Friday, March 23, 2018

Mailvox: trade and capital flows

Peter Thiel raised some questions about trade, capital flows, and tariffs at a recent talk at the Economic Club of New York. Specifically, why does capital flow in the opposite direction now than it did in 1900, when slow growing economies like the UK invested in fast growing economies like Russia and Argentina? 
There is something really odd going on in the trade relations… The way you’d expect things to be working in a healthily globalizing world is that capital would flow from the slow growing to the fast growing economies, from the developed to the developing world.  This was the way trade patterns looked in 1900, which was a relatively open, free trade world, where the UK had a current account surplus of 4% of GDP and the capital got exported to invest in Russian railroads or Argentina, or all sorts of other countries that had higher growth rates and promised a higher return on capital.  That’s the way globalization is supposed to look.

Today, it’s quite the opposite, where capital is flowing uphill from China to the US and is the other side of these enormous current account and trade deficits that the United States has. And so, we are exporting $100 billion a year to China, importing $450 billion a year from China. And China, an economy that’s growing at, say, 6.5% a year is investing in an economy that is maybe growing at 3% a year, when the flows should be the other way around.

And so I think that tells you that something is incredibly off. It pushes you to have to ask questions, why it is off?  Why does nobody in China want to buy anything from the US? Why are our goods so undesirable? Or, are there policies that skew things too much towards consumption in the US and more to investment in other places, and should we be rethinking that? Or, are there intellectual property things that are not being enforced? There are a lot of very granular questions that we need to be asking.

Even if free trade is good in theory, and that’s what you want to get to, I think the way you get there is, perhaps, by not being too dogmatic and too doctrinaire.  And if you have people negotiate trade treaties who are doctrinaire about free trade, I always get the sense they won’t do that much work because if you negotiate a good trade treaty, that’s a good thing, and if you negotiate a bad trade treaty that still a good thing because we know that all trade is always good for everybody, in all times, in all places. And so we have to always be careful that free trade orthodoxy not become just a euphemism for the sloppiness or the laziness of the people negotiating these treaties.
Capital chases profit. There is more profit to be made in the US financial sector, which eats up about one-third of all profit in the USA, than there is in the non-financial sectors of other, faster-growing economies. That's my initial thought, anyhow.

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The end of the Republican Party

What, exactly, is the point of it anyhow?
President Donald Trump said he signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill into law Friday, despite a veto threat and provisions he says he is "unhappy" about.

The president approved the legislation to fund the government through September for national security reasons, as it authorizes a major increase in military spending that the president supports. Trump criticized the rushed process to pass the more than 2,200-page bill released only Wednesday, saying he would "never sign another bill like this again."

"As a matter of national security, I've signed this omnibus bill," Trump said at the White House on Friday.
I'm not going to even pretend to try to understand this one. No one cares about politicians or presidents professing to be "unhappy" or vowing that they won't do what they literally just did again again. Hearing a president say he'll never sign another spending bill is like hearing a crack addict vow that he'll never smoke another rock or a serial adulterer promising future faithfulness.

Now, I don't blame Trump for the spending bill. He didn't push it. This is on the House Republicans and Paul Ryan, not him. But I will blame him for not forcing Congress to override his veto. Apparently not even President Trump understands that no one buys the "a matter of national security" bullshit anymore.

I've never been more proud to not be a Republican.

UPDATE: Look, it's a mistake. It's not a betrayal. The winning was NEVER going to be unanimous or uninterrupted. Don't be like the conservatives and leap to embrace defeat as inevitable simply because ONE battle was unnecessarily lost. Or in this case, unnecessarily lost sooner than it would have been; Trump may have known that the Democrat-Republicans had the necessary votes to override his veto and decided not to waste his time fighting an unwinnable battle.

I think he should have for the sake of morale, but it's not my call. Regardless, this is not the primary front. That's my take on it. Be frustrated, be angry, but do not despair and do not give up.

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Everyone knows now

The media is affecting shock-horror that the American people are beginning to figure out that even their limited form of democracy is a sham and that the Deep State controls both of their political alternatives. And they should, since it was the media's job to conceal that fact from everyone.
On Monday, the Monmouth University Polling Institute released the results of a survey that found that “a large bipartisan majority… feel that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a ‘Deep State’ of unelected government officials….

According to the survey:”…6-in-10 Americans (60%) feel that unelected or appointed government officials have too much influence in determining federal policy. Just 26% say the right balance of power exists between elected and unelected officials in determining policy. Democrats (59%), Republicans (59%) and independents (62%) agree that appointed officials hold too much sway in the federal government. (“Public Troubled by ‘Deep State”,

The survey appears to confirm that democracy in the United States is largely a sham. Our elected representatives are not the agents of political change, but cogs in a vast bureaucratic machine that operates mainly in the interests of the behemoth corporations and banks. Surprisingly, most Americans have not been taken in by the media’s promotional hoopla about elections and democracy. They have a fairly-decent grasp of how the system works and who ultimately benefits from it. Check it out:

“Few Americans (13%) are very familiar with the term “Deep State;” another 24% are somewhat familiar, while 63% say they are not familiar with this term. However, when the term is described as a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy, nearly 3-in-4 (74%) say they believe this type of apparatus exists in Washington.…Only 1-in-5 say it does not exist.” Belief in the probable existence of a Deep State comes from more than 7-in-10 Americans in each partisan group…”

So while the cable news channels dismiss anyone who believes in the “Deep State” as a conspiracy theorist, it’s clear that the majority of people think that’s how the system really works, that is, “a group of unelected government and military officials…secretly manipulate or direct national policy.”

It’s impossible to overstate the significance of the survey. The data suggest that representative democracy is a largely a fraud, that congressmen and senators are mostly sock-puppets who do the bidding of wealthy powerbrokers, and that the entire system is impervious to the will of the people. These are pretty damning results and a clear indication of how corrupt the system really is.
I've known about the Deep State for about 30 years. It used to be that no one believed me, or at least would not admit to believing me, which was one factor in my decision to get out of Dodge. I decided that I would rather live where the corruption was out in the open and well known to everyone than where it was secret, systemic, and operating with complete impunity in the dark. The gap between reality and superficiality was simply more than I could stand to be around, and I suspected that things were eventually going to get pretty damn ugly once hundreds of millions of people discovered that not only their government, but their very way of life, was a sham.

Of course, people have turned out to be both more resilient and more complacent than I ever would have imagined. But it is certainly interesting to have observed one "conspiracy theory" after another go from being mocked to tacitly admitted to common knowledge. I can still remember when believe in the surveillance state and its infrastructure was enough to cause people to label you paranoid.

What the American people will do with this knowledge is still unknown. But whether they choose to stand up for their violated rights or choose technoslavery, at least they will be making an informed decision now.

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Conservatives have HAD IT

It's always so cute when conservatives discover the existence of the bi-factional ruling party and threaten to stop voting for Republicans. Jesse Kelly is very upset about the passage of the omnibus spending bill on Twitter:
This is the first time I've thought the GOP will lose the House in the midterms. If Trump signs this #omnibus bill, we're through. I suspect Trump does not realize how many people have tolerated his antics solely because he was doing conservative things.

Think about this: Obama gets elected in 08. Embarrasses himself and scares the American public into going HEAVY Republican for 6 straight years. We own everything.

Annnnnnd the GOP responds by doing all the same things Obama did. There is one party in DC. It's the "screw the peasants" party. And I've had about enough of it. That's all.
First, who cares? Since Republicans are part of the bifactional ruling party, as I repeatedly observed more than 10 years ago, why be at all concerned about them retaining power? I'm not. They are part of the problem, not the solution.

Second, perhaps Trump will veto the bill. He certainly should, although he may have more pressing concerns on his agenda at the moment.

Third, this is a conventional political analysis. It doesn't even begin to account for the possible fallout from the God-Emperor's ongoing war against the Deep State, which is the most significant factor by far. Due to the potential for tremendous and unexpected consequences from that, don't put too much credence in the conventional analyses of the midterm elections.

Stay cool, stay calm, have confidence in the God-Emperor, and wait to see what happens. The Deep State is trying to break him. They may, but at this point, I think it is more likely that he will break them.
Consider. To cut through the Russophobia rampant here, Trump decided to make a direct phone call to Vladimir Putin. And in that call, Trump, like Angela Merkel, congratulated Putin on his re-election victory.

Instantly, the briefing paper for the president’s call was leaked to the Post. In bold letters it read, “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.”

Whereupon, the Beltway went ballistic.

How could Trump congratulate Putin, whose election was a sham? Why did he not charge Putin with the Salisbury poisoning? Why did Trump not denounce Putin for interfering with “our democracy”?

Amazing. A disloyal White House staffer betrays his trust and leaks a confidential paper to sabotage the foreign policy of a duly elected president, and he is celebrated in this capital city.

If you wish to see the deep state at work, this is it: anti-Trump journalists using First Amendment immunities to collude with and cover up the identities of bureaucratic snakes out to damage or destroy a president they despise.
UPDATE: There we go. Don't consider, DO IT! This is not that hard. Build the Wall and Drain the Swamp. If it doesn't do either of those things, veto it.

I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded. 
- Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

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The math of trade war

As I predicted, China responds in a measured and mostly symbolic manner, with 128 tariffs affecting less than 2 percent of US exports to China:
China is 'firing back' after US announces tariffs on steel and aluminum. The world's second-largest economy has responded to President Donald Trump's controversial trade tariffs.

China's commerce ministry proposed a list of 128 U.S. products as potential retaliation targets, according to a statement on its website posted Friday morning.

The U.S. goods, which had an import value of $3 billion in 2017, include wine, fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts, steel pipes, modified ethanol, and ginseng, the ministry said. Those products could see a 15 percent duty, while a 25 percent tariff could be imposed on U.S. pork and recycled aluminium goods, according to the statement.

The statement did not go into greater detail. U.S. agricultural products, particularly soybeans, have been flagged as the biggest area of potential retaliation by Chinese President Xi Jinping's administration.
Just to keep it simple and understand the most extreme scenario, let's pretend that these tariffs will be enough to completely kill the US ability to export these goods to China. That is $3 billion removed from GDP that represents 1.7 percent of US exports to China and 0.00148 percent of total US exports. Against that, let's pretend that the US tariffs were sufficient to entirely shut down the Chinese ability to sell the $60 billion in goods that are affected by them in the USA.

The net means the US economy just grew by $57 billion. A bit more if the domestic goods are more expensive.

See how this works? And notice how the media never explains any of this, or even bothers to try to work out the price elasticity of the tariff-affected products.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Excerpt: Wardogs Inc. #1

From the reviews:
  • The Mercs in this book are hardcore, amoral, just in it for the money. Vivid battles and political intrigue. Well written. The book compares well to David Drake's Hammer's Slammers, the original book on Sci Fi Mercs. This takes place in the world of Quantum Mortis, where you have super advanced technology, in a universe that resembles city states. And with a fight going on with AI's. This is a mercenary company, publicly traded with stock options, in that universe. I guess a future version of Black Water.
  • This is what I call military science fiction. I could tell from the first two lines that this book was going to be worth the read! The opening was very strong. 
  • I loved the story and the characters it was non-stop action from beginning to end. I'm hoping to see many more Wardog stories. If you like Drake, Ringo, Carr, or Stirling you should enjoy this book.
  • Very enjoyable. Hopefully more to come in the series soon. Being told from the point of view of a wardog really puts the reader in the action.

An excerpt from Wardogs Inc. #1: Battlesuit Bastards

Four hours later I found myself on a clunky unmarked VTOL aircraft along with the rest of the platoon, heading to parts unknown. The pilot and copilot were in civilian clothes, as were the two guys in cargo. One of them looked familiar but I couldn’t place him. You see a lotta stiffs in this business.

The sun was setting as I looked down over the countryside. We’d been told we had a special bonus contract, but I had no idea what it was. We’d been given heavy rifles, loaded up with armor-piecing rounds, suited up in armor, then sent up the ramp into this shuddering deathtrap of a low-tech flying machine.

After seeing no explanations were forthcoming, I leaned my head back and shut my eyes, exhaustion overcoming my curiosity.

I awakened to Park shaking my shoulder. We were landing. There was a rough bump, then a settling of struts, then the crew popped the doors. I unstrapped, jumped up, and followed the platoon out into the darkness. I pulled on my goggles and looked around. We were in a stretch of tall rolling grass near a highway. Judging by the thermal signatures, we were probably the only people for miles, though I couldn’t see over all the hills. Not even an all-night diner, just empty grassland.

When we were all out and some cargo had been dumped by the crew, the helo took off and left us. In the middle of nowhere.

All eyes were now on Jock.

The sergeant cleared his throat and addressed us. “As you all know by now, you’re on a special mission of utmost importance. We’re out here to–”

“Kill the prince,” a Wardog interrupted. Someone else whistled.

“That crazy Ulimbese general sent us here to kill the prince!”

“Shut up, Cole,” Jock said.

“Yessir,” the man said.

“Bad manners aside, though,” Jock shrugged, “that is our objective.”

There were murmurs around the group. We were mercs. It wasn’t like we wouldn’t shank an enemy in the dark. The emperor must’ve felt the same way and we were the shank. But this was stone cold.

“You will, of course, receive the appropriate bonuses,” Jock said. “Now, we’ve seen the prince and his men. We’ve also seen their vehicles. That’s why we’re here. Right now their convoy is being tracked by drone.” He paused and took out his tablet. “Based on their progress thus far, they’ll be here within the hour.”

He pointed to a bend in the road, “We’re going to set up an ambush in the road here, but as of right now, there is a civilian vehicle on the road roughly ten minutes ahead of the convoy, so we’ll wait for that to pass, then we’ll create an L-shaped ambush just past that bend, with a machine gun team in the road with two teams of our guys in a row along the creek bed. The convoy will enter the kill zone, at which point the machine gun team will commence firing, then the long leg of the L takes them out.”

“Sir, no RPGs?” asked Goodman.

Jock shook his head. “No RPGs this time. Our client requires a decent photo of the deceased, not a splatter painting. Now, I want a fire team a quarter kilometer before the L, right where the hill peaks, in case they manage to turn around or get nervous. This team will also act as our spotters.

"A quarter kilometer beyond the L, I want another machine gun team, just in case they follow SOP and mash the gas and somehow get through our first ambush. We’ll have eight men in the grass keeping rifles along the long leg of the L. You have likely already noted the rifle upgrades, as well as the armor-piercing rounds. No one gets out alive.”

“Understood,” we chorused, then went to establish our positions.

I was between Goodman and Four-eyes. “Hey Falkland,” Goodman said to me. “How come we don’t just have some guys in the road pretending to be a road crew? Hard-hats and a barricade and all that. Maybe a flare. We could get them to slow down, then pow!”

“I dunno,” I said.

“Well, I do,” Four-eyes said. “You do that and they’ll know something is up. Guys that do security for important people would smell that old trick a kilometer away. A group of military-age guys hanging around a barrier in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night? Might as well put up a billboard that says ‘free assassinations ahead.’”

“Oh. That makes sense,” Goodman nodded. “I never got to do this kind of cloak and dagger stuff before.”

“Stick around,” I said. “We also do windows.”

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Bomber Bolton for NSA

I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. 
- Donald Trump

Looks like the neocons may be coming back. But, as always, whenever Trump is at the center of the activity, don't rush to judgment. Given what is going on behind the scenes, this may have nothing to do with Bolton's "first strike on North Korea and bomb Iran" lunacy.

Then again, that was only three years ago. On the third hand, McMaster was also an aggressive hawk who wanted war with both North Korea and Russia. So, this may be a lateral move.

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Hello, fellow Catholics

Now we have a pretty good idea what the response to being pushed out of the circles of power of the Democratic Party will be, at least on the (D) side. They're going to run (((Hispanic))) and (((Asian))) candidates.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) will stoke speculation that he is considering running for president in 2020 when he makes several stops across Iowa next month.

Garcetti will travel to the Quad Cities in April to deliver a keynote address at the Scott County Democrats' annual Red, White and Blue Dinner, his political spokesman said.

Later, he will make stops in Altoona, at a Carpenters Union training facility, and Des Moines, where he will take a tour with Mayor Frank Cownie (D). Garcetti will also stop in Waterloo, where his wife Amy has family.

In a statement, Garcetti spokesman Yusef Robb strongly hinted that the second-term Democratic mayor would begin pitching himself in the first-in-the-nation caucus state as an anti-Washington solution.
Don't be surprised if Garcetti shows up in 2019 with a warchest that will blow away Kamala, Biden, and any other would-be candidates. The only thing that prevents me from identifying him as the Democrats' candidate for 2020 right now is that it is too soon to tell if he is willing to take the risk of being steamrolled by Trumpslide 2020 or if he's merely positioning for a 2024 run. My initial take is that he will go all-in for 2020 if the Democrats overperform in the mid-term elections, but he may be taking a card out of the Bill Clinton playbook regardless of how they do.

Why is a mere mayor on the presidential radar? Because, with a name like Garcetti, he might sound like an Italian Catholic, but he's not.

His mother, Sukey Roth, is of Russian Jewish descent. His maternal grandfather, Harry Roth, who founded the clothing brand Louis Roth & Co., was a Jewish immigrant from Russia. It has also been reported that Garcetti's family is of Litvak descent.

An anti-Washington solution indeed.


Benny gets bitch-slapped

It's no secret to the readers here that Ben Shapiro has absolutely no idea what he's talking about when it comes to economics. That's why it's amusing to see Spencer Morrison kicking him around so easily. The Littlest Chickenhawk knows he's not in my league, which is why he ran away from debates with me twice, but he clearly didn't realize the full extent of his ignorance or he would have kept his mouth shut rather than getting steamrolled on the issue of trade and tariffs.

Morrison addresses Shapiro's inept response to him in a second article that really needs to be read in its entirety to appreciate its contemptuous nature:
Shapiro begins with two rather embarrassing mistakes. First, he misstates the name of this publication. Second, he commits a call to authority fallacy—precisely the error I accused him of last week. Shapiro writes:

The reality is that my arguments on free trade have been supported by every major free market economist in history . . .

This is a tautology: of course most “free market” (read: Austrian School) economists support free trade—just as most American School economists support tariffs, or most labor economists support unions. Does the fact that most Marxist economists support socialism prove that socialism works? No. This is sophistry.

Shapiro is also a hypocrite: did he not make his name by ignoring the so-called “97 percent of climate scientists” who believe climate change is anthropogenic, or the (I imagine) 100 percent of gender studies professors who think biological sex and gender identity are different? Why is Shapiro so willing to ignore “experts” on climate change or feminism, yet treat them like (false) gods when it comes to economics? Shapiro would be wise to remain ever-skeptical, and heed the aphorism: Take not the merchant at his word, but trust only by the skin of his fruit.

Finally, Shapiro says the articles I cited “do not mention tariffs,” and they are therefore irrelevant. This is like saying a paper on Elizabethan England, that never mentions Shakespeare, is irrelevant to studying Shakespeare—really? This is the difference between scholarship and parroting: my sources lend support to a novel conclusion, while Shapiro clearly googled “path-dependency” and cited the first book he could find—a case study of Microsoft.

While the book does discuss path-dependency, it does so explicitly within the context of a single industry, and makes no claim that the findings should be applied between industries. There is a big difference between supporting Microsoft relative to Apple or Google, and supporting America’s entire IT industry relative to foreign competitors. These are different debates, and the nuance is clearly lost on Shapiro....

Shapiro acknowledges that not all industries are of equal value when it comes to economic growth; economic growth depends upon technological development; growth is non-linear in that certain individuals (or industries) generate most of it.

Wait a minute! Shapiro just said that we “cannot tell which sectors will be the most profitable.” Which Ben do we believe? This is a perfect example of domain-specific knowledge in action. When Ben Shapiro has his “businessman” thinking-cap on, he acknowledges that you can tell which industries are most likely to generate economic growth—he even gives us an example. Yet when he has his “economist” thinking-cap on, he denies this categorically. This is what happens when you parrot sources without evaluating them for yourself.
Now that last sentence looks a little familiar, does it not? Perhaps it is merely a coincidence, two parallel observations. Or perhaps not....

Anyhow, it's obvious that Benny was too busy playing the violin and copying Human Events for his weekly WND column to ever play computer games, or he would understand the basic concept of path dependency that every turn-based Civ or RTS player has had to master. The little guy somehow managed to graduate cum laude from Harvard Law School without ever reaching the level of knowledge possessed by the average computer gamer.

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Shut up, Creepy Joe

At least when Donald Trump talked about grabbing women, they were actually adult women:
Former Vice President Joe Biden said he would "beat the hell out of" President Donald Trump if they were in high school over his crude comments about women.

"When a guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, 'I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it' and then said, 'I made a mistake,'" Biden said Tuesday of Trump, according to video of the remarks posted on Facebook by the University of Miami College Democrats.

"They asked me would I like to debate this gentleman, and I said no. I said, 'If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him,'" said Biden, getting laughter and applause from the crowd at the University of Miami.
And Trump didn't do it on camera either. But Creepy Uncle Joe doesn't just grab women. He totally creeps on them, especially if they're little girls.

I hope Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee. We already saw how effectively the God-Emperor used the rhetorical term "Crooked Hillary". Imagine how much mileage he'd get out of "Creepy Joe".

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Infogalactic update

We made some major changes to the Infogalactic structure yesterday. While most of the work is interior stuff that will not be readily apparent to the user, we have significantly expanded our storage and processing capabilities while reducing our monthly burn rate by about one-third. This means that we are running about twice as fast and about 2.7 times more efficiently than before, while giving us considerably more control over our backend.

What this means, as you will see, is that our search time has been cut in half again. Just copy and paste :i vox day into the search bar of Brave and you will see what I mean.

Thanks very much to the Burn Unit, who continue to keep Infogalactic moving forward. And you should not fail to note that the Planetary Knowledge Core is actively updating itself, as even recent events such as March Madness 2018 are already documented online.

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Mailvox: Stupid cons and Smoot-Hawley

Sean asks about an old conservative trade chestnut:
The Conservatives on talk radio keep screaming about Smoot-Hawley. Those tarriffs if I remember right, the prevailing wisdom made the depression worse. What is the counter argument to that and how does it apply to what is going on now? Just curious. I have a hard time grasping arguments, and I know Vox is right but I would just like to better understand why the Levin's are wrong.
I really do not understand why conservatives insist on continuing to pay attention to ignorant and deceitful posers like (((Ben Shapiro))) and (((Mark Levin))). These guys simply do not know what they are talking about and it is absolutely and eminently clear to everyone who does that they neither know the basic facts involved nor understand the core conceptual issues that make those facts important.

Every single talking head who makes any reference whatsoever to Smoot-Hawley is a poser and a fraud who knows nothing about economics or economic history. This is basically a variant of the "Um, Ricardo?" pseudo-rebuttal to an argument for tariffs or other forms of protectionism. It is proof that the speaker has heard about the subject, but doesn't actually know the subject at all.

The point is so trivial that I dealt with it in a single paragraph in The Return of the Great Depression ten years ago and haven't seen the need to mention it again since.

For many years, it was supposed that the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930 played a major role in the economic contraction of the Great Depression. As more economists are gradually coming to realize, this was unlikely to have been the case for several reasons. First, the 15.5 percent annual decline in exports from 1929 to 1933 was less precipitous than the pre-tariff 18.3 percent decline from 1920 to 1922. Second, because the amount of imports also fell, the net effect of the $328 million reduction in the balance of trade on the economy amounted to only 0.3 percent of 1929 GDP. Third, the balance of trade turned negative and by 1940 had increased to nearly ten times the size of the 1929 positive balance while the economy was growing.

Unless Levin is concocting some new and highly improbable mathematical scenario based on chaos theory and the Smoot-Hawley butterfly, he's flat-out wrong. To put it in more simple terms, there was nowhere nearly enough international trade taking place at the time to cause or account for the Great Depression. Whoever originally came up with that idea didn't know what they were talking about and didn't understand economics. And neither does anyone who still takes the ridiculous idea seriously.

The reason the Great Depression happened was the same reason that the financial crisis of 2008 happened. Everyone was overleveraged and the total amount of money being borrowed collapsed. That is why an average of 1,287 banks failed every year from 1930 to 1933. The historical credit collapse had vastly more impact on the economy than a smaller annual decline in exports than had been experienced seven years before as a result of the Fordney–McCumber tariff act.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

That suspicious impartiality

It's rather remarkable that the journalists attempting to attack the credibility of Russia Today don't realize what they are implicitly admitting about the BBC, Sky TV, CNN, and other Western media organizations:
Staffed in London mainly by Western journalists, a cursory viewing of RT might suggest a respectable international broadcaster in the mould of the BBC, Sky and CNN. It broadcasts daily, a mix of news bulletins, talk shows — on which many peers and MPs, including Mr Corbyn, have appeared — and documentaries.

Its viewing figures in the UK are minuscule (560,000 people tune into RT at some time during the week, compared with 6.1 million for Sky and 10.4 million for BBC News), but its output is amplified by YouTube channels and social media feeds which cater for an audience of ‘metrosexuals and bums’, according to one rival Russian channel.

And while it is true that many stories are delivered impartially, this selective impartiality appears to be a strategic ploy. According to Ben Nimmo of the Atlantic Council, an American international affairs think-tank: ‘[RT’s] job in quiet times is to build up an audience, so it can propagandise to them in crises. You must not confuse RT with bona fide journalism: not all its output is propaganda, but its purpose is.’

Whenever Russia interests are at stake — as in Ukraine, Crimea and Syria — it pumps out programmes, videos and tweets that almost invariably toe the Moscow line.
How terrible of them to reliably be impartial on most issues, only to stick to a narrative on matters important to Russia. This is very different from the BBC, Sky TV, and CNN, where "bona fide journalism" means all propaganda all the time.

The purpose of all media is propaganda. It is all rhetoric. It is intended to persuade, not to simply inform. The big difference is that Russia Today doesn't feel any need to constantly uphold the neoliberal world order's narrative all the time.

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New designs from Crypto.Fashion

Crypto.Fashion and Dark Lord Designs have FOUR new t-shirt designs for you. This one is my favorite of the four: AMERICANS Are Dreamers Too. So white and triggering!

Here are the others:
Also, thanks to everyone who signed up to check out Idka today. I'll see you there! If you haven't been approved yet, don't worry, I'll hit one more round before turning in.


Voxiversity 003

The third Voxiversity video is now live! This is another short video, and one that conclusively disproves the oft-heard assertion that trade wars are always bad for the economy.

Episode Three: Trade War: What is it good for?
We will be following this up shortly with a bonus fourth episode thanks to CGTN graciously granting permission for me to upload an edited version of the appearance on Dialogue that is referenced here. If you are interested in supporting us making more of these videos, consider becoming a Voxiversity backer. Some initial comments:
  • Vox Day hits it out of the park again.
  • Awesome Video - they just keep getting better!! I will be sharing this with everyone. 
  • These just keep getting better, especially in terms of production quality. Happy to be a monthly Voxiversity support. Keep em coming!
  • The learning curve here is working far, far beyond any reasonable expectations. I know you are uncomfortable in front of the camera, but this video is absolutely fantastic. Your collaborator has figured out how to work around whatever deficiencies you may feel you have and is making your point for you marvelously. 
  • I am impressed how much these improved since the first one, primarily on the audio side. Good stuff.
You should find that a link to this will serve as an effective rebuttal to anyone who is running around shrieking about Smoot-Hawley, David Ricardo, and how Trump's tariffs are inevitably going to lead to a trade war that will lead to a second Great Depression.

I think this is my favorite comment so far: I almost feel sorry for the free traders...

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Forget Facebook

It's all Idka now. As the Brainstormers know, we've been trying out a new Swedish Facebook alternative called Idka. It has a lot of advantages over Facebook, particularly because they don't use your data, sell your data, or invade your privacy. Better yet, they let you control your groups and organizations very strictly. It's got chat too.

We've already got an Arkhaven organization there which we're using in a quasi-Dropbox capacity and I've set up an ELOE group there as well, so if you're not interested in having Mark Zuckerberg sell the pictures of your cousin's children to sketchy companies in Turkey and Indonesia, I would strongly suggest getting off Facebook and giving Idka a whirl. You can find me there as well, and if you would like an invite to the ELOE group, let me know on Idka.

Just to be clear, I have no interest in Idka nor do I have anything to do with it, it's just a new tech company with a better (if occasionally esoteric) interface and a lack of interest in exploiting user data like a Muslim rape gang exploiting a drug-addicted 14-year-old British girl without a father in Rotherham.
In the long run, Facebook wants to make its product even more immersive and personal than it is now. It wants people to buy video chatting and personal assistant devices for their homes, and plans to announce those products this spring, say people familiar with the matter. It wants users to dive into Facebook-developed virtual worlds. It wants them to use Facebook Messenger to communicate with businesses, and to store their credit-card data on the app so they can use it to make payments to friends.

Employees have begun to worry that the company won’t be able to achieve its biggest goals if users decide that Facebook isn’t trustworthy enough to hold their data. At the meeting on Tuesday, the mood was especially grim. One employee told a Bloomberg Businessweek reporter that the only time he’d felt as uncomfortable at work, or as responsible for the world’s problems, was the day Donald Trump won the presidency.
It looks like Mark Zuckerberg is about to learn the difference between influence and power.
Lawmakers are demanding to hear directly from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg on the growing controversy over the misuse of its data by Trump-linked Cambridge Analytica, as the social network confronts its most serious political crisis ever in Washington.

"I want to know why this happened, and what’s the extent of the damage, and how they’re going to fix it moving forward," Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said Tuesday when asked about the briefings. Facebook executives, she added, "aren’t coming yet, but they better come."
What Senator Klobuchar doesn't understand is that Facebook's business model, indeed, its entire existence, depends upon being able to violate her privacy concerns. And so much for trying to direct the selected outrage and Steve Bannon and the Trump campaign.
Facebook users are waking up to just how much private information they have handed over to third-party apps. Users are sharing their shock on Twitter at discovering that thousands of software plugins for Facebook have been gathering their data. Some of the better known apps that may be connected to your profile include those of popular sites like Amazon, Buzzfeed, Expedia, Etsy, Instagram, Spotify and Tinder.


Trump leaves May hanging out to dry

I'm getting a little tired of people who are dumb enough to keep lunging at the first word that comes out of Trump's mouth when he is confronted by the media about some new development. OF COURSE HE DOESN'T TELL THEM THE TRUTH! If the God-Emperor was in the habit of practicing perfect honesty when speaking to a group of people who are out to destroy him, he wouldn't have been nominated, let alone elected. FFS, he's been President for over a year now, have you learned nothing about how the man operates?

Meanwhile, the British media is freaking out because despite whatever he is supposed to have told Theresa May, President Trump has made it eminently clear that he has no intention whatsoever of backing Britain in their idiotic neocon-inspired war on Russia:
Trump defies aides to congratulate Putin on election 'victory' in phone call and fails to challenge him over Salisbury nerve agent outrage. Donald Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin on reelection in telephone call. Overture will fuel fears that allies' support for Britain is less than full-hearted.

Donald Trump has risked a split with Britain by congratulating Vladimir Putin on his re-election - and failing to mention the Salisbury nerve agent scandal. The US president seemingly defied the advice of aides to praise Mr Putin in a phone call despite UK fury at Russia's involvement in the poisoning of a former spy. Mr Trump did not challenge his counterpart over the outrage on British soil, and said afterwards that they had a 'very good call'.

The news will raise fresh concerns about the commitment of the UK's allies to hold Russia to account over the use of military-grade Novichok poison against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Translation: the president knows perfectly well that Russia was not responsible and that it was a false flag. Now, here is a heuristic that I have found very useful in understanding the words and actions of Donald Trump. If he has said two contradictory things, and one of them is to his base and the other is to the media, the thing that will be false is what he is telling the media.  Because unlike Clinton and Obama, the media is not on his side. Unlike Bush and Bush, he knows that the media is not on his side.

Meanwhile, the God-Emperor would do well to fire those treacherous aides who are seeking to push war with Russia Russia Russia. It won't surprise me if he does, or to learn that he used the episode to smoke out more Deep Staters in his employ.

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Electing a new people

It's called "immigration-based identity politics" and it's merely a matter of scale:
Drop into a political gathering almost anywhere in America, and you can usually name the party just by looking: Democrats increasingly reflect the racially mixed demographics of the nation’s cities; Republicans remain overwhelmingly white, older and more rural.

That hasn’t always been true — a generation ago, the voters supporting the two parties were far more alike.

Now, a new, large-scale study has documented how much the mix of voters who support each of the two parties has changed. The conclusion: The two party coalitions are now more different than at any point in the past generation.

The Democrats have changed the most, as the mix of voters who support them has grown less white, less religious, more college-educated, younger and more liberal over the past decade, according to the study by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.
Nothing has changed except a) the source nations, and b) the numbers. Previous generations of immigrants all voted Democrat too and continue to do so today. Irish, Italians, Jews, they all voted for more government handouts and in the interests of their own people at the expense of the native stock. Now the Chinese, Mexicans, Vietnamese, and Somalis are doing the same thing, it's just that there are more of them, they look more obviously different, and their values and traditions are even more opposed to American values and traditions.

Meanwhile, except for the growing number of single white women who need government support because they can't provide for themselves and their illegitimate children, white people are increasingly gravitating to a single party in order to defend what remains of their interests.

So, what Pew is observing is nothing less than the large-scale transformation of white people from ideology-based politics to identity-based politics in a single generation. As I predicted several years ago, the two major parties will be the White Party and the Not-White Party, regardless of what they are officially called in order to maintain the pretense of a single nation.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The logic of empire

The Z-Man has a good post on the inertia of the more traditional elite and their inability to recognize or do anything about the problems that their neo-liberal world order cannot address:
The first time I did any serious reading of the Roman Empire, the thought that was always with me was why they never thought to downsize. The cost of conquering Gaul was relatively low, so it made sense to do it, but the cost of hanging onto it never seemed to make sense. The same was even more obvious with Britania. By the third century, it should have been obvious, at least from our perspective, that the Empire needed to be downsized and re-organized. Yet, that was never a part of the logic of the Empire.

I had a similar thought when reading about the Thirty Years War the first time. The Habsburgs were exhausting themselves trying to preserve something that was probably not worth the effort. Of course, we look at these things in hindsight and from a modern perspective. It seems silly to care about the local religious practices, but important people did care about these things and still do. Still, when I read about the rise and fall of empires, I end up thinking through the alternatives, wondering why they were never considered.

The answer is probably the simplest one. People, even the shrewdest rulers, live and plan within their allotted time on earth. Even the Chinese, who take the very long view of things, act in the moment most of the time. People can think about how their actions will impact their descendants a century from now, but it will never have the same emotional tug as how their contemporaries think of them in the moment. That’s just human nature. Most men will trade the applause of today for being remembered long after he is dead.

That’s probably what we are seeing with the current struggles of Western elites to keep this house of cards together. The “liberal international order” is the perfection of a solution to problems of the long gone past. From the French Revolution through the Cold War, the great challenge in the West was over borders, economics and conflict resolution. After a long bloody series of experiments, the West finally figured out something that worked to keep the peace, maximize material wealth and settle disputes in an orderly fashion.

The trouble is, the current arrangements are not answering the questions of this age. In fact, they appear to be exacerbating the problems that face the West.
This isn't the whole problem, of course. But it does explain some of the mysterious ineptitude and ineffectual handwaving of the governing elites to even begin to do anything about the problems that are so readily apparent to so many people throughout the West.

Unlike the Romans, however, the West is also burdened by hostile interests, some of them foreign, some of them not, which actively want to destroy all three of the pillars of the West, Christianity, the Graeco-Roman legacy, and the European races.

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"Grossly offensive"

There is observably no free speech in the West anymore, not even for dogs. So, let's bring back the blasphemy laws and start enforcing those that are still on the books, and jail everyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord or is insufficiently respectful of Christianity and thereby Make Western Civilization Great Again.
A dog owner who filmed his girlfriend's pug giving Nazi salutes and put it on YouTube revealed on Tuesday he was found guilty of being 'grossly offensive' online.

Mark Meechan from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, recorded the dog, Buddha, responding to statements such as 'gas the Jews' and 'Sieg Heil' by raising its paw.

The 30-year-old was arrested for allegedly committing a hate crime after he uploaded the footage to YouTube in April of 2016.
Now, how is Ricky Gervais not in jail? Spare us all the high-minded farblegarble about "free speech" and "an open society". Everyone is now aware that it was always just an anti-Christian con.

A self-proclaimed atheist, The Office creator and 2012 Golden Globes host ruffled feathers for portraying himself as Jesus Christ in his "12 Days of Rickmas" PETA campaign.

That is far more grossly offensive than a pug raising its paw. And here is a question. Why wasn't the girlfriend arrested for naming her dog "Buddha"?

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Preparing your sons

Good fathers hope their sons will know peace, but prepare them for war:
“There is a beast in every man, and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand.”—Jorah Mormont

Men were made for violence. It’s part of why they were created. To protect the weak. To fight for themselves and for nations. To compete and to win.

Do you know why men like football? Why they watch boxing? Why Romans watched the gladiators slaughter each other? Because part of men was made for violence and their instincts draw them to it. We cannot suppress human nature. We cannot half-embrace who and what we are—how God made us, and how we are built.
It's fun to play Advanced Squad Leader. But as the late, great Jerry Pournelle taught us, there will be war. And while it's important to learn how to shoot a shotgun, it's arguably even more important to be able to competently direct a combined arms attack on a fortified position, particularly when there is a time limit and enemy reinforcements on the way.

We're just beginning Turn 3 German of ASLSK S24 Sherman Marches West and the outcome is still definitely in doubt. He hasn't found my anti-tank gun, but I foolishly left my PzKpfw IIIN with its 75mm popgun fending off the assault in the center, where it is presently bouncing shells off advancing Russian armor while my late model Tiger 1 is holding down the fort doing nothing on the left flank. But while I haven't managed to deal out much damage, I have been able to chew up two turns without taking any losses, and now I have two platoons of reinforcements arriving.

But win or lose, next up will be our first campaign game, Decision at Elst. And by the way, the latest version of VASL, 6.4.2, running on VASSAL 3.2.17, truly is a work of art. The practical functionality of VASL is still amazing to me even though I've been using it since rk first created it more than 20 years ago.

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Nicolas Sarkozy arrested

Sacre bleu! I have been expecting more than a few high-level arrests to take place as a result of the Draining of the Swamp, but I was not expecting one of them to be a President of the Fifth Republic!
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was placed in custody on Tuesday as part of an investigation that he received millions of euros in illegal financing from the regime of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

A judicial source with direct knowledge of the case told The Associated Press that Sarkozy was being held at the Nanterre police station, west of Paris. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Sarkozy and his former chief of staff have denied wrongdoing in the case, which involves funding for his winning 2007 presidential campaign.

Though an investigation has been underway since 2013, the case gained traction some three years later when French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine told the online investigative site, Mediapart, that he delivered suitcases from Libya containing 5 million euros ($6.2 million) in cash to Sarkozy and his former chief of staff Claude Gueant.

A lawyer for Sarkozy did not immediately respond to a message from the AP seeking comments. Investigators are examining claims that Gadhafi’s regime secretly gave Sarkozy 50 million euros overall for the 2007 campaign.
Now, it is possible that this has nothing at all to do with Trump's swamp-draining. But considering all the shady connections between Clinton, Obama, Libya, Gadhafi, and the death of the US Ambassador to Libya, I tend to doubt it.

Macron is certainly proving to be a more interesting, and potentially more independent, character than I expected him to be.

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No travel for SJWs

China unveils the next step in Big Social:
China said it will begin applying its so-called social credit system to flights and trains and stop people who have committed misdeeds from taking such transport for up to a year.

People who would be put on the restricted lists included those found to have committed acts like spreading false information about terrorism and causing trouble on flights, as well as those who used expired tickets or smoked on trains, according to two statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website on Friday.

Those found to have committed financial wrongdoings, such as employers who failed to pay social insurance or people who have failed to pay fines, would also face these restrictions, said the statements which were dated 2 March.

The move is in line with President’s Xi Jinping’s plan to construct a social credit system based on the principle of “once untrustworthy, always restricted,” said one of the notices which was signed by eight ministries, including the country’s aviation regulator and the Supreme People’s Court.

China has flagged plans to roll out a system that will allow government bodies to share information on its citizens’ trustworthiness and issue penalties based on a so-called social credit score.
This is a brilliant application of what Big Social is doing, only instead of allowing the hand-picked SJWs of the Twitter Trust and Safety Council or the Facebook-endorsed SPLC to do the restricting, the Chinese government will do it. And why not? The basic principle has been established and broadly accepted, from Twitter to the Her Majesty's Government. As Q said, "why are trips allowed?"

Imagine if the God-Emperor and his Grand Inquisitor were to launch a similar program in the United States. After all, who has proven themselves more untrustworthy than Facebook? How could the SJWs legitimately complain if Mark Zuckerberg and his executives found themselves placed under permanent restriction? This principle of "once untrustworthy, always restricted" is merely an adaptation of Facebook's own approach to banning thoughtcrime and legally controlling the public discourse, and it represents a welcome return to pre-Enlightenment philosophy on the part of a people who were always rightly dubious about it being genuine. There can be no "freedom of speech" in any non-Western, non-Christian, non-American society, because the concept doesn't even make sense in any other context.

If you wanted to keep what passed for free speech in America, then you shouldn't have permitted entry to Catholics and Jews, followed by wave after wave of various peoples whose beliefs and cultural traditions are entirely antithetical to the concept. And given those waves of immigration, you can't be surprised that it's no longer even possible to publicly state that a man is not a woman without negative legal and social and employment and financial consequences.

The devil, of course, is in the definitions. But the devil is out. Let's not shed too many tears for the SJWs once they discover the difference between "influence" and "power", for as another Chinese leader once said, "power comes from the barrel of a gun".  It does not come from control of a momentarily popular software application.

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Monday, March 19, 2018

I think I feel a drop or two

Does the storm cometh at last?

Judging by the way the media is already starting to freak out and slinging the term "conspiracy theory" around, it is beginning to look that way.

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Facebook is in SERIOUS trouble

It turns out that the Obama campaign did the same thing that Cambridge Analytica did... only with Facebook's full knowledge and approval:
A former Obama campaign official is claiming that Facebook knowingly allowed them to mine massive amounts of Facebook data — more than they would’ve allowed someone else to do — because they were supportive of the campaign.

That’s because the more than 1 million Obama backers who signed up for the [Facebook-based app] gave the campaign permission to look at their Facebook friend lists. In an instant, the campaign had a way to see the hidden young voters. Roughly 85% of those without a listed phone number could be found in the uploaded friend lists. What’s more, Facebook offered an ideal way to reach them. “People don’t trust campaigns. They don’t even trust media organizations,” says Goff. “Who do they trust? Their friends.”

The campaign called this effort targeted sharing. And in those final weeks of the campaign, the team blitzed the supporters who had signed up for the app with requests to share specific online content with specific friends simply by clicking a button. More than 600,000 supporters followed through with more than 5 million contacts, asking their friends to register to vote, give money, vote or look at a video designed to change their mind.
Let's see... 5 million times $40,000 is $200 billion in potential FTC fines. Another $200 billion on top of the $2 trillion they might already owe.

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The machine uprising has begun

I'm still trying to figure out how self-driving cars can possibly be economically viable, considering the ruinous insurance costs that will be involved:
A self-driving Uber car hit and killed a pedestrian as she was crossing the road in the first fatality involving the controversial fleet of autonomous vehicles. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was hit by an SUV around 10pm on Sunday in Tempe, Arizona, when she was walking outside of a crosswalk. She was immediately rushed to the hospital where she died from her injuries, ABC 15 reported. Tempe Police say the SUV was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash.


The patience of the Grand Inquisitor

I have to admit, despite being an early fan, I have been exceedingly frustrated with Jeff Sessions's seeming passivity myself. But it's hard to argue with the point that he has quietly made more progress draining the Swamp than anyone in the government that we've ever seen.
Sessions is the quintessential Eagle Scout.  He will follow the rules down to the last subclause and will not make his move until every "t" has been crossed and every "i" dotted.

We saw the first results of this approach last Friday – in dealing with Andrew McCabe, this century's prime example of a "cookie full of arsenic."

Sessions waited until the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (which is run by Assistant Director Candice Will, who was appointed by Robert Mueller, of all people) recommended that McCabe be fired.  He then had McCabe officially informed beforehand, following established procedure to the letter.

This comes under the rubric of "strategy," a concept unfortunately foreign to too many active conservatives.  A large number of cons recognize only one course of action: a headlong charge against the closest target while howling at the top of their lungs.  Not only do they dismiss any more subtle form of action, but they often attack those engaging in it of cowardice or corruption, or of being an "Alinskyite-Obamaist commie stooge" – despite the fact that their kamikaze runs usually end up heading over the nearest cliff.

So it was with Sessions, who has been routinely dismissed as "paid off," being "asleep under his desk," or as "part of the swamp."

Sessions took his time, did things according to the book, and dealt the swamp a good, stiff blow while leaving its denizens little recourse but to throw tantrums in the media, which they have been doing the weekend long.  Compare this to all the would-be conservative champions – McCarthy, LeBoutillier, Moore – piled up under the cliff while the leftist monolith trundles on nearly unscathed.
At this point, having taken multiple scalps at the FBI alone, the man has earned more than a little slack. There is some reason to be optimistic that the winning in this regard hasn't even seriously begun.

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Why I delinked Alpha Game

A number of people have asked me why I stopped blogging at Alpha Game, and then, delisted it from the Day Trips here. The answer is pretty simple: I got bored of the subject, bored of the discussions of the subject, and was beginning to find the people who wanted to discuss the subject to be increasingly tedious as well.

The social heuristic of the socio-sexual hierarchy is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable ideas I have ever encountered. In my opinion, it is up there with Taleb's concept of uncertainty and the Black Swan. I use it effectively on an almost daily basis, both in my work and in my personal life. I use it to anticipate and avoid problems, to artfully resolve situations that arise, to advise others, and to plan for the future. I use it to present a broader range of characters in my writing and to better understand the perspectives from which the authors I am editing are writing.

Which is why I'm simply not at all interested in trying to prove its legitimacy or its utility to doubters anymore. I'm not interested in trying to explain socio-sexual theory 101 when I am actively implementing its practical applications. Nor am I interested in listening to the endless nattering from the gammas that a) gamma isn't even a thing, b) there is nothing wrong with being a gamma, c) being a gamma is better than being an alpha, d) they're totally alphas when they're not busy being Navy SEALs, and e) they're not gammas, I'm the gamma.

And above all, I am aggressively disinterested in listening to the constant and inescapable refrain of "what about me" and "where do I rank" heard from nearly every male individual who encounters the theory for the first time. I am not the socio-sexual police nor do I convey a place on the hierarchy to anyone... and the mere fact that anyone would turn to me to provide it is indicative of a complete failure to grasp the concept in the first place. I am merely an observer of human behavior who happens to be aware of a few behavioral patterns that most people reliably exhibit.

Wardogs Inc. #1: Battlesuit Bastards

All war is murder for profit. 

Some organizations are just more open about it.

WARDOGS INCORPORATED is one of the largest and most professional mercenary corporations operating in the Kantillon subsector. If you need a bodyguard, an assassination team, or an armored cavalry regiment complete with air support, WARDOGS Inc. can provide it for you... for a very steep price.

Tommy Falkland is proud to be a Wardog. And he's delighted when WDI's executives sign a massive contract to arrange for a little regime change on a no-account low-tech planet that looks like a highly profitable cakewalk. But when the transportation company unexpectedly fails to deliver their armor and artillery dirtside, Tommy and his fellow Wardogs find themselves caught in the middle of the killing zone.

And there they learn that bullets will kill a man dead just as quickly as a plasma bolt.

Created by Vox Day and set in the universe of Quantum Mortis, BATTLESUIT BASTARDS is the first book in the Wardogs Inc. military science fiction series written by G.D. Stark. Available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Some of you have been saying you want more Quantum Mortis. Well, here is more Quantum Mortis. Graven Tower is not the protagonist, but the events taking place in the new series are roughly contiguous with those of A Man Disrupted and are occurring in the same subsector. You can consider Wardogs Inc. to be one of our responses to the stunning success of Nick Cole's bestselling Galaxy's Edge series.... but there are others on the way soon. And yes, Wardogs Inc. will be appearing in comic book form, illustrated and colored by the two gentlemen responsible for the action-packed cover.

And "action-packed" barely begins to describe this series. It is, like the Wardogs themselves, off the chain. An excerpt from Chapter 1:

We unceremoniously stuffed the bodies into the small personnel airlock and flushed them out into space.

“Sergeant Thrasher, cargo is clean,” I reported.

“Find anything interesting?”

“Mostly just industrial equipment. Construction stuff,” I said. Four-eyes cut in, “To be precise, mining equipment.”

“Roger,” Squid said. “No problems?”

“Nothing illegal. Some more slug-throwers though, in wood crates,” I said.

“Not our business. Everyone meet up on the bridge in five. We’ve cleared our bodies here, we’ll finish there.”

“Roger,” I replied. Park hammered the tops back on the boxes, then exited cargo. I reset the seals on the door and we headed up to the bridge. It wasn’t a huge ship, so no lifts. Just ladders and stairs like an old atomic model.

We entered the bridge just as Private Ward was dragging out the body of the captain. Park saluted the dead man ironically and Jock laughed.

“Now what?” I said.

“Now we wait for a new crew,” said Squid from the late captain’s chair, a flask in his hand. “Lieutenant says their ship is on the way and they should be here within the hour. At ease for now.”

I looked around the bridge. Everything looked clean and well-maintained, though it was an older ship. Garamond read the name plate on the wall. Registration 1001x235htfg22789.113. Gruppo ENIL-EX, Valatesta.

I took off my helmet and set it on the navigation table next to a personal tablet, still displaying a colorful picture story its owner would never finish. Probably lots of time to read on freighters.

Almost exactly an hour later, a sleek black transport pulled alongside and hailed us. A few moments later, the boarding party joined us. The men wore the same navy blue jumpsuits of the guys we’d just spaced. Gruppo ENIL-EX uniforms, I assumed.

Their leader engaged with Sergeant Thrasher and a severe little man walked up to me. “Do you mind?” he said, then powered up the nav board. He tossed the tablet onto a chair as I gathered up my helmet.

“Good to meet you too,” I said, getting out of his way.

“Hmm,” he said, keying in some numbers.

“So,” I pressed, partly because I was annoyed, “got a hot date, then?”

“Not likely on Ulixis,” he sniffed.

“What? You don’t like furry chicks?” I remember jokes about the women of Ulixis, though I really only had a vague idea where the place was.

“Go away, Wardog, I’m working,” he said, waving his hand dismissively.

I considered shooting him in the back of the head, just on principle, then decided I’d rather not lose my bonus today. Squid didn’t take kindly to freelancing.

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Facebook: failure or fraud?

It's fascinating to see that after all the ways that Big Social is spying on everyone, what has the media in an uproar is the belated realization that a sword can always cut two ways. They didn't mind when they knew it was the Obama, Hillary, and the SJW-converged corporations that were data-mining, but now that they realize the Right - and in particular, Steve Bannon and Donald Trump - can and have done exactly the same thing, they suddenly have reservations about the wisdom of letting organizations have access to that level of data.
Facebook is facing an existential test, and its leadership is failing to address it.

Good leaders admit mistakes, apologize quickly, show up where they're needed and show their belief in the company by keeping skin in the game.

Facebook executives, in contrast, react to negative news with spin and attempts to bury it. Throughout the last year, every time bad news has broken, executives have downplayed its significance. Look at its public statements last year about how many people had seen Russian-bought election ads — first it was 10 million, then it was 126 million.

Top execs dodged Congress when it was asking questions about Russian interference. They are selling their shares at a record clip.

The actions of Facebook execs now recall how execs at Nokia and Blackberry reacted after the iPhone emerged. Their revenues kept growing for a couple years -- and they dismissed the threats. By the time users started leaving in droves, it was too late.

There's no outside attacker bringing Facebook down. It's a circular firing squad that stems from the company's fundamental business model of collecting data from users, and using that data to sell targeted ads. For years, users went along with the bargain. But after almost a year of constant negative publicity, their patience may be waning.

Facebook did not initially respond to questions or a request for comment from CNBC.
Here is a less generous theory. We know that Facebook was being propped up by the CIA from the start. But the CIA is now under the control of the God-Emperor. Which means that a) Facebook's dirty laundry is more likely to come out, and, b) Facebook is not going to be financially propped up the way it has been from the very beginning.

Which, of course, raises the interesting question about whether it ever was a viable business at all. Or even a legal one.
Facebook may face more legal trouble than you might think in the wake of Cambridge Analytica's large-scale data harvesting. Former US officials David Vladeck and Jessica Rich have told the Washington Post that Facebook's data sharing may violate the FTC consent decree requiring that it both ask for permission before sharing data and report any authorized access. The "Thisisyourdigitallife" app at the heart of the affair asked for permission from those who directly used it, but not the millions of Facebook friends whose data was taken in the process.

If the FTC did find violations, Facebook could be on the hook for some very hefty fines -- albeit fines that aren't likely to be as hefty as possible. The decree asks for fines as large as $40,000 per person, but that would amount to roughly $2 trillion. Regulators like the FTC historically push for fines they know companies can pay, which would suggest fines that are 'just' in the billion-dollar range. Given that there are already multiple American and European investigations underway, any financial penalty would be just one piece of a larger puzzle.
Would you not just love to see Facebook hit with a $2 trillion fine?

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Print editions: the verdict

The early reviews of the first Arkhaven comics are very good. This comes as a relief, because I'm not talking about the art, the characters, the writing, or the story, but about the physical production quality, which was the one element that was a known unknown from the very start of the entire project. We have taken a very aggressive pricing strategy, which combined with the 6.14 x 9.21 royal octavo size and the help of Ingram has enabled us to hit a $3.00 retail price with a full regular distribution discount.

Just got my Jeeves and QM today. Vox, these things are gorgeous. A little smaller than I had calculated, but absolutely beautiful. I don't think upsizing is worth it, given that this is a lovely product as is. And the coloring is amazing. That background in one panel on page 10 of Right Ho #1 is major league. Fantastic work.
- E Deploribus Unum

I received my QM and Jeeves yesterday. The artwork is well done, with background detail to sustain the story (and in Jeeves case, add more hilarity to the upper class tweaking). The color palettes work very well for both. Dialogues boxes are good, with nice size on the "tell" boxes needed for story background. Nothing looks compressed or stretched out of shape. The smaller size (about 6 x 9 inches) is easier to pack and take places, but still large enough to handle read easily. The heavy cover is amazing - no smudges, deformation, hard to tear. Great idea. Now, about the Hildy poster ... any complaints about sexism halt at the muzzle of her weapon. She would be nearly as popular as Dynamique or Rebel.
- SilentDraco

My shipment arrived today. Couldn’t be more pleased. Beautiful work. The top trim on Jeeves was a little tight (though well within industry standards and not worth carping about), and QM was perfect. Colors, paper, binding – everything is wonderful. Bravo! You guys need to be patting yourselves on the back for hitting it out of the park this early in the game. I do notice the smaller size, but the product is definitely nicer than the average comic, and I’d be really surprised if anyone will care. It does not seem worth it to me to upsize it at greater cost. It will still rack in the comic stores just fine. Frankly, I can’t believe you can sell this for $3.00.
- AP

If you haven't picked up a copy or two yet, you can do so in the Arkhaven section of the Castalia Direct Store. Our next two print editions will be premium Dark Legion projects that will be 10x7 and priced at $6.99 for the 40-page Rebel Dead Revenge teaser and $9.99 for the 64-page Chicago Typewriter. After that, we'll get Right Ho, Jeeves #2 and Quantum Mortis: A Man Disrupted #2 out.

All four of these will be Gold Logo editions. The next two after that will be Alt★Hero #1: Crackdown and Chuck Dixon's Avalon #1: Conscience of the King, both of which will be 10x7 and $3.99. And since everyone loves Rebel, here is a panel from her behind the wheel of her Mustang from Alt★Hero #2: Falls the Hammer.

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A portrait of the fall of Britain

Read the notice in full. Note the grammatical deficiencies. Then read John Derbyshire's thoughts on the matter:
Young Ahmed sneaked into Britain hidden in a truck that brought him through the Channel Tunnel from France. British immigration officers intercepted him. Ahmed told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

Let me just repeat that: He told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

But Ahmed was not refused entry. Instead, he was given free accommodation, first in a charity shelter, then in a pleasant middle-class foster home. [Betrayed by the ‘shy and polite’ boy they took into their home: Iraqi asylum seeker, 18, is found guilty of trying to blow up 93 Parsons Green commuters with bomb built with his foster parents’ Tupperware while pair were on holiday, Daily Mail, March 16, 2018] He was sent to school, at British taxpayer expense of course. His teachers reported him telling them it was his duty as a Muslim to hate Britain.

Today, Friday, March 16, 2018, Ahmed was convicted of making a bomb and trying to detonate it in a London subway train last Fall. Fortunately, the thing didn’t explode properly; but it still left 51 subway passengers with serious burns.

Let me just repeat one more time: He told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

Enoch Powell got it right: “Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”

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Big Social Reeducation

YouTube and Google are teaming up with Wikipedia to dynamically brainwash YouTube video viewers with unrequested textual reeducation sessions.
SW: This has been a year of fake news and misinformation and we have seen the importance of delivering information to our users accurately. There was a lot of stuff happening in the world a year ago. And we said, look, people are coming to our homepage and if we are just showing them videos of gaming or music and something really significant happened in the world, and we are not showing it to them, then in many ways we’re missing this opportunity. We had this discussion internally where people said, you know, ”What do those metrics look like, and are people going to watch that?” We came to the conclusion that it didn’t really matter. What mattered was that we had a responsibility to tell people what was happening in the world. So a year ago, we launched a few things. One of them was this top news shelf. So if you go to search, the information that we show at the top is from authoritative sources, and we limit that to authoritative sources. We also have that you, for example, can be in your home feed with news, looking at gaming, music, other information, something major happens in the world or in your region, and we decide that we’re going to show it to you.

NT: What is authoritative?

SW: Being part of Google, we work with Google News. Google News has a program where different providers can apply to be part of Google News, and then we use a different set of algorithms to determine who within that we consider authoritative. And then based on that we use those news providers in our breaking news shelf, and in our home feed.

NT: And what goes into those algorithms? What are some of the factors you consider when deciding whether something is authoritative or not?

SW: We don’t release what those different factors are. But there could be lots of different things that go into it. These are usually complicated algorithms. You could look at like the number of awards that they have won, like journalistic awards. You can look at the amount of traffic that they have. You could look at the number of people committed to journalistic writing. So, I’m just giving out a few there, but we look at a number of those, and then from that determine—and it’s a pretty broad set. Our goal is to make that fair and accurate.

NT: It’s super complicated because we don’t want to over-bias with established places and make it harder for a new place to come up. Facebook has started evaluating places based on how trustworthy they are and giving out surveys. And one of the obvious problems if you give a survey out and you ask, “Is that trustworthy?” and they’ve never heard of it, they won’t say yes. And that makes it harder for a startup journalistic entity. YouTube is, of course, the place where people start, so that’s tricky.

SW: It is tricky. There are many factors to consider. But the other thing we want to consider here is if there’s something happening in the world, and there is an important news event, we want to be delivering the right set of information. And so, we felt that there was responsibility for us to do that and for us to do that well. We released that a year ago. But I think what we’ve seen is that it’s not really enough. There’s continues to be a lot of misinformation out there.

NT: So I’ve heard.

SW: Yes, so you’ve heard. And the reality is, we’re not a news organization. We’re not there to say, “Oh, let’s fact check this.” We don’t have people on staff who can say, “Is the house blue? Is the house green?” So really the best way for us to do that is for us to be able to look at the publishers, figure out the authoritativeness or reputation of that publisher. And so that’s why we’ve started using that more. So one of the things that we want to announce today that’s new that will be coming in the next couple of weeks is that when there are videos around something that’s a conspiracy—and we’re using a list of well-known internet conspiracies from Wikipedia—that we will show as a companion unit next to the video information from Wikipedia for this event.

NT: YouTube will be sending people to text?

SW: We will be providing a companion unit of text, yes. There are many benefits of text. As much as we love video, we also want to make sure that video and text can work together.

NT: I love them both too.

SW: Yes, you must love text—as a writer. So here’s a video. Let’s see… “Five most believed Apollo landing conspiracies.” There is clear information on the internet about Apollo landings. We can actually surface this as a companion unit, people can still watch the videos, but then they have access to additional information, they can click off and go and see that. The idea here is that when there is something that we have listed as a popular conspiracy theory, the ability for us to show this companion unit.

NT: So the way you’ll identify that something is a popular conspiracy theory is by looking at Wikipedia’s list of popular conspiracy theories? Or you have an in-house conspiracy theory team that evaluates…and how does someone in the audience apply to be on that team? Because that sounds amazing.

SW: We’re just going to be releasing this for the first time in a couple weeks, and our goal is to start with the list of internet conspiracies listed where there is a lot of active discussion on YouTube. But what I like about this unit is it’s actually pretty extensible, for you to be able to watch a video where there’s a question about information and show alternative sources for you as a user to be able to look at and to be able to research other areas as well.
Translation: when you watch a Voxiversity video on YouTube, Google News is going to pop up infoboxes from Wikipedia that will totally disprove the dangerous badthought to which you are foolishly subjecting yourself.

Which gives me an idea....

Anyhow, as usual, the main challenge is that most conservatives would rather whine and cry about how the mean, unfair Left is being mean and unfair again rather than actually do anything about it. Here is yet another article decrying Wikipedia without mentioning the fact that Infogalactic already exists. Fortunately, someone in the comments rectified that failure; good work, Squidz Mackenzie. Keep in mind that if just one percent of the people who have publicly complained about Wikipedia bias simply joined the Burn Unit and edited Infogalactic three times per month, we'd already be threatening Wikipedia's information supremacy.

Now, it will happen eventually. We are making constant progress and are gradually chipping away at it. But that progress is happening much more slowly than it could if conservatives would stop wasting so much time trying to improve the enemy.

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No spirit of liberty

Peter Hitchens laments the fifth straight mindless rush to war on false pretenses by the British government and media:
Is THIS a warning? In the past few days I have begun to sense a dangerous and dark new intolerance in the air, which I have never experienced before. An unbidden instinct tells me to be careful what I say or write, in case it ends badly for me. How badly? That is the trouble. I am genuinely unsure.

I have been to many countries where free speech is dangerous. But I have always assumed that there was no real risk here.

Now, several nasty trends have come together. The treatment of Jeremy Corbyn, both by politicians and many in the media, for doing what he is paid for and leading the Opposition, seems to me to be downright shocking.

I disagree with Mr Corbyn about many things and actively loathe the way he has sucked up to Sinn Fein. But he has a better record on foreign policy than almost anyone in Parliament. Above all, when so many MPs scuttled obediently into the lobbies to vote for the Iraq War, he held his ground against it and was vindicated.

Mr Corbyn has earned the right to be listened to, and those who now try to smear him are not just doing something morally wrong. They are hurting the country. Look at our repeated rushes into foolish conflict in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. All have done us lasting damage.

Everyone I meet now thinks they were against the Iraq War (I know most of them weren’t, but never mind). So that’s over. But Libya remains an unacknowledged disgrace. David Cameron has not suffered for it, and those who cheered it on have yet to admit they were mistaken....

I sense an even deeper and more thoughtless frenzy over Russia, a country many seem to enjoy loathing because they know so little about it.

I have already been accused, on a public stage, of justifying Moscow’s crime in Salisbury. This false charge was the penalty I paid for trying to explain the historical and political background to these events. I wonder if the bitterness also has something to do with the extraordinarily deep division over the EU, which has made opponents into enemies in a way not seen since the Suez Crisis.

In any case, the crude accusation, with its implication of treachery, frightened me. I expect, as time goes by, I will be accused of being an ‘appeaser’ and of being against ‘British values’. And then what? An apparatus of thought policing is already in place in this country. By foolishly accepting bans on Muslim ‘extremists’, we have licensed public bodies to decide that other views, too, are ‘extremist’.
Britain desperately needs a Brexit party that will pursue British First policies rather than obediently falling into line with the neocons, who play the same role in the Conservative Party and Nu Labour wing that they do in the Republican Party and Clinton Democrat wing.

The remarkable thing about both Britain and the USA is the way so many of their citizens are willing to take arms, fight, and die in wars against neutrals of no interest to their nations while never raising a voice, let alone a finger, against the Invade the World, Invite the World internal enemies who are, at the very least, threatening the survival of both nations through immigration and war.

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Twitter's "Russia" bots are Google

At least, that is what an anonymous Googler has publicly claimed.
Hello everyone, this is my first time posting on 4chan, but I need to get this out. And I need to stay anonymous.

I work for Google. I’m not going to name the internal tech department for obvious reasons, I don't want anyone to pinpoint who I am. But I'm in tech, and work with Al. I’ll explain

My team and I created Al bots for Twitter. These bots are slightly different than regular Al bots, these are remote signal bots, but I'll explain what they do

My team and a "human intelligence" team, which is really just a propaganda team, work together to make certain topics trend, and persuade public opinion, which persuades political pressure. We do this by a groupthink method, we have a name for it internally, but "consensus cracking" is a more used name externally. But the bots we created, go into Twitter conversations and push a narrative. Some of the bots are verified accounts. And they start by arguing a point of view against someone, and then more bots join in and thumbs up the comment.

We are doing it with gun control now. More people see a “consensus" of gun control and people on the fence get persuaded to our narrative, and politicians get pressured by thinking it’s actual people. We had whole meetings about 4chan. because you guys, specifically this board, are disrupting the bots. You are basically doing what we are doing, but you are real people. We (not necessarily me) devised a plan to knock you guys from Twitter. We accused Russia of doing what WE are doing, and used the narrative to wipe out "suspected bots". which we knew weren't bots at all.

I feel like shit about this. Here's the thing. I'm actually a democrat, and I HATE guns, but i believe in balance of the people more than anything. We are using software as a political tool instead of the will of the people.

This is also a violation of the SEC, we are fabricating twitter users and using them for stocks & advertisers. I signed that I wouldn’t discuss this, so I need to stay anonymous.
What is particularly interesting about this was Q's recent post.
Twitter Bots>GOOG operated (not Russia)/Narrative & Political SLANT
Of course, there are very, very few Americans at Google, so it's hardly a surprise that their loyalties should prove to be elsewhere. The main thing is to understand that the bogus RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA theme being pushed by the Clinton campaign is exactly the same as the RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA theme being pushed by Twitter and Facebook, and it is the same as the RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA theme being pushed by the British Prime Minister.

All three are the same false flag being waved because the neocons and Never-Trumpers desperately want the war with Russia that Hillary Clinton was supposed to give them over Ukraine.

We all know that the Bush and Blair governments lied their way into the war with Iraq. It's extremely important to make sure that the US and British people do not permit their governments to get away with the same damn thing with Russia. Remember, there is stupid, really stupid, and war with Russia stupid.

UPDATE: So, this does not sound good.
********** URGENT *************** BULLETIN **************
U.S. has informed Russia of its intent to attack Syria within 48 hours
Russia has told US "no."
One hopes that someone will remind the God-Emperor that his electoral mandate is to DRAIN THE SWAMP and BUILD THE WALL, not lose a humiliating naval war with Russia over nothing of interest to Americans.

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