Thursday, July 2, 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Quote of the Day, Ace of Spades edition

 Via the Ace of Spades.
A culture without any rough parts, without any Proud Nails that won't be pounded down, without any Strangeness that people just insist upon because it's Their Culture, That's Why, is not a culture at all. 
It's a fucking shopping mall. It's a fucking Airport Neutral Palate Color Scheme. It's the gray paste they feed to people in comas. 
It's nothing. Nothing.
I don't think it will ever be said any better than that. They don't want culture. They want a can of perfectly packed, perfectly identical taxpaying cogs. Fit in, spin when you're supposed to, don't squeak, don't think. And they are getting it.

Thus does the Republic fade out.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

We don't want to ban guns, we just want to prohibit them within 5 miles of a school...

How is within 5 miles of a school not a ban? Here's Houston, with a mark on the map for each elementary school, middle school, high school, college and university. Note the scale at the bottom right. That's 5 miles.

Here's approximately what that map looks like when you expand each dot to a 5 mile radius circle. (I missed a few, but you get the idea.) Note the scale is still there.

No gun ban indeed.

Monday, April 13, 2015

So if we're not going to pay down the debt...

I've discussed the national debt on multiple occasions. It's very clear that we as a people are far too childish and needy to do what must be done to take responsibility and pay off the debt, and even if we weren't a bunch of overgrown babies, our attention spans are too short to work towards a 100 year goal. There's more - there is the consideration of the growing population, and the effect on the world that would occur if we started to pay down the debt. There's the fact that if interest rates rise, even a little, our government wouldn't be able to handle the increased cost.

So yes, I think it's safe to assume that we are not going to pay down the national debt. So what does that mean?

It must mean that the FED will continue to create money and suppress interest rates. In other words, QE Forever.

The US government cannot let interest rates rise, and must continue to try to extend the rollover of the debt as far as possible. This is something the whole world is trying to do. Recently Switzerland issued 10 year debt with negative yields. Mexico indicated they would issue 100 year debt! The US will keep pushing longer yield times and lower interest rates, to try to buy more time and keep the cost of the debt down. Meanwhile this will increase the magnitude of the debt, but stabilize the interest we are paying each year.

This near decade long easy money policy has already created asset bubbles and massive malinvestment. The NASDAQ has more than tripled since the last market correction while the housing sector, which crashed so spectacularly with the "Great Recession" and which is generally considered to be a strong indicator of the health of the economy, has taken 6 years to recover to a mere 45% of its former heights. The last time the housing sector crashed this hard was during the Savings and Loan Crisis, which, incidentally was followed up by the.. drum roll... Dot Com Bubble. Yes, the markets are soaring on waves and waves of easy money, created by the FED and pumped in by their asset purchases. Everyone is wearing rose colored classes and loving the euphoria - they're addicted to it.

Does anyone think the FED can uncreate the monster it has created? Unwind the asset purchases and tighten the money supply without creating an international firestorm? I didn't think so.

So again, what does it mean?

I think it means, and maybe someone else will dissuade me, that the FED will be forced to hyperinflate and destroy our currency and our debt along with it. It's happened before, and will happen again. The only question is how much damage will it cause when it does happen. Of the $18+ trillion in US debt, over $5 trillion is intragovernmental - social security, medicare, pensions, etc. That will all be gone. Another $6.5 trillion belongs to Americans, individuals, 401ks, IRAs, businesses, banks, etc.; only about a third of our debt is foreign. So when it gets wiped out, so does the capital/savings of an enormous number of Americans.

I don't know if we will really end up carrying heaps of worthless cash in a wheelbarrow to buy a loaf of moldy bread, but again, it's happened before. I hope we can avoid it somehow.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Gun Free Zone in Kenya: Over 500 hostages taken at Garissa University

Gun free zones don't work - especially in turbulent areas. We should take note of this and make sure that we tell our legislators that we want our students to be able to protect themselves.
NAIROBI — Gunmen stormed a university in northern Kenya on Thursday, taking nearly 600 students and staff members hostage. At least 21 people were killed and 65 others seriously wounded, officials said. 
Heavy gunfire was reported at the Garissa University campus as the Kenyan military tried to end the siege. The Somali-based al-Shabab terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack. 
Kenya Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said 533 students are being held hostage and 282 have been rescued. The total number of students at the school is 815. Sixty staff members, including the principal, are also being held.
These are the same guys that killed 67 at another gun free zone (a mall) a couple of years ago.
Al-Shabab has carried out several attacks in Garissa and across Kenya in the past few years, including the 2013 attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that left 67 people dead, and others on mosques in Mombasa, a coastal city in the east. 
Nairobi-based security analyst Abdiwahab Sheikh said the incident highlights how the government has failed to shore up security in the country. 
"The government has not learned anything from the Westgate attack," he said. "How do you allow terrorists to take students hostage for more 10 hours? I think our security forces need to learn from the past." 
Recall that carrying at all is prohibited in Kenya, so the entire country is a gun free zone. It's no wonder that terrorists can act with impunity there.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Talking the long view on the national debt

The average age that a woman first gives childbirth is about 25 years. That means that if we pay down only $180B (1%) a year the national debt will last to our grandchildren's grandchildren.

Yet, as crazy as this sounds, it would it take a miracle to convince anyone - ANYONE - in Congress to make it happen. After all, our current obligations already carry $435B a year in interest. That means we'd have to dedicate about $615 billion dollars towards the debt, and not accumulate any more.

Federal revenues in 2014 were about $3 trillion. That would leave about $2.4 trillion for all of the rest of the spending, but we spent $3.5 trillion! So not only do we have to dedicate more money toward the debt, we have to cut a LOT more out of our spending.

Exactly which politician is going to cut $680 billion dollars, and out of which programs? Are we going to end medicare or social security? Because that is what it would take. Is the Republican party going to do that? Are the Democrats?

No. We have no one, anywhere with the willingness to do what it takes. Even if we did, even if they were in elected office, they wouldn't be able to overcome the demagoguery that exists. If it were possible to overcome this, if it were possible to convince 100 years of legislators and citizens that they had to pay off the debt for their great-great-great-great-great (that's right, 5 greats) grandchildren, we still have to contend with the growing population. Some estimates put us at close to 600 million by 2100, fifteen years before the debt would be paid off.

Every one of those additional 285 million people would need to be willing to go without any government handouts. And if the trend in takers continues as it is, we'll be suffering 300 million loafers in this country. We'll have to somehow deal with them too. But we won't. We've become a nation of children, petulant, demanding children, unwilling to detach from the teat of mommy.