Tuesday, December 22, 2015

- Morally Neutral Racism

Am I allowed to say that on average, black Americans are taller than Eskimos? Is that a morally offensive recognition of the differences between the races? Am I allowed to Say that Chinese Americans are on average, thinner than Samoan Americans? Where do I cross the line between perfectly appropriate factual recognition of obvious truths, and wander into the "morally indefensible" practice of 'racism' as currently defined?

the truth is, I have no idea. But I know I don't want to leave the decision up to Jamelle Bouie, because as far as he and the partisans like him are concerned, any fact I take notice of that doesn't involve shoveling a few hundred billion more dollars down the Democrat vote buying machine is immoral. If you're like me, and you are unable to filter your every observation of reality through a liberal purification process, you might want to think about this.

As far as I'm concerned, it's perfectly moral to take as much notice as you like of any FACT. It would only be immoral to misunderstand that fact. So for instance if I were to say that on average, blacks have an IQ 15 points lower than whites, that would be a fact. If I were to say that because Jamelle Bouie is black, he must have an IQ 15 points lower than a white man, that would not only be factually incorrect, it would also be immoral.

If you want to say something about an individual member of a group, you need to recognize that their membership in that group may not have any bearing on the specific "content of their character". And the same is true the other way. If an individual was so obsessed with race that they were unable to see any of the other issues, you could not extrapolate and assume that every member of his demographic group also feels exactly the same way.

In this case, and by the standards of modern racism, two conclusions can be drawn from this simple bit of logic:

1. Not every single member of the black Community is unabashedly racist against white people.

2. Jamelle Bouie is a completely immoral racist.

Monday, December 21, 2015

- Genes Which Dictate Intelligence Found

That settles that:

Genes which make people intelligent have been discovered and scientists believe they could be manipulated to boost brain power. Researchers have believed for some time that intellect is inherited with studies suggesting that up to 75 per cent of IQ is genetic, and the rest down to environmental factors such as schooling and friendship groups. But until now, nobody has been able to pin-point exactly which genes are responsible for better memory, attention, processing speed or reasoning skills. Now Imperial College London has found that two networks of genes determine whether people are intelligent or not-so-bright.

So basically, 75% of your intelligence is inherited, just like your height, your eye color and your (gasp) skin color.

- Barak Obama: Mail Room Staffer

President Obama on ISIS:

"This is not an organization that can destroy the United States," Mr. Obama told NPR in an interview released Monday. "This is not a huge industrial power that can pose great risks to us institutionally or in a systematic way."

An interesting idea struck me this morning (yes... like all my passably insightful ideas, I was in the shower), and it happened before I actually saw this comment. For a long time I've been focused on how academically focused Liberals like president bike helmet, cant seem to connect their proposals for change with the likely outcomes of those proposals. But this comment brings to light the other side of that idea.

I think what might be even more important, is that Liberals (most of them having never actually done it themselves) don't appreciate how hard it is to generate the inputs of our economy. They talk a lot about greed, and how anyone who achieves success has done it through exploitation, graft and dishonesty. But for decades they've been imposing obstacles to running a private sector business. It actually reminds me of one of the phenomena I saw frequently while climbing the corporate ladder.

To a person in the mail room of a private sector business, the CEO's job looks easy and cool. He see's the CEO sitting in a big office, behind a big desk. He see's him talking to people and giving orders all day. He see's him meet with attractive and interesting people and getting involved in interesting things. And at the end of the day he see's him getting paid a lot of money for it.

But what he doesn't see is that the people the CEO delegates things to do it considerably worse than he probably would. And in the case of the CEO, the people he delegates to are in turn delegating to others, all with worse and worse actual execution being delivered. It's like driving a car where the steering only works correctly about half the time, but you and everyone you know is still going to die if you get in a crash.

He doesn't see the pressure applied to a CEO or the demands that are being made by investors. He doesn't appreciate how many different things you have to understand and stay on top of to be a CEO, or what the consequences of failure will be. He never see's how much actual personal risk is involved, and how many things have to go right and be correctly anticipated to do the job well.

But the main thing that the mail room guy doesn't see is how poorly he would do the job if given the chance. He believes it's easy only because he doesn't really understand it. Yet in any private company as you move up the organization's hierarchy you can find tons of people who believe they can do the job above them, when in truth they probably can't. That's who Obama is. He doesn't understand how hard it is to produce all the 'stuff' he gets to redistribute according to his idea of political 'fairness'.

He doesn't understand that while he makes a brash claim about ISIS, he's actually doing all he can to destroy America by 'fundamentally transforming it' through wholesale unrestricted immigration. He's right that ISIS can't destroy America, but Barak Obama can, so ISIS won't have to. He'll just change the moral character of the nation by rewarding losers and punishing winners until our post 'fundamental transformation' nation very much can be destroyed by ISIS.

Most Academic's think the same way. They imagine themselves great thinkers, but most couldn't run a lemonade stand because they've never been in a position where they've had personal responsibility for failure. And until we impose some risk associated with failure on them, they will never have any incentive to do things differently. They will never learn how successful decisions are made. And absent that, they'll continue to propose things that make themselves feel good but produce terrible outcomes for the majority of people, even those they're trying to help.

If America is destroyed, Barak Obama will still be a big man in the ashes. So how should he have any idea what ISIS can and can't destroy?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

- Trump's Market Bubble: Blood Politics

I find this story about Trump hoping a bubble bursts during Obama’s time in office, particularly interesting.

Frequent readers know that my greatest concerns about Trump's candidacy involve matters economic. Based on my past conversations with him, I have believed up to now that he doesn’t understand the financial markets very well. But I have to raise the possibility that I’ve underestimated him. I met Mr. Trump at a party many years ago, and we talked specifically about the markets. At the time, he was blissfully unaware of how the financial markets worked. Now though it may be a different story.

That doesn’t exactly give me hope. I see no way to have the long delayed consequences of our poor economic decision making be realized without considerable pain and distress. For a very long time the Federal government has spent money which it neither has, nor has any realistic way of ever obtaining in the future. And if Donny Trump has learned how markets work in the intervening years since our brief acquaintance, it won’t change that. But if he has, it certainly puts an interesting wrinkle in things.

But first, the fundamentals. There is an obvious bubble in US Treasuries. All the behavioral signs are there. We have a spectacularly large financial commitment supported by a very weak balance sheet, and investors are acting accordingly by embracing the ‘greater fool’ theory where Treasuries are concerned. No one believes that the government can pay all it's existing obligations, and investors are shortening their holding periods accordingly, even if the threat of Fed intervention in the market prevents the change in rates from demonstrating it.

In fact, the only reason the Federal government gets away with it at all and the bubble hasn't already burst, is that they also print the money. A Treasury bond is a promise to pay the person who buys it, a certain amount of money at some future date. A dollar bill is a promise to pay a person a certain amount of money, right now. From a financial standpoint, that’s the only real difference between the two.

If the Federal Government were to ‘buy down’ the currently existing debt today by giving cash to people instead of bonds, it would have a surprisingly small impact on prices (at least I was surprised). There are an awful lot of ‘dollars’ out there and printing a few trillion more would make a difference, but less than you think.

M2, a measure of ‘money supply’, is currently at 12.3 Trillion. Our currently issued debt is at 18.7 Trillion. So assuming the distortion of prices was equally distributed, buying down 100% of our currently issued federal debt would mean that the price of everything would increase by 130.7%. We would have the same amount of stuff as we had yesterday, but today its value would be represented by a larger amount of ‘dollars’.

Prices wouldn’t actually go that way of course. The shock to the financial system would be severe and that would distort things. Essential items like food would probably increase more than luxury items, and investment assets like precious metals, oil, and the products that contain them will increase even further. But that isn’t the real problem. The truth is that the amount of debt is a proxy for describing a bigger problem. Its other financial commitments that we need to worry about. And therein lies even scarier news.

US States have roughly 3.4 Trillion in Pension liabilities to former employees. But those commitments are utterly dwarfed by the total liabilities of the US government. One study I saw showed the US total liabilities at 225 Trillion and the ‘unfunded’ portion at 127 Trillion. Translated into English, that means that over the time we have promised to pay out that 225 Trillion, we will be taking in 127 Trillion less in taxes. There may be some error there around the margin, and there are gobs of accounting tricks having to do with ridiculously low and unchanging discount rates and such in there as well. But that does get to the gist of it.

So at an absolute minimum, in order to leave things at the same level of politically induced ‘fairness’ that we have today, we will need to print enough money to increase prices 1,184%. Milk prices vary widely, but as of today I can buy a gallon of the stuff for about $2.50. The day after we used the ‘pay down’ method to address these liabilities, the price would be $2,960.00 per gallon. Other prices would also change accordingly, plus or minus the aforementioned market distortions. Even if we absorbed that amount over 20 years (or for that matter 50 years), much mayhem will ensue.

OK. So I think it’s fair to say that this is not do-able. Instead, let’s suppose we paid down the debt but in the interest of ‘fairness’ (as defined by our political leaders) we left other liabilities where they stand. Over time, we would still need to choose between letting prices of milk rise to 3K per gallon, or not actually pay the people we have promised to. That’s it. In the end those are our only options. One way everyone suffers, and the other way the people out there demanding ‘fairness’ because they don’t get as much as other people, suffer. In truth, probably both groups suffer.

From here you can say "Lets just default on the debt" or "let's just not pay the Chinese", but these are not realistic options. First, they're a tiny portion of the spending we've committed to. And second, the largest holder of US debt, are US citizens. Every pension, insurance company, bank, and holder of capital of any consequence whatsoever, is a holder of US treasuries. In an effort to choose who we screw and who we don't, we will only end up screwing ourselves.

But believe it or not, even that isn’t the REALLY scary news either, which brings me back to my long ago conversation with Donny Trump.

What people who work in the fixed income markets do all day when they’re ‘shuffling paper’ is they calculate what the future value of a payment is today. If I pay you a dollar today it’s worth $1, but if I promise to pay you $1 tomorrow, it’s worth some tiny fraction less than that. The difference between the two is called ‘discounting’. That along with a few other calculations called ‘duration’ and ‘convexity’ refer to understanding and measuring the risks associated with extending credit to someone over time.

These terms and the facts around them, were the topic of my conversation with Mr. Trump’s in that east side apartment so many years ago. And he understood none of it. It seemed very much like he had never even heard the terms before. This struck me as very strange since they are really terms from Finance 101. And at the time it seemed to me that anyone who proclaimed himself king of the financial deal should understand them. He very much didn’t, and in retrospect I don’t suppose he had to. He can have people for that. But one aspect of them he should understand is something referred to as a ‘follow on effect’.

Those calculations and their resultant conclusions, are all based on the assumption that the behavior you see today from a debtor, is likely to continue in the future. If the behavior is prudent and responsible, then it is assumed that all future behavior will also be. If it is childish, irresponsible, or based entirely on a proven falsehood, then THAT is the presumption of future behavior. And the people who work in the financial markets all have very similar ideas about what is prudent and responsible. There is no ‘social justice’ in financial mathematics.

We are as a nation, seven years into an eight year departure from reality. We take money from those who have been productive, and out of some perverted moral sense, give it to those who are the least productive, after the government takes a cut for itself. And in order to eliminate our debt in a prudent and responsible way, we would have to simply stop doing that. But those people, the recipients of government reshuffled 'fairness', all vote. And unless the person he’s running against is doing so from a Federal penitentiary, that kind of talk will not win any elections for Mr. Trump.

Markets meanwhile, are about incentives. And when you put the conditions in place that give all the people the same incentive, they are all going to act in the same manner. So if Donny were to advertise the fact that he intends to ‘address the debt’ without losing the election in the process, then the markets will assume he means something other than a prudent and responsible solution. And they will all run for the exit of the Treasury bond market, as fast as their little wingtips can carry them.

The follow on effects of this can’t realistically be valued. At least not with the financial models I have handy. You see, Treasury debt is considered ‘riskless’ and if the risks associated with it go from zero to any positive number, the math of our financial system gets ugly very quickly. Those ‘riskless’ assets stand as collateral for all the other assets on every financial institutions balance sheet. So if they suddenly lose value, there will be massive sell-offs in virtually every liquid asset class.

It won’t be hyperinflation, that’s something else. But the inflation that comes from it will be steep, immediate and shattering. Closing the capital markets will be the only way to prevent it, and over time that will have its own follow on effects like starvation and rioting.

We have gone a very long time pretending that the truth is something other than what it seems. We have pretended that racism, misogyny, unfairness, and exploitation are more important issues and have a greater impact on reality, than the amount that an individual contributes to productivity. This isn’t so. Losers aren’t made winners by redefining what the words mean. But that’s literally what politicians and their enablers in academia have tried to do. You can believe what you like as far as that goes, but when it's effect is felt in the financial markets, the piper will be paid.

So what exactly does Donny mean when he says that he hopes the bubble bursts before Obama leaves office? I don’t know. I think it’s possible he’s trying to create those circumstance without actually being held personally accountable for creating them. (If he were, then given our justice department’s priorities it would probably be him running for President from a Federal prison cell.) He could slash spending, but that will result in riots by the 'unfairness' crowd. He could buy down debt, but that will result in financial market catastrophe, which will cause capitalists to step away from risk and millions losing their jobs, which will also result in riots. Or he can find a way to suggest enough reality to bring an end to the age of delusion while Obama is still in office, and then be the guy who rides in afterward to clean up the blood.

The latter is certainly what he prefers, but I’m not politically savvy enough to see how to get there from here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

- Guns And Abortion

I've been graciously invited to speak to a private group in a few weeks to talk about gun culture, so in advance of that, I don't want to write too much about this specifically. But the snippet below was simply too good an example of inverted liberal logic to pass up on mentioning. A slate writer is making the case that gun shops should be subject to the same kind of protests that Abortion clinics are:

In many states, it is significantly easier to get a gun than an abortion. This is despite the fact that gun buyers are purchasing items specifically designed to kill full-fledged human beings, oftentimes as many as possible in as little time as possible. Abortion seekers, meanwhile, are exercising agency over only their own bodies, lives, and reproductive health. Guns endanger both their owners and anyone else in their immediate vicinity. Abortions affect only the patients who need them. Even the anti-choice set has admitted, in its own convoluted, precious way, that gun violence is generally more troubling than the procedures enacted by abortion providers.

Actually the exact opposite is true. Of the 300 million guns in America, the vast majority of them never kill anyone, nor are they ever intended to. But show me even a single case of an abortion where both parties survived, and I'll show you a medical malpractice lawsuit. Gun owners look only to engage in a constitutionally protected civil liberty, while an Abortion is the practice of making what would otherwise be 2 people into just 1.

As for that last snarkily condescending sentence about the practices of Abortion providers, I have only this to offer from that hapless tool of the ultra-right wing propaganda machine, The Atlantic Magazine:

The Story of Kermitt Gosnell

Thursday, December 10, 2015

- New Republic: "Ban All Guns"

There's not a ton of new substance here. It's a female centric argument about whether the pro-gun crowd is adequately sensitive to the anti-gun position, and arguing that banning all guns should be brought into the scope of the discussion.

Nor is it likely to be persuasive to many who subscribe to the male centric thought process of looking at likely outcome before deciding on a policy. But it's fun to know that the left is no longer pretending. And they (actually she) explicitly argues to treat all Americans like criminals because some of them might be:

Ban Guns, meanwhile, is not discriminatory in this way. It’s not about dividing society into “good” and “bad” gun owners. It’s about placing gun ownership itself in the “bad” category. It’s worth adding that the anti-gun position is ultimately about police not carrying guns, either. That could never happen, right? Well, certainly not if we keep on insisting on its impossibility.

Ask yourself this: Is the pro-gun side concerned with how it comes across? More to the point: Does the fact that someone opposes gun control demonstrate that they’re culturally sensitive to the concerns of small-town whites, as well as deeply committed to fighting police brutality against blacks nationwide? I’m going to go with no and no on these. (The NRA exists!)

This of course can't be done legally. And if done through some dubious legal methodology (the only way it will ever happen) would do nothing except making this scenario much more likely:

The public reaction to the executive orders on social media was explosive, with citizens referring to the President as a “traitor,” “dictator,” or worse. Calls for his impeachment or physical removal from office were immediate and widespread. The Secret Service quickly doubled the number of uniformed officers on duty as a show of force.

The editors and talking heads of every major news organization in New York and DC were orgasmic with delight as they congratulated Obama on his “bravery.” At Fox News, Col. Ralph Peters was restrained after nearly beating Shepard Smith to death with a teleprompter.

Nationwide, gun stores were mobbed, and many opened in spite of the President’s mandate. While the FBI NICS operations center shut down at the President’s command, stores quickly sold out of their inventory of banned guns and ammunition all the same, often with local law enforcement officers opting to help the lines remain orderly.

By noon, most gun stores were empty.

Sheriffs and police chiefs nationwide hastily called press conferences, the vast majority of them sounding on the same theme that they found the Presidents orders to be grossly unconstitutional, and that they would not enforce any of them. A significant number of sheriffs and police chiefs went to far as to pledge that their departments would oppose any attempt by federal authorities to impose the executive orders by “any means necessary.”

In the words of my brother, "Not a lot of anti-gun zealots know how to operate a tank." Fun to read though. Just another liberal sh*t test.

- Roosh V for VP

It takes a special kind of true believer to rack up failure, after failure, after spectacular failure and still not lose the faith. Liberalism, and its partners in crime - feminism, and the “black lives matter” movement - have done that very thing. They proclaim a public policy goal, and the degree to which they are successful in implementing it is the precise degree to which it fails. Black Lives Matter causes more blacks to die, Feminism results in more single, aging, unhappy and childless women, and Liberalism’s agenda of envy fails everywhere else you look.

How can this be? A person could pick policy solutions at random and they would be considerably more successful than those proposed by liberals. We could for instance, make dog ownership mandatory in order to improve the economy. We could ban orange crayons to make healthcare cost less. We could shave the heads of people caught speeding in order to combat workplace violence, or put and image of Cthulhu in the center of the presidential seal in order to reduce crime. Each of those admittedly ridiculous policy proposals would have more accidental success than anything that comes from liberalism.

So what’s going on in these people’s heads? There must be some deeper cause and effect. At a more fundamental level there must be something wrong with the way Liberals make decisions and connect their acts to the consequences of those acts. There are very few things in humans that can cause that kind of sustained disconnect from reality while still seeming to be rational, so I now think I've identified Liberalism's actual root cause.

Gents, I think Liberalism is one big societal ‘sh*t test’. And it isn’t liberalism that’s failing everywhere it looks, it’s actually us. As a society, we’re failing the sh*t test of liberalism. And if we want to start passing, we need to start telling these people to shove their women’s studies degree into their safe space and start ignoring them. Let me explain.

In the Manosphere, the sh*t test is described as … well… using the way that men do to communicate, it’s a little hard to explain. Basically it’s a test by women to determine the strength of a man. Not his physical strength, though that can play into it, but his strength as a leader or his strength of will.

It’s a kind of head game that women play, both with men and with each other, in order to determine social status without having to resort to physical confrontation. There is a pretty good explanation here. And though reducing it to an accurate sound bit is a little challenging, to a man like me – what the manosphere typically describes as a natural alpha - you kind of ‘know it when you hear it’. Now that I’m back in the Manhattan dating pool, I barely hear anything else.

The most important thing about a sh*t test is that what a woman believes (and says) she wants and what she actually wants, are totally different. She’s trying to manipulate him emotionally, but she doesn’t really want to be able to. What she really wants is for him to demonstrate that he’s not a weak kneed, weak minded, weak willed little girl of a man who she can utterly control. His passing the test (by failing to be manipulated) signals to her that he has a higher status that she does – an important aspect for women when choosing a mate. And in order to justify this directly illogical logic in her mind, evolution has given her the psychological and emotional tools necessary to convince herself of all sorts of blatantly irrational things.

Her stated emotions and her logical mind will both lie to her about a man passing a sh*t test. She’ll get angry, or call him a jerk or accuse him of being insensitive. But she’ll still feel the physical attraction of biology all the same. In fact, she’ll feel it even more so. She’ll never admit this to herself or anyone else. In many cases she probably won’t even be cognizant of it. But her behavior will show the sh*t test for what it's really been all along. It’s an attempt to determine emotional fitness, where the emotionally easy path is the one to failure, and the emotionally challenging path is the one to success. This seems backwards to men and to many women, whose true motives are often hidden from themselves. But the empirical evidence of this phenomenon abounds.

If Liberalism is just a sh*t test that we’re failing by allowing liberals to successfully manipulate us, then liberals should react to that failure like a bad wife, imposing greater, and greater, and more wildly irrational tests, which is exactly what they've done. They want to know our limits. They want to know when we’ll push back. They are waiting for us to ‘man up’ and take control. But the political and cultural leaders of our society continue to fail to do so. And even though we aren’t passing the cultural ‘sh*t test’, some in the men’s rights and PUA movements have discussed the personally offered sh*t enough that it at least makes the terminology more broadly recognizable.

To better explain this, I often turn to one of the fathers of the PUA movement, Roosh V. I posted a video by Roosh V the other day, which in spite of its stated subject matter, was really about the Feminization of our culture. He claims (and I agree) that our culture has become a society built for the benefit of, and guided exclusively by, women. I think more highly of Roosh than many, because I look at what he’s actually accomplished as opposed to what he sells to his relatively young audience. More on that in a bit. But I think it’s worth stating that to a ‘natural alpha male’, the PUA movement looks like a kind of failure itself.

To me it looks that way because of its short sightedness. It’s designed to take back sexual choice for men without actually taking back the entire culture that caused women to behave so badly in the first place. In essence it’s quite literally “a game” for young men with the goals of young men in mind. And the tactics and tricks he has proposed work best on young women who feel the greatest pull toward the younger ‘bad boy’ alpha male. I was a young alpha male once, so I understand the direction it takes. And I appreciate its elegance even more so because guys like Roosh are providing it to the men who are the least ‘Alpha’ naturally, and teaching them to act like they are for their own sake.

I think that’s admirable as far as it goes. Roosh is breaking no laws, and violating no social norms. He’s just talking to men in terms they can appreciate and see the value in. In fact, with the exception of his ‘take back the choice for men’ position (which is so utterly reviled by feminists and their male fellow travelers) he isn’t even saying anything particularly controversial, except maybe as a red herring.

But what he’s left us with is a lot of men who have a very limited idea of what a real alpha male is. They know how to ‘game it’ enough to convince young women, but they don’t know how to ‘be it’. And since they were drawn to Roosh because of their lack of success with women in the first place, it’s at least possible that they never really will.

Even Roosh, as he gets a little older seems to be realizing that. As evidence see the video below:

He may be selling the same product to his customers, but in his personal life, he now seems to see the difference. In effect he’s maturing, and maturity is the secret sauce that turns the young alpha bad boy into the pillar of society, the leader of men, or the captain of industry. It’s the thing that shapes all those instincts for leadership and all that virtuous male strength, into something that both the man himself and the broader society can get some direct benefit from. And given his modest position change, I think it’s very likely to do the same for Roosh V.

Enter into the toxic and deeply feminized American political scene Donald (henceforth Donny) Trump. In my mind, Trump isn’t a real leader, he just plays one on TV. He even sounds vaguely boyish and immature in his descriptions and talking points. He’s never taken any risks, or put himself on the line. He’s a rich kid who stayed rich, and then got famous for being rich. He hasn’t actually accomplished all that much more than Justin Beiber. In short, he’s never really proven himself in the traditional ways that men always have.

His vast wealth is little more than accounting tricks and he’s had more success writing books about deal making than actual making deals. In as much as he’s made money, he’s never done it in open and fair competition, but by gaming a market where government holds the cards and deals out success or failure based on the heavily stacked deck of political influence. And he’s done it all from the safety and security of a 5th avenue penthouse that his inherited wealth more than paid for.

If you hear some ring of mainstream Republican criticism in that, I think that’s fair. In some ways, one of the things I think the rightward leaning talking heads are really lamenting is the immaturity of the voting public that would take a poseur like Trump over the real deal. Men and Republicans are supposed to take substance (of which Trump has very little) over style (of which Trump has an excess). But in a way that’s their failure. America has become a female dominated world so the things that impress on a large scale, will be the things sold to women, where style is everything. Of course a reality TV star like Trump would shine in such a light.

Here’s the thing though. While he may only be a ‘bad boy’ PUA poseur instead of a true Alpha male, he’s running against a room full of the kind of men who still fail liberalism’s sh*t tests. On the scale of masculine virtue he may just be the tallest midget in the room, but we only have that room to pick from. I deeply wish that wasn’t so. I wish Ted Cruz would snatch the distortion in the Overton window created by Trump and start saying more brazenly masculine things. I know he won’t, at least not yet, but I wish he would. For now, and with possibly good reason, that ground is left only to Trump.

And though Donny’s most aggressive cheerleaders may be a mix of the kind of men that would otherwise never learn to ‘act Alpha’ but for a man like Roosh, or that still lack the maturity to see that Trump isn’t as real a deal as he claims he is, there are a whole lot of them lately. They are the rank and file that feels abandoned by the Republicans and are looking for anything familiar. And with so many of them out there, in as much as its image over substance that wins elections, Trump may turn out to be more than ‘good enough’.

With all that said, Trump is a vast improvement over someone like Hillary. And where Obama is to my eyes pretending to be a woman, Trump will almost certainly at least pretend to be an alpha man. And if that’s all that’s available then it’s what I’m gonna take. I can’t recall ever being offered the least bad choice where the choices were quite so bad. But that doesn’t mean I won’t pick the least of them.

Maybe in the end Cruz will pick someone more Trump like as a running mate. I think in spite of his cryptically middle eastern name, I could get behind the Cruz-Valizadeh ticket. Roosh throws the bombs while Cruz defines the policy? Sounds like a working model to me. I'm a little uncomfortable with Roosh's vague anti-semitism, but what I'm seem from him (rather than his supporters) has been more questions than answers. It's at least more ambiguous than some of the things I'll put up with voting for Trump. And it's very hard to imagine that he wouldn't blow the farce that is the modern 'racism' accusation totally out of the water. For my money that, and the feminist protests would be worth it in themselves.

At the very least a campaign consultancy for Roosh would probably make sense. Teach our actual Alpha's how to finally start acting like alphas.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

- Being Irish about It

Here’s my politico-philosophical twin Kevin Williamson relating one of my favorite aspects of the culture of my ancestors, “Irish Democracy”:

It isn’t even St. Patrick’s Day, but we are all Irish now: In Connecticut, the boneheaded state government passed a law demanding the registration of certain firearms, and the people of Connecticut, perhaps communing for a moment with their independent-minded Yankee forebears, mainly refused to comply. On the other side of the country in the heart of California’s technology corridor, the city of Sunnyvale demanded that residents hand over all firearms capable of accepting magazines holding more than ten rounds — effectively, everything except revolvers and some single-shot rifles — and the good men and women of Silicon Valley responded by turning in a grand total of zero firearms. Similar initiatives in other jurisdictions have produced similar results.

As the Irish say, “Having a fishing license, never made you fish any better.”

But for the casual reader of this blog, it raises a question? What exactly are you afraid of? Are you more afraid of armed gunmen breaking into your home or approaching you on the street, or are you afraid of the state finding out that you are defying the law in an Irish way? Most gun guys draw that line somewhere between the guns that they “tragically lost when the fishing boat capsized”, and flying through Kennedy airport with a loaded revolver in their checked bag.

I’m not advocating a specific position on that decision. I’ve made my own choices and you will too. And those choices may change if the circumstances change, both for you and me. The only thing I’m advocating is, be as sure as you can that your response matches the actual risk. As tyranny proceeds apace, it’s the law abiding and successful who will be forced to deal with the bulk of the tyranny. They have the means to pay the government shakedown, but lack the connections to be treated special. The folks at the top and the bottom of the social scale will all be ignored by any future laws. That’s something to consider when the Democrats in congress put that last NRA member on the no-fly list as an excuse to come get their guns.

The good news is, that I know that guy - the last NRA member. I was there and present the day that all his guns were lost in that tragic, duck hunting accident. Broke our hearts – it surely did. T’was tragic so. To see all that fine equipment bubbling down into that deep, dark lake. Surely officer, t’was enough to make me cry. I could tell ya more of that terrible tale but... me throat… me throat is so dry.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

- Bataclan (Almost) Purged From The Interent

The photo above is an interesting tale of internet distortion. It's a blurred image of the scene inside the Bataclan theater after the Paris attack. I had posted it's unedited twin on a post called "Coming Soon to a Theater Near You" a few weeks ago. But somehow, that more graphic and detailed image has been purged from the internet.

I knew that would happen, but I wasn't diligent enough about making a copy of it. If you ask the people who purged it, I'm sure they'll tell you it was out of respect for the families or some nonsense. but it's just that ... nonsense. It's been purged from the internet in the hope of purging it from our collective memory. It's an attempt to remove the most graphic portions of the "peace through unconditional surrender" policies adopted by the leaders of the west.

On that score, I was thinking about the little tantrum I threw on the corner of 16th and 3rd the other night. (also detailed in a prior post.) I felt bad about it originally, but now I've changed my mind. If the men of America have been made into women (and they have... psychologically if not physically) we should ridicule them for it. We should berate them for it. We should get up in their faces and make them feel, small, weak, and childish. We should be shaming them into acting like men.

The same is true for the people who edited this photo. We need more graphic examples not less. Is it horrifying? Yes. And that's precisely why we need to see it. We need to remind the little bearded things that I confronted on the street the other day that they're supposed to act like men. And that there is more at stake here than their tiny little egos. While they do their best to avoid conflict, protect their safe spaces, and get their nails done like all the other girls, western civilization is being attacked. And they had better quit whining and join the fight, or they'll end up wearing man sized burka's.

I eventually found another copy. For the sake of posterity I've saved it, and have posted it below. If you have trouble looking at it, good. You should. This is the future that ISIS and they're supporters in the Muslim world have in mind for a great many of us. And if you're male, it isn't someone else's job to resist this movement, it's yours.

Monday, December 7, 2015

- A Note From America's Largest "Gun Free" Zone

I have a story to relate that I told originally in the comment section in my last piece. I’m restating it here with a bit more color, because it’s so out of character for me. It’s a story about how recent events pushed me to rudeness, in my mind a forgivable but meaningful sin, in the middle of America’s largest “gun free” zone.

I live in Manhattan now where I moved from New Jersey after my divorce. And this weekend my 15 year old daughter stayed with me in my small apartment in Gramercy Park, just like she does twice every month. I love my daughter dearly and would do anything for her, but like all dads I can still get annoyed at the little things. And though she’s incredibly mature, clever, thoughtful, and funny, she’s still a spectacular slob.

I take her to the train at Penn station every other Sunday afternoon to return home to her mom. And while we laughed and joked in the station waiting for the track announcement, all I could think about was getting home to address the worst of the mess that “Hurricane Caroline” had left in her wake.

That’s when I saw it. The New York Daily News. I can’t find an image of it or relate it word for word, but the front page was some hyperbolic reaction to the San Bernardino Jihadi attack, ranting against the idea that people can legally buy as much ammo as they want. That someone in the Editorial department of the NYDN thought this was sound thinking and benevolent public policy, absolutely infuriated me.

My daughter is my first concern, especially when I’m with her, so I tried to suppress my annoyance as I kissed her cheek and loaded her on the train. But as I walked home alone, the condescension of it really sank in. All I could think about was some effete leftist pounding his desk to the approval of a room full of empty headed sycophants, about how the NRA (me) was psychotic (also me) and was trying to kill all innocents (again…me) all by letting terrorists buy ammo!!!!!!!

Yes, I took it personally, and because I did, I didn’t hear the desperation in it. I didn’t hear a frantic devoted leftist trying anything he can think of to move forward an agenda that in his otherwise empty head, and in his reliably doomed to failure way, would make a great many people less safe rather than more. He didn’t see that his ‘solution’ would fail - they never do. Liberals never acknowledge the choice between cost and benefit. It’s all suspended in their minds, and that frees them to propose any nonsense that’s likely to make themselves feel better.

All I saw in that front page editorial was a man with a megaphone he was obviously too cloistered to deserve. A man totally cocooned in an opaque bubble, who was utterly and blissfully unaware that he was surrounded on all sides by 100 million Americans who (like me) all believe he has completely lost his mind. And that he was proposing a public policy that was sound in the same way and to the same degree, that leeches or bleeding was a sound medical practice. He was in my view, totally clueless to the actual concerns of most Americans who see prudent self defense as a good idea instead of a bad one.

But why shouldn’t he be? Manhattan is the west’s most densely populated gun free zone. It’s all but impossible for someone without political power to get a carry permit, and has been for generations. That means on a given day, there are 5 million residents, 1 million tourists and about 3.5 million commuters who are crammed into an area the size of Dallas – Ft Worth airport, who are all totally and utterly defenseless. He has probably never even held a firearm and maybe didn’t know anyone who ever had. That’s how insulated he was from the reality of most Americans.

I take all politics too personally of course. I’m so sick of being told I’m what’s wrong with America by these people. I work hard, I obey the law, I take my responsibilities seriously, and I do all I can to improve the lives of the people I care about. But I’m also very good with a gun. Shooting was my hobby for years. I’m better with a shotgun (shooting skeet is my particular specialty) but I’ve beaten policemen and soldiers frequently in both rifle and shooting competitions.

Men like me aren’t the problem, we’re the solution. But liberals still spit on me and the beliefs I hold, every chance they get. I let all those ideas sink in and fester while I cleaned the nail clippings off my bathroom floor, wiped the mascara off the sink, and collected and cleaned the dirty dishes from every corner of my small apartment.

Later that evening, I had a date. I was meeting a woman I’ve been seeing lately at her place in the east village, which is a short 15 minute walk from my apartment. Out of what felt like necessity, I had spent more time cleaning than I liked so I was both a little late and still a little irritated. If I walked along lower Park Avenue where all the bars and restaurants are, I felt sure I’d run into someone I know and be even further delayed. So instead I skirted east over to Third Avenue where I never usually go.

Somewhere in the territory of 16th street I hit a traffic light, and had to wait. And while I stood at the corner 2 young hipsters walked up behind me talking loud about the second amendment. You don’t hear people openly discussing politics on the street like that in NYC, especially controversial politics. In order to discuss it at all you have to feel REALLY safe in your opinions because you never know who you’ll run into. But in spite of that, as they walked up to me standing on the corner, one loudly said to the other (and I’m quoting him as close as I can):

"…the second amendment doesn't mean anything and we should take all those people's guns. Just go take em. What are they gonna do when you roll up on em in a tank!"

These guys were both the kind of bearded skinny jean wearing “not quite men” who I hold in increasing contempt since my return to Manhattan. They were in their late 20’s or maybe 30, wearing the kind of scruffy fashion that’s so common in the east village. Both were lean, no taller than 5 foot 6, and in spite of their appearance, gave off a slightly geeky heterosexual vibe.

I’m 6’2’’ and weigh 190, so I was at least a head taller than either of them. I’m fit and toned, exceptionally so for my age. It was chilly so I was wearing blue jeans, and a thick Tommy Hilfiger coat that had vague military cut to it, and makes me look bulkier and more ominous that I actually am. I don’t know what exactly came over me. My stewing annoyance was a big part of it, but what annoyed me even more was the utter confidence that these kids had - they were so sheltered in that Daily News bubble, that they thought no one would take offense at their deeply controversial view. Before I could even think about it, I found myself invading their “safe space”. I reached over, and half tapped but really more shoved, the loud mouthed one on the shoulder.

"Hey hero...you gonna take my guns away?" All my emphasis was on the word “my”.

He looked up a little surprised and said "excuse me?"

I gave him as threatening a scowl as I could muster and actually leaned over him a little to make myself seem more frightening. In turn he cowered a little, as if on cue.

"If you wanna take those guns away you're gonna have to do it yourself.” I said letting all my annoyance boil over.

“You're gonna have to come right up to me, look me in the eye and say I want your guns. Do you have the balls to do that? Do you wanna take my gun away from me? Personally? Yourself?”

There was no pause in my speech at this point, I already knew his answer from his terrified eyes and saw no reason to let him voice it. But as I spoke I let my left hand slide behind my back to where my IWB holster would sit. I was unarmed of course, I always obey the law. But he didn’t know that. And at this point I wanted him to be scared.

“Because if you don't, you should shut your fucking piehole, because that's exactly what it's gonna take."

It wasn’t my most literary outburst, but I think the low language emphasized its menace. I watched his now deeply frightened eyes dance back and forth from my hidden hand to my obviously angry face, and glared at him a bit. At that point the traffic light changed and after a brief pause for emphasis, I crossed the street leaving them staring at my back as I swaggered away. They stayed on the corner like two deer stuck in headlights. I didn’t hear them follow me and didn’t bother to look back.

To say that sort of public outburst is out of character for me is no understatement. But somehow the stars aligned perfectly for this little scene. There were 4 or 5 other people on the corner to witness the whole thing as well. God knows what they thought of me… or of the little boys for that matter. I’m sure I scared them a little too, and they did nothing to deserve it.

But for some reason I needed to burst these kids bubble. I needed to let them know that there are still men in New York, and they aren’t among them. I needed them to know that there is no safe space. And to remind them that they can’t have what they think of as the benefit of being "gun free" without dealing with the direct and personal cost of having to take them from someone who doesn't want to give them up. I’ll apologize to the witnesses of my tantrum if I ever get the chance. But I didn’t want to weaken the message by doing it at that moment.

I walked the last few blocks to my date’s apartment more pissed off than satisfied, and even stopped outside her building for a minute to shake it off before I went in. It’s a fairly new relationship and I didn’t want to let her know about an out of character moment when she’s still trying to decide what’s in character for me. So I never mentioned it to her. I’ll say this for her though, we’ve already discussed politics and the politics of guns a little, and though she might not have appreciated my outburst, she’s on my side on the general principle. Maybe I’ll tell her about it one day if the relationship lasts.

I still don’t feel quite right about that incident. It’s really not like me to do things like that. And if anything I probably made those two idiots even more devoted to their cause. Today they’re probably laughing around the espresso machine with all the other girls, about whether they have to be more afraid of terrorists than they do of me. These half-men that populate that part of New York don’t feel any shame, so it’s not like they’d be embarrassed about it. But I’d hit my limit of condescension. And it was the perfect scenario to let my inner bully out for a stroll.

Hopefully I can undo the karma of it eventually. But these kids don’t react to reason, only emotion. And fear is the thing that drives them more than anything else. In that regard, I’m quite sure I got my message across. I hope someone can do the same for the editors of the Daily News.


Adding a bit from the comment section. during my brother's term of service in the US Army, he was stationed in West Germany with the Second armored Cavalry - a tank division. He told me that it would probably have been more helpful to explain to the kids that anti-gun zealots are notoriously under-represented among people who actually know how to operate a tank. "tankers" to quote him "love all guns, the bigger, the better". I said that I doubt they'd have understood that, and he responded that "when they saw that turret spin back around in their direction, it would occur to them in a blinding flash".

The fact is, the US military on the whole is not the most left leaning organization in the world, especially the members who take on combat roles. There really and truly is every chance that if Liberals were ever to seriously try to confiscate all the privately held firearms in the county, it would end in a Revolution.

I probably could have also made some reference to how the British tried that in Lexington and Concord, and it didn't work out real well for them either. But those two have probably never heard of those places either.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

- Life during (Asynchronous) Wartime (Part 2)

A war to define morality:

Liberals have proposed a ‘new morality’ without every recognizing the one they’d be throwing away if it’s adopted. Their ‘new morality’ discards countless generations of accumulated wisdom, expressed in the west as the basic philosophical underpinnings of the Judeo Christian ethic, and in its place proposed a world where everyone is ‘equal’.

Not just equal under the law, the western world however imperfectly, already had that idea in place. What they instead propose, toward the goal of suspending the difference between failure and success, is a world where the very concept of your individual gender and your degree of intelligence have both become a choice. They want the people at the back of the line to have the choice to be at the front, no matter how intrinsic to our human nature it was when the line was originally formed. And to defend that newly invented "right to choose", they’re prepared to throw the cultural baby out with the bathwater.

Education is a choice but the ability to benefit from equal access to that education, is not. So it stands to reason that differing results will come of it. If those results fall into a pattern like Eskimos not doing as well as immigrants from Barbados, then that would be expected and a reflection of their intelligence, or work ethic, or both. It doesn’t mean that we need to pave all our roads with ice and make dog sled-riding the national sport, just to greater accommodate Eskimos.

The gender reinvention is greater and more pernicious. By making gender a choice we end up with physically weak men, and really horribly unappealing women. Those newly made men also feel entitled to continued special protection under the law of the kind women have had in the past to accommodate their physical weakness – a weakness these new 'women' don’t actually possess. The weak men (formerly women) also demand the right to “be in charge” but since they were women yesterday, they want that right the way women have always gotten rights, by fiat, and assured by men. They don’t want to have to demonstrate their fitness to lead in the way that men have always done amongst themselves – in a word, objectively.

They also want the benefit of still being female, and therefore don’t want to be compelled to take risks or having taken them, expect to be shielded from personal consequences of their failure. Risk taking is the primary behavioral difference between men and women, but one that women don’t recognize. Men are biologically driven to prove our fitness to other men by managing risks, and are equipped with the physical, mental and emotional tools to cope with it. While women are driven from that risk, and their mental tools will do anything, including deluding them about the nature of the world they live in, in order to avoid recognizing its consequences. This is our natural state, which we abandon by adopting the new definition of gender as a choice.

But this piece isn’t about that. That’s all bathwater. I want to talk about the baby.

When our country was founded, we demanded religious liberty. For well documented historical reasons we wanted to get our country out of the religion business. But at the time, Islam could just as well have been taking place on another planet. These days that’s not the case. In San Bernardino, what we saw was Muslim morality projected onto a Christian culture. There isn’t any doubt in my mind that both the shooters on that day believed that they were performing a moral act. An act sanctioned by their faith.

That view is a minority opinion under Islam. Most Muslims want nothing to do with that kind of random radical violence. But if they pretend that Islam doesn’t sanction acts like that when viewed through a specific lens, then they’re kidding themselves and lying to us. It’s far too common a belief. It’s not a cult. It’s not a direct misinterpretation of Islam. It's a portion of the faith embraced fully, by a substantial portion of the faithful.

Seen internally rather than through the lens of western culture, the differences between the Jihadi view and mainstream Islam are no greater than the differences between evangelical Protestantism, and the Roman Catholicism it sprang from. the differences may look much greater to a westerner, but to someone inculcated in that faith and culture, it's not so. Let an Evangelical and a devout Catholic sit down and actually legislate morality, and what you’ll get will be stunningly similar from each them. The same is true of mainstream Islam and the much more violent Jihadi sects. The east vs west difference between the two is that neither the Catholic nor the Evangelical will propose killing people to facilitate the conversion of others to the faith.

The Jihadis are prepared to kill some of us in order to terrify the rest of us into embracing their version of morality. That statement isn’t a theory, its recent history. How many will they kill? As many as they have to. They’ll put us in camps if they have to. They’ll “reeducate” us Stalin style if it comes to it. They’ll set off nuclear weapons, or anything else they can think of to force us into seeing things their way, because to them they’re doing it ‘for god’, and it is therefore a moral act.

Liberals and the narcissistic feminine view they’ve espoused will be helpless against a male dominated morality like that. We know this. We might just as well put the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders out of the field and let the 300lb stone throwers dance in short skirts on the sidelines. And the score of that game is what you should expect expect if you let someone like Obama and the gals call the plays. Even if you leave the stone throwers out there, but make them act and play like cheerleaders or they'll be thrown in jail, it will still be a blowout. And don’t think Hillary will be different just because she’s more masculine than Obama and married to an accused rapist. In the end ‘the sisterhood’ will be all she cares about.

So if we expect to endure in this asynchronous war, the very first thing we need to do is quit all the pretending. People should be the same under the law, but that doesn’t make them the same. Smart will never be the same as stupid, weak will never be the same as strong, and success will never be the same as failure. Laws designed to make them the same are just an illusion driven by subjective feelings not objective facts, and the laws based on those feelings make us all worse off not better off. The only 'safe space' for your feelings, is in between your ears.

Black men don’t fail because of systemic racism, they fail because they systemically behave stupidly. That may not make them stupid, but feeling that way doesn't change the stupidity of their actions. There is certainly nothing immoral about being stupid, but it’s immoral to penalizing those who behave intelligently so that the results for stupidity will be ‘equal’ to it in comparison. There is no ‘rape culture’. That’s an emotional female invention designed to punish men for being ‘stronger’ than women. The only result of laws that enshrine it will be men weakened by that law. And offering an unemployed American the option of taking a job (even a low paying job) is not “exploitation”. The market values some inputs one way and others another. That’s ‘actual’ fairness no matter you feel about it, and if you want to get back more, you’ll have to put in more, or put it in somewhere else where it's valued more highly.

But most of all, we need to quite pretending that Islam is morally compatible with the Christian world. You don’t have to be a ‘Christian’ to recognize this, you just have to recognize that the values of the western world are those that grew out of ‘Christianity’, and killing ‘for god’ is not a part of them. Even the most devout atheist with even a passing view of history should be able to recognize this. But ironically, it's liberal atheists who continue to resist this idea either out of historical illiteracy, or some silly fear of empowering a Baptist church group to ban dancing south of 14th street. What they don’t realize is that it’s really just the necessary first step to ensuring our cultural survival.

If you really believe that a Baptist outside an abortion clinic holding a sign is exactly the same thing as a Muslim firing bullets from a revolver, then I hope you figure it out before more innocent people get killed. That, and I hope you’re comfortable with your female children wearing a in a burka to school for as long as they’re allowed to go, because you're going to need both before it's over.

Friday, December 4, 2015

- Life During (Asynchronous) Wartime

I have little to add on San Bernardino shooting. To people like me, it's tragic, but not unexpected. The only thing that's relevant to say about the shooting itself is that this makes it clear that it doesn't matter that you sold your loft and moved to the suburbs.

Asynchronous warfare will reach the suburbs, and small towns, and all the places you though after 9-11 would be safer, and the government is obviously devoted to making you less safe not more. Better to arm yourself, practice, and be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones if it comes to it. The odds of needing it are as small as they ever were, which is actually very small indeed. But if you're trying to enhance your personal safety then in this environment, that's really your only hedge. Tell your wife to shut her hole and do what you know you need to.

But there are a few political items with regard to the shooting that are worth commenting on.

First, gun control advocates are taking the same old line. But what they’ve never really seemed to understand about America’s gun culture (who is accurately portrayed by the NRA) is that for us, it’s not a matter of fear. That’s just more leftist emotional projection. For us, it’s a matter of devotion. We are committed to the principle of reserving the right to use violence to defend ourselves, in the same way that they are devoted to global warming, or fighting racism or whatever. In fact, in our case we’re probably more devoted to it.

It’s a devotion even more profound than any of theirs because I and the people who feel the way I do about it are willing to back it up with our own lives. “My cold dead hands” isn’t an academic political point to us, it’s a prediction of the future. It’s what we would view as a noble and worthwhile end to our lives, and we are perfectly willing to make that sacrifice for our loved ones if it comes to it. Whatever the left may say about racism, unless they’re prepared to move to the south Bronx or the scarier parts of Brooklyn, they don’t believe in fighting it the way I and many like me do about our right of self defense.

I strongly support the gun control advocates goals of finding a way to make everyone safer and to make this a peaceful country free from violence. And I think most gun guys agree with me. If the left ever offered some solution that I thought was likely to achieve that goal I’d support it with great enthusiasm. But that's not what they do. Instead they stick to that old axiom about the left being in favor of anything so long as it's mandatory. And I’m not willing to let them experiment with their ideas about it, when it comes to the safety of me and my family.

Of the 100 million gun owners in the country, probably 20 million of them feel exactly like I do. For that 20 million or so, no matter what laws you pass you'll still have to come collect our guns by force. The NRA’s ‘no compromise’ political position isn’t something I follow, it’s actually the NRA who is correctly following people like me. And since we all know that you (the left) don't have the courage to do forcibly disarm us, can we please start having a more productive conversation about it? Popular opinion and any laws that might spring from it are totally irrelevant to us, twitter or no twitter.

Second, if I weren’t so cynical about journalists I’d be surprised at how deeply devoted the media has been to sacrificing their own credibility with this story. It’s gone beyond farce, and absolutely no one is buying their spin on the San Bernardino shooting. If you personally know a member of the news media, you should convince them to restate their views in public so they can get a whiff of the utter contempt that the American public now hold for them. They’ll likely be laughed out of the room.

I live in Manhattan for god’s sake. Manhattan! And I can’t think of a single public place anywhere in this city where you could state the official media position on this shooting, and not be subject to immediate ridicule. I walk through 'little India" every morning on my way to the office, and this morning I clearly overheard two middle eastern cab drivers talking about how he's obviously a "radical". this story is being missed by absolutely no one.

Obama and the politicians of the left have to take this position, and they’ll suffer the lost credibility that comes with it. But the media has a choice. You would think they’d see the writing on the wall and quit trying to shove such ridiculous position down the throats of the American public, purely from a position of self-preservation if nothing else.

It’s breathtaking really.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

- The Big Short (Brad Pitt Proves He's An Idiot)

I’m feeling unusually honest today, so let me come clean.

I write a lot of stuff which is basically BS. My views on politics and social issues are as totally unfounded as the next guy’s. I’m no expert. In fact, I’m spectacularly bad at the ‘inside baseball’ prediction of political winners and losers. I flatter myself into believing that my ideas have an underlying logic to them, but who really knows? Certainly not me. I know no-one (apart maybe from Kevin Williamson) who thinks ‘just like I do’. So how the hell should I know who’s gonna win an election or whether this guy or that, will do what he says when elected? But the one thing I have going for me that most people don’t seem to, is that at least I know that about myself.

I write most of my social commentary and political writing because I’m upset about something. Usually, it’s an obviously stupid decision by some obviously self-interested and power-mad idiot. As a smart guy, I think I should be left alone to run my own life without the intrusion of someone stupider than me. In effect, I believe in a meritocracy where people should be allowed to do well or badly on their own, and to learn from that or not. That seems like it would be a better and ‘fairer’ system to me than the one we have now, but what the hell do I know about it really? A smart guy like me thinking that people should be left alone, can be accurately described as a smart guy trying to feather his own nest. In that way, the liberal left certainly has got me pinned.

But then other times, I write about things where I actually do know more than most people. And by anyone’s estimation, and I’m willing to back this up, one thing I do know a lot about is finance and derivatives.

Ironically, that’s why, until yesterday, I never got around to reading ‘The Big Short’. “Why bother?” I already knew what happened. I knew the players and the plays, even if I didn’t know the names of all the guys in the book. The cause and effect of what happened was as familiar to me as a blowout football game would be to a devoted fan. When the final score is 78 to 6, you don’t need to actually watch the game to know exactly what happened on the field or what it would have looked like if you had taken the time to watch. You might not have predicted every fumble and interception, but you know there are a lot of them before you even turn on the DVR.

But yesterday I saw this, so I figured I’d finally get around to reading The Big Short. I finished it at 4:40 this morning, and subsequently dove for the keyboard.

Let me say up front, I’m a fan of Michael Lewis. He’s a numbers guy who ‘gets it’ when it comes to derivatives, but can still tell a story. That makes him a very rare bird in an industry filled mostly with the kind of socially inept geniuses and semi-autistic Asperger’s patients he writes about in The Big Short. And his book Liars Poker was published just as I arrived on the ‘Exotic Derivatives’ desk at JPMorgan to start my career, so it had an impact on me. He and I even had a few other things in common.

Mike left Salomon brothers because in the end, his conscience couldn’t handle the compromises you have to make at a big Wall Street bank to be successful. My career took a different path from his, but for similar reasons. In my case, the day we figured out that a small California bank had taken on a position so convoluted that they would have to pay our trading desk if interest rates moved up, down, or even if they didn’t move at all, I transferred to the Commodity derivatives desk looking for a salve to my conscience. In hindsight I probably should have written a book.

Instead though, I bounced around the big banks for a few years struggling to find some portion of the game that wasn’t specifically rigged for me to take money from someone I was (in theory anyway) supposed to be helping. But I realized quickly enough that I’d never find it on the sell side. So at the same psychological moment when Mike decided to go write a book, I switched to the Hedge Fund world, where the “we only eat what we kill” ethics were better structured for the sake of the investor, and we only made money if our clients directly benefited from our decision making.

I ended up in a lower paying and lower status job in Research at Moore Capital, which slowed my career down some. But in that world merit holds a great deal of sway. So eventually that career path led me in autumn of 2008, to the front conference room of Tudor investments, where I sat with two other newly hired Portfolio Managers (our offices weren’t ready yet) where we watched the entire world we knew go up in flames. That’s where I sat while the end game of The Big Short played out.

Much to his credit, Mike gets a lot of things right about what happened in ‘The Big Short’, but I think he takes liberties in casting blame. “The system is corrupt” and “the incentives are broken” are phrases he uses a lot in his book. And I think these things are true in the abstract. But the reason he doesn’t go further in describing them is that they aren’t nearly as true in practice as they are in theory.

The world we live in requires specialization, and that specialization creates gaps in knowledge. With a very few exceptions, (my time at Tudor being one) I’ve spent my entire career doing things that the people I did them for, didn’t truly understand.

I was an expert, a specialist. And the world is so complex and requires so much focus, that as you climb up the managerial chain of any organization it becomes impossible for the people at the top to truly understand all the details of the things that the people below them are actually doing. There simply aren’t enough real geniuses to go around, and even if there were, there aren’t enough hours in the day for them to do it all. In the end, some level of decision making must be delegated. That’s what really happens on Wall Street and everywhere else. That delegation of authority isn’t some great sin reserved for the powerful, its a requirement of modern life.

Since my arrival on Wall Street in the late 80’s, the very best way to be paid in the big banks was to identify a way that you could stay within the letter of the law, without actually following its otherwise clear intent. You could think of this as a set of broken incentives if you really want to, but in my view it isn’t. The people on Wall Street are not the amoral bastards we’re depicted as by the great thinkers and moral paragons of the entertainment and journalism industries. They’re mostly just people who, like everyone else, are trying to get ahead in a competitive world.

No one in finance actually thinks of themselves as ‘getting around the law’, they see themselves as strictly following the law while exploiting “opportunities” created by the the law's vague language. When the laws are so complex and difficult to understand, and intrude into our lives and businesses in a gazillion different ways, what the hell else is there? If there is a perverse incentive in place it wasn’t Wall Street that created it, it was our bloated and intrusive bureaucracy that did the fateful deed. That’s the place where the stupid try to pass laws making smart people into dumb people.

But Mike doesn’t look there in his book. People don’t want to hear that sort of thing these days. Instead, he stops at the ‘big bank’ level because they’re a more convenient villain. In truth, the entire private sector is in a symbiotic relationship with the government, not just the banks. Every time someone (relatively) stupid in government comes up with a new rule, someone smarter than them in the private sector finds a new and subtler way around it, and someone in government comes up with an even newer rule insisting on further stupidity, which in turn creates other opportunities. The only thing Wall Street does differently is adapt more quickly than other industries.

In that respect, Wall Street is doing the same thing that everyone else in the private sector is doing – at least if they’re doing whatever it is that they do well. That’s your ‘third way’ “blended, economics model for you. This is the lie that the liberal left has sold to the American public. That newer ‘smarter’ regulation is going to ‘save’ them from ‘exploitation’ by the rich and powerful. (Scare quotes all intentional.) But being the smartest guy in the room has never been illegal, and even if it is eventually made so, that won’t change the way things inevitably work out.

The reason regulation never works (in finance or really… anywhere else) isn’t because you can’t legislate morality, it’s because you can’t legislate stupidity. You can't make the smart dumb, or the dumb smart, simply by demanding that it must be so. And if you want to get the benefit of smart people being smart, (and even a devout iphone loving leftists should admit that they do) then your desire to control them is better served by removing regulation and turning the smart people against each other, than by trying to use an idiot with a rule book and a gun to make them all act like they’re stupid. The smart have always - ALWAYS – done better than the stupid. And no law will ever change that. But that doesn’t stop idiots from trying.

As a matter of empirical fact, the US government has failed at virtually every goal it has ever tried to accomplish. The only thing they ever manage to do well is to blow some other government to smithereens. And even on that score, to paraphrase a Wall Street term, ‘past performance is no indication of future results’ – just ask a Vietnam vet. Yet we are so hopeful or deluded, or a combination of both, that we continue to empower government to make the rules that Wall Street plays by. We have idiots making rules for geniuses, and we’re always surprised when the geniuses find a perfectly ‘legal’ way around them. Mike gets that in The Big Short, and calls attention to it, but stops short of calling those people what they actually are.

In his book, the best example of this delusion is the rating agencies, who were vested with real and meaningful authority under the laws governing who can purchase what debt. A triple A rating was required for many investors who were supposed to limit their own risk, so a bunch of smart guys in the Mortgage bond business looked for the dumbest people in that equation, and figured out a way to exploit their stupidity. They even figured out the way that they were stupid about it and hit them where they were dimmest. If that seems evil to you, try explaining it to the guy charging you $25 dollars for your movie ticket and see how it goes.

The agencies assumption was that the behavior and decision making of so large a group of people could never be identical because they never had been before. They were certain that because they were separated by geography, the $100 dollar a day strawberry picker in Bakersfield California could never be doing exactly the same thing as the $100 dollar a day delivery guy in New York City. But by being so certain of that, they were complicit in creating the need for that very thing. They gave both those people the same incentive. And suddenly both of those uneducated, lower intelligence people with diverse backgrounds were doing exactly the same thing. They were lying.

Why did they lie? They wanted to be rich. They believed it had become easy. So they told their lies expecting to flip out of a piece of ‘no money down subprime housing’ quickly, and were cheered along the way by the political and activist champions of the underclass who don’t believe (or aren’t smart enough to figure out) that stupid actions always lead to stupid results.

The cheerleaders convinced them that the reason they weren’t already rich was racism, or classism, or some other nonsensical ism that they claimed wasn’t actually their fault. They told them that the real reason they weren’t rich already was because some big powerful somebody someplace who had never heard of either of them, until that moment had been ‘holding them down’ and the new rules would change that. But that wasn’t the truth. The real reason they weren’t rich was that they’re just not smart enough to get rich in the first place. They’re stupid. And you can’t make a law which makes stupid people act smart.

Mike doesn’t say so explicitly. He spreads that knowledge over the whole book in dribs and drabs. But knowing what to look for, I read it plain as day in half sentence pieces, spread across 15 separate paragraphs and chapters. He also mentions greed a lot. But what he doesn’t mention is that the real greed wasn’t in the hearts of the guys who got rich from the Mortgage Bond crisis, or even in the guys who lost money on the derivatives they were trading. It was in the hearts of the idiots who thought that the game had finally been made so easy that you could win at it even if you didn’t deserve to.

There are a few things in the book that he also gets explicitly wrong, or at least he doesn’t mention. Knowing his background as I do I expect it was probably cut by his editor, but I’d like to call explicit attention to it none the less.

He says that no one realized what was going to happen when the crisis was building, but that’s nonsense. EVERYONE knew what was going to happen except the aforementioned idiots. It’s just that the dimmest of them on Wall Street all thought it would happen to someone else. That’s the real sin of the derivatives crisis. There were people at every level playing in the game, who all looked around at the other players, and still had the arrogance to believe that the sucker at the table was someone else.

On the winning side of the equation, he tells a compelling story about a few of the cranks and oddballs who managed to get the timing just right on the blow up, and even describes how hard it was for at least one of them to do so. But he never explicitly explains why.

To run a successful hedge fund you have to do 2 things. Number one is that you need to be more right than wrong about you choice of investments and in the process, make money. Obviously that’s harder than it looks. But the other thing you need to do is, in my opinion, even harder. You need to convince people that you’re going to be right in the future so they invest with you. For guys who spend their time being good at picking investments, that ability to persuade can turn out to be a truly herculean task.

Everyone thinks they have a good idea, but most people don’t. I know this because as Head of Equity trading in my last Hedge Fund, I spoke to literally dozens of people a day who believed they did. Some of them were just fools or liars, some of them were cranks, and some were the kind of geniuses that Mike describes in The Big Short. I hired a couple and put up with their idiosyncrasies. I didn’t hire a few others who were more or less honest but that didn’t realize that they weren’t as smart as they thought they were. And most of the people that came to me, I simply ignored out of hand.

But what all the winners he described in the Big Short had in common is that for a variety of reasons they were making investment decisions with very limited oversight, or in some cases none at all. They were all guys who were able to ignore all the conventional wisdom of the industry and for a variety of reasons, weren’t burdened with the necessity of constantly persuading their bosses they were right. In order for them to win big like they did, the process of review had to be just as broken for them as it was for the guys who lost the biggest. And had things gone even a little differently, Mike’s book would have a completely different set of heroes.

As I mentioned, managerial oversight requires a level of delegation. Managerial oversight of the financial industry (and every other industry really) involves putting a smart guy in charge of a bunch of other smart guys and at some level, simply hoping for the best. That was all well and good when the guy in charge is the smartest guy in the room. But what happens when you enter a much bigger room? Suddenly your smartest guy is perfectly average, and your average guy is actually a little dim in comparison. And as the Mortgage Bond Derivatives market grew, it became a room so big that included nearly everyone. Suddenly your super smart guy has become the tallest midget in the room. So in that regard, “knowing your limitations” is critically important. But most of the people in the CMO business had built their careers by pretending they didn’t have any.

The guys who went against the grain look like heroes in the book. But in truth they were just there at the right moment. All through the buildup of the CMO industry there were guys just like them who were driven from the business because they were right too early and lost money for years. That’s the real reason people didn’t dive into the short side of the market. They – we – all knew it would end. All of us. Everyone I know with any knowledge of fixed income or derivatives. We just couldn’t get a read on when everyone else thought it would end, and put together a story compelling enough to convince the people we worked for that we were right about it.

In fairness, Mike mentions that the guys who lost the most money were right as well, but they were right too late. In real life that’s the only difference between those who won big and those who lost big. So how do you lionize one bunch of guys operating with too little oversight while demonizing other guys with too little oversight, simply because they happened to have the timing just right?

The truth is you shouldn’t. The heroes of The Big Short were really just lucky, and the villains were unlucky. And Mike is spinning the truth a bit by making it seem otherwise for the sake of a good story. They didn’t lie like the penniless subprime mortgage holders, or create incentives for others to lie like the bureaucrats. They were good, smart guys who were either right or wrong when the music stopped for everyone. But apparently Brad Pitt, deep thinker that he is, doesn’t realize this.

So what does all this tell us about how we avoid that next big crisis? How do we keep Treasury bonds from blowing up the same way Mortgage bonds did? The short answer is that we can’t. At this point we are so dedicated to the cultural benefits of spending today what we will collect the taxes for tomorrow, that to even take the question seriously might be enough to start an out and out panic.

Putting the US government on a fiscally sustainable path would involve firing tens of thousands of bureaucrats, denying a great many people massive gobs of money that thanks to decades of media misrepresentation they now feel is their ‘right’, and laughing people like Elizabeth Warren out of Washington. In a sense, we’d have to return to being as much of a meritocracy as we could manage, and that seems very unappealing to anyone who is currently getting paid a great deal of money without demonstrating any merit. Which these days is an awful lot of people.

But knowing that tells you absolutely nothing about when the blowup will … blow up. And neither does ‘The Big Short’. It’s a fun book, and might turn out to be a fun movie. But the Hollywood version of good guys versus bad guys doesn’t fit well onto this real life model. But as in all things, that won’t stop idiots from believing that it does.

I really hate the fact that this movie is going to end up being the 'conventional wisdom' on what happened. And we'll have to deal with generations of angry socialist high school civics teachers who screaming at their students to watch this movie because it tells 'the real story' of what happened, when it does nothing of the kind.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

- Pornstar Accused of 'Rape'

A porn star has been accused of ‘sexual assault’ and rape, by porn actresses, some of it occurring on the set of a porn shoot. There’s really nowhere to begin with this story except to say that much of it doesn’t pass the smell test. (Explicitly not a pun).

Roosh V may be the most hated man in the entire feminist ‘social justice’ movement. He’s spent the last several years teaching men who were unhappy with their relations with women, how to be more successful at achieving their goals, even if their goals were … what’s a fair way to say this… one sided.

But feminists and social justice warriors don’t hate him for what he’s done, they hate him for how he’s done it. He’s utterly rejected the entire feminine perspective, and has instead spent the last few years teaching men to react not to what women say, but how they behave. In effect he’s a kind of hacker of the female mind when it comes to mate selection.

You’ll read a lot about Roosh on the internet, and having read much of his writing, I think most of the criticism is wildly unfair. I don’t personally have the same goals when it comes to women as a traditional PUA (Pick Up Artist) like Roosh, but I can’t deny that his model for describing female behavior is stunningly accurate. And in that way it’s had a pretty dramatic effect on how I see women these days. I’ve always had a relatively high success rate with women. I’m tall, fit, successful, some might say handsome, and have described myself as an Alpha male before I had ever heard of Roosh and the manosphere. I natively have what Roosh would call a high SMV. But even starting with those advantages (or maybe because of them) I can’t deny that the man speaks truth.

The man himself has always seemed much more measured, logical and thoughtful than his critics. And his own defense has always been that what he’s promoting is the idea of giving men more control over the male – female dynamic and empowering them to better engage in purely consensual activities. That’s technically true. But women, he argues, (particularly feminists) don’t want men to have that choice. They want men to be subjugated and for themselves and only themselves to be empowered. The more I read these days the more persuasive I find that argument. All in I think those arguments hold a lot of water in 21st century America.

No better example of it can be found than this. Below is a video he made of what was presented at the outset as purely a thought experiment, designed to illuminate how our culture is focused on penalizing men and only men, in the goal of making it a more feminine dominated world. I’ve said controversial things like this before as well – always as thought experiments. Take the vote away from anyone without a positive tax burden. Prohibit all men under 30 from owning firearms. Both of these would achieve noble social goals albeit at too high a social cost. But that’s why we call them thought experiments. Some people though, aren’t capable of the outside of the box thinking required to engage in these activities, and that's sort of Roosh's point.

In order to see Roosh’s video for what it is, you have to dispense with the ‘social cost’ side of the argument. You need to ask yourself if it would be effective. But in that way Roosh’s video is a kind of Red Herring. It’s designed not to discuss the topic of Rape, but the topic of what feminists refer to as 'Rape Culture'. His claim is really that 'Rape Culture' is just a canard designed to penalize men. And in support of that view he offers the comments and general reaction his thought experiment inspired.

In that way, I think his video is the perfect response to the idea of a female porn star claiming to be raped by a male porn star, on the set of a porn movie, during the porn movie's production. These accusations aren't about rape, they are about cultural dominance and political power. And in a game of he said/she said, we shouldn’t always be assuming that what she said is true and what he said is a lie, simply because they are a he and a she.

In my mind there is nothing else to say about the pornstar rape allegations.