Saturday, January 31, 2009

Deregulating the Short Selling Industry

The conventional wisdom is that eliminating short selling would involve passing new anti-short selling legislation.

Conventional wisdom fails to realize that short selling, as it exists, is largely the contrivance of regulations. For that matter, the procedures on the NASDAQ that allowed unbridled short selling were created by the great Democratic philanthropist Bernie Madoff, former Chair of NASDAQ.

Eliminating naked short selling would be a matter of removing laws.

It would not even require a new bureaucracy. One need simply remove the regulations that allow naked shorting and announce that parties adversely affected by the process can sue the perpetrators of the crime for material damages.

In naked short selling, a person sells property that he does not own. The sell has a direct negative financial impact on the person who owns the property. It is clearly a violation of property rights. Defenders of the practice claim that the naked short seller will have future ownership, and future ownership is equivalent to current ownership. This argument falls apart when one realizes that owership exists in time. The whole investing thing is about buying an equity, holding it through a period of time and selling it again. The investor's hope is that the equity increases in value during that period of time.

Eliminating naked short selling would be a financial deregulation. Eliminating credit default swaps would actually be a deregulation as well. One would simply discard the 11,000 page regulation that made the process legal. This bill was passed in the beginning of the Bush administration (back when Bush was signing his name William Jefferson Clinton).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wall Street Bonuses

Not surprisingly, the stock manipulations that helped lead to a Democratic Super-Majority in Congress led to record bonuses. Apparently, many interesting things happened in 2008. For example Bernie Madoff had dramatically increased bonuses prior to his arrest. (DeepCapture is running reports on less than savory connections of Bernard Madoff. It is like a repeat of Joseph Kennedy).

2008 was a banner year for stock manipulation. Our country has not seen such epic stock manipulation since the heady days of Joseph Kennedy whose insider trading scams accumulated the billions necessary to buy his clan the status as first family.

I suspect that George Soros, who hates George W. Bush with every fiber of his being, was probably the leader of the pack. I look forward to seeing how historians play out his manipulations. Currently people praise Soros for the breaking of the Bank of London in the 1990s. I would love to hear more about his short position in 2008.

Tearing a page from The Prince, Obama is currently voicing outrage at the lieutenants who helped engineer his rise to power. It is an astute move. Fanning the flames of wealth envy keeps the masses in check. Dangers exist, however, if people look beyond the smoke and mirrors to see just who did the manipulations.

Obama should do well if the press can keep attention focused on how Republicans were chumps. Republicans were so focused on arguments about state v. private control that they failed to realize the ease with which the powers that be can manufacture financial ruin.

At all cost, the press must avoid deeper discussions on the cause of economic collapse. The left wing media needs to pound the drums of wealth envy without asking simple questions such as: "Why were bonuses at a record level when the market tanked."

When properly formed, bonuses track performance. In traditional bonus systems, bonuses drop when the market drops.

For that matter, it appears that a very large number of traditional investors lost their savings and a very large number of traditional financial advisors not only got no bonus, they received a pink slip for Christmas.

The only way that a market crash could generate near record bonuses would be if the bonuses weren't geared toward rewarding constructive activity, but were geared toward destructive activity.

We are told that the gearing of bonuses toward destructive activity is the result of deregulation. This is absurd. A free market tends to be weighted toward positive incentives. The negative incentives were pretty much all created with the idea that they would check irrational exuberance. As such, they are the creation of the desire for regulation, and are not the result of deregulation.
Of course, the point of deriding bonuses is to fan wealth envy.

The wealth envy arguments bounce off me. My anger is not aimed at the bonuses, but at the structure of the financial institutions which are now dominated by absurdities like credit default swaps, short selling (ftds), and mandated community reinvestment schemes. These created the swamp of sub-prime government guaranteed mortgage backed securities.

Madoff is important in understanding the problem. The former chair of NASDAQ was fundamental in creating a trading system that allowed unbridled short selling. The justification for the program was that shorting regulates the market.

The design that gave investors like Madoff and Soros the ability to engage in massive coordinated naked short attacks essentially gave a group of insider investors the power to destroy companies at will.

Folks, like Soros and Madoff, who hold the power to destroy, are a magnitude more powerful than those who struggle to create. An abortionist could kill a hundred fetuses in the time it takes an obstetrician to deliver a healthy child.

Republicans and Libertarians deserve the anger thrown in their direction. These idiots spent their days defending capitalism, when they should have been defending the free market against capitalism.

Had anyone read Marx, they would have realized that Marx never defined Communism. Marx simply gave a recipe for using the tools of capitalism to destroy the free market.

The greatest enemy of freedom is not the person dreaming of social utopia, but the intellectual working feverishly to undermine the financial system of the free society.

The people who work to undermine a financial system wear the title capitalist along with those who invent and build things.

People simply note that the rogues on Wall Street rape their investments as the market goes up and as it goes down.

The mob is incapable of seeing the difference between those who receive rewards for their creations and those who exploit weaknesses in the regulatory regime to make billions by tearing things down. All the mob sees is people getting bonuses and they are overcome with envy.

The left shows cunning in denouncing the lieutenants that brought them into power. The denouncing allows them to slap the shackles on the producers of this world under a false guise. By publicly deriding the sheep in lambs clothing, the wolves can take down a few more sheep from the herd.

It is the simply art of misdirection. If giving record bonuses for the destroyers of the world, then the left can justify taking the bonuses from the producers.

The fact that Wall Street bonuses hit record levels while the market tanked is just a symptom of the problem. The problem is that rogues created financial structures that pay off big time for the destruction of wealth. This created an inherently instable structure. It was simply a matter of injecting enough bad debt in the system and the system will implode.

The art of undermining economies is well known. You can find examples of thugs engineering the financial destruction of their enemies since antiquity.

If ever Americans regain the sentiment for freedom, I hope the leaders learn from the lesson of the 2008 manipulation. Conservative intellectuals need to stop accepting the terminology of the left. They should defend the free market and reject capitalism.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Textbook Bias

One often hears claims of textbook bias. While listening to such a claim, I mindlessly checked to see who owned the domain

Turns out, the domain was available.

I get a free name with my hosting account; so I registered it.

I really don't have an idea what to do with the domain. I figured it would be an interesting case study in an evolutionary design approach to the web site. In this approach, one starts with a topic and sees where the conversation leads.

So, what I've done so far is make a change log and slapped up an ad page. (There's gold in them thar textbooks). I haven't put up a homepage yet, as I really haven't ever thought about this topic before.

I will probably just slap up a few window dressing essays and might make a form for user submitted content. I want to figure out how OpenID works before soliciting info.

At worst the domain purchase is an excuse to read a few textbooks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Change and War

Natalie Collins is repeating the talking point that war is the result of religion.

There are aspects of religion that can increase the likelihood of war; However, I have never bought into the argument that there is a single cause of war. Much less that religion is that common cause.

In my last post I repeated my distaste for change campaigns.

The desire to affect change has been a cause in a large number of wars in the modern era.

Folks in the The French Revolution (and Reign of Terror) thought their efforts would bring about a new age of reason.

The Communist Revolutions were often instigated by fiercely anti-religious people who felt that they could scientifically engineer a perfect society. The Marxist formula is a simple thing where one starts a social movement that agitates for change, The party rises to power in the the turmoil created by the agitation.

One could argue that Marx raised science to a religion; thus all wars are still the result of religion. But, in doing so, they undermine their claim that scientists could engineer a perfect society. The scientists would simply take on the role of God.

One can explain the current series of Mideatern wars in the Hegelian dialectical manner.

Notably, George Bush the first did not overthrow Iraq after the Gulf war as he rejected nation building. George Bush the second listened to a group called neocons who believed that overthrowing Hussein and re-engineering the Iraq as a democracy would be a short cut to change.

I guess I should also point out that the 9/11 attackers thought that their attack would bring about change.

Religion plays a part in wars. Science and philosophical theories play parts in wars. Sometimes well intentioned peacekeeping efforts end up leading to wars. In almost all wars, you will find some people thinking that the war will lead to a positive change.

I was sad to see Ms. Collins repeating the religion=war talking point. The cause of war is always complex. The prevention of war is also complex. For that matter, a misdiagnosis of the cause of previous wars can end up being a cause for the next war.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Effects of Change

© Business GambleThe press successfully engineered a negative feedback loop in the effort to give their party the presidency and super majority in Washington.

Like many, I am sitting here anxiously hoping that the feel-good-hype centered on the ascendance of the change agent will create a positive feedback loop.

I was expecting a 2000k pop in the market as short sellers take their capital gains while the many people who withdrew from the market for hatred of Bush begin the process of re-investing.

I think a large number of existing revenue streams are currently undervalued. I look at the market and see a wonderland of buy opportunities. I kick myself for buying in too early.

I decided to look at the market with the question: If I had a wad of cash to invest, where would I put it?

While asking this question, I saw a news-blurb with Obama talking about change.

A pit formed in my stomach.

Buying stock is just legalized gambling. Real investing happens when real business people make real decisions about hiring workers, buying product and producing goods.

I rephrased my question and asked: If I were a business, would I take the gamble and hire new workers anticipating a turn around?

The answer, in this day of change, is a resounding "No."

One cannot make substantive investment decisions in a time of change. Margins are so tight in business today that change can lead to a big net loss for a company foolish enough to hire.

I voted for Obama in the primary, and might have supported him in the general election if his campaign was about better quality discourse and politics. Instead, his campaign took a single focus on demanding an undefined change.

I let loose with a really ugly post about change campaigns right be for the general election.

When historians enumerate the causes of the current economic downturn, I hope that they include the change campaign as a contributing factor in the make up of the economic mess.

The change campaign is the very heart of radicalization.

One cannot make substantive decisions in the face of unspecified change. This affects both business and political decisions.

For example, Go Utah Go is arguing that we should jack up gas prices for road projects.

If change means a 40% drop in the number of miles that Americans drive, or a 20% drop in the number of Americans that own cars, then these road projects are superfluous.

What if change means a reversal of the migration to the suburbs? Suburban road construction projects would be a waste.

Road construction does a great deal of damage to the environment. The carbon-tire-track of a road-paver contributes more to global warming than a whole marching band of carbon-footprints.

Road construction for the sake of road construction is needless environmental waste. Sound road construction is built around very detailed analysis of needs. In a time of change, one cannot properly assess needs.

In a time of great social upheaval (ooops, I mean "change"), one can not delve into questions of optimizing resources. One simply falls into crisis mode. Road funds should only be spend addressing crisis. Substantive decisions about the shape of roads should be put off until after we have some idea of how the economy would look after the upheaval.

Change affects every part of business and social planning. Businesses should reduce their workforce to the minimum and hire temps until they have a feel of the shape of things after the change. School districts should shun building new schools in case the suburb needing the new school is changed out of existence.

I had been hoping that the change in tone of the press would be sufficient to remove the negative feedback loop which is wracking the economy.

Unfortunately, decision makers and business gamblers staring into the face of unspecified change. I hope I am wrong, but the engineers of change campaign may find it hard to socially-engineer their way out of the hole they dug with their campaign.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Microstock Bubble

I feel like a boy with a big balloon. just released a whomping huge number of free photos to promote the use of microstock photography in blogs.

These are images from professional photographers that you can legally include in your blog. Here is a sample free-low-res image.

Balloon Boys @ Tim Donahue

They have millions upon millions of quality photographs and graphic designs that you can include on your site. I like the Microstock business model as it creates an affordable source of images for blogs, web sites and scrapbookers while providing cash for photographers and designers.

I am super happy to find this treasure trove of free microstock images, because it allows me to be a hypocrite. I can preach at you about buying microstock, while I shamelessly use the free ones.

Truth be told. I started buying images. I made a little program that shows where I use them. You can use this program too (providing that you link to it).

You can view the free images here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

To Every Argument Its Season

I will probably disagree with many of the policies of Barack Obama during the next eight years. As for now, I am extremely happy to see a nation coming together to celebrate the peaceful transfer of power which has been a hallmark of American democracy.

There really has only been one transfer of power that led to civil war. Oddly, that happened with the election of the First Republican president Abraham Lincoln. After the 1860 election the pro-slavery faction of the Democratic Party was so upset they chose to secede from the union.

I mention this as odd because Barack Obama, a person hoping to unite the nation, made numerous symbolic gestures towards Lincoln during his inauguration. In the 1860s, the partisan hatred of Lincoln was so great it threw our nation in to civil war. It was even worse than the hatred toward George W. Bush.

Being consumed by partisan hatred tears a nation apart.

One of the most effective cures of this affliction is for people to measure their partisan loyalties to the occasion.

A primary concern of our nation's schools is to raise good citizens. One of the hardest lessons for a student to learn is when an argument is appropriate. Our nation has well defined election cycles with a campaign, inauguration and legislative seasons.

A good citizen will be attentive and weigh their speech to the season.

For this reason, I will disagree with Liberating Education on the decision of the Dayton schools to discourage inappropriate comments during the inauguration.

It is possible that the school system is trying to pull the trick of openly encouraging agitation when the opposition is in power and stifling debate when their party is in power.

Obama's apparent move toward the center is strikingly similar to Bush's move to the center.

We are wise to watch the different treatment that the press and education establishment give to Obama v. Bush. We are wise to report on open efforts of partisan institutions to manipulate opinion.

The reported incident occurred during a time when respect for tradition was due.

Back to the Ugly Business of Blogging

PS: After writing this great conciliatory post, I decided to take my own advice and temporarily curb my plans to protests at funerals. I am still clinging to my core belief that funerals for the living be given equal legal status as funerals for the dead. But, I will cut out the protests at funerals for the moment.

The world could use a bit more civility, after all. ;)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Transcending Politics with Dialectics

Someone needs to stimulate the economy; So, I decided to give StockXpert a try. I bought the 50 credit bundle to knock the per credit price down to $.75 an image.

To celebrate the peaceful transfer of power going on in DC, I decided to buy a designer's version of candidates racing to catch their political dreams.

©Election Day Runners

My one worry is that the left is trying to pull the trick of framing anyone whose worldview differs from theirs as divisive haters.

I read a vicious attack from Eric Fried of FortCollinsNow on some a guy named Kevin Lundberg out of Berthoud.

The Democrats won pretty much everything. So, why waste precious time on the historic cusp of change attacking an enemy who Fried notes is pretty much marginalized already? Fried is clearly not content with seeing his enemies marginalized. He wants anyone holding opinions outside his narrow little viewpoint destroyed utterly.

Mr. Fried's anger seems to be toward the fact that Republicans are returning to the core principles that they abandonned in the Bush years. I see nothing wrong with this. The whole point of a two party system is that the party that loses regroups.

When Democrats regroup, they return to the Material Dialectics. When Republicans regroup, they return to principles.

Apparently the great sin of Mr. Lundberg is that he is a global warming denier. To tell you the truth, if I lived in Berthoud, I would welcome be welcoming global warming. Could you do a couple more coal plants, it's cold up here.

I think the Colorado Springs Journal piece on partisanship was a bit more insightful. The article has a pithy quote about Bill Ritter quoting Obama quoting Lincoln. The article points out a strange tendency of Democrats to put forward their view as if it were nonpartisan.

A dialectician pretends to internalize the conflicts of the day. People holding dialectical materialism have the illusion that the trick allows them to frame their partisan actions as non-ideological, pragmatic and nonpartisan.

I think it is far better for people to acknowledge that they have ideas. Then openly discuss the ideas.

I am hopeful that the Libertarians and Republicans who lost this last round of elections really hit the table with the best of their ideas.

I actually think one of the reasons the Bush years were so icky was that the Democrats disengaged from an open discussion of ideas. Instead, they chose to entrench in an eight year long change campaign that really wreaked havoc on this nation.

Anyway, this Kevin Lundberg guy is probably a kook. His site has a long presentation by a Dr. William Gray who has some sort of antiquated notion about the scientific method. He sees science as being a system where a scientist puts forward a thesis, then members of the scientific community put forward arguments for or against the thesis.

Everyone knows that science is a system that evolves through thesis/antithesis conflicts. A member of the party puts forward a set of talking points. Scientists go through the motions of internalizing the conflict. As the winning side becomes clear, the most cunning of the lot jump on the winning side of the debate then set out to destroy those still examining the thesis utterly.

That's how the paradigm shifts.

Anyway, it is really exciting that the millions of people who caught the Bush Derangement Syndrome in the last few years are back and happy to be Americans again.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wellness Paradigm

During his confirmation hearing for the Department of Health and Human Services, Senator Tom Daschle spoke of the need to shift the focus of the health care system from illness to wellness.

I thought I would point out that this is the direction that a free market would trend. For that matter, the straggling vestiges of the free market that swirl around on the outskirts of the industrial-health-complex are things like doulas, nutritional supplements, gyms, and a ton of weird coaching and spiritual efforts aimed at self improvement.

These efforts are all on the peripheral, and most are marginal concerns.

The industrial-healthcare-complex used the paradigm of illness and marketed fear to roll up the lion's share of the health care pie into wasteful third party health systems (either employer or government funded).

The machine marketed fear of illness, and Americans responded by surrendering the health care to insurance companies, HMOs, government agencies and other third party providers. These agencies leverage our innate fear of illness to tighten their grasp on the industry then use their political clout to drive prices out of the range of the majority of Americans.

Conversely, the machine attacks attempts of the free market to provide wellness centered health services to the public as self-centered greed.

As health care is a direct human to human service, a free market would never have developed this current pricing structure that denies care to so many in our nation.

It takes the corrercive power of monopolies and government to create such an imbalance and unhealthy system.

I agree that our system is flawed. I worry, however, that the left would oppose any system where people played an active role in their lives. I am happy to hear Daschle's rhetoric going in the right direction, but fear that big government agencies bent on pushing the marginal wellness centered health efforts in the free market over the brink.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Links to Nowhere

A week ago, I left a whining post about how lousy I am at link building.

The real motivation for that post was that my stats showed that I would soon be deleting the 5000th entry from the Community Color directories.

The site currently has 19055 active links. Over a fifth of the web sites that I've added to the site have gone dark already. FYI, I was hoping that the live count would top 20k before deleting link 5k; so I had stopped culling dead links for the last several weeks.

When I saw on my news reader that Circuit City is calling it quits. I decided to make their link the 5000th deletion. This was one of my few advertisers. My stats show that I them 1578 hits and made an astounding $58.17 for the effort.

Removing dead links always makes me sad. In many cases, it means that a person failed to realize a dream.

The primary reason that so many small web sites fail to realize their dreams is that no-one links to small business sites. People tend to get all jealous and link stingy when it comes to their neighbors.

Rather than doing something worthwhile like support the local community, people do silly things like writing absolutely inane posts that contribute nothing to the world. For example, I just read an idiotic piece from a Salt Lake blogger who was mourning the geese lost in the Hudson River crash.

What a Nimrod!

I would never do something like that.

My current focus on the community sites is a feature called Site of the Week. This is really just a blog about local web sites. I do the reviews on weekly schedule so that I can put them in an RSS feed. My stats show that there's current 2933 of these little beasties, and that the reviews have had 1.1 million page views. (When I delete a link, it deletes the review and the stats. I've probably deleted 300 reviews so far). The reviews are all poorly written because it is the link to web site that matters.

My most important reader is a gent named Googlebot. Googlebot doesn't seem to care much about the quality of the writing.

My hope is that people will subscribe to the RSS feed for their town, and might occasionally visit local business, artists, nonprofit or community sites in the feed.

To fund the review program, I made a cheesy little store of the day feature. Today's store of the day is MusicNotes which sells musical scores through the PC.

I estimate that the reviews make about $1 for every 1000 page views. So, I've made about $1,100 from this local site review program.

Speaking of RSS feeds: Blogger recently added a feature that lets people include an RSS feed in the side bar of their blog. As I have no shame, I put the feed rss.gif for the Store of the Day on the side bar of this blog.

All you have to do is pasted the URL of the feed in feed widget found on a layout manager. Blogger will post the most recent 5 entries from the feed.

I invite anyone who wants to promote their local web development community to add a feed for their town in their blog. For that matter, I would be happy to give people access to the review writer for their town if they contacted me.

BTW, The motive behind writing this blog post is to promote an effort to promote local web sites. In a round about way I am practicing what I preach in this blog.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

One for the Birds

Copyright and Photo CreditsThis thing where geese are taking down jetliners in New York has me livid.

I want to know the species of geese. If it was a flock of Canadian geese; then we have no choice but to invade our neighbors to the north.

In what will probably be the last great controversy of the Bush Administration, intelligence agents were found grilling geese in Central Park.

Adding to the flames, the agents were using the controversial brandy-boarding technique. With branding-boarding, one douses the goose in a marinade of soy sauce, lemon zest, with a garlic clove and a jigger of brandy. The agents tenderize the subject on a wooden board before tossing it on the grill.

Opponents to brandy boarding say that one gets absolutely no useful intelligence information from the technique. In a talking points memo, Bill O'Reilly, a leading advocate of brandy boarding, says the practice enhances flavor.

Fortunately, there were no human fatalities during the crash, although passenger Melanie Daniels, who was jet setting off to Bodega Bay, says the incident with The Birds shook her self confidence.

The Mainstream Media is full of human interest stories of this spectacular event. In the typical one-sided reporting of the MSM, there are no serious journalists giving the bird's view of things.

While Captain Chesley Sullenberger, pilot of US Airways Flight 1549, is praised by bipeds as a hero, opinion among the bird community is mixed. Honkers, a spokesbird for the Yonkers goose community is quoted as saying "I don't see what's all so special about landing on water. I landed on pond several times this morning. No-one made a deal about it." Buzzards Breath, a member of the NYC Aviary said: "I've been circling around just waiting for something like this to happen." Peter the penguin, who is skeptical of this whole flight thing, said: "If we were meant to fly, God would have given us wings … that worked."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Unpublished Drafts

I jotted off a series of blog posts that I will probably leave in the unpublished state. The posts were inspired by one of the "upcoming news stories" teasers they put on cable TV. The commercial asked "Is Ann Coulter Good for the Conservative Movement?"

So, I jotted off posts about the good and bad things about Ann Coulter, the O'Reilly Factor and the Hannity and Colmes show.

The general opinion was that the formulas used in conservative talk shows and books are okay for news entertainment. The techniques fall flat as a foundation for any substantive thought.

My Criticism of O'Reilly is O'Reilly's reactionary stance often carries an imprint of the things reacts against. Mr. O'Reilly correctly noted that the left had captured the media and that progressives use the media to engage in a culture war. O'Reilly learned the techniques at BU and Harvard, but made a career of aiming the techniques back on the media itself.

This is a great start for a news show.

The problem occurs when Bill O'Reilly tries to encourage others to become culture warriors. Doing such makes his culture war a foundational cause. This reactionary movement simply creates a mirror of the progressive's culture war. Even worse, the act of overtly declaring culture war creates an opportunity for the Left to project their methods on O'Reilly and the Republican party.

An example of this process ... the wikipedia article for the Colbert Report says that it started as a parody of the O'Reilly Factor.

Reactionaries create a resonating board for the radicals. Only a pinhead would make such a blunder.

The one show I really can't stand is a thing called "Hannity and Colmes." The premise of the show is sound. Network news is extremely biased. They use slick subliminal techniques to fight their culture war. Rather than creating a conservative news hour, Fox wanted to create a show where different hosts openly expressed news from their political perspectives.

The heart of the show is a conflict between Hannity (a righty) and Colmes (a lefty). The typical show has Hannity launching forth with a declarative statement, then Colmes would spit out whatever tagline seems best suited to deflect the brunt of Hannity's statement.

There are often panels where people simply yell past each other.

I believe that this show is detrimental to the Conservative movement as it makes the thesis/antithesis conflict between left and right the central focus of the show.

This conflict between la droite et la gouche was the foundation of the French Revolution and subsequent Reign of Terror. Why is Hannity spending so much effort perpetuating the central conflict of the French Revolution as if it were somehow foundational to the United States?

The United States worked becuase the founders had a great deal of faith in classical discourse and had a sincere belief that it would be possible to overcome some of the base conflicts that tore European society apart.

The classical thoughts on perspective fell more along the lines of: "There is a truth. Each of us see glimpses of this truth from our different points of view. Through open discourse, we are able to expand our understanding of truth and gradually improve our condition in the process."

The modern view is more along the line of: "Everything is relative. Each person has their own private truth which is created by their perspective. There are some underlying paradigms that evolve through a scientifically predictable system of thesis/antithesis conflicts. The intelligentsia can herd people through this evolutionary process by framing the primary conflicts of the day. This evolutionary dialectical process will lead to a promised, yet unspecified, utopian state."

A news show where people affirmatively stated: "This is my point of view and this is the way I see this event" would be wonderful. It would support the classical view that there are different perspectives of one truth.

IMHO, a show format built on a resounding dialectical conflict between the left and right capitualates the classical worldview at a foundational level.

Of course, when the primary objective of a mew network is to dominate the news, you can pretty much guarantee that the shows in the network will have fundamental flaws.

It is really sad that so many people take the rantings of O'Reilly and Hannity to be the position of the Republican party.

All public intellectuals in the conservative realm have the same problem: Public intellectuals need to develop a format for publishing their ideas. The easiest way to do this is to create a serial format. The challenge is that the form of a serial format can distort the message.

This, of course, is not a problem for progressives. Progressives hold the medium is the message. A progressive need simply look at each medium and ask "How do I use this medium to advance my partisan cause?"

The classical thinker, who holds that there is such a thing as truth, is always battling against the structures they create to carry their message. There is an awkward battle between their words and the format they choose to publish their words. This is the area where O'Reilly excels as he seems to understand the conflicts in the media.

Back to Ann Coulter. For each conservative in field of political satire, there's at least 20 competing for attention on the progressive side. Ann Coulter provides a challenge for a machine that herds people about through ridicule as she shows that the left is every bit equal to the ridicule heaped on the right.

I was disappointed with the timing of Coulter's new book. It hits the market right before the inauguration of a new president. The peaceful change in leadership is the beating heart of the American experiment. The vast majority of American conservatives support the presidency and are proud of the peaceful transfer of power. They love the numerous references Obama makes to Lincoln and sincerely want a government that works.

Timing the release of a satire book right before the inauguration is, IMHO, very bad form. I doubt, however, that Ms. Coulter was timing her books as such. It appears that she is simply producing a series of books and the timing is driven by the writing and editing process.

Ann Coulter's satire is fun to read. One can make satire of any person or group. Such is the nature of base humor. Satire, in and of itself, is not substantive. As such, I hope repbulicans never elevate Coulter into the top levels of their leadership.

Personally, I prefer the self effacing style of conservative humor perfected by Huckabee and other Republican leaders to the in-your-face style of Coulter and Franken.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

DNC Reform

I was pleased with Tim Kaine's Acceptance Speech for the DNC Chair. It would be wonderful if we could move beyond the structural negativity of the Howard Dean and Clinton years.

IMHO, it is in this area of civility that Obama can have the greatest impact.

As the Left controls public schools, the university, Hollywood and the press, reform of the Democratic Party would have a greater impact on our society than anything that any Republican could ever manage to do on their own.

I confess that there is blog is a landmine of harsh barbs directed at about progressives. The reason for these barbs is an attempt to use writing style I was taught in school in a self reflective way to point out that the shrill discourse that is ripping our world apart comes from the the intelligentsia that control our intellectual institutions.

Individuals tend to reflect the rational style of their society. Conservatives tend to reflect the intellectual climate as it is defined by the cultural institution.

Great examples of this are Bill O'Reilly who reflects the culture wars that raged in the newsroom when he was a young reporter. O'Reilly simply switched sides and openly discusses the effects of media bias. The O'Reilly "culture war" is an open acknowledgement of the culture war mantality that dominates American media. Oddly, Mr. O'Reilly seems to fail to understand that his call for Americans to join in the culture war perpetuates the divisions without solving the problem.

There is an opening for the people on the left, who control the schools, to start teaching logic and quality discourse again.

The right also is infected with people like Ann Coulter who has made a career bouncing Al Franken style attack satire back on the left. Her sattire is perhaps a step or two in quality above Franken.

These are not the people who define culture. They are people standing on the outside who reflect the prevailing style.

The cleanest path to a bright future would be for Democrats to realize that socialism isn't the utopia, as Marx promised, and that the tools developed by the left to manipulate the masses that our schools fail to educate simply create a bitter, divided impoverished society.

The Democrat's 50 state strategy is a good strategy as the American political system really needs a steady change in leadership. Republicans might be wise to match this.

The Republican strategy of Libertarians and Conservatives united in a common fear of Democrats will continue to fail if Democrats adopted true civility in discourse, practiced fiscal reserve, encouraged small businesses, discouraged abusive financial practices (like credit default swaps and short selling).

The Conservative/Libertarian union against the Republicans would fail utterly if Democrats reformed, discarded the material dialectic, and started behaving better than the Republicans.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Regulation and the Debt Bomb

Americans are demanding a more centralized economy with greater regulations. As I look at recent economic news, I find myself asking: Would a strict regulatory regime stop debt bombs? Would stronger regulations have prevented the Madoff Ponzi scheme?

I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that the answer to both questions is "No."

The reason I answer in the negative is that scams such as these are adept at using the trust created by regulators. The scammers start by studying the regulatory and reporting processes. They then present information in such a way that pass regulatory scrutiny.

A confidence scam works by building confidence in a fantasy. The short cut to building that confidence is to dupe or pay off a regulator.

It honest people, who do everything in their power to present clean data to regulators, that get shut down by the regulators. An honest company, whose books reflect reality, will often be present data that falls short of the regulator's ideals, and they pay the price for honesty.

The honest player is wide open for abuse because their backs are toward the truth. The player who is willing to fudge the data to please the regulators fares much better.

On the vein of reality coming up short, it is possible for a strict regulatory regime to end up manufacturing future crises as people feel pressured into presenting the world view that the regulators want to see as opposed to the world as it is.

Looking into news archives, one finds that Madoff, Golden West, FreddieMac Washington Mutual, Enron, Worldcom and many other companies at the center of scandalous business implosions were praised by both the media and regulators before their collapse.

One of the greatest scandals of all occurred during one of the most progressive undertakings in history. Mao's Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) collectivized the entire agricultural segment of China. The political program set extraordinarily ambitious production goals for the members of the collectives.

The commune leaders were tasked with meeting the goals of the five year plan or being denounced as bourgeoisie and struggled against. They shipped massive quantities of food to the central regime, as the quotas demanded. The bureaucrats balanced the books with the stomaches of the people. Estimates of the dead range from 14 to 43 million.

I confess, don't share the progressive view that a centralized society burdened by a restrictive regulatory regime and command and control political structure is paradise.

I disagree with the goal.

Pushing me further from the norm, I think the methodology used to bring about the current transfer of power will end up undermining the new regulatory regime.

The method was to present recent economic history as a foundational dichotomy between regulation and deregulation.

The problem with this mehtod is that it creates deep political divisions. Regulators in societies wracked by deep political divisions are apt to make regulatory rulings for political expediency. In my opinion, a regulatory regime that weighs in political affiliation is ripe for abuse.

I am disenchanted with both the means and ends used to engineer a demand for political change.

I find that I prefer the classical liberal approach.

The classical liberal methology is to find a minimal number of well enforced regulations needed for a functioning society. As it is impossible to derive a perfect set of regulations from the ether, a classical liberal regime is always on the lookout for changes needed in the system. There is always change as society tries new regulations and reject those that fall flat; however, such a system avoids makings changes for the sole sake of change.

Such a system can lead to prosperity. Sadly, such systems get get labeled with the snarl word "conservative."

We don't want prosperity. We want change!

Couldn't Make It a Week, pathetic

Since becoming a progressive on the first of the year, I've been really charged. I opened the year with a new front against the oppressive traditions of the material bound American bourgeoisie.

Anyway, I got ahead of myself and started imagining the influence I will have with all of the links that will magically appear with the news that I am back in the fold.

I logged into blogger today to manage my follower list.

This brings up a grammatical question: Do you treat zero as singular or plural?

My twitter followers decremented by two. I am surprised that there's anyone in that list at all. People on Twitter should be more careful of the company they keep.

My technorati score is still 1.

Of course, as a pariah (a gentile in Utah's Zion) I've learned that few win the popularity game. Most of us must spin our webs from our own silk. Here is a picture of a spider web to illustrate:

Microstock – Spider Web

In my eagerness to show my mastery of progressive thought, I broke one of the cardinal rules of the game: One should never discuss methodology in public. The intelligentsia seeks an avant-garde that practices the method without analyzing it.

That's where I always fall down. For example, in the last post, I lauded the native cunning involved in framing the economic debate as a foundational dichotomy between "regulation" and "deregulation."

My post should have been stuck to projecting the losing side of the dichotomy onto the people's enemies, while claiming the winning side for the party. My egotistical desire to show my mastery of the method undermined the effectiveness of the post.

Bad form. Bad form indeed.

The tact of was beautiful. The false dichotomy set progressives up for a power grab and mandate with the inherent ups and downs of the business cycles.

The method was carried off with such skill, that it was a thing of beauty. With a few Ponzy-schemes, short attacks and debt bombs, people spun about during the economic calamity without a clue of how to act. This was perhaps the most skillfully engineered paradigm shifts that any of us will experience in our life time. We should praise the engineers!

It would be so fun to jump on board and join in on the reaping of whirlwind. Unfortunately, my crotchety feeble brain always fails when I get into questions about ends justifying the means. This brain ends up rejecting both the ends and the means. Go Figure?

The economic chaos of 2008 has left us with a body politic demanding aggressive regulation and business community dominated by players begging government manna. Unable to get with the flow, I am still stuck on the question: Will increased regulation solve the problems that surfaced in 2008?

I will answer in the next post.

Unfortunately, before writing the post, I am left to concede that my effort to become a progressive failed within the first week.

Another New Years Resolution gone sour.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Regulating Conservatives

My last post numbers me among the progressives. So I have been really psyched and feeling on top of the world.

In this vein, I thought I would follow up with a post on why people should avoid the labels of "Libertarian" or "Conservative."

At the very top my list is the unfortunate fact that Libertarians and Conservatives are a bunch of chumps.

Progressives are extremely clever. They know they cannot win the power they crave through open debate; So, the strategy is to manipulate the debate at a subliminal level. The process is called capture. If you capture the Universities and press, you position yourself so that you can define the debate. History shows that the army that chooses the battlefield usually wins.

A great example of this technique was the concerted effort to frame the conservative approach to economic reform as "deregulation."

Deregulation clearly is not foundational to "conservatism." One meaning of conservative is resistance to change. As such, conservatives are apt to let a bad regulation stand simply to avoid change.

Now, it is true that most Libertarians and a fair portion of Republicans* dislike centralized command and control structures; However, simply disliking something does not make it foundational. This is especially true of ideologies in the Aristotelian tradition. Such ideologies tend to define propositions in the affirmative and that take great strides to avoid paradox.

Deregulation is the negation of regulation. It is not good material for a foundational belief.

The traditional Republican view of the world is best described as "freedom under the law." This ideology seeks to create a society with a minimum of enforced and effective laws.

The Republican tradition often favors the stability of laws to attempts to engineer society by adding or removing regulations. Deregulation for the sake of deregulation is antithetical to this view.

Digging into Libertarian literature, one finds Libertarians are even more committed to the analytical ideas of Aristotle than the Republicans.

Yes, Libertarians are generally cheering on efforts to remove regulations. This is because they hold fervently to a core set of well examined principles. Libertarians oppose regulations that are against the core principles. Conversely, they are strong supporters of the law that fit their principles. Deregulation is not foundational to Libertarianism. The principle of liberty and the protection of property rights is core to the ideology.

Republicans and Libertarians are anxious to reduce the number of laws, but deregulation, per se, is not foundational to the philosophies.

I think a person would have to be a complete fool to hold "deregulation" as a foundational concept. The term is defined in the negative. Anyone foolish enough to hold "deregulation" as the foundation of their belief system is essentially capitulating on the premise that regulation is the natural state of man.

I don't want to be a fool. I want to be admired for my cunning. The dialectician is the most cunning of all. The Marxist dialectical view is the beating heart of modern progressivism.

The dialectical world view explains political trends in terms of foundational conflicts. Political minds would revel in the dichotomy beteen regulation and deregulation as such minds would see the strategic placement and removal of blocks as steps on the path to power. One need simply find chumps onwhich to project the two halves of the dichotomy and they are set and ready to politick.

A dialectician delights in framing recent economic history as a dichotomy between regulation and deregulation. For that matter, one can properly say that the dichotomy between regulation and deregulation is the very essences of the modern progressive view.

The forefathers of the modern progressive believed that socialist paradise would magically appear after a glorious event called "The Revoluton." They constructed an artificial dichotomy between the proletariate and bourgeoisie. The revolution just killed a lot of people and failed to bring paradise on earth.

The children of the movement realized that the better way to gain a stranglehold on society is with the constrictive grip. This idea can best be described with the analogy of two-steps-forward-for-each-step-back. If one is seeking to transform a free society into a centralized command and control structure, the most effective path is to play on natural political cycles.

Americans, in particular, hate an entrenched political class. An overriding theme in all elections is "Throw the bums out."

When a progressive bum is on the throne, there is an opportunity to substantially increase the size and scope of government. When kicked off, one takes a well publicized half step back while framing any loosening of the command and control state as "deregulation."

The next transfer of power sets the system up for another turn of the screw.

The really funny thing about this last cycle is that the blazing fools who held power in the down years actually did more to increase the scope and power of the federal government than any leader since LBJ.

Don't you see how fiendishly clever the whole thing is? Simply by framing economic debate as a dichotomy between regulation and deregulation, the progressives set themselves up for a guaranteed to win.

The process is simple, coax a few foolish Conservatives and Libertarians into arguing the Regulation/Deregulation debate, and the free society will gladly don chains and willing render themselves up as slaves.

Lakoff, Soros and Chomsky know full well what they are doing.

Meanwhile, Conservatives, who were chomping at the bit for a change to engage in the debate, were chumps from the beginning by accepting the terms imposed on them.

The method is so cunning that it is enough to make a person sneer.

So, with a big fat sneer on my snout, I thought I would end this post by pathetic video I discovered on YouTube today. The video was made by some chumps with a site called Naked Emperor News. Judging from the date of the video, it was an attempt to influence the 2008 election. The video shows clips from 2004 of Republicans trying to impose regulations of FreddieMac and FannieMae. The Democrats argued for deregulation and were openly hostile to the regulators.

NakedEmperorNews probably thinks that they are pointing out left wing hypocrisy, when they are really just showing how the masters of the game play them for fools.

** Apparently there are many Republicans who believe in the command and control approach to government. Republicans dramatically increased the size of government under Bush. It would be unfair to say that all Republicans believe in limited government just as it would be unfair to say all Democrats are progressives.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Goth Funeral Rights

I did an end of the year check of the statistics for my blog. It still has a technorati score of 1, and very few inbound links (compared to the number of posts).

I think this is because I have more sympathy for the libertarian and conservative view than for the dialectic progressive.

Wanting to build some inbound links, I thought I would take a progressive stand on an issue.

This last year, I was surprised at the inroads made on the gay marriage issue.

This issue surprised me as I was for gay marriage back in the 80s. Back then, militants in the gay lobby shouted down gay marriage because they were against all forms of marriage. I stopped supporting gay marriage in my youth because I decided it wasn't sufficiently progressive.

Having flipped on the issue, I decided to avoid flopping on it when the idea is considered progressive again.

Fortunately, in my progressive days, I was taught to deconstruction ideas; So, I figure that the way to regain a progressive allure is to deconstruct the gay marriage movement and create a similar movement for a different issue.

Deconstruction, as you know, is a super politically correct form of literary criticism. What I am doing is so cool, avant-garde and wonderful that I am amazed with myself. I am like a step beyond progressive at the moment. I am like in a state of transcendent progressivism. It feels wonderful.

Okay, marriage is a cultural institution formed around the sexual reproductive process. The reproduction process involves passing DNA from a male and female in the procreation of a third being.

Progressive thinkers have framed the reproduction system as an artificial contrivance of George W. Bush, the Pope and Hitler. Anyone who believes that life on the planet earth propagates through sexual reproduction is framed as a hater.

That gig's been done.

I decided that my progressive cause should have the same basic form. What I need to do is find another cultural tradition centered on a core life event.

Then it dawned on me. Funerals are wide open. Some religions really take their funerals seriously. They have big ceremonies with thousands of people attending. People at funerals are often overwrought with emotion; so you can work up a really good reaction when you disrupt a burial with a naked protest.

So, I decided my progressive demand for 2009 is that Goth Funerals be declared the legal equivalence to funerals for the dead.

The traditional funeral starts when a doctor declares, at some arbitrary point, that a person is dead. Despite what anyone says, science cannot declare with certainty the instant of death.

After this arbitrary declaration of death, the bereaved gather at funeral home, have a religious or civil ceremony then either bury or incinerate the remains.

On the legal side: when people die, they get a social security death benefit, and life insurance policies pay up.

A Goth Funeral happens when a sultry young thing realizes that life is so bleak and dismal that they stop identifying with the living. This sad creature transforms into a dark looming corpse that wanders around in an undead state. When a person feels like clicking the second choice on a form asking "To be or not to be?" they are primed for a goth funeral.

To Be, Not To Be

People who've come to the conclusion that they are vampires suffer the same plight. They aren't really living, but are oppressed by a state that refuses to give them death certificates.

So, my progressive demand is that people who realize they are undead should be allowed to have a goth funeral. The bereaved would gather around and have a tax-exempt party to mourn the passing from living to undead. Social security should pay a death benefit, and the heirs of the newly undead should be allowed to collect any insurance benefits held by the recently not-quite-yet-deceased.

The undead should then be allowed to sue cemeteries, and demand that cemeteries provide heated caskets and restroom facilities in their mausoleums so that the undead will be able to sleep in the cemetery with all of the other dead people.

NOTE, a heated casket is a cross between burial and incineration and is the choice of the discerning undead.

With a little luck, my demands might irk some right wing religious group. Like all discrimination in the world, the discrimination against the undead is a product of religion. I hope that some quirky right wing religion takes a stand against my redefinition of death. If we get this thing set up right, we can really run the religious kooks into a corner.

The funerals-are-for-the-dead crowd is really just a group of small minded religious haters.

I say that it is time for the undead to stand up and demand their rights! They should be given all the rights and privileges awarded by George W. Bush, the Pope and Hitler to the dead.

The insurance investigators who deny life insurance simply because they have pictures of a person wandering around in dark clothes and thick black makeup should be labeled what they really are: Haters. They are evil people who misunderstand and hate the undead.

The one legal hang up I am still working on in is that the undead should not be denied the right to vote. But, looking at the large number of people of people in cemeteries who register and vote each year, it may not be that big of a hang up after all.

Join Me in the Cause

I started the year by opening a bright new front for progressive change.

I invite living and undead alike to link to my new progressive cause.

This is going to be so great. I can almost feel the sun glistening off my flumpy pectorals. I just hope that I don't accidentally fall back into being a curmudgeon as the year wears on.