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2018-03-09 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 167 references
[Comments enabled]  

I suspect there are going to be all sorts of participation trophies handed out to companies -- on the bankruptcy courthouse steps -- over the coming months and years.

The utterly insane actions of firms that has come out of recent events and the gross escalation of attempts to "de-platform" or "de-monetize" speech on the mere grounds that someone disagrees with the speaker is a many-edged sword and in fact the hilt of that sword is sharp and threatens to slice open the wielder at any moment.

Take REI for example, who I wrote about here.  Their official "policy statement" on the matter, which they pointed me at when I emailed them, can be found at this link and says:

REI does not sell guns. We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month. In the last few days, we’ve seen such action from companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart and we applaud their leadership.

This week, we have been in active discussions with Vista Outdoor, which has recently acquired several companies that are longtime partners of REI. These include Giro, Bell, Camelbak, Camp Chef and Blackburn. Vista also owns Savage Arms, which manufactures guns including “modern sporting rifles.”

This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action. As a result, we have decided to place a hold on future orders of products that Vista sells through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds.

Companies are showing they can contribute if they are willing to lead. We encourage Vista to do just that.

By the way, Giro, Bell, Camelbak and the others make things like bicycle helmets, ski goggles and hydration products -- and all are of quite high quality too.

I understand that REI neither sells firearms or wants anything to do with selling firearms.  That's fine.  I've never gone into an REI -- from whom I've bought quite a bit of product over the years -- looking for anything shooting-related.  But those who enjoy the shooting sports, whether it be target shooting, hunting, or simply collecting firearms and keeping them for defensive purposes, have a fairly decent correlation with those who enjoy the outdoors in many other ways, such as skiing, hiking, backpacking and similar -- and that is REI's target market.

REI, based in Seattle, is a co-op -- that is, it is basically a membership organization and you can opt to be a member when you buy there.  Doing so comes with some benefits, including in many cases an annual rebate on full-price purchases as a part of their profit is rebated back to the membership.  They also spend on various conservation measures.

The conflict is that so does the firearms industry -- there is a tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition along with bows, broadheads and points!  The sport shooting and hunting community decided to tax itself in 1937 to support conservation and this amounts to nearly a billion dollars a year in same -- or about half of what private foundations, persons and organizations such as REI contribute annually.

That's a hell of a lot of money and it comes in part directly from the company that REI is now blackballing because they didn't get what they wanted.

Here's the problem: They didn't ask the membership first -- they just played "social justice warrior" out in Seattle.

This sort of nonsense is dangerous for their corporate health as it should be.

When I ran MCSNet we were operating in a world where the leading edge of this sort of thing was starting to take hold.  I was repeatedly bombarded with requests to kill this person's account or take some corporate action based on some political cause -- many of them related to the gay community.  I steadfastly refused to take any sort of position on those matters because it had zero relationship to the services and products we offered and was guaranteed to******off a decent percentage of our customer base no matter which way we declared on the issue at hand.

Saying "no" pissed people off too and more than once I was threatened with a boycott.  Well, if you're going to boycott me for not doing something when the "something" has nothing to do with complying with a law or regulation nor does it have any direct bearing on the goods and services we sell then you can stuff it up your chute.

I recognize extortion when I see it whether it's legally actionable or not, and there is a large difference between deciding not to do business with someone because of a political position they take and doing so because they refuse to take a position.

REI is basically attempting to punish a vendor for refusing to act in an unspecified way that they deem "politically correct."  The problem is that the vendor isn't being punished; you will be able to get a Bell bicycle helmet from a lot of other places.  They're punishing their membership by doing this, and further they are pissing off those who are members and in addition to enjoying the outdoors also enjoy any sort of shooting sport.

Starbucks, if you remember, ran this same sort of crap during the last Presidential campaign, taking a political side in the fight.  Dumb and dumber!  It's not a coincidence that both firms sprung out of Seattle, where you have a 90% voting block and a set of blinders on when it comes to what the rest of the country thinks.  That would be just fine for a little coffee shop or outdoor store in Seattle as the business it would cost you is likely inconsequential.

This is not true when you have a store in Atlanta, Jacksonville or the middle of Tennessee where opinions are wildly divergent on firearms in particular and politics generally from what you have in Seattle!

Chicago may have been a deep-blue city politically but there were plenty of people to support a thriving Catholic community, among others.  Exactly how many of their devout followers do you think I wanted to******off by hanging gay pride banners all over my office?  That would be zero.

It's a whole different matter when your "corporate decisions" are made in a place that's wildly tilted politically, as is the case with both Starbucks and REI -- or, for that matter, the so-called "tech titans" headquartered in Silly Valley.

These firms are of course free to take whatever actions they wish, but the idiocy of kowtowing to the screaming harpy SJWs within those organizations risks a backlash that could severely damage them.  For many people there is and never will be any going back to these companies for products and services, even if they change their minds later.

May they burn in the fires set by their own SJW arsonists.

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2018-03-04 09:45 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 305 references
[Comments enabled]  

Just when you don't think things can possibly get any more-stupid.....

The Colorado couple who sank their beloved sailboat two days into their journey to the Caribbean is getting another go at navigating the high seas.

Tanner Broadwell, 26, and girlfriend Nikki Walsh, 24, sold everything they owned to pursue their dream of one day sailing around the world. However, they didn’t get far – their sailboat hit a sandbar and capsized off the coast of Madeira Beach, FL, two days later, leaving them only with $90 and no home.

The story of the couple’s misfortune quickly went viral and caught the eye of retired physician and boat owner, Mark Reinecke, who turned the couple’s luck around by selling them his 1985 Cheoy Lee Pedrick 36-foot sailboat for $1, the Daily Mail reported.

Oh Good Ghod.

This is an Asian-built boat that was built to a price.  That's not to say Cheoy Lee makes bad vessels -- they don't.  But you have to recognize what you're getting, where the corners were cut to hit the numbers, and pay attention, which of course means you have to know what to pay attention to.  Especially if you are thinking about actually going bluewater cruising with it.

If you recall the previous incantation of this "dream" ended with a grounding at slow speed that broke the keel bolts, almost-certainly because they were totally wasted, the boat turtled and sank.  Well, that shouldn't have happened.  It happened because they bought the boat, didn't know what to check, didn't pay someone who did know, and...... glub!

Odds are high that this 30-odd year old vessel has some of the same sorts of issues going on, especially if it's been sitting behind this guy's house instead of being used actively, pulled every year for maintenance and such, etc.  How's the rig, for starters?  What's the sail inventory look like and what sort of shape are they in?  Halyards and line condition, stays?  Chainplates all good?

A 36 footer is quite a decent sized boat too -- for someone with no skills and no real time on the water, too much boat -- especially as soon as the weather kicks up.

Oh, you think you always get to choose the weather when out boating eh?  Heh heh heh..... uh.... no.

I give these fools two weeks before they're shark food -- and this time I'm gonna cheer.

I do feel bad for the dog, however.

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2018-02-24 06:50 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 164 references
[Comments enabled]  

This made me smile....

A suspected big cat poacher has been eaten by lions near the Kruger National Park in South Africa, police say.


"They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains."

Awwwwww, cry me a river.

Most of the time these jackasses get away with it.

But once in a while the good guys -- the ones with four legs and a decent array of teeth -- win.

Now if we could just import some of those lions and turn them loose in a few places here in America, after teaching them that certain individuals in this country are just as nasty as those poachers....  oh I do wish I was able to speak Lion....

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2017-08-08 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 479 references
[Comments enabled]  

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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