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Monday, February 9, 2009

Reader Mail #77

I liked this article, via Hacker News, comparing software startups to amateur/semipro actors. Most actors do it because they like it, even though making a lot of money is a longshot.

There's one point not emphasized enough in the article. Most aspiring actors are really aspiring to be wage slaves. They want to be hired in a film where most of the costs are paid by someone else.

A movie camera costs $300, and you can publish on the Internet for free via YouTube and elsewhere. If you can get a regular audience of 10k-20k+, that's enough to do it as a job.

An amateur actor really should be aspiring to produce and sell their own films, rather than waiting for a mainstream media outlet to hire them as a wage slave. If necessary, join with other amateur writers and filmmakers if your production requires more than one person.

There's a big difference between working as a wage slave in someone else's film, and self-publishing and self-producing.

An amateur actor is following the same strategy as I am as a slave software engineer. I'm trying to be a wage slave in someone else's business. The correct strategy is to start your own business. If necessary, build your business part-time while working as a wage slave. "Amateur actor waiting tables to earn a living." is like "FSK works as a wage slave software engineer to earn a living." My goal is to be a full-time agorist, but I'm willing to wait tables until then.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. Since Google's buyout of FeedBurner, the quality of the FeedBurner product has been going downhill. A lot of bloggers are saying "**** FeedBurner!" I'm seriously considering dropping FeedBurner, but I'll probably wait until I move to my own domain.

One particularly bad criticism was that AdSense via RSS does really lousy ad targeting.

This is the usual trend. Large corporation buys out small nimble startup, using the large corporation's massive State subsidy. Large corporation then mismanages startup. In the non-software world, this usually leads to no choice for customers. In the software world, people start saying "**** this!" and build a competing product.

My RSS subscribers are probably more knowledgeable than the random visitor. (I get a surprisingly large amount of traffic via search. I wonder how long it will take to rebuild that when I move to my own site?) If Google's RSS ad targeting sucks, that would explain why my AdSense via RSS revenue is so low. Before I set it up, I expected 25%-50% of the total to be from AdSense via RSS, but it's been less than 3%. Considering that FeedBurner is buggy, it's not worth it for me to use FeedBurner.



I liked this article, via Hacker News. Web traffic decreased substantially during Obama's inauguration.



This slashdot article, via Hacker News, was entirely missing the point. The article is complaining about "censorship by glut". There are so many blogs and independent artists that it's hard to sort the good stuff from the garbage.

The problem is that most "community rating" systems are based on a strict democratic process, with the voting pool being *EVERYONE ON THE SITE*. The correct system is to only consider the votes of people who have voted similarly to you in the past (a simple least-squares fit would be good enough). I got disgusted with sites like Digg and Slashdot because my personal interests don't not match those of site users overall.

I'm surprised that nobody else has written an engine that does this properly. I guess I have to do the "real programmer" solution and write it myself.

(Once, I had a job where I was able to get all my work done in 2 hours/day, and pursue independent projects the rest of the time without anybody complaining. It would be nice to do something like that again.)



This post, via Hacker News, was on "great cities for software engineers and software startup founders". Almost nobody mentioned NY, but this bit was interesting.

New York has a lot of incredible people, and our public transportation is probably the best in the country. However, the cost of living in New York truly sucks. If you lose your job, you're fucked. Housing costs are kept very high by three factors: (1) rent control, which leaves a lot of upper-middle-class, well-connected people in an arrangement that is superior to ownership (they pay 1960s rents, which is less than maintenance) costs and therefore never leave, keeping about half the good housing locked-up (2) Wall Street, and (3) indulgent parents who willingly drop $4k/month for their unpaid marketing intern progeny to have the "Manhattan experience" in their 20s. The latter two of those are threatened by the economic situation, and rent control is supposed to be phased out if the vacancy rate reaches 5%, ending the state of "housing emergency" that New York has been in since the 1940s, although I'm not optimistic about that one coming around.

That was an interesting bit on "rent control distorts the housing market". A lot of rent-controlled apartments are owned by middle-class and upper-middle-class people. When I interviewed for college, a recent Princeton graduate was living in a rent-controlled apartment he had inherited from his grandmother. That's a pretty sweet deal, being able to pay only $600-$700/month in rent in Manhattan.



I liked this article, via Hacker News, on the correlation between banker's salaries and recessions/depressions.



There's one problem with the above chart. How is "excess wage" defined? If the true economic value of the banker's work is $0, then shouldn't the Y-axis be infinite?

Notice that a "bubble" in banker's wages occurred in the 1933-1940 range. Freed from the gold standard, the Federal Reserve and financial industry massively inflated. They made record profits while the rest of the economy was in recession/depression.

Similarly, the present inflation will lead to massive profits for bankers (not necessarily bank stock shareholders!).

He also points out that the management practices at banks encourages people who ignore "long tail" risks.

...as a boom takes its course, fear is supplanted in what a senior quant at an American bank calls the “Cassandra effect”. The more you warn your colleagues about the tail risks—the rare but devastating events that can bring the bank down—the more they roll their eyes, give a yawn and change the subject. This eventually leads to self-censorship. “The system”, he says, “filters out the thoughtful and replaces them with the faithful.”

If you're "too big to fail", why *SHOULD* you care about long tail risks? If your strategy is "make $1B 90% of the time, lose $1T 10% of the time", that's a *GOOD DEAL*. You can always lobby for a State bailout when your coinflip is wrong. Via limited liability incorporation, you always have a free put option to declare bankruptcy and default.

There was an interesting bit in the comments section.

The types of people who thrive in hierarchical corporate environments tend to be, on the whole, pretty useless; this isn't particular to bankers, but universal.

This is true. If you're the "concentration camp guard making a living following orders" type, you fit in well for most State/corporate jobs. If you're the "free thinker" type, you get weeded out by most corrupt corporate practices.

There also were some bits about "academic career track sucks". You basically need to be a superstar to earn a decent middle-class lifestyle.



I liked this post, via Hacker News. Someone popular got kicked off FaceBook. FaceBook has a defect where you can only have a maximum of 4,999 friends. This person had more than 4,999 friends. Whenever someone sent him a friend request, he sent a response saying "Sorry, I'm at the FaceBook user cap. You can sign up on my personal website, though!" FaceBook disabled his account, accusing him of spamming.

This illustrates the fallacy of building a business on someone else's platform. (That's a risk I'm taking with Blogger, which I plan on rectifying by moving to my own domain soon.) The owner of the other platform can terminate you at any time.

This also illustrates a defect with most social networking sites, where the "friend" operator must be mutual. You can say "FSK has an awesome blog!" I can respond "Who are you?" You should be able to express your interest in me even if I have no idea who you are.



This article, via Hacker News, about a potential higher education bubble was missing the point.

A prescient friend of mine recently related a thought he had while teaching a few years ago at a "third tier private school" that had high tuition. At "job fairs" at the school, most of the positions being offered involved jobs as low-level managers at Target, McDonalds, and similar businesses. My friend surmised that students had to wonder why they or their families had depleted their bank accounts to pay for an educations that led to positions that simply did not require the pedagogical preparation the school offered.

Many things currently taught in college used to be learned in high school. There's been a "dumbing down" effect. Further, nearly everyone looking for a middle class job has a college degree. Instead of "college degree guarantees decent job", it's "college degree required to make it past the first HR screening". When nearly everyone has a college degree, having one gives you no benefit. However, *NOT* having a college degree means you're SOL for most decent wage slave jobs.

Most employers assume "X went to a decent school" implies "X is smart and a hard worker." Most corporate managers are unable to tell the difference between a good worker and someone who's faking it, because they're faking it themselves. Therefore, credentials trump ability.

The whole problem is a non-free market falsely labeled as free.

If you value knowledge over certification, buy a book and learn for yourself. (Or even search the Internet.) "Certifications/paper over ability" is the way pro-State trolls think. In most areas, a college degree is merely a piece of paper saying you wasted 4 years of your life and $200k. I studied Mathematics and Computer Science, which include real knowledge. Still, I wonder if "Spend 6 months working on starting a business!" would have been more useful than "Spend 6 months in college, where most of the time was wasted anyway."



I liked this article, via Hacker News. The poster has 4 years of experience as a SAP programmer/consultant, and realizes he's SOL for any job other than SAP programmer/consultant.

This is the inherent flaw with "software engineer" as a career choice. You aren't a "software engineer", you're a "X software engineer", where X is a particular language. If you want to move from X to Y, or if job demand for X dries up, you're SOL.

I interview for a PHP position, and the interviewer says "Oh, you're a junior PHP programmer. You have 1 year of PHP experience." My response is "No. I have 10 years total experience." On the wage slave job market, my experience has a market value of $0. You might say "Well, start your own business!", but severe State restriction of the market makes that harder than it sounds. I'm moving in that direction.



I liked this post, via Hacker News, on software engineers having side software projects (like my blog, and soon, my own website).

There was an interesting bit. Suppose that, outside of work, I buy real estate, fix it, and sell it. I even make some calls and do some research while at work. Does my employer have the right to claim my profits? No, they don't.

Now, suppose that I have my own web-based business. If I work as a software engineer, my employer may choose to claim ownership to my business, even if I don't work on it while at work. The legal system generally sides with employers on this issue.

It seems that the biggest "at-risk" period for starting your own web-based business is when it's a source of income, but not enough to be a full-time job. If I have a wage-slave job *AND* a web-based side business, I'm risking that my employer will claim my website as their property.

Another issue seems to be "Employers value employee based on facetime, rather than actual work done." A wage slave employer doesn't have the capacity to say "FSK is doing his work. His other stuff is not a distraction." Even in small startups, "actual work done" is usually not accurately measured.



This article, via Hacker News, was amusing. When Godel applied for US citizenship, he studied the US Constitution, and he noticed a logical contradiction.

My reaction is "duh!" The obvious contradiction is "Individuals are free!" and "People must pay taxes!"

I found this bit in the comments citing the contradiction Godel found. The contradiction is that the Constitution has provisions allowing it to be amended. The story took place after the 16th amendment was fraudulently declared ratified, so any fears he had were already realized.

Further, Godel didn't consider the possibility that the Supreme Court would be partial in allowing erosions of freedom. The Supreme Court has allowed gun ownership bans, even though the text of the Constitution is clear. The Supreme Court allowed limited liability incorporation. The Supreme Court repealed trial by jury, by banning defense attorneys from mentioning jury nullification and by allowing biased jury selection procedures. (For example, in a possession of marijuana case, if you say "I believe marijuana should be legal", you get kicked off the jury. This allows the State to enforce bad laws even when a majority disapprove of those laws, because jurors who question the law are removed.)



I liked this article, via Hacker News. It's a computer program that plays hangman based on a statistical analysis of words in its dictionary. It's a very simple algorithm. It chooses the letter that occurs in the greatest percentage of words in its dictionary, given the constraint of information already provided by the player.

You only "win" if you guess a word that isn't in the program's dictionary. I wonder if the author of the program has an abuse detection system set up? Apparently, "add new word to dictionary" is a manual process, because I couldn't get the program to "learn" "zxcvbnm".



I liked this article, via Hacker News. Someone was contacted by a scammer on Facebook and had a serious conversation with him.



This article, via Hacker News, is about a new censorship policy on Wikipedia.

As previously discussed here, "majority opinion of users" is *NOT* the correct way to make decisions. Most of Wikipedia's censorship policies are a direct result of user polls. The vast majority of users don't bother to vote. Only the users with an interest in gaming the system voted on Wikipedia's rules.

The reason that Wikipedia has problems is a defective engine. Most large websites with user-generated content have a problem, because they follow "majority rules" decisions regarding content.

As I stated before, I have a personal Wikipedia boycott. I almost never link to Wikipedia. I look stuff up on Wikipedia, but refuse to contribute. Wikipedia presents non-controversial information very well, but it's horrible for controversial topics.

For example, "The Compound Interest Paradox" does not meet Wikipedia's censorship standards. Wikipedia's censorship rules mean "Wikipedia only presents the truth, as determined by State-licensed thinkers."



This is the first time I browsed through Hacker News in awhile. I noticed that there's a lot of stuff on Twitter.

I never understood the point of Twitter. What happens if you have ideas that are bigger than Twitter's character limit?

I also don't see how companies with no revenue model can claim a $250M+ valuation.



I liked this article, via Hacker News, on "googlebombing". If a bunch of people link to the same page with the same anchor text, that can artificially inflate its search rank. For example, if you search for "miserable failure", the #1 result can be George Bush.

Allegedly, Google fixed the problem. There will always be flaws in any algorithm-based search method. For this reason, I prefer human-based search to algorithm-based search.

This is why "SEO experts" are stupid. When people say "SEO", they really mean "Google". Google can change its algorithm at any time, and Google's engineers are explicitly trying to outsmart people who game it.

Regarding SEO and maximizing AdSense revenue, I follow Google's official advice, which is "Make a site that's interesting for human readers, and search engine placement and AdSense revenue will follow."



Looking at job ads is depressing. There were something like 2x-3x more when I was looking in October. January is traditionally the time when most hiring occurs.

I need to get out of the wage slave track. Slave software engineer is a dead-end career path. I'm probably going to need to work as a slave software engineer for a few more years.



This thread on Hacker News had some interesting bits. Someone was complaining that they're having trouble making friends.

The nature of our modern society makes it very hard for people to make and keep friends. Work is a 45+ hour per week commitment, more if you include commuting time. That leaves very little time leftover for other things.

And finally, whatever you do, do NOT attempt to surround yourself with people who consider themselves "interesting." That's the absolute WORST. There's nothing worse than a group of people who sit around and congratulate themselves for being so cool and important - which is exactly why so many people in positions of power, feeling that they have "arrived" and can thus finally mingle with people worthy of their mystical talents, are so utterly impotent at accomplishing anything of significance. But hey, if you really want to smoke pot with Bono on his yacht and pretend you're saving the world, go for it. (That's not a joke, by the way. He really does that.)

At the recommendation of a coworker, I once went to a Mensa meeting. My reaction was "What a bunch of idiots!" People who have a State-issued thinking license tend to be stupid. You have to be a certain type of idiot to seek a State-issued thinking license. (That's ironic, since I was once such a fool.)

My problem is "How do I meet people that aren't pro-State trolls?" It's very hard. I should focus on meeting intelligent and openminded people and then enlightening them.



I liked this post, via Hacker News. Microsoft is lobbying for more H1-B visas. Microsoft just announced layoffs. Are they firing Americans and replacing them with H1-B visa holders?

In a true free market, there are no laws restricting immigration. However, H1-B is a very restrictive visa. If the H1-B visa holder loses his job, he must leave the country. The H1-B visa holder can apply for a green card, but if he switches jobs, he must start the process over again. The green card application process is intentionally drawn out, taking several years.

Suppose you could hire a US citizen for $50k or an H1-B for $50k, and they were otherwise equally qualified. Who would you pick? You'd pick the H1-B visa holder, because you know he's SOL if you fire him or if he quits his job.

Anybody who says "importing cheap slave/indentured labor doesn't hurt US workers" is wrong. In a really free market, importing workers is always beneficial, because they goods they produce are worth more than their salary. In a Communist society like the USA, where there's a fixed pool of jobs, importing workers drives wages down to subsistence levels.

This is one "problem" with software engineer compared to State-licensed professions. A lawyer can't have his career wrecked by imported labor, because a lawyer needs a State license. Of course, I prefer to work in a career where merit is most important. A non-free market makes it hard to be a productive worker. Most corporations have a State-licensed monopoly/oligopoly, so it makes absolutely no difference if they hire great workers or someone barely competent.

Given the nature of the tech market, a smart college graduate who specializes in software is a fool. Superficially, doctor/lawyer/accountant/MBA/banker is much more attractive. On the other hand, considering that the State is going to collapse in approximately 20 years, you should focus on learning real skills instead of investing in a career whose profits depend on State violence. If I was advising an 18 year old with $200k, "waste $200k on a college education" or "start a business", I'd advise starting a business. Unfortunately, the State will lend teenagers $200k to go to college, but not lend them $200k so they may start a business.

I'm getting pretty disgusted with working as a slave software engineer. The job market is lousy right now. Why should my employment opportunities be ruined by the looting of bankers/insiders? I don't get credit for my experience. All my experience is in now-obsolete languages, and prospective employers give that a market value of $0. The fact that I've achieved a certain level of self-awareness works against me. Most employers value someone who will suck their **** over someone who's a productive worker.



I liked this thread on Hacker News about a job ad demanding "Web 3.0 experience". They've got the naming convention wrong. It's Web 3.1, then Web 95, Web 98, Web NT, Web XP, and Web Vista.



I liked this article, via Hacker News, on the "Myth of the Big Break". You shouldn't expect to be an overnight success. It's more realistic to slowly build up over time, as your reputation and ability increases.

When blogging, you shouldn't expect 1M pageviews in the first month. It's more realistic to get consistent 5%-10% monthly growth like me. You might say "5%-10% per month? That's nothing starting from 100 readers." When you look at the cumulative effect over time, it matters.

Especially for a niche topic like mine, you shouldn't expect instant overnight success.

Most people's thinking is tainted by the way the mainstream media manufactures celebrities. A musician is popular and their videos are played all the time on MTV. Is the artist on TV because his work is good? Or, do people think the artist is good because their content is on MTV? The entertainment industry manufactures celebrities, hypes them incessantly for a few years, and then moves on to promoting someone else.

As an independent entertainer/journalist, you don't have the benefit of the "mainstream media promoting you" trick. The Internet does give you the possibility of gradually building an audience over time.



I saw a comedy special on the Communism Channel about the HealthSouth accounting fraud scandal. The story was mostly about Richard Scrushy bullying his accountants into cooking the books. Based on the documentary, Richard Scrushy had the parasitic personality type. His accountants, eager to keep their jobs, played along with the scam.

Being CFO of a publicly traded corporation is a pretty lucrative job. If you mysteriously quit (i.e. refuse to cook the books), you may have a hard time finding another job. If you're not the person who says "Yes, sir!" when the CEO orders you to do creative accounting, then you aren't the sort of person who gets hired as a CFO.

I also blame the auditors. The accountants knew "The auditors won't inspect any accounting entry less than $5,000." Therefore, the accountants created a bunch of phony $4999 entries, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. If the auditors had half a clue, they would have noticed a huge number of $4999 entries and detected the fraud. When conducting a *PROPER* audit, the auditors shouldn't just inspect the large entries. Proper auditors should audit a random sample of *ALL* entries. Then, they would have detected the fraud.

Auditors are hired by the company being audited. The audit fees are millions of dollars. This creates an inherent conflict of interest. If the auditors are the sort of people who question details of the books, then the CFO/CEO would fire them. In a $1B+ corporation, it's practically guaranteed that there are some small errors on the books. If I were an honest CEO, and an auditor noticed *ZERO* defects, I'd be suspicious that the auditors weren't diligent.

The accounting fraud was exposed. The accountants all made plea bargains and testified that Richard Scrushy directed them to commit accounting fraud. Richard Scrushy's defense was "I'm not an accountant. The accountants did the fraud on their own without my knowledge. The accountants lied when they presented false books to the Board of Directors. Therefore, the accountants are lying when they say I told them to commit fraud." The "I'm an idiot!" defense worked, and Richard Scrushy was acquitted.

The only people who went to jail were the accountants who pled guilty. The CEO was acquitted.

There was an interesting bit. They did an interview with someone who was a juror on the case. The juror seemed like an idiot to me. If this is the intelligence of a typical juror in a trial, I don't want to be in a situation where someone like this is deciding if I go to jail or not. Trial by jury has degenerated into "trial by 12 people stupid enough to not dodge jury duty."



This post on no third solution was missing the point. The stock market has "extreme" price swings more often than it would if it were merely a normally-distributed random walk.

The explanation is simple. The market is not a free market.

Due to the Compound Interest Paradox, you have occasional severe contractions of the money supply. The central bank and government then intervene and inflate the money supply. During booms, the central bank intervenes and raises interest rates.



I liked this article, via Joel on Software. A scientist concluded that open-plan offices make workers less productive and sick. Private offices or small offices of 3-5 people each are superior.

"The problem is that employers are always looking for ways to cut costs, and using open-plan designs can save 20 per cent on construction.''

You save 5%-20% on office space, but your workers are 50% or worse less productive. That's a bad deal. Most corporations are unable to measure worker productivity anyway.

Most "optimal workplace management practices" stories sound like "optimal people farming techniques". Most "be a good worker/employee" advice sounds like "be a good slave" advice.



I see these "sell your blog" discussions and realize they're kind of silly. If I sold my blog, but didn't agree to keep posting afterwards, the buyer would probably be getting nothing.



I liked this YouTube video, via Joel on Software. Executives at a corporation decide they want to hire an H-1B visa. There are certain legal requirements that the employer must meet. The employer must "prove" that no qualified applicants are available first. The employer posts ads, with *NO* intention of hiring any of the people who apply. By making lots of requirements "20 years .NET experience, 10 years PHP, etc.", every applicant can be excluded.

I wonder if this practice has spread to the "real" job market. Accustomed to fraudulent advertisements targeting H-1B legal compliance, all job ads are like that now.

There's nothing wrong with *FREE* immigration. The problem is that H-1B visa holders have less rights than a typical US worker, causing employers to favor them.

There's one point not emphasized enough in other discussions. Suppose corporations are passing over qualified American workers in favor of H-1B workers. The problem is that the corporations have a State-licensed monopoly/oligopoly. The workers who are treated unfairly can't say "**** this!" and start their own competing business. Since corporate management has a State-licensed monopoly, the inefficiency caused by their abusive practices is irrelevant. The cost is merely passed on to customers as higher prices. It's a type of hidden tax.



I liked this post on no third solution. He's copying my "Reader Mail" format.

FSK said that it’s not worth my time to debate with fools. Right now I’m in a rut, debating with fools. I’m hoping it will soon pass. That said, I do get some value out of the process, hopefully by strengthening my arguments.

The problem with debating idiots is that it's the same false arguments over and over again. You're going around in circles instead of going forward.

Arguing with idiots on discussion forums is a decent way to promote your blog, but I'm more interested in "write good content" now.

There also was an interesting bit about how an IRS agent makes $105k after two years on the job. That's more than I ever made in a year as a slave software engineer. The State pays its parasites and enforcers well!

The IRS agent told a story about how he shut down a small family business for not paying taxes. Hooray for the State!

If all the State workers/parasites took productive jobs instead, society as a whole would be much better off.

There also was an interesting bit about accounting fraud in a free market.

Agreed. Do you know how hard it would be to get a loan if you refused to open your books to other people? How hard it would be to get contracts or bills of credit? Insurance? There’s an awful lot of things you wouldn’t be able to do, unless you could independently verify financial statements, and it takes smart people with a finance and accounting background to do these things. There’s a market for honesty, right now it’s just crowded out by government interference.

In a true free market, it's practically impossible to get away with accounting fraud. Nobody would do business with you on credit if you refused to disclose your books!

If I opened an agorist warehouse receipt bank, I'd have to assure my customers that I'm not secretly practicing fractional reserve banking.

In the present, "trust" is enforced by the State. The State makes it hard for individuals to verify each other's trust. If I say publicly "X is a jerk who cheated me!", then I'm risking that X will sue me for libel. The State does keep track of the trustworthiness of individuals. For example, your credit report is a way the State tracks individuals. If there's false negative information on your credit report, you're usually SOL or have to spend a lot of time and effort getting it fixed.

There are some problems I have with Google Reader. When is FSK going to get off his ass and write his own RSS reader?

How much demand is there for "FSK writes his own RSS reader!" along with "FSK writes his own forum/digg/wiki engine."

It's on my list of things to do, although not until I get my own domain. I really should start brushing up on my PHP. I've been planning to write a PHP Sudoku solver to get started, but have been putting it off.

The defects I've noticed in Google Reader are:
  • Items automatically expire after 30 days, with no ability to override this feature.
  • If there are multiple versions of the same feed, then Google Reader doesn't mark them as duplicates. For example, I subscribe to "no third solution" and Mike Gogulski puts a "no third solution" post in his shared items. I can wind up seeing the same post twice.
Looking on the Google Reader help forum, these have been "open issues" with Google Reader for more than a year. I'm losing confidence in Google's ability to fix obvious bugs in their software.

David Z also mentioned that someone hacked his blog, wrecking his PageRank. He also is disgusted with FeedBurner, like I am.



I noticed this post via Google Anlaytics. Someone was citing my blog in the comments section. The post was about how, in colonial times in Pennsylvania, the State issued fiat paper money without the Compound Interest Paradox. If $100 was created via a 5% loan, then $5 was simultaneously created and spent directly by the government. Managed wisely, a fiat monetary system is neither inflationary nor deflationary, and there are no boom/bust cycles.

Of course, gold and silver or barter are superior to fiat money. The problem with fiat money is that eventually insiders will be unable to resist the temptation to print new money and give it to themselves.

There was an amusing flamewar over the Compound Interest Paradox in the comments section. That's an illustration of "What happens to your blog if you don't crack down on pro-State trolling."

Since I understood the Compound Interest Paradox, I haven't seen any arguments against the Debt Virus or Compound Interest Paradox that don't seem like gibberish. "Banks spend money on profits and dividends" does not alleviate the Compound Interest Paradox. When the Federal Reserve creates money, it comes with the full Paradox. The fallacy in that gibberish is that the books of each individual bank balance, but the books of "society as a whole" do not balance.

Why should banks profit at the expense of everyone else via money supply inflation? Bankers get first dibs on printing and spending new money. This allows bankers to earn huge salaries without doing any real productive work.



This post on NoTreason laments that T-Shirt Hell is closing (which I also noticed via Hacker News) . They made obscene/offensive T-Shirts. There were victim of State violence via lawsuits.

There's one thing I don't get. Suppose you think that T-Shirt Hell is offensive. What kind of pathetic loser then wastes time writing them to say what jerks they are? It's one thing to say "T-Shirt Hell is offensive/lame/stupid." It's another thing to say "State violence should be used to shut down their business."

One of my agorist business ideas is "Buy a T-Shirt burning machine, and make and sell custom T-Shirts." I researched this. The machine costs $1600. I can buy blank T-Shirts for $3 each, and it's cost $1 each in ink and paper and electricity. Since I'd be doing it agorist-style (not paying taxes), I should have much more lucrative profit margins compared to any on-the-books business. Other online stores charge $13 each.

I'd be interested in selling "Taxation is theft!" T-Shirts. If I had the printer and machine, I could make any custom design anyone asked for. If I'm making an off-the-books profit of $5 per T-Shirt and it takes me a minute or two each, that's a good deal!

That's one thing I like about agorism. It's profitable to start a business for less than a full-time commitment. Free of artificial State overhead, part-time agorist businesses are profitable.



This post on no third solution is complaining about pro-State trolling in "the Economist". David Z is still wasting time debating idiots.

"The Economist" is a tabloid (regarding economics) in the same sense that "The National Enquirer" is a tabloid. It just has a different target audience. "The Economist" and "The Wall Street Journal" targets an audience that pretends to be literate about economics.

"'The Economist' published an article that's entirely pro-State trolling!" should not be a surprise.

Here's my re-debunking of David Z's incomplete debunking.

Myth: The failure of the financial system contributes to the problems everywhere else in the economy.

The financial system is the *CAUSE* of problems everywhere else in the economy. Interest rates are a price signal that indicates what investments are desirable. By tampering with interest rates, the central bank credit monopoly tampers with the price signal of interest rates. Negative real interest rates cause bubbles and busts.

Myth: Financial markets bring together borrowers and savers in order to best allocate capital in a productive manner.

The structure of financial markets means that only a handful of insiders allocate capital. If I'm buddies with a financial industry insider, then it's very easy to raise capital to start a business or buyout an existing business. If I'm a non-insider, I'm at a *HUGE* handicap compared to insiders. When I pay income taxes and the inflation tax, the proceeds profit insiders at my expense.

I can't profitably invest my savings in the business of others via a loan, because of the central bank credit monopoly.

Myth: “Money” is just an agreement, worthless paper can be traded for real wealth.

In a real free market with sound money, money is wealth. With paper money, State violence demands people use it. When you say "fiat money is wealth", you're really saying "violence is wealth".

Myth: Good businesses are going bankrupt, jobs are being destroyed, wealth is vanishing before our eyes.

Actually, good businesses are ruined by the financial industry.

For example, suppose I owned a small construction business that does $10M in business per year. During the boom, there was lots of demand for my services. I hired extra employees. I bought more equipment. Perhaps, I borrowed from a bank (maybe mortgaging my house) to invest in my business.

During the bust, I lose everything. I was tricked into over-expanding during the boom. Even though I was honestly managing my business with the best information available, I was ruined by the financial industry.

If I'm a prudent businessman and keep a cash reserve, I'm minimizing my expansion rate. Further, the financial industry will steal my cash savings via inflation. If I keep utilize debt, I'm ruined during the next bust. If I don't keep any cash reserves, I'm SOL when the bust occurs. If I keep cash reserves, I'm letting the financial industry steal my savings via inflation. It's a no-win game.

The central bank credit monopoly ruined my ability to plan my business.

When people justify the financial industry, they use an "Inverted Labor Theory of Value fallacy". People in the financial industry are well paid. Therefore, they provide a valuable service to society as a whole. The reality is that financial industry profits are backed directly and indirectly by State violence.



I was browsing my Google Analytics stats again. I haven't looked at "google search queries" much lately, because there's too many of them. I noticed that "People who find my blog via Google search" tend to *ALREADY* have "fsk" as one of the search terms.

When I move to my own domain, I'm going to pick something more relevant and easier to remember than "fskrealityguide".



I've been browsing WordPress plugins. There are some plugins for managing AdSense, but most of them have a "feature" that a certain number of ad displays are credited to the person who wrote the plugin. If they all have that feature, I'll write my own.

There also were some "enhanced analytics" programs, but they involved storing the data on a 3rd party server! That seems silly. It's only a row in a database. I'll store my Analytics on my own server.

I looked at my Apache logs in WAMP. The IP address and URL are recorded for every HTTP GET request. It's very easy to make custom analytics from that.

It appears that I'm going to have to write some of my own PHP code to get WordPress to behave the way I want. If you want something done right, do it yourself!



I *REALLY* didn't like this article. In Australia, drugging and electroshock treatment on young children is becoming commonplace.

Bioethicist Assoc Prof Nicholas Tonti-Filippini supported ECT (electroshock therapy) on children, saying some toddlers were "disturbed".

Any mainstream media outlet that covers this story without saying "OMFG!! MURDER!!" is dishonest.

It is becoming standard practice to label young children with a mental illness, and give them anti-psychotic drugs, anti-depressant drugs, or electroshock therapy.



I liked this article, via the silverseek forums. He had a good bit on "how to profit from hyperinflation".

You take out a mortgage and buy a house, maximizing your leverage. Invest some of your savings in tangible assets (gold or silver), making only the minimum payment on your mortgage. Wait for hyperinflation. Now, you can easily repay your mortgage. It's like you bought a house for free!

The trick is to time your purchase well and make sure you can meet your mortgage payments. Due to the Compound Interest Paradox, there will be a periodic bust. Suppose you invest in gold or silver, buy a house, and then there's a housing bust. If your gold and silver is stored in a safe place, you may default on your mortgage, declare bankruptcy, but keep your gold and silver! Then, sell your gold and silver and use the proceeds to buy a house during the depression! During a recession, if necessary, you could sell your gold and silver and use the proceeds to pay your mortgage.

This trick isn't universally applicable. In some countries with hyperinflation, the State retroactively inserted "inflation adjustment clauses" into debt contracts.

The poster had another interesting point. "Hyperinflation is coming to the USA. All the warning signs he saw in third world countries are present in the USA now. If you are prudent, you can profit from hyperinflation. Otherwise, you will lose all your savings due to hyperinflation."

Hyperinflation should be seen as a business opportunity, for a prudent investor.

It really sucks watching my parents worry about hyperinflation. If they hold cash or bond's, they're *GUARANTEED* to be ripped off by inflation. If they hold stocks, they're risking losing their principal. The last few years have made my mother *VERY NERVOUS* about stock investing, but my father correctly points out "If we keep our money in the checking account, we get ripped off by inflation."

It sucks to be retired during a period of hyperinflation, because your savings lose their purchasing power. Hopefully, I'll be able to earn enough to support them. I sort of feel like I "owe them" for bailing me out of the mental hospital, but it isn't an infinite obligation. It's very annoying that I can't make them understand "Taxation is theft!" Surprisingly, they are gradually showing more and more anti-State attitudes over time. I appear to be having an effect on them, even though they can't fully consciously see the truth.



This post on NoTreason about forming a "Liberty Colony" is missing the point. There's no unoccupied space that like-minded people can move to form a free society.

Even if you successfully formed a "Liberty Colony" of 100-1000 people, then what would happen? The Statists would say "Those Liberty Colonists are terrorists!" You would be promptly invaded. A dedicated guerilla army of 1000 could *NOT* withstand a State-sponsored invasion.

For this reason, I prefer agorism as a resistance strategy. It also has the advantage that I don't have to move to achieve freedom.

(BTW, NoTreason switched from partial RSS feeds to full feeds. If you want me to read your blog, *GIVE A FULL RSS FEED* and have decent content.)



I liked this article, via Mike Gogulski's shared items. With a struggling economy and an increasingly crippling burden of State regulations, many people are operating unlicensed restaurants out of their home.

This is a promising trend.

If you operate a business without a State license, the people *MOST* likely to complain are your State-licensed competitors. For this reason, an agorist should choose his customers carefully. Also, an agorist cannot publicly advertise.



I liked this post on ProBlogger. A professional writer started a blogging experiment and liked it.

She said that blogging gives you much more freedom as a writer than writing for a mainstream media outlet. When you write for a newspaper or corporation, you have to write in a neutral/corporate voice, and you have to self-censor. When blogging, you have much more freedom to express yourself.

I'm starting to correct that and break bad habits. In a "neutral voice", I'd write "I believe that 'Taxation is theft!'" That makes me sound like a wimp. It's much better to write "Taxation is theft! If you disagree, you're an idiot and I'm not wasting my time on you!" That's a much more natural way to express yourself.

Public schooling taught me to write in the "neutral voice" style instead of the "directly expressing myself" style. I remember several teachers correcting me to use "neutral voice" instead of "directly expressing myself".

"Taxation is theft!" isn't just my personal opinion. It's an absolute universal truth.



I was reading about Plenty of Fish. A guy, buy himself, started one of the top Internet dating sites, entirely via organic growth.

That's an interesting anecdote. I don't need to be *THAT* successful when I start my own site. Based on AdSense statistics so far, I only need 10k-20k regular readers to have a viable business. When I get more readers, I might be able to directly sell ads.

I'm wondering about "how to monetize dynamically generated pages". AdSense only works on static pages. Google's server has to crawl the page ahead of time, to determine what ads to serve. It won't work on pages with dynamic content.

That'll please the "**** Google!" crowd, because the "dynamically generated" portion of my site won't have any Google ads on it.

It might take a few months for me to get my own code running on my site. It also depends on whether I have a wage slave job or not. I need to make sure I don't get stuck in a situation where my employer claims my site is their IP.



The Ron Paul mailing list sent me a link to this post on the new proposed $825B bailout/looting bill, expected to pass soon (or it already passed; I don't bother paying attention anymore). I never unsubscribed to the Ron Paul mailing list, because it's now amusing to see them wasting their time.

The advice was "Write your Congressman! Stop this bill from passing!" (as if your Congressman cares about your opinion) Do you realize how much lobbyists have spent promoting this law? A lot less than $825B! What are you going to do to your Congressman? Vote for a Republican instead of a Democrat (or vice versa)?

If you don't like the bailout law, practice agorism. Buy physical gold and silver so that your savings aren't stolen by inflation.

Here is a pdf of the current draft of the bill. I didn't bother reading it.



This post was annoying. A mother was appointed legal conservator for her son, who is involuntarily hospitalized/murdered with a mental illness. The doctors moved her son without telling her. They revoked her legal conservatorship.

The psychiatrists profit by murdering someone and keeping them prisoner. Via the Welfare State, they can milk the Medicaid payments and make a nice living for themselves.

When I was involuntarily hospitalized, I only got to see the psychiatrist for 1-2 minutes per day. All they did for me was they gave me a lousy bed, lousy food, and forced drugging. They billed my insurance company something like $500-$1000 per day. It was a nice racket.

Via sovereign immunity, the State protects psychiatrists from the negative consequences of their misconduct. State laws explicitly encourage such misconduct.

That's one continually frustrating thing about the "mental health advocacy" groups. They are lobbying the State to fix a State-caused problem. There are too many people profiting from the current corrupt system to allow reform to occur.

I'm lucky that the death industry never successfully "disappeared" me. My parents did a good job of bailing me out of the mental ward. When they first visited the hospital, the doctors denied that I was being held there as a prisoner.



I liked this story, via the Picket Line. A policeman beat a suspect, ordered his subordinates to lie about it, and the suspect later died of his injuries. The policeman was later promoted to the head of the "Internal Affairs" division, which is in charge of investigating misconduct by other policemen. If you're a policeman, that's the type of person you want leading the "Internal Affairs" division!

That's the inherent problem with monopolistic State police. Without free market competition, you always have the "Who watches the watchers?" problem.

Also, "Internal Affairs" departments are themselves an evil fnord. "Policemen must behave, lest Internal Affairs catch them!" tricks people into thinking that the police behave honestly. The "Internal Affairs" department is as diligent as the SEC investigating Bernard Madoff.



I liked this article in Rolling Stone on corruption in the psychiatry/pharmaceutical industry. My overall reaction was "Duh! Obvious!", but it's a useful summary. There were some good bits.

The target customers for a pharmaceutical corporation are not the patients who take the drug. The target customers are doctors who prescribe the drug. The actual positive or negative effects for the patient are mostly irrelevant.

Nearly every study regarding a drug is funded directly or indirectly by pharmaceutical corporations. State funded research counts as pharmaceutical company research. If someone published a study showing a drug is harmful, then the CEO would call his lobbyist/Congress and the NSF to complain. There's no current drug research published by someone I consider to be fair and unbiased.

Drug company sales reps have no obligation to disclose negative information about a drug. Therefore, they only cite studies showing their drug is beneficial.

Drug company researchers have an financial interest in a drug being approved. Their research is biased.

Drug companies hire athletes and models as sales reps. They then flirt with the doctors and convince them to prescribe their drugs. These sales reps have practically no knowledge of science. The sales reps are paid based on "How often doctors prescribe the drug."

It is possible to create a blockbuster drug based solely on marketing hype, even if the drug is harmful. Via sovereign immunity, the people involved in the scam are nearly absolutely immune from their misconduct. For Zyprexa, Eli Lilly was the defendant in several lawsuits. All the damages in all those lawsuits were less than 1 year of profits from Zyprexa. Even if Eli Lilly is found guilty, all the executives and researchers and psychiatrists/murderers and sales reps are not personally liable.

Drug companies rewrote medical regulations. If a doctor does not prescribe the "latest and greatest" drug, then he risks a malpractice lawsuit.

Drug company executives may look at prescription records of doctors. They provide kickbacks to doctors who prescribe their drugs. With access to doctors' prescription records, drug companies may very aggressively target their marketing.

Drug companies actively market "off-label" use of their drug, circumventing laws preventing that. If a drug is only approved to treat schizophrenia in adults, then the drug company can encourage doctors to prescribe it "off-label" to children.

The pharmaceutical industry and medical industry in the USA is one big scam. I only have direct experience with antipsychotic drugs, but I suspect other "blockbuster" drugs have similar "hype over medicine" defects.

Drugs are not normally a valid way to treat an illness. They mask the symptoms without treating the underlying problem. Marketing encourages the invention of diseases.



This post on no third solution (cited other places) is missing the point. New Hampshire's state legislature is considering legalizing gold and silver as money.

If you want to use gold and silver as money, there has to be no fixed exchange rate with slave points. The ratio of gold/silver to FRN must be determined by the market. Otherwise, the system falls apart by Gresham's law (as David Z observed).

This law is nothing new. In the past, some states have tried this and were shot down by the US Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court has already ruled that individual states issuing their own gold and silver money usurps the Federal government's power to control money. Even if New Hampshire passed their law, and wrote it in a non-stupid fashion, it could be shot down by the US Supreme Court.

There already are Federal laws and taxes that make it impractical/illegal to operate a gold and silver warehouse receipt bank. There are Federal laws and taxes that make it impractical/illegal to use gold and silver as money. Unless New Hampshire says "**** you!" to the Federal government and blocks enforcement of those laws, New Hampshire accomplishes nothing.

It would only be interesting if New Hampshire made such a law, the Supreme Court shot it down, and New Hampshire's politicians said "Nyah! Nyah! We're doing it anyway!"

If individuals want freedom, they need to grab it themselves, rather than waiting for a bunch of politicians to get their hands out of your pockets.



I found this post disturbing. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch was the victim of a death threat. The police said "We can't afford to give you 24x7 protection." A private security firm cost $2000 per day, which he couldn't afford. That's a prime example of the State failing to protect someone. Free market justice would not have such a problem.

If I become an advocate for blatant-in-public agorism, I could be the victim of violence by some pro-State troll. For example, if I offended someone by calling them a pro-State troll, they could choose to violently take out their frustrations on me. If you become a high-profile person, this can be an issue (especially if you don't directly cash in on your high profile).

For TechCrunch, there were accusations that they're biased. If your startup is profiled on TechCrunch, that's a big boost. However, that does not excuse violence. That's like someone saying "FSK doesn't cite my blog. FSK is being unreasonable!" If I never discuss your blog, it's probably because I don't like it.

In a true free market, if you harass someone, then your police protection and insurance fees will be hiked. The victim can force the harasser to reimburse them for their expenses. In the present, unless you're super-wealthy, it isn't practical to ask the State for assistance.



This story about "Manna", via Hacker News, was interesting. It's about an evil robot "Manna" that takes over the world. It makes more sense if you replace "Manna" with "the parasite ruling class".

There was one problem with his "employee wage death spiral" scenario. Some workers would prove to Manna that they were more efficient than others, and Manna would offer to pay them more. You wouldn't have the nightmare scenario where "Everyone is earning minimum wage!" Further, if Manna is that evil, some competing business would emerge. Further, the displaced workers would find other things to do.

I didn't like the solution. The author is one of the "Property is theft!" versions of anarchy. However, in a true free market society you could earn enough for food and rent easily. In the present, if you didn't pay 50%-99%+ in taxes, you could easily afford food and rent.

This quote was interesting:

"Things have slowed down a good bit in the U.S. I'm afraid." She replied. "The economy retracted quite a bit when so many people ended up in Terrafoam. Then you have the combined problems of egos, politics and lawyers in the U.S. There are immensely rich people in the U.S., but they all seem to have large egos. They would rather compete and bash each other than cooperate. They are constantly suing one another. And none of them wants to have anything to do with taxes. With all that happening, it is very hard to get people together to work on big projects. It makes it much harder to innovate in the U.S. You will find that things are streamlined here, and we are innovating at an incredible pace. It's all part of getting better and better."

I also liked this quote:

In the U.S., everyone had to work, and in most cases "work" meant doing something that a rich person wanted so that the rich person could get richer.

That is how most/all of my wage slave jobs worked out. I was helping other people exploit flaws in the economic system to line their own pockets, rather than doing something actually useful.

This is another interesting quote:

It reminded me a little of the process of setting an animal raised in the zoo free in the wild. If you've been caged your entire life, actual freedom is a completely new experience.
That story was interesting, but it had some flaws. I disagree with "Property is theft!" There's nothing wrong with private property. In a super-advanced technological society, you probably won't need to work much to earn food and shelter.

I also liked the "open source economy" concept. All technology should be completely open source.



This article, via Hacker News, was hilarious. Game companies are hiring artists to retouch screenshots from the game. That's dishonest. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of a screenshot?



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. He was arguing *AGAINST* incorporating a small business. If you want to incorporate, and do it right, you have to hire a lawyer. He started a business, incorporated it, and started looking for VC. He never found VC and had to shut down his corporation. He had to *PAY HIS LAWYER* to shut down the corporation for him. Because he had incorporated, he had to pay additional expenses for his now-defunct business.

From an agorist perspective, you should *NOT* incorporate. If you incorporate your business, you're voluntarily entering the State taxation/regulation system. For a small business owner sole proprietorship, limited liability incorporation provides practically no protection.

For example, if someone decided to sue me for slander for saying "You're a stupid pro-State troll!", it makes no difference if my blog is incorporated or not.

I looked at IRS "Schedule C". Even if my business is unincorporated, I may still deduct expenses. Suppose I have $30/month AdSense revenue and pay $10/month for hosting. I may deduct the $10 from the $30, even though I haven't incorporated my blog.



This article, via Hacker News, had a hilarious quote (not the main point of the article).

And in 1984, one of America’s most influential consumer advocacy groups, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), launched an all-out war on fast-food restaurants. According to their own press release, their goal was “to pressure fast-food restaurants and food companies to stop frying with beef fat and tropical oils, which are high in the cholesterol-raising saturated fats that increase the risk of heart disease.”

By 1990, their campaign had succeeded. Most fast food chains had significantly lowered the amount of saturated fats in their foods, and replaced them with a substitute that the CSPI had been arguing for since 1987: trans fats.

This is one problem with the mainstream media propaganda and fake science engine. First, the propaganda engine says "X is healthy!" Then, the propaganda engine says "Not X is healthy!"

I disagree with "The State should tell me what I may and may not eat!" In a true free market, food vendors would clearly label their product.

I also liked this bit:

And if you apply for a job that requires a “Ruby on Rails expert” and you get hired, does that mean that you are an expert? Maybe all it really means is that you know just enough to convince the person that hired you. Which doesn’t actually mean you know a lot about the framework.

Being known as "Expert on X" does not mean you are an expert on X. If you win a Nobel
Communism (Economics) Prize, does that mean you're knowledgeable about economics, or does that mean you write convincing pro-State propaganda?

Similarly, is a State-licensed therapist or psychiatrist good at helping people? Or, is the therapist/psychiatrist/murderer so insecure about their interpersonal skills that they got a State license saying they're good at it?

He also made a point about "What's considered an expert changes over time!" Konkin was one of the founders of the philosophy of agorism. If I read his recently-posthumously published book (which was, ironically, copyrighted), I'd probably say "Tell me something I didn't already know!" I'm looking to move forward with actual practical agorism. Ron Paul did a lot to help the freedom movement, but the freedom activists need to move beyond "Ron Paul is awesome!" A top freedom thinker 5 years ago or now, won't be a top freedom thinker 5-10 years from now.

If your thinking stagnates, you fall behind, even if you once were the top thinker. My thinking is still improving, but there's a limit to what I can accomplish until I try actual practical agorism.

The problem is "I want to be respected as an expert!" versus "I want to know things that are actually useful!" In a true free market, knowing useful things leads to being acknowledged as an expert. In the present, the State propaganda engine falsely advertises certain people as experts. To some degree, freedom experts like Ron Paul are a handicap, because Ron Paul doesn't go all-out saying "All forms of taxation are theft! A monopolistic State is evil!" When the mainstream media presents a weak defense of real free markets, that seems like an endorsement of the State.



This post on lowercase liberty had an interesting quote.

"A Sizable National Debt Is Good Because It Gives the Citizens an Incentive to Support the Government."

This is attributed to Alexander Hamilton, a known agent of the bankers.

The fallacy is that the debt is owned by insiders. The deficit spending goes to pork projects for insiders. The general population is taxed to repay the debt.

The government could just openly state to the elite, "Support us and we will use our guns to siphon off money from the unorganized rabble every year and give you a cut."

This is how the State actually works. More accurately, the elite order the State "Use your guns to siphon off wealth for us!" Are insiders aware of the scam?



I thought that this post on "HAHAHA!!! Microsoft is doomed!!" is amusing.

With declining hardware costs, a Windows software license is a greater and greater percentage of the cost of a new computer. This is providing pressure for people to use Linux.

Further, my most important computer activities are now web-based. It really doesn't matter what OS I'm using as long as my browser works. I'm seriously considering "My next PC will be Linux!" (I should download and burn a Linux boot DVD that's compatible with the Windows filesystem. On the other hand, other blogging tasks are more important.)

Linux still hasn't surpassed Windows on "ease of use". If Microsoft stops improving, Linux *WILL* catch up. The threat of Linux forces Microsoft to continually improve its product, even if Microsoft manages to keep hold of its monopoly for awhile longer. Allegedly, some executives at Microsoft realize "Our OS/Office monopoly won't last forever! We should diversify."

I'm also frustrated with configuring WAMP on Vista. I wonder if PHP development would be easier on Linux?



I saw a commonly cited story about how a disgruntled software engineer at Fannie Mae wrote a "logic bomb" that had the potential to wreck all their computers. His access wasn't disabled immediately after he was fired, and then he wrote a malicious script.

The joke's on the software engineer. Fannie Mae has a State-licensed monopoly to run their business. The quality of their software and hardware is irrelevant. Even if he crashed their computers and it took them a week to recover everything, it would not have adversely impacted Fannie Mae's business.

Also, most businesses have software problems all the time. If a company's computers all stopped working for a day or two, many people's reaction would be "Again?!"

There's also an evil fnord in this story. Whenever a software engineer does something wrong, it's headline news. The implication is that *ALL* software engineers are scumbags who would **** over their employer at the first opportunity. Whenever a policeman does something wrong, only the most egregious abuses get mainstream media coverage.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Iceland's Economic Crisis":

FSK

I live the the UK " Euro Zone" if what happened in Iceland is as you describe in this post, the same should have happened to the countries which make up the EU. But it did not, so either you are wrong or it is yet to happen in the EU.

Did you even read the article before commenting?

Iceland's banks have Euro-denominated loans and Euro-denominated assets. When asset prices crashed, Iceland was SOL.

In Europe, banks have Euro-denominated loans and Euro-denominated assets. The ECB (Euro Central Bank) merely printed new money to bail out the banks.

Similarly, banks in the UK have pound-denominated loans and pound-denominated assets.

The "print new money to bail out banks" trick only works if your foreign debt is in a currency you issue. Only the USA, the EU, and the UK get the "foreign debt in our own money" perk.

Further, some of the US TARP money was used to bail out banks in the EU and UK. (I know Congress allegedly put provisions in the law preventing that. They are wrong.)



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The CPI is Biased":

I grow tired of pro-State trolls. If there's anything I can do to prevent idiots from commenting, let me know!

Dear FSK,

I believe your chicken-beef example does not happen in reality. True, chain-weighted calculation of CPI/GDP does underestimate inflation compared to base-year calculations.

I don't understand the definition of "chain-weighted calculation" versus "base-year calculation". I assume "chain weighted" is the "rebalance regularly" trick, and "base-year" is "keep weights constant".

Changing the weights causes the CPI to be less. Rebalancing the weights is an intellectually dishonest way to calculate inflation.

But most economists believe that chain-weighting method is much more accurate than the base-year method.

State-licensed economists prefer the calculation that politically connected insiders want. What a surprise? Most/all State-licensed economists are total idiots and tools.

This is true especially in very recent times when consumption of certain goods rose or fell steeply in very short periods of time. (i.e. laptops, cell phones, MP3P, etc.).

Suppose the price of beef rises faster than chicken. As a result, people eat less beef. Inflation affected people's spending habits, but that doesn't make the inflation less real.

Why not publish two CPI numbers side-by-side, the "keep weights constant" version and the "rebalance regularly" version? If necessary, pick new "base-year" weights occasionally to reflect changing spending habits. You don't need to rebalance every single year. When the weights are recalculated every year, that opens the door to abuse.

There are intellectually honest ways to calculate inflation. State-licensed economists do not normally use them. There's a "shadow statistics" website that calculates inflation the "old" more honest way. It's much higher than the official CPI.

As for manipulating numbers for consumer behavior, the calculators depend completely on the past data. After all, CPI is an indicator of the past, not the present. Sure, CPI is flawed. But any rigorous calculation of inflation is flawed.

The problem is not merely "CPI is flawed". The problem is "CPI is flawed in a way that causes it to *DRAMATICALLY* understate true inflation."

I have a rigorous method for calculating inflation. I look at the FRN-denominated price of gold. Since I believe "Gold is money!", for me this is merely a matter of definition. You could substitute silver, copper, platinum, or other metals and get a nearly equivalent index over a 10+ year period.

I also would use M3, but the Federal Reserve stopped publishing M3. There is no plausible excuse for the Federal Reserve to cease publishing M3 other than "Insiders want to cover up how bad inflation is!"

You really need to work on your trolling. I bet you think "I logically refuted FSK! FSK is being unreasonable!"

My patience for idiots is decreasing.



DixieFlatline has left a new comment on your post "Limited Liability Incorporation is Evil":

Disagree.

You're allowed to have stupid false beliefs.

Also notice that DixieFlatline has a different attitude than some others who disagree with me. DixieFlatline has strongly disagreed with me occasionally, but has not said "**** you, FSK! I'm leaving!"

This is basically the conflation argument of Roderick Long from a utilitarian perspective.

I haven't heard of Roderick Long before. Are you referring to praxeology.net? That's buried in my RSS reader somewhere. Browsing briefly again, my reaction is "This isn't very interesting." Do you have a specific article in mind that I should read?

In general, if you're quoting someone I don't normally read, provide a link. I'm not going to bother reading through everyone someone wrote just to find the point you're trying to make.

LLCs or limited liability contracts in themselves are not evil.

Evil is found when the state awards a LLC a monopoly, requiring people to choose a firm with a legal advantage against it's customers. Evil is found when the state has a monopoly on what is legal and what is not. Evil is found when the state has a monopoly on the definition of business models.

This argument is like the guns kill, people don't kill argument.

In a true free market, no reasonable person would agree to a limited liability clause. Under certain circumstances, I might rule such an clause irrelevant, if I were judge in a free market court.

For example, suppose I walk into a restaurant as a customer. Before being served, the waiter makes me sign a "limited liability agreement". In the event I receive food poisoning, I agree that damages are limited to the assets of the restaurant. You certainly would view the waiter and restaurant with suspicion, wouldn't you? I can't imagine such a practice being commonplace in a real free market.

Suppose I signed the "limited liability agreement". I later receive food poisoning, along with a bunch of other customers. We (or our heirs) sue the restaurant, and the restaurant declares bankruptcy. As judge, I would rule the "limited liability clause" as irrelevant. Dying of food poisoning is not an expected normal outcome when you eat in a restaurant. Therefore, the limited liability clause should not provide protection.

In a true free market, a restaurant would purchase insurance against the possibility of food poisoning. Food safety insepctions would be performed by the insurance assocaition, and not the State.

In the present, I have *NO CHOICE* but to accept a "limited liability clause" in all the businesses I deal with. *ANY* incorporated business has limited liability protection. State restriction of the market forces practically all businesses to incorporate. The "limited liability clause" is imposed by the State and enforced by State restriction of the market.

If a business with a "limited liability clause" offers a cheaper price than a business with no such clause, it is only because the "limited liability clause" leads to the possibility of customers being screwed over.

The evil of limited liability clauses is most apparent in banking. Suppose there are two time-deposit banks. There is bank A and bank B. Both banks offer the same terms to depositors. Bank A has a "limited liability clause" in its deposit contract. Bank B has no limited liability clause; the bank's owners and management are accepting personal responsibility for any loss by depositors. Given the free choice, which bank would you choose? Of course, you would choose Bank B.

Suppose that Bank A offered a greater interest rate than Bank B. This means that depositors in Bank A are accepting a greater risk of losing their deposit. The greater interest rate would be offset by the risk of losing your savings. When putting your money in a bank, your primary goal should be to protect your principal. Therefore, Bank A would have no customers in a true free market.

You can have businesses where people invest and share in the profits. That is an investment pool and not a bank. For example, suppose you want to buy and store grain, selling it in case of a famine. You can sell shares of the grain to others. This is an reasonble business, but it is not a bank. If the price of grain falls, investors have the conscious risk they could lose money.

(This bit deserves its own separate post.)

What's worse, it sounds too much (for my ears) like Carsonite Marxism or "anti-man pro-regulation-state trolling".

Limited liability incorporation *IS* a State regulation. Limited liability incorporation does not occur naturally in a free market.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Limited Liability Incorporation is Evil":

FSK you are totally wrong on this one.

LLC just means that any contracts with them have the implicit condition that in the case of a breach, the limit you can get from them is what the company has in assets. There is nothing immoral about such a contract term, and no one forces you to do business with the LLC.
In the present, there is severe State restriction of the market. I don't have the option of only doing business with people who don't force limited liability clauses on me.

Further, the limited liability clause is placed by the State, even if the participants do not agree to mention it.

For example, suppose that I agree to write software for your corporation in exchange for $5k. You then say "Sorry, I'm bankrupt! I don't have to pay!" I'm SOL. I can only sue your corporation (which has no assets) but not you as an individual.

LLC's are particularly important in today's "sue the hell out of every business" culture. Why should some entrepreneur lose his house because he accidentally trespassed on someone's patent?

You're saying "In a corrupt system, everyone must protect themselves lest they lose everything on a technicality." In a true free market, you aren't risking all your personal assets every time you do something. Any external risk is always insurable.

That's like saying "There's a terrorist agency that is always threating me. Therefore, I should obey their orders (limited liability incorporation) and pay for protection (hire a lawyer)."

Given the above food poisoning example, I could buy insurance against the possibility that one of my vendors would give me rotten food or that one of my cooks does something stupid. A reasonable customer would refuse to eat in a restaurant that had no such insurance. Instead of the State enforcing health codes, private insurance associations would do a better job.

You're confusing a corrupt State system with a free market system. In a true free market system you would not have lots of frivolous lawsuits.

In fact, the current system *DISCOURAGES* lawsuits when an individual is wronged by a large corporation. The legal costs are huge, and the trial will be drawn out and take years.

In the present, even blogging is a risk. If I say "You're pro-State trolling!", you can turn around and sue me for libel.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Limited Liability Incorporation is Evil":

As individual you can go bust in US. But in europe, this is not possible in general. once I suggest, if you have a child you must deposit 50000 dollaras to state account. This is a limited liability sum for a individual if he goes to bust. Now corporations and individual are egual this respect.

I think you are quite correct to argue LLC is evil

That's a new one. "Parents must deposit $50k in order to have a child?" That sounds like a tax on children.

Bankruptcy laws in the USA are being continually weakened. For example, the law on credit card debt defaults was changed. It is now harder to default on credit card debt.

As another example, you can't default on student loan debt via bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy law is necessary, because otherwise an individual swamped with debt has no incentive for working at all.

In a true free market system, people would not be able to rack up huge unpayable debts.

barry b. has left a new comment on your post "Limited Liability Incorporation is Evil":

FSK,

I'm reading a book by Gerry Spence right now and he makes the same argument. That corporations are inhuman, are allowed protection above what a human would have, and can therefore not be found liable.

The problem is not that the corporations themselves have rights. A corporation is an abstract fictional entity. It's the humans who control the corporation that get special legal perks. If the CEO of Bear Stearns/Lehman/FRE/FNM/AIG/GM, etc. causes billions of dollars in losses, he his not personally liable.

That being said, let's say with my blog, where I dispense my opinion to people about their defaulted debt issues, and that I clearly state that this is my opinion... let's suppose I am making $5,000 per year.

In order to protect my personal assets from proftit seekers (lawyers and their plaintiffs) I make 'debt prison' a limited liability coporation. I do this to protect my livlihood from others. In my case, I hope I am not doing it so I can begin some immoral behavior without concern for consequences.

Since your blog is 100% owned by you, incorporating may not provide any real protection. If someone wants to silence you or you otherwise offended them, then they can still sue you directly and not your incorporated blog.

There's another flaw of incorporating. A corporation must *ALWAYS* be represented by a State-licensed attorney in court. If sued personally, you can represent yourself sui juris. If your corporation is sued, you *MUST* hire a lawyer, which will cost $10k-$20k+, even if the lawsuit is frivolous.

Also, if you incorporate, some people say that incorporating is voluntarily entering your business in the State taxation system. Google is a corporation, and AdSense revenue is therefore taxable. As an agorist, I *DON'T* want my businesses to be incorporated. If you incorporate your business, you're claiming a State perk, and therefore your business is taxable in exchange for that perk.

As another practical matter, if your business is unincorporated and you get paid in cash, then it's very hard for State enforcers to trace what you're doing.

My blog, as a piece of the free market, will grow in market share because my advice and research is regarded with more value and honesty than other blogs like mine. As a result my readership grows, my ad revenue grows, and thus the liklihood of being sued for some reason grows.

How would you suggest I protect my livlihood from the greed mongers? Should I just leave it up God and the hope that others will attempt to be honest like me?

There is no way. All you can do is hope that people with the parasitic personality type get disgusted with your blog and don't read it.

Also, some of my savings are in IRAs, which I can't lose in a lawsuit. Suppose I invest in gold and silver and store it in a safe location with friends. Those assets would not be subject to seizure in a civil trial, if State enforcers can't find them!

The State is evil. If I give up and self-censor, in fear of State retaliation, then I am accepting that I am a slave. After discovering the truth, I have an obligation to do what I think is right. Is it heroic to refuse to sit on the back of a bus because of your skin color? Then, refusing to contribute to a corrupt system, and speaking out against it, should also be heroic.

Civil disobedience is the only way that bad laws ever get changed. For the income tax and Federal Reserve, widespread civil disobedience would lead to the complete collapse of the State.

Anyway this is a good discussion and I think both sides should be heard/debated.

I'm not interested in the stupid side of the argument as much.

"Large corporations are a natural free market occurrence." and "Limited liability incorporation is a perk all business owners need." are two fake arguments that (L)libertarians make, and is one of the reasons that libertarians are not taken seriously.



By E-Mail, someone said:

Have you noticed the unusually large number of Senate / Cabinet appointment candidates getting pwned by back taxes?

The amusing bit is that they shrug it off and get confirmed anyway. A few did actually withdraw their appointment recently.

If I ever get busted by the State for tax evasion, I'll use the "Timothy Geithner" defense. I should be allowed to pay the taxes owed and interest, with no further penalty.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "More Communist Humor":

«completely boycott the dollar and use real money (gold or silver) instead.»

This is classic, dumb argument of those who think that automatic mechanisms are can replace vigilance.

This is a joke for two reasons...

* As an automatic mechanism, using any commodity as unit of account is completely ridiculous because it makes the unit of account worth the random ratio between its rate of production and that of everything else, and as a rule they are widely different.

Consider this case: at some point a given quantity of gold is used as unit of account and exchange for GDP. Then in 10 years GDP grows 40%, and the quantity of gold is unchanged. The consequence is that those who held gold for 10 years now are 40% richer without moving a finger, because the same amount of gold now buys a 40% greater GDP. This means that only idiots will work hard and innovate and start businesses to grow the GDP by that 40%, when they could obtain the very same effect by holding gold and doing nothing; thus there will be no incentive to grow GDP, just to hold gold.

Thus the good idea to use a unit of account with an expectation of gentle steady depreciation, so that people have an incentive to put it to fruitful use, not to hold it. Even the Parable of the Talents hints this.

Of course a unit account that can gently and steadily depreciate can be made to depreciate rather more quickly and unsteadily; but the solution is not to put in a straitjacket of an automatic regulator like gold or silver or sheep or seashells, it is to manage the unit of account well.

But this requires the vigilance of citizens, or at least of their rulers. Citizenship is not a spectator sport, and the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

Because without vigilance all is lost; gold alloys can be debased, bullying by the rich can develop unchecked.

There is no automatic way to keep your neighbours and rulers honest: only committed, engaged, participation in public life.

This comment was entirely pro-State trolling and not worth my time responding.

A law requiring people to use gold as money is as evil as a law forbidding people from using gold as money. In the present, State violence demands that people use paper as money.

A free market handles everything. Centralized planning is *NEVER* more efficient than a free market.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What is the State?":

Some of the points you make, especially that lots of our current culture is still part of the time when many humans were domesticated chattels of the minority, seem reasonable, but the consequence that the state is evil and can be dispensed with do not follow.

Once you realize "Taxation is theft!", then you cannot support any monopolistic State.

The state is just a big-size housing association, and those are regrettably necessary, with all the corruption, bullying and other bad things that happen in a typical housing association.

I disagree with "Other people bullying me is a natural part of life." In school, people are trained to accept abuse by bullies.

I'm much more interested in "Develop a strategy for resisting parasites!" rather than "Accept that parasites will abuse me."

Humans are social animals, and they create groupings and hierarchies and "politics"; and these are necessary evils, and perfection is not attainable.

The solution is always and only vigilance. There is no automatic regime that guarantees the best outcome, be it anarchism, libertarianism or whatever.

People have to pay their dues, and take their chances with the various levels of "housing association", and engage and fight and play "politics". There is no free lunch.

This sounds like the same pro-State troll as the above one. I really should start rejecting stupid comments like this one.

I should avoid the trap of feeling obligated to give a detailed response to every stupid comment.

Responding to stupid comments drains my energy. I shouldn't waste time on them.



fritz has left a new comment on your post "The Continuous Growth Myth":

Yea,,the whole system is kind of like a pyramid scan. They have to keep increasing the base or they whole scam will be exposed.

It sort of is. The money supply must continually expand, due to the Compound Interest Paradox.



citizen stefish has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #76":

i am very familiar with chomsky's stuff. i have read many of his books (some of which are extremely good, especially the criticisms of "really-existing free markets" - more on that below), and that's how i got interested in anarchism, because he talks about it every now and then.

The problem is that no current market can be accurately described as a free market.

If you have any good Chomsky bits I'll read them. I read bits of Chomsky once and concluded "This guy doesn't have anything interesting to say."

the idea is anti-market, anti-state. the problem with that idea is that an idea of how society would function is never put forth - at least not one that would work, because it ultimately comes down large groups of people making decisions for everyone else (but "anti-state"). the people in this mindset typically resort to pro-state tactics because they want the state to keep doing the "good" things that it does, whatever they feel that those are.

That is the problem with most pro-State anarchists. They fail to come up with a viable replacement for the State. They fail to describe how the State will be eliminated.

Market anarchism or agorism is the one true philosophy of anarchy. Multiple competing police forces is both the cheapest way to provide police protection and the only way to prevent abuse by policemen.

i have determined that many of these people would be targets for conversion to agorism because they have a strong dislike for the state, limited liability incorporation, war, etc. but they're going to be tough sells because agorism is a free market. what they don't understand is that *that is what they're talking about*! lots of the "resistance" websites will advocate shopping from smaller businesses, local farms, etc. well a true free market would have tons of those types of stores/shops/etc instead of just a handful among the giant corporate retailers. but oooooh no, we can't consider agorism because of that evil word "market"!

The problem is that these people have been too brainwashed. I don't waste time debating idiots anymore.

I prefer "fake free market" to describe the current corrupt system and "real free market" to describe my ideal agorist society.

The only way to sort things out is with a competition! I'll find a group of people trying to implement practical agorism. Those idiots can find a group of people to waste their time. We'll see who's more productive!

my original dislike of "free markets" came from the propaganda that says, "the united state is a free market country". once i read chomsky's "really existing free markets" analysis (very similar to what you're talking about on this blog), then i realized that the problem was not markets, but the state.

this is long so i am going to end it, but these folks seem to have this as their slogan: "the state needs to go, but we're not going to call the resulting system a free market because we hate that phrase, even though that's what it would be".

If you're making long comments, get your own blog and just post a link. This is why the "Taboo Your Words" game is important. Replace a word with what it means. According to a pro-State troll, a (fake) free market has a central bank credit monopoly, an income tax, and extensive State regulations of most industries. Each of those is contrary to free markets.

I prefer to say "fake free market" to describe the current corrupt system and "real free market" when "Nobody has a monopoly of anything, including police/violence and justice."

That's one thing I noticed in college. A lot of people were saying "The US economic system is unfair! Communism would be better!" "The USA is touted as a free market. The USA is a corrupt system. Therefore free markets are evil!" is a common intellectual trap.

gilliganscorner has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #76":

A suggestion about reader mail. I am not familiar with Blogger's writing interface, but would it be possible when you break apart a comment that you italicize the commentator's statement (you currently indent it) and maybe choose a colour as well for their words.

My older CSS style sheet automatically italicized indented quotes. Since I'm moving in a few months, it's not worth the hassle of figuring it out. Besides, Blogger's "manually edit CSS style sheet" feature is buggy.

Sometimes in the longer responses to comments it is difficult to discern who wrote what.

I thought that indenting makes it clear? I also usually provide a link back to the original.

fritz has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #76":

Another good set of responses to reader mail. Thank you for the fallow up. It is a pleasure to read your blog!!

I try to answer all reasonable comments. I'm having less patience for pro-State trolling.

Responding to trolls is depressing and drains my energy. It's a lot of effort spent for little benefit. When I move to my own domain, I'll make a FAQ section.

"FSK doesn't feel like Blogging today" usually correlates with "There's some pro-State troll comments in my queue for responding to." I shouldn't let idiots waste my time and energy.



citizen stefish has left a new comment on your post "Super Bowl Fnords":

i am *so* glad you noticed the elway/petraeus thing. i haver been ranting about that for nearly 24 hours. i stepped inside to see if the game had started because i hate the pre-game, and i see jerry rice smiling as the camera pans to elway. they introduce him, and he gets a good reaction (as he should). the guy is a hall of famer, led tons of 4th quarter comebacks, won two super bowls (including one with a huge comeback at the end), and is, from all accounts, a very nice guy.

then they show petraeus, and the crowd erupted!!! i was sickened so i went back outside for another 15 minutes. i was actually angry, and i normally block out stupid politics/government nonsense.

I wasn't offended by the Elway/Petraeus evil fnord. My reaction was "Oh, that again! They're still trying that?" It's one thing to be offended by pro-State propaganda. It's better to be able to laugh at how pathetically obvious it is.

I thought that the Iraq War propaganda should be over now that Obama is President? People are supposed to assume that Obama is President and therefore the State isn't evil anymore. Switching Obama for Bush cures all evils.

I thought that, with Obama as President, the State shouldn't be spending so much effort promoting the Iraq War.

fritz has left a new comment on your post "Super Bowl Fnords":

It was strange for me to see joe nameath(I cant spell) At the end of the game with the trophy. Looking old as hell, walking just fine with both of his knee replacements.and a big smile with his fake white teeth. It was almost like a scene from Dick Clarks newyears eve celebration at time square.

I didn't like Dick Clark's New Year's Eve presentation this year. He had trouble speaking due to his stroke and was painful to watch.

One bad thing about football is that many players are severely crippled after their career ends.



fritz has left a new comment on your post "Sui Juris Representation":

Thanks for your research FSK..I have a trial coming up,It is a criminal trial. I have been doing my research and thinking about canning my lawyer and defending sui juris. So I actually have a personal stake in this issue.

Good job,your insight and wisdom are much appreciated !!

Really? What type of trial? Is it a "victimless crime" (possession of marijuana, tax evasion, prostitution)? If it's a victimless crime, sui juris plus "jury nullification" plus "What powers does the State have anyway?" seem like a decent defense.

A State-licensed attorney cannot make those arguments.

On the other hand, you don't seem to understand the philosophy of free markets as well as me. You probably won't be as effective a sui juris defendant as I would be. However, depending on your lawyer and the details of the case, it might still be a good decision.

Are you going to sue me for "practicing law without a license" if you attempt sui juris representation and get convicted?

There's another observation regarding criminal trials. It's typically months from "date of arrest" to "date of trial", and the trial usually takes weeks. This extracts a psychological toll from the defendant. The judge and prosecutor are under no such pressure. They get paid anyway, and they have no personal stake in the outcome.

David Z has left a new comment on your post "Sui Juris Representation":

"There's another issue. I read that *MOST* court-ordered psychiatric evaluations come when a defendant expresses a desire to represent themselves. According to a judge (who's a lawyer himself), only an insane person would forego the advice of a lawyer."

Did you ever read "Catch-22". Sounds very familiar. In that book, army pilots were being asked to fly suicide missions. Some pilots decided to seek a medical waiver by claiming that they were insane. The army doctors decided that only sane people would behave in such a manner. The Catch-22 was, a truly "insane" pilot wouldn't object to the suicide mission. In either case, the pilots would be forced to comply with their orders.

I read bits of "Catch-22" and saw the movie a long time ago. There are other good bits, such as the guy who made a huge profit off the war.

Dealing with the State is also a no-win situation. Either you pay income taxes, letting other people steal half your labor, or you resist and risk a police/terrorist raid. I take the attitude of Captain Kirk in "Wrath of Khan!" (fnord!). Instead of playing a no-win game, I cheat and break the rules. Agorism is a strategy for winning the no-win game.

fritz has left a new comment on your post "Sui Juris Representation":

FSK,,Well its neither of those..Long story short..My girl and I got into an argument one night,,she got so pissed off that she came at me with a screwdriver,in self defense I pushed her away and she scraped her arm,,just a little,you could hardly see it..she called the police who arrived.I had a permit to carry a firearm. You would have thought I had murdered a bus load of children. I told them I did nothing to her,I was automatically guilty.When they got me alone they told me she said I had chocked her, punched her,kicked her,threatened to shoot her,and threw her down the stairs.

I thought for sure I was screwed because none of this happened. She only had a small scrape on her arm,and she was the one who came after me with a screwdriver. They took all of my guns,arrested me,I posted bail. Now its me against the state. I am pleading self defense and think everything will be ok.

I have been looking at the statutes and they use the phrase person alot.But in legal terms the word person doesnt mean a man or a woman. I am only a person if I hold the office of person.If I use sui juris and state that my drivers license was signed without my understanding of the contract.me taking the office of person..I can use artical 1 section 207 of the uniform comercial code to nullify this contract. there by not being in the said office of person. And there by not having violated a statute..

or I can just let my public defender do her best with the self defense plea.

I will most likely go with my defender,and if I lose I have the option of trial by jury. Which will give me time. And I could better represent myself.

If I lose I am facing a $500 fine and 6 months suspended. And of course no more guns ever..

In this case, you're arguing "My crazy girlfriend assaulted me and lied about what happened!" instead of "The law is wrong or immoral!" In this case, you can use your public defender but testify that your girlfriend lied about what happened.

It is annoying that the man seems to be, by default guilty, in cases like this.

Similarly, once you're in the mental ward admissions room, you can't convince the psychiatrist "I don't need to be involuntarily hospitalized!" The key is to avoid being in that spot in the first place.

However, you should choose your girlfriend wisely. You did make a real mistake, which is a poor choice of girlfriend.

In one sense, I'm lucky to be single. If I were already married and my wife disapproved of agorism, I would be SOL. Now, I can make sure that any partner understands "The State is evil!"

BTW, it's illegal for me to own a gun, because I was involuntarily hospitalized with a mental illness. If I had a working agorist trading group, I probably could get one, if necessary, in a SHTF scenario. I don't need to possess a gun myself if I know someone who would sell me one in a SHTF emergency. Currently, I know no such person.

That's another interesting observation. It's "fritz vs. State" and not "fritz vs. ex-girlfriend". At this point, even if your ex-girlfriend changes her mind and forgives you, the State still is pursuing you.

fritz has left a new comment on your post "Sui Juris Representation":

Exactly,And we are still together.Actully,I truly dont believe she know what would come of such a call.I believe she thought the police would help resolve our argument. Silly girl,,Believe it or not the whole thing started when I was talking to her about a system of no government. Than of course it went to personal issues. Believe it or not she has been taking zoloft for quite some time.Its for her mood disorder,She gets panic attacks sometimes.And she had run out about a week before.I should have realized she wasn't herself and backed down.

All the police had to hear her say was that he pushed me.They turned it into a kick, Than off they went.I had my pistol in my pocket.And I was in my own house.There were at least 8 cops in my living room.I didnt resist at all. I even came down to meet them.They cuffed me face down on my living room floor.Searched me found my pistol.

There were 8 cops. I was disarmed, And cooperating fully, But still they kepted me cuffed. In there minds I was a woman beater and had to be shown whats up.

What bothers me most is the state. She isn't state property. I didn't damage state property. How can the state reach this far into our lives?

She also has been called as a witness for the state.If she tells the truth she might run the risk of comiting an assault her self. They are in a win win situation for them selves. They will most likely get money from one of us.

The moral of the story. If you call the police to help you, They just might help themselves.

The "chemical imbalance" theory of mental illness is one big fraud. If your girlfriend was addicted to Zoloft and then stopped taking it, she could have been suffering withdrawal symptoms. Make sure she doesn't start taking Zoloft again! The withdrawal will take 1+ years!

I see your girlfriend's problem. If she recants, now she's the victim of State violence. However, that doesn't excuse her from testifying against you. The police are relying on your girlfriend to testify against you in a trial. Without your girlfriend testifying against you, they have no case.

Why don't you tell your girlfriend to refuse to testify in the trial?

If necessary, testify in the trial that you got back together with your girlfriend and that your girlfriend was having problems with Zoloft. That should be sufficient to get the jury to acquit you.

At this point, you're probably not going to get the judge or prosecutor to change their mind. Your goal is to get the jury to vote to acquit. Were you offered a plea bargain?

I'd still seriously consider getting a new girlfriend. If she starts taking Zoloft again, you probably should get rid of her. Otherwise, you can help her manage the withdrawal.

Maybe you can get your girlfriend to recant in private with the prosecutor and he'll offer you a plea bargain for something lesser?

I thought you lose your right to own guns if convicted of a felony (1+ year in jail), but not for a misdemeanor.

The problem is that it's "fritz vs. State" and not "fritz vs. girlfriend". Your girlfriend has no financial gain by seeing you convicted of a crime. The policemen and prosecutors get paid either way, so they don't lose anything by harassing you.

Similarly, the first time I was involuntarily hospitalized, I did call 911. I thought "What's the worst that can happen?", and I presumed the doctors would help me. Now I know better.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FeedBurner Dropped Reader Mail #76!":

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/02/italian-red-light-cameras-rigged-with-shorter-yellow-lights.ars

So if there was no state and a really free market, *that* would be a standard practice. After all, companies exist to bring profit to their shareholders.

What you espouse is a cult of competition, selfishness and profit. State capitalism at least ensures that certain boundaries are not crossed. Remove the state but keep the capitalism part and all bets are off.

Oh boy, more pro-State trolling! Is it the same Anonymous idiot each time? I suspect yes, because I can recognize writing style, but of course that's not proof.

In the present, State police can behave abusively because they have an absolutely unaccountable monopoly. In a free market, you would not see such abusive practices by police. If police maliciously mistimed traffic lights, then another police agency would investigate them as criminals.

In a true free market, traffic law enforcement would come from insurance companies. In the present, there's a punitive and revenue-generation aspect to traffic fines. In exchange for insurance, you would agree to obey the traffic rules and be subject to pre-determined fines for breaking them. In the present, State enforcers arbitrarily make whatever rules they please.

Currently, New York City is aggressively enforced traffic laws as a stealth way of raising taxes. A lot of people are angry. My reaction to this is "Good! The more people are angry at the State, the better!"

In general, this pro-State troll argument is repeated over and over again. "In the present, State employees sometimes do abusive practice X. In a true free market, abusive practice X would be even more common." The fallacy is that, subject to free market competition, you cannot profit from abuse.

I shouldn't waste time responding to idiots.

If you believe "FSK is full of ****", then what sort of pathetic loser does that make you for reading and commenting.



On the NYPHP mailing list, someone published an ad looking to hire someone for "equity only". Someone else posted a reply saying "What kind of losers work for equity only?"

Suppose you're trying a software startup. If you have a business plan and neither co-founder is a software engineer, then your business is worth $0. If neither founder is a software engineer, then even if you do have cash to spend hiring someone, you're much more likely to get an unqualified faker over someone who knows what they're doing.

One of my favorite shows is Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Why would someone with zero knowledge of food open a restaurant? Similarly, why would someone with zero knowledge of software start a software company? I thought "FSK's Software Nightmares" would be a good reality show.

Why would I work for equity-only in someone else's business when I can work on my own site and keep 100% ownership?

This attitude is flat-out insulting. Even people offering for-pay jobs have the attitude "programmers are interchangeable cogs".

Most employers do not have "professional" respect for software engineers. If you know a lawyer and try to ask him a legal question, he'll give you vague or useless advice. Similarly, doctors don't give free advice. If you ask a software engineer a technical question, they'll usually try to give a decent answer. People expect free unpaid advice from software engineers.



I started doing some PHP programming. I hadn't done any programming in awhile. Configuring WAMP is a PITA! The "phpmyadmin" has a default configuration to reject the root user if the password is blank, but the mySQL ships with a root user with a blank password!

Also, you have to configure Windows FireWall so you can connect to MySQL. Someone should fix the installer package to prompt you and insert firewall exceptions. uTorrent is smart enough to ask Windows for a firewall exception.

Google was very useful! It would have taken a *LONG* time to get WAMP configured without that. (Maybe I should get a Linux boot DVD for my WAMP/LAMP development?)

It felt nice doing some programming. After I got started, I was thinking "Why was I procrastinating?" I'm starting with something simple, a Sudoku puzzle generator, before moving on to better things. (I don't need mySQL for Sudoku, but I just wanted it to be configured properly!)



The job market is still one big wasteland. In October, I had an interview nearly every day. In January, which is usually a big time for hiring, there's practically nothing.

Some of these web companies leave me scratching my head. You're running a web-based business, and you have a lousy website?



On Thursday, strike-the-root.com cited "Predator/State vs. Prey/Agorist" and sent 150 readers to my blog. Even though that was my largest single day traffic total since I started using AdSense, my revenue for the day was only $0.07.

I didn't realize that strike-the-root.com was that popular.

Many bloggers say "If only a more popular site would link to my blog!" I've found that a lot of citations on less popular blogs is just as effective, if not more so. If I get 1-2 Visitors from 20-50 different locations, that's just as good as getting 50 Visitors from one location.

Also, being cited on a popular blog leads to a bunch of citations on less popular blogs, as people forward the mentioned post.

The posts that turn out to be popular is very loosely correlated with my expectations. Writing a post a day and having the occasional success seems to be the best strategy. That was my first hugely popular post in awhile.

Traffic spikes are always beneficial. After the spike, there's usually a continued increased in my regular readership. About 5%-10% of the people who come via the spike seem to stick around as regular readers.

When I move to my own domain, do I have to worry about being DOSed or Slashdotted? I'll worry about that problem when/if I have it. Based on my previous experience, traffic spikes only lead to 2x-3x of my normal traffic. I haven't made the front page of any *REALLY* popular websites.

When I mention someone's blog in a "Reader Mail" post, how much traffic does that generate?

After the "strike-the-root" traffic spike, StumbleUpon sent a bunch of traffic to "The Compound Interest Paradox".



I've been googling for "AdSense and WordPress". Reading about WordPress makes it obvious how much Blogger sucks as a blogging platform. There are more customize-it-yourself options for WordPress than for Blogger! That's not surprising, since WordPress is open source. Blogger templating is CSS, but with WordPress you can use PHP code in your templates.

I'm getting so disgusted with Blogger.

I looked briefly at configuring Apache. It's very easy to configure Apache to include "referer" in the log, which gives me all the useful information I get from Google Analytics. I'll still include the Analytics tracking code, because only that provides AdSense integration.



eagledove9 has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #76":

FSK, I just wanted to tell you that your last Reader Mail post almost caused me to rupture my appendix laughing. The last couple reader mails before it did that to me too. If I rupture my appendix laughing at your blog, I will sue you for all of the Google AdSense money that you have ever earned in your lifetime.

You can always make a "Best of FSK" collection on your own blog. Alternatively, you can filter out the "Reader Mail" posts and not read them.

*****
quote

Some comments make me think 'Why am I wasting time responding to this loser?'

>I don't see how free market could be compatible >with anarchism.

You're off to a fine pro-State trolling start....

(Actually, the more I read, the more I got a sense of what that person was trying to say... some of the communication problem has to do with the definition of "anarchism.")

I get annoyed by disputes that really amount to a disagreement over definitions. For example, many people confuse "free market" with "the economic system in place right now". For this reason, I like to emphasize "real free market" and "fake free market".

****

Let me quote a couple of other ROFL incidents from the past few weeks:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Google AdSense":

>I agree with previous Anon. poster.

How do I know you're not exactly the same person as the previous Anonymous poster?

That is a real problem with Anonymous comments. If there's 5 Anonymous "FSK sucks!" comments, how do I know that the same person didn't post all of them. Plus, I can recognize writing style. Many Anonymous comments may have been all by the same person.

Maybe I should write a WordPress extension that automatically displays the IP address of comments? I could at least track it via my Apache logs.

****

I'm gone the moment I see an Ad. It would suck for me FSK, because I came to like this place. But here is the rub: You ain't much of an agorist if you can't refuse the bait.

OK, goodbye! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!


***

(*'windows is gay' argument (Note, i hate rounded-edge icons too! and i'm female!)*)

It appears that some trolls have been targeting my blog comment section for starting flamewars.

I really want to have an open comments section, but I'm not interested in debating the heterosexual/homosexual bias of the Windows Vista default desktop theme.

If you're going to troll my blog, you really need to do a better job. If comments start getting too silly and off-topic, I'm going to have to start filtering them out as spam.

I believe that Windows skins are customizable, but I haven't bothered. I'm using a pretty default Vista setup and I've had no problems.

******

Was this comment left by the actual real Santa Claus?

****

I'm sure I could find some more quotes that almost caused me to asphyxiate, rupture something, or get a hernia. Just beware, it could happen!

I'm seriously considering "promote agorism via standup comedy". It's on my "list of things to do". There's no need to rush. First, there's the difficulty of doing it while living with my parents. (I know, that sucks, but I'm reluctant to try new things because it freaks them out. Further, they'd want to hear me perform. My parents have repeatedly said "FSK should not express his free market ideas in public!")

Second, I'd probably have to invest a lot of time going to "open mike" nights before I get invited as a for-pay performer.

Third, I also want to get a video camera and start vlogging. That's another thing that I'm unable to do right now, because it'd freak out my parents. I've also been considering making some sketch comedy vlogs, especially if I had a few other interested people.



I'm trying "shorter and more frequent Reader Mail" posts, so I'm cutting this off here. I'm experimenting with 2 Reader Mail posts per week.

Also, I'm seriously considering dropping FeedBurner. So far in February, AdSense via RSS was worth $0. Further, AdSense via RSS appears to be buggy.

2 comments:

Xavin said...

Two quick points:

1) You don't seem to understand the point of screenshots in terms of game marketing. They are to entice people to buy the game, and it doesn't matter if you lie. A few companies produce a large portion of big budget titles, so gamers are pretty much SOL if they don't like it.

2) Linux development is hands down much easier than Windows development. There is a learning curve, and documentation is spotty off the beaten path. The entire LAMP stack is fairly well documented.

Sphairon said...

"In most areas, a college degree is merely a piece of paper saying you wasted 4 years of your life and $200k. I studied Mathematics and Computer Science, which include real knowledge. Still, I wonder if "Spend 6 months working on starting a business!" would have been more useful than "Spend 6 months in college, where most of the time was wasted anyway."

I have a similar problem. My parents would probably support me if I go to college, but considering my lack of technical interests, all I could go for would be some humanities degree - that's an even greater money sink than a general college education.

Do you think it's worth the hassle to start an on-the-books business in this corporatist environment? I'd been thinking all along that you were wrong with your analysis about the soon-to-come demise of the state, but considering recent events, it might just implode by its own weight in no time. Do you think a college degree will be entirely worthless then? And what marketable skills would you recommend for someone who's not really into mechanics?

This Blog Has Moved!

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