Fact-Checking is an Important Task – I Only Wish that Journalists Would Actually Do It

I believe in objective facts. I believe that there are questions of fact which are known. And, when someone says something, I think it is a 100% legitimate role of the news media to check the facts. I don’t believe that the media should necessarily present candidates with a totally even tone if they are, in fact, not equal. However, if only the media did that. The media believes itself to be doing that. But, unfortunately, they are totally unfamiliar with reason and facts, and can’t actually be trusted to them.

There is a role for opinion journalism, but it needs to be marked as such. Opinion journalism masquerading as an impartial fact-checking maligns the whole industry and profession, especially when done by a major network. The reason I generally prefer blogs to news outlets is because blogs don’t hide who they are or where they are coming from. They don’t pretend to be unbiased reporters and verifiers of fact. And, because they know *you* will be checking them, they actually oftentimes take *more* time to verify their claims.
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The Hypocritical Case Against Donald Trump

My social media feed is full of Trump criticisms by Obama supporters that criticize Trump for the things Obama does. Melania Trump copies Michelle speech. Okay, Obama, on numerous occasions, plagiarized sections of other people’s speeches. Others criticize Trump for being narcissistic and continually referring to himself. Has anyone ever actually listened to an Obama speech? Others are complaining about the benediction for Trump and the GOP convention being theologically incorrect. Did everyone miss the DNC’s savior-of-the-world theme going into the 2008 election?

These are all good points to make against Trump. I agree with each one. My point is simply if you have been an Obama supporter this whole time, and now you are making these complaints against Trump, you are self-deluded. The reason why the GOP is better than the DNC, is that when a narcissistic, self-important, pseudo-intellectual, religious demagogue gets nominated as the GOP candidate, you get the #NeverTrump movement from the GOP themselves. For the DNC, it is just the same as any other candidate they ever run.

The only real difference is that the DNC is usually subtler than the GOP. Personally, if someone is going to do wrong, I prefer that they do it loudly and openly than having to tease apart their statements – it makes life easier. If you wish for the subtlety of the DNC candidates, you only wish for the opportunity to deceive yourself by long words, and can’t stand to hear the lies you tell yourself spoken forthrightly.

Again, I’m not defending Trump, I am just completely amazed at the number of people who obviously don’t know how to look into a mirror.

Why Trump will Win in November

Here’s my prediction – Trump will be our next president. Possibly by a long shot. I don’t say this because I’m happy about it. Frankly, I’m not happy with any possible result at this point. But I think the cultural shifts in our country are going to get Donald Trump elected. Here’s why:

The People of America are Narcissists

Everyone wants to feel good about what they are doing without actually having to do good. Everyone wants to be “on the right side of history” (whatever that means) but this rarely actually means caring for their neighbor. Actually caring for your neighbor involves both helping them when they need help, and confronting them when they are being self-destructive. Simple slogans and using other people’s money to help people out is not caring for others, it is caring for your own self-image. Let’s look at the list of things which people do to pretend that they are better than others which don’t require them to actually do anything:

  1. Global warming. There’s literally nothing you can do. So, if you are part of the global warming bandwagon, you get to feel good about helping the environment while doing jack squat.
  2. Obamacare. If you support Obamacare you don’t actually have to care for the sick. Someone else takes care of that now.
  3. Gay Marriage. Nope, that didn’t require anything from you, either. You just had to put an equal sign on your Facebook page and it was just like you were in the Martin Luther King marches.
  4. Evolution. You don’t actually have to know anything about science. You don’t have to know any biochemistry, physics, cosmology. But if you use the e-word and are against the creationists and call ID’ers “Creationists in a cheap tuxedo”, then congratulations, you are on the side of science with a scientific worldview, battling the eeevil ignoramuses. You’ve never cracked open a science textbook, but you are sure that every scientist who is a creationist must be stupid.
  5. Feminism and BLM. Really, this one just involves either (a) getting mad if you are an oppressed group, or (b) “checking your privilege” otherwise. No actual thought or work required.

There are others. but as you can see, we have exchanged actual thought and action for simple signals that tell other people that we are on the “right” side without actually having to do the work. Each of these positions which is gaining by leaps and bounds culturally allows a person to feel better about themselves without actually doing anything.

The one with the most uniform social impact, gay marriage, is a special case in point. Never do the proponents of gay marriage stop even for a second to ask themselves what marriage is about, or why it might historically have been between a man and a woman. That would be asking too much. To actually have a conversation would be beyond the pale. No, if you are not already in agreement with them, then you are a bigot, and an actual conversation about the issue would just be too much. The actual work of building a society pales in comparison to whether or not we all celebrate someone’s personal fetish.

This brings me to point number 2.

Hillary is an Ideologue and Trump is a Narcissist

I’m not against ideologues per se, but Hillary happens to be an ideologue for a bad ideology. Trump, however, is a narcissist. The country doesn’t care about ideologies, it cares about feeling good and not getting its own feelings hurt. The country is narcissistic, not really leftist ideologues. The current platform of the left caters to narcissists, but there is a difference between those who really believe (i.e., Hillary), and those that are just along for whatever makes them look better to themselves (i.e., Trump).

This brings us to our conclusion:

Trump will Win because He’s a Narcissist Like the Country

Yep, that’s about it.

But, as usual, there is something you can do about it. It’s simple.

Rise above it. Create value that cannot be taken away – value in relationships, in people, in knowledge, etc. Store away wealth in ways that cannot be taxed or inflated away. Do business with the people around you and build up the economy right where you live. Restructure your life so that you can give all of them the finger and just keep on going. If we all do that, then their power will evaporate on its own. We will have no need of them.

But, as far as who will win the election. I’m fairly certain of my conclusions. It is just basic human nature. I’m just not going to let it get to me.

MicroSecession as a Way to not Care About the Election

One of the goals of MicroSecession is to remove the political angst that has overtaken our country. I feel that there are a lot of people like me – they feel that the country needs better, but are tired of fighting the fights for no progress. In fact, fighting the fights might be actually fueling our decline.

Therefore, in MicroSecession, the goal is not to gain power by force or even by election, but to change our own habits and our own lifestyle so that our lives are less affected by whatever stupidity happens to be residing in D.C. at the moment.

MicroSecession is about identifying the locations where the government exercises its power and removing it from the equation by choosing to participate elsewhere. It is about choosing to do for yourselves what the government wants to do for you, so that you aren’t beholden to their awful ideas. It is about freeing yourself, not hoping that some future election will free you.

If you are tired of politics, elections, and everybody worrying about who is going to win, you should give MicroSecession a try.

The Trump Phenomena and the Left

I find the left’s outrage with Trump quite interesting. I see in Trump exactly what I saw in Obama – a candidate whose primary virtue was stirring up distrust of the existing system for their own gain. The fervor over Trump reminds me a lot of the fervor over Obama in his first campaign. And both candidates played on those emotions to make their win.

I also find it interesting that those who complain most about Republicans not working with those across the aisle complain most bitterly about the candidates who do. The president who did the most to build bridges in governance in my lifetime was W. He was hated for it, and his worst acts of legislation were the bipartisan ones. Likewise, Trump is the most left-leaning of the candidates. He *is* the candidate that is most like the left.

Anyway, I don’t mind so much that Trump is winning, simply because we have endured 8 years of Obama, 4 more of essentially the same attitude won’t kill us any worse.

Also interesting is the fact that the people who complain most bitterly about the Republicans being theocrats hate Trump the most, who is the least Christian candidate.

All this leads to one conclusion – the hatred of Trump from the right is because the right doesn’t like Trump’s principles. The hatred of Trump from the left is because they don’t like the fact that their nice, contained political hegemony may soon be shifted into the arms of someone else promising them the moon.

Don’t Try to Beat the Market

I get upset whenever someone says they are going to “beat the market”. The market isn’t a video game. Outsmarting other people isn’t the goal.

Anyone who approaches the market with the intent of “beating” it has already lost. Sure, it’s possible to gain money on the stock market, and it is also possible to get more money than the next guy in the stock market. The same thing is true of gambling. Unless you view the market as merely a high-class casino, “beating the market” is one of the worst analogies.

If everyone lost all of their income, and you only lost half, would you be excited that you “beat the market”? What if you became rich by suckering everyone else out of their money? Is that something to be proud of? No, and those are two of the reasons why “beating the market” is a ridiculous goal.

The goal of investment in a market is to build value, period. If your goal is something else, you should get out, because you are not only likely to lose your shirt, you are likely to hurt others in the process.

The market is not a list of numbers, it is a list of companies. Buying a stock is not betting on a horse, it is investing in what a company does on a daily basis. The goal of an investment is to either (a) help capitalize an operation that you believe has future potential, or (b) provide early compensation for others who capitalized the operation earlier by purchasing for a fixed price a future revenue stream. If your goal is to just hang on until you find someone stupider than yourself to sell it to, then you are doing it wrong.

Now, by this notion, it might be that there are *no* companies worth investing in. That’s certainly a possibility. What then? I can see two clear choices: either (a) save your money (that’s what cash and precious metals are for), or (b) start your own company or help out someone who is not listed start theirs.

Your money has so much better uses than just to gamble it away. Instead, find a productive way to invest your money.

Our current economic debacle comes from having so many people focused on “playing the market” rather than actually creating value. Therefore, the gains are all fake. Because so many people “play the market” or “provide liquidity”, no one is “providing value”. This is what causes a market crash. Eventually, the market returns to the value. If no one is producing, then there is no value.

If value is being created, the actual numbers behind your wealth are much less important. Real capitalization is deflationary. Imagine this – let’s say you go to the store and buy 100 apples for $2 each. You now have $200 worth of apples, and you eat them all year. Now let’s say you buy an apple tree. Now you can, from now on, have $200 worth of apples without spending money. You might even wind up with enough to sell (which will lower the market price), or have such an abundance you give them away just to keep from having to clean them up!

All of these operations lower the value of your 100 apples. But do you care? Wouldn’t you rather have food in such abundance that you had to give it away rather than have to spend $200 each year? But for those who keep score with dollar signs, who want to do “better than you” rather than “well”, they would rather have apples become scarce, and their $200 worth of apples become worth $600. They would plow up an entire forest of apple trees to make their apples worth more. When they are starving in the street because they killed their own source of food, they will say, “I won – my assets are worth more dollars than anyone else’s”.

Which person in these stories was actually wealthier? The one with dollars, or the one with actual productive capital assets?

If you think you can successfully invest in the market, and in doing so improve the market itself, by all means be my guest. But if you want to play the market or beat the market, then for the good of yourself and others, please don’t.