Recently I have noticed a dramatic change to my Twitter news feed and it has turned into an echo chamber — not good. I am not talking about tweets that I post, but what Twitter has decided to curate for me to watch on my feed. Earlier this year, I noticed my news feed comprised of a mix of top news from people and orgs that I did not follow mixed in with people I do follow. Besides promoted posts, now my news feed is comprised of nearly all Libertarians and freedom-minded organizations. I mean, as much as I like @LarrySharpe, I do not need to see where others have posted about him and his last 15 posts cluttering my feed over the last half hour.
But that is for the Gods at Twitter (a/k/a @Jack) to decide for me as there is no way for me to control my own news feed. Although Twitter has a page telling you “How to control your Twitter experience,” it is weak. Weak meaning, it is mostly about exclusion rather than inclusion. What is found on that page is a snowflake’s dream and not really about having a great experience on Twitter. Twitter needs to get back to having an algorithm where I do not have my same thoughts parroted back at me, but offering a wide array of differing thoughts, news, etc.
While it is good to see some of what they are up to, it is not my only interest and frankly, I enjoy keeping up on Twitter accounts with opposing views. Perhaps I am in the minority these days, but I genuinely enjoy hearing from all types of views on politics, economics, etc.
In late November or early December, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Timbs v. State of Indiana, a case that will decide whether the U.S. Constitution’s protection against excessive fines applies to state and local governments, just as it has applied to the federal government since 1791. The case involves the forfeiture of a $42,000 vehicle for a crime involving a few hundred dollars. The Indiana Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause applies to only the federal government and does not apply at all to state and local authorities.
“Our client, Tyson Timbs, has already paid his debt to society,” said Wesley Hottot, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which is representing Timbs. “He’s taken responsibility for what he’s done. He’s paid fees. He’s in drug treatment. He’s holding down a job. He’s staying clean. But the State of Indiana wants to take his property, too, and give the proceeds to the agency that seized it. As we explained in our merits brief, there are limits, and this forfeiture crosses the line. We are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling. This case is about more than just a vehicle; it’s about whether 330 million Americans get to enjoy their rights under the U.S. Constitution.”
Nineteen amicus (or “friend-of-the-court”) briefs have been filed thus far in Timbs. Among the more notable amici are:
- The ACLU, R-Street Institute, Fines and Fees Justice Center and Southern Poverty Law Center, which submitted a brief that examines the effect of excessive fines and fees on the poor, as well as the use of fees to raise revenue for the government.
- The American Bar Association’s brief examines how the Excessive Fines Clause protects equality of justice under the law.
- The Constitutional Accountability Center’s brief spotlights the history of the passage of the 14th Amendment, and abuse of fines and forfeitures in post-Civil War southern states.
- The DKT Liberty Project, Cato Institute, Goldwater Institute, Due Process Institute, Federal Bar Association Civil Rights Section and Texas Public Policy Foundation’s brief examines the abuses of forfeiture, fines, and plea bargaining.
- The Drug Policy Alliance, NAACP, Americans for Prosperity, Brennan Center for Justice, FreedomWorks Foundation, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, and others’ brief examines the history of civil forfeiture and how it came to be.
- Three prominent scholars of the Eighth Amendment submitted a neutral brief that provides a deep dive into the history behind the Excessive Fines Clause, going back to Magna Carta.
- The Institute for Free Speech’s brief documents the danger of excessive fines for technical violations of campaign finance laws.
- The Juvenile Law Center and 40 other organizations filed a brief that chronicles the harsh effects of excessive fines on juveniles in the criminal justice system.
- The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund’s brief provide a history of the 14th Amendment and asks the Court to revisit cases where it declined to incorporate portions of the Bill of Rights against the states.
- The Pacific Legal Foundation’s brief documents abusive fines by state and local governments.
- A collection of scholars, represented by UCLA School of Law Professor Eugene Volokh, filed a brief that discusses how excessive fines impact the poor.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a brief that examines how state attorneys general and other state and local government agencies impose excessive fines on businesses to raise revenue and even for political reasons.
Opposition amici in the case are due October 11.
The Institute for Justice released a high-resolution video news release that recounts Tyson Timbs’ battle to get his vehicle back and to extend constitutional protections against excessive fines across the entire United States.
Today, drivers for Lyft and Uber are planning a rally to protest their low “wages” and the abuse some have taken while driving. It is absurd because they are all independent contractors and have the option to leave and do something else.
One female driver said she was tired of being “hit on” by riders. Another driver complains that he is only making a net profit of between $10-12 an hour. Then stop driving and do something else. It’s a far better idea than standing around, spending hours protesting for no money when you could be spending those protesting hours finding another gig or driving.
Perhaps these disgruntled drivers could change their mindset from that of an employee to that of a business owner. This can be seen when a driver describes the revenue and profit he or she generates as “wages.” When I have taken rides with Lyft and Uber, I can tell within a minute or two if the driver is thinking like an entrepreneur or an employee. Almost universally, the experience with the entrepreneurial thinking driver is far better than those who think as an employee.
So, although the portfolio is doing well overall, I almost feel like Warren Buffett during the late 90s runup of tech stocks. The portfolio has taken a hit over the last six months, while the overall market is running on all cylinders. NVR and Bitcoin are notable hits and the overall portfolio wiped out 50% of gains over the last six months. It is still up over 125% since I posted it three years ago which is an average of over 42% per year. That sounds great, but the original 3% of funds to buy Bitcoin messes with the numbers a bit as it has now grown to be 37% of the portfolio. Not that that is bad, as it was originally a speculative investment, but in the real world I would have sold off a large chunk of it. The four main contributors to the growth of the portfolio have been PYPL, Bitcoin, VSMAX, and NVR. As well, there have only been two securities which have turned in a loss, and those losses are tiny (around $5,000 of a $1 million portfolio). This portfolio is meant to be truly static so Bitcoin will remain whether it goes to zero or to $500k a piece. The portfolio has not fully been tested and for that we will need to wait over time and/or a serious challenge to the traditional markets, not just a correction.
See here: https://karldickey.wordpress.com/karl-dickey-investment-portfolio/