I have a new wage slave job. It's at a large financial institution with an explicit State-backed monopoly.
My employment contract contains the usual clause saying "All intellectual property you create belongs to us, even if not written at work." A strict interpretation would mean that my blog belongs to them. I doubt they would invoke it, because my blog isn't worth much and I'm not going to mention them here.
I haven't noticed any potential conflicts with coworkers yet, but I've only been there a week.
I'm not a full-time employee. I'm a consultant. However, some of the other consultants were there for years. It's common for large financial institutions to keep consultants for a long time. A consultant is a separate budget item than an employee. Sometimes, it's considered an embarrassment to pay low-ranking software engineers more than managers in other areas.
Technically, I can be terminated at any time. How is that any different from being a full-time employee? There are only small differences. I don't get paid for vacation time. I get my health insurance deducted pre-tax from my paycheck, paying 100% of the cost myself. Adding in those costs, it's still a decent rate.
I'm going through a headhunter who's probably billing 2x-3x as much as I'm getting paid. There's no option for me to contract directly, so my only option is to work via a headhunter. Besides, it isn't my money being wasted paying the headhunter. I should only compare this job to other jobs.
The headhunter is like a neurotic girlfriend. He's calling me almost every day to ask how it's going. I find that amusing. He's probably getting paid more for my labor than me.
It's the usual large corporate environment. The high level of bureaucracy is somewhat refreshing, compared to startups on a shoestring budget. The small startups seem to have a greater amount of political maneuvering than the large financial institution with a State-backed monopoly. It's almost like working for a University.
There's still the usual amount of incompetence. On Friday, they bought everyone pizza. However, they neglected to tell me when it arrived, or what room it would be kept in. That's an amusing bit of incompetence. Now, I know where the pizza is kept, for next time, so I'll check myself. On Friday, I gave up waiting and bought myself lunch.
It's not a super-awesome job. It's a "good enough for now" job. If I started having success with "promote agorism via standup comedy" or started blogging under my own name, they'd probably fire me.
For now, I'll stay with the wage slave track. I'm looking to start my own businesses, agorist or on-the-books. I'm working on that on the side in my spare time.
Of course, this means I'll have less time for blogging. I have a lot of drafts queued. Also, my parents made me waste a lot of time anyway, leaving little time for blogging.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I have a new wage slave job. It's at a large financial institution with an explicit State-backed monopoly.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I read an interesting story about a retired old woman who owned a house. Her savings and Social Security checks had been substantially eroded by inflation. Also due to inflation, property taxes had skyrocketed.
She was having trouble paying property taxes. The State foreclosed on her house for not paying property taxes. Via "Rule of law!", she had to be forcibly evicted from her house.
A pro-State troll might say "She should sell her house and rent!" There are several flaws with that argument. First, that was her home and she shouldn't be forced to move. Second, if you rent an apartment, you still pay property taxes. The cost of the landlord's property taxes are included in your rent.
That old woman was squeezed. Her savings were stolen via inflation. She still had to pay ever-increasing property taxes.
For someone with no income, your taxation rate goes over 100%!
I also realized that my parents have a taxation rate well over 100%. They are retired. They pay property taxes on their house. They pay the inflation tax on their savings. That adds up to a total taxation rate much higher than 100%.
I have a reasonable amount of savings from my previous jobs. Most of that is invested in the stock market. (I'm gradually switching to GLD and SLV and physical metal.) If you consider the loss of my stock market savings as a tax (especially when you adjust for inflation), then I'm paying a taxation rate well over 100%! I'm losing more due to the inflation tax on my savings, than I am due to income taxes on my labor! At this point, if I stick with State-licensed investments, the State will steal my savings faster than I can earn money and increase my savings!
That's something I'd never considered, before I realized that the stock market is one big scam. The State can steal my savings via inflation faster than I can earn new savings!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Did you notice that "The Beatles" are being heavily promoted recently? A bunch of new collections are being sold and heavily hyped. Do you know why?
Michael Jackson owned 50% of the rights to The Beatles' songs. Now that he's dead, the rights have passed on to someone else. The new owners are now aggressively exploiting their new intellectual "property".
This seems to indicate that Michael Jackson was exploited. He wasn't deriving full value from this "asset" while he was alive. After his death, other people are now cashing in.
Intellectual property is not property. It's silly that someone owns the rights to the "Happy Birthday to You" song. It's silly that someone owns the rights to "The Beatles".
Friday, November 27, 2009
In this thread on mises.org, someone was asking about greedy speculators. Is speculating a crime?
In a really free market, there's nothing wrong with speculating.
If you buy a lot of grain expecting a famine, then you're entitled to profit if a famine occurs. Under such circumstances, it's fair for you to sell your grain for whatever people are willing to pay. To suggest otherwise means that there's no incentive to plan for disasters.
In the present, the Federal Reserve credit monopoly encourages speculators.
In the housing bubble, mortgage rates were 6% while housing rates were going up 10%-20%/year due to inflation. This encouraged people to load up on the biggest mortgage they could and buy the biggest house they could. Banks borrowed at the Fed Funds Rate (around 4%) and lent out mortgages at 6%. Using leverage ratios of 30x-100x, this was very profitable.
When the bust occurred, individuals lost their homes and savings while insiders got a bailout.
Right now, the Fed Funds Rate is 0%-0.25%. That provides an incentive for the banksters to borrow as much as they can and buy stocks or other assets. As the housing bubble bursts, another bubble is inflating.
The Federal Reserve credit monopoly and negative real interest rates enable people to make unearned profits from speculating.
Taking advantage of cheap interest rates and low oil prices, some hedge funds borrowed at the Fed Funds Rate (0%-0.25%), bought oil, and paid to store it. They aren't providing a useful service. They're merely exploiting the Federal Reserve interest rate subsidy.
In a really free market, speculators earn profit by helping people. They buy undervalued assets and sell later when they're needed.
The Federal Reserve price-fixing cartel subsidizes speculators. Everyone else pays the profits of speculators via inflation. When insiders speculate and are wrong, they are "too big to fail" and qualify for a bailout. When non-insiders speculate and are wrong, then they lose their homes and their savings.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
In a really free market, why would a customer agree to a limited liability clause?
Suppose there are two banks. Suppose Bank A and Bank B are both warehouse receipt banks. Bank A offers a limited liability clause in its deposit contract. Bank B has no such clause. Suppose they otherwise offer identical terms. Which bank would get your deposit?
Suppose Bank A offers lower fees than Bank B. If this is true, then obviously this is because you have a greater risk of losing of your deposit in Bank A.
Similarly, suppose you walk into a restaurant and the waiter made you sign a limited liability agreement before serving you. You'd view this with suspicion, wouldn't you?
Limited liability is a State-granted perk. When you limited liability incorporate, you aren't contracting with your customers, you're contracting with the State. State restriction of the market forces all business owners to incorporate. State restriction of the justice market forces business owners to incorporate to protect their personal assets.
If you incorporate your business, then the State puts its magic pixie dust on you. Now, any liability associated with the business is the responsibility of the corporation, and not you personally.
However, this protection benefits insiders more than individuals. At a large corporation, it's practically impossible to directly sue executives, unless gross misconduct has occurred *AND* the corporation is forced into bankruptcy. Most executives have a clause in their employment contract specifying that the corporation reimburses them if they are sued as a result of job-related misconduct.
As an individual sole-proprietorship, it's very easy to "pierce the corporate veil" and directly sue the owner. Limited liability incorporation provides very little protection to small business owners. Small business owners usually have most of their wealth invested in their business.
In many ways, the outcomes of the legal system are random. If you don't incorporate your business, then you risk losing all your savings due to a random lawsuit. This forces every business owner to incorporate. If there were an agorist banking system, agorists could avoid this problem. The State could seize your on-the-books savings, but the State would have a hard time seizing your agorist savings (if the agorist banking system is well organized)!
The perks of incorporation affect large corporations differently than a small business owner. In a large corporation, it's practically impossible to directly sue executives for misconduct, unless the misconduct is truly egregious. In a small business sole proprietorship, it's much easier to "pierce the corporate veil" and sue the owner directly instead of suing his corporation.
Limited liability incorporation doesn't occur in a free market.
Also in a free market, limited liability incorporation won't protect you when you injure a non-customer. Suppose you own a factory that pollutes. You can't just declare bankruptcy and default on your obligation to clean up your pollution. In the present, the State and limited liability incorporation protect polluters. If you're caught polluting, your corporation can declare bankruptcy and default on your tort obligation. Your personal assets are separate from the corporation's assets. The victims can't sue you personally.
I'm always annoyed at how pro-State (L)libertarians defend corporations as a natural free market occurrence.
In a really free market, you will have businesses. You won't have corporations as currently organized. It's silly/misleading to call a free market business a corporation, because it would get none of the State-granted perks that corporate management gets in the present.
In a really free market, there's a natural limit to the size of a business. Beyond 150-200 people, inefficiencies set in. At that point, someone could profitably form a competing business. Instead of a huge corporations, you'd have several small businesses cooperating.
Suppose someone is a skilled manager who can oversee a factory by himself. Why would this person work as an employee, instead of opening his own factory? State restriction of the capital market and overall market force most skilled managers to work as employees, instead of opening their own business.
Corporations are an artificial creation of the State. Large corporations out-compete small businesses only when there's State restriction of the market.
A pro-State troll said (on mises.org):
Do you want to take my life savings because I have 1000 UPS shares? F*** that!What kind of idiot buys shares of stock in a corporation? Gold is a better investment.
Yes, in a free market, you can't be partial owner of a business without taking full responsibility for losses. Otherwise, such arrangements allow owners and management to shirk responsibility.
Imagine if AIG/GM/FRE/FNM/BS/LEH shareholders were personally liable for the losses. Do you think that the management would have been allowed to rack up such huge debts?
David Z pointed out:
If you invest your money with a criminal - even if you don't know he's a criminal - aren't you at least partially responsible?Corporations segregate ownership, control, and responsibility. The shareholders are technically the owners. The CEO controls the corporations, and for all practical purposes acts like the true owner. The CEO milks the corporation for his own personal profit. This is the Principal-Agent Problem. Nobody is responsible for losses in the event of bankruptcy.
Corporations are an artificial creation of a coercive government. Corporations cannot exist in a really free market. In a really free market, there will be businesses and groups of people working together. They won't resemble corporations as they currently exist.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I just read about the latest threat to the environment. It's wind-powered energy.
Due to government mandates for "clean" energy, energy corporations are building an increasing number of wind turbines. However, these windmills contain a threat that environmentalists don't want you to know about.
By building all these wind turbines, extra friction is created. This will slow the rotation of the earth!
Over 100 years, building all these wind turbines will slow the Earth's rotation. This will increase the length of a day by up to one second!
Critics of the "Save the Angular Momentum!" movement are pointing out that the Earth's rotation is slowing anyway due to the effect of tides. Those angular momentum haters say that the effect of tidal drag is much greater than the effect of wind turbines. We can't afford to let such unproven scientific theories affect our plan to save the environment! We can't afford to take any risks!
The only way to save the Earth's angular momentum without disrupting the economy is by a "cap and trade" system. Existing wind turbines will be allowed to continue operations. Nobody will be allowed to build a new wind turbine unless they shut down another wind turbine or take other precautions that preserve the Earth's angular momentum. If a business decides to close a wind turbine, then they may sell their "angular momentum credit" to someone else who wants to build a new wind turbine.
We can't squander a precious resource like the Earth's angular momentum to serve our short-term energy needs. Once the Earth's angular momentum is used up, it won't come back!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This article was interesting. Allegedly, Cash4Gold only offers you 33%-50% of the fair market value of gold you mail them. If you call to reject their offer and ask for your gold back, then they make you a much better offer, but one that's still a ripoff.
When I first saw Cash4Gold, my reaction was "Good! People are encouraged to invest in gold and silver!" When I realized that Cash4Gold has a huge transaction fee, it's just a scam taking advantage of people who don't know what their gold is actually worth.
Plus, if you do sell to Cash4Gold, you owe capital gains taxes on any profits. It's better to sell to a trusted partner who will pay cash (avoiding taxes) and who will also pay closer to the fair market value.
I'm much more interested in "Gold4Cash" or "Gold4Paper" than "Paper4Gold".
Due to State regulations, gold/silver dealers face a lot of taxes and costs. This drives up prices and makes it harder for people to buy/sell gold/silver.
If you have gold/silver bullion, the online dealers like APMEX and Kitco seem to give reasonable good prices. The bid/ask spread is still a couple percent, which is high. If you use an on-the-books dealer, your sales are reported to the IRS/State and you owe capital gains taxes. If you buy from an on-the-books dealer, the sale is reported to the IRS/State.
Other people say that they've had a lot of success buying/selling gold/silver in stores. Where I live in NYC, I looked in one store. He quoted a ridiculously high price and I would have been required to show ID. The store owner got hostile when I started asking about buying and silling gold/silver. The store owner only had American Eagles.
"Start a gold/silver/FRN barter network!" is one of my agorist business ideas. It's a good idea because:
- The seller would not have to pay capital gains taxes, if you sell for cash or other goods.
- The buyer does not have the transaction reported to the State. I don't want State bureaucrats/thugs knowing I have gold/silver stored in my home.
- The bid/ask spread and transaction costs would be lower than a State-licensed dealer.
I could offer an assay service, where I sell laminated gold/silver coins and also promise that they're not counterfeit. I'd need to find someone to teach me how to detect counterfeit gold and silver. There would need to be a trusted third-party arbitrator, if someone wanted to accuse me of selling counterfeit gold/silver. Suppose I sell a laminated gold coin, you break the seal, and then you claim it's counterfeit. How would I know you didn't break the seal and then switch the coin?
The biggest risk is "State thugs will raid me, if I start such a business and publicly advertise to attract customers." It seems like a reasonable risk, but I won't try it for a few years.
Monday, November 23, 2009
This story is amusing, cited many locations. There's a rumor circulating that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be forced to resign. High-ranking State bureaucrats don't get fired; they resign to "pursue other opportunities".
Circulating the rumor makes it true. A lot of people are angry because the economy is still lousy. The blame must be focused somewhere. A corrupt system cannot be blamed. The only other solution is to replace one figurehead with another figurehead.
I was surprised that Ben Bernanke was re-nominated for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman. After thinking about it, it makes sense. If Ben Bernanke were not re-nominated, then that would raise the issue "Did the Federal Reserve do something wrong?" Discussing that issue is absolutely forbidden. Ben Bernanke must be re-nominated to preserve the illusion of Federal Reserve magnificence.
With fiat debt-based money, the Federal Reserve scientifically creates inflationary booms and recessions/depressions. It is not an economic force of nature that there are booms and busts. It's a consequence of a corrupt system and the fact that State insiders are protected from negative consequences when they gamble and are wrong. That's the whole point of the Compound Interest Paradox.
With TARP, the Treasury Secretary did have some discretion over how State bailout money was allocated. However, the Treasury Secretary has negligible power compared to the Federal Reserve. The Treasury Secretary could only allocate TARP. The Federal Reserve can lend as much money as they please to whoever they please, with no obligation to publicly disclose what they did.
In the USA monetary system, the money printing power does *NOT* lie with the Treasury Secretary. Physical Federal Reserve Notes are printed by the US Treasury. However, they are then sold to the Federal Reserve for the printing cost, and not the face amount. The Federal Reserve insiders then sell the Federal Reserve Notes to the financial industry for the face amount when they "monetize the debt". Normally, the Federal Reserve "monetizes the debt" with electronically created money. Sometimes, a purchase is made with physical Federal Reserve Notes to increase the supply of circulating physical money.
The difference between the face amount and printing cost is seignorage profit. However, this seignorage profit does not accrue to the Federal government. The seignorage profit accrues mostly to financial industry insiders. The Federal government does claim some seignorage profit via inflationary deficit spending. However, the total amount of money supply inflation is greater than the amount of deficit spending by the Federal government.
The primary beneficiaries of inflation are not State parasites directly employed by the Federal government. The primary beneficiaries of inflation are State parasites who work in the financial/looting industry.
When the Federal government has deficit spending, the Federal government does not directly print and spend brand new money. Instead, the Treasury department prints new Treasury bonds. These bonds are then purchased mostly by the financial industry insiders. They turn around and sell approximately 10% of these bonds to the Federal Reserve via "open market operations". Via the magic of fractional reserve banking with a 10:1 reserve ratio, the banksters create the remaining money required to buy the rest of the national debt.
New Treasury bonds increase the inflation rate, but not the money supply. Then, via "monetizing the debt", the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates artificially low while increasing the money supply. The Federal Reserve keeps the Fed Funds Rate at 0%-0.25%, so printing more Treasury debt decreases real interest rates further below zero.
Why does a trader at a large bank buy Treasury debt? The trader borrows at the Fed Funds Rate, currently 0%-0.25%, and buys Treasury debt yielding 2%-4%. The difference is illicit interest arbitrage. With leverage ratios of 30x, 100x, or more, the banksters make huge profits from buying Treasury debt.
As an individual, I'd be a fool to buy Treasury debt. I'd get ripped off by inflation. I don't get the perk of borrowing at the Fed Funds Rate and buying Treasury debt and using huge leverage ratios. The monetary system is set up to facilitate the looting of State parasites. The cost is paid by everyone else as inflation.
"China owns the national debt!" is another evil fnord. China's government owns an unleveraged investment in Treasury debt. They are getting ripped off by inflation. The Treasury debt yields only a couple percent, while true inflation is 20%-30% or more.
Treasury debt yields are low even though inflation is high. This occurs because the Federal government repurchases its own debt. This occurs via the middlemen of the financial industry and Federal Reserve, which obfuscates the corruption.
The Treasury secretary has very little power. Compared to the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury has negligible influence.
Replacing one State figurehead with another State figurehead accomplishes nothing. The evil fnord is "Blame the individual and don't blame the corrupt system!" It seems that Geithner is being set up as the scapegoat for a struggling economy. The real blame lies with a corrupt monetary system, a corrupt taxation system, and excessive government regulations.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
This story has a common evil fnord that's repeated over and over again. Due to productivity gains, employers can do the same amount of work with fewer workers. This "destroys jobs" and ruins the careers of the displaced workers.
"Productivity gains destroy jobs!" leads to people thinking "Productivity gains are evil!" It's offensive that the mainstream media doesn't roundly decry "That's a stupid idea!"
In a really free market, productivity gains are never evil. Suppose that 10,000 people are employed in industry X. Due to productivity gains, industry X can do the same work with only 1,000 people. Those 9,000 people find other jobs and produce other things. The net effect is that people get the output of industry X, *PLUS* what those 9,000 people produce in their new jobs.
Society as a whole benefits from the productivity gains.
What about the workers in industry X who lose their job? If industry X was the only industry that was experiencing productivity gains, then this would be bad for them. If every industry has productivity gains, then these workers benefit. They are forced to take a new job for lower pay, but they benefit from productivity gains in other industries. The value of the productivity gains more than offsets the inconvenience to the displaced workers.
Suppose I work in industry X. Now, my job is eliminated due to productivity gains. Without State restriction of the market, I'll be able to enter industry Y and earn a comparable rate. Suppose a skilled worker in industry X makes a certain salary. Then, an equally intelligent worker in industry Y should make the same salary. Without State restriction of the market, workers would move from X to Y or Y to X.
One example of "Productivity gains are evil!" being misapplied is the software industry. Newer languages like PHP and C# really are more productive than Perl or C/C++. It is good that modern languages are better, and people are using them. The problem is that a worker with experience only in C/C++ can't get experience in PHP and C#. Due to a non-free market, nobody exploits the fact that there are experienced workers lacking the most current skills.
If it was a really free market, then some other skilled worker would start a software business and hire me. You might say "Start your own business, FSK!" If it really were that easy, then someone else would have done it already and hired me. It isn't as easy as it sounds. If I really want to be a business owner, I probably should do it agorist-style, to avoid the State overhead and State restriction of the market.
In a Communist economy like the USA, there's a fixed pool of jobs. Suppose that industry X loses 9,000 jobs due to productivity gains. Those displaced workers can't easily find new jobs, due to State restriction of the market.
Doctors/lawyers/accountants/banksters/etc. have their salaries directly backed by State violence. Productivity gains don't cause salaries to decrease. For many professions, innovation is illegal due to State regulations. If I think of a way to make the legal system more efficient, I can't implement it, because lawyers and the State have monopoly control of the legal system.
If some people have their careers backed by State violence and others don't, then those without State-backed careers have a huge disadvantage. Workers in an area with little State regulation then subsidize the profits of workers in heavily regulated industry. If you're using State violence to steal, then I'm at an economic disadvantage if I don't use State violence for steal.
The solution is not "I should lobby the State for favors! Then, I'm stealing as much as everyone else!" The correct answer is "Taxes and regulations are evil!" That's the fallacy of pro-State trolls who say "Software engineers should unionize!" or "Software engineers should lobby for more government regulations and licensing requirements!" Saying "Government is the answer!" is logically equivalent to saying "Violence is the answer!"
Due to State restriction of the market, it's hard for a displaced worker to start a new business. For example, I can't decide to start my own business selling food unless I make a huge investment in a State-approved kitchen and get a license. State licensing requirements are a barrier to entry to individuals trying to bootstrap a new business.
State restriction of the market creates the illusion that productivity gains are evil. Rather than reaching the conclusion "State restriction of the market is evil!", professional comedians instead say "Productivity gains are evil!"
As usual, blame is placed in the wrong area. Pro-State trolls blame productivity gains that cost people jobs. The real blame is State restriction of the market. Via taxes and regulations, the benefits of productivity gains go to insiders.
In a really free market, everyone would benefit from productivity gains. State violence prevents the free market from arbitraging away inefficiencies.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
This story is interesting.
Police in Idaho and a few other states now have the authority to forcibly draw blood from suspected drunk drivers, if the driver refuses a breath test.
There's an interesting legal loophole around "You need a search warrant first." There's an on-call judge. The policeman phones in, and gets an immediate search warrant. The judge rubberstamp approves all requests.
Drunk driving is a real crime. However, police forcibly drawing blood is a bit severe. There are other ways to enforce compliance, such as "The suspected drunk driver loses his driver's license for refusing to take a breath test." Also, you can tell if someone is drunk. All the breath test allows is concrete evidence, rather than "The word of the driver against the word of the policeman."
The problem is that the State police have a monopoly. If they misbehave, there's no recourse.
I'm not defending the rights of a drunk driver. Drunk driving is a serious crime. A drunk driver risks injuring someone else due to his incompetence. The State punishment for drunk driving actually usually is too low.
If there was an explicit consent "You agree to the blood test in exchange for your license and car insurance." or "As terms of your car insurance, you agree to a breath test whenever asked.", then it would be valid. However, the State has a monopoly. If you don't like it, you're SOL.
In a really free market, drivers would agree to not drive drunk. Otherwise, they wouldn't get insurance and they wouldn't be allowed by whoever owned the road. Breaking that contract would probably have a more severe penalty than the State charges drunk drivers.
It's a bad precedent. Now, the State police forcibly draw blood from a drunk driver. Later, the State police will forcibly draw blood from everyone.
This policy makes the State policeman a literal bloodsucker!
Friday, November 20, 2009
This story is interesting. Robert Kahre was sentenced to 15 years in jail for tax evasion.
Criminal penalties for tax evasion are pure terrorism. "It is a crime to not pay taxes." literally means "It is a crime to work if you don't get permission from the banksters and State bureaucrats."
I liked this quote from the story:
Through hundreds of employees at the businesses, Kahre and his sister used a payroll scheme to avoid paying taxes.Notice the pro-State trolling. They make it sound like "Robert Kahre was a scumbag who deserved to go to jail!" instead of "Robert Kahre was exploiting the legal inconsistency that a State-issued gold coin has a legal tender value of $50 but a fair market value of $1150."
At least some commenter called out the newspaper for pro-State trolling.
Thanks, Mary Manning for proving that you and the Las Vegas Sun are just puppets for the prosecution and PURVEYORS OF YELLOW JOURNALISM. To simplify a matter of such importance as "an elaborate scheme to defraud the IRS" sickens me beyond belief. A more balanced story appears in the Las Vegas Review Journal:Many newspapers don't allow comments or filter comments. I'm surprised they published that comment.
The second story had an interesting point on Kahre I hadn't heard before:
Kahre used his system with people who worked at his several construction-trade businesses, and later marketed it to 35 other local businesses.That's very interesting. Kahre was advising other people to do the same thing as him. If it caught on, then the State would have collapsed as people would have started avoiding taxes.
If Kahre is the only tax resister, it's very easy to crack down on him individually. If there's widespread tax resistance, then it's impractical to kidnap/assault everyone. Therefore, State thugs spend a lot of effort terrorizing people who see loopholes in their scam.
Here's some more pro-State trolling:
"This was a significant case," said Paul Camacho, special agent in charge of the IRS' Las Vegas office. "The government was not the only victim."They don't get Social Security credit *BUT* they didn't have 15% of their salary stolen via payroll taxes! (They may have been forced to pay later after Kahre was caught.) The cost of Social Security taxes is *MUCH GREATER* than any benefit. If you can avoid the tax and forfeit the benefit, that's a *GREAT* deal.
Hundreds of local tradespeople who received their pay from Kahre's payroll service will not earn Social Security credit for the years 1999 through 2003, Camacho explained.
Tax law is very confusing and complicated, making it very unclear that what Kahre did was illegal.
Of course, State thugs must crack down on anyone who seeks freedom. If Kahre was not kidnapped and tortured, then other people would follow his example and the scam of the State would end.
Taxation is theft. Criminal penalties for tax evasion are terrorism. The income tax completely contradicts the idea that we are a nation of free individuals. The income tax converts every American into slaves of the banksters and State parasites.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
This story is pretty funny. In order to get the healthcare "reform" bill passed in the House, a weird amendment was added. This is the "Stupak amendment". The "Stupak amendment" says that Federal taxpayer money may not be used to pay for abortions, even as part of the "public option".
Why was this amendment necessary? Some Republicans are very serious about their anti-abortion propaganda. This gave them an excuse to vote for the bill. Even though the Democrats have a majority, not all Democrats support the healthcare reform law. By adding an abortion ban into the bill, some Republicans were goaded into voting for it.
That's an excellent example of how State evil works. In most new laws, concessions are added for various Congressmen so they will vote for it. This is "free", because the slaves pay the cost of bad new laws and not the Congressmen themselves.
The Senate will probably pass a different version of the bill than the House, which means that negotiations aren't over. The only certainty is that there will be new laws restricting people's freedom even more.
Abortion is used as an evil fnord by politicians. It is a distraction from other more important issues. A politician must have the "correct" opinion on abortion. A politician is never asked "Is taxation theft?" The discussion of abortion is a substitute for issues of real importance.
"Taxpayer money should not be used to pay for abortions!" sounds appealing, because it's a bastardized version of "Taxation is theft!" I object when State bureaucrats steal from me and use the proceeds to prevent people from getting abortions. I object when State bureaucrats steal from me and use the proceeds to fund abortions or murder or anything.
The whole "healthcare reform" debate is one big evil fnord. The correct answer is "Government licensing requirements for doctors are damaging. The AMA/State doctor licensing cartel restricts supply and drives up prices. FDA regulations and patents restrict treatment options and raise costs. Regulation of the insurance industry further drives up costs. The correct solution is to repeal all government licensing requirements and all government regulation of healthcare."
Of course, the correct solution is "politically infeasible", because too many people profit from the current corrupt system. The healthcare "reform" law guarantees that current insiders continue to get their share of State-backed looting, while providing the cattle with the illusion of reform. A step in the right direction would be "The supply of doctor licenses should be increased!", but even that isn't discussed in the mainstream media.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I had an amusing conversation with one of my coworkers at my most recent job. He said "I have a friend who started a wallet manufacturing business. He's selling 'Faraday cage wallets', to protect your ID cards from broadcasting information. Starting a business is hard!"
I said "Oh, he makes wallets?" My coworker replied "No, he hires a factory in China to make them for him."
I gave my coworker a hard time about "Why doesn't he make the wallets himself?" The reply was "Do you really expect him to sit around sewing wallets all day? Why hire someone at $10+/hour to make wallets when you can hire someone in China for $1/hour?"
The details of the business were amusing:
- He doesn't manufacture the wallets himself. He outsources that.
- He hired a lawyer and filed for a patent on his wallet design. The idea of making a "Faraday cage wallet" was not his idea. However, he owns a patent!
- He signed agreements with a bunch of online stores to sell his wallets and carry them in their inventory. He doesn't have his own store.
He does own a patent, but that's only due to a defect in the legal/patent system and not that it was his original idea. Intellectual property is not a valid form of property. In patent law, "first to file a patent!" isn't the same as "person who came up with the idea!"
The USA is a nation of middlemen. Nobody's actually interesting in building something. The guy who actually does the real work is a sucker and a fool.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
This story represents an evil fnord I see over and over again. It occurs in all places, and not just in sports. In the context of sports, it's more obvious.
At the end of Sunday night's football game, Bill Belichick's Patriots had the ball at their own 20 yard line. It was 4th down and 2 yards to go. The Patriots had a 6 point lead. Instead of punting, Bill Belichick chose to go for the first down. They failed to make the first down. The Colts got the ball in a great field position, and then scored the winning touchdown.
The evil fnord is "New England failed to make the first down and lost the game. Therefore, Bill Belichick made the wrong decision."
Whether New England actually lost the game or not has *NOTHING* to do with whether or not it was the correct decision. The correct question is "Given statistical assumptions about how both teams play, did going for the first down increase their chance of winning?"
There are arguments in favor of going for the first down. If they made the first down, they would have practically won the game immediately because they would have been able to run out a lot of the time remaining on the clock, or force the Colts to use up their timeouts. (The Colts still had all 3 timeouts.) If successful, the Patriots could have gotten another first down, which would definitely have ended the game. Even if the Patriots failed to make the first down, the Colts still needed to gain 20 yards for the winning touchdown.
Punting only gains 30-40 yards. There's a risk that the punt could be returned for a touchdown. Knowing they need a touchdown to win, the Colts will go for the first down on fourth down. This makes the Colts more likely to score a touchdown than in a normal possession. The Colts have a top-rated offense, which is another argument in favor of trying to keep them from getting the ball back.
The only objective way to determine if Bill Belichick made the correct decision is with a proper statistical analysis. For example, you could play out the remainder of the game 200 times with the Madden NFL game and see what happens if you go for the first down 100 times and punt 100 times. I wonder if that game lets you configure the scenario correctly?
There also are intangible factors. Bill Belichick gave his offense a vote of confidence, when he let them go for the first down. That could be an advantage in future games. Also, Bill Belichick could have judged how tired his defensive players were.
The important point is that you cannot conclude "Bill Belichick made the wrong decision!" based solely on the fact that his team lost the game. In order to be sure, you'd have to consider the odds of winning from each decision *BEFORE* he made it.
Most people are focused on loss-oriented thinking. They focus on the worst-case outcome instead of the average-case outcome. If Bill Belichick's decision increased his chance of winning, then it was correct, even if they ultimately lost the game.
If Bill Belichick had punted and then lost the game, then nobody would have criticized him. A bad coach would make the decision that gets the least criticism, rather than the choice that maximizes the chance of winning.
As another example, suppose I attempt practical agorism. State thugs kidnap/arrest me and I waste time in jail. Does that mean I made the wrong decision? No, because that's judging by outcomes and not a priori odds. If I don't attempt agorism, I'm accepting the sure loss of more than half my life to taxes. If I don't attempt agorism, then I'm accepting my status as a slave. I should do what I think is right. The worst-case outcome of attempting agorism is that State thugs kidnap/assault/murder me. The average-case outcome of not attempting agorism is probably worse than the average-case outcome of attempting agorism, although the worst-case is better.
Parasites want people to focus on worst-case outcomes instead of average-case outcomes. This way, productive workers can be easily controlled by parasites. The worst-case outcome is "Some parasite will punish me for disobeying!" Productive workers do not think about the average-case, because they continually fear punishment by the parasites around them.
As another example, I refused to take psychiatric drugs. My psychiatrist focused on the worst-case outcome, which is "FSK will relapse!" I knew that taking the drugs, I would definitely be unable to do anything. I decided to accept the risk of relapse. The benefit is that I would be my productive normal self most of the time. At worst, I'd be sick for a week or two per year. By focusing on average-case outcomes instead of worst-case outcomes, it was easy for me to decide to refuse to take psychiatric drugs.
This is an important aspect of pro-State brainwashing. "Focus on the worst-case outcome instead of the average-case outcome!" is a common evil fnord. It's a symptom of pro-State brainwashing. I doubt that any of the sports comedians covering this story are aware of the huge logical error they are making.
Bill Belichick is criticized for making a non-standard decision that might have actually increased his team's chance of winning. That is reinforcing everyone's pro-State brainwashing, to focus on worst-case outcomes instead of average-case outcomes.
The details of sporting events are necessarily reported honestly. That allows these evil fnords to be sometimes more obvious. This evil fnord seems to occur a couple times per season. A coach is criticized for making a non-standard decision that may have actually increased his team's chance of winning. A coach who goes for it on fourth down and fails and loses the game is usually roundly criticized, even if it may have been the statistically correct decision.
I read about one coach who did a statistical analysis, and concluded you should almost never punt. A punt only gains 30-40 yards. If you go for the first down and make it, you may then get another couple of first downs and score. Plus, the fact that you will go for it on fourth down gives you more options on third down. If you plan to go for it on fourth down, a third down play that leaves you just short of the first down is a good idea.
The only way to prove if Bill Belichick made the right or wrong decision is a careful statistical analysis. Even that isn't proof, because there may be intangible factors a coach knows that aren't measured in a simulation.
Monday, November 16, 2009
This article on MSN was amusing. Hooray! Inflation is zero!
The Social Security cost of living adjustment for 2009 is zero. The adjustment is based on the CPI. The CPI is much less than true inflation.
The price of actual goods and services is rising. For example, a 1 gallon container of apple cider is $1 more than a year ago, an increase from $4 to $5, 25% inflation. To be completely scientific, I should track every single purchase. It's simpler to just look at the price of gold, which is a very good approximation of true inflation.
There are no tangible assets in the Social Security Trust Fund. The wealth collected via taxes and put in the Social Security Trust Fund was already spent by State parasites. All there is in the Social Security Trust Fund is a stack of papers.
Social Security is a Ponzi scam. Payouts are paid by current workers via taxes. If any private insurance business operated that way, State enforcers should/would shut them down for fraud. State parasites follow different accounting rules than for other businesses.
Even for current retirees, Social Security is a ripoff. They earn an actual return of a couple percent on their "investment", even though current workers are robbed to pay their benefit. Current retirees would have been better off investing that money on their own, rather than investing in Social Security. It's wrong to consider Social Security payments as an investment. It's a tax.
A State parasite says "Without the State, people would not save for retirement. Therefore, the State should force them to save!" I pay 50%+ of my income in direct taxes, plus more via indirect hidden taxes. That leaves very little for investment. The savings I do have are stolen via inflation, unless I invest in physical gold and silver.
The fact that there's the illusion of Social Security means that people don't save. They assume that Social Security checks would be enough. The fact that the State steals people's incomes and people's savings provides very little incentive for saving.
If I didn't have to pay 50%+ of my income in taxes, I'd have enough wealth to pay to take care of my parents, start a business, and save myself.
Social Security is a massive profit center for State parasites. In every year of its existence, Social Security taxes collected have exceeded benefits paid. This stolen wealth isn't saved. It's immediately spent by parasites.
Social Security is politically untouchable. Why? Do politicians feel bad about cheating millions of people? Of course not. Is reform politically infeasible? If candidates from both parties insisted on reform, then voters would be SOL. It's the same way that voters who want freedom are cheated by the current political monopoly.
Social Security is politically untouchable because it's a massive profit center for State parasites. The problem is not that State parasites feel bad about cheating retired people. The problem is that current workers would no longer pay towards the scam if current retirees are cheated.
This illustrates the fallacy of paying into a State welfare system. As a worker, you expect that you're paying so that the State will take care of you when you're older. When you need the retiree benefit, State parasites default. What can you do about it? You're old now! It sucks for you that you wasted a huge chunk of your life working to pay a tax, only to be cheated later.
Social Security is even more obviously a scam for current workers. The Federal government isn't going to exist 20 years from now! I expect a 100% loss on my Social Security "investment". If there was someplace I could sign up to opt out, I would, forfeiting my benefit but also not having to pay the tax. Of course, State parasites collect taxes, backed by violence against those who refuse to pay.
Suppose the Social Security inflation adjustment is 10% less than true inflation each year. The net effect isn't that 10% of your retirement paycheck is stolen. It's 10% each year, compounded. The overall effect erodes the Social Security payment over time. It's the same way that inflation gradually steals your savings.
If there was a complete default on Social Security, then the scam will be obvious. If there's a gradual default via inflation, the net effect is the same. Social Security is politically untouchable. That isn't because State parasites don't want to cheat retired people. If there's a Social Security/Medicare default, then current workers wouldn't be conned into contributing towards this Ponzi scam.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
This story had an interesting tidbit I hadn't seen mentioned elsewhere. Warren Buffett's father was a Congressman.
You might say "So what?" This is an important point.
Warren Buffett is not someone who came out of nowhere to manage a multi-billion dollar business. Like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett was the beneficiary of politically connected parents. Someone as skilled as Warren Buffett, but lacking the connections, probably would not have been as successful.
It's one thing to say "I'm starting an investment business! Please let me manage a couple million dollars for you!" It's another to say "My father is a Congressman! I'm starting an investment business! Please let me manage a couple million dollars for you!" The latter sales pitch is *MUCH* more effective than the former.
Even if I could manage an investment fund as well or better than Warren Buffett, I don't get the opportunity to try. I can invest my own money intelligently, but I don't get full benefit of the Principal-Agent problem unless I'm managing other people's money. I don't have the same connections as Warren Buffett's parents.
In many ways, being a successful money manager is like winning a coin flipping contest. Is Warren Buffett an investment super-genius? Or, is he someone who managed to flip heads a couple times in a row early in his career? Even if I could flip coins as well as Warren Buffett and other superstar hedge fund managers, I don't even get the opportunity to try. Only people with connections are allowed to even enter the coin flipping contest business.
Even if Warren Buffett's investors got a good deal, that doesn't mean he wasn't exploiting his father's political connections. Someone with Warren Buffett's connections, but not his skill, would not have been as successful. Someone with Warren Buffett's skill, but not his connections, would not have been as successful. The political connections greatly helped his odds of success.
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates had *TWO* big advantages. First, they had excellent political connections. Second, they had the ability to leverage the headstart their connections gave them. Someone with the same raw talent (or greater), but lacking the connections, would not have been as successful.
A pro-State troll says "The US economy is fair! Bill Gates and Warren Buffett built hugely successful businesses!" Both of them are touted as examples of why the USA economic system is wonderful. Both of them had politically connected parents. Both of them used State violence to help them build their business.
The vast majority of the "titans of industry" have profited directly or indirectly from State violence. There are very few people who have successfully built huge businesses without some support from the State.
Any large and successful business *MUST* spend money lobbying the State for favors. Otherwise, your competitors will lobby the State to shut down your business.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
A common evil fnord is "Support the soldiers!" and "Support the police!" This fnord is broadcast over and over again. When General Petraeus stands next to John Elway before the Super Bowl, the fnord is "General Petraeus is as cool as John Elway!" instead of "General Petraeus is a mass-murderer!" A game show has a special episode where the contestants are soldiers or policemen. Holidays like Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Veteran's Day honor soldiers. At a baseball game, they play "God Bless America" and show a policeman patriotically saluting.
The message "Support the soldiers and police!" is repeated over and over again. This is not because it is obviously true. The repetition is necessary because it's a complete and total lie.
Watch very carefully for this fnord. It's subtly and flagrantly displayed almost all the time.
This is an example of "lie by repeated assertion". To promote an obviously false statement as true, you repeat it over and over again. As another example, a child sees all the adults around him saying how Christianity is the One True Religion. The child then mirrors their behavior. Humans aren't biologically equipped to handle the possibility "All the humans around me are completely insane!"
In a tribal society, if most of the people are reasonable, then following the majority is probably a good idea. If an idea really is good, then you'll be able to convince others of its merit. In a tribal society, if the leader is unreasonable, then you can go form your own tribe. In the present, State restriction of the market makes it very hard to tell your corporate employer "**** you! I'm starting a competing business!" When there is massive pro-State brainwashing, then a follow-the-majority mentality leads to disaster. In the present, the mainstream media can convince people that a lie is true, by repeating it over and over again. Anybody who suggests that soldiers and police are not heroes is roundly decried in the mainstream media.
One of the reasons insiders created the Federal government was that they had a hard time stopping Shay's Rebellion, which occurred just before the Federal government was created. Shay's rebellion caused insiders to be concerned that they lacked power to forcibly collect taxes. In order to consolidate and expand their tax collection power, insiders created the Federal government. In Shay's Rebellion, farmers were angry that, after fighting against Great Britain, they still were facing a crushing taxation burden from their local governments. Judges were foreclosing on farms for failing to pay property taxes, and farmers were resisting the foreclosure. In State brainwashing centers (school), you learn that the people in Shay's Rebellion were bad guys, but they actually were the heroes because they were resisting taxes.
The first time that George Washington used Federal military power was to put down a tax revolt. The first usage of the US military was to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion. People were refusing to pay the tax on alcohol. Instead of politely explaining to them their patriotic duty to pay taxes/tribute, the solution was to use violence to force them to pay. Actually, the Whiskey Rebellion was not really that successful in a military sense. Most of the people protesting the tax escaped. However, this military action were retconned as spectacularly successful.
There's an interesting quote from Alexander Hamilton (paraphrasing). "A government does not exist until violence is used to force people to pay taxes. In the Whiskey Rebellion, the Federal government used violence to force people to pay taxes. Therefore, the new Federal government is a success." Remember that Alexander Hamilton probably was an agent for the banksters. One of his first acts as Treasury secretary was to form a central bank.
One of the main roles of police and soldiers is that they are tax collectors. Police agencies such as the FBI are responsible from collecting taxes from US citizens. Local police enforce the collection of property taxes and sales taxes. Soldiers are a type of tax collector that affects people who live outside the USA; most wars benefit the interests of insiders. By having a large standing army of police and soldiers, State bureaucrats may use them to forcibly collect taxes. By cracking down on freedom seekers one at a time, and hyping the State successes, this creates an illusion of State omnipotence and omniscience. Police do other things besides collect taxes. Otherwise, the policemen themselves would become aware of the scam.
Soldiers and policemen are trained to obey orders without questioning them. If a State bureaucrat or judge orders the soldiers or police to do something, then they obey the order without questioning it.
One reason that the evils of the State persist is that the responsibility for evil is distributed. By distributing the responsibility for evil among many people, evil acts can occur easily. No individual feels personally responsible, because they're just a cog in a machine.
- Politicians make laws. However, they're really just doing what their lobbyists and advisers order them to do.
- The mainstream media manufactures hype demanding certain laws, or justifying laws that already exist. This is the "manufacturing consent" process. Democracy and all governments provide an incentive to brainwash the vast majority to be fools.
- Public schools brainwash children regarding the legitimacy of the State.
- Bureaucrats figure out how the laws will be enforced. Bureaucrats go around looking for people who are breaking the arbitrary decrees of the politicians. This is profitable, because the bureaucrat's salary is paid via taxes.
- Judges give orders to kidnap or assault people who are determined to be breaking a law. Some State bureaucrats have the power to order a violent raid without getting a judge's approval first. Bureaucrats at the DEA and Department of Homeland Security have broad discretion to do whatever they want.
- Lawyers argue whether an individual deserves to go to jail or not, or whether he deserves to lose his property or not. Lawyers don't typically argue "Is this law immoral!" A State-licensed lawyer is barred from mentioning "jury nullification" in court. Lawyers create the illusion that someone is advocating for the victims. Most/all criminal defense defense attorneys are paid hourly; they get paid the same whether their client goes to jail or is acquitted. If you are the victim of State violence, but the State enforcers lose in the trial, you still don't receive reimbursement for the time and money wasted. This enables the bad guys to use the legal system to harass and threaten people.
- Police use violence to impose the will of the judges and bureaucrats and politicians.
The police are the most important part of the State. They're the part where violence is used to impose the will of the parasite class. For this reason, it is important to brainwash the police to obey orders without questioning them. The other cogs in the Matrix are also brainwashed to obey orders without questioning. The smooth functioning of the evils of the State requires everyone willing to politely perform their role without thinking.
Police function as tax collectors. Police are paid via tax receipts. This places police in an obviously conflicted situation. Most policemen won't question the legitimacy of the State, because it's their paycheck and the source of their power. If you're an independent thinker, then the police recruitment process filters you out. When you apply for a policeman job, you must take an intelligence test. If you score too highly, then you are rejected!
Some people pay taxes because they're clueless. They can't imagine things any other way. Others pay taxes because they are afraid of the State. They don't want to be kidnapped, assaulted, or have their property stolen. With police as armed thugs, the government is really a massive terrorist organization.
A pro-State troll says "You should be grateful for the police and soldiers! They're risking their lives to protect you!" My response is that I'm perfectly willing to pay the fair free market price for security and defense. I object to being forced at gunpoint to pay for a monopoly provider of security. That obviously leads to high prices and low quality.
In the present, the State directly charges me 50% of my labor via the income tax, and a greater amount via indirect hidden taxes. That's a steep price to pay for security and defense. The true free market price for these services is almost definitely less than what the State monopoly charges me.
A pro-State troll says "If you refuse to pay taxes to support the police, then you're free-riding off everyone else!" The reality is that I am a forced rider. I am forced to pay for State police, whether I am satisfied with the quality and price or not. The people who are forcing me to pay for State police are the police themselves.
A pro-State troll says "You don't work as a policeman or soldier. Therefore, you have no right to criticize the police or military." My retort is that you don't work as FSK. Therefore, you have no right to criticize what I do. As a slave software engineer, it is very common to have people with zero knowledge of software criticizing your actions. I've had good non-technical managers and bad non-technical managers. If the workers in industry X are barred from criticism outside industry X, then that means there is absolutely no accountability when they do a bad job.
The people who have such lucrative arrangements are those whose careers are backed by State violence. Doctors are usually judged by other doctors. Lawyers are usually judged by other lawyers. University professors are usually judged by other university professors. Police are only judged by other police. The common theme is that all of these professions have their profits backed by State violence. The market is not a factor. For software engineering, there are no State barriers to entry. When most people have parasite roles where their profits are backed by State violence, then the people who do useful work have a very bad deal.
One of my favorite non-crimes is "Disobeying the orders of a policeman." If a policeman orders you to do something, and you refuse, then the policeman may arrest you merely for disobeying him. Such a rule should only be invoked if you are involved in another crime. Another time when it's acceptable to invoke such a rule is if there's a fire or other emergency, but even in an emergency the monopolistic State police don't always give useful help. For example, workers in the World Trade Center were ordered to return to their desk after an airplane struck the neighboring building. The workers who obeyed this order died, but those who ignored the order and left anyway survived.
Police and soldiers are evil, because they blindly obey orders without questioning them. They blindly enforce illegitimate laws. Police enforce many non-crimes such as selling certain drugs, prostitution, gambling, driving a taxi without a permit, or performing other work without a license from the State. A policeman is brainwashed to not think "Is the law I'm enforcing a good law or a bad law?"
A debt contract with a bank is not a valid contract, because the bank merely printed new money and lent it to you. The banker performs no tangible work when he issues the loan. It's a statistical necessity built into the rules of the monetary system that a certain number of people will lose their houses during each recession. When a policeman evicts someone from their house for not paying their mortgage, he is really working for the banking cartel. The cost of enforcing illegitimate debt contracts is externalized from the financial industry to the State. In a very real sense, the police are a private army working for the banksters.
Income taxes force people to use slave points as money; other forms of money are illegal or heavily taxed. Income taxes prevent people from boycotting the financial industry and the Federal Reserve. Wealth is collected in taxes and paid in interest on the national debt; this wealth winds up in the pockets of the banksters. Effectively, this makes the IRS and FBI a private collection agency working for Goldman Sachs.
Just because the monetary system is corrupt doesn't mean that you should borrow as much money as you can and refuse to pay. The correct response to a corrupt system is to boycott it as much as feasible. However, I am sympathetic to the people who were tricked by the housing bubble and then lost their homes and their savings. When buying a house, you'd be a fool to not use leverage via a mortgage. Via negative real interest rates, a mortgage contains a massive State subsidy. However, if you refinance your mortgage whenever property values rise and take out the biggest mortgage you can, then you risk losing everything during the next recession. Negative real interest rates send a false price signal that borrowing to buy a house is desirable.
The laws regarding debt collection by a bank are illegitimate, because the monetary system is corrupt. The rules of the monetary system guarantee a certain number of bankruptcies during each recession.
The most illegitimate laws are those involving taxes. Without taxes, none of the other evils of the State could occur.
When a State bureaucrat determines that you owe unpaid taxes, the police are the one who enforce the decision. The police are the ones who come to kidnap you, assault you, or steal your property.
Once you realize "Taxation is theft!", it's obvious that government is merely a massive extortion racket. The police are the thugs who carry out the theft. Insiders allow the government to provide other "services", because this provides an illusion of legitimacy for the State. Each "service" provided by government is really an opportunity for insiders to loot and pillage. Police are the ones who make the looting and pillaging possible.
If the police went door-to-door every month and demanded 50% of your paycheck and 3% of your savings, then you would obviously object. When you lose 50% of your paycheck via a payroll deduction, you don't notice. When you lose 2%-3% of your savings every month due to inflation, you don't notice. Income taxes are backed by State violence. People who attempt to operate a business without paying tribute to the State/IRS wind up raided by the FBI. People who attempt to operate alternate monetary systems wind up raided by the FBI, as occurred with the Liberty Dollar and E-Gold. The income tax and the inflation tax are 100% backed by police violence. Most people pay without resisting, and so they don't notice the scam.
Everyone has an obligation to make sure that they're doing the right thing. "I was following orders!" is not a valid defense. The State allows great evils to occur, when all the participants are merely following orders. Politicians obey the orders of lobbyists and mainstream media hype. State bureaucrats obey the rules and procedures of the bureaucracy.
Judges must obey the orders of higher-ranking judges. Supreme Court judges must obey the decisions of previous Supreme Court judges and the orders of the politicians who supported them. Police must obey the orders of judges.
Of all the participants in the scam, the police bear the most responsibility. Without the police, the whole scam falls apart. The rest of the State bureaucracy takes different forms in different countries and at different times, but the police violence monopoly is the common element of all governments.
Once you realize "Taxation is theft!" and "People are individually responsible for what they do!", then it's obvious that police are not defenders of freedom. They are armed thugs participating in a massive extortion racket. Even if nobody ever explained "Taxation is theft!" to a policeman, he's still responsible. Every adult is individually responsible for what they do.
In this post, I don't make much distinction between police and soldiers. They're practically the same. Local police are increasingly behaving like military units. Soldiers are performing police-like duties in foreign countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The mainstream media repeats the evil fnord "Support our soldiers and police!" as often as possible. The continuous repetition is necessary, not because it's obviously true, but because it's a humongous lie.
Friday, November 13, 2009
I don't normally discuss the stock market anymore, now that I noticed it's one big scam.
I went to Kohl's recently, and had an interesting observation.
I was in K-Mart before they filed for bankruptcy. The store was completely disorganized. Inventory was on the floor. Inventory was not sorted.
I was in Circuit City before they filed for bankruptcy. The store was completely disorganized. Inventory was on the floor. Inventory was not sorted.
When I was in Kohl's, I noticed the same problem. The store was completely disorganized. Inventory was on the floor. Inventory was not sorted.
I pointed this out to my sister. She said "Every store is like that this time of year!" That's not true. I went to Modell's and Best Buy. There, it was well organized and the staff were paying attention. It seemed like the staff working in Kohl's just didn't care.
All stock investments will underperform true inflation. It seems that Kohl's is headed for bankruptcy more quickly than others.
The fact that management at Kohl's isn't paying attention, is a really bad sign. It's a symptom of complete economic collapse.
Like all large corporations, Kohl's receives massive direct and indirect State subsidies. That allows them to stay in business, even if most of their staff aren't trying.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The acquittal of the two former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers suggests that blame is not easy to apportion – and that cock-ups, not conspiracies, offer the more likely explanation.This is a common mistake of pro-State troll justice. "Intentions matter, and not outcomes."
The fact that investors lost billions of dollars is irrelevant. According to pro-State troll justice, the key distinction is "Did they intentionally commit fraud, or were they merely stupid?"
"The subprime market looks pretty damn ugly," Tannin wrote to Cioffi in April 2007. If Bear's internal reports were accurate, Tannin suggested, "I think we should close the funds now," and "the entire subprime market is toast."They took their own money out of the fund, while telling investors that everything is all right.
The situation became so dire that Cioffi pulled $2 million of his own cash from the fund, but the pair still told investors that they should stay in and that the outlook was good, prosecutors said. He also was accused of hiding news that one worried investor had decided to pull out $57 million from the funds.
This is exactly wrong.
It makes no difference whether billions of dollars were lost through your own gross negligence, or if you intentionally and deliberately stole it. Either way, the victims are injured.
The investment manager was presenting himself as an expert. He is guilty of fraud.
The executives get to keep their huge salaries and bonuses paid during the inflationary boom. During the bust, insiders get a bailout while investors lose their savings.
The executives can claim "We thought the housing market would recover and everything would be alright!" Maybe they really believed that. They have an incentive to believe that, because their careers depend on selling mortgage bonds.
It isn't an explicit Ponzi scheme, but in many ways the hedge fund industry is like a Ponzi scam. If you buy X, and then convince other people to buy X, you can sell to the greater fools for a profit. If you're managing a large fund, buying a lot of X pushes up the price of X, creating the illusion that it's an attractive investment.
A lot of money was invested in subprime mortgage bonds. This led to an inflationary boom. This led to even more money invested in subprime mortgage bonds. Due to the inflationary boom, they seemed really lucrative. The inevitable bust occurred. Insiders profit during the boom by printing new money. During a bust, "too big to fail" insiders get a bailout. Another boom/bust is guaranteed, but it's hard to predict exactly where in advance.
Limited liability incorporation provides an incentive for fraud. Management can always declare bankruptcy and cheat their creditors. Limited liability incorporation gives management a free put option. In a really free market, if you promise "Investment X is safe!" and then investors lose money, you can be personally responsible for the loss.
Also, this is a criminal trial. The issue is "State vs. criminal" and not "victims vs. criminal". The investors who lost criminal charges might file a separate civil lawsuit. In that case, JP Morgan Chase, who bought out Bear Stearns, would pay the loss. The individual executives would suffer no negative personal consequences.
Consider another example. Psychiatry is murder. Are mental health industry insiders intentionally committing mass murder? Or, are they so stupid that they can't tell the difference between medicine and murder? Either way, it's irrelevant. It's a crime. It makes no difference if it's done on purpose, or if it's gross incompetence.
Suppose someone files an "Anonymous" tip with the police that I have marijuana in my house. (I don't.) The police conduct a no-knock raid of my home. I am unarmed, but the police are confused and shoot me. The police claim "I thought he had a gun. I didn't kill him on purpose." According to pro-State troll justice, the policeman did not commit a crime.
Conversely, suppose I did own a gun. I thought that the policeman conducting a no-knock raid were criminals. Suppose I shot and killed one of them. I would be pursued for criminal murder charges. "I thought they were criminals!" would not be accepted as a defense. If police conduct no-knock raids, then non-State-licensed criminals can claim "We're the police!" and then victims won't resist. The "intentions matter" excuse is used to acquit State insiders. "Intentions are irrelevant" is used to convict non-insiders for non-crimes.
If "I didn't do it on purpose!" is a valid excuse, then why would anyone ever bother to take appropriate precautions? Why not just loot and pillage? When you get caught, claim "I didn't do it on purpose!", and that's an acceptable excuse.
There's another evil fnord in this trial. A jury acquitted the executives. Therefore, no crime occurred. That's false. A corrupt State court is biased. Typically, a prosecutor will stack the jury with pro-State trolls, filtering out people who are sympathetic to the defendant. If you have an expensive lawyer, he can stack the jury with people sympathetic to the defendant. In this case, there's a political incentive for there to be an acquittal. That provides the pro-State troll message "No crime occurred." Perhaps State prosecutors arranged for a sham trial, but then didn't try too hard. After all, the State prosecutor doesn't get fired just because the trial was an acquittal.
An evil person can't be logically convinced that they're doing something wrong. The State provides no incentive for parasites to do an honest job. The incentive is for the parasite to delude himself that he's a brilliant leader. Then, he can later plausibly claim "I had good intentions." From the parasite's point of view, he isn't lying, because he doesn't know that the State is a scam.
You can logically convince an intelligent person. However, really intelligent people usually aren't in a position where they're profiting from State violence. State-backed leaders tend to be parasites.
This is an important point of pro-State troll justice. A corrupt State court judges intentions, and not outcomes. That is wrong. You should only evaluate outcomes and not intentions. Intentions are irrelevant. It's impossible to fairly determine someone's intent. By evaluating intentions and not outcomes, a criminal can always say "I didn't do it on purpose!", and that's acceptable.
The State justice system is designed to protect parasites. In this trial, the acquittal provides the illusion that no crime occurred. Even if there were a conviction, the fnord would be "These individuals are evil!" rather than "The system is corrupt!"
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Suppose I offered you the following contract. "I'm offering to hire you as a thug in my private army. As part of your employment, you will be required to murder whoever I order you to kill, for whatever reason I desire. I'm paying you 100 ounces of gold upfront as a signing bonus, plus a salary. In exchange for this, you agree to not quit for 10 years. Working in my private army is noble and heroic!"
Suppose you accept the contract. Later, you realize that you made a mistake. Working as a paid thug isn't noble and heroic. You really are a criminal.
Is it immoral for you to quit your job? Of course not. A contract that requires you to commit crimes isn't a valid contract.
Contracts entered via fraud also aren't valid. I lied to you when I told you that the job would be noble and heroic. Of course, you should have figured out on your own beforehand that working as a paid thug is evil. The fact that you stupidly signed a contract doesn't justify staying in a job that you know is evil.
Similarly, soldiers who sign up for the military aren't allowed to quit. Via "stop-loss" orders, a soldier can be forced to stay in the army even after his original term has expired.
Via "economic conscription", for many poor people, joining the military may be their best career option. Due to State restriction of the market, there are very few opportunities for a poor person. Due to State propaganda, working as a soldier is portrayed as noble and heroic. Many soldiers rapidly figure out that's a lie. Once in the military, State parasites make it hard for soldiers to quit once they realize they were conned. The contract saying "I agree to stay in the Army for n years!" isn't valid, because fraud is involved.
A pro-State troll says "We need to force soldiers to stay in the Army against their will. Otherwise, many of them would quit!" If soldiers are forced to stay in the Army, then this means that other serious problems are not addressed. If a large percentage of soldiers would quit, if they had the option, then that's a symptom that the military has a real big problem. Why should State parasites listen to the concerns of soldiers, when they're legally barred from quitting?
In all my wage slave jobs, I was an "at will" employee, where I had the option of quitting at any time or my employer could fire me at any time. Usually, there was a "2 week notice" period. Similarly, soldiers could be allowed a "3 month notice" period if one of them decides to quit.
Many people feel that they have no alternatives, when they are the victim of State violence. People think that their only alternative is to get a gun and start murdering people. One effect of mainstream media hype of such incidents is "If you're disgruntled, your only option is violent retaliation." People who notice that the State is a scam are drawn away from productive activity and towards pointless activity.
When I hear about such incidents, I'm now sympathetic to the person who was pushed past their breaking point. It's wrong for someone to retaliate violently against random people. I'm not endorsing what the murderer did. I'm saying "Look at it from the point of view of someone who was abused and felt they had no recourse."
In such incidents, the shooter usually is an "abused productive" person who was pushed past their breaking point. That makes me sympathetic to mental state of the shooter, even though violent retaliation against random people is wrong. A parasitic person isn't normally pushed around that much, because they'll emotionally manipulate the people around them to get what they want. If a parasitic person is asked to do evil as part of their job, they'll just do it and not notice that they're committing crimes.
Due to my higher state of awareness, I can sort of think like a mass murderer, even though I won't do that myself and don't advocate other people to do that. A mass murderer has sort of realized "Everything I've been taught is a lie!", althought they don't explicitly state it and understand it like I do.
In the recent Fort Hood incident, the shooter was in the Army against his will. I'm trying to estimate what happened based on what I read, but it's hard due to heavy censorship.
The shooter was a psychiatrist. The military paid for his education, and as part of the terms of the contract he was required to serve for a certain number of years. He signed up for the Army, thinking it would be noble and heroic. He later realized that's one big lie.
A typical psychiatrist ignores the emotional state of his victims and drugs them into submission/silence. It seems that this psychiatrist was trying to do his job honestly. He was working with soldiers who were returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The fact that the psychiatrist had an Islamic background made him more sympathetic to the soldiers' stories. It made him more willing to question official State propaganda. If a soldier told a typical psychiatrist "I saw evil X in Iraq!", then the psychiatrist would say "You're imagining things. Take this drug and you'll forget." The shooter tried doing his job honestly, and he took the soldiers' stories seriously.
The psychiatrists' Islamic background doesn't seem to be as big a factor as the mainstream media is hyping it. The only role of the Islamic background seems to be "This made the psychiatrist more likely to believe the soldiers, when they complained to him about the evils of war." Most psychiatrists ignore the complaints/feedback of their patients.
The fact that the shooter took his job seriously earned him negative performance reviews. He started realizing that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are big crimes. In most State jobs, you almost *NEVER* get a negative performance review, unless your bosses are looking for an excuse to fire you. A performance review seems objective, but it really isn't. A negative performance review really means "You angered one of your parasitic bosses." A parasitic boss can always fabricate an excuse to give someone a negative performance review. Due to the nature of the Army, the shooter couldn't quit and his bosses couldn't fire him without giving him several negative performance reviews first.
The shooter probably had the "abused productive" personality type. Most middle managers have the parasitic personality type, especially in direct State jobs. This led to the same conflict that I had in my wage slave jobs. The shooter tried to do his job honestly. His bosses specifically did *NOT* want him doing his job honestly.
The shooter learned that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are a scam, based on interviewing returning soldiers. Originally, he was deployed in the USA to work with returning soldiers. He was ordered to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, when he really wanted to get out of the Army. Knowing that war is a scam, he didn't want to go to Iraq or Afghanistan.
The shooter was stuck in a no-win situation. He couldn't quit the Army, because he was legally barred from quitting. He couldn't stay in the Army, because he couldn't stand the abuses associated with war. He probably was also having conflicts with his parasitic bosses. The stress of the conflict broke him.
That's very similar to the incident that led to my first involuntary hospitalization. I had a good job, but a really parasitic person was promoted to be my boss, leading to the obvious conflict. I didn't quit my job, because it had been an excellent job until that point. My really parasitic boss couldn't fire me, because I had a good performance record. My previous managers were honest and said I was doing a good job. The parasite was slowly trashing my reputation behind my back. I couldn't stand working for someone that evil. I didn't realize my parasitic boss was evil, and I was trying to do my job honestly. I discovered bugs in the software the parasite wrote, but he wouldn't let me fix them, because he couldn't admit that his software wasn't perfect. I was stuck in a no-win situation. I was responsible for fixing the software, which was losing a lot of money (It was a buggy real-time options market making system that made lots of stupid trades.), but my boss prevented me from fixing the problems I found. Instead of getting a gun and murdering people, I had a panic attack and was involuntarily hospitalized.
I always thought that my evil boss had good intentions, and he just needed to be educated and enlightened. If I was persistent and did my job diligently and logically persuaded him, then he would be convinced. That was wrong. He was evil, and he was doing it on purpose. There was no logical argument I could use to convince him. The more logical I was, the more my parasitic boss hated me and the more my parasitic boss resorted to emotional manipulation tactics. Having learned to ignore emotions, the emotional manipulation tactics didn't work on me, and I was really confused by what was happening. My parasitic boss was obviously doing a lousy job, but he always managed to emotionally manipulate his bosses and deflect the blame for failure elsewhere. I always assumed that evil people were merely stupid. My parasitic boss was being intentionally evil, and the shock of the discovery was very frightening.
If you're a skilled parasite, then evil has been working for you for your entire life. You won't change. There's no logical argument that will persuade a skilled parasite to change.
My parasitic boss' authority was backed indirectly via State violence. Even though I was more skilled than him, there was nothing I could do about it.
The shooter probably wanted to do more to help his patients, but probably was hampered by the State military bureaucracy.
The fact that the military paid for the shooter's education, does not obligate him to stay in the Army. Just because you pay someone an upfront signing bonus, doesn't mean they're obligated to stay in a job where they're forced to participate in crimes.
A pro-State troll says "The government paid for his education. He has an obligation to work off that debt." If that were true, then he should have the option to financially repay his debt and get out of the Army. Suppose he agreed to work for the Army for 5 years in exchange for his education, and he's already worked 3 years, and his education cost $200k. In that case, he should be able to repay 40% ($80k) and get out of the Army. Of course, a psychiatrist education is actually worth nothing, because the "chemical imbalance" theory of mental illness is wrong.
He was pushed past his breaking point. He got a gun and started shooting as many people as he could. Once he started doing this, other people had no choice but to stop him. I'm sympathetic to his point of view, but that doesn't justify taking a gun and retaliating violently. I've been in similarly stressful situations, but didn't resort to violence.
When I was pushed past my breaking point, I never considered "I should get a gun and murder those who abused me." Instead, I was involuntarily hospitalized, labeled with a "mental illness" and forcibly drugged. As another example, when I'm unfairly fired from a job, I just leave instead of "going postal". It's better for me to look for another job, rather than take revenge on people who injured me. It's better for me to promote anti-psychiatry, rather than taking revenge on the psychiatrists who assaulted/murdered/kidnapped me.
The female policeman who shot and stopped the shooter is being hailed as a hero. Of course, she did her job correctly. However, there's an important point missing. How come none of the other soldiers on a military base were armed? A soldier on a military base starts shooting people, and a non-soldier policewoman is required to stop him? Are soldiers really that incompetent? Even if most of the soldiers were unarmed, there should have been a few guards in each building?
In such a story, it's inevitable that "The person who stopped the shooter is hailed as a hero." Since only policemen carry guns, usually a policeman stops the shooter. The only exception is when it's a non-policeman who was carrying a gun. In that case, that point is not heavily hyped, lest people think "Gun ownership is good!"
Promoting that policewoman as a hero is an evil fnord covering up "Why couldn't the other soldiers stop the shooter?"
Usually, such incidents are used as an excuse to advocate for stricter gun control laws. That spin can't be applied in this case, because the shooter was a soldier.
There's another interesting evil fnord in this story. The military police are now saying "We knew that the shooter was a troublemaker for a long time!" They're just saying that to save face. The illusion of State omniscience must be maintained! If they really knew he was a potential troublemaker, then they should have let him voluntarily leave the Army and be glad to get rid of him!
My mother says "The police were spying on the shooter based on what he writes on the Internet! Therefore, FSK should not mention his radical free market ideas on the Internet!" According to vague laws defining terrorism, I could be classified as a terrorist for writing "Taxation is theft!", even though I say that violent acts against State employees are stupid. It is moral, albeit impractical, to violently defend yourself from State aggression.
Any State spy smart enough to realize that I'm worth watching would also be smart enough to agree with my main points. Besides, any State spy who's carefully observing me should be completely scared. For example, proving that the "chemical imbalance" theory of mental illness is a mistake/fraud is really important. "Psychiatry is murder!" and The Matrix are a bigger "national security" threat than anything else State police investigate.
I'm much more at risk for "FSK will do something that angers his parents, and they will involuntarily hospitalize me!", than I'm at risk for "Some State spy will conclude that FSK is dangerous, and kidnap/murder FSK!" There are plenty of ways to kill someone and make it look like an accident, if a State spy really wanted to do it. All my parents have to do is call 911 and have me involuntarily hospitalized. They explicitly threaten to do that whenever I disagree with them.
Another interesting aspect of the Fort Hood story is "The shooter tried to contact Al Qaeda!" Al Qaeda is portrayed as a practically invincible enemy of the State. Any disgruntled Islamic person would probably try contacting "Al Qaeda". The most likely outcome is that they'd wind up contacting a spy for the Federal government. That aspect of the story seems wrong, because he probably would have contacted an FBI spy if he were really trying to contact Al Qaeda. For example, I could claim "I'm a member of Al Qaeda!", and some stupid disgruntled person might believe me.
Another interesting point is "The shooter was a psychiatrist, and was working with other psychiatrists. Why didn't any of them notice he was in a disturbed mental state?" You don't just all of a sudden get a gun and mass-murder people. He was under a lot of stress for months or longer. Pyschiatrists even have a name for this. It's the "prodromal" period for the outbreak of a mental illness. "Prodromal" is the time period where someone starts feeling stress, but hasn't had a full panic/depressive attack. It's an embarrassment that none of the other psychiatrists noticed.
Based on my experience, psychiatrists have a really low level of emotional awareness. That is a key job requirement, because they must not notice the suffering of their patients. That's the reason that none of the shooter's co-workers noticed he was in a disturbed mental state. His parasitic bosses were more concerned about their disagreements with the shooter trying to fire/discipline him, rather than really helping him.
Summarizing, the main issues in the Fort Hood incident are:
- If a soldier wants to leave the Army, he should be free to quit.
- The incident is an evil fnord, saying "People disgruntled with the State have no alternatives but violence."
- Why was a non-military policewoman required to stop the shooter?
- Why didn't any of the psychiatrist's coworkers notice that he was in a disturbed mental state?
- The psychiatrist was trying to his job honestly, and noticed the suffering of the returning soldiers. Most psychiatrists ignore their patients and drug them into silence.
- The "Al Qaeda" angle of the story was retconned to provide a distraction from the real issue, which is "A psychiatrist working for the Army was offended by what he saw, and was pushed past his breaking point."
- Due to the way that the "War on Terror" is defined, anybody who violently retaliates against State aggression can be classified as an "Al Qaeda" member.
- The story is portrayed as a single crazy individual, rather than a corrupt system. "Blame the individual and not the corrupt system!" is a common evil fnord.
The questions raised by the Fort Hood incident should be "Maybe there are some serious issues with the US military and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?" Instead, the mainstream media spin is "Hooray for the State!"
When a soldier agrees to join the Army, that is not a valid contract. A soldier should be free to quit when he realizes that he was cheated.
The mainstream media propaganda is "The USA has a 'volunteer' Army." The fact that soldiers aren't legally free to quit, shows that they are not volunteers. Most of them were tricked into entering the Army. "Being a soldier is noble and heroic!" is an evil fnord that's repeated over and over again.
I wonder how many soldiers really would quit, if they had the free choice?
I am sympathetic to soldiers who were tricked intro risking their lives for nothing. On the other hand, there's plenty of information on "War is a scam!" available, if you know where you look. When you join the Army, you should do your due diligence first. Any soldier who signs up for the military without researching the evils of war first, deserves any bad things that happen to him.
There is one reform the mainstream media will not propose, to prevent incidents like this from happening again. Any soldier who wants to quit the Army should be free to quit. A pro-State troll says "If soldiers were free to quit, then most of them would!" If that really is true, then the Army has a real problem.