Monday, August 31, 2015

- Post-American America

Those who may draw rational conclusions from the photo above should remember their time in the brainwashing academy where we were all very carefully taught that diversity is our strength. What they meant was that the ideas in this murderer's manifesto are just fine, while ideas like mine (exposed here and elsewhere) are heretical and I should be shunned from civil society for mine while he should be forgiven for his.

It would be wrong to blame this shooting on Obama. Obama's 'empty suit' election as president was a milder symptom of the same illness not the cause of the disease. And let's not forget that the man holding this gun was bat-sh!t crazy. That issue more than the fact that he was black, and gay was the thing that led him down this tragic road. Other black people and other gay people go through their whole lives without shooting people. I don't see any cause and effect there. Had this particular crazy person not embraced this particular bit of lunacy, it would have no doubt been something else.

But we should not ignore the similarity between this man's views and the excuses our broader culture provided him. The only solvable problem here is with us, not him. In some respects, Flanagan's world view is a 'fundamental transformation' of America. It's an America where losing means someone cheated you, winning is more or less an admission of guilt, and victimhood is considered the only unassailable virtuous position that anyone can hold. It's an America where the only people who are accountable for their own lives are the people we prosecute for their success. Everyone else can blame others.

Crazy is as crazy does. But we should at least be trying to avoid the same flavor of crazy in our broader culture. Every time I hear from a feminist social justice warrior, or a black grievance monger, or someone tells me to ignore genetics and call Bruce Jenner a woman, in my mind I'm going to see the photo above. This is a natural extension of the world view they all promote in common. This is what is considered right and wrong in Post-American America

It's too late for anyone involved in the shooting from the photo above. The only meaningful question that remains is, is it already too late for the rest of us?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

- The real 'CAUSE" of the 2008 Market Crash

I can't believe the know nothings in the NRO comment section are STILL debating the 'cause' of the 2008 financial crisis. Let me spell it out once and for all. How you define 'cause' depends on how you measure, either chronologically, or by material impact.

If you measure it by date, then the cause was the market distorting regulation which detached the cost of a mortgage loan from risks associated with the loan. This was done in the name of 'fairness' and 'ending racism', but the motives don't really matter, since the regulation did absolutely nothing toward either of the goals. This is obvious, because the complaints of unfairness and racism have increased not decreased, from the moment the law went into effect.

But this was the seed that inexorably led to the chain of events causing the mortgage meltdown. It was followed by the banks finding a way to manage their risks prudently in spite of a regulation requiring them to do otherwise, by commoditizing and selling off the excess risk - a practice which has occurred without a moment's interruption since the first moment there was both a bank, and the desire to regulate it. Bankers have always been, and continue to be, considerably smarter than regulators. Twas ever thus.

The process they came up with in this case was called a 'credit derivative'. I was present in the room when the creature was created, so while I can detail it's structure, just take my word for it that the structure of the derivative wasn't a contributing factor. The only thing which really mattered was that it was a particularly elegant and mathematically complicated design that required a high degree of intelligence to even understand and value correctly, and it responded to a regulation distorting of one of the largest markets in the world. But in some respects what was even more important was that of the men who participated in it's creation, and the woman who most successfully marketed it, all were well above the 140 mark in their IQ's. They were literally geniuses.

It was successful because of it's elegance (meaning effectiveness), and became lucrative because it was successful. The specific personalities who facilitated that weren't important. They were motivated by the same thing all commerce is motivated by - growth. And had it not been them, it most certainly would have been someone else of nearly equal intelligence and skill. But that isn't to say the players didn't matter. As it became more lucrative, more people got involved in the marketing and management of it. And as the market grew it became more efficient, and by the law of averages, the mean IQ of the people participating in the market began to fall. Twas ever thus.

In the financial markets, there is only one way for someone less smart to consistently make money in direct and open competition with someone who is smarter. Since the option of being 'better' is off the table, they default to the other market solution which is being 'faster'. With an incomplete knowledge of the risks involved, they shortened their holding period (in my opinion incorrectly) believing this limited their risk, and used that as an excuse to begin engaging in more risky transactions. They were literally stepping on the gas of a car speeding toward the edge of a cliff, assuming they'll be able to hold the turn. But lacking the ability to calculate the risks of that turn themselves with the speed their businesses now required, they instead looked at what the geniuses at other firms were doing and reacted to their independent actions. To put it in less analogous terms, they stopped doing private analysis and began reacting to the public knowledge of what others were doing in the market place. This is sometimes described as 'the greater fool' theory. This very specific decision making dynamic has been the proximate cause of every single market crash in all of human history, from tulips onward. In financial markets, twas ever thus.

Eventually, the geniuses in the market took a step back, calculated a little financial physics and realized that at the rate things were going, no one could hold anything like the next turn. So they did what geniuses always do, they quietly and privately got out of the car, leaving only the less clever drivers controlling the wheel and managing all of the remaining market risk. Those few hedge funds that were both smart and lucky, prospered from the resultant crash. Goldman survived in 2008, as did JPMorgan, and others because they got out early enough to avoid the worst of it. the subsequent lobbying effort was nothing more than a part of the landscape, but it was a part whose effect was correctly estimated by the genius players at the largest banks.

But the least intelligent players - the insurance companies and politically motivated Federal participants in the mortgage market (Fannie, Freddie), bore the brunt of the destruction that followed. And their failure at managing risk inevitably flowed down to all the participants in real estate.

In terms of material impact, the "cause" of the market crash was the aggregate behavior of the economically illiterate people who 'got in on' the Real estate boom. I know a black female cabbie who used to pick me up every day at Penn Station when I got off the first train from NJ at 5:13 AM. She was a very sweet woman - age about 50, and she and I got on very well. But she was also just a hair above functionally illiterate and didn't really understand anything about finance, or markets. She was living in a small apartment in the Bronx with her daughter and granddaughter, but still bought a 5 bedroom house in suburban Atlanta with no money down, with the intention of 'flipping it' in just a few months. It was her bad decision, and the decisions of people like her who 'really' caused the crash by buying when it was clear to everyone but her that she shouldn't.

All the rest of the finger pointing is just politics. Specifically, it's the politics of envy, and the objection to the way intelligence distorts economic outcomes. The more intelligent almost always do better in aggregate than the less intelligent. But that fact doesn't make it any more palatable to the less intelligent, who are too hobbled by their frail ego's to admit their lack. And since intelligence is normally distributed, the mediocre vastly outnumber the more intelligent so they turn to politics where their numbers provide the greatest advantages. That's where all the talk of 'exploitation" and unfairness comes from in the end.

It bears pointing out that my cabbie friend is one of the very people who the original market distorting regulation was designed to empower, in precisely the way it empowered her. And it also follows that she and the people like her also bore the worst of the 'material impact' of the crash. But you simply can't make a rule which compels less intelligent people, to make more intelligent decisions.

Regrettably, twas ever thus.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

- The Matrix Of Ignorance

I wasn’t going to write about this, but I made the mistake of reading the comments section and now I feel I have to.

The ‘wall street friend’ mentioned in the article is me. Kevin and I have been friends for years and have continued our correspondence, even with his relocation from New York to greater Las Vegas. He’s a great guy, and much, much smarter than the average bear. He’s also the single most economically literate English major I’ve ever met. I’ve said many times that there is no writer in the media with whom I agree more, and that goes for his opinions on Trump.

So to the meat of the matter.

The problems he points out are real ones, but to add just one more dimension to what he describes in a single word as ignorance, it actually seems to me to be a lack of understanding of the matrix of ignorance. Information comes in many forms, and Tom Sowell broke it down thusly in his book “Knowledge and Decisions”. There are facts, ideas, opinions, and feelings. And most problems generally described as ignorance are actually people who are mistaking one of these for the other.

To oversimplify it just a tad, facts are objectively verifiable, and more or less universally agreed upon by anyone whose gone to the trouble to do so. Ideas are concepts that may be struggling toward factdom and may have meaningful subjective supporting data, but maybe the evidence isn’t quite so clear cut. Opinions in many cases have no supporting evidence whatsoever – certainly none is required, and feelings are purely subjective phenomenon, and not really the good basis for anything but the most personal decision making.

Problems arise both when people mistake the kind of information they have, and the kind of information other people have as well. For instance, with regard to the effect of program trading, hedge funds, and derivatives, what I possess are facts. It’s an area of expertise for me. I know all about them, as do a great many of the people I’ve worked with over the years. But as soon as I try to ‘simplify’ my understanding of the topic for someone like Kevin, the information he possesses after hearing my explanation of the same topics, never rises above the level of an idea. He buys into the general principle of what I say and has a general understanding of my expertise. He ‘believes me’ when I say things because he knows my character. But until I explain the full detail and all the supporting evidence and have it objectively verified by him from other sources, he will never possess ‘facts’ about the nature of these topics. That’s clear in the way he describes my points as 'persuasive’. Facts come with their own persuasion, so he knows that he only has 'ideas'.

That's fair, and no indictment on me. It's just that information like that has a cost. A cost which Kevin hasn’t actually paid. Though for his part, he doesn’t really need to. He doesn’t claim to be writing facts. He claims to be writing opinions – hence his profession as an ‘opinion journalist’. And you can have an opinion about anything, verifiable or not. The value of that opinion is quite literally lower than the value of my ‘facts’. Kevin would never claim differently, and that his opinion and my understanding of the facts both paint the same picture, doesn’t change things. Ask him to assess the risks associated with a 2 billion dollar book of derivatives, and he’ll probably smile, swear a little, and inevitably tell you he’s the wrong English major for the job. That’s a job for someone with facts. And he, I’m pleased to say, knows this full well.

His commenters however, like the Occupy drone mentioned in the article, speak as if what they possess are facts, when few of them even rise to the level of ideas. They are opinions in most cases, without even the most meager supporting evidence. None of them have done any research into the topic, nor given the nature of the issue, have they really had any access to any. The only way you’ll really learn about derivatives, or HF trading is by working in the industry. All the rest is distilled academic thinking that has already been watered down by the author, and doesn’t rise to the level of ‘fact’.

Take this guy for example:

the things that caused the original stock market crash that created the great depression.. after that they installed safeties and regulation into place on the financial markets then, that would stop it from happening again. and thru the fifties and sixties it worked.. and then in the late 60s. the greed of the banks and financial markets made a comeback and they bribed and payed off politicians to start to remove those safeties and regulations.. and look what has happened.. the tech. bubble and real-estate loan failures... all the other crap that has happened since.. and you can thank bill and hilery for removing the last of the regulations.. and now we need to reinstall all those safeties and regulation back onto the financial markets... the free rein of the markets will crash again and again... over and over and over... the financial markets need hobbles to make sure they do not go wild like they are now. this is what needs to be done .. not all the bull crap all of these talking heads are spewing... and this guy is just another shill spewing nonsense... trying to sound like he really knows something...

Does this reader take into account the effect of technology advances, communications, decimalized trading? No. No need. Yet he speaks as if his ‘fact’ is widely accepted. It’s not. It’s archaic nonsense. That comment isn't based on facts as much as an 'old wives tale'. There is some wisdom in it deep down, but it's as far off the mark as on. Or how about this one:

And we can ask questions: "Executive salaries are soaring while middle and working-class salaries are stagnant. Is that a Good Thing? What factors are contributing to these trends? Can something be done to affect these factors and trends?" If good answers aren't forthcoming, perhaps we have no choice but to act on our ignorance.

That’s actually someone advocating making a broad policy decision based on a feeling that the gap between executive compensation and worker compensation is ‘bad’. It doesn’t even really reach the level of an opinion.

You can do this all day with comment sections on both sides of the political divide. No one in America knows how to think anymore. Nor do they apparently know how to tell when someone else is ‘thinking’.

But Kevin, as usual, is doing both. He may be wrong, but he’s never stupid. And that's because he understand the value of the information he possesses. He knows precisely where he falls on the matrix of ignorance, and has the personal humility not to pretend otherwise. If only more Americans would do the same.


Rewritten in 2015 for the economically illterate commenters on Kevin's NRO atricle.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Can a Republican in the Donald Trump mode win black votes?

Could Donald Trump pick up 15% or more of the urban black vote?  It seems immigration issues might be resonating with them.  From Liveleak:  A woman addresses the LA city council about illegal aliens being appointed to commissioner positions.

I keep meaning to write in detail about Trump and immigration... but my job keeps getting in the way of finishing it.  Hopefully I will have something posted before the primary  :+) 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

- My Bigoted Neckties

My in laws and I don't really connect. It's not a big deal, but I'm sure it is typical for most marriages. In efforts to connect I will buy them books, however they aren't big on reading. In turn, since they know I have have to wear a suit for work, they will make the effort every Christmas to try to help with the accessories. I don't wear cuff links and I don't wear tie tacks or tie pins. Needless to say they insist on purchasing these items for me. I am grateful, but I don't have the heart to tell them I don't wear this stuff. Two years ago, they gave me two Donald Trump Neckties.
They are very shiny and kind of loud, sort of like Trump. I rarely wore them because of their hyper luminous qualities until recently.
Living in Miami you are constantly subjected to the phony notion of Pan-Latinism. The concept that all "latinos" treat other "latinos" or Spanish speaking peoples as equals. Nothing could be further from the truth.  When Trump correctly identified that Mexico and other Central American countries were sending their garbage to the USA, immediately the Latin Media asserted the phony notion of pan-latinism. I work with Spanish speaking "legal migrants" from around the globe. It is hysterical to see "Caribbean Hispanics" try to assert pan-Latin baloney in the company of Colombians, Argentines, and Spaniards. A week before Trump had the audacity to speak the truth, the same Hispanics would have gladly polished the man's shoes and exalted his greatness.
Now Trump is a racist even though he never truly spoke against race.
South Florida publications routinely decry Trump as a racist but they are quickly reminded of the failed attempt to boycott his golf course, because he beat them to it by prohibiting Telemundo execs from entering the golf course or the resort property.
I used to work with a particularly annoying Hispanic automaton. He was Dominican and when given the opportunity, he would renounce any biological possibility of Caucasian connection. He looked no less Southern European than myself. He would often paint our Venezuelan co-workers with the non-white brush stroke in an effort to isolate me as the lone gringo. I used to foil his efforts with the simple question to our Venny friends: "when did your grandparents or great grandparents leave Europe and what was their nationality?" To a man it was either Germanic or Italian. Did they associate with pan Latinism? Not in the least.
Because of Trump, this pan Latin nonsense continues to percolate. I have been inspired to wear my Trump neckties at every opportunity. I have a friend from Mexico in my condo. He saw me on the elevator leaving for work. He admired the suit and remarked about the tie in particular. Needles to say we both laughed when I showed him the brand.
I wore one to work and immediately reported the necktie to Human Resources because it may be deemed insensitive and racially offensive. "Que Lindo!"
I now wear my Trump ties once a week for the tweak factor.
One of the Argentines said to me if he could vote, he would vote for Trump just to piss off the Mexicans! He liked the ties too!
When asked my presidential pick, I do not hesitate: Ted Cruz.
I particularly admire his ability to shut down a phony argument. The alphabet media will hail the lesbo actress as brave in her moronic attempt to confront Cruz. The beauty is Cruz continued to grill pork chops and eat BBQ while simultaneously deconstructing Ellen Page's ridiculous argument.
As Frank the Tank would say: "that's the way you debate!"

Monday, August 17, 2015

- The Way Of The Loser

If you want to know what sins lurk in a man's heart, don't look at his denials, look at his accusations.

We on the right constantly hear how we're full of hate. No, not just hate... "HATE!!!". But in spite of this heated rhetoric delivered daily by millions on social media, the right is also known for it's coldness and calculation; it's tendency to worry about the likely results from policy rather than the feelings of the people involved. It's the left that's always worried about feelings. And it's clear to anyone with an IQ above the mean temperature of New York City, that they certainly "doth protest too much".

The political left is based entirely upon the philosophy of losers. It's an adolescent chance to call a do-over in life. A 'reinvention' if you will, of the rules of society that proposes to place the personal attributes that society actually values that they don't posses at the bottom of the social hierarchy, and the personal attributes they perceive as their strengths at the top. This is why so much of their Diversity=Strength / Surrender=Victory, Orwellian newspeak nonsense sounds like gibberish to the majority of Americans. And lacking the ability to persuade large portions of the population on the merits of ugliness, stupidity, sexual deviance, laziness, and all of the other deadly sins which they deceptively advocate, they try to use our broken political system and the the force of government to make them mandatory instead. But sometimes the real article of their hatred is tricky to see.

As an example, feminists don't hate men, they want to be men. They are filled with envy for them, not hatred. What they hate is women. They hate the beautiful and the feminine. I don't know much about the politics of Emily Ratajkowsi, but I'll bet $1,000 that reinvention of what's considered beautiful isn't on her short list. Why should it be? But this is typical of the kind of misdirection that the left employs to try to make their ugliness more highly valued. Don't attack beauty directly, attack those that appreciate it. Beauty itself isn't presented as immoral, only the appreciation of it. But this kind of societal destruction, the overturning of the natural order, is the only goal of 'reinvention'. And it's long past time we begin calling a spade a spade.

We need to be aware that when newly elected President Obama said he wanted to 'reinvent America', stories like this, and this,and this, were exactly the point. To the Social Justice Warrior, the most ridiculously obscene and vocal losers of the left, stories like that look like a victory. They are a manifestation of the end goal - the destruction of society as it is, and it's reinvention as something else. A 'something else' where they get to decide the rules on what's considered moral, proper, and 'just'.

This may seem very counter intuitive, but the social media politics of 21st century America isn't a cause, it's a symptom. It's the red spots on the skin of the small pox victim. It's the visible sign of a much deeper disease. One that to my eye anyway seems like it is already probably fatal. Taking a concealer pen and hiding the dots will do nothing at all to the moral collapse that the left holds as it's justification. Bit by bit over the last 50 years we've indulged the adolescence of the far left, and now thanks to technology, we lack the ability to fight it anymore. Rome has already fallen, we just haven't buried the body yet.

The rules of American democracy worked fine when the citizens took their responsibilities seriously. When they felt a sense of ownership over their society. But those days are behind us. And in that way it's a mistake to look back on past solutions. This grand experiment in the pursuit of individual liberty has been dead a long time. There is no way I can see to impose the kind of incremental costs in idiocy anymore, without violating the things we hold dear. Free speech, individual rights of property and person? To me those look like luxuries we've proven that we lack the character (collectively anyway) to value. We need to begin to see them as the antiquated ideas they are. Ideas we can no longer rely on to keep us on a virtuous path.

It would be illegal for me to advocate violence against social justice warriors, and I do no such thing. But I wonder what the effect would be if it came to that. I wonder what would happen if we lived up (or really down) to the expectations of the 'Black Lives matter' movement, and the feminazi's who want all men kept only as pets. They rail against straw men, but what if their dark fantasies became reality? Because I believe that in the end it will come to that - which is to say, I believe it's the road we're on.

If you believe that white America has achieved more than black America because of initiative, and intelligence, and civility, then there is only so much you can take of this barbarian nonsense. Eventually the people who feel that way will organize into the same kind of mob that black America has organized into, and their accusations of 'hatred' be damned. If every time a feminist pointed her fat greasy finger in a mans face and screamed about misogyny, that man were to belt her right in her mangled teeth, very quickly they would be quiet. And when the police decide that they've had enough of being terrorized by those barbarians already within the gates, the result will be violence direct action of another sort. And when that becomes the norm instead of some prosecutable exception, the way of the loser won't be looking so appealing to quite so many.

I believe that's coming. I'm not advocating it, but I think the far left is leaving the rest of humanity no other choice.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

- America's Mental Breakdown

Rob P sent me the article below and I'd like to call your attention to it:

The Coddling of the American Mind

It's basically a description of the self propagating lunacy that the far left has inflicted on our institutions of higher learning, and the psychological damage that's being wrought on our children because of it. You all know the drill. For years, folks like us have described the philosophical core of liberalism as a kind of socially contagious mental illness. Well the above article describes the means of transference.

The thing I get from it is a signal of how complete our failure as a culture has become. To elevate feelings as a greater source of truth than objectively verifiable facts, leaves the practitioner without the ability to untie their mental straight jacket. They become trapped in long series of self reinforcing delusions, and will never have the ability to see 'reality' for what it is. Instead, rationalization, ego protection and solipsism become the norm for them.

One other thing the article doesn't actually come right out and say is how closely this model of 'thinking' is to the natural mental state of women. It is in fact a femininization of the American thought process. for comparison I would recommend reading Rollo Tomassi's book "The Rational Male" as a point of comparison, and a description of the Evolutionary Psychology that led to this mental muddle.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Caught Between the Scylla and Narcissus

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has rocketed past longtime front-runner Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, a stunning turn in a race once considered a lock for the former secretary of state, a new Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll shows.

Sanders leads Clinton 44-37 percent among likely Democratic primary voters, the first time the heavily favored Clinton has trailed in the 2016 primary campaign, according to the poll of 442 Granite-Staters.

While the country dances on a tight rope between insolvency, and envy driven anarchy in the streets, the leaders in the polling of our two major parties are a narcissistic assclown turned reality TV star, and the single most economically illiterate public figure in the country. They say our system was designed by geniuses to be run by idiots.

But since I'm in a classical belt this morning you should remember this phrase: Vos Figere Non Stultus. You can't fix stupid. And no matter how idiotproof our country may have been designed, we have in fact managed to find two bigger idiots.

Most of you reading this probably think I'm paraphrasing a 1980's Sting song in the title of this post, but it's actually from Homer's Odyssey. The Scylla was a six headed sea monster and charibdis was an inescapable whirlpool which shared the two sides of the narrow straits of Messina. Narcissus was, of course, the boy who so loved his own reflection in the still pond that the gods turned him into a vegetable, but since the word is still in common use, the connection to Trump is obvious.

I know life is supposed to imitate art, but this is taking it to a perverse extreme. What better literary reference could you possibly find for the great National Bureaucracy that Bernie Sanders thinks empowers all 'fairness' than the six headed beast of the Scylla? And the national debt (and the effect on the financial markets that would come from a megalomaniacal president Trump) could not be a better represented than the whirpool of Charybdis.

It's literally poetic.

Bernie' Sander's economic illiteracy is so well documented that I don't really feel the need to bash him further here. The man is "too liberal for the Democratic party", which tells any rational human all they need to know about the man. But readers here may feel differently about Trump.

Some of you may believe that Trump is 'the man'. While I may not think he's "the man", I'll grant you that he's at least 'a man'. He's taking a very alpha male approach to things. But just because you act like you should be in charge doesn't actually mean you should be. Attitude doesn't equal competence. I've met the man and engaged him in conversation about the very topic of my concern, so while I admit that my view is speculation, it's rational and has some basis in the kind of professional conjecture I've spent most of my life at, so maybe hear me out on this one.

Right now, when it comes to the national debt, it's a non issue. This is a curious thing given the spectacular weakness of the Federal balance sheet. So you may ask yourself, why is that? It doesn't make any sense - markets aren't suppose to respond that way, yet bubbles do occur right?

Well I think the thing that is preserving the confidence of our federal creditors is actually a misreading of our federal debtors. Our politicians treat our national debt like a non issue, mainly out of economic incompetence and disincentives built into our political system. But our investors misread that, accustomed as they are to dealing with other members of the private sector, as confidence. And it's that confidence which allows the illusion of eventual repayment to be preserved on the part of our Federal debtors.

But put an egomaniac like Trump with a VERY limited understanding of how markets really work into the mix, and that becomes a time bomb. All it will take is a few slapped faces and some dipping poll numbers as he insults his way across the country in the first few months of his term, and he could feel the need to go looking for something where he believes his expertise is great. He could turn to the nation's finances, and getting the Federal balance sheet in order.

But as soon as he does that, or rather, as soon as he convinces the market that he's really going to actually DO something about that, the illusion held by Federal debtors will dissipate. Investors will have no choice but to recognize that not everyone is getting out of this in one piece and will begin running for the exists. Depending on how quickly the markets are frozen, I'd say we could see somewhere between 12 and 15 Trillion (yes... with a T) of liquidity flow out of the global markets in heartbeat, and because of US debt's 'riskless' status, potentially much more. For frame of reference, one fairly reliable estimate I read of the total wealth lost in the two years of the the Mortgage crisis, called it 6.2 Trillion.

This market collapse will be followed rapidly by some kind of command and control effort to fix the prices of Federal debt, but by then the damage will be done. It will likely collapse every single liquid market on the planet, and then some. Hence the swirling abyss metaphor from Homer. And ironically, it can only be brought on by a Trump like figure. By someone who thinks he knows better than everyone, and has no stake in the political future of his allies or friends. It could only be an outsider, free from blame, and arrogant enough to believe he can actually fix it. Any political insider would do what everyone else has done and simply ignore the unsolvable problem a little longer, preserving the bubble's illusion of confidence. But a man like Trump could be the guy who tips the scales, and in the process dumps it all.

The election is thankfully, a long way off. and I have a terrible record with predicting election outcomes so I won't try. But I'm really hoping that we end up with at least one more duplicitous, cuckservative choice. Because the consequences of any choice between these two ridiculous jokers are too terrible to contemplate.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

- Life Without A Downside

One of the guys who works for me couldn't figure out what Trump's end game was. "What's his goal?" He kept asking, "What's his endgame? He can't possibly think he's gonna win." This led him to believe that Trump must be working some kind of a deal. I couldn't manage to convince him that for Trump, the attention is the goal.

My argument was this. If you're a guy like Trump, who has never had to worry about ... really anything, then why not "run for president?" He's been making a show of it in every election for 2 decades or so now, so why not take it a little further this time? Why not detonate the whole process by drawing attention onto yourself? It's not like the loss of some money will bother him. To quote a character from a once popular film, "How many yacht's can you water ski behind?" The potential effect on Donald Trump's lifestyle to running a well funded and deeply destructive political campaign is zero.

More to the point, I think this campaign IS the yacht that Trump has elected to waterski behind - for today anyway. Until he gets bored with it. That's what being a narcissist is all about. For him it's nothing more than a hugely expensive, naturally attention seeking luxury. Far more luxury than most of us could afford, or have the general decency to pursue. But if we're gonna be honest about it, what one of us even mildly interested in politics wouldn't fantasize about how our life would have been if we had been born to the spectacular wealth that Trump has? Who among us wouldn't find it entertaining to get elected to the presidency and ride into the Washington Bureaucracy like one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, leaving slain departments and retired redistribution programs in our wake?

Well Trump can afford that kind of luxury, so what the hell? Why not "run for President?" He's in front of the cameras, which he loves. He's getting GOBS of attention from the public, which he loves. He's out there being himself on the national (really international) stage, and doing it all in his own "my way" crushed velvet and gold lame style. He's having a grand old time and receiving accolades from the know nothings in the process. What's the downside for him here?

"Yes, but WHY is he doing it?" said my guy. My answer to that is the same as always. Who ever really knows what's truly in the hearts of men. It's a stupid question, and can't ever really be known. And what's more, why bother? Maybe he's doing it for fun, but maybe he's doing it because he believes that he's the only one who can save us all from the alien invasion he expects in a few years. It can be a serious reason or a totally delusional one but it doesn't matter because it doesn't have any effect on the facts on the ground. All we really need to know is that he's taking it as seriously as his bankbook will allow. All the rest of the speculation is a total waste of time.

But the real problem for my guy is that he's even bothering to ask. By doing so he assumes that Donald Trump looks at problems the same way he does. He's assuming that Trump is thinking about the future, and working toward some personal advantage. I keep trying to tell him that for Trump, the fun IS the advantage. How in the hell do you keep you life interesting when you can (and have) bought everything that any human can ever imagine? He's had all the personal stimulation that any of us could ever possibly hope for. But he's still drawn to something new like this, Dorian Gray style, because for him it's unique, and fun. And if it's net effect on America could later turn out be destructive, all things considered, why in the world would he care about that?

It should have been obvious to everyone everywhere that in the end, the only person whose life Donald Trump has ever really cared about improving, was Donald Trumps.

Friday, August 7, 2015

- Trump And The War On Women

In fairness to Trump in the debate last night, what was the guy gonna say? Presidential candidates don't come out and declare that "the war on women" is a fantasy generated by female solipsism. Do you imagine he'd blurt out that all the data supporting it is carefully cherry picked and misrepresented? That given the legal and sociological constraints on men if there really were a war, that women should just finally declare victory and move on?

Do you think he'd talk about the false rape accusations or the constant portrayal of men in the media as childish, idiotic buffoons as opposed to the capable and clever daring souls they used to be portrayed as? Did you imagine him talking about how women will never be as good at being men as men are or that men bear all the risk, while women continue to try to reap all the benefit?

Would he bring up the marriage strike that young men have declared in reaction to women's unconstrained hypergamy or the sex strike that millennial men have declared because most women aren't worth all the bother anymore? No. Whatever else, he's not there to win that battle or even engage in it. It's a standard rule of 'Game' - never admit the game.

And some of us out there, Trump supporter or no, understand exactly how far women will be willing to go to defend their right to unconstrained hypergamy and the artificially imposed limitation of male options in mate selection. The vast majority of women are biologically lacking in the ability for honest self reflection as a man would describe it. And many a politician has died on that cross for far less serious sins than Trump commits daily.

In the long run though, I think he'll wiggle around it with Game. He'll dodge and shuck until presented with a direct question, then he'll talk about how "he loves women... they taste just like chicken" or some such, and throw a few platitudes out there about his wives, or his daughter. He'll handle it like any pick up artist will, and you never know. He might be so good at that game that he even gets the social justice warriors a little slippery in the process. They won't vote for him of course - to them everything is political. But for some reason (strangely unknown to them) they wont be able to find it in their hearts to attack him with the same vigor that they would a Rubio, or Bush.

And I think the talking heads that see him as 'attacking' Megyn Kelly (who I generally like by the way) have got it wrong, and also misread how it will be viewed by Trump supporters. For them, that line about Rosie O'Donnell will be enough to excuse any other sins. What man in America wouldn't enjoy calling the delusional bloated hag a shipwreck to her face?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

- Donald Trump, Kevin Williamson and The Manosphere

Ask me who I agree with politically, (as many of you actually have) and I always say the same name. Kevin Williamson.

The Derb and I are much closer. I know and admire his son, adore his daughter, and politely lust after his wife (though I would never insult him or risk our friendship by actually pursuing the issue) and he and I agree on the vast majority of issues.

But Kevin and I are much closer in age and background. And he has that same sense of 'something to prove' that I've always felt. The same flavor of childhood insecurity overcompensated for by overtly displayed blistering intelligence. "Read Kevin Williamson and you know how I feel about a topic." I've said countless times, though he always expresses our shared opinions with much more style than I ever could.

That hasn't changed, but it doesn't mean I agree with his every word either. The other day he published a piece calling the rise in housing prices in many urban markets the beginning of a bubble. I think he's right about the bubble, but wrong that rising prices of real estate are an indicator for it.

We have half the leverage we had in real estate in 2007, but in terms of borrower balance sheets, considerably more leverage in Federal and Municipal debt. That leverage is creating an enormous bubble and since those instruments support the 'surety' for the entire global market, they are no doubt affecting real estate prices. It's when the frailty in 'borrower balance sheets' is transferred to the 'lender balance sheet', that a bubble bursts. But as I see it, it isn't technically a real estate bubble. We disagreed on that, but that's a pretty technical quibble, and typical of my 'disagreements' with him.

Kevin has come under a lot of fire in certain circles for his very vocal criticism of Donald Trump. I direct you to the comment section on this piece for a gander. But as you would expect, I think it's the commenters that miss the mark here not Kevin. Kevin isn't saying that Trump isn't a great showman, or that he isn't saying things that many Americans want to hear. What he's saying is that it's stupid to believe Trump will follow through on what he says. Trump is a circus clown pretending to be a lion tamer. And when they finally let the lion out of that cage, Trump will run for the exit.

Ironically I think the rise of Trump speaks directly to how the genders inter-relate. Men can attract women one of two ways. They can be very different from them - very male, or they can change themselves to be very similar to them in thought and action if not appearance. Clearly our culture has become extremely (absurdly) feminized, and our politicians have reacted to that by being 'little girls' themselves. For years I've called president 'Bike Helmet' our first female president, because from my perspective he thinks acts and behaves in virtually every way, exactly like a woman would in the same circumstance.

Women say they love this of course. But the same woman who loudly proclaims herself a 'strong independent woman' and berates any man who thinks like me for their misogyny and lack of support for feminism, will be be the very same woman who three hours later, will be down on all fours on my living room floor, naked, begging me to pull her hair, slap her ass and call her a dirty slut. With all women, as her orgasm approaches, universally, her feminism fades.

Then over the next few weeks, she'll respond to my total lack of interest in her with obsession over how and where I spend my time, who I spend it with, and send me 10 texts a day wondering why I don't call her back. For weeks she'll tell me she hates me and my lack of 'emotional availability' or some such, but reliably show up at my apartment unbidden, asking to spend the night. Women say they like men who are more like women, but (sometimes over their own internally expressed objections) they are sexually attracted to men who act more like men.

The punchline to the this story is that Trump is one of those rare creatures in the public sphere who is acting like a man, and I believe that is the appeal the old huckster. He's spouting strong talk and bravado. He's pointing his finger in people's faces and demonstrating none of the obsequiousness to the press that is universal among Republican politicians who struggle to get into the 'friend zone' of most of the voting public. He's an alpha dog. A leader. He's a guy that can be in charge, or at least know how to act like one. And those men who share my view of how a man should behave have flocked to him, recognizing one of their own.

But here's the thing. Not every leader is worth following. And the point I think Kevin is trying to make is that Trump isn't really a leader, he just plays one on TV. He's not really an alpha male, he's just an aging, balding 'Pick Up Artist' who has learned all the mannerisms necessary to behave like one. That's fine in the short term, but you wouldn't want any old pick up artist actually running things. Trump's business success has been middling at best. He's not very smart. He doesn't really understand finance and economics particularly well (this I know from personal experience). And he has continually demonstrated an utter lack of character that is supposed to be something we hold as important on the right.

Though in a world where truly brave men like John McCain are accurately described as cuckservatives, even a poseur like Trump is going to attract some attention. He's an obvious phony to anyone who knows better. But in a world where we're inundated with non stop feminizing propaganda, the public can't help but to be drawn to the act, even if they know it's fake. I believe the secret hope is that someone with more substance will recognize the Trump act and give it voice. Kevin actually argued that a real leader like Mitt Romney should have heeded that particular call. alas, in 21st century America all we have is someone like Trump.

Trump would be an awful President in all the same ways Obama has been. He's vain, shallow, dim, and easily handled by real experts. His massive ego is the only thing that defines him. I like to believe that he's only staying in it until some of the other candidates of the right start to see the difference between how a man behaves and how they behave, and start responding accordingly. But more and more I'm thinking that might be wrong. It could be that we are so frivolous a people these days that it's time for a 'reality star' president. It could be that America is so culturally corrupt, that Trump is exactly the kind of 'circus clown' president that we deserve. He's the 21st century's answer to 'Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho' - whose administration the future Trump presidency will signal as all but unavoidable.

But the fact that Kevin isn't writing that - at least not yet, doesn't mean he doesn't know it. As a guy who makes his living in the political sphere, he's hoping that there is more substance left to this once great nation. He's making serious, factual, intellectual arguments against a Republican primary candidate who could not be less serious, factual, or intellectual. And in this environment it takes much bigger balls to speak against Trump than for him. So who is really the follower and who is the real 'leader' here? I know how I'd vote.

I'll tell you something else personal that kind of galls me when I read how the manosphere has been critical of Kevin's view. I've been out drinking with Kevin Williamson (back when he still did that sort of thing). I've seen how he behaves around beautiful women. He's bold, brash, and utterly fearless. In his circles, Kevin IS very much an alpha male in every way that Trump pretends to be but isn't. It's easy to act like a big deal when you've inherited $400 Million dollars like Trump has. But it apparently takes the real thing to tell the difference between a man with real courage, and a poseur.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

- The Man Who Shot Michael Brown

I found this story in the New Yorker about Darren Wilson, the cop who shot Michael Brown, surprisingly even handed - for a journalist (who as a group are the most despicable scum god ever created). But one thing strikes me as important.

Black people always assume any engrained animosity is about skin color, but white people think it's about behavior. If a white person behaved the way that Michael Brown behaved (as described in this article) then I'd have stood on the sidewalk and cheered for Darren Wilson as they came to get the body. I'd have happily defended him from any mob.

There is no sin in being poor. There is no sin in being under-educated, or not having made the most of your life. And there is certainly no sin in being black. But there is definitely something wrong with the behavior described in this article by black people. They do not behave like people who have a stake in the society or like they want to make the world better. And I'm not just talking about Michael Brown. They behave more like the citizens of Lagos, than they do the citizens of Reykjavik. And having come from a poor background and receiving only a meager public school education, I do see a sin in that.

Black people claim that they act badly because they're treated badly, and white people say they're treated badly because they act badly. For my part, I know I have no control over how other people will feel about me. I only have control over how I will behave. Black America might want to think about that when the accusation of 'racist!!!" loses it's present power. And so long as the only requirement for being accused of being a racist is being born white, that most certainly is going to happen.

Monday, August 3, 2015

- Blind Stupidity (awaiting Darwin's Wrath)

In the wilder parts of North America, there is nothing more dangerous than a mother bear with her cubs. There are countless stories of people being killed by accidentally stumbling in to that kind of situation. But don't tell that to Kaylee Heck who believes "it's so cuuuuuute!!!"

Sheer, blind, idiocy. But with any luck, Ms. Heck will believe her own BS and decide to be the one to feed the baby bear when she runs into one "in her pool or on her swingset", or "playing" on the NJ golf course.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

- Winning the Abortion Argument

With the recent Planned Parenthood kerfluffle, I was contemplating Goya's famous painting of Cronos Devouring His Young
The painting still has a shocking and even repulsive effect on the observer.

All liberals believe in abortion as a right and necessary to the survival of the species, as long as they are not the ones being forced to table, legs akimbo.

According to the Liberal Victim Value Index (Coined by Sultan Knish), a fetus with a heart, liver and lungs as well as harvestable organs is still far inferior to Cecil the Lion.

Gently remind the liberals that they have probably aborted an entire legion of voters as well as many more future liberal leaders.  We all know that the pool of future black and Latino leaders has been consistently narrowed by abortion. Last stat was 90,000 black babies a year. After all, Sanger wanted it that way...

Go one step further. If a person is supposedly born LGBTQ, it is quite possible that whole generations of future queers have been routinely harvested for organs by Planned Parenthood.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

- A Word On Bitcoin

I found this story very interesting, and since I have been asked from time to time about Bitcoin, it seems like this would be a good excuse to discuss it.

I don't really know much about the technical specifics of Bitcoin. I get the general principle (and I did design program trading systems for a living for a couple of decades so I might be understating my knowledge just a tad), but that's about it. But from a higher 'market's perspective, something always troubled me about Bitcoin.

It always seemed to me to be too easy to fake - too easy to lie about. I couldn't actually tell you how one might do that specifically. When it comes to imagining the vices of others I'm more of boy scout than I usually care to admit. But I've always felt that there was something unbalanced about it. Like it didn't have all the natural checks and balances involved in it that would keep people from trying to get away with something.

Let me try to explain it this way. People don't electronically rob banks very often, but they don't avoid it because it would be hard to get the money out. That would be relatively easy; even I can figure out a couple of ways that would probably work. The real problem with that kind of theft is "What are you going to do with the money once you have it?" It only becomes spendable currency if you have a bank someplace willing to endorse the validity of your ownership of it. And banks are amazingly reluctant to accept massive electronic transfers from anonymous people where the source of origin for the electronic transfer isn't well documented. It's the Bank's agreement on a rule set which keeps that kind of theft from occurring.

Bitcoin tries to remove that constraint by replacing the agreement on rule set with our universal agreement on the rules of mathematics. It tries to make the literal electronic bits and bytes the thing. That's tricky. And if it works, it makes the currency much more steal-able than the bits and bytes in electronic banking transfers by removing that check on electronic theft.

Now before you all try to lecture me about why that isn't so, please recall that all you'll really be telling me is that you personally can't think of a way to game it any more than I can. But there is always (ALWAYS) someone out there who is smart enough to undo the best ideas of mortal men if the stakes are high enough. The theoretical existence of the possibility all but assures it's inevitability. If Bitcoin becomes what it's supporters want it to be, someone somewhere will figure out how to game it. Even mathematical irreducibility is no defense from the larceny of the human heart.

With that said, frequent readers will recall one of the things that I think the Bitcoin market currently has going for it and will be a strong influence on it's long term prospects.

Blythe Masters, the former head of commodity trading at JPMorgan, much reviled in Zerohedge circles, has left her position as the most despised woman on Wall Street, and taken the helm of a Bitcoin firm. I've known Blythe a long time and I do think that her involvement in that market speaks volumes for it's long term credibility. But it's a specific kind of credibility that the market gains from her participation.

Blythe is smart, ruthless and extremely well connected. She is often described as the person who invented Credit Derivatives, but that's really just "know nothing" shorthand for a woefully underinformed class of business journalists. There are still a few of us out there who know that isn't precisely so.

The idea of a credit derivative was actually crafted by the big brain PHD's working at JPMorgan in the early 90's, and Blythe had very little to do with the inspiration, if anything at all. But what Blythe did very much do was invent the "market" for credit derivatives. Which in point of fact was probably a more difficult task.

Any yahoo with a little time on his hands can come up with an idea. But to see the execution of that idea through and develop it into a thriving business, is a talent much more rare than the ability to conceive of the inspiration in the first place. Contrary to what we're all constantly told about Silicon Valley, ideas themselves are worth exactly nothing. It's fulfillment and execution of the idea which is so massively rewarded.

But Blythe has a very specific talent in that regard. For all her strengths as a business leader, she is (in my opinion) something less than charming. She is not the kind of person who can inspire. She is not 'loved' by the people she leads - more probably they are intimidated by her. Time and maturity have probably smoothed over her roughest edges as they do for all of us. But she is by no means the kind of person who inspires loyalty from the people below her whose interests may not be perfectly aligned with her own. That's not exactly a requirement for her role, but it would be if the plan is to build a business from the ground up in the way our popular culture imagines it done.

That's all my personal read of course, but it's an opinion which I know to be widely shared. And for that reason, I doubt that's what she's trying to do. What I have always suspected is that she, like the rest of us whose strive for success, will stick to her strengths. And her strength is not as a visionary, or as a ground up Steve Jobs like figure. Her strength is in using her personal credibility and copious rolodex to facilitate institutionalization. What I strongly believe she's trying to do, is to find a way to convince the globe's entrenched financial interest to see Bitcoin as worthy of their involvement as another place where their interest is in control and management of financial resources.

To the zerohedge crowd, bringing in a bunch of big players to control the stability of a market probably looks like corruption of it's libertarian purity. There's probably something to that. But that's not the whole story, or particularly fair take on it. In point of fact, Bitcoin's 'purity' is a strength and a weakness in the way I described above.

Without powerful entrenched interest directly involved in preserving the stability of that market, it can never be the kind of thing that it's supporters imagine it growing into. Someone somewhere needs to hold a gun to everyone's head and tell them to play fair. Or in a darker future where the role of Ms. Masters is played by some burly guy named Igor and his gang of henchmen, to play the way they want it to be played.

Right now, Bitcoin has no such cop. But from the global list of potential candidates for this role, the people Blythe probably has in mind will be considerably more 'fair' than almost all of the others. Will they game it a bit to take a risk free cut for themselves off the top? That's the way I'd bet. But that's infinitely preferable than virtually every other option. Instead of trading and settlement rules subtly skewed to give the big players a tiny advantage, it could just as easily be an arbitrary and capricious enforcement body run the Russians or Chinese, or the Yakuza the Mexican Cartels or whoever. And they may think the right way for things to be structured is to put a literal bullet in the head of anyone who makes a big profit, however it was made. To them, that may very well be a perfectly good way to keep things going the way they want it to go.

In short, while markets may spring naturally from civil society, stability of those markets does not. My more libertarian minded friends always seem to forget that one of the costs of the rule free market is that everyone gets to make their own rules. They don't see the source of the stability of the modern world in the same way that fish don't see the water they swim in. Instead their world view just assumes that will continue without anyone to expending the energy to keep it that way. This is tragically untrue. And Blythe's contacts are with the very people who can and will ensure that (more or less fair) stability.

Are they the best bad choice? Maybe. I guess it depends on how you look at it. But I strongly suspect that in the decades to come, stability will become and increasingly precious phenomenon and when it does, Bitcoin will be glad of the long term influence of someone like Blythe Masters.

Without the influence of her, or someone just like her, Bitcoin will always be the Panamanian dollar of the electronic commerce world. Useful if left with no other choices, but not something stable enough to be relied upon. But with that institutionalization (or if you're a purist corruption) it stands a much better chance at becoming something to take seriously.