Category Archives: Politics

Machiavelli of Maryland

h/t @timferris for posting this article. Pretty fascinating look into a political & military strategist.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/09/edward-luttwak-machiavelli-of-maryland

“strategy is about looking for turning points. Politics is too predictable. Look at Hillary. She is an empty carapace with ambition rattling inside. You can predict everything she does. Strategy is about being unpredictable.”

“But doesn’t that unpredictability become predictable?” I asked. “What happens when every army in the world abides by strategic logic?”

“But they never will,” said Luttwak, “because most people cannot master their emotions. Above all, strategy is about mastering your emotions.” And the emotions of others, he might have added.

“Abundance” All Over Again

@ReformedBroker piece entitled “Abundance” has really been resonating in my Twitter stream and for good reason. It’s an excellent piece but somehow oddly familiar to me. A little google search and I found it’s actually a theme written quite extensively by @todd_harrison from Minyanville.

His tag line is that we have deflation in things we DON’T NEED (TV’s, phones, NetFlix, Facebook) and inflation in things we NEED (education, healthcare, housing) He calls it “inflastagdeflation”.

http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/Wal-Mart-Stagflation-Bear-Stearns-Merril/6/20/2007/id/13158

That article was written in 2007 and he has continued to write about it, from 2014 with an excellent chart:

http://www.minyanville.com/special-features/random-thoughts/articles/Todd-Harrison-Prepare-for-the-Return/5/5/2014/id/54796

inflastagdeflation

I’m still trying to wrap my head around WHY exactly this malinvestment occurs?

Edit: I wrote a long, winding hypothesis and decided to delete it. I’d rather hear your thoughts/comments/links. 

Middle Class Rage

Very interesting article from FT on middle class rage at elitism , 1%, yada yada yada. Ever see the movie Elysium? That’s what they are afraid of.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/135385ca-c399-11e5-808f-8231cd71622e.html#axzz3ySxhQYI5

h/t @modestproposal on Twitter for posting

Here’s a summary from Karl Marx on failure of Capitalism:

1. Inevitability of monopolies, which eliminate competition and gouge consumers and works.

2. Lack of centralized planning, which results in overproduction of some good and underproduction of others, encouraging economic crises such as inflation, slumps, depressions.

3. Demands for labor-saving machinery, which force unemployment and a more hostile proletariat.

4. Employers will tend to maximize profits by reducing labor expenses, thus creating a situation where workers will not have enough income to buy the goods produced, creating the contradiction of causing profits to fall.

5. Control of the state by the wealthy, the effect of which is passage of laws favoring themselves.

Redistribution or war or Elysium. Welcome your thoughts!

Democracy in Trouble?

“While opposition to democracy used to be confined to people who felt marginalized and had little influence, it is now spreading even among the economic elite.”

http://www.vox.com/polyarchy/2015/12/18/9360663/is-democracy-in-trouble

Troubling headline but perhaps I can’t necessarily disagree with the sentiment. Remember the Romans:

By 53 B.C., factions in the Senate had paralyzed the Roman government. The annual consul election degenerated into a contest of who could bribe the most voters. Street riots erupted. In a desperate move to restore order, the assembly elected General Gnaeus Pompey to serve as sole consul for a year.

source: http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-8-4-b-democracy-and-dictatorship-in-ancient-rome

“History doesn’t repeat but it often rhymes.”

Basic Income

Free+Market

I’ve been seeing more and more being written on basic income. While at first I thought it was kinda crazy and as a “free market” guy I dismissed it. As I’m starting to learn, the whole idea of ‘free market’ is an impossible ideal that doesn’t exist, so maybe a basic income isn’t all that crazy after all?

https://www.vox.com/2015/4/10/8383233/service-jobs-work-wages

Rentier Wealth vs Wealth Creation

Encouraging!
Encouraging!

Not a big fan of ZH but @BarbarianCap posted this on twitter and thought it was spot on. For example, I pay something like $45/month for a land line in New York City which I have NEVER used. And cell phone bills….

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-07/critical-difference-between-rentier-wealth-and-wealth-creation

Certus Bank Fast One on Wall Street Elite

 

Where Dreams Come True
Where Dreams Come True

The vision started at Pancake house and greased with political contributions, many gems:

“Certus was billed $194 an hour by ICS, or a total of nearly $146,000, for the services of Bryan Williams between June and August of 2011. Bryan Williams is the son of Certus founder Charles Williams and had graduated from North Carolina State University the previous year.”

“In total, Certus’ expenses of $1.69 per dollar of revenue were far in excess of the 65 cent average for banks with $1 billion to $10 billion in assets.”

The two men had been drawn together by religious faith and an ambition to build a bank that they’d long discussed over Saturday breakfasts at the Original Pancake House in Charlotte,

The four founders made a total of $45,000 in political contributions between 2010 and 2013, including $10,000 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2012 and $10,000 for the 2012 reelection campaign of Rep. Maxine Waters, lead Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. (See table, “Political Contributions.”)

http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/179_60/certus-dream-team-gets-its-wake-up-call-1066533-1.html

 

Funny
Funny

Costs! I’m no Noble Prize winning economist but doesn’t lowering costs makes the insurance more affordable? This seems to have been lost somewhere in the health care debate. Btw if your looking for a job, medical device sales at 95k base + commission sounds better then most Wall Street jobs! Certainly sales trading!!

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/272-39/16241-time-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us

Let’s hear it for the….politician?

He's mad? How about the private sector employee at Enron?
He’s mad? How about the private sector employee at Enron?

I might be going out on a limb but I think a politician pitching real deal solutions rather than platitudes and sugar coated bullshit you normally hear would do very well in next elections. Here’s a story of a Rhode Island politician tackling pension reform and going up against some stiff competition and winning.

http://m.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/how-the-rhode-island-treasurer-slayed-her-state-pension-dragon/article15225383/?service=mobile