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Romney on Detroit

Let 'em go bust:

If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

Law vs Government

An interesting discussion has sprouted in the comments to this prior post. My thoughts:

Law is essential to any society. A free society should have lots of laws and lots of lawyers. Big government prevents law from flourishing to its full potential in the same way big government prevents any private good from being supplied efficiently and robustly.

Tony Soprano the Sociopath

I thought this was a great comment to my original post asking whether or not Tony Soprano is a sociopath:

Psychopath was the initial label for people with no conscience, morality, etc etc. That title was then changed to sociopath as the word "psycho" was being misunderstood. Then it became Anti Social Personality Disorder. So being a psychopath/sociopath or having Anti Social Personality Disorder are all the same thing.

I loved Tony as much as the next person, and am trying hard to think back on times where he felt things for OTHERS and not himself. Yes Tony had many feelings, but many sociopaths have deep emotions for themselves but cannot relay those emotions into empathy for others. Was there ever a time he actually felt guilty for someone else, where his honour or pride was not on the line?! It was always about Tony. And this is why David Chase is a genius. Sociopaths are so charming that you become addicted to them. They are always surrounded by people. So as viewers, as much as we loved Tony, we know he does bad things. Is he a bad man that is evil? or a good man who does bad things? We all wished and were brainwashed that he was a fundamentally good family man that did bad things.

Let me tell you, after being involved with a sociopath that the human condition of a person with a conscience; like us, fundamentally cannot understand that people without morality exist, and it is our own brainwashing that makes us want to believe that Tony was a good man. This is the biggest trick in the guidebook to sociopathy, they feign feeling, they know what they should be saying and say it.

I believe David Chase's genius is this: after 7 years of therapy, a group of psychiatrists anecdotally telling melfi (and us) the truth, the evidence is in front of us...and we, normal, feeling people, still want to see the good in Tony S. We are so brainwashed by this series that Tony was a good man when he was not. HE was not a good man and although all evidence points that way, we, the viewer choose not to see it because he is so charismatic we think he can be healed. We want so badly for him to be healed, this is normal for people with morality to think and feel. This is exactly why it takes victims of sociopaths years to get out, they think sociopaths can change, this is also the reason why we are still addicted to Tony. Shutting the door on a sociopath is hard, because, for one, we are addicted to their personality, their charm, their drama, although we hate it, its exactly as melfi says it is "its a train wreck that i cant look away from" and secondly the normal human condition believes all people are fundamentally good. This is not true, some people are not fundamentally good and this is a psychologoical fact.

This is what it feels to be addicted to a sociopath...from experience.

In contrast, Al Swearengen was clearly not a sociopath. And I liked him better.

11.13.08 Market Thoughts

On a message board yesterday someone asked for predictions on what the low for the DJIA would be. All the given responses are below:

6500 - 7200

I have no idea why so many picked 6500 particularly, but the responses were extremely skeptical of the market. This isn't the acute panic/fear of October 10, but rather massively resigned skepticism.

As of 2:30 PM, I bought 100% on margin SSO at 26.11. I initially had a stop order in at today's low, but moved it up to my buy price at the close. Why did I buy?

We never really got the panic buying that should result from the panic selling of early October. Sooner or later, panic buying has got to happen.

Also, November, Decemeber, and January are historically the most bullish months of the year.

The market can do what it wants now. I can't really lose anything other than commission.

11.10.08 Market Thoughts

Currently: S&P down 1.7%

There's ugliness in the market right now. The Rally of Skepticism is over as there's very little skepticism out there. Complacency is rampant. With this new state of affairs, all history is irrelevant, including what I previously thought was capitulation day.

Be very, very careful. It looks like the market is teetering on the edge of a cliff.

Help me Anderson Cooper!

Just got in and turned on CNN. They have some cool ass holograms going. Anderson Cooper is talking some dude in Chicago who is being projected as a hologram 10 feet away. I found a video on Youtube:

Today is a truly historic day for the Republic (the American one, not the Distributed one). Sure, we got ourselves a black president, but CNN is pulling off this badass Star Wars shit.

I expect Dick Cheney to come on TV any moment to announce that he has a fully operational Death Star and has started blowing up planets.

Doing something productive

I've accomplished a lot today, mostly at work. I performed various medical procedures, including one on a patient while toeing the line between too much anticoagulation putting her at risk for bleeding vs too little anticoagulation putting her at risk for forming blood clots from her various artificial heart valves. I communicated findings with referring docs and helped plan tomorrow's schedule. Tonight I'll go work out and hopefully get together with some friends. All those things were productive.

I didn't vote because that would be unproductive.

Taking Kyle's example, I offered people my vote for money.* One guy missed the point of the exercise and called me a "fucking moron" and a "whore". Good times, good times. Usually when I enthusiastically proclaim my political apathy, people tell me I'm throwing away my rights. A few people told me that their buddy/uncle/grandpa didn't fight in WWII/Nam/etc so that I could be so flippant about my sacred rights.

It's no surprise when people react angrily. Viciousness is a pretty common reaction. Luckily I intimidate most people so there's no chance of fisticuffs. The worst that happens is some internet tough guy curses me out.

I leave you with two things:

1) My post from Election day 2004. My views have changed some since then, but the overall message remains: Breaking Free of the Vicious Circle

2) A quote from WOPR**, who wisely proclaimed, "The only winning move is not to play".

* While Kyle offered $20, I started higher, believing myself to be at least a $50 trick. No takers. I moved down to $20. Still no takers. My fragile self-esteem is shot.

** Second only to to Mycroft Holmes on the sentient supercomputer coolness scale, but well above Hal.

When will it be possible for me to surf the net on a plane?

Traveling sucks. You know it, I know it, the American people know it. But here I am sitting at Denver International Airport and blogging through their "free" WiFi while waiting for my connection. It's made this trip so much easier.

It'd be even better if I could continue surfing while in flight. Why is this not possible today? (Or is it, and I just don't know?) When will it be possible?

10.28.08 Random market thoughts

Previously I stated that I thought October 10, 2008 was capitulation day. I'm sticking to it. It was a partially objective, partially subjective conclusion. All hope was lost that day.

My new prediction is today started a Rally of Disbelief. Some comments from various message boards I read:

  • "Just as sure as it is up today, it'll lose tomorrow. Extreme volatility now"
  • "Sorry to disappoint but we're going down again. There are too many problems...the hedge funds, program trading & massive mutual fund redemptions by state retirement accounts, etc., are creating these huge one day moves. There is no follow through. There are no buyers. There is massive overhead supply. Fundamental analysis doesn't apply here. Technical analysis doesn't work either.
  • "Hold on to your arse, we're going down again."
  • "We will see markets bounce off 8500-8000 for about a year"

Such rallies are always interesting to experience. Nobody believes them. Many people will jump off and sell very soon because of their skepticism. Then as the rally continues, they'll fear that they might miss out on major gains and will buy, further fueling the rally. It'll go much further than anyone expects. Watch and marvel, as it happens in real time, how the market fools as many people as possible.

As always, if you listen to anything I say, you deserve to lose all your money.

I would tap that too, my friend

McCain and Obama have dance-off

Related: What happens when Youtubers can change reality?

Greenspan was a central planner

About Alan the Printer's comments that Arthur talks about --

Bottom line: He was a central planner. I'm little swayed by proclamations of the death of the free market by a central planner.

Someone I've known online for many years and whose views on the economy and investing I respect had the following reaction to Greenspan's comments:

It's funny, but probably not too surprising, that Greenspan is so eager to throw overboard what little he had in terms of credentials in support of the free market, by 'admitting' that even more regulation would perhaps have helped avert the calamity.

In a free market, the banks would indeed have acted more cautiously, and their self-interest to protect their shareholders equity would have been far more pronounced.

The root of the problem is not with this assumption turning out not to be true - the root of the problem is something else. The banks and broker dealers were subjected to the wrong incentives - by an agency that has nothing to do with the free market. The root of the problem is the monetary system itself - the one that Greenspan helmed - the fractionally reserved fiat money system, at the center of which we find a central economic planning agency - the Federal Reserve.

Greenspan's greatest error was to believe that modern day central banks had somehow managed to 'emulate a gold standard', as he once averred in a q&a with Congressman Ron Paul.

This is manifestly not the case, as the sheer unlimited credit creation during Greenspan's reign (inter alia) attests to.

It is of course obvious by dint of economic theory as well that letting a gaggle of bureaucrats fix interest rates can only lead to economic outcomes that are worse than those a free market set interest rate would lead to.

The bureaucrats manning the Federal Reserve are in exactly the same position that the Soviet GOSPLAN agency found itself in: they can not possibly know what the correct interest rate should be at a given point in time, just as GOSPLAN never knew how many tractors, how many chickens and how many shoes should be produced.

This is the problem Greenspan should have acknowledged, but that is of course 'impossible' for a former central bank chief, even though i personally suspect that he actually knows better.

Why McCain must lose

Clearly, Republicans suck. How can we get them to suck less? Radley Balko believes the answer is for them to lose this election.

That's the second reason the GOP needs to lose. American voters need to send a clear, convincing repudiation of these dangerous ideas.

If they do lose, the GOP would be wise to regroup and rebuild from scratch; scrap the current leadership and, most importantly, purge the party of the "national greatness," neoconservative influence. Big-government conservatism has bloated the federal government, bogged us down in what will ultimately be a trillion-dollar war, and set us down the road to European-style socialism. It's hard to think of how Obama could be worse. He'll just be bad in different ways.

The truth is, unless you vote for a third-party candidate (which really isn't a bad idea), you don't have much of a choice this November. You can either endorse the idea of a massive, invasive, ever-encroaching federal government that's used to promote center-left ideology, or you can endorse the idea of a massive, invasive, ever-encroaching federal government that's used to promote center-right ideology.

Sadly, if the GOP does lose, it's likely to be interpreted not as a repudiation of the GOP's excesses, but as an endorsement of the Democrats'. When the only two parties who have a chance at winning both have a track record of expanding the size and scope of government, every election is likely to be interpreted as a win for big government — only the brand changes.

Voting yourself more freedom simply isn't an option, at least if you want your vote to be taken seriously (and I'm not denigrating any third parties here; I'm just reflecting reality).

Which brings me back to why the Republicans need to get throttled: A humiliated, decimated GOP that rejuvenates and rebuilds around the principles of limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism is really the only chance for voters to possibly get a real choice in federal elections down the road.

Counterpoint: Michael Medved:

Despite the fact that leading polls continue to indicate a close Presidential election, and point to the very real chance of an upset victory for the McCain-Palin ticket, too many conservatives have begun to embrace a bizarre form of defeatism. According to this destructive logic, a Republican defeat in 2008 counts as not only inevitable, but necessary; some disgruntled voices on the right argue that a decisive win for Barack Obama might actually help the conservative cause in the long run.

This notion contradicts both common sense and historical precedent and rests on five deeply damaging and ultimately demented myths.

Ref tackles football player

This video from the LSU - South Carolina football game this past weekend is one of the most incredible plays I've ever seen.

There's no doubt in my mind it was intentional.


Right now, I count 34 posts by users. That might well be more content than the original Catallarchy bloggers have created in the last month. We have a rich community of commenters and bloggers now. I think it's fantastic.

Thank you for your contributions. Keep on posting. We try to frontpage a lot of posts, but we can't frontpage them all.

I think you guys try to be perfectionists in posting. Please point out anything interesting in the news, be informal, write something creative. We're pretty laid back here.

10.13.08 Market Thoughts

We had the thousand point rally. For the short term, I think the bottom is in. If history is any guide, today was only the beginning of a multi-week rally. For that to take place, skepticism has to be there. I can't tell if it is or isn't tonight. It certainly was there over the weekend. People have to be skeptical of the uptrend. Eventually they'll feel like they're going to lose out on the gains and will jump in, fueling the upswing all the more. That's when it'll be time to raise cash once again.

Not much else to say. This will probably be my last daily update as the historical part of the events is probably over.