Some Odds and Ends

Let’s lighten it up a bit – things have been too depressing of late.

The Great Depression was not caused by some fundamental flaw in free markets. It wasn’t caused by taxes. It wasn’t caused by regulations. It was caused by a bit more than 20 million fit, healthy young people being ripped out of the global economy 10 years prior – and in the ripping of those people out, a century’s worth of stored wealth was shot out of a cannon. Economic Lesson of the Depression: don’t get into a major war, if you can avoid it…and if you must blow the world to pieces, try not to do it in sync with a global flu pandemic.

Had a couple things gone different in the 19th century, Cuba and the Dominican Republic would be part of the United States. Cuba because pre-Civil War Southern expansionists wanted it to counter balance the growing strength of the North; Dominican Republic because post-Civil War Grant wanted a means to punish Southerners over their KKK/Jim Crow nonsense…realizing that what it was really all about was a desire to retain a pool of cheap labor, Grant figured if he found an American place African-Americans could move to (thus depriving the South of the cheap labor), they’d wise up and stop treating African-Americans like dirt. Would it have worked? Probably, but we’ll never know – no one else picked up on the idea.

The United States, by itself, produced more military goods during World War Two than the entire Axis, combined. We didn’t need to be allied with anyone to beat them all.

For all the WWII buffs insisting that the Tiger and Panther tanks were superior to the lowly American Sherman tank, the fact of the matter is that the Sherman tank was whacking heck out of post-WWII tank designs as late as the Yom Kippur War.

There are, living today, Bourbon, Orleans and Bonaparte pretenders to the French throne. I figure we should have a cage match – whoever comes out, gets to the King (or Emperor – though my money would be on Louis XX; seems toughest of the bunch). As an aside, those squatters living in Buckingham Palace have no business being there – the proper King of England is this guy.

The Royal Navy’s first submarine is now on display as a museum piece – that isn’t remarkable. What is remarkable is that it was being towed to the wreckers in 1913 and sank on the way – when recovered many decades later, it was found that the electric batteries were still in good, working order. Clearly, however those batteries were made is how to make batteries, period…but I bet we don’t make them that way.

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51 thoughts on “Some Odds and Ends

  1. Retired Spook May 8, 2016 / 10:34 am

    I had always thought that the Great Depression of 1920 was a direct result of the economic conditions following of WWI.

    https://mises.org/library/forgotten-depression-1920

    You’re saying that, after nearly a decade of booming prosperity, WWI came back to haunt us a second time causing a second Great Depression?

    • M. Noonan May 8, 2016 / 6:34 pm

      The immediate post-war downturn, which happened pretty much everywhere, was in my view just the normal working out of things after the end of a large war. While data are far more scanty, it appears that in the immediate aftermath of the end of the Napoleonic Wars, that sort of thing happened. But the Great Depression, I think, is traceable to the War and the flu pandemic.

      The War, itself, took about 10 million lives – almost all men, and of course almost all young, fit men…but, more than that, the best men…because who dies in wars? The brave and the strong – the cowards run away, the weak aren’t even sent into the fight. So, 10 million of the world’s best perished in four years. Had they lived, then in the normal course of events they would have fathered (in those days) three or four children, each. Just to put it in very mundane terms, that would be a demand for an additional 30-40 million pairs of shoes…demand which didn’t exist, because the kids didn’t exist because their fathers died in the trenches. These were also men who would have been working and producing – and developing a host of innovations in how things would be done. Just in those 10 million dead, we had a massive hole in both wealth creation and demand…and the peak loss in demand wasn’t right away, but a decade out, because these men were largely unmarried when they died.

      Now, the flu pandemic – no one knows how many it killed, some estimates rise to 100 million deaths. The United States suffered just under 700,000 deaths, in a population about a third of current. That is more than died in the Civil War – and they died over the course of 1 year, not 4. And unlike the Civil War period, we weren’t in the 20’s importing massive new immigrant populations…this was clean loss to American productivity and demand…and the oddity of that flu pandemic is that is mostly killed fit adults, rather than the very young and very old, as flu pandemics usually do. This, of course, struck at women as much as men…and, once again, it was ten years on when it was most felt, because all those dead men and women naturally failed to have children.

      Other things played a role in keeping down global demand – Russia pre-WWI was a massive importer of manufactured goods and wasn’t doing that post-WWI because (a) the Commies didn’t want to do it and (b) even if they wanted to, Russia had limited amounts of foreign exchange and couldn’t, as Czarist Russia did, borrow immense sums in the West (especially from France, Russia’s pre-WWI ally). The German military had been a huge demand-creator pre-WWI – wasn’t there post-WWI; and as Germany wasn’t maintaining a large Army or building a large Navy, Britain and France naturally relaxed their own building. Pre-WWI, battleships were rolling down the ways several times a year in Britain, Germany and the United States…post-WWI, hardly any were built (Britain’s battleship force in 1939 was pretty much the same battleship force it had in 1918…so was America’s). Think of the massive demand just for steel that provided – no longer there. And on and on it went like that…and, as I noted, the stored wealth of a century had been shot out of cannon. The only nation not financially devastated by WWI was the United States…and we lent like no tomorrow…but eventually, we couldn’t lend enough to keep everything going.

      • dbschmidt May 10, 2016 / 7:49 pm

        And even though it (1920) has been considered the worst depression in American history, including the “Great” depression of ’29–how did it only last approx. 10 months? Because Pres. Harding and VP Coolidge would not stick the government in the way of the economy. It recovered swiftly compared to the economic malaise that we are experiencing now or Japan (tried the same thing) has for the last 20 years because Government knew it did not know better.

        Politicians of all stripes should understand they are not the smartest people in the room, STFU and get out of the way instead of “helping us” all into poverty.

      • M. Noonan May 10, 2016 / 9:56 pm

        Yep – Harding just got out of the way and thus the immediate post-War downturn was short in duration. But I still hold that a massive re-adjustment in the global economy was baked in. That much productive capacity and demand loss had to be made up somewhere…and the normal way it is made up is by a bit of “creative destruction” in the economy…if left alone, the resultant economy is what it needs to be to provide for the needs of the people at reasonable prices. Hoover and then FDR did everything they could once the Great Depression came in…and thus turned what probably would have been one or two years of bad times into a decade-long economic morass.

        It should be kept in mind that of the major economies, only the United States had really good times in the 20’s – we had lost the fewest in the war/disease cycle, we had made vast sums of money 1914-1917 selling the sinews of war to the allies, we still have vast, untapped resources in the United States to create wealth with. Britain started getting into economic trouble by the mid-20’s (take a look at the General Strike of 1926 for more on this). France had to massively devalue the Franc in 1924 in order to stay fiscally solvent (well, for the government and banks to stay fiscally solvent…the people didn’t need to have their money stolen from them, but the banks needed to steal some money from somewhere given how much they had lent Czarist Russia which they couldn’t collect from Soviet Russia). Italy’s economic crisis was so acute post-War that the Ruling Class called in Mussolini to impose order. Germany deliberately inflated their currency to wipe out their domestic war debts, and then refused to pay reparations to the Allies while borrowing lavishly from the United States to fund an economic bubble. Japan was feeling the pinch and felt that their only way out was to conquer resources and markets in China and southeast Asia. Everything was going badly…and everywhere governments were tinkering with the economy to “cure” the problem rather than just let the economic re-adjustment take place. The result was the Crash of 1929…made far worse because it was so long delayed.

      • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 10:17 pm

        There is the opinion, held by many, that the depression of 1920 was created by the rapid influx of a few million men back into the system. That is, it was not caused by the war directly, or by the loss of so many productive young men, both of which were damaging but both of which had been pretty much resolved by 1920, but by the sudden return of young men who needed jobs, resulting in more workers than there were jobs.

        In any case, it was government nonintervention that allowed the economic crisis to resolve itself. While warring nations no longer needed goods, civilian nations that had gone without during the war did.

        Certainly the various demands of wartime on all aspects of the economy and the sudden cessation of those demands took their toll. But it seems that the tipping point for that particular depression was the impact of so many men suddenly looking for jobs in nations where most of those positions had already been filled.

    • Amazona May 8, 2016 / 6:25 pm

      He makes a couple of decent, though not original, points, he spends a lot of time regurgitating a lot of platitudes, and sometimes he is just full of crap. Good example: “Then, there’s a more radical conservative ideology that has been a dominant force out there in Washington and in a lot of states. That’s the Freedom Caucus and Cruz, and that’s what we wrote about in the book. This is a radical set of beliefs. They want to blow up all of government, and are willing to use more radical tactics. They don’t much care about shutting down the government or breaching the debt ceiling, or any of those things”

      Not only does NO conservative want to “blow up government”, this is a tired old whine. Conservatives believe in strong and effective government. We just want it organized according to the Constitution, with the federal government severely restricted as to size, scope and power, and most of the authority of governing left to the states, or to the People. That is, the way the country was set up to be governed.

      Only in a world as far removed from sanity as ours could a simple desire to follow the rules be considered “radical”. This entire paragraph is undiluted BS, and much of the rest of the article you found so “interesting” is flawed, in one way or another.

      In the interest of transparency, I admit to having little or no respect for the political acumen of a man who “…led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law, known as McCain-Feingold, that reformed the campaign financing system. “ However, I can see that the disdain for the Constitution shown in this bill would explain the attitude that wanting to actually FOLLOW the Constitution is “radical”.

  2. Retired Spook May 8, 2016 / 4:06 pm

    Excellent article from a couple days ago that was re-printed in our local paper this morning. I agree with him on everything except Hillary being the lesser of two evils.

    • Amazona May 8, 2016 / 6:33 pm

      I don’t agree that it is over. The fact is, the Republican Party makes the decision, and while it has often given the nomination to the person who came into the convention with the most votes, it has not always done so.

      The party has most commonly nominated a “compromise” candidate – not the one who entered with the most delegates:
      1860 – Abraham Lincoln won (entered with 22% of the delegates)
      1876 – Rutherford Hayes (8%)
      1880 – James Garfield (entered with no delegates)
      1884 – James Blaine (41%)
      1888 – Benjamin Harrison (10%)
      1916 – Charles Hughes (25%)
      1920 – Warren Harding (6.7%)
      1948 – Wendell Willkie (11%)
      1952 – Dwight Eisenhower (26%)

      The Complicit Agenda Media, which have always wanted Trump to be the nominee because they have known how weak a candidate he will be when the long knives of the Democrat Party and the party’s lapdog press start to rip him to shreds, have been gleefully announcing that Trump IS the nominee.

      They want him to be, and they want him pumped up enough by this belief to pitch a screeching wall-kicking lawyer-calling third-party-campaigning hissy fit if he is not. Now I think all the various media are parroting this.

      It is called Semantic Infiltration, the tactic of repeating something so often in so many places that it becomes accepted as fact. Kind of like the slur “Lyin’ Ted”.

      • dbschmidt May 10, 2016 / 8:00 pm

        I agree with you in all respects and if anything I am a never Hillary voter; however, even though Trump is not very Presidential–Trump would open up the largest can of Whoop Ass on Hillary ever seen. If she is not indited (funny how the Justice department moves swiftly everywhere else including NC) it would amount to a scorched earth policy the likes never seen in recent history.

        Still not my choice as the Republicans have burned through so many more qualified candidates this season but as I mentioned earlier–never Hillary. And just for those who will ask–“No”, I am not going to leave the country if Hillary is President-elect. I will just prepare for what is expected and prepare for another day when the country has more sense.

        If half of those that “swore” they would leave the country after Reagan, Bush Sr., G.W. Bush and others were elected–we would not have this problem as we would be a center-right country once more.

      • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 9:09 pm

        Opening up that can of Whoop Ass on Hillary is, I think, the real motive most Trump supporters have for supporting him. They are sick and tired of her getting a free pass and of Republicans refusing to fight fire with fire, and Trump is seen as a guy who is a dirty fighter, who loves to fight dirty, who is most at home in the gutter, who dishes out the trash talk,and who will love every minute of wallowing in the muck with Hillary. The thing is, Hillary doesn’t do much of the dirty work herself, it is done by surrogate, so she doesn’t have a lot of mud on her hands even when the fight is filthy. Donald, on the other hand, is the big mouth personally attached to every ugly word, and at some point she is going to look like a victim of his relentless sexist bullying,

        I, personally, was looking forward to Professor Cruz calmly and methodically dissecting her lies, to her face, and showing her up as for what she is. I was looking forward to him and his steel trap mind and memory taking apart her stupid claims, pointing out the fallacy of her policies, and actually scoring points when comparing the two opposing ideologies. I think Cruz would have absolutely destroyed Hillary, while Trump will beat her up on emotional grounds that will get a lot of people to be defensive of her, he will make fun of her looks which will turn off a lot of women, and his attack will be crude and offensive. When it comes down to it, she is an old woman, and it is dangerous to be too mean to old women. All she has to do is have her lip quiver and the Donald will be a bullying brute—not a big stretch, as he is a bullying brute. No, she has to be taken down on her policies, and he can’t do much there because they are pretty much identical with HIS policies. She needs to be carefully revealed as a bad choice, not just attacked as a hag.

        But Trumpies don’t give a flip about political philosophy, or which political system is better, or any of that boring stuff. They want a cage match—The Hildebeast vs the Gilded Toad, gutter brawling taken all the way to the voting booth.

      • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 9:11 pm

        Hillary may or may not be indicted, but Trump is scheduled to be in court on July 1 (I think) in his federal fraud case, one of many filed against him. I don’t think criminality is going to be a deal breaker for either one of them. Risking national security might be, if we are smart enough to play that card and play it well, but Trump is not a finesse guy, and will probably stick with what he knows, which is nonstop repetition of a schoolyard taunt—in this case,”Crooked Hillary”.

      • M. Noonan May 10, 2016 / 9:39 pm

        I believe the judge moved that back to mid-November…probably felt it was best not to have the case interfere with the electoral process.

      • dbschmidt May 11, 2016 / 9:07 pm

        There are several forms of war from the silent and logical aka. “Surgical strikes” through carpet bombing aka. “Can O’ Whoop Ass” as I remember from my limited time with the Marines with plenty of room in between. As my preferred candidates fell to the wayside I was a Cruz supporter till he suspended his campaign.

        My only goal with opening up a cross between both extremes against Hillary are two-fold and neither has to do with getting Trump elected except to not put her anywhere near power short of a seat in the electric chair aka. “Old Sparky” in Florida.

        First would be to present a brutal new front and opinion to the legions of newer voters that have no concept of history past last weeks “King of Thrones” episode.

        Second, would be to attempt to destroy the current convention or mainstream media to as close to ruins as possible so one day maybe, just maybe, we can get our Fourth Estate / Fifth Column to once again represent and respond to their responsibilities rather than to a compliance agenda.

      • dbschmidt May 11, 2016 / 9:10 pm

        should have said “seat of power” — my bad. Plus, I agree with the earlier post — once again my bad about not pointing out that government interferes–does not fix most problems. It is the people that fix things.

  3. casper3031 May 8, 2016 / 5:24 pm

    So who wold you run?

    • Amazona May 8, 2016 / 6:27 pm

      Believe me, this is a question being discussed as we speak. When Donald Trump is the least acceptable of all 17 original hopefuls as well as dozens of others who did not run, there are a lot of people to look at.

  4. Amazona May 8, 2016 / 7:07 pm

    Talking about reversing his prior stances on things like his tax plan and raising the minimum wage, Donald Trump said “Sure it’s a change. I’m allowed to change. You need flexibility….”

    You see, when Trump lies it’s just “flexibility”. And whatever he says, it’s really just a starting point for more of those businesslike “negotiations” he loves to tout.

    The question is not whether Trump is “allowed to change”. It is whether or not backing off on the very promises that got people excited about supporting him will result in THEM changing. If they went with him because they liked his policies, they probably will, now that the policies no longer really exist as they were presented. If they are Trumpbots because of Identity Politics they will stick with him through every incarnation of every promise, revision, retraction, contradiction and outright lie, just as Hillary’s fan club does for her.

    • M. Noonan May 8, 2016 / 11:39 pm

      That is my primary objection to Trump – no one, least of all Trump, knows what the heck he’ll do. If he ever does anything right, it’ll be by accident.

      • Amazona May 9, 2016 / 12:35 pm

        I think it is a little darker than that. I think he embarked on a campaign of saying things calculated to appeal to a certain target market—because he is a marketer—-but they did not reflect his true positions. He just had a script of what statements would bring him the most attention and the most support. Now the veneer is wearing off in places, and the underlying belief system is showing through.

        What was that big foot race where the person in front thought he or she had crossed the finish line and stopped to celebrate, only to be passed by other runners, losing the race? That is what we are seeing now with Trump. He is so sure he is the winner, he is the nominee, that he no longer has to win over people to get him to the finish line. He had already blurted out some truths that contradicted his earlier promises, and now he isn’t even trying to hold them in.

        He used to try to salvage his comments by claiming that when he said the first thing (“deport all the illegals”) he really didn’t mean it even at the time, always intending to just say something outrageous as part of a clever plan to “start negotiations”. I never bought that story. I think he just lost track of his lies and stumbled onto a truth every now and then, and then scrambled to try to come up with an explanation for the contradiction that he thought would make it OK.

        And admit it, he does know his base. They were fine with him admitting that he had lied to them from the get-go, because they are so convinced he is the Great Negotiator, and think this is just another example of his brilliance.

        Now he just shrugs off being caught in a lie as “So what? Big deal ! I like to be FLEXIBLE,”

        I think he knows what he wants to do, and it just bubbles up sometimes now that his already-limited mental filters have been turned off in sight of the finish line.

      • M. Noonan May 9, 2016 / 11:49 pm

        Oh, I’ve long thought that this is a carefully thought out plan – Trump is not, in my view, at all stupid. I’m actually kind of curious to see what he’ll do in the general (unless there is a Convention revolt – I suspect there’s, at best, a 1% chance of such happening…but the possibility is there; the GOP would surely lose…but it seems to be the case that they’d lose, anyways, so the delegates might decide better to lose without Trump than lose with him). We’ve seen a bit of it to start with – and he does seem determined to get down and dirty in the muck with Hillary.

        But he also seems just as determined to hijack Democrat voters who can’t stand Hillary – this does mean he’ll run a campaign which just about the opposite of what a Conservative would run…but to Trump, winning is the only thing.

      • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 9:42 am

        I’ve thought about that, too. The way I see it, no matter what the game plan may have been at the begtining—support Trump and go along with his pretense that he is anti-GOP, let Trump in long enough to take out Cruz and Walker so Bush can move up, let Trump in to avoid a deadly three-way race, etc.—the way it has played out the GOP loses. No matter how it shakes out, the GOP loses.

        I wish I could remember who wrote a good piece about the GOP after a Trump victory. He said that the GOP would have to adapt to Trump, if Trump were the president, but it is not a complete disaster because over the next four or eight years the Trumpists would be assimilated into the party and though the party would be changed forever, it would survive. This is a rough paraphrase, but it captures the basic concept—that a president Trump, with the things that motivate so many of his supporters being forced upon the GOP, the party would not be the same. And this would probably lead to the establishment of a new party, one which would bleed off GOP funding even it if took years to be ready to have its own candidates.

        Trump losing to Hillary would mean a full-out revolt against the GOP that would make the TEA Party rebellion look insignificant by comparison. It might result in a new third party but it also might result in a drastic purge of the current GOP. which after all has an infrastructure and a bank account, but either way it will be ugly for the GOP.

        We are all watching Trump to see if he is capable of being less Trumpish as we have seen so far and capable of, much less interested in, acting less like the clown and more like an actual leader. Leading a parade of malcontents all stirred up by the promise of “taking on” a series of bogey men and grievances is not the same as actually leading a party, or leading a country. Changing from the Music Man to Churchill is quite a leap, and we need to see how close he can get.

        I predict that if accurate polls continue to indicate what we have seen so far—–a very significant number of people so appalled by the prospect of a President Trump they will turn out to vote for Hillary even though they wouldn’t vote for her otherwise, continued massively high negative ratings from women, Hispanics and the well educated—coupled with ongoing uncontrolled babbling by Trump, there will be a third party. It might be a whole new third party formed in opposition to Trump and the GOP, it might be a third party ginned up by Trump and his outraged minions after losing the nomination, but there will be one.

        I say this because if nothing changes, and changes very very dramatically, we are facing a situation where many millions of people will either not vote at all or will vote out of fear of the opposition even if they dislike their own party nominee. What that means to the Right is not only the potential for this resulting in a Hillary victory, it means losing a lot of votes for House and Senate seats. THAT is the biggest danger.

        And right now my own calculation is that a third party, if managed well, would offer a choice to those many millions who don’t want to vote for either Trump or Hillary, and it might draw in a substantial number of people who want to send a strong message to their own parties that they are mightily and furiously unhappy with them and will no longer support them just out of party loyalty.

        As for Trump’s claim he is pulling support from a significant number of Dems, I am skeptical, and I wonder how any Dem support he IS pulling is outweighed by the Republican support he is losing.

      • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 9:52 am

        I apply the Mario Andretti philosophy to politics as well as to driving—that is, don’t look at the road right in front of you, but look out as far as you can see, to the horizon. This gives you peripheral vision, opens up your field of vision, and lets you see things before they turn into surprises you can’t avoid.

        I see most people making political decisions based on static snapshots of what they see right now, this minute, right in front of them, but in fact it is all fluid. Right now the possibles are so numerous, and so chaotic, moving back and forth from one political area to another, I don’t think there is anything we can do but keep looking out as far as we can, not focusing so tightly on one thing we cut off our peripheral vision, and be alert for changes as they occur. And I think we need to block our the broad outlines of various alternatives, so there is at least a basic framework to work on if necessary, Instead of Plan A and Plan B, we might be looking out as far as Plan W 346 and Plan W 347, but this kind of thinking keeps our minds agile and open.

      • Amazona May 9, 2016 / 6:09 pm

        It’s doesn’t matter what I, Amazona, think of these contradictions and flip-flops. It only matters in terms of how they can be used to defeat Trump when brought up to attack him in the general election.

        This is what I, and so many others, have been saying for so long—that it is not OUR opinion of the man that matters, it is how the basis for that opinion is also known to the opposition, and it is likely to be enough to take him down.

        It is about the foolishness of placing our hopes in the hands of a man so vulnerable to quite reasonable doubt regarding his ability and qualifications and honesty.

      • Retired Spook May 9, 2016 / 6:36 pm

        Can you imagine anyone reading that list and saying, gee, that sounds like someone who would make a great president?

      • Amazona May 9, 2016 / 6:45 pm

        Is there any better example of a total lack of self awareness than SARAH PALIN commenting that PAUL RYAN’s political career is over?

        It’s like Roseanne Barr commenting that someone did a bad job singing the national anthem.

      • Amazona May 9, 2016 / 6:47 pm

        “Can you imagine anyone reading that list and saying, gee, that sounds like someone who would make a great president?”

        Evidently a few million primary voters.

        Of course, they never bother with reading anything like this. But as far as I can tell, it wouldn’t matter to them if they did.

  5. Retired Spook May 10, 2016 / 9:45 am

    It’ll be interesting to see if this movement has any legs.

    • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 10:00 am

      I was talking yesterday with someone I really like and admire, who is skeptical about the possibility of the “GOP Establishment” ever compromising, ever agreeing to change and acceptance of the conservative movement, and I had a very serious question for him. “Who ARE the GOP Establishment?” He looked kind of confused and then said “Well, Boehner, for one.”

      Boehner is one man, an older career politician at the end of his run and desperately trying to hold onto whatever will make him feel relevant, and powerful. But he is not the GOP. Who makes the decisions for the party? This is a serious question. Does anyone know the structure of the entity? It is a big and powerful entity, like any big corporation, and there have to be decision-makers. A handful of weak or ideologically Left-leaning politicians are what we see when we think of the (key ominous music) GOP ESTABLISHMENT but how, exactly, does the party operate?

      • M. Noonan May 10, 2016 / 12:13 pm

        There is, of course, no Establishment in the sense of a group of people who get together on weekends and map out how they are going to screw the people the following week…but here’s the Establishment, in my view:

        All of those who have become – or aspire to become – part of the Government-Corporate leaders of the United States and thus have a vested interest in:

        1. Maintaining and/or increasing the size and power of Government and Corporate bureaucracies in the United States and around the world.

        2. Shaping popular culture so that the actual problems are never discussed.

        3. Being united against anyone – left or right – who attempts to challenge the current power structure.

        To be sure, every now and again someone in the Establishment will get so far off the ranch that the Establishment will allow that person to be destroyed, but never will it be brought out that for all those who have gone 101% into corruption, most of the rest are 99% there. And, remember, corruption isn’t just deliberately taking bribe – it is the whole raft of ways by which people in the Establishment get special treatment to ensure a continual increase in their power and wealth and protection against paying a price for crime (such as allowing a Congresscritter unopposed for re-election to “hire” his wife as a campaign consultant and paying her $150,000.00 out of campaign donations – just one example of a thousand by which these people self-deal). Anyone who challenges the basic facts of existence here is branded an extremist who must be wiped out – mostly, these days, such are people on the right, but some are on the left, as well.

        It is not so much that the news deliberately lies – though it does do just that, at times – but in how stories are presented which prevents people from understanding the full truth. The story that Obama’s guy Rhodes created a series of lies and convinced massive numbers of MSM to mindlessly repeat the lies until they became conventional wisdom is how it’s done – it was odd that we were given a peak in how it’s done, but one must also note that this hasn’t set off demonstrations by 5 million people in DC demanding that everyone involved resign and be prosecuted. If the MSM actually reported such things as they should be, the Establishment would be out on it’s ear in a moment…but the MSM is part of the Establishment and so won’t work against itself. But in addition to the MSM, there is also the whole structure of popular culture, which includes organized sport, movies, music, television, etc…it all upholds the Establishment and will not present anything in popular culture which definitely exposes the corruption of thought.

        The people in the Establishment do little actual work and produce nothing of actual value – they are most emphatically not the men and women who grow food, create new technologies, build houses, haul materials, clean bathrooms, mow lawns, etc. The only way they can get rich and remain rich is if they can somehow extract wealth from those who do produce and transfer it to themselves. The method of doing this is to place a layer of bureaucracy over the productive economy – via Big Government or Big Corporation – and thus divert a large portion of the wealth (which should go to those who produce, or be re-invested back into the productive enterprise) to themselves. Thus you’ll always see them arguing that what is needed is a another department, another bureau, another layer of administrators. Bring a problem to the Establishment and the first thing they are going to do is make sure that some of their own are hired to take charge of it…and, of course, there is absolutely zero incentive for them to actually solve a problem because if a problem is solved, then those doing the solving are out of work. It is, naturally, worse in Big Government than Big Corporation because the government can just extract money via taxation, inflation and borrowing…once corporations get too many layers of bureaucracy they tend to stumble and fall because there isn’t sufficient money for production to keep things going…and, so, they’ll cut back the weeds a bit (if they don’t get destroyed, entirely)…and the renewed efficiency will spark a recovery. But please note that as soon as things improve, they are back to adding layers and layers of administrators…it can’t be that they don’t know what happened last time; it must be that they don’t care…it isn’t part of the deal to keep a lean and efficient corporate structure because if they do, there aren’t enough high paid positions for Establishment members.

        The reason that most challengers to the Establishment are of the right is because the Establishment as largely accepted the moral demands of the left – this is why corporations almost invariably immediately roll over when the left makes a demand. But there still are some on the left who see through the scam – not enough, of course; but some. But the real hammers will always be taken out against the right…because we all of us already see through Big Government, and more on the right are starting to see through Big Corporation, as well. If we win, the Establishment is done for – and so, for instance, we’ve got Trump, rather than Cruz (or Walker, etc) as a nominee.

      • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 2:24 pm

        But this is a generic explanation of one kind of “establishment”. What I want to know is who would be making the decision for the GOP to, for example, roll the dice on a Trump nomination and hope it doesn’t blow up in the face of the party, or to risk whatever blowback there would be from nominating someone else?

        Surely there is a panel, a committee, a Board of Directors, which makes these kinds of decisions. Who are they? What influences them? Are they all squishies intent more on personal gain than the welfare of the nation? Are they ideologues? Do they share an ideology?

        Yes, there is always going to be pressure from a segment of any group to allow the freedom to take advantage of membership in that group. But if these are the people who make the decisions, what is the process for the making of these decisions?

        Was a decision actually made, regarding Trump, or was there just a sense of vague indolence and impotence that let things just….happen?

        Is the resistance to change solely due to a desire to keep a status quo that allows graft and corruption, or is it just a natural resistance to change in general? Who would be hurt the most by a GOP moving toward an alignment with the Conservative Movement?

        I can name some specific names, such as Boehner, McConnell, Graham, and so on. But seriously, regarding the party as a whole, is there a serious threat to IT?

        I see the only serious threat to the GOP as a whole, as an entity, to be a mass exodus of members and the resulting loss of funding. If I am wrong, why? If I am right, what would prompt that kind of response?

        Is there a body of analysts and deliberaters within the party, with either the authority to make decisions for the party or the influence to steer decisions? If there is, what is it? Who is it?

      • M. Noonan May 10, 2016 / 10:09 pm

        Someone like McConnell is, of course, Establishment – but I give him the benefit of the doubt. Somewhere in the past he was motivated by Conservative ideals and entered politics…but as time went on and he climbed to the top of the heap in the Senate, a lot of different factors started pressuring him. First and foremost, keeping himself on top…and maybe he even really believes that it is necessary for him to be on top. But whether cynical or sincere, his first task is to keep himself on top. There are two things which could destroy him – massively angering the people who vote for him, or massively angering the people who write the checks which allow him to enter the battle. The people who vote only get to check in once every six years – the people who write the checks are at his elbow all the time. But it is even more than that – in order to keep himself on top, he not only has to defend himself, he has to defend his fellow Republican Senators…and there we get to his real problem. Those who write the checks don’t want a bunch of reformist firebrands entering the Senate because, at least temporarily, they don’t listen to the guys who write the checks and thus they may do things the check-writers find bad (of course, the check-writers do busy themselves trying to capture any firebrands who do get elected…and most of the time, they eventually succeed). McConnell, thus, tends to favor the candidacies of those who are already proven friends of the check-writers, or are clearly people with a friendly attitude towards check-writers. And to make certain the check-writers stay happy (and on his side – remember, it is vital that he stays on top!), McConnell will adjust his statements and actions to offend as few check-writers as possible. Thus, we get routine roll-over for those who have a vested interest in keeping Big Government going even though McConnell, a Conservative, is supposed to understand that the very existence of Big Government is destructive of Conservatism.

        It doesn’t take a Conspiracy High Command – it just takes time and pressure from vested interests.

      • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 10:21 pm

        But I keep coming back to the point that McConnell, for example, is not in a position to dictate party policy. He can try to influence it, he may even be somewhat successful in influencing it, but his influence is in Congress, not in the party structure. Certain the acts of Congress are important, and under the leadership of McConnell and Boehner have moved the nation to the left, but they are not the decision-makers in the GOP.

        Which brings me back to my question: Who make up the actual decision making element of the official Republican Party, which we broadly categorize as THE ESTABLISHMENT ? Is there a Board of Directors, which might take the temperature of the membership, consult with legal advisers, and come up with a decision about the direction of the Party? Does the Party just meander along like a school of sardines, each one following the other with no leadership, only vague outside pressures?

      • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 11:06 pm

        OK, trying to find a starting point regarding who in the GOP makes decisions, I came up with this, which is a list of people who hold office in the GOP (as far as I can tell from the job titles) and their Heritage Action Scorecard scores for members of Congress. I am not sure how the scores are rated, as several people I follow fairly closely and admire a great deal don’t have very high scores on the Heritage Scorecard.

        But anyway, this might be a starting point for who to lobby for change, instead of just complaining about a vague and undefined “ESTABLISHMENT ” that as far as I can tell from my questioning is just another blank slate upon which everyone paints his own portrait of his own bogeyman.

        CHAIRMAN Reince Priebus

        CO-CHAIRMAN Sharon Day

        TREASURER Tony Parker

        SECRETARY Susie Hudson

        SENATE MAJORITY LEADER Mitch McConnell 46%

        SENATE MAJORITY WHIP John Cornyn 42%

        REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIR John Thune 56%

        REPUBLICAN POLICY COMMITTEE CHAIR John Barrasso 60%

        REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE VICE CHAIR Roy Blunt 61%

        SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE Paul Ryan N/A

        HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER Kevin McCarthy 54%

        HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP Steve Scalise 54%

        REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIRMAN Cathy McMorris Rodgers 52%

        REPUBLICAN POLICY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN Luke Messer 66%

  6. Retired Spook May 10, 2016 / 11:39 am

    As I said the other day, I’ve been struggling with whether or not I can hold my nose tight enough to vote for Trump if he ends up being the GOP nominee. Turns out the Donald himself has made the decision for me.

    • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 12:07 pm

      Well, when Trump says he can win without the backing of the full party by drawing Democratic voters, specifically supporters of Bernie Sanders, he is only going back to what would have been, in a normal election campaign a pivotal moment, when he was read a list of Bernie Sanders positions and asked who they described and he said “Donald Trump”. He went on to say yes, those are the positions of Donald Trump.

      Supposedly a new Q polls show Trump and Hillary nearly head-to-head in key states including Florida and Ohio. I just keep coming back to the poll where more than half of Dems who said they were going to vote for Hillary said they were ONLY doing it to stop Trump. I’d like to see some serious polls asking people who are now planning to vote for either Trump or Clinton if they would vote for another option if it were offered to them.

      The group that thinks a polarizing figure will bring out more voters seems to overlook the fact that it is just a likely to bring out more OPPOSITION voters. People may have stayed home rather than turn out to vote for Romney, but I didn’t hear of people being so freaked out by the prospect of a Romney presidency that they turned out en masse to make sure he would not be elected.

      • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 12:12 pm

        Let me rephrase that: The group that thinks a dramatic and flamboyant figure will bring out more voters seems to overlook the fact that this is also likely to be a polarizing figure who is just a likely to bring out more OPPOSITION voters.

    • dbschmidt May 10, 2016 / 8:04 pm

      I will vote and it will not be for Hillary. Whether it is Trump or not is still not seen; however, I vote (at least the down ticket) because I see it as a duty plus I love to bitch. Don’t vote ~ don’t complain. 😀

      • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 8:56 pm

        i’m with you on this, DB. As I said, I am looking out at the horizon, not at the road right in front of me, which means that I want to have given a lot of thought and consideration to all sorts of options and possibilities if something really ugly happens. With Trump, sadly, that is a good possibility.

        I will not vote for Hillary and I will not do something that might help her get elected. Having said that, if Trump keeps digging himself in a hole and the GOP finally finds some cojones and stands up and says enough is enough, we can’t support you as our nominee, i want to be ready for that and not have to spend a lot of time then thinking about it.

        Within less than a week Trump, who has been running as the Great Uniter, has told conservatives to go sit on a stump because he and his Democrat voters don’t need us. He has told us if he doesn’t get his way through Congress he is just going to issue Executive Orders. He has said he (HE!) would liberalize the GOP platform on abortion. He has come out in favor of raising the minimum wage. He has flip-flopped on his tax plan. He is basically flipping off the GOP and saying “I’m not really a Republican but you are stuck with me so tough luck, suckers!”

        And even knowing all that, and having it turn my stomach, I will vote for him if I am convinced that he will have a good shot at winning that would be tanked by a third party run. A strong Congress can rein him in if it finds a backbone, which would mean being propped up by all of us out here. To me, the down ticket is more important than the presidency, at least until and unless we have a good chance at someone decent.

        A friend asked me today who I would run as an alternative ticket, and I said Walker/Martinez. He is a solid conservative with impeccable credentials, a popular and successful Republican governor in a Democrat Midwestern state, with a proven record. He is also the Un-Trump—quiet, humble, sincere, and likable. He is not a polarizing candidate who would stir up so much angst that people would feel driven to vote for Hillary just to make sure he didn’t get elected. Martinez is a popular, successful governor in a Western state, a woman, and a Hispanic. I think they would be a pleasant, acceptable, nonthreatening but very competent ticket representing some key elements of the conservative movement. Walker’s got the chops, and he has withstood onslaughts of hatred, vitriol and slime without blinking, and winning every time.

        I think this ticket would be a desirable alternative to either Trump or Hillary. But I would hesitate to mount a third party run against a GOP candidate, even it if is Trump. I would want the GOP to nominate someone other than Trump, like Walker, and let Trump form his own new party. He is the disrupter, so why should he be the one to get the brand and the war chest.

      • M. Noonan May 10, 2016 / 9:42 pm

        Christian theology has it that a Christian living in a democratic society must vote – it is a moral duty; it comes with the office of citizen. So, I’ll have to vote – and I’m going to check further into this, but I think I am bound to vote for the candidate who has the best chance of winning who is also closest to the teachings of the Church. As both top candidates are pretty far away from same, I’ll have a bit of a problem there…my vote for President might just be a process of elimination and I’ll fine one, small thing which differentiates them to the point where I can vote.

      • Amazona May 10, 2016 / 10:35 pm

        Well, if you have to search for the least evil choice between Trump and Clinton to comply with what you see as your Christian duty, I guess there isn’t much left to say to you. One openly represents a political system which is at heart anti-religion and represents the brutal oppression of the masses, while the other at least pays lip service to the system based on human freedom and human dignity. I don’t see how the perception of which candidate has the best chance of winning plays into the choice between evil and a weakness which might lean toward evil if not restrained.

      • M. Noonan May 11, 2016 / 1:42 am

        Looks like I’m stuck – gotta vote:

        2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country…

      • Amazona May 11, 2016 / 8:03 am

        But there is still that agonizing decision about whether or not to vote for the party that supports suppression of religious freedom, the redefinition of the sacrament of marriage, and general oppression and tyranny.

        Fortunately, I didn’t see anything in 2240 that says you are obligated to vote for the person most likely to win.

      • M. Noonan May 11, 2016 / 11:35 am

        That’s true! I’m going to look further into that.

      • Amazona May 11, 2016 / 9:11 pm

        I know the Catholic Church has veered dramatically to the Left since Vatican II—you should have heard the sermon I heard a few weeks ago in a Catholic Mass, referring to the Progressive movement of the Church !—-but I doubt that even now the official doctrine of the Church would say you are required to vote for someone just because he or she might be considered the most likely to win.

        That not only makes no sense, it negates the entire conscience thing. Of course, pro-abortion Pelosi gets a private audience with the Pope and still gets to take Communion, so who knows?

      • M. Noonan May 12, 2016 / 12:02 am

        There has been no change in Catholic dogma – though, to be sure, there are still plenty in the Church who are not, to say the least, vigorous in their defense of the teaching Authority of the Church. As for things like Pelosi getting communion – that is always on the person getting it, ultimately. It is the communicant’s responsibility to make sure they are in a state where it can be received – I don’t know how often Pelosi goes to Reconciliation and, if she does, what is said to her inside…can’t ask her priest because even if she goes daily, the priest won’t even confirm that she goes. However it is, she’ll be judged by God, in the End, as we all will.

        As for who to vote for – I just remember hearing a few months back on Catholic radio a priest talking it up…I didn’t catch the whole segment so I’m not sure I got it all, but I believe he was asserting that it isn’t necessarily correct to vote for someone who has no chance of winning.

      • dbschmidt May 11, 2016 / 9:21 pm

        Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country…

        Could be a paradox. “defends one’s country” v. “exercise the right to vote” but then again it does not state “vote the entire ticket” or how one needs to defend your country.

        Just as I am doing–maybe you should seek the governance of the Almighty Father in the path we should take. Nevertheless, he has always made my options clear but leave the final decision to me. It is a personal thing.

        Best of luck–but you will not need it.

        We still need to work on the taxes part…taxes and fair share I can agree with 😀

      • Amazona May 12, 2016 / 9:26 am

        “…it isn’t necessarily correct to vote for someone who has no chance of winning…”

        Well, aside from the fact that this is one opinion from one human being, who also happens to be a priest, I think it is a very stupid and ignorant comment. As a proud citizen of a nation that only exists because people DID vote for a side seen to have “no chance of winning”, I find it offensive and distasteful.

        It seems to me to be an exhortation to look around for what you think might be the winning side, or the popular position, and then get in line behind it, whether it represents what you believe, whether it strikes you as morally wrong, because it might not be “correct” to stand up for your principles and values and beliefs if they don’t appear to be on the winning side.

        It’s hard to reconcile this kind of attitude with a Church that has a history of martyrs dying for their beliefs.

      • Amazona May 12, 2016 / 9:29 am

        If you automatically respect an opinion from a priest, then you would probably agree with the priest I heard a few weeks ago who said that while Catholics are required to respect the office of the Papacy, we are not required to respect the man who holds that office.

  7. Amazona May 10, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    I came across a very thought-provoking article by a PhD student.

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/05/16923/

    Who Represents “We the People?”
    by Nathan Gill

    From the article: emphasis mine

    “Arguing before the US Supreme Court, Daniel Webster defended Rhode Island’s long-established charter government against the Dorrite rebels. True, Webster argued, the theory of the American Revolution established that “the people are the source of all political power,” but the people have, as a deliberate whole acting under peaceful and settled conditions, also “prescribed forms for the conduct of elections.” In cases where the government is not guilty of “a long train of abuses and usurpations” it is through these institutions that “we are to ascertain the will of the American people. . . . We are not to take the will of the people from public meetings, nor from tumultuous assemblies.”

    When the popular will is channeled through institutions, and organized around them, its rationality becomes evident. The voice of the people acting in this way is, as Webster observed, “regular and harmonious in its features, and gentle in its operation.” Institutions force previously isolated individuals to cooperate, to listen to opposing points of view, and to think about the decisions they are about to make. They encourage mutual respect and, as a result, moderation. They delay and complicate the way that consent is expressed, certainly, but this is precisely why they are necessary: they help ensure that the public will is reasonable.

    Outside of institutions, there is much more room for misunderstanding and hasty decision-making. This is one reason why, except in cases of clear and systemic tyranny, leaders who dismiss institutions are usually demagogues. Such figures feed on the ignorance, misrepresentation, and miscommunication that institutions are meant to restrain. They depend on an isolated and unconnected electorate.

    **********************

    … one can be fairly certain that men who condemn every power structure they don’t happen to control represent the interests of only one entity: themselves.”

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