Culturalism

Mitt Romney Has No Conscience

Much has been made of Willard Romney’s decision to vote for the “Abuse of Power” article in the Senate’s impeachment trial. Republicans are angry, while Hollywood leftists can’t stop praising Corporations are People for his brilliant move.

 As it turns out, the actual process remains less interesting than Romney’s justifications. In a speech beforehand and an interview with Fox News, Romney did the prototypical. He appealed to God, the Constitution, and his conscience.

Yet it’s highly doubtful that he has one. Let’s turn back time for a second. In 1994 and 2002, Romney staunchly defended the right to abortion, and then bounced back in 2006 as he prepared to run for president, now “firmly pro-life.”

In 2005, Romney vetoed emergency contraception for rape victims, only to cycle back and support access for all women in 2012.

Romney famously declared “Let Detroit go bankrupt,” but proceeded to defend the Wall Street bailout as a way to prevent an economic meltdown.

For all his love affairs with the Constitution, Romney endorsed waterboarding, denial of Miranda rights, and the Patriot Act. He also responded to a debate question on congressional military authorization by saying “You sit down with your attorneys and tell you watcha have to do”

As if that’s not enough, Romney has been on both sides of the Obamacare and immigration debates.

Then we have Romney’s famous “phony” speech, where he roundly attacked Donald Trump as a fraud. Of course he infamously proceeded to congratulate Trump on winning, and audition for Secretary of State.

But yes, he is a man with a conscience.

Culturalism

No One Cares That You Were "Right"

“He’s been saying the same thing for decades!”

It’s a common theme in politics: roll out the clips of an elder statesman railing against some unholy creation of government or corporations, and use it as reason to vote for them today. After all, he was right.

But no one really cares. When Ron Paul ran in 2008 and 2012, supporters made a big deal of pointing it out. “Ron’s been consistent,” they’d say. “We have to vote for him!”

The result? About 11 percent of the primary ballots, and not even a VP nod.

Fans of Bernie are trying to do the same thing, and on his second national go around he still isn’t wiping the floor with the opposition, at least not on THAT point.

We can explain it simply enough by considering normal human attitudes. When you try to persuade someone who’s convinced otherwise, how frequently do they concede the point? Typically never. And even if you successfully nudge them in the right direction, the chances of getting recognized for it is almost zero. Perhaps the key is to blame human pride, yet that doesn’t make things any better.

Another factor revolves around how the collective outrage consensus shifts over time. A conservative likely saw Ronnie as the best thing ever in 1984, while a Gary Hart supporter probably disagreed. Neither of them knew the precise impact various policies would have, or future economic developments. That’s because 1984 is not 2020, and the most important issues were different at that time. They were blinded by their environment.

Hope should prevail though, because GenZ types will have plenty of TikTok videos to use in their campaign ads for the tech plutocracy.

investing · Personal Finance

The Religious Investor

Just how HIGH can it go?”

You’ve probably heard something along those lines in market-based articles. After all, greed and overconfidence are the virtues of constantly churning stock wheels.  It should never stop.

Over the last few years, we have witnessed a rather new phenomenon: the Religious Investor. In this case, it is a person who has no regard for reality or the underlying principles of value. Any outcome, regardless of nature, is an affirmation of their stock’s worth, and skepticism? We simply won’t have it!

The Religious Investor operates much like the Chant Warrior where psychological tropes are concerned. Anything Bad is Good, and anything Good is good. Low polling? That’s because the polls are wrong! Not getting positive attention? Only because of media bias! There is zero possibility of an alternative, because that contradicts the religious narrative.

You probably recognize by now that my target here is Tesla. To be clear, it applies to shareholders in other stocks as well, like Buttondown notes:

One January 29th, 2020, they released a fresh earnings report showcasing the following:

Q4 Non-GAAP EPS of $2.14 beats by $0.38

GAAP EPS of $0.58 misses by $0.26.

Revenue estimate was $7.05 billion, actual was $7.38 billion, beating by $330 million

In reaction, the stock rose from around $570 to $644, roughly 11 percent. This despite relatively poor results in the second half of the year, and a weak track record

Look at how Tesla bulls respond to skepticism:

Comparatively, Apple released the following results not long ago:

Q1 GAAP EPS of $4.99 beats by $0.45.

Revenue of $91.82B (+8.9% Y/Y) beats by $3.41 billion.

Apple’s uptick? About 2 percent. And even in that case, after a long run of success, calling for a sell gets you shredded by the true believers.

So should we all go to cash, or stop being haters and buy?

Culturalism

What Trump Has Accomplished

I am not much for petty electioneering, but at times it becomes obnoxious to hear people proclaim their hated public figure to be “a complete failure,” without evening attempting to consider the facts. They just sit and scream.

In the case of Donald Trump, the prevailing narrative is that he is anti-poor, anti-gay, and anti-woman. As we will see, the actual LEGISLATIVE record puts more than a few chinks in that brilliant and pink progressive armor. One simply has to look.

On Women

Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act (Along with the INSPIRE Act, designed to expand number of women in STEM and business)

INSPIRE Women Act (See above)

Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 (Focused on resolving conflict by having women play roles as mediators and mitigators)

Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2019 (Meant to eliminate backlog of 100,000 rape kits, overwhelmingly to the service of women victims)

On Veterans

American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017 (Provides grants to hire veterans in law enforcement)

Jobs for Our Heroes Act (Makes it easier for veterans to get CDL jobs)

VALOR Act (Expands apprenticeship opportunities for veterans)

Veterans Care Financial Protection Act of 2017 (Helps protect veterans from scams)

Enhancing Veteran Care Act (Reform to improve VA service provision)

Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (Revamping of VA claims process)

On Criminal Justice

Rapid DNA Act of 2017 (Focused on reducing violent crime through use of Rapid DNA system)

Justice Served Act of 2018 (Meant to reduce DNA backlog in criminal investigations)

INTERDICT Act (Action against drug smuggling related to the opioid crisis)

Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (Directed against sex trafficking on the internet)

Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017 (Additional protections for victims of trafficking)

Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act of 2019 (Expands certain Medicaid services, while providing penalties for companies that misclassify drugs)

Social Security Number Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 (Restricts printing of SS numbers on official agency mail)

Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (Ensures the compilation of information on, and institutes penalties for, elder abuse)

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2018 (Creates the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency)

Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018 (Modifies restitution laws for victims of child pornography)

Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 (Reforms juvenile justice system, preventing children from being held in state prisons, and working to reduce racial disparities)

First Step Act of 2018 (Major reform of federal prison system and sentencing rules)

Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (Increases penalties for animal abuse and torture)

On Taxes and Retirement

Taxpayer First Act (Reform of IRS appeals and tax enforcement)

SECURE Act (Substantial overhaul of retirement rules, allowing Americans to save more over their lifetimes)

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Historic reductions in taxes for individuals and corporations; also simplifies tax filing with deduction rules)

On Healthcare

National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018 (Improves suicide hotline structure)

Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2017 (Advances research into hearing loss or hearing issues in infants)

Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (Eliminates pharmacy “gag clauses” which result in Americans paying more for prescription drugs than necessary)

Know the Lowest Price Act of 2018 (Similar pharmacy reform for Medicare/Medicaid)

SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (Opioid crisis response legislation)

Action on AIDS treatment

On Science and Technology

Save Our Seas Act of 2018 (Addresses marine debris issue)

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (Improves waterway infrastructure throughout the country)

National Quantum Initiative Act (Creates national plan for advancement of quantum tech, including quantum computing)

Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 (Improvements to weather data accumulation and forecasting)

Certificates · Is your major worth it?

ITIL Foundation Test (Review)

As some of you know, I previously discussed my experience with the CompTIA Security+ exam. That particular endeavor was challenging enough, but the material flowed rather easily, so it ended up being quite agreeable. Being the bright young thing I am, the next step was to pursue the ITIL Foundation test, which resulted in a peculiar saga.

What Is ITIL?             

To put things simply, a framework for IT management developed by the UK government for use in various different industries. While it does have business applications, the models and principles end up feeling extremely bureaucratic, even more so than those covered by Security+.

How I Studied

My initial move was to grab the iCertify study guide on Amazon, which cost about  $35.00. It had countless positive reviews and seemed to be a flagship offering, so I went ahead. Bad decision. One of the reviewers noted that the book seemed to have been written by a robot or algorithm, and I would have to concur. The pages were replete with spelling errors, grammatical nightmares, and incorrect spacing of words. Even the practice tests had inaccurate answer keys, and were almost unusable. As a result, I sent back for a refund. If I am correct, iCertify has since removed the book from Amazon, at least temporarily.

The next chapter involved using the study app off of Google Play made by PaulWen. This proved more useful, with over 600 practice questions and answers. I also took advantage of a special on Udemy to purchase six practice tests offered by Jason Dion for around $14.00. These were valuable for studying, but I found the real exam to be markedly different, so their utility is somewhat limited.

To take the exam itself, I  bought a package from iCertify which allows two resits for $350.00. This was more than I wanted to pay, especially after the study guide dilemma, but it ended up being a wise choice. The full price voucher is $300.00, and a second one runs you fifty dollars anyway, so it’s not a terrible deal. As it turned out, the pocket guide and practice tests included in iCertify’s package were right on the mark, making my second run at the exam a lot easier.

Is The Test Hard?

This will depend on how readily the material comes to you. The first time I took it, the results shocked me: 24/40, all while I needed 26 to pass. I attribute this to confusion over differences between the Service Value System model and Service Value Chain. Further complicating the matter is how vague and overlapping ITIL tends to be. It is thus easy to get confused and answer for the wrong option, which means delivering more money to PeopleCert, the exam provider.

After reviewing my weaknesses, I sat again and crushed the test. If you are looking to do the same, make sure to hone in on the following:

  • Difference between Service Value System and Service Value Chain.
  • Have a firm understanding of the SVC practices.
  • Understand the difference between processes for a Change Schedule, Continual Improvement, and Change Control.
  • Be clear about the various management types: Deployment vs. Release, Incident vs. Problem, etc.
  • Do not neglect how various management models interact with SVC practices, such as Service Request Management together with Deliver and Support.

What’s The Cert Worth?

ITIL is less common in the United States outside of contracting, but it is growing due to the standardizing nature of the principles. Your job may not forcibly require it, but having the cert looks good, especially in an IT project management environment.

Culturalism

The Power of Chant Warfare

While in college, I wrote a piece about the futility of “respectable discourse” in the modern age. I pointed out that those who practice such behavior are made out as suckers and left to drown in the popular swill of rage.

To be quite sullen, I think I was correct. We have already long witnessed the analysis of “post-truth politics”, although this descriptor implies a nostalgic longing for some better time, which probably never existed. You can cycle back and study the 1800 election for good measure.

The better general term to use is “Chant Warfare.” Whenever someone attempts to inject reality into a discussion, the normal response is to hoot and holler until they cannot be heard.

Think back to Occupy Atlanta and their “agenda.”

Consider being a representative supporting Obamacare, or one desiring to replace it. The advanced human species will ensure you have a reasoned discussion.

Best of all, try presenting facts to the caravan of paranoid Del Spooners who want a paycheck. The floodgates will gush.

The danger lies with how these “Scream first, listen after ten years” attitudes will play out in November. If their guy, gal, or someone in the trans community fails to make the Oval, what happens next?