The Power of a Picture

I generally avoid commenting on these outrage stories because we never have adequate information until weeks or months later, at which point everyone has more or less cemented their version of what happened. Looking at the “chilling” video that social media has been circulating, it strikes me as a classic case of self-defense, only mitigated at this junction by public fury. What I’m more interested in is the way media outlets shape narratives using the wonderful tool of pictures.

Some of you will recall how in 2013 the press kept circulating the following picture of Trayvon Martin, making him appear like a little baby who was attacked by an older man:

In reality, a more accurate description of his personality was encompassed by the following images:

Now you might say, what difference does it make? Well, perhaps you failed to notice, but your brain did. The current case has a similar flair to it. Media outlets began by circulating the following picture:

Seems like a real nice guy, who was just victimized by evil people who were jealous of his running ability. A few days later, an even more gratuitously self-anointing picture was introduced:

Wow. He really looks like a perfect angel. Probably a gym teacher or school counselor. What could anyone possible have against him? But then, if we dig deep enough, this version comes out, from a previous arrest:

BIG difference. Again, there will be shilling and cucking about how it doesn’t matter, yet if you notice, the media didn’t trot out any happy, sympathetic pics of the McMichaels:

Are we not Willie Hortoning the McMichaels just to feel better about ourselves? And keep in mind, the flow of outrageous stories about black on black or black on white violence ceases to halt, but this is the only one that seems to matter.

Federal Government · investing · Personal Finance

Can Free Market Healthcare Work?

One of the silliest debates in the last ten years has been that surrounding healthcare. Progressives screech about the need for broader Medicare coverage, and conservatives extol the virtues of “free market reforms” to bring down medical costs. In both cases, they miss the mark by fixating on the delivery of insurance rather than an elimination of health issues in the first place.

For the purposes of this post, let us consider conservative arguments. They will typically join libertarians in advocating a rollback on insurance regulation and hospital restrictions, along with less government intervention in the economy. Many will note that in 2013, government spending was already 48 percent of the total for healthcare, and yet costs do not seem to be coming down. They might even point to the historical example of Nelson Rockefeller, who tried to expand government coverage of people under Medicaid, but had to abandon the program after it became too expensive.

These are all valid concerns, yet we run up against several problems. To begin with, as long as hospitals find it difficult to deny care to those who cannot pay, fellow travelers will end up footing the bill. Private insurance already acts like a placeholder of sorts for the government in these situations, but they simply amp up premiums on others to support the weaker links. Further complicating matters on the insurance side is the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, which granted sweetheart exemptions to the insurance industry from federal antitrust laws, making it harder to prevent price gouging.

At least for the purer conservatives and libertarians, antitrust restrictions are a troubling question, appearing to some as a needless restriction on liberty. Others term them “anticompetitive,” and claim such legislation was only implemented to benefit industry actors who were losing market share. The front is thus not unified, although the House did vote overwhelmingly to approve a repeal of McGarran-Ferguson in 2010, only to see it die in the Senate.

The bigger issue being left out of the free market argument is the effect which lifestyle has on personal health. It’s easy enough to note that people must take responsibility for their own diet and exercise regimen, but this view fails to acknowledge contributing health factors sourced in other areas. If we fail to properly regulate food production, for example, we might well have hog waste getting into the water supply, if not the ham itself. The consequences have been algal blooms and massive fish casualties, yet who knows how many humans might already be affected.

Permitting high levels of added sugar in cereals or snacks is another problem. Sure, people are responsible for their own actions, but children will be capricious over what they want. In some cases, those kids might have been raised consuming junk, and not know any different. The mere availability of unhealthy foods might also result in them being consumed because of convenience, particularly if there is no existing market for healthier alternative in close proximity.

Sensible regulation is an obvious solution, with the EU providing baselines, but conservatives and libertarians will often come out against any further government control – while also demanding free market healthcare. Clearly this poses a problem. If people are eating garbage products because “it’s good for the economy,” then they will likely drive up costs after developing conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Unless care is entirely individualized, with people “only paying for what they need,” and those unable to pay getting denied service, even private sector insurance will end up subsidizing them through risk pools and higher premiums. In other words, everyone gets charged more.

Thus we are left with a conundrum. Either we must overhaul food production and environmental protections to prevent disease in the first place, or make everyone pay out of pocket for their needs alone. As long as insurance plays a leading role however, the latter idea remains a wistful thought.

Is your degree worth it? · Is your major worth it?

Colleges Are Going Bankrupt

It’s a weird thing in many respects, but the COVID-19 panic-demic has helped highlight the profound weakness of the modern economy, and in particular those sectors which are still stuck in the Dark Ages. At the crown of this sordid pile would be institutions of “higher education,” such as colleges and universities.

The virus’ malevolent hamstringing of normal economic behavior means that schools which desperately held on to the brick and mortar model for years to keep the debt-financed tuition payments flowing now find it difficult to get paid – or secure payers in the future. They are finally coming to terms with the corrupt and usury-enslaving system which they helped propagate, and the image is a grim one.

Current reports suggest smaller liberal arts colleges will be the first to suffer, because they are “extremely tuition-dependent.”

Imagine that. Names of the at-risk parties included in various articles are Alma College, Albion College, The King’s College, Wheaton College, Mount Ida College, and more. The mighty (and rich) have fallen.

Part of the problem might be the higher education industry’s blatant lack of association with reality. According to a summary of author John Ellis’ insights into the university sector:

“American universities keep grinding out more PhDs (writing theses no one may ever read) than they have tenure-track teaching jobs so that an increasing number accept hourly wages as adjuncts and look forward to increases in the minimum wage.”

Exactly. These wage slave and government-funded institutions have never cared about the actual employment market, even as technology makes tenured professorships and secure faculty admin jobs a thing of the past. They were all in the money.

Sadly, the casualties of their folly will fall on the recent PhD graduates and support staff who have invested their time in hopes of a vanishing career. Even Harvard, with its $37 billion dollar endowment, is finding ways to shed low wage contract employees. But they STILL tried to get bailout money.

Speaking of bailouts, higher education will shortly be on the list. Moody’s has reported that over 30 percent of public and private colleges are already running deficits, and it will get worse as they come knocking. We just have to get through with pensions, the Post Office, Big Oil, and maybe healthcare too.

Life is good.

Relations and Dating

Why I’m Skeptical of MGTOW Horror Stories

A good bit of the manosphere can credit its origins to middle-aged men recounting depressing stories about their experiences with marriage and psychotic women. In particular, the MGTOW community is often buoyed by older dudes discussing how they were cucked or “divorce raped” by a female chameleon. These examples are held up as the St. Red Pill truths that men ought to follow, or else risk legal and financial destitution.

Yet I remain rather unconvinced. While there can be no question that many marriages end in a smoldering ball of fire due to the wife’s infidelity or lilipad-hopping standards,  that is not always the full story. The problem is, we get nothing beyond grim lamentations from the men reporting their suffering, and little of the other side.

This creates an obvious problem concerning male forthrightness.  If we consider that (anecdotally) the typical guy has no issue exaggerating the size of his wealth, endowment, or quality/number of past sexual partners, then why should he be trusted otherwise?

As I noted in an older video, I have known three men in real life who were MGTOWs in all but name. They talked about the secret nature of women, the corrupt family courts, and the problem of feminism. On top of that, they all tried to dissuade those around them from taking those holy vows.

Nothing terribly wrong with such advice, but as I learned more about their marriages from associates and friends, the following came out:

  • Guy No. 1: Would come home sopping drunk most nights to his wife and five kids, yell at his woman, and then proceed to pass out on the couch, often naked.
  • Guy No. 2: Regularly screamed at his wife on the phone and in person for minor issues like not including a particular utensil with his bag lunch. Was a jerk to people in general.
  • Guy No. 3: Cheated on his wife with older woman, and gave his spouse a serious STD.

A further problem got highlighted by No. 1, who said he married a “great actress,” which is manosphere parlance for a female “chameleon.” There was a time I might have taken this claim seriously, but having dated a large share of women, I find it very difficult to believe, if not entirely laughable. Reality simply gets in the way.

To illustrate things better, let’s eliminate the men who came from traditional backgrounds and were virgins going into marriage. These guys can be excluded because they probably bought into the romantic fairy tales on the basis of custom. For everyone else, there was some dancing in the moonlight going on before vow time, and likely with multiple partners. In other words, they weren’t ignorant of all female behavior.

With that being said, it’s hard to believe those fellers failed to see the red flags coming. Women may be good at keeping up a facade for a few months –maybe even a year—yet at a certain point it becomes abundantly obvious what intentions she holds. They might try to fool a guy, but very few are that good.

The reality is, these guys are guilty of succumbing to the good sex pitfall. After a few go arounds, they landed with a more attractive chick, and decided to ring it because the bedroom was hot, even if she had poor behavioral problems otherwise. Plenty of men do this. You only have to visit a pre-COVID shopping mall to see couples were the girl is verbally or physically abusive, yet Mr. Dependable is still hanging around. That remains the price of not getting turned off.

Had those MGTOWs succeeded in actually transcending the booty, they never would have gotten married in the first place. But those couple seconds of joy were simply irresistible, and so it had to happen.

Human sexuality is the greatest dictator.

investing · Personal Finance

How The Stock Market Works

As some of you surely know, Elon Musk’s lovely contributions to humanity have taken yet another fanciful turn. After a few hard lemonades, he spat this out on the tweet deck:

I’m sure there’s more to the story than meets the eye, though it presents a fascinating look at how markets react in the current age. We have already seen how the Religious Investor approach chucks all principles and guidelines out the window in favor sheer fanboyism, but it’s getting worse. Literally nothing matters except the increasingly-fatter balloon of millennial viral popularity.

 Tesla fans will quickly castigate any skeptics on stock price by appealing to the “technology of the future,” but a mere microemail from their leader is now enough to cut about $15 billion from the market cap. Is the company now fairly valued, still too big, or dirt cheap? No guess exists worth taking.

In fairness to Teslaites, the rest of the stock market is not acting much different, so they can hardly be brought up on charges of cucking against humanity. We just have to sit and wait, or maybe buy bitcoin and hope it goes to $150,000. I mean, come on.

All that’s left to say is this: quality weed matters, Elon.  

Federal Government · Uncategorized

The Truth About Congressional Pensions

“Congressmen serve just one term and get their full salary for LIFE!”

Any denizen of the internet dot com has surely seen a claim of this nature, or perhaps even received one of those chain emails ranting about the travesty of our political system. The idea is so widespread that most people refuse to question it. Even people running for Congress, such as this “decolonized madre,” accept the notion at face value:

Sema sounds like a great human organism, but she’s woefully incorrect, just like everyone who spits this talking point without so much as a fact check. In reality, congressional pensions are not nearly as lavish as people claim, and certainly fall short of the quote’s mark.

Most existing members of Congress are party to the FERS system, a modified version of the earlier CSRS model which was phased out in 1984. Under this program, participants enjoy access to a tripartite system which includes a small pension, a 401k with matching, and Social Security. The highest percentage of their total salary ($174,000) for a pension is about 34 percent, and the average FERS pension in 2014 was $42,048. That’s decent, but nothing close to “full salary for life.”

The 80 percent idea holds some water, but data available suggests it only kicks in after 32 years of service. To put things in perspective, former representative Howard Coble of North Carolina retired in 2015 after thirty years of service. His pension would have been $130,500, but he turned it down. Nothing miserable about such a figure, but it took three decades to accrue, not a single, two-year term.

As for the one-term pension argument, let us keep in mind that a person must serve five years to even be eligible for a federal pension. In the case of former senator Kay Hagan, she served one six-year Senate term and was in line for a whopping $16,000 annual pension. That amount is certainly not chickenfeed to the working class, but hardly an extravagant offering.

I admit to disliking Congress more than the next person, yet that doesn’t excuse blatant ignorance. Do a Google search and find the facts, not a popular opinion.