Is Trump a believer in Stephen Anton’s and Michael Miller’s Trumpismo?


"To save America, Anton proposes a blitz of desperate actions. The point, he argues, is to take exceptional and potentially suicidal steps (the rushing-the-cockpit scenario) because the America that conservatives aspire to preserve faces total elimination. He reveals this in a section of his essay that looks at the intentions of  “the Left.” Some of the Left regard conservatives as Nazis, he writes: “How does one deal with a Nazi – that is, with an enemy one is convinced intends your destruction? You don’t compromise with him or leave him alone. You crush him.”

The flip side of believing your enemies want to crush you because you are a Nazi is the belief that you must crush them first. “So what do we have to lose by fighting back?” Anton asks. “The Left, the Democrats, and the bipartisan junta (categories distinct but very much overlapping) think they are on the cusp of permanent victory that will forever obviate the need to pretend to respect democratic and constitutional niceties.” Anton’s ideology has a temporal as well as political edge: it is now-or-neverism."  The Intercept


 Michael Anton and Stephen Miller are big this weekend,  Miller is everywhere as a voluble surrogate for the surrogate Kelly Ann Conway. 

Miller may be young but he ain't afraid of the Borgists.  My SWAG is that if Bannon has his way Jake Tapper will have to find someone other than Conway to use as a partisan punching bag.   Anton is the author of a now famous article that denounces what he sees as the degeneracy of the United States and which calls for a top to bottom "revolution" in thinking in the USA.  Understandable.

The Left does not like such thinking since they believed before HC's catastrophic loss that there was a revolution but it was their revolution and it had triumphed.  Their discovery that not only had she lost but that Obama's neglect of the Democratic Party for two terms had devastated the party at the state and local levels is something they still have not absorbed or accepted as a new reality.  IMO the Democratic Party left is still trying to undermine Trump's public positions in the hope that convincing evidence of an impeachable charge can be created before the Trump Administration solidifies its institutional position.

IMO this badly misunderstands Trump himself as opposed to his entourage.  I think the error is in thinking that Trump has an ideology other than a crude sort of nationalism based on a lot of movies and marching around at NYMA. 

For Trump IMO "the Art of the Deal" remains all.  Whatever he says or does in making phone calls, running his hand up President Ji's leg, etc, is just stage management in a long (or short) process of negotiation. 

The revolutionary right wing "geniuses" (Bannon, Miller, Anton, etc., ) are just there to take the heat off him on the right.  They, like the NSC crew, should be careful that they do not cause him discomfort or are a distraction from the deals.  pl

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180 Responses to Is Trump a believer in Stephen Anton’s and Michael Miller’s Trumpismo?

  1. That’s the reason I sincerely don’t wish Trump to be impeached. I dread what the hard right Republicans will do in league with the revolutionary right wing “geniuses” without that blustering, bullshitting conman to keep them all in check.

  2. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Internet surfing time is limited today because of a death in the extended family, but when I got the news I was about half way through a fascinating piece that is centered on this issue but apparently heading toward quite different conclusions. Here’s a brief quote that gives a flavor:
    “Perhaps the most powerful takeaway from this examination of who the Trump administration actually is, is that the Trump regime is not external to the Deep State. On the contrary, the people who hold senior posts in his administration, both formal and otherwise, are key nodes that represent whole layers of social and institutional networks within and across the wider US Deep State.
    “If this is not immediately obvious, it’s because there is much misunderstanding of what the Deep State actually is. The Deep State is not simply ‘the intelligence community’. When a more accurate understanding of the American Deep State and its symbiotic embeddedness in a transnational Deep System is adopted, the role of the Trump faction can be properly discerned.”

  3. Edward Amame says:

    What the left is up to is not impeachment. Pence might even be worse. Also, the left is all too aware that two terms of neglecting state and local party infrastructure has had devastating consequences. The idea now is more to oppose Trumpism (the way the Tea Party opposed Obama) while rebuilding the party from the ground up.
    Here in NY, that starts with doing something about the Independent Democratic Conference that caucuses with the GOP — suddenly the 6+ year old IDC is under attack. Newer IDC members from liberal and minority districts have been getting really hammered since the election. All kinds of new post-trump Dem ideas are being floated, from making state abortion laws compatible with Roe v Wade to proposing a single payer healthcare system. If the IDC tries to oppose some of this stuff that ultimately makes it out of the gate, they could be trouble. This will be interesting. The real estate industry owns the GOP and IDC in the State Senate and the hedge fund industry is funding the same crew to push their for-profit charter school agenda. What will be sacrificed/allowed to pass to save what’s really important to them?
    In the long run, Pres Trump could possibly wind up being a gift to the Dems. And maybe not so great for the GOP brand. Seeing what happens with big pharma and his call to lower drug prices will be a clue about who wears the pants in DC, at this point anyway.

  4. David E. Solomon says:

    Ah, But Colonel Lang,
    Does anyone on your site or elsewhere, (or even Trump himself) have the foggiest notion of where his deals will take us?

  5. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    Elegantly put. Help: what’s in his “to do” deal bag. To be remembered/warned if it helps: The New Gypsy King is a sticker not a cutter.

  6. turcopolier says:

    David E. Solomon
    You think I am a fortune teller? pl

  7. jonst says:

    Miller looked, to me, like an uptight law student, at his first moot court practice run. Willing to mix it up, but his presentation bordered on stridency. That’s ok, like the Law Student, it was his first shot. We’ll see how he can critique himself. Tone it down, without losing any intellectual capacity. Its all part of learning, right? He is obviously Session’s man. So he will keep getting his facts straight, if unpalatable to the George S’s of the Sunday world. Their attacks are so shockingly predictable, as to allow for planned, viable, counterattacks. Miller should expect to be portrayed on SNL. And by the way….if the Trumpites really have any imagination they should be looking for a vehicle to create their own version, albeit on a smaller scale, of an SNL show. Parody and humor are effective vehicles of attack. And the Dems lend themselves to such attacks. That would be made all the more effective because the Dems are not used to being on that end of the fire. Think about all the politically incorrect material one could use, within reason.
    I have not heard Anton speak yet. His writings are original and biting. We’ll see if he has any traction in the big leagues.
    The Dems, Progressives, are hide bound by the Civil Rights model of protest. These protests of theirs, these campaigns, lack the long standing and major, grievances demonstrated in the Civil Rights campaigns. They desperately desire to run the same plan of attack for immigration and transgender battles et al. But there is absolutely no sense of historical injustice to fuel them within the American public. The kind that was present in the Civil Rights Movement. This sense of historical injustice meant most people had a natural sympathy to ‘do something’ to rectify the sins of the past. They differed regarding HOW MUCH to do, and how far to do it. But they were sympathetic to the general idea. Not so with immigration or gay rights. Or a lot of other Progressive issues. The Arc of History does not bend naturally in their direction with this stuff. As they think it does. Their policies can be resisted. If done so in a competent and reasonable manner. And therein lies the rub. Restoring economic growth can solve a lot of other issues. Or, at least, tone down opposition to Trump, anyway. He should focus on that. And stay the hell out of more foreign adventures.

  8. VietnamVet says:

    The coming ethnic pulling apart of America and the rise of ISIS have much in common:
    The Flight 93 Scenario could well be the outcome if real jobs, healthcare for all, free education and old age security are not restored in America. But, as usual, the real culprits are ignored. It is not the little people on the left and right struggling to get by who are the bad guys; it is the Oligarchs and their Cosmopolitan assistants who are looting the Middle Class across Europe and North America. The only way reverse the swindle is to put government by the people back on top, jail wealthy criminals and raise taxes on hoarders to benefit society.
    I do not know what will happen but it isn’t like we haven’t been warned.

  9. Bobo says:

    “Pres Trump could possibly wind up being a gift to the Dems”
    Your starting to see the light as President Trump is a gift to America as he really has no other political philosophy and his satisfaction is The Deal. Whatever political group gets in his way they will be dealt with directly or indirectly but he will move on and America will benefit from his view of what America should be which is not too radical unless your view is radical.

  10. ToivoS says:

    Anton and Miller sound like ideologues. In the past when ideologues confront US political reality they change or, if not, disappear from politics. Let us hope that these two fools blow up and disappear. It sounds very scary that these nuts (and their inspiration Carl Schmidt) are so close to power.

  11. walrus says:

    I am preoccupied with many personal issues at present that prevent more comment, but I there isa close parallel in my opinion that Antons articles bring to mind.
    After decades of settled, conservative Government, Australia elected a reformist left/liberal administration under Prime Minister Gough Whitlam who proceeded to act like a bull, in a china shop, pushing through major reforms. Whitlam famously said of his reform agenda;”we must crash through, or crash”.
    The Whitlam government was removed in spectacular circumstances after playing fast and loose with the constitutional niceties of the Westminster system, but they are still remembered as great reformers who have made a lasting contribution to the country.
    Whitlam was replaced by the Fraser conservative government which had a huge electoral victory on the mandate of “ruling back” Whitlams reforms. Fraser proceeded to do absolutely nothing of the sort and has gone down in Australian history as an ineffectual political nonentity.
    Trump must indeed “crash through or crash” if he is to be remembered as a Whitlam and not a Fraser character.
    That said, I think Anton is right on the money with his criticism of conservatives. What is required now is action by the Trump Administration. For Trump to listen to the counsel of fear and timidity, as Fraser did, is political suicide for him

  12. David E. Solomon says:

    No, but I trust your intuition.

  13. Keith Harbaugh says:

    A related article (on some intellectual underpinnings of “Trumpism”) is:
    “What Steve Bannon Wants You to Read”
    President Trump’s strategic adviser is elevating a once-obscure network of political thinkers.
    By Eliana Johnson and Eli Stokols
    This cites, and discusses:

    • The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe.
    • Nassim Taleb, the best-selling author of the 2014 book Antifragile.
    • Curtis Yarvin, the self-proclaimed “neoreactionary” who blogs under the name “Mencius Moldbug”.
    • Michael Anton, a onetime conservative intellectual writing under the pseudonym Publius Decius Mus.
  14. Willybilly says:

    As always VV, you’re absolutely correct with your analysis, on this and all other issues pertaining to geopolitics and economics’ shenanigans….

  15. turcopolier says:

    David E. Solomon
    I do not intuit that he will be inclined to accept courses of action that lead to war and that Mattis and Kelly advise against. I do intuit that he will be very aggressive on internal and foreign economic issues. I intuit that the influence of his own womenfolk will soften his attitude toward non-felon immigrant illegals. That’s fine with me. I have only seen one two man Anglo team of workmen in my area in two years. These Latino workmen are people I understand. I speak enough Spanish to sit and talk with them. DOL. Family men, hard working, we need them. I know people like these guys. I led them for 26 years. pl

  16. Fred says:

    “What the left is up to is not impeachment. ” You are certainly right about that.

  17. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    I read the article at your link. Seems like these Borg megaphones have, now, a term for the educated equivalents of “The Deplorables”: “obscure intellectuals “. What fun. It is vastly satisfying, to me at least, that these rants will not change the fundamental fact: “Broomstick One” and her cadres lost a democratic election!
    Ishmael Zechariah

  18. Edward Amame says:

    Not what I meant. At all. What I meant was that he might wind up energizing the Dems party like W did and like Obama did for the GOP.
    And as of yet, nobody has any idea how he will deal with either party. Again, a useful yardstick will be what happens to his call to lower drug prices (ie: allowing Medicare to negotiate). It will not happen if the GOP and big pharma have their way. Currently big pharma is pouring $$$ into GOP coffers in congress.

  19. Fred says:

    That is an interesting take by Peter Mass. I would say his quote of Miller’s: “Its sole recent and ongoing success is its own self-preservation.” could apply to all the establishment not just conservatives. The other item of note is that it only took Mr. Mass 6 paragraph’s to get to the Nazi’s and then he spent most of the remainder of his article talking about them. I guess that’s the best we can hope for a graduate of UC Berkeley, home of the anti-free speech riots not covered in the Sunday news.

  20. turcopolier says:

    What I fear for you left Democrats is that your gurus still disdain the people that you came from in Jersey. pl

  21. TonyL says:

    Articlea about Trump’s Art of The Deal book. Quite an interesting interview with the ghostwriter.

  22. David E. Solomon says:

    I can only say that I hope you are correct. Less warmongering and more attention to the basic economic needs of the working man in this country would be very welcome.
    I just wish this could all come about with less of a circus atmosphere about it. We shall see soon enough.
    As for the Latino workmen, my own experience is that they tend to be hard working individuals and our society can certainly use them.

  23. raven says:

    Yea, it’s a good thing the swamp is being drained and all those men of the people are replacing the elitists.

  24. If Trump did this he’d be on Rushmore –
    Medicare for all, now. Cover everyone. This will reduce financial fears for millions immediately. This will bring optimism and hope, and will reduce desperation.
    Three trillion dollar jobs program, now. Construction of roads, sewer systems, parks, schools, border fence (?), sustainable energy systems, whether equipment or retrofits for efficiency. Finance with quantitative easing but to the firms and workers not the banks. Millions of jobs. More hope. More money.
    Jawbone and provide tax benefits to manufacture here, bring jobs back to U.S. More jobs. More hope.
    Stop bombing everywhere else. Bring overseas bases and soldiers back and reopen or expand US bases here. Reduce military budget by giving construction jobs first to retiring soldiers. Less bombing means fewer future terrorists. Fewer refugees.
    Stick to a rational, proper immigration system. Grandfather those already here. They live here, pay taxes here, have kids here, and by and large do the jobs nobody else wants to, jobs that need doing.
    Apply social security tax to all income from whatever source and remove caps on top income – this will make system solvent forever
    Apply graduated income rates to all income whether employment or passive. Keep rates where they are but for incomes over $400,000 charge 45%; $800,000 charge 65%; anything over $3 million charge 80%. Our financial problems will be over and the impact on 97 percent of us will be unseen.
    Mostly, be practical, not ideological. Zealotry is the biggest deadly sin not on the list.
    Health care as a right, not a source of financial fear and drain
    Millions employed, earning that three trillion and spending it within the US to live
    More jobs for more millions as manufacturing and making things expands
    Less cost for war, bombings, and bases, leaving peace overseas and more funds at home
    A sustainable future, built by all of us, for all of us
    Forget Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, Progressives, Liberals. This is about people, all of us, finding a way to survive, prosper, and live in relative peace.

  25. steve says:

    I thought Rhodes was too young and lacking in any real experience to have an important position in the Obama admin. Now, this Miller guy is even younger and with just as little experience. I have a very hard time taking someone seriously who has so little life experience, to say nothing of experience in the area he is supposedly an expert in.

  26. From the article:
    “According to environmental scientist professor Charles Hall of the State University of New York, who created the EROI measure, global net energy decline is the most fundamental cause of global economic malaise. Because we need energy to produce and consume, we need more energy to increase production and consumption, driving economic growth. But if we’re getting less energy over time, then we simply cannot increase economic growth.”
    The decline of cheap energy has resulted in declines in living standards and thus social anxiety, with the result that many people looking for solutions are turning to blaming others for the problem rather than looking at the actual problem, with is a declining Energy Return On Investment. (Analysis from the Medium article).

  27. DC says:

    Indeed it is true that Obama neglected the Democratic party. I speculate that he allowed the entire apparatus to remain in HC’s hands as part of a grand deal in 2008, but I have read nothing to confirm it. The main outcome we know to be true is that the Democratic party is in complete disarray and a substantial element wishes to appoint Keith Ellison to lead them. It that occurs, Trump may as well recreate the entire Republican platform in his image in order to attract the scraps. He would win again.

  28. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The other term of denigration is “Third World Intellectual”; whenever they are presented with unimpeachable evidence of their own governments’ malfeasance.
    300 hundred years Iran has not initiated a war and yet she is the threat to world peace and those who have been instigators of world wars for 300 years don the mantle of peace.

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    All of those things are just poses; their master of Norman Mailer.

  30. Freudenschade says:

    You are crediting Trump with too much agency. In essence he is a head that inhabits a haircut. Scrying for a system of beliefs is a fools errand.

  31. Green Zone Café says:

    What I don’t like about these guys is their hatred towards the EU. This guy Fred Malloch they proposed to be Ambassador to the EU is a nut out of their playbook.
    It’s true the Brussels bureaucracy and EU governance structures are undemocratic. It’s also true they could be reformed and there was a movement to reform in progress. Direct elections of the EU president was one proposal.
    The Germans have built a democratic, prosperous, and decent state since 1954. The EU was 90% twinned with us through NATO.
    The Germans have spread their prosperity to a great degree. I watched Ireland change from a near-Third World nation in the 1970s to a wealthier country per capita than the USA. Spain is also transformed since 1975. Whatever mistakes Merkel has made on refugee poicy, or the merits of Euro monetary policy now, I don’t get the point of beefing with Germany or promoting Brexit and the election of LePen in France.

  32. Ingolf says:

    The Michael Anton portrayed in the Maass piece bears little relationship to the Anton that emerges from his writings.
    I read quite a few of his pieces some time ago and generally found him self-deprecating, often dryly humorous and smart. To my mind, he’s less ideological than Bannon.
    To anyone who wants to see for themselves the easiest alternative is this interview from back in September.

  33. jld says:

    Yarvin is a serious nutcase on the same level in his genre than the Cultural Marxists are on the left.
    Free markets and… capitalistic monarchy will save the day!
    One of his followers cared to make an “indexed compendium” of his writings which are otherwise indigestibles from their sheer volume:

  34. Sam Peralta says:

    In my opinion Trump is no intellectual and has no ideology. He is neither left or right. His life experience is as a Manhattan leveraged real estate speculator and celebrity brand manager.
    While a political novice, he understood that messaging drives voters. And he took a very anti-establishment tone during the primary. As he tried various messages he focused on a few issues that he found resonated with primary voters. But most importantly he hammered his opponents as ineffectual stooges of the DC elites who have screwed the people. He prevailed in the primary with his guerilla tactics.
    Since everyone in the establishment opposed him he had few choices of political and communications strategists with much prior experience. Stephen Miller came to him through Sessions, one of the only senators to publicly back him. Bannon came along to help guide the general election campaign and Jared Kushner drove his social media campaign. Jared is family and likely Trump trusts him implicitly.
    His campaign eschewed traditional campaign strategy & tactics. This was a start-up mindset with many people wearing many hats and while the media were reporting about internal chaos in the campaign, they were striking where it mattered – with their voters. His rallies were large and largely unscripted. But they all had a common theme – an anti-establishment message. This was our Brexit.
    I agree with Col. Lang that Trump is most comfortable doing deals. That’s what he knows. Additionally, Trump has no loyalty to party. He’s not a product of GOP politics. He is an outsider. To jump start his administration he had to go to the GOP bench to get his team. He didn’t get all the usual suspects. Tillerson, Mattis, Kelley, Ross were different in that they didn’t come up the ranks in politics. On the other hand Priebus & Pompeo could be described as the perfect Borgists.
    In time as he settles in we should see him jettison a few people that get out over their skis. I only hope that while he’s getting to grips on his administration he does not get seduced to take some precipitous action against Iran or another ME adventure. I think his instincts and natural inclination will be to reduce US footprint in more war.
    While all the intellectuals debate all kinds of theories to categorize Trumpism and the left and their MSM cohort whine hysterically with every new tweet, in time Trump will assert his ideology free deal making proclivities.
    The Democrats who have lost big in statehouses and legislatures under Dear Leader have not learned anything from that or the last general election. They continue with the same leadership and the same strategy that have proven to be losers. They are so mired in their PC identity politics they can’t see beyond that. If they are to succeed they should counter Trump populism with their own populism like what Sanders attempted.

  35. turcopolier says:

    Your comment is mere name calling and reflects nothing but your dislike of Trump. pl

  36. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Keith Harbaugh 12 February 2017 at 05:23 PM
    I’ve read both The Fourth Turning and Antifragile. So far as I know Bannon’s Generation Zero documentary was released in 2010 not 2015 as the two reporters who wrote that Politico article state.
    I tend to treat articles written by reporters who can’t be bothered to fact check with considerably less respect than those written by reporters who take the time and trouble to do so. In this case that would have been rather less than 2 minutes. I can’t help wondering “if they get something as basic as this wrong what else have they got wrong”

  37. turcopolier says:

    Joe Scarborough stated in the 0600 segment of MJ today that the principle of judiciary review was sanctified in Madison’s constitution. It was not. Chief Justice John Marshall seized the right in the case of Marbury vs Madison. In that case the new president, Thomas Jefferson, cancelled the midnight appointment by his predecessor John Adams of a man to be a sheriff in the District of Columbia. The man sued and Marshall claimed to be able to reverse Jefferson’s decision on the basis of its “unconstitutionality” and Jefferson let the matter pass unchallenged. Presumably, Jefferson thought this was a trivial and unimportant event and unworthy of his attention. He was wrong. The business of government in the US was quite new then and everyone was feeling his way in the dark. This rather trivial skirmish between a president of one party and a chief justice of another became enshrined by usage into a custom that governs our lives. By the 0800 segment someone had spoken to Joe S. and he remembered that the original constitution and indeed today’s constitution has nothing in it about judicial review. Stephen Miller is being credited as saying yesterday that the president’s decisions are “not subject to review.” This seems to me to be a challenge to the principle of judicial review. Trump’s response to the young man’s statements will be instructive. pl

  38. Sylvia says:

    I am going to put out some ideas in hopes of getting some insight into what I am thinking. If this is off topic, let me apologize now Colonel.
    I hear a lot of divisive talk about “left” and “right” but I am having a very hard time figuring out how to define those terms especially how they relate to figuring out solutions to the problems we face as a society. As time goes by I am having a hard time even figuring out where I fit in. What I do know is that these curious divisions seem to be tearing the country apart and keeping us from focusing on real problems.
    Instead of talking about ideology, let’s look at some of the problems. Here’s how I see things—-way too much of the US economy is either overpriced or downright dysfunctional. Many people are struggling and despite working hard are unable to provide basic needs. If you add up all this dysfunction, it could be as much as 50% of US GDP despite failing to meet the needs of most Americans or even produce quality results. No wonder people are angry.
    1–Health care: we pay at least 50% more than other developed countries, don’t cover everyone, and indicators of health, especially for lower income people are collapsing. Health insurance companies dominate the market but provide no real service while taking up to 20% of every health care $. There’s no transparency regarding prices (the same procedure can have several different prices in the same community) and we are witnessing the monopolization of health care markets to the detriment of both patients and providers.
    2–Drug prices–medical equipment: We pay the highest prices globally often 400-500% more than other countries. There are no controls over price and no requirement of pricing/cost fairness.
    3–The military industrial complex: What can I say that hasn’t already been said–too many wars–too many weapons systems that cost too much and don’t perform as needed. We are supposed to be fighting a “War on Terror” but refuse to identify the source of terrorism ideology because it comes from “our allies”.
    4–The financial system: Once again–what can I say? Our economy is increasingly financialized with rent seeking and gouging the norm.
    5–The food production system: Farmers face huge monopolies and are forced to grow commodity crops using GMO seeds and roundup leading to all manner of financial problems for farmers and health problems for Americans from favoring the production of the cheap processed foods destroying our heath. This is a national security issue as more and more Americans are unhealthy.
    6–Trade deals that have deindustrialized the US: There is no way the US could fight a global war–we are completely dependent on imports for just about everything. Once again, this is a national security issue.
    7–Lobbyists and a money system that entrenches all of the above and corrupts the political process.
    How do you begin to turn this around without upending the economy?

  39. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “Cheap Energy”?
    Like the Anglo-American Consortium that was put together after the Anglo-American coup in Iran to rape her oil wells?

  40. Lars says:

    It starts with ending gerrymandering and only allowing lobbying in public forums. Of course, there is more that can be done, but if you don’t start with those, you are going nowhere.

  41. The Beaver says:

    Have you seen the article about the NSC?
    Survival of NS Adviser M Flynn and then Sec Def Mattis “explored” having the US Navy intercept and board an Iranian ship in international waters

  42. PeterHug says:

    I think Trump’s administration is quite likely to create a “habit of activism” among the left that will translate into many more primary challenges for Establishment Democrats, and much higher turnout.

  43. johnf says:

    “I hear a lot of divisive talk about “left” and “right” but I am having a very hard time figuring out how to define those terms especially how they relate to figuring out solutions to the problems we face as a society.”
    I think its true to say that in this time of incredible turmoil and confusion in the Western world, all the old political categories make no sense any loner and it is futile to try and calibrate what is happening in their terms. Everything is high in the air and spinning, and its only when its landed and the smoke has cleared will we able once again to make meaningful definitions of the various strands of political thought and belief.
    But in the midst of all this chaos I do have comforts. I do have faith in ordinary people to make fundamentally right decisions, even if they are based on instinct and gut feeling rather than clear thought. Most ordinary people still have a sense of right and wrong. They are practical and pragmatic. And just about the last aspect of our society which seems to be functioning is our democracy. As our elections show, we still control it – just.

  44. Macgupta123 says:

    If Bloomberg News is to be believed, Japan wants to do a deal with Pence, not Trump.
    “On trade, an issue that has caused prior tensions, Abe sought to distance the topic from his burgeoning friendship with Trump — and assign it to Vice President Mike Pence. At Japan’s behest, the leaders put Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who is also finance minister, in charge of a new economic dialogue that will focus on three themes: monetary policy, cooperative projects and trade.
    “There’s a possibility he may be easier to work with,” Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief economist at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. in Tokyo, said of Pence. “He will be under instructions from Trump, so we shouldn’t raise our expectations too high, but he’s probably more logical.”

    “In one of his first acts as president, Trump pulled out of the TPP and called for trade deals with individual countries. By contrast, Pence was at one point in favor of TPP, a pact strongly championed by Abe.
    No date has been set for Pence to visit Japan and begin talks, though Aso has invited him to play golf during his stay. A Japanese Finance Ministry official said the process may eventually lead to a bilateral trade agreement.”

  45. kooshy says:

    For Trump IMO “the Art of the Deal” remains all. ”
    Colonel I understand and agree, President Trump thinks of “all” as a deal making art. But in my opinion Mr. Trump will or will have to learn that USA is not his own private family business, IMO he will need to respect in a constitutional system there are checks and balances that will stop prevent or stagnates some of his executive plans. IMO for this first few weeks e is acting as the CEO of Trump organization rather than that of USA with checks and balances.

  46. Valissa says:

    Let’s see… a guy that has been successful at real estate, successful in the television industry, and then successfully ran for president and won despite the intense MSM propaganda against him is being credited “with too much agency”? LOL…
    As I try to tell my friends… I understand disliking Trump and being against his policies. I can understand disliking or even hating his public persona. He can be crude, rude and full of attitude “unbecoming” the presidency.
    But the level of success he has achieved in life, whatever you think of him personally, shows intelligence, savvy worldliness, and a strong will (agency).
    The propaganda campaign that Team Hillary and the Democratic Party ran against Trump (with almost complete collusion with the MSM) consisted of painting Trump as unstable, untrustworthy, unintelligent (empty headed), racist, homophobic, etc.
    So when I see any comment that echoes the Dem propaganda against Trump, I assume that commenter as swallowed the propaganda, and is either too emotional to have a rational political discussion with, or has too much tribal allegiance to have a rational political discussion with.
    The Dems underestimated Trump at their own peril. If you people want to fight this guy, you need to start out by more accurately assessing the nature of your enemy. More accurately assessing the problems within your own party so they can be addressed, and focusing your attentions and energies there (primarily) is the best way to start winning elections again.
    I usually ignore comments that are simply pissy rather than thoughtful, humorous or interesting. Perhaps I will regret not doing that this time as well, but I felt the need to speak up.
    btw, I’m a 3rd party non-partisan voter. Not a Trump supporter, but I do think he is historically necessary at this time.

  47. LeaNder says:

    Haven’t read anything by Nafeez Ahmed for quite a while.
    In case anyone has, has there be something like a systemic paradigm shift in his writings. Or was this always his approach. If so, I don’t recall.
    In any case the centrality of the “EROI measure” didn’t quite satisfy me. Maybe, and without doubt I may need to read it again, it seemed to somewhat contradict his systemic approach:

  48. Willybilly says:

    You’re spot on and absolutely correct on all points you make. I completely concur with your analysis. You left out the decrepit infrastructure everywhere, falling behind in all areas…

  49. The professor is correct in saying declining EROI is a major problem, as is increasing cost of resource extraction generally. He’s wrong in saying it’s the root cause of our economic malaise. That’s demonstrated empirically – no one talked much of EROI in the 70’s and 80’s. That’s when outsourcing got going in a big way, demonstrating that “comparative advantage” as applied by the Neo-Liberal economists doesn’t work for first world countries.
    Or rather, it can work for the cronies, at least in the short to medium term, but not for the average worker. Perhaps therefore we should dispense with the term “Voodoo economics” that’s usually applied to the theoretical framework the professor is working in and call it “Crony economics” instead.

  50. Matthew says:

    Col: I believe Andrew Jackson shared the same belief. He felt he could read the Constitution as well as any judge.
    The longer I practice law, the more reasonable Jackson’s view becomes.

  51. turcopolier says:

    As I understand history the belief before M vs M was that the three branches would interpret the constitution for themselves. pl

  52. MRW says:

    Like all your points, Charlie, but two. The first is ridiculous. You’ve bought the same koolaid everyone drinks: “Apply social security tax to all income from whatever source and remove caps on top income – this will make system solvent forever”.
    The system is already solvent. Social security payments are mandated by law. The United States federal government cannot run out of money. It creates the dollar. [See*] Social Security payments are not dependent on collections, and have not been since the day they were invented. See the SSA’s historical record for a short memo rediscovered in FDR’s Library papers in 2005: [The memo is at the bottom of the page.]
    As FDR told the memo writer, Luther Gulick, “Those taxes aren’t a matter of economics, they’re straight politics.” FDR was able to get Social Security passed in 1935 by imposing them as a tax, a tax imposed by Congress because only Congress can create law and only Congress has the power to impose a tax.
    The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1935 had whispered to Labor Secretary Frances Perkins at a tea party that if FDR imposed Social Security as a tax, the Supreme Court could not strike it out during the inevitable Supreme Court challenges that the Republicans were threatening.
    See THE ROOTS OF SOCIAL SECURITY at It’s a speech that Frances Perkins gave at SSA Headquarters on October 23, 1962.
    But one day I went out to tea, although not because I wanted to. In Washington you don’t go to parties just because you want to go, you know; you go because you have to go. I had to call upon Mrs. Harlan F. Stone, the wife of the Supreme Court Justice. She was at home on Wednesday afternoons and so about 5:45, which is nearly the end of the day, I went to her house and presented myself. There were a lot of other people there. We went up to the dining room to get a cup of tea, and there I met Mr. Justice Stone who had just come home from the Court and was getting his cup of tea. We greeted each other and sat down and had a little chat.
    He said, “How are you getting on?” I said, “All right.” And then I said, “Well, you know, we are having big troubles, Mr. Justice, because we don’t know in this draft of the Economic Security Act, which we are working on–we are not quite sure, you know, what will be a wise method of establishing this law. It is a very difficult constitutional problem, you know. We are guided by this, that, and the other case.” He looked around to see if anyone was listening. Then he put his hand up like this, confidentially, and he said, “The taxing power, my dear, the taxing power. You can do anything under the taxing power.”
    I didn’t question him any further. I went back to my committee and I never told them how I got my great information.
    [Except FDR] As far as they knew, I went out into the wilderness and had a vision.
    * Source: Freedom from National Debt by Frank N Newman, former Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury.
    “The payments to be made by the government for each program are determined by law, not by the amounts recorded in the trust funds, and concerns about trust funds “running out of money” do not make sense.”
    Newman, Frank N. (2013-04-22). Freedom from National Debt (p. 88). Two Harbors Press. Kindle Edition.

  53. Old Microbiologist says:

    No argument. I read recently that in the US the odds of dying from a hospital accident is higher than from car accidents. That is a sobering thought.

  54. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I think this is precisely why either Trump is the greatest or worst president ever: he has a set of core beliefs that can’t be easily nailed down, but are nevertheless easy to appreciate–IF one is not too hung up on “politics as usual.” It is the hallmark of the great presidents–Jackson, Lincoln, FDR, and Reagan–as it enables them to cut deals as necessary without being too encumbered by ideological baggage–provided that the president can navigate effectively through the political waters–but also means that the whole political process can become a muddled mess, or worse, the government get captured by real ideologues behind the scenes. I think we have seen some signs of both–Trump as the bold dealmaker and a bungler–not surprising: the first 100 days of New Deal, too, were full of mistakes, if one is to look on the bright side. Still, it offers reasons to hope and to fear, both in spades.

  55. Old Microbiologist says:

    Very true. Having been married to a lawyer and being around the beltway big firms through her, I realized that lawyers become immune to law and see everything as something to be debated thus there are no hard and fast rules for them. No black and whites at all. Everything is “gray”. As so many members of Congress are also lawyers it means their ability to define truth is mutable.

  56. turcopolier says:

    When you have ended gerrymandering and lobbying what would you want to do about the states? Would you re-draw their boundaries to make them have equal populations? pl

  57. Eric Newhill says:

    I will be brief in this, another effort in my ceaseless battle to correct the misperceptions around healthcare insurance (HCI) in the US.
    “Health insurance companies dominate the market but provide no real service while taking up to 20% of every health care $”
    1. HCI organizes the provider networks – this means that if you are covered, you will have access to all of the various specialties you may require for your healthcare
    2. HCI negotiates contracts with providers – typically the cost is significantly less than what is billed; more than 20% lower. If you paid out of pocket you’d pay the whole billed amount
    3. Utilization management – making sure that the procedure is medically appropriate and is the best bang for the buck given the patient’s needs (doctors often do a) what ever is most profitable and b) simply perform the approach that they have trained to do versus the best approach
    4. Care management – ensuring that members (patients) with certain conditions are getting appropriate care before the condition becomes more serious (example: data show a member has been diagnosed w/ diabetes but has not filled a prescription for the medication to control it. Calls go out to the member and/or the doctor involved in the care)
    5. Fraud and abuse detection – this is another significant cost savings function. Everything from up-coding, to script mills, to fake claims for services never rendered.
    The savings released by all of these activities that HCIs perform far outweighs what they take in profits, which, incidentally, isn’t the whole 20%. Some of that is admin costs; which even the federal government has.
    Too much propaganda and ignorance out there and it’s preventing people from asking for informed solutions.

  58. Phodges says:

    The US Government does not create dollars. The Fed controls the creation of dollars which the government borrows at interest.

  59. MRW says:

    Charlie, one of the reasons everyone thinks that people’s FICA taxes pay for Social Security is because of Reagan and Greenspan in 1983. Reagan asked Greenspan to chair a committee to investigate SS solvency because he thought, erroneously, that those collections paid for SS.
    Greenspan was not a treasury official at that time. He was a Wall Street bank lobbyist. Wall Street was salivating to get its mitts on Social Security payments. Salivating. Especially if the SS private accounts were mandated by law, as that financial idiot Paul Ryan keeps trying to do.
    Reagan didn’t know squat about how federal accounting worked, and was still recuperating from being shot in the head. He had been a State Governor. States do have to balance their budgets; they need revenue, just like you and me…and IBM. The federal government does not have that restraint. It creates the USD. [Some young putz at Bloomberg just yesterday published a story with the title America’s Biggest Creditors Dump Treasuries in Warning to Trump. How the hell can the USA borrow dollars from foreign countries? Are the foreign countries counterfeiting our currency? The USA has to issue those dollars it purports to borrow first! Last year—fiscal year ending on Sept 30th of every year—the USA created over $60 trillion in new USD. It’s right there in black and white on the Treasury Dept’s daily bank statement, which you can look up yourself. Table III-A. Right there for you to read. Remember: treasury securities are cash equivalents. Cash equivalents! Only 11-12% of all USD are physical currency.]
    Back to Greenspan.
    Greenspan told Reagan that the SS Trust Fund was going to run out of money without raising the collection rate. And Reagan believed him. Greenspan suggested 6% or 8% (I forget) of all income up to and including either $110,000 or $125,000 (forget that amount too). You’ll note it didn’t say all income of everyone. Nope. Just the possible income-high of the hoi polloi in the country, the workers who actually produce things. Screw them up the butt first.
    So Greenspan imposed this draconian regressive tax on the middle class hoping they would revolt and go for private SS accounts, Wall Street’s wet dream. The rich? Scott-free. And they get the top monthly SS rate no matter what. The middle class, however, didn’t bite. They hunkered down and paid through the nose. And so this regressive tax remains.
    But, as you suggest, in the interest of social engineering, imposing a 6% or 8% rate on the gross of all the rich folk in this country—just like workers and small businesses have to endure—might be a good idea to cause them to learn their financial history, and study federal accounting (and the meaning of reserve accounts).

  60. Phodges says:

    Well I was hoping for something better from that article. It’s just a repackaging of the usual litany of anti-Trump talking points.

  61. Sam Peralta says:

    The NeverTrumpers keep getting sillier. They just don’t get that its their condescension & smug attitude of superiority that got their heads handed to them. Since its never their fault they’ll keep at their losing ways.

  62. turcopolier says:

    If they had done this IMO a naval and air war with Iran would have resulted. pl

  63. Matthew says:

    Col: Yes, that is true.
    When I was taking constitutional law, I felt the M v M decision was a usurpation. More 25 years later, I still feel the same way.
    We overstate the ability of federal judges to defend our rights. As my First Amendment teacher remarked, The Courts protect rights after the political crisis has passed.
    Just ask Mr. Debs.

  64. Sam Peralta says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t add the other right, that every family should be paid for a luxury lifestyle while they relax on the beach and get a great tan. Of course this too could be paid by quantitative easing directly to each family.
    And as MRW here says its all good. The government can spend to infinity and we’ll be in hog heaven.

  65. turcopolier says:

    It was undoubtedly a usurpation and Jefferson is to be blamed for not simply ignoring John Marshall. As for the neutrality of federal judges I have participated in many federal court proceedings as an expert witness an consultant and it is clear to me that many judges seek to curry favor with administration in power in hope of advancement in the courts. pl

  66. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater to Turcopolier and All,
    I just took a look at Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution. I admit that I am shaky on all of this. However, it seems to me that the question or issue of the authority and concept of judicial review undergoing any sort of challenge is not relevant in this particular matter. Judicial review can be bypassed. The Constitution seems to be quite clear on the power of the courts regarding President Trump’s executive order. (Banning certain Muslims.) Referring to the section “Cases that may come before United States Courts”, it reads quite clearly that judicial power extends to “treaties made…to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls…”
    And judicial power extends as well “to controversies between… a State, or the citizens thereof, and foreign States, citizens or subjects.”
    As to the jurisdiction of Supreme and Appellate Courts: “2. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and in those in which a State shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction.”
    Surely Trump’s order involves ambassadors, public ministers, consuls, controversies of States with foreign states, treaties…the whole kit and caboodle!

  67. MRW says:

    The second point I object to is this, Charlie.
    Apply graduated income rates to all income whether employment or passive. Keep rates where they are but for incomes over $400,000 charge 45%; $800,000 charge 65%; anything over $3 million charge 80%. Our financial problems will be over and the impact on 97 percent of us will be unseen.
    Charlie, Charlie, Charlie. When you tax you remove that money, that amount, from the real economy. (The money is destroyed. It does not supply revenue to the federal government.
    You tax at high rates when the economy is running red hot to avoid inflation. That is the purpose of a tax at a macroeconomic level.
    This is precisely what was done after WWII. Because of the commodities shortage caused by our war building, all the workers had bulging bank accounts but nothing to spend it on. Marriner Eccles (the smart, plain-speaking Chairman of the Federal Reserve) and others foresaw in 1944 that the war was about to end, and unless they did something, the inflation from the rise in prices would be a dangerous consequence.
    Inflation can be one of two things. Demand-pull or cost-push.
    Demand-pull is when too many dollars chase too few goods.
    Cost-pull is when there is pressure on the supply side, like the price/availability of oil and commodities, like the 1970s in the US as a result of the OPEC oil embargo. Price of everything from food to transportation went through the roof.
    The only time in recent history when we have had, or have had the danger of, demand-pull inflation is after WWII. All important commodities had been rationed to produce armament, planes, and ships. No more big lead-porcelain bathtubs.
    So Marriner Eccles and others got Congress to introduce income taxes on the very rich of up to 90%. They kept taxes on the lowest and lower paid workers to a minimum so that they would spend into the economy buying houses and durable goods, etc. The resultant tremendous economic growth actually created the middle class.
    Charlie, you wrote above: “Our financial problems will be over and the impact on 97 percent of us will be unseen.” Our financial problems will be over once US citizens—and especially our putz congressmen—take the trouble to understand how federal accounting works, as opposed to State and local accounting, which is the polar opposite. Because then they will realize that the key to their future—and the future of their children and grandchildren—is to move their Congressmen to get off their duffs and vote for the things society needs, like jobs, universal healthcare for all, free university education (Like Germany does). None of these incur debt to children or grandchildren.
    Once you realize that “debt” applied to federal accounting is interest-free money into the real economy (doesn’t have to paid back), and “debt” applied to state and local govts, businesses, households, and all foreign users of USD is real debt as you and I understand it (gotta’ be paid back & with interest), then you are half-way there. Federal government “debt” is the creation of new money. Always. And the federal deficit is actually the amount of equity that all Americans own, not what we owe. Everyone is fond of quoting the Debt Clock, like William Devane. Where’s the g.d. Asset Clock that must accompany it? In double-entry accounting you can’t have a debt without an accompanying asset. There are two sides to that ledger.

  68. MRW says:

    Wrong. Absolute fairy tale.
    Here’s the Daily Treasury Statement for the end of fiscal year 2016. US TREASURY.
    Look at Table 11-A, pg 2 of 2. Left column: ISSUES. (Whoops, I was wrong about the amount of new money created by the Treasury in 2016. It was 95,648,584,000,000. $95.6 trillion.)

  69. turcopolier says:

    I have been hearing this stuff about the obsolete characterization of political opinion as Left to Right for about 55 years. Is this something you pick up in poly sci. class? I have news for you kids, we tend to distribute ourselves in large groups that are hostile to each other along an access on one side of which are those who think people are fallen angels waiting to be saved from selfishness, and on the other side by those who think people are savage beasts to be tamed by a demand for responsible behavior. This alignment produces factions conventionally described as Left and Right. If you don’t see that in today’s America you are either incredibly naïve or blind. “Can’t we just get along?” No god damn it we can’t. That is why political parties exist! “Can’t we just solve our problems?” Aaargh! pl

  70. turcopolier says:

    If you are going to comment on Trump’s order get it right. “President Trump’s executive order. (Banning certain Muslims.)” Trump’s order does not do that. it bans people from certain countries regardless of religion. pl

  71. MRW says:

    Yeah, the federal government can spend to infinity, provided Congress approves it via appropriation. However, the danger is inflation. Too much money swilling around the economy raises the price of everything.
    I was explaining this to incredulous friends who countered with, “You mean, the govt can give everyone a trillion dollars?”
    I said, “Sure, but what happens?”
    The price of houses will be a billion, the price of a carrot $400,000. No one would be able to afford to visit this country, and we couldn’t sell our goods outside the USA. Not to mention what it would then do to immigration.

  72. MRW says:

    Sam, quantitative easing means the Fed buying back treasury securities on the open market and removing the subsequent income on those bonds from the real economy. Only thing it does is drive up the value of the dollar because there are less of them in the real economy. The Fed now owns those treasury securities and gets the twice-yearly income on them.
    The Federal Reserve, by law, must return those profits to the US Treasury at the end of every year.

  73. Valissa says:

    That’s a great list of US issues. However, this approach is what I refer to as PowerPoint Reality… basically making lists of problems such as this is if one could in real life tackle these problems in some sort of straightforward logical way.
    One could make such a list for every country in the world, as no doubt citizens of all countries can easily come up with lists of obvious problems.
    The problem with such problems is that all of these items are statements about trends. Trends that have been in progress for some time for multiple reasons. How does one “turn around” a trend? There is no deus ex machina Not to mention that trends are interlinked with other trends to varying degrees.
    One cannot simply “fix” a trend the way one can fix their computer or fix their car. I’m not saying one cannot reverse or ‘fight’ a trend, but it’s not easy and it’s not linear and mostly not happening at the rational level.
    When any trend gets out of control, counter trends start to pop up. But these sorts of counter trends, which are really just new trends, are most often emergent rather than directed by a person or committee. It is quite difficult to change the direction of an emergent trend.
    As John Gray is fond of saying, for most problems a country has there are no easy solutions, and oftentimes no solutions at all in the way our minds commonly think of such things. All countries have many unsolvable problems, and all they can do is try to manage the various forces as best as they can. Politicians speak out for or against such tends to get elected, but that doesn’t mean they have any ability or power to effect those trends, though they certainly can ride them.
    Please note that I am NOT saying nothing at all can be done about the problems listed by Sylvia. But I am saying that the way we frame or think about these problems effects our emotional reactions to them as well as how we go about addressing the ones we can and practicing acceptance on those we cannot. Examples of the latter are: recognizing that power and money games are part of human nature; it is impossible to get money out of politics; there are no political saviors only human politicians (who have their own interests and ambitions no matter what they promise others) who are themselves representative of trends.

  74. MRW says:

    Damn typo. It’s Table III-A.

  75. turcopolier says:

    Yes. I read the wiki material on this. What you have written is a lawyer’s brief in defense of judicial review. It is full of references to implied functions, inferences from things like “federal supremacy” may be convincing in a judge’s chambers but not with me. The right of judicial review for constitutionality was simply seized in a moment of Jeffersonian distraction. All that came after that was built on that usurpation. This is essentially a political matter and if the right of judicial review were ever seriously challenged it would have to be in the other two branches. Thanks for the history lesson about nullification. I may have heard of that. pl

  76. Jake S says:

    The way I see it is you either have Trump and his group of non-establishment guys or you have the other side– globalism and subjugation to its authority. My only hope at this point is Trump can merely stave off the rapid descent into a dystopian world envisioned by the globalists. Something I used to read about in Chesterton or Benson and thought was so far off. Now, always the optimist, I have to tell myself that the beginning of the thousand years of darkness shouldn’t be too bad.
    I agree with Israel Shamir, it’s all about war on Christ and His Church.
    The Futile Efforts of Donald Trump

  77. LondonBob says:

    Yes the Japanese would see Pence as your standard useful idiot Western politician on trade. Japan specialist Eamonn Fingleton could explain all this.

  78. Sylvia says:

    Thanks to all who responded and to the Colonel for indulging me.
    The 2 biggest items creating our ongoing budget deficit are the 1) cost of medical care and 2) the total cost of defense. Medical care alone is 20% of GDP and growing.
    On budget items for health care include the cost of Medicaid, Children’s health, subsidies under the ACA, and the cost over taxes and premiums for Medicare. Much of the excess Medicare costs come from the Medicare Advantage program, a partial privatization program created under the Bush Administration, that is quite costly. If medical costs are not brought under control, they will swamp the budget.
    Mr. Newell brought up several valid points about the value of health insurance companies, but given the increasingly narrow networks, even people with health insurance get nasty bills from service providers who are out of network. It’s called “on balance billing”. There was a recent article in the Dallas paper about a local businessman who followed the referral of his in network Doctor and ended up with bills totaling several hundred thousand $’s. If all all providers were required to post and justify their prices, everyone would be paying the same price and there would be no need for negotiation. The need to coordinate health care remains as a very valid point.
    Still, we need to cut total health care costs by a factor of 50%.
    Years ago I went through the various budget documents and came up with a total defense cost, foreign and domestic, including Intelligence, Homeland Security, the VA etc of well over $1 trillion a year. It has gone up since then.
    If we can get medical and defense costs under control, we can “solve” the deficit and have the money to spend on what we need in this country including rebuilding our infrastructure.
    The question? Can we reduce these costs while preserving the quality of health care, the safety of our citizens, the readiness of our military, and not create too much economic disruption? I’m not sure we can continue to ignore these issues.

  79. LondonBob says:

    Yes the left hate Trump as he is a counter revolutionary. I don’t think it is a surprise the people he has surrounded himself with.

  80. Valissa says:

    Agreed. I looked at the home page to see what other articles written by Nafeez Ahmed and get a sense of his point of view, and found this headline “Trump is the culmination of an invisible war on the world’s women” and almost gagged. Not a sign of good analysis skills.

  81. BraveNewWorld says:

    “The United States federal government cannot run out of money. It creates the dollar.”
    That is true. But if investors lose confidence that the US will ever pay the money back the value of the dollar will start to drop which would require raising the yield on the bonds. With $20T of debt, Trump & the Republicans about to massively slash business taxes at the same time as going on another debt fuelled spending spree when the baby boomers are retiring, confidence is going to take a hit. And no I am not arguing Obama didn’t blow up the debt because he did. The booming American economy is debt fuelled as it has been for the last couple of decades.
    Of course the US could just print money and not float debt. But that would lead to a falling dollar and run away inflation. On the other hand floating debt means foreigners own more and more of your country. Neither scenario is sustainable.

  82. hemeantwell says:

    Agreed. In my view unless you are talking about a program that includes “real jobs, healthcare for all, free education and old age security” — and I’ll add a significant trimming of the military budget — you aren’t talking about a “Left” program. The Clintonites pushed a neoliberal centrist domestic program coupled with an aggressive foreign policy that was “Left” only in an ideological, obscurantist sense, i.e. to obscure the possibility of any real left alternative. I think that any serious consideration of the Sanders campaign would support this (although, to put it generally, he was weak on foreign policy and appeared to be a sucker on Russia).

  83. different clue says:

    Sam Peralta,
    Sanderistas would like to do that. But the Clintonites in command are working to keep ownership and possession of the Democratic Party. The Sanderistas and any other nonClintonites and nonObamazoids still in the Party would have to purge and burn every single Clintobamacrat all the way out of the Party first before they can even try to do something populist.
    Doing that successfully would also shrink the party down for a while, but at least it would be a real disinfected and decontaminated party. It would finally be free to try attracting people on the merits of a New and Newer Deal agenda.
    The Clintobama voters would all vote Republican in revenge. The Clinton personality cultists will never forgive Tulsi Gabbard for having supported Sanders, for example. If Gabbard were able to hack, slash and claw her way to the Democratic Presidential nomination, millions of Clintonites will vote Republican out of pure hate-based revenge.

  84. OldCoastie says:

    Except for the Christians?

  85. Cieran says:

    Your characterization is not limited to western societies, either. As Waley’s “Three Ways of Thought in Ancient China” noted, the conflict between the view of fallen-angels-just-needing-a-little-help (the followers of Mencius in China, better known as the Confucian school of thought) and the realist philosophy of Han Fei Tzu and others who recognized the evil found in men’s souls, served as an effective basis for a couple millennia of Chinese culture.
    Waley’s book is a classic, and while it’s arguably an oversimplification of a rich and complex culture, it does a good job of introducing the notion that this fundamental political tension is a key part of the human condition, whether it is found in the east or the west.

  86. Fred says:

    So Black Lives no longer matter? Ditto transgender bathrooms and gender selection prior to puberty; That Russian hacking thing so much a non issue – like income inequality; and of course lets not mention the unspeakable non-issue: Immigration.

  87. Lars says:

    My preference would be to let each state be one super district and let the top finalists, depending on how many Representatives allotted in the state, serve in Congress. Or, at a minimum, create geographically homogeneous districts, closely containing equal number of citizens. Of course, there would be some differences between states, but there would be more competition and better representation.

  88. Dabbler says:

    “But if we’re getting less energy over time, then we simply cannot increase economic growth.”
    A small clarification. It’s demonstrable that increased application of energy over time correlates well with economic growth, improved living standards, etc. It’s important to keep in mind that increased energy generation is not always required if the application of generated energy is made more focused and effective. Examples include reducing or recapturing waste heat, shrinking transmission losses, and simplifying functions that require energy input.
    Put differently, if application of energy to work is made as conservatively as is feasible, we can grow the affective application of energy, and therefore the economy, without always increasing the production of energy. All this of course is apart from the question of distribution of the fruits of economic growth.

  89. turcopolier says:

    Ever been in business? Energy is a cost. Know what a balance sheet it? pl

  90. MRW – diffident about entering the fray on such a recherche topic but is it not the case that modern financial engineering at the state level (and below) can do many things unthought of merely a few generations ago – hold back the flow, facilitate it, even it out – but that the flow itself is a flow of goods and services and if that’s out of balance then all any financial engineering can do is postpone the day of reckoning?
    You cite Germany as an example the US should be following but I’m not at all sure it’s a good example. 1. the Germans did not until recently approve of money issuance, in any form, as a stimulatory fiscal tool and are only reluctantly consenting to it now. 2. The German economy is still much more soundly based than either the UK or the US economy. 3. The German balance of trade is in surplus. 4 The pulling down of the value of the Euro by the less productive EU countries means that the conventional means of balancing out that German success – increase in the value of the German currency if it weren’t tied to weaker currencies – is not available.
    You’ll maybe point out that (4) is a feature of all trading blocs or of countries; in the UK and the US the currency value of the more successful parts of the economy is similarly pulled down by the weaker parts. But that benefit goes hand in hand with an obligation. The obligation to make compensatory transfer payments to those weaker areas. Germany’s getting the benefit but fighting against fulfilling the obligation. In one sense it’s right to resist that obligation because the incomplete unification of the EU means than the Germans can’t be sure of policing the use transfer payments are put to. Even so, that incomplete structure of the EU – not a feature of the UK or the US – means that the German situation is radically different from ours.
    Add to that two further factors – that the dollar is the world’s reserve currency, and that Germany at the height of its success a few decades ago was certainly not a cheap labour economy, though it’s moving over to that now – and the comparison of the US economy with that of Germany may not be that useful.
    But all that is perhaps objecting to an example that is not a central part of your argument. If I read you right your central argument is that financial engineering can substitute for a sound economy that’s paying its way. I don’t think it can. Further, I believe that the failure to acknowledge this has led to the crash we’re many of us living through today. Expert – some say desperate – financial engineering has mercifully led to that being a slow motion crash but it can’t arrest the crash until the fundamentals are put right.
    As I say, I’m diffident about putting forward this view, on such a complex and hotly debated subject as financial engineering. But I do assert that if we put our hopes just in that engineering to get us through we’re in for a shock.
    In fact one of the many dramas of the Trump presidency will lie in whether he can get the American economy turned round before the gathering crash overwhelms his administration. He’s aware of that, I believe, as a couple of campaign references to “bubbles” show. All he can do is push ahead with the financial engineering to pay for his stimulus programmes and hope it doesn’t all fall apart before the US economy has been put right. High wire drama indeed, and we should all be holding our breath and hoping his administration can pull it off. We should not, however, be asserting that financial engineering is some magic norm that can go on for ever.

  91. turcopolier says:

    What’s the temperature like this year and day where you come from in Sweden? You remind me of Fareed Zakariyah, another immigrant, who wishes he lived in a different country that occupied the same territory as the US does. pl

  92. turcopolier says:

    You are not paying attention. Christians from these countries were also banned. Trump said that when the ban was lifted Christians and other persecuted minorities should receive special attention. pl

  93. Valissa says:

    This article at Axios does a good job, IMO, of succinctly stating what could well be Trumps core beliefs.
    Trump 101: one thing he really believes
    Back in 1987 Trump gave a speech to the Rotary Club in Portsmouth, N.H., that the New York Times covered like a teaser to a presidential race**. Trump’s longtime collaborator Roger Stone, who was with Trump that day, tells us the speech — reinforced by full-page newspaper ads — lays out unchanging elements of Trump’s worldview.
    Trump’s three unshakable beliefs:
    (1) America sends the wrong people to negotiate. The American government, Trump believes, needs more cutthroat types and fewer social workers. He believes his own brilliance and force of personality can overwhelm everything from the permanent bureaucracy to foreign nations. Trump said in Portsmouth: “There is a way you can ask them [foreign countries] and they will give it, if you have the right person asking … I’m tired of nice people already in Washington. I want someone who is tough and knows how to negotiate.”
    (2) Foreign countries rip off America. Trump believes this happens not only in trade, but in national security. According to the Times, Trump told the Portsmouth audience that he was tired of the United States “being kicked around” by allies like Japan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which have become “the world’s greatest money machines” because the U.S. pays for their defense.
    (3) American leaders should retaliate. Trump, already ignoring the norms of international laws and diplomacy, suggested in Portsmouth that the United States should attack Iran and seize some of its oil fields in retaliation for what he called Iran’s “bullying of America.” He also said that instead of raising taxes, America “should have these countries that are ripping us off pay off the $200 billion deficit.”
    ** Here’s the NY Time article from 1987…
    New Hampshire Speech Earns Praise for Trump
    PORTSMOUTH, N.H., Oct. 22 [1987]— Insisting that he is not a candidate for President, Donald J. Trump flew to New Hampshire, the state with the earliest Presidential primary, and today delivered what sounded like an impassioned campaign speech to an enthusiastic audience.
    Speaking at the Portsmouth Rotary Club, the 41-year-old real-estate magnate, casino operator and corporate raider with a fortune of $3 billion drew a bigger audience than have any of the Republican candidates, including Senator Bob Dole, the Rev. Pat Robertson or Representative Jack Kemp, according to club officials. As he spoke, a group of college students armed with ”Trump for President” placards rallied outside.
    … Mr. Trump, however, told the audience today that ”I’m not here because I’m running for President. I’m here because I’m tired of our country being kicked around and I want to get my ideas across.”
    His speech, in fact, echoed ideas he put forward in full-page advertisements he purchased in several newspapers last month. Norma Foederer, his executive assistant, said Mr. Trump was genuinely concerned with the budget deficit and with America’s declining position in the world and wanted to speak out.
    ”He’s so American, like mom and apple pie,” she said. ”He loves our country.”
    That was 30 years ago! Looks like Trump has been very consistent about certain of his beliefs about what needs to be done to improve the country.

  94. turcopolier says:

    You injected Clinton into this discussion, not I. The Left is much larger than her disgruntled supporters. pl

  95. turcopolier says:

    As I said, he has no ideology. All of that boils down to making better deals. pl

  96. For “EU” above I should of course have written “Eurozone”, Festung Europa having failed to absorb quite all the independent currencies of the outlying satrapies.

  97. Mark Logan says:

    I’ll opine that it was a laxness of Congress as much as Jefferson which allowed Judicial review to become our prima facia system, they too could have also stood up at any time and trashed it, and it was their power to make laws which was challenged.
    Perhaps they felt, and have always felt, that was too much power given the factionism which marked the body from the very beginning. If they did not feel an imminent threat factionalism bringing real violence it would surprise me. Only a speculation that Jefferson may not have been at all lax, he simply felt that deferring to Congress on the matter in keeping with his desire to have a weak Executive branch and he judged it to be unwise to buck that tide. The body was already not functioning as he had envisioned it to.
    My WAG was Miller’s dispatching was an opportunity to damage control his badly written law, which he damn well should have been tasked with from the get-go. Trump is likely to be more than aware he will need to fire staff who cause him unnecessary trouble. Miller apparently did save his job, at least for the moment, but had he made a “Bowling Green” level gaff…

  98. turcopolier says:

    Mark Logan
    It was Jefferson’s act in cancelling the appointment that Marshall defied, not an act of congress. Jefferson let it stand. He should not have done that. pl

  99. Valissa says:

    Exactly so. But for some reason this simple fact is hard for most political reporters to accept. Really, the entire professional political class seems perplexed by the fact that he is not a professional politician and therefore doesn’t think like one. And that that’s why many voted for him.

  100. pl,
    This characterization reminds me of Robert Ardrey’s quote from African Genesis “But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides.” Would belief in this characterization mark one as a leftist or rightist? Perhaps the difference is that the leftist focuses on a further part of that quote, “The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen.” The rightist, on the other hand revels in our heritage and immutable nature as armed killer apes.”

  101. David E. Solomon says:

    That is an excellent observation Colonel,
    I consider myself to be politically left (probably more in the Scandinavian vein). I do not now or have ever considered either of the Clinton duo to be left. To me they are nothing but opportunists.
    Personally, I do not like anything about Trump, but I am more than willing to watch the circus unfold at this moment, and hope for the best.

  102. Eric Newhill says:

    Healthcare costs will only be brought under control by rationing (which is what other countries do) and by not providing the most and the best of everything for everyone. Even then, if rationing was politically possible – and I think it isn’t yet in the US – costs would re-start escalating from whatever point you brought them down to. So, you bring cost down to 10% of GDP, before you know it, you’re back to 20% (if you’re not very very careful and prepared to make very hard choices that would be politically challenging in a socialized system). This is because new technology (tools, equipment, drugs, procedures) is continuously introduced that represents more procedures can be done for more people and more for each person (expansion of the intensive and extensive margins). But better to go from 10% back to 20%, than 20% to %40. I imagine that somewhere around 30% rationing will begin to be discussed.
    I think you’re misunderstanding narrow networks and related impacts. This is very complicated stuff (I work as an economist/actuary in the field and have for many years). There is not much out there in the media, blogs, punditry, etc. that is accurate concerning healthcare insurance and healthcare delivery. I applaud your open mind though.
    IMO, looking at GMOs as a problem is not realistic. I do not think that food can be reliably and affordably produced to be delivered to the cities without GMOs and all the Roundup, etc. I live in a rural area. There are large corn and soy bean crops literally a stone’s throw from my property. I know the farmers pretty well and we’ve discussed this. That said, one spring when the wind was blowing just wrong, the one of the farmers sprayed the field and two of my pregnant mare spontaneously aborted their foals; about two weeks before they would have been viable to survive. My wife and I got sick and had to stay at a hotel for a couple days. So I’m no fan of the stuff, but I don’t see how it could be done otherwise after getting the details from the guys that actually do the work.
    BTW, It is interesting that you referred to me as “Mr. Newell”. Newhill is actually the name. It was my given middle name and it is an old family name from my mother’s side. When the ancestors came here in the 1600s, the name was, indeed, Newell. Someone – a Virginian – changed the name to Newhill in, I think, the mid-1700s. Just curious how you came to make that association. No big deal, just curious.

  103. ann says:

    you write: “on one side of which are those who think people are fallen angels waiting to be saved from selfishness, and on the other side by those who think people are savage beasts to be tamed by a demand for responsible behavior.”
    In your opinion, does this interpret into bleeding heart Liberals saving fallen angels, and
    Conservatives demanding responsible behavior?

  104. Edward Amame says:

    There’s something, Fred. we’re in agreement on something!

  105. MRW says:

    Of course the US could just print money and not float debt.

  106. MRW says:

    English Outsider,
    You cite Germany as an example the US should be following
    No, I dont. Must have been someone else.

  107. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    I don’t think the gurus of either party care much. The trick is to make them care. Trumpism and Movement Conservatives in state gov’t may be be able to accomplish for the left what Occupy Wall Street failed to do.

  108. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Mais où sont les français?
    Vraiment: « tout est en merde! »

  109. ked says:

    He may not have an ideology of the traditional type that feeds the right / left dichotomy you view as transcendent in society & political economy, but he does have an ideology… a primal one. He’s the wheeler-dealer king, the superior boss, the world effector. He’s no more (nor less) sophisticated than that. He’s a product of our times, and times are tough.

  110. MRW says:

    English Outsider,
    There is no comparison between Germany and currency-issuing countries like the US, Canada, Great Britain, Japan and Australis.
    None at all. The EU countries using the Euros are like the US states. They gave up their currency sovereignty for what, for them, is a foreign currency (compared to their national currencies). Germany is presently at the op of the heap. It was, before the Euro was adopted, the most indebted nation. They are fucking all the other countries.

  111. MRW says:

    I speculate that he allowed the entire apparatus to remain in HC’s hands as part of a grand deal in 2008.
    He didn’t have the smarts to be that devious. He was ignorant and enthralled with being President.

  112. turcopolier says:

    Thank you for re-stating my position. you are being boring. pl

  113. turcopolier says:

    Are you being deliberately dense? pl

  114. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Dems and the media are making a huge deal about Flynn’s pre-inauguration conversations with the Russkis.
    Personally, I think Flynn did absolutely the right thing in persuading the Russkis to not do a tit-for-tat response to Obama’s sanctions against Russia re its election actions.
    This is not a reason to throw him in the trash can.
    OTOH, I am intensely angry over the leaks that we, supposedly, are monitoring the Russian ambassadors comms.
    If we are, then surely this is a matter of revealing sources and methods.
    Why on earth is not the real issue the leaks, not Flynn’s conduct?

  115. turcopolier says:

    Take your pick. Your choice will define you. I, too, read Ardrey’s books when they were published. PL

  116. turcopolier says:

    We intercept every embassy’s communications as do they in their countries People who don’t know that should stick to the Style Section in the Post. Is it not obvious that someone in the government who has access to the transcripts of the intercepts is giving them to selected media agents. . Now, who would that be? I agree with you that Flynn did the right thing in this. I am surprised that he did not know better than to discuss something like this on the telephone. If Trump does not make deep management purges in cabinet departments and intel agencies, the leakers who are living in his nest will finish him in the end. pl

  117. pl,
    I read “African Genesis” while still in grammar school. I found it more uplifting than the New Testament and that was when I was certain I was going to be a Maryknoll missionary priest. I have no problem embracing the killer ape in us all while still believing in our progressive potential. That’s the message I took from Ardrey. It also started me down the road to anthropology. Well, that and Jane Goodall being my first celebrity crush.

  118. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Some willingly – without a doubt – Greece.
    Where have all those partisans – “elefteria y tanados – gone?

  119. Valissa says:

    This is NOT a headline from The Onion…
    Corporate America Setting Up “War Rooms” To Prep For Potential Trump Tweets
    Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, Trump’s Twitter blasts, which often drive ‘yuge’ market reactions and come without warning, are forcing companies across the country to draft plans for “war rooms” to address a surprise presidential tweet.  Moreover, other companies are actively exploring strategically placing ads on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” CNN and “The O’Reilly Factor”—programs and networks fro which Trump has often appeared to draw inspiration for his tweets.
    <<“Every business and association in Washington is thinking about how they would respond to a tweet from Donald Trump,” said Alex Conant, a partner at the communications firm Firehouse Strategies and a longtime Republican strategist.   In one recent simulation to prepare for a public attack by Mr. Trump, says consultant Eric Dezenhall, top executives of a science and technology company spent an afternoon in a room responding to various fallout scenarios, such as a stock-price plunge, congressional hearings or questions from investigative reporters.   Mr. Dezenhall says the company that rehearsed the drill is now looking for something it can use as a potential peace offering to the president in the event of a critical tweet or other Trump tirade, “an equivalent to ‘we’re no longer building a plant in Mexico.’”   Lobbying shops are telling their clients to do a thorough review of their business interests, especially as they relate to federal contracts, so they can tell a story about how the firm invests domestically.>>
    LOL… change comes in unexpected ways. Can Trump’s Twitter tirades trigger a more conscientious investing-in-American-jobs trend via fear? Bully pulpit, indeed. Most entertaining presidency I’ve ever seen 🙂

  120. walrus says:

    flynn has resigned.

  121. Sam Peralta says:
    “The fourth and most worrying explanation is that the government was not merely monitoring the communications of Russian diplomats, but of the Trump transition team itself. The fact that the contents of Flynn’s phone conversation — highly sensitive intelligence — were leaked to the media suggests that someone with access to that information also has a political axe to grind.”
    Flynn bites the dust and Gen. Kellog takes over. Is this a moment of Trump weakness that the MSM and Dems will exploit or will Trump get to the bottom of the fifth column in his administration?

  122. Cee says:

    President Pence!!

  123. Cee says:

    My sympathy on your loss.
    I’m unhappy that Flynn has been forced out. I think because he told the truth about the idiotic support of Takfiri rats, not because of anything related to Russia

  124. Cee says:

    Drastic shift. I have several of his books that came out after 911.

  125. Prem says:

    The inclusion of Moldbug in that list is just a smear. Bannon isn’t a fascist. He’s basically a Roman Catholic social conservative/economic nationalist in the mould of Eamonn de Valera.
    Unfortunately, his chosen weapon in the culture war was a click-bait website, which makes him vulnerable to accusations of this sort.

  126. J says:

    Flynn submitted his resignation.

  127. Cee says:

    Some reference here. This also pertains to Flynn and why he was really forced to resign.

  128. The Beaver says:

    Ret Lt Gen Flynn resigned from his post as NS Adviser

  129. turcopolier says:

    As I expected Trump is quite willing to get rid of people whose activities and pronouncements are obstacles to his deal making goals. Flynn made the fatal mistake of lying to Trump and Pence about his telephone activity. He must have known that there would be recordings and a transcript. Incomprehensible. Evidently the WH Counsel has known of this problem for a month and nothing was done about it. That is worrisome. With regard to Kellogg. At this point I know nothing about him. Our paths never crossed. pl

  130. Lefty says:

    Thank you Col. Our experience exactly. We got to know one guy well enough over three working sojourns here to learn he had built several brick houses for family and put a son through engineering school back home with his US earnings. He was a solid citizen, more so than some ‘Murican natives and proud of what he had accomplished.

  131. LeaNder says:

    It was, before the Euro was adopted, the most indebted nation.
    Was it? MRW? I recall more troubled times, concerning a higher then 3% budget deficit. In other words we failed EU criteria too sometimes, but we were the most ‘indebted’ nation of all joining the Eurozone?
    The Euro was introduced in January 2002 for the average citizen, if I recall correctly. I as others here on the ground do recall it as our currency losing value, purchasing value, that is meant to be. Basic consumer goods.
    You can shift to the maximal tag concerning German debts on this OECD graph 1996-2015:
    Looks like 2008 changed things somewhat.

  132. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    All of the countries have Muslim majorities. The order came after Trump promises made during his pres campaign calling for a Muslim ban. To make it legal, the “Muslim ban” morphed into a country-based ban. Also, Trump’s order exempts “religious minorities” (ie: Christians) from the ban. Calling it a Muslim ban may not be technically accurate, but it sure looks like that was the intent.

  133. Origin says:

    Just about the most concise explanation of politics I have ever seen. Mrs. Origin agrees. My question for years is why is the distribution in the U.S. so close to fifty-fifty?

  134. The Beaver says:

    This law professor has some comments on Donald McGahn, WH Counsel:
    It is possible, as I said in my original piece on McGahn, that the many White House screw-ups outlined above are less a result of McGahn’s incompetence and more a result of his lack of access to the President. If that is so, then the blame is partly the Chief of Staff’s, and McGahn needs to insist that the problem be fixed or resign. I doubt this is the problem, however, since McGahn was Trump’s campaign lawyer and by all accounts remains a close senior advisor. A related problem may be that Trump is simply a rogue elephant whom no chains can bind, and that McGahn is giving Trump appropriate advice that is having no impact on his behavior

  135. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    Would the FBI not share the transcripts with the pres?

  136. TV says:

    Simple-minded is as simple-minded does.
    Are you selling shares in your unicorn breeding operation?
    Making a market in pixy dust?

  137. robt willmann says:

    Trump of course is aware of the game that is going on. Flynn’s leaving appears to be a “business decision”. Trump makes it known that he knows–

  138. Dr. Puck says:

    If one has about a half hour’s notice about a POTUS tweet that is critical of a publicly-held company, there is a lot of money to be made on the short end and next on the bounce back. Of course this would be a bit of an insider deal, right?

  139. Matthew says:

    Some General Thoughts on the Constitution.
    1. Marbury v. Madison established the concept of Judicial review. See This fairly trivial case over the appointment of a Justice of the Peace for the federal district is the mustard seed from which has grown an imperial judiciary.
    2. Other related decisions like Fletcher v. Peck expanded the scope of judicial review, but at least referred to the actual language of the Constitution, i.e., the (obligation of) Contracts Clause. See
    3. By the time President Andrew Jackson fought the Bank of the United States, the legal questions became more attenuated. What really is the scope of federal power in a federated system? Can Congress set up an national bank? Can private bankers force a monopoly onto the public?
    4. The attempt by the Court to inject itself into political questions leads the court to diffuse its legitimacy as its influence leaks into all aspect of national life.
    5. Like a border wall, a written constitutional is a set boundary. The boundary is generally identifiable, but porous. New problems always come up. The Founders could not have envisioned omnibus self-surveillance through Facebook and iPhones. For that we rely upon the process of legislation and the common law.
    6. The common law, which is a legal and cultural tradition, envisions creeping progress with decentralized decision making. As citizen jurors and judges, we “make” the law case-by-case.
    7. The common law, not codified, envisions courts solving new problems by applying incremental steps of logic and common sense. It recoils at the arrogance of the 20th Century utopians who believed that organized violence would lead to “new men.” The Founders intentionally gave us an “inefficient” government.
    8. When Trump challenges the Court, he is challenging a separate and equal branch of government. Unless you are lawyer, you have no obligation to respect the courts. As a citizen, you have just as much right to criticize judges as you do other politicians. I am a lawyer and hence an officer of the court. The privilege of being called to the bar puts restrictions on me that a non-lawyer like President Trump does not share.
    9. Like the British “unwritten” constitution, our system only functions if we act like citizens. Just because our Constitution is written doesn’t mean that it self-executes. We must make it work. If we accept the wrong-headed idea that a bunch of people with Harvard Law degrees is our only defense against savagery, then the Republic is already lost.

  140. Nancy K says:

    Perhaps if we outlawed cars, guns and hospitalization in the US, we would all live to a ripe old age.

  141. Eric Newhill says:

    The leaks are becoming a major focus of the administration and of Rs in Congress.
    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., wants the FBI to conduct an assessment of recent media leaks.
    Trump has now tweeted,”The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?”
    Some people are going to have to be caught and punished to the full extent of the law, pour encourager les autres

  142. MRW – sorry if I’ve got you wrong but I read this – “Because then they will realize that the key to their future—and the future of their children and grandchildren—is to move their Congressmen to get off their duffs and vote for the things society needs, like jobs, universal healthcare for all, free university education (Like Germany does). None of these incur debt to children or grandchildren.” – and thought you were advocating voting for money printing. Money printing, that is, over and above the creation of money needed to facilitate genuine economic activity.
    We may in fact be on opposite sides of the fence on this. On the one side is the belief that running a nation’s finances is just a scaled up version of running the finances of a household. Mrs Thatcher in our country was the most strident exponent of this school. If you as a private person sell me something for £10 then I have to do some work or sell something in order to get the money to pay you. I can’t clear the debt by simply writing ”£10” on a piece of paper and passing that piece of paper over to you. You’ll maybe take the paper as an IOU but you certainly won’t take it as full and final settlement. Nor will a country.
    On the other side most economists pour scorn on such a simplistic view. They point out that, unlike a private person, a country or a trading bloc can issue its own currency. That puts it in a different position entirely, particularly if the currency issued is the world reserve currency. It can write “$10” on paper or on a screen and that is sufficient to clear the debt.
    It’s my belief that, unusually for her, Mrs Thatcher was in the right of it and the conventional economists have got it wrong.
    This doesn’t only apply to the settlement of international trading debts, though in the case of the US (and the UK to a lesser extent) that’s the scariest aspect of the process – the foreigners are, ultimately, going to want goods and services back from us for the goods and services they have supplied to us, and our economies at present can’t produce the surplus needed to clear that goods and services debt. It also applies to internal debts.
    At the heart of this debate is the question of the issuance of money. That £10 note I’m going to give you to clear my debt has to come from somewhere. If it doesn’t then we’re in trouble. You can’t sell me your goods without it. Of course you can accept delayed barter and simply trust me to get hold of some goods or services in the future to repay you, but do that to any extent and you’d find it difficult to survive as a trader.
    You also wouldn’t be able to easily invest all the £10 promises you’d accumulated, because to buy your new premises you’d have to get the vendor to accept the multitude of little deals you’d got noted down as reliable payment. Without a universally accepted currency trade and investment on the scale we do it in modern times can’t in practice happen.
    We therefore need those £10 notes, or whatever equivalent is appropriate, floating around so we can get on with our business; and of course we’ve got them. We’ve evolved a superbly efficient means of supplying, or getting into circulation, the amount of currency needed to enable trading activity to take place. It’s brilliant – no longer should we need to spend great quantities of labour digging rocks out of the ground in order to extract a fool-proof means of exchange; nor should we have to resort to scams like bitcoin to enable us to conduct transactions. The money is created as needed in the quantities needed to facilitate easy exchange of goods, services and assets and is withdrawn automatically when the volume of trade decreases. Don’t take my word for it: I hunted around on the internet to come up with some authoritative description of the process and I think – you’re the expert so you can check it out better than I – that this 2014 Q1 B of E bulletin shows how the process of money creation is viewed by those close to it:-
    But there’s nothing mysterious about the process. Were we to live in a world without state issued currency then you really would have to take my IOU for your goods. Some homemade “money” has been created. When I clear the IOU by giving you the promised goods and services that IOU is extinguished. That, scaled up to the nth degree, is the process of money creation and withdrawal that gets those £10 notes to us, and in the amount needed, so that we can easily trade goods in the wider economy.
    We can get ahead of ourselves. I can give you my £10, not for goods and services you’ve supplied to me, but for goods you’re going to supply to me when you’ve built your factory. You put that together with all the other £10 you’ve got hold of on similar terms, build your factory, and come back to me later with goods I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to get hold of had you not had the enterprise to put the project together, and I the trust in you that you’d do so. That process, again scaled up to the nth degree is the investment process that underpins any modern productive economy. If you just take the money and push off on a cruise, or if you don’t plan your factory right and it produces goods there’s little demand for, that’s called malinvestment and, also scaled up to the nth degree, is what goes wrong when the process is not properly monitored, at the local as well as the national level.
    This is where you and might possibly disagree. That process of money creation to facilitate existing trade and to enable future trade isn’t, as the neo-liberals in their hearts believe, an automatic process that comes right of itself if we allow the “invisible hand of the market” free play. It’s subject to any number of controls, levers that if they’re not used right lead to disaster, just as fooling around with our household finances leads to disaster.
    These levers are in the hands of politicians who’ve got lobbies to satisfy, cronies to pay off, votes to buy and, some of them, impossible dreams to impose on us. Politicians sometimes guided by economists who really do believe it’s possible to get a quart out of a pint pot if you get the financial engineering right. What could possibly go wrong?
    Well, just have a look about you. My hope, as I said above, is that the Trump administration will be able to skate on thin ice for a while. Keep the dodgy financial engineering going for long enough to be able to get the US economy functional again. That’s a slim hope but it’s possible. What we can’t do in the long term, here or in the US, is hope that financial engineering will lead us to a brave new world that escapes economic reality. Money supply, done right as it’s evolved to work, facilitates the free exchange of goods and services. It can’t replace it.

  143. Fred says:

    So that made the NY news? I was unaware that Occupy Wall Street was concerned with Weingarten rights or the rights of union stewards in Iowa firefighters unions. On a sad note for the folks on the Iowa starting line Mr. Rynard has a long history of picking losing battles.

  144. Fred says:

    ” Flynn made the fatal mistake of lying to Trump and Pence about his telephone activity.”
    Other than the optics Flynn should have been fired rather than allowed to resign. If Kellogg new about the lying and didn’t do anything he should be let go too.

  145. turcopolier says:

    The FBI is an agency subordinate to the Department of Justice. They informed DoJ who informed the White House counsel. What happened after that is as yet unclear to me. pl

  146. turcopolier says:

    I think you are misstating the terms of the travel ban. I have listened to a congressman from the Scranton area complain on TV that his numerous Syrian Christian constituents were affected by the EO since some of them were in a travel status when the EO went into effect.
    You can look through the text of the order and will not find specificity with regard to religion. Reporter Monatanaro tries to make in commentary contained in the article that these are all Muslim majority countries. That is true but there are persecuted religious minorities other than Christian in all these countries. pl

  147. Edward Amame says:

    Col lang,
    Apparently Rep Chaffetz isn’t interested in what happened after WH counsel was informed. He said his panel won’t be investigating what led to Flynn’s resignation.

  148. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s not widely known or acknowledged but the judiciary’s exclusive franchise on interpretation was not the prevailing view until the second or third quarter of the 19th century. Until then not only the judiciary but the executive and legislative branches and even ordinary citizens were thought to have the right to interpret law.

  149. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    I read four of Ardrey’s non-fiction books after I discovered him here on SST from one of your posts years ago. IMO, a belief in being descendant from killer apes makes one a libertarian. Not believing this can make one a liberal or a conservative.
    Liberals of the fresh water variety-those who believe reality can be changed by writing memos or pushing memes- have been trying to “disprove” Ardrey for quite a while:
    “The 1986 “Seville Statement on Violence” was designed to refute “the notion that organized human violence is biologically determined”. It is interesting to read this document, a new set of paper tablets… ( )
    The last “refutation” I know is from 2009:
    “Conservatives” who believe in the bible literally also have trouble with this approach. Adam, Eve, the rib and the apple, not forgetting the serpent… The world was created for them-and them alone…
    Experience w/ too many urban revolts, mob scenes and treatment of innocents by armed thugs (in or out of uniform) prevents me from equating all homo-sapiens to human beings. I have met quite a few who were worse than killer apes.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  150. FourthAndLong says:

    EROI vs Tax Cuts for Wealthy
    No mention of absurd taxation last several decades == Can’t see the nose on his face

  151. MRW says:

    Supplying kids with a free university education (public not private institutions), provided they can achieve the grades, is an investment in the future. The competition to get in should be grade levels, not which bank can give you a loan. Hell, Lenin and Stalin insisted on higher education for all students and provided it for free, starting after the revolution. Russia’s science and math institutions were some of the best in the world during the communist days, and bloody hard to get into.
    Ditto supplying top-grade technical schools for those who don’t want to go to university, again, along the lines of what Germany does, not the 9-month certification-mills we have here. The German system is a genuine trade school system, with levels of apprentices, and subsequent master of your craft status.
    Right now we have our priorities wrong as a society, imo. A hundred years ago, Argentina was one of the 10 richest nations in the world, behind Australia, Britain and the United States, but ahead of France, Germany and Italy. It experienced blistering growth in the 43 years before WWI. Its income per head was 92% of the average of 16 rich economies (now known as the OECD countries).
    Rich Argentinian landowners, however, did not insist that their workers be educated properly. They didn’t think ahead. They insisted on primary school (to give the hoi polloi a sense of citizenry) but not secondary school; only the elite were educated, and usually abroad where they remained after school. Cheap labor was the landowners’ sole goal. As the inevitable struck them after the Great Depression rocked the world, they didn’t have the educated class to weather it. Pre-WWI they had to import the technology that made them rich (e.g railroads for distribution of cattle and agriculture; distribution systems) but they couldn’t develop new ones when their traditional markets and economy experienced the external shocks of WWI and then the Depression. Never recovered from it. Its income per head is now 43% of those same 16 rich economies, and behind their neighbors Chile and Uruguay.
    We lost a lot more than jobs when we shoveled our jobs to China. In addition to teaching the Chinese our technology which the Chinese cunningly agreed to learn under our five-year technical non-disclosure and quality control agreements–when the five years was up, the Chinese refused to re-up, walked across the street, opened a factory and competed with the US firm with lists of our vendors and customers we supplied—in addition to the on-the-job training we gave them, we are now educating their young at the top engineering and science schools here. (The US and Canada have the best engineering schools in the world.) They then promptly go home–because we are too stupid to insist on a 10-year residency here after completion of school, especially when they get a scholarship—and are cleaning our clocks.
    We don’t put a value on our intellectual wealth, nor do we assess the tremendous human cost to society of loading the upcoming generation with unnecessary school debt for decades. English Outsider, at one time state public higher education was free for all state residents. (In the 50s, going to Princeton cost$650/yr, not $65,000+.) We can thank Biden and Cheney for this in 2005.

  152. Valissa says:

    Priebus may be out soon too… lots of goodies in this article…
    As Flynn Resigns, Priebus Future In Doubt As Trump Allies Circulate List of Alternate Chief of Staff Candidates
    Trump is publicly still singing Priebus’s praises, telling reporters on Tuesday while he refused to defend Flynn that: “Reince is doing a great job. Not a good job. A great job.”
    But one source even suggested that Priebus’ Monday meeting with former President Obama’s one-time White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was a way for Priebus to learn from his predecessor how to handle exactly this crisis over his own position and his lack of control in the White House, and that Priebus is struggling to maintain his grip on the position.
    Many other potential Yateses—holdovers from the Obama administration who have found their way into spots throughout the Trump administration—await throughout government.
    “They’re hiding like sleeper cells everywhere,” one source said.
    White House and other government sources say there are as many as 50 of them throughout government, and Priebus has full knowledge of their whereabouts, who they are, and what potential for damage they may cause. He is not doing anything about it, these sources add.
    As Col. Lang has long predicted, those who don’t perform well enough will be pushed out the door.

  153. MRW says:

    but we were the most ‘indebted’ nation of all joining the Eurozone?
    Yeah, in 1999. Have the graph but no link.

  154. MRW says:

    Do not agree that the federal government is run like a household.* Our federal government, and yours too, can pay any debt in USD (USA) and Pounds Sterling (you) because they create the currency (which happens when congress and your legislative body buy goods and services from, and for, the private sector–how new money gets into the real economy–which we erroneously call spending and think it’s “debt”).
    Only Congress can create jobs by “appropriating”. It’s going to be interesting to see how Trump gets them to do it. I think he keeps up his Twitter feed to maintain a casual dialogue with his base so that he can get them to react if Congress fights him on it.
    Thatcher destroyed many of your finest institutions when she privatized what should have stayed in the public domain, and a lot of people got rich on it. Macroeconomics is not microeconomics (businesses, banks, households, foreign investors etc). You can’t run a country like a household. Lucky for you that the brilliant Wynne Godley (at Cambridge, but on Bank of England board I think, check his bio) got Thatcher or John Major to resist adopting the Euro. Britain could be struggling like Greece if it had. Wynne Godley invented sectoral financial balances, which you need to look into to understand macroeconomics.
    I disagree with you on this “the foreigners are, ultimately, going to want goods and services back from us for the goods and services they have supplied to us.”
    No, they’re not. Look at China. Japan isn’t begging for US goods other than luxury items. They trade with us to get USD, which they then use to buy treasury securities in their Fed savings accounts. Mainly to buy oil, denominated in USD worldwide, and because we’re the reserve currency. All that “foreign debt”, which idiot pundits and business writers keep labeling as the US borrowing from foreign countries, is nothing more than the amount of goods we’ve bought from them. It’s what these countries have earned selling us shit.
    These foreign countries (sellers) could easily exchange their Walmart and Best Buy profits into their currency and wire it home, but they don’t. They want the USD, and since USD can’t leave the US banking system, and they don’t want to buy US goods with the dough which is the only other thing they can do with it, they move their money from checking to savings at the Fed—Walmart and Best Buy wire their payments to the foreign government’s checking account at the Fed for onward forwarding to the foreign company—and buy treasury securities, which is the same thing as cash, or more aptly, a CD (Certificate of Deposit, common here at our banks). And the US happily pays them interest on their profits; something you can’t get with an ordinary paper dollar bill or gold! You get interest, and to boot, treasury securities are liquid. $750 billion traded everyday.
    * That was the problem with Obama in 2009. He went on TV and said we had to tighten our belts like a household. Then the putz said the US has run out of money. That was while the Federal Reserve was giving banks (Wall Street, not Main Street) $29 trillion. TRILLION. Until Congress put a stop to it in late 2010.

  155. The Beaver says:

    or anyone who knows the intricacies requiring a warrant to monitor a US citizen.
    LTG Flynn texted the Russian Amb for the holiday and he called the Ambassador on December 29th wrt sanctions ordered by Pres. Obama.
    He was still considered a civilian at that time and not the NSC Adviser.
    Can the intel agency(ies) monitor the call of a civilian w/o proper warrant, even if he is contacting a foreign Embassy.

  156. Kooshy says:

    Isn’t this picture meant for HRC? . Showing USA’ first female president (to come). With business, political, goverment experience, and a good negotiator from a new American business political dinesty. Frankly and sadly this kind of dynastic American politicking bothers me. I hope future presidents are not boxed and packaged on shelves and ready to ship.

  157. turcopolier says:

    You know the answer. you can’t listen to just one end of a circuit. If you get the US end in the process that is not tainted legally. pl

  158. turcopolier says:

    That makes me think that Trump did not react to being notified. pl

  159. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Arbery should have read that slim volume by Aziz Nesin: “Don’t underestimate the animal” where he would have learnt of such things as “Killer Hens”.

  160. Babak Makkinejad says:

    This reminds me of the joke I heard recently:
    A mullah was preaching about Imam Hassan, stating how he was riding Zuljanah.
    A man in the audience said: “But Zuljanah was Imam Hussein’s horse.”
    And the mullah said: “Well, if you had a motorcycle wouldn’t you let your brother ride it?”
    So, if you were POTUS, would not you let you offspring sit in the presidential arm chair?
    Anyway, I must admit, that she would be balm to the sore eye if she were President; “she would be Babe-raham Trump”.

  161. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    Flynn aside, duz one of the VP’s TORS read something like covering the President’s ass before the VP’s? IMO Pence did not have to answer question one about discussions with Flynn. Yet another diversion.

  162. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Now, who would that be?
    Two possibilities:
    1) People anywhere in the USG who want to sabotage the relations with the Russians that Flynn would likely enable.
    2) The people in the IC on the other side of a rather publicized quarrel between Flynn and some in the IC.
    But my concern is not just with the leakers,
    but also the fact that the Washington Post in particular made such a huge deal out of what it, in its usual style, calls a “scandal”.
    WaPo has a history of hyping dubious “scandals”.
    Recent examples:
    Secret Service personnel dinging Columbian prostitutes;
    General McChrystal and some on his staff not realizing it was on the record when they said things about VP Biden, Ambassador Holbrooke, and Pres. Obama that were impolitic.
    It seems to me that WaPo uses its ability to declare things “scandals”
    to affect and control both personnel and policy in Washington.
    I hope people realize the bias of WaPo.

  163. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    It would appear that you hit the nail on the head. From Sean Spicer today:
    “The White House counsel informed the president immediately…”

  164. fanto says:

    I beg to disagree with your assessment that Germany “they are fucking all other countries” – I do not want to make a big essay in economic “speak” – but there are many serious economists who definitely disagree with the mantra that Germany is the big winner. Germany is a huge loser after the independent decision of the ECB is causing a transfer of wealth from Germany (and some others like Netherlands). Here are the most recent articles by reputable authors, the anglo-saxon mantra of Germany is the winner flies in the face of the statement by Mitterand in 1991 or 1992 that the introduction of the Euro is “better than Versaille” – which for the readers here who do not know what that means – it means the treaty of Versaille after WW1, which caused Germany to fail as a state and eventually lead to Nazism.
    I agree with English Outsider´s 10 pound allegory.

  165. Thanks for your reply which, as usual, I found most interesting and informative. Looks like we agree on most points – except that one point about money creation. Unfortunately that’s something of a fundamental point. I’m unable to believe that we can print our way to prosperity, not long term. Though we could always call it pump priming and find ourselves some temporary common ground there.
    As you say, it’s going to be interesting to see how Trump gets Congress to go along with his plans. And to see what those plans are. I suppose you agree that we’re in a slow motion crash? If so, I doubt there’s that much time to turn things round. Another reason to regard Trump as the last hope of the ancien regime rather than the sans culotte he’s portrayed as.
    Suits me. I’m all for bending rather than breaking when it comes to necessary reform. As long as the reform gets done somehow. We’re probably agreed that that’s necessary. Both countries.

  166. Ishmael Zechariah,
    I hope you found Ardrey’s writings interesting and thought provoking. I think it’s hard to categorize his ideas as left-right, liberal-conservative or libertarian-socialist. As you noted, the ideas espoused by Ardrey and others like him are attacked by acolytes of all sides. Perhaps that means he’s truly on to something.
    Since I knew my career path was the Army, I was able to freely indulge my academic interests in college. In addition to the ideas of Robert Ardrey, i was able to indulge mt intellectual curiosity in the the Leakeys, Konrad Lorenz and many others like them. Although I was concentrated in cultural anthropology of circumpolar peoples and shamanism, I also dabbled in ethology and evolution theory. I pursued my interest in this field through a number of undergraduate courses.
    1. Animal Behaviour – The psych professor stuck with the British spelling since the title of the primary textbook was spelled that way. That was my time in the rat and monkey lab.
    2. Biological Basis of Sensation – I was stuck with a lot of hyper-competitive pre-med students here. They did not appreciate it when I occasionally wrecked the curve.
    3. Sociobiology – This course used the first edition of E.O. Wilson’s book of the same name. This is another author I recommend you read. He also wrote “Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge.”
    4. The Century of Darwin – This was my favorite course in my undergraduate studies. It was taught by a small, old, bespectacled history professor with disheveled white hair. His enthusiasm for the subject was infectious. We looked at how the ideas of Darwin were shaped by many before him and many after him. We learned of the power of ideas as well as how great and small thinkers influenced those ideas. Dr. Smith helped establish the framework I use today in examining any human event over time. I still read some of the texts from that course.

  167. More efficient use of energy of course is an option in continuing economic growth. Thanks for your clarification.
    I think the question is how we can create energy without burning the planet down or making it otherwise unlivable. Also, how many people can we comfortably support? Who gets the goodies is always an interesting question as well, and how do we decide that?
    I think we need to be looking at the energy question as key to economic development (as well as AI). Give me enough energy and I can move the Earth.

  168. TonyL says:

    You just need to read more about Trump’s “level of success he has achieved in life”. He is a good salesman, I’ll give you that. His success has been hyping up his brand and selling it, that’s about it.

  169. LeaNder says:

    Not sure if I understand your problem, MRW.
    You have to choose the options yourself. The MAX interface or button, if you prefer, is on the right above the graph. I did suggest you use maximal (MAX) possible graph giving you the data between 1995 and 2015.
    You can of course look into all type of variations or into related matters via the links on the left. The last ‘button’ additionally offers you a drop down menu.
    Now OECD data tells me we started out with a state debt of between 55 to 60 and peeked above 80 after 2008.
    Maybe you can get Klaus Kastner to discuss your chartalist, new monetary theoretical outlook. Is that what it feels like? He has a high amount knowledge and experience and maybe could convince me. …
    Admittedly my superficial and maybe somewhat prejudiced summary from reading you more cursorily is that taxes are bad for the economy since it steals the money from the people that should owe and spend it. 😉 That reminds me of some other political trends.
    Klaus Kastner, Observing Greece. Kastner is Austrian, married to a Greek and worked in banks all over the world including the States. He met, as he once called it, the Chicago boys either there or in South America:

  170. LeaNder says:

    Now I do understand, MRW. Feeding the Rage? You read somewhere that we got rid of our high debts in 1999 by luring other Europeans into the Euro trap? In other words making them pay for our debts? Right?
    Here is a CIA graph. Germans may no doubt be more paranoid about their state’s debts as others. The horrors of inflation have been passed on from generation to generation. I do recall my grandparents stories.
    In any case in 1999 the percentage of debt versus GDP was 59,9 %. Considering that German debts increased thereafter, I need private lessons on were to find our REAL versus our faked public debts in 1999. I am aware, that since we lured others into a trap, we may have preferred to make it not so transparent. 😉

  171. Pat Lang,
    I suppose that it was then realized that therein lies the path to anarchy.

  172. turcopolier says:

    William fitzgerald
    “Pat Lang, I suppose that it was then realized that therein lies the path to anarchy. WPFIII ” No idea what you are referring to. pl

  173. turcopolier says:

    I was a captain when I read his books. This was during the VN War and the left leaning anthropological community savaged him as best it could. He challenged their desperately held belief that men are born good and are corrupted by society Nurture was the accepted wisdom, not Nature. Any suggestion that people had inherent behavioral characteristics was treated as evidence of fascist tendencies. Ardrey changed all that over time. pl

  174. Colonel – may I correct an error in the above comment? – “Sans culottes”? Looks very odd in the singular.

  175. fanto says:

    …”I do recall my grandparents stories.”…
    as I recall my fathers stories; and the big win for Germany is crumbling infrastructure

  176. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Thanks. I have read Lorenz. I will look up Wilson. Have you read Eiseley’s work? I would highly recommend him. Somehow must current authors do not measure up.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  177. kooshy says:

    Well, in my experience there is a divinity or glamor built in American mentality for dynasty and or royalties / princes,( They must have forgot what a pain in ass it is to get rid of them) more with females, generally as a force for good, this IMO comes from all Disney books and movies. Off course Nothing wrong with that.

  178. Ishmael Zechariah,
    Eisley’s “Darwin’s Century” was a prime source in my “The Century of Darwin” course. Now that you mentioned him, I want to read some of his later works. Thanks for reminding me of him. I marvel at the intellect of these people and the whole older concepts of natural philosophy and natural science.

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