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2018-03-15 09:51 by Karl Denninger
in Federal Government , 148 references
[Comments enabled]  

So Toys-R-Us is done.

Not surprising, really.  Their death has been blamed on Spamazon (partially deserved) and other various things, but nobody wants to talk about the truth -- because if you open that door then all sorts of really ugly monsters come out and bite you.

So let's do it.

May I remind you that Toys-R-Us is hardly unique?  iHeart radio anyone -- they just blew up too, and were Clear Channel.  TXU?  The impending death of "Sears Holdings"?

A huge number of these sorts of "deals" have ended in bankruptcy.

Where else have you seen a similar thing?

In Government of all forms -- federal, state and local.

Adding enormous amounts of debt -- leverage -- can screw you blind.  Gee, what's been going on since 2007?  And don't start any crap about Trump and  "make America great again" either, since his administration has put forward a path and executed on it that has and will continue to result in trillion dollar deficits as far forward as can be projected and that is without a recession!

Get a recession -- which I remind you we are well overdue for -- and that will double.

Oh, nations that issue their own currencies can't go bankrupt you say?

Technically true and functionally irrelevant; ask the people of Venezuela -- a nation that is one of the richest on the planet in terms of usable natural resources and yet people are literally killing and eating the neighbor's dog to survive.

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Jeff Sessions recently stated on the matter of California ignoring federal law on illegal aliens and a mayor actually warning criminal aliens they were about to be deported (thus allowing them to flee) that "there is no secession."

Uh, wrong Jeff.

Either 1776 (The Declaration of Independence) was illegal or any state can leave.

If the former then the entire US Federal Government is illegitimate and you have no right to state anything.  If the latter then you're wrong.

Nowhere in the Constitution, incidentally, does such a bar exist.  Second, even if it did it would be null and void because once you declare yourself having seceded you no longer are bound by said Constitution anyway!  The Founders were not stupid; may I remind you they had just finished seceding -- and winning when the Crown decided it didn't like it?

Secession is a function of political will -- and whether the US Government would actually try to order troops to go arrest (and, presumably shoot) those who so-declared.  In the meantime due to the interconnections with the states in commerce, especially California with regard to its ports, the rest of the nation would have a monstrous economic problem on its hands.

I say they should do it.  I'd love to see Sessions try to do something about secession too, never mind the obvious if the military or guard gets called up with orders to "put it down."

Trump isn't Lincoln, jackass, and furthermore this isn't the US in 1860 either.  I will remind Sessions and the rest of the government that shooting people and committing acts that today would land you in the Hague ("Sherman's March" among others) is only proof that you're a damned thug and this time you probably won't get away with it.  In fact it speaks directly to the utter lawlessness and illegitimacy of said feral government.

Quit talking out your ass, Sessions.  Not only are your pronouncements laughable while the Federal Government might well be able to put down such an attempt by force were it to be made by California or some other important state with regard to commerce and/or energy (e.g. Texas) the result would be an instantaneous economic and banking detonation that nobody could control or stop. 

Given the stupidity out of our federal and state governments these days I think both deserve it and frankly, I believe there are grounds for two separate sets of secession movements -- one for Californicated and similar, and a second state or group of states if there are any that actually believe the Constitution means something -- specifically, the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Amendments, instantly striking, among other things, all 50,000 unconstitutional "gun laws", ending civil forfeiture in all cases and holding so-called "public servants" to criminal account for constitutional violations.  I'd move somewhere within the second set immediately.

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2018-03-04 17:59 by Karl Denninger
in Federal Government , 295 references
[Comments enabled]  

There's a lot of noise being made on Twatter and elsewhere related to economic actions against various sites and points of view.  The latest is Infowars, which apparently had CNN contact advertisers to ask what they thought about their ads running on Alex Jones' web properties.

They apparently didn't know they were there and the response was to remove them.

Think about this for a minute though -- if you're some consumer-products company why would you pull the ads if they sell product?  You wouldn't.  So what I suspect really happened is that Nike looked at how many pairs of sneakers they sold via Infowars and the NRA looked at how many memberships.  Both found the number was an effective zero so..... poof!  Think about it -- do you really believe many Mormons watch Infowars?

Let's face it -- the point of advertising is to sell things.  If you're making sales then who cares who's doing the buying?  If you're not then you're wasting money.  The fact is that a huge percentage of so-called "online advertising" is simply flushed down the toilet, especially on properties like Facesucker.

But there are many people who have been blackballed, either temporarily or permanently, from various venues.  Attempting to target advertisers is the most-obvious but hardly the only one.  Twitter bans people, Facebook bans people, I ban people.

There usual screaming is that this is "censorship", but, well, no.  It's not "censorship" if REI wants to banhammer a manufacturer because they also sell guns.  It might be stupid, but it's not "censorship."  If P&G doesn't want its ads for consumer products running on Alex Jones' web site, why should Alex have the right to demand that they pay him to have those ads present?  Do you think P&G would stop running ads if they sold products as a result of that advertising?  Hell no.  Never mind the obvious and very effective retaliation available to Jones' subscribers if they were buying the product or service before and now stop.

The real issue isn't that someone decides to banhammer someone else.  It's that market power has been allowed to accumulate in a small number of hands, which is not supposed to happen by design but it has because anti-trust laws have been ignored by the government.

Let's look at MCSNet in the 1990s.  There were roughly a hundred ISPs in the greater Chicagoland area.  If I banhammered a customer they had 99 more choices.  They might have preferred to use my ISP but that's not the point -- the point is that there was a robust competitive marketplace for Internet service, they had dozens of places to buy from, and they could choose any of them.

There were plenty of people who didn't like my ISP -- or me personally.  There were plenty of people who didn't like one or more of the others too.  We poached each other's customers all the time; indeed, that's what marketing and sales is about in many cases; you try to sell people who don't have the service of course, but at the same time getting someone to switch is just as good from a revenue standpoint!  A customer is a customer when you get down to it and that robust competitive environment drove down prices and drove up service levels provided for the dollar on a pretty-much continual basis.

But what do we have today?  Google, Twitter, Facebook, and..... what?  Facebook owns Instagram, Google owns Youtube, etc.  The majority of Internet advertising goes through either Facebook or Googleso if one of them blackballs you then your ability to compensate is crippled to a severe degree, and if the second does so then you're basically offline from that perspective.  Never mind that they serve different audiences and feature sets, so there's no real competition between them.  In other words there's only one place to go.

If you get banned from a liquor store or bar that doesn't stop you from getting drunk -- you'd have to get banned from dozens of them.  But if they all cooperated to ban you at once, or there was only one bar or liquor store within 100 miles that would likely attract regulatory attention -- or at least it damn well should.

I'm sure you'll say "but booze isn't a necessity."  Ok, fair enough: What happens when it's food or gasoline?  Or, for that matter, internet access.

Most people and businesses have only one or two viable choices when it comes to ISPs these days in the broadband arena.  Many places only have one viable choice, especially if you need material amounts of bandwidth.  While there are allegedly two providers here there really isn't if you want or need more than a few megabits, because that's all DSL can provide in this area.

I argue that the correct approach here is to place a marker at a certain level of market power -- not where competition is gone, but where it is materially impaired as demonstrated by the actions of the firms involved -- and designate all who act in concert in this fashion as common carriers.  Getting listed as one would serve as an absolute bar to such activity and at the same time would bar price discrimination; a common carrier must accept business from all at the same price for the same good or service and cannot turn people away for other than violations of criminal law.

Needless to say none of the existing "big" and exclusionary providers of services in the Internet today would want to be so-designated and as such it would serve as a strong deterrent to blackballing people on any sort of consistent basis.  Anyone that was effectively "de-platformed" or "de-monetized" would have an immediate hammer to hit back with and re-open their operations in the event the firm or firms that did it were able to effectively black out their operation whether from an advertising or operational standpoint.

I'd start by dividing firms by function -- pipe providers and infrastructure (e.g. DNS registrars, SSL issuers, etc) should be black letter common carriers without exception.  Where it gets much murkier is when you start talking about other parts of what makes the Internet work today -- advertising brokerages (e.g. Adsense, DoubleClick, collating services (e.g. Akamai, Cloudflare) and even colocation/hosting businesses.  This is hard to get right and a lot of thought and debate would have to go into it.

Crafting legislation might be tricky but it certainly isn't impossible -- and at least from my point of view is the only rational approach to resolution of this issue.

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2018-02-22 12:47 by Karl Denninger
in Federal Government , 4579 references
[Comments enabled]  

But I will only accept it under one condition.  It's passed as a Constitutional Amendment and is a blanket change to the age of adulthood.

The following language is fine:

The age of adulthood, which shall be for all purposes, federal, state and local, has been determined by the people of the United States to be 21; prior to attaining the age of 21 years any person residing in or a citizen of the United States shall have their rights and responsibilities vest under their two natural parents or legally-appointed guardian(s), subject only to an individual petition for a single person approved by a court of competent jurisdiction.

So, here's what changes if you're not yet 21.

  • You can't own or buy a gun.  You can use a firearm under the direct supervision of your parents (e.g. while hunting, target shooting, etc) however they are legally responsible, criminally and civilly, for your use of same.

  • You cannot vote.  You are not a legal adult, and thus have no franchise until you reach the age of 21 years.

  • You cannot have an unrestricted driver license.  You can have a restricted one, as is the case now for 16 and 17 year olds, which among other things in most states prohibits use of the roads except to and from school from midnight until 5:00 AM.  Oh, and your parents can revoke it too on simple request to the DMV if they don't like how you drive -- or for any other reason.

  • You cannot get married.  You can't contract, and marriage is a contract.

  • You have no right to attend college on your own; your parents or guardian(s) are in sole control of your education.  Your parents have the absolute right to see all your transcripts, disciplinary records and otherwise.  They may enroll or withdraw you from an educational institution as they, not you, direct.  They get to choose where you live while in school, what program (major and minor(s)) you enroll in, etc.  Since there is no right to sexual contact prior to 21 no college will allow co-ed dorms for under-21 students, since doing so would expose them to charges of furthering sexual predators.

  • You have no right to independent medical decisions; that right and responsibility rests with your parents.  No more abortions, birth control, gender-bender stuff ("transitioning", etc) or similar without your parents' consent.  Your medical records, choice of treatment(s) and diagnostics are all the responsibility of your parents along with, of course, paying for same and they have the right to make said decision and be fully informed as to both your medical status and records.

  • The age of sexual consent is 21.  No "Romeo" laws are permitted.  Sleep with someone under 21 and you're a sexual predator and get listed on the offender registry if caught.  If both parties are under 21 then you both get charged and branded for life. You have no ability to consent to the most-awesome power that humans have -- to potentially create life, in short -- you've declared that you're mentally infirm to make serious life-and-death decisions and this is the most serious of said choices an adult can make.  If you can wait until you're 21 to own a gun you can wait until you're 21 to screw.

  • The age of ownership of property is 21.  Your parents are the legal custodians of all your property until age 21, as is the case right now for things like a UTMA account.  This extends to real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, credit accounts and similar.  Since you're not competent to contract you cannot hold title to any property, real or personal, in your own name until you're 21.

  • You lose "Obamacare" coverage under your parents at 21 too.  Not 26.  On the bright side you can buy your own Obamacare policy at 21, with your own money.  If you have any.

  • You cannot work at any "potentially hazardous" occupation until 21.  Today that age is 18; among other jobs you cannot hold are working at a service station convenience store, in any manufacturing or warehousing position, construction, operating machinery, operating a vehicle and similar.  None are available to you until you are mentally competent to judge the risks thereof, which means attaining the age of 21.

  • You do not have to have your parents consent or filings with universities after 21.  FAFSA terminates at age 21, as you are a legal adult.  Prior to that your parents are responsible for paying, but also get to choose.

  • You have a right to live under your parent's roof until 21 and may not independently choose where you live; that decision is theirs.  However, you have the responsibility to follow their rules until 21 as well.  Don't like it?  Too bad -- they can enforce said rules and there's nothing you can do about it.  If you run away or refuse to consent to and live under their rules you can be held legally responsible for that act and forcibly returned or incarcerated until your 21st birthday as "uncontrollable."

  • You cannot join the military until you are 21.  If you're not mentally competent to own a gun you're not old enough to be trained to go off and kill in the name of the United States.  That's simple.

  • You cannot legally drink.  Oh wait, we do that now.

  • You cannot legally buy tobacco or similar products.  A few places do that now, but most draw the line at 18.  It would now be 21 since you're not competent to make the decision at 18.  Getting caught with tobacco would be identical to getting caught with booze -- an offense for which you could face sanction.

And so on.

If you wish you may individually petition a judge to be declared an adult before you turn 21 -- and if successful you individually gain all the rights and responsibilities (including gun ownership, drinking alcohol and similar) of an adult.  Doing so immediately and permanently terminates all rights and responsibilities of your parent(s) or guardian(s) and vests them in you, exactly as would otherwise naturally occur on your 21st birthday.  The government would then issue you formal adult identification, and you could obtain an adult US Passport and state driver license documenting same.

However, no judge may issue any sort of blanket or "batch" order; all such petitions must be individual and delineate the explicit reasons why you are an exception to the Constitutional declaration of adulthood through clear and convincing evidence of your emotional and mental competence.

This is of course by Constitutional Amendment -- the only lawful means by which you can change or abrogate the Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment as it stands now.

This, unlike the other 50,000 gun laws, would actually be legal and if passed I suspect nearly everyone in the country would accept it.

I suspect you'd also see a hell of a drop in the birth rate, however....

To all those "kids" marching and cutting class while arguing for a baldly-unconstitutional law: Are you in favor of actually recognizing what you claim to be emotional and mental infirmity by those who are younger than 21 -- or are you a bigot and a liar?

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Why aren't we talking about this?

 DatePublic DebtIntergovernmentalTotal
-09/30/201513,123,847,198,347.81 5,026,770,468,136.52 18,150,617,666,484.33
Purchasing Destruction 1,049,576,318,548.01373,250,728,904.451,422,827,047,452.46

Remember, the actual "public" deficit is the difference in borrowing between the end of the fiscal year and the beginning in debt held by the public.  The total increase in debt, including intergovernmental (mostly Social Security and Medicare) is the actual deficit and is exactly equal, on an arithmetic basis, to the destruction in your personal purchasing power that the government causes (or gain if the government runs a surplus.)

The actual deficit -- that is, the destruction in purchasing power the federal government caused last year, is the percentage of 1.423 trillion .vs. the total GDP of 18.450 trillion or approximately 7.7%.

That's right -- the government intentionally destroyed almost 8% of your paycheck and your savings last year, running a $1.423 trillion dollar budget deficit, which is roughly equal to the worst of the "great recession" when tax revenues went through the floor.

Today there is no such "tax shortfall" excuse. 

The breakdown of exactly where the ugly is coming from will be published next week.  I already know what is in there because I've been following the monthly treasury statements all fiscal year, but wish to report final "as tallied" facts -- and thus will have another post at that time.

Let me be clear: On the arithmetic if we do not stop this now within the next 4-5 years -- that is, within the next Presidential term -- our government will collapse, our economy will collapse, our health care system will collapse and both the stock and housing markets will collapse.  This is not politics, it's arithmetic.  And the worst part of it is that I am utterly certain that the "references" count, along with the "views" count on this article will both be a fraction of the politically-oriented articles I've recently posted.  That the real end of our way of life in America, a threat that is obvious, mathematically certain, not very far in the future and yet avoidable if we act now fails to garner any sort of serious attention is the real outrage folks.

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