Friday, August 26, 2016

-The Other Third Rail...

Well, it didn't take long, but she did it.
People used to say that the Second Amendment was the "third-rail" of political suicide. Hillary has touched or "teched" as in "teched in the head" on the "other third rail" of political suicide... The Conspiracy Theory.
I'm no fan of Alex Jones, but he deserves whatever traffic he can harvest from this.
Prior to Hillary declaring that the Alt-Right was a dark conspiracy launched from Putin's living room, she had been leading in the polls. She even had the press (like Bloomberg and CNN) carrying her water.
Come Thursday, she made a big hulabaloo about her new speech on the Alt-Right. She used the opportunity to insult over 51% of the population of Great Britain and possibly insult a similar ratio of Americans. Now the media is running far away from her hysterical attack and have literally dropped the standards on the battle field. "What... Alt-Right? Nope, never heard of it".
It was reminiscent of Hitler's rants against the Plutocrats.
An interesting gambit since it was an absurd baseless attack from a woman that has no record to run on.
By the way, the poster child of the alt-right is said to be identified as "Pepe". Hillary's rally's have garnered such low attendance that "alt-righters" may have inserted themselves to pull their own "BABABOOEY" moments, ala PEPE! Click on the youtube above and you'll hear it!

I didn't know what "Pepe" was until I and several million other people had to search it. The Pearl Clutching Media has gone over the edge!

Game, set, and ,match.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

- Why You Should Hate Black People

To the ‘Black Lives Matter’ crowd, I don’t hate you because you’re black, I hate you because you’re uncivilized idiots with no self-control, who are only capable of blaming others for the problems that you bring upon yourselves.

Let’s look at some facts:

Black Americans are 17% of the population. Black men are therefore roughly 8.5% of the total population. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, that 8.5% (black men) commit 53% of the murders in the US, 93% of which also involve a black victim.

By even the harshest assessment of the crime statistics, a minimum of 2/3 of that 8.5% (all black men) are perfectly law abiding through their whole life. By that I mean I mean that they are never charged with a felony from cradle to grave. They may not be boy scouts, but there is no evidence to say otherwise. So no more than the remaining third (a maximum of 2.8% of the total population) are committing 53% of all the murders in America.

That 2/3 number is a very cynical view, and it's much more likely that even a larger portion of the black male population never even comes close to committing a homicide. Not everyone busted with enough drugs to make it a felony, or misses a traffic court date and ends up with a bench warrant also automatically commits murder. So 53% (the majority) of all murders in America are committed by a very small minority of violent black (probably young) males, and 93% of the time they're killing other black (probably young) males. It is not ‘racism’ to want to avoid them, its rational self-preservation.

Those murders aren’t happening because of white people. They aren’t happening because of society. They aren't because of oppression, or bigotry, or poverty, or anything at all except the savage behavior of a small number of black men, too stupid and uncivilized to be decent citizens. Spout all you want about the legacy of slavery (which neither you, your parents, nor your great, great, great grandparents know anything about) or white privilege, or any of the other ridiculous blame shifting nonsense that’s become so fashionable lately. None of it changes the fact that a portion of black America is extremely dangerous to be around for everyone else, and doing your best to avoid them is the correct way to behave.

The problem is not guns. My guns (I have many) have never hurt anyone and probably never will. The real problem is the tiny minority of idiotic savages that go around murdering each other. I think it’s fundamentally wrong to attempt to disarm 100 million Americans simply because a tiny portion of them can’t behave like civilized people. I think it’s equally wrong to blame all black people for the behavior of what is obviously a tiny minority.

So I don’t. I don’t hate all black people. My personal hero is a black man. My friends come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and styles and I hate none of them. I only hate the lazy, stupid, violent, illiterate, entitled, excuse generating, “f*** the police’ screaming, rioting, looting waste products that believe themselves to be downtrodden and oppressed because I didn’t give them enough my stuff. A good metric is this: the angrier someone is about ‘racism’, the more I hate them. They are the problem here, not me. No one has to be afraid of me. But everyone has to be afraid of them.

And to all you (so called) journalists who seem to be able to find new evidence of racism behind every tree… everyone knows you’re lying, so please just shut the f*** up. Whipping up an angry mob isn’t ‘speaking truth to power’, it’s whipping up an angry mob. Just because someone gets angry doesn’t automatically mean they’re oppressed or that they're anger is justified. Some behavior leads to success, and some behavior leads to failure. Show me the black man with an ivy league MBA who can only get work on a loading dock, and I’ll admit I’m wrong. But don’t hold up a bunch of people who have done nothing to help themselves except demand that I do more for them, and claim that they’re being oppressed. They aren’t. They’re all just losers who happen to be black.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

- New York City's Parasites

So I got into a little ‘incident’ yesterday evening in Washington Square Park. A young lady and I were sitting on a bench near the fountain, quietly trying to unwind from the day and discreetly drinking a bottle of decent wine from paper cups, when one of the increasingly common beggar/psychos came over and began asking for handouts.

He was the kind of guy who looked like he’d been hanging out in the part since the 70’s – a biggish guy, 6 foot 190lbs or so, Caucasian, long scraggly grey-blonde hair, clothes in the latest 1985 style with at least 25 years of wear and tear in them. He looked disheveled by not homeless, like he lives in a trailer park (I’m familiar with the style). He was relatively clean (which is to say the smell wasn’t offensive) and had no track marks on his arms. Anywhere else, I’d have guessed he was a meth head, but I understand crack is the thing these days in WSP so that’s probably his flavor of choice.

I did what I always do when beggars approach. Before he even got through his rap about the homeless, I waved him off and said “no thanks dude”, trying to give the clear impression that we are residents not tourists, and will be unpersuaded by whatever lies he’s concocted. My recollection of what came next was a bit of a blur. When I cut him off he immediately started screaming. Nothing intelligible, just loud and angry – “Waaahhh!!! Waaahhh!!!” right in the face of the girl I was sitting with. Her response was to curl into the fetal position. Mine was not.

I bounced up off the bench, dropping my phone next to her when I rose and got up right in the crazy bastards face. He took a few quick steps back and continued to scream, but it took on a more frightened tone. At that point my volume began to match his. I yelled something like “Get the F*** out of here you crazy F***ing psycho!!!” I took a few steps to follow him as he did an impression of Renfield while scurrying toward the fountain. As I closed on him he began yelling in genuine fear “Waaahhh Waaahhh you’re gonna beat me now!” to which I angrily and loudly responded “You’re goddamned right I am you f***ed up bastard, I’m in no mood for your sh** today!” and gave him a shove which made him stagger a bit but not fall.

When he regained his balance, he double timed it away as fast as he could, and I elected not to follow. I went back to the bench and tried to calm down my girl, who was visibly shaken by the whole thing. The bum (not homeless, not poor suffering indigent… the bum) went to the other side of the fountain and tried his rap again complete with the screaming, which scared away a whole bench worth of tourists, clearing away seating on a full 25% of the granite around the fountain. He never came anywhere near us again. I think he left the park after that.

We sat a bit longer and my girl calmed down. A few minutes later, we were approached by one of the other “local pot heads” (as we sometimes call them) from the park. He was a black guy maybe 30 and he spoke to us in a measured tone from a respectful distance. “Hey I saw what you did to that guy dude, that was a good thing.” What’s that?” we said “That guy’s not crazy. He said “He just does that to scare people into giving him money. I know him, he lives near here. That’s just his thing, but it’s totally not cool that he does that. I tried to tell him you know, but he won’t listen. It’s a good thing that you scared him a little.”

We spoke for a few more minutes about it, and about how the park was declining. And eventually wished each other a polite good night as he walked off.

New York City under DiBlasio seems to be culturally rusting. Homeless are cropping up everywhere, and adding their nasty smelly 2 cents to New York society. Washington Square has always been unusually tolerant of the crazies, but the situation seems to be degrading rapidly. Between the black lives matter protests and the crack heads, and screaming psycho beggars, the situation there seems to be falling apart. It’s taken a long time to get there since Giuliani's departure, but it’s definitely returning to the state of affairs as it was under Dinkins.

I don’t think I mishandled the situation last night. I didn’t beat on the guy or spend 5 minutes kicking him in the face while he cowered on the ground or anything. I wanted to… quite badly actually… but I didn’t. I exercised what I thought was genuine restraint. But there was no way I was going to sit there and let this useless bastard be in control of our interaction. I don’t have it in me to just cower like that.

And I have to believe that if people don’t tolerate it, the homeless crazies can be persuaded to push on. I’m happy to scream back in the face of any social justice warriors who give me lip over ‘oppressing’ a guy like him just because he doesn’t make $250,000 a year (or whatever silly rap they have). One thing is for certain, I have no intention of laying down for them. I wouldn't know how.

The fact that these parasitic creatures believe they have a moral right to ruin public spaces for people does not give them that right – not in my mind anyway. And I may be the last man in New York who behaves this way toward them, but I have no intention of letting them take the ground. This incident was no big deal. Just a guy refusing to be cowed by a conniving scum bucket. And it seems to me if we all act that way toward them, the parasites will go find some other way to live off the well being of others.

- Tomorrow's History Today

With the future as uncertain as ever, Victor Davis Hanson has turned his historian's eye to the facts on the ground and crafted a worthwhile missive describing the potential consequences. Few things to come out of National Review have been so worthy your time, and none lately have met that standard. but this one is a 'don't miss'.

Monday, August 22, 2016

- Another Feminist Hatefact

I was referred tot his by Chateau Heartists, but the language there is too specific to the form to link, so I decided to write a sentence or two myself. This study says what all but the most educated of us already know, that men and women are different. In this case, men are far better at controlling their emotions than women, that the cause of this lack of emotional control is anatomical, and they are therefore a product of differences in genetics.


Please forward to A Feminist near you.

- A NYC Handgun Permit: Update #1

Ok... the process is rolling along. I have obtained a lawyer, gathered my notarized documentation, submitted my application, payed my fees, gotten fingerprinted, and an investigator has been assigned. When I went to One Police Plaza I was expecting an experience like the DMV on steroids complete with surly bureaucratic clerks and dismissive low ranking flatfoots. But what I got was the exact opposite. It's a bewildering thing working your way into the bowels of the HQ nations largest Police force, but everywhere I went the guards, cops and staff were nothing but cheerful and helpful. I don't exactly look like a career criminal so I'm sure that helped, but by any measure the experience was a pleasant one.

I was directed to the Licensing Bureau on the ground floor of HQ, and after a brief wait while they handled other prospective applicants, my application was reviewed and accepted by a nicely dressed and quite handsome middle aged woman, who was nothing but a pleasure to deal with. She checked my docs and notarization, fingerprinted me, accepted my fees, issued me a pair of receipts and told me that they would be in touch. She even smiled.

Now I'm told the fun really begins. There is a 4 to 6 month wait, followed by an exhaustive investigation of my status as a citizen, my past crimes (in my case all vehicular) and my character. Assuming all goes well, and my lawyer assures me that this is likely the case, I will eventually be issued a permit which requires that I obtain a handgun in the subsequent 30 days.

My Gun choice is now a settled issue. It will be a Glock G30S with a milled slide to accommodate a Trijicon RMR. It fits my hand well, and I'm a true believer when it comes to the red dot solution. I think this is gaining popularity, but I'm happy to be out in front of it. I'll also go with the Suarez solution of a suppressor height co-witnessed iron sight fore and aft. I've read up on it, and think it will work.

I do not think this process will be completed without drama, but so far, it's really been just fine. My experience in NJ was considerably worse and involved being ducked and insulted by the issuing policeman in an effort to have my permit expire before I could get to it. But in NYC, so long as you're prepared to pay through the nose (I am) and willing to wait (ditto) it doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that should scare off most people.

- A Nation Wide Sex Strike

This looks like a fun delusion. A Hollywood film called "Is That a Gun In Your Pocket" tells the tale of a small Texas town where all the women go on a sex strike until the men all agree to disarm. I won't bother relating the flaws in this logic, you can get that anywhere. I was thinking a little outside the box on this one.

First, I don't know a single woman who could ever possibly hope to 'not have sex' if sex was available to her in a socially acceptable way. She might not want to have sex with her husband, but if she is sure no one will find out, she'll be having sex with someone. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of women who are not having sex right now, but that is VERY much not by choice. Either they don't have any running offers (or they don't have any they find appealing) or they cannot excuse the things they'd have to do to get it, in their own consciences.

Second, as much as they are all about collective decision making and "pulling together" to get something done, they are also far FAR more backbiting and deceptive than men. They'll cheer the idea of a mass sex strike, then slip out the back and have a fling with the other girl's man who they saw cleaning the pool one day and couldn't get out of their mind. "Well that doesn't count!" they'd say as they're pulling up their panties. Women are amazing at rationalizing away their guilt - especially when it comes to sleeping around.

Third, all it would take is one bad guy in town - one guy who is willing to victimize the newly disarmed men, and half the women will demand that the men re-arm themselves, and the other half will throw themselves at the bad guy. I had an ex-girlfriend when I was very young, who used to say that the easiest way to avoid a rape is to say yes. Girls lose their minds over bad boys - so much so that "treat em like dirt and they stick like mud" has become a common phrase among young men in New York City.

Personally, I'd love to see the women of America call a nationwide 'sex strike'. That would be huge fun for me because as a matter of coincidence, a significant portion of my friends all have very good looking wives. No... I'm just kidding, I'd never sleep with the wife of a friend. (Wait... did I say never?) But all you guys with less reliable friends should worry. It will be nothing but an opportunity for the guys who seem to be getting all the chicas already.

- If A Candidate Falls In The Forest...

To readers here, the only thing shocking about this piece is that it appeared in a major daily newspaper, and was written by a journalist.

So if a Presidential candidate falls in the forest, and no one ever tells anyone about it, did it really happen? But that's not really bias. Well, it is, it's just not all of the bias we have to learn to filter in modern America. The real bias is in the base assumptions. The real bias is not only about never telling the other side of the story, but never even entertaining it as an option. And but for the author of the piece above, I'm convinced it applies to 100% (not 99%) of mainstream journalists.

Mainstream Journalism has staked an anti-American position. They're wedded to it. And their readership knows it - even those who agree with them. They apparently even know it themselves. So if no one is fooled (and its becoming increasingly clear that no one is), why go on with the charade? The goal of the piece linked above is obviously to shame some of the more respectable journalists into ending their obvious hypocrisy. But that's not going to work. In order to choose journalism as a career you are the kind of person who is never shamed. You aren't ashamed of your laziness, or your thoughtlessness, or your partisanship. you aren't ashamed of your open contempt for your readers. If you were, you'd choose a different line of work. So I don't think anything will come of this. the media will continue to shamelessly promote Trump as the worst thing to happen to America since the flu-pandemic, and Hillary as galloping in on a white unicorn to save the day.

I'm much more puzzled by National Review and Kevin Williamson though. They don't like Trump. Fair enough. Who does? But a week or so ago Kevin wrote what was obviously a slanted hit piece about Trump's tax plan. It was all negative spin, and could have easily been produced by the New York Times. He seemed totally unable to separate the message from the messenger, and not because of issues like credibility. It was an out and out attack on the plan, plus the usual diatribe about the man.

Jonah Goldberg I think has been much more even handed without contradicting his personal views. Victor Davis Hanson has been down right centrist in my view, and more than fair. A few other guest writers have done the same. But for the most part it seems like they're circling their wagons to me. It seems like a desperate and deeply emotional attack on the idea of Trump at least as much as it is an attack on the man and his message.

The result is that I don't think I have anything useful to learn about Trump from a Kevin Williamson piece. and I know many others are feeling the same way lately. There is nothing wrong with disagreement on the right (god knows) but they've made their view known, and should now change their direction a little, or this election will cost them more than just reader count.

I don't think people on the right don't just want their opinions validated, but that seems to be what the NeverTrump movement has become. And NR is their echo chamber.

Move on boys. You don't have to support Trump, but the endless diatribes aren't helping you, and I no longer think they're hurting him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

- Black People And Guns

I spoke to an old friend today - a guy who I go all the way back to JPMorgan with, and who worked with me during my time at Tudor Investments. He's a gun guy too - and has been involved in some of our hunting and shooting events in the past. But he's a much less political guy than many of my friends, and is therefore a pretty good barometer of a more 'normal' voter.

Anyway, he mentioned that he heard Trump's speech last night and he didn't sound crazy at all. He called particular attention to Trump's talk that for every one of the protesters, there were 100 law abiding people in the black community who don't feel safe (this is my buddy paraphrasing) and that since Hillary takes the black vote for granted, she'll do nothing to protect those people from crime.

This is all dead on in my opinion. The violent portions of the black community get a lot of press. But the vast majority of crime in the black community, and virtually all of the violent crime, is committed by young black men - a tiny minority. This is why I have always hoped that the NRA would do some outreach for the black community. Those law abiding people deserve as much protection as anyone else and have the same right to defend themselves as I do.

Turns out, Trump feels exactly the same way.

- I'm all for Dead Cats

I'm a dog guy, but this was one cat I was always curious about:

Maybe it's Erwin Schrodinger's birthday today and maybe it isn't.

It really depends....

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

- Conservative "Willful Ignorance"

In the corner today, discussing the merits of voting for Trump to preserve the Supreme Court, John Yoo wrote the following:

"When the history of age is written 100 years from now, we don’t want scholars to say: Trump pulled the U.S. out of NATO, ended the NAFTA and WTO free trade agreements, and withdrew our troops from Korea, Japan, and the Middle East. But he kept the Supreme Court 5–4!"

I find the willful ignorance here a little appalling. It fills me with the urge to say "Sell it to the undergrads teach." John Yoo should know damned well that just because Trump raises an issue doesn't mean that he's withdrawing our troops, disbanding NATO, declaring Christmas illegal etc.

The best thing about the Trump candidacy is that he's willing to call out our friends who have not been acting very friendly, and talk about things that are considered too dangerous to talk about inside the beltway. What this is really about, is negotiation. There is more than one way to make a deal with someone, especially if that someone needs you WAY more than you need them. It doesn't have to start from a position of bowing as low as possible and groveling, as team Obama always seems to want to do.

Why can't we talk about Nuclear weapons? Why can't we make it clear that if it ever comes to it, we can be as brutal to our enemies as our enemies can be to us? As we know from the ceaseless ranting of DC insiders, talking about it is better than doing it. and I'd very much prefer to have someone arguing my side that is willing to put the world back on it's heels a little in our friendly chats, than the constant humiliating scraping that Obama has done for a decade and change.

Trump will be trying to make a deal. That's all anyone knows. The only thing this makes me wish for is that Trump could defend himself with the same fluency that Reagan did when the intelligentsia reacted to his evil empire talk, the same way the left (and much of the right) are reacting to Trump right now. It also makes me with the right still had the self confidence to be on his side when he does.

Sadly, this seems to not be the case.

Monday, August 15, 2016

- The Narrative Didn't Have Time To Collapse

Pictured above is the gentle innocent soul who was killed by the Milwaukee police, setting off the rioting that now includes a response from Scott Walker's National Guard units. (click pic for the story). He's quite obviously another 'honor student/basketball star' whose short life was unjustly brought to an end for simply pointing a semi-automatic pistol at a policeman. What is the world coming to?

Faced with this obvious injustice, the brave and thoughtful citizens of Milwaukee's black community rallied and decided that 'beating some white people' was the only available option for deriving justice. A set of decisions made even trickier by the fact that the cop who shot this future paragon of the black community, was actually black. I would argue that this young man looks even more like President Obama's son than Trayvon Martin, but opinions no doubt will differ.

This isn't even an example of narrative collapse, because the narrative was torn down before it even got started. But in America these days, a significant portion of the citizenry (a portion that includes 100% of all journalists) are no longer worried by facts. Your pesky facts are irrelevant with there is a victim group that's out for blood.


A friend sent me an email on this a few seconds after I hit 'publish' with the subject line "learning experiences are a good thing'. It seems the local news crews had to pull their staff from the riots because at least one of them received a pretty serious beating from the mob. Personally I'm dubious that this will manifest a 'learning experience'. True believers aren't much prone to learning. A racially motivated mob of blacks could burn the NYTimes building to the ground while chanting 'kill whitey' and the headline the next day will no doubt blame it on Donald Trump, and accuse him of creating an environment of hate.

- An Important Milestone

For the very first time ever this morning, I clicked over to National Review and saw absolutely nothing I was interested in reading. Another Kevin Williamson "Trump is Awful" diatribe? No thanks. Republican insider finger pointing about ISIS? Been there. A "Sean Hannity is a stupid-face" rant from Jonah Goldberg? Please.

I know the folks on Lexington ave are spending a lot of time worrying about how the right has been abandoned by the voters, but from here, for the the first time ever, it's looking more and more like a mutual breakup.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

- The "Right" To Kill Politicians

A while back, I asked the question “How much is too much?” when it came to talking about the potential for a violent response to tyranny. It was stated in my typically plain spoken, pro second amendment way, and that was controversial enough for Charles M. Blow to tweet it. The result was a traffic spike and a great deal of ridiculous liberal pearl clutching.

Keep in mind, I wasn’t even saying something like “we should overthrow the government if it gets too tyrannical”. What I was asking was, “if that’s how you feel, is it legal under the first amendment to actually say so?” Still, liberals live in fear, and that fear was overwhelming to them. Read the comments section… it’s hysterical (literally). Naturally, I didn’t find those hysterics persuasive at all.

With Trumps perfectly harmless comment about ‘second amendment people’ liberals are once again up on their chairs screaming ‘eeek a gun!”. Trump was way WAY under the line in my opinion. And the liberals that are accusing him of advocating assassination are showing themselves as ridiculous for it. The full Palin has taken hold with stories being invented from whole cloth all over the mainstream media. Journalists are reprobate scum so I expected nothing less.

But this is actually the nice thing about the gun debate. It’s a perfect distillation of how our two opposing political camps express their ideas and feelings. Liberals say that "there is no right to overthrow a tyrannical government", and second amendment supporters say “if there is or isn't, we don’t care”.

There is a limit to the persuasiveness of legality, and violence always follows suit. I don’t think Hillary Clinton is stupid enough to try to ban all guns because she recognizes the cost of such an effort and in the end, she doesn’t care about how liberals feel any more than I do. I believe she will definitely try to impose some creeping incremental restriction designed to make it harder to own a gun and to shore up her support, but she will always be stopped at what places like Texas and Idaho are willing to enforce – which is not all that much. It’s not a winning issue for her because Americans simply will not give up their guns no matter what the law says. And unless she is willing to do so by force, she is not going to be able to take any guns away.

In other words, when it finally comes to it, someone is going to be breaking the law here. It will either be the Liberals, or it will be both the liberals and 2A advocates. And at that point, liberals 'violence is not the answer' philosophy will be thrown out the window, or absolutely nothing is going to change.

Liberals believe that no group of civilians can withstand the US army's tanks and planes. To any real student of military history (including all of America's military commanders) that's obviously not true, but it also means that liberal politicians will have to be willing to order American tanks and planes to fire on US civilians. Where is their higher moral ground then? And to quote my brother, a former Tanker in the Second Armored Cav, "You'd be surprised how under-represented anti-gun zealots are among those Americans who know how to drive a tank." So liberal politicians should try not to be too shocked when the turret actually swings back in their direction.

Right now, Slate is running a piece talking about how there is no right to a revolt. Not only does this miss the real answer to this issue, it misses the relevant question. No one who cares about gun rights cares if there is a right that liberals recognize. They can spout all they like about their feelings and 2A advocates will simply shrug and refuse to comply. Make gun registration mandatory. Build a database. Try to impose a new AWB. None of it is going to get any meaningful portion of the 400,000,000 guns out of American civilian hands.

But … if you idiots at Slate really believe what you say, then by all means. Call a constitutional convention, repeal the second amendment (if you can) and begin passing laws that require confiscation. See how well that works out for you. Pro second amendment people recognize that the government has been the enemy of liberty before, and it almost certainly will again. Your feelings on that view are irrelevant to them. So by all means - pass a law. Talk all the talk you like. It will change nothing unless you're prepared to use force. And once you do, all the pro 2A violence will be perfectly justified.


Blogger has been a little odd lately. Since I almost always publish my first draft, I went back to correct some of my spelling and grammar errors only to find that when I pressed update, the post was deleted. Luckily Google had cached a copy. Apologies to Muzz whose comment was deleted in the interim.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

- The Road To Political Perdition

I like this Kathy Shaidle piece. It touches on something I think is a deeply resonant issue in today’s world.

The fact of the matter is that personality typing has been discredited. It’s not stable, which is to say it changes over time. It’s also categorical thinking applied to what are in effect a series of distributions. For instance, my own personality falls very near the line between ENTJ and INTJ. I’m something between an extroverted intuitive thinking judger and an introverted intuitive thinking judger. Where I am on the line depends on how I’m feeling when the test is taken, but I usually end up slightly on the extroverted side. I’m slightly more field marshal than architect. But the big division in our culture falls in the area of the third characteristic the T vs F. This is the difference between thinking and feeling.

I’m far more on the T side – so much that the variance of own personality never comes close to touching the F side. Guys like John Derbyshire might not have an F side. He’s an outlier on that score as are many mathematicians. But the vast majority of people are closer to the line on it, and about 30% are dominant in 'feeling' vs 'thinking'. So when they are taught by people who are far over on the feeling side, they never learn to engage the T portion of their personality. Feeling, is much easier you see. It requires fewer calories. And if you can get by without ever having to expend those calories, why would you bother?

Instead, you’ll choose careers where feeling is enough to get by on. You’ll go into social work or marketing, or teaching gender studies. You’ll focus on areas which don’t fall subject to much in the way of quantitative assessment. You’ll live in fear of the day that the ‘numbers guys’ show up to tell you that you’re doing everything wrong. And you’ll continue to proclaim that feelings should be held in the highest regard when it comes to determining the ‘real story’.

I’m convinced that the right and left of our culture – Republican vs. Democrat is largely a function of the T vs F dynamic. By ceding academia to the F types, we’ve abandoned generations of kids to never understanding the world in any real and verifiable way. We’ve taught them to be the kind of people who are easily manipulated, and quick to anger and frustration when the world continues to stubbornly defy their vision of perfection.

But there is another aspect to the politics thinking. Feelings can be easily manipulated. They can be tugged hither and yon by others who may be more gifted at expression. Democrat leaders are masters at this. And without a developed T component, the vast majority of kids have been left with no defenses to that manipulation. This has happened on the right as well as the left. Obama is as much like Hitler as Donald Trump could ever hope to be in this regard. He says things elegantly, and designed in just the right way to manipulate the masses of his adoring followers. They don’t think. They don’t want to think. They only want to ‘feel’ that he’s doing the right thing as much as they want to ‘feel’ that Donald Trump is proposing the wrong one. The inverse is true among the strongest Trump supporters.

How do we fix it? I’m not sure we can. These personality types are unstable and subject to change, but to inspire people to change them requires necessity. Millions of people would have to be forced by personal hardship to change the way they process information. And any policy that willingly subjects them to that hardship will be struck down as utterly politically unpalatable. I’m not talking camps and ovens – no one wants that. I was thinking more along the lines of a re-imposition of personal accountability and denying people who rely exclusively on others for their bread and butter to do things for themselves.

But we’ll never see it. We’ll continue on this path until we can no longer continue on this path. The F types demand it, and the government has no intention of making them ever feel bad. We're on the road to perdition, paved with good intentions. And so long as we value uninformed opinions as highly as informed ones (or as we have lately, even more valuable), nothing about that will ever change.

Monday, August 8, 2016

- The Trump Economic Plan

I’m trying to get a read on Trump’s new Economic plan, but given the media antipathy to actually saying anything that might make him look appealing to voters, it’s no easy trick. I did find the Mark Zandi analysis but it seemed to me to frame the discussion in a very pro-Hillary light. Before you read the spin on it, I think it deserves some translating.

First, the concept of Revenues. Revenue is a very positive spin word, so more revenue looks good, less revenue looks bad. But Zandi is actually talking about government Revenue not economic revenue. Under Trump’s plan government revenue will be reduced by roughly 20% (if you believe the analysis) but what that means is the people who earn the money will get to spend 20% more of it. Nothing is produced when you redistribute moeny, in fact, you lose the cut that government keeps for itself. In other words, a cut in ‘revenue’ in this case is actually a good thing for the productive bits of the economy as opposed to the redistributive bits, who will have fewer chess pieces to move around the board.

One thing I particularly like in Trump’s plan is the cut of corporate rates to a maximum of 15%. This would greatly improve the private sector environment, and create a massive upswing in job creation. Not as big as a complete removal of corporate taxes (which I have advocated in the past) but it’s a big step. Corporations pass the cost of higher taxes onto either labor in the form of lower wages, or to consumers in the form of higher prices. So a cut in corporate taxes will result in – wait for it – higher wages, and lower prices. That’s what ‘reduced Revenue’ means in this context. The lost ‘revenue’ for government could be largely reclaimed in the form of increased individual income, but since it will take time for corporations to react to the new environment and set up shop, it won’t happen right away.

The Zandi analysis also says that ‘revenues’ as a percentage of GDP would be the lowest it has been since WW2, which frankly I can’t think of a negative spin for. This would be rewarding productive behavior and punishing unproductive behavior. We could use more productive behavior since this is what drives an economy. Another way of saying that would be ‘this would increase economic growth’, but by how much I can’t say without looking at the details and doing some math.

Second, Trump's proposed deportation of the 11 Million estimated illegal aliens is described by Zandi as ‘squeezing the workforce’ and causing higher wages for labor which corporations will struggle to meet. This is how it should be. I would greatly prefer a system that convinced illegal aliens to self deport by denying them both work, and all government benefits excluding emergency medical care, but hey … I’ll take what I can get. Yes, prices of some things will rise. But it's market forces, and no one will force you to buy a strawberry if you can't get it cheap enough. when you don't, the market will adjust things. Have a little faith.

Third, Trump has proposed a Tariff on those companies which offshore jobs. The Zandi analysis assumes that foreign powers will follow suit and though I agree that this is likely, there isn’t any hard evidence of it just yet. Still, with all deference to Trump’s desire to buy votes, this isn’t such a great idea. It will definitely mean higher prices for a great many products and will therefore hurt consumers, especially the poor who already have fewer options. I don’t see any way this is anything but a negative for the economy, but luckily I don’t have to because the Zandi finds it for me. He makes the claim that the combination of Tariffs and immigration polices Trump is proposing will increase inflation.

In this environment, increased inflation is very much a good thing. We’ll need to keep it under control of course, but thanks to Milton Friedman we have excellent tools for just that. So far under Obama we are following the deflationary course of Japan, and Japan would happily frog March 20% of its population into the Pacific Ocean if it would somehow assure a 4% positive inflation rate. Runaway inflation is a bad thing, but it’s easily managed. Deflation is not, and standing on the brink of negative interest rates, a bit of inflation would be good not bad. At least your bank account would start providing some income again. That Zandi bit about it causing a recession is a stolen base, and is anything but certain. Especially with the massive reduction in corporate rates.

Calling Trump’s plan ‘fiscally unsound’ strikes me as laughable. As if the last 2 decades weren't. His plan would really just bring about the consequences of a decade and a half of delusion where we all seemed to believe we could spend anything we want today and simply borrow from the future forever to pay for it. Trump would reintroduce the concept of consequences for economic stupidity in government policy so it might not be popular, bit it would put us all on playing field where we in the private sector at least know the rules of the game and which direction to carry the ball. All in I’d see that as a positive.

The standard of living, say's Zandi, "would go nowhere". But nowhere looks pretty good to me since the standard of living has been falling at something close to 2% per year for a decade. The rest is simply hogwash, and excludes the positive long term effects of Trump’s plan while taking the worst possible case of the negatives. That’s partisan analysis for you.

Clinton’s plan meanwhile, is for more of the same. More proliferate spending, more ‘job creation’ in the redistributive economy, and a greater burden for the shrinking group of productive citizens. She labors under all the same dubious assumptions that Keynesian economics always does – that we can put off till tomorrow the consequences of what we enjoy today. Her economic plan is more whiskey to kill the hangover, and when the real bill comes do, she’ll be long retired. How Zandi could describe it otherwise is testimony to his lack of character.

I can’t speak to this stuff in any detail because I can’t find anyone who will tell me what’s actually in the plan. But at a cursory glance I’d have to agree with the Trump campaign that the analysis is pretty heavily spun. It leaves out the potential pro-growth side of his positives, and speaks to the worst case of the negatives – all in terms of its effect on the money available to government. It's a Democratic opinion piece masquerading as sound economic analysis.

Freeze regulation, cut corporate taxes, deport illegal aliens. These are all pro transparency policies and will give us a better idea of where we actually stand and in the end reward the productive and the expense of the unproductive. Take a chainsaw to the alphabet soup of the DC bureaucracy and I’d call it all extremely positive. Zandi’s isn't a complete hack, but his analysis treats ‘consumption’ as the economic driver of prosperity rather than productivity, and I couldn’t disagree with that more.

But if an economic plan falls in the forest and no one ever actually reports on it, who the hell knows what it really sounds like?

- Evan McMullin For .... What!?

Evan McMullin may very well be a competent and virtuous man. I like to think that I am too, so they do exist - even on Wall Street. But in an age when identity politics is the only thing that matters to 1/3 the electorate, how anyone could think that a Mormon ex-Goldman employee could win anything at all is mystifying.

I told a story once about a former co-worker (Known as Galvez on this blog) and a conversation we had early in 2009. We were fretting about eh fate of the world and he said something that made perfect sense to me. I can trace my family back to the Norman Invasion of Ireland in 1172, but Galvez dwarfs even that. He can trace his family back to the battle of Tours which occurred in 732AD. In that battle, people who still thought of themselves as Roman citizens repelled the Moors in Spain.

Anyway, he said to me something I'll never forget. "Don't worry Tom, it doesn't matter who's in charge, they'll always need smart people like us to do things for them." He's right of course. civilization won't collapse, it will just have a different moral code. And if you can do useful things, people will always need you to do them for them. That's the thing about Goldman guys. They're very competent generally (former NJ Governors notwithstanding). but competence does not make you popular in this day and age. So their path to political power isn't to be elected, but to be appointed by the people who win elections.

Evan McMullin may be a good man. I like every Mormon I've ever met, so it's the way I'd bet. But he isn't going to get elected president. The rest is just anti-Trump/pro-Hillary gamesmanship.

- Celebrating Failure: Part 2

I'm sick of hearing how bad Trump is for conservatism. Everywhere I look I read Trump delusional fanboys who think he's going to save the world or Trump critics that suffer from a different kind of delusion - the delusion that it's somehow all Trump's fault.

What did Trump do exactly that he hasn't been doing for the last 2 decades? Every 4 years for as long as I can remember, Trump would reliably show up on CNBC and announce that he was considering running for President. No one took him seriously except the Squawk Box staff who thought it would make good press. Everyone else greeted it with a "Yeah sure you are Donald". So what changed this time?

The way it looks to me, Conservatism Inc failed. They failed their supporters. They failed the country. The politico's of the right will tell you that it was over promising and under-delivering, but Donald Trump had nothing to do with that. Obamacare was enacted under dubiously legal methods. The borders were thrown open and the laws, byzantine and confusing as they are, were no longer enforced. Not only were the purse strings never tightened on the executive branch, the congress hasn't even managed to pass an actual budget in over a decade. Instead they put legislation in place so that they didn't have to take the political risk of actually doing so. Donald Trump didn't do that to the Republican party or conservatism.

Meanwhile the left's culture war raged on. White became "racist", male became "rapist", and cop became "murderer". Victim of white male oppression became our loftiest virtue. The right stood by and watched it all happen. In response they nominated a political placeholder and a meek and mild business executive to lead the party. When the left came a bludgeoning them with the same old tired ideas they've been shouting since the sixties, newly invigorated with the purposefulness of youth and emboldened by the Obama justice department, they folded like a house of cards. when you wilt like day old flowers under the slightest complaint from the social justice left, it's hardly the fault of the guy who picks up the baton and runs with it, no matter which direction he runs. And if you don't care about your own principles why the hell should anyone else?

So I'm sick of hearing it. I'm sick of hearing how Trump is the worst thing to happen to the right since McCarthy. Even if he is the next step in the road to serfdom, you're the ones who created the vacuum that he stepped into. Your weakness and risk aversion is what opened the door to him. Your unwillingness to make your arguments is the environment that led to Trump. It's your failure boys. You did it. You failed to persuade anyone that your ideas were worth defending. You failed to convince people that they should care about their liberty. You. Not me. Not Trump. You. It's all 100% on you.

The truth is, I'm more disgusted by the continued denial than I am the failure. People fail, I get that. But unless you own it and decide to change, you'll never improve. You took the safe political route and now you're paying for it. If Trump is able to take down the whole party line and finally usher in the permanent liberal majority that the left has always hoped for, it's your fault not his. He may be the last straw, but it's your goddamned camel.

It's time for you all to quit whining and actually do something productive. Take what lessons you can from Trump's approach. Find a way to persuade his people. He's no more craven than Obama, and considerably more honest than Hillary. Content yourself with half a loaf of stale bread, because there is no other loaf available. If you want to survive, you eat what the world offers. And if you can't manage that, then at least you can shut up about it and spare the rest of us.

- Celebrating Failure

I'm not watching the Olympics, I don't care about the Olympics, and I don't really care about Olympians. But I do care about excellence. Certain kinds of behavior lead to success and certain kinds of behavior lead to failure. I prefer (but do not always personally accomplish) the former. CNN feels differently:

Michael Phelps may be the greatest Olympian the world has ever known but for CNN host W. Kamau Bell, he is just a "tall, successful, rich white guy" who clearly didn’t "need the honor" of being chosen by his athlete peers as America's flag-bearer. Instead, Bell exclaims, Ibtihaj Muhammad, a woman, an African-American and a Muslim to boot, should have been chosen because "right now America has enough tall, successful, rich white guys hogging the spotlight trying to make America great."

One thing I know for certain about success is that it's difficult. If you focus on anything except success, you will more than likely fail. W. Kamua Bell is obviously demonstrating that fact.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

-The Madness of Queen Hillary...

Any resident physicians want to take a wack at this?
Its a rumor that has been going around since the famous "What difference does it make?" rant. That in and of itself was incredibly bizarre. While the source is Paul Joseph Watson / Infowars, even the National Enquirer gets one right every now and then, therefore don't discount the theory or the evidence. It does explain why she refuses to do do press conferences.
I believe that she does have a mental or neurological problem. Having personal experience with a parent that succumbed to Alzheimer's, I must admit the similarities are striking. If true, no amount of Alzheimer's or dementia drugs would suppress the rapidity and inevitable decline. If true, there is no way she could stand for a debate. I would hope that it would not be true, that the Dems know or suspect something like this, but press on. It would be a fitting end to to our republic marked by fractured borders, vagrancy, social disintegration, and pervasive liberal lunacy. It would be capped-off by our election of someone in desperate need of anti-psychotic meds just to greet the morning. There is no cure for Alheimer's. The progression of the disease is different with every patient. From the child-like goofy behavior, to the maniacal rants and mercurial tempers, the exaggerated facial expressions or reactions, and eventually, the shrieking terror when the medicine cannot compete with the mental collapse. The coughing fits are part of it. God Bless the USA, we're gonna need it!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

- The Wages Of Ego Investment

The emotional projection of liberals (and women) is well documented. But I have a theory about their ego investment in politics. I think it springs from their awareness that they would be likely to be failures in life, absent political advantage. For all their talk about the 'level playing field', making it as unequal as possible and stacking the deck for themselves, is the whole point.

It's a thought anyway.

- Coping With Bias

Every once in a while I make the mistake of arguing with the wrong people. Some people, particularly online, have their world view and they will not change it. They are right, you are wrong, and all the evidence in the world won’t change their mind. Normally this doesn’t bother me. I don’t know all that much about politics or winning elections or whatever, so I tend not to speak in absolutes on those topics. But when I’m talking about something where I possess some expertise, it can get under my skin a little.

I got into one of those debates in the comments section of a Kevin Williamson article recently, pertaining to “what people do”. There was someone arguing on a tangent that it was the evil derivative guys who caused the problems with America, and I countered. Derivatives are my thing. I know and understand them fully, and worked in the industry at a pretty high level for nearly 3 decades, claiming some limited success. (I'm not a billionaire, but I did OK.) No one with any knowledge in the field will argue that I am an expert, in fact, if they’re an expert, we may already know each other. If I’m talking to a farmer about farming or an anesthesiologist about anesthesiology, I’ll defer to them. On this topic it’s a safe bet to defer to someone like me.

But when you try to talk about it, you get some people who think that professionally managing an investment portfolio is the same as what they do when they invest in the stock market, so they know as much about it as you do. If you refer to things they don’t understand they accuse you of using ‘mumbo jumbo’. If you simplify it, they either pick apart the inaccurate semantics of your analogy or they accuse you of not knowing what you’re talking about. If you go back to specifics, then they accuse you of trying to insult their intelligence. There is really no winning.

There is really no comparison between managing a large investment pool (say 100 million or more) and managing a personal account, and the evidence of that abounds. There are different issues to address, different ways of addressing them, and different metrics for determining success or failure. But the people who don’t know that don’t know what they don’t know, and you can’t explain it to them because they are so certain you operate from a basically immoral position. These people are more interested in winning an argument than being correct, and that frustrates me sometimes. I left Freerepublic years ago for this very reason, and have for the most part managed to avoid discussions like it since.

So what’s my point?

I read an article someplace that talked about how “Trump has spent the last 3 days arguing with a gold star father”. But I detected a whiff of the stuff I just talked about when I read it. I don’t know for sure, but I doubt very much that Trump spent the last 72 hours worrying about nothing else, and I’m perfectly willing to wager that it’s only the media that has obsessed over it. Maybe he tossed out a comment here or there, but the media only ever heard the part of the conversation they wanted to. That’s their shtick. Trump says 1,000 words 3 of which will generate a controversy negative to his campaign, and that’s the only 3 words they hear. They couldn’t be convinced that Trump was doing something right, no matter how much evidence is provided, and all we ever see, is their pre-established view that he’s a horror.

So what’s Trump actually doing? I don’t know. I’ve never participated in an election. Is he doing it well or poorly? I don’t’ know. Is he being effective or wasting time? No idea. All I know, is what the media tells me. And that goes for all the media, not just the anti-trump majority. His fans probably don’t know what’s going on any better than his opponents. Some of these journalists may know something about elections (but having met many journalists I’d have to bet against them knowing anything at all) but right or wrong, they say they are certain of things. But as certain as they may sound, they’re all just telling you how they themselves feel, and aren’t really telling us anything about what’s actually going on. That, to be perfectly technical about it, is what bias is. Bias fills in the gaps when knowledge and understanding end.

Trump is definitely outside the box. Whatever he’s doing, and whether he can be effective doing it, I think is something no one really knows. I really believe it’s as much a mystery to the people who tell us they’re certain of the outcome, as it is to someone like me.

Hillary on the other hand, is a known quantity. She’s an unethical, thoroughly corrupt, brittle and unlikable candidate. What I think she needs to do to win is to stay the hell away from the press and convince people to vote for the idea of Hillary instead of the actual Hillary. No one likes the actual Hillary, but on paper she can be sold to the least informed portion of the electorate. That I think is her plan.

But she’s a Presidential candidate. So it can’t all be puff pieces about her saving cats from trees until election day. Not without the media being willing to sacrifice themselves for her sake. She will be fine with it, but there will be a point where the NYTimes and NBC will decide that even they can’t stay away from her. She will be in the public eye, and when she is, enthusiasm for her will dissipate.

It’s still a horse race here guys. Very much so. It may very well end with more disappointment for the right, but calling it settled is premature.

- Listening To Losers: An Addendum

I find myself persuade by the arguments offered below. The fact is, the political right in the form of 'kindler, gentler conservatism' opened the door to too many ideological attacks, and consistently lost elections and policy arguments. Meanwhile the left played the long game and struggled mightily and with little resistance, to changing the character of the country with immigration. They indoctrinated a generation or two of college students, carefully training them to avoid thinking wherever possible, and to concentrate on feeling. With only a 'kindler, gentler' pushback, our society has spun out of control.

Trump isn't a good candidate, or in my opinion a particularly good businessman. But he still won the primary because he is good at image management. His 'un-kind and un-gentle' message resonated with a large portion of the electorate. Where everyone else on the right is struggling to be a better mom, Trump is saying 'screw that' and being the dad. (I don't mean this in the slightly creepy gay Milo way, I'm just talking about messaging tone here.) Whether our country is looking for that or not remains to be seen. The media doesn't want it. The NeverTrump team doesn't want it. But they don't get to decide on their own.

The election will be on turnout. this is a center right country and Hillary needs the black vote to turn in big numbers for her. Everywhere I've been able to find it, the polls seem to simply be assuming a new level of black engagement in politics, but there is simply no way Hillary will get the same enthusiasm from blacks that Obama did. Meanwhile, intelligent people I know argue (persuasively in my opinion) that it will be easier to vote for Trump than to admit voting for Trump. If that's true, then this might not be simply another case of me 'hoping' the polls are wrong in some way, exactly like I did in the last two presidential elections.

There is one thing I think we can count on from Trump. There will be a counter-punch. And so long as Trump has someone somewhere who is willing to treat him like he's that actual candidate of one of our two major parties, people are going to hear it. The fat lady isn't singing yet, even if a lot of people want her to be.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

-When Losers Demand Their Advice To Be Heard

Well, it didn't take too long for this to happen, but Trump (who has been leading in the polls) has been the subject of a full blown attack from the in the tank media and the RINO's. It begins with the feigned outrage over poorly chosen Khan statements. Now Hillary, gets a pass for deriding anyone that laments the loss of their child on her watch. The press has gone "all-in" and with a sitting president leading the charge. Heck, even Obama lamented that Trump should be more like Romney and McCain, probably because they were flounders that he rolled without either of them fighting back.
The press has been doing their hack job by publishing nude Melania photos (as if that was a bad thing) to Joe Scarborough suggesting that Trump may be throwing it for Hillary.
Othe political commentators on the right, especially the ones that have firmly declared NEVERTRUMP! are also giving their advice and lamenting the recent events.
Its bizarrro world!
First of all we know what Joe Scarborough, McCain, Romney, Meg Whitman, Glen Beck, and a cavalcade of other NEVERTRUMPers have in common: They are all losers.
The losers are miserable and need company. Every bit of the RINO-right has squealed that Trump needs to apologize, Trump needs to grovel, Trump needs to rehab etc... But this is losing advice. Trump continues to go after the press, but not n a Nixon kind of way, but continues to jab at them. The press completely unloaded as if on cue from Obama. A laughable tweet was that voice of credibility John "I swear I didn't get caught cheating" Harwood from CNBC. John pulled the old Dan Rather trick, "I know a guy, who knows a guy, that says Trump's campaign is in disarray"
Unfortunately, John can't reveal his sources, but he needs his "in the tank for Hillary" merit badge.
CNBC has been running a tired story about how Wall St is not supporting Trump... Well, Duh?
All of this negative news is supposed to turn-off enough Trump supporters to either keep them from voting or have them jump ship for another candidate or like Phony Republican Meg Whitman: Vote for Hillary!
I'll be interested to see the polls. Early in the campaign Trump bragged that he could withstand a barrage of negative news and even suggested (like the show-biz adage) there's no such thing as bad news. I'll fall back on my Howard Stern theory that Trump is getting so much attention, that even the people that can't stand him are lapping it all up! How'd that work out for Howard Stern?
I'll go another step and suggest that Hillary doesn't get a good poll bump because she is not the center of attention. I almost believe that Trump says outrageous things to grab the spotlight. Its working.
By the end of August, the Media will be all out of poop to fling and come the first debate, after its all out there, it will be interesting to see if Trump goes all-out and throttles Hillary in the debates and in the ad campaigns. I was never a big Trump fan, but I will not doubt his abilities in handling adversarial and very public contests. It is almost staged like Ali pulling a rope-a-dope...
In the mean-time we will continue to hear the NEVERTRMPers lament with the chorus of losers.
It will be disappointing though if Trump decides to follow the loser advice. Forget the Olympics, bring on the Debates!

Monday, August 1, 2016

- Too Dumb To Succeed

On a lark, I re-watched that stupid movie by Andrew Ross Sorkin (stupid is as stupid does) about the mortgage crisis, “To Big To Fail”. In it we’re told all about the brave far seeing bureaucrats who managed to ‘save us’ from the greedy bankers, and prevent economic catastrophe. It says nothing of course about the idiots in government who put all the pieces in place to crate the mortgage bond crisis. But it did make me realize something about people.

It’s a complicated story of course. The community reinvestment act made it a requirement that Banks issue loans to more minorities, regardless of their credit score. This gave the banks more risk than they wanted, so they sold off that risk to others who did want the higher returns it might have promised. They bundled them up, got (arguably dumb) insurers to insure them, got (even dumber) credit rating agencies to rate them high because of the insurance, and then convinced others to buy them for top dollar, because of the high ratings.

At the time of the CRA, no one saw this coming. All they saw was a small problem to solve. The government saw the problem as not enough minority home owners, and the banks saw the government solution to the problem, as too much risk. None of the minority buyers with crappy credit should have ever been given a loan in the first place, but the government wanted to make things ‘more fair’, regardless of the cost. Well the inevitable cost was the blowup.

By 2006, well before things fell apart, everyone in my circle knew there was a bubble. I recall a very specific conversation I had with one good friend who was running a $400 million dollar Fixed Income Strategy at the time, and we were amazed at how expensive it was to short the credit and mortgage products that were obviously overpriced. At that time we were all saying “I don’t’ know when (and I’m not 100% sure why) but this is going to blow. The ‘when’ issue was our problem. The fund where we were working at the time had sound risk controls in place so if you sold too early, you could hit your 20% “drawdown from peak” quite quickly and then be out of business. Few were ready to take that risk, and by 2006 we all knew a few people who already had, and lost.

Anyway, the movie follows former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson as he shows up a day late and dollar short to the crisis which slid from investment bank, to insurer, and inevitably to GE. He bravely reacts to every New York Times headline by first baling out one bad actor (Bear Stearns), then skipping one (Lehman), then bailing out another (IAG), and then finally, partially (and temporarily) nationalizing the country’s largest banks, in at least one case – against their will. All very courageous. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you have a gun to everyone’s head isn’t it?

And it’s all a common story from my chair. The government intervenes in a market and breaks it. Smart guys find ways to restore something close to economic order, and when close turns out to be ‘not close enough’, the government finds a way to blame the patient, not the doctor. It’s the same old story that’s been going on from time immemorial. And the thing it got me thinking about, is the idea of fairness and a government imposed ‘level playing field’.

Think about it this way. How would the government ever create a level playing field at anything? Let’s say that for purely political reasons, they decided that there aren’t enough Japanese basketball players. They could require each professional basketball team to hire a minimum number of Japanese players, but what would happen to the game of basketball with all these shorter than average exceptionally polite people running around the court? The obvious answer is that it would suffer. But government doesn’t care about that, they only care about ‘fairness’. The costs of that ‘fairness’ are really the problem of the teams themselves.

You simply cannot mandate talent. You can’t make a shorter than average guy into a professional basketball player. The only way you ever strive for excellence at anything, is if the market is allowed to decide for itself. Unfair to Japanese players you say? Well that’s really on the Japanese. If it’s a priority for one he should find his way there on his talent or be forced to deal with the ‘unfairness of the system’ in some other way. It was the same thing with the banks.

Government has a responsibility to be motivated by real facts, not people’s feelings. The feeling of injustice cannot be a motivator for changes in the law, because if it is, something somewhere is going to break. Reality will have its day. There is no avoiding it simply because you are unhappy about it. It can either be today, in the form of your hurt feelings, or it can be later, when we find out that no one wants to go to a basketball game where the final score is 16 to 12.

Politics cannot turn stupid people into smart ones. And stupid people will always make stupid decisions. That’s the nature of stupidity. You cannot legislate it away. This goes for immigration, or trade, or any other idea that our politicians are hatching to impose ‘fairness’. The only thing that’s really fair is that the smart people will beat the stupid people, so the stupid people will have to try to be smarter. Take away those consequences, and the whole thing falls apart.