How to Tell if You are Good at Gambling Using this One Weird Trick

There are many people who think they are good at gambling – whether hitting the blackjack tables or playing the slots. You always hear about stories of people who take the casinos for a ride, and everybody who tries their hand thinks that they are going to be the big winner. There are, indeed, people who are legitimately good at gambling. I had a friend who put himself through a graduate program in physics by gambling.

However, you also hear stories about people who lose everything, while all the while they think they know what they are doing. They may get on a winning streak, and gain a ton of money, just to lose it all again. They often end up broke multiple times. The book “The Power of Habit” has a tragic story about a lady who gambled because they always made her feel like she was knowledgeable and capable when she gambled. But, in reality, she was just a sucker.

So, how can you tell if you are good at gambling, or you are just a sucker for the casino? Well, I’ve come out with an easy way that you can use to tell which one you are.

If the casino is actively trying to remove you from the premises, you are good. If they are giving you discounts and coupons and freebies, then you aren’t.

End of story.

The people who actually know what they are doing are banned from casinos and have to sneak in to get around security. They have to dress up like other people to keep from getting thrown out. If this isn’t you, then you aren’t actually good at gambling – the casino is going to take you for a ride.

BuzzFeed is Heroic while CNN is Fake News

A lot has been said about the kerfluffle between Trump and CNN/BuzzFeed about the scandal involving potentially fake documents about information the KGB has on Donald Trump. Here is the original CNN story. Here is the BuzzFeed story.

Most people have been either hailing or shunning CNN/Buzzfeed as a unit. That is, either you think that they should have published the news, and therefore are doing their patriotic duty to keep power in check, or they shouldn’t have published the news, and are both guilty of FakeNews.

CNN has said that since they did not publish the documents, but only the contents of the meetings, that they are NotGuilty of FakeNewsery, and that BuzzFeeds should be the only ones to hang. However, I think they have it completely backwards.

First of all, CNN reported first. The reported that there are reports that Russia has compromising information on him. The was published around the blogosphere, and re-published, and many of my own friends were saying, “ohmygosh, Trump is being controlled by the Russians”. That was the result of the CNN story. After the story came out, BuzzFeed published the actual documents upon which these stories were based. As soon as the BuzzFeed documents came out, the scandal quickly turned, and everybody could see that this was a bunch of B.S..

Here’s the deal, had BuzzFeed not produced the documents, then CNN would have been able to say with impunity that the CIA was continually providing intelligence reports to Trump that show that the KGB has information on him. There would be nothing to stop them. Despite the fact that the documents were obvious fabrications, since CNN did not distribute the documents, it is just a bunch of “he said she said” with the only factual information known is that the CIA was talking to Trump about it.

However, BuzzFeed’s reports effectively ended the CNN story. Once people were shown the ridiculousness of the document that the story was based on, it was easy to see that it was all a fake sideshow. Even my friends who were pushing the CNN story, once the BuzzFeed story came out, started to shy away and say, “well, maybe not”.

Now, had BuzzFeed published their document before CNN said anything, I would say that BuzzFeed was publishing Fake News. However, because CNN published first, BuzzFeed was actually exposing CNN’s Fake News operation – showing it for the sham that it was. BuzzFeed didn’t even have to come out and call CNN out. They just showed the base information that CNN was reporting on (and CNN confirmed this by later adding in a link to the BuzzFeed documents into their story!).

What CNN did – report to the public bogus claims about Russian intelligence operations as if they were truth.

What BuzzFeed did – show the actual documents that the CNN report was based on, and exposing it for the sham that it was.

So, I have to say that, at least in this instance, CNN was the purveyor of Fake News, and BuzzFeed did the whole country a favor by giving us all access to the real documents that CNN was working from.

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.

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.

When Giving is Forbidden: The Real Effects of Socialism on Society

Many people get into socialist activity because they think that it is the best way to improve the world. However, history has shown, time and time again, that coerced giving is not giving at all, and it actually breeds contempt for true acts of selflessness. This has been shown over and over again in the U.S. by regulations that actually prevent people from helping their neighbors. Take for instance the time when health workers too deer meat donated to the homeless by hunters. It was packaged by a state-approved processor, and no defects were found in the meat. What did the health department do? They destroyed the meat! They poured Clorox on it! What in the world would cause someone to destroy $8,000 of valuable, defect-free meat that was given to the poor straight from the people who hunted it!?

And the end of the article is even better. It says, “The department says it is now working with hunters in ways to donate extra game to homeless shelters.” Oh, that’s great. So what the real problem was wasn’t that they were providing deer meat to the poor, but rather they hadn’t asked the right people permission ahead of time. In addition, the department decided to work with hunters after it destroyed the food. It could have done that before and found a way to keep it. But no, when doing good is a government service, they do not allow anyone to do good without checking with them first.

A recent example comes from Northern California, where an 8th grader got detention for sharing his lunch with a friend. Why? Because the food was brought from home, and therefore, to guard the safety of the student receiving the lunch, the kid had to be thrown in detention. This is ridiculous! This is a simple, easy way for people to learn and practice loving each other. But it is banned.

This brings to mind a book I read a long time ago. It was called Learning True Love: Practicing Buddhism in a Time of War. The book was a first-person account of the Vietnam war by Buddhist nun Sister Chan Kong. While Sister Chan would claim no political affiliation for herself, and the left seemed to love her (at least for a time), I actually think what she practices is basically conservatism. Here are some examples:

  • Unlike many modern people who want “universal health care”, Sister Chan actually worked to provide real health care to real people.
  • Unlike many modern people who are concerned about jobs, Sister Chan actually worked to create real jobs for real people, and create new income streams and real productivity for the poor, and not makework jobs just to keep people busy. At the end of the day, the people that Sister Chan helped were whole – they didn’t depend on Sister Chan for their daily needs, but instead were able to provide for them themselves.
  • Sister Chan worked almost exclusively through volunteer organizations. That is, she never forced anyone to give anything, but instead allowed people to give generously to make a difference in people’s lives.

In addition, you can see the true effect of socialism based on what happened to her organization after the socialists took over. Throughout the book Sister Chan documented lots of egregious problems she had with the Nationalist government. However, all of that paled in comparison to what happened after the socialists took over. She was simply forbidden from helping anyone out at all. All of the fears of what socialism would bring if the North took over actually came true when they did. The introduction of socialism, which is supposed to be for the improvement of the people, especially the lower class, actually prevented anyone who wasn’t government-approved from participating in any help. What happens in such a situation? If people can’t help their neighbor on their own, how are they going to learn to do so? Then, pretty soon, you are overrun with people in the government who don’t actually know how to love their neighbor, so the government becomes directly opposed to helping your neighbor, in the name of helping your neighbor. This happens. Every. Time.

I know a lot of people get into government, government social work, charitable social work, and insurance to help people. Because that is the way modern society is set up, I understand this thinking entirely, and am not opposed to the individual efforts. However, I will make a plea that, in your position, you have as a goal to foster more people to help each other for themselves as individuals, rather than trying to channel every eventuality through the system. Find more ways for people to help each other on a natural, daily, individual basis, and not through organizations. There will always be a need for some organizations and some amount of help through there. However, the organizations should have as their priority the empowerment of the people they help (not their dependence), and the empowerment of other individuals to help their fellow man without going through an intermediary of any sort. I shouldn’t have to check with an expert to validate good works. The government is not God, and should stop acting like it.

Side Note – the parent of the 8th grader said, “By all means the school can teach them math and the arithmetic and physical education, but when it comes to morals and manners and compassion, I believe it needs to start at home with the parent.” I used to think this way, too. However, I’ve come to realize that morals and manners and compassion are an integrated part of learning. The real problem is that the schools are teaching them poorly and incorrectly. This kind of thinking says that manners and morals and compassion are entirely subjective. However, I believe that while they are not coerceable, they are in fact objective and can be taught as such. However, when people like Peter Singer are running ethics departments and heading up journals, the quality of moral education on the ground goes to zero. The problem is not that they are being taught, but that we are teaching bad morality. It’s just the same as if we were teaching bad science or bad math or bad history.

Side Note 2 – this is also one of the evils of insurance (insurance is largely voluntary socialism). Once everyone believes that they should be insured against every calamity, we start having our lives run by insurance agents. In a subject that will probably get its own post soon, the churches are starting to implement anti-family policies because their insurance companies are requiring it. The Churches fear the insurance companies more than they fear God.

UPDATE another case in point. Police stopped people from saving a woman from drowning who was trapped in a car. The police themselves did not help, and the woman died.

30 Signs You are a Prepper

I thought this was amusing:

30 Signs That You’re One of Those “Crazy Preppers”.

From the article:

  • Pantries are so mainstream…you have food stashed in strange places in every room of the house.
  • You have enough toilet paper to get through a year of uncomfortable digestive upsets…occurring with 6 people simultaneously
  • Speaking of which, you possess at least 3 different ways to use the bathroom, only one of which is an actual bathroom.