Archive for October, 2009


Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

At present prices gold has little practical use, except as money.  So if you buy gold, you are buying insurance against paper money going to hell, and people using gold as money.  When the $%@# hits the fan, you will be able to eat, and maybe buy some assets cheaply.  On the other hand, if the $%@# never hits the fan, you will probably lose money over time, because gold’s value as anything other than money is considerably less than you are paying. For any use other than money, gold is far overpriced.

Martin Murenbeeld reports that people are starting to use gold as money and a store of value – not that you will be able to use it to buy an airline ticket out of trouble any time soon, but there are arguably signs that the wind begins to blow.

We recently saw entertaining video of people in Zimbabwe using billion zim notes to wrap a few tiny precious fragments of gold, and using the gold to buy food.

Sarah Palin in charge

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

In my previous post, I observed that when the Republican party machine says one thing, and Sarah Palin says a different thing, Republican party activists do what Sarah Palin says, and not what the party machine says.  But, of course, we next have to ask do Republican voters do what Republican party activists say, or do they do what the party machine says?

The question is now answered.

going rogue: compassionate conservatism

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Sarah Palin has announced

Our nation is at a crossroads, and this is once again a “time for choosing.”

But unfortunately, the leadership of the Republican party, “the political machine” does not want a straight up and down vote on the choice.

Suddenly Sarah Palin is the leader of the Republican party, and “the political machine” is no longer the leader,  for when “the political machine” endorsed Dede Scozzafava for New York’s 23rd Congressional district, Republican money and volunteers failed to flow to Dede Scozzafava, but when Sarah Palin endorsed Doug Hoffman for New York’s 23rd Congressional district, Republican money and volunteers did flow to Doug Hoffman.

Stick a fork in, their goose is cooked.  The electoral is heading to a straight up and down vote on Sarah Palin’s list of issues – on the crossroads as she defines it.

Accounting fraud

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

The financial crisis was in large part accounting fraud.  America has lost trillions of dollars through accounting fraud.  Accounting fraud is a felony.  Yet those who were primarily responsible for this fraud continue in positions of wealth and power, for example Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Barney Frank (D-MA).  Further, the fraud continues.  Hot air summarizes “Mark to Myth” and other blogs reporting on the continuing fraud.

Zero hedge tells us

restoring trust is the key to recovery, and trust cannot be restored until wrongdoers are held accountable

Why “stimulus” does not work.

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

We do not want jobs.  We want creation of wealth.  Regrettably, creating wealth usually requires an unreasonable amount of work.  Even more regrettably, doing an unreasonable amount of work is unlikely to create wealth.  Thus if we try to “create jobs”, we are likely to destroy, rather than create, wealth.

It is very easy to create jobs.  The chain on the chainsaw breaks, and one has to use an axe.  Think of all the jobs created!  Ban chainsaws!  “Green jobs” are of this kind.

Republican party hacked

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Before I was an engineer, I was an entryist.  Engineering pays better, but the big advantage of engineering is that one’s coworkers are less likely to kill one.  Working with evil people is not  a good idea.

Entryism is a small team of conspirators trying to manipulate and control another organization – usually a larger organization with a bigger mailing list and more funds.  Thus for example a small group of political extremists, a team of half a dozen or so people, would naturally like to take over an big organization involved in some big money, moderately leftist, politically progressive task such as funding housing for the poor, if lots of funding for the poor flows through the housing organization.

There are commonalities between computer engineering and entryism, particularly security engineering.  A background in entryism gives important insights into security engineering.  Entryism is the same sort of job as hacking, but with entryism, one works entirely on human factors, whereas with hacking, one only partially works on human factors, and mostly focuses on such things as buffer overflows and protocol failures.  There are some similarities between taking over someone’s website through flaws in the software, and taking over someone else’s organization through flaws in their internal processes – the main commonality being to distinguish between the way things are supposed to work, and the very different way they actually work.  The frame of mind and way of looking at things is similar, like a magician’s misdirection.  To attack, one looks for ways that expectations can be violated.  Conversely, to make stuff secure, one tries to make sure that expectations cannot be violated.  The excruciatingly complicated procedure for electing a new pope reflects a thousand years of such attacks by ancient entryists aimed at rigging the election, and thousand years of security design aimed at making sure the election works the way it appears to work.  The papal election procedure is sometimes studied by computer security engineers to illuminate their art.

Entryists use fraud and lies, while hackers use some combination of fraud, lies, buffer overflows, and protocol failures.  Hackers tend to be nerdly people who eat far too much junk food, while entryists usually played in the right sports teams at the right educational institutions, and have good social skills. (Perhaps that is why I wound up in engineering instead.  It is more my line)

Now recently the GOP has nominated the extreme left candidate Scozzafava for a seat in congress –  and I do mean extreme left.  So naturally, with my background, I suspected entryism.  The Democrats might well nominate an extreme left candidate and regularly do, the Republicans might well nominate a candidate so “moderate” that he looks suspiciously like a Democrat, but extreme left?  This “Republican” lady is far to the left of the Democratic party candidate.

A bunch of republican blogs are, reasonably enough having hysterics, among them Michell Malkin and Moonbattery

Scozzafava turns out to be the candidate of the Working Families Party, whose name is typical of entryist front group names– a more or less random string of moderate sounding words that carries no real meaning.  The declared objective of the Working Families Party is to move the Democratic Party further to the left.  To influence group X is a fairly typical mission statement of an entryist team, though their real objectives usually involve a lot more than mere influence.

But the dead give away is that they share their headquarters with Acorn.  Long ago a team of entryists took over Acorn, and this team now hangs out at Acorn headquarters, Acorn being the largest and best funded of the many, many, many, many organizations that the team has taken over.  A great pile of organizations share Acorn headquarters, more than anyone can keep track of, and the theoretically separate funds, agendas, objectives and activities of these organizations are all mingled, and they are all run by the same people from the same office .  This is the usual pile of residue accumulated by a successful entryist team.  If someone has fifteen thousand credit card numbers with names, real addresses and login passwords, you know he is a hacker.  If someone has a hundred organizations, with separate mailing lists and funding, you know he is an entryist.  If someone has the backing of an organization that turns out to be a hundred organizations all with one headquarters, you know he is an entryist.

But entryists are like termites.  If one entryist is in an organization with assets and name worth having, there are usually others.  Termites do not mean the house is fallen yet, but if drastic measures are not taken, the house will soon fall.  It is time for a hard disk reformat and restoration from backup.

Betraeus, the candidate to smash the GOP

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Hot air tells us that:

Petraeus is the only candidate who can unite the GOP

What gives him this magic power to unite the GOP?

Well, it seems that this terrible GOP is foolishly and obstinately in favor of terrible and foolish GOP principles:

Over the past couple of decades, the American people have grown more pro-environment, more culturally tolerant, and more suspicious of the unregulated free market, and yet the Republican Party has responded with a series of litmus tests for its presidential candidates that represent the political equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling “la la la, I can’t hear you.

Fortunately, for the GOP, the good General Petraeus opposes every single principle that matters for the GOP base, with the sole exception that he wants to conduct an unpopular war against Afghans to force on them a moderate version of Islam, a animatronic version of Islam, a version of Islam that actually is the religion of peace, that treats women with dignity, refrains from executing apostates, and so on and so forth.

Creating a fake version of Islam that fits nicely into the pretty multicutural rainbow and getting Afghans to swallow it is not a realistic military objective.  In fact it is not even a military objective.  Soldiers kill people and break things.  Military objectives are the kind of objectives you can achieve by killing people and breaking things.

So a general who has been conducting a losing war will unite the GOP behind everything it hates, plus a policy of continuing to lose the war for the next four years.

The Cathedral and social decay

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

In 1984, I said the Soviet Union was falling.  In November 2005, I said the mortgage market was collapsing.  I was very far from being the first to say those things, but I was in a minority when I said them.

And here is another prophecy:   The decline of our currency, and the our inability to rebuild the two towers, are symptoms of an illness that will bring about American collapse and crisis around 2020 or so.  As to what form the collapse will take, hard to tell.  When a structure is under ever growing stress, something will shatter, but who can see which part will prove the weakest and shatter first? A major financial artery has been slashed open, and it is spouting blood.  This will collapse the American currency, probably resulting in political crisis such as war, dictatorship or foreign rule.

Government applies state power to ensure political outcomes – for example it makes broadcasters toe the line by direct regulation of the airwaves.  The print media get access to the extent that they play along with those they seek access to, hence the New York Times.  The schools teach the government line on the great depression, and scientists and economists know that if you scientifically prove what politicians and regulators want to hear you get ahead, and what politicians and regulators want to hear is always that regulators are doing good, except that they need a lot more power because they are not doing nearly enough – hence the noise about financial “de regulation”, when all the supposed examples of financial de-regulation are financial regulation, financial regulation that happens to be highly favorable to Goldman and Sach, who are connected to the regulators by a revolving door.

At the same time, those seeking political outcomes, seek backing from state power.  A marriage naturally ensues.  Following the terminology and analysis of Moldbug, let us call this happy marriage and its numerous morbidly obese children “the Cathedral”.  The Cathedral is almost the same thing as the left and the progressive movement, or rather it is the left in power, the established left, the professoriat, the mainstream media, the lawyer lobby, the judiciary, the senior public servants, the management of numerous supposedly non governmental quasi private organizations, and so on and so forth.

The Cathedral is not quite the same thing as the left. One can point to a few small and minor differences. For example: The lawyers who get court appointed to defend people that they railroad rather than defend are menial members of the Cathedral, even though when they railroad broke and unimportant leftists for a police prosecutor, they look very like the right. They are direct employees of the Cathedral because court appointed.  If they were paid on a voucher scheme, which is to say appointed by the accused, they would be employees of the accused, instead of the Cathedral.

Another example of the left not being quite the same thing as the Cathedral is the IMF, which is clearly part of the Cathedral, even though much of the left dislike it and consider it right wing – but dislike or not, in America almost all Democrats vote in favor of the IMF and almost everyone who votes against the IMF is a Republican.  The IMF is clearly not part of what most leftists consider the left, but with equal clarity, it is part of the left in power, part of the established left.

The Cathedral is the reason why history always moves left.  The Cathedral is almost the same thing as the left.  The right is an ever changing coalition of some of the groups and interests that are inevitably and inexorably being steamrollered by the Cathedral. Since the Cathedral steamrollers different things every few decades, the right is different people every few decades.  Thus the Cathedral has different policies and programs from time to time, but its people and policies directly descend from previous Cathedral members policies, whereas the right has different policies and people from time to time.

In functioning, the Cathedral is very like a theocratic state.  The guys with guns back the preachers, and the preachers endorse the guys with guns, resulting in the theocracy becoming ever more extreme and nutty in its religious doctrines, for example Global Warming, but in old fashioned theocracies power is concentrated in a King and high priest, with the King owning the high priest or the high priest owning the king, whereas in the Cathedral power is instead diffused amongst a large class of Brahmins, an ever more numerous, ever growing class of Brahmins.  To get anything done, lot of Brahmins have to sign on, and each extracts tribute for signing on – which is why we cannot rebuild the two towers, and Dubai can, Dubai being an old fashioned theocracy.

You want to build a tower in Dubai, you just need one sufficiently high Mullah to sign on.  In the theocracy of New York, you need lots of Brahmins to sign on, more Brahmins to sign on than anyone can count.  So the two towers stay down.

Now what has been steadily happening ever since 1915 is that the power to print money has been diffused through a larger and larger class of people resulting in an ever greater inflationary bias, much as the power to obstruct the building of towers and housing has been diffused through a larger and larger class of people resulting in housing becoming ever more expensive.  But these were stuffy conservative bankers, not really part of the Cathedral, or rather no longer sufficiently part of the Cathedral now that the Cathedral has moved a long way further left than it was in 1915 and become vastly more numerous. In 1993, the Cathedral decided these bankers were racists, and that they must join the new improved considerably more progressive Cathedral, or else.  In due course, they did.  Hence the present financial crisis, which is affirmative action lending leading to a run on the repo market, which run started silently and furtively in 2005 November, in response to the escalation of affirmative action lending, which had started to become excessive in 2000 or so, and became bizarrely extreme and ludicrously blatant in 2005.   The run crashed the repo market in 2007, causing a reduction in affirmative action lending from blatantly insane to less blatantly insane – which reduction appears only temporary, since the underlying forces of politicized lending and financial regulation are still burning through capital at a rate far faster than capital can be created.

The “stabilization” of the repo market and the “normalization” of financial markets is a huge breakthrough for the Cathedral, and was indeed the original objective of declaring the banks racist, for it means that any large American business that can have its debt rated AAA can in effect issue money, for a government stabilized repo market trading AAA debt with an implicit government guarantee makes AAA rated debt directly cash equivalent. Today, in the “stabilized” financial market, an American financial institution gets and keeps AAA rating by political favor, rather than actual solvency, and to get political favor, it has to kiss up to political activist groups such as Acorn, so the effect of “stabilization” is that more and more elements of the Cathedral get to issue money outside the government budget, resulting in ever more rapid escalation of the ever growing inflationary bias.

Another factor is that every so often, by its nature, the Cathedral will simply go to war.  The Cathedral lives on conflict.  Each reform, real or purported, produces a new dispersal of little bits of state power with which to reward the ever more numerous members of the Cathedral, so the Cathedral always needs new reforms involving new conflicts.  Conflicts are apt to get out of hand.  The longer it has been since the Cathedral last went to war, the more it is willing to take on a conflict that runs the risk of getting out of hand.  The growing financial crisis parallels increasingly warlike attitudes by the Cathedral against its internal and external enemies – thus though we see in Afghanistan a government policy that is increasingly hostile to our troops, and increasingly attempts to appease our irreconcilable enemies, the thing that makes our enemies so wholly irreconcilable is that these efforts to make friends are predicated on Islam being a multiculturalist feminist religion of peace, on replacing Islam with an Epcot style politically correct imitation of Islam, a part of the multicultural rainbow, which program our enemies reasonably enough view as aggressive and threatening, rather than friendly and conciliatory.  Piously declaring Islam “the religion of peace” is conciliatory.  Attempting to actually make it into the religion of peace in Afghanistan and attempting remedy its treatment of women is as aggressive as sword point Christianity. Muslims are incorrect to perceive the pictures of pretty girls on shampoo bottles as an attempt to cut their balls off, but this paranoid perception is fed by the fact that the Cathedral really does intend to cut their balls off.  That the Cathedral wants to make Afghanistan into a good modern progressive state, a subsidiary of the Cathedral with equal rights for women and all that, is infinitely more threatening than if we merely intended to discourage a repeat of 9/11 by killing thirty thousand Afghan men, raping three hundred thousand Afghan women, stealing three million Afghan cattle, and cutting down the orchards.

Thus we can foresee an ever more warlike Cathedral, that is causing ever more serious problems – the latest “reform” (bringing the bankers into the new Cathedral line) being one that is causing huge damage and will rapidly cause vastly more damage, which damage will lead to a multitude of conflicts, conflicts with a Cathedral that is increasingly spoiling for a fight.  The current policy in Afghanistan is merely an example of the Cathedral spoiling for a fight.  When the fight breaks out, it it probably will not be with Islam and may well surprise everyone.  The target, though not the fight, will surely surprise me.

In short, the reasons why the two towers would stay down were evident in 1999 well before they fell.  It is now 2009, and they are still down.  This foreshadows crisis and collapse.  What prevented the towers from rising again is also what caused the financial collapse, which foreshadows more of the same.

At the same time, we hear from the Cathedral, rhetoric ever more violent, ever more warlike.

It is perhaps too soon to bet that a faction that has won every conflict over the past three hundred years is going to lose this time but outright war is apt to have surprising outcomes, War that follows collapse the more so.  Trees do not grow to the sky.  The ever multiplying Brahmins of the Cathedral are increasingly a liability, rather than an asset, and if it should survive the coming financial collapse and win the coming war, the Cathedral will have to thin the ranks a bit.  If it survives, as it likely will, it will start looking more like a traditional theocracy, relying more on the gulag and less on persuasion and bribery.  The Cathedral may well continue in power.  The number of Brahmins cannot continue to increase, or if they do increase, the benefits provided will have to be curtailed.  With prospects of joining the Cathedral curtailed, or the benefits of joining curtailed, continuing in power will require harsher measures.

Care Bear war in Afghanistan

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

In guerrilla wars, victory always requires dreadful means.  The guerrillas clutch the people as shields.  That is a good reason to avoid fighting against guerrillas.  There is usually an alternative.  The Reaganite alternative was that instead of us fighting against Soviet sponsored guerrillas, we would sponsor lots and lots of guerrillas and let the Soviets fight them.  The Soviets did not hesitate to employ dreadful means, but they swiftly ran short of treasure to pay for dreadful means.

Every victory against guerrillas has involved horrifying brutality.  The British in Malaya imprisoned the entire ethnic group that the guerrillas hid among, all of them.    Saddam re-engineered his country’s rivers so that he could deny water to vast areas of Iraq, not only burning the crops and killing the cattle that the people would have nothing to eat, but also, nothing to drink.  Americans conquered the Philippines by threatening genocide, and making a pretty good start on it, a model that the Ceylonese government has been imitating.  The Ceylonese government systematically massacred women and children to deter the guerrillas from hiding among them, which deterrence succeeded, forcing the Tamil Tigers into conventional war.

Thus in Afghanistan, there are three choices:  Defeat the Taliban using the methods of Malaya and the Philippines, choose a different war after the manner of Reagan, or leave.

We are not doing any of those.  What the @#$% are we doing?

General McChrystal tells us:

“our strategy cannot be focused on seizing terrain or destroying insurgent forces; our objective must be the population.”

Not killing the enemy means losing the war while they kill Americans.

“Pre-occupied with protection of our own forces, we have operated in a manner that distances us – physically and psychologically – from the people we seek to protect.”

So we should not be protecting our own forces, but instead the people who willingly or unwillingly are protecting our enemies.  At least this General is consistent.  Evil and insane, but consistently so.

So if we are not slaying our enemies, and protecting our troops, what the @#$% are we doing in Afghanistan?

“There must be development and use of indigenous narratives to tap into the wider cultural pulse of Afghanistan.”

This is the standard multiculturalist pap we get inflicted in America’s public schools as an effort to smash Christianity.  Islam is supposedly the religion of peace, and we just have to remind all those gentle nice Muslims that it is, and they will happily join the multicultural rainbow singing Kumbayah.

It is not working against Christianity in America even though the Cathedral has total control.  It sure is not going to work in a Muslim country where the Muslims are shooting back, answering words that seek to destroy their culture with bullets that seek to destroy their enemies.  If you want to change the Afghan belief system to something less violent, the only plausible candidates are Sufi Islam or evangelical protestantism.  Multicultural religion of peace pablum is not going to stand a chance.  And if you want to change the Afghan belief system, first you have to kill everyone who will kill to prevent you from changing it.  You cannot win the war by changing their religious beliefs.  After you win the war, you can use victory for lots of purposes, such as imposing a more peaceable brand of Islam, or eradicating Islam, or raping all the women, or turning the place into a superhighway and parking lot, or whatever.  But you cannot impose a more peaceable variety of Islam while the less peaceable variety answers words with bullets.

Other blogs commenting on this moronic plan for winning the war by means of rainbows and pink unicorns, care bear style, either complain that there are insufficient rainbows and pink unicorns, or else are mightily impressed because it is such a muscular militaristic proposal.  The only sane commentary that I found was “Our troops are not in Afghanistan for a social experiment”.  The Obama objection to this plan appears to be that it involves too much deadly violence, and not enough rainbows and pink unicorns.

Arnold Kling predicts inflation

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Arnold Kling predicts:

The monetary and fiscal expansion may have little or no effect on unemployment, and after a bit of a lag we could see inflation come back with a vengeance.

We “could” see it come back with a vengeance?  We are already seeing it come back.  I suppose it is not “with a vengeance” yet.