Friday, August 7, 2020

Friday Night Links

  • Recognize that most of the investors at Austin Value Cap were born in a fortuitous period from 1916-1930. Most of the great generation of post war investor-allocators were from this period, because you had your early career largely after the war and could accumulate significant assets cheaply from the 1940s to the mid sixties (Graham style investing) then buy compounders with strong yields in the 1970s and then sit back and let the twin tailwinds of lower taxes and lower yields drive the portfolio value into the stratosphere. Not saying these aren't smart people, just that Ben Graham, who was quite a bit older, did much less well because he was born at the wrong time to have the strategy truly work for him; he died before the really big revaluation could work it's magic. [Strategic Investor]
  • Many unknowns exist about human immune responses to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. SARS-CoV-2 reactive CD4+ T cells have been reported in unexposed individuals, suggesting pre-existing cross-reactive T cell memory in 20-50% of people. However, the source of those T cells has been speculative. Using human blood samples derived before the SARS-CoV-2 virus was discovered in 2019, we mapped 142 T cell epitopes across the SARS-CoV-2 genome to facilitate precise interrogation of the SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ T cell repertoire. We demonstrate a range of pre-existing memory CD4+ T cells that are cross-reactive with comparable affinity to SARS-CoV-2 and the common cold coronaviruses HCoV-OC43, HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, or HCoV-HKU1. Thus, variegated T cell memory to coronaviruses that cause the common cold may underlie at least some of the extensive heterogeneity observed in COVID-19 disease. [science]
  • It's a little hard to get your mind wrapped around the Cherokee's mission in life, but Jeep tries to help by calling it "SportWagon." It's a station wagon with extra-functional overtones, an American car in Oshkosh overalls—part car, part truck. It's easy to believe the Cherokee was designed in Kenosha and Toledo, because it harks back to America before the Interstates, when it was tough just to get around. The Cherokee can take you to town in the winter or haul a ski boat in the summer. It has four-wheel drive to bust through the snowdrifts in your driveway or muck through the bog on the way to the summer cabin. [Car and Driver]
  • According to the Governor, a governmental body forcing a business to shut down for absolutely no reason cannot be a Constitutional violation because no property interest is implicated. This is incorrect. The operations of a business and the ability to earn income from that business are clearly property interests. The Court previously found that a short shutdown might not implicate a protected property interest. At the same time, it is evident that the government forcing a business to shut down indefinitely, to the point where it might not be able to survive, implicates a property interest. An ongoing revenue stream, and the goodwill attendant thereto, is certainly a property interest. There is no legal or logical support for the proposition that a permanent or long-term forced shutdown of a business does not involve a Constitutionally-protected property interest. [Mountainside Fitness Acquisitions, LLC]
  • I recently rewatched “Nixon”, and honestly, I don’t think Stone got it quite right. All kinds of critics on both the left and the right blasted Stone for being too soft (or too hard) on RMN. But I disagree with both sides – Stone’s take was off because he missed on the central question: Why did Nixon have such a penchant for secrecy and working outside mainstream government channels to conduct policies? To Stone, Nixon’s method of governing was a function of Nixon’s personality (his “paranoia”). Stone even invented dialogue for Pat Nixon to say exactly that. But that didn’t explain it. Instead, Nixon’s governing style was what it was because of his own long experience with the American Deep State. For more than a quarter century, Nixon had been a first hand witness to political machinations largely hidden from public scrutiny. Especially during his time as Eisenhower’s VP (a period excised in Stone’s movie), Nixon saw how Deep State forces could pressure or even countermand presidential decisions. (Eisenhower didn’t press for the May, 1960 U-2 flight – but Allen Dulles and the CIA prevailed. The ensuing disaster wrecked Ike’s hopes for a peace summit with Khrushchev, and the Cold War continued for another three decades.) Nixon’s secret diplomacy and his determination to keep the State Dept., the military, the CIA, and the rest of the Military Industrial Intelligence Complex away was due to Nixon’s fear that those institutions would dominate and corrupt his policies. Nixon’s fear was well placed – they forced him out eventually. So, in my view, Stone missed the reason Nixon was the he was: Nixon’s own personality was less a factor than Nixon’s knowledge of and concern with the dark forces able to counter the highest levels of American government. [Sailer]
  • Today, the revisionist account of Pearl Harbor is more widely accepted, and is gaining ground fast. Another journalist, Robert B. Stinnett, recently found the “smoking gun” — an 8-page 1940 memo by a lieutenant commander in the navy on how to get Japan to attack us, a memo that Roosevelt adopted, point by point. His book is titled, Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor (Free Press, 1999). [Gary North]

Monday, August 3, 2020

Monday Morning Links

  • The Sierra de Guadalcanal straddles the Extremadura-Andalucía border, and the village and valley of Guadalcanal are on the Andalusian side. The name went to the Solomon Islands in 1568, and, in 1942, into the vocabulary of everyone on earth who was even faintly aware of the events of the war in the South Pacific. Alburquerque, northwest of Mérida and close to Portugal, lost an “r” on its way to New Mexico. In the sixteenth century, Chile was known as Nueva Extremadura. The place-name itself—Extremadura—is pretty much the same in Latin and in Spanish: the outermost hard place. [McPhee]
  • But Mr. Podesta, playing Mr. Biden, shocked the organizers by saying he felt his party wouldn’t let him concede. Alleging voter suppression, he persuaded the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan to send pro-Biden electors to the Electoral College. In that scenario, California, Oregon, and Washington then threatened to secede from the United States if Mr. Trump took office as planned. The House named Mr. Biden president; the Senate and White House stuck with Mr. Trump. At that point in the scenario, the nation stopped looking to the media for cues, and waited to see what the military would do. [NY Times]
  • Driving down the mountain, I had a grin on my face that you couldn’t have wiped off with a baseball bat. My own truck was the one I drove back to Tucson that day. I came back to the U. of A. compound a few days later with my friend and we convoyed with his truck back home. It was curious that the telescope crew never did come back to check on me during my 5 days on the mountain, nor did they call Susan to give her a report. That’s okay, I couldn’t have done what I did without their help. One day I sat down and calculated that the total amount of snow I had shoveled would have filled 14 full-sized dump trucks. Thankfully, I didn’t sustain any injury. The Forest Service had never heard of anyone else pulling a stunt like that, shoveling their truck out to take it home. To this day, I detest shoveling snow with a passion, and I will never put myself in a position again where I have to do it. Oh yes, one more thing – if you’re somewhere and it starts to snow, make sure you have an exit plan and leave even sooner than you think you should. [Desert Mountaineer]
  • Must finish by 6:30 P.M. to catch the Rothorn train down from the ridge on the far east side, or walk a punishingly steep 5,400-plus-foot descent back to civilization, a hike that you will probably have to do by yourself, because Dan and Janine are nice but not necessarily psyched on sacrificing their knees on a downhill hike of several hours because you’re slow. [Outside]
  • Three weeks later, we found a quarter-acre of raw land near Pat’s tiny off-grid in the Cascades. It was a sloping meadow of ferns a short walk from the Skykomish River, festooned with mature Douglas fir, big leaf maple, and cedar. We put down an impossibly low offer of $3,000, certain the sellers wouldn’t take it seriously. If they accepted, we’d consider it a sign from the universe. [Outside]
  • I love the Grand Canyon. Even before I ever went on a river trip, I’d seen enough to enamor me on a couple backpacking trips and Rim-to-Rim jaunts. River trips, though, were at least a week, at minimum—and at least two weeks if you wanted to see the whole thing. I was sure it was great, but with two weeks, you could go a lot of places on Earth. Why keep going back to the same place over and over? Kevin Fedarko, former Grand Canyon river guide and author of The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon, has talked about the two rivers you experience on a river trip in the canyon: The Colorado River that is a constant as you boat down it during every day and camp next to it every evening, and the “river of stars” between the canyon walls that you look up at from your sleeping bag at night. Add to this the luxury of camping on river trips: you have the solitude of a backpacking trip, but the ability to pack almost anything you want to bring, because the raft is carrying your stuff. [Semi-Rad]
  • Cinchonism is relatively rare in the United States both because of the low incidence of malaria and because of the use of the newer antimalarial drugs when indicated. I think it worth while to present to your readers the following unusual reaction because of the increase in popularity, at least in the east, of the drink "gin and tonic." I saw a 43-year-old man in consultation who had a seven week history of tinnitus and hearing loss. He had consulted an otologist, who found bilateral diminution in hearing, and a neurologist, who suggested the diagnosis of bilateral angle meningioma. Because of the history of daily ingestion of seven to eight drinks per day he was sent for a medical evaluation prior to further workup for neurosurgery. [jama]
  • Alas, if Trump has an intuitive grasp of white suburbia’s id, he has no feel for its superego. Making it impossible for poor people to move to your town — and thus, lay a claim on your local tax dollars, or the time and attention of your kid’s public school teachers — clearly has some appeal to left-leaning suburbanites. But being confronted with the fact that this is what they are doing when they oppose new construction — let alone, that by doing so they are effectively entrenching racial segregation — has no appeal to this voting bloc. NIMBY liberals want racially exclusionary zoning policies wrapped up in rhetoric about historical preservation, not Trump’s garish branding. In fact, by ripping off liberal NIMBYism’s Jane Jacobs mask — and revealing that it was actually Old Man Racism all along — Trump likely did more to advance the cause of neighborhood desegregation than that of his own reelection. A variety of euphemisms — and the fact that zoning laws are a form of government regulation — have helped liberal NIMBYs reconcile their political identities with their reactionary housing politics. Trump has now made that task more difficult. Meanwhile, among liberal homeowners who’d previously lacked strong views about local housing debates, Trump’s intervention could be a catalyst for pro-inclusive-zoning voting behavior and civic engagement. The president has already demonstrated a gift for mobilizing Democrats against regressive policies they’d previously abided (or even supported). [nymag]
  • What is the point of a November election in one-party states such as California, New York, et al.? If #BecauseEmergency is sufficient reason to cancel what used to be Constitution rights that had some value (e.g., the rights for young healthy people to receive an education, assemble and socialize, go to work, etc.), why isn’t #BecauseEmergency sufficient reason to cancel a valueless right (to vote in a non-primary election in a non-swing state)? [PhilG]
  • Today, America's five largest companies by market capitalization are all well-known technology and internet businesses: in descending order, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), and Facebook. Historically, being one of the top companies by market cap has been a contrary indicator, both for the company itself and for the industry to which it belongs. In 1980, right before a decade-long decline in oil prices, six of the top ten were oil companies. In 2000, at the peak of the dotcom bubble, six of the top ten were computer and internet companies. I think history will repeat and that none of today's Big Five will grow enough to justify its current market cap. So I want to lay out the risks, as I see them, of investing in these companies and popular tech stocks in general. [y0ungmoney]

Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Night Links

  • Someone on Twitter was asking: why does every trade need a catalyst? Well, if the S&P 500 paid a 7 percent dividend yield, would anyone care about catalysts? What if companies with great moats like Google or railroads paid 7 percent dividends? Obviously no one would care about catalysts, they would just clip coupons. I wonder whether the focus on catalysts is because the market is overpriced, in the sense that no one can live off of the coupons on a portfolio, and so staying ahead requires painstaking and original investment research looking for catalysts? How does this relate to the short term investing anomalies? Well, by definition, a catalyst is a value-unlocking event that you hope happens soon. Focus on imminent catalytic events may be what causes short-term investing. [CBS]
  • I am still waiting for the new conventional wisdom about what is happening to emerge, and I believe it will be as follows. A particular ancestral betacoronavirus emerged in bats several decades ago with a special superpower, different from but conceptually not too distinct from HIV’s ability to rapidly mutate. This virus had the ability to easily spread out among many animal species and evolve among them through a standard slow process of mutation subject to selection pressures, but then to occasionally co-infect a single host and recombine to create a radically different variant (a “chimera,” although I think it’s better thought of as an “offspring.”). These offspring would occasionally be very deadly because they combined well-developed abilities that had evolved in separate lineages from the original ancestor evolving in separate species. Eventually I think we will categorize all the recent betacoronavirus outbreaks (Sars-1, Sars-2, MERS) as part of this broader process, and require a vaccination strategy that can be quickly deployed against new recombinations from this original ancestral betacoronavirus as they randomly emerge from the primordial stew across many animal species, including ours. The evidence thus far points to recombinations resulting in the emergence of a distinct dangerous variant with some regularity. This story also explains the existence of some preexisting immunity in much of the population to Sars-Cov-2, but substantial variation in what feature of Sars-Cov-2’s genetic code the immune system reacts to depending on whether the individual is known to have had SARS, MERS, or neither. In all likelihood, possibly many relatively nonlethal or even asymptomatic variants of the same betacoronavirus ancestor have been circulating undetected among human populations during this same 10-20 years, resulting in people people who have been exposed to different random bits of genetic material present in Sars-Cov-2. [Marginal Revolution]
  • There are many words for pass in the English-speaking world. In the United States, pass is very common in the West, the word gap is common in the southern Appalachians, notchin parts of New England, and saddle in northern Idaho. In the West, the word summit is also used to describe a pass, but this term is universally used to describe a mountain top, leading to confusion as to whether a labeled "summit" is a pass or a peak. [Wiki]
  • We need to scale both the number of parameters and the compute power required logarithmically (10x) in order to get linear returns to performance. Given the mind-bogglingly large values we’re talking about here, continuing to scale at these rates is going to get very challenging. [gpt3]
  • This Model Y came with the one feature we've come to expect in all Teslas: shoddy fit and finish. We noted inconsistent gaps between the body panels—not all of which sit flush, by the way. There's a definite orange-peel effect to the paint, which also had some chips fresh from the factory, according to the owner. A few wires hang in the open from the dashboard into the passenger's footwell. Tesla placed the tire-pressure sticker on the door jamb in such a way that the white label peeks through the gap between the front fender and the door panel. And a series of persistent creaks and rattles from the back seat and cargo area made the owner send this car back to Tesla for a fix. The company says the rattle is a known problem without a solution, so the owner found a workaround. [Car and Driver]
  • Most modern folks think in terms of profit maximization; we take for granted that we will still be alive tomorrow and instead ask how we can maximize how much money we have then (this is, admittedly, a lot less true for the least fortunate among us). We thus tend to favor efficient systems, even if they are vulnerable. From this perspective, ancient farmers – as we’ll see – look very silly, but this is a trap, albeit one that even some very august ancient scholars have fallen into. These are not irrational, unthinking people; they are poor, not stupid – those are not the same things. But because these households wobble on the edge of disaster continually, that changes the calculus. These small subsistence farmers generally seek to minimize risk, rather than maximize profits. After all, improving yields by 5% doesn’t mean much if everyone starves to death in the third year because of a tail-risk that wasn’t mitigated. Moreover, for most of these farmers, working harder and farming more generally doesn’t offer a route out of the small farming class – these societies typically lack that kind of mobility (and also generally lack the massive wealth-creation potential of industrial power which powers that kind of mobility). Consequently, there is little gain to taking risks and much to lose. So as we’ll see, these farmers generally sacrifice efficiency for greater margins of safety, every time. Avoiding risk for these farmers comes in two main forms: there are strategies to reduce the risk of failure within the annual cycle and then strategies to prepare for failure by ‘banking’ the gains of a good cycle against the losses of a bad cycle. [acoup]
  • I think it's hard to have an opinion on what Trump should do in Portland or Seattle without more information. Perhaps federal buildings should be abandoned and relocate to friendlier suburbs? Allow cities to be destroyed. Or perhaps buildings should be defended to last man. I really don’t know what the enemy is trying to do. Possibly they seek to bait Trump into a Waco. Perhaps they seek to blame him for destruction of cities. Clearly the mayors are assets of the same entities steering riots. Perhaps they plan to win either way. Probably defending the buildings and cautiously arresting most violent each night is the way to go. Carefully, competently face opponent. The mixed strategy. [bollocksworth]
  • The American academy is bonkers and has reared monsters - so that we now have a "black liberation movement" staffed almost entirely by college-educated white women (including a remarkable number of angry trans-women) from the over-undergraduated permanent-varsity Class of Whenever. We are assured that out in "the real world" there is a soi-disant "silent majority" whose voices will resound around the world on November 3rd. For what it's worth, I don't believe in the existence of this "silent majority", and a political party that has won the popular vote only once in the last thirty years (2004) ought to be chary about over-investing in it. [Steyn]
  • I tried being a historian next, and came to Madison intent on obtaining a Ph.D. in the History of Science department at the University of Wisconsin. That didn’t go so well. I learned that just because you like to read about/hear talks on something doesn’t mean you’ll like actually doing research in it. So I decided to try cartography next. This was no surprise to anyone who knew me. I have always loved maps, and would sometimes go to the library and browse atlases for fun. But I somehow had never realized that maybe, if I was so interested in maps, I should actually try and make a career out of it. And so now I make maps, and occasionally teach about cartography, in Madison, WI. I love what I do, and I cannot fathom how I didn’t realize that this was what I should be doing with my life. [sam]
  • The Boulangism cloud had burst and that meant that there was no one answering Salima’s toaster when it asked if the bread she was about to toast had come from an authorized Boulangism baker, which it had. In the absence of a reply, the paranoid little gadget would assume that Salima was in that class of nefarious fraudsters who bought a discounted Boulangism toaster and then tried to renege on her end of the bargain by inserting unauthorized bread, which had consequences ranging from kitchen fires to suboptimal toast (Boulangism was able to adjust its toasting routine in realtime to adjust for relative kitchen humidity and the age of the bread, and of course it would refuse to toast bread that had become unsalvageably stale), to say nothing of the loss of profits for the company and its shareholders. Without those profits, there’d be no surplus capital to divert to R&D, creating the continuous improvement that meant that hardly a day went by without Salima and millions of other Boulangism stakeholders (never just “customers”) waking up with exciting new firmware for their beloved toasters. [link]
  • Housing is the single largest expense for families. Young women with IQs above 115 won't reproduce except as part of a married couple that owns a house. Any country being run for the benefit of posterity would therefore look to have housing be as cheap as possible. We see that the policy of this country is the opposite. Not only the immivasion and wage crushing tactics that AllanF describes, but also tax and mortgage policy. Mortgage interest deduction and subsidized mortgage market drive up the price of land. (It's expensive land, not expensive structures, that are making houses unaffordable.) Also, let's not forget that there is an artificial scarcity of land in ALL major metros, caused by anti-white violence perpetrated by blacks and hispanics. How much cheaper would it be to live in Chicago or Philadelphia if there weren't "no-go zones" where whites are attacked? (By the way, "gentrification" just means whites attempting to move into areas controlled by black and hispanic milita forces.) [CBS]
  • To all my fellow veterans who have been tethered to the stake in small numbers as sacrificial lambs to serve as targets so as to justify larger wars - from those sailors left behind at Pearl Harbor, to the small units stationed in Saudi Arabia on the border of Iraq over a decade ago - and the small units of NATO allies moving up to the borders of Russia as a provocation now: Greetings from a veteran of the Berlin Brigade 1970 - two years after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia - 10,000 of us surrounded by 250,000 Russians and East Germans. Understand what your sons and daughters are volunteering for!!! The elites and oligarchs know perfectly well that Russian nukes target them and only them, since the object of modern nuclear war is surgical decapitatation of the leadership, and definitely not the the de-population of the flyover areas of the U.S. They fervently hope for early warning by tethering your sons and daughters as goats to the stake and pray fervently that Russia will take their lives, the irrelevant bait, and not bypass them and surge forward to real targets. [High Plateau Drifter]
  • Robotics embodies the Moravec paradox. There’s a sort of corollary to this that people who work in the tiny field of “actual AI” (as opposed to ML ding dongs who got above their station) used to know about. This was before the marketing departments of google and other frauds made objective thought about this impossible. The idea is that intelligence and consciousness arose spontaneously out of biological motion control systems. I think the idea comes from Roger Sperry, but whatever, it used to be widely known and at least somewhat accepted. Those biological motion control systems exist even on a microscopic level; even unicellular creatures like the paramecium, or primitive animals without real nervous systems like the hydra are capable of solving problems that we can’t do even in the general case with the latest NVIDIA supercomputer. While robotics is a noble calling and the roboticists solve devilishly hard problems, animal behavior ought to give a big old hint that they’re not doing it right. [Locklin]

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Q&A with @HalifaxShadow on Emigration

As a follow-up to our correspondent considering emigrating from the US with his family, a CBS reader offered to share his own emigration experience in the form of a Q&A. You may follow him at @HalifaxShadow on the twitter.

How old are you and where did you grow-up?
I'm Generation X.  I grew up in a Midwest suburb - fairly nondescript in the sense it would have been similar to the suburbs of many American cities in the 80's and 90's.  Not very diverse. Crime free. But outside a city that had and still has quite a few problems surrounding the urban core.

How long have you been an American ex-pat? Have you been in Singapore the whole time, or did you do some amount of travelling before settling on Singapore?
I've been abroad for nearly 20 years.  I have lived in several countries across Europe and Asia and traveled to nearly 30 (most for work, with some vacation travel too).  I came to Singapore around 15 years ago for a job.  I had no specific intentions of settling here permanently, but that was a decision that would seem natural after a few years here.

Do you retain your US citizenship, or have you paid the exit tax and broken all ties?
I have renounced my citizenship and resolved my tax obligations, yes.  I did so before it was fashionable.

Being abroad for 20 years, I assume you started for reasons of being young and liking travel and adventure, rather than concerns over woke-progressivism that our correspondent wrote of. On the other hand, political reasons have been with us for a long time. Before woke-progressivism we had the “War on Terror” over which to emigrate. The obvious reason back then would have been the tax reporting & financial burden that came out of the Patriot Act, and perhaps since then the political angle has reinforced the fortuitousness of your decision. But maybe there is more to it?
Yes, my initial foray abroad was youthful adventure, which morphed into tax minimization as I started to earn, and only later became politically-motivated.  I was fed up with leftism by Obama's inauguration which put me a little ahead of the curve on this stuff.  Was reading Moldbug at that point.

As our original correspondent wrote of his children's future being a large part of his motivation, could you share a little of your family situation... married? To a local or bring your wife with you? Any kids?
I am married but for the sake of opsec I won't share much more than that.  However, I can say that I don't think renouncing citizenship is a disadvantage as such. There are trade offs to be mindful of.  For example, in Singapore your boys must serve in the Army (mandatory military service).  This personally doesn't bother me, but for those who have a problem with it, that obligation is probably a deal-breaker.

While I could go on about this, I see the US education system as pretty poisonous, so I wouldn't send kids there for university under any circumstance. I would recommend anyone living in the USA to homeschool your kids or identify a sufficiently dissident boarding and/or religious school that you feel confident is not infiltrated by woke progressivism.

As our original correspondent wrote about eventually needing employment in whichever country he were to move to, are you employed? Local company, multi-national, or remote-work contracting?
For the most part I have been employed in MNC's during my career. Depending on what unique skills someone brings to the table, and where you want to be, you will need to figure out the most practical way to fit in economically and visa-wise.

For example, if you are a great dev and have contacts to freelance/remote, you probably don't need to think too much about visas on day one. You can hit the road in southeast asia if that's what you like (I favor Thailand), and just change countries whenever your visa expires.  Later, you can figure out what you like.  If you are someone like me without specific qualifications, it might be easier to work your way up the ladder a bit at an MNC with an office in one or more of your target destinations, and work out a deal to be relocated.

If you're not married w/ kids yourself, do you think expatriation is practical for a family man with a 6-figure nest egg doing it on his own, ie. does not have a multi-national, NGO, or State dept job? If not, what do you think a viable exit nest-egg would be for someone looking to live modestly, but somewhere safe and with good schools/peer-groups for his children?
I think you can expatriate with a 6 figure nest egg.  I know people who have done so to Thailand and other countries in this region.  I don't think you can do that to Singapore on 6 figures and anyway I don't think there is a route to the visa you'd need unless you are working and have a sponsorship that route.

If I were going to hit Thailand with a 6 figure nest egg I'd say work out what you think your local income could be (do something generic like a real estate broker, perhaps) and then you can back into what you'd need in terms of nest egg with a retirement calculator.

6 figures is a broad range and you can be in Thailand living very well for the long-term with little concerns about monthly income in the upper end of the range and need to economize carefully at the lower end and live pretty much like a local.  There are great international schools there and that's where to send your kids (so plan accordingly in terms of cost).

Conversely, for older and younger CBS readers, what are some of the practical considerations? I assume there is completely different calculus for 20-somethings vs. retirees, and singles vs. couples, and maybe even men vs. women?
So you don't want to pay exit tax if you can avoid it. So, I'd urge the younger readers to get abroad and bottom out whether they want to expatriate before they hit the thresholds for accumulated capital gains etc that put them on the exit tax radar. For older people it is more about whether they want to live abroad for cost and lifestyle reasons but stay in the US tax umbrella, or whether the exit tax is 'worth it' as a one-time hit to be over and done with it. Each person is different but these are the broad considerations.

In terms of men and women, I think the thought process is probably similar. That said, if you are single, you will both be more open to which location to end up and also need to think about where you can meet your future spouse.  If you aren't into asian women, you probably don't want to move to Vietnam.  In theory you could move to Singapore where there are single western women, but the pool will be pretty small.  Not every place is filled with people who will be your cup of tea, so you may want to start off with a destination you already know a bit, and move on from there if you get the urge.

The original correspondent wrote he wanted to choose a place with good marriage prospects for his children. In your estimation, what are the marriage prospects for young people of European descent in Singapore?
Europeans are prized on the marriage market throughout Asia. You probably won't see your kids date or marry into the wealthiest Chinese families here, but your kids will have the pick of the strivers / nouveau riche types, and there is nothing wrong with that.  If they attend one of the international schools, they will also become friends with amazing people from all over Europe and the USA and have the chance to marry a fellow European too.

To step back a little, is there anything more fundamental you think the original correspondent is missing. In other words, is he even expressing the right concerns? Are these questions even the right ones for me to be asking?
These are the right questions. I would add that the most important factor is actually "whether you want to live in the USA again?"  You can't reverse course on renunciation. So if you renounce it is a one way ticket. We missed the USA greatly in my early years abroad and still do, sometimes. However, we ultimately decided we have no desire to live and work there again, and that's the moment at which we were able to proceed with renunciation with no doubts.

Perhaps I will leave with you with a list of countries in this region that I think are interesting for both short/medium term expat living as well as permanent residence:

Thailand - great people , moderate cost, great weather
Vietnam - cheap in the right areas, amazing western food
Singapore - career opportunities and low tax
Hong Kong - like Singapore but better for singles
Laos - have only been once but wow it was cheap, vibe is vaguely like Thailand but a little more closed

Thank you, @HalifaxShadow, for taking the time to share your experience with us. I would say your experience comes across as fairly typical. Emigration is not the same as going on an extended vacation by any means, but it seems to be a viable option for sufficiently motivated individuals and even families. The real difficulty appears to be selecting a destination, something that can probably only be solved by visiting a country (or a few countries) and deciding for oneself if it is a place one would wish to permanently reside.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday Links

  • We seem to be paying even more today for a broad bucket of unprofitable hopefuls than we were willing to pay for the FANMAG archetypes before they survived and won their near-monopoly status. Paying >10x revenue for exciting growth stories is historically one of the worst long-term investment methodologies ever. Our research on similarly priced, similarly unprofitable new-issue stocks with similar growth prospects suggests that this is because of their dramatically high failure rate and disproportionate risk of extreme multiple compression. And this is true even excluding the dot-com bubble. Bankruptcy-level losses occur at such high rates that the group of stocks has an actuarial price return risk equivalent to investing exclusively in tomorrow’s levered defaulters. Even if you pick an eventual lottery ticket like the six FANMAGs, at 10x+ revenue you can still lose 80% of your money on a five-year horizon at those purchase multiples due to multiple compression despite the growth. We don’t know of any long-only strategies that have as much asymmetrical downside price return risk as putting all your money in 14x revenue stocks that aren’t producing profits. [Verdadcap]
  • You’re touching on the subject I’m most interested in at the moment. As much as I love Main Street towns our larger institutions dismantled their support structures decades ago. Covid and our national response is finishing off the mom and pops. But what’s the more resilient and sustainable alternative? A far flung subdivision with restrictive HOA off the side of a highway? A condo in a downtown tower? I think the best option (for me) at the moment is an older home on a larger lot that’s just on the edge of a historic walkable town. With a big enough garden there’s a degree of self provisioning. Rainwater capture from the roof, a few solar panels, and a wood stove are good fallbacks to the usual supplies. This isn’t about “self-sufficiency” as much as stop gaps in a crisis. But none of this should be bought with debt. So it’s tricky... [Granola Shotgun]
  • Perhaps God never designed human society to operate at our present level of development. Perhaps he built into humanity a low fertility mechanism to cap human development. Or, perhaps he is simply suppressing our fertility in order to drag us back down to a reasonable position before we innovate obscene post-human technologies. I see precedent for this interpretation in the Tower of Babel story. Sometimes, civilizations need to be reset in order to keep humanity operating in a spiritually productive way. One way of looking at history is that God engineered white civilization to rise in such a way that it would spread Christianity across the world. However, we have now gone too far, and God is suppressing us by flooding the planet with low IQ populations that cannot sustain our advanced societies. [CoC Millenial]
  • In 1962 my father bought his first new car, a six-cylinder Ford Galaxie, for about 2600. It was the bottom­-of-the-line full-sized Ford, with industrial upholstery and no power assists. It didn't even have carpeting. Cheap as it was, my father's Galaxie was a serviceable unit: reasonably economical, reliable, and able to carry our family and all of our detritus on long trips. Not once, however, did we forget we were traveling in a bare­bones transportation appliance. [Car and Driver]
  • In particular, a senior campaign official said a Biden administration would take aim at so-called like-kind exchanges, which allow investors to defer paying taxes on the sale of real estate if the capital gains are reinvested in another property. The official also said they would prevent investors from using real-estate losses to lower their income tax bills. [Bloomberg]
  • Have you followed Peter Turchin’s work on Cliodynamics? His theory is that periods of increased equality and abundant opportunities (say 1950-1960’s) lead to a widening of the elite pool (as more people get the chance to study at college, or new positions in businesses etc). The power-holders can get along in a cooperative consensus-way. However the number of power-holding positions stays roughly the same as the number of contenders increase more than the number of power-holding positions that in turn stops to increase (or increase slower than the number of contenders). For example, the US population has almost doubled since 1960 but there are still only 100 senators, 435 rep., one president and so on at the federal level of politics. Not only in politics but in other areas as well (university faculties, medicine, businesses) competition for power-holding prestigious positions increase as the supply pool increase more than the number of power-holding positions. [CBS]
  • I think this is a good metaphor for the quagmire in which white Americans have found ourselves mired in 2020. In fact, I think it’s an apt description of the endless struggle against the perpetual state of revolution that is liberalism and universal suffrage democracy. I think it also conveys a convincing argument for why dissidents must support Donald Trump for reelection, despite his shortcomings and failure to fulfill campaign promises. I do not think a Joe Biden presidency would be the relentlessly oppressive, tyrannical Marxist surveillance state that we imagine. I think a Joe Biden presidency would arguably mark a return to a less hysterical state of madness (while undoubtedly no less insane, a little less frenzied). Our enemies believe themselves powerless victims. It is boogeymen such as Trump drives them to lunacy. In this way, a Biden Administration would be a form of pressure relief, like the relaxed state of not resisting the Chinese handcuffs. [Counter Currents]
  • "Current illegal border crossings are running about 100,000 per month." For perspective, there are only ~70,000 Lakota people in the US. mass Latinx migration is Mestizo/Oto-Manguean/Mayan colonialism and anti-Siouan genocide. [Hakan Rotmwrt]
  • One could make the argument that Trump has been letting his foes reveal themselves by not taking action, at least until very recently. But his poll numbers have declined since the Black Lives Matter protests began. It’s hard to know how much of this is due to the coronavirus spread or Trump’s handling (or non-handling) of the riots. Either way, the root cause is the same. For a supposed authoritarian nationalist, Trump is far too hands-off. Thus Trump has somehow failed to take advantage of a foreign pandemic, a scared population, and large-scale urban riots. Instead, he’s been too naïve, trusting to the wisdom of the stock market and the fair-mindedness of journalists. [VDARE]
  • The Anti-Poaching reward had jumped to half a quarter’s salary recently for bugmen 3rd class (the median population). This was a necessary thing for the enforcers of the ESA just to motivate those living insects to keep their bugeyes open. Selective breeding encouraged by high-soy replacement and social media engineering had reduced the median population to the spatial and situational awareness of something between a sea cucumber and a strand of kelp. If anything I could count on their ARG headsets to keep them distracted as they walked the streets; their attention was taken by signs and billboards that deposited ₩ in their account every time it registered that they tracked the entirety of the advertisement. [Middle Earth Mag]
  • Very typical of Vaclav Smil, we have Enriching the Earth, about the Haber-Bosch invention of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, which was once the "holy grail of synthetic inorganic chemistry." He calls it the most important invention ever because the fixation of nonreactive, atmospheric, molecular nitrogen into usable form is alone what has allowed the world to swell to seven billion people. Leibig's law of the minimum says that plant growth is limited by whatever substance is present in the soil in the least adequate amount. Many times, this is nitrogen, which is why most of the world's civilizations independently discovered intercropping of legumes in order to add nitrogen to soil, as early as 12,000 years ago. Liebeg described agriculture's principle objective as "the production of digestible nitrogen," and as a 19th century chemist noted, "every vital phenomenon is due to some change in a nitrogen compound and indeed in the nitrogen atom of that compound". [CBS]
  • So, you know, they're bolstering the stock market. Okay, there's a floor to the stock market. Everybody knows it's not going below a certain place. That's okay. Let's have a floor for America's working families. [Pelosi]
  • One reason I have had to hide out in cash this cycle is that when people are too optimistic (delusional), no one can make money investing. Either the business operators are overfunded and compete all the profits away (energy, startup sector, "disruptors," Netflix, Amazon) or investors are too optimistic and pay prices for share interests that almost guarantee losses. The willingness to pay high multiples for hypothetical future earnings is an extreme example of double counting. (The Nifty 50 were expensive but they all made money.) [CBS]
  • Then out spake brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate: "To every man upon this earth death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods?" [Macaulay]
  • Did you know that letterpress printing with a deep impression was traditionally regarded as bad printing? It was only in the last couple decades during the letterpress revival that printing with an exaggerated impression became popular, most likely as a way to show off the uniquely tactile nature of letterpress compared to offset. [link]
  • It’s 2026, halfway through Harris’ first full term, and things seem to be going well. The riots and turmoil and violence of the Trump era seem a distant memory. You feel guilty that you’re more comfortable now than you were then, but you are. Besides, you have more important things to be worried about. A wife and a beautiful baby girl. Things have been strained financially but that bubbly laugh at the end of the day makes it all worth it. Sure tax rates have gone up a bit but you have a good job, you’re stable. You still retain your firearms from the pre 2020 era. You felt like a real rebel when you didn’t register them with the ATF during the required window. You haven’t shot in years and you’ll never take them out of the safe again, but they lend you comfort. “If I really need them, they’re there”. And thankfully you got yours before 24’, because they’re basically impossible to purchase now. Same with ammo, but it’s not like you’re doing any target shooting. You feel the few thousand rounds of range reloads are plenty. You don’t keep up with politics like you used to, Youre a family man after all, but you do still follow some right wing social media accounts. Or you did, until they all started disappearing. And this time they didn’t come back. No new accounts to take their place. You’d heard whispers of Gun confiscations a few years back, but people always talk right? They probably got caught up in some other illegal activity, maybe struck their girlfriend? Brandished? Door to door raids are just sensationalism. Besides, you don’t hear abt them now. You don’t hear about much of anything. It’s been about a year since Trump was convicted on several corruption and treason charges. Last you heard he was being moved to a military prison somewhere out of the country, for his safety. You realize you haven’t even seen a photograph of him since. The media doesnt even mention his name anymore. They did at first, in showing all the “evil” we overcame as a nation. Now the framing is different. A “return to form” for America. You know it was never like this..right? [Returned Redux]

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Saturday Links

  • Will COVID be remembered as the disease that ushered in the final stage of white pacification? Will it be remembered as the white man’s “Injun epidemic”? To be clear, it’s not even remotely as deadly as the smallpox that killed millions of Indians. But I do think it’s a catalyst. I think COVID pulled the trigger on an acceleration of antiwhiteness, buoyed by a newfound confidence on the part of authorities that white America can, by and large, be pushed around to no end. Whites can be locked down at home while hordes of nonwhites are allowed to literally mock them from the sidewalks. [Taki]
  • Even if no one reads poetry anymore, “The Second Coming” is proof that a perfect poem can still go viral in a distinctly predigital way: that it’s become a part of the culture’s water supply. Slouchy though they may be, the misapplications amount to a tribute. [Paris Review]
  • Due to the demands of running time, one important scene ended up on the cutting room floor but survives in the director’s cut. Despite its loss from the theatrical version, the scene between Nixon (Anthony Hopkins) and CIA Director Richard Helms (Sam Waterston) acts as a cornerstone making explicit what is implicit in the theatrical version. [link]
  • We introduced a geriatric-palliative approach and methodology to improve the quality of care in nursing home/nursing departments, assuming a priori that each patient in our nursing department suffered from some negative effects of polypharmacy. Our research hypothesis was that, in most patients, several drugs could be discontinued without significant negative effects on mortality, morbidity and quality of life, and with beneficial financial consequences. [IMA]
  • The epidemiology of influenza swarms with incongruities, incongruities exhaustively detailed by the late British epidemiologist, Edgar Hope-Simpson. He was the first to propose a parsimonious theory explaining why influenza is, as Gregg said, "seemingly unmindful of traditional infectious disease behavioral patterns." Recent discoveries indicate vitamin D upregulates the endogenous antibiotics of innate immunity and suggest that the incongruities explored by Hope-Simpson may be secondary to the epidemiology of vitamin D deficiency. [NLM]
  • Sam Long, a small-business investor who writes about the economy, said that the Fed program has enabled three wealth transfers: from the middle and working classes to the affluent, who own most of the stocks and bonds whose prices have been propped up by the Fed; from the cautious to the reckless, who have seen the risk in their dubious business decisions eliminated; and from the young people of today, who will end up paying back all the borrowed money, to the older people, who are now benefitting from it. [New Yorker]
  • The capital of the Idaho Territory was relocated from Lewiston to Boise in December 1864. In the late 1880s, statehood for the Washington Territory was nearing. Because its commercial and transportation interests looked west, rather than south, the citizens of the Idaho Panhandle passionately lobbied for their region to join Washington, or to form an entirely separate state, rather than remain connected with the less accessible southern Idaho. [Wiki]
  • Critical theory is taking socially binding norms and flipping the narrative to make them pejoratives, pathologies, and oppression that must be fought in order to destroy the strengths & defenses of a society, like what HIV does to the immune system. Critical theory as it applies to men and women is taking something as socially binding as the natural differences in mental and physical talents and abilities between men and women, and making them a pejorative called “sexism”. Critical theory as it applies to family is taking something as socially binding and natural as loving and caring for your family, and making it a pejorative called “patriarchy”. [Occidental Dissent]
  • He smoked back then. All the way through the ’08 campaign. And then he quit. His medical report in ’08 said “continue smoking cessation efforts.” He was chewing Nicorette. Which, I fucking love Nicorette, but only when complemented by a nice healthy Camel Filter at the beginning and end of the day. You need that stabbing in your lungs, that burning, a hit of pain that lets you know the medicine went in. But since he was on a doctor-supervised medical program, he would have quit the Nicorette too. He would have staggered it down slowly over several months, six pieces a day, four pieces a day, two pieces a day– from the auspicious beginning of his presidency to the long drawn out months when it became clear he couldn’t get anything through Congress. He never picked up the phone and called legislators to push shit through, even Democrats. He hated socializing, Washington parties– that’s where you get shit done. That’s where you have a brandy with John Boehner and have a laugh and talk about old pussy and golf or fishing or whateverthefuck and in your heart you realize this guy isn’t so bad, let’s get something done together. Have a shared legacy. Even Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich did this. But Obama said he had to spend time with his daughters. Mr. President: first of all, fuck your daughters; they’ll live. But also: they want to spend time with you, not this crabby worn out simulacrum of you. The real you that they love is the you who smokes. And then he didn’t smoke with chainsmoking John Boehner during the budget negotiations. This is what killed the historic compromise that the normally intransigent Congress was ready to make. If they had had a cigarette together, that deal would have been made. Because of that secret bond that smokers have in this uptight sewing circle of a society. Us against the world. Had to be Michelle who made him quit. Her and whatever candyass square they hired as White House Physician. [Delicious Tacos]
  • Does that third bullet point sound like 21st century United States or what? What he's talking about is what High Plateau Drifter covers in his essays for this blog. Yet Turchin does not mention immigration, nor explain it as a tool that elites in the U.S. and Europe have been using deliberately to drive land rents higher and per capita incomes lower. You have to hand it to this theory (not that it is original to Turchin), the overpopulation does explain why we are seeing $100 million apartments in Manhattan. Anyway, the civil war that follows after the third bullet point reduces the population, resulting in falling rents and rising per capita incomes. The ranks of the elites shrink, with many simply abandoning aristocratic pretenses. These oscillations between prosperity and collapse are what Turchin calls "secular cycles". [CBS]
  • Personally, I’ve been quite frustrated at the world’s pathetic response to fighting the coronavirus. Most politicians and scientific leaders have not been trying. They are failing to employ tools such as CT scans and government-run quarantine centers. It is embarrassing that most developed countries have failed to suppress the virus while Thailand, Cuba, and other developing countries have succeeded in doing so. We as a society should demand that our leaders act responsibly and start using the tools available. A powerful and low-tech tool that can be used to fight aerosol transmission is to shift activities outdoors and to avoid indoor spaces. The natural ventilation of being outside will dramatically dilute aerosols It is highly likely that coronavirus is like all other infectious diseases where the severity of the infection depends on the initial dose. Extremely low doses will result in no infection. Any steps taken to reduce exposure to aerosols will make a big difference in reducing the spread and lethality of the disease. [Glenn Chan]
  • The automotive business may be topsy­-turvy these days, but there's still no question about where the world's best drivers' cars come from. For sheer quantity, you can't beat the Fatherland: Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and VW turn out more great rides than the rest of the world's carmakers combined. Even the Japanese still think German cars are magic—and they're working furiously to close the gap. [Car and Driver]

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

July 14th Links

  • Thus, shipyard repair work is not a commodity like bushels of corn. There are tradeoffs between distance (which means time, which means money) and cost of work, and quality (which means time, which means money) and cost of work. When the vessel market is tight and your ship rents for $50,000 per day, you're going to be less price sensitive regarding repair work. That's good for Conrad margins. Lots of work and lots of price-insensitive customers. No wonder that when their repair segment is good, it's really good. We also know that when repair work is weak, Conrad's repair segment is really weak. Think of a soft vessel market. (Like right now in 2015, unfortunately, because of oil prices.) You forgo less revenue by moving your ship around for cheaper repairs. Also, with ships sitting idle you have some options to postpone maintenance. You have alternatives (which help your repair negotiating position), and you need to tighten your belt because of the soft market. Think of all the whipsaws in the energy business since 2007. There have been three busts actually! In 2009, in 2010 (post-spill) and now! It actually speaks highly of them that they have been continuously profitable and have continuously built shareholder value over that time period. However, it is hard to get a clear picture of Conrad's sustainable earning power. What if the tank barges never come back and GoM oil exploration is underwhelming since it's higher cost than the onshore shale basins? Seems like revenue and profit could fall quite a bit. [CBS]
  • You know who else has the business model of protecting against all hazards, and would gladly help a baker who was being fined for having the wrong kind of latch on his flour bins? The Godfather. Ultimately, I think Murray is right that people need and are going to want insurance against the hazard of government. The question is whether the business that delivers it is going to be nonprofit, for-profit, or traditional warlord/mafia. Of course, if interest rates on U.S. government bonds ever rise - and I believe that that would happen automatically if a substitute currency or store of value superior to the U.S. dollar emerged - then the regulatory hazard will be obviated because there simply will not be the money to bother bakers about their flour bin latches. This extralegal state within a state is - just like the asset bubble, junk bonds, private equity - simply a creature of ultra-low interest rates. [CBS]
  • Our Chinese people are wiser than the Germans because, fundamentally, our race is superior to theirs. As a result, we have a longer history, more people, and larger land area. On this basis our ancestors left us with the two most essential heritages, which are atheism and great unity. It was Confucius, the founder of our Chinese culture, who gave us these heritages. This heritage determined that we have a stronger ability to survive than the West. That is why the Chinese race has been able to prosper for so long. We are destined "not to be buried by either heaven or earth" no matter how severe the natural, man-made, and national disasters. This is our advantage. Take response to war as an example. The reason that the United States remains today is that it has never seen war on its mainland. Once its enemies aim at the mainland, these enemies would reach Washington before its congress finishes debating and authorizes the president to declare war. But for us, we don't waste time on these trivial things. Comrade Deng Xiaoping once said, "The Party's leadership is prompt in making decisions. Once a decision is made, it is immediately implemented. There’s no wasting time on trivial things like in capitalist countries. This is our advantage!" Our Party's democratic centralism is built on the tradition of great unity. Although fascist Germany also stressed high-level centralism, they only focused on power of the top leader, but ignored the collective leadership of the central group. That's why Hitler was betrayed by many later in his life, which fundamentally depleted the Nazis of their war capacity. What makes us different from Germany is that we are complete atheists, while Germany was primarily a Catholic and Protestant country. Hitler was only half atheist. Although Hitler also believed that ordinary citizens had low intelligence, and that leaders should therefore make decisions, and although German people worshipped Hitler back then, Germany did not have the tradition of worshipping sages on a broad basis. Our Chinese society has always worshipped sages, and that is because we don't worship any God. Once you worship a god, you can't worship a person at the same time, unless you recognize the person as the god's representative like they do in Middle Eastern countries. On the other hand, once you recognize a person as a sage, of course you will want him to be your leader... This is the foundation of our democratic centralism. The bottom line is, only China is a reliable force in resisting the Western parliament-based democratic system. [Chi Haotian]
  • We have employment and non-competition agreements with Messrs. Conrad Jr., Hernandez, Wolbrink, Hebert, Jr. and D. Conrad. Due to the impact from COVID-19, John P. Conrad, Jr. and Cecil A. Hernandez agreed to salary reductions of 20% and the other executive officers agreed to salary reductions of 10%. Accordingly, the agreements provide that the Company will pay base salaries of $332,000 to Mr. Conrad, Jr., $232,000 to Mr. Hernandez, $207,000 to Mr. Wolbrink, $175,500 to Mr. Hebert, Jr. and $175,500 to Mr. D. Conrad. [CNRD]
  • While the prosecution of a sitting President provides the most dramatic example of a clash between the indispensable work of the Presidency and a State's exercise of its criminal law enforcement powers, other examples are easy to imagine. Suppose state officers obtained and sought to execute a search warrant for a sitting President's private quarters in the White House. Suppose a state court authorized surveillance of a telephone that a sitting President was known to use. Or suppose that a sitting President was subpoenaed to testify before a state grand jury and, as is generally the rule, no Presidential aides, even those carrying the so-called "nuclear football," were permitted to enter the grand jury room. What these examples illustrate is a principle that this Court has recognized: legal proceedings involving a sitting President must take the responsibilities and demands of the office into account. See Clinton v. Jones, 520 U. S. 681, 707 (1997). [SCOTUS]
  • In 2004, the Federal Highway Administrationwas testing a new typeface, Clearview, designed to have improved readability at night with headlight illumination. One test sign was placed at Baltimore, Maryland – the eastern terminus of Interstate 70 – that listed Cove Fort as a control city with a distance of 2,200 mi (3,500 km). One employee stated with the number of queries the department received about Cove Fort, the test was a success. The sign became so popular that after the test was over, federal authorities made arrangements with Maryland authorities to keep the sign permanently installed. The sign prompted a series of stories about Cove Fort to be published in the Baltimore area. Since that time, a small effort has been made by people in both states to lobby the Utah Department of Transportation to reciprocate by placing a sign at Cove Fort listing the distance to Baltimore. [Wiki]
  • Unusually high numbers of small burrowing mammals, which make their home on a plateau rich in vegetative cover and ideal soil, support a high density of raptors. Paiute ground squirrels, the main prey of the prairie falcon, are the most abundant of the burrowing creatures (in fact, according to the BLM, portions of the Birds of Prey NCA support the densest ground squirrel populations ever recorded). Nesting success for prairie falcons is linked very closely to the squirrel abundance. [Wiki]
  • It has been revealed that FBI agents nearly flubbed the $4.9 million operation. A neighbor reportedly complained about the sound of circling planes overhead. That same neighbor went over to ask FBI agents what was going on at the time. Neighbor was reportedly told by agents that the planes were with the New England Aerial map society, which was fictitious. The man, who is an expert in maps and geology, said he saw through their lie. He then asked to see the inside of their van and was told to back off; the man then went back home and told his wife, who called the police on the FBI. [Daily Mail]
  • One measure of how things are for average people is whether people get nervous and start looking around the room to see who is listening when you start talking about politics. In the West there are now certain trigger subjects (migrants, gays etc) that make people uncomfortable and immediately trigger a reflexive signaling with non-racist, non-homophobic etc opinions when in uncertain company, clearly driven by fear that someone might rat out to Facebook, workplace, social circle and increasingly the law. "Hate speech" prosecutions for things said or done in private is new and the UK is further along in this than most countries. Russians don't react to these subjects at all in the same way and I haven't actually found any subjects that would make Russians nervous about snitches that might be listening. Putin is clearly not one of them, even though the Western media wants us to believe that Russia is one giant personality cult. Russia seems to be much more free than the West right now, even if on paper it has all sorts of laws that can (and probably eventually will) be used to crush dissent. I have this pessimistic view that actual freedom is a sign of a country in transition – the old power faction has lost its means to intimidate and no new faction hasn't established intimidation yet – and the reason why Russia is relatively free now is that Putinism is not a genuinely new force, it's a faction of old Soviet elites reasserting a bit of control that they will lose once they get senile. Russia had a brief transitional freedom period between monarchy and communism, too. [Sailer]
  • All expensive Fords—Lincolns included—have the same problem: They simply cost too much. They're priced as if they were all-around more-premium products than they are. Just look inside this thing. The hard, oddly grained plastic that lines most of the lower half of the interior not only looks as if it had been pulled straight from the old Explorer, it also resembles a popcorn ceiling and is about as appealing as asbestos. And I know what you'll say: "But this one is based on a rear-drive platform!" Sure, but turn-in is a little doughy, and the front and rear axles roll at different rates. And why does the front end look as though someone punched it flat? Durango SRT, please. [Car and Drive]
  • Anarchotyranny is the dominant political formula of the Bioleninist ruling elite – an amoral system of fundamentally asymmetric law enforcement – administered via a byzantine, bureaucratic labyrinth of selective rule application. Under Anarchotyranny, the regimes primary directive is to control its subjects so that they cannot coordinate / oppose the managerial class / ruling elite (constituting tyranny) as opposed to controlling 'real' criminals / reigning in its own de facto paramilitary forces (causing anarchy). Meanwhile, laws are interpreted and enforced selectively / asymmetrically, depending on what is perceived to be in the interests of the regime. Anarchotyranny refers to a demonic Hegelian synthesis in which the regime tyrannically / oppressively regulates subjects lives yet refuses to enforce fundamental protective law – e.g. the State prioritising gun law reform / criminalising self-defence over preventing riots and looting / prosecuting actual criminals. [parallaxoptics]
  • Over the completion of the current market cycle, I expect that the entire S&P 500 total return since 2000 will be wiped out. Specifically, I continue to expect the S&P 500 to lose about two-thirds of its value. Even a 50% market retreat would bring valuations only to levels matching the 2002 low, which was the highest valuation level ever observed at the completion of a market cycle. [Hussman]
  • I don't care if it were a Sunday, the Navy was MIA from the information flow as one of our nation's premier city was blanketed with smoke from a capital ship burning in the heart of the cities. We almost seemed paralyzed and waiting for everything to be fully smooth and approved while the city and nation wondered what was going on. [link]
  • I've lived here 6 now, and I chose a quiet neighborhood next to a great park. It's never been crime free, it's not perfect, but the events of the last month and a half are just too damn much. I can't talk to co-workers, I can't talk to family - they go back to their quiet neighborhoods and don't worry about it anymore. I live directly in the middle of the 2 big issues of this summer, ignoring it isn't possible. The Floyd memorial site is in a state of limbo - permanently blocked streets, not really that many people there except weekends and some afternoons, and nobody has any idea what to do with it. Every night turns into retaliatory turf war and the nightly gun battles 400 ft from my back door and cars peeling down my alley is not imagined or "just fireworks". It's not an autonomous zone like the CHOP - that got shut down when one person got shot - it's a no-bullshit lawless zone where multiple shootings and deaths have occurred. As much as I don't want to tell people how to grieve and I know it's not up to me to dictate this movement, it needs a conclusion at some point. [r/Minneapolis]
  • This study provides evidence that re-infections with the same endemic coronavirus are not 49 atypical in a time window shorter than 1 year and that the genetic basis of innate immune 50 response may be a greater determinant of infection severity than immune memory acquired after 51 a previous infection. [medrxiv]