Odds and Ends Vol 34

Odds and Ends

I’m a bit scattered these days. Just when I was going to file for divorce, I was served with divorce papers from my wife. Good news, you might think. And in some ways, it is. But my wife is asking for $2,000 every other week in alimony. It’s ridiculous in the sense that, this is roughly what I make in a month before taxes. But also: we haven’t even seen each other in over a decade.

But the whole thing brought the phone calls and texts back. She’s screaming and threatening. So I blocked her number. Then she started emailing me. More threats. It’s very stressful. Anyway, on to the odds and ends.

Kathleen Parker

I saw a very annoying headline at The Washington Post last week, The GOP isn’t doomed. It’s dead. It was written by “moderate” conservative Kathleen Parker.

Every time the Republicans lose an election, establishment-types declare it dead or in need of reform. Instead, the party just moves further right and becomes more loony and they win control of Washington and a majority of states.

You would think that The Washington Post would hire political columnists who know at least a little political science. If they did, there wouldn’t be ridiculous articles like this. Because there are systemic qualities of the US (both planned and accidental) that allow Republicans to be far more conservative than the country itself.

But the reason I bring this up is because Parker wrote the following, “The party’s end was inevitable, foreshadowed in 2008 when little-boy Republican males, dazzled by the pretty, born-again, pro-life Alaska governor, thought Sarah Palin should be a heartbeat away from the presidency.” Oh, I see! This started all the way back in 2008!

Mitt Romney

Over the past four years, Mitt Romney has been allowed to rebrand himself as the sensible, truth-based, Republican. But that’s ridiculous! I was blogging full-time during the 2012 presidential election. I remember what a mendacious campaign he ran.

Michael Cohen (not that one) in The Guardian expressed it well:

Granted, presidential candidates are no strangers to disingenuous or overstated claims; it’s pretty much endemic to the business. But Romney is doing something very different and far more pernicious. Quite simply, the United States has never been witness to a presidential candidate, in modern American history, who lies as frequently, as flagrantly and as brazenly as Mitt Romney.

As you know, I don’t like PolitiFact. Like most fact-checkers, they work really hard to find “lies” from people on the left to balance out the abundance of actual lies on the right. But despite this, Romney has far more lies than Obama:

RatingRomneyObama
True14%20%
Mostly True16%27%
Half True28%26%
Mostly False16%11%
False15%11%
Pants on Fire9%1%

Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan

And speaking of the mythical past, Ronald Reagan would be 110 years old today. Most things we’ve said about Trump over the last four years was said about Reagan. In particular, Reagan was a champion norm-buster. Like Trump, he didn’t know any better. And when he was told, he didn’t care.

In 1982, Rolling Stone noted, “Two years into [Reagan’s] presidency, federal regulations go unenforced, poor and middle-class incomes have decreased and social services were slashed.” The only thing that was different were the times. I don’t think Trump harmed the country any more than Reagan did. It was just that things were worse when Trump came in.

Some Leftists

But lest you think I am only going to be attacking conservatives today, there are some leftists who are really annoying me. Or maybe I should say “leftists,” because I’m not at all sure where these people are coming from.

There are a number of people in this small but vocal group, but I’m going to highlight Briahna Joy Gray. She has Opinions about the minimum wage!

There’s no doubt that the minimum wage should be higher. The Center for Economic and Policy Research calculated that if the minimum wage had been raised at the rate of productivity growth since 1968 (which is the rate it increased before then), it would now be $24.

But this is a political fight, not an economic analysis. If we can get a $15 minimum wage, that would be great. Then we can work on raising that. But Gray’s take is not helpful. It’s a way of telling the Democrats that they shouldn’t even work on winning over progressives because we will never be happy anyway.

Obamacare

I’ve seen this a lot with respect to Obamacare. People claim that it means nothing because millions still don’t have healthcare. Well, I’m one of the millions who do have it because of Obamacare. So it is something.

But this is relatively new. I don’t remember people on the left saying it was nothing at the time. What’s changed? Patreon, I think. There are a lot more people on the left who can make money online grandstanding like this. Clearly, Sam Seder and David Pakman fill the thoughtful niche. So people like Gray and Jimmy Dore are working the Howard Beale lane.

Rant On

And I get it. I feel like Beale a lot of the time too. But if you’ve watched the film, you know that Beale didn’t bring change. People just liked an excuse to get angry. And when Beale started preaching degeneration, people tuned out. People were only ever mad as hell. They were definitely going to continue to take it.

These leftists are not helping. They are actually harming the cause. It doesn’t look like we are going to get the $15 minimum wage after all. But with it or without it, Briahna Joy Gray’s position is the same: Democrats suck.

FOLE

Last weekend, I got a call to write an article (quickly) about what was going on with GameStop, Dogecoin, and other related stuff. You can check it out: GameStop, AMC & Dogecoin. The whole thing is just a pump-and-dump scheme. But I do think it matters who’s doing it. Millionaires sticking it to billionaires is good. My concern is that regular people get caught up in it.

I’ve felt rather good that the two things I said should go up early last year — silver and Ethereum — did. Of course, I didn’t invest in them. I’m not a speculator. “Fear of Missing Out” is also “Fear of Losing Everything.” Get it? “FOLE”? Pronounced “folly”? People should think more in terms of FOLE than FOMO.

It’s sad that we live in a society organized in this way. It isn’t a great way to allocate resources.

TTYL

I’ll talk to you later!

11 thoughts on “Odds and Ends Vol 34

  1. 1964 – LBJ crushes Goldwater. Republican Party declared dead.
    1968 – Chicago crushes Humphrey. Democratic Party declared dead.
    1976 – Jimmy Carter re-unites a broken Democratic party.
    1980 – Ronald Reagan re-unites a broken Republican party.

    The reports of any party’s demise are greatly exaggerated, often by design.

    • Exactly! And necessarily so in a government set up as ours is. It’s one of many reasons it could stand some improvements.

  2. I have no experience with family law. My parents did not divorce (Mom died fairly young in 1997 though). I have been married almost 22 years, and I don’t see that changing. This alimony claim seems ridiculous both for the fact that it is all of your money, and that she has been doing without it for a decade.
    Kathleen Parker doesn’t know what the hell she is talking about. The Republican mandarins have a problem. But they will bend and bend past the absurd to avoid breaking. And their money will let them. Doesn’t mean they won’t break. It is impossible to know. Their cannon fodder has gone full shining path, which they were warned of. But they don’t have another army.
    The $15 minimum wage will give a raise to non minimum wage workers. If minimum is $7.50 for unskilled work (and I don’t actually believe “unskilled” means having no skills) and you pay your clerical admin $12.50 you will have to bump her up to more than $15. She could just go stock shelves at Target for less stress otherwise. And so on.

    • Another funny thing about my divorce is that when we were today, she made more money!

      Just look at the Republican Party over my lifetime: its core beliefs are not popular. So they’ve always had to appeal to voters in different ways that seem repugnant to a lot of Republican elites. But they go along with them because it’s a small price to pay for the money that the party’s policies shovel to them.

      There’s a known phenomenon that people making just over minimum wage are resistant to raising it. As you note, they shouldn’t be. But I think it shows that a paycheck means a lot more to people than its absolute monetary value.

  3. Interesting financial-advice link. What I’ve always understood to be true is that, if you have extra money on hand to put into an investment portfolio, just make sure it’s diversified, and pay no attention to short-term ups or downs. In the long run, you’re going to come out ahead. Unless the entire worldwide economy implodes, in which case you’d likely have bigger problems such as neighbors trying to gnaw your femur.

    Mrs. James dogsits for a staunch Republican couple every summer (not 2020), and they have boxes of Apocalypse” Food. Including pasta noodles! Given worldwide chaos, would the water still run or the stovetop still turn on? I’d make my Apocalypse” Food purely junk snacky stuff. If it’s all fucked anyways, gimme some Flamin’ Hot Doritos and an industrial-sized bag of cheese puffs.

    When I saw a “Rolling Stone” link about Reagan, I immediately thought, that’s gotta be William Greider, and it was. He was outstanding (and referenced by name in an R.E.M. song, which is cool). In one of his books, he compared capitalism to a very exotic, exciting, dangerous zoo animal. Which thrills visitors, but keeps breaking out of its cage. The zookeepers upgrade the cage, it breaks out anyway. At what point do you just accept that the exciting animal isn’t worth the mauled visitors?

    • When Trump was running in 2016, someone did an analysis of how much money Trump would have if he had just put his inheritance into an indexed fund. It was about 10-times what he actually had. Part of that was just the timing. But unless trading is your job, that’s what you should do.

      That was not the song I had assumed!

      • I love that album. I got a teensy bit busted cranking it at miliary school while smoking/drinking in the dorms (they don’t send you to Leavenworth for this, you just have to polish statues in the cold weather for X many hours, that sort of petty punishment).

        • It’s always strange to be reminded that you went to military school. If you were the only example I had, I’d rethink everything!

          • @Frank — I met some perfectly nice people at that school. And came to dread some horrid jerks. The horrid jerks had more power, though.

  4. (Oops, my phone’s AutoCorrect puts an open quotation mark after the word apocalypse. Maybe I should use Armageddon instead.)

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