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Archive for the 'Politics' Category

What Would Charlie Munger Say About Global Warming?

If you haven’t heard by now, hackers (or an insider) broke into The University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and downloaded 156 megabytes of data including extremely damaging emails that show how data supporting the global warming thesis was manipulated and/or fabricated.

Here is just some of the coverage I’ve seen from various blogs:

The Washington Post also has posted a story about this, but I find it very interesting the slant they take to the story. Instead of focusing on the manipulation/fabrication of data for the purposes of proving a highly controversial hypothesis (what I think could become known as one of the greatest hoaxes advanced by mankind), the Washington Post article merely focuses on how the stolen e-mails deride and disparage the skeptics of warming. When there’s even a whiff of fraud on such an important subject, how can than NOT be the focus for a newspaper? Why focus on the pettiness of these scientists and not on the apparent fraud and manipulation? Could it be the Washington Post writers and editors have an agenda of their own?

Anyways, to get to the title of this blog post, I’m not sure if Munger has said anything about global warming in the past. But I do know Munger’s views on responsibility for social problems, which I think applies to so-called global warming or climate change (or whatever you want to call it):

I’m all for fixing social problems. I’m all for being generous to the less fortunate. And I’m all for doing things where, based on a slight preponderance of the evidence, you guess that it’s likely to do more good than harm…

What I’m against is being very confident and feeling that you know, for sure, that your particular intervention will do more good than harm given that you’re dealing with highly complex systems wherein everything is interacting with everything else.

Our climate system has to be one of the most complex systems on this planet. Consider just all the big and small factors on the planet that affects the weather. Then consider all the factors outside this planet that has an effect on the climate. Consider the millions of possible ways these factors can interact with each other. Consider the fact that global temperatures have always fluctuated without man-made pollution and carbon dioxide. It’s been been much hotter than it is now and it’s been much colder than it is now.

I would like to believe that Munger would be against doing anything to “fix” the so-called problem of global warming or climate change given that it is such a highly complex system and given that anything we do would most likely have zero positive effect and would very likely have serious negative consequences.

True Bull Market or Bear Market Rally?

This video from Warren Pollock explains in part why we may or may not be in a new bull market or just a bear market rally. He says that when we have a rising US dollar and a rising stock market, this is  a true bull market. However, when our currency is falling and the market is rising, this is a sign of a false bull market.

Also, if you have the time, I highly recommend watching Pollock’s full presentation entitled “The Great Reset”, the goal of which is to provide a political, economic, and social forecast in the context of the systemic failure that has already occurred in the US. Though I disagreed with some small parts of the presentation, it was nevertheless very thought-provoking.

No, We Do Not Need a Second Stimulus

Obama Adviser Says U.S. Should Mull Second Stimulus:

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. should consider drafting a second stimulus package focusing on infrastructure projects because the $787 billion approved in February was “a bit too small,” said Laura Tyson, an outside adviser to President Barack Obama.

The current plan “will have a positive effect, but the real economy is a sicker patient,” Tyson said in a speech in Singapore today. The package will have a more pronounced impact in the third and fourth quarters, she added, stressing that she was speaking for herself and not the administration.

This idiot should be removed to Japan immediately so she can understand how great that country fared after their bubble and ensuing (and seemingly perpetual) balance sheet recession. Japan tried to prop their economy by increasing debt to GDP but that didn’t help at all. Oh, and Wikipedia says this adviser was a Morgan Stanley director since 1997. Where is MS now? Oh wait, isn’t MS one of those FORMER investment banks (now a traditional bank holding company)? Why anyone would listen to a person associated with an organization that was a party to the global financial crisis is beyond me.

The real reason behind this so-called advice is to make the American people totally dependent on the government. This means politicians and bureaucrats will have more power to hand out political favors and so they can get re-voted into office and to continue collecting special favors and money from lobbyists and business interests. If you like the idea of going to the government for your every need, or you simply insist that the government can spend your money better than you can, please continue to support the petty politicians like Obama, Pelosi, Reid, or really 98% of the people in Congress.

I am becoming more and more convinced that the best solution to our problem of a short-sighted and power-hungry Congress is their ability to run for an unlimited amount of terms. Couple that ability with the power to spend money with abandon (thanks to a complicit Federal Reserve and Treasury Department) and you have a powerful and dangerous organization. I.e., a gangster government to which businesses and individuals must go for special favors or simply to conduct business or simply to protect the rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution.

Thus, in tandem with term limits for Congress persons, I am beginning to believe the Federal Reserve must be abolished. The idea that a collection of academics and economists can shape the economy, set interest rates, prevent booms and busts, makes no sense. Isn’t government control over the economy, government control of the marketplace, of the very place and concept upon which each citizen depends in order to provide for themselves and others, isn’t this just pure socialist communist crap? Isn’t government control of a person’s life and livelihood the ideological enemy against which we continually fought ever since World War II?

For now, I’ve said all that I can say. I think a new goal for me will be to continue to organize my thoughts into a sort of party platform. No, I’m not running for office, but I feel like I’m “partying” by myself and would simply like to see if there are more people out there who agree with me.

P.S.: I’m already thinking back on this post. Consider everything I said to be representative of an idealistic Doug, not so much a pragmatic or realistic Doug.

A Long Leap From Roe

From page 521 of Cra$hmaker: in discussing whether its alright to kill Dominic Ancona, who is making trouble with his media appearances calling for abolishment of the Fed and re-establishment of a currency backed by hard assets, the CIA officer Masterson brings up Roe v. Wade as justification.

“What do you mean, so?” You can’t go around wantonly killing people, Frazier,” Butcher complained, dropping to what he assumed was the irreducible minimum of agreement.

“Ancona’s not a person,” the intelligence operative replied coldly.

“Come on, Bat,” Butcher retorted. “He’s a human being!”

“That’s not the same thing,” Masterson intoned even more icily, slowly shaking his head from side to side in disbelief at Butcher’s naivete.

“Who says there’s a difference?” Butcher challenged him.

“The Supreme Court—Harry Blackmun—Roe versus Wade,” Masterson responded with the confidence of a grand master announcing a checkmate.

Just as Masterson had anticipated, invocation of Roe intimidated Butcher into silence. Why not? All of American society genuflected in awe, or cursed in frustration, at the mention of that momentous decision. Nevertheless, any three-hundred-dollar-an-hour Establishment attorney could have explained to the Treasury Secretary how Masterson was extrapolating the sound premise that an unborn child was not a legal “person” to the so-far-unprecedented conclusion that other biologically human beings could also be denied personhood. Not that legal logic was unable to travel from Blackmun’s starting point to Masterson’s terminus. Only that, for practical political reasons, the Establishment was not yet ready to expand Roe’s holding so far.

Nonetheless, being slightly ahead of his time did not make Masterson wrong—and he knew it. “Roe versus Wade stripped mere biological human beings of all rights,” he explained triumphantly to  Butcher, “because if an individual can be killed for someone else’s convenience, he can’t assert any rights. To have rights, an individual has to be more than scientifically a human being. His factual human nature isn’t good enough any longer. He has to have a special political status, too. He has to be a person—whatever that means, or can be made to mean. So, in Roe, Harry Blackmun overruled the Declaration of Independence: All human beings aren’t naturally equal; and none have unalienable rights!” Masterson exulted. He had always despised natural law.

“What’s the difference between a human being and a person?” Stillwell asked, a mixture of perplexity and anxiety creeping onto his countenance, as if his subconscious mind had some peculiarly personal and troubling need to know.

“Basically, the faculty of choice and reason,” Masterson responded immediately, having thought through that question beforehand. “If an individual can’t choose or can’t think, he may still be biologically human, but he’s no legal person, and therefore has no rights. At the opposite ends of the spectrum of life are self-evident non-persons: unborn children, brainless geriatric patients. Within the spectrum are individuals in a persistent vegetative state: you, for instance, Reginald,” Masterson laughed cynically. Butcher was not amused.

“An even more sophisticated approach,” Masterson continued, “is to gauge personhood by the mental quality of an individual’s life. A human being proves, or disproves, that he exercises good choices and right reason by the nature of what he chooses and how he thinks. It’s not the mere faculty of choice and ability to think that makes someone a person, but his actually making correct choices and thinking proper thoughts.”

“That’s a long leap from Roe,” Butcher suggested.

“Not at all,” Masterson sneered. “Roe held that all human beings aren’t entitled to a right to life; only persons, as the courts—an enforcement arm of the government—define them. Then society decided that even some persons are better off dead, and have a right to suicide or voluntary euthanasia. Then society decided that some people can choose death for others who can’t decide for themselves. Now, society’s in the process of deciding to prescribe death for individuals who ought to die, but who stubbornly, stupidly, and antisocially cling to lives not worth living. Well, ought to die covers a wide area, doesn’t it? Those who ought to die can be injured or diseased in body—but also in mind, in personality, in patterns of thought, in persistent attitudes. If the government can empower a mother to kill her child, a sick man to kill himself, a doctor to kill a patient who can’t speak for himself—and even one who can—if society can rid itself of some worthless superannuated senile Negress who’s eating up too much in costly medical care, why can’t the body politic eliminate troublemakers like Ancona who are even more expensive to keep in line? Why squander scarce resources refuting his lunatic ideas again and again, when one cartridge can shut his trap permanently? The New World Order has no place for too many of the very young, or for any of the very old, the very sick, the very stupid—and especially the incorrigibly rebellious. Too many lives not worth living are the problem. Death’s the answer. Today we have to finesse the public’s squeamishness with euphemisms such as women’s choice and death with dignity. In a few years …”

“That’s all nonsense,” Butcher interjected, his voice betraying his unease, as he tried to attack Masterson’s premise. “The government isn’t empowering women to kill children through abortion—it’s only protecting their choice and their privacy.”

“Choice?! Privacy?!” Masterson guffawed. “What other homicide does the government treat as noncriminal simply because the killers choose to perpetrate them in private? And why do judges deny the father any choice in the matter of the mother’s killing of his own child? What other jointly created property does the government license one of the creators to destroy over the other’s objection? Sorry, Reginald. No theory of the right to life or the right to property—at least as those rights were misunderstood before Harry Blackmun pulled the blinders off the law—ever conceived that one individual could have a natural, unilateral right to kill another, wholly innocent individual on demand. So abortion must be an outright grant of power from the government. And where does the government obtain its authority to grant such a right? From its power to decide who among its biologically human subjects should be sacrificed for society’s greater good—as embodied most instantly in its power to drive its citizens to their deaths in a war.

“Well, we’re in a war now, a war to preserve the environment and our quality of life. We can’t win that war if too many people of the wrong kinds keep being produced. So, the government allows—promotes—abortion to cut the population. And it delegates the authority to kill to the parties whose self-interest works in favor of that policy: mothers for whom pregnancy’s a personal inconvenience, and abortionists for whom terminating pregnancy’s a lucrative business. But if government can delegate the authority to kill, why can’t it assert that authority directly? Why can’t the government order abortions? And, even more to my point, why can’t there be retrospective abortions?”

“How can an abortion be retrospective?” Butcher demanded, his unease with the whole subject becoming ever more apparent.

“Sometimes I wonder whether you have the grey matter to be a policy maker, Reginald,” Masterson groaned. “It’s so obvious: Imagine someone who—because of the poor way his life’s turned out-would’ve been better off being aborted. And society would’ve been better off, too. Why should society suffer for his mother’s negligence? Shouldn’t we simply rid ourselves of individuals whose lives—as measured by their actions or thoughts—prove they shouldn’t have been allowed to live in the first place? That’s retrospective abortion. And it’s even more sensible than aborting unborn children, because prospective abortion winks at the deaths of the occasional gestating Beethoven or Einstein—whereas, with retrospective abortion you know for sure you’re simply disposing of a piece of garbage, not a potential genius.”

Butcher’s eyes betrayed his fear of the self-taught disciple of Nietzsche haranguing him. He could easily imagine Masterson as a Black Crow—a nazi Einzatzgruppe trooper—gunning down Jews, Gypsies, assorted Slavs. Good God!

A Fetish of the Twentieth Century

Page 498 of Cra$hmaker:

“Democracy has been the fetish of the twentieth century, perhaps politically the most stupid period in world history,” Svetlana reminded Lara, just as seriously. “Democracy set the stage for the great bloodlettings of bolshevism and naziism, and in every welfare state today is preparing the ground for a financial catastrophe that will shake the West to its roots. Oh, now the intelligentsiia chatter about the end of history and claim that liberal democracy and transnational capitalism have proven themselves superior to all other systems. What better evidence that the end of an era is upon us? Such fools! How long will liberal democracy last in America when the claimants for Social Security can receive checks only if workers are taxed out of economic existence? When all income taxes are absorbed to pay interest on the national debt? When …? Enough. You know what is coming—and how soon.”

“An Amoral Market Economy Guarantees No One Freedom”

From page 333 of Cra$hmaker, this passage is delivered by Evgenii Stolypin in the State Duma and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly, the parliament of the Russian Federation. The Deputies were hotly debating charges that the on-going discussions between the Chairman of the Central Bank (of Russia) and an American Adivisory Committee  over a possible Russian gold standard violated the Central Bank’s constitutional duty to protect the stability of the rouble.

“Russia cannot save herself by aping Western democratic capitalism,” Stolypin warned the Deputies. “An amoral market economy guarantees no one freedom. To the contrary: it promotes the corruption of government. In the West, markets cater to consumerism. Unfortunately, many people cannot earn from voluntary transactions with others as much as they would like to spend. To obtain more income, they ask the state to steal for them from their fellow citizens. As more and more people use the state to supplement their incomes, the market provides the most efficient forms of lobbying, political action, propaganda, and other techniques for promoting redistribution of wealth—which becomes simply another product offered for sale. The society then cannibalizes itself through every variety of political looting.

“Where has democratic capitalism taken the United States?” Stolypin asked. “To the highest, most subtle and effective form of fascism—in which powerful interest groups conspire with politicians and the media to fool the people into lending legitimacy to a system designed to rob them at every turn. Friendly fascism that says Have a nice day! while it deftly picks the people’s pockets.”

Rick Santelli’s Tea Party

I was watching CNBC this morning and Rick Santelli put in a great performance (click the link for a video). I love this guy. Santelli is the only reason why I am able to tolerate all the other buffoons. It’s stuff like this that gets me to tune in.

The Party of Tax Cheats

Whether its intentional or unintentional, it seems that the Democrats have earned a reputation as the party of tax cheats by virtue of Obama’s staff picks. With news that Rahm Emanuel lived rent-free for yeas being reported, Karl Denninger asks if anyone in the Obama administration pays taxes?

In the middle of the greatest economic crisis of my life, how can this newly elected president be nominating and selecting people with histories of cheating and fraud? How does instill confidence in anyone?

Not One House Member Has Read the Democrats’ Trillion-Dollar Spending Bill

This is pretty damn outrageous to me. It’s like a doctor who does not read the patient’s chart and medical history and then performs surgery blindfolded. I can’t think of a better analogy, so feel free to help me out if you want.

Munger on How To Restore Confidence

Charlie Munger had an editorial in the Washington Post yesterday. I bet it’s quite easy to get an editorial in a paper when you own 21% of it! Anyways, Munger feels the key to restoring confidence is new legislation that will stamp the sins and follies of the past:

Our situation is dire. Moderate booms and busts are inevitable in free-market capitalism. But a boom-bust cycle as gross as the one that caused our present misery is dangerous, and recurrences should be prevented. The country is understandably depressed — mired in issues involving fiscal stimulus, which is needed, and improvements in bank strength. A key question: Should we opt for even more pain now to gain a better future? For instance, should we create new controls to stamp out much sin and folly and thus dampen future booms? The answer is yes.

Sensible reform cannot avoid causing significant pain, which is worth enduring to gain extra safety and more exemplary conduct. And only when there is strong public revulsion, such as exists today, can legislators minimize the influence of powerful special interests enough to bring about needed revisions in law.

However, legistlators are having a tough time working together in a bipartisan way. Munger seems to be worried about this apparent fact. But the petty bickering in Congress seems to be in relation just to a stimulus package. I believe that once the fools in Congress start to work on comprehensive reform legislation, legislation that completely reworks and strengthens the regulations governing the financial industry, the American public will begin to see some true bipartisanship.