Michael Battalio


Friday, March 25, 2016

My politics (part 7): some presidential politics

This series deals with some of my stances on political affairs and topics of the day.  I am quite liberal on some issues, but more conservative with others.  I self identify as an independent, but I definitely lean left.  This is a stand-alone post on the Republican presidential candidates.  I wrote this post for a Facebook audience but realized at the end that it was too much for that medium.  I’m moving it here, mostly because almost no one reads this who would be offended by what I’ve said.

In the last few years I’ve tended to remain impartial in my posts here though I’m sure it is no secret that I’m quite liberal.  I’ve stopped posting liberal material because I know that I’m never going to convince anyone who disagrees with me to change their mind via social media.  Having said that I can respect people who disagree with me.  Conservatism has some good things to say regarding government.  I, for example, side with conservatives on the subject of raising the social security age and to some extent on gun control (though I go back and forth).  I can therefore respect people who vote those conservative principles by picking a Bush, Gilmore, Kasich, Christie, Graham, Pataki, or Paul.  I can even respect a vote for Rubio.  What I can’t understand is why a conservative or any human being would vote for Donald Drumpf.  He is not self-funded; he certainly is not honest.  While he surely speaks his mind, you never know if what he says now will remain consistent even in the short term.  I get that many are mad at government and want someone removed from the “establishment” to fix it, but he has no experience in government.  You wouldn’t ask a dentist to build a bridge or a plumber to perform open-heart surgery.  In the same way, a businessman (with dubious successes) should not be elevated to the presidency without some experience in governance (or rational thinking).  
I’ve often been called pretentious, and while I do consciously try not to be because I know it is off-putting, I realize that I occasionally come across that way.  I would like to now fully embrace my pretentious, elitist narcissism that some accuse me of to deliver this message:  If you vote for Donald Drumpf, you are not intelligent enough to know me.  I ask that you unfriend (or in the context of a blog, stop following) me.  You are not even worth my time to unfriend myself.  Drumpf is a manipulative, vindictive megalomaniac, and if any of you are not intelligent enough to notice that there is no hope for you.  I get the appeal of anti-political correctness, but he has openly and on the record advocated for committing war crimes (by murdering the families of ISIS members).  The man is evil.  End of Story.
He calls himself a uniter, but he if can make a reasonable person this mad at other people that I usually respect, how could he possibly unite anything?  He’s bad for the country.  And I must say this is in no way a hypocrisy from me when I criticize people who were all doom and gloom on Obama’s reelection.  This is different.  I would be hypocritical if I were saying this over a Rubio or Cruz nomination (though I truly don’t think they would be good presidents).  I am not saying that though.  Drumpf is a different animal altogether.  If he is elected, he will take our country down a path that I do not see ending well for anyone of any political persuasion.  


Republicans:  VOTE AGAINST DRUMPF.  Give up on this presidential election.  You’ve already lost it, but at the least you can save your party.  It is not too late.  Save yourselves from the idiots.   Though I know your party has a lot of them, they are not a majority (yet).

Monday, March 07, 2016

Discussions on Wealth (part 13): Chapter 6: summary part 2 and discussion

This discussion on wealth is an offshoot of  Serious Conversations parts 53 and 54.  We are considering the book  The Origin of Wealth by Eric D. Beinhocker.  (I do not profit from clicks).  (Ed.:  we will be taking the general format of outlining the major points of the chapter and then discussing what we believe to be important or intriguing points.)

Last time we covered the new theory of bounded rationality which says while humans are smart, we aren’t that smart.  This is unlike traditional economics where humans a (laughably) perfectly rational.  Most importantly we have the process of inductive reasoning described.  The example of a frog is used to demonstrate how agents would use rules and inputs to determine behavior.  For example, IF [small] , [flying] THEN [extend tongue].  

We conclude the Ch 6 discussion by considering how this inductive model could be applied to describe the stock market.  A new model like Sugar-scape but applying the frog model is used to model the stock market.  The important change is that the stock market agents can learn.  A market with one stock and a random dividend was created; the sole goal of 100 agents was to make money.  The 100 agents each had 100 rules of varying complexity that determined when they would buy and sell.  Like the frog example, the agents decide on which rule by what has worked in the past.  The process of learning was introduced by randomly removing poorly performing rules and making new ones by randomly concatenating old rules that worked.  A test case with one rule that was of perfect rationality showed that there was little volatility and everyone made pretty much the same amount of money.  This is the situation predicted by Traditional economics.  The second run utilized the full strategy above.  Trading volume and volatility went up.  The stock price varied dramatically.  Some agents did very well, others went bankrupt.  It essentially duplicated the real world.  

Discussion:

I’d like to use the ultimatum game to talk about income inequality.  It really is shocking to me that the income inequality gap isn’t a bigger deal in society today.  So few have so much, while the rest of us have so little.  I would think that we would be okay with the economy slowing some so that the super rich don’t keep gaining on us.  I know I would be, even it was to our short term detriment.  I’m also so surprised that the poor in the deep south are some of the most ingrained into the conservative economic model or trickle down economics, which clearly doesn’t work.  Many of them are against raising the minimum wage when most would benefit.  It is amazing that the GOP has convinced these people to vote against their economic interest just because they share social interests. 
 
2003-2016 Michael Battalio (michael[at]battalio.com)