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Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Musings]
2017-08-18 08:02 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 132 references
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Point your eyeballs this direction....

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2017-08-08 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 419 references
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There's been some attention paid to all the "screen time" that our kids get these days -- and that this "screen time" makes us less, rather than more, happy.

Ever think about it folks?

You should.

And then you should remove Facepig, Messenger and all the other social apps from your phone.


Think about it folks.  Look at Facepig and beyond all the ads, sponsored clickbait garbage (which I've written on repeatedly) and such what's on there?

Someone doing something fantastic, right?  Someone you know on a cruise.  Another person winning a race. A third person having a beer. A fourth on top of a mountain somewhere.  A fifth, sixth and seventh posting 500 pictures of their cute baby or child (who by the way most-certainly could not have consented to their visage being permanently stolen by Zucker****er).

Think about the image this presents to you as what life is supposed to be.

It's all smiles.

Now I want you to contemplate something: Have you ever seen someone take a **** on Star Trek - or any other TV show?  You've got eight Star Wars movies, and yet I don't recall one person having to stop and take a crap.  The only time you do see that is when it's a joke as part of the plotline -- like in Jurassic Park with the lawyer.

Now let's expand that a bit.

You've never seen anyone actually do laundry.  Nor have you seen someone do the dishes, or even unload the dishwasher.  You've never seen them sit in traffic for an hour commuting to or from work.

Why not? Because if you actually put someone's daily life on television you'd never watch it; 95% of it is the normal daily grind -- we get up, we make a coffee, we ****, shower and shave, we get in the car to go to work and listen to music while stuck in traffic, we buy groceries, etc.

What do you see on Facepig, Snapass and similar?  The 1%, all the time, which inexorably leads you believe that your life should be that 1%, all the time.

But it can't be.

Nobody lives like that.

Even a billionaire who has no care in the world for making another nickel, ever, and has a building full of paid servants still has to ****, shower and shave.  The kid in High School has to sit in class and then do his or her homework.  Even the retiree doesn't get to live like that; he's gotta go to the doctor and get poked here and there, cook dinner, etc.

So what are you doing when you are continually looking at Facepig or Snapping away?  You're engaged in someone else's -- and your own -- fantasy.  A fantasy that is guaranteed to make you miserable because nobody can live a life that consists of even five percent of the projected thing you are viewing.

The fact is that nobody takes a crap on Star Trek because nobody would watch the show -- or the movie -- if they did.  Yet if we ever do master faster-than-light space travel the people on board that ship are still going to spend 90% of their time doing things that amount to "****, shower and shave."

They do it now on the ISS, they did it on Apollo, in Gemini and Mercury and they will in the future just like you do now.

Zucker****er likes to talk about bringing people together and other similar tripe. It's crap.  In fact it's worse than crap, it's a knowing lie.  Zuckerpig knows that even if there was no clickbait, fake deals and other garbage on the site that you'd still be made miserable simply by being there because the "face" you see is one you cannot possibly live.  It therefore cannot bring you joy -- it can only bring you tears to some degree.

Don't tell me about how it helps you "keep up" with your 457 "friends".  You don't have 457 friends.  In fact, I'm willing to bet that you can count the number of people who you can legitimately call "friend" on your fingers.

If you assert that's not true then I will make a declaratory statement in reply: None of those people are actually your friends -- they're all acquaintances, every single one of them.

I recently heard that a record number of kids committed suicide last year in our local High School.  I'm willing to wager 100% of them spent a huge amount of time with their faces buried in a hand-held fantasy machine that made them miserable while stealing a record of everything they did to try to make a profit off that same misery.

Those kids are dead; their misery has ended but the profit still went in Zuckerpig's pocket.

Folks, there's no value here for you in any of these "systems."  It's all net negative and it gets even worse when the data is mined off and sold as I've pointed out repeatedly.  We put these little spying machines in our pockets but how many people will stick them on silent or ignore them when they ring say much less toss 'em in "Airplane" mode?

It wasn't that long ago that if someone wanted to talk with you they called your house and if you were home you could talk to them.  But only one person at a time could do so in said house because there was only one phone line.  If there were five people in your family and one of them was on the phone, the other four could not make or receive a call.  If you were out getting groceries or even just mowing the lawn there were no voicemails either; the phone just rang and nobody answered it.  There were no text messages, Facepig posts or anything else of the sort.  If you were separated by more than a few tens of miles of distance the long-distance charges made sitting on the phone for an hour at a time punitively expensive and nobody could afford it.  Your only reasonable answer to a desire to say more than a few sentences for a birthday or other major life event was to sit down and write an actual letter and stick a stamp on it, then wait days for delivery and a reply.  You only did it on any sort of regular basis if the person you were corresponding with was an actual true friend or more; acquaintances, even those you call "family", you spoke with for 5 minutes on the phone on a birthday or anniversary, and perhaps you saw them over the holidays for dinner when one or the other of you traveled.  Most people had two or three such correspondents and no more simply because you had to invest a material amount of time to write said letters and there were only a few people who were worth it.

The number of people worth it in your life has not changed folks; instead interaction has been cheapened to the point of worthlessness.

How many posts do you think I've made on my Facepig timeline this year?


One talking about Facepig's spammy ads and two more being single-sentence replies to someone else's post.

Let me count that again for you folks: THREE.

Yeah, I've made a handful of other comments, but in terms of timeline posts -- it's three and only one of substance.  The other two were the prototypical 2 minute pre-cellular phone call.

I'm not trying to expand my reach on the Internet for monetary gain.  If I was then yes, it would make some sense for me to post things on Internet sites; that's called advertising.  But I'm not.

I have zero interest in posting my "personal triumphs" and gloating about them on social media.  My ego is simply not that large.  If you're interested in knowing what I'm doing and whether I happen to take satisfaction in some accomplishment then you probably know how to get ahold of me personally and we can share that.  It might actually mean something to both of us in that case.

More to the point if you wish to call me friend then you won't expect me to find your events, triumphs or whatever on Facepig.  You'll think enough of me to call, recognizing that if I don't answer immediately it's not because I don't like you but because I might be having dinner, mowing the lawn or in the middle of one of the three Ss of life -- and if you choose to leave a message I'll call you back when I can devote some time to us.  Ditto with a text; I might reply right away, but if not it's as likely to be because I'm under my car changing the oil or cleaning the gutters on the house as anything else.  You know, part of that daily ****, shower and shave routine.

Do I look here and there at Facepig? Yes.  But what I see is what I talk about above.  Is it worth my "engagement" in the general sense?  No; I recognize that not one bit of that will ever translate into changing the necessity of my life which, just like yours no matter how rich or poor you are revolves around ****, shower and shave.

But what said "engagement" will do, if I embrace it, is make me less-happy and more-miserable.

It must, because by its nature it portrays a fantasy that nobody can actually live.  Zucker****er knew this originally and in fact had "girl rating" pages on his Haaaarrrrrvvvaaarrrddd site which were exactly as "nice" as you might expect they'd be.  You don't really think he forgot that, do you, nor their popularity with his "friends" -- right?  (BTW what's his wife think about that?  I bet a few billion dollars makes her not care and that tells me everything I need to know about her.)

No, what Zucker****er did was turn your increased misery and reduced happiness into billions of dollars for him.  The founders of Snap and all the other so-called "social media" have done likewise.  They don't even give a **** if the misery their "engagement" contributes to causes nine teens to kill themselves in one semester at a given local school.  What's even worse is that they've done all of that in concert with people like John Legere, the brash CEO of T-Mobile who, along with Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, charge you in both money and slower performance, never mine crappier battery life, to deliver ads for the sole purpose of capitalizing on your decreased happiness.  Any of those carriers could put a stop to a large part of it in an afternoon by putting in place a switch you can turn on in your account that blocks all common advertising domains.

This would not be a "net neutrality" violation since you would choose to turn it on, not them.

But none have, and none will.

They won't because misery is profitable.

People who are truly happy don't need to spend on "aspirational" things.  They certainly don't need $1,000 iFrauds to make them feel good.  Miserable people are another matter; that smiling face with a nice big fat $1,000 iFraudy phone is a "message" they can try to get you to bite on, with the hope that it might make you smile -- at least until you see someone on a cruise, at which point you're back to being unhappy because you need to ****, shower and shave while Jane is on Facepig with a $5,000 vacation smile and a fat Mai Tai in her hand.

None of these apps are on my phone folks.  If I want to look at Facepig I'll do it on a browser, which I can close when done so it can't root around in my device and steal information on whatever else I'm doing.  I don't do "messenger", Snap or any of those others for the same reason.

You shouldn't either, and if you stop doing all of them I predict you will smile more.

Oh, and you'll also pay less -- in both misery and money.

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2017-07-29 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 3103 references
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The GOP-led Senate "decided" by one vote (John McCain's, I remind you) to kill the "skinny" Obamacare repeal bill.

This, after McCain said he'd vote for it if he got an assurance from Paul Ryan that the bill would go to conference and not simply be passed as-is and sent to Trump.  Paul Ryan gave him that assurance, and then he voted "No" anyway.

I remind you that John McCain does not have to live with the results of Obamacare.  He never did.  Nor did anyone else in the House or Senate, because despite a provision being inserted into the original Bill that forced Congress to live under Obamacare's rules President Obama directed OPM to illegally subsidize members' insurance and their staff.  He had no legal authority to do that but he did it anyway.

I also remind you that President Trump has not rescinded this unlawful order.

Never mind that McCain is going to be dead within a year or so anyway; that's reality given his condition.  And frankly, given what he and the rest of Congress have done with regard to Health Care over the last three decades I will not be sad when he goes.  In fact I may drink a couple of celebratory adult beverages.

You don't want to face facts, but you damn well need to America.

Health care is literally one dollar in five (ok, within spitting distance) of all spending in our economy today.  It employs millions, but nearly all of them do not provide any care to anyone.  That is, most employment in "health care" is administrative and purely parasitic.  It is the growth industry today and has been for the last decade.  It is the only growth industry today in the United States that has been consistent and has added 10 administrators for every doctor or nurse!

That state exists because you have been made deliberately ill.

On purpose.

Starting in the 1970s and 80s you were told to eat carbohydrates.  The so-called "food pyramid" was an outright fraud, telling you to eat refined grain products above all else.  These products are identical in form and substance to what a farmer feeds a cow or pig to make it fat before slaughtering it!

Now if you're going to slaughter said cow or pig that might be ok.  But you're a human and we're not going to eat you.  Well, not yet anyway.  That same "getting fat" thing also makes you sick over time.  It causes Type II diabetes, heart disease, strokes and all other manner of malfunction.  The extra 100lbs destroys your joints, especially your hips and knees.  It makes you reliant on motor vehicles for transport because you can't comfortably walk the length of a parking lot, say much less anywhere else -- or ride a bicycle (which, incidentally, is the most-efficient, on an energy expended per pound-mile moved basis, device for such a purpose ever invented.)

What's worse is that the same "food pyramid" pushers also told you to get the saturated fats out of your diet and replace them with vegetable oils.  Those oils, unfortunately, have a very bad fatty-acid balance problem which greatly promotes inflammation in your body.  Inflammation is something you're all familiar with -- if you stick yourself with a thorn or splinter, or get stung by a bee, you see it right there in front of you.  When you promote that on a systemic basis that same sort of response also happens in your arteries, which makes for serious trouble and further adds to the damage that results in strokes and heart attacks.

Rather than tell you to stop eating carbs and get the damned vegetable oils out of your diet the medical system sells you pills, procedures and hip replacement surgeries.  70% of the population in America today, which I remind you includes babiesis taking at least one prescription medication.

This "system" has been the "replacement" for manufacturing and even computer programming, which we have shipped overseas to China and India.  Rather than stop the fleecing of America and the raw******of the land, water and air that those "manufacturers" commit there and abuse to ship products back here for sale we pat everyone on the back for "cost efficiency" in their acquisition of iFrauds and Spamdroids while hiring more health administrators to make sure every last ******ned nickel is siphoned off by a "medical system" that is 10x the size and cost of what it needs to be and which has been made that large on purpose -- after you were made sick on purpose.

Donald Trump knows this; he's run a company for decades and has seen it develop in front of him.  The House "Freedom Caucus" knows this; they presided over it.  When I met with a bunch of Senate Staffers several years ago they all admitted they knew this and further they also admitted that they knew that the growth rate being experienced and what was happening to government-run sections of medical care would, with certainty, bankrupt the country and government.  They also admitted that they knew that if they took it on they ran the risk of losing the next election and thus were going to do nothing -- intentionally -- to resolve it.

They admitted all of this to me folks.  No, I didn't have a recorder going; I don't play 'gotcha' in that fashion.  But there was also no agreement not to talk about the meeting, so reporting on it, which I did at the time and have repeatedly since, is fair game.

When Obamacare passed and the mandates kicked in I wrote right here that I refused to play that game.  For more than 10 years I had bought a private health insurance policy for myself and my daughter; a "skinny" policy that was actual insurance against a catastrophe.

When Obamacare passed I made a decision.  I decided that I wasn't going to play the "health care" game.  At all.  I did my research, I found that the government's recommendations for eating were crap, that they were likely responsible in large part for my expanding waistline and thus I cut nearly all carbohydrates and all vegetable oils out of what I ate.  I also took up (again) running, although that was more for the cardio benefit than for weight control -- I did not expect running to materially improve my body mass, and it hasn't.

I was not diabetic but I was certainly headed there.  I, like most of the rest of middle-aged America, was letting the belt out one notch at a time.  Given the statistics today I was certainly metabolically compromised and was probably odds-on to become diabetic.

Not any more; I went from a 36" waist to a 30" in nine months, lost ~60lbs and went from hating physical exertion to getting off on it.  The running didn't have anything to do with the weight loss either; I logged all of the exercise and have the data -- at most it can be credited with 20 of the 60lbs I lost and that assumes that the physical exertion did not make me more-hungry, which is almost-certainly false.  In other words if I had not taken up running I probably would have lost the same 60lbs and would have certainly lost 40 of them, along with obtaining nearly all or all of the metabolic benefit.  As it turns out while it originally felt like hell today I like running; it gets me high and it has no negative side effects -- the side effects are all good instead of bad.

My fasting glucose, A1c and blood pressure are normal. I cannot drive my blood glucose materially over 110 even under deliberate attempt.  Of course that's because as a rule I don't eat that crap any more at all.  Yes, it took years of doing the right thing to "undo" the metabolic damage, although the weight came off a lot faster than that, and no, I can't go back to doing the bad things either.  It's a lifestyle change you have to make folks, not a diet.

But if you think you need to take up vigorous exercise to make this work -- you're wrong.

What you do have to do is get the fast carbs and vegetable oils out your diet.

The social effects were even more-profound than the change in my body size and metabolic health.  Plenty of people who saw me drop pant sizes like many 20 year olds drop girlfriends asked -- repeatedly -- if I was dying. I can't count how many people asked me if I had cancer or some other awful disease.  When I told them that I was not going to pay either in my health or my money for either my own stupidity in what I ate nor was I going to subsidize anyone else who chooses to be fat, diabetic and will need both a double hip replacement and back surgery before their 60th birthday the response was nearly-universal -- and negative.

You see, a fair percentage of the people around here as with everywhere in the country are.... big surprise.... employed in that part of the "economy" and my declaration that I refuse to pay them either directly or via subsidy to others means they might lose their jobs.

In short, they love the system as it exists today and because I called them on it, even if softly, they stopped liking me.

Tough ****.

I meant it then and still do.  I took what was a six-figure a year income and cut it way back -- voluntarily -- so as to stay under the income as a single person where the Obamacare subsidies started to phase out.  I carefully chose my plan every year not for its value (since I expect to use and in fact have used zero "covered" health care) but rather for how much I could get with the maximum subsidy and zero out of pocket premium, effectively eliminating the ability of the system to steal those funds from me.  I've managed to get very close to zero for the last couple of years.  Since I no longer have anywhere near a six-figure income I have also voluntarily ditched a lot of expensive lifestyle choices -- out went the boats, I've "downshifted" my travel lodging arrangements (as it turns out I would rather sleep in a tent or hike somewhere that the cost is zero anyway!) and most-importantly I've dramatically increased my available time.

If this helps put a few marinas, boat dealers and supply firms out of business too tough **** -- they made their beds with the scammers and now they get to lie in it.  I'll be happy to go back to earning and spending when all of those who would like to enjoy the fruits of my labor as I expend them get off their ass and put a stop to the scams -- and not one second before.

A big part of why this worked of course is that in 2000 I moved out of Chitcago and to a place that has a much lower embedded cost of living via taxes, fees and similar.  My real estate taxes are a quarter or less of what they'd be there for a home of equivalent value.  I don't pay $3/gallon for gasoline, unlike in "Rahm's Paradise."  I don't pay a 10% sales tax and I don't deal with "car stickers" to be able to park on the street, nor $2/hour meters and similar horse**** just to get around.  My food bill has gone down materially as well but I eat real well; nobody starves around here.  While I have a nasty A/C bill a good part of the year my heat bill is near zero.

In the next year or two I will make a second move to somewhere with dramatically lower minimum household operating costs.  Yep, I'm done here.  Not because it's ridiculously high in cost but because I can do better, and frankly if the people won't stand up and put a stop to the scam then I know what's coming and it's going to be really, really bad.  You can't keep extracting money like this while destroying the productive capacity of the people by making them sick, effectively becoming an "economy" that exists for the express purpose of making people ill and then robbing them both of their health and their money.

Eventually you run out of money to rob as all the people who used to be productive are either sick, addicted or worse -- and they don't produce anything.  Without people to pull the cart up the hill it will eventually stop and then roll backward over the top of everyone.

The GOP has no desire to fix this because they know that if they do the immediate impact will be a deep but short recession akin to 1920/21.  The Democrats know this too.  The people know damn well that plenty of them will temporarily lose their jobs and thus they won't demand it either, even though if they don't in just a few short years they're going to lose those jobs anyway and there will be no replacements in that case because the government will be unable to fund itself.

You've had plenty of warning folks, and now you've seen that both sides of the aisle are conspiring against you.  They're not interested in your access to healthall you ever hear is about health insurance.

The price of insuring something is always and everywhere simply a function of what the thing you're insuring against costs if it happens times the probability of it happening.  If the bad things has already happened then it is never cheaper to pay someone as a middleman to handle the money; nobody works for free.

If you want health insurance to be inexpensive you must reduce the probability of the bad thing happening and reduce the cost of the bad thing when it happens.

The former means telling people the truth about what the government has done to you with regard to "dietary advice" and stringing up every single so-called "physician" that continues to tell people to eat things that actively make them sick or prescribes pills where changing what one eats will have an equal or better impact.  We spend an estimated four hundred billion a year between Medicare and Medicaid, about 25% of the total, on just one disease where this is true (Type II diabetes and its complications.)

We could balance the budget tomorrow if we cut that **** out and the improvement in people's lives and financial state would be enormous.  Instead we literally keep them sick on purpose, steal all their money and then watch them die in agony as their feet are cut off, they go blind and ultimately their kidneys fail with the side effects of dialysis killing them.

Solving the problem also means breaking all of the price-fixing, the price protection and discriminatory pricing practices in the medical field top to bottom.  These practices are not only largely illegal under 100 year old law the medical and insurance industry has twice been to the US Supreme Court to try to get them ruled lawful and lost both times.  Yet we have exactly zero state or federal prosecutors who have or will indict anyone over this conduct.  That must stop now and we could start with this one-sentence bill to de-fang the extortionate "health insurance" business in a single day.

But it won't.

It won't because you won't make it stop.

It won't because the Congress and Trump won't make it stop either, despite it being within Trump's power to do so unilaterally even if Congress refuses, as the Executive has the power to enforce existing law all on its own.

And it won't because given the proof that neither Trump or Congress will do a thing, nor will a single prosecutor bring charges under 100+ year old lawyou, America, will not demand and enforce the demand that all of the above do their damn jobs.

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2017-07-20 11:43 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 317 references
[Comments enabled]  

So you want Alexa to control your appliance eh?

You're going to put an Alexa-powered device in your house and then tell it to start the washing machine?  Really?

How are you going to have Alexa load said washing machine?

Look folks, this announcement of Sears selling Kenmore appliances via Amazon is stupid.  It's brain-dead stupid because not one person in 100 will install their own refrigerator, say much less a dishwasher, stove, washer or dryer.

Sure, I will and do, but I'm 1 in 100.  Literally.

But if you think there's a tie-in with Alexa here, let me point something out -- if I see one of those "smart things" in your house I'm leaving as soon as I do see it and I'll never darken your door again.  Nor will I hire you.  Nor will I associate with you.  You've proved beyond any doubt that you will spy on our interaction and deliver the contents of our conversations and interactions to others without my consent.

That means I don't want you in my house because you probably have such a device in your pocket and it's turned on.  You're not welcome in my office or business -- at least not beyond the public areas, where there's no expectation of anything.  I won't drink a beer with you, because we might talk about something that I believe is between the two of us, but suddenly it won't be.

You're an *******, in short, who thinks there is some "gain" in speaking three words instead of pushing one button that you happen to be standing right next to while loading said washing machine.

Go **** yourself.

There are a few younger people who are are figuring this out.  Soon a lot of them will.  I've already seen plenty of evidence that this sort of surreptitious spying is going on via apps and phones, and when I can pinpoint who was carrying said device at the time they're done as far as I'm concerned -- permanently.

When this reaches general public consciousness, and it will, to simply own one of these devices will be enough to get you -- and the company that sold any of the pieces of it -- blackballed en-masse.

Yes, this includes Kenmore appliances -- and Spamazon.

Spamzon will find it's pair of cement shoes in the market through this "synergy."

Count on it.

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