He’s got a robot. God bless this man for exposing government spying and rubbing exile in the face of the Feds. There’s nothing they can do. Maybe they can pass a law against robots with the consciousness of Edward Snowden. Maybe the Democrats and Republicans will both have a sit down eating donuts until the bill passes and it becomes mandatory to shoot all Snowden-bots on site, after background checks and not with an assault rifle because that would lead to gun violence.
Month: June 2016
Now It’s Time for States to Secede from Washington DC
There are two economic dangers from leaving a political union. The first is trade dislocation. Political unions are not necessary for free trade. In fact that hinder it. The EU is basically one big bribery ring where member countries pay off politicians and bureaucrats in Brussels not to harass member countries. It’s like a labor union where the fatcats get all the fees in exchange for forcing out competitors by labor legislation.
The first economic danger is that EU bureaucrats will be ‘butthurt’ as they say and exact trade punishment on the UK by erecting tariffs and embargoes and bans and quotas and whatever else. This is not necessary, but it could happen.
The second economic danger, and this is the major one, is a dissolution of currencies. If a Euro country were to leave the EU, the Euro would fall apart, robbing everyone’s savings in the Eurozone as would happen eventually anyway but a dissolution would hasten it.
The Euro, the Dollar, they will all fall by sheer weight of printing exhaustion. The sooner the better because the sooner the less catastrophic. It’s not the dissolution of the Euro that is is the problem, but a fiat currency controlled by bureaucrats itself that is the problem. The minute it was introduced it was destined for collapse because it is not free market money, but political force money.
Now that Texas wants to secede from the Union, which would be great, the danger to Texas is again trade barriers and the death of the dollar. If dollars are no longer the currency in seceded states, the dollar falls, which again would happen anyway eventually but this would hasten it. I’m all for hastening the inevitable so we can get on with our lives.
Of course, no president would ever allow any state to secede from the Union. They would sooner annihilate every Texan than allow secession. If Texas votes to secede, Trump or Clinton or whoever is head of the army would invade and kill, just like Lincoln did.
But it would indeed be sweet if states just started seceding. How about we make the European Union voluntary, and the American Union voluntary. Those who want to pay taxes to Brussels in Europe are free to do so. Those who don’t want to don’t have to. Those who want to send a federal tax return to Washington can certainly do so. Those of us who don’t, shouldn’t have to. That would be fine.
But of course, political unions depend on forcing those unwilling to contribute.
Brexit is a beautiful thing. I would rather have trade barriers than bribe bureaucrats to lower them with ever bigger unions and bribery fees.
On Sociological Pseudoscience and Good vs Bad Academics
The shooting in Orlando has brought out political opinions from areas that I don’t normally see them. Someone referred me to a video of Obama responding to a question about the murder rate in Chicago. The point being that the murder rate in Chicago is very high despite very tough gun control laws, with background checks and all that. Obama did not answer the question, but went into an unrelated invective against the NRA and how they have successfully lobbied to forbid the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta to study gun violence.
First of all, I would support any effort to prevent the CDC from doing anything, and even existing for that matter. They should be disbanded and their efforts left up to private industry. Second of all, what the CDC has to do with gun violence I have no idea, and why they should spend my money studying it is beyond me. They are supposed to study diseases, not gun violence. So why we should be outraged that the CDC cannot study gun violence is something I don’t understand.
But anyway, I was referred to a study done apparently supporting the idea that gun violence is lessened when gun control laws are passed. Nevermind the recent Paris attacks, which took place in a gun free zone, or the murder of that British MP over the weekend, also in a gun free zone, or the shooting in Orlando in a gay club that was also a gun free zone. The logic of gun free zones being open targets just doesn’t register when sociological studies can be linked to.
There is no problem with being a sociologist or anthropologist or economist for that matter. It is a noble activity to conduct privately funded studies to try to find out things, whether they are in the past or present. The problem with sociologists is that they tend to come to government, or their works tend to be forwarded to government, to justify certain policy positions that have affect people’s lives on the basis of “science” with standards that would shock a physicist or biologist.
If we take the FDA for example, or NASA, two organizations which should be privatized but that’s a different issue, if the FDA approved a drug based on the pseudoscientific methods conducted in sociological surveys and studies, they would be putting the lives of people at risk and many would die. The amount of exactitude necessary for a phase 3 study to gain FDA approval is extremely high. Every piece of data has to checked and rechecked with placebo controls in most cases and everything else, with confirmatory studies to follow, and if there’s even a shred of doubt that a new medicine may be causing harm it will be pulled off the shelves. Phase 3’s often negate positive evidence of Phase 2’s and so forth. The example of a placebo arm in a trial is particularly important because the FDA does not normally accept something known as “historical control” where you compare people on a drug with past data from people who were not.
One example I’ve dealt with recently is Sarepta Therapeutics, which tested Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug Eteplirsen versus historical control from other DMD patients who were not involved in the study. This is a problem because the endpoint in the study is the 6 minute walk test, basically how far a DMD patient can walk in six minutes on the drug, compared to how far other DMD patients can walk without it in the past, the so-called historical control. But the problem is the patients on the drug are more motivated to walk as far as they can in order to get the drug approved, while the historical control was not motivated at all because they were not involved in trialing any drug. This inflates numbers towards Eteplirsen, which is one of the big reasons why the FDA has not approved the drug yet.
The historical control model is similar to sociological study methods, but not as bad. With studies about gun control laws, there are so, so many variables that enter the equation that it cannot be controlled. You can maybe make some guesses, but nothing more than that, and they won’t be very good ones.
If NASA or SpaceX were to build their hardware based on the methods in sociological studies, everyone who ever blasted off in a rocket would be dead. No hard scientist would ever risk anyone’s life on the basis of a study conducted via the methods of sociology.
But when “social scientists” with certain political opinion conduct studies on minimum wage, gun control, or whatever other political issue and then these studies are presented to politicians who make laws based on them, then logic is thrown out the window and laws are passed. People literally become lab rats, testing the policies of the political elite with their lives. This is incredibly immoral.
Based on pseudoscientific minimum wage studies, low skilled workers will lose their jobs. Based on gun control studies, it will become more difficult for nonviolent people to buy and carry guns. Nevermind the a priori logic that higher minimum wage means a labor surplus AKA unemployment, and never mind the a priori logic that criminals do not follow gun control laws.
Let’s say a bunch of academics study which gun control laws correlated with the lowest gun violence. This could be done, but proves nothing of a causal link. Let’s then say they piece together the “perfect gun control legislation” they have pieced together from their correlative hunt based on what they think are the best aspects of each “successful” gun control law. Then they give it to the politicians and they pass it into law.
That would be like putting astronauts on a rocket engineered by sociologists who conducted studies of rockets that have worked in the past but have no idea why because they are not physicists, and combined what they think are the best features into a new rocket, and then test it for the very first time when it’s fully loaded with people on the thing.
The Challenger exploded and people died in 1986 because it took off on a cool day and that made the O-rings less elastic. This was discovered by physicist Richard Feynman. It was not proven because there were no trials, but the point is, one tiny oversight based on the temperature of the day the Challenger took off took the lives of everyone on board. Here’s Feynman on that:
Now, here’s Feynman on social sciences:
Now, there is nothing wrong with being an academic. If you study the past, say the bible and try to prove who wrote it or where it came from or whatever, go for it. But don’t try to get a law passed forbidding kosher slaughter because you think שחיטה is a myth. If you’re a sociologist studying the evolution of human behavior, have fun. Publish studies, but don’t advocate for a law mandating human behavior based on your observations. Have the humility to recognize that the methods you use cannot lead to anything close to the certainty of hard science like physics or biology, and that you have no right to force your conclusions on anybody, regardless of any good intention. All your work can do is increase the amount of hypotheses we have regarding any particular question. If social academics stopped at that, I’d have no problem.
I follow Judaism (maybe). But I don’t fool myself into believing my version of it is proven scientifically. Therefore I would absolutely oppose a law that would force anyone to do anything based on what I believe about God, because I understand that my belief could be wrong. Sometimes I might try to convince someone of the truth of what I believe about X, but if they don’t believe me, it doesn’t particularly bother me.
I speculate about the future. It’s what I do for a living. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong. I try to convince people to buy gold based on what I see as the truth, but I have done no experiments and cannot predict exactly when it will go up to $10,000, which I believe soon that it will. If I’m wrong, I lose my own money, not other people’s money.
But the academics that try to get laws passed based on the pseudoscientific studies that they conduct, those are the ones that really piss me off. I do not want to be anyone’s guinea pig. It’s immoral and disgusting and infuriating. When someone wants a law passed preventing me from getting a gun because of some study they read, I can’t stand it. I can forgive those who defer to so-called academic authority, but not the academics themselves who advocate for laws based on their gun control studies. Or increasing minimum wage because of a study they read, it drives me up a wall.
Or raising or lowering interest rates based on a study, it scares me.
On that score, it is a very good thing that the CDC is forbidden from conducting studies on gun violence. Because those studies will be biased by political opinions and then brought to Congress to pass laws. No government body should conduct a single study about anything whatsoever. Studies should be private initiatives.
No hard scientist that values human life would ever force people to participate in a study that might harm them without each and every individual’s expressed written consent. But when sociologists advocate for policy based on these studies, they are essentially forcing all of us to participate in a study extension without our consent so they can see how many of us get killed and whether it will be more or less than something else.
I am not a lab rat. Gun control based on studies is immoral. So is minimum wage or any other policy of force, whether it is based on nothing but feeling or peer reviewed study by the most recognized PhD’s in the universe, it’s all the same garbage.
And of the lot, economists are the absolute worst in terms of turning us all into murine models in their human experiments.
Model Portfolio Change, Watch CPI Numbers Today
The Fed is holding off on another rate hike, and that could be very embarrassing if the consumer price index rises faster than anticipated. The numbers will be released at 8:30am eastern, 3;30pm here. Analysts are anticipating a 0.2% rise in core CPI which is the index minus food and energy. If it rises by 0.4% or more, gold is going to go much higher quickly. I wrote about this at 247 Wall St. yesterday.
I have always maintained that once inflation gets obvious, the Fed will have to start chasing inflation with higher and higher interest rates regardless of economic conditions. This is what happened in 1980 when Volcker jacked up the effective fed funds rate to 22%. That is impossible today because it would force a hard default on US Treasuries. That would be a bona fide bankruptcy. So instead the Fed will simply let inflation run away into hyperinflation because there is no other choice.
That is when gold will move higher than anyone has ever seen, faster than it did in 1980.
This will happen, guaranteed. Eventually. I don’t know if it will start tomorrow or 5 years from now, but I’m willing to risk 10% of the model portfolio on it. It’s time to use some leverage.
I’m adding a $5,000 position in the 3x leveraged gold miners fund NUGT, and $5,000 position in the 3x silver fund USLV.
I’m also adding another $500 on shorting the bond market with puts on TLT.
This is risky and could make me look like an idiot. We’ll see what happens. For legal reasons because Congress has made a law imposing on the freedom of speech, this is a game and I am not a financial adviser, and I am making no recommendations to anyone.
Check the model portfolio page at the menu bar for updated positions.
The Orlando Massacre Had Nothing To Do With Islam
I’m hearing it all over again now. Obama has to “say Islam”. We have to admit we are “at war with Islam”. Trump sounding off on his immigration policies. Obama sounding off on gun laws.
I’m not into laws, as you all know, but one law that would be unjust but actually would stop all shootings in gay bars tomorrow would be to require every worker at every gay bar to be armed and trained in firing a gun. If potential shooters know that all gay bar workers must carry guns by law, there will be no shootings. I only emphasize gay bars here because they are specific targets unfortunately. As we saw this week.
I’m not saying a law should be passed requiring gay bar employees to all be armed. I’m just saying if we want to get in to the whole government laws discussion about what government could do to stop shootings, it could simply do that, and that would be the end of it. It would be the end of many gay bars as well that would close up for economic or ideological reasons (like “I don’t carry guns because it’s immoral blah blah”), but those gay bars that remain would never, ever be targeted again.
The difference between this kind of law and a law to “require background checks for all gun purchasers” and other such nonsense is that the former actually attempts to solve a problem where the latter is simply a thrill for power seekers who get to check into backgrounds and act all powerful and into people’s lives and telling their wives over dinner.
“Honey, listen to this. I just got back from work from the Federal Background Checking Bureau and I checked into 20 guys’ backgrounds and found they were all cross dressers. Ha ha! I get to check backgrounds.”
Besides, this guy’s background was checked and the guy was even screened and no government worker did anything about it. Backgound checks will accomplish nothing other than giving background checking power hungry government bureaucrats something else to massage their fantasies with.
But as for Islam. The shooter was a depressed loner who hated his life and had possible coming-out issues and hated himself for it. So he killed gay people. It wasn’t even an anti-gay rampage because the guy himself was probably gay. If kikes can call themselves kikes and it’s not “hate speech” then gays can kill gays and it’s not a “hate crime”. Same warped logic.
Note to new readers: I’m not saying that murdering 50 people is not a crime. It is absolutely a crime and if there’s a hell this guy is there. I’m saying that the term “hate crime” is stupid.
It’s just a regular crime. It happens all the time now. Mass shootings are not new. He happened to believe in Islamic tenets, whatever those are. But without those tenets he would have shot people anyway just like other unstable depressed self-hating murderers do. He was a violent man with a history of violence so he committed violence. Islam is irrelevant. Violent Muslims use Islam violently. Violent Christians use Christianity violently. Violent Jews use Judaism violently. Violent people are violent regardless of the excuses they make for it, be they religious or secular or based on Dr. Seuss books.
And don’t tell me Jews don’t commit mass shootings. They do. It’s just Israeli government-sanctioned mass shootings on a pretext of self defense when it’s really just politicians throwing 18 year olds at targets as cannon fodder to increase their vote count without solving any defense problem whatsoever. Christians commit many more mass shootings than Muslims, but they use much bigger bullets called bombs and drop them from much bigger guns called drones, on a sacred religious pretext of “self defense” and the tenet of American exceptionalism, rather than the sacred religious pretext of jihad and the tenet of Alahu Akbar.
It’s all the same evil and there is nothing unique about Islam that inspires violence any more than “American Exceptionalism” inspires violence, and that it certainly does.
Besides, let’s say I concede the it’s all “Islam’s fault” and we have to “fight Islam”. How exactly do you do that? Round up all muslims in the world and kill them? Bomb every Mosque? Spend another $3 trillion bombing more Muslim countries? As much as I hear people insisting that we are “at war with Islam” nobody ever tells me what should be done about it. Is there evil Muslim slime that you can play music to and then it becomes good slime and you can shoot that good slime at every Mosque and it becomes nonviolent? Or am I way too deep into Ghostbusters II metaphors?
Governments have already bankrupted themselves “fighting Islam”. It’s much cheaper just for private people or institutions or gay bars to simply arm themselves and stop this from happening.
Another Reason Muhammad Ali Was Awesome
This is from the New Yorker, concerning a journalist who traveled with Muhammad Ali in 1991:
After lunch, Ali posed for photographs on top of “Sonny Liston.” He looked tired, but mugged gamely for the cameras. Reporters asked the usual questions: How was his health? (Ali had been suffering from Parkinson’s since the mid-eighties.) And what did he think of Evander Holyfield, the current champ? Ali was diplomatic. He also acknowledged his slurred speech. “I talk about boxing, I have trouble,” he said, in his familiar feathery voice. “I talk about Allah and my voice gets better. Boxing was nothin’. Just a way to introduce me to the world. My real purpose is to carry the word of Allah.”
The bold quote shows how Ali was only pompous on the outside. On the inside he was very humble. He gave up his boxing career at his peak because he fought against the State. He was willing to sacrifice his whole career, and he did, to stand up for what was right. Even post career, post all the trash talking and haughty sounding marketing-talk before fights, in the end he had no problem admitting it was all a show.
His real fight was against war and State sponsored murder, and he won. Boxing was able to get him famous enough to make an impact. And he accomplished that goal.
Mohamed Ali, A Personal Hero
I don’t love everything about Mohamed Ali. I don’t like everything about anybody. But he was a good man fundamentally, though confused about some things. He taught everyone that while being a jerk for entertainment may have been distasteful and annoying, being a decent human being where it counts is what really matters.
He was a fighter for entertainment. Fighting with people who agreed to fight him back. A boxer in words and fists. And he stood up against the US Government and he would not let them take him to Vietnam to go kill a bunch of Asians and burn their children.
Politicians are all polite and decent in their external, superficial personas. Deep down they all have evil souls. They will go after UFC fighting rings like John McCain and call them “human cockfighting” and try to pass a law saying it is “indecent” while they go around authorizing more bombing campaigns to kill millions.
Boxers like Mohamed Ali are not polite and decent superficially. They are trash talkers but only superficially, because that’s the entertainment they provide. But when it comes down to what really matters – are you going to kill people or not, people who did nothing to you – he stood up to the State and said no. He would not. He would rather go to prison. And so would I. And so he did. And he lost his sport, his livelihood, his reputation for a while, but in the end he won that greatest of fights, too. Not in the ring with another boxer, but in the global ring with the government – he fought and he won.
And he didn’t let all the academic bull about patriotism and duty and American the Great and Beautiful confuse him. America is not great and beautiful. Only some individuals are. Some are not.
Ali was wrong about the enemy being the “white people” obviously. The enemy is the State, which grinds races against one another by taking money from one to give to another. But for his absolutely courageous bravery in standing up to the warmongering politicians, he is my hero.
I love Mohamed Ali, and the world is worse off without him in it.
יהי זכרו ברוך.