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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reader Mail #68

I liked this article. The financial industry has lost nearly $1 trillion in market capitalization in the past year. The stock market as a whole lost $4 trillion in market capitalization.



I liked this article. (Linking on that blog doesn't work. The post was "Vindicated by Bernard Pollard".) Someone started an online fantasy football league where you re-draft players each week. This way, if one of your top players has a season-ending injury, you aren't eliminated from the league. He cited as an example "What if you draft Tom Brady and he's injured week 1?" Then, that actually happened.



I liked this article on the Liberty Papers, in reference to this YouTube video.

Due to the recent bailout of FRE/FNM/AIG, the USA is effectively socialist. (AIG was not mentioned in that video.)

This bailout makes the USA more socialist/communist than China!

It isn't proper socialism. It's socialism for wealthy people only! If you're a billionaire and mismanage your business, you get a bailout. If you're a working poor person, lose your job, and can't pay your mortgage, then you lose your house!

Risk is something that the average person faces. Politically connected insiders have no risk.



This post on Bill Rempel had an error. He was citing a closed-end junk bond mutual fund that is trading for a substantial discount to its Net Asset Value. For a regular mutual fund, shareholders may redeem/purchase shares. The Net Asset Value must be fairly calculated, lest shareholders be cheated by people purchasing/redeeming shares.

For a closed-end mutual fund, there is no guarantee that Net Asset Value equals market value. Closed-end mutual funds may trade for a substantial discount to Net Asset Value for years or permanently.

Suppose the closed-end mutual fund were charging a management fee of 2% per year, while comparable funds charge 1% or less. In that case, it would make sense for the fund to always trade at a discount to Net Asset Value.

Purchasing a closed-end mutual fund that is trading at a discount to Net Asset Value probably isn't a good deal. Some hedge fund would have made the indicated arbitrage if it were a good deal.

If a closed-end mutual fund is trading for a substantial premium to Net Asset Value, short selling it probably isn't an option. You probably wouldn't be able to locates shares to borrow and short sell.



This post on the Picket Line is completely missing the point.

Some war tax resisters are filing blank tax returns. Some are filing a correct return, but including a protest letter with their return. Some people write "All rights reserved UCC 1-207" on their tax return. The IRS is fining these people for "filing a frivolous return".

Doing any of the above is like filing a tax return that says "**** you IRS! I'm an idiot and want to be harassed!"

If you're a true tax protester/resister, your best option is agorism. You should focus on generating wealth that is not automatically reported to the IRS. If you have some slave income and some free market income, you should report all your slave income and file a correct return based on that. It is pointless to resist taxes on income that is automatically reported to the IRS.



On a discussion forum about how lousy Spore is, I liked this graphic. Spore seems to be as big a disaster as Master of Orion 3. In case you can't read the caption, it's "EPIC FAILURE - When everyday run-of-the-mill failure just isn't good enough."





I liked this post on no third solution. The Federal government's ban on medical marijuana usurps individual state sovereignty. A Federal district court ruled this was a real problem.



I liked this post on StackOverflow, via Hacker News. It's a list of favorite programmer cartoons.

StackOverflow seems like a potentially cool site. It's a combination of Digg, Forum, and wiki engine. It's doing a good job of "growing organically" rather than hugely promoted. However, after a brief experiment, I got bored with StackOverflow.

This post was linked on that thread, which was also amusing.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. He had a good bit on the "Broken Window Fallacy". However, he came short of explicitly saying "Taxation is theft!"



I liked this article, via Hacker News. Someone hacked into Sarah Palin's Yahoo E-Mail account.

Politicians like using non-government E-Mail accounts. This way, if there is a dispute, the E-Mails cannot be subpoenaed. This tactic was used by the Bush administration. They used RNC E-Mail accounts. The requested E-Mails "mysteriously disappeared".



I liked this article, via Hacker News. Digg banned a bunch of users for using scripts to auto-Digg.

I liked the story from the point of view of someone who was banned. If you're a power-user on Digg, you have to Digg all the other power-users' stories and then they'll Digg all of your stories. This is essentially reciprocal gaming of the situation. Digging everyone else's stories was too much work, so he started using scripts.

A site like Digg is totally gameable. Stackoverflow is a better, but still abusable, Digg-like engine.

I should write my own Digg/wiki engine. It's on my "list of things to do". For now, I think I'll get a regular corporate wage slave job.

If your personal interests don't match the interests of other Digg users, then you won't like the content presented on Digg. A better version of Digg would have an individual homepage customized for each user, rather than a single global homepage. Each individual's homepage content would be based on what other users they said they liked, plus a fit based on what they Dugg/buried. I.e., if another user's interests match yours 99%, then highlight what that user likes.



I liked this post on RadGeek. Most mainstream writers and academic writers use big fancy language. This makes them sound intelligent, while they're speaking gibberish. It's better to use plain simple language.

Some people say that, because I use mostly plain simple language, I'm not a good writer. It's *GOOD* to use simple language.

When reading a blog or website, I can almost tell right away if it's worth reading. If it uses plain simple language, then it's much more likely to have good content.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. Someone broke into Sarah Palin's Yahoo E-Mail account. It turns out that it was the son of a Tennessee democratic state representative Mike Kernell.



This series of posts, via Hacker News, is "The Art of Money Getting" by P. T. Barnum. He had some interesting bits. "Don't go into debt, except to buy a house." "Don't start a business on borrowed money." (In other words, don't accept venture capital.) Unfortunately, with a State central bank credit monopoly, most people who want to start a business must raise capital directly or indirectly from a bank.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. It's an interview with a hedge fund manager.

When the hedge fund industry started expanding 10-20 years ago, hiring mangers were more creative. They were looking for general intelligence. Now, a typical hiring manager wants someone with the "perfect" pedigree.

I noticed that with software engineering as well. In the 1990s, it was "Just hire someone smart." Now, it's "I want someone with 5 years of C# experience, 8 years of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 experience, 3 years of PHP experience, 5 years of VB.NET experience, etc."

I suspect a lot of applicants custom-edit their resume for each job. In other words, they lie. I don't do this, primarily because I don't want to waste time working for fools.

A "6-sigma" event is one that is 6 standard deviations away from normal. A "6-sigma event" happens every few months. The assumptions underlying most financial models are wrong, so outlier events occur disproportionately too often. Large banks always qualify for a bailout, so there is no incentive for them to plan for rare huge losses.

The supply/demand for CDOs was backwards. Normally, the correct way to raise money is to say "I have an idea for business. Let's raise money." With CDOs, the plan was "We have all these mortgages. Let's try to repackage them so people can buy them. Slap an AAA rating on them, and clueless schmucks will buy them." An AAA rating from a credit rating agency means nothing. By the time a downgrade occurs, the debt is trading at junk prices.

The subprime mortgage problem also caused overinvestment in housing construction. A lot of houses were built without sufficient demand in terms of population growth. Some of the $1 trillion bailout was wasted building homes that didn't need to be built.

I liked this article, via Hacker News. It's a continuation of the interview with the hedge fund manager.

He writes about "zombie banks". A zombie bank is a bank that is technically insolvent, but it's still operating. The bank refuses to write down its bad loans. Nobody will invest in the bank, because they don't have a true picture of its financial health. The bank can't make new loans, because it has so many bad loans on its books. This was a problem in Japan. This is currently a problem in the USA, except that the Federal government is bailing out the remaining large banks.

I also liked one of the comments on the Hacker News site. Everybody always knew that a huge bailout is inevitable. First, a few people are pulled out at random and shot (Bear, Lehman, AIG). Then, everyone else is rescued.

During the next financial crunch, another few banks will be selected for bankruptcy, while the rest are bailed out. As a non-insider, you don't know which banks will qualify for a bailout, and which will be allowed to fail. Even though Goldman Sachs has a great track record of lobbying the State for favors, that may not continue in the future, especially if insiders make a fortune short selling against expectations of a bailout that never occurs.



This article, via Hacker News, had a bunch of interesting photos. It was pictures of weird geographic features.



I liked this post on the Picket Line. Congress is contemplating changing the tax treatment of IRAs and 401(k) plans. This effectively breaks previous promises that these retirement accounts were tax-exempt. This punishes anyone who planned for retirement and saved in such an account.

The best savings plan is physical gold or silver. You aren't taxed on gains, if you sell off-the-books for cash. You can pass physical metal to your heirs or other people without paying taxes.



I liked this post on Naked Capitalism, via Hacker News. For the huge banking industry $700 billion bailout bill, the Secretary of Treasury was given total discretion about how to spend the money. He may literally do as he pleases with a $700 billion blank check.

There were some interesting comments. The Treasury is limited to $700 billion at any time, and not $700 billion total loss. The Treasury may buy assets for $300 billion, then immediately sell them back for $150 billion, then buy them again for $300 billion, repeating indefinitely.

$700 billion could be spent establishing new banks, instead of bailing out the failing ones.

Essentially, the banks are bailed out because they are selling their assets at above-market prices. This is a transfer of wealth from the government to the bankers, which is slightly inaccurate because the bankers already effectively own the government.

There were *LOTS* of comments on that post!



I liked this article, via Hacker News, on the rotating grid optical illusion.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. The online gambling ban affects Second Life, because participants may earn real-world money based on their performance in the game. Technically, all business currently occurring on Second Life is illegal, if you interpret the online gambling ban literally.

I also liked some of the comments.

The stock market is essentially online gambling, but it's perfectly legal.

Insurance companies and fantasy sports leagues specifically got an exemption named into the bill! Does that make tradesports and intrade technically legal?



I liked this post on Art of the Possible, via Hacker News. Pro-State trolls say "The US followed laissez-faire in the 19th century and early 20th century, and that was a disaster!"

There never was a true free market in the USA. There was always extensive regulation. Most "problems" were due to existing regulations. These problems were solved with more regulations.

There were several huge market distortions in the falsely-labeled "free market" era.
  1. After the Civil War, regulation of the banking industry effectively nationalized the banking industry.
  2. A handful of people were given State monopoly/oligopoly licenses to operate railroads.
  3. Limited liability incorporation encouraged irresponsible behavior by management of nearly insolvent corporations. Limited liability incorporation allows ownership and control to be segregated.
  4. Due to regulation of banking, large banks were able to collude to cause boom/bust cycles.

I'm surprised "Art of the Possible" was discussed on Hacker News.



I liked this post on rec.humor.funny. It's about "Harry Potter and the Curse of Subprime Mortgages".



I liked this post by Mark Cuban. The Treasury Secretary has an unlimited blank check to spend the $700 billion bailout money as he chooses. Mark Cuban demands transparency regarding how this $700 billion is spent.

FAT CHANCE OF THAT!! (Mark Cuban agrees.)

More accurately, "The Treasury Secretary has $700 billion that he may give to his friends."

Mark Cuban says that the CEOs should be fired and replaced. I'm available! I can handle running a $100 billion bank. "Write bad loans, then lobby for bailout." It's a time-tested business model.



This post on RadGeek had an interesting story of a woman harassed by monopolistic State police.

He made an interesting point. Poverty is 100% caused by the State.

It is statistically built into the rules of the monetary system and political system that there will be a certain number of poor people.



This post on Democracy Sucks about predatory pricing sort of missed the point.

Established corporations are shielded from competition by the State. Therefore, it pays for large corporations to bankrupt their smaller competitors. With oligopoly/monopoly status, they may now jack up prices.

Without the State, predatory pricing is senseless. If you price goods below cost, you lose money. If you establish a monopoly and jack up prices, you will be facing competition.

Predatory pricing only makes sense when there are State-imposed barriers to forming new businesses.

He linked to this post on Anarchy in Your Head. If your prices are too high, you're gouging. If prices are too low, you're "predatory pricing". If your prices are the same as your competitors, you're colluding.



I liked this post on out of step. It pays to write/speak, even to an audience that agrees with you. It helps them put their ideals into practice.

Some of my commenters claim that their first exposure to agorism was when I mentioned it. My Google Analytics statistics are increasing. I read stories of other people starting agorist trading groups. I plan to put my ideas into practice sometime in the next few years.



Steve Pavlina wrote a book, and it made top 1000 sales rank on Amazon.com. He was even offering free copies to bloggers who promote his book. I didn't bother asking him for one.

He has a good blog, but I probably won't bother with the book. He writes about personal development, but not from an anarchist or free market perspective.



I liked this article on ars technica, via Hacker News. Did Google reverse engineer Windows when it wrote Chrome? Some people noticed undocumented OS calls in the source code.

Technically, this violates the Windows license agreement, if Google reverse engineered Windows to write a good application. In practice, Microsoft would be wasting money and suffer huge publicity losses by suing Google.



I liked this Google Video on "Don't Talk to the Police". When you are questioned by the police, no matter what the circumstances, you should assert your 5th amendment rights and say nothing.

Even if you are innocent and tell the truth, talking to the police can be damaging. If the police have questionable evidence that contradicts your true statements, you will be made to seem a liar during the trial.

If you say 99% stuff that makes you look good and 1% incriminating things, then only the 1% incriminating things will be mentioned in a trial.

If a policeman has already decided he's going to arrest you, you can't "talk him out of it".

As an agorist, your goal should be to never attract the attention of the police in the first place. By the time you're talking to a policeman or IRS agent, you've probably already lost. At that point, the best-case scenario is an acquittal after a lengthy trial.

I also liked this followup video.

The policeman made an interesting point. Suppose the police is interrogating a suspect. The suspect's time is being wasted, and he's a prisoner. The policeman is getting paid, and collecting overtime if necessary. A State employee has no incentive for efficiency, because they get paid either way. If it takes 10 hours of overtime to get a confession, then the policeman has the incentive to take the 10 hours, because he gets paid anyway.

The policeman made another interesting point. Even though it's "innocent until proven guilty", juries by default assume "If you weren't guilty, then you wouldn't be in a trial." There's an assumption of extreme efficiency by State employees.

He also mentions how police are "professional witnesses" (testilying). For example, if you're the victim in a tax evasion trial, then the person testifying for the IRS will be someone who's a professional witness.

He mentions how, in a felony trial, the State is the plaintiff, and not the actual victim. In other words, suppose A assaults B. The criminal trial is not "B vs. A", it's "State vs. A". B is the property of the State, so when B is injured, A is a criminal for damaging State property.

That video focused mostly on real crimes (burglary, rape) and not "victimless crimes" (tax evasion, prostitution, or possession of marijuana).

I also liked the way the policemen said he "interviews" people and does not "interrogate" them. He said "interrogate" has negative connotations, but "interview" does not.

Also, the police videotape everything during the interrogation, but have no obligation to keep the videotape or include it as evidence. The policeman can merely read a transcript. The police use the videotape only if it helps their cause.

If I attempt blatant-in-public agorism, then the police will know what I'm doing ahead of time, if they decide to arrest me. It probably is still sound advice to refuse to speak to the police. I still advise to pursue a "jury nullification" defense while representing yourself. You can wait until the trial to tell your side of the story.

The resources of the State seem far superior. Even if you go for 100% secrecy and privacy, there are too many mistakes you can make. Agorism appears to be the only morally defensible economic and political philosophy.



I liked this post on the Picket Line. It's about the big financial industry bailout and the FDIC "insurance".

The FDIC insurance fund is a legal fiction, just like the Social Security Trust Fund. There are no tangible assets stored in either fund, so they're meaningless. A surplus in those areas is merely offset by deficit spending elsewhere. The FDIC insurance is a hidden tax on bank accounts.



I *REALLY* liked this post, via Hacker News. Someone decided that, rather than cooking for himself, he would hire a cook. Salaries for cooks are only $9-$15/hr, so he figured he'd be better off hiring a cook instead of doing it himself. He put an ad on Craigslist.

He wound up hiring a woman who would cook in her apartment and then deliver the food. That is agorism! It's even better if the woman isn't reporting the income as taxes (she's a fool if she is)! That woman probably does not have a State-endorsed food license. I am so impressed!

I’m eating better than ever, and cheaper than if I was going out to restaurants.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. It's a fairy tale about computer programming.



I liked this article about how new technologies are developed and deployed. At one time, computers and the Internet were only accessible to hard-core techies. Now, everybody is using them.

Similarly, a hard-core group of people will be the first to implement agorism. After being refined by hard-core users, agorism will be widely used by a lot of people.

I predict that agorism will be introduced in the same manner as other disruptive technologies.



This post on the Picket Line is entirely missing the point. David Gross says "If people don't like the Federal Reserve and US financial system, then why don't they print their own money." That's exactly what the Liberty Dollar and E-Gold attempted, and they were shut down by the Federal government. (The Liberty Dollar had its assets seized, and E-Gold's founders pled guilty to money laundering charges. E-Gold still exists, but in a severely crippled state.)

An alternate monetary system and alternate banking system must be run as an off-the-books business. With no centralized issuing authority and no backing by State power, an alternate monetary system must be based on sound money. Sound money is usually gold or silver or other metals. Barter is also workable.



Many sources are speculating that the Federal government will lose its AAA rating for Treasury debt.

That makes zero sense. The Federal government and Federal Reserve may always print more dollars to pay off the debt.

The risk of investing in Treasury debt is not that your principal won't be repaid. The risk is that your purchasing power will be eroded over time via inflation. Over a period of several years, you are practically guaranteed a negative inflation-adjusted return investing in Treasury debt.

Treasury bonds are only attractive to large banks, who may borrow at the Fed Funds Rate and then purchase Treasury debt. Large banks then profit off the spread between the Fed Funds Rate and Treasury yield rate, times their leverage ratio.



This post on nostate.com was missing the point.

A man lost his food license to operate his espresso stand. State bureaucrats told him he could not re-apply for a license for a minimum of 6 months. He decided to keep operating anyway.

Mike Gogulski falsely said this man is working as an agorist. That is false. He is missing several key agorist points:
  1. He probably still is reporting his income for taxation.
  2. He is using slave points and not sound money.
  3. His business is open to the general public, instead of solely dealing with trustworthy trading partners.
The only agorist feature is "operating a State-licensed business without a license". He is saving the cost of regulation compliance. However, he will almost certainly be the victim of a violent State raid. He will probably lose the capital he has invested in his business, as it is confiscated during the violent raid.

Contrast this with the above story of a man hiring a woman to cook food for him. That is nearly 100% agorist behavior, except that he is still using slave points instead of sound money. An agorist may use slave points, provided he immediately trades them for sound money or tangible goods.

Even though the coffee stand operator's attitude is morally just, he probably is making a bad tactical decision. He will definitely be the victim of illegitimate State violence.

I like the way State regulators/enforces say "These laws are for the people's own protection!" Based on my observations with the "Kitchen Nightmares" show, a restaruant with a dirty kitchen is usually also suffering with a lack of customers.



I liked this post via Hacker News. Investment bankers are mostly sociopaths, or "red zone" humans as I call them.

Based on my experiences, most mid/upper management in the financial industry are sociopaths.

It's the "other people's money" problem. Investment bankers are managing other people's money, and leech a substantial percentage for themselves. Such a scenario practically guarantees dishonest behavior.

The financial industry exemplifies the evil power of the State.



I liked this post on no third solution about jury nullification. The voire dire process eliminates all jurors who have a prior knowledge of jury nullification.

Suppose that 95% of the population believed that marijuana should be legal and would never vote to convict someone for possession or sale of marijuana. Suppose also that those 95% of the population would not lie during the jury selection process. The jury pool would be comprised entirely of people from the remaining 5% of the population.

Any method of jury selection other than "12 people chosen purely at random" leads to bias.



I saw a mainstream media article for "How to invest in gold". They mentioned gold mining stocks, ETFs for gold mining stocks, and the GLD ETF. None of the options presented were "Buy physical metal and take possession."



I didn't like this YouTube video on Freedomain Radio, via Hacker News. He's speaking about the current economic crisis.

If you write/speak about economics without understanding the Compound Interest Paradox, you sound like a pro-State troll to me. Freedomain Radio was pro-State trolling in this video. You can't explain the current economic bust and financial industry bailout without understanding the Compound Interest Paradox.

The Federal government relies on the financial industry to print new money by issuing loans. With capital problems, the financial industry won't be able to print new money by issuing new loans, leading to hyperdeflation.

Given the constraint of a corrupt monetary system, a huge financial industry bailout is periodically needed. The bailout can be indirectly via inflation and a Fed Funds Rate cut, or an explicit bailout as is occurring now.

He had one interesting quote:

In any late empire scenario, there comes a time when the financial predation of the general population will not outlast the current careers of the theives.

Normally, the people who loot and pillage via the red market can always deflect the blame to others. They'll move on to a new job before the negative consequences of their predation are obvious. When the collapse draws near, this is no longer a viable option. This causes a further increase in predation, which in turn accelerates the collapse.

He had another interesting point that I've made before. The point of war is to loot and pillage the public. The "official" goals of war are irrelevant. War is an excuse to funnel money to politically connected insiders, via no-bid military outsourcing contracts.

When the State collapses, ex-State employees will have to get useful jobs instead. This will be a huge boost to the economy overall. Instead of doing negative work, they will be forced to do positive work to survive.



I liked this thread on Hacker News. Someone posted a job ad saying "Must have a CS degree from a top school."

"Yeah, I went to Stanford and got the $200k education so I can work as a JavaScript+HTML+CSS coder at Posterous.com. I'm a real genius."

Haha, no you can't -- we want people who can do that and Ruby on Rails too. ;-)

That's exactly how I feel. I went to a good CS school and am an expert software engineer, just so I can work as a grunt coder in the current trendy language.



I liked this post, via Hacker News. When looking at real-world numerical data, and you look at the distribution of the first digit, then 1 appears disproportionally too often and 9 appears not often enough, compared to a priori expectations of a uniform distribution.

The reason is that, if you double a number with uniform distribution, it is more likely to start with a 1 than a 9. "Choose an integer at random with uniform distribution" is not what happens. Most numbers have a range of "reasonable" values. (If you "chose an integer at random with uniform distribution", then with probability 1 you could not finish writing your selection before the heat death of the universe. Such a distribution is not technically feasible.)

This conclusion does not hold when the observed data is expected to have a uniform distribution from a pre-set range, such as lottery numbers or "What is your birthday?" This conclusion only applies to data that has no pre-set upper bound, but there is a realistic limit.



I liked this post, via Hacker News, on brainwashing techniques.

Those tactics can be used for both good and evil. Repetively chanting "U! S! A!" can be damaging. However, chanting "Taxation is theft!" can be beneficial.

I liked this quote:

This wouldn't have been possible even 20 years ago. I grew up in the 80s, in a house with three TV stations. Three. We got one newspaper, the local one. You didn't get to pick from the conservative news or liberal news, back in my day you took what you got and you were thankful for what you had, dammit.

Today, I go through that many outlets a day just to get my freaking video game news.

In the present, there are more Internet sources for [niche interest] than there were mainstream media sources 30 years ago.

Remember that the choices offered by cable TV are really fake. You get 100+ channels, but they're owned by a handful of corporations. For example, Viacom and NBC/Universal each own quite a few cable TV channels.

I also liked the "A vs. B" fake choice, where B is falsely described as "not A". For example, "liberal vs. conservative" is a fake choice, because both sides believe in a strong Federal government, the income tax, and the Federal Reserve.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. Someone created a service called "StockTwits", and raised VC funding.

First there was "Twit Hire" and now there's "Stock Twits". People really need to come up with better names for their businesses.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. A banker at UBS was convicted of helping clients smuggle diamonds into the USA, to avoid income taxes or requirements to report the income to the State.

From an agorist perspective, what's wrong with that? On the other hand, he was helping super-wealthy people who had already used the State to line their pockets.

Smuggling diamonds seems like a particularly stupid strategy. First, diamonds have a high bid/ask spread. Second, it's obvious to anyone who sees them that diamonds are valuable.

Here's a better strategy. Buy platinum, coat it with iron or steel, and make a metal case or figurine. Carry on the case, declare it as a value of $1000 or whatever, saying it's a piece of art. You could even have the person who sculpted it for you give a receipt saying it's worth $1000. Then, melt the case and sell it once you're across the border.

Even if it were pure platinum, the baggage screener probably won't do a specific gravity test. He probably won't be able to tell the difference between a platinum case and a steel case. You could even make it hollow platinum, so its specific gravity wasn't so high.

Platinum has a very high value per ounce, making this strategy lucrative. You could even use rhodium, which has an even higher value per ounce. I'd be reluctant to use gold, because that's a dead giveaway if you get caught. The average person knows "gold is valuable", but the average person won't notice platinum as suspicious.



I liked this post on Bors Blog.

The nine most terrifying words in the English language: "I'm Henry Paulson and I need a trillion dollars."






This post on nostate.com about respecting authority had some interesting points. If you want to build a house, you respect the authority of an engineer. If you want to build a computer program, you respect the authority of a software engineer. The authority of an expert with specialized skills should be recognized. If there's free market competition, you may hire whoever you please. If you want a computer program written, there are plenty of experts you can hire.

That is not the same as the authority of the State. I have *NO CHOICE* but to obey whatever laws they invent and pay whatever taxes they choose. Authority backed by a gun is not the same as an expert who is subject to free market competition.



I liked this post on Techdirt. Patent examiners have their performance statistics based on "# of patents approved", giving them zero incentive to reject a patent. If they reject a patent, the applicant can appeal, forcing the examiner to waste even more time.

Patent examiners were told "When in doubt, approve it." Further, most patent examiners are not experts in the subject matter.



This post on to herd or not to herd mentioned a false story, cited many other locations.

There were rumors that US Treasury debt would be downgraded. That is nonsense. The Federal government and Federal Reserve may always print more money to pay off the national debt.

The risk of investing in Treasury debt is not a default and loss of your principal. The risk is that your purchasing power will be eroded via inflation.

If you invest in Treasury debt, it is practically guaranteed that you will lose purchasing power relative to true inflation over a period of at least 5 years.



I liked this post on to herd or not to herd.

Using coercion to drive charity is like using kidnapping to create love.

For this reason, all State-sponsored welfare plans are evil. State-sponsored welfare usually comes with strings attached that are damaging for the recipient.



This post, via Hacker News, was entirely missing the point. He asks "Why does so much of the US economy go to middlemen?"

The answer is that the USA is a theft-based economy. The most lucrative careers are those that have their salaries artificially raised by State violence. Lawyers, CEOs, MBAs, politicians, bankers, traders, hedge fund managers, doctors, and accountants all have their salaries backed directly or indirectly by State violence.

Theft-based careers are far more lucrative than those that involve creating tangible goods and services. If you create tangible goods or services, and do it legally, then the State confiscates 50% or more of what you produce. For every $1 of productive work I do, the theft-based segment of the economy gets more than $1.

Most "smart" college-aged students aspire to theft-based careers rather than those that involve creating tangible goods. In the USA, to be a productive worker is to be a slave.



I didn't get this thread on Hacker News. In order to get an iPhone SDK, you have to agree to a very restrictive NDA. "Pragmatic Programmer" attempted to publish an book on iPhone development. Apple sued them to prevent them from publishing the book.

WTF? If you're Apple, you *WANT* as many people writing about iPhone development as possible. Who cares if third-party iPhone resources are better than Apple's "official" documentation?

With the iPhone, it seems like Apple's lawyers are making the decisions, and not anyone with actual technical ability.

Could you imagine Microsoft suing someone who wrote a book on C# development?

[Apple has relaxed its NDA policy since then.]



I liked this article, via Hacker News, on why rats can't vomit.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. A collector bought a bunch of old PC games from a collector. There was a disk that booted on both IBMs and Commodores on the same side of the disk! That was a neat technical trick.



This post on the Picket Line had an error. He said that tax resistance is easier in the USA compared to other countries. That is false.

In the USA, all corporate employers have an obligation to report your labor and income to the IRS. Even if you declare 99 exemptions and have 0 withholding, the IRS still knows about your income. Social Security taxes are still paid if you use this tax resistance method.

In Europe, full taxes are automatically withheld by the employer. Frequently, it is not necessary to file a tax return.

Tax resistance is equally hard in both jurisdictions. All labor is automatically reported to the State.

The correct solution for tax resistance is usually not mentioned on the Picket Line. You should create wealth, without automatically reporting your labor to the State. That is the only solution for avoiding all taxes on your labor. If you work in a corporate wage slave job and declare 99 withholding exemptions, it's like filing a tax return that says "**** you IRS!" It's a risky strategy.

I also liked the comment that "US Soldiers who refuse to return to Iraq received more severe punishment than soldiers who tortured or murdered Iraqis."



Somebody in China was citing my blog! It's good to see that I'm even making it past the "Great Firewall of China?" (Does a .cn domain mean it's inside China, or is it available outside of China also?)



This article on the NY Times, via Hacker News, was insulting. I only bothered citing it because of how offensive it was.

A bunch of banking CEOs were "forced" to accept government bailout money. What a hardship! I'd volunteer to accept a couple billion dollars in bailout money to start a bank.

The Federal government paid an above-market price for its equity investment. Otherwise, the banks could have raised the money elsewhere. Suggesting this investment is a fair deal is ridiculous.

If the bailout was a raw deal, you can be sure that their lobbyists would have objected. Even though the Treasury secretary demanded they accept the offer, you know the details were arranged ahead of time. This way, the spin is "The bankers were forced to accept a bailout." rather than, "The bankers lobbied for a bailout."

Also notice that only the 9 largest "too big to fail" banks qualified for bailout money. Smaller banks are not a profitable business, because they can't lobby the State for favors.



barry b has left a new comment on your post "The Time Preference Problem":

Hey FSK,

could you create some categories for your blog? That would help I think and keep folks on your site longer...

I thought about that previously, and my conclusion was "Why bother?"

You can do a "site:fskrealityguide.blogspost.com" Google search. You can use the Blogger search tool, which actually gives inferior results to Google.

It's easy enough to do a keyword search. There's the "Best of FSK" list. According to Google Analytics, a lot of people look at the monthly archive pages.



Kristjan Velbri has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Has Anybody Tried Chrome?":

I've tried Chrome and to tell you the truth, it's nothing that special. It has some conveniences, for example, you can type in specific keyword in the address bar and it gives you a list of results from which you can choose from.

According to Google, it is faster and more reliable than IE and Firefox, but I'm not so sure about that as I haven't used it that much.

The browser is a lot simpler and therefore it should use less CPU, but it also has its drawbacks - it's still in Beta stages, which means that they're still developing it.

The security issue is worrying. Although Google's motto is "Don't be evil", I am not that big of a fan of Google to hand them all of my browsing history. Sure there are other ways to record it, but giving it away knowingly? No thanks.

I have used Mozilla's Firefox for a number of years now and I'm standing by that choice.

I decided to stick with Firefox. All the "cool" features of Chrome should be released in other browsers sometime in the next 1-3 years.

It's silly for a corporation to have a "Don't be evil!" policy, because the primary purpose of a corporation is evil! When you segregate ownership, control, and responsibility, evil is the most likely outcome. It's more a marketing ploy than anything else.

I see an even more disturbing trend for Google. The top employees are leaving to found other startups, rather than staying at Google and doing a "20% time" project. At this point, Google is probably dominated by professional ladder-climbers and bureaucrats. Google may no longer be a corporation where its founders could get hired, if they were an equivalently talented person with no reputation!

Google's "Don't be evil!" polis is like a politician/judge/bureaucrat having a "Don't be evil!" policy. The primary purpose of the State is evil!

Google is effectively a branch of the government, like all other large corporations.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Has Anybody Tried Chrome?":

FSK, I did like the idea of a browser made by people who know how to make things work, at first.

Then I read the small print. You can turn off every spying feature of Chrome, except one - it will send back to google your typed url, check it against google's list, and them ALLOW me or DISALLOW me to see that url as even existing destination, all in my interest, of course.

I didn't hear about see that one. In other countries, they are adopting a "total internet censorship" policy, where ISPs have an obligation to filter content. The way censorship laws work, there's no penalty for excessive censorship but a penalty for failing to censor. The result is excessive censorship. Fortunately, in the USA, writing a blog like mine is still legal.

Now, you're a smart cookie FSK. I have no doubt you see where it goes. Do we need to submit our freedom to google? Do we need google to decide if a particular url does even exist? Is it not enough that one will not get traffic if he isn't a friend of google? Do we now need google to control if anyone is even reacheable even if a requester knows exact url?

I won't touch this browser with a 12 feet pole.

No one is talking about this, afaik. But antivirus companies are already migrating their business models from being on a user side and protecting a user, to being on a manufacturer and content-provider side and protecting them, at the expence of a user. These companies now police internet, and censure it.

My company uses TrendMicro IGSA hardware. Everything is blocked as a security threat. But I do know this is all a big fat lie. I run NOD32 and all of the downloads that NOD32 doesn't flag (because they are clean) such as keygens and patches, are flagged as security threats by TrendMicro.

Many corporations go overboard censorship-wise.

I was thinking that maybe TrendMicro is simply incompetent. And sure, they do appear that way screaming and kicking and blocking harmless files. But they also block all the sites that teach you how to break security, how to go around, and those that post true information. There is no treat, other than to the happiness of a police state.

But I digress. Chrome is an even deeper, more systemic attack on our freedoms. Yes, firefox can do that too. But, we would know about it, and that would be a breach of trust.

Google, on the other hand, openly states that it will be the policeman of our freedoms, and no, you can't turn it off.

I think, we must not allow it to be widespread in the first place. If it is, the we have already lost, because millions of people don't care to know the technicalities, and when they want to find out, they will be told that www.googleisapoliceagent.com does not exist.
Any large corporation is effectively a branch of the government.

Suppose you are the CEO of a large corporations. The police come to you and say "We demand records of XYZ." As CEO, you aren't going to risk your cushy job. You'll give the police the records they demand. The CEO isn't going to take a pro-user-privacy stance. The CEO's primary goal is to protect his job, and not his customers, employees, or shareholders.

I couldn't find "http://www.googleisapoliceagent.com/". Is that a real domain?

One reader was criticizing me for using Blogger and Google Analytics, giving access of my records to Google. First, if you're that paranoid, you may use Tor and NoScript. Second, even if I self-host, the State may still seize my server logs. My hosting vendor can copy the logs without my permission. My ISP or the State could intercept traffic upstream.

It's practically impossible to prevent the bad guys from spying on you. Fortunately, the bad guys must rely on software to flag content. If their software has too many false positives, it's essentially useless. Any spying program that identifies my blog as "dangerous" probably has too many false positives to be useful.

The bad guys are really searching for "People trying to assassinate politicians/CEOs." or "People planning to destroy property." Agorism is under-the-radar for what the bad guys are looking for, at least for now. By the time the bad guys target agorists, it probably will be too late. If you take a strict interpretation of the US Constitution, agorism is not illegal. Anybody who considered my blog "dangerous" would also agree with the points I am making. A pro-State troll will merely say "FSK is an irrelevant fruitcake."

I decided to stick with Firefox for now.

Actually, I use Firefox and IE simultaneously. Gmail does its session tracking via a cookie. I have my FSK gmail account open in Firefox and my "real name" E-Mail (for jobsearching) open in IE!



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Who's the Richest Man in the World?":

You take all human habits, intelligence and instincts combined in the average degree of their existence in humanity now and seperately in the historical/(or maybe)evolutional developement of the world, analyse them, establish some studies, and you might have a clue about wheather your theory is self-evident or not. Even if I might not have much of it, intelligence is the key to science (if they did not lie:-). As everything at some point can be explained scientifically, it must be possible to substantiate it, so the now-knowing public has not anything to do but to find the evil conspirators (if you can call them so).
Til then, we need you to figure it out!

Do you mean "We need FSK to help figure out what's going on?" or "We need the Supreme Leader of Humanity because humans are too stupid to manage their own lives?"

There are two competing theories I've mentioned here. There's the "Supreme Leader of Humanity" theory, where a single human or small group of people are secretly pulling the strings. Second, there's the "Stand Alone Complex" theory. The current economic political and economic system is so corrupt that it appears as if there's an evil person secretly pulling the strings. The current corrupt system evolved through the accumulation of bad decisions.

For example, about 1000 years ago, one of the political leaders (Thomas Aquinas?) decided "It'll be easier to control people if we teach them to be uneasy and uptight about sex." This was a population control technique, since there was no safe and effective birth control at the time. It's also a mind control technique, because if you aren't in touch with your emotions you're easier to control. Such thought has propagated to the present, without being questioned. The cumulative effect of such decisions over hundreds of years is incredibly damaging.

Cracking your pro-State brainwashing isn't just about realizing "Taxation is theft!" It's also that many unproductive behaviors are "normal" and internalized. For example, if you tell someone "Your idea is stupid", that's considered antisocial if you're contradicting the majority. If you're in a room full of statists and you say "Taxation is theft!", then you are the one being unreasonable, and not the statists. In this manner, false ideas are preserved and spread.

One of the reasons I had a "panic/manic attack" was the realization that a lot of my "normal" behaviors were in fact wrong. The emotional readjustment process is traumatic. The antipsychotic drugs interrupt this natural process of a person self-healing their pro-State brainwashing.



Trevor has left a new comment on your post "Ruby on Rails Sucks!":

Could not agree more. I've spent 2 years evaluating rails for production and I've come to a conclusion that It's complete garbage for all the reasons listed in this blog post and then some.

jmonteiro's book suggestion is already obsolete and any other book released prior to today is obsolete as well unless you use an old version of rails... the only book covering the new rails is in Beta 3. What now? what would that mean for anyone building entrprise applications, or existing applications?

It's amazing the disparity of opinion on my "Rails Sucks!" articles. The pro-Rails trolls say "You don't like Rails because you're being stupid or narrowminded." A more correct representation is "FSK doesn't like Rails because he accurately evaluated it as a piece of garbage."

When jobsearching, I use "Rails desired" or "Rails experience a plus" as a way to screen out clueless potential employers.

Rails is an example of hype taking precedence over quality. Such huge distortions can only occur in a non-free market. If "We're using Rails!" makes it easier to attract VC, then many Rails applications will be developed.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Are you a Citizen or a citizen?":

And yet, you're missing the point too.

People are immoral as a norm, ok? Everybody already knows there are taxes, and only few protest, how come?

We've had this discussion before. "People are intrinsically evil. Therefore, the State is needed!" is invalid reasoning. The most evil people will exploit the State for their own personal benefit.

Most people don't protest taxes because they've been brainwashed to believe that taxes are morally acceptable.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with being greedy. The problem is greed *PLUS* the ability to use violence to impose your will on others.

You say this is because most don't realize that taxes are immoral.

I say, this is because majority receives through taxation more, than they pay out.

That is a logical impossibility.

There is an *ILLUSION* that the average person is a net beneficiary of the State. When you get a $600 tax refund check, your reaction is "Free money! Hooray!" An income tax refund is merely a partial return of stolen property. Most people forget about the taxes automatically deducted from their paycheck, and only see the occasional benefit.

When I buy a hamburger in a store, I receive more than I pay out. There are many competing stores, guaranteeing that prices are fair. I make my own evaluation of price and quality. For example, McDonald's is cheapest but also low quality. Other stores are a few dollars more, but offer better quality.

With taxes, I have *NO CHOICE* to pay. My interactions with the State are involuntary, and therefore I'm an overall net loser.

Even if a poor person is a net welfare recipient, there's still the "seen vs. unseen" fallacy. The State restricts the market, so that person is unable to start his own business or work for someone else who started a business.

Accepted morality of people is this: as long as I gain from it, immoral is a necessary evil.
Some financial industry insiders have this attitude. "Who cares if I'm doing nothing useful but making a fantastic salary? As long as I'm making a profit, who cares?" The only problem is that the bankers are indirectly using the State to force people to use their product, paper money. If the financial industry's monopoly wasn't backed by the full power of the State, then there would be no unearned profits.

For this reason, democracy will not remove taxation. Only benevolent dictatorship can do that.

The USA already is effectively a dictatorship/oligarchy. A handful of insiders make all the laws.

Is the Supreme Leader of Humanity *INTENTIONALLY* orchestrating the complete collapse of the economic and political system?

Founding fathers did not represent majority when they wrote the constitution. They were dictating benevolently, at the moment.

No, it was actually malevolent. A group of insiders immediately lobbied the new Federal government for favors, before the ink was dry on the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson and other founders may have had sincere good intentions. Others, such as Alexander Hamilton, were aware of the purpose of the Federal government to loot and pillage. Just like Goldman Sachs chooses the current Treasury Secretary, the banking cartel at the time chose Alexander Hamilton.

One of the first things the new Federal government did was that it regulated the banking industry and formed a central bank. Under the Articles of Confederation, people had "too much freedom" regarding money.

Nor did citizens of Russian Federation demanded a low flat tax, Putin did put that in place.

I'm not familiar with the details of Russia. Russia now has US-style communism instead of Soviet-style communism. Various "tax reform" proposal are smoke and mirrors designed to distract attention from the immorality of taxes.

This comment was nearly entirely pro-State trolling. Should I stop publishing such garbage and responding to it?



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Philosophy Overview":

Some research where grey economy works (easter europe) maight shed some light at what and how can be done.
Here is an example from a country in eastern europe. Grey economy.. about 60%.If you check the fake statistics about this is far away from any country including US. Reality.. u can get a catscan, rmn whatever in the same day you need or you want it and if you work in grey economy u can easily afford it.
As for money, there are still things which are not income but are income. How about if the company will loans with some intrest payable after 100 years?

I'm looking forward to "nationalized health care", because that should create a booming grey market in health care. The US does not currently have a free market health care system, due to State licensing requirements for doctors and other regulations. The AMA intentionally restricts the supply of doctor licenses, keeping salaries high.

You can't trust official government reports regarding the size of the grey market. They are, by definition, unreliable. I suspect the size of the grey market in the USA is increasing. The point of agorism is that grey market workers create businesses that support each other, rather than isolated individual tax resistance. For example, if I were to work as a doctor without a State license, I need assurance that my customers won't rat me out to the State, and my customers need assurance that I am a competent doctor. Most current grey market workers have an otherwise legal business. For example, a State licensed dentist could accept payment in cash, and then not report it on his taxes.

I don't understand your point about a 100 year corporate bond. The State is going to collapse in approximately 20 years, so I don't understand why anyone would be buying 100 year bonds. Most corporate management cannot plan beyond the next quarterly SEC filing. In communism, you had "5 year plans". Most US corporations are lucky to have a "3 month plan"!



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Voting Scam":

What kind of democracy do we have? I don't think is a democracy at all. How about industrial totalitarianism or fascism or communism? I come from an ex-communist country. They use to vote there as well, however there was an option between person A and B with no connection with you. Same here.

Technically, the USA is a "Constitutional Republic" and not a democracy. The US Constitution no longer places any meaningful restrictions on what State employees may do. A more accurate description of the USA is totalitarianism, fascism, and communism. The USA has the worst features of all systems.

I thought that in Communist countries, there was only one choice on the ballot, instead of a fake choice like in the USA? I guess that's merely propaganda. What's the joke? "In Russia, they have two boxes at the election. One box is where you can vote for the Communist party candidate, and the other box is where they put you if you refuse to vote for him." Is that entirely propaganda?

direct democracy means you can vote on any law. It has pros and cons.. How many laws will stand .. how many people will agree with gay people or police fines?

The problem is that, even with direct democracy, stupid laws may be passed. Suppose that only 10% of people have blogs. Then, it would make sense to pass a $100 per post tax on bloggers. The 90% of people who don't blog wouldn't mind the tax! It would be in the rational self-interest of non-bloggers to impose a tax on bloggers.

A much better system is anarchism/agorism and the "Non-Aggression Principle", which says you may do whatever you want unless you injure anyone else.

representative democracy means when somebody represent u and take decisions in your name.. Now lets say you are a homeless or without a job. According to statistics there are about 6-10% without a job.. That means 10% of senate shoud come from this people.
Only politically connected insiders have a chance of getting elected to Congress. Even Ron Paul's presence in Congress is a fnord, because then the bad guys may say "Libertarians have a voice in Congress!" Ron Paul doesn't go around saying "The US government has no legitimacy at all!"

In the Constitution, there is a rule requiring each member of the House of Representatives to represent at least 30,000 people, subject to the restriction that each state has at least one Representative. (In 1787, some states had less than 30,000 people.) There was a "lost amendment" in the Bill of Rights, which was never ratified, that specified that each Representative could represent *AT MOST* 50,000 people. This means that, with approximately 200M adults in the USA, there would be approximately 4000 members of the House of Representatives. That would be tricky, but feasible to manage.

Here is the text of the "lost amendment". Unlike the "Titles of Nobility Amendment" or "Lost 13th Amendment", this one was never close to being ratified.

Article the first... After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

If there were only one Representative per 50,000 people, then the "average Joe" would have a decent change to get elected to the House. With only 50,000 people in a voting district, then it would be feasible for a candidate to personally meet each voter. A candidate would not need mainstream media backing in order to have a chance of getting elected to the House.

It never was the intention for the House to be an "elite organization", where you needed backing of lobbyists and lots of money to get elected. The "average Joe" was supposed to have a good chance of getting elected to Congress.

Until the 1910 census, Congress always enlarged the House as the size of the US population increased, to keep with the "approximately 1 representative per 30,000" custom. In 1910, Congress didn't enlarge the size of the House, even though the US population had increased. Congress fixed the size of the House at approximately its current size. Nobody complained, so Congress got away with it. (Did you notice how most severe erosions of freedom occurred around 1880-1913? That is not a coincidence!)

There's the obvious conflict of interest, when Congress chooses its own size. Currently, each Congressman represents approximately 600,000 people. Each Congressmen has 20x more power, compared to when each Congressman represented 30,000 people. The concentration of power increases their influence even further.

When Congress fixed its size in 1910, that is one of many ways that the protections of the original US Constitution were perverted. The text of the US Constitution does not require the "1 Representative per 30,000" rule to be followed, but it was the custom until 1910.

(This bit deserves its own separate post.)



John Petrie has left a new comment on your post "Are you a Citizen or a citizen?":

I don't know about those semantic-legal minutiae arguments, but I'm pretty sure the capitalization of Citzen and State and other nouns was just the way English was written back in the 18th century. The way German still is. I think one paperback version of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding that I've seen has every noun capitalized; all or most fiction and non-fiction written back then, if it's reproduced true to its original form, has the nouns capitalized.

It's just an interesting footnote and conspiracy theory I read.

Limited liability incorporation is a complete perversion of the original US Constitution. I read that the 14th Amendment has been cited 10x as often by the Supreme Court to justify the rights of corporations, than to justify the rights of individuals.

The bottom line is "Taxation is theft!" and "Inflation is theft!" and "Limited liability incorporation is contrary to a free market." I'm not a lawyer, so I can't argue the legal details. However, they are interesting. I'm much more interested in the moral argument than the legal argument, but the legal arguments are sometimes interesting.



Zargon has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #67":

Even though Congress rejected the bailout, the Federal Reserve still has the power to create money out of thin air and loan/give it to banks. This is as effective a bailout as if it were explicitly allocated by Congress.

Ok, this makes sense. But then why didn't the fed simply issue a $700B 0% interest permanent "loan" rather than attract all this attention with an explict bailout? The bailout raised some awareness of the inherant unfairness in our monetary system, though I'm not sure how much. Printing a huge pile of money and giving it away would just be another unremarkable day at the fed.

I answered this separately in "Bailout Arithmetic".



eagledove9 has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #67":

I'm amused to hear about the show 'Hurl.' For every phobia, there is a philia. I'm emetophobic and can't stand to see people vomiting and can't be anywhere near it or hear the noise it makes. If I do, I automatically empathize with the person and feel like I'm going to vomit too. The only vomiting that I can stand to watch is the tiny little guests on the Roller Coaster Tycoon game.

But when I first started using the internet and I researched emetophobia, I found out that there are websites where people take photos and videos of people vomiting because it fascinates them. I wasn't able to watch. :p I'll probably never be just neutral or casual - much less, able to laugh - about vomiting. But it's funny that there is now a game show about it.

The "Hurl!" game show wasn't just good for the vomiting. It actually had *EXCELLENT* production values. Even though it was low-budget, it had a cool style.

Contrast this with "Hole in the Wall", a new show on Fox. It's an *EXCELLENT* concept, but horrible implementation. Essentially, the last round is the only one that counts. They should have had less talking and more action, perhaps making it one 60 minute show instead of two 30 minute shows. I didn't find the rules to the Japanese version, but it seemed to be better.

For some bizarre reason, most modern American style game shows are more interested in chatting with contestants than action. It's like the Olympics, where they talk with athletes but show little sports.

David Gross has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #67":

"David Gross said that US Treasury bonds are a 100% safe investment."

Actually, that was the argument of Jeffrey Tucker of the Mises Institute. I was merely quoting his article, in which this was a minor aside.

I consider US Treasury Bonds to be 100% unsafe, not so much because they lose value, but because they are a loan to the bad guys.
Any State-sanctioned investment is a loan to the bad guys. Even with a real estate investment, you're supporting the bad guys via property taxes.

The only investment that doesn't indirectly support the State is a gold or silver investment.

That's the benefit of agorism compared with other resistance strategies. You hurt the bad guys *AND* show a profit at the same time!

David Gross has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #67":

"David Gross writes that if you don't like the US financial system and the Federal Reserve, then you should start your own monetary system."

And that wasn't me either; it was Douglas Rushkoff.

In your blog, it wasn't clear when you're writing your own opinion, or quoting someone else.

That's my favorite comment when people complain about some government policy. "If you don't like the government, then start your own government!" As long as there are practical benefits for the participants, people will go along. That's why I like agorism. There are specific, concrete benefits for agorists, once a free market gets established. By its very nature, a true free market is protected from infiltration and subversion.

The primary difficulty is avoiding detection/violence by the bad guys.



Peter Piper has left a new comment on your post "The Problem With Ithaca Hours":

We are looking at Time Bank in NE Ohio. Time Bank sponsors have told me that they do offer products as well as services through the bank. For example: a pot of Chili may have taken 4 hours to prepare and resulted in 8 jars produced, therefore one jar of Chili would be worth 1/2 hour in the Time Bank.

You're making the same mistake as Ithaca Hours.

Basing your alternate monetary system on "time" fails, because not everybody's time has equal value. Suppose you take 4 hours to make lousy chili, and I take 3 hours to make excellent chili. Are you suggesting that you deserve to get paid more than me, even though I'm a more skilled cook?

Having a centralized issuing authority for your alternate monetary system fails. The centralized issuing authority has an obligation to report all transactions to the IRS for taxation.

Why not use real money (gold or silver)? Why do these "alternate monetary systems" have to be based on such stupid concepts? It discredits alternate monetary systems in general.

If you're using gold or silver as money, then your money keeps its purchasing power even if the centralized issuing authority fails.

With what's coming down the barrel, it may be the only "legal" form of exchange we can manage to put together for products and resources - that, and the black market.
Finally I wanted to mention that there is a big rally coming up in 34 locations in the US on 11/22/08 called ENDTHEFED. www.abolishthefederalreserve.com

Oh boy! A slave rally! What a waste of time!

What's your plan? You're going to politely explain to Congress and Ben Bernanke about the evils of the Federal Reserve, and they're going to voluntarily give up their monetary monopoly and power? HAHAHAHAHA!!! What a waste!

The only way to change stupid laws is to practice widespread civil disobedience against those stupid laws. A widespread boycott of the Federal Reserve and income tax would lead to complete economic and political collapse.

If you say "Work within the system to achieve change/reform", you're pro-State trolling! The bad guys had their chance to reform, and they're not listening!

It's like that South Park documentary said (fnord!). If you follow all the rules, then Eric Cartman (the State) will take advantage of you. You have to fight dirty and ignore the rules, if you want to defeat the State. Be like Wendy Testaburger!

Seriously, many South Park episodes seem like documentaries. If you use the analogy "Eric Cartman is the State", then many episodes have a deeper philosophical meaning. The authors are probably unaware of that. South Park is an alien-generated fnord.



Korene has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Toolkit - Tax Resister Insurance":

Keep up the good work.

OK.

I'm making enough progress with my blog that I'm going to keep with it. When/if I find another corporate wage slave job, I may have less time to spend on it.

I'm looking for ways to profit directly or indirectly from my blog.



JB has left a new comment on your post "The Compound Interest Paradox":

What do u think about Muslim bank system? They already have a working system without interest in place. They works well in arab world but nobody from here wants something like that.

There is a common misconception "Loaning money at interest is evil." That is not true. In a true free market, a loan says "I am willing to forego consumption now in exchange for the ability to consume more later." With a gold-denominated loan, the return should be positive.

People who agree to forgo consumption in the present in exchange for consumption in the future deserve a positive rate of return.

In the present, the financial industry is heavily regulated by the State. The evil is State regulation and not loaning money at interest.

The implementations of Islamic banking are logically equivalent to regular banking, except the borrower pays higher fees. Instead of a 30 year mortgage, the buyer makes a purchase where he buys the house at a predetermined rate at 1/30 per year. You may calculate the implied interest rate of that arrangement.

"Loaning interest at money is evil!" is a fnord to distract people from "State regulation of money is evil!"

In a true free market, profit-seeking and investing/loaning/banking are not evil.



HUNTER/GATHERER has left a new comment on your post "The Compound Interest Paradox":

Unfortunately, a lot of the detractors to this analysis miss the point that banks don't actually "lend" out deposits. They merely create a credit account in exchange for a promise to pay. The bank creates the money it loans then and there, thus doesn't provide any consideration.

I haven't seen any criticism of the Compound Interest Paradox that didn't seem like 100% pro-State trolling or gibberish. I haven't seen any logically sound refutation of the Compound Interest Paradox.

When you borrow money from a bank, it literally prints new money and loans it to you. The bank does no real work. The bank's management and owners are taking no real risk. There will always be a direct or indirect bailout from the government or Federal Reserve. (When the Federal Reserve cuts interest rates, it's bailing out banks. Lower interest rates means that loans issued before the cut are worth more.)



HUNTER/GATHERER has left a new comment on your post "Your Strawman Corporation":

I have read a lot about this recently, but would really like to get some documentation backing these concepts. Do you know where any can be found?

You'll never see a mainstream information source discuss this, especially the immorality/illegality/unconstitutionality of the Federal Reserve and income tax.

I don't know of any sources other than the stuff you've already found by Google.

Barefoot's world has some good information on the subject.

Library of Halexandria has some good bits. (Notice they also have a section on Zero Point Energy.)

Constitution.org also has some good stuff.

What are you expecting to find? Are you looking for an article in the Harvard Law Review declaring that the US government has been operating illegitimately for 100+ years? You won't find any "mainstream" articles on the subject.

I'm much more interested in the moral argument than subtle legal arguments. When you make legal arguments against the Federal Reserve and income tax, you're fighting the bad guys on their turf. From a legal perspective, "The Supreme Court says it's acceptable. Therefore, it's OK." or "We have more guns than you. Therefore, it's OK." are the only valid arguments

I consider the moral arguments to be much more convincing than any legal argument.



Thomas Blair has left a new comment on your post "How to Fix the Economy":

You know, this is just an example taken to its logical conclusion of the neo-Keynesian economic nitwittery that Paul Krugman has been spouting for the last 8 years. His post-9/11 recovery plan is one giant broken window fallacy.

Thanks for the laugh.

Paul Krugman recently won a Nobel Prize for pro-State trolling.

Unless you're thoroughly reciting pro-State propaganda, you won't get a Nobel prize. If you have much more convincing lies than those previously spread, then you have an excellent academic career.

The Black-Scholes formula's authors won a Nobel prize, and the assumptions of the model are completely false. (If you're a new reader for my blog, the Black-Scholes series is worth reading.)

People should start calling the "Nobel Prize" the "Nobel Terrorism Prize". Henry Kissinger won a Nobel Peace/Terrorism Prize!

I was worried when I wrote that post that people wouldn't get the sarcasm.

I'm seriously thinking "promote agorism via standup comedy" is a viable business idea. I could do better than the Daily Show and the Colbert Report! However, I probably won't get a mainstream media source to carry my content. I should self-publish on the Internet.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "How to Fix the Economy":

Don't pay taxes. You'll have thousands of dollars more to buy stuff with and you'll have a huge smile on your face knowing that $.60 of every dollar isn't going to those who refuse to work.

Dammit though the government decided that they would take money out of your paycheck as you work. As long as you work for someone else you can't refuse to pay your taxes.

"Don't pay taxes!" is harder than it sounds if you're working in a corporate wage slave job. Your corporate masters have an obligation to report your income to the IRS and withhold taxes from your wages.

I agree that you should boycott the income tax and Federal Reserve. It's a logistical difficulty. That's the whole point of agorism. There needs to be a support system for people who want to resist taxes and other restrictive government regulations.

The most profitable business opportunities come from busting up complacent and inefficient monopolies. Therefore, breaking up the State's monopoly of violence and money should be *VERY* profitable.

BTW, I calculate direct marginal income taxation rates at 40% Federal, 10% state (where I live). There's also the inflation tax and all the other hidden taxes and costs of regulation compliance. If you add up all hidden taxes, then your total taxation rate is as high as 95%-99% or more. For example, I don't just owe the IRS taxes. I also bear the burden of calculating the amount I owe. As another example, suppose I make and sell clothing. I don't just owe income taxes on my profits. I also owe sales taxes. A retail vendor also has an obligation to work for the State collecting sales taxes.

All corporate employers have an unpaid obligation to work as tax collectors. The cost of tax compliance is a much larger percentage of revenue for a small business than a large corporation.



One of the biggest things I don't get is job ads for "equity only". I'm going to be working for only equity, *AND* my equity is subject to a usual "4 year vesting, 1 year cliff" schedule. What kind of fool would fall for that? Who seriously expects to hire a competent software engineer while offering such terms?

If I'm going to be working for equity only, then why not start my own business and keep 100% ownership? In a software company, writing software is the hard part, and not the easy part. If you're starting a software company and you can't write software yourself and don't have a qualified software engineer as co-founder, then your business is worthless.



My post on the Amero received another traffic spike. There was a lot of Google search traffic for "Amero" and my blog ranks in the top 20 for that search term. A high-profile media source must have mentioned the Amero, prompting a bunch of Google searches.

According to Google Analytics, on October 23, I set another new single-day traffic record with 472 Absolute Unique Visitors. 184 people googled "Amero" and found my post on the Amero. A more popular website or media source mentioned the Amero, but I don't know where. That post ranks relatively high in Google. There aren't many competing posts for that keyword, and my blog has a relatively high PageRank.

I don't specifically write my blog for SEO, but such incidents are amusing. That post is nearly a month old, and all of a sudden it's generating a ton of search engine traffic. Traffic spikes are nice, because some of the extra traffic usually sticks around and becomes regular readers.



Mike has left a new comment on your post "Five Ideas You Can't Say on Television":

If you could make it entertaining, by golly, you might just be on to something there!

I see "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" and my reaction is "I can do better than that!" Jon Stewart is shilling for the Iraq War as much as Karl Rove.

I see YouTube videos of George Carlin and other standup comedians, where they talk about politics more than comedy. My attitude is "I can do that!" Performing as the Supreme Leader of Humanity would be "alternative comedy" more than traditional comedy.

I'm seriously considering "Promote agorism via comedy" as a business opportunity.

However, I doubt I could get a mainstream media source to carry my content. I should self-publish on the Internet. All I need is $50k+ in profit to replace the income I make as a slave software engineer. One nice thing about a crashing economy and job market is that there's a lower threshold to overcome when considering starting a business! Starting an agorist business is not as risky when I have practically no employment opportunities as a slave software engineer!

gilliganscorner has left a new comment on your post "Five Ideas You Can't Say on Television":

How about:

Democracy != Freedom?

That's sort of redundant with "The US Constitution is not a morally binding document!" and "Taxation is theft!"

yakuza90 has left a new comment on your post "Five Ideas You Can't Say on Television":

In the medieval Europe the jesters and singers were the only people who could speak out the truth openly without severe consequences. Today we almost have the same pattern. People who are not taken seriously can say what they want. If Luis Farrakhan would say Israel should be erased from the world map nobody might give a f***, because he might not has enough power and all. But if Mahmud Ahmadinedschad says so people are making a hell out of it.

For this reason, "promote agorism via comedy" may be the best option. If I say "I'm the Supreme Leader of Humanity, chosen by the alien overseers!", then a lot of people wouldn't take me seriously. The pro-State trolls can then easily dismiss me as a fruitcake, while other people would realize I'm saying the truth.

If the President went around saying "Taxation is theft!", then there would be a massive panic. If I go around saying that, it's less threatening. It's much better to let the smartest people discover the truth first, rather than having mainstream "news" sources suddenly starting to behave honestly.

gilliganscorner has left a new comment on your post "Five Ideas You Can't Say on Television":

Got another one for you FSK,

Voting is pointless.

Obviously, I've mentioned that point before. I considered that, but didn't include it because it was redundant with the others.

Even if I decide to perform that routine as part of a comedy act, I'm not required to perform it the same way each time. I figured that it was better to have fewer points rather than more.

It would have been really cool to perform it while George Carlin was still alive, especially if he saw it and liked it.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Hunt Brothers' Silver Corner":

Good Article on a subject that does not get very much attention

One correction

The Federal Reserve also joined the party. The Federal Reserve jacked up interest rates. This made it hard for the Hunt brothers to meet the interest payments on their margin debt. Borrowing at 5% to buy silver is a bargain when inflation is 15%. Borrowing at 20% to buy silver is a ripoff when inflation is 15%!


FYI, They were also responsible also for the "Liquidation Only" rule the exchange instituted. The board of governors didn't come up with the rule on their own. They were....instructed.

I was at the exchange when it all started, and when it all came crashing down.

"The Hunt Brothers' Silver Corner" has been very popular. It's up to #3 on the "Best of FSK" list, and it should make #2 eventually. That post gets a decent amount of search traffic and links from other sites. In most months, "The Hunt Brothers' Silver Corner" gets more traffic than my post on The Supreme Leader of Humanity, but the SLH post is older.

You should not consider the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the financial industry insiders as separate people. Financial industry insiders took huge short bets in silver against the Hunt Brothers. These insiders controlled both the COMEX/NYMEX/CBOE/CBOT and the Federal Reserve. The "Liquidation Only" rule was implemented by the exchanges. Most seats on the exchange were owned by insiders who themselves had huge short positions in silver. The Federal Reserve is also controlled by financial industry insiders. The "Liquidation Only" rule was invented by the people with huge short positions.

In CYA fashion, suppose you are an executive at the COMEX. If the Federal Reserve orders you to implement a "Liquidation Only" rule (which you wanted to do anyway), then your back is covered. It's the usual "captured regulators" problem. Insiders manipulate the State to order them to do what they wanted to do anyway.

As an individual, the only way to avoid financial industry parasitism is a complete boycott of the Federal Reserve and income tax.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The True Purpose of the Federal Reserve":

Thanks for your enlightening explanation of our predicament.

Do you know which banking families control the Federal reserve? I assume that the wealth thay has been accumulated has served as the basis of banking dynasties.

I've seen hints, but no public disclosure. The people actually pulling the strings make sure their names are never publicly discussed.

Also why is our media silent? Not one paper or TV news show discusses the Reserve, fractional banking,..etc. in any sort of critical light.

Duh! When you have all the money, you buy up all the newspapers and televisions!

For example, Sumner Redstone controls CBS and Viacom. Even though they are publicly traded corporations, Sumner Redstone has special supervoting shares that give him control of the company, even if all the publicly traded shares vote against him. Sumner Redstone acquired his control of Viacom in a leveraged buyout. In other words, a group of bankers picked Sumner Redstone to lead Viacom. If he stops following orders, or one of his heirs don't follow orders, then it's a simple matter to push down the stock's price and arrange for another leveraged buyout.

Most/all mainstream media businesses are publicly traded corporations. This makes them subject to control by the bankers.

There are other "market forces" as work (by "market forces", I mean "communism"). A news organization gets as a perk "access" to interviews with the President, members of Congress, and other bureaucrats. If they were overly critical, then they lose this perk. Most/all of a large media corporation's income comes from advertising. This provides an incentive for them to not rock the boat, because a controversy would make advertisers feel uncomfortable. For example, many prominent politicians appear as guests on the Daily Show. In return for this perk, Jon Stewart doesn't ask any hard questions.

As the Mike Savage incident indicated, if a mainstream media personality doesn't toe the Statist party line, then advertisers will drop him and pressure the corporation to fire him. This censorship process is so efficient that it only rarely needs to be invoked. Normally, self-censorship is sufficient. You don't get promoted as a mainstream media personality unless you have the right sort of pro-State brainwashing. An actor/journalist/comedian must spend many years proving that he has the "right" pro-State brainwashing, before he is allowed to assume a high profile. Unwilling to risk his cushy job, the mainstream media personality can't rock the boat.

Most corporations are controlled by a handful of insiders. Most media corporations are incorporated with special supervoting shares, so that insiders control the business even though it's publicly traded. Once the vast majority of mainstream media personalities are pro-State trolls, it's very easy to perpetuate the brainwashing even though almost nobody is consciously aware of it. People adopt a culture of self-censorship. When someone slips up and stops conforming with the Statist party line, they are reprimanded. This process is so efficient that explicit censorship almost never occurs. If necessary, some pretext can be invented for firing the free thinker that is unrelated to the actual reason for his firing.

This bit deserves its own separate post.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Tally Stick Monetary System":

FSK, your income tax comments are correct on a very basic level, but they would be more in line with your agorist sensibilities if you would inform yourself at losthorizons.com, and study the book "Cracking the Code". Best $25 I ever spent for any book about any subject.

Superficially, that site seems freedom-oriented, but it's really pro-State trolling.

A lot of "tax protester fallacies" say that "If you file the right form with the IRS, then you get all your withheld taxes back and are exempt from future income taxes." If this worked, don't you think every single person in the country wouldn't be doing it? If this worked, don't you think the State bureaucrats/politicians/lawyers would find a way to close the loophole?

Do you really think that achieving freedom is as easy as filing paperwork with the IRS?

If you work for a corporation, or do any business with a corporation, the transaction is automatically reported to the IRS and the State. It is foolish to resist taxes on income the IRS already knows about.

It's ridiculous to believe that you can attain freedom without any real effort or risk. Agorism is the only viable resistance strategy I've read.

These "tax protester" arguments distract people from the real issue. The income tax is immoral. The legal argument is irrelevant. It is pointless for slaves to petition their masters to be less cruel.



Zargon has left a new comment on your post "Bailout Arithmetic":

Thanks for the explanation. The calculation was very helpful.

Followup question: Ok, the company has managed to get $490B in debts and a $250B mortgage portfolio in the case of the bonds declining by 50%. But they owe all that to the federal reserve. Now, on the side they have other creditors - the people who will be screwed if the bank goes under. It seems that in a bankruptcy situation, if we simply pay the federal reserve last, nobody gets directly screwed (everybody takes the inflation hit, but nobody notices that anyways).

Someone *ALWAYS* gets screwed in a default.

When the Federal Reserve "monetizes the debt", the new money shows up as a credit in someone's account, and not the Federal Reserve. The banks are directly borrowing from depositors, even though the Federal Reserve created the new reserves. The banks are borrowing indirectly from the Federal Reserve, but directly from depositors.

This is where the "banks borrow from depositors and not the Federal Reserve" fallacy comes into play. The Federal Reserve creates just enough reserves to keep the Fed Funds Rate at the target, but the new money shows up as a deposit in someone's account.

Even if the bank were directly borrowing from the Federal Reserve, at the Discount Rate or via the Term Auction Facility, then someone is still on the hook for a default. Money was spent/borrowed, but not repaid, and the result is inflation.

Is there a reason they don't do that (let the bank go bankrupt, but pay the fed last)? The execs still get to make off with the cash from the boom years. They could use any number of tricks to ensure their friends are in control of whatever bank replaces them in the list of 3-5 in the oligarcy. And they would have another talking point to show how fair everything is.

Actually, the Federal Reserve only has an "official" balance sheet of approximately $1 trillion. If the Federal Reserve purchased all the outstanding bad loans and wrote them off, then the Federal Reserve would technically be bankrupt itself. Even though the Federal Reserve has an unlimited budget, it still keeps an accounting statement and balance sheet. The appearance of fairness is important! The Federal Reserve makes a guaranteed riskless profit when it "monetizes the debt", but this is a pittance compared to the huge profits for financial industry insiders.

I suppose they might not do this because it might lower consumer confidence in our faith based market. Or perhaps paying the fed last still isn't sufficient to pay everybody else due to details outside the calculation? Or perhaps this is simply another opportunity for them. An opportunity to make a quick $700B (or whatever it is now) because they think they can get away with it. Letting the bank go bankrupt and them proceeding to set up a new bank is probably far less efficient at stealing money for insiders as a bailout. That seems most likely, having thought about it some more.

Even if the Federal Reserve directly printed new money to finance the bailout and wrote off the loss, it would be just as inflationary as Congress explicitly allocating a bailout.

The entire purpose of the economic system is to loot and pillage. Most of the participants are not consciously aware of the nature of the scam. It would be simpler (and cheaper) for each member of Congress to directly write themselves a check for $1B, but then everyone would be fully aware of the nature of the scam. Instead, the looting and pillaging happens in various pork projects, laws restricting competition, and other corporate welfare.

The financial system is very complicated, on purpose, so the average person won't get wise to the details of the scam. The President and Congress don't have the economic sophistication to understand what's going on.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Philosophy Overview":

I have done a good ammount of high skill work that I didn't claim on my taxes. This is done outside of my payroll work that has automatic deductions. The way I see it the governemnt is already taking 40% of what I make a month. The small ammount of outside work lets me take back 10-15% of that. Even with the extra I am still not breaking even or getting close to my paper gross income. My extra cash is to offset the allowances the super rich get to deduct from thier taxes.

If you let the State steal from you on 80% of your income, but 20% is tax free, then you only have 20% freedom. When you consider the way marginal tax rates work, even partial tax resistance is beneficial.

The problem is that companies must pay me in the form of a check sent by accounting. There is always a paper trail.

That's exactly the problem. Whenever you receive payment from a corporation, there is a paper trail. Almost all corporate transactions are automatically reported to the IRS and the State.

For this reason, an agorist focuses on other individuals as customers, and not corporations.

I charge less than I should but that is done to keep the payment small enough that they will be reported by the company to the IRS as part of a total expense rather than a single expense that would throw up a red flag.

Your bank has an obligation to report all deposits to the IRS. A single check of $10k or more is reportable. Smaller checks totaling $10k are reportable. For example, suppose you get a check for $3k from four different people. Your bank has an obligation to report the $12k to the IRS.

I can not do this for my total income because deposits over $10k would be flagged by my bank. It prevents me from ever making a living off this work alone but it does give me a few extra thousand dollars a year.

As I said above, agorists should target individuals and not corporations. If you're working for a corporation, you're still working in the slave economy.

The chances of getting caught are very low. To get caught the company needs to report the direct income paid and the IRS computer must flag me. To that end I did get caught for 2004 because one company that paid me was audited. The payment to me was flagged. I owe the IRS some money but far less than 35% of the total ammount I recieved that would have been taxed had I reported the income.


Taxes are so high that if you are successful 90%+ of the time and get caught less than 10% of the time, your tax evasion is profitable. If you're a good agorist, your risk of getting caught should be 5%, 1%, or less. For this reason, I consider tax resister insurance to be a viable business. (Regrettably, there are some difficulties offering tax resister insurance as a business. What happens if the IRS seizes my customer list?!)

In your case, you only owed fines and interest, and not jail time. If the only risk of tax evasion was a fine and interest, I'd gladly accept the risk.

Even being caught and forced to pay the penalty is preferable to paying the full ammount of taxes with that money added to my income on a 1040. Adding the money would raise me up a tax bracket taking even more money out of my pockets.

It would be preferable to be paid in cash but a cash payment by accounting would need to have a paper trail for tax purposes.
For this reason, you should target individuals. A corporation cannot pay in cash because of accounting laws, but an individual can pay in cash.

Essentially the grey market is limited to a level less than $10k a year.You can try to go for more but you risk being flagged by your bank. You can open multiple accounts but that can be hard to manage.

*FALSE*. You are working for a corporation. If you are a true agorist, your customers are individuals. There is no limit to your total potential customer base.

For this reason, a true agorist would prefer payment in gold or silver. This solves the "deposit it in bank" problem. Even if you accept payment in slave points, if you rapidly convert them to money (gold or silver), then you minimize your loss via inflation. In most cities, there are gold and silver dealers. However, they are heavily regulated and prices are high, making a gold/silver/FRN bartner network a viable business.

You also must not put any money into a savings account to try and gain a small ammount of interest because the interest will be reported to the IRS increasing your risk of being flagged.

Holding physical gold and silver is preferable to investing in a bank account. The interest credited on a checking account is less than true inflation.

If you do have a checking account or stock investment account, the income is automatically reported to the IRS and you should pay tax on it. You should only resist taxes when the work/income is not automatically reported to the IRS.

The Agorist revolution can not happen because there are not enough outlets to spend credit. Big box retail dominates the landscape. There are not enough small retailers to accomodate any realistic lifestyle.

You are making no sense at all. Suppose I work as an agorist and get paid in Federal Reserve Points. I can still go into Wal-Mart and buy things with that money. Even if I get paid in gold or silver, I should be able to trade my metal for Federal Reserve Points as needed.

Over time, small agorist retailers will develop. Until then, agorists should focus on areas of the economy that are most profitable for them individually. If I believe I can make great profits as an agorist doctor, I should do that while still spending my profits in Wal-Mart.

The whole point of agorism is that you can still use the rest of the slave economy while working as an agorist. It isn't necessary to build a 100% self-sufficient agorist economy on day one. It will be built gradually as needed. Agorists will probably be forced to use the State telecommunication/electricity/transportation monopolies until the collapse draws near.

Some barter can be done. It is possible to trade sporting even tickets for food at local restaurants. Barter only works for individual owned business. Also barter only works if the trade is for something the person would have paid real money for anyway.

I prefer gold or silver to bartering other goods. Gold and silver were selected by the free market as money because they were the least common denominator for barter. If you're willing to pay $10 for something, then you should be willing to pay 1/2 ounce of silver for it (assuming the spot price of silver is near $20/ounce.) It's very easy to translate from FRN-denominated prices to gold and silver denominated prices.

You totally misunderstand agorism. If you target corporate customers, you are not working as an agorist. All economic activity by corporations is automatically reported to the IRS and the State. An agorist targets individual customers. An agorist buyer and seller agree to respect each others' privacy, not reporting their activity to the State.



I was looking at Intrade a few days ago, and I noticed that Hillary Clinton still had odds of 1% to win. That makes absolutely no sense. She isn't on the ballot, and the contract rules state "All trades canceled if either Obama or McCain dies before the election." That illustrates that, on Intrade, it isn't profitable to short sell longshots.

Obama is a huge favorite. He could have made zero public appearances in the last two weeks of the campaign and still won.

Obama is the fake change most Americans deserve.



No Gods Required has left a new comment on your post "How to Fix the Economy":

Careful with the sarcasm bud, they might take you seriously.

I was slightly concerned about that when I wrote the post. Fortunately, the comments indicated that people got it.

"Promote agorism via humor/comedy" seems like a viable strategy.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Ruby on Rails Sucks!":

I started a Ruby on Rails project a few years ago during the pinnacle of its hype. Every time I tried to look for documentation, I kept finding blogs that breathlessly posted scaffold tutorials but nothing else helpful to me. When I realized Ruby on Rails was as much work as any other framework when you step outside the auto-generated CRUD interface (which I didn't need or want) but without the years of documentation and support you find from other languages, I moved on. It felt like the community was made up of Mac users getting off on cute Ruby-isms.

Amusingly, the Rails Advocate at my last job was a Mac user. He was so excited that the Mac OS X ships with Rails by default!

The pinnacle of Rails hype has passed? I thought it was still increasing?

If what you want isn't exactly provided by Rails, there's no benefit to using Rails. Rails places a lot of restrictions on what you can do.

The Rails online documentation is lousy. The php.net website is much better than anything available for Rails. If Rails is so super-awesome, then why hasn't anybody written decent online documentation? If you're the type of person who writes good online documentation, then you'll be using a different language besides Rails.

It's amusing how "hype over substance" dominates, even in an objective area like writing software. That's a symptom of a non-free market.

BTW, I got an update from one of the marketing owners at my former job. He said "The Rails project is not ready for release yet. So much for 'Rails allows superfast rapid development'!" If the Rails advocate is still reading this (I doubt it), "HAHAHAHA!!! TOLD YOU SO!!!"

I'm looking into writing my own discussion forum/wiki/digg engine. I'm thinking of getting a php open source engine and making my desired modifications. There's a lot of features, such as the "rich text" editing capability that I don't want to re-write.



Warren Buffett is a pro-State Troll generated a surprising number of comments. (I didn't go back and correct the misspelling "Buffet" in the post title, because of the way blogger handles post names.)

Sphairon has left a new comment on your post "Warren Buffet is a pro-State Troll":

"If you anticipate complete economic and political collapse in the next 20 years, then the stock market is a lousy investment. In a SHTF scenario, a stock investment is worth zero. Physical gold and silver will hold their value, provided you can survive the crisis. The severity and suddenness of the coming crash is uncertain."

What makes you think a SHTF scenario is likely to occur within the next two decades, and what kind of social meltdown are you expecting?

There are several arguments in favor of complete economic collapse within the next two decades.
  1. Historically, no fiat monetary system has ever lasted longer than approximately 100 years. Insiders cannot resist the temptation to print more money and give it to themselves. This is happening right now in the USA.
  2. There has been massive consolidation in the financial industry, which practically guarantees that the next crisis will be more severe. Due to the Compound Interest Paradox, boom/bust cycles are guaranteed.
  3. The Federal government has massive obligations for Social Security and Medicare. These obligations are "untouchable" not because the elderly are a loyal voting block, but because the primary purpose of these plans is to loot and pillage workers. (If the candidates for both parties ran on a "reform Social Security" platform, then the elderly would be SOL.) For almost its entire existence, Social Security taxes collected have exceeded benefits paid. The profits of this massive Ponzi scam have been used to pay for current State expenses. If there was a public default on these obligations, then current workers would no longer be willing to contribute taxes towards this Ponzi scam. Social Security and Medicare will be cut, either outright, via inflation, or via higher taxes.
  4. Taxes (direct and hidden), inflation, and crippling State regulations increase monotonically over time. This means that the incentive for working as an agorist becomes greater and greater. Pretty soon, a large group of people will say "**** this!" and start working as agorists. This will further accelerate the collapse. The State has grown so large that it is dependent on massive leeching. The State won't be able to reduce its size in time, and the result will be complete collapse. (If the Libertarian pro-State troll fantasy of a return to strict limited government were realized, then the collapse could be averted. The Supreme Leader of Humanity will not allow that to happen.)
Summarizing, almost all the Constitutional restraints on the ability of insiders to loot and pillage have been removed. The larger the State grows, the easier the collapse becomes. Eventually, the incentive to work as an agorist will become too great. As more and more people join the agorist economy, that accelerates the collapse.

If agorists do a good job, then the transition to a free market economy should be smooth and nonviolent, just like the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The question is not "Will the current and economic system collapse?" but rather "How violent will the collapse be? How many people will die during the transition?" There still is time to get prepared. Other people have made estimates of "Only 20 more years until the State collapses!" A free market economy, once started, will truly "go viral". The practical benefits for the participants are too great.

(This bit deserves its own separate post.)

Denalli has left a new comment on your post "Warren Buffet is a pro-State Troll":

Stock market is a trap, and this should be obvious to anyone who isn't asleep at a wheel.

I used to think the stock market was cool! Anybody intelligent can invest and earn a positive inflation-adjusted return! Such massive propaganda is incredibly effective!

The idea of "clever people can profit" is attractive. For non-insiders, it's like trying to look for patterns in roulette wheel outcomes.

Stock market is open to anyone, - as is any trap, anyone is welcome to fall into it.

I know that now. There's a reason it's hard to invest in gold or silver. The bad guys don't want to make it easy for people to protect their savings!

Consider the ability to borrow from FED at negative rates, or to borrow Gold bullion from treasury... Can you get your hands on it? Can you borrow a buck and then write checks for 10 bucks?

Nope!!! You can't do any of these things!!! You need to invest in stock market, you, slave!
You ain't good enough to make it like they do. Now, those are the vehicles for profit. Those aren't just for everyone. All good things will have limited access.

The biggest lie ever told is that you can have something positive open to anyone. Never. Mildly negative or very negative, yes. Never something positive, that will move you forward.

Why? Simple, you can't steal from some to give to many, you will be upside down in no time. You have to have a system that uses many, extracts their wealth, and delivers it to few. Therefore anything that is welcoming many is a wealth collector, and something that welcomes only few is a wealth distributor.

That is correct. Speculating in stocks is zero-sum (or negative-sum). If it were possible to generate wealth speculating in the stock market, then why bother doing any productive work at all? If stock investing yielded a positive inflation-adjusted return for no effort, then it's like wealth were being created out of thin air!

Due to obscene profits in the financial sector, most smart college students aspire to be bankers, MBAs, and CEOs, rather than being someone who does actual productive work. In an economic system that overvalues theft and undervalues useful work, why would anyone bother doing useful work? I read interviews with executives in the productive sector of the economy lamenting that smart students aspire to be parasites, instead of productive workers.

Whenever you see something advertised as a money-maker, but it is available to anyone, you do not need to know anything else. You know they are looking for a patsy.

The large amount of mainstream hype surrounding the stock market, and practically no mention of the merits of gold or silver, is obvious evidence of a massive conspiracy. Suppose a hedge fund outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 10 years. Its manager would be bragging about his awesomeness on CNBC every day! When gold outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 10 years, that is practically never mentioned!

Now, anyone is welcome to argue spitting "free market" rhetoric, but nobody can deny that what I said is true, and you can't get any of the things that big guys are getting. So, go ahead and "invest".... if you're patsy.

For now, I invest in the stock market because it's the most convenient alternative. In the next few years, when I have more interpersonal freedom, I'm going to start investing in physical gold and silver, along with agorist businesses.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Warren Buffet is a pro-State Troll":

Warren is a troll. Two years ago I remember him arguing in favor of a death tax.

I didn't forget, I put a checkmark on his name.

He is a pro-state troll.

I evaluate each idea independently. He did have some interesting observations about how his secretary pays a higher marginal taxation rate than him. When you consider that most CEOs have deferred income on the capital gains on their equity/options grants, their taxation rate is *MUCH* lower than the average person, in addition to the fact that CEOs receive a massive State subsidy. Large corporations receive a massive State subsidy via negative real interest rates, plus they are the beneficiaries of regulations restricting competition.

If you asked me in high school, I would have perfectly recited pro-State propaganda! Just because I would have been a pro-State troll then, doesn't mean I'm also one now.

When discussing non-mainstream idea, it's *VERY* important to evaluate each idea independently. Otherwise, you're using the Strawman Fallacy.

Warren Buffett's endorsement of the US stock market was 100% pro-State trolling, along with the mainstream media hype surrounding it. Warren Buffett has some other decent ideas, though. For example, I like the way he complained that political campaign contrubtions have a ROI of 1000%-10,000% or more, making them the best investment.

yakuza90 has left a new comment on your post "Warren Buffet is a pro-State Troll":

If you say, you have lost all your money at the market, you are unemployed and can't buy anymore stocks, you forget, that there are still some people who dont. So don't judge Warren Buffet for taking care of them :-). If you cannot serve these (Wall)street criminals by shoving your money into their asses anymore, they would be more happy about you committing suicide than isolating your wealth from their authority. If they notice, that finally you are the one, who is profiting from your work, they might consider if it was cheap enough to put you away ^^.
Good Luck for the future!
And beware of the Gold Seizure!^^

Another gold seizure isn't likely, and if so, it won't be the same as the one in 1933. There no longer is any "official" connection between the US dollar and gold, and another gold seizure would be an admission to the contrary. It's sufficient to impose taxes and regulations that prevent people from using gold as money.

Of course, if you have an agorist business using gold as money, you shouldn't let the State know where you keep it! Only an idiot keeps gold or silver in a safe deposit box at a bank!

I'm not sure what the true risk is for an agorist, if he takes proper precautions. The only way to be sure is to perform an experiment!

edzillion has left a new comment on your post "Warren Buffet is a pro-State Troll":

BTW, on your user profile page, you say:

If I was going to make one piece of investment advice it would be to invest in the Perth Mint Certificate Programme and hold it for a period of 3 - 5 years.

If you're buying gold for a SHTF scenario, then *WHY* would you buy State gold certificates? Why not buy the physical metal and take possession?

While I like Buffet, for his old school buy & hold strategy if nothing else, I was suspicious of his investment in Goldman Sachs.

He got special terms that aren't available to the average person. It was a pretty sweet deal, but Goldman needed the extra capital.

Suppose the CEO raises $5 billion, diluting existing shareholders. The CEO gets to spend that $5 billion however he pleases. His own 1%-2% interest is diluted as well, but why would he care about that?

Surely it wasn't the best time to buy? Maybe he was just being cynical, knowing that Goldman would never be allowed to fail, since it is basically a semi-state body.

It isn't accurate to say that Goldman Sachs is a branch of the State. It is more accurate to say that the State is a branch of Goldman Sachs.

Now that Goldman Sachs is a publicly traded corporation, the politically connected insiders may move elsewhere, rather than share their loot with shareholders. The system is set up to benefit insiders, and not any specific corporation. The insiders will change the name of the public corporation they use, as victims get wise to the scam.

The best investment is, of course, government. Warren Buffett estimated that political campaign contributions yield a return of 1000%-10,000% or more. Why do useful work, when you can lobby the State for favors?

Estate taxes don't affect the super-wealthy. They mostly hurt the small business owner, who has a business valued at $5M-$10M, who must sell to pay the estate tax bill. The super-wealthy use trusts to dodge taxes. Plus, if you have the ability to lobby the State for favors, that ability is usually passed on to your children. For example, the Bush family has been leeching off the State for several generations now.

"..over the past 10 years, gold was a better investment than the S&P 500."

Even better than that (I never get tired of this stat):

Gold has outperformed both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones since 1971!
That isn't a valid comparison because:
  1. It was illegal for the average person to own gold in 1971. Gold ownership wasn't re-legalized until 1975. (That law was sponsored by Ron Paul!) You could have arbitraged it somewhat, buying gold jewelery, but then you would have paid more than the "official" price of gold per ounce.
  2. Does that chart include reinvested dividends for the Dow? I didn't bother checking. Over 30+ years, you need to include reinvested dividends to be fair.
  3. In 1971, most of the world's gold supply was owned by central banks. Since then, they have been selling off their gold to keep down the price of gold. That's an argument in favor of gold over stocks.
Similarly, a comparison going back to 1913 isn't valid, because President Roosevelt confiscated all the gold in 1933.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Warren Buffet is a pro-State Troll":

Sphairon,

How about seeing a country the size of United States turning communist in two weeks time?

The USA already is Communist!

How regular is an event like this? 1913, 1969 were like this but at a far lesser scale. Do you think there will be no consequences? Do you think Soviet Union failed with a bang simply because they weren't as smart as us?

The leaders of the Soviet Union allowed the collapse to happen on purpose. The realized that the shift from Soviet-style Communism to USA-style Communism would benefit insiders.

In USA-style Communism, insiders may loot and pillage far more effectively than in Soviet-style Communism! If you allow the slaves/cattle certain limited freedom and illusion of freedom, then they are far more productive!

Abomination is punishable, and since it has been committed, the punishment is coming.

Your question is a bit like:-"I know we're all in a speeding bus that has no brakes nor a left front wheel, on a mountain road, and the bus has just lost control - these are the things my eyes are telling me, but what is it that makes you think the bus isn't just going to magically straighten itself, accelerate a bit more, and continue on it's way? Why do you think we are going to crash?"

The current economic and political system is worse than "an abomination".

Fortunately, the rules of history are valid. The correction is a historic inevitability.

At this point, you're stuck on the speeding out of control bus, but it isn't that bad yet. Do you jump out and take your chances with a few minor scratches? (i.e., attempt practical agorism) Or, do you wait for the crash?



Duke has left a new comment on your post "The Gold Lease Rate is Negative!":

Why "correct" yourself on account of "anonymous"? Your initial inclination is correct - a negative lease rate implies that GOFO is higher than LIBOR, not the other way around(see http://www.lbma.org.uk/?area=stats&page=gofo/2008gofo). Negative rates may therefore imply that the lender of gold is leasing his gold at a theoretical market loss. It does not prove manipulation but justify suspicion. The real issue is this, why do the central banks or gold industry not come clean and disclose historical data (say 3 months in arrears) i.e. ounces leased, to what type institutions and if any of these leases were rolled over or gold not swapped back. Such data should not compromise any one but it would clear the air to some degree.

The error I made was that I said "The gold lease rate is an absolute rate." I didn't realize that the gold lease rate is quoted relative to LIBOR.

For example, suppose the quoted gold lease rate is -0.5% and LIBOR is 2%. If a central bank leases out $1M of gold, then the interest payment is +1.5%, and not -0.5% as I originally believed.

Still, a negative gold lease rate implies a guaranteed riskless profit for the borrower. The borrower may borrow gold, sell it on the spot market, buy a future, and then invest the proceeds elsewhere. If the 1 year LIBOR rate is 2%, then the 1 year future price should be no more than "current price plus 2%". Otherwise, someone could arbitrage the other way, borrowing at LIBOR, purchasing gold, and short selling a future. Further, the gold borrower has a free put option to declare bankruptcy and cheat the lender. (This has happened occasionally.)

The central banks don't provide full disclosure about their leasing policy because the *ENTIRE* purpose is to manipulate the market. With full disclosure, then professional traders would buy more gold to counteract the leases. Professional traders don't know the size of the gold leases/sales, so they don't know if the price decline is due to manipulation or other factors.

Most central gold sales are pre-announced with much fanfare. This is an obvious effort at market manipulation. If the purpose is to sell gold for the best price possible, then you *DON'T* announce a large sale ahead of time.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Pyschiatrists are Muderers!":

"...the hospital staff was *MAD AND DISAPPOINTED* that my parents came to rescue me. The hospital staff thought that I was now their property. They would have me institutionalized for the rest of my life, milking me for Medicaid payments..."

There is all we needed to know. As we can witness, there is no difference between this apparatus, and those of 1939 Germany or Soviet mental institutions. All of the examples have this in common: they find it profitable to incarcerate people for their lifetime, because the state stays ready to pay for every day of the incarceration. When fiat printing state makes itself ready to pay, then dishonest doctors will find a way to declare you crazy.

Germany progressed in this to the point where it has become profitable to murder in masses. Soviets used slaves to dig for Uranium, having those slaves die after a few weeks. Just because we don't know, doesn't mean there isn't already a mechanism like that in our own country.
"Silence political prisoners by labeling them insane" is a common tactic in totalitarian regimes. Breaking your pro-State brainwashing is *INCREDIBLY* dangerous! If these people were outright murdered, there would be objections. By giving them drugs that dull their senses, you don't wind up murdering all the people who break their pro-State brainwashing. As we observed, the welfare State allows these drugged up victims to be milked for Medicaid payments.

The health care system in the USA is totally out of control. The psychiatry/pharmaceutical industry appears to be based entirely on fraudulent principles. "Treat illness via a drug" masks the symptoms but does not cure the underlying problem. In psychiatry, the fraud is obvious. Even for anti-arthritis drugs, the drug masks the joint pain, but doesn't correct the problem that your joints are wearing out. If you take anti-arthritis drugs, you don't feel pain, but you still can't walk normally.

Appealing to the State for redress of grievances regarding the psychiatry/death industry is pointless. I suspect that the bad guys are fully aware of the scam! For example, many antipsychotic drugs were developed during secret military research decades ago. If I were interrogating a prisoner, and told "use any means necessary", then antipsychotic drugs are *EXCELLENT*. When used on me, I noticed a "truth serum" effect.

It's pointless to complain to the State regarding my abuse by the psychiatry/death industry. The State failed to protect me from being murdered. I only survived and recovered because I ignored the advice of my psychiatrist and stopped taking the harmful drugs. I managed to wait out the withdrawal period, which takes months, and I'm hopefully OK now. In the process, I managed to break most of my pro-State conditioning. Getting tortured is very educational!

Also, a psychiatrist is protected by sovereign immunity. If you obey his orders and take the antipsychotic drugs for the rest of your life, then there's no negative consequences to the psychiatrist if your life was ruined. The murderer was following "generally accepted practices", and is protected by sovereign immunity. If the psychiatrist says "You don't need to take drugs", and the patient later has a problem, then the psychiatrist risks losing his license and his career. Therefore, the incentive is for the psychiatrist to prescribe drugs no matter what.

Since I'm not currently hospitalized, and (fortunately) avoided any court orders, my psychiatrist can't legally force me to take drugs. My psychiatrist advises me to do so, but I know my psychiatrist is full of ****.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "How to Fix the Economy":

You deserve a nobel price for this short masterpiece. I mean if Krugman can get one for spouting his nonsense about the beneficial economic effect of disasters (natrual and otherwise) I don't see why you cant.

I doubt I will ever receive a "Nobel Terrorism Prize" or a "Nobel pro-State Trolling Prize".

Thomas Blair has left a new comment on your post "How to Fix the Economy":

Anon,

He didn't win it for his big-ass broken window fallacy. He won "for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity".

That's what I thought. However, you don't get to be an economics professor at a top university unless you've been thoroughly brainwashed as a pro-State troll.

While I think he's a moron too, we at least need to make comments bounded by reality.

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/2008/index.html

I didn't bother doing a detailed analysis and criticism of Paul Krugman's writing. Should I bother? It seems like a waste of time to me.

Most "international free trade agreements" are really "international corporate welfare agreements", but I didn't read the specific details of the paper. If it wasn't an excellent piece of pro-State trolling, then I doubt it would have been chosen.

I like freedomain's attitude on University economists. "If they're such wonderful advocates of a free market, then why are they stealing from me to pay their own salary? (via State research grants)" Most State-licensed economists probably could not handle running an actual business, free market (agorist) or communist corporate bureaucracy. If they could, then they'd be doing that instead of leeching off the State.

If you're a true independent thinker, then you're weeded out of the University professor selection process. When I dropped out of grad school, some people lamented "It seems that the smartest/best people are the ones who drop out of the academic career track to do other things."



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Kangaroo Court Fnord":

Very insightful.

This post on blagnet seemed to appreciate it also.

Should I do more "pointing out the fnords" type articles?

I saw an article debunking fnords elsewhere. The author says "If fnords were real, then anyone who could see them would start pointing them out to all his friend!" The problem is that most people are so pro-State brainwashed that they can't see the fnords, even when they're explicitly pointed out! If I say "See that fnord!", then my friends and relatives say "There's no secret hidden message there! You're a crazy conspiracy theorist!"

Once you can see them, the fnords are obvious. It's very traumatic to suddenly start seeing them. Most other people who develop this ability partially wind up on antipsychotic medication for the rest of their lives. (Hopefully, I'm good enough at faking "normal" that I can avoid re-hospitalization. I have enough experience acting as a brainwashed slave that I can handle it!)

Seeing the fnords is simultaneously amusing and depressing. It's amusing, because I think "Oh, that again!" It's depressing, because nobody else can see them, and I can't explain them to my in-person friends and relatives.



Mike Gogulski has left a new comment on your post "Heroic Incompetent Policemen":

Not debating the rest of your post, but I don't see free-riding on the subway as immoral. In fact, it may be one of the only peaceful ways to reclaim part of what's being stolen from you in taxes elsewhere.

That's an interesting question. Is free-riding the subway immoral?

Suppose I steal a loaf of bread from Wal-Mart. Is that immoral? I say "yes". Wal-Mart is State-owned as much as the subway. If it's wrong to steal a loaf of bread from Wal-Mart, then it's wrong to evade the fare on the subway.

Is it immoral to steal a loaf of bread from a small grocery store? That store is State-owned almost as much as Wal-Mart.

As a practical matter, it's not worth the risk for an agorist. As an agorist, you *DON'T* want to draw attention to yourself. Focus on high-return resistance.

The correct response to the State is to boycott, and not outright steal. If you believe the State transportation monopoly is immoral, then you should ride a bicycle or walk. You can make your own ethanol to avoid the State gasoline tax, or find someone else who does so.

In most US cities, public transportation operates at a net State subway. If you believe public transportation to be fair value for the fare charged, then you should pay. Otherwise, boycott. It isn't immoral to pay $2 when the actual cost of the ride is $3! (even though the true free market price would probably be lower)

Stealing is stealing. The proper response to the State is to boycott, and not to steal or otherwise damage State property. For public transportation, there are viable alternatives, if you want to boycott. I pay the fare and focus my resistance efforts elsewhere, where there's a higher return on investment. I believe that it's morally correct for me to pay for the subway, if I'm using it.

Doing a proper risk/reward analysis, fare evasion is not practical for me. If I were only earning minimum wage or homeless, then fare evasion might pay. My time is valuable enough that I'm not interested in risking wasting my time on an arrest, if caught.



DixieFlatline has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Facebook vs. XNA?":

Facebook. No competition.

Really? It seems like half the startups I interview at are writing Facebook applications. Nobody is writing XNA games.

I see a lot of posts on the Internet predicting the demise of Facebook. With everyone developing Facebook applications, I don't see how that is possible?

I guess I'll look into Facebook development ahead of XNA development. Sometime in the next year or two, I'll start self-hosting my blog and branching out into other areas than strictly blogging.

Agorism-related activities probably are the most effective use of my time. Writing a game would have been cool, but dealing with the massive humongous conspiracy is a bigger problem! Blogging is sort of like a game, because I "keep score" via my Google Analytics statistics.



I queued up this post ahead of time by a few days. If you published a comment later than those indicated above, you'll get a response in the next "Reader Mail" post.

I should work on my blogging discipline a bit more. I should put the response in the Reader Mail post as soon as I receive the comment, instead of queueing them up.

3 comments:

eagledove9 said...

What is the 'time lag' when you see fnords? You described them once and said that you actually see an image of bold text standing out from the rest of the words. How long does it take before that image appears? (Does that only apply to reading? If you're watching a TV commercial and see the implied fnords, does it still show you a line of bold text?)

I had a very disturbing problem for a while - it hasn't been as bad recently - where I would hear the sound of a whisper pronouncing words I had just glanced at. It made it very difficult to read. (When I'm speedreading, I scan text with my eyes, without whispering the words internally.)

The word was often the wrong word, just like when autocomplete fills in a word after seeing only the first couple letters. It would fill in 'recently used words' or 'commonly used words' instead of 'words most likely to occur in this particular context.' This would often be a totally irrelevant word. I might see the word 'Fortis' and a whisper would say 'Fortified,' or I would see the word 'Rand' and a whisper would say 'random.' It really behaved exactly like autocomplete.

The time lag on this phenomenon was extremely short. It happened almost instantly after seeing a word. It felt like it came from outside of me, not from within.

That problem started after my own psychiatry-murder experiences, along with lots of other problems. I NEVER had any reading difficulties at any time in my life, until that started happening. I HATED IT. It hasn't happened much recently.

Zargon said...

After I wrote my comment on the Bailout Arithmetic post, I got to thinking that the details of exactly how the insiders screw everybody else in this particular instance aren't really important. The knowledge of how they do it in general and the fact that they'll continue to do it more and more, regardless of the details is what matters.

I like your posts as a whole on the psychiatry industry. Thankfully, I haven't had any firsthand experience with that, but the knowledge is still very important for obvious reasons. Avoiding the psychiatry industry is a whole lot easier than avoiding the rest of the state.

I really liked the post on outsourcing cooking. That seems like a great model for early agorist businesses. I wonder how many "customers" the lady is cooking for? From his account, it seems like she's too well organized for him to be her only customer. If she's cooking for 10 people, she's making ~$30k per year tax free for probably 10-20 hours per week of extra work, depending on how close together they live.

I like your breakdown of the "don't talk to police" videos. I didn't watch the second half with the policeman when I watched the first half about a month ago. I thought he was giving the rebuttal for why talking to police is good. I assumed that would just be a bunch of predictable half-truths and outright lies, but it sounds like he (unintentionally) made some good points against talking to police, and plenty of points showing why the current police system is corrupt beyond repair. Maybe I'll give it a watch.

I'm not sure that brainwashing techniques can ever be beneficial. Even if you're chanting "taxation is theft", it seems to me you're still a slave unless you understand why. You're still not thinking rationally, even if you reach the right conclusion by chance.

I like the occasional article on fnords. I think I developed the ability to resist fnords before I developed the ability to see them. Perhaps that's a byproduct of not seeing as many fnords since I watch next to no TV. Oftentimes though, I'll see you point out a fnord and think "oh yeah, I hadn't noticed that". So maybe I'm still filtering most of them out subconsciously. Granted, that may not necessarily be bad. I see plenty of them as is, and as you mentioned previously, seeing too many can be horribly depressing.

David Gross said...

You wrote:
In your blog, it wasn't clear when you're writing your own opinion, or quoting someone else.

I always put such quotes either within quotation marks or in <blockquote> tags — both on my blog and in its syndication feeds. Perhaps your feed reader is rendering blockquotes in an ambiguous manner (though as far as I can see both Bloglines and Google Reader render the blockquotes in my feed in a distinct way — though usually just by indenting the right and left margins).

In the future, if there's ambiguity about who is saying what, you might visit the page as hosted on my site where blockquotes are clearly distinguishable (they have a different font, different line-height, and are indented and marked with a yellow bar on the left margin).

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