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Comment Re:The real story here..... (Score 3, Insightful) 531

Agreed. Funny how only the establishment Left complains about "fake" news. They've lost control of the narrative and know it; Obama's impotent farewell lecture tour is a last-ditch effort to discredit the "alt" sites and networks that helped defeat Hillary Clinton.

Whatever you think of him as a person or his policy recommendations, Donald Trump is a genius political operator who enjoys outfoxing the establishment media. It's like watching a master-level troll repeatedly outplay every smug asshole in NYC-NOVA-DC. That's why he calls the New York Times "failing" in his tweets to millions of people and decides to let TMZ of all networks air a documentary about him. (And lest anyone pity the Times, remember how they were in bed with the establishment during the run-up to the Iraq War, promulgating all sorts of lies to drum up support for that fiasco.)

When the First Amendment was ratified, every newspaper in the republic was blatantly partisan -- if your operatives weren't discrediting your enemies through anonymous columns, you were doing it wrong. I much prefer an environment where everyone knows where everyone stands, instead of putting on airs about being some unbiased source of truth even though you're actually in bed with the state.

Besides, blatant newspaper partisanship back then in no way precluded genius works like the Federalist and Antifederalist letters from being published and shared. Ignore the smug elitists on the Left who think only they can decide what's "fake" and what is not.

Comment Re:Trump sounds like whatever you want (Score 2) 355

Agreed, though I don't trust any national politician. Based on Trump's background (real estate, living in a cosmopolitan city like New York, Hollywood shows), I'd characterize him as a Big City party machine Democrat-type -- who somehow owned the entire GOP field and got elected president. Do you think he's really much different than the Chicago/NYC/SF machine politicians?

As for social issues, my suspicion is that Trump doesn't care either way. Unlike Pence, he's not a self-anointed crusader for Evangelical Christianity, but he's also not a left wing SJW who will make bathroom gender or whatever a *defining national issue*.

But like you said, Trump is a wildcard, so who the hell knows. Hence my strategy of tossing out any ideological frameworks and tallying the score; so far it's in Trump's favor, but four years is a long time.

The more I reflect on this election, the more fascinating it becomes.

Comment Re:First Victory! (Score 5, Interesting) 355

While I didn't vote for Trump nor support his campaign, he's in the black right now as far as I'm concerned:

-TPP is dead
-He finished off the remnants of the Bush crime family by humiliating and crushing Jeb! in the primaries. ("Iraq was a disaster," "9/11 happened on his brother's watch" -- pretty amazing he said this in a GOP primary right in their backyard.) Watch the various YouTube videos and Trump sounds like every leftist I knew circa 2006 waiting for the Democratic Party to say as much. Had that corpse of a candidate John Kerry been as animated in 2004, history might have turned out very differently.
-In an act of bipartisanship, Trump also finished off the remnants of the Clinton crime family by humiliating Hillary and her sycophants with the greatest upset of the modern political era.

That being said, his administration can easily go into the red in a case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." But until then, this stuff is more exciting and amusing than Game of Thrones. The more assholes he throws under the bus in his pursuit of petty vengeance and self-aggrandizement, the better.

Comment Re:None of these guys are progressives (Score 1) 1368

It has nothing to do with hard work or studying. I'm reading Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France" right now, so stop assuming I'm an idiot bumpkin, or even voted for Trump. And the only ones being talked down to right now are the Krugmans of the world who were too busy smelling each other's farts to see what was happening outside the glass towers of NYC.

FYI, this class of people brought us the Iraq War (great job guys!), the financial crisis (brilliant!), the bailouts (rewarding morons - perfect!), Obamacare, and a million other inflationary, broken policies & programs that engender moral hazards and limit freedom. In case you haven't guessed, I want these people to go away and let the states do their own thing. They all need real jobs that don't involve sucking on the federal tit.

In fact, the arrogant cluelessness displayed in your post is everything the Trumpers rallied against. You either get it or you don't.

Comment Fuck you, you hypocrits (Score 4, Insightful) 1368

As much as I despise Donald Trump, seeing these haughty Progressives eat a buffet of crows warms the cockles of my heart.

For the last 90 years, the Ivy League-armed technocrats of the Progressive apparatus have waged a relentless war against state sovereignty in their march to greater political and economic consolidation in D.C. and NYC. Only the "leadership" from the PhDs in D.C. matter, plebs. We'll control your healthcare, collude with the media to control the agenda, concentrate more power in the unelected bureaucracy that grows like a weed in Northern Virginia, and then call anyone who supports states' rights (aka federalism aka competitive sovereignty) a racist or neo-Confederate.

Fuck you. You made this bed. Now lie in it. Enjoy Trump turning the gun of the federal leviathan you created right in your face. Applauding for Obama's "I'm going it alone" screed when the Democrats lost Congress doesn't seem like a wise precedent now does it? But let's be honest: you only like democracy when it goes your way, otherwise you pout.

By the way, these same Silicon Valley assholes and California Democrats have made fun of Northern California's "State of Jefferson" secession movement for decades.

Seeing the Obama elitists go down in flames in Congress and the executive puts a big ol' smile on my face. The next blow against these Silicon Valley fucks will be the bursting of the zero percent interest rate bubble blown by the Fed (another wonderful gift from the Progressives), which will wipe out the GAAP non-profitable bullshit "app" companies in the Valley. (This is probably why they hate Trump, though: he's mentioned that we're in a bubble and it's the Fed's fault.)

Truthfully, though, the Democratic party and the country would be better off if they did leave. As long as the Dems in the Bay Area foist Pelosi, Boxer, and Harris on the rest of the republic, the party will be repugnant to most of the Rust Belt and places like New Hampshire, where citizens still value freedom and being left the fuck alone.

Comment Long live the constitutional republic (Score 1) 1081

To add something to the other comments about the benefits of the Electoral College...

The United States is a constitutional republic; the Framers were very clear about the dangers of majoritarian mob rule. The most important sentence in American history is from the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

I point this out because it was universally accepted by the Framers that rights precede governments -- they are not created by them. Governments exist to protect the universe of rights you possess as a human being. No majority can legitimately (or justly) take away free speech, or religious freedom.

As such, the Framers devised several mechanisms to limit mob rule and protect the states from a consolidated (and therefore tyrannical) federal government.

Senators were intended to represent state legislatures, not the people at large. This was so the federal government could not bully the states. Obamacare and other unfunded federal mandates would not exist if senators answered to state legislatures responsible for paying for such programs. The Progressives killed this with the Seventeenth Amendment, and it was not replaced with anything comparable, e.g. states representing a majority of the population can void any federal law.

Preserving the strength of the states through senators and the Electoral College is important because the Founders recognized the benefits of competitive sovereignty: if one state fell to tyranny or some other idiocy (aka went California), you could move to another state. Competitive sovereignty leads to legal innovations (Delaware corporate law as the de facto standard), tax competition, etc. The Fourteenth Amendment, properly enforced, corrects the chief problem with states' rights, namely localized majoritarian tyranny (Jim Crow) that deprives some group of its rights.

In short, the Electoral College requires broader coalitions beyond urban population centers. Consider NY and California, which by virtue of containing San Francisco and NYC, have disproportionately benefited from elitist, inflationary policies that have largely fucked over the "Brexit states." After all, the banks receiving the money conjured out of thin air by the Fed are in NYC, not Flint, and the money is used to prop up bullshit companies in SF, not Youngstown. Likewise, monetizing the federal debt via the Fed enables the bureaucrats to receive paychecks from Uncle Sam, and they're concentrated in Northern Virginia and D.C., not Michigan. If it wasn't for the bureaucrat class and its sycophants, Virginia would've gone to Trump, too.

Comment Progressives did it to themselves (Score 3, Interesting) 2837

The seeds of the republic's destruction were sown in the 1910s by the Progressives: the States were expelled from Congress (Seventeenth Amendment), federal income tax instated, and Federal Reserve created, leading to inflationary monetary policies that impoverish savers and create asset bubbles. Someone like Trump is an unsurprising response to decades of unchecked statism and the rise of the managerial/bureaucratic class; by definition, such a class cannot constitute anything close to a numerical majority.

The people are mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore.

Now Trump will become head of the federal leviathan the Progressives created and Republicans failed to control. He will have unprecedented executive powers thanks to the COWARDLY failure of Congress to reign in G.W. Bush and Obama.

But I do feel some schadenfreude now that Progressives are talking about secession.

For years, I was called everything from a neo-Confederate to racist for advocating states' rights and secession (if needed) in response to the federal leviathan that spies on us, wages unconstitutional wars, and debases our currency. I was called backwards when I sounded the alarm against political and economic consolidation in D.C., about how it was always a conceit that such programs could work without destroying liberty in the process. A nation of 310+ million stretching from sea to shining sea should not be centrally managed from D.C. -- or anywhere. And now we have Donald Trump in the presidency. Great.

The REAL winners in this election? The ideas on which this republic was founded. Competitive sovereignty between the states. Limited federal government based on strict interpretation of enumerated powers. Congressional primacy (Article I > Article II). A president with less executive power. The rule of law. Separation of powers. Decentralization. Liberty.

Restore the republic, and you have less to fear from tyrants like Trump, Clinton, and the would-be Caesars who show up in 2020. This country was blessed to have one Cincinnatus in Washington, but we must always err on the side of prudence and never give into further political consolidation.

Comment Happens across multiple extraction sectors (Score 1) 231

Agriculture, mining, forestry, fishing, etc.

This trend has occurred for literally centuries. Each new wave of technological innovation eliminates jobs that escaped the previous wave. And I think this is a Good Thing for humanity in aggregate, even if it causes local disruption and job loss.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Trump has strong support in regions that engage in resource cultivation and extraction. Even if the citizens of these states are economically marginalized, politically they exercise disproportionate power due to how the republic is configured, e.g., electoral college votes.

The reality is that IF Trump is elected and IF he somehow gets Congress to agree to tariffs (or whatever meddling he concocts to appeal to the rubes), artificially increasing costs by government intervention -- while we're also in an artificial zero interest rate environment -- will only accelerate automation. Financing is really damn cheap, and the prospect of paying people more money is a strong inducement to eliminate their jobs, especially on the low-end where government regulation already makes hiring people needlessly difficult, expensive, and convoluted.

Many years ago I lived in area that once had an abundance of logging jobs. Most of them went away -- even though plenty of timber was still harvested -- due to improved efficiency and automation. But displaced workers blamed those damn tree huggers for their woes. The main driver -- even if regulation has some impact -- was and is automation. However, if you're smart enough to see how all this fits together, you're probably not the kind of person to sit around collecting unemployment checks and voting for people who want to redistribute wealth and/or meddle with the economy for your benefit. You see how the landscape changes and you change with it.

That being said, I absolutely understand the populist anger when banks and other dipshits are bailed out, and people are not. The only sensible answer is to stop playing favorites across the board and let the economy naturally adjust.

Comment Re:working to offset expansion of the money supply (Score 2) 404

You're correct, roman_mir, but this isn't a US-specific problem. There's Japan, EU, etc. It's a rolling disaster for the so-called liberal capitalist democracies.

What's disheartening is that public anger over the dismal outcomes of this inflationary fiscal policy manifests itself in bizarre and ineffective forms, like Trump. The Fed, meanwhile, continues as usual, while Congress ignores its constitutional responsibility to coin money and regulate its value.

Comment Re:Shouldn't come as a surprise (Score 1) 316

The current bubble will definitively end when the Central Banks stop propping up asset prices through cheap money and absurdly low interest rates (to say nothing of buying stocks directly, which is a disaster for capitalism).

If you look at Twitter and other bullshitty social media companies that never turn real profits, you'll see they dilute shareholders by issuing stock to employees, who unload the shares for cash instead of holding them like long-term owners [1]. During asset bubbles, this makes sense since the stock functions as a sort of currency the company controls, and you can keep printing as long as there are buyers and fools.

People with easy money are a) desperately searching for yield, since interest rates are artificially low b) shortsighted morons who buy into whatever buzzwords you throw at them and have no memory of 1999-2000. So they snatch up the flood of Twitter shares -- which are overpriced based on conservative valuation methods that examine the fundamentals of the underlying business -- and hope to find a greater fool to sell to. Twitter's timing is off, since I think we're reaching the top of the current asset bubble, so there won't be a greater fool at the current price.

The good news is that Bay Area residents will probably see housing and rent prices start to level off and perhaps decline, and BART won't be as crowded due to the inevitable layoffs at the various bullshit companies there. In Twitter's case, I suspect a private equity firm swoops in after the stock price declines some more and fires half the employees. Based on bottom-up economic indicators I follow, the economy is not strong enough to support current asset prices, but we're in that awkward period where Wile E. Coyote hasn't looked down just yet.

The lesson here is that public companies that never turn a real profit, or become worse off as they get bigger, are usually broken at a fundamental level that's really hard to fix.

[1] = https://ycharts.com/companies/...

Comment Re:All according to plan (Score 5, Insightful) 256

This benefits all shareholders, of which the Waltons are the largest.

Do you own index or mutual funds in a 401(k) account to fund your retirement? If yes, the "blood" is on your hands, too. You proportionally benefit as much as the Waltons when jobs are cut and money is freed up for other purposes, including returning it to the people who own the enterprise.

Anyone here a California public employee counting on a pension? How do you think CalPERS is going to achieve those rosy 7% returns to fund the payments to future retirees? Dividends, share repurchases, and growth from allocating retained earnings -- the shareholders own this money, after all -- in value-additive projects. Cutting the fat is one way of freeing up additional free cash for these purposes.

I think it's interesting how millions of Americans are shareholders who benefit from these moves as much as the fat cats.

Comment Re:Wage pressure (Score 1) 256

Yes, the benevolent, all-knowing central planners have signaled the following over the past three decades: the central banks will collude to keep interest rates extremely low, and minimum wages will continue to increase in many jurisdictions. After all, these planners are more qualified than market participants to determine who should get paid what.

Regardless of one's political inclinations, I find it interesting how these factors (along with the ones you mentioned) interact to move the goalposts, i.e., when automation makes financial sense. Money is cheap and labor, especially at the low end, is comparatively expensive, assuming it's on the books. (To your list I would also add licensing requirements for all sorts of professions and trades.) But at the end of the day, if you use the power of the state to make it difficult to hire, employ, and fire people, enterprises will just figure out how to avoid employing them in the fist place, starting with the bottom of the ladder first. Then everyone can be on the dole and vote for the politicians that keep the handouts flowing!

Comment Re:Nope, and missing the point (Score 3, Insightful) 77

You're absolutely correct. Bemoaning the loss of these "jobs" is like fretting that indoor plumbing will put the "night soil" collection crew out of business. Inane busywork is not a particularly lofty goal for any wise civilization.

Besides, think about how preposterous and decadent pizza delivery is: you pay someone $X/hour to deliver a 1 lb package in a vehicle that weighs ~3000 pounds and is powered by oil, a finite resource that took literally millions of years for nature to create. In Critical Path, Bucky Fuller argued that one gallon of gasoline should really cost $1 million, given the time and energy (solar, geothermal) required to create petroleum [1].

Entrepreneurship is about discovering and eliminating inefficiencies in the economy's production structure as much as creating or inventing Shiny New Things. In fact, efficiency improvements are paramount if we want to support 7+ billion human beings on this planet.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Comment Re:Kellogg had a 30-hour work week in 1930s (Score 1) 193

Thanks for sharing. Just from reading about that era, I picked up vibes that shortening the work week was taken seriously by a lot of eminent people, but had no idea about that bill.

One of the reasons I enjoy studying history is that you see lots of sensible ideas and movements that were somehow lost or abandoned along the way. For example, Colonial America was probably the most literate society in history up to that point, and without a massive education bureaucracy. That's interesting to me -- how can we learn from that experience and outcome? How can we educate people without an Education System per se? You don't want to idolize the past or fall into Lost Cause-type romanticism, but you also don't want to discard it, either.

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