Czech algo trader launches anti-sociopath political activism: Corruption tourism. Brilliant.

The Municipal House (Obecni Dum)

. . .Unfortunately, democratic systems are not perfect and sometimes these psychopaths get into power on the basis of elections. When such a psychopath comes to power, he also affects the people in his immediate surroundings, such as co-workers. So, even a relatively decent man can be infected by a psychopath. Unfortunately, the state system or public administration has no defence against these phenomena. It’s a vicious circle of wickedness. Ethical values get a beating. . .

Karel Janeček, 04.06.12

Dr. Karel Janeček, a Czech entrepreneur, has launched a social activism movement against psycopaths (and sociopaths) in positions of power in the Czech Republic, according to a recent report. (Ondřej Koutník, “Karel Janeček: How to treat psychos who get into power,” 04.06.12).

While Mr.  Janeček is reportedly a ” mathematician, algorithmic trader and founder of the company RSJ”, and we’re never quite sure of algo traders, in principle, we support social activism against leaders who are basically rent-seeking psychopaths lacking pro-social agenda. Mr. Janeček, in the interview, proposes several ways to “spring clean” the Czech government, but to us, it boils down money. *Sigh*

There is, however, something new; a stroke of brilliance — Mr. Janeček’s recommended Travel Agency  Corrupt Tour.  You can visit sites of corruption! The idea is to ostracize the psychopaths, and bring the fight to them. Well now, this seems right up our alley. A few years ago we were going to vay-cay at the Hague to see some trials of genocidal maniacs. (Yes, we know, not everyone’s idea of good times).  Alas, we couldn’t make that one work out, but  we’d like to see a California version of this travel agency, where there are par-tay buses that go around to all the political pork-sites in the state.  In fact, put up a reality show on this one – MTV’s Political Corruption World Tour. Oh yeah. Sex, drugs and corruption outing. Sounds good to us.

Let’s start with that ridiculous High Speed Rail that goes from bum-nowhere to bum-nowhere, instead of LA to SF, which we would like. (California High-Speed Rail Authority Interactive Map).  Apparently the first link costs $68B and links Merced to Sylmar, and will be completed within the decade.

What this means in practice: Sometime, within the next ten years, you will have the privilege of driving through traffic for a few hours from LA way out at the far end of the Valley to beautiful Sylmar, home of the distinguished and popular California Juvenile Hall facilities.  There, you get the exclusive privilege of parking your car probably for some ungodly fee while leaving your car there so no one else can use it (unless you have someone who owes you large favors to drive you way the hell out to Sylmar, or you have a nice expense account to take a limo, but if that were the case, you’d only go to Van Nuys to catch your jet).   From the delightful Sylmar, you catch the high speed train trip to Merced. Yes, Merced.  At which point, you get off into 100+ degree heat and dust catch another probably expensive, long and dirty and un-fun ride on some kind of school-band-trip-charter-bus-diesel (we guess) bus to SF with who knows how many stops along the way.

Why can’t we get a train that goes from LAX to SFO or OAK? That way if you miss your flight you can catch the train. Or if you miss your train, you can catch a flight. And then it would connect with BART at the other end so you wouldn’t need expensive ground transportation.  (We understand that it’s the current rail roads that have exorbitant right-of-way fees as well as NIMBY Peninsula residents who are preventing the only route that makes sense to us.)

So, as we understand it, the cost is$68B dollars for the first leg, from Merced to Sylmar, to be completed by 2022. Is this an effort to open up the San Joaquin Valley to commerce, a la the transcontinental railroad back in the oldy-oldy days?  Or, has some politician bought a bunch of land in Merced that they want to unload at a profit?

We’ve never been to Merced, just north of Fresno, but everyone we know who has stayed longer than 5 minutes in Fresno is emotionally scarred. Fresno shouldn’t even be part of California as far as we’re concerned. It should be its own country, and then subjected to a vote on whether to be admitted to the UN. (We’d vote: only if disarmed). Same with Bakersfield, and we actually have spent time in Bakersfield, doing work, whereby we ruined some perfectly nice Italian shoes walking around in dirt on a site inspection. Plus, when people have, shall we say, business differences in Bakersfield, it has been the case that their flat bed pulls up next to yours at the stop sign and they point a shotgun at you and tell you to stop infringing their trademarks or some such. No, we’d take the entire San Joaquin valley and permit it to be one of those US territories that we keep an eye on with a military base, and require separate passports.

We digress. Our point was that the entire High Speed Rail project in California smells to us, and we’d like a version of Mr. Janeček’s Corruption-Tourism here, preferably along with a reality TV show to go along with it.

What we don’t know about international politics is a lot. In fact, we can’t even spell Czechoslovakia (that’s the spell check doing the work). We haven’t seen anything work to dissociate money from corrupt political power.

But, social stigma goes a long way and we’re beginning to think that belonging to an “in-group” is a more powerful force than wealth qua wealth. Corruption Tourism for this purpose – ostracizing – is brilliant. Recall the frenzied contributions to NYPD by the banks once the Occupy crowd started to go to where the bankers actually live.

So, Mr. Janeček, we’re hoping that your activism is pro-social and that you are for real. Good luck.