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Monday, June 22, 2009

Reader Mail #100

I thought I should do something special for "Reader Mail #100". My blog is more than 2 years old now. I can't think of anything other than the usual "try to write good content".

Besides, the timing of the "Reader Mail" posts is arbitrary. Lately, I've been trying to do 2 per week, but the rate has been inconsistent. I've been falling behind on responding to reader comments. It's good that the volume of comments has increased!

fritz has left a new comment on your post "Video Game Evil vs. Real World Evil":

The concept of good or evil is just a concept. They are perceptions of the observer. Just a demonstration of perspective and believing ones own labels. The state is a false reality created in order to distract people and place them in a false paradigm.

I disagree. There is an objective standard of evil.

When a policeman forces me at gunpoint to pay taxes/tribute, then that is evil. From the point of view of a policeman or a State enforcer, taxes are good.

However, society as a whole loses from the wealth squandered by the State. Most State bureaucrats would be better off in a real free market system. They would lose a lot of their power and influence, but their material wealth would increase substantially.

Evil is stupid and inefficient.

"There is no objective universal standard of truth" is propaganda spread by pro-State trolls. By keeping people confused about morality, all sorts of evils can be justified.

But in the end the state is neither good or evil, it just is. Only someone who believes their own labels searches for demons and villains.

I disagree. Government is evil because I am forced at gunpoint to pay tribute to a handful of people. If you believe "Stealing is not evil!", then you have a very messed up morality. If people aren't able to protect their property from theft, then there's no point doing anything.

Imagine if the state creates the conditions for its own destruction. And from its ashes arises a stateless free market society.Would you not argue then that the state had been good. Because it acted as a host during the transition towards a new and better form of a stateless world community.

This is another form of moral relativism. "It is acceptable to do evil things, if your goal is good." I disagree. Once you believe "It's acceptable to do evil if your goal is good.", then it's possible to justify all sorts of horrible things.

All of the positive things in our civilization were invented while the State existed. "Computers and the Internet were invented while the State existed. Therefore, the State is not evil." That is false reasoning. The rate of technological progress may have been much greater, if not for State interference. One reason for rapid growth in computers and software is that field is relatively unregulated by the State.

Suppose a man rapes a woman, and that woman gets pregnant. Her child later turns out to be a great inventor. Does that mean that the rape was morally acceptable? That is what you argue when you say "Good things were invented while government existed. Therefore, the State is not evil."

James has left a new comment on your post "Stanford Bank Fraud":

I realize that you are getting your "facts" from a third party source but your information is almost completely inaccurate! Get the facts straight please or don't claim to know the truth. You should know that you can't depend on media outlets to do anything but report the sensational. Sometimes (read as often) they don't bother to cross check for accuracty.

In this case, I used the mainstream media for my source information. The financial industry is one big scam. Stanford bank was a particularly blatant scam. However, all the banksters are criminals, and not just those at Stanford bank. They just crossed the line of running a scam that was blatantly too obvious.

I was a short term employee but I was there long enough to know the facts.

If you were working there, then aren't you partially responsible for the fraud?

"They were selling CDs with very high above-market yields. For example, they were selling 1 year CD of around 8% when current yields are 2%-3%."
When local banks were paying 3.5% for a 1 yr CD, SIB was paying 5%. SIB rates did not move as often up or down as local or national banks but they were typically only 2.5-3%better than FDIC insured bank rates, when comparing like terms and amounts. Larger amounts of money certainly got better rates but you can get better yields than the published rates at local banks also in a larger CD.

Shouldn't this have raised a red flag in your mind? If Standford Bank is offering yields that are a lot higher than the competition, then shouldn't that be suspicious?

"These CDs had very high sales commissions. For example, suppose the CD yielded 8%. The broker would get a commission of 3% (!)"
The 3% was paid to Stanford Group Company as a referral fee but the broker received only 50-100 bps (0.50-1.0%) depending on level of production. This was not an upfront commission but was instead paid out monthly over one year. As long as the CD stayed in the bank you continued to receive the "trailing commision"
(50-100 bps)based on the level of production for the past quarter. Some time ago, there was also a 1% upfront bonus for reps that were higher producers but most reps seldom achieved this level. This certainly provided an incentive to recommend the CD's, but bonuses are used in many parts of the financial services industry (sales of annuities, for example).

I don't see how this makes it "not a scam". Any nonzero sales commission on fraudulent advice is too high. It makes no difference if 1% went to the sales agent and 2% to executives at Stanford bank, or 3% all to the sales agent.

If Stanford Bank's sales commissions were higher than normal, then the sales agents have an incentive to push their CDs and turn a blind eye to potential fraud.

If you're collecting a fee on a transaction, you have an incentive to ignore fraud. A sales agent is usually protected by the State via sovereign immunity. Those who lost money on the fraud cannot typically sue their investment adviser and recover the lost savings.

" . . . CDs that pay 6% more than their competition are suspicious. The brokers who sold those CDs should have known that fraud was occurring."
If there had been a difference of 6%, the brokers probably would have smelled a rat. But we had nearly 20 years of "audited" financial statements (there were audit letters included with each semi-annual statement)that showed SIB was solvent, liquid, and very well reserved. What about this would have made YOU suspicious?

I know that audited financial statements are easily forged. I don't bother reading the annual reports of stocks I own anymore. (I really should sell them and buy gold.) That financial data provides practically no useful information. It isn't worth my time spending a day or two combing through the details, because I'm not investing that much money.

I am suspicious of all CDs, even "legitimate" FDIC-insured CDs. If you invest in a bank or in CDs or Treasury bonds, then you are guaranteed to get ripped off by inflation over time.

I am not sure about the issue of relatives of Allen Stanford being in executive positions. My only knowledge of a relative was his Father being on the BOD. But maybe there were others also.

Even if they were not relatives, the incentive is for an executive to look the other way and ignore problems. The goal of an executive is to not risk his job and keep his lucrative paycheck. An executive does not normally want to take any kind of risk. Exposing a fraud or exposing problems is a risk.

Why are you so eager to defend Stanford bank?

The financial industry is one big scam. There is no essential difference between the scam run by Stanford bank and that run by the other large banks. Stanford bank crossed the line and were too blatant about their looting and pillaging.

This is a common evil fnord. "Executives at Stanford Bank got caught committing fraud. Therefore, everyone who commits fraud gets caught. Everyone working in the financial industry is a saint who religiously follows the rules and always does the right thing." The reality is that financial industry insiders are very good at lobbying the State for favors. Once you have the ability to print and spend money, you can buy up all the Congressmen you want!

Steven Shaw has left a new comment on your post "Are you a Slave?":

Molyneux has a great metaphor - free range chicken farming

I've seen him make that analogy before, but not in that video. I watched the video before that in that series.

In a pure chattel slavery system, the workers aren't very efficient. They will only do the minimum amount of work required to avoid being beaten. By giving workers the illusion of freedom, they are more productive. Suppose I double my income in an on-the-books job, either by finding a job where my skills are used better or by starting my own business. By doubling my income, I more than double the amount of wealth available to the bad guys. I pay 50% in tribute directly via income taxes. I pay more in tribute via indirect hidden taxes.

That is the "miracle" of the US economic system, compared to the rest of the world. In the USA, workers have a certain illusion of freedom. This generates more wealth that can then be stolen by the State. People are still bound by tax/debt slavery, even though the chains aren't explicitly visible. You only see the chains when you get assaulted for tax evasion or using forms of money other than slave points.

The vast majority of people obey and are clueless. This allows the bad guys to spend vast amounts of resources tracking down and assaulting freedom seekers. If 99%+ of the population pay taxes without resisting, then it's profitable for the bad guys to spend a lot of resources tracking down the remainder. Even with this handicap, if you're careful, agorism should be profitable. "State enforcers are omnipotent/omniscient!" is an illusion created to keep the cattle in line.

Freedomain is rather longwided, so I only watch a video if someone recommends it or if I'm particularly interested. Freedomain has a large volume of mediocre material, although it would be useful to someone who's a complete beginner to the freedom movement.

I prefer written resources to videos. I can read faster than someone in a video can talk. "Start a vlog." is on my list of things to do. I prefer written resources, but maybe I can attract a greater audience with video. Also, if I attempt "Promote agorism via standup comedy!", I can use online videos to promote myself.

Freedomain talks about "practical anarchy", which seems like theoretical anarchy to me. Unless you're talking about the details of starting to work as an agorist, you're talking about theoretical freedom instead of practical freedom. That's another point I don't like about Freedomain. He doesn't emphasize agorism as a strategy for defeating the State. Freedomain correctly says "Government is evil! Taxation is theft!" He fails to answer "What are you going to do about it?"

I liked his bit on the "cycle of freedom".
  1. Workers are given some measure of freedom.
  2. This partial freedom leads to economic growth.
  3. This leads to an increase in the size and power of the government.
  4. Over time, the government leeches a greater and greater percentage of productive work.
  5. This leads to the inevitable fall. This leads to a decrease in the power of government. This enables a group of people somewhere to start over at stage 1.
This difference is that, after the coming fall, there will be a shift to a free market system instead of the creation of a new government.

In the USA, the people initially enjoyed tremendous freedom. They were free from the restrictions on their freedom that were present in Europe. However, the people still believed "Having a government is necessary. We just have to keep it small." This inevitably led to an increase in the size of government over time. Once you give a handful of people a violence monopoly, they will consolidate and expand their power over time. With a violence monopoly, there are no checks on their attempt to expand their power. Democracy and voting only provide people with the illusion that they control their government.

I read an interesting conspiracy theory. In the mid/late 19th century, insiders in Europe felt threatened by the growth of freedom in the USA. They were concerned that their best workers/slaves would leave Europe for the USA. They intentionally sent spies/lobbyists/businessmen to the USA. The USA had an "open immigration" policy, so it was easy to send a spy as a businessman who wanted to invest in the USA. These spies then lobbied for laws that restricted freedom. They lobbied for State regulation of the banking industry. They lobbied for limited liability incorporation to be legalized; the Supreme Court decision in the late 19th century that legalized limited liability incorporation was the result of decades of lobbying and bribing. They got their final victory with the creation of the Federal Reserve and income tax in 1913, which placed control of the economy firmly in the hands of a group of insiders.

Was the corruption of the US government a deliberate conspiracy? Or, is it the natural progression as government power increases over time? Either way, the current economic and political system is immoral and should be replaced.

Freedomain had another error. "Computers assist with certain bureaucratic requirements." The problem is that the burden of bureaucracy increases as computers allow this efficiency.

I liked the bit "Large-scale war is only possible due to economic productivity gains." I also liked the bit on how people pay for the cost of their own enslavement

One thing I don't like about Freedomain is that he doesn't fully understand the corrupt nature of the US monetary system and the Compound Interest Paradox. He understands "Taxation is theft!", but he doesn't talk about a corrupt monetary system enough, except to say "Inflation is theft!". The US monetary system is more evil than mere inflation.

I liked his previous video, as "The State has its origins in chattel slavery." Government is the formal codification of chattel slavery.

Ineffabelle has left a new comment on your post "Parasites Colonized the Software Industry":

The parasites colonized as part of a larger plan.
The Fed started opening the floodgates in 1995 precisely to cause this to happen, so they could control the IT industry, before it created a large amount of capital outside of their control.

You're off by nearly 100 years. The Federal Reserve and income tax were created in 1913. One of the main goals was to prevent pools of capital from developing outside the control of insiders.

The income tax steals from you as you work. The inflation tax steals your savings. Combined, these make it very hard to raise capital to start a business. This gives the banksters a veto over what businesses succeed and which fail. was not the first online bookstore and eBay was not the first online auction site. These succeeded while others failed, primarily due to their backing by VCs and banksters. The State protects incumbent businesses, making it hard to start a new competing business.

The banksters use their money-printing power to buy up or control new businesses. Then, State restriction of the market prevents new competitors from emerging.

I'm very frustrated looking at the job market now compared with 1999 when I first started. At that time, employers just said "We'll hire someone smart and let them learn!" Now, employers have a laundry list of keywords they expect on your resume.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Parasites Colonized the Software Industry":

You're close. It's a better generalization to say that one cofounder is needed to deal with all the parasite stuff (funding, hr, legal, pr) and one to do the product work.

It's not just that. It's also that many people with the "abused productive" personality type don't have the confidence to start a business on their own. The government-imposed costs further encourage this perception.

Greg has left a new comment on your post "Parasites Colonized the Software Industry":

Interesting. I often see one founder as a more introverted productive worker ( substance) and the other as more of the public "face" or superficial bullshit person who deals the public ( style). I guess this more outgoing salesman-type is the parasite.

That's true for successful businesses.

The norm is to have one "abused productive" person writing the software or doing the real work, and to have a parasitic person taking the ownership and credit. The parasitic person also deals with all the State bureaucratic overhead, such as meeting with VCs/investors/customers/lawyers/accountants/etc.

I've seen startups where the tech guy has the parasitic personality type and the marketing/business guy has the productive personality type! Those businesses are doomed.

For example, at my job last summer, the Rails Advocate and the Idiot New Manager both had the parasitic personality type. The marketing owners for the most part had the productive personality type. That guaranteed that they got ****ed over by hiring parasites to manage their software for them. I still feel bad for them, because they seemed like decent people. I see now that it's guaranteed by the rules of the Matrix that a productive person with no tech knowledge will hire a parasitic person to manage their software for him.

Even if you bring together a group of people with the "abused productive" personality type, one of them will assume the parasite role. It isn't natural human behavior. If you have the "abused productive" personality, you psychologically *NEED* a parasite around!

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

I tried to implement an intranet in Rails and while I was able to quickly get something up and running I found it extremely limiting when I had to start doing interop with the desktop, etc, etc. After awhile I scratched the whole thing and started from scratch with a less exciting but stable framework, namely, Java EE. Works great, run on Linux with no problems, I get to write SQL -- and best of all I got to solidify in my mind why most Rails hackers are tools. Mostly Mac fan boys with no real programming chops, just able to scaffold some things and say "I'm an engineer!" I didnt beat my brains in getting a Masters in Comp Sci to write dinky, non-scalable web apps with a framework written by a foppish douche bag from Denmark.

I've had a much easier time getting stuff done in PHP than my experience with Rails. If you hired me to do a web-based project and told me I could use whatever I want, I'd probably pick PHP.

If you're DHH (the guy who wrote Rails) or one of his associates, it makes sense to use Rails. He wrote it because it exactly matched what he needed at the time. DHH did a good job promoting Rails and himself. Rails is a definite example of "Hype over substance!" Rails is a programming language/framework that's attractive to people with the parasitic personality type.

Have you ever gone to the NYC Ruby meetup group? They all have Mac laptops! That should be their new slogan "Apple McIntosh - A computer so easy to use that even an evil person can use it."

If you look at the "Mac vs. PC" commercials, it's backwards. The actor portraying the Mac has the parasitic personality type. The standup comedian portraying the PC has the "abused productive" personality type. That makes the commercial seem like an endorsement for Windows.

This article on MSN was amusing. A company wants to sell gold in vending machines. They are seeking legal approval. The problem is that the banksters and politicians do *NOT* want to make it easy for people to invest in gold. Insiders love the fact that they can steal people's saving via inflation.

This article saying "buy platinum instead of gold" was interesting. That's the only time I saw a comparison of gold/silver/platinum on the same chart. I draw a different conclusion from his chart.

My interpretation of that chart is that gold, silver, and platinum are very tightly correlated. Money supply inflation is the primary factor in the dollar-denominated price of gold, silver, and platinum.

eagledove9 has left a new comment on your post ""Green Shoots" Fnord":

Since the official, first 'dotcom bubble' in the early 2000s, they've still been doing big, expensive websites based on borrowed money, making no profit at all, which then go bankrupt a few years later. In other words, they're still making the same mistakes over and over again, just like the dotcom bubble, and it isn't even anything new. People are still doing the dotcom bubble.

There are huge web-based businesses based on borrowed money. The banksters literally print new money and spend it on web-based businesses. This makes it harder for non-insiders to bootstrap a web-based business without VC and bankster money.

If your investment capital is money you printed out of thin air, then it makes no difference if the businesses you invest in are profitable or not. Even when you're wrong, you qualify for a government bailout.

I am wondering how long it will be before the big social networking sites go down, because they're based on advertising revenue, which is unreliable at best. That seems their only source of income.

The problem with the big social networking sites is that there's almost no barrier to entry for a web-based business. FaceBook is popular now. They are large and complacent. That makes it likely that a competitor will steal their market share in a few years.

I've noticed that lots of web-based businesses are built on "get lots of users", with no strategy for profiting. I'm making only a couple of hundredths of a penny per pageview via AdBrite. I'd need a *LOT* more traffic to justify this as a job, much less hire other people.

For a lot of these websites, it seems like it's virtually impossible that they'll ever get enough revenue to justify the investment.

Frequently, the goal is "cash out and sell to a bigger business". YouTube could not have survived as an independent company. Now, it's owned by Google. Most of Google's stock is owned by hedge funds (i.e. the banksters). Effectively, YouTube indirectly cashed out by selling to the banksters. Google bought YouTube with newly printed stock. This stock was then bought by hedge funds with newly printed money.

There will probably be more housing bubbles, and when they happen, people will still go along with it the way they did the first time, saying 'Yay! The price of my house went up! I'm going to sell it and buy another house and make a profit!' It doesn't even really have to be something new and unexpected. People don't mind doing the same things over and over.

Asset bubbles are a direct consequence of the Compound Interest Paradox. It isn't simple human greed. The rules of the monetary system are defective, which makes it very hard to make investment decisions.

For example, negative real interest rates made it attractive to borrow money and build/buy houses. The bubble inflated. New money was printed and spent on houses. The inevitable pop occurred.

The next bubble will probably not be in housing, because that's the one that just popped. The part of the economy that's inflating rotates each time.

It's not human greed. It's greed combined with a corrupt monetary system. The banksters lobbied for a corrupt monetary system, and can always profitably lobby to block reform. Greed combined with using violence to impose your will on others is evil. Greed without violence is good.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post ""Green Shoots" Fnord":

Those were interesting examples of the phrase"green shoots".

I liked the first comment on that second article:

why do people all of a sudden out of nowhere start referring to this as “green shoots”…. wtf propaganda is this?

That was interesting. Was that your comment?

It's interesting to notice new fnord phrases appear all of a sudden. The bad guys have to keep making up new jargon for the same evil ideas, lest people become aware of the scam. For example, consider all the different phrases for "layoffs".

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post ""Green Shoots" Fnord":

Do we know for certain the next big bubble? No, but that doesn't mean we can't make bets that are more likely than not to be right.

You know for certain that there will be another big bubble. The rules of the monetary system guarantee it.

I don't know where the next bubble will occur exactly. I'm not an insider and I don't control the mainstream media. If I could arrange for all the comedians on the Communism Channel to start saying "Buy XYZ!!", then I could make a fortune buying XYZ before everyone else and selling at the top of the bubble.

As a non-insider, the stock market is a losing game.

I tend to think that solar energy is big propaganda that has been running. "save the earth, invest in alternative energy" type of fnord that has been being pushed for a long time. Meanwhile the big oil companies are moving towards solar and wind as if some tiny indurstry is going to be enough for hundreds of billions of dollars of assets that oil companies have.

Alternative energy is interesting. If you have the ability to lobby the State for favors, you will make a ton of money in alternative energy. As a non-insider, this is not an option.

Yet despite this industry being very small, Government is about to pump 200 billion if obama continues his promises to spend on it, which doesn't seem out of line from what he has been doing.
However, this is HUGE compared to the size of this industry, and that alone has reason why it goes up.

As a non-insider, you don't know exactly where this money will be spent.

Also, there seems to have always been a trend towards food shortages after the government mismanages money. GOld is a hedge against this mismanagement, as food/agriculture is a hedge against extreme mismanagement because the government's actions results in civil unrest. If you beleive there will be some kind of revolt, or these protests will continue, or if you believe that the credits will freeze and contract so rapidly that food cannot be paid for, or shipping and transportation will go under, or if you believe massive inflation will raise cost of living significantly and civil unrest and tax protests will result as people will demand food since the most important things in life for our own survival are food, water, and oxygen. There's also potential for greater wars if things really get extreme, so if you are okay with providing money and funding wars, which I am not, that is another potential bubble in the future.

I've repeatedly said that gold is a good investment. In an extreme SHTF scenario, you won't be able to spend your gold unless you've also made other preparations.

There also will most likely need to be a collapse of commercial real estate as there is just too much debt, too may foreclosures and tax credits promoting mocving out of a rental and into a bank foreclosure, lowered cashflow resulting in lower prices and so on.
Commercial real estate lags residential, but after the banks seize properties and sell them for 20% below value until that lowers the other properties, puts people in negative equity position resulting in foreclosure, sold for 20% below, and the cycle continues as housing values are lowered and the banks continue to make quick money.The problem is that if the credit consolidates enough, these foreclosures will be so massive that eventually the banks themselves become victem to there not being enough money to go around. The fed simply continues to hike the rates and soon it's the banks "in foreclosure" starts with the smaller banks, and progressing. Of course if one of the larger bank goes under it the US government says "don't worry, we'll pay for it, and the US takes care of the outstanding debt owed to the federal reserve.... of course mostly the tax payer, or through inflation we take care of it.

You're missing the point. The Federal Reserve, financial industry, and Federal government have printed a lot of brand new money recently. Eventually, this will cause housing prices and stock market prices to rise. The nominal price of the stock market will increase. However, the return almost definitely won't outpace true inflation.

As an individual, if you speculate in real estate and are wrong, you lose everything. As an insider, if you speculate and are wrong you get a bailout.

If you own an unleveraged real estate investment, then your return probably won't outperform true inflation. If you maximize your leverage by refinancing whenever property values rise, then you will be wiped out during the next recession. As a non-insider, it's a losing proposition either way.

psychology imprint has left a new comment on your post ""Green Shoots" Fnord":

I look at Fnords a little bit different, I look at it more of not so much brainwashing people into believing the system works and to obey and things like that, but to actually use them to help create the future, rather than maintain the status quo.

There are both evil fnords and good fnords. Some are used for evil purposes. Some are hints that allow someone to figure out what's going on, such as the movie "The Matrix".

I think that the Fnords are actually programmed to get our minds thinking a certain way. Through Quantom physics string theory, law of attraction, or the "fnord" term for it is "collective unconscious" (yes the public is collectively unconscious), whatever you call it actually causes people to take actions that result in the creation of a certain reality. If you aren't conscious of what message is being put out there, you can't consciously deny the messages you are being sent. It's like when you fold up the dollar bills you can see the twin towers... this is "magik". The use of physical to imprint on our minds to create reality in the future.

I don't get the quantum physics analogy.

Do humans have a collective intelligence/stupidity that is greater/less than individual intelligence?

So what is "green shoots"...
I see it as a call to war...
The green men... the army, shoots, as in ready aim shoot... Now we will all get excited about war, because we associated stock market gains and financial gain, and joy and positive emotions with this "I get to be a 'green shoot'!" essentially our psychee will think. Then combined with the right war propaganda and being nobel and defending your country, it's an "easy in".

Of course I don't rule out that it might be some other propaganda to get people to start thinking they need to buy green shoots, and stock up on agriculture, or perhaps it's a warning for those that know to start buying agriculture, as these "enlightened ones" will see the signs and make a fortune off of it. I think last year at this time, I was starting to notice some fnords about oil collapsing, but I didn't know what they were and didn't understand them. I was however paying more attention to what kind of messages were being sent, but at the time I didn't know if it was a sign to help or hurt or if it was just a "synchronicity" or what.
I don't get that bit at all.

Oil is going to rise in price a lot, due to massive money supply inflation.

Via Google Analytics, I noticed this thread discussing the Compound Interest Paradox. I was astonished by the low level of pro-State trolling in the thread. Most of the commenters seemed to understand the corrupt nature of fiat debt-based money.

Via Google Analytics, I noticed that user "Dionysusal" has been citing my blog a lot on forums. I didn't bother saying anything there. I'm not interested in debating pro-State trolls right now.

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

Bjorn Lomborg wrote a book "The Skeptical Environmentalist". He thinks GW is real BUT what % of total GW is caused by CO2 is in question. But the most important thing is that he doesn't agree that GW is all bad. He points out the same thing you mentioned, that historically warming has been good for mankind. He is big into cost-benefit analysis, and says that even if GW is caused by CO2, carbon taxes are a very very expensive way to address CO2 emissions, and that there are much more cost effective ways to address it, AND there are also bigger issues than GW.

2nd, there is a scientist named Svensmark who came up with a theory of sun-caused GW which actually FITS the historical temperature data than the CO2 theory. His theory is that the sun's heliosphere (magnetic field) fluctuates and thus modulates the cosmic ray flux reaching the earth. These particles seed low level clouds (like in a cloud chamber). When the heliosphere is strong, fewer particles reach the earth and we get less low level clouds and we get warming. His theory is so compelling that CERN in Switzerland is conducting a series of experiments over the next few years to test one of the central tenets of his theory.

There is a strong correlation between sunspots and the heliosphere. No sunspots = weak heliosphere = cooling. The past few years we have had no sunspots, and this explains the past couple of unusually cold winters.

That's the same viewpoint as the arguments I made. I don't have time to read their books/papers.

Summarizing the key points:
  1. Does carbon dioxide actually cause global warming? As mentioned above, there may be a longer cyclical trend of increasing/decreasing solar output. There was another article (I forget the source), that said "Maximum heat absorption of heat by carbon dioxide occurs at around 50-100 feet. Beyond that, additional carbon dioxide makes no difference."
  2. Is global warming good or bad? Global warming leads to longer growing seasons and bigger crops in temperate regions. It sucks if you live at or below sea level.
  3. Even if you believe "Carbon dioxide causes global warming." and "Global warming is bad.", I disagree with "The solution is to give the State more power." Most of the "carbon dioxide emission reduction" laws are thinly veiled corporate welfare. Old businesses are grandfathered, but a new business that uses energy is outlawed or heavily taxed.

Cheapo Groovo has left a new comment on your post "Is Ron Paul Good or Evil?":

Right now, Ron Paul is all we have.

In raising awareness, we need people in high places speaking out, so overall Ron Paul is good.

Hopefully Rand Paul and Peter Schiff will also enter the political arena and win

You're missing the point.

If supporting Ron Paul comes at the expense of other tactics more likely to succeed, then Ron Paul is evil. I'd much rather have people saying "Government is terrorism! Let's try agorism!" Instead, people are saying "Government can be reformed! Elect Ron Paul!"

It isn't possible to reform the State by voting. Even if they did somehow get elected, they'd still be working within the confines of a corrupt system.

It is good that Ron Paul is raising awareness. I'm thinking of ways to become a mainstream advocate for agorism and real free markets. My best idea is "Promote agorism via standup comedy." However, Ron Paul is promoting the usual (L)libertarian intellectual trap of "It's possible to reform the State!" instead of "This system is completely broken and needs to be replaced. Any government with a violence monopoly will ultimately degenerate to evil, no matter how much good intentions people have."

The bottom line is that true freedom requires more work than "Vote for X". (L)libertarian/minarchist politicians provide the illusion of an effortless way to acquire freedom.

Piquant Tactics has left a new comment on your post "Is Ron Paul Good or Evil?":

Anyone who identifies themselves on the basis of a nation-state, ie., "I'm an American", is not taking aim at the real problem: the system of nation-states. I'm not an American. How does Ron Paul's obsession with 'The Constitution' help me? He is taking aim at the bird's feathers, not the heart. The desire for liberty should be universal, and the movement would be much stronger if it was not divided up into regional fiefdoms. These divisions play directly into the hands of the statists. It would be illegal for me to send money to Ron Paul. The system has to be subverted, outside of the existing political processes. Consent for the legitimacy of all states has to be withdrawn. Just tinkering, as Ron Paul advocates, is a false solution. Let's say he became President. His successor would just go back to the conventional statist ways. In a term or two, it would be like he had never existed. The followers of Alexander Hamilton will always continue to work tirelessly. The mechanism by which they commit their evil deeds has to be dismantled, not simply adjusted.

If you live outside of the USA, you can also work towards freedom via agorism. If you live in someplace like China, in may be risky to publicly write about agorism.

I usually write from a USA viewpoint, because that's where I live! I don't get much information on events in other countries. All "modern" industrialized countries have a corrupt economic and political system, just like the USA. My writing applies to other countries as well, although I only write about specific evils I notice.

It's illegal for people living outside the USA to directly lobby US politicians. What happened is that money is invested on US businesses, and those executives then lobby politicians. The European banksters spent a lot of money starting banking businesses in the USA. These businesses then lobbied the US government for favorable regulations. Functionally, it's the same as if the European banksters directly lobbied the US government.

Allegedly, Alexander Hamilton was a spy for the banksters. One of the first things he did as the first Treasury Secretary was set up a central bank. At the time, politicians weren't total idiots and tools. They realized that the central bank was a risky idea, gave it a limited 20 year charter, and then didn't renew it.

"All government is terrorism." is the correct answer to the evil of the State.

Greg has left a new comment on your post "Is Ron Paul Good or Evil?":

Ron Paul is good at raising awareness. But I think his fundraising prowess ( which is nothing new, as he's been generating millions for his business partners for decades)and relative political success is probably bad for freedom.

I didn't know that Ron Paul had wealthy business partners. Where did you hear about that?

You have a couple million ( I guess?) people who really believe that politics and voting are worthwhile who are also willing to donate millions of dollars to a political candidate with no chance of success. Not to mention those who support pro-state "libertarian" think-tanks and other "educational" organizations.

Imagine if these people embraced agorism on any level.

Some people have discovered agorism and my blog on the Ron Paul forums. Before I had a decent number of readers, I posted on the Ron Paul forums to raise awareness and get posting ideas.

I'm noticing a much greater level of discussion of agorism and "Who needs a government anyway?", compared to two years ago when I first discovered agorism. Progress is being made in raising awareness. I don't know of any advanced agorist trading groups yet.

When I first started researching Ron Paul, I was very interested at first. Then, I realized, "There's no way Ron Paul will get elected. The election system is rigged." Then, I researched some more and discovered agorism.

Hopefully, the most intelligent Ron Paul supporters will get disgusted and discover agorism.

If someone like Ron Paul didn't exist, the bad guys would have to invent him! Ron Paul is an intellectual trap for those who desire freedom, but are unwilling to do anything more than "Vote for Ron Paul!" By presenting a weak criticism of the State, he seems to be endorsing the State. Ron Paul says "The Federal government should strictly follow the Constitution!", instead of "Who needs a government anyway?"

Kyle has left a new comment on your post "Is Ron Paul Good or Evil?":

Obviously you can't run for office AND say you want no government. Paul never said he's against the State, he's for the Constitution.

If you're a politician, you're a pro-State troll.

But in my standards, anybody who doesn't believe the government should face violence can be categorized as pro-State based on the 'silence is consent' doctrine.

I disagree with "Violence should be used against State agents." The correct solution is to boycott the State, ignoring all the laws and taxes that restrict your productivity.

The fallacy with direct violence against State agents is that most of them are not consciously aware that government is a massive scam. If you initiate violence against State agents, you're making them seem like the good guys.

There's also the numbers issue. Freedom seekers are badly outnumbered right now. You should not expect to win a direct violent confrontation with State police. By the time it's possible to win a violent confrontation with State police, the State will have already lost anyway.

You can't fight immoral violence with more violence. After all, the bad guys specialize in violence! Other tactics, such as freedom through stealth, are needed.

I wonder if that's the reason a policeman won't arrest me based on my blog? When being interrogated, I'd explain to him (and the judge, during a trial), the corrupt nature of government. That might lead to them beginning to think. It's better to just ignore me.

But hey, talk is cheap, might makes right, at least I admit it.

I plan to someday make the transition from "theoretical freedom" to "practical freedom". For now, "raise awareness" seems more important to me than "start actual agorism". I'm looking for ways to start with practical agorism, but that will have to wait a few years. If you can do better, go ahead!

Romare has left a new comment on your post "Is Ron Paul Good or Evil?":

Put it like this, if Ron Paul was to openly say "who needs a government" he wouldn't be able to raise awareness from the get because media everywhere would label him as "nuts, crazy, secessionist etc.". He has to play by their rules to get this message out the best way that he can.

Actually, Ron Paul is censored by being hardly mentioned at all. If the mainstream media broadcast a consistent clear message, "Ron Paul is a fruitcake!", then some people would think "I should look into this Ron Paul guy."

In the 2008 Republican election "news", Ron Paul was almost never mentioned. Saying "That Ron Paul is such a nutjob!" would promote Ron Paul. Not mentioning a person or idea is the most effective censorship tactic.

That is the corrupt bargain most politicians and mainstream "journalists" make. You adopt a culture of self-censorship, in order to be able to publicly say anything at all.

Does Ron Paul know that government is one big scam? Does he really believe that a return to the US Constitution is good or possible? Most politicians sincerely believe their own lies, because that makes them more effective shills for the State.

He can't just come outright and say the constitution is a load of shit. I can imagine that he understands that (as most politicians do but don't say outright).

That's one issue that I'm continually debating. Are members of the parasite class consciously aware of the scam? Or, do they not qualify as intelligent life, merely operating on autopilot? Either way, it's immoral, and their leeching needs to stop.

At the same time I don't think you can honestly call any politician good. They're all evil conceited liars and manipulators (parasites) as far as i'm concerned.
Being one of the least evil politicians still is somewhat interesting.

If you wear the colors, you're part of the gang. Even though Ron Paul votes "no" for many bad laws, he's still responsible for all the bad things that Congress does.

Look at what happened to Peter Schiff's Dad, He's f*cked pretty badly right now. When your locked in prison you can't get any message out.

You mean Irwin Schiff?

Peter Schiff sometimes gets invited on mainstream media shows. However, he says "Current government policies are stupid." rather than "Who needs a government anyway?"

I read somewhere that most people who are publicly critical of the Federal Reserve, go to jail for income tax evasion. Being publicly critical of the Federal Reserve, you place yourself under greater scrutiny.

Once you understand that the Federal Reserve and income tax are one big scam, you realize that it's immoral to pay income taxes. I'm planning to be more strategic about my tax resistance, when I start that. If I get invited as a guest on a mainstream media show, I'll necessarily have to report that as on-the-books income.

Romare has left a new comment on your post "The Global Warming Scam":

I don't know if its just me, but whenever I hear "going green" the only thing that comes up in my head is "more unnecessary new taxes". FSK, being a fellow new yorker i'm sure you've seen all of these new green buildings that are starting pop up all over the place. They're basically overpriced boxes with astroturf on their roofs, another day another sham.

I hadn't heard of "green buildings". It definitely sounds like marketing hype more than something tangible.

The cost of all these "global warming" regulations will be passed on to customers as higher prices. Regulations are a hidden tax.

Toronto Real Estate has left a new comment on your post "The Global Warming Scam":

Very nicely said, finally a reasonable article about the global warming. I'm so sick of reading all the articles about the catastrophic events this "global warming" will produce. I just wish I could see all the faces of the activists and especially Mr. Gore's face when they find out that this cooling trend will continue and that we're headed into a new Ice Age, just like you said Fritz.

Take care, Elli

I'm surprised that I didn't get more hate mail for saying "Is 'Global Warming' one big scam?" Usually, I get lots of pro-State trolling whenever I write something that contradicts official propaganda. I'm surprised that nobody wrote "FSK, you're a jerk for suggesting that global warming isn't a huge problem, and that the solution isn't to give government more power."

Here in NYC, it has been surprisingly cool in May and so far in June. My parents haven't used their air conditioner yet! They're usually pretty aggressive about using them.

Cheapo Groovo has left a new comment on your post "Key Arguments":

I always get the argument that the STATE needs to help the less fortunate - like the handicapped or the mentally ill.

I tell them family first. If that doesn't work, the STATE has sanctioned tax benefits to churches and non-profits. So they should fulfill their missions.

Folks still don't get it!

Before the growth of government and the welfare state, private charities did a fine job. In the present, people pay a large percentage of their income to parasites.

Government isn't needed to fight poverty. Government is the cause of poverty, due to laws that restrict productive economic activity. Most people obey stupid regulations without questioning them, or don't even bother starting a business at all.

Cheapo Groovo has left a new comment on your post "Anarcho-capitalism vs. Agorism":

I never liked labels because they put you into a box.

I prefer to debate ideas instead of labels. "Anarcho-capitalism" seems to be a badly-defined label. Some people claiming to be "anarcho-capitalists" are pro-State trolls, and others are advocating for real free markets.

Cheapo Groovo has left a new comment on your post "Stages of Agorism":

I hope you and your readers get to stage 3 soon!

Keep up your great posts!

I don't know of any working agorists. I'm working on "promote agorism" for now.

Cheapo Groovo has left a new comment on your post "How is the CPI Calculated?":

Another good site is Shadow Government Statistics

Do you mean this page? Even the pre-Clinton CPI seems too low to me.

I just take the simple approach, and use gold as my index of inflation.

Cheapo Groovo has left a new comment on your post "Is Real Estate a Good Investment?":

I just bought a Chinese Real Estate Fund - TAO.

Don't know if it will outperform oil or shorting treasuries, but it should outperform USA real estate.

A real estate fund has the same problem as stocks. You don't get full allodial title. You pay a management fee to the fund operator. You can't prevent the fund operator from paying himself a salary.

A real estate fund will underperform actually owning real estate yourself. If you're a good landlord, you can do well with a real estate investment. I still think that gold is better.

For example, suppose own a rental property. The tenant refuses to pay rent. There is State-induced overhead for evicting a delinquent tenant. There are some "professional delinquent tenants" who abuse the State regulations regarding tenant eviction; they can stay in an apartment for years without paying rent. If you own a rental property and get one or two bad tenants, they can suck up all your profits.

Cheapo Groovo has left a new comment on your post "Stupid Equals Evil":

When I post to various message boards, I hear "we have a right to be stupid and lazy as Americans"

That's why we keep seeing the same fake left-right arguments over and over again.

It's more complicated than that.

Schools brainwash children to not think critically about key issues of politics and economics. I don't know of any public school textbook that mentions "Taxation is theft!"

I gave up on message boards. It's too easy for a handful of pro-State trolls to shout down one reasonable person.

Thomas Blair has left a new comment on your post "The Fluoride Conspiracy Theory":

Anon (NaF POISON commenter),

NaF is not what's used to fluoridate the water at municipal water plants. It once was used, but no longer.

You're right about NaF as a poison in large doses. The LD50 for humans is 70-140 mg/kg.

Hexafluorosilicic acid is what's commonly used to fluoridate water. The chemical reacts with NaOH (used to make slight adjustments to pH to control pipe corrosion) to make a fluorosilicate salt, which is what actually delivers the fluoride.

H2SiF6 + 2 NaOH → Na2SiF6 + 2 H2O

I think water fluoridation is unnecessary, but like FSK, I am not convinced either way about the negative health effects.

I read that the chemical version of fluroide used in drinking water isn't exactly the same as the industrial by-product or poison. I don't know much chemistry.

Anything is lethal in high enough doses. If the fluoride dose in water were lethal, doctors would quickly notice. The level of fluoride in drinking water is, at worst, slightly harmful.

I question most ideas of mainstream science and medicine. There are too many people who have an interest in promoting fake medicine, making a profit. A non-free market denies customers free choice, and protects people from negative consequences of their dishonesty.

I'm still falling further behind on answering reader comments. I'm working on catching up.


Cheapo Groovo said...

RE: Ron PAul

I would love to jump to a complete free market system w/o any government, but your blog misses the psychology of getting there.

We can only get there incrementally, not all at once.

Going back to a limited government with increasing individual freedom is simply the path to agorism.

The State using incrementalism all the time in taking away our God given rights!

Anonymous said...

with regards to investments not beating inflation, why not just short the dollar. That should equal the exact rate of return of inflation. If you put $100 in a short dollar position and the dollar goes down 20%, you then buy it back at $80. Sure, you can't protect ALL of your money this way, and you have to have extra cash to manage the price fluctuations, but at least some of that money will be protected.
Afterall, if the price of gold is being supressed anyways, shorting the dollar if not a better option will at least be a decent option.

Anonymous said...

Greg said...

Re: my comments about Ron Paul and his business partners. Well, I was mostly referring to the guys who have made a living for the last 30+ years because they were paid staffers and then partners in the newsletters,etc. The newsletters were million dollar business and you had the usual guys involved in that. You had Blumert publishing, Rockwell writing, campaign workers and so on. If his claims are true that he didn't write certain newsletters and that someone ( his very close associates actually) was using his name to make money, they did so because there was money in publishing a "Ron Paul" newsletter. And that was back when he was just ex-Congress, ex-Libertarian candidate. Some of his 2008 POTUS staff were well compensated in relation to their actual accomplishments. A lot of people got paid off that fundraising. Ron Paul is a cottage industry for loyal yet ineffective campaign workers, writers,etc. I'm not saying a bunch of people got rich, but he had wealthy backers as well as people who have made a living at least partially due to their Ron Paul connection/stamp of approval.

Greg said...

I disagree with the first comment. I don't see any kind of incrementalism ushering in agorism. Probably the opposite. I think if we have some superficial appearance of "limited government" it will probably make people more complacent. And I don't even see that happening. We have gone too far. It's going to take bad bad things to turn the tide towards agorism IMHO. I'm not saying I want it that way, but I think people have to get to the point of being fed up and mad as hell and ready to throw away the government. Incremental "limited government/constitutionalism" is a way for pro-state trolls to calm everyone down and encourage statism.

Anonymous said...

Saying anything "is" is objective. We can know how things currently seem, how they seemed to have been, and how they seem they will be. But even if you could say that someone has done evil, and intends to do it again, does that mean they are an evil person?
whats to say they arent faced with a choice at this moment and see it in a new light, and therefore take the "good" action.
Even that assumes that there are good and evil as tangible definable things rather than objective opinions that cannot be defined unless you give them a set or rules, words, or description.

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