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Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Editorial]
2017-02-05 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 1350 references
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What more needs to be said?

In Bangalore, India, heart surgeons perform daily state-of-the-art heart surgery on adults and children at an average cost of $1,800. For the record, that’s about 2% of the $90,000 that the average heart surgery costs in the United States. And when it comes to the quality of the heart surgery, the patient outcomes are among the best in the world.

Why?

Simple: There is no financialization.  

You can't make someone else pay for your medical treatment in India.

Most families in India have no health insurance, and often need to borrow the money to pay for surgery.

And there are no guarantees on the debt either: You can't exactly repossess a heart operation!

Quality?  Better than in the United States.

How about drugs?  Let's talk insulin:

The medication had identical action to what's sold in the U.S. And its preloaded syringes, with a sophisticated calibrating mechanism, were more accurate in dose than any I've seen. What was most remarkable was the price — less than 10% of what it costs Americans with diabetes today. The combination of massive scale and appropriate pricing accounted for the 10-fold difference.

What's missing from this article?

Any mention of the fact that the only reason drug prices haven't dropped like a stone is that it's illegal to import that Insulin here to the United States.  Were it not Novartis and the other insulin makers here wouldn't sell a single dose at 10x the price, especially when their dosing systems are inferior.

I've often said that the total cost of medical care would drop by 85% if we simply enforced the law, specifically 15 USC Chapter 1, against all medically-related firms -- including pharma, hospitals, device makers and doctors.

This article is evidence that I'm being conservative and the actual drop might even exceed 90%.

Of course to do that you need to take all the monopolists -- which means damn near all of the doctors, hospital administrators, drug company executives, "pharmacy benefit managers" and more out back and........

 

 

 

Indict them.

If we don't, and if we keep doing what we've been doing then eventually those who are condemned might just decide to take some of them out back and do something a less-lawful than indicting them.

Will Trump do anything about this?

Based on the best evidence available to date, NO.

Don't bet your first nickel on him doing a damn thing about any of this, despite it being very clear that mere restoration of a competitive market would make "health insurance" entirely unnecessary for essentially everyone in the United States.

Pfizer has already said they have no intention of altering their pricing model after the recent pharma meeting. Why should they until and unless their entire executive office gets indicted on many-thousands of counts of federal felonies under 15 USC?

In the meantime if you need treatment for something serious -- get on a plane.

If you currently have, or are on the path toward a chronic condition that requires continuing medical assessment and treatment if it's possible to stop or reverse that you had better or you're going to be bankrupted, dead or both.

And if you're already past the point of being able to do anything about it?  Make peace with God.

Until and unless Trump does start indicting this entire segment of the economy (or he makes clear that if they don't cut the crap right now he will, and if challenged, he does) he is not your friend, he will not stop the detonation of this nation's finances nor your financial and personal destruction and yet it is entirely within his power to do both right now, without Congressional involvement since the laws necessary to do so already exist.

Trump may be my President just as he is yours if you live in the United States, but any President who has the power of the Executive to put a stop to this crap under existing law and fails to do so, when it constitutes nearly one dollar in five spent in America today and 37% of last year's federal spending is a five-alarm dickhead, irrespective of what other policies he may or may not implement.  That refusal literally kills hundreds of thousands of Americans a year and financially ruins millions more -- far more than any terrorist or even war has managed to claim.

And that's a fact.

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2017-01-31 17:10 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 496 references
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You don't need to be someone's "friend" to see all the nonsense that they spew on Facebook or Twitter.

You just need to be a friend of a friend if on Facebook, or be mentioned on Twitter -- and it comes up on your "timeline" (Newsfeed, etc.)

So here's how you turn these social media monstrosities, which make their money by selling your eyeballs -- that is, you -- against them.

You know all those posts you see from people that you believe are insane?  Let's say you're a Trump fan and see someone bashing him.

Save his name to a local file and whatever he makes public (e.g. where he is, who he works for, screenshot his profile picture, etc.)  You can even save the data to your cellphone's contact list under some category (like "jackass") for easy reference and confirmation later on when you are out and about.

See him later somewhere?  Don't hire him.  Don't do business with him.  Don't buy in a store if you walk in and he's the clerk.  Walk out if he's behind the bar you walk into.  Just don't associate.

This is not illegal nor is it against the rules of these social networks.

You're not "data mining" them for resale or redistribution and you are fully within your rights to use whatever information another user voluntarily discloses in public to you for any lawful purpose.

Not only is "he's a jackass" not a protected class avoiding people you think are *******s is a perfectly-lawful purpose.

The best part of doing this is that it returns such "social networks" to being something that is of value to you instead of you being of value to them.  It's even better if you mark all your posts "friends/followers only" or don't post to them at all.

As a nice side effect not only do you get value from the "social network" instead of the other way around if any material percentage of people were to do this -- even a small percentage -- it would trash their ability to sell "universal reach" and thus their market value because the entire premise on which they sell "eyeballs" would go up in smoke since the only people who would see someone's posts are their pre-existing "friends."

The cherry on top of it is that the more-promoted and better-known the "thing" or "person" is that generates the idiocy the more-effective this is as the list of jackasses to add to your list will be extremely large! 

Finally there is exactly nothing the social media companies can do about it or even detect that you're doing it.

I'm doing it and have been for quite a while.

And I've got quite the database at this point...... smiley

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2017-01-30 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 2356 references
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This is a post that I predict will get few reads and fewer shares.

It's also mathematically provable and, if we don't cut it out, it will destroy our nation and economy even if we fix all the other problems.

Simply put, it's this:

As soon as you find a way to collude such that financialization becomes an essential piece of any part of the economy that part of the economy stops serving the end consumer of said good or service and instead serves the financiers.

Consider good or service "X".  The producer has to compute a price to sell at.  His computation is comprised of the expense to produce the good or service plus a profit.

Given no constraints the seller would like an infinite profit.

Two things constrain his profit: 1) The ability for the consumer to refuse to buy at all and 2) competition.

Unfortunately there are products and services that people cannot successfully refuse to purchase.  Some of those (like water) you must acquire all the time in order to remain alive; if you cannot do so via either a clean natural source or clean the source you have there is no other option but to purchase it from someone who can.  Others, such as medical care, are items you can sometimes refuse to buy but at other times you cannot refuse such as when you're unconscious due to either a medical emergency or accident.  Medical care has a further circumstance that arises in that in many chronic condition circumstances while you can refuse the price of doing is literal death; in those cases you are effectively forced to purchase.

Now let's enter the world of drug prices -- which by definition only exist because there is a belief (which may or may not be true) that consuming them in a given case will benefit you.  This is what drug executives currently say:

“We think we should always be value-based,” Celgene Inc. Chairman Robert Hugin said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “If the drug doesn’t provide value to the system and to the patient, we shouldn’t have price increases, or the price will change.”

Note what's missing there: Any discussion of the actual cost of producing the drug.

In other words: We will sell it for whatever we think the value is to you.

That never, ever works in a competitive market and nobody says that in a competitive market.  Why?  Because it's an instant prescription for bankrupcy.

Yet in the drug business the model is "how much is an extra year of life worth for a cancer sufferer"?  They "figure this out" and that's the price.  Ditto for the claim that the pricing for Sovaldi, which cures Hepatitis C.  The question isn't "how much did this cost, plus a reasonable profit", it's how much money would the victim blow if they don't take the drug up to and including their death from liver failure or liver cancer, and we're then free to set the price at any amount up to that number minus a dollar.

Now contemplate that "how much is a year of life worth?" has several possible definitions.  For many people it's "an infinite amount of money."  However, there are few people with infinite -- or effectively so -- funds and the higher the price the fewer people there are that have that amount of money.

In other words minus financialization and cost-shifting even the sort of crap statement that Celgene's Chairman made can't work for him because he's constrained by how much money consumers actually have.

This all changes, however, if the consumer can force someone else to pay; now the limit is whatever funds the forced party has.  If that forced party is "society" via a transfer mechanism then there is no limit.

Every company executive would love to price this way but nobody can in a competitive market because (1) there is no ability to force someone else to pay and (2) a second supplier, if you set your price high enough to make it worth their while, will choose to undersell you and they will get all the business while your sales will be zero and finally (3) if there is no other supplier and no other alternative virtually no individual consumers have effectively-infinite amounts of money.

So how do you get the above "infinite pricing capacity" model in the real world?

You break the law and/or you get the government to force others to pay.

You restrain competition.

You conspire with others, particularly financiers -- that is, lenders and insurance companies so you can extract all but one dollar of the value gained from using your product or service for yourself.

And, ultimately, you get government to force "society" to pay if the consumer cannot.

Want to know why college is so expensive?

This is the reason.

It did not get more expensive to teach Calculus, Fine Arts, Engineering or Computer Programming over the last 10, 20, 30, 50 years.  In fact in many cases, such as computer programming, it got much cheaper!  You no longer need a multi-million dollar mainframe, or the facility and staff to run it, to teach programming -- a perfectly serviceable computer to teach people to program on can be had for a literal $35 and it plugs into any modern television set for a display!

What happened was that colleges conspired with government and lenders to (1) make "free money" available and then (2) conspired with businesses and governments to "require" degrees.  When this model was threatened by people borrowing funds and then going bankrupt (discharging the loans and thus threatening to destroy the willingness of people to fund them) they then went even further and lobbied government to make discharging that debt in bankruptcy nearly impossible and guaranteed the debt federally, making society as a whole pay.

Note that in a capitalist system lending someone money that is unsound -- that is, which does not result in repayment with the accrued interest from their economic surplus has a natural check and balance built into it because the person who you loaned the money to can go bankrupt and discharge the loan.  This cuts off the flow of funds for unworthy borrowers or unworthy projects quite quickly and had that change not been made to bankruptcy law the spiraling cost of college would have been capped off two decades ago.

But what's worse is that to prevent someone from deciding to undercut these schools and drive them out of business the colleges also conspired with "accreditation" bodies so you had to go to a school that followed this model in order to be able to have a credential anyone would accept, making it impossible for competition to force them to cut that crap out.

This in turn has allowed the schools to figure out the alleged "value" of their degree and take all but a dollar of it for the average student and effectively force nearly everyone to finance that cost.  Note that for those better than the average student there has to be remaining value in said degree (but much less than there was before this crap started) but for those under the average, and by simple arithmetic half of all students will be, they can (and do!) actually get negative net value without the system collapsing!

In other words a huge percentage of students get sold something that has no net value to them.  Those people get swindled, pure and simple.

But what's worse is that all of that cost escalation was effectively stolen because in a competitive marketplace no college would be able to maintain such a pricing model -- they'd be undercut by 75% and thus the colleges that tried to price like this would have zero students.  It is only because they all get together and got government to shove it up your ass that that model exists.

This scam allowed the colleges to add three times as many administrators who teach nothing as they did professors, to build huge sports stadiums that are subsidized by the rest of the school, to put up edifices to themselves and enrich everyone from textbook publishers on up except the student and their family, leaving huge numbers of young adults destitute and many parents with a destroyed retirement when their child turns out to fall below the "average" line in their educational outcome and thus winds up with a negative net value for what he or she purchased.

Of course no parent will ever admit that their child is "below the average line" in public. This makes the swindle easy and yet by definition and simple statistical fact half the kids are "below the average line"!

I remind you that up to half of all students can find themselves in this situation and not have the system collapse -- and many, many students and their families do in fact get rooked in exactly this way. In many cases entire majors have huge percentages of graduates that receive negative net value.

In medicine it's even worse.  Not only does this pricing model occur with drugs, enabling such outrageous practices as charging $80,000 for a course of treatment that you can get for $80 in Egypta mark-up of one thousand times (that's 100,000%!) it happens all the way back to the training of physicians in the first place.

Want to be a Dentist or Doctor?  The cost is several hundred thousand dollars.

Why?

Was it several hundred thousand dollars in the 1950s or 60s?

No, it was not.  It was a few tens of thousands of dollars.

Why is more than ten times as expensive now?

Because the AMA, colleges and medical boards, along with hospitals, put in place a system that severely restricts supply and have turned on the "free money spigot" via loans for anyone who desires so if you want to be a doctor in America the only way to do it is to take on $500,000 in debt which they are happy to loan you but you cannot discharge it in bankruptcy if you happen to fall below the net value line in result.

In short they have taken most of the value that is generated by producing a physician and stolen it for themselves.

This then produces an entire generation of physicians that claim they're entitled to make $200,000 a year because they have to pay that debt off.

In other words these physicians argue they're entitled to make a given salary because their school and affiliated firms stole a huge percentage of the value in their education from them, with their consent, and thus they claim to be entitled to steal from you.

Again, this model cannot exist in a competitive marketplace because someone will decide to open a new medical school that doesn't cost $400,000 and doesn't constrain supply -- and the others will all go out of business in an afternoon.

That hasn't happened because the government colluded with private industry, from hospitals to insurers to medical associations to licensing boards to bankers to shove a gun up everyone's nose and prohibit that competitive offering from existing -- and any doctors it graduated from being able to actually practice medicine anywhere in the country.

Why was Obamacare passed?

Because the medical and health insurance industry was on the verge of collapsing on their own.  The amount of leverage (debt) they had taken on was too high and couldn't be paid off.  The "new therapies" that were being developed could not be priced at $80,000 for a course of treatment because almost nobody has that much money and thus there was no way to sell said treatment for that amount.

Who remembers Provenge?  A treatment for prostate cancer that was hideously expensive yet did not cure the disease.  Yes, it extended life -- by, on average, 4.1 months.  It was also hideously expensive, costing about $93,000 for the full treatment -- or roughly $20,000/month of additional life expectancy!  The entire industry was and is full of these "therapies" but Dendreon, despite having a working "therapy" (in that it extended life) also had a pricing model and debt load that simply could not work without government force.

Obamacare was not about helping you -- ever.

It was about bailing out excessive leverage in the medical system and outrageous acts of extortion exactly as TARP and the other "programs" were about doing the same thing in the banks.  It did so at a cost of ten trillion dollars in new federal debt or more than $30,000 for each man, woman and child in the country, a bill you were handed and which you are now expected to pay.  What's worse is that exactly zero of the escalating "expectations" in that sector have gone away or decreased in any fashion (you can hear this every single day on CNBS) which means that Trump and Congress are now going to try to double your indebtedness again over the next two Presidential terms and again that money will be going to the educational and medical lobbyists while it is both stolen from you and destroys everyone who is under the "average" mark in their fields.  Not only that these same expectations are all over the federal Medicare and Medicaid systems which is why, in just five years time, they threaten to destroy both federal and state budgets and yet exactly ZERO is being proposed to put a stop to it.

Trump's claim that he's going to "Make America Great Again" is a lie because until and unless both the educational and medical monopolists and scams are permanently ended in full the cost escalations that those two parts of the economy force on everyone else makes any hope of being able to fund the government, say much less hit the growth targets he has, mathematically impossible.

These are facts folks and yet half the country sucked off Obama while the other half now sucks off Trump.  Nobody will deal with the fundamental fact that the DOW being at 20,000 means exactly nothing except that the executives of those firms have managed to steal ten trillion dollars over the last eight years and expect to steal 10 more trillion over the next eight, which is why the market has been and continues to go up.

You may think you're "doing ok" because your 401k is rising but it cannot, and will not, outrun the screwing you will take at these people's hands.  You are being sold a false narrative, a false God and a false promise.  You will have the entirety of that "gain" stolen from you plus more -- that is a certainty and again is predicted on arithmetic, not politics.

These issues can only be addressed by (1) enforcing the law and (2) stopping the use of risk free leverage and force imposed on you that is obtained through bankruptcy exemptions, mandates, collusion, violations of 15 USC and other similar tactics.  All of these are supposed to be illegal under existing law -- laws that were passed after the last time this was done in America in the late 1800s -- the people doing it then were called "Robber Barons" and their games ultimately led to the Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman acts being passed into law.

The entities who have committed these sins and built levered "empires" on the back of same must by definition go bankrupt and disappear, and if they do then the market will crash back to rational levels when such leverage is removed and those firms are zeros.

If this is not done the stock market may continue to go up but it will not matter to you because your costs in these essential areas, which these firms and executives conspire with government to make essential, force you to buy and force you to pay for even if you do not use them will outstrip any gains you can earn in said "market."

Exponential growth on an infinite time horizon is impossible in all cases and the longer you keep pretending you can do it the worse the impact is that you must suffer when you finally stop.  Your option is to either stop voluntarily and accept the impact or you will be forced to stop involuntarily and the impact will be far worse.

That's arithmetic, not politics and the reason I'm done beating the drum on this point is that I've spent the last decade on explaining it quite-clearly relying only on arithmetic and yet you simply will not get off your knees before either a Democrat or Republican, depending on which half of the political divide you wish to fall -- and irrespective of who is in power you will not refuse to consent daily to what is mathematically proved: The certain destruction of your future, your children's future and this nation's economy.

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2017-01-22 09:53 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 1093 references
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It seems there's a wee bit of "protesting" in the air.

Let me point out that we have this thing called The First Amendment.  It protects your right to speak your mind, and as part of that it also protects freedom of association.

But just as it protects that for you, it protects those same rights for everyone else.

So a bunch of people -- most of them women -- marched.  What the media didn't show you is who organized those marches and what they stand for. Let me give you an example; specifically, in Washington DC according to a tweet that was uncovered by Gateway Pundit (and which the person involved has since deleted):

I suppose you think it's a good idea if you're a woman to, oh, support someone who wants to see Sharia Law in the United States.

I mean, what could possibly be wrong with that?  Other than your daughter having her clitoris cut off by religious mandate, never being able to drive (by law) and having to wear a burka whenever out in public, that is.  Oh, and she can't go out in public without a male escort either.  Never mind that if you turn out to be gay you'll be thrown off a building, stoned or imprisoned and if not, but you are female, well, you can be forcibly married off as a child!

It's not like this woman has tried to hide her views.  She has not; she's posted over 84,000 tweets and a couple of minutes of investigation discloses that what may even be worse than her views on Sharia is that she may be engaged in taqiyya on a mass scale, which means there's utterly no way to know exactly what she stands for and intends at any given point in time.

I will (again) point out that it is impossible to claim to be for equality of the sexes and at the same time be Muslim.  It is a flat-out lie to claim to be for equality for gays and to be a Muslim.  You may be one or the other but you cannot be both, unless you have defined your own version of Islam -- and if you have, then I'd like you to specify exactly which of the 114 Surah in the Qu(ee)ran you have torn out and burned.

I'll stipulate for the record that there almost-certainly are Muslims (in fact there may be a lot of them) that do believe in equality of women, gay rights and similar.  Then again there are Christians (in name) who believe in abortion rights.  But just as many Christians would like to adopt a literal definition of the 10 Commandments along with Leviticus and Deuteronomy as law when it comes to abortion (and gays, for that matter) there is an equivalent position among Muslims when it comes to Sharia.

The fact is that if you have any attraction to or have promoted Sharia law anywhere then you are definitely not for equality for either gays or women because Sharia contains strictures that effectively enslave women and mandate that homosexuality is not only wrong it is to be illegal and punishable by severe sanctions up to and including death.  The same is true for a Christian who promotes Leviticus in the Christian Bible as the predicate upon which law should be enacted and enforced with regard to LGBTQ rights (along with those who practice drudism and other pagan faiths as well!)

So why in the Hell would this woman be involved in such a march?  I'll tell you why: She's terrified of Trump's view on Israel and his long-stated threat to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

There's a fair debate to be had on that and if you've read my column for any length of time you know full well that I'm no proponent of how we've conducted foreign policy when it comes to the Middle East. My 2016 Review ticker contains some of my thoughts on the matter, if you're so-inclined to look at them again.  But to co-opt a so-called "woman's march" that is in fact a "dump Trump" protest under false pretense, in this case because you fear what Trump may do for Israel (which I remind you is full of women too) is outrageous.

Now maybe you think this woman being involved in organizing the "march" -- and her duplicity -- is an "aberration."  It's not.

You see, it actually got worse yesterday.

Madonna performed at this "thing" in DC.

What did she say?

"I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House," the 58-year-old pop star said, before adding that she "knows this won't change anything."

What?!

Oh, this was a "peaceful" march, right?  With "entertainers" who think an awful lot about blowing up the White House?

Look folks, you're free to associate with people like that, just like someone's free to associate with the KKK, if they wish.  You're free to march in an event with such "entertainment" and organized by Sharia-touting people, wherever you did it.  Whether it's in DC, Traverse City, Chicago or elsewhere.  You're free to enjoy "entertainment" that, while on-stage, muses about blowing up the White House.  That's the beauty of the First Amendment -- you are perfectly free to associate with the most-outrageous speech should you so choose, right up to the line of making actual threats or conspiring to take criminal acts.

But I will tell you this: If you did so-march, if you did promote it, if you glowingly talked about it on social media or elsewhere or if you do it in the future I'm going to exercise my First Amendment Rights.

I'm going to tell you to **** off.

With prejudice.

My daughter is not your plaything, nor that of some Sharia Law advocate who would cut off her clitoris and favors a legal system that denies her any sort of human rights at all.

Nor will I have anything to do with events featuring organizers who have advocated for a legal system that imprisons and even executes gay people.

And I want nothing to do with anyone who thinks an awful lot about blowing up the White House, nor will I associate with anyone who believes that going to an event at which such a person is given a microphone and a hell of a lot of speakers and amplifiers to give voice to that opinion is a good idea -- or sticks around once that crap starts coming out of said speakers instead of immediately disavowing the whole thing and erecting their middle finger.

Finally, I want nothing to do with any business, association, non-profit or otherwise that employs or maintains an affiliation with any person who does or did any of the above.

You see, this really isn't about politics.  It's about lack of reason, violence, and thinly-veiled threats.  It's about a bunch of sore losers who could barely contain their desire to blow up the White House because they lost an election.  It's about an organizer of said marches who would impose Sharia Law on everyone in America including the very women marching in the streets who were too damn stupid to spend 30 seconds checking out who was setting up the march in the first place and what they stand for, if she was able to.

You have to be a special brand of idiot as a woman to march under the banner of someone who, if they could, would mandate the cutting off of your own clitoris!

But that's what happened.

I'm thunderstruck to find that there is a larggroup of people in this country who are so blinded by their fury and hatred at losing an election that they would associate with someone that views condemning not only themselves but their daughters and those girls not yet born to sexual and personal slavery as not only acceptable but desirable.

Then as a cherry of additional insult (as if enslaving half the children in the country isn't enough) that event featured "entertainment" who mused about blowing up the President of the United States on stage at the event!

These are people I'm expected to associate with?

They're people I'm going to do business with?

They work at and run businesses that I will voluntarily pay money to in exchange for goods and services?

They're people I'm going to drink beer with?

And they're involved with various other organizations, including non-profits that wish to solicit me for donations and, when I die, bequests?

smiley

PS: Let's see if CNN provides the same wall-to-wall, all-day coverage of the March for Life in five days time.  After all, those people were excluded from this "protest", even though they, like these folks, are largely women and claim to be for actual equality of all.  What made them "unwelcome", you see, was that they extend that claim of equality to the unborn.

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2016-11-12 05:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 17193 references
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Let me make a few observations.

First, eight years ago, and again four years ago, America elected a President.  Fully half, give or take a couple of percent, disagreed with the outcome.

There were exactly zero riots, fires, "mass protests" and similar following that outcome despite the fact that half the population vehemently disagreed with it.

This time around, not so much.

Now I want you think very carefully about the following.

Most of the land mass of this nation is owned and resided upon by people who are in "red" (that is, the winner this time) areas of the country.  With the exception of certain urban centers and right along the Mexican/Texas border there are very few "solid" blue areas.

Those urban centers consume roughly 90% of the energy and food in this country yet they comprise 5-10% of the land mass.  The "red" areas produce 95% of the food and energy this nation consumes and occupies 90-95% of the land mass.

Do you really think that doing something like eliminating the last pieces of the structure our founding fathers put in place to prevent tyranny of the majority from being able to take hold is a good idea?

A little history lesson: Prior to the 17th Amendment ratified in 1913 it was impossible for the Federal Government to shove any program down the throats of the 50 states.  That's because the state legislatures had effective control of the Senate and could recall their Senators.

The House was elected by the people, the Senate was elected by The State Legislatures (and could be recalled by same) and The President was elected by the Electors, which were voted for in the popular vote.

The latter provides a modest but real increase in the representation of "flyover" states; that is, those with lower population counts.  In other words it is a check and balance in the ultimate tyranny of democracy.

Yes, I said democracy is ultimately tyrannical -- because it is.

America is not a Democracy.  It is a Constitutional Republic.  This is very important; in a democracy 50%+1 can render the 50%-1 slaves by mere vote.  Those who are in the minority in a democracy have no rights at all.  Democracy is best represented by two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

We are all minorities in some form or fashion.  If you're gay, black, yellow, male, female, whatever -- all it takes is some other set of groups to get together and decide to oppress you, and in a democracy you're ****ed.

America's founding fathers put in place two systems to prevent this.  The first was the bicameral legislature; a House elected by the people at large and a Senate elected by the State Legislators.  This structure guaranteed that a landmass that amassed 50%+1 of the population (not even in the same state or states!) could not band together and shove down the throat of the States any policy measure because you needed the concurrence of more than half the state legislatures, where each were delegated but two votes to their Senators who were accountable to said legislature, to pass anything at all.

This evaporated with the passage of the 17th Amendment.  Now you only needed 50%+1 of the people in a given state to pass anything you wanted and they could all live in a tiny percentage of the land mass -- such as is the case with Illinois where more than half the population lives in the immediate area of Chicago.

What came right after that?  Prohibition, shoved down the throat of the States, less than 7 years later!

What also came after it was an unbridled expansion of the Federal Government into state affairs.  Indeed, virtually everything became a "legitimate" federal matter.  Why?  Because it was impossible for the States to prevent it.

Do you think the founders were wrong to do what they did, and the 17th Amendment corrected that?

If you believe so then please consider this.

 

Ever drive through small town America?

Hell, how about "not-so-small-town" America?

Many of these towns look like something out of a WWI or WWII European war movie.  There was one factory or maybe two, but now it sits empty, weeds growing out of the parking lot as high as your head, all the windows are broken out and the roof has caved in.  Over on the outskirts there's a Walmart that pays $9/hour, but only offers 20 hours/week.  The factory paid $30/hour, full-time, plus benefits and food, power, medicine and beer cost half of what it does now. 90% of what formerly were little diners and shops in the "center" of the town, which might have one actual traffic light, are gone -- boarded up and often literally falling apart.  There might be one bank left, a branch of a big national chain, and maybe an antique store.  Maybe.  All the factory jobs left for China and Mexico and everything else died when the middle-class incomes to support them disappeared.  We did that as a nation with our "progressive" and "global" agenda driven by the 50%+1 that live in the closest big city 200 miles away.

The locals who used to work in the fields within 10 or 20 miles from that town are all unemployed too.  Why?  Because the illegal Mexicans came and we refused to throw them out.  They work for a few bucks a day in cash, no taxes, no unemployment, no nothing.  No American can live on that; the embedded cost of just trying to stay alive would leave you with zero.  But the Mexicans work hard and then sleep 10 to a single-room apartment, which incidentally is a total ****hole as you'd expect given that density of occupation.  They don't care; it's better than what they had in Mexico, you see, and they can Western Union home some of the money.  This is the face of "immigration", mostly illegal, that really exists in this country.  They brought their third-world ****hole here and while it's a little bit better than what they had in the process of doing it they dragged us into the gutter with them.

The people who lived in that town did and most who are still there do go to church every weekend, and some go again during the week, usually on Wednesday.  There's usually one, sometimes two churches.  Every one of them has the word "God" or "Christ" in the name on the front.  They mean it when it comes to their faith and in addition that's where all the local people shake hands, exchange chit-chat on the last week and, for younger people, it's where they meet one another.  You know, girls and boys.  Yeah.  Faith is real there, you see, and it's Christian. But from your point of view that's deplorable and that "those people" don't like the idea of making a wedding cake for a gay marriage is deserving of a federal lawsuit and loss of the bakery (which is, as a result, now closed -- putting yet more people out of work.)  The people who live in these towns don't see your point of view as a civil rights matter but rather as attacking God.

What was left after the factory was displaced isn't enough to run a "service economy", which is why it never showed up there and the old business buildings are all boarded up.  Nobody can afford $8 lattes on a $9/hour wage for 20 hours a week and nobody would want them if they could.  There's probably a McDonalds on the outskirts, and a couple of self-serve gas stations with a convenience store.  It sells cheap beer and lots of it to the locals who have nothing to do but drink and then go to church and pray for forgiveness for last night's 12 pack.  None of the jobs at any of these places, except maybe the store manager, makes more than $9/hour and Obamacare has forced all the regular workers down to 20 hours a week on top of it.  Try living on $180/week gross sometime -- before FICA and Medicare is taken out, never mind gas for the car and the rapidly-escalating car insurance bill -- and you might understand.  Yes, I know the car is 15 years old and runs like crap.  What do you expect on under $1,000/month of income?

This is what 40 years of sending jobs overseas with "trade deals" did.  It's what Amazon did.  It's what Walmart and its Chinese supply line did.  It's what "progressive America" did, and then to add insult to injury the teachers in the public schools tell all the kids that Mommy and Daddy are bad people and hate both the planet and their own kids because they don't drive a $30,000 Prius or a $60,000 Tesla.

This is everywhere in rural America.  Get in your car and out of your comfort zone some time and you'll see it. It's not far from wherever you are.  I've driven through dozens of these formerly-alive places in the last six months -- every one of them dead today, but full of real people.  I never met one such person that was a racist, xenophobic *******, but they're not very happy, and the people they're unhappy with are those very same folks you wanted to keep in office in Washington DC.

If you think the destruction of small town America is confined to farms you forget the other half -- energy.  Would you like your lights to work?  Many of those small towns are dead because of the insanity of our energy policy -- or lack thereof, tied to left-wing whackjob nonsense.

Now you want to add insult to injury when they show up to vote, exactly as civics tells them we have a right to do, and a large number of you in the cities did not show up.

They bought into the message of bringing American jobs back to America and ejecting those who have no right to be here.  You call them xenophobic, racist and small-minded -- they call it a shot at decent employment for the first time in 30 years.

They believe in the Henry Ford model of American business, and they're not wrong to do so.  Make the product here, pay the people well enough to be able to afford it, and you'll do just fine.

They win the election, in short, and you lose.

Then you decide to be a sore loser and loot, burn, beat people, issue threats, cry, whine on social media and try to obstruct everything by any means possible -- legal or not.  You bus people in to "protest" and riot, you "petition", you raise hell in short -- oh, and all this after you implored the other side to "respect the outcome of the election" and lambasted them for suggesting they might want to merely count the ballots twice!

Note again, as I pointed out above, that eight years ago, and four years ago, these very same people were on the losing end of your stick exactly as they had been for the previous three decades yet they did none of the above.  They understand duplicity and your double-standard quite well, seeing as they did the honorable thing and respected the outcome twice in a row despite getting screwed sequentially both times.  The only thing your brand of government offered them in the end was Medicaid or worthless "health insurance" through the exchange; the former has no doctors that accept it within 20 miles and the latter has a $5,000 deductible before it pays anything, which is utterly laughable when you consider these folks have a gross wage of under $1,000 a month.

Now the question:  Are you prepared for the possibility they might decide en-masse that they're done with this crap -- and with you?  That they're not going to take it any more?

What if the people who live in the "red" areas, that is, those who produce the food and energy that are consumed to the 90th percentile in the "blue" areas, decide they're not going to do that for the blue areas any more?  What if their middle finger goes up, in short?

Remember, we allegedly do not permit slavery in this country any more -- which means that which someone owns they have the right to sell - or not sell.  They have the right to produce - or, more to the point, not produce.

What if the people who peacefully conceded the result of two elections over the last eight years despite vehemently opposing the outcome decide that if the "blue" folks can riot, loot, beat people who vote the "wrong way" and similar they will not accept any further election result that doesn't go their way, and instead of rioting or burning things they will simply shut off the flow of food and energy to said "blue" areas?  After all, you don't value them at all -- you consider them subhuman, racist, xenophobic, deplorable and irredeemable -- all at once.

I'll tell you what happens if they take that decision: Every major city in the country would go feral within hours.

Within days those cities would not be blue, they'd be blackened and reduced to ash as those very same "protesters" you like so much loot, burn and shoot at each other trying to get the last scraps of food and fuel remaining.  They would then probably try to come out of the cities and take by force what had been denied them, only to run into a major problem - the "red guys" have more guns, they know the land because they live there, and more importantly they actually hit what they aim at, having had plenty of practice feeding their families with deer, wild boar and similar.  Mr. Gang Banger against Mr. Deer Hunter isn't a very fair fight, when you get down to it.

Oh by the way there's a phrase for what this would mean, if you haven't figured it out by now: Civil War.

Is that what you want?

It's where your actions are headed, if you keep doing what you're doing -- and nobody knows exactly where the tipping point is.

Better think long and hard, those of you in the "blue" places who are running this crap.  You do not have a snowball's chance in Hell of being able to grow enough in the way of crops on the landmass you control to feed a tenth of your population and every squirrel in your trees would be shot dead and eaten within an hour after this began.  Silent spring indeed.  Never mind the fact that most of you "wonderful snowflakes" couldn't shoot, skin, butcher and cook a deer -- or even a squirrel -- if you had to.  Never mind that a good 80% of you couldn't manage to run one mile if you were being chased by someone interested in eating you.

The day that cellophane-wrapped chicken stops showing up in the grocery store is literally the day 90% of Blue America starves.

Nobody in their right mind wants such an outcome.  But where do you think this all goes if you keep it up, eh?

Every bit of it has been enabled by the 17th Amendment and tyranny of the majority -- a tyranny you wish to increase by doing things such as abolishing the Electoral College.

There's a very good reason our founding fathers designed a Constitutional Republic instead of a Democracy.  They understand the problem with democracy: It doesn't work.  Democracy always ends up leading to riots and civil war, because exactly what the blue folks are doing now escalates until everyone starts shooting everyone.

A Constitutional Republic avoids this outcome because even a very large majority cannot infringe the rights of everyone else -- even when the majority lives in big, concentrated places like cities.

That was the magic sauce of the original design in our legislature and Presidency.  It's why we have an Electoral College -- to provide a bit of "overweighting" to those places that are utterly crucial to the cohesiveness and survival of the nation as a functional republic -- that is, a bit more balance against tyranny of the majority of 50%+1.

We got rid of the biggest check and balance with the 17th Amendment and I have, for decades, maintained that whenever America finally is declared dead and done, and the book is closed, that will be written in as the reason our nation's political system failed.  It's the only Amendment we cannot reasonably repeal, because to do so would require the sitting Senate to vote itself out of a job.  I'm sure you can figure out how likely that is.

But we can avoid doing more violence to our Constitution -- and we had better, or the outcome, given the annals of history available to anyone who cares to look, is quite certain.  If you want to see how this turns out should you keep pressing the issue go have a look at the map of how many states Trump won .vs. Clinton, or how the county-by-county map looks.  You'll see a lot more red of various shades than you will blue.

The bottom line?  Go ahead and be a sore loser.  Go ahead and whine.  Go ahead and try to change what our representative process led to.  Go ahead and decide to loot, burn and beat.  Refuse to accept the result of the election, if you insist.  Hell, go ahead and try to threaten or even bribe the electors!  Make sure you tear down the last little bit of foundation and structure inherent in the design of the legislature and executive of the United States.  Who needs it; it's all in the name of being "progressive", right -- even if when counted by landmass, counties or states the election was a landslide for Trump.

Just don't be surprised, if you keep it up, that at some point, given that you're utterly reliant on those you're abusing for the basics of life -- the loaf of bread, the gallon of gasoline, the electricity that powers your lights -- they decide they've had enough.  That day your supply of cellophane-wrapped meat and plastic bag full of bread disappears like a fart in the wind.  There comes a time when those who you've put the boot to for so long, and then try to deny the ability to change things peacefully through the representative process our founding fathers gave us, decide that despite their religious beliefs and good manners they're not going to service you on their knees any more.

Don't be dumb enough to think you can keep doing what you've been doing forever because you can't and if you go too far there will be no warning, no second chances and no saying you're sorry.  It'll just happen starting with one final stupid act -- and then we all lose.

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