly confronting situations he did not anticipate and for which he could scarcely have prepared, and which he survives by some combination of instinct, courage, and plain luck.

Is life itself not often a mystery, too? By this, I mean: is it not often the case that you are not sure what you are supposed to do, and who you are supposed to be? For my part, every day is an adventure, because I am making it up as I go along.

As I look at my own past, it seems you have the innocent stage, the banal stage, the sex stage, then the confusion age. You are small and happy initially, because you don't think about much, and life is about playing, cake, friends and naps.

Then the Gilligan's Island stage. I have nothing against Bob Denver or the others, but that show is banal. It is trivial. It gives the mind nothing to digest or even chew on. And I watched it daily for years.

Then girls, the chase the apprehension. Excitement, then what?

Ah, you have to find fulfillment. Fulfilling relationships, fulfilling job, fulfilling life. But it never quite gets there for most of us. No doubt there are exceptions. But for most of us, it always seems like there is something missing.

This is, in my view, the Duhkha of Buddhism, the "suffering" which is not really suffering so much as the consciousness of a gap, of a lack, of something you want and need but can't get, the feeling of Tantalus, never quite able to get that sweet fruit.

We need to be clear that this is nothing new. This is not a disease of modernity. There is nothing new under the sun. Buddha saw this clearly 2,500 or so years ago.

In response to the Existentialists who want to find in this mystery cause for anxiety, angst, I would respond that this is rather a problem to be solved, and that technologies to do so already exist, and have for some time.

To my mind, the "condition of modernity" created by academics, consists first and foremost in indefensible metaphysical pessimism, which finds in the notion of materialistic evolution cause to deny free will--and consequently to enable the notions of impartial history to gain sway, even though such notions are necessarily implemented by specific, time-bound and decision making individuals--and to deny the concept of life continued past their physical deaths.

Both of these assumptions are prone to empirical invalidation, and it seems to me, and has long seemed to me, that progress in philosophical debate is unlikely until the premises upon which our current intellectual malaise are predicated are invalidated from within the scientific paradigm of truth.

This is both possible and necessary.

Few thoughts.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The intellectual

Intellectuals, in general, are not useless: they are harmful. They are people who are hoping that some hapless soul will cry out in the night "help me, help me. I don't understand Habermassian hermeneutics and need someone to save me". Discussions of both such philosophical doctrines and the load bearing characteristics of various construction materials are equally dull, but one makes a practical difference in the world.

So in much the same way that leftists practically need to create physical crises to advance political policies that otherwise would be laughed out of the room, so too do effete, useless intellectuals need to manufacture crises that only THEY understand, such as the fundamentally exploitative nature of Capitalism, or the true imperialistic history of the United States.

Since they need such emergencies, they are quite willing to lie to get them, to abuse the truth, and even to abuse the very people they are supposedly trying to save. Van Jones lied: he never abandoned his radical pose, in his own mind--which we might well term his romantic, sentimental AND angrily self righteous self image: that of the knight in shining African American armor riding off to save his African American princesses.

He lives in a fantasy world, a world that does not and never has existed. Rodney King got beaten--unlike his several passengers, who were arrested without incident--because he charged a police officer, and repeatedly refused commands to stop fighting. The guy was tased twice and hit with a baton in conformity with police protocols before he ever even hit the ground. The guy is something like 6'4" and weighs something like 280. You take a guy like that, and put him on PCP, and it's no wonder the officer in charge on the scene said he seriously considered shooting him. And he was stopped initially for leading police on a high speed chase, through numerous red lights, and for being a combative drunk, who later blew over a .20.

I mention this because Yale educated Jones says that the King verdict--which was eminently defensible legally and morally--is what led him to become a Communist.

What we need to understand is that leftist narratives are primarily created and propagated by people who are utterly incapable of achieving business or personal success through the normal avenues of having USEFUL ideas, a good work ethic, and people skills, all of which are harnessed in the direction of economic usefulness. Adolph Hitler never had a real job, and I don't think Jones has either. His whole life has been political organizing.

Who is empowered by such organizing? Not the people. Rather, HE IS. Leftist organizing is about the empowerment of the intellectuals. The growth of the State is a growth in the power of those who don't and can't actually do anything useful. They cannot stand the idea of being left out, and the only way they can be included is if they lie, cheat and steal so as to control the systems of power and wealth creation.

Nobody wants to pick them for their kickball team, so they figure out how to get the teachers to put them in charge. It really is that simple, in many ways.

Obama is a good example of this. Being capable of doing nothing, he nonetheless entered his office believing he could do anything. He did not know what he did not know. He still doesn't. This is the worst sort of ignorance.

We can only pray that God will save us from the people trying to save us.

Obama's Dilemna

The tactic the Left uses, of necessity, is creating crises to which they can plausibly claim more government is the answer.

Fannie Mae (FDR) and Freddie Mac (Great Society) failed because they made large volumes of loans that were indefensible from a business standpoint. They were virtually guaranteed to lose, since nobody was checking to see if the loans were viable. Moreover, they were backing up large volumes of Wall Street securities, implicitly using the Federal government to underwrite the risk of very shaky loans. Once this link was lost, with the failures of FM and FM, the securities were downgraded, they could no longer be sold, large companies got into unmanageable cashflow problems, and went belly up. This created general problems that, likely not due to accident, came to a head just before the election.

Left wing programs create economic chaos, which is then seized upon to create a year of Christmas's for political fellow travellers, further regulation of Wall Street, and an expansion of the welfare state. The Depression was the same thing. Even then, in private, the conversations contrasted "reform"--socialism--with recovery, with the latter losing every time.

Here is Obama's problem: he has no crisis. What we are in is malaise, and he used his political capital, created in the last crisis, to propose fixes that fixed nothing. Based on past history, we should be recovering, but we aren't.

And taken honestly, we are not doing well, but we are not doing that bad either. Some 90% of Americans are gainfully employed. We are by far the world's most powerful economy and military. We are motivated, honest people, in general.

So we are a boat that is afloat, and moving, but not at the pace it should. Obama has no platform from which to hyperventilate and scream out that we MUST do x, y, z. He will of course try to sell the imperative nature of his ideas, but we are not in a panic mode. What we are wanting and needing--and not seeing from him, because he doesn't have them--are well thought out, serious proposals that take into account valid economic principles.

When the limelight comes on him, it will show a lot of the flaws that he has been trying so hard to hide. Of course, absent a complicit media, he would not have been elected, so any amount of serious coverage can only hurt this very mediocre, unprincipled man.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Myth, philosophy, and me typing fast

At times I will distinguish between myth and philosophy. Myth is the basis upon which philosophy operates. Myth creates the starting points of any analysis. If the "rich" control everything, then what should be done? Many answers are possible, but they flow naturally from unquestioned first assumptions.

My previous post, that of Sammy Davis, is a myth: this is an appealing story to me, and I see no reason to justify it.

There is an element as well, though, in philosophy in which truth claims are not made, per se, but rather tendencies towards concrete outcomes pointed out. What is the effect on a personality of a philosophy consisting in the belief--the myth--that nothing is worth dying for? What about the belief that dying in battle is the best way to die? Or the belief that some things are worth fighting for, but that the best way to die is in bed, old, and surrounded by people who love you?

One can tease out endless if/then constructions from basic premises. One good use of philosophy is in pointing out, particularly, non linear outcomes from basic premises. There is this tendency among many "philosophers" to want to isolate what they do from empiricism, from validation. They want it be "pure". Why? Is it not useful information to know that people who believe X tend to experience the emotive state of Y more often than people who believe Z?

As I see it, metaphysical room exists for many competing truth claims, and in analyzing what we will CHOOSE, in the end, to believe to be true, concrete outcomes are irrelevant only to intellectual aesthetes.

Sammy Davis

This is one of my favorite Medal of Honor stories. Read the citation at the bottom.

This is the image in particular that I love, even though it is just part of his very courageous action that day:

He struggled to his feet and returned to the howitzer, which was burning furiously. Ignoring repeated warnings to seek cover, Sgt. Davis rammed a shell into the gun. Disregarding a withering hail of enemy fire directed against his position, he aimed and fired the howitzer which rolled backward, knocking Sgt. Davis violently to the ground. Undaunted, he returned to the weapon to fire again when an enemy mortar round exploded within 20 meters of his position, injuring him painfully. Nevertheless, Sgt. Davis loaded the artillery piece, aimed and fired. Again he was knocked down by the recoil. In complete disregard for his safety, Sgt. Davis loaded and fired 3 more shells into the enemy.

The cannon is on fire, not really ready to be fired, and he fires it anyway. It knocks him on his ass (one of the rounds broke his back, which he did not realize until the action was over, at which point he fainted, which is not in this story), he gets up and DOES IT AGAIN. AND AGAIN, 4 MORE TIMES. Beautiful.

What they also did not mention here is that the rounds--this is my recollection, but I believe an accurate one--were flechette, anti-personal rounds. His heroism may well have kept their remote position from being overrun.

That's the way you do it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Nice video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5etFfRefGhk

In general, I avoid self disclosure, as I am not an exhibitionist. It may seem at times like I am sharing, but most of the time I'm not. There is a lot at play that is invisible, and which I intend to stay that way.

This I will grant: I am extraordinarily sensitive, to the point that I have to tame the flood by willfully limiting the flow. Having done this my whole life, I am good at it.

As I put it to someone once, though, I feel like I am a 12 cylinder car operating on 3 cylinders. The difference in performance is pain tolerance. I have a very high pain tolerance, but imagine being able to see and feel the pain of everyone you meet. Being able to feel their joys, too, would not counteract this.

I truly believe that I am capable of walking into a room and feeling EVERYTHING in there. I am not strong enough to do that.

I'm not sure why I am sharing this, but it feels right.

Meaning and Truth

Meaning is emotive. It represents the capacity to convert work and difficulty into flow, love, and direction.

Truth is the reason you do it, cognitively. You can have a sense of meaning, without being able to, or needing to, explain it.

What both do, though, is simulate order. Your world is never fully orderly, internally or (of course) externally, by which I mean there is never complete congruence between will or desire and outcome. There are always rough edges, and breaks in the texture.

As I look at a life of freedom, it is a mystery. You can do anything you want. Think about that. You can go left, or you can go right (to borrow a dialogue bit from Battle:LA). You can walk into a bookstore and buy ANY book in there. You can walk into a clothing store and buy anything in there. You can drop everything, and join a commune. You could defect to North Korea, so that someone will always tell you what to do, and you will be more or less fed and housed.

Freedom is a seamless ocean, in constant motion, which is limitless in its possible permutations.

This thought tends to make peoples heads explode, so they need to retreat into codes of behavior, moral systems, religious systems, philosophical systems.

What a sense of meaning provides is a direction of movement. This is the most important element phenomenologically. It is the task you feel compelled to accomplish, because it needs to be done.

What a truth system does is determine the limits of the meaning system, the boundaries. You do this, but not that. It provides the principles by means of which the chaos of freedom is tamed, roughly.

These are out loud musings. I'm not sure if this makes sense or not, but it feels like this is about the right direction for this line--wave, cloud, funnel--of thought.

The actual class war

As I see it, there are two classes: the people who create money, and the people who create real products and services. The real conflict is between the two. Our national debt--that carried by the Federal, State, Local governments, and that carried by private businesses and individuals--is symptomatic of wealth transfer. Most of the money created to enable those bonds of debt represented wealth transfer.

The associated price increases are merely the effect of this transfer. Inflation, per se, ought in my view to be seen PRIMARILY as wealth transfer, and only secondarily as price increases.

The key point to be grasped here is that even if the wealth is moved from the people to the government--which has plainly happened in the U.S., which you can readily see if you just look at the land and buildings and things generally owned by the Federal government--it does not benefit the "people" in aggregate. It hurts them. It is EXACTLY the same problem as that criticized by leftists in claiming that "the rich" steal from the poor.

Key point: it is possible to sustain the moral dimension of leftist critiques of our class system, but only if the correct targets are selected. As things stand, ALL of their policies instead still support elites at the expense of the common man.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Revolution

I don't remember if I've said this, but my financial system proposal could very easily be framed as a Capitalist Revolution. What any Marxists reading this need to understand is that the task is not to make everyone a worker, but to make everyone a Capitalist. When you are a Capitalist, you have the money to determine your own destiny. This is what we want.

That is, in any event, and in my view, what GOOD people should want for their neighbors. I want to be happy, and I want you to be happy. What makes me happy may not make you happy, but that is fine, provided we are both free to follow our own muses. Moreover, with both of us creating our own experiences according to our own inclinations, we can learn from each other.

It has always seemed a species of madness to me that so many intellectuals want to immersed in tyranny, and that they spend so much time and effort talking about "Liberating" people, when they know full well that such liberations involve mass murder, mass torture, and the eradiction of personal freedom and creativity.

Obama's "vacation"

First off, I think we should leave it to the Left to use petty issues to castigate their opponents. Obama's vacations are not the issue: it is what he does when he is in office. We should be grateful when he leaves, since every time he does, he stops making things worse.

But what I wanted to say was that I don't think he is as recreationally oriented as we think. Yes, he golfs, but when I look at him in my mind at Martha's Vineyard, what I see are a group of men gathered around a table mapping out a strategy, in exactly the way military leaders would. We don't know who the other men are, but we can guess readily enough the sort of men (and women) they are.

What they are producing will appear to them the work of genius, and to the rest of us like crayon scribblings with dabs of feces.

The point, though, is that when he is on "vacation", he can surround himself with people he would not normally invite to the White House. That is why he has to leave so often. He's not lazy, except in his thinking.

I will add that this "bank" he is apparently going to propose was done during the Great Depression, and didn't work then either. It will be another "stimulus" wrapped in the external trappings of being a business, which of course it won't and can't be.

Actually, I will add as well that when we hear infrastructuretechnologyeducation what we need to transpose in their place is ineedtogetmoneytomybasetogetreelected.

This is very simple propagandistic use of business terms to convince us to buy things we don't need.

Mexico could probably use infrastructure. We have a national highway system that works well, and is not impeding our economy in the slightest.

We create new technologies constantly, in the private sector.

We spend more than 3/4ths of the world on education already, and much more than almost every nation that is beating us. The problem isn't money, it's how things are structured. What we need is competition among schools, to give children choices. Vouchers are a self evident and simple way of doing that.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Glenn Beck

What I find admirable about Glenn Beck is that he has performed a very simple, and invaluable role: he has seen work that needed to be done, and gone after it. Is he THE man for the job? Of course not. No one is. George Washington was not the man for the job, and he unquestionably spent many nights in deep despair.

The people who make a difference in this world are those who see work that needs to be done, look to see if it is getting done, and if not, step in and start. You will never be good enough. You will never be smart enough. But if you are there and start, miracles can happen.

As Teddy Roosevelt put it (and I do disagree with Glenn in his analysis of TR, although I will grant that his large ego, which put Wilson in the White House, was enormously damaging in 1912): "Do what you can, with what you have, and do it now."

Those are words to live by. That is all this blog, and my other website, are: efforts to create at least one place on the internet dedicated to dealing seriously with questions of moral relativism, and in thinking through all important aspects of our current cultural and political life. Better thinking always leads to better doing.

I don't get out much on the internet--I tend to go to the same places--but I don't know of any blogs or websites quite like what I have created. This is what I did, with what I had, and what I will continue doing, with whatever I have in the future.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ann Coulter

Ann, I'm single. Just sayin'.

Few stats: legs long enough to reach the floor.

Have both hair and eyes.

Have a nice bass boat. It's out for repair, but Junior says he'll have it back any day now, in time for the competition.

Rent my very own residence.

No tattoos visible when I'm wearing my suit. I looked quite gentlemanly last week down at the courthouse. I really think it helped.

They tell me my road will get paved next year.

Well, if that doesn't do it, nothing will. Drop me a line. I'm sexy: trust me.

P.S. Oh, and if you could spot me a C note until next Friday, I'd love you forever.

Intelligence

As I view the matter, IQ measures processing capacity, your ability to manipulate spatial, numerical or verbal data accurately and quickly. The person with the high IQ finishes the math test first. They are the first to assemble the something that needed assembling. They know facts and figures about the world, and they tend to use grammar correctly.

All of these things are important. In general, given equal characters, the smarter person will always accomplish more than a dumber person.

At the same time, IQ does not imply a capacity for imagination. Einstein himself said that imagination is more important than intelligence, and the reason he said this, in my view, is that the most useful thinking operates not on existing information, but potential information, paradigmatic information.

IQ enables you to easily navigate existing trails. You can go farther, faster, with less trouble. But it does not necessarily allow you to go traipsing miles back into the bush, just to see what is there. That is a personality trait, one which implies courage, curiosity, and the capacity to imagine LACK, to realize that all the things we "know" may pale dramatically in comparison to the things we SHOULD know, and have been too arrogant, too paradigmatically fixated, to even pursue, much less find.

Let me put it this way: our Defense Dept. network was hacked some years back by a person in Russia using the most basic computer imaginable. It was not the processing speed which did it, but the creativity and persistence of the person operating it.

Tools matter, and intelligence is a tool, but the spirit operating that machine--and I do conceive of the brain as a machine, but one which I in a spiritual form operate--is what matters most.

Supreme Court, further thought

Is declaring a given law "unConstitutional" anything other than a veto? Prior to Roe v. Wade, many laws existed limiting access to, or prohibiting outright, the murder/destruction of unborn fetuses.

All of those laws were vetoed, after they had been passed by duly elected representatives of the people, and signed into law by their Executives.

Again, I think a two thirds vote in Congress should be able to wipe any ruling from the books, and the President should have no say in it. As the most diffuse, heterogeneous body in our system of government, the bulk of the power was always intended to rest with Congress, particularly in domestic affairs.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Evolution"

I think a few words on "Evolution" are in order. First, the parentheses: they are there because few dispute that change over time happens. There is no reason not to assume some sort of familial relation at some point in the distant past between Homo Sapiens and, say, the Neanderthals. Just look at a chart of dog breeds and will readily understand that selection, per se, has long been practiced and understood the world over.

What is at issue is the hypothesis that life came into being through Natural Selections, Darwin's actual big idea, and that the diversity of form plainly evident on Earth was likewise the result of what might be termed "Change plus retention".

We hear the argument about the monkeys and Shakespeare. This is not a good argument, because what the Natural Selectionists will argue is that once a monkey types To Be, that phrase is retained. When they type "or not to be", that, too is retained. Given enough time, this retentive/memory mechanism will not only produce Shakespeare, but be CERTAIN to produce Shakespeare.

In the wild, this amounts to what a later theorist called "survival of the fittest", where fitness is always context dependent. Woolly Mammoths did great in the cold, not so much when things warmed up (at least as I understand it).

Intelligence, on this analysis, is a positive adaptation, one with clear survival value, hence me typing letters on a globally networked electronic tool.

The problem they have, and it is in my view an insoluble one within their paradigm, meaning necessarily that some necessary component is missing, is that of complexity. Darwin himself saw and understood the problem that a system like the eye creates.

The eye operates as a finely tuned machine, but one which only has ANY value when the parts are taken in aggregate. The same can be said of the cell itself, the basic unit of life. The same can be said for MANY biological systems.

Necessarily, Natural Selection is linear. The example given is of a countless series of digits on a large lock. The first digit is 7. After you try the other 9 digits, you hit it, and the change is retained. Then you go to lock number 2. That number is 3. You get it, then go to lock 3, which is a 2 also, etc.

Aesthetically, this is a very pleasing conception for some. It conveys an "intelligence"--an order--to Nature, without the need to posit anything like a God.

Yet, if we look at the actual fossil record, and life as it exists today, what has happened both in the past and now is that digits are getting dialed in simultaneously, such that 72257 suddenly appears, without warning. The piece is of a whole, with no antecedants. That is all that an eye or a cell is: an unexplainable statistical aberration whose regular occurence cannot be explained with a linear model.

In my view, field theories of life will need to be reincorporated into the so-called "life sciences" in order to resolve this conundrum. In my own view, "evolution" plainly happened, but that there is sticky property to the universe such that information, once developed, is maintained in a sort of record depository in the sky.

One book that I thought dealt well with this topic was "Science and the Akashic Record". I cannot support the authors politics, but this book was in my view useful, even though I did not share all his conclusions. I have read many books on the topic. That one comes to mind first. Michael Behe, of course, is perhaps the best known. I have not read his books, since I already accept his premise, and have seen no intelligent counterarguments. As with all important topics--at least to me--I have done this debate many times in many places, and am confident in my views.

Rick Perry, in short, is on solid ground noting gaps in the Darwinian account of the genesis of life. Personally, I would support the right of Texans to teach Creationism as an alternative viewpoint, after discussing the Darwinian view, but what I most want to see is, first, the scientific gaps noted; and longer term what is really needed is actual SCIENTISTS chasing what I believe will be a culture altering paradigmatic shift, one that will attened actually figuring out how life works.

Post on Global Warming

Oi. Should I take it as a compliment that some of my posts disappear, even though they have no profanity and stay on topic? I don't know. Be that as it may, I have learned to always copy my text before hitting post, so that I can do what I am doing right here. If I took the time to write it, it may as well wind up in cyberspace somewhere.

This is my response to this article/hit piece/journalistic low road: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/08/23/rejecting_man-made_global_warming_disqualifies_perry-comments.html

I trust people who know what they know, and know what they don't know. I don't trust people like you who don't know what they don't know, and infer from that they are really, really smart.

I HAVE studied the data and the arguments used to support the Anthropogenic Global Warming conjecture, and have found it not just wanting, but farcical to any serious mind capable of the most elementary pattern recognition.

Here is a summary I wrote 3 years or so ago: http://moderatesunited.blogspot.com/2008/01/global-warming.html

My case has only strengthened since then. As an example, in this piece I talk about the criticisms of the Mann Hockey Stick hypothesis, noting that serious statisticians found serious flaws in it, and noting that the data appears to have been cherry picked to generate a specific result, one which conflicted with all the analysis that preceded it, and which was Exhibit A for Algore and his Payattentiontome Parade.

Well, we now have email correspondance from the person, Phil Jones, who had responsibility for the primary data set, saying he would destroy the data rather than give it to the people who had been asking for it. The criticism was plainly valid. All serious "researchers" have to remove the Hockey Stick from their arsenal.

I think you are misguided in thinking that the bulk of Americans still buy into this hooey. Educated elitists like you, who think things are true because they happen in classrooms somewhere, are out of touch with the common sense of people who well understand that money corrupts, and that there is a LOT of money in supporting the AGW conjecture.

Obamacare and the Supreme Court

According to this li
As of 2011, the Chief Justice of the United States receives an annual salary of $223,500, and the Associate Justices receive annual salaries of $213,900.

Think about our current situation. Obamacare is going to cost the American taxpayers trillions of dollars. It is costing us, in all likelihood, hundreds of billions of dollars now. Bureaucracies are being set up, people hired, standards set, regulations written by unelected partisan hacks. Something on the order of the Social Security Administration is being created.

A number of Appellate courts have already found that the insurance mandate is both intrinsic, and unConstitutional. What the fuck are these dumbasses doing? (You will note I don't swear often, viewing it as superfluous if the verbiage is otherwise accurate; but I have no moral objections to it).

They make the same money that CEO's of mid-size companies make, and have jobs for life. Why can't they stop their cribbage game or whatever it is they do all day, and take this up?

I have argued before and will continue to argue that our Constitution became flawed after Marbury v. Madison, an outcome that Jefferson among others anticipated. Specifically, in a system built on checks and balances, there is no remedy to the abuse of the power of the courts.

Abortion, for example, cannot be made illegal anywhere by any legislature, because the Supreme Court determined that hidden somewhere in a secret code only the priests could decipher, the right to abortion was enshrined in a document written in an age when the very concept was not something people mentioned in public.

Patently, they decreased the freedom of Americans to make our own laws. No one can protest. This is the nature of the beast.

Logically, there needs to be a legislative remedy to this situation, and the most sensible one is the ability of Congress to override Supreme Court decisions. The Supreme Court was intended to be the court of last refuge for nationally important cases. It was not intended to create laws that could not be altered by the Will of the People. Such an idea would have been abhorrent to ALL of our Founding Fathers.

As I see it, a two thirds vote in both houses of Congress should be sufficient to strike any specific Supreme Court decision from the record, resetting the case law to its condition prior to that ruling. I am no lawyer, and there may be some smarter way to do this, but something like that is needed.

We also need to create a mechanism by which these retards can be forced to do their jobs over some reasonable time horizon. In issues of profound importance, Congress should be able to order them to hear specific cases, and render decisions within some reasonable amount of time, say 6 months. There is very little which needs to be said that cannot be said in 6 months.

It is said that the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow because they grind exceedingly fine. This may be true, but if the grist is in the other building because the grinder is taking a really long nap, it is not out of order for the more percipient to be angry and wake him the hell up.

I am not particularly grumpy today, but in my more lucid moments I see the extent of the gap between what is possible and what is happening, and it sucks the wind right out of your gut. It makes you dizzy, like standing onthe edge of a very tall cliff.

Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why do we live this way, and not intelligently? Oh, I wish I knew. That is my daily preoccupation.

Prisons

I sense at times that we exist in boxes within boxes, prisons within prisons. This is the fundamental Hindu intuition, that there are levels of consciousness, which is to say there are also levels of ignorance. To be ignorant is to be confined in your behavior and awareness. This is, functionally, a prison, since the only purpose of a prison is to limit your physical motion.

Some years ago, I read with interest what was effectively a long essay by Doris Lessing, titled "Prisons we choose to live within", and found it both instructive and entertaining. You may as well.

Redemption

An old man once sought out a teacher known for his wisdom. He said him: "I am old and will soon die, and I need to ask your forgiveness for a great crime I committed in my youth. I loved a girl, but she did not love me, so in a fit of rage I raped and killed her. No one ever knew who did it but me. Please forgive me."

The teacher said: "No man can ever redeem any other. I cannot forgive you, because I do not hate you, and my own feelings in any event mean nothing. What you have to do is live with the picture of that crime until you can stand across from that woman in peace. There is no time for that now, in this lifetime. You have sought me out only because you are hoping to continue to avoid paying for that crime. When you die, her image will be all you see. It will torture you. You will not only feel her pain, but the much greater pain of separation from all living souls which is necessary to commit such a crime. You will be covered in the darkness that existed in you when you did this, and you will be alone. The memories of living comforts, and the intuition of God will torture you. These are the true flames of hell, and you will wish that hell consisted in actual flames, as these will burn you from the inside out. Time will cease, and you will be conscious only of pain for a very long time.

Flames die down after a time, however, and when they do, you will be someone else, someone capable of empathy, someone capable of doing good."

My economic proposal

One advantage I can't remember if I've pointed out is that I deal with the Third Rail of American politics, which is to say all those reallocations of capital via the government which people think are due them because they "put in their time", or because they were born in the wrong place and time, and deserve to catch up, or something like that. Social Security and Medicare are the two most important ones.

They get funded. Money for nothing: it's the mantra of the age, so why shouldn't I add my rhyme and rhythym on that theme? You have to riff on the melodies you have.

(editorial note, I'm listening to Arrow, hence the insertion of musical symbolism. The song, appropriately enough, is "Bills".)

Democrats: you can sell this to your base. Republicans: so can you.

Both of you need to wake the fuck up, though. Get those cobwebs out of your head.

The national debt

We need to be clear about something: there is no plan being discussed seriously anywhere which anticipates a year or time when our Federal government only spends what it takes in in taxes. As I understand the matter, Paul Ryan's plan takes 25 years to balance the budget, and it is being vigorously opposed as a big meany-head "grandma can just eat dogfood" GOP monstrosity.

25 years. To only spend what we earn. And it is STILL unacceptable.

Think about that. We are supposedly going to take in $3 trillion in taxes in 2016, and spend $3.5 trillion. Something like that. That is the projection. What if we only take in something like $2 trillion--our historical norm over recent history--and STILL spend $3.5 trillion? Much of the money being spent is more or less on autopilot, unless "tampered" with by Congress. You figure out peoples age and contributions, then checks for Social Security, and reimbursement of Medicare expenses go out automatically. Congress does not budget that money, as I understand it, although they have periodically voted in increases in payments for political purposes, money spent that was not contributed by the people getting it.

This is a train heading towards a bridge that is gone. The direction has been the same since FDR, and Obama is just accelerating.

Do we want to fail as a nation, or not? That is the question. In my view, not even Paul Ryan's plan is serious. We will have suffered catastrophic financial problems in the next 25 years. Everything he does is based on baseline assumptions that in my view will prove wrong. The task he set himself was creating something that was politically palatable, but as we can plainly see, it isn't, at least not to this crop of Democrats, who show no signs of disappearing. Hell, Obama still has a 40% approval rating. All the major networks except Fox are covering for him. They could ruin him in a week, but choose not to, for a variety of reasons, that presumably include primarily an inability to foresee the actual consequences of his policies on the poor, the downtrodden and the sick.

I will repeat: my plan, or something like it, is in my view the only viable way to protect this nation, and protect justice and freedom the world over.

When I see someone talking about managed hyperinflation, which self evidently will provoke strong reactions (hell everything that isn't cookie cutter will piss somebody off, this is a fact of life and of no more concern than the fact that we have to eat to live; it is what it is), then I will know progress is possible.

Who are you?

A word of advice: learn economics top to bottom, to defend this. Particularly study the history of Weimar Germany, what the inflation accomplished, and how it was ended. My proposal goes beyond anything done anywhere, but it is in my view not only workable, but will lead in short order to global peace and prosperity. In any event, this is the zip code we need to be operating in, if we are serious about saving America.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Stock Market

Perhaps seemingly paradoxically, it is much easier to conceal obvious truths among mountains of accurate information than through deception. This is in fact a basic propaganda precept, as I understand the matter.

Since no one person can wade through all that is produced around the world every day--much less over a modern year or decade--you can always assume that what you want is out there somewhere. Quite often, though, it isn't; or at least it is so obscure that for practical purposes it may as well not exist.

This is why I build my own analyses. I am impatient by nature, and have no desire to spend hours finding inferior versions of what I can create myself.

You can find hundreds of screaming headlines on the internet every day to do with the stock market, but very few people ask what its purpose is, and if it is optimally suited for that purpose.

The purpose of the stock market, in theory, is to capitalize companies. You reach a certain point of growth, and now you can either borrow money, issue bonds (not dealt with here), self capitalize, if you have enough money, or you can offer up ownership shares in the company in the form of stocks.

You find yourself an investment banker, who does all the legal-ey stuff, and poof, you have an Initial Public Offering. My god, that tall, regal looking CEO (or wonky uebernerd who still gets all the girls), and that impressive business plan, and men in fine suits travelling around talking the thing up, and you sell your stock well. You are selling 10,000 shares at an initial price of $15. By the time you have sold 1,000 the initial asking price has risen to $20, then $30. By the time all 10,000 are gone you have reached $50, with an average sale price of $25, netting you some $250,000.

As I understand the matter, this is all you get from this. If, as tended to happen in the dot.com boom, the stock rises to $72,000 a share because it's rumored you might turn a profit in five years, you still only keep the initial capitalization. Once you launch your baby, it sinks and swims both because of your performance, and--importantly--because of the perception of investors of what the perception of other investors is going to be, which is only partly conditioned by--and sometimes wholly unrelated to--your actual profitability.

Now, your stock price will affect your other borrowing, it will affect the perception of your business, and of course your ego. But fundamentally it does not represent--at least as I understand the matter--an actual asset. You can't sell it: you already have. Someone else owns it, not you.

What a stock is SUPPOSED to be is an instrument for the receipt of dividends. Have you heard of dividends? Me either. They seem to be hiding somewhere.

Theoretically, though--and this is I think how things more or less actually did operate at some point in our history--all owners in a profitable company get some share of the profit. This is obvious enough in small businesses: they run their year-end, then what is left is distributed among the owners as Christmas money for their families and themselves.

In stocks, you are supposed to get periodic payments, which are supposed to be sharing the wealth. This is what is supposed to motivate stock buying.

In theory, investors who are looking for dividends will invest primarily in profitable, stable companies. Given this, why invest in risky companies? Well, this calculus is wholly different. Venture Capitalists keep a large share of any profit made, so they are more or less betting moderate odds horses to win.

But stock investors, more often than not, will wait years to see a dividend, if ever. If the company goes belly-up, the other creditors will likely eat up whatever insignificant net worth remains.

Their motivation is the belief that other people will want to buy the stock--regardless of its underlying value, and capacity to pay dividends some day--because they can make fat money NOW. Buy at $10, sell at $20 and you doubled your money just like that. If the company goes belly up six months later, you could care less. The only reason you would care is if you still held shares in it.

The net of this logic is that the stock market has lost, if it ever had, any reason to be viewed as a rational judge of inherent value. As many have pointed out, there are many synchronizing signals that investors use, that are utterly divorced from dispassionate financial analysis. If a company lays people off, the stock goes up, since profit is certain in at least the short and medium term, as their costs have dropped. It is also certain that other people will be thinking the same thing, so you try to buy before they do, then sell after they do, making a quick profit. If, after the layoffs, their sales at some point drop as well, then you will have cashed out and moved on by then. You really don't care if the company is well run or not. To a distressing degree, neither do they in many cases, especially if they think they can cash out their stock options before the shit hits the fan. There are laws and procedures to guard against this, but there are also ways around it.

As things stand, the stock market does not function as a useful integrator of information, as I believe it should. These supposed high speed trading computers are merely a logical extrapolation of the basic dynamic of buying low and selling high without regard to why a price may be low or high.

Now, for some, the impulse for some is to ban things they don't want. I'm not like that. In my view the carrot is much more attractive than the stick, for all concerned.

Let me therefore propose this: for all stocks you as an individual, bank or investing group hold for one year, you get a 20% reduction in your Capital Gains tax. If you hold it three years, you get another 20%, and if you hold it five years, another 25%.

What we need is more rationality and order, and less chaos oriented around profit-making and taking that adds NOTHING to the economic opportunities and capabilities of Americans.

I had thought maybe we could ban stock selling outright, and insist on bond issues; but that is too draconian, and anti-Liberal. Moreover, if they are going to pay dividends, the stock system is much more flexible than bonds, which demand the same amount no matter how the company is doing. The goal in economic growth is to make it easy to get money to expand.

As things stand, I should note, I think most companies feel little to no need to pay very large dividends, since they know as well as everyone else that the money being made is on exchanging the stocks themselves. This is a feeling that may be wrong, but I suspect I am more right than wrong.

I had also thought that maybe we could enact a law to require all stocks to be sold at the same price, but the problem with that is that one of the reasons the IPO's sell through is the hope of investors that the stock will rise. Absent that incentive, far less capitalization would take place.

Anyway, these are a few musings of someone watching the ping pong ball on Wall Street, and wondering yet again at how much stupidity there is in all elements of our political, social, and financial institutions. And we do better than most others.

Perhaps I could borrow from Churchill and note that America is the worst of all countries to live in, until you consider the alternatives.

Paging Stephen Lerner and Wade Rathke

This is where you want to be protesting. Capitalism works fine, if the goal is improving the living conditions of everyone. If you attack "Capitalism", per se, in its role as an effective system for wealth creation, you create poverty. This should be clear enough.

What you need to be attacking is actual parasitism. Even JP Morgan Chase at least makes loans and capitalizes job-producing business expansions. Only central bankers produce nothing. Their whole mission is to cover up the lies told by bankers to the public. If by some unforeseeable miracle you could bankrupt JP Morgan Chase tomorrow, or Wall Street generally, all you would get is an increase in human misery, one whose epicenter will be among normal, struggling, working class Americans. The rich, being rich, suffer much less in economic downturns. Maybe they can't afford that new yacht, but they have a whole different set of problems from people who were already struggling to pay their rent.

In fact, on balance, most economic downturns work to consolidate wealth. Formerly viable small business go belly-up, and get absorbed by larger corporations. Firms that have an unlimited expense account at the Fed can outsurvive companies which pay cash money.

If you want to target injustice, target the central bankers.

Again, my rationale is here: http://www.goodnessmovement.com/Page14.html

Marxian economic analysis was plainly wrong, but his basic idea that some super rich were and are abusing the system was spot-on.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The fed

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-21/wall-street-aristocracy-got-1-2-trillion-in-fed-s-secret-loans.html

This link is interesting. I have had too much to drink to determine what aim the left-leaning Bloomberg folks are pursuing, but what needs to be pointed out is that all the "loans" in question were of money created for the purpose, in the act of writing the proverbial checks.

The Fed solves, and can only solve, problems created by our fractional reserve system. You can't get into cashflow problems if you never lend money you don't have.

Prayer

Lord, please help me to be the sort of person I will need to have been. Amen.

Economics and the professors

This is wonderful and true:

The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.
Joan Robinson, as quoted in Peter Bauer's "Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion."

I think many of us have this fuzzy, but comforting, tendency to lump economists in with mathematicians and by extension the "hard" side of university life. They are not reading poetry; they are not out in the wild participating in peyote ceremonies; they are not making pottery. No, they do MATH, and MATH IS REAL.

Thus when an economist pronounces something, people tend to take them seriously.

But the naked fact is that economics cannot, intrinsically, by definition, be divorced from politics. If you want to regulate, as an example, the stock market to achieve an economic end--market stability, for example--you intrinsically have to support a strong enough, intrusive enough police power of the State to make it happen.

Or take Keynes Fascist idea that the government should be able regulate all prices, and all capital flows in and out of the country: you have to have a very strong government in place to do that.

As I have said many times in many ways, there are essentially two types of economists, in my view: those who describe cause and effect relationships based upon historical experiments and logical analysis; and those who describe how things OUGHT to work, and who extrapolate backwards from their desired end point, in narratives which never touch the practical in any way.

Can economists be corrupted by political ends? Of course. Just look at the ubiquity of support for the plainly counter-scientific narrative of Anthropogenic Global Warming. There is no reason to dispute that many, many scientists find themselves in the position of publicly supporting this intellectually offensive attack on the very foundations of the scientific method. Nor is there any reason to grant such farcical ideas any credence because methods of incentivization and disincentivization have been used to effectively and widely for so long. Science is not a popularity contest.

Thus when I use terms like "Fabian", I have actual referents in mind. It is an unassailable fact that large swathes of the men and women educating our children want one world government, and Socialists running it. This is easily enough documented--for example, in books like David Horowitz's "The ProFessors".

Such people breed tendencies in people who go into broadcast journalism, newspaper journalism, and ECONOMICS. Paul Krugman is not stupid: he is an advocate of policies designed to end America's dominant, peace-keeping role in the world, which in the Never-Never land these fairies live in will result in the improvement in the lots of unspecified humans somewhere.

Laying this idea next to the actual history of such ideas, of course, plainly shows that where such ideas are proposed and idiocy is not present, evil is.

Bank of International Settlements

How many of you have heard of this? I have mentioned it a time or two, but my focus remains on domestic economics.

It was the idea, as I recall, of John Maynard Keynes, Hjalmar Schacht ("Hitler's Financier", I believe was one of his nicknames), and, if memory serves, Montagu Norman, the President of the Bank of England for some time, and a likely participant in the dollar inflation whose end brought on the stock market crash of 1929. Google, of course, no longer readily pops up the pages I'm looking for. Why they apparently feel so little shame interfering in the free exhange of opinion and information, I have no idea. Sometimes it seems as if the accumulation of great wealth, especially when combined with recalling the methods used, creates crises of conscience for which no remedy short of working tirelessly to force other people to give up their wealth will do.

Or perhaps they are merely ignorant of basic economics and history. They will not have learned them in most American universities.

In any event, look at a recent report:

We need to build improved resolution regimes within jurisdictions and create agreements across them. And we need to continue building a regulatory perimeter that is sufficiently robust and extensive to encompass every institution that acts like a bank.

Who are these people? I don't have time to do exhaustive research, but let me submit one idea, and another idea which was the original point of this post.

This group is an organization of Central Bankers, which is apparently quite literally working on redesigning our international financial system with no feedback from any of the sovereign governments involved.

Ben Bernanke, for example, went to Basel II, and he can sign what he wants, because he does not have to ask for Congressional approval for ANYTHING. Other than hyperventilate, there was nothing any member of Congress, the President, or the Supreme Court could have done to stop Bernanke from his money printing schemes that, unless I miss my mark, went almost exclusively overseas, to people and parts unknown. As I point out often, THIS IS INSANITY.

But consider the even greater insulation from the opinions of those whose lives they are affecting profoundly--if invisibly--of a GROUP of people like Ben Bernanke. I don't know how most central banks work, but I suspect many of them are much like the Fed, largely insulated from "political pressure", which is to say accountability. These people, who stay in the best hotels, drink the best wine, and chase the finest hookers, are literally writing our financial destiny without even asking us.

The main point I wanted to make is that the only concrete detail from the Basel II meetings that I understood was that bank reserve ratios will be raised, starting about 2016, if memory serves. This is one of those things where you announce it, but it is so far out nobody squeaks about it, then it comes, and they can point out with justice that we were warned.

Let's return to my favorite tax table.

What will be happening in 2016, according to Obama's people? We will be taking in $3 trillion and spending $3.5 trillion, in inflation adjusted dollars. Put another way, tax receipts are scheduled to increase by 50% over 2011 (1.9 trillion) in five years. How does this happen? PFM: pure fucking magic.

This is patent nonsense. We are not going to raise tax revenues that much without causing major economic dislocation in the process, which in turn will horribly impede the economic growth that HAS to happen to increase the tax base that much. No possible tax increases on the "rich" could amount to more than a small fraction of what will be needed.

So what will we have to do? Borrow, borrow, borrow. So we have on the one hand the largest economy on the planet sitting in the corner with a duncecap on, and begging for money, and we have the international financial system engaging in DEFLATIONARY policies.

For those who don't read much, the inflation/deflation cycles is the most basic form of economic assault. It was plainly the cause of the Great Depression, which was simply used by FDR, in sustained acts of amoral political cynicism, to engineer a political order and propaganda regime that got him elected 4 times, despite assiduously pursuing over long periods of time economically ruinous ideas, and causing thereby unprecedented suffering.

No conspiracy theory is needed to point out that policy is being made without the input of our elected representatives.

The BIS, the IMF, the World Bank: we have to end them all.

Self pity, Viktor Frankl and meaning

The relationship between the rejection of self pity and meaning is that the first enables the formation of the second. There is no linear connection, but there IS between feeling self pity and being UNABLE to form a useful meaning system. Rejecting self pity creates the possibility of success, whereas failing to do so ensures failure. All one can do is create fertile soil, and work regularly to find suitable seeds to plant and nourish.

I am going to quote from Viktor Frankl's excellent "Man's Search for Meaning" (page 86 in a very old paperback addition):

And there were always choices to be made. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision that determined whether you would or would not submit to those power which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom, which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.

Seen from this point of view, the mental reactions of the inmates of a concentration camp must be seen as more to us than the mere expression of certain physical and sociological conditions. Even though such conditions as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it became clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even in such circumstances, decide what shall become of him, mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp. Dostoevsky once said: "there is only one thing I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings."

...An active life serves the purpose of giving man an opportunity to realize values in creative work, while a passive life of enjoyment affords him the opportunity to obtain fulfillment in experiencing beauty, art, or nature. But there is also purpose in that life which is almost barren of both creation and enjoyment, and which admits of but one possibility of high moral behavior: namely in man's attitude to his existence, an existence restricted by external forces. A creative life and a life of enjoyment are banned to him. But not only creativeness and enjoyment are meaningful. If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.

Fannie Mae

Between them, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac control 90% of the mortgages in this country. According to Answers.com there are some 44.4 mortgages in the United States. This means that the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OWNS OR HAS LEGAL CLAIM to some 40 million homes. Let me repeat that: they own or have legal claim to some 40 million homes.

Again, according to Answers.com there are about 130 million housing units in the us.

This means that our government, at this moment, owns or controls just under one third of the homes in the US.

Further, they own in inventory some 242,000 foreclosed homes.

Now, we need to ask how exactly they got these homes. If you or I buy a house, we have to pay real money. However, the government can, in many cases, print money to achieve real claims on real property.

As an example, the Federal Reserve can purchase stock in Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac through Open Market Operations. We the American people of course don't know when this happens, since the Fed is utterly unaccountable--or at least largely unaccountable, with some mild improvements having been made by the Finance Reform Act or whatever the recent attack on "Wall Street", which of course is practically to say the small fry--was called. Provisions to audit the Fed, to a limited extent, are already showing up huge irregularities--things that make no sense if the Fed is to viewed as tasked exclusively with protecting the American economy--like sending huge amounts of American dollars abroad to foreign owned banks.

Consider this: what if the government, rather than trying to sell or rent the homes in its inventory, simply allowed people to live there for free? They themselves don't have mortgages to pay. However they "financed" it, it was either put on the balance sheet of the American taxpayer, or in effect gifted to them. You could gift homes to your supporters, the ideologically compliant. You have a raffle. If there is no purchase price, it's hard to see how that would depress home prices.

Would this not be perfectly consistent with the aims of Socialism? Framed another way, why is the Federal Government pretending to be interested in market forces?

The reality is that none of the socialists who concocted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as examples of the "semi-autonomous bodies within the State" Keynes dreamed of in his Fascist (Mussolini called it Fascist, and who am I to argue with the man who coined the term and invented the philosophy?) tract "The End of Laissez-Faire" want the reality of their subversion to be clear. They want to act like private sector landlords for exactly the same reason that Obama wants to call the expansion of the Federal government "investment". This is an Orwellian term, used, as all such terms are, cynically.

Let me quote from Keynes a bit more: "I believe that in many cases the ideal size for the unit of control and organization lies somewhere between the individual and the modern State. I suggest, therefore, that progress lies in the growth and recognition of semi-autonomous bodies with the State--bodies whose criterion of action within their own field is solely the public good as they understand it, and from whose deliberations motives of private advantage are excluded." (Chapter 4, paragraph 4).

What is he really talking about? Governmentally sanctioned bureaucracies, which have the power to make laws, but not to answer regularly to the citizenry though either elections, or direct and regular control by Congress.

There was a time when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were tied only indirectly the the government, by using the credit of our government--and that of the American people, who foolishly allowed this to happen--but not actual cash.

Well, they underwrote far too many loans that should never have been originated, and they failed. This has meant that many billions HAVE in fact flowed from our pockets to theirs. It also means they ARE the government, once again.

I would argue, though, that the Social Security Administration meets this criteria as well. They were set up to be outside the normal appropriations process, as I understand it. They collect their own taxes, ahandle their own paperwork, and send out their own checks. All of this happens largely without any Congressional intervention. They do periodically borrow money from the Treasury Dept., but that is not something, as I understand the matter, that goes through Congress. Congress--which to be clear is in theory supposed to best represent the will of the people, and to be the paramount authority in all domestic matters--has been removed. Medicare and Medicaid would likely meet this criteria as well, as would of course, the "investment bank" that Obama is apparently set to propose soon. That is a New Deal idea through and through. The goal is to buy political patronage, and spend money uselessly, bringing us yet closer to the brink and eventually reality, of disaster.

These are a few scattered thoughts I have not organized fully. Hopefully they are coherent enough to be useful to someone.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ron Paul

I wanted to make a few points here. The overarching point is this: Ron Paul is the only candidate who cannot be sorted neatly into a box that is consistent with our dominant narratives.

Look at this table: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

From 1980 to the present the expenditures of the Federal government have increased, with the sole exceptions of 1986-87, 1992-93, and 2009-10 (which was anomalous, since spending in 2009 jumped by $470 billion, then dropped back to a number that was still $300 billion more than 2008).

There is this implied but wrong idea that the expenditures of the Federal Government should rise pari passu with economic and population growth. This argument only holds if we believe that the Federal government has functions other than protecting this nation, regulating relations between States, and handling foreign policy.

Given genuinely Liberal policies, those oriented around checking the power of the Federal power through the 10th Amendment--as our Founders plainly intended, being well able to foresee the mess we now find ourselves in--the percentage of Federal spending as it relates to our GDP should have been steadily shrinking.

In point of fact, spending has kept pace with economic growth over the last 71 years, and in spite of that growth, we have managed to add to our national debt in 59 of the last 71 years. In every year but one, Reagan added to our national debt. If we count his tenure as 1953-1961, Eisenhower added to our debt in 5 of 8 years. 2001-2007, with a Republican President and Congress, 2001 was the only year the national debt did not increase, and that was clearly the legacy of a moderate Democrat working with a Republican Congress, combined with the explosive economic growth of the 1990's.

The history, then, of elected Republicans being fiscally responsible is not good.

And we need to understand that an intelligent Fabian strategy could easily consist in nothing other than making sure that, one way or another, the size of the Federal government in the national economy increases year after year, and that more is spent than taken in. It really doesn't matter if it is Reagan building up our national defense, or Johnson greatly increasing government share-the-wealth programs. With such a strategy, you can bet equally on both parties, and alter the dominant narrative from time to time from helping the poor, to protecting America, and back again. The details don't matter.

The task, in boiling the frog, is getting people used to annual debt, such that the total can become enormous slowly, over time, and at some point unmanageable.

Look at the Obama numbers. Look at the gap between revenues and expenditures: -10 for 2009, -8.9 for 2010, -10.9 for 2011, and projected at -7 for 2012. Beyond that is BS, since we don't know what the economy will do, or who the next President will be.

In order to find a -7 you have to go back to 1946. 1945 was -21.5, but we had a rather large war going on at the time.

What I would like to suggest is this: Obama is not a radical; he is, rather, merely the apotheosis of the last 70 years. He is the culmination of long term policies which have acted year after year after year to make us weaker as a nation. He is our "habit" made large. He is our enervated spirit incarnated, and shown on a large screen.

If we look at history, NO ONE will make much of a difference, if they keep doing what everyone since Herbert Hoover has done.

At the present moment our most pressing national security threat is our debt. You cannot fight this with Marines, aircraft carriers, or the latest technology. Victories in Afghanistan and Iraq will not shelter us from this threat. On the contrary, national bankruptcy and economic decline will not only destroy us domestically, but prevent us from even waging those wars.

In some respects we deserve Barack Obama. We have been asleep at the wheel constitutionally since the time of FDR.

Ron Paul, as I see it, is the only one sufficiently "nutty"--by which I mean individualistic enough to get branded with validity an outsider--to do the sorts of things which need to be done to prevent an inevitable national decline.

Yes, we need jobs. Yes, we need limited government. But we need to look at the big picture. What is it our brave soldiers and Marines and airmen will come home to, if we can't avoid collapse? Would it not make more sense to bring most of them home, and start paying our bills?

I am increasingly inclined to believe yes. Rome was destroyed by civil wars. We are being destroyed by simple stupidity, and that applies both to those who fail to grasp the consequences of our policies, and those who are consciously articulating them in the hope of American decline.

I have more to say on Iran and Cuba, but will have to get to it later.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughts on Finance system fix

First, the proposal.

I have only received feedback from one person on this proposal. He was a very successful financial advisor, and he told me I would cause a ten year global depression. Now, that's not the outcome I'm going for, so I have continued to try to get more comments, and failed to this point. He would not give me further feedback. My best guess was he thought I failed to address the need for liquidity. I added liquidity. That is why this version is version two. I don't think he read it, though.

Some things warrant emphasis, though. First, this is not a default. Everyone who we owe money gets paid. As an example, we write the Chinese $9 trillion in checks, and mark the bill paid. This money does not become worthless, because the plan is to revalue it. Once that happens, the Chinese still hold roughly $9 trillion equivalent in the new dollars, that they can use to invest in American industry, use as a reserve currency, or exchange with some other currency. Our government--and the American people whose interests that government supposedly represents--just doesn't owe them that money any more.

Second, yes, it will be interesting trying to sell this. It is hard to predict market reactions once it is introduced. If sold correctly, in my view, it should be seen as positive by everyone who wants America to be strong economically. It may not seem as if this would be the case, but even the Chinese want us strong, since we are a HUGE export market for them. If we go broke, it will hurt them terribly, for the foreseeable future. And they are not losing their money. They can buy up American businesses, if they like, which capitalizes us for job creation. This is not a bad thing. We just, of course, have to watch the ones working on secret stuff.

Third, something like what I am proposing will be needed to end the Fed correctly. Anyone who studies the situation will grasp IMMEDIATELY that, at a rock bottom minimum, we need to return the control of the Fed to the Secretary of the Treasury, which is where it was before the Fed used the opportunity the Great Depression (which they caused, at least in large part) to get themselves fully independent of supervision and accountability.

More generally, though, the Fed does solve problems that the fractional reserve system creates, specifically the problem of cash flow. [It does also apparently serve as an intermediary for most credit card and, I think, bank transactions, as I understand it, but that can be sourced out to private companies.]

If banks lend out money they don't have, they always run the risk of not being able to pay that money back out, if enough people ask. That is part of the reason the Fed exists.

Logically, then, if we are going to be thorough, we need to end the practice of fractional reserve banking at the same time as the Fed. My proposal not only does that, but funds it. No banks go bankrupt as a result of this process, although of course if nobody wants to borrow money later, they might. A superabundance of capital can only be called a good thing, even if the benefits of it don't reach the banks. They have been in effect counterfeiting for centuries, so don't try and cry me any rivers on their account. They can downsize, or change their business models.

I have not read every book on the Fed, but have read two, by Murray Rothbard and G. Edward Griffin. I plan to read Secrets of the Temple, The House of Morgan, and a couple on the IMF and World Bank, but I think I have the basics well in hand.

The two I mentioned, I did not care for, since they did not take the logic of the thing far enough. They provided useful facts, which I then operated on in a cloud of smoke until I reached understandings which I did find acceptable.

With regard to Griffin in particular, I am neither for nor against conspiracy theories, but simply see them as pointless when the things that are happening in plain sight are manifestly unacceptable; when, to be clear, the action needed is in broad stroke painfully obvious.

One prophecy I will make about the future is that I will keep putting these ideas out in public as often as I can, and as well as I can, until somebody provides me sufficient substantive feedback to further hone them. Then I will put the new ideas out in the same way. This is an important topic, and I will not let it go until this problem is solved.

Creating an idea, a plan, is like creating a work of art. My aim, like that of a good chef, is a balanced combination of aesthetic appeal, taste, and nutritive content. It must work, first and foremost, but as a craftsman I see no reason not to add personal touches here and there.

As I've said on a number of occasions, the term I like for myself is "thought worker". I assemble invisible engines, that nonetheless may one day affect the world we see--in a positive way, if my job has been done correctly and with skill.

Versailles

I am continuing my course on music, and we are up to the fugue. As I said a week or two ago, it seems to me that Versailles is a powerful and relevant symbol, but not for what one would normally assume.

The French rebelled against a King and God. They did not rebel against the order and harmony that Versailles represented. On the contrary, I think one must see in the Gallic mind as it exists to this very day an instinctive--and, as it were, atavistic--fondness for the "music of the spheres" conception of the universe that Versailles represented.

Everything and everyone in its place, "scientifically" ordered. Is this not what Socialism/Communism, with their overarching bureaucracies and purportedly rational controls represent? Did Marx himself not label Communism "scientific socialism", a phrase later invoked by Barack Obama Sr. in his most famous published work?

If you look at the conception of the French banlieue, they represent a spatial organization that is meant to connote and imply order, planning, a smoothly flowing society. They don't operate as such, of course, since our world in reality is chaotic in a formal sense, but that is the aesthetic conception.

Socialism, the fugue, and Versailles are all of a piece. "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose".

The Sun King still rules in spirit, n'est ce pas? All hail his magnificence, in the form of Marxist ideology.

I truly believe this is right. This is the cognitive counterpart to the fundamentally psychosocial outcomes of intellectual decadence I have labelled, depending on how far advanced it is, either Sybaritic Leftism or Cultural Sadeism.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Movies

I rarely watch action movies more than once. What is the point?

But there are a few I really enjoy. I added Battle: Los Angeles to that list tonight, having watched it a second time.

To my mind, to my instinctive dark part within me, persistence has an irresistable allure. I love people who fight when there is no hope, who carry on because they are BUILT THAT WAY.

A quote I have quoted several times is from the Kentucky Derby Museum, which quoted some Louisville personality, known for neat suits, good drinks, and great parties, who said that: "Mint juleps should never be made by novices, Yankees, or statisticians".

Oh, we all need that nourishment in the dark, don't we? We need that secret faith that things will either work out, or that we will die nobly. We don't want to count the odds, but simply deal ourselves in and watch what happens.

Most of history has been made by ridiculous people, hasn't it? How long did the reign of Julius Caesar last? A year? Something like that. But we all know his name. Alexander Hamilton never really got any of his proposals through, but we read about him, too. Caesar, of course, was his hero.

I look at we Americans and I still see courage. I still see sincere committment to principle. This is a beautiful thing.

What you persist in--and why--determines who you are. You can take that to the bank.

Liberalism versus Libertarianism

The primary claim of Liberalism is that governmental power is necessary, but that it should be distributed as widely as possible, in an interlocking series of checks and balances.

The primary claim of most of the people I have known who have called themselves Libertarians is that governmental power is NOT necessary, and that it should be as little as possible, and ideally something close to zero. This basic position could also be called Anarchism, where the idea is not a lack of order, but rather as many orders as there are individuals, and groups of individuals choosing to associate for a common purpose, for whatever length of time.

Philosophically, I have argued that Liberalism rests upon the idea that all ideas which do not cause harm to others are to be treated legally as equal. Morally, it stipulates no absolute principles other than the desirability of peace and order, as embodied in the principles of life, liberty, and property (and the pursuit of Eudaemonia, if we follow Jefferson).

Libertarians, on the contrary, DO posit an absolute principle, that governments have no claims on the freedom of individuals, and should not, in principle.

Practically, as an example, where a Liberal will see drug law as a matter for local custom, a Libertarian will view ALL laws restricting drug use as invalid morally. Where a Liberal would leave the matter up to the States, a Libertarian will seek to abolish all drug laws on a national basis.

These thoughts may be helpful for some.

I can't resist adding that virtually every self-declared Libertarian I have ever met either smoked pot or read Ayn Rand with a devotion approaching religious adoration.

Daily Mail post

No telling if this will make it through, and I have no desire to try and remember to check. Response to this article.

Actually, I'm going to add a bit, so this won't be quite the same.


Like the US, the EU owes way more money than it can ever hope to repay, if we apply normal economic methods to the problem. This is why I have invented new economic methods.

Please consider my proposal of using controlled hyperinflation (an apparent, but not real oxymoron) to recalibrate national economies: http://www.goodnessmovement.com/files/Download/Saving%20America--How%20to%20fix%20our%20financial%20system--version%20two.pdf

Governments get away with inflation because they do it gradually. Prices go up, and as Keynes pointed out, not one person in a thousand can tell you why. They just know milk costs twice this week what it did last week. This process is sneaky, so governments get away with it.

What no government in history has done, to my knowledge, is openly announce that is what they are doing, and do it all at once. This is chutzpah, but hell it's better than bankruptcy.

To be clear, if the Weimar German government had announced, publicly, that the inflation the German people were seeing was being used to pay off government debts and industrial debts, there would have been a revolution, once the effects of that inflation hit.

Yet, the government was able to confiscate, secretly, the wealth of almost all Germans, and use it to get itself, the government, back in the black, as well as all large German firms who had wracked up debts in the War. Back in those days, most people were savers and not debtors. Inflation helps debtors and hurts creditors, unless those creditors are the ones creating the money, which is normally the case in the United States.

I ask again, and have received no good answer to this: why can't we print our way out of trouble, but do it intentionally, openly, and QUICKLY? All private and public debt of all Americans erased, and the system capped so that future inflation is impossible. This will lead in short order to generalized wealth. I am convinced of it, even though no nation in history has ever done what I am proposing, either as a fix, or as an end condition (no money creation).

Feel free to answer here. Anonymous is enabled, and there is no filtering (although spam and blatantly inappropriate comments will of course be deleted.)

The Confederation of Helvetia

I found this article interesting, on a number of levels.

Ponder this phrase:
Switzerland, the nation that hasn’t gone to war with a foreign power since Napoleon, is reluctantly debating a generational taboo: ceding monetary independence to win a battle over its runaway currency.

"Runaway currency"? What has happened here? Switzerland has pursued a rational monetary policy, which to this day, in my understanding, includes gold backing. What has happened around them is OTHER countries have pursued insane, unaffordable spending, and paid for it by printing money.

The next paragraph reads:
Swiss National Bank Vice President Thomas Jordan said the central bank is assessing “a whole range of options” to prevent the franc, which reached a record against the euro this month, from making Swiss goods prohibitively expensive. Even a cup of coffee at Cafe St. Gotthard in Zurich costs $8.30, with one Swiss franc buying $1.2816 at today’s exchange rate.

Please understand this: coffee has not gotten more expensive IN FRANCS, which is what the Swiss use. It has gotten more expensive in DOLLARS, because--like the EU, but to a lesser extent--the US has also pursued stupid monetary policies. In our case, we can't help it: we don't control our money. Ben Bernanke and an elite group of bankers and large corporations do.

But you have to ask about the journalistic integrity of Bloomberg, in phrasing it like this. I sent an email to the author, but have not heard back. Several points needs to be made, though.

The most important is that this emphasis on export through devaluation is Keynesian. It is what the IMF and World Bank that he helped found always promote. It leads to short term gains, and long term losses. It leads to the erosion of national sovereignty, and indebtedness to global elites like the IMF.

The argument being made in favor of devaluing the franc--more on this in a second--is that it will promote exports, by making Swiss goods--chocolate, watches, pharmaceuticals--less expensive in foreign markets. Half of their income comes from exports, according to the article.

Logically, then, half of their income does NOT come from imports. What is being proposed is helping half the economy at the expense of the other half of the economy. As things stand, imports are cheaper, and domestic production and consumption is entirely unaffected by exchange rates.

Inflation erodes value. It makes savings less valuable. It erodes property values. It is a tax, or a property seizure.

We need to be clear about what the Swiss National Bank is proposing, in discussing a "target". They are talking about consciously inflationary policy designed to erode the value of the money the Swiss people use. This will benefit some, and hurt others. It will benefit, presumably, those lobbying for this, and hurt those who do not understand what is being presented.

The Swiss National Bank is talking about printing money. Where does this money go? How is it distributed? In the United States, we very literally have NO way of knowing where the TRILLIONS of dollars that the Fed has printed have gone. But let's consider some scenarios.

Let us say I am John Smith, and I run ABBA, which designs and builds Swedish supergroups. We are a publicly held company. I have a friend at the Swiss National Bank, and we spend a lot of time in the wild drinking schnapps and yodeling together. The SNB determines that inflation is needed. But how to put money into the economy? Well, why not buy up a whole bunch of my stock--which we will issue for the purpose--so we can fund a business expansion? This is a great deal for me. It doesn't affect the SNB in the slightest. But it hurts, in the long run, the Swiss consumer, the value of whose money goes down, and he doesn't know why. I got money for free, though, which is a very good price.

Or let's add a level. Let's say that the money is actually granted through the banking system. Let's say that the SNB buys shares in WBBB, the We Be Bankin' Bank. That bank now has more money to lend, and it lends it to me, at a very attractive rate of interest. The same thing has happened. Ostensibly the economy has been "stimulated", which is not entirely inaccurate, but at the cost of transferring, over some period of time, some portion of the general wealth to the bank and to me.

Bloomberg is published and controlled by people with business interests. So are all other financial publications. In this particular case, given the language, and given the failure to explain what is actually being proposed, one can infer that the author had a vested interest, for whatever reason, in supporting a view of reality that to be generous was incomplete, and to be honest was likely openly, cynically misleading.

BANKERS UNDERSTAND THESE THINGS. The rest of us don't. As Henry Ford said:
It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.

Hopefully I have done something to further that revolution by pointing out some of these normally hidden realities.

I will add, actually, that one title for the book I keep threatening to write that occurs to me is "A Capitalist Revolution". For anyone new to this blog, the ideas are here: http://www.goodnessmovement.com/Page14.html

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Unintended consequences

I'm a JJ Cale fan. Have been for many years. I was listening to an interview with him, where he was asked why he places relatively less emphasis on vocals than most other producers (he apparently produces his own music most of the time). His answer was that he didn't like his voice, so he deemphasized it.

He was then asked how he gets this sound like he is backing himself up, like there are two of him. He replied that his singing is also pitchy, so he overdubs it (I think was the term), so the flats and sharps cancel out.

In trying to avoid the consequences of having an outstanding song-writing ability but poor voice, he achieved a style which is distinct, and which I (and many others) really enjoy.

So many stories in the world. Would that we could live long enough to hear more than a fraction of them. This is not a world of triangles. No one need fear that. What we need fear are the people who cannot live without them.

Previous post

What did it mean? Was I drinking? Was that an attempt at humor? Was I trying to be mysterious by being vague and stupid?

There is an answer, but I would like to submit the actual answer doesn't matter. Let us suppose that you grasp, fully and completely, every nuance of meaning I intended. So what? That is not generative. That is imitative. Don't copy me. Any version of you is superior to an inferior version of me. How many people any more know how to sing in their own voices? How to be stupid and reckless and sanguine and loud?

I provide a sign in the wilderness. Walk up to it, then keep going. Or maybe in trying to follow my meaning you get lost. Figure out where you are, then explore. Surely there is something interesting there. Much of what I do might be seen as amounting effectively to spinning myself 9 times around, then walking until the night, taking care to see what I pass.

Does meaning inhere in statements, in the interpretive process, or in the creative synthesis of the two? Self evidently, I believe it is the last.

Be yourself. You can't in any event be anyone else.

Play

There was once a 10th Dan thinker who tripped over a; semicolon.

The End.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Reading this blog

This may be obvious to more serious techie types, but if you choose to, you can add this blog to your RSS feed, where all the blogs you are following will pop up automatically, as I understand it; and you can get a daily email with whatever I wrote the day before. I change it sometimes, and I don't know if the updates get sent out, but it's not a bad feature.

I didn't look at my stats until about six weeks ago, when someone was asking if I even had evidence anyone was reading this. I thought about it, and hints were few and far between, so I started looking, and now I check it almost every day. I think if you get the email or RSS your stats disappear, but that's OK.

This blog is written largely out of my own psychological necessity, but it is good to know at least a few people read it. Thank you!!!!!

For my part, I have thoughts flowing through my head all the time, and they don't leave me alone unless I note them somewhere. I used to note them privately--I probably have a thousand pages of unpublished random musings--but most I now just put here.

Quality

I can and have taken on entire websites for months at a time. What I mean by this, is that I intentionally go places I know I am not welcome, and post opinions which get me vilified. I have had posts--to be clear, posts that in most contexts would be seen as benign and innocuous--that attracted hundreds of insults.

None of this matters, though. The point is that you can be one single person, and no quantity of contrary opinions can overwhelm a correct idea. The world was not flat when all of humanity believed that it was. Light was still bending even when that was considered impossible.

Thus, I can "debate" 10,000 people, and not be touched, if the views I am defending are the best available on the topic.

You could not take 100 million people of average intelligence, and EVER get the Theories of Relativity, or Newton's Laws of Motion. There is no quantitative addition that creates quality. It is a different beast. It answers to a different master.

This is why the idea of individualism is so important. We don't want the average. The average happens naturally. We want the special, and the special disappears in the soup of aggregation.

Ron Paul

The interesting thing about Ron Paul is that not only should he be able to garner much of the Tea Party vote, but he ought to be able to get the hard left vote as well, of those who think Obama betrayed them by not attacking "corporations" enough. Some of the most left-wing people I know love Ron Paul.

As I see it, the Federal Reserve is the primary cancer that has made us so sick. They created the Depression that FDR exploited to enact socialism in this country. They are setting the stage for massive inflation, if and when people start borrowing again. They are the principle and primary agent of wealth redistribution in this country.

And Ron Paul is the only candidate that truly grasps this. I have not studied him extensively, but if he only conquered the Fed, that would be enough. It has to be done right, but that is the key, I am convinced, to long term prosperity for the world.

Grag bag

Excuses are what are left when you deduct unforeseeable circumstance and ignorance from the gap between performance and intention.

Joy is the answer to why, not the converse. How is the only relevant question.

Did Jesus have a sense of humor? If one focuses on the doctrine of love, then you must say yes. If you focus on a God who condemns the frivolous to eternal torture, then you must say no--life would be much too serious then.

If you teach a man to fish, but he can't reach a lake, then you have accomplished little. Wealth-building always begins with jobs, no matter what they pay, and any system that ensures structural unemployment is unjust, even if those who do not work are compensated for those failures.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Religion

There is a discussion going on at the Wall Street Journal as to whether or not religion is necessary. Something to that effect. With 10,000 comments there seems little point in adding my two cents there. Still, an interesting topic.

The following will be a bit stream of consciousness, since I have a three dimensional, textured thought pattern that I am trying to import over to a linear, two dimensional format.

Let me put it this way: Goodness is the fruit we desire. It is the capacity to interact optimally with our world, our "selves" (as if consciousness were truly severable), and with others. It is a way of optimizing experience, life as it is lived, motion as it is moved (?), speech as it is spoken. The whole enchilada. The bigger sum than you could ever conceive.

This fruit exists on a bush, or a tree, or a vine. It emerges from a latent order, a latent support, latent sources of nourishment, none of which resemble outwardly the fruit itself, but whose existence enable the emergence, the fruition, the granting of continued life that the fruit represents.

What is a fruit? Is it not symbolic of renewed life? Do actual fruits not contain the seeds that enable the spread of whatever plant gives rise to them? Can we not imagine some of these seeds will give rise to life that continues even when the tree that gave birth to them is no more?

Look at an orchard. There is a lot of life in there. The trees are in rows, often, but that order is nothing compared to the order which enables water and soil nutrients to be turned into life, and then the renewed life that, say, apples represent. Every apple that blossoms, then weighs down a bough, is a child that, given the chance, can have more children. It exists in a complex harmony that is no less rich because death is always an option.

Religion, to me, is the idea behind the orchard. It is the latent idea, the one hidden. We see the life. We see the fruits to which that life leads. But real, true religion is the possibility of all of these. It is the possibility of informational complexity, of rich diversity, of INTELLIGENCE.

As I see it, families have emotional tones. They have rich patterns that, were one sufficiently perceptive, have all the rhythmic complexity of a classical Indian tabla performance. We all of us move as oceans, back and forth. We have our waves, the winds act on us. We have tides and sun.

What I am seeking in the notion of Goodness is all of this. I have given a simple name to the very surface of the sea, and indicated what I think might be below the surface, but of which I am not entirely sure.

Certainly, I have applied logic to the issue. I have thought long and hard about it. Logic is a sort of boat that allows you to connect with the ocean, but it is important to remember that it also separates you from the water.

Sometimes I feel that in poetry alone can one be rational. I am no anti-rationalist, and I see readily enough the atrocities and horrors that come from taking no heed, accepting no responsibility, and from living as one pleases. This is not what I am advocating.

Do not stop short of reason: travel through it, to the other side, and becomes so accustomed to its dictates that you can travel back and forth from A to F spontaneously, gently, without force or violence.

Few thoughts. I am content with this, even if it appears nonsensical, and may not appear to even address the topic. Put a dunce cap on me and sit me in the corner. I'll still be happy.