Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit and the Market Plunge

International stock markets took a huge plunge after the Brexit Vote.

Pundits frame this plunge as proof that the Brexit vote was a bad decision.

I look at the plunge and see further proof that the top heavy financial system created by centralized banks is inherently unstable.

The Brexit plunge was not the first wild market swing in the history of financial markets. Economic history shows that these wild market drops are common and seem to be increasing as the forces of economic centralization take hold.

Each time there is a huge plunge, pundits try to identify an event that caused the crash, as if presenting the event could have prevented the crash.

What we should do is look at the way that the markets are structured. The markets crashed after the Brexit vote because the centralized markets in the EU and US are structured in a way that make them prone to crashing.

Our bureaucrats respond to crashes by piling financial regulations on top financial regulations. These financial regulations tend to enrich the centralized bankers that write the regulations, but they have never achieved their stated goal of providing financial stability.

The Brexit market crash has, so far, been relatively minor. I fear that people in the West, at large, have been facing harsh economic times. The crash of the centralized markets may get worse.

The fact that the Brexit vote won shows that people are starting to question policies that favor economic centralization and wealth concentration to those policies that favor economic distribution.

(PS, the EU was actually being built on the ideals of international socialism. Socialism concentrates economic power in the central authorities. Socialism is not the answer to economic centralization. Socialism makes economic centralization absolute.)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Free Trade v. One Market

A few years back I began a series of articles on economics.

One of the themes I wanted to explore was the difference between two closely related ideas: free trade and the concept of one world market.

Free trade simply means that countries place few restrictions on trade and people can freely trade with people beyond the local market.

The one market concept involves a group of countries attempting to develop their economy as a single market.

Free trade tends to enhance the well being of the people at large because free trade expands opportunity and brings more goods to local market.

The one market concept, however, can have devastating effects on the people. This is especially true when that one market is developed as a centrally controlled market.

What happens in a single market is that a few huge companies can come to dominate the one market pushing the people at large into a subservient position.

The EU was developed as one market. The Bureaucrats in Brussels were creating regulations that favored politically powerful interests at great cost to the people at large. The predictable effects of the EU was a great concentration of wealth at a cost to the people at large.

The concepts of Free Trade and One Market are not opposites of each other. The difference between "Free Trade" and "One Market" is a matter of perspective.

In free trade one has a huge number of small autonomous entities seeking to maximize the return of their interest.

The One Market concept has a small number of billionaires seeking to create a dominate position in the one market.

The European Economic Union was originally sold as though it would create a huge free trade zone.

What happened instead was that ruling class and bureaucrats in Brussels began developing the EU as if it were one market.

While the ruling elite prospered under the EU, the people at large felt disenfranchised and saw their economic condition diminish under the new ruling regime.

Now, I am stuck here in Utah with no resources. But it would be fun to create an actual academic study that fully developed the distinction between "free markets" and unified markets.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Joke on the Tumblr's Ads

Tumblr started putting on their dashboard. Yahoo's strategy for monetizing tumblr's is to show ads to the people who are providing free content to the site.

If it works. More power to them.

As most of the bloggers on tumblr are left leaning sheep, the site added this snippy phrase to their about the ads section:

"A post-consumerist society built on an economy of surplus instead of scarcity would enable Yahoo and Tumblr to procure both labor and materials at zero marginal cost."

The hint here is that if we had a Marxist economy, then Tumblr would be free.

The truth is that if we had a Marxist society, most of us would be hungry and most of the free spirits who use tumblr would be spending their days in Gulags and not on Google.

The original business model of Tumblr was the model of the Dotbust economy. The company would build an ad free site. Concentrate on building a user base then sell out to a mainstream company that would then have to figure out how to monetize the site.

When one looks at Tumblr from a broad perspective, what David Karp did was actually quite evil.

Tumblr has people spending millions of uncompensated man hours "reblogging" content from other sites, with only a few people at the very top of the pyramid receiving any rewards. I suspect that much of the content found on tumblr was taken without permission of the copyright holder.

To build its user base, Tumblr actively encouraged people to upload and pirate pornography. Tumblr feeds porn addictions, and I fear that many people have been abused in the last few years as tumblr addicts abused friends and acquaintances to create tumblr porn.

From an economic perspective. Tumblr is one of the many constructs on the Internet that takes wealth from the people at large and concentrates it in a few greedy hands. The corporate executives who created Tumblr being among the greediest.

The mindless drones railing with hatred against the one percent are doing so on a site created by and for the one percent.

Personally, I don't fault Tumblr for Greed. I do fault them for duplicity for spouting out Marxist nonsense along side their ad.

Tumblr's business strategy is to make money by displaying ads to the people who are creating free content for their site.

The people who provide free content might receive some kudos from their peers, but receive little in the way of financial compensation for their effort. Tumblr takes from the many and gives to the few.

I realize that Tumblr has to apologize to its users for the ad.

Personally, I hate this thing were people have to apology for showing ads on a web site as if trying to make money off one's actions is a sin against Gaia.

If we really wanted a better society, then we should engage in a dialog about how we could structure the internet so that people throughout our society could benefit financially through the Internet.

Personally, I like the blogspot model better than Tumblr.  Blogspot encourages bloggers to put a Google Ad on their site. Both the blogger and Google can make a little money from the ad. I also love the affiliate model where web sites can many money by selling products online.

This game where people are supposed to apologize for trying to make money is absurd. It hurts the hard working honest people who are upfront about their actions while piling riches on power on the manipulators of our society.

NOTE: I joined Tumblr in 2013 (shortly before its acquisition by Yahoo!) I decided to create a selection of tumblr blogs with images from the Mountain West. You can see a list of the Community Color tumblr sites here. My sites have reblogged about 7000 images. I think my sites are quite pretty. Here are pictures of the Grand Canyon, Here are pictures of Arches National Park and here are pictures from Rocky Mountain National Park.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Updating Narratives

News reports suggest that the Orlando Shooter had frequented the Pulse night club and may have been gay. The politicos are spinning and trying to change their narratives. The hate crime angle doesn't have as much traction when the perpetrator is a member of the targeted group.

I would still consider the crime both a terrorist act and hate crime. Quite frankly, I think many of the biggest homophobes are people who have anxiety about their own sexual thoughts.

It appears that the politically correct thing to do is to switch to a gun control narrative.

Like everyone else, I've been trained to face the news by developing narratives, but all of our narratives eventually break down for a narrative itself it not a true pursuit of truth.


On Hate and Terror

This seems to be something new. The Orlando Attack is recognized as both a hate crime and an act of terrorism.

But. Wait a Second! Aren't all terrorist acts motivated by terror and aren't hate crimes committed with the intent of wreaking terror among the targeted population.

I wanted to write a post condemning the despicable act that took place in Orlando. Instead I found myself distracted by a strange confluence of terms and writing about the political reaction to the attack instead.

The difference between the terms "terrorism" and "hate crime" is the political narrative about an action.

Looking at the media, I see that the terms people use to describe this attack is determined by the narrative the speaker wishes to follow. People wishing to advance the cause of the LGBT community use "hate crime."

Trump, who wants to develop an "I told you so" narrative uses the term "terrorist" along with conservatives who wish to focus on the ongoing conflict between the Christian and Islamic Worlds.

Traditionally, Obama has been slow to call mass killings committed by people of Islamic origin "terrorists" as he has be trying to distance himself from that narrative. Obama was very quick to use the term "hate crime" as the term fits a narrative that he likes to pursue.

This game where the political class tries to control the people by controlling the narrative is a propaganda technique taught in our progressive schools.

Perhaps the fact that the horrific attack that occurred in Orlando is described as both a "hate crime" and "terrorist action" might encourage people wake up and notice the shallowness of the political arguments that rage around terrorism.

Our political leaders gain power by carefully developing narratives. The competing narratives destroy our ability to communicate and can have the affect of amplifying hostilities.

The Orlando Attack is not some strange convergence of hate and terror. This terrible event just happened to occur during a political campaign in a way that highlights the differences between two political narratives.

It is unlikely that this convergence of narratives will unify the nation. The most likely result of the attack is that it will cause more division as politicos struggle to control the narrative. Politics based on narratives, instead of a search for truth, is a dangerous game.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Utah's Cracking Down on Free Speech

I've been in a major funk. I am interested in the mathematics of funding health care.

This is a very important issue that people simply must discuss. I spent seven years and over ten grand trying to find people willing to discuss the subject.

I live in the Fascist State of Utah. The LDS Church, which controls this state, routinely puts down all debate. Being unable to find a single person in Utah willing to discuss free market health care reform shows that there is something seriously wrong with this state.

Conservative Mormons are closed minded people who are both incapable and unwilling to discuss issues.

So, what do Conservative Mormons do when they get power? They engage in culture war. Sheriffs have been marching out to the few hotsprings that Mormons have not destroyed yet to arrest nude bathers. They arrested a Hispanic kid for having four nude images of his white classmates on his phone. The legislature actually passed a resolution declaring a war on nudity.

I have a collection of sites titled Utah Color where I reblog sites from Utah. I try to be inclusive, but avoid porn sites.  I reblog images on my tumblr sites, eg tumblr.ArizonaColor.us has images  from the Grand Canyon state and tumblr.iMoab.com has images from Utah's canyonlands.

I've reblogged some five thousand images and keep up with photographers on Tumblr.

Tumblr used the acronym NSFW (Not Safe For Work) to describe web sites containing nudity.

I've noticed a crack down on NSFW web sites on tumblr. The crack down is fine by me.  Tumblr.com is tumblr's site. They should have control of it.

Tumblr is a photo sharing site.  The photos that are reblogged and liked float to the surface.

Tumblr has one huge problem. Most of the people reblogging NSFW images are looking for porn. I've reblogged 5000 posts, but no NSFW images.

So, two issues are swimming in my mind. The first is that if only people looking for porn reblog NSFW images that side of tumblr, then the NSFW side of tumblr becomes excessively raunchy.

The bigger issue is that, while using classical liberal rhetoric to gain power, Conservatives have a dismal record of advancing individual liberty. What conservatives do in power is to launch culture wars.

So, I decided to make NSFW tumblr blog to express the opinion that, while graphic representation of the human body is problematic, the human body itself is not evil.

WARNING: The links in this post after this paragraph  go to the NSFW site. The links are intended for people who are of age and who are not in a public place. In most places that means you must be over 21, and that you are not in a library.

Links Restricted to Those Over Eighteen The sections Nude Utah, Nude Arizona and Nude Colorado shows images of nudes from Utah, Arizona and Colorado, respectively.

The Diamond Fork Report talks about raid at Diamond Fork. Kenneth Beck is a silly person who tied bells to his particulars and danced around the Diamond Fork Hot Springs to shock people. Culture wars beget culture warriors.

This is the text of Utah's war on culture war on nudity.

Police in Utah County arrested a Hispanic kid for having four nude images of his white classmates.

I would rather talk about free market health care reform, mathematics, logic or a myriad of other issues. But Utahans prefer culture war to actual culture. I populated the site with 80 images and added another 90 images to a queue. There will be one image a day. I might put up some more thoughts on the culture war, but seriously, this is not a primary interest. I am not interested in user submissions to the site. I might reblog a post if you tell me about it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dropping C-Notes

The Federal Reserve creates money through lending, not through printing. Paper currency is printed in response to demand for the currency. The Feds claim that 90% of printed bills are to replace old bills that have worn thin.

The Currency Order Report is still quite interesting.

The Fed positions the twenty dollar bill as the primary bill for day to day transactions. My local ATM spits out $20s. The currency report, however, shows that the Feds are printing up almost as many hundred dollar bills as twenties. In 2013, they printed more hundred dollar bills than twenties!

The 2016 report shows the feds requested 2,425,600,000 ones, 1,939,200,000 twenties and 1,516,800,000 hundreds.

I contend that, since 1s and 20s are used in common person-to-person transactions, they wear out faster; so the number of new 100s is greater than the number of new 20s.

Hundreds tend to be used in bank to bank transactions or are sent abroad.

An inflationary note. A hundred dollar bill in 2016 has the same buying power as a dollar bill had a hundred years ago; So, I decided to start using hundreds. I've discovered that merchants (especially small independent shops) like to get hundreds are they are easier to count than twenties.

One night in a midrange hotel in Salt Lake costs about $100. A hundred dollar bill provides about one day's expense if an emergency occurred.

On the down note, In recent decades, the police have increased the practice of civil forfeiture (see policing for profits). Police consider people carrying c-notes to automatically be guilty crimes. For example, if you sold a car for cash and the police stop you, they will confiscate your money until you can prove, beyond reasonable doubt; that the money came from selling a car. (Apparently, proving that you are going to buy a car is difficult.)

The term "criminalization of cash" refers to laws and government policies designed to discourage cash transactions. For example, governments have stopped printing large denomination bills. They confiscate currency and restrict cash transactions over a given limit.

Anyway, as the c-spot is the new dollar, I figured that people should start using c-notes more often. I figure that using c-notes in regular transactions might help discourage this trend.

Regardless of what you chose to do, the annual currency reports from the Federal Reserve provide insight into the ways that people respond to inflation. Most of the new hundred dollar bills are traveling abroad, but, as inflation continues, I suspect that we will see people in the states start using more hundreds than twenties in the near future.

c-notes

Saturday, May 07, 2016

The Down and Dirty on Pulling Weeds

Counter-culturalists have declared the first Saturday in May is Naked Gardening Day; So, I decided to celebrate the event by pulling a weed before getting dressed this morning.

The "weed" I selected was this little tree that was growing along the foundation of a small shed. It needs pulling as it would do damage to a cinder block shed.

I probably did it wrong. WNGD is a counter-culture event. The founders are less interested in gardening, and probably want participants in WNGD to prance around nekkid in front of others ... especially those are disturbed by such actions.

The promoters of social nudity have compelling literature on "body freedom" and they love to insult people who are uncomfortable with public nudity.

People engaged in the counter-culture seem to be more compelled by a desire to shock others than a need to be nude. So, I have to reject the idea that nudity is some sort of fundamental freedom. Freedom is about what people do for themselves. I do not have freedoms to do things to others.

Personally, I have no problem with skinny dipping or public showers, but I do have a problem with people behaving crudely towards others. While the nudist movement might start with high sounding ideals, the movement is ultimately undermined by people being shocking and crude.

It would be fun to do a nude trail clean up or spurge purge. But the white sap of the spurge is toxic. I would want to wear gloves ... defeating the whole purpose of WNGD. So, I participated in the event by pulling a plant and posting its picture online. Now, I am off to do more productive things.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Cattle Chutes and Temple Ceilings

My family moved into Salt Lake in 1975. During that time, I've attended two LDS Wedding Receptions. The LDS Church claims that over half the people are LDS. I've polled people I know. Many have never been invited to LDS wedding receptions at all.

The first ceremony involved the boss's daughter. The boss was a political appointee who was unqualified for his position. He nearly ran the enterprise into the ground. The boss had had important connections in the Church which, in the long run, means a lot more for a Utah based company than competency.

Attending the boss's daughter's wedding was pretty much mandatory.

The event itself was rather humiliating. Mormon members of the firm were part of the ceremony. The gentiles were lined up herded through a cattle chute divider where we each received a condescending gesture from the bride and groom before being sent on our merry way to salvage the rest of the day.

Last week's event was a little better. The grand parents of the bride were gentiles. The couple had thing called a "ring ceremony" followed by a more traditional reception.

A "ring ceremony" is a re-enactment of the wedding done for the public.

Apparently, non-Mormons are not allowed to witness the actual event which is called a "sealing."

Legend tells that secret words and secret names are given during the sealing.

During the "ring ceremony" the bride and groom appeared at a reception center and were clearly play acting as they exchanged rings for a second time. There was a big joke about how the groom had already kissed the bride an hour earlier and was getting good at it.

A Mormon bishop read a passage from The Bible. This makes sense as a ring ceremony is usually performed for people are are Christian, but not LDS.

Watching a re-enactment of a wedding isn't really that much fun. IMHO, the fun part of a wedding ceremony is that a couple enters the room as two singles, then make a formal commitment in front of the community.

I believe that marriage is an important foundation of our society. I would even venture that public wedding ceremonies are important for a community as a public ceremony helps strengthen the commitment to matrimony.

Conversely, I think the practice of having "sealings" take place in secret is a negative tradition that leads to a fractured society.

The LDS practice of secret sealings was started by Joseph Smith. In 2014 the LDS Church finally openly admitted that Joseph Smith had "secretly" to over 40 women. The acknowledged list included fourteen-year-old girls and the wives of Smith's followers. (The list may be longer than 40).

I imagine that LDS couples believe that a secret sealing at a temple makes a marriage extra special.

I admire all couples who are dedicated to making their marriages work.

As an outsider looking in. I see a sealing as a creepy ritual that traces back to acts by Joseph Smith that could be described as adultery and child molestation.

I believe the true merits of a marriage is found in the dedication the couple give to their relation. Our society can affect through education and counseling and respect for the institution of marriage.

In this regard, I think the LDS practice of secret sealings in the Temple is negative. 

I've known girls who, in their young teens, were sealed to old men. These child brides had horrible stories of abuse that was hidden from view by the secret act of secret sealings.

Well, to end this blog post. I simply need to say that I usually enjoy attending weddings. Watching a "ring ceremony" by an LDS couple made me feel queasy.

I started the post by feeling bad that, in the 40 years I've lived in Utah, I've only been invited to two LDS Wedding Receptions. The two events that I did attend made me feel queasy; So, maybe the Mormon practice of excluding others from their ceremonies is needed.

This video by BrighamYoungSpeaks has a dramatic reading of Brigham Young sermons in which the second president of the LDS Church boasted that he will have millions of wives and untold power in the Celestial Kingdom. This is the way that Mormonism looks like to people standing on the outside:

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Closed Primary

It looks like the presidential primary will come down to New York.

New York has a closed primary. Independents cannot change their party affiliation to vote in the primary.

Understandably, this situation has many independent New Yorkers feeling put off. Crazy people are in love with Sanders and the maladjusted simply can't get enough of Trump.

Considering that primaries determine the candidates for offices, there is a strong argument for open primaries.

But, even with open primaries, parties are parties. The partisan primary system still creates candidates that are partisan first and American second.

The fact that New York could seal the presidential nomination for Trump and Clinton might get people to question the inherent absurdity of our parties and foundational ideologies of these things.

The US Founders despised the factions of the King's Court and the partisanship which dominates modern politics is counter to the ideals of this nation.

This partisanship is at the heart of the erosion of our liberties.

Partisan ideologies might take a few ideas and images related to the ideals of liberty. But the partisan ideologies pervert the ideals and make them subservient to the partisanship itself.

So, while our candidates this political season are disappointing, perhaps the campaign might become a catalyst for people to start questioning the parties.