Torching Porchfest

I’ve lived in Sanford, FL for nearly two years. Porchfest 2019 was promoted as its 2nd-annual event, all over downtown for over a month. I had never heard of Porchfest before this year, but I don’t know everything, I’ll admit. All the embedded local establishments had these posters (below) in their windows. Notice that the sponsors are downtown big wheels connected to the Chamber of Commerce.

My interest was seeing the Oak Hill Drifters, who are probably the best band in Orlando right now. My music and business partner plays drums in the Oak Hill Drifters, and I’ve featured a few other OHD-ers on Electrified! (2015). I always like to see them play, if I have time, which I did.

I didn’t get to see them play, on a beautiful day, because no one knew where any of the bands were playing for Porchfest. Where the actual festival was held is also in question– even afterwards. “Housing district” was the best approximation.

There are homes directly east & south of downtown Sanford, with a few also to the west, and Lake Monroe to the north. That’s too broad of an area, and no one could hear any bands playing “Porchfest” from the downtown area.

The Oak Hill Drifters were to play the “Celery City stage,” which turned out to be some resident’s porch, in some residential area, somewhere (?) local. It was nowhere close to the Celery City bar, which had a live performer of its own and was promoting itself as part of Porchfest, with the logo projected on a screen behind the band. No mention of the OHD when I asked the drummer, “What’s up with Porchfest?,” after their performance. He just promoted the events of the day for the establishment, and shut me down on everything else. That’s how you get a gig when you suck.

So what happened? The Oak Hill Drifters were used as an attraction to pack a local establishment, while being shuffled off to a porch where few people could find them. Most of the locals & tourists never found “Porchfest,” and that was by design. Most soon gave up, and went for something to eat & drink.

No maps were ever provided as to the locations of the “stages” or the performers. No signs to indicate “Porchfest, this way,” on the day of the “event.” Porchfest was largely a scam by its sponsors to trap tourists in downtown Sanford and fill their establishments. That’s a shitty way to do business, and very disrespectful to the performers & fans.

For the record, I had my phone with me so I could have called the drummer of the Oak Hill Drifters for a venue address, but the point is I shouldn’t have to. For example, when you have a ticket to see U2, you don’t have to call Bono to ask where the show is, right? The sponsors make sure to tell you because they want you to be there. In Sanford, the downtown sponsors hyped something they didn’t care to deliver, so they could have a big day at the cash register.

I was in downtown Sanford for a large part of the “Porchfest” afternoon. There were mostly no bands to be seen or heard., which is unusual on a Saturday during the snowbird season. No directions on where/when anyone was playing. No one trying to help. Just organized confusion, on a record-heat February 23rd afternoon in central Florida. In other words, business as usual.

I’m glad the Oak Hill Drifters played (somewhere) & got paid, but the organizers of Porchfest get a fail on this. If Sanford business owners have any respect, then one of them will book the Oak Hill Drifters again soon, and actually deliver, so their local fans can see them as promoted. Otherwise these are just small-town scammers. Artists deserve better.

As for me, I’ll keep walking around Sanford, stretching my legs & reporting on what I see. Now whenever I’m confronted for money, my standard reply is, “I spent it all on Porchfest.” Bokeys understand & laugh. The rest don’t get it. It’s almost funny.


Manny Machado Signs Record Free Agent Deal with the Padres

This didn’t seem possible a few weeks back, but in the end the San Diego Padres have signed the biggest MLB free-agent prize of this winter. Manny Machado is a SS, but will soon move to 3B when top prospect Fernando Tatis, Jr (acquired James Shields to White Sox) arrives sometime in 2019. Along with prospect hitting-machine 2B Luis Urias, the Padres have a good infield that will be under team control through at least 2022.

Their current outfield mix is young and has upside, with legit prospects in the minors. All their stud pitching is in the minors, and the first wave is set to arrive in 2019. RHP Chris Paddack (Fernando Rodney to the Marlins), & LHP Logan Allen (Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox) will get their first opportunities in 2019.

The Machado signing signals the Padres will be aggressive in bringing their young pitchers up. The Padres haven’t made any free-agent pitching acquisitions in the off season, starter or reliever, that will pitch for them in 2019. The signal is that they believe in their young talent and are ready to promote their top performers to Petco. Padres fans have never seen anything like this in franchise history: a fertile farm system, along with ownership that spends on free agent talent as needed. In the last two off seasons, the Padres have signed the 2 richest free agents: 1B Eric Hosmer $144M last winter, and now SS/3B Manny Machado for 10 years, $300M.

Note that all the arguments & protests made by veteran MLB players & know-nothing media pundits over “collusion,” have now fallen to the wayside. There is no collusion in modern MLB free agency. There is only MLBPA stupidity & blindness, by agreeing to a system that will only reward the biggest stars, and freeze out the rest. Outspoken players should re-direct their anger towards those who agreed to this rotten CBA deal. The word is RF Bryce Harper is about to sign a deal with the Phillies. Whether it is more or less than Machado’s deal is irrelevant, next to the bigger point, which is that no one else will get anything close to what these two get.

Lefty starter Dallas Keuchel & righty reliever Craig Kimbrel remain available, and can be had for a song. The reason they are still available is because they probably don’t have much left, and are high-risk signings that also cost a high draft pick. That’s the value killer. Impending free agents (who aren’t superstars) that are made qualifying offers, need to start taking them.

A player can only be offered a QO once, so by accepting, they become unrestricted free agents the next winter. Otherwise, they’re taking less money under this system. Both Keuchel & Kimbrel refused a $17.9M qualifying offer (QO) offer by their clubs last November. This isn’t collusion, it’s lack of understanding by the MLB players, MLBPA bureaucrats & their agents.

Keuchel won’t get a multi-year deal that matches the AAV of his QO, and Kimbrel probably won’t even get $10M on a 1-year deal at this point. The Red Sox have said they can’t afford him, as he puts them over the luxury tax threshold, which means his salary would cost ~50% more (in MLB penalty taxes) if the Red Sox re-sign him. That’s the only team that doesn’t lose a pick if they sign him, saying they won’t sign him. So who wants him? Answer: No one who spends big money on a closer.

Kimbrel & his agent should have seen this early, and lowered their demands. Now it’s too late, and Kimbrel is at the mercy of the market full of hungry vultures who missed out on the real prizes, and are now bargain shopping. The 6/$80M deal Craig Kimbrel was seeking has not materialized, and now he’ll have to take whatever he can get– just like the rest of the remaining free agents. Those non-superstar free agents who signed early (generally speaking) got the best deals. Those who held out, got left behind. So when the Twins, etc, come a-calling with their low-ball offers, remaining free-agents better be ready to sign.

Pitchers & catchers have been in camp for a week, and by now all the signed players have reported too. When Bryce Harper’s signing is soon announced, every other unsigned free agent officially moves into panic mode. They have to sign and get to camp, otherwise they risk losing the season to someone else who took their spot, simply because they said “Yes” to an offer as the available jobs ran out. That’s the way teams are with veteran free agents these days, and it’s called hardball moneyball.

Remember that Harper & Machado are both age 26, which means they are young and in their prime. They both have Hall-of-Fame arcs, so every franchise that wants to win is seeking to add them. This market fell to the Padres because so many teams have already maxed-out their payrolls. The Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs & Dodgers are big market heavyweights that weren’t in on either superstar this winter. Why? Because they all have high payrolls, and can’t afford either Harper or Machado.

I’m not saying 10 years, $300 million is a bargain (it’s actually crazy money), but I will say that not having any of those 4 aforementioned teams involved kept the cost down, if that seems possible. That’s the only way the Padres were able to get precisely the superstar they needed. Until this deal, it was Ty France at 3B for the Padres.

This adds 5-6 wins to the Padres in 2019, and makes the Fernando Tatis, Jr. transition to the majors a much easier process. Any time you can add a HoFer in his prime to your team, it’s a good move. Especially when you’ve planned so you can afford it. The was a brilliant campaign by Padres GM AJ Preller, who has done it again. What looked like a quiet (but dominant) winter for him, turned into his biggest coup yet. No one seriously thought the Padres would get Manny Machado– myself included. Ownership support is crucial, and anyone can see that management is leading, with ownership on the same page, which is what you want as a fan.

I am a Padres fan, so I’m now officially excited for 2019. I had heard the Machado rumors in the wind, and dreamed on it for a bit, but never took it too seriously– and neither did anyone else. Only a few weeks back, did the buzz start to become more focused on the Padres, who also met with Bryce Harper. The Padres did a great job of staying under-the-radar, and then striking when the time was right, getting exactly the player they needed.

Evidentially, Manny Machado didn’t like the White Sox or the Phillies as much, which says something, because both teams needed him. In the case of the White Sox, it’s the fact that they’re going to be bad for awhile which is the turn-off. For the Phillies, I see them as an organization that can’t make up their mind on what they really need, because you can’t sign both. The Phillies seemed to believe they could. Only the Yankees can do that, and they don’t anymore, as even they have limits.

The Phillies are now the favorites to sign Bryce Harper, as they need him the most (which means they’ll spend the most) among the remaining suitors. They signed RHP Jake Arrieta late last spring to 3/$75M, and the first year was a disappointment, as his ERA was near 4.00, and he faded down the stretch. This team has good young pitchers, but have too many holes to fill. Harper will help them, of course, but he maxes them out on payroll, while still leaving too many positions at replacement level. That’s why the Phillies signing Harper, won’t mean as much as the Padres signing Machado. When you sign a free-agent for this much money, he has to fulfill all your needs, otherwise it will be an overpay and/or bust. Those are the hard lessons of MLB free agency.

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (above) announced this would be his last season the other day. He’s won 3 World Series managing the Giants. Bochy lost one (1998 to NYY) as the skipper of the Padres from 1995-2006. He never should have been fired, but the Friars had unstable ownership & constantly-changing management back then. He’s still one of the best, but his team is old. The Padres 2019 win projection before the Machado signing was 76, meaning the NL West is (again) the toughest division in the senior circuit.


Gold vs. Bitcoin

Precious metals & crypto-currency are the two hottest investment markets right now. The stock markets are all being propped up with central bank money & interventions by Plunge Protection Teams, which indicates they are bubbles about to burst. Bonds are also high-risk for default, and mostly junk. The US dollar has no real backing anymore, as most of its manufacturing has been outsourced to China & the third world. This creates a demand for gold, which is considered a safe haven for investors.

What is gold? Gold is a precious metal that has high malleability, ductility, conductivity of electricity, and is resistant to corrosion. Gold has been used in jewelry, art & dental restorations for millennia. That is real world use-value for gold, which cryptocurrency doesn’t have. That is why gold is stable, and coveted in times of economic uncertainty. The earliest forms of money were gold coins.

All crypto-currency is “mined” by super-computers at a high cost of electricity. The most popular crypto is Bitcoin ($3,400) now trading at over $600 below average unit cost ($4,060), as reported by Bloomberg news a week ago. What other use-value does crypto have? There obviously is none, so therefore no one can honestly explain crypto-currency as anything but a giant financial swindle.

Gold survives the “acid test,” which is in fact where the term came from. Bitcoin is “mined” by supercomputers that use a massive amount of electricity to create just one unit. Theoretically the cap amount is 21,000,000 bitcoins, with ~ 4,000,000 still to be created. That’s a lot of electricity for a superfluous accounting tool. There are over 1,500 crypto-currencies currently being traded globally, to give you an idea of the scale of waste going on here.

Electricity is created by raw materials that are mined, such as coal, gas, oil & uranium. Thus electricity has a cost, and with global warming, it can only go up in the future under capitalism. What this means for all crypto-currencies, is that their production costs will only increase. The only way electricity will stabilize is when solar power becomes the norm, and this can only occur through a political revolution.

All crypto depends on electricity, which is a driver of cost & value in today’s world. The internet depends on electricity, and all crypto is developed & traded online. A huge spike in electrical prices will instantly kill all crypto-currency value, as it will skyrocket the production cost (and then price), while offering no extra use value.

It can be argued that crypto-currency inherently has no use value, in a global economic sense. It’s purpose is to hide transactions, avoid taxation, and allow anonymous usership. This is a political-economic problem that Libertarian computer programmers tried to solve through mathematics. They’ve failed because their equations break down in the face of class relations, which dictate that the ruling class control all levers of power- especially money.

Crypto-currency was innovated as a hack, to end-run the US & global banks. That won’t be happening, because the puppet-masters won’t allow it. The only way to gain true monetary freedom is to transform society with a socialist revolution in permanence. That’s why Trotskyist Marxism is stable, as compared to any Libertarian capitalist ideology.

A more practical method to gain financial security is for the masses to appropriate the banks & all government institutions– most importantly the media, military & police– then these here-to-fore instruments of class war can be brought under democratic control. Only a socialist revolution can bring a true “government of the people.” Currently we have a plutocracy, a government of the rich, and it’s always been that way.

The American Revolution of 1776 was bourgeois in character. America was then a British colony, striving for independent nation status. Today the United States is a failed nation-state (like all the rest), whose masses are striving (whether they know it or not) towards socialism.

The level of mass political conscious is the “great unknown,” but the youngest generation has surely given up on capitalism. Most see no future, just more Bitcoin-like gimmicks. The rest are learning the hard way that things won’t improve without facing reality, and dealing with it in a rational & scientific manner.

Accounting tricks like crypto-currency, and the fervent support they garner from like-minded intelligentsia, reveal their poverty of thinking. Most of these self-proclaimed “cypherpunks” have never considered the true cost of mining one ton of coal, etc; in terms of environmental degradation, or health impact on the laborers. These costs don’t show up in their spreadsheet analysis, so they can carry on in blissful ignorance of the facts, and create new algorithms to reflect their versions of “reality.” They’re so smart, and some of them– very rich.

I’m not “smart” like them, so I have to work for a living. As a professional dentist for 25 years, I’ve restored many teeth with gold restorations. Gold crowns on back teeth have the best wear & bio-compatible characteristics for oral health & longevity. Most patients prefer porcelain restorations these days, because of improved color-matching aesthetics, but gold still has its uses. Relieving pain while restoring health & looks has value, and it always will. I’m not seeing any market for crypto-restorations in dentistry. Do you?

Final Thoughts– February 7, 2019 ~3:45 PM ET : Who is going to recognize any form of crypto-currency during a world war? That’s the acid test for capitalist currency. Precious metals have monetary basis. Currency backed by a functional economy & government has value. Crypto is none of that. Marxists are materialists, and that means we see through the hype.

Sat 09 Feb 2019 11:00 AM EST

If bitcoin is going to “decouple” from all other alt-coins, then bitcoin is the leader, and all other crypto is dead. My reply to Jack Dorsey, “I only have Facebook, and so do many others. Does that mean Twitter is superfluous?”

Dorsey says the bitcoin community is a “global experiment in trust.” When it comes to the value of money, it takes a whole lot more than a small community of trust to back it– in the real world. If only the alt-coin programmers & CEO’s had some identifiable substance of value behind their products, then we would be impressed.

By “real world” I mean global acceptance of its value & stability. Bitcoin & cryptro have been around for only 10 years, and there is still too much uncertainty & volatility. Keep in mind, the crypto-currency market has had tens of billions of hot US dollars pumped into it, and it is still nothing close to stable, much less verifiable.

Why is bitcoin trading at $3,600? Answer: Because it costs a lot to produce. That’s an expensive accounting ledger. I recommend blockchaining anonymous Quickbooks accounts to any global currency. That would be a lot cheaper. The concept of a single global currency is progressive, but it will only happen through revolutionary socialism.

Comments originally posted here.

Tue 12 Feb 2019 06:30 PM EST

Censored comments on above: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not a socialist, she’s a Democrat. Trotskyists won’t let that line be blurred.

I’m a fan of this show because Max Keiser gives us the inside story & details. He & Stacy are capitalists, so revolutionary socialists can’t fundamentally agree on crypto due to politics. Everyone thinks they’re correct on politics, so debate is futile. World events will prove who is correct.

Marxists understand the revolutionary potential in crypto-currency, which is its threat to the international banking establishment. The political problem is: every nations’ banks are intimately connected with a government, military & deep state. They’ll take away your internet. Then what do you have?

Keep reporting the crypto story from the inside, Max & Stacy! Real socialists respect differences in politics, when learning expertise from others who know their field. Marxists understand that putting politics aside (once mastered), is a good way to learn– all around.

Below is a current list of the top-20 cryptocurriences. Anyone can see that Bitcoin (BTC) is in a class by itself, as far as asset price. Bitcoin is the only alt-coin that even approaches meeting its cost of production, which says something profound about the whole crypto market.

Asset Last Price

BTC $3,582.21
ETH $121.94
BCH $121.43
DASH $79.28
BSV $64.04
ZEC $53.49
XMR $49.46
LTC $42.23
BTG $9.98
NEO $8.22
ETC $4.05
EOS $2.85
QTUM $1.90
LSK $1.15
XRP $0.300242
IOTA $0.267499
XLM $0.075762
ADA $0.041011
XEM $0.037980
TRX $0.023885