Word from the Dark Side – Jane says, nuclear subs, learn to sail, Camp of the Saints, brawling Sikhs, murderer skates, whites sacked, Melbourne seethes and colours swirl

Jane Says by Jane’s Addiction, 1988. Not sure when this concert was. The ‘Jane’ referred to in this song is a real woman who eventually broke her addictions and is still alive today.

Australia to buy nuclear-powered submarines from the US. A few years ago this would have been big news but now it seems irrelevant. The things are not supposed to be in the water for another twenty years, which will mean thirty and they may not work. Australia will rely upon the US and UK for the fuel, servicing etc., plus the other technologies that form part of the deal, which locks us in to all their likely conflicts with China.

By the time anything substantive is delivered, the struggle for the Pacific will be over and some of the nations in this trifecta may no longer exist in their present form.

Where will Australia be by then? Bill suggests some preparations:

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Friday Finance: my own experience with dodgy financial advice

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This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Small to Medium Budget.

Step 9: Get Advice

No man is so wise that he can afford to wholly ignore the advice of others.

James Lendall Basford

By now you should have approximately worked out where you’d like to invest your money for the long term, based on your individual preferences and risk profile.  You’ll need to consult a financial advisor to ensure that the plan best suits your individual circumstances.  Advisors sometimes have access to financial products that you can’t access as an individual, and they can guide you on tax and other issues.  Most importantly, a good advisor will be much more expert than I am.  They have actual qualifications, you see.  So get advice.

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The worst system in the world (except for all the others)

One of the world’s most misunderstood terms is ‘liberal democracy’.

These are two contradictory concepts put together to achieve a healthy balance, kind of like constitutional monarchy.

The democracy part you already know. The liberal part means respecting individual and minority rights. Minority as in, any group that wants something different to that of the majority.

In a pure democracy, the majority can vote for anything at all. They or their representatives can seize property from the minority, ban unpopular religions or imprison rivals without charge.

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Is WikiLeaks dead? (re-updated)

Amid the drama of Julian Assange’s show trial, the media has missed a major story: WikiLeaks.org has not been updated since late 2019.

Their last press release was on 21st October. The last featured leak was about the supposed Syrian gas attack, published 23rd October. The last leak I can find is Part 4 of the same matter, released 27th December, 2019. There were also some leaks about an Icelandic fishing company in November.

Wikileaks’ products are still available, donation buttons operable and the link to submit documents is there.

A search for what the hell happened brings up nothing. Try “what happened to wikileaks’ and you’ll find 2016 MSM FUD attacks. After all WikiLeaks did for them – for about a decade, it was the media’s main source of material and journos no longer needed to leave the office or talk to commoners.

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Mexico, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic

Japan’s not looking good. The rest of Asia is locked up. I’m not keen on spending a fortune to get transported back to Botany Bay for the jab-o-nine-tails and seven years hard lockdowns.

I need a home.

These three stand out because (a) I can get there from here, (b) they seem cheap, and (c) I can get citizenship after a few years of residency, if I like it. Or I might tread water there until I can reach my original destination.

I know nothing about Latin America or the Caribbean but am accustomed to normal Third World issues. I don’t blink when the power goes off.

Any thoughts regarding:

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Word from the Dark Side – fake news aplenty, a funny video, firing up a backyard reactor and a copper’s dirty film

The Appalachian Trail by Hunter Quinn, 2016

Biden droned the wrong guy, innocent aid worker killed in Kabul strike: NYT. Just leave and stay left. The only good thing we got from Afghanistan was a hard lesson and it seems we’re too stubborn to even take that.

Poetry of the Taliban. The one featured is not bad.

The aftermath of 9/11 affected us all differently.

Nutter puts up anti-mask posters with razor blades attached to injure those responsible citizens who take them down.

It didn’t happen, the BBC won’t retract the story and they still have a ‘fact check’ link in the text. Deboonking thread:

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Friday Finance: 401(k)s, superannuation and other retirement programs

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This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Small to Medium Budget.

Retirement Schemes

Developed countries generally have a retirement scheme, or multiple schemes, in order to provide incentives for individual retirement saving and to reduce the burden upon the state pension system.

These vary widely by country, and include the 401(k) and IRA, both Roth and traditional versions (in the US),[i] personal pensions (the UK),[ii] the RRSP (Canada),[iii] or superannuation (Australia[iv] and New Zealand[v]).

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Gradually, then all at once (Australia updates)

World’s largest prison as seen from space (stolen gag)
Truckies and supermarket shortages

Is there a nationwide blockade by Aussie truckies protesting lockdowns, mandatory vaccines etc? They did issue warnings to stock up on supplies.

Are police and media conspiring to hush it up?

On the other hand, there appear to be several ongoing truck disputes over various issues plus supermarket shortages due to staff out on quarantine.

As in China, once can’t get to the bottom of these things anymore.

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Word from the Dark Side – Covid cark-it calculator, cancelled credit cards, conning a crim and a cute coworker’s contamination

Europe Endless by Kraftwerk, 1977

Oxford University releases online calculator for figuring out your chances of dying or being hospitalized from Covid, based on UK stats.

I tried entering the details of a 100-year-old man in a nursing home with multiple conditions including coronary heart disease, dementia, an organ transplant and Down’s syndrome. Threw in some chemotherapy. The poor fellah came up with almost a 100% chance of being infected and dying over a 90-day period similar to the UK’s last peak.

Next I tried a 90-year-old man in a nursing home with type-2 diabetes and arthritis. 1 in 58 chance of being infected and dying, 1 in 50 chance of being hospitalized.

A healthy, independent 80-year-old man: 1 in 696 chance of being infected and dying.

Send this to your bedwetting friends and watch it do no good at all.

Rainbow lorikeets:

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Friday Finance: DON’T TIME THE MARKET!

This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Small to Medium Budget.

Timing the Market

As briefly mentioned twice earlier, it is tempting, when looking at the ups and downs of the market, to try to time the business cycle so that you buy stocks after a crash when they are cheap, and then sell them after a long bull run, when they are much more expensive.

It sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?  Like surfing: wait for a perfect wave that is about to break, and off you go! 

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Aussie fear pron

If Australia reopens at 70-80 per cent vaccination coverage, roughly between 25,000 and 29,000 Covid deaths will likely occur, according to the modelling. Picture: Amanuel Sileshi/AFP
Picture: Amanuel Sileshi/AFP

You may have noticed that some perfectly reasonable people have gone to pieces with this Covid business, especially in Australia.

If you were stuck on mainstream news, you’d be terrified too.

Let’s have a look at news.com.au, once one of Australia’ more conservative sources (but ever tabloid):

Reopening Australia too early with lack of restrictions would cause ‘substantial mortality’, experts say

Frightening research has revealed the dire situation Australia would face if it rushed through its reopening process, ditching public health measures after the nation reached vaccination levels of 80 per cent . . .

The ANU-led modelling warns that if Australia reopens to Phase D with 70 per cent of Australians aged over 16 fully vaccinated, there could eventually be . . . 29,000 fatalities.

That would be a death rate only somewhat under Sweden’s, despite 70% vaccination. Are the shots that shit?

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Build dissident infrastructure and alliances first

Finally, someone talking sense on Gab. From John Young:

Everyone wants to skip step zero (infrastructure) and go to step one (movement).

This is understandable for many reasons. Movements are exciting, they are immediate goal directed, they give instant feedback and so forth. They make us feel like we are doing something.

Yet, since well before I was born, these have existed. They have come into existence, obtained anywhere from 100 to 7000 members, depending, and failed. And failed. And failed.

They all failed because they skipped step zero.

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Word from the Dark Side – No Rain, nonsense news, nasty waves and some nice birds

No Rain by Blind Melon, 1993. I deliberately embedded this version because the bee girl clip, while nice, detracts from the song’s meaning

I was reminded of the song by this post. The singer was dead two years after this was recorded.

Blackwater guy slammed for offering $6,500 flights out of Kabul. Sounds like a good price to me. Flights from some places to Australia these days are $10,000+. Let the free market do its thing.

Apple, Google, and Samsung move to normalize vaccine passports with wallet function

This will not end well. In fact, people muttering this dark premonition over the last decade have already been proven correct because things are already not well.

Modern political debates and bouts of media hysteria are as real as pro-wrestling. Anyone else notice how quickly BLM disappeared? Someone somewhere turned a switch.

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Friday Finance: dollar cost averaging DEBOONKED

https://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/img/2014/12/20/5b6002e7-cab5-49cc-9314-f067e90d23d7/mythbusters.jpg

This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Small to Medium Budget.

Diversifying Across Time

There is one more risk to consider and it relates to time.  Not just time in the market, which we already discussed, but also the time it takes to get in and out of the market.

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Consumer inertia

I’m not the brightest spark.

I decided to bypass Amazon and buy a Terror House ebook direct from their store. I had to get instructions from Matt on how to get it onto my Kindle.

At first he thought I was joking but then, when I insisted that I was serious, he gave me the steps with palpable embarrassment.

Turns out it’s easy: download the file, send it to your Kindle email address (they all have one), perhaps fiddle with one last thing if required, and there it is.

I always bought ebooks via Amazon because that’s all I knew. Go to the Kindle store, search, press the ‘buy’ button.

In fact, I didn’t even know that you could read non-Amazon books on Kindle. I’d wondered about it but never actually tried it. You can read anything on those. If a mate sends you a manuscript as a Word doc, you can forward it to the Kindle to read there – much easier on the eyes. You can copy and paste long articles from the onlines, too.

Of course, Amazon could still reach into your device while the WiFi’s connected and delete anything they find objectionable but I’m not too worried about that at the moment and can’t physically obtain or store paper books right now anyway. I know others are building paper libraries and that’s a good idea.

Probably all this has not taught my reader anything he didn’t already know, but the anecdote may illustrate something interesting: consumer inertia.

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Not the hero we expected

Commenter dickycone said:

Looks like there was huge attendance at the anti-lockdown protest in Sydney. That’s something. My criticism of Australia vs. the US has been based on the apparent fact that most Aussies seem to want to throw away their freedom over the virus. I know you had poll numbers that seemed to indicate that too, but that picture casts some doubt on that, especially since they’re apparently risking detention by state security forces.

That’s true. You don’t need a majority to effect change, only a determined minority plus support from an elite faction. I reckon risking massive fines (AUD$5,452 / USD$3,900) counts as determined.

I watched footage of the protests with interest. It’s far whiter than Melbourne overall but not as white as I expected. I wonder what the demographic fault lines are with lockdown support – my guess is economics/class because that’s how the winners and losers have been divided.

These protesters are still very much still a hated minority. Mainstream news is painting them as right-wing terrorists while the majority of comments condemn them as stupid:

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Your status in the New Normal

Picture
An estate manager and serfs, Medieval Europe.

By the late Roman period, landlords had become so wealthy and powerful that they refused to allow their workers to be recruited into the legions. Instead, they sought security from barbarian warlords.

Thus the feudal period began.

In the era of the Roman Republic, many farmers were yeoman with the rights and responsibilities of free men. They were gradually replaced by slaves conquered from foreign wars and the relative power and wealth of the aristocracy increased. By the end of the Empire, ordinary peasants had become serfs. They were forced to work for their lord and were not allowed to leave the manor. The average person never ventured more than ten kilometers or so from his village. A few managed to remake themselves by escaping to a town and learning a trade but most would not improve their station until the Black Death made labour scarce and workers in high demand.

The division of labour in society has changed several times since then and right now it is changing again.

It seems likely that instead of having a large middle class as in the post-war years, we will be divided into two new classes. These nascent castes have already begun to form and my reader probably knows which one he belongs to. It’s easy to make predictions about things that are already happening.

Case Study

At Amazon, machines are often the boss—hiring, rating and firing millions of people with little or no human oversight.

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Friday Finance: pros and cons of diversified/balanced funds

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This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Small to Medium Budget.

More on Diversified Funds

Remember a little while back, we were discussing how you may need a mix of bonds and shares?  Well, some of those index funds can help you to do it.  Rather than, say, putting 30% of your money into a bonds index fund and 70% into a share market index fund, you might find that there is a ‘balanced’ or ‘diversified’ fund available that already diversifies in this way for you.  Such diversified funds might also include some cash or equivalents, real estate, or other investments.

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