Monday, October 31, 2011

- Herman Cain's History Of Sexual Assualt

Behold the great Democrat strategy for keeping Herman on the plantation. It fulfills all the liberal fantasies about conservatives and blacks in a single instance. (If you can't figure it out, according to Democrats, Republican voters are the ones with the 'have a nice day' stickers on their backs.)

After having listened to the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, I'm not willing to discuss any of this any further.

Friday, October 28, 2011

- Pheasant Hunting Season Approaches

Every year about this time, my mind drifts away from the labors at hand and wanders to less productive thoughts of rolling hills, still dogs, and the sudden crack of the gun. I've gotta confess, I just love Pheasant hunting. And as the temperature starts to cool each year, I find it harder and harder to put it out of my mind.

It's not hiding in the dark woods and waiting to bushwhack a passing deer or boar. I like that sort of thing too, but let's face facts - that type of hunting is really a solitary endeavor. Pheasant hunting is more social. It's a bit of the sporting life that you can only do in groups. Man is a social animal after all, and this is a group put to good use.

You need not be quiet... well, not really quiet. Between birds you laugh with your friends and make Dick Cheney jokes. You kid about when "lawyer season" opens and joke about calling one of your friend's wives just to ask what his blood type is. "Oh... no reason... everything is fine... he can't come to the phone right now... gotta run bye!" Pheasant hunting is less about personal accomplishment like some kinds of hunting, and more about fellowship.

You go into the field aided by man's first and very best ally, the hunting dog. Most Spaniels and Pointers are giddy at thought of doing their jobs and would rather work for their keep than get it for free. Generations of careful breeding mixed with sound training has turned the act of finding a bird into a euphoric experience for them. And once you get to know them that euphoria is easy to see and appreciate. They do all the really hard work.

But we kick in our part too. The dog's nose may find the bird but it's man and his ingenuity that plucks it from the sky and puts it on the table. Pheasant move surprisingly fast to the uninitiated, but when they break for the sky time seems to slow down for the hunter. It either takes seconds or hours to shoot the typical pheasant; I find my my memory plays it back both ways.

They have a camouflage that defies reason. When the dog brings back this bundle of bright colors and striped feathers you wonder how you could have possibly missed seeing it. I've seen a whole bird all but disappear behind just three or four blades of grass. Finding a bird can be like finding a $1,000 roll of bills in the cushions of your couch. You're nothing but pleased to have found it, but you can't for the life of you imagine how it got there without you already knowing about it.

My buddy Randy calls it 'manly fun'. It is that. Mercutio would have hunted Pheasant had he the means, and so would his brethren. (Verona would surely have imposed a truce for the sake of the dogs and the birds.) It's a rich man's sport made accessible to the common man by virtue of the American experience. We're all princes here - at least while we're in the field with the dogs. Or even if we aren't, for a few hours we can at least feel like one.

We'll be hunting Pheasant again this year in a slightly bigger group than normal. I already can't seem to take my mind off it. Owing to it's sudden nature, there are precious few good Pheasant hunting videos. But I think think the one above captures enough of it to get your mind wandering like mine has been.

- Small Enough To Fail

Jon Corzine's MF Global goes over the waterfall.

I don't know Jon Corzine personally, but the people I know who do, don't think much of him. My personal knowledge of him comes from watching his time in public as Chief at Goldman, his single term as NJ governor, and the insider stories I've heard through industry contacts etc. I can't relate stories that were told to me in confidence, but if they're true then he's as reprehensible a person as I can imagine, and I'll cheer for his failure wherever it may come from.

He clearly believes that one set of rules applies to him and a totally different set of rules, that he and his fellow cognoscenti should be the ones to write, should apply to everyone else. He left NJ is desperate financial distress thanks in no small part to his 'intimate' relationship with the labor unions, and now he's run MF Global into the ground as well.

According to a contact of mine who's personally acquainted with him, he's 8 parts ego for every 1 part intelligence, and he has no compunction about breaking the rules so long as he doesn't think he'll be caught. Then there is the industry story of him and his team making use of a certain spreadhseet from the LTCM default, and the stunning profits that their 'purely coincidental' positions made in the following weeks. Put all this together and it paints a picture of a man who has virtually every major character flaw of any 20th century western man, and none of his virtues.

I think it's a shame that MF Global has to go the way of the dodo, but at least they aren't too big to fail. So the bad actors will be purged, the assets will be sold and the world will continue to spin on it's axis. But as far as I'm concerned, none of this could happen to a nicer guy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

- Don't Get Me Started....

...talking about the planning board and building department in my town. They're a gang of self-justifying, totally intrusive crooks. Thanks to a buttinski neighbor who thinks it's her business to ensure that everyone stays in compliance with every law no matter how stupid, (and whether the issue involved concerns her directly in any way or not) I had a hell of a time getting government approval to replace a piece of old concrete in my back yard. In total it cost me about $1,500 in inspection services and permits, and took slightly over a year to reconcile. the builder who did it for me ended up with fines totaling in the 5 figure range.

Now I lock my back gate not to keep out criminals, but to keep out uninvited government officials. The bureaucrats are a much greater threat to my liberty, and I view their intrusion into my personal life as highly tyrannical.

It seems I'm not alone in that compliant.

- Another Proud NJ Moment

Meet Adolf Hitler Campbell, resident of lovely Flemington NJ.

It may not be child abuse, but it certainly limits the kid's options for future career paths.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

- The Power Of Greed

This hysterical quote was forwarded from my buddy RA. Just staggering these people:

Actual quote from protesters occupying street of Toronto's stock exchange:

“It’s weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their world view have been at work for two hours already. And then when it’s time to go, they’re still there! I guess that’s why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That’s the power of greed.”

I guess if all it took to get rich was to sit around banging drums, smoking dope and complaining, then everyone would do it.


OMG... I just noticed the funniest thing about the quote above. He's not some idiot college kid, he's 38 years old. That's pretty ripe to still be living in your parent's basement.

- What Happens In Minneapolis, Stays In Minneapolis

The WSJ has a story today about how many people in the institutional financial services industry are migrating away from Manhattan and Greenwich, and embracing the smaller cities. You need a subscription, but it's worth reading. More than one person I know is strongly considering this path.

The thing I find most persuasive is the immediate reduction that you get in 'tail risk'. What 'tail risk'? The last time I thought to check, I don't think the Iranians were planning on Nuking Cleveland.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

- NJ Gun Laws (Fully) Explained

An awesome video which explains how NJ gun laws work.

- I Miss Socialism

If you’re a frequent reader then you probably think I’m kidding with this post’s title, or I’m going to use it to form some clever point. But the simple fact is, I do miss socialism. I can hear some of you already…

“Don’t worry Tom”, you’re saying, “you’re going to get plenty more socialism soon so just wait a bit.” To that I honestly say, I wish you were right, but I don’t think you are. We’re going to get something, and whatever it is, it will certainly not be “individual liberty”, but I don’t think we’re going to get socialism exactly.

That was the thing about the cold war; which was really only the idea of a war, and it was really only against the idea of socialism. But for most of us, it was easy to see that we were the good guys. We knew that behind the iron curtain millions of people were held against their will as little more than slaves. It was clear who the villain was and who the hero was. The villain was the top down despotic plutocrat who replaced the free choice of the people with a government command, and the hero was the lover of liberty. But these days it’s not so simple. These days our villains are craftier and better at portraying the villains as the victims. And since we no longer have the Russians as our nemesis, more people than ever believe them.

I mean think about it. There is a reason that we aren’t actually getting socialism. Why bother to own the means of production when you can control it utterly at one level of remove? Need the profits from it to fund a pet project? Write a new tax. Want to change the way the business is being run? Write a new environmental, labor or healthcare regulation. Want to change its location, or industry or marketing strategy? No problem. Just call the NLRB, the EPA or the FCC respectively. With a little carefully structured regulation, you can have all the benefits of ownership without any of the downsides.

For instance, you don’t have to worry about competition in the marketplace at all because government is a monopoly. Two car companies or ten – it’s all the same to you. You can control them all the same – or different for that matter if you prefer. You can keep the legal barriers to entry high to prevent little guys from intruding, and keep the capital requirements high to keep the big guys from running away. You can impose tariffs, offshore profit taxes, and all manner of rules to keep the government boot firmly on the business neck. It’s all yours – without risk or loss.

In fact, it’s even better to let someone else actually ‘own’ the business because then if things slow down or your plan hits a bit of a bump and it turns out that you need a fall guy, you simply point the mob at the ‘greedy rich guy’ and cheer them on as they string him up. Then when their blood lust is sated you step back in urging calm and reason, while you let the other ‘owners’ know that they could be next. Spell it out if you have to. Just let them know that you are the only thing that stands between them and the pitchforks.

Anyway, this is why I miss Socialism. What we have now is much worse because it’s more subtle. It’s harder to explain, and much harder to undo. In the end, if you’re a maker and not a taker, you can’t really do much of anything except run from it, and leave the technocrats to ‘manage the decline’. Let them be in control of what remains, but take your vitality and your creative energy and use it somewhere it will be appreciated, and where you will be allowed to benefit directly from it.

We still have a chance to fix this of course, but at the moment we’re at a distinct disadvantage. Every time some lover of liberty (there are still a few out there) points to the things that would have to be done, they’re called ‘crazy’ by the establishment in Washington and the bulk of the media. Put forward a plan to dismantle cabinet level positions, and people treat you like you’re wearing a tinfoil hat – even though that’s really only the beginning of what we would need.

Eventually, what we need is to regain our personal liberty and greatly strengthen private property. And by that I don’t mean our liberty to sit in a drum circle 24 hours a day and keep honest people awake. I mean the liberty to keep the benefit from our own labor and our own risk taking. I mean the liberty to do as we like so long as it doesn’t interfere with any other people or their property. I mean the liberty to live our lives principally through agreement with others rather than by government command. But so long as the focus is ‘social justice’ instead of ‘actual justice’, that’s an unlikely outcome.

This is why I miss socialism. It was a simple enough thesis that all but a few nut jobs knew in their hearts that it was wrong. But these days, half the broader public, and all but a very few in Washington think that allowing the government to command us in our daily lives is better than each of us having our own individual liberty to do with as we like. And that’s a sad statement about America’s future.

Friday, October 21, 2011

- Reality Snuck In, And No One Noticed

LOL.... get this quote from Zucotti Park....

“Within every city there are people who freeload, who make people’s lives miserable. We just deal with it. We can’t kick them out.”

Was that a rich Wall Street Fat Cat? A city parks official? No, it was 26 year old protester Michael Glaser, who was totally unaware of the irony of his comment.

The NYMag article details how the devotees of the collective in Zucotti Park are coping with the way that personal property has crept into the discussion. Mostly they are resorting to physical violence.

To Shane Engelerdt, a 19-year-old from Jersey City and self-described former “head drummer,” this amounted to a Jacobinic betrayal. “They are becoming the government we’re trying to protest," he said. "They didn’t even give the drummers a say ... Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive.”

The drummers claim that the finance working group even levied a percussion tax of sorts, taking up to half of the $150-300 a day that the drum circle was receiving in tips. “Now they have over $500,000 from all sorts of places,” said Engelerdt. “We’re like, what’s going on here? They’re like the banks we’re protesting."

I once read a science fiction short story* about a man who created a fast reproducing bacteria, closed it up into a sealed environment, and then subjected it various stimuli to encourage the development of intelligence. That's what's happening now in Zucotti park. The myriad inefficiencies and failures of collective decision making are rearing their head, and these kids are either too stupid or too drunk on Koolaid to notice.

In the end I guess we can expect a totalitarian monster like Mao or Stalin to rise to the top and regiment the protesters - but not until after many of them have been subjected to needless hardship. Communism always attracts those types.

* It was called Microcosmic God if you want to look it up. It was excellent reading.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

- OWS Just Like The Rest Of Us: Part 2

I don't know what to say about this:

A man is arrested at Occupy Toronto after allegedly smelling a woman's feet and trying to get other protesters to drink urine.

The Protester who uploaded this video also left this comment on it claiming his girlfriend was groped by this man as well:

"He was also groping her but I failed to mention due to being a bit emotionally tied up. Evidently the cop and I cleared it up wish I could have reacted perfectly. If I didn`t get this evidence I feel those who were still in the tent would have discovered it."

A regular pillar of the community.

- Governing Ourselves

Peter Robinson has totally outdone himself with this thoughtful interview of Larry Arnn, the President of Hillsdale college. This is a real academic... a truly thoughtful man. I'm very impressed with what I've heard.

I'll repost the rest when UK makes it available. It's worth your time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

- They're Just Like The Rest Of America

Wait a sec... don't the rest of you lie around nude and covered in Olive oil too?

(Maybe I need to get another hobby)

- A Word On The Notional Value Of Derivatives

I wanted to put up a quick note to explain the role that ‘notional’ values play in calculating the risk inherent in a derivative. Whenever a writer is trying to scare people regarding the derivatives market, they start talking about notional values. But those amounts don’t mean anything in the way that most people think about investing. They’re really just a marker that exists for accounting purposes. No one will ever lose a trillion dollars on a trillion dollar notional derivative. It’s not how they work.

But the people who write those scary articles don’t always know that themselves. And very often are writing the story in the first place because they don’t know it. So let me give you a very simple (maybe just a hair over-simple) example to explain the principle:

When writers start talking derivatives, they’re usually talking about the swaps market, which is by far the largest derivative market. The most common derivative in that space is what’s called a plain vanilla interest rate swap. The way that derivative works is that it’s an exchange of cash flows between two parties. For our purposes, let’s use the example of one party paying a single floating rate payment in 12 months and the other paying a single fixed rate payment in 12 months. They agree on a starting point, and when the payment will be made etc. And for this example let’s set the ‘notional value’ of this swap at 1 billion dollars.

If the interest rate for the swap is 5% now and 5% in 12 months then the ‘loss’ for the bank involved would be zero. It doesn’t matter if the notional amount is a billion dollars or a trillion. It’s still a total loss of zero. But let’s take look at what happens if the interest rates change.

If for instance rates had moved from 5% to 5.1%, then one party would pay a fixed 5% on the notional amount, and the other would pay a floating rate of 5.1% on the same amount. That’s one party paying 50 million, and the other paying 51 million, generating a net difference of 1 million dollars. One party would call that a gain on their billion dollar swap, and the other would call it a loss. But that total loss has taken 12 months to accrue. Break that into a daily gain/loss and it’s a total daily exposure of $3,846 dollars per day.

That’s it. A little less than 4K daily exposure on a 1 Billion dollar swap. This is a dramatic simplification, but it does address the basic principle. The billion dollar notional is never paid and never even risked. But if you’re trying to scare somebody, it’s a lot more intimidating than talking about a 4K daily exposure.

Not all derivatives are as simple as the example above, in fact… really none of them are. But as you add complexity to the derivative, typically the notional amount bears less of a relationship to the risk involved – not more.

And the point of all this is, if you know that a derivative has a notional value of 1 billion or 1 trillion, or even 10 Trillion, you really don’t know anything about how much risk the bank who issued it is really taking.

My friend Kevin Williamson posted a little blurb in the corner about a risk transfer that Bank of America pulled, that got partly tangled up in this issue. It may yet be a very serious issue, I don’t know the details. But I would be VERY surprised to discover that it was anything like 75 Trillion dollars at risk. I find it more likely that bank of America is doing this simply to keep their ‘borrowing’ cost low, and that it doesn’t represent a crisis moment at all.

Kevin is my friend, and is a terrifyingly smart guy. But he'd be the first to tell you that he doesn't have a financial background and no one has ever taught him this stuff. Even his corner post was phrased in the form of a question. Besides, just because the capital at risk is probably lower than the Bloomberg article would lead you to believe, it may still be a quite serious issue both legally and politically. Like I said, I don't know.

As for the others talking about this... while I love the guys at Zerohedge, they have been known to blow things slightly out of proportion on the very rare occasion. And as for the folks at Bloomberg news who wrote the original piece... as far as I can tell they don’t know the first thing about finance. And that it was they who started this ball rolling does not change that view.

This may be very serious, but we would need much more information than what's in the Bloomberg article to determine that. At a glance, I’d be more likely to call it a gap in the writer’s knowledge being blown just a tad out of proportion.

- Still Wrong - - Q.E.D.

It's hard to beat Mike Ramirez for biting commentary - even though he rarely prints a word.

- The Left Is Still Universally Wrong

The Greek civil servants are all angry again today at the threat of more austerity. If implemented (a dubious assertion in itself) it will involve injustices like no longer paying them 14 months pay, for 12 months work.

So in response to no longer getting overpaid by the government, the Greek civil servants are launching a massive nationwide strike... for which they no longer get paid by the government. But for the way they keep killing people and setting fire to things, just going out on strike for long enough would solve their fiscal problems, and the austerity wouldn't be necessary.

Our own communist mob is doing a similar thing. To protest the bank bailouts they've 'occupied' Wall Street. They've gotten together and demanded that the government give them all kinds of free stuff - free tuition, free debt forgiveness, free jobs, and health care, and pensions, etc. Which of course is exactly what the government did for the banks. So our communists aren't so much angry that the banks got a bailout as they are that they didn't. Maybe they think that if they are on Wall Street when they ask for it, the government will just hand over the cash.

There is something profoundly idiotic about all of this. Not in the tin foil hat "the government faked the moon landing' kind of paranoid way, but in a Hollywood dilettante "I only see the things I want to see" kind of way. These people are universally wrong about how to solve any problem. They aren't just mistaken - if so they would be right more often. They wrong about both the cause of the problem, and the best solution to it... every single time.

And even though they've been stunningly incorrect about everything, the media seems totally incapable of recognizing this trend. We know why of course. Separate the message from the messenger, and no one would take any of this seriously. So long as it's unwashed campus hippies and professional union organizers, the media treats their message like it's been carved into stone tablets by a lightning bolt. The 'takers' of society are somehow revered by the media as having an inherent nobility.

But if the same thing had been demanded by the bourgeois Tea Party, they would have be ridiculed off the stage. The 'makers' of society are thought of by the media as having an inherent villainy who wouldn't have had any success but for their exploitation of the 'takers'.

So if you bang a drum, live in your parents basement, and do nothing all day except complain about being exploited then you're a hero, and if you rise at 5:00AM, work until after sunset, save your money and lead a frugal life, you're a villain. that's the network media's view of the world.

I really can't wait for these wrongheaded children of the 60's to finally retire. It would be worth it paying their way if they would just go sit on the beach somewhere, shut the hell up and leave the rest of us alone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

- Manage Your Own Damned Decline!

I have never been willing to accept “can’t”. I always thought that if it can be done by anyone, I can probably learn to do it. There are limits of course. I can’t slam dunk a basketball or make every par 3 a hole in one. But I always thought that if it was possible for an average person then I could certainly do as well as that – whatever the task.

I'm a portfolio manager for a hedge fund. My career really only deals with information. Physical work is outside my domain, but I've never been inclined to let that stop me. I've always been ready and willing to do the kind of thing that most of my peers would hire someone to do.

As an example, I re-plastered my in ground pool a few weeks back. I’ve never done anything like that before, but I figured – how hard can it be? I took my time, learned the process, and did the whole pool. In all humility, it came out really beautifully.

I also put a hardwood floor in my home-office. Hurricane Irene destroyed the carpeting, so I used the opportunity to upgrade. I’d never done any hardwood flooring either, but as I write this my office has a beautiful wide plank, red mahogany stained Maple floor in it. Everyone who’s seen it says that they can’t find a flaw. What’s more, I did the whole thing in a single day.

I’m approaching 50 years old and to keep my physical condition, I’ve taken up running. I started on a treadmill in mid July and now I’m up to 25 to 30 miles a week in 5 mile batches. According to the GPS in my phone, my average speed for a mile as just a hair under 9 minutes – but in all honesty bad weather can slow that down a touch. Still, I feel like I’m making good progress and although my knees might have a limit in them that I don’t know about yet, I’m mentally flirting with the idea of running the NY marathon in 2012.

I’m an American. I’ve never been willing to accept “can’t”. I’m still not. I refuse to manage my own decline. I refuse to admit my decline is taking place. It isn’t. I won’t let it. I’ll be happy to manage my triumph over adversity, or my victory lap. I’ll manage my unprecedented success. But my decline? Decline is for losers and Democrats. I have no intention of having one.

One day my knees will give up on me, but not today. One day father time will catch up with me and I’ll no longer be able to do the things I can do now. But one day I’ll also be dead. Let’s make that the day that I begin managing my decline. Declining is a choice, and it's one which I don't choose. So long as it's only a question of will, I'll always find enough to draw on to keep trying. In real life there are no three strikes. There is always something else you can do.

Today I’m going to work harder, and smarter and faster. Today I’ll wake up earlier, and stay later and put more energy into it in between. Today the government will put one more chain around my neck and tell me that it’s unfair for me to win when so many other people (who are busy managing their decline) lose. They’ll put more obstacles and hurdles in my path and tell me that it’s only fair that they be there. And I’ll do the same thing I’ve always done. I’ll remind myself that no one… NO ONE can make things so hard that I won’t succeed at them.

You can’t stop me, because I refuse to allow you to. I’m an American. And I don’t believe in can’t.

Monday, October 17, 2011

- What The Right Should Learn From OWS

There really isn’t any rational debate about this, the OWS crowd are economically illiterate. They don’t understand our capitalist system or the role that our financial markets play in it. They don’t understand how regulation created the derivatives markets or how the political demands of Congress were the real cause of the mortgage bond crisis. They are in a word, imbeciles.

Their entire world view (if they can be said to have a cohesive one) is based entirely on envy. They want the government to seize the wealth of the 1% wealthiest Americans and redistribute it to the rest. How do they justify this government authorized theft? According to them the wealthiest 1% is 'greedy' and that's justification enough.

We’ve heard a lot about “Greedy Wall Street” from the political right as well over the last few years. There are a great many people on the right who don’t understand how people on Wall street make so much, and can't reconcile themselves to the fact that the vast majority of them do it within the law. They don’t understand the service offered and therefore don’t think of it as a ‘real’ product.

Go to Freerepublic and you’ll hear them complaining that the people on Wall Street should quit being ‘paper pushers’ and go do something 'real'. They’ll talk about how CEO’s don’t deserve the big packages they receive, even if they don’t know the first thing about what it takes to do that job. They think it was capitalism’s failure that cause the market crisis instead of the politicians that broke the market by expecting unrealistic politically motivated outcomes.

So hopefully that portion of the political right will learn from the occupy Wall Street people how silly they sound. Hopefully they’ll come to appreciate that the vast majority of people on ‘Wall Street’ provide an honest service for an honest fee. Hopefully they'll feel a little less comfortable in ridiculing them simply because they don't understand what they do. And hopefully they’ll learn that more regulation (like the ones the OWS crowd are calling for) won’t solve their problems.

The truth is, if we want the benefits of capitalism to flow down to the people at the bottom of the economic ladder, then it’s not a question preventing business from interfering in government, it’s a question of getting government to stop interfering in business. Eliminate government imposed regulatory barriers that prevent new players from entering an industry, and competition will do the rest.

That’s how it was before too big to fail. And it’s how it would be again if we prevent government from getting too involved. Less government, not more is the real key.

- Idiots For Communism (OWS)

There is no idea so bad that you can't find a few idiots who believe in it. Communism has killed 100 million people. And I don't mean soldiers - it has killed 100 million innocent civilians, often by starvation. It's very difficult to find an ideology that has resulted in more universal human suffering and misery.

And these guys want to bring a great system like that here. Hard to find a better definition of 'idiot'.

Can we stop taking the 'Occupy Wall Street" people seriously now?

(And one of these guys is a key Obama supporter.)

- Defining 'Centrist'

To Obama, all the demands of the Occupy Wall Street crowd… the free tuition, the loan forgiveness, the guaranteed 'free' stuff, the 'get those damned Jews out of America and shut down the banks' views are all perfectly reasonable. They’re on the extreme end, even to Obama. But to him they should all be considered as part of the great global attempt at reaching that Shangri-la of leftist morality… the consensus.

To him the Tea Party’s views seem equally extreme. The calls for a government that lives within its means and doesn't intrude unnecessarily in the lives of it's citizens seem at the far right end of the spectrum, but to him they should also to be considered. And by 'considered' what he really does is he takes the measure of these two, along with every other possible opinion in between, draws a line down the middle of it all, and stakes out his ground as a 'centrist'.

His is an amoral position. If we were deciding the age of sexual consent he would consider it vital to include the opinions of pedophiles equally with everyone else. And since they believe they age of consent should be 3, he would arrive at his view that it should actually be 10 ½ - the median point between the 18 of extremist religious 'zealots' and the 3 of pedophiles. This is how Obama manages his moral compass… by consensus. He would then argue that anyone who believes the age of consent should be higher than that to be an ‘extremist’.

For Obama and the left, raising taxes seems perfectly reasonable if some cut in spending is included as well. They call that 'compromising'. They don’t care about the downstream effects of those taxes. They don’t (or really even consider) if taking that money out of the private economy will make our economy less efficient, and result in less economic activity and fewer jobs. To them it’s all about consensus. They truly believe that so long as 51% of the people vote to cook and eat the remaining 49%, then it’s all perfectly moral to do so.

That’s why Obama and the DC press corps, and the rest of the liberal intelligentsia are so dumbfounded by the Tea Party. To the Tea party, empowering the government to tax and spend at their whim is a moral issue. It’s ‘wrong’ to allow it, as far as they’re concerned. And the Tea Party isn’t saying that it’s only wrong to tax its members that way, they believe it’s equally as wrong to tax liberal Democrats that way. To the Tea Party, liberty is a virtue for everyone. And the government should not be allowed to infringe upon it except where it absolutely must. I'm sure you can guess where the mainstream media is on this 'radical' view.

The TV media is now going on about how Obama tried to ‘play ball’ with the far right by proposing a grand bargain in his 'jobs bill' where he only taxed ‘the very rich’ (200K+) and spent only a percentage of what he really wanted to. “He tried that” they’re saying “and now he’s talking tough with the far right instead.” But the Tea Party never saw it that way. They saw it as him proposing something inherently immoral, and then claiming it was a compromise because it wasn’t as immoral as it could have been. “If that’s the best he can do” they say, “then we’d just as soon see him talk tough.”

The question of self government has always been a moral one. The question ‘Are we fit for self rule” is highly relevant, especially given Obama’s openly amoral stance. In a way, Americans can be forgiven for electing him the first time because the media so wildly distorted what he was about. But after three years of this, it’s no longer a secret to anyone anymore. We all now know that whatever else he may say, Obama is animated by far left principles where anything is OK so long as a majority says so.

And if knowing that, we still vote to reelect him, then I think it’s clear that we are no longer fit for self rule. It would mean that we are no longer a moral people. It will mean that America is no longer the home of liberty. And it will mean that we really are no better than the Occupy Wall Street crowd – crying into our government funded Latte’s, and demanding that it's only fair that ‘the rich’ give us even more things for free.

- Making "Losing" Into "Winning"

Just as a thought experiment, let’s try to imagine what we could give the OWS crowd that would make them declare victory and go home to their parent’s basements.

Since many of them are professional demonstrators, there really isn’t much of anything that we could give to that group. I suppose we could agree to suspend elections, impose martial law, and replace our free market economy with one where top down controls are absolute. But while that would make the professional protesters happy, it would leave all the empty headed ‘pure democracy’ idiot college students ‘down twinkling’ at each other because they would be in the same boat they’re in now.

How about this. In spite of the way that big media is promoting them the crowd hasn't really expanded beyond a fringe group of professional community organizers, college kids, and street people. So there are still few enough of them that we could probably just buy them off. Pay their student loan bills, give them do nothing jobs in the department of environmental approval process planning or some such, and let them retire at 36 with 200K per year pensions and free medical care for life. That would do it.

But the community organizers and professional protesters already have jobs. They could have taken positions in the bureau of departmental regulatory grant application management, but they thought it would be more fun to be professional rabble rousers instead. When they are teaching the idiot college kids how to be dead weight as the police try to pick them up or taking their turn in the drum circle, they’re doing their jobs. Creating mayhem is what they’re all about – and being bought off may feel like a failure to them. So that won’t do it either.

The truth is, there is really only one thing we could do that would make them all happy. If we really want to make all of the OWS crowd celebrate, then the thing to do is to drag Lloyd Blankfein out of his upper east side townhouse, dress him in horsehair, tie his hands behind his back, kneel him in front of the crowd and allow them to pelt him with refuse for a while, and when the mob finally reaches it’s crescendo of righteous anger, guillotine him. Afterward you could stick his head on pike in the Trinity Church graveyard as a warning to other people who dare profit from…. from whatever horrible thing it was that Lloyd Blankfein actually did.

Obviously we couldn’t’ do anything like that – this is just a thought experiment after all. I’m just trying to make a point. And that point is this:

At the end of the day, there isn’t anything you can do for these people to make them happy. As much as the media portrays them as a noble movement full of good intentions and justifiable anger at the injustice of the capitalist system, their actual demands and desires are profoundly immoral. What they want is money they don’t deserve, power they don’t deserve, or the blood of innocent men whose only guilty act has been to achieve more than they have. What they want is to use the power of government to have themselves declared winners, even when they haven’t earned it.

They were given the rules the same of the rest of us, and made choices that lead to their failure. Now they want to blame others and somehow compel the government to suspend the rules. They want to be declared winners. But they aren’t. They’re losers. And even thought they lack the character to admit it to themselves and others, they have come by that loss honestly.

The best thing we can do is wait for the winter NYC wind to blow across Zucotti park (and let me tell ya – come February I’d rather be in Minneapolis) and they will all decide that being a loser in their parents basement is better than freezing their noble a$$es off down on Wall Street.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

- A Dysfunctional Act

Rudy On The Protesters:

“Sleeping on the streets is a dysfunctional act. It harms the person, it harms society, it leads to unsanitary conditions that affect public health,” added Giuliani. “The first one who decided to sleep there should have been removed and then the second one, and the third one, and the fourth one and the fifth one.” “They can protest during the daytime if they want to, but if you want to stay over in New York City overnight, you got to rent a room, and if you’re homeless we got plenty of shelters for you,”

In 1991 during the Dinkins administration, I was shot at while walking through that block long underground tunnel that runs under 14th street between the Path trains at 6th avenue and the red line trains at 7th. It was about 8:00 at night and I was walking east. I had gotten about 1/3 of the way through the tunnel when some mixed race kid ran into it behind me followed by another kid who cut loose 5 rapid shots at him.

Ping Ping Ping, was all we heard as the bullets bounced and skipped along the tunnel walls past us, while we bystanders all dove onto the filthy concrete floor. I remember very clearly a matronly looking Latina woman hunching over her two kids about 30 feet from me in an effort to shield them from harm. No one made a sound until it was all over, and then the screaming began. But miraculously, no one was hit, not even the kid who was the target.

After his shots were fired, the shooter spun on his heels and ran back the way he came. Oddly, the kid who was the target paused for a few seconds, and then followed him back the same way - both of them leaving by the 7th avenue entrance or getting on a train. I never went back there to check. We bystanders spent a few moments confirming that none of us was hurt, and then went about our business with a bone chilling story to tell.

The strangest part of the story though was that it didn't make the papers, and wasn't reported on the news. One more shooting in the New York City run by David Dinkins wasn't newsworthy - especially if no one got hurt. There were 2,245 murders in there in 1990 and nearly as many in 1991, so unless there was a pool of blood, the media would simply ignore it. I went by there a few years later to see if I could find any trace of where the bullets had hit the walls but I didn't see anything. It was as if this moment where I could have certainly lost my life but for a little luck, had never even happened.

Just a few years later, in 1995 after Rudy Giuliani had been Mayor for a few years, the city was so much safer that I rented an apartment overlooking the river at 48th st and 8th avenue. Times square had been cleaned up by then, and was so safe that I was happy to live there. During the Dinkins administration it was whorehouses, porn theaters and sex shops, but Rudy made it into a venue suitable for families and tourists.

My point is, if Rudy says arrest the protesters, I'd be inclined to agree with him. Yes he's anti-gun; yes he has a sloppy personal life; yes he's been seen at least one too many times in a dress. But I know from experience that the man knows how to keep the streets safe. And no one is every going to be able to convince me otherwise.

Friday, October 14, 2011

An Occupy Wall Street/Tea Party Question

If the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street crowd are all the same, as countless liberal politicians, media talking heads, and late night comedians have been telling us, then where are the Union Thugs demanding that the OWS crowd be 'taken out'? Where are the politicians calling them astro-turf, and accusing them of trying to destroy America? Where are the accusations of racism, and the false claims of 'spitting' on black congressman?

The answer of course is that they aren't the same. The tea party are small government conservatives, and OWS crowd are envy driven socialists. The solution the Tea Party wants is greater economic liberty, and the OWS crowd want's higher taxes on the rich and more free stuff from government. the Tea Party have a deep understanding of history, especially where it concerns the American traditional of individual liberty and responsibility. The OWS crowd are as deluded and confused as any other 'off their meds' street people.

And since that's so, why is the tea party so universally vilified, while the hippies in the park are being treated as a movement worthy of increasingly obvious media respect?

I'm just sayin.

- Reaping What Liberalism Has Sown

I handed this off to my buddy John Derbyshire because it provides such a dramatic example of the cynical view of America's future that he's been talking about for years now. Breakdown of government services, falling living standard, rising crime etc. All the things that he's been telling us liberalism would surely bring.

Now here they are, wearing away the already threadbare fabric of society. One little corner of America at a time.

You Know Your City Is A HellHole When..."

Delivered compliments of ZeroHedge.

- Liberals And Violence

This is an interesting example of how liberals think about violence. Virtually all the political threats of violence and all the actual violence that we've seen in recent years has come from the left. Greek rioters kill three. Vast swaths of London are burned to the ground by leftists. Countless leftists protests damage US property and threaten US citizens.

Yet in the minds of the leftwing media, the Tea Party is portrayed as an angry mob, while the anarchists who stormed the Brooklyn bridge were peace loving victims. The Tea Party has never threatened violence toward anyone. Not only were they not destructive to any property, but they left the Washington mall cleaner than it was when they arrived. They were orderly, civil and polite - but to the leftist media, there was some threatened violence in that.

Meanwhile, it sometimes seems like you can't get three liberals in the same place without them setting fire to a parked car, throwing a brick through a window or attacking some innocent who they believe they can bully.

But it's actually worse than that. Dimwit Bill Maher thinks that if a brick went through Rupert Murdoch's window then Fox News would be kinder to the OWS mob. He believes that Murdoch would respond as he and other liberals have to the Tea Party - with fear.

I certainly can't speak for Rupert Murdoch, but I know that if a brick came through my front window I would have no hesitation at using violence to defend myself and my family. I don't like violence, but I certainly don't fear it. I grew up with it. I understand it. And although I'll avoid it whenever I can, when that time comes that I can't, I'll do what I must.

I've been saying for years that liberals... all liberals... are cowards. They react to threats of violence by surrender because they would rather be slaves than use force to stay free. But for people like me (and I would also wager this is true for the bulk of the Tea Party) violence is something to be avoided if possible but used to great effect if it's not.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

- Economic Liberty

Economic Liberty not more regulation, is the key to future success.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

- Cain A'Raising

The Perry campaign seems to be fading fast and I think it’s because of just two words: “No Heart”. That’s the kind of criticism that a liberal will offer when attacking conservatives and it’s making it harder for Perry to counter the Ex-Democrat, Ex-Al Gore campaign manager, Pro-big government image. He can come out in favor of burning socialists at the stake (although frankly that seems more of a Bachman position to me... and would only drive Hunstman into wearing his asbestos underoos) and conservatives will still think of him as a big government liberal who is trying to change his stripes.

My buddy Gary, Texas native and UT grad won't vote for an Aggie (at least it makes it a lot tougher), and my buddy Wayne thinks he's an illiterate boob after seeing him in the debates. They may both have good points.

The one thing I find particularly compelling about Herman Cain is that he will at the very least split the black vote. And if I’ve got the math right, that means that Obama can’t win. Obama and the Democrats have no track record to run on and that means they’ll be going negative. But Cain’s background as a private citizen and Federal reserve board member make him tough to hit from the leftist view. He doesn’t have a ton of political bodies buried in the yard like all the others, so there is little for the Democrat grave diggers to find.

And to be honest, I’d vote for anyone in this primary before Romney.

It would also be gut-bustingly hysterical watching the left trying to accuse Herman Cain of being a racist when he has twice as many black ancestors as Obama does.

As for his plan… feh. The 9-9-9 thing may be a kitch-y, but its basis is sound.

I like the idea of eliminating corporate taxes and replacing it with a sales tax. And Cain’s plan has the virtue of simplicity. A simple plan is better for the people who pay the tax and worse for the lobbyists and congressmen who would like to game it. It’s better than a vat (for the same reason), and it’s better than some complicated mess driven by the current tax code.

I don’t know how easy it will be to sell it to the American public. Even the people who aren’t stupid enough to believe the left’s ‘fair share’ nonsense don’t necessarily realize that corporations don’t pay taxes - they only pass them on. Some of you may remember a little exchange I had with some dummy over at Esquire on the issue. But if he could sell it to the public, then I’m confident that the result would be more vigorous economic growth. And growth forgives a lot of sins.

The one really big problem I have with Herman Cain is not his policies or his skin color or his manner or history. And I confess in advance that it’s probably wrong of me to feel this way. But try as I might, his Georgia accent reminds me too much of Jimmy Carter for me to offer him energetic support. I just can’t help it. That ‘Gone With The Wind’ inflection is as hard on my psyche as fingers on a chalkboard. All it ever does is conjure visions of killer rabbits, pastel cardigans, and crashed helicopters.

I know it's all in my head, and I’ll do my best to get past it. But if I have to choose, I’ll take that west Texas twang any day over anything that sounds like Jimmah. Some things you just don't snap back from right away, and the Carter administration is certainly one of them.

On the plus side though, I totally dig the picture posted above. That's a presidential look... certainly better than some feminized little girl in a bike helmet.

- More Inanities From The Cult of Democracy

These imbecile kids obviously feel that Democracy is morally superior to other forms of decision making. Why else would they go to such trouble, and allow themselves to be portrayed so foolishly? But there are lots of other ways to make decisions that result in both greater efficiency, and a higher likelihood that everyone gets what they want.

Hey twinkles... try reading this:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

- This Is How A Movement Dies

When I was in high school in the 70's, a popular English literature teacher announced that he would be retiring the next year. The students immediately launched a sit in as a protest. The idea of protesting someone's retirement is about poor an excuse for public demonstration as I can imagine. But if you ask me, they could be forgiven that sort of idiocy because they were just kids. And in the post Vietnam war era, we were all being taught that public demonstration was the only way to get anything from the political system.

The truth is, most of us would have happily protested a rainy day if it meant that we could get out of our first period calculus quiz. The protest itself was the end product, not a means to achieve some other end. In fact, my age group was most markedly known for their complete and total apathy when it came to social issues. After a decade of watching one leftist failure after another culminating in the Carter malaise, we mostly just wanted the government to mind it's own business and leave us alone. But we were always up for a sit-in; especially during a school day.

This occupy Wall Street protest is obviously the same thing; a demonstration for it's own sake. Charlie Cooke makes this point most eloquently in the corner today, but stops short of calling this what it is. This is what happens when you give liberals everything they want and it fails to achieve any of their goals.... again. This is what it looks like when a movement begins to lose the last of it's popular appeal. When all that's left at the public protest are the professional grievance mongers and the 'off their meds' street people, the great public upheaval has heaved it's last.

You won't read this in the major media, but to me this looks very much like the last gasp of the current bout of leftism, made fashionable by Obama et al. It's no longer hip to believe in Keynesian controls and bailouts/"public private partnerships" or 'green jobs'. And thinking Obama will calm the waters and save the glaciers is now seen as silly.

This is what the 2010 election looks like, when applied to public demonstration. The left's social appeal is on empty. But for paid union thugs, the movement is done. There is nothing left now but to nail the lid shut, spread the garlic and holy water around and pray that leftism doesn't return from the dead again, any time too soon.

- Jobs American's Won't Do

When it comes to the unemployment issue, my wife believes in efficiency. She sent out one resume, had one interview, and got one job. Piece of cake. Actually, she has the one absolutely essential job skill for the Obama administration, she’s a CPA. And in Obama era where regulatory compliance is the principle difference between success and failure, CPA’s have never been in more demand.

For those of us who need more time to find a job, it’s painful to watch. Her first job search in over a decade and the entire process, soup to nuts, took less than a full business day. It took me 6 months to find an appropriate position, and my equally intelligent, and probably harder working brother even longer.

Then again, she was applying for a job where she is vastly over qualified and equally underpaid. But making a ton of money isn’t her first concern. Accounting can be brutal on your schedule, and she still considers her first job ‘parent’, so she wanted something to bring in a few dollars but wouldn’t require the skull crushing overtime that it usually involves.

Given the relatively low pay, she’s probably taking a job that an ‘American CPA’ wouldn’t do. And since the CPA is an American certification, there aren’t any foreign CPA’s (and certainly no illegals). It’s entirely possible that my wife was the only CPA who applied, and she only liked it because it was close to home and fit her unique scheduling demands. Besides – she’s Hungarian, and those Hungarians work like… well like Mexicans with college degrees.

I heard that ‘jobs Americans won’t do’ dribble turn up again today on CNBC when Andrew Ross Sorkin brought up the agro companies that tried to hire Americans to do fruit picking only to find that they Americans wouldn’t do the job for the wages that were being offered. Collecting unemployment looked to them like a better deal.

But the solution to this is so idiotically simple that even a NYTimes reporter could understand it. Simply raise the wage. For 700K per year I’ll be the best strawberry picker on the planet. In fact, I would probably never get the chance because the wage will never get that high My bet its that the last agro job opening will disappear at a price level far, FAR below an equivalent of 70K per year.

So how do we know what the right price is? By far the greatest mechanism for determining what wages should be is the free market. Let the wages float, and eventually, every one of the available positions gets filled. Of course – this means you’ll have to let the price of strawberries float too or no-one will grow them. And that might mean some very expensive daiquiris for a short time. But eventually those high prices will attract more people to growing strawberries, and everything will find its level.

It’s like nature. It’s just the economic circle of life.

The problems really only show up when the government decides that someone somewhere needs a fixed wage. Before you know it, some union buys themselves a politician and the talk becomes all about a minimum wage, or a living wage. But when the job is required by law to pay more than X, and only returns an economic value of Y, if X is less than Y there is no way to make money. So companies that can move go to Mexico or China, and those that can’t violate the relatively lax labor laws and hire illegals at an illegally low wage.

The economic circle continues to turn, it just includes people that aren’t effected by the law.

One of the great vanities of government is that you can pass a law on anything. And while that’s true as a tautology, there is nothing compelling people to obey it. So to the rational eye what our very substantial illegal alien problem should be telling us all is that our attempts to regulate wages are pointless and irrelevant.

There are only two ways to get a higher wage – do something no one else can do, or do something no one else wants to do. Politics can’t set a wage anymore than it can set a level for high tide. And at a high enough wage, Americans will absolutely do any job.

Friday, October 7, 2011

- Getting Back To Work

I've made it a practice to be vague about whoever it is I'm currently working for. Quite often I'm bound by a contract from mentioning them by name in any public format. But even in those cases where I haven't been, it seemed to me to be good manners. Hedge funds go to some lengths to cultivate their image in the investment community, and if someone is good enough to provide me capital and a place to work, I don't think I should mess with that.

My former employers though, I'm much less reluctant to talk about. I figure that if we've parted company for whatever reason, then so long as I don't say anything that isn't true then the rest is fair game. Actually, one of my former employers, I won't say which one, had a stipulation in their contract preventing me from saying anything bad about them ...ever. But contract or no, I probably wouldn't anyway.

There was no such stipulation case with my most recent former employer. And I can now say 'former' because as of today, I'm officially back among the ranks of the gainfully employed. I have received and accepted an offer to go to work as a portfolio manager for another hedge fund, trading both systematic and discretionary macro markets.

I still can't tell you who I'm working for - actually, maybe I can (I haven't read the whole contract yet), but I won't. Like I said... it's good manners. But I can now tell you that my last employers prior to this were Moore Capital, Caxton Associates, and Tudor Investments - in that order.

Tudor was an interesting place, with a very healthy corporate culture. One of my oldest friends is still employed there in a senior role, and I have nothing but respect and affection for the people I worked with and for. I don't think so much of their legal team - but no place is perfect.

On the whole it was a great place to work, and now that I've officially moved on, I still wont have anything bad to say about the place. Not only is that good manners, it's also conveniently, the truth.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

- If Only He Had Become A Community Organizer

Steve Jobs, has died, but he has certainly left a great legacy.

I've met a few college kids who when I asked them, said that when they finish school they would like to 'work for a non-profit', as if generating a profit was the kind of thing that was dirty and beneath them. Thank god Steve Jobs never felt that way.

I've also heard him criticized in the past - people saying that he didn't give enough back to society. The truth is, he didn't have to give anything 'back'; he gave us all a whole bunch in the first place.

I'd write more about this idea but my friend Kevin Williamson (author of The politically incorrect guide to socialism) has already written it.

I can't think of a better eulogy for the man than this.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

- Holder And The GunWalker Scandal

If I could choose only a single member of team Obama to have removed from office, I’d choose Eric Holder. In my opinion, no one has worked harder to undermine American principles of fairness and equality than Holder, and I think he’s proven a handy tool for the circumvention of American liberty and the rights of our citizens. He’s a political hack in my view. We would all be better off rid of him.

As a second amendment advocate, I’ve also been watching this ‘fast and furious’ debacle bubble along for months now, while the news grows consistently worse and worse. I think it will eventually become clear that the administration was happy to let guns walk into Mexico because any killing would only reinforce their political desire to usurp the rights of American gun owners. Another ‘small price to pay’ is how I think they probably viewed it. Now it’s all blown up in their face. I hope Darrell Issa ends up with a dozen scalps on his belt, including Holder's.

With all that said, and knowing only the facts that I’ve been able to glean from the news media, I don’t think Holder’s statement to congress meets the criteria of perjury. I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that he was vague enough to cover his tracks. My brother – also not a lawyer, feels he was simply incompetent. I’d go along with that view. I don’t imagine he’s clever enough to direct such a broad reaching conspiracy. I find it all much more believable that he’s simply a dim, politically motivated opportunist who has no intention of letting a little thing like the constitution get in the way of achieving his goals.

I’d love to see him doing a perp walk and spending years in prison. But I don’t think this is enough to get him there.

- The Durbin Tax

I'm not a big bank guy - haven't been for years. But I still saw the Durbin Tax issue coming a mile off.

Dick Durbin from the 'know it all' party, decided that he wanted to order the banks to cut their interchange fees on debit cards. He put his name on an amendment to Dodd-Frank, and it was passed by Congress. The banks immediately took steps to comply with the law by canceling their fee's as ordered, and then implemented totally new fees that would be unaffected by the rule, in order to replace the revenue.

Durbin was aghast; everyone else was totally unsurprised. Didn't those banks know that it's their responsibility to take a loss when some dumb as dirt Senator from kleptocratic Illinois commands them to? The answer was "apparently no".

So Durbin responded to their response, by trying to create a run on Bank of America, the first bank to announce it's new fee structure. From the floor of the Senate he told bank customers to flee the bank, and do business elsewhere. Talk about government intervention.

For those of you who don't know, this is the way it works in business, and is why regulation never achieves it's desired goal. Government comes up with a stupid rule designed to achieve a political goal, and the banks and other effected businesses hire a bunch of smart guys to get around the law and pass the cost on to the customers. It's ALWAYS that way. The entire derivatives industry (measured in the hundreds of trillions of dollars globally) has grown out of the perfectly rational response to perfectly irrational banking regulation.

This is why I keep arguing that we should cut the business income tax to zero. Eventually, any (and all) costs imposed by government fiat will be transferred to the consumer. Every single one. What's worse - it will be easier for the big players to transfer that cost than the small ones. In effect, more regulation designed to limit the 'too big to fail' banks actually strengthens their market position instead of weakening it. But try telling that to '$hit for brains' Dick Durbin.

The only way to really lower the costs to the consumer is through competition, and the only way you get that is through deregulation. Repeal Dodd-Frank and all the other regs that help to give the 'too big to fail' banks an advantage, and let smaller banks eat into their market share. Eliminate the corporate income tax, and watch our economy soar as foreign corporations move here to get better access to our market.

But thanks to the economically illiterate far left like the idiot doofus above, it will never happen.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

- Sometimes Things Are Really Hard...

... and sometimes they aren't.

Last year I spent weeks in my Deer stand. I was out there in the predawn and stayed until sunset. Several times I took all three meals up in it. I kept a detailed log, and listened to two entire learning company history lectures to keep from nodding off. I was a devoted and determined predator who did everything right and still didn't get a deer.

What's worse, I had two shots, but missed with both. One was simply my fault, and the other, the deer 'ducked the wire' as they say in bowhunting parlance. (He moved at the last second in reaction to some noise I must have made.) It was a ton of work where I tried and tried, but to no avail. Then there was this year.

A few weeks ago I was lamenting that I wouldn't have any time for Deer hunting this season. I'm overloaded with household chores that need to be finished before the snows and I've been traveling a bit lately. But I had an hour or two to kill so I took my bow and hiked out to my stand with the idea that I would at least have a chance to relax a little and tune out the world for a bit. It's very early in the season and I wasn't expecting ...really anything.

This guy showed up so quickly after I got there, that I can't believe he didn't see me climb my stand. If that's so, future generations of Deer hunters should be cursing my name for taking such a guileless and trusting creature out of the gene pool. Not 45 seconds after I stopped settling in, this guy wandered over to where I had sprayed a little buck lure - with his smaller brother hot on his heels.

He's not a huge deer; smaller than I would like in most cases. But given my lack of available time this year and the wanton way he all but threw himself on to the end of my arrow, he was just too good to pass up. He's a perfectly respectable six point buck, who I hit cleanly and who ran less the 30 feet before giving up the ghost. He's no record breaker, but he should cook up nice.

Sometimes no matter what you do, things don't seem to work out for you. And then there are other times when it all comes so easy, you wonder what all the fuss was about.

Monday, October 3, 2011

- Holy Free-holey!!!

The 'Occupy Wall Street' crowd has issued a list of demands and they are absolutely hysterical. It includes banning every capitalists development since the reichstag fire.

They basically insist that in return for getting their smelly asses out of a park that no one uses except as a shortcut for their commute, that the united states declare itself an illegal imperialist establishment, and that it turn itself over to a communo-collective (run by them) immediately. Had they kept their mouths shut we would have only suspected how crazy and stupid they all are. Now we know.

I'm including this video as an assist. What you do is read the 'demands' below and then advance the video to the next spit-take. At least this way you can get a laugh out of the whole thing. the demands are below. I strongly recommend you put your own coffee down before reading them.

The Demands:

Demand one:
Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.

Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.

Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.

Demand four: Free college education.

Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.

Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.

Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.

Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.

Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.

Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.

Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.

Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.

Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.

- Occupy Wall Street II : Revenge Of The Rich Kids

That's the thing about street theater as a proxy for democratic participation... it doesn't really pay very well.

All of the people involved in this protest have a few things in common. They are rich (very rich by global standards) and their parents are paying for them to be at this silly protest. Are they angry? Sure. but anger doesn't equate to nobility. Do they have good intentions? I dunno. Ask Herman Goering and he'd tell you that he had good intentions too. So I think it's fair to try to apply 'intentions' to some sort of objective standard.

They are against 'injustice', but so is my 11 year old daughter. To her, the fact that she has to do her homework before she watches Futurama is horribly unjust. That her cell phone isn't an iPhone seems like the height of tyranny. These are childish demands, but being a child, she has the perfect justification for it. The protesters complaints are similarly childish, without the defense of actually being children.

The fact that their demands are so vague and nonsensical is really an indictment of their education. They believe that they are 'speaking truth to power' because their university professors have told them that this is how it's done. They believe that this is the only way that social change is brought about in a corrupt and repressive system.

The problem with this view is that they aren't actually in a repressive system, and many of the demands they're making will only increase the level of corruption. Again, blame their horrible teachers for that. But at this point none of that matters. Because all that will come from this silly protest is that they'll be ignored. And that's because the world view upon which this protest is based, does not match reality. Most Americans see that clearly, and also see them for what they are. So they will not be inclined to give in to their demands, no matter how shrill.

Actually, it's worse than that. Not only is the public sentiment not swayed toward their position by the protests, it's actually swayed away. The fact that these rich kids are living on their parents dime and demanding a change to the system that allows them to do so actually weakens the positions they support. They aren't just behaving childishly, they're behaving like spoiled children. And Americans see that pretty clearly.

I know this because the truth is, I had to make up those complaints about my daughter. In reality She knows full well that her homework has to get done first before anything else, and she's thrilled with the cell phone she has because I pay for it. She would never think of complaining about things that to her are simply a reflection of how the world works. In her mind she only gets out of the world what she's willing to put into it. And a free smart phone (and lots of other 11 year old appropriate liberties and perks) for simply doing well in school, seems like a good deal to her.

But these protesters believe that the world is structured in such a way that if you make enough noise you'll get what you want, whether you actually deserve it or not.
this is not an argument that will resonate with the American public, especially in this political climate. So the chances of them 'changing things' in any meaningful way is zero. And since that's so, they might as well go home.

- The 'Cost' Of Alternative Energy

Between a heavier than normal travel schedule, a number of homeowner project and the opening of NJ's Bow season, I've been totally overwhelmed lately. So I think I should be forgiven for missing this great piece from Mario Loyola on NRO which calls attention to the fact that the primary goal of Obama's energy policy is to directly raise the cost of energy while seeming to be trying to prevent it:

I prefer when people get to the point, as when incoming Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said, before one congressional committee, “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” That exclamation was wonderful not just because it was simple, and clear as a mountain stream. It was also an accurate description of the administration’s energy policy.

The “alternative energy” movement has an enormous obstacle to contend with, namely that none of the alternative energy sources produce nearly as much energy, nearly as reliably, nearly as cheaply, as fossil fuels. Sources such as wind and solar are inherently intermittent and unpredictable, even when they are found in high enough density that it is economical to use them, which is virtually never. As long as fossil fuels are cheap, the subsidies to alternative sources have to be huge, and therefore politically painful. But even if oil prices reach a point at which renewables can compete on price (which would plunge the world into an incalculably deep economic crisis), there simply isn’t enough marketable renewable energy to replace the vast bounty of fossil fuels.

This is old news of course. There are no green jobs or green energy that can exist without MASSIVE subsidies - and even then the energy they provide will be unreliable, and still relatively costly. And supporting them by encouraging a general rise in energy costs is already wreaking havoc on our unemployment rate.

But the people involved are dedicated Democrat donors and supporters, so the process moves forward anyway - hang the cost. There's your modern Democrat party.

Read the whole piece : Let Them Eat Windmills.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

- Imaginary Girl On The Railroad Tracks: 2

Here's Peggy Noonan
using her much greater political expertise and experience to call attention to a concept I wrote about a few months ago.

- Best Euro Crisis Commentary

A while back, I made mention of the fact that where the Euro crisis is concerned, the best scenario in terms of it's financial impact and most likely scenario in terms of the politics of the situation are diametrically opposed. The least distortive would be if Germany left the Euro allowing it to debase according to the needs of the piigs, but the most likely was that Greece is kicked to the curb...followed by Italy...then Ireland....then Portugal, and Spain etc, leaving the euro held by the northern Europeans alone.

Complicating all this is the fact that the European union's political institutions were specifically designed to take political power away from the masses. The resultant byzantine arrangement of bureaucracies and departments make little sense to we simple Americans. Our simple American constitution is a total of 12 pages limiting our government's authority, while while theirs is 300 pages and includes guarantees to every labor union, farming collective, artists guild, fishing fleet, and drover's company who managed to scrape their hats from their brow long enough to hold it out. Frankly, it's a mess.

By far the best 'translation' of these issues that I've seen has come from Andrew Stuttaford over at NRO. I don't know the guy - never even exchanged an email. But rather than giving you one long dry piece about the various political machinations, he's been treating us to a paragraph or two at a time, condensing the work of others. His insomniac posts have made their regularly, detailing the way the process is calcifying. And taken as a whole, I can't imagine a better format to watch the whole thing.

If you go back and reread his posts, it's the literary equivalent of watching a stop motion film run in real time. Even watching the euro rust away makes compelling reading in that format. And it's particularly instructive for we financial guys who are far too practical in our expectations.