Monday, October 31, 2016

Two percent inflation is two percent theft

With political sewage threatening to reach tsunami force, writing an article on inflation seems like posting a daydream.  Yet a better understanding of money would show us how it could shield us from political as well as economic malfeasance. 
When we hear inflation discussed it's usually presented as a method of price control.  It’s a lever central bank “policymakers" tweak to keep IT from happening, by which I mean the infamous Bernanke IT, i.e. deflation, i.e., a general fall in prices.  The Fed and its cheerleaders believe a 2% CPI inflation target (more or less) is perfect for a healthy economy.  But horrors — it’s been below 2%!  A recent article in the Economist exhorts the Fed to get on the stick and get busying printing (“The only thing we have to fear is fear of inflation").
It has been reckless of the Fed to allow inflation to remain so low for so long. We should be cheering the slight, recent acceleration in prices and hoping for more.
Remember, in the world of Keynesian economics, savings are bad, capital should be free, and in the long run we’re all dead.  (See Ray Kurzweil for a rebuttal of this last point.  Or see Henry Hazlitt.)  In the real world where some people work for a living things are a little different.
First, as its advocates are loath to acknowledge, inflation targeting assumes a currency that, through the coercive mechanism of government, has been taken out of users’s hands, placed in the custody of a banking cartel, and converted to digital fiat money for instant manipulation.  We almost never read any hint that money might be otherwise than digits created by a committee of political insiders crafting “policy.”  We almost never read that the crafting is indistinguishable from counterfeiting.  We almost never read that money developed as a means of overcoming the restrictions of direct exchange, where one commodity emerged as the most sought-after in trade, which was neither digits nor paper.  We almost never hear that when paper money becomes money itself it is always a result of government imposition overriding the choice of market participants, i.e., anyone not in on the scheme.  
Secondly, far from being reckless, the Fed has actually been careful with money by keeping the adjusted monetary base flat for two years, after sending it to the stratosphere following the Panic of ’08.  Combined with the Fed’s policy of paying interest on excess reserves, which by discouraging bank lending helps corral the fractional reserve multiplier, its policy of the past two years has been beneficial to people who want their money to buy more.  It really is hard to find a Man on the Street who likes paying higher prices for the things he buys.  In the Keynesian world we’re forced to live in, the Man in the Street is swallowed up in the macro analysis that passes for insight.  
The real problem with inflation today is not even the money underlying it, which should be gold coins, with its supply governed exclusively by market forces.  The problem with inflation is that it is discussed as if the money in our possession — whatever form it takes — is not legally ours.

More important than the survival of the state
Unless you’re at or near the top of the political food chain, nothing you own, including your life, is untouchable by the state or its proxies.  How else could Roosevelt have gotten away with his gold confiscation in 1933?  How else could Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, and Johnson have ordered men to fight wars the state inaugurated under penalty of fine and imprisonment?
It may surprise some that the idea of state omnipotence was rejected by many men who constituted the vanguard of the country’s founding.  
On February 24, 1761 Boston attorney James Otis Jr. took the floor in a landmark court case in which he demolished the arguments of the Crown’s attorney (and Otis’s tutor in the law), Jeremiah Gridley, who had defended the legality of general writs of assistance.  As Otis argued, an official armed with one of these general writs could enter “all houses, shops, etc., at will, and command all to assist him” in searching for anything he wanted.   
Every man prompted by revenge, ill-humor, or wantonness to inspect the inside of his neighbor's house, may get a Writ of Assistance. Others will ask it from self-defence; one arbitrary exertion will provoke another, until society be involved in tumult and in blood.
A young John Adams was in the courtroom taking notes throughout Otis’s five-hour oration.  According to Adams, Otis claimed every man (including “Negroes”) possessed rights that were “inherent, inalienable, and indefeasible by any laws, pacts, contracts, covenants, or stipulations which man could devise.”  
Author A. J. Langguth spells this out unequivocally (emphasis mine):
[Otis asserted that] no other creature on earth could legitimately challenge a man’s right to his life, his liberty and his property.  That principle, that unalterable law, took precedence . . . even over the survival of the state.  [p. 23]
Clearly, the American public was bamboozled into surrendering their rights for the benefit of those who prosper through the instrumentality of the state, which they were assured included them.  The Economist and other establishment voices are saying this: That money in your pocket — you don’t really own it, not if the state decides to claim part or all of it.   Money has value because it can be used in exchange for other goods.  If some committee can reduce the value of your money without your consent, they’re no different than common thieves.  
The argument that the Fed’s purpose is to keep market economies running smoothly is a sham by virtue of its history alone, as well as theory.   Where central banks go, monetary debauchery follows, as do the ravages of societal turmoil that trail in its wake.  





Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Chairman's Halloween Surprise

What would happen if a man of integrity somehow became chairman of the Federal Reserve?  In The Flight of the Barbarous Relic (2008) I tell what he might do.  Here's how it begins:


PROLOG 
The man approaching him in the August twilight was tall and thick through the chest, though nothing in his movements suggested a threat. He strolled with a hand slipped casually in his pants pocket, even stopping once to pick up a piece of litter and toss it in a nearby barrel. He could almost pass for one of D.C.’s tourists taking a late walk through a public park. 
Yet, on seeing him Ricky Sawyer’s stomach churned. This was no casual meeting taking place. He had known this moment would come and had dreaded it, and Sawyer was not prone to unnecessary fears. As he waited under one of the many security lights in the area, the man stopped abruptly in the shadows, kneeled down and retied a running shoe that was properly laced. Sawyer took the hint and moved all 282 pounds of himself over to join him. 
“What’s with the cloak and dagger?” Sawyer asked.
The man stood up. “I need the favor returned.”
Sawyer chuckled nervously. “What do you want me to do? Hack the president’s PC?” 
“Nothing that easy, my friend. I need you to set up a website. Over time, you’ll be supplied with content. But I need the site established now, to make sure the name is available.” 
“You could go to anyone for a website.”
“Not this one.”
Sawyer hesitated. ”What’s going on?”
“How much do you remember from Professor Stefanelli’s class?” 
“Everything. Paper versus rock. Paper won. We lost.” 
“Right. I want to put an end to paper. Permanently.” 
Sawyer chuckled. “Sounds like you’re going to blow up your office.” 
“More along the lines of a crash course in hoax awareness. That’s why I need your help.” 
“Where’s the danger come in?”
“The content. The power holders won’t like it.”
“There are a lot of things they don’t like. Why—“
“—I guarantee this will upset them beyond anything you can imagine. You’ll have to keep a low profile. Make that no profile. You’ll have to disappear.” 
“Tall order for a whale, chief.”
“Any taller than breaking into the Eccles Building network?”
“No, guess not.”
“I think you’ll be okay. But listen, this won’t work unless you understand what’s at stake. Do you?”
Sawyer thought for a moment. “Yeah. Civilization. Under paper, little guys like me lose their wealth, liberty, and sometimes their lives, while government grows more bloated, corrupt, and oppressive.” 
“And the cause?”
“Paper. Inflation.” 
“What’s inflation done for us historically?” 
“According to Professor Stefanelli, without inflation we have no World War I, no Great Depression, no World War II, no Cold War, no Viet Nam, no taxpayer-funded bailouts, no bubbles, no war on terrorism, no Iraq. Without inflation Cindy Sheehan is just another mom with a son. Without inflation, instead of endless acres of white crosses marking the battlefield dead, men are left free to live. Imagine that. And when those men are geniuses like me or Google founders Page and Brin, the whole world profits. Without inflation to build up militaries, we might’ve had nuclear power without nuclear bombs. She also said something to the effect that if inflation were a disease, it would be considered the number one killer of human life. There was more. Give me time and I’ll remember it.” 
“Do you agree with any of that?” 
“Too simplistic. But then, where would the computer age be without electricity? Pull the plug and the computers go away. So it was hard to argue with her.” 
“But you did.” 
“Of course. But the truth is, without massive amounts of money the First World War doesn’t go far – four months, according to a writer who was around at the time. And nothing beats the printing press for producing large amounts of money in a hurry – paper money. And if World War I is aborted, the rest of the century looks a little brighter. I would say she’s not far from the truth, at least.” 
“Not bad for a hacker. You talked about inflation but didn’t define it. Can you?” 
“Paper.”
“More precisely . . .” 
“I didn’t expect a quiz. The going definition is a rise in the general price level.” 
“Do you accept that definition?” 
“No, because you can have inflation without price increases. Productivity improvements work against rising prices.” 
“Any other reason not to accept the definition of inflation as rising prices?” 
“Yeah, it obscures the cause.”
“Which is?”
“More paper. More money. An increase in the money supply.” 
“How is the money supply increased?”
“Through treachery.  First the snap,” Sawyer said, snapping his fingers, “in which the Fed creates money from nothing. Then the crank,” he continued, rotating his right arm in a cranking motion, “as the banks multiply that amount through credit expansion. Then the pop” – He slapped his hands – “when the bubble bursts and everyone gets fired. Sawyer’s theory of the business cycle in three words: snap, crankle, and pop.” 
“But isn’t that how prosperity is funded? By increasing the money supply?” 
“No. That’s how the inflationary boom is started or prolonged.”
“Is that a good thing?”
“It is if you’re one of the insiders. Without it, the military/industrial/congressional/welfare racket takes a big hit. Governments would have to rely mostly on taxes to pay their bills.” 
“What would that do for war if governments had to pay for it with taxes?” 
“Make it an endangered species.”
“So if you’re a government bent on war—“ 
“Inflation is a sacred cow.” 
“And who causes inflation?” 
“Who?”
“Yes.” 
“I’m looking at him.”
“I think you understand what we’re fighting.” 
“I do.”
They shook hands.
“I’ll be in touch,” the man said. 

Later that night Sawyer received an email containing a web address only. After confirming the site didn’t exist he set about to create it, as agreed. 
In the weeks that followed, Sawyer would find it difficult to believe their conversation was at all serious. Nothing had been added to the website, and other than the terse email there had been no contact between them. The topic they had discussed seemed weird at the time and even more so as time passed. Perhaps their meeting was a brutal prank, a form of payback for the hack he had pulled. It seemed like it was. He began to feel like a fool for trusting him. 
But Sawyer was wrong. The day finally arrived when all doubts were forever removed. 

1. 

Preston Mathews wiped his brow and tried to ignore the rumbling in the distant sky. 
Now 51, he was engaged in a long-shot undertaking that was for him a rare instance of honest labor, even though it entailed such sterling qualities as theft, deception, and willful destruction – and probably worse, if you counted what it would bring in its wake. 
This part of the project – turning the front of his barn into a billboard – had tested his patience for the last three months while he took care of his professional life. It had put him at odds with tape, templates, subtle hues of paint, bugs, foul weather, and nosy neighbors. But the phrase labor of love was something he could sing from his heart now. 
Mathews had been detailing his barn with the likeness of the product he managed, a mass-produced item popular the world over. His painting resembled the product in every respect but one. 
And he was about to tell the world what that one difference meant. 
He was kneeling on a scaffold supported by charred burn barrels, applying the paint with a turbine-powered spray gun. Flecks of paint gave his black hair a prematurely gray look. A respirator covered his nose and mouth, and soft cotton gloves pampered his hands. With a flick of his finger he gunned the paint onto the barn surface, using the High-Volume Low-Pressure applicator in non-bleeder mode for better rendering of detail. 
Thunder came again suddenly, this time directly overhead, but it was only the owl beating its great wings as it landed in an opening near the peak of the barn. Mathews stood and leaned back from his waist, stretching his muscles. He watched the ghostly predator peering out at fields of withered corn and perhaps the shoreline of the pond, waiting for the right movement that would signal food. 
“Hope you like your new home, Chief,” Mathews called out, his words muffled by his respirator. The owl twisted its neck to gaze down at him, its heart-shaped pale physiognomy looking like a mask of its own, worn perhaps to terrify its prey. “This one won’t be around much longer,” he said quietly. “A day, maybe. Maybe less.” 
His old friend flew down to him, and Mathews offered it a gloved hand. It perched there about two feet from his face, its talons a sharp reminder that he needed better protection. “You suffer from chronic insomnia or are your nocturnal wires just crossed? Either way, I can’t help you . . . I’ve got work to do, buddy. Can’t stand here chatting, especially with these gloves.” He raised his arm to launch the bird into flight but it refused to move. “Come on, it’s time to break with the past. Up, up!” As if understanding his command, the owl unfolded its wings and flew back to the loft. Mathews dropped to one knee and went back to work. 
He was about to beat a self-imposed deadline, leaving him plenty of time to be in the air before dark. And he hoped something – the approaching storm, perhaps – would scare his little friend away by then. 
When the last of the paint was on the barn he ripped his mask off and flung it over his shoulder. He hopped off the scaffold and backed away haltingly, unable to tear his eyes from his work. Even at six-foot-three he had needed his ten-foot Husky stepladder for the upper regions of the image. He wanted the picture to be imposing, yet connected to Americana. A barn ad was the answer. 
He kept easing away from the image until he reached a white-rail fence about thirty yards distant. He laughed. “Not bad for an unskilled laborer,” he said aloud. “If only Mount Rushmore had a sculpture like this.” 
He grabbed his hi-res Samsung from a nearby fence post and took a few pictures. The owl remained poised above his masterpiece like a lookout on an old ship. “It’s a work of art, Chief!” Mathews shouted. Then quietly, as he faded into thought: “An unmoved mover. . . We’ll see, won’t we?” 
He recalled reading about Harley Warrick, who spent 55 years of his life painting MAIL POUCH chewing tobacco ads on some 22,000 barns across Appalachia and the Midwest. The government finally put him out of business by banning outside tobacco advertising. He tried to imagine government’s reaction if copies of his image adorned the roofs and sides of the country’s barns. 
Or their reaction to just one barn – a certain barn in eastern Virginia. 


2.  

Mathews stepped out of his ’76 Ford Ranger at the Cedar Airfield parking lot, tucked a bulging duffle bag under his arm and made a dash for the office some fifty yards distant. With his plain black sweatshirt, old jeans, and paint-streaked running shoes, he almost looked like the second shift janitorial help arriving late. There was nothing janitorial about his stride, though, which was still remarkably graceful in spite of the gravel surface. The airfield itself was a two-runway hybrid affair, with most of its acreage devoted to cedar tree farming, the chief component of its paltry revenue.

As he arrived at the door, Mathews thought briefly of the remark Nina made years ago about his running style being so athletic, adding that it had been wasted on an academic. Given that she had nerd qualities herself, her remark had to be heavily discounted, but it was still comforting to think that just maybe some part of his high school quarterbacking days were still in evidence. How easily the good memories came, with a fateful flight looming.

“Greetings, men,” he called out to the two attendants as he came into the office. He immediately began filling out a log book at the counter. The attendants had been killing the remainder of their day talking about a possible UVA upset of Michigan State tomorrow at Spartan Stadium. Seeing Mathews put ink to the log doused all talk of football.

“Happy Halloween, Dr. Mathews,” Wes Sutherland said a little too cheerfully.

“Hey,” Mathews replied absentmindedly without looking at him.

Sutherland was in his early forties and lean as a blade. His younger and beefier coworker Ed Ramsey was too dumbstruck to speak. Sutherland’s mouth hung open as he watched Mathews finish his entry.

“How are you, sir?” Sutherland asked.

Mathews set the pen down. “Almost perfect, Wes. Almost perfect. Know what that’s like?”

“Not without a hangover trailin’ after it. Dr. Mathews—“

“Ever race a train at a railroad crossing?”

“No, sir, I haven’t.”

“Neither have I. Don’t ever plan to. But this storm coming in will
be pretty close. Can I get a flight in before it hits? Yeah, I think so.” 

“The storm could be here any minute, Dr. Mathews. You’re not
serious, are you?”

“Never been more serious in my life.” 

“You’re also betting your life, sir.” 

“Then I better get moving.”

Mathews turned and went back outside.


Several minutes passed before Sutherland and Ramsey decided they really ought to be more insistent. They hustled outside past an arch-roofed hangar to the spacious shanty where Mathews kept his personal airship, a harvest gold 1941 Waco (“Wah-Ko”) UPF-7 biplane. What could be worse than seeing a man fly an old relic into a storm? Seeing him nonchalantly spray-paint it first.

They had stopped just inside the hanger and stood watching him alternate between shaking a paint can then spraying black letters on the back of the fuselage. He went about it in cavalier fashion, like a vandal scrawling graffiti.

He turned and saw them. “Think long shelf life, men! Things that people will always want. Grand pianos, fine jewelry. Gold! If you have a good place to hide it. Don’t store it in a goddamn bank.” Then he stepped back to look at his lettering. “How ‘bout it, guys? Catchy?”

They were too dumbstruck to speak.

Mathews went on. “And don’t tell anyone you own it. No one, not even your mothers. If some nosy bureaucrat inquires about a sudden depletion of your cash holdings, make something up. Tell him you blew it at Vegas, but don’t tell him you bought physical gold. They will take it from you, if not now, someday.”

He frowned at the lettering on his biplane. “I hope I spelled ‘barbarous’ right. Oh, damn! Hang on.” He stepped to the rear cockpit and reached down inside it. When he turned back he was holding two bundles of money bound with mustard-colored straps. He threw one to each man as if tossing peanuts to squirrels. “Some advisor I am! Tell you what to buy but leave you empty-handed.”

The two men looked at the wad of money in their hands with complete idiocy. Then they stared at each other, their eyes seeming to spread across their faces. Sutherland stuck a hand in Ramsey’s chest: “Go back and call nine-one-one. I’ll try to hold him.” He had to shove Ramsey to get him moving.

Mathews was pushing the plane out of the hanger from the right side of the rear cockpit when Sutherland came up to him.

“Dr. Mathews, I can’t let you do this. Something’s not right.” 

Mathews kept working. “I know. That’s why I’ve got to do it.” 

“I mean with you, sir. You’re not yourself today. Why don’t you ride this storm out with us? I’ll put on a fresh pot of coffee.” 

“Any other time I’d love nothing better. Give me a hand here,
will you?”

Wes shook his head. “Sir, I can’t. It’s - it’s suicide. If I let you go
I’ll get shot a hundred times over. And I couldn’t blame them.” 

Mathews stopped, slapped the fuselage and let out a long sigh.

“You’re a good man, Wes.” He moved over to Sutherland and dropped a hand on his shoulder. “I need you to listen very carefully.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I’m not going up in the air to get my kicks challenging Mother Nature. If I were, your case against my sanity would be unassailable. You might say I’m challenging human nature, but without details that’s just empty rhetoric. So let’s just say this is a mission, a very critical mission.” He removed his hand and stood back. “Now, tell me what you just heard me say.”

“I heard you say . . . the hell with the weather, you’re going on a very critical mission.”

“Well put. Think Paul Revere, okay? In a loose sense. Right now, I need you to help me get started.” Sutherland looked scared to death. “Now what’s the problem?”

He held the money up. “This.”

“Consider it a tax rebate,” Mathews said. “That’s all I can say. If you feel uncomfortable accepting it then don’t spend it. Now, let’s get going. I really don’t like that thunder.”

“I have a young daughter to support, Dr. Mathews. She depends on me.”

Mathews yanked a bill from Sutherland’s cache of loot and scrawled a note on it, his hand racing, using the fuselage for support. Watching Cedar’s most distinguished client scribble a message on one of the banknotes didn’t help Sutherland breathe any easier. When Mathews finished he held it up to the attendant’s face.

Sutherland struggled with the handwriting. “This cer . . . certifies —“

“— ‘This certifies that Wes Sutherland made a conscientious effort to stop me, Preston Mathews, from taking off with a God-awful thunderstorm approaching.’ You’re covered.” He stuffed the note in Sutherland’s hand. “Krista won’t miss any meals. Now, let’s get moving.”

Sutherland looked at the note, then cast a pleading glance about the hangar. “God help us.”

“Oh! One more thing,” Mathews said, heading for the rear cockpit again.

Moments later Ramsey came rushing into the hanger and stopped. Sutherland was holding a camera to his face taking aim at Mathews, who was standing next to the inscription on the back of the fuselage. Mathews smiled like a proud papa.

“I made the call,” Ramsey said.

Sutherland lowered the camera to his chest and looked at his co-worker with tortured eyes. “Call them back,” he said. 



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Boris Karloff and the candidates

For me shopping starts at Amazon.  I don’t always end up there but if nothing else I can read product reviews and get an idea of how others rate the particular item I’m after.  
I love Amazon’s return policy. — don’t like it, no problem: ship it back at no charge.  With a policy like that I’m willing to take a chance on items that don’t sell me on the reviews.  I’m also fond of their Prime membership.  Free shipping right to my front door in many cases.

Online shopping has thus become almost painless.  Weak-willed individuals might view that as a drawback; I don’t.   

“There’s always a better way of doing things,” a senior programmer told me long ago.   Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen found a way, and he continues to improve on it at a breathtaking pace.

Unfortunately, American voters won’t be dealing with Amazon or any other online retailer when choosing the next president.  They’ll be dealing with a social organization that serves the interests of the few at their expense, but which is widely perceived as the other way around.  In casting their vote for president Americans believe they’re voting for the highest “public servant.”  

Although presidential candidates are being heavily marketed in the sense of supporters persuading Americans to vote for them, the similarity between markets and politics ends there.

For one thing, even if you choose not to vote, you’re still going to end up with a president others have chosen for you.  Today, October 18, 2016, there’s an item on Amazon called THE OLD DARK HOUSE 1932 BORIS KARLOFF 27 x 41 ONE SHEET UNIVERSAL HORROR!!  It’s listed for $750,000, free shipping included.  I have no plans to buy this.  There might be people who would but I don’t know any.  Even on our highly regulated “free market” I’m free to ignore it, as is everyone else.

Sometime this November there will be a president I didn’t choose ruling over me.  An expensive president, a president with the power to return the planet to the insects.  But I will not have any unwanted posters in my house. 

Then there are the candidate reviews.  Few ordinary Americans have any contact with the candidates, so they rely on hearsay, talk shows, speeches, social media websites, and other sources.   Wikileaks is trying to hold up a big mirror to Clinton corruption.  But will it matter?   If Hillary were to admit to wrongdoing, would her supporters turn to another candidate?  Not in year 2016.   Bailing out on Hillary strengthens Trump, and Trump — well!  Everything is on the table for stopping Trump.  Even if she did confess it would only reinforce the position of her hard-core.  They remind me of certain friends of the Reverend Dimmesdale in Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter who regarded him with saint-like admiration and thus interpreted his confession not as guilt but as further proof of his moral purity — for showing the world “how utterly nugatory is the choicest of man’s own righteousness.”  To her worshippers Hillary can do no wrong, either.

Even conceding for a moment that having a president is a good idea, neither major party candidate promises to support the values of liberty — peace, prosperity, and sound money.   They wouldn’t have made it this far if they had.  The empire’s unofficial banner is and has been perpetual war, taxes, and inflation.  But that’s a banner only waved by the empire’s critics.  Our friends in the mainstream media apparently see our best interests lie in uncritical obedience to the regime.  

People have opposed war, taxes, and inflation throughout history.  Americans were no different and took pains to avoid it.  The pains weren’t good enough.  Beginning with Woodrow Wilson they voted for someone who promised peace, but took them to war.  If Amazon worked that way you’d order a toaster and get a ticking bomb.  If you were quick enough you could send it back.  Americans couldn’t return Wilson, so they were forced to put up with war, higher taxes, and inflation as they watched their treasured republic highjacked by men making lofty promises.

Amazon represents the trader’s world, where people exchange value for value.  It’s a win - win.  Politics is the world of parasite - producer, where the parasites rule and are called leaders.  Or lobbyists.  Or the Deep State.  They don’t trade, they steal, and their theft receives the moral blessing of government schooling and government-influenced media.  Amazon?  They’re in it to make a buck.  The state?  They’re so dedicated to our interests the sky’s the limit on the debt they rack up.

The real rulers rule from the shadows.  The public doesn’t  know about the Council on Foreign Relations, the federal reserve, or what the various intelligence agencies do.  They’re not sure how the Pentagon works.  They’re aware of some of the many bureaucracies but are befuddled about how they fit in the overall government structure.  It’s all so big and confusing.  They believe all this power is somehow necessary and good.  They believe a president can somehow corral it and put it to work for our benefit. 

Is the public destined for extinction?

No.  But not because they will trouble themselves to question and research the government we have.  They were fed the standard history growing up and will stick with it.

The standard history will end when the empire eats itself into bankruptcy.  When there is no more money to hand out.   

That’s when the public will realize the cost of a free lunch.




Friday, October 14, 2016

Hate versus hate versus the odds

The Clintons are widely hated.  Neither is it a dull, aching hate of the kind reserved for run-of-the-mill bumbling interventionists.  No, Clinton-hate is a sharp, piercing hate, so strong it is experienced as visceral.  People manifesting this condition hate Bill Clinton.  Why?  Because the formerly “charming” Bubba might be a rapist and played a key role getting the FBI off his wife’s back.  

Clinton-haters hate Bill because he’s married to Hillary.  And they hate Hillary because “she’s a corrupt tool of the establishment.”  They hate both Clintons because they get away with murder and get richer doing so.  They hate Hillary’s big money speeches.  They hate her smug contempt for working people.  They hate her support for the Iraq war.  They hate her foreign policies of aggression.  They hate her love of big government.  They hate her public - private positions on Wall Street. They hate her because she’s a Machiavellian, power-lusting politician.  They hate her.

But that’s not all.

In the mainstream media Hillary won the election even before she declared herself a candidate.  In the MSM Hillary walks on water.  No Wikileak could ever alter this view.  Clinton-hate now includes hatred of the MSM.  The MSM will shamelessly say anything to get her elected — or not say anything, as the case may be. 

Clinton-haters support Trump.  Reason: Trump is not Hillary.  Reason two: Trump is not the Establishment.  Reason three: The Establishment even within his own party is undercutting his campaign at every turn.  Trump against the world, how cool is that?  

Trump has no consistent message, other than the nebulous make America great again. Trump therefore is an unknown quantity.  Unknown quantities can wreak havoc.  In politics at this level the likelihood is high that he will wreak havoc.  He doesn’t know what he’s doing, other than slamming the system that has methodically already brought havoc to everyone except the politically-connected.  

Hillary is a known quantity.  Clinton-haters are thoroughly familiar with that quantity.  

Hillary calls Trump supporters deplorables.  Half of them, at least.   The deplorables are bigots.  Trump has “lifted them up” with mean rhetoric.  But—

But—

There’s the other half of Trump’s supporters.  They are not bigots.  They are  “looking for change in any form.”  She urged her supporters to “empathize with them.”  Since she has a lock on the status quo, her supporters could empathize with them by voting for Trump.

But Hillary didn’t mean this, haha.  The ones to be empathized with should be brought over to her side.  These people will be indispensable for a win.  Perhaps a landslide win.  

But care is in order.  We all know deplorables don’t read much of anything, other than tinfoil conspiracy stuff.  But the indispensables, they aren’t quite as dumb.  Since they’re a confused lot, being in support of Trump, they might be swayed by whistleblowers.  They might believe she really said the things she said that had been kept under wraps.  They might think and draw conclusions unfavorable to her side.  Trump’s indispensables might stay with him, or almost as bad, vote for Johnson.  

Johnson won’t win but he could be a spoiler.  Question: Whose campaign would he spoil?  Answer: Both.  He could prevent the winner from gaining a majority of the popular votes.  It’s hard to see how a contest between a hated Democrat and a hated Republican could end any other way.

Unless the election is rigged, which of course it is.

Earlier this year I wrote:
In 2008, of the 231 million eligible voters in the U.S., 131 million cast ballots, leaving 100 million eligible voters who didn’t vote.  
The population in 2008 was 304 million, which means 173 million Americans — more than half the country — had no say in the election outcome, either by choice or by reason of being ineligible.  
The winner in 2008, Barack Obama, received 69 million votes — less than half of the 173 million who didn’t show up at the polls. 
Barack Obama promised “change,” but of course we got more of the same.  Perhaps some of the people who didn’t show up knew what was coming.
Perhaps they also knew that the candidates were carefully vetted so that anyone threatening to rock the establishment’s boat would be removed one way or the other, as Republican elites are trying to do now with Donald Trump. 
Perhaps they also believed in the saying that those who count the votes decide everything.   
Perhaps they also knew that it wasn’t the popular vote that would elect the president, but the members of the electoral college.  
Voting for anyone makes little sense.  But people vote because it makes them feel they had a say in what the government should do.  Voting is a way of venting anger, and this year there’s a lot of anger ready to turn loose.  But voters don’t understand the federal government.  It’s an animal running on its own, for its own welfare, with its own agenda.   Voting is a courtesy they allow its subjects.  It eases the strife of holding power.

This is not to say something wonderful couldn’t happen on Election Day.  It could, though the likelihood is infinitesimally small: A long shot candidate such as Gary Johnson could pull off a miracle.

It’s happened elsewhere in life.  Here’s one time when it did.




AlphaZero for President

From KurzweilAI : Demis Hassabis, the founder and CEO of DeepMind, announced at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference (NIP...