Private Property

America is private property. A continental-scale, private club jointly owned by club members. No non-club member has a right to enter on-demand. No one has a right to immigrate or to use America’s labor market. Obviously, we want to have friends, we want people to visit, and if it benefits the great majority of us, we want immigration where it makes sense. But don’t be swindled by harebrained, saccharine appeals to some universal right of anyone from anywhere to enter or settle in the US. Just as you have a right to choose whom you let into your home, and just as tenants get to choose (and try to work out if a problem arises) who gets invited to the common areas of your building, so do we as a club get to choose who comes into our territory.

We can have a debate about what constitutes a widely shared benefit, but let’s at least frame the question right: what are the effects on us?

Trump meets with John Alison

I see a headline that Trump met with someone yesterday who advocated for returning to a gold standard, among other things.

The big problem with sending nominal spending lower in 2008 was that no one expected it. If you’re going to have a great moderation, you make the economy vulnerable unmoderate things. Small economies like Hong Kong, which essentially uses the US dollar by the Hong Kong dollar being fully backed and on demand for US dollars, make do having a monetary policy exported to bigger economies. Hong Kong has fairly wild swings in nominal GDP, but these have less of an effect on real output, debt performance or employment because the Hong Kong economy can take a nominal punch.

When nominal spending is volatile, people prepare for that volatility by carrying less debt and having more cash. An economy can ‘calibrate’ to an exogenous monetary policy, but there are limits. If gold becomes too dear, while other things in the economy are depressing money velocity, a gold-standard country is liable to have a recession or even depression. This applies to any monetary regime where the money supply is ‘blind’ to the state of the economy, i.e. to BitCoin or other commodities.

Double edged 

This said, a ‘blind’ monetary policy isn’t without it’s advantages. A central bank, be it controlled by the state or “independent” is ripe for corruption. Having inside information on forthcoming monetary policy would be enough to make one fabulously wealthy transfering vast resources from traders who didn’t have the information, to the cheater. Control over the monetary base is an enormous amount of power to give to a small group of people who can be tempted or threatened. I’ve long wondered, given his subsequent nefarious undertakings, if George Soros didn’t have inside information when he made his famous bet that the UK would leave the DMark peg, for example. Moving to a clear target, like an NGDP level target, would remove a lot of the potential for policy path ambiguity and lessen this risk, but switching to a ‘dumb’ policy where the monetary base doesn’t respond to shocks in demand for money would solve it completely.

Another advantage of ‘dumb’ policy is that at least everyone knows it’s a dumb policy. The current systems seems to be like the Chinese or Roman dynastic system. If you have a good emperor (Greenspan) then well things are smooth, but if you have an incompetent one (Bernanke) or a timid one (Yellen) things are less good. The Ottomans had a system for solving the “bad emperor” problem, perhaps we could learn from them.

We have an idea what the Fed will do, but in the end it’s anyone’s guess. Another 2008 isn’t impossible by any means. There’s an argument to be made that, given that we can’t seem to adopt an optimal policy, having a bad but fully predictable policy response (whatever mining output is) might be better. Firms and households can slowly build up cash reserves to weather nominal shocks.

I’m not advocating an official switch to BitCoin, I’m just saying there’s a case for it.


Update: Lars Christensen has a more encouraging post on the Alison meeting.

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One weird trick to save the Baltic states

It’s no secret that I’m generally sympathetic to the Russian side on most contemporary matters. That said, I’m under no illusions about Russia. The geopolitical incentives of the Muscovite state are to always be closing expanding. Luckily for us in America, we can’t really be invaded (unless we pay them to come in) so it’s not really a problem for us.

Still, I favor a world with lots of distinct, independent nations, and thus hope the Baltic states can go as long as possible without being steamrolled by the Bear. To this end the Baltic states should act as one and collectively raise the costs of a Russian occupation until Russia feels they’re so high that invasion and occupation are unwise. The easiest way to do this is to adopt an American-style Second Amendment type gun policy. Native citizens of Estland, Lettland and Lithuania should be allowed to buy semiautomatic military style rifles.

If they were really serious, they draft all fit men to serve in a militia, with drills twice a year. The militia should be trained to use shoulder-fired antitank and antiair missiles in addition to small arms. These heavier weapons can be stored at protected caches around the country and distributed quickly in the event it starts raining tanks.

The last thing I would suggest is doing whatever it takes to get the birth rate up. The problem with the Baltics, in addition to having hard-t0-defend terrain, is that they are sparsely populated. Contrary to what some head-in-ass economists would suggest, importing Muslim Arabs to serve as the children the locals were too lazy to have is a ‘cure’ worse than the illness.

It’s not America’s job to defend the Baltic states, and they should never have been invited into NATO. As the old song goes: “Freedom isn’t free, no there’s a hefty fukin’ fee, and if you don’t chip in your buck-o-five who will?” The Baltic nations should look to their own defences, instead of relying on an Uncle Sam who will probably back down in the event they’re invaded. This might mean militarizing their societies more than they’re comfortable with, so be it.

 

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PizzaGate

Just wanted to say that I’ve seen the things 4chan and others have compiled on James Alifantis and Comet Pizza in DC. I think there’s definitely something here, and that at a minimum John and Tony Podesta are connected.

The big question now is: how far does this go? How far can they prove it?

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Trump’s revenge against Saudi Arabia?

Was just talking with a friend from New York. He tells me that he hopes Rudy Giuliani is Sec. of State so that he can act as the vessel by which the city of New York, it’s long time residents, extract righteous retribution for the 9/11 attacks on the people who actually *did* them: the Saudi government.

The Saudis have got to be finished right? The US is loaded with oil. More than we could have dreamed. Maybe we should, you know, for national security reasons, do something that causes Saudi oil infrastructure to not work for 12 years? If oil goes back to $80 a barrel, all of a sudden north America and our new Russian ally are rolling in it. Make China pay top dollar for our Texas tea while the peninsular Arabs get the Full Syria Treatment.

Just spitballing here. One risk is that Pakistan has transferred a few nukes to SA years ago for their help funding the program.

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Why should the American president know about Hezbollah and Hamas?

Links:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/15/bashar-al-assad-says-donald-trump-a-natural-ally-for-syria-along/

Saw a Telegraph article with a misleading headline claiming Trump and al Assad are allies (but why not cordial?). In the article there’s a small break with a list of things Trump “will do” on Day One. One of these is the sarcastic:”Learn the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas”. Apparently neocon shill Hugh Hewitt caught Trump not knowing the difference during the primaries.

Here’s my question. Of all the things for the American president to know, why should he know this? Real estate in the presidential brain is a precious thing, why is this key information? The human mind, even the brightest, is highly constrained (except for Jon v. Neumann’s). You can’t know everything, which is a bummer.

Why are the high-level details about some Muslim Arab parties in Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories significant enough to warrant our president’s attention? This doesn’t matter! Who cares? Shouldn’t Trump rather learn about the dynamics and factions in the Chinese Communist Party? Or the Front National‘s platform? (before their upcoming big win) Seems to me a few parties in a region that really isn’t all that important to us, aren’t worth bothering about. Could Hugh Hewitt have named the largest bank in the world? Probably not. Hint, it’s a Chinese bank and they rent office space from Trump.

No American president has known the names of the parties in Abkhazia or South Ossetia, yet we still get along fine with Georgia. This is because we’re on the other side of the world. I mean what the hell are we going to do? Good luck! Let the American ambassador to Israel sort this stuff out, brief the president when he visits. But these are details that don’t concern us, the president has too much to deal with domestically.

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Electing a new media

It’s clear that our heroic new president isn’t going to be able to treat the media the way previous presidents have. I understood why he went with 60 Minutes for his first interview as president-elect, to reach out to old normies like my Dad, but it can’t keep going on like that. Trump can’t keep sending his most intimate conversations to the American people through hostile urbanites like Lessie Stahl. At a certain point he has to cut these people off.

That means new media will be needed. Breitbart, Drudge, Got News, yes even Infowars will be the ones who get the juicy white house “leaks”. I expect to see some sort of Breitbart TV in the next two years. Andrew Breitbart’s dream of a US media that’s more like the British media (i.e. openly partisan) is about to happen. This means that a Trumpist version of The Economist or Wall Street Journal will be needed and financially viable before long. This is something people should think about.

For an example of what the new media will look like, check out Tucker Carlson in his new Fox News slot, beautiful example of dialectic and rhetoric appropriately applied to a weak horse. Great counter-propaganda.

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