Reagan versus Trump

 

The people who elected Obama elected Trump. More importantly, the people who elected Ronald Reagan elected Trump. This is the more important contradiction in my mind. Reagan and Trump both threw down the gauntlet to their respective establishments in their times. Both represented conservative insurrections. Both came to power against all the weight of the media and the political establishments of their days. I remember the brouhaha of Reagan coming to power in 1980, and it resembles the current frenzy about Trump, though perhaps the Trumpophobia is even more deranged than the anti-Reagansim of the elites.

In terms of policy Reagan stood for the opening of markets, an invigorating and sincere anti-Communism, a process of de-regulation from the policies set down by the New Deal, and confrontation with the then Soviet Union.

Trump stands for almost the opposite, but not quite: an increased control of access to the US market, and an acceptance, within limits, of Russia’s interests and legitimacy. In contradistinction to Reagan and the Soviet Union, Trump holds that Russia is not the focus of evil in the modern world, and challenges the Democratic party and security establishment line that Russia is the prime enemy.

Each was elected as a candidate of the Republican party.  Each was elected by voters who rebelled against the presumed truths of their social betters, the Democrats and the media. Both were elected by an older, whiter electorate than their Democratic opponents obtained. Both were seeking to change the conventional agenda. Yet the net direction of the policies of Trump and Reagan may be opposite one another. How is this apparent contradiction to be reconciled?

In one sense, what they are both seeking to preserve is the United States of America, but each had a different idea of the principal threat. For Reagan, it was Communism, which looked like it might have prevailed if matters had continued as they had under Jimmy Carter. For Trump, it is the very concept of a United States itself. By this I mean that he may have foreseen that the path the US is on will lead to a pauperized working class west of the Alleghenies and that unlimited  immigration would reduce the US to something like the southern Confederacy, with wealth accruing to the top and a middle class wholly dependent upon the slave owners. To bring the message up to date, replace “slave” with “robot” and you get a rough idea of the expected outcome. I do not say he had exactly this image in mind, only that he does not like where de-industrialization is taking the US.

I find myself returning to the piece I wrote before Christmas, “Globalization, National Sovereignty and Democratic Politics”.


Trump has gone for a combination of national sovereignty and democratic politics. Hillary was working for hyper-globalization and democratic politics. And Reagan in his time may never have thought about hyper-globalization, though the forces unleashed by his administration have led to it.

My argument is that the same  sorts of people who elected Reagan elected Trump. Thirty seven years after 1980, the issues have changed. I have changed. My priorities have changed. And I would rather live in a coherent nation than live in the best hotel in the world, whether it be called Canada or the United States.

 

America’s Lying Media—Part 2

If you thought that the lying MSM in the US could sink any lower than the gutter, you’re right! They’re now in the sewer.

Not satisfied with being the cheering squads for Hillary Rodent Clinton, traumatized by their election loss to Donald Trump, they are now attempting, with the help of rogue spooks, to delegitimize the incoming administration. Good luck with that.

The scurrilous “dossier” (sounds more impressive than “document”) that purports to reveal dirt on Trump is so obviously fake it would be an embarassment to a satirical site like The Onion. The media have sunk to the Big Lie technique; if you’re going to lie, make it a biggy. The last shreds of their credibility have gone up in smoke.

The Establishment is set on provoking international tensions and war around the world. After the failure of their jihadi pals in Syria, where they have been defeated by the Russia/Iran/Turkey coalition, the American Deep State is hell-bent on creating an atmosphere of hysteria against Russia to justify further aggressive actions against any state that will not bend to their will. After the collapse of communism, NATO (read the US) gave commitments to the Russian Federation not to move military assets up to the Russian border. These commitments have been broken many times over. No wonder the Russians are concerned. The US administration under the man-child Obama has been woefully irresponsible in international affairs.

The real “aggression” in the world is coming from the US. We now know the WMD propaganda about Iraq was a pack of lies. Iraq was destroyed and the ground laid for the rise of Islamic State. Libya was attacked and destroyed, its infrastructure devastated, and its leader murdered, all under the watch of Hillary Rodent Clinton. And for what purpose? It is now a failed state riven by jihadist bandits and consumed by civil war. Egypt was almost destroyed by Obama’s support of the Morsi regime, but here the Egyptian army saved the day. Another smack on the head for the US Deep State.

To say that Russia is a threat to Europe is nonsense—it was a CIA-backed coup in Ukraine that generated chaos on Russia’s border. This is all a cover for more US meddling in the Middle East, particularly as they have been outmaneuvered by the Russians and Iranians. In the US, the Democrat Party is now the war party, busily whipping up hysteria in their intellectually challenged supporters and their lapdog media.

This could all backfire on them very badly. If further enquiries reveal underhanded attempts of bureaucrats in the intelligence services to subvert the incoming administration, it could give Trump a golden opportunity to cut them down to size and remind them that the people rule in America. This is the importance of the Trump presidency.

President Trump should immediately set investigations in motion on January 20th. Political appointees from the Obama years in the CIA and NSA should be fired immediately and heads placed on spikes. Clapper, the DNI, already has a solid record of lying to Congress (thank you Edward Snowden). Brennan and others in the CIA must also go. If investigations of their behaviors result in prosecutions, jail them.

As for the media, Trump’s first press conference should set the tone for the future. Return their favor—show them no respect. He should radically reshape communications with the public, through more youtube presentations, townhalls, social media and invite more citizen participation in questions. Other than that, let the media sink into the swamp they have created; they will not be missed.

After the Glorious Inauguration on the 20th, he should act swiftly, extensively and ruthlessly. Real Americans will love him for it.

Rebel Yell

Cliodynamics and projection of political instability

Peter Urchin is a scientist, author and founder of a new transdisciplinary field of Cliodynamics (from Clio, the muse of history, and dynamics, the study of why things change with time), which uses the tools of complexity science and cultural evolution to study the dynamics of historical empires and modern nation-states. It is the “area of research at the intersection of historical macrosociology, economic history/cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases.”

In 2010 he stated the following:

Quantitative historical analysis reveals that complex human societies are affected by recurrent — and predictable — waves of political instability (P. Turchin and S. A. Nefedov Secular Cycles Princeton Univ. Press; 2009). In the United States, we have stagnating or declining real wages, a growing gap between rich and poor, overproduction of young graduates with advanced degrees, and exploding public debt. These seemingly disparate social indicators are actually related to each other dynamically. They all experienced turning points during the 1970s. Historically, such developments have served as leading indicators of looming political instability.

Very long ‘secular cycles’ interact with shorter-term processes. In the United States, 50-year instability spikes occurred around 1870, 1920 and 1970, so another could be due around 2020. We are also entering a dip in the so-called Kondratiev wave, which traces 40-60-year economic-growth cycles. This could mean that future recessions will be severe. In addition, the next decade will see a rapid growth in the number of people in their twenties, like the youth bulge that accompanied the turbulence of the 1960s and 1970s. All these cycles look set to peak in the years around 2020.

He has since updated his views.

My research showed that about 40 seemingly disparate (but, according to cliodynamics, related) social indicators experienced turning points during the 1970s. Historically, such developments have served as leading indicators of political turmoil. My model indicated that social instability and political violence would peak in the 2020s…

My model tracks a number of factors. Some reflect the developments that have been noticed and extensively discussed: growing income and wealth inequality, stagnating and even declining well-being of most Americans, growing political fragmentation and governmental dysfunction (see Return of the Oppressed). But most social scientists and political commentators tend to focus on a particular slice of the problem. It’s not broadly appreciated that these developments are all interconnected. Our society is a system in which different parts affect each other, often in unexpected ways.

Furthermore, there is another important development that has been missed by most commentators: the key role of “elite overproduction” in driving waves of political violence, both in historical societies and in our own (see Blame Rich, Overeducated Elites as Our Society Frays). As I wrote three years ago, “Increasing inequality leads not only to the growth of top fortunes; it also results in greater numbers of wealth-holders. The ‘1 percent’ becomes ‘2 percent.’ Or even more. … from 1983 to 2010 the number of American households worth at least $10 million grew to 350,000 from 66,000. Rich Americans tend to be more politically active than the rest of the population. … In technical terms, such a situation is known as ‘elite overproduction.’ … Elite overproduction generally leads to more intra-elite competition that gradually undermines the spirit of cooperation, which is followed by ideological polarization and fragmentation of the political class. This happens because the more contenders there are, the more of them end up on the losing side. A large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, has been denied access to elite positions.”

Craft Whisky

Now that every young hip urban metrosexual is drinking “craft beer” made by a “hobbyist” with distinctly anti-Trump views in a “microbrewery”, you don’t have to be left behind if you are older and wiser. Beckon the rise of “craft whisky”! In particular, Balcones from Texas.

After a tumultuous two years between the founders and the money, their new operation in Waco is up to speed producing great whisky and a bourbon with Texas corn. The old single malt that won all the awards, is what is being shipped now and it was made under the railroad trestle at the old location. The new production, in their historic warehouse property, will start shipping sometime in the summer.

800-year financial perspective

The linked article, “Venetians, Volcker and Value-at-Risk: 8 centuries of bond market reversals” by Paul Schmelzing, a financial historian atHarvard University, delves into the esoteric details of the fixed income market but some stated facts are relevant for general discussion.

Paul Schmelzing, Harvard UniversityThe economist Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk once opined that “the cultural level of a nation is mirrored by its interest rate: the higher a people’s intelligence and moral strength, the lower the rate of interest”. But as rates reached their lowest level ever in 2016, investors rather worried about the “biggest bond market bubble in history” coming to a violent end. The sharp sell-off in global bonds following the US election seems to confirm their fears. Looking back over eight centuries of data, I find that the 2016 bull market was indeed one of the largest ever recorded. History suggests this reversal will be driven by inflation fundamentals, and leave investors worse off than the 1994 “bond massacre”.

Chart 1: The Global risk free rate since 1285

Chart 2: Length and size of bull markets since 1285

As chart 2 shows, over 800 years only two previous episodes – the rally at the height of Venetian commercial dominance in the 15th century, and the century following the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis  in 1559 – recorded longer continued risk-free rate compressions. The same is true if we measure the period by average decline in yields per annum, from peak to trough. With 33 bps, only the rallies following the War of the Spanish Succession, and the election of Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor surpass the bond performance since Paul Volcker’s “war on inflation”.

The article goes on to conclude, “On balance, then, more than to a 1994-style meltdown, fixed income assets seem about to be confronted with dynamics similar to the second half of the 1960s, coupled with complications of a 2003-style curve steepening. By historical standards, this implies sustained double-digit losses on bond holdings, subpar growth in developed markets, and balance sheet risks for banking systems with a large home bias.”

“Republicans to gut ethics office”, flavour added

Once again BBC hyperventilates about the misdeeds of Republicans and informs us of the following.

Republicans have ditched a plan to gut the independent body that investigates political misconduct after a backlash.

The lawmakers’ surprise vote to strip the Office of Congressional Ethics of its independence prompted public uproar and a dressing down from Donald Trump…

The secretive move, which overshadowed the first day of the 115th Congress, was reversed in an emergency meeting.

Perhaps some background material is in order to put this in perspective.

Jun 10, 2010 (recall that during this period Democrats controlled the House and the Senate). Liberal publication Politico informs us of the following:

Lawmakers seek to gut ethics office

The Office of Congressional Ethics, a powerful symbol of Democrats’ promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, is in danger of having its power stripped after the midterm elections.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have led the charge, airing complaints about the aggressive, independent panel in a private session with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month, and they’ve drafted a resolution that, if approved, would severely curtail the panel’s power.

Jan 2, 2017. Liberal publication WaPo informs us of the following:

The 119-to-74 vote during a GOP conference meeting means that the House rules package expected to be adopted Tuesday, the first day of the 115th Congress, would rename the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) as the Office of Congressional Complaint Review and place it under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee.

Under the proposed new rules, the office could not employ a spokesman, investigate anonymous tips or refer criminal wrongdoing to prosecutors without the express consent of the Ethics Committee, which would gain the power to summarily end any OCE probe.

The OCE was created in 2008 to address concerns that the Ethics Committee had been too timid in pursuing allegations of wrongdoing by House members. Under the current House ethics regime, the OCE is empowered to release a public report of its findings even if the Ethics Committee chooses not to take further action against a member.

The move to place the OCE under the Ethics Committee’s aegis stands to please many lawmakers who have been wary of having their dirty laundry aired by the independent entity, but some Republicans feared that rolling back a high-profile ethical reform would send a negative message as the GOP assumes unified control in Washington.

A bit of a different perspective than BBC, don’t you think? On top of that, this perspective is from liberal publications, which highlights how out of touch BBC has become.

EU, light at the end of the tunnel?

 Jan 7, 2017, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel:

Germany’s insistence on austerity in the euro zone has left Europe more divided than ever and a break-up of the European Union is no longer inconceivable, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Der Spiegel magazine. (emphasis added)

Gabriel, whose Social Democrats (SPD) are junior partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in her ruling grand coalition, said strenuous efforts by countries like France and Italy to reduce their fiscal deficits came with political risks.

“I once asked the chancellor, what would be more costly for Germany: for France to be allowed to have half a percentage point more deficit, or for Marine Le Pen to become president?” he said, referring to the leader of the far-right National Front.

“Until today, she still owes me an answer,” added Gabriel…..

Is that because Merkel has suddenly realized that there are greater threats elsewhere?

Dec 31, 2016:, German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

Islamist terrorism is the biggest challenge facing Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said in her New Year message.

That’s Queer!

We’re all used to the lapdog media portraying any gay or lesbian as some lefty, pinko or Democrat (but I repeat myself) weirdo, leading us to believe that the entire LGBTQ community is simply an appendage of the political class and the university and college soviets that control all thought.

Well, surprise, surprise, LGBTQ Nation ran a poll recently for 2016 Person of the Year and guess who won? Not some oily Democrat apparatchik or some clammy-handed pajama boy selling Obamacare, but, none other than MILO (formerly Milo Yiannopoulos), senior Breitbart editor and Internet Super Villain famed for his fanatical support for Donald “Daddy” Trump (who will make America FABULOUS Again!) and the “Dangerous Faggot Tour” of American Re-Education camps formerly known as universities. He pulled in 70% of all the votes.

Even more surprising was the runner-up with 20% of the votes—none other than conservative Republican Vice President-Elect Mike Pence! No-one else came close. Go figure. Next time some pinko tries to tell you that the LGBTQ community is so prog, point them to this.
Rebel Yell

Michael Lewis: The Undoing Project

 

Michael Lewis is the author of books on Wall Street: Flash Boys, The Big Short,  and Moneyball. He recently published The Undoing Project: a friendship that changed our minds. The book recounts the extremely productive intellectual relationship between two Israeli psychologists, Amos Tverski, and Daniel Kanneman.

The essence of the Tverski/Kanneman approach was to look at the way the human mind has characteristic ways of miscalculating probabilities, such as risks, chances and expected outcomes.

When I first read Daniel Kanneman’s Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, I confess that I was irked, and that in some sense I thought the author was just being a smart-ass. I gather from reading Micheal Lewis that my reaction is quite common,  because the results are so devastating to one’s belief that, more or less, we humans get it right. We do, and we do not. Kanneman and Tverski show how we do not correctly appreciate risks,  in quite exact and well described ways. By so doing they launched a direct attack, via statistical results from psychology, on the notion of the economically rational man. More than this, their thinking about our error-pronedness  has had an effect on how hospitals treat  patients, even so far as why cell phone use while driving has been banned, and why governments now enroll you automatically for benefits rather than expect you to tick a box to express your assent.

Oban once remarked that “economics was a peculiarly anorexic discipline”, because of the extreme narrowness of assumptions about human behaviour and the excessive mathematization of the issues with which it deals. The mathematization allows for precision, but the assumptions that allow the mathematical approach drastically limit the range of thequestions that may be asked. Nowadays the works of Tversky/Kanneman are among the most cited works in economics papers.

The Lewis book examines the remarkable collaboration between two utterly different psychological types as represented in Kanneman and Tversky. It also covers the effects of their thinking on other domains. I recommend it highly.

For a more complete discussion of the Tversky/Kanneman approach to thinking, you will well served by Kanneman’s Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow.

 

 

 

 

 

George Soros analyzes the world situation, and fails the test

 

 

George Soros has published a state of the world letter at Project Syndicate, which I recommend you read. His analysis shares several important features with Donald Trump’s, and gives insight into a man who otherwise consistently misapprehends what is the real threat to an open society, of the type to which every reader of this blog is committed, I can say without fear of contradiction.

First he shares the concerns of Karl Popper for the preservation of what Popper called “the open society”, the kind we live in, and the defence of same against closed societies, such as Russia, and other tribal or mafia states.

Second, he adverts to the liberalization of the flows of capital after the fall of Communism in 1989.

The major development since then has been the globalization of financial markets, spearheaded by advocates who argued that globalization increases total wealth. After all, if the winners compensated the losers, they would still have something left over.

As with Trump, Soros feels that the losers were not compensated adequately, a point they share in common. Soros continues:

 

Because financial capital is an indispensable ingredient of economic development, and few countries in the developing world could generate enough capital on their own, globalization spread like wildfire. Financial capital could move around freely and avoid taxation and regulation.

Soros should know whereof he speaks.

Globalization has had far-reaching economic and political consequences. It has brought about some economic convergence between poor and rich countries; but it increased inequality within both poor and rich countries. In the developed world, the benefits accrued mainly to large owners of financial capital, who constitute less than 1% of the population. The lack of redistributive policies is the main source of the dissatisfaction that democracy’s opponents have exploited.

In particular, Soros observes that the European Union has stopped being a relationship among peers and has become an arrangement between creditor and debtor countries. Institutional rigidity in the treaty uniting Europe, and the inability to fix what is wrong with the Maastricht Treaty, have compounded the trouble.

So far so good. Globalization has been bad for certain groups, and the European Union is dysfunctional. At this point Soros steps off the mesa and starts walking on air, à la Wiley Coyote. Enter the archvillain Vladimir Putin.

“At first, he [Putin] tried to control social media. Then, in a brilliant move, he exploited social media companies’ business model to spread misinformation and fake news, disorienting electorates and destabilizing democracies. That is how he helped Trump get elected.”

“With economic growth lagging and the refugee crisis out of control, the EU is on the verge of breakdown and is set to undergo an experience similar to that of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Those who believe that the EU needs to be saved in order to be reinvented must do whatever they can to bring about a better outcome.”

With the exception of his demonization of Putin, I am not sure there is much to distinguish his views of what is going on in Europe and the world from those of Trump or Nigel Farage. So why the hostility to both from Soros?

What I find ludicrous in all the ravings of the anti-Trumpists, is their total and complete misperception of Trump, who is the least right-wing, least ideological, least establishmentarian, most centrist, most pragmatic Republican  President since Eisenhower. The guy is a positive leftie compared to Hillary, in terms of economic intervention. He only appears “conservative” because he does not give a damn for political correctness. This in turn shows how far leftism has strayed from an economic agenda of wealth redistribution to a values agenda of redistribution of victimhood.

The political positions which anti-Trumpists take in consequence, of supporting the arch-globalizer Hillary Rodham Clinton, against the conclusions of their own analysis, is incomprehensible.

Yet there is some element of Jewish political hysteria  at play here in Soros and other neo-conservatives. Those who are always sniffing for Nazis are quick to perceive it in any popular movement of ordinary people to reject the terms of governance laid down by the political classes. Thus Soros can talk of a refugee crisis but not of an Islamic invasion crisis. Soros can observe the destruction of faith in the European Union but is reluctant to see any merit in those who oppose its plans for further integration into the politically irresponsible morass of the European pan-state.

I cite David Goldman, who channels Spengler, in his latest analysis of the mess that Jewish neo-conservatives have got themselves into by opposing Trump. It is relevant to the claims about Jewish political hysteria that I made above.

Goldman cites Irving Kristol:

“Jews to this day continue to combine an almost pathologically intense concern for politics with a seemingly equally intense inclination toward political foolishness, often crossing over into the realm of the politically suicidal,” wrote the late Irving Kristol, the original neoconservative. His son Bill Kristol proved the Jewish proclivity for political hara-kiri remains undiminished in his generation by doing everything he could to prevent the election of Donald Trump—along with such high-profile Jewish conservatives as pundit Charles Krauthammer and Commentary  Editor John Podhoretz.

I find that Soros, Krauthammer, Kristol , Podhoretz and others, though different in their politics, are alike in being highly intelligent and completely unable to understand the Trump phenomenon. Indeed, they are barking up the wrong tree. They are not alone in their folly, as many a goyish Democrat will  attest, but when all you have is the hammer of anti-Nazidom, everyone is suspected to be Nazi nail. It is time to stop looking for Hitler in every goy.

_____________________

If there were any further evidence needed that the enemies of the Jews are now on the left, look at the lead article in the National Post today. Alan Dershowitz now realizes that Obama has betrayed the Jews. A little late, don’t you think, Alan? This is why every ignorant 18 year old will trust an experienced  sergeant to lead them in battle in preference to an officer whose only military education has been to read books. And this is why the  cunning of Trump has been preferred to the vapidity of his former rival, Hillary Clinton.

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And for a devastating critique of Soros, who is blamed for the destruction of the Democratic Party, read this from Daniel Greenfield:

Trump’s victory, like Brexit, came because the left had left the white working class behind. Its vision of the future as glamorous multicultural city states was overturned in a single night. The idea that Soros had committed so much power and wealth to was of a struggle between populist nationalists and responsible internationalists. But, in a great irony, Bush was hardly the nationalist that Soros believed. Instead Soros spent a great deal of time and wealth to unintentionally elect a populist nationalist.

Leftists used Soros money to focus on their own identity politics obsessions leaving the Dems with little ability to interact with white working class voters. The Ivy and urban leftists who made up the core of the left had come to exist in a narrow world with little room for anything and anyone else.

Soros turned over the Democrats to political fanatics least likely to be able to recognize their own errors. His protégés repeated the great self-destruction of the Soviet Union on a more limited scale….

George Soros spent a fortune to turn a national party favorable to the left into an organization that has difficulty appealing to anyone not on the left. He wanted to control a country he did not understand. And, as the left so often does, he achieved his goals and in doing so destroyed them.