Close

Take a look at this:

Bonds

That's Bonds' 715th on Sunday. See the two guys in white T-shirts in the center of the frame, one with the black ballcap turned backwards and the one with the red cap? My wife's brother and brother-in-law. Man, that was close to quite a payoff.

(photo via MSNBC)

Better Safe than Sorry

That's what they say, anyway. Personally, I've never even come close to living that way.

I think if I had to identify the one thing that's predominantly responsible for the success of Western Civilization in general and America in particular--by which I mean leading the world to virtually everything I consider important--it's a certain sort of willingness to take risks when there are potentially big payoffs at stake. Without a willingness to undertake risk, nothing much ever happens.

So that's what I thought of when I heard about that fiasco in Washington on Friday and later read Kyle's take on it. It's no surprise. Did you really think that any of those people--a single one of them--are the sort who would or could ever make the world a better place because they were willing to take a big risk for a big payoff? Any Da Vincis in there? Magellans? Einsteins? Henry Fords or Rockefellers? Were there even any take-charge civilians there? Any Flight 93 genetic material? Nope. Not a single one. That's not where you find such people, and the events of Friday showed that fact very clearly, which of course raises the question: what sort of people do you find there? You find thousands upon thousands of people who play it safe every moment of their miserable lives--sitting around waiting for an authority to tell them what to do.

It's why they're there, you see. That's the place where risk-averse, do-nothing parasites go. It's the sort of place and the sort of people that's increasingly representative of what much of American culture is coming to represent. Pathetic. Disgusting. And you voters, evidently stupid to the very core, keep putting them there.

Update: Looks like Texas has undertaken to begin manufacturing just the sort of take-no-risks people I'm talking about. Via Beck.

Caring

In the same vein as my last entry, I'm just sitting here outside the New Leaf Community Market off Hwy 9 in Felton, CA up in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Lot's of spiritual people up here and that's what I aspire to, above all. Yep. Just sitting here under an umbrella outside sipping my organic coffee, which also happens to be fair-trade certified (of course).

I gotta say, too: these new Sony TX-series notebooks (all 3 lbs. of them) with the built-in wide-area data network are quite sumthin'. This thing now goes with me everywhere, and in general, if I can get a cell signal I can get on line with connection speeds far in excess of dial-up.

I'm just generally feeling the love, the peace, the wisdom. Yes; Wisdom. The ancient kind. Like this, the bulletin board outside the store that I snapped with the Treo a moment ago and emailed to myself in order to get it into the notebook, here, wirelessly--and then published out to the blog wirelessly.

Wisdom

Check out all the opportunities one has up here in the peaceful, enlightened society to gain real wisdom--not to mention serious opportunities to get laid.

Ok, gig's up. I just can't take it anymore. Fun while it lasted, and so sorry to reel in all yooz who don't read regularly. Check out the rest of the blog (other than the last two entries) to see what I really think.

One note: while I'm kinda making fun of the values of a lot of the people who live up here, those are their values and it seems to work up here just fine. No complaints. Very charming, in fact.

Uh, note 2: I've been going for over an hour, data going the whole time with the screen turned up to just one notch under full blast brightness, and the battery is at 87% with 4 hrs and 53 minutes estimated time remaining. This thing rocks!

Democracy Now!

I got this link to an article about John Travolta's "little place" the other day--the one with the B-707 parked out front. It's a little laborious to get through. It violates my "no horizontal scrolling" rule and the person who put it up needs to be beat about the head & shoulders for that one.

That said, surely the couple must be gobsmacked by what they have pulled off? Do they ever look around...at possibly the world's most elegant private airport...the two planes parked in their front yard and just...giggle?

"Oh yea," they laugh in unison. "Every single day."

Well. "Chortle" might be a better description, don't you think?

I'd just like to know where Travolta and Preston get off. Who do they think they are, taking for themselves such a very large slice of our social pie? Huh? 6,700 square feet of residence, 9 acre estate, and a tarmac large enough for a 707 and a Gulfstream II.

It boggles the mind, such useless and excessive consumption. Disgusting. The thousands of gallons of fuel--for a single trip. The pollution. Yuk!

They need two jets? How many people are living in poverty around the world, going hungry because John and Kelly need two multi-million-dollar jets? And how many people are traveling in that 707 at any one time--four or five?--when it could be efficiently hauling a couple of hundred people who probably have travel needs far in excess of the Travolta's. Besides...they have two jets. People are in buses, taking days to make a trip that John and Kelly make in hours. What gives them the right? And not only that, what about security? I don't think the TSA is checking them out out each time they fly so that we can be safe and protected. What about that? How can we trust John Travolta with a fuel-laden jet that weighs several tons and can go 500 mph? Can you imagine what could happen?

I had thought, gladly, that the awful displays of old-money wealth were a thing of the past. At least that other gaudy display, Vanderbilt's old place, is now a museum for us, the people. We can only hope for as much with Travolta, eventually.

Power to the people! Some glorious day, we'll be able to take back what's ours from those who have stolen it from us, democratic society. Democracy demands it!

I’ll Tell You Why

Neal asks:

Why delete James Shott's comment?

I'll tell you why.

This is my blog. I make no claim to objectivity. It exists entirely -- without equivocation or apology -- for my own selfish pleasure. When I deem that controversy, arguments, even personal insults in comments serve my ultimate interest, such comments remain (99%, so far; at least). If not: delete button.

I always (at least I know of no time when I haven't) give commenters one free shot at me. I shoot back, and unless the repartee is a tone-down, getting down to the argument, I dump it. Unless the conversatation is intersting, I don't want a 50+ comment flame war that wastes a lot of my time.

Shott's follow-on comment was 80% insult, some of it of a clearly dishonest and manipulative nature. It was long. To answer it was simply: not worth my time. So I deleted it. No apology whatsoever. My blog. My rules.

I'll tell you what. If you were to look at the record of comments, there's lots of insults, even in the 2nd and 3rd round and beyond. That's because the person was at least making some argument worthy of being addressed. Shott is a Republican conservative puppet; a regurgitator. He has no arguments worth more than a few minutes of time, and I already did that.

If he (or anyone else) doesn't like it, I invite them to read elsewhere.

May Report Card

Profits of $21,369; a 24.2% return on cash.

I reported on April here. Click on the Market Trading category for the whole series, in reverse chronological order (start at the bottom, work your way up).

Well, any concerns expressed in April as to the low volatility numbers (resulting in lower credit premiums) have been cured. If you follow the markets at all, you may be aware that last week offered a moderate correction on all indices. It was due. Unfortunately, I didn't listen to my prudent and conservative side and got myself into trouble. It's not manifest in this month, which for options-expiration purposes, closes out on the third Friday. But for June I've been scrambling rather significantly. More on that later.

I realized that my method of reporting results was flawed. To date, I've been reporting results based on the expiration month of the option, regardless of when it was opened or closed. This really gives a skewed view of returns month-by-month, when in reality, my account has pretty much been increasing continually. Since I'll now be mixing options months, then return on risk, as I've done in the past, will no longer calculate correctly. I'll just use a return on cash (in trading credit spreads exclusively, your entire account is always in cash (youre opening is a net sale; a credit); you're not holding any net long positions)

So, if I count the close of the month as options expiration day, the third Friday of each month, here's my returns since January:

  • Jan $4,539 profit; 20.5% return on cash
  • Feb $9,533 profit; 35.7% return on cash
  • Mar $3,737 "profit"; 5.2% return on cash
  • Apr $20,630 profit; 30.5% return on cash
  • May $21,369 profit; 24.2% return on cash

Those are monthly figures, folks... I am on the verge of doubling my account since mid February. Needless to say, I'm very pleased -- moreso because I spend so little time at this. It does require some knowledge, of course. Far more than that, it requires substantial nerve, which I believe is what my business background uniquely prepared me for. Just today (due to last week's tumble), I was staring at potential losses of $40,000. While those potential losses are still ever present, I managed, through a series of trades, to greatly increase my chances of getting out with no loss -- either through worthless expiration or more attractive rollouts to July positions. The cool part is that the cost of mitigating my risk was minus $3,000. That's right, I made $3k turning serious mistakes into lesser mistakes. It almost violates the laws of nature. And that's not all. Tomorrow morning I will get filled on a trade that will complete, for now, my scrambling. That trade will generate another $10,000. So, $13,000 for screwing up? Why? It's the reward for being willing to shoulder huge risk in order to turn it around.

Alright, here are the May trades, up through last Friday, the 19th, when May's options expired.

May_chart

June could be tough. Gains are only about $3,000 so far, and should be up to $13,000 by tomorrow morning. Whether I keep them or not will remain to be seen. This market is new territory for me. I started doing this last December, and if you'll look at the charts since, there has been but one predominant direction for the market (up). Of course, my bet (mistaken) was that it would continue, or if not, just churn and consolidate for a while. Now the bears are in control and we'll have to see how that works out. If 1255 on the SPX breaks through, then there's no telling how strong the correction will be.

Of course, this is all short term. Long term, anyone is foolish not to be a bull.

But this is what's great about the non-directional trading I do. I can be wrong all the time and still make 20-30% per month. If I'm way, way wrong, as I am now, I can still make money, but it's a lot harder, takes a lot of attention and time, and, frankly, takes some big titanium ones, if you know what I mean.

I might not be reporting like this much longer, though I'll be sure to at least summarize how June finished out. My original plan was threefold: to hold myself to account, to create a journal of sorts to document my experience, and to pass along some good will, should it all work out. I believe I've accomplished all three in spades. I'm now fully confident in my trading ability and it's really not my intention to make of this a bragging session.

Tell me again…

...why voting is so important?

Now, don't get me wrong. Voting is "stupid" (I've other words, too) per se, but within the raw, closed-logic of the thing, Kim's right on.

Update: as I was saying.

“Illegal”

Someone in email, referencing a VDH article about the immigration issue:

Seems the most intelligent man on earth doesn't have a problem with the term "illegal."

I should care? Hansen is educated and smart. He's right about the terrorist threat--but that's because Hansen is a war historian. Read any of his history books, like Carnage & Culture? I have. You can borrow it. Here, he's out of his element and his league, in spite of his book Mexifornia. Hansen understands culture and geopolitics. He understands might and the power of the state and how the big events in history come to pass. I don't know if he understands the sovereignty of individual rights as they ought to be understood.

Look, I'm right, even if I'm the only goddamned person in the world saying it. I don't give a damn who says otherwise, or how many there are.

There's one word that blasts the concept of legality out of the water, completely and totally: slavery. Think about it.

I got this, yesterday:

The word "illegal" is the key word here!!!

No, it's not. That's a cop out, and I think you know it. And uttering it makes just about anyone who does an abject hypocrite. You ever break the speed limit? Ever ride the Harley without a helmet on a back road where the risk is minimal, and if not, is it out of respect for a stupid nanny-state law, or just fear of paying a fine?

How many other laws do you bend or break?

What's your view on tax laws? Are they perfectly just, because they are laws, or is taxation tantamount to theft and you comply because you don't want the IRS trashing your life like Guido might torch your store in "the neighborhoods" if you don't pay for his "protection?"

Are you telling me that you don't know the difference between right and wrong, only between legal and illegal?

So, tell me this. Why persist with the legal/illegal BULLSHIT? I'll tell you why: because you can't make an argument for why it's right to keep an honest guy from crossing the border to make an honest living, that's why. If any of you were capable of making an argument about why the honest workers are wrong to come here, you'd do it in a heartbeat. But you can't, so you hide behind loaded slurs like "illegal."

That About Sums it Up

I just received something in email that about made my blood boil. That's been dealt with severely.

Let me tell you conservatives and Republicans something: You disgust me with your incessant and evil harping about "illegal" immigration. You have lost completely and totally the spirit of what America was all about. Completely and totally. Nothing is left. You think it was about a constitution and laws. It was about leaving oppression and misery behind, risking it all -- including your very life -- and seeking new opportunity in a new land where you could trade in peace and hopefully earn for yourself and your loved ones a better life. It was about Declaring your Independence from those who would prevent you by force from exercising what you believed was your God-given (not government given; not democratically given) right to the honest and peaceful pursuit of your own life, liberty, and happiness.

And you've lost it all. Now, it's no more important or sacred that some effing government-issued ID Card that amounts to essentially nothing less than a license to live where you wish to live, work where you wish to work, and for whom, and raise your children where you wish to raise your children.

Though in a different context, Neal summed up wonderfully how I think about you, now:

I can only conclude that you beleive that human beings are rightfully dominated by others through force. You do it through the auspices of the "common good", as you and your ilk define it, and you relish in the enforcement of your beliefs via the government you control. As such a lover of power, I liken you to all the facists, communists and other tyrants who have come before you.

You do not know or understand peace. Peace does not require force. Force is only necessary to protect that which is yours from would-be gangs and thugs. Peace is not the product of war: peace is the result of voluntary beneficial interaction between two or more parties. Such interaction can never be the result of domination. Peace can only be the product of freedom.

Freedom.  Do you even understand what that means?

No Neal, they don't. And what's more: the way they are behaving makes it difficult for me to imagine that they ever did. Frankly, with this single issue alone, I no longer harbor the slightest illusion about the Republicans being any less fundamentally evil and dangerous than the overtly commie Democrats.

Well, it's futile, but I can't help but throw up Binswanger, again:

An end to immigration quotas is demanded by the principle of individual rights. Every individual has rights as an individual, not as a member of this or that nation. One has rights not by virtue of being an American, but by virtue of being human.

One doesn't have to be a resident of any particular country to have a moral entitlement to be secure from governmental coercion against one's life, liberty, and property. In the words of the Declaration of Independence, government is instituted "to secure these rights"--to protect them against their violation by force or fraud.

A foreigner has rights just as much as an American. To be a foreigner is not to be a criminal. Yet our government treats as criminals those foreigners not lucky enough to win the green-card lottery.

Seeking employment in this country is not a criminal act. It coerces no one and violates no one's rights (there is no "right" to be exempt from competition in the labor market, or in any other market).

It is not a criminal act to buy or rent a home here in which to reside. Paying for housing is not a coercive act--whether the buyer is an American or a foreigner. No one's rights are violated when a Mexican, or Canadian, or Senegalese rents an apartment from an American owner and moves into the housing he is paying for. And what about the rights of those American citizens who want to sell or rent their property to the highest bidders? Or the American businesses that want to hire the lowest cost workers? It is morally indefensible for our government to violate their right to do so, just because the person is a foreigner.

Immigration quotas forcibly exclude foreigners who want not to seize but to purchase housing here, who want not to rob Americans but to engage in productive work, raising our standard of living. To forcibly exclude those who seek peacefully to trade value for value with us is a violation of the rights of both parties to such a trade: the rights of the American seller or employer and the rights of the foreign buyer or employee.

Thus, immigration quotas treat both Americans and foreigners as if they were criminals, as if the peaceful exchange of values to mutual benefit were an act of destruction."

Naturally, this post goes in the Shame and Disgust file.

The Very Exceedingly Complicated Nature of Society

Man... I keep linking Radley Balko.  So often, there's just no damned way around it.

From the guy I link to probably second only to Balko myself. Here's what I said recently, and Billy agreed. And I've got seven of Balko's posts at the ready for yet another roundup when I get a chance here.

The post Billy is linking to is one I'd read just minutes before, but it was not one I'd intended to blog. Then I saw this:

Look: everything is wrapped-up -- necessarily implicit -- in the first clause of that first sentence [...so long Congress continues to spend...], and that first clause, itself, requires analysis to uncover the fact that this ability to "spend" stands on the power to steal. Not one of you reading these words is authorized to go to your neighbors and take from them what is theirs in order for you to transform it into something that you think is good for them.  There is no such moral right.  And you know it.  You would not have any of them do that to you.  There is no way that any such right comes to existence by numbers of you gathering to say it does. You cannot delegate to "representatives" a right that is not yours, and this includes the authority to take anyone's goods without their explicit individual consent. That is the very essence of theft, and there is no sleight-of-logic able to make this fact go away, whether you like it or not. And if you don't like it, then you have a problem with facts, and you still have no right to chain me to your psychosis.

Billy: you just don't understand The Very Exceedingly Complicated Nature of Society.™

In other news, all this above went along quite well with this Sobran article.

At the time I considered myself a conservative, with libertarian leanings. Much as I respected Robert, I believed in limited government under the U.S. Constitution — but none at all? That was taking a good idea too far, I thought.

Notice the illogic of my reaction. I was thinking of a philosophy as a matter of personal taste, as if you could draw an arbitrary line and stop there. "Would you prefer a little bit of government, a moderate amount, or a lot of it?"

After a while (years, actually) it sank in that Robert wasn’t just telling me what quantity of government he’d prefer. He was saying that the whole idea of it was wrong in principle — no matter whether it was democratic, Communist, monarchist, Christian, or something else. He would agree that some are worse than others, but he insisted that all were wrong. Any government is a monopoly of organized force, inherently unjustifiable; and once accepted, it’s bound to get out of control sooner or later.