Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rising wages and politics outside of Cleveland!

Amid the Cleveland Carnival -- with six (count-em) speakers named Trump, and Duck Dynasty stars replacing AWOL former presidents and statesmen, onstage -- I think it best to take some steps back from Ohio and give this week's political posting a wider perspective. I'll offer a final riff on Donald Trump at the end of this essay. But first --

Wages are rising... almost the last piece in the longest economic recovery since the 1950s.  The U.S. economy gets a bad rap these days, despite the fact that it’s doing better than almost every other economy that went through a financial crisis in 2007-2008. With very low unemployment and historically low inflation.

Also  the pace of health-care cost growth has also slowed. For years skyrocketing health-care costs gobbled up a larger share of workers’ total compensation, crowding out wage growth. This is exactly what the ACA promised and its detractors declared to be impossible. Do factual outcomes and predictions matter?

Add to this the fact that entrepreneurial startups, small businesses and innovation, all economic drivers, always-always-always do much better across democratic administrations.

So what is toking so much anger, down below, that even the Fox-Beck-watching confeds know something is deeply wrong? 
Both Sanders and Trump channel rage over rapaciously greedy insider-manipulators.  Sanders points to facts, like skyrocketing wealth inequality, propelled by Supply Side gushers fed into oligarchic maws, approaching levels not seen since 1789 France. 

On the right? Gifted svengalis know they have to point fingers at somebody rich and powerful. And so they choose...

== Blame it all on George Soros! ==

Purportedly “libertarian” newsletterist David Galland has been posting jeremiads putting the entire blame for the world’s refugee crisis - as well as the 2008 bank collapse and every other 21st Century calamity - on George Soros

Well, why not? The party of oligarchy can sense a rising revulsion toward aristocratic rule embedded in American DNA. So pick a symbolic scapegoat oligarch. A democrat! Soros.

Fine, but there must be a core rationalization. Something to make Soros seem equal to Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Sheldon Adelson, the Kochs, The Waltons, Wall Street and the Saudi Royal House, combined! How do you pump one man to loom as the archetype rich (and Jewish) manipulator?  Beck, Fox, Limbaugh and Hannity all parroted the same line:

"Here's a man who single-handedly toppled EIGHT FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS!" 

In fact, Soros had help topping those governments. But yes! Let there's truth to this assertion. Soros was largely involved in sending those governments that he despised crashing down.  Only... do nodding dittoheads ever... even once... lift their heads to ask Beck or Limbaugh or Hannity: "Say, Sean... WHICH foreign governments did that vile manipulator-commie George Soros topple? 
(Actually, the number isn't eight. It is ten.)

The human quality of curiosity is suppressed by the insane War on Science. Still... repeat after me: "Which foreign governments do almost all the right wing shouters credit George Soros with toppling?"

Now you see the Lobotomization Explanation for Donald Trump, since the long vanished days of minds like Goldwater and Buckley. Not one member of the Fox-Beck-Breitbart-Drudge Nuremberg rally lifts his head to ask inconvenient questions.

Are you ready for the list?  
Let’s have a drum roll… or scroll spaces to make you work for it.

.

.

 "Which foreign governments do the entire right wing establishment credit George Soros with toppling?"

The communist dictatorship of Hungary.
The communist dictatorship of Poland
The communist dictatorship of Czechoslovakia
The communist dictatorship of Romania
The communist dictatorship of Bulgaria
The communist dictatorship of Estonia
The communist dictatorship of Latvia
The communist dictatorship of Lithuania

Add in Ukraine, whose loss from the Russian sphere of influence drove Vladimir Putin to a frenzy. Sure, the Russian press credits a diabolically clever and Machiavellian-aggressive Barack Obama for that immense, strategic loss, which vastly overshadows the later, minor-and-expected claw-back of Russian-speaking Crimea and Donbass. But I am willing to toss some credit back in time, to Soros.

Make it explicit. Glen Beck and all those other right wing mavens officially credit terrifying leftist George Soros with the 
toppling of the Iron Curtain, liberating hundreds of millions and the victorious end of the Cold War. That is explicitly and exactly what they have been saying for more than twenty years, absolutely relying on their followers never to ask any details.

Huh.  I thought it was that other liberal (compared to today’s GOP) Ronald Reagan! In fact, they both share equal credit with Michail Gorbachev and with architect of the West’s overall plan of calm containment - George Marshall.  (With Jimmy Carter deserving more of an assist cred than you’d believe!)
  
Look, the crux here is not who actually tore down the wall. 

No, ask why do Fox/Beck/Limbaugh followers never poke at a tsunami of ironies, contradictions and outright lies? The answer is “cultural”… the same reason a million confederates marched to fight and die for their slaveholding plantation lords. It's the recurring American tragedy and it has no solution except for the Blue Union to just keep on winning and moving us into the future.

As you watch the farce in Cleveland, oh, pity Barry Goldwater. spinning 6000 RPM in his grave.
           
== A final look at DT ==

Among the more interesting attempts to decrypt the Donald Trump phenomenon is this well-written, informative and amusing piece contending that it’s all a way to reinvigorate the money-making Trump brand.  

Do I agree we are witnessing a scam campaign or ‘scampaign’? Naw.  Still the author does connect some dots, like the way radio svanarolas have milked elderly white audiences ever since John Bircher paranoia jockeys in the 1950s. In The New Republic, Jeet Heer writes:

“The anti-intellectualism that has been a mainstay of the conservative movement for decades also makes its members easy marks. After all, if you are taught to believe that the reigning scientific consensuses on evolution and climate change are lies, then you will lack the elementary logical skills that will set your alarm bells ringing when you hear a flim-flam artist like Trump. The Republican “war on science” is also a war on the intellectual habits needed to detect lies….” and “an entire class of Republican politicians, including Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, used mailing lists built up in their presidential campaigns to sell dubious products afterward.”  

Including a “breakthrough” remedy for erectile dysfunction. Yipe. At least Bush and Cheney robbed us the old-fashioned way.

69 comments:

matthew said...

"..toking so much anger." Heh. What a vivid description. Drugs as a metaphor for righteous indignation. Nice typo, Doc. I *like* that one.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "Including a “breakthrough” remedy for erectile dysfunction."

They still peddle that shit in the age of viagra?

Anonymous said...

We have elected idiots and our Republic survived. We have elected racists and and our Republic survived. We have elected the corrupt and our Republic survived. But Herr Drumpf would be worse for our nation than all the Bush presidencies, plus the criminality of Nixon and Reagan, along with the incompetence of Hoover, the racism of Wilson, and the sheer lunacy of Jackson. Many have made claims of being willing to move to another country if their choice for president is not elected, but no one ever does. If Herr Drumpf is elected, there will be an exodus. I personally would leave and only come back to vote against him in 2020. Luckily, I am completely convinced that he has zero chance of winning.

-AtomicZeppelinMan

matthew said...

I disagree that Trump has zero chance of winning - I think it is the most probable outcome. He is polling within 5% of Hillary nationwide. The Republicans know that if Trump loses they will lose the Supreme Court. They will use every electoral cheat that they posses and that is no small number. All it will take is electoral fraud in Ohio (already done in 2004) and the usual red states (done routinely). Trump is way ahead in Florida and Pennsylvania polling without fraud.

The only hope for a Dem win is a massive turnout and HRC's campaign has been actively working to alienate Bernie's voters (and vice versa - Bernie's voters are not paying attention to him anymore. Their hatred for HRC is greater than their love for Bernie). Democratic turnout will be small, while every racist in America will try to vote in one of their own.

Liberal and Moderate complacency about Trump will doom us. And the Democrats acting like the Republicans by nominating the next in line rather than the most likely to win? The nail in the coffin.

Lorraine said...

"Also the pace of health-care cost growth has also slowed."

Normally I'd take that as a weak claim, but your previous analyses of deficit spending have reminded me that second derivatives can be important. But surely second derivative stats going favorable toward the end of a Democratic administration sounds like a situation with the potential to go "two Santa Claus" but quick, so we'd best prepare our arguments carefully.

Hans said...

Since the 1980 recession, each recession has taken longer to recover from than the previous one.

See for instance: https://econproph.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/employrecessnov2011.jpg

I think this is a side effect of the Reagan era tax policies, leading to the well documented loss of income by the middle class (wage stagnation).

The fact that we are doing *better* than most of the rest of the world should worry us all.

Hans

Hans said...

I guess I should try harder to make a point about my last post: While it is good that we are well into recovery, the bigger picture message in the data indicates that we need to do something before the next recession.

Not only is it taking longer to recover, but at peak, the recessions are deeper. Since the last one was a borderline depression, I think it is urgent that we do some thing different than we've been doing for the last 35 years. Personally I'd like to see an asset tax, an end to corporate income taxes, and all income taxed the same except for short term capital gains. And greater regulation of complex financial instruments (like those pesky mortgage backed securities based on subprime mortgages).

Tony Fisk said...

Personally, I think that the election of Trump would constitute a tacit agreement among voters that civilisation is over-rated.

Unthinkable, but for the Brexit vote, and the clear fact that selfservative* con men (and women) are able to make elections close run things rather than be laughing stocks.

*I use this term because I haven't seen true conservatism practised by politicians hiding behind the brand for some time.

David Brin said...

AZM: Trump is a symptom, not the disease. The oligarchs spent billions stoking (toking?) white-populist rancor that re-ignited the Confederacy. Like Germany’s oligarchs in 1932, they are now blinking in dismay at what they wrought.

Matthew I disagree with you about the odds. In fact I am taking bets that DT may do so badly that Pence will betray him in October. But I might indeed be very wrong! If I am right… or even if I am wrong… the meme I will push is that decent, modernist folk who like living in a scientific civilization in which markets are creative and competitive and maximize the number of empowered citizen-participants must turn their attention to congressional and state races, so that the madman hijackers of the GOP are fully torched and a sane American conservatism can rise from the ashes. And meanwhile, we get honest legislatures that negotiate incrementally forward for the 21st century.

“Democratic turnout will be small…” I don’t believe it for a second.

Though yes, Bernites did clutch tension in Philadelphia for so long, refusing to hand control of the convention to the presumptive nominee, that things are chaos there. And the panel track I was going to be on now seems a wreck and I probably won’t go, after all.

Lorraine, a slowing of health cost increases is actually huge. It was seriously endangering the economy. Also it must be judged in comparison to doomsday yowls from the GOP that the ACA (which started as their OWN damn plan) would ACCELERATE cost growth.

The one thing a republican cannot bear? Not a black president. Not Trump. It is inconvenient disproof of nearly all their talking points. One after another after another after another….

Hans… I know economists who are puzzled why we have not had a recession recently, since usually it would be “time” by now. Some are starting to wonder if the very slowness of this recovery might have made it stable. I wonder.

Needless to say, the first bill that a democratic congress would pass is the long delayed investment in high-multiplier funds for infrastructure repair.

LarryHart said...

I'm simultaneously laughing and cringing at two proclamations from the RNC convention last night.

In an inconceivable burst of projection, one angry speaker (whose identity I didn't catch) asserted that "Hillary Clinton wants to be president for herself. Donald Trump wants to be president for the country!" Seriously?

Maybe funnier, though, was Veep-candidate Mike Pence insisting that Donald Trump reminds him of Ronald Reagan. Ok, maybe he's thinking of the fact that both men used to be Democrats.

David Brin said...

The members of QUEEN are now chanting We Will, We Will, Sue You at Trump.

locumranch said...


"Wages are rising" only for some: Down for Men ('falling by 4 percent after adjusting for inflation', 1970 to 2010), Up for Women (a 40 year upward trend with a 6% downturn from 2000 to 2010) and Up Up & Away for the Top 1%:

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/the-uncomfortable-truth-about-american-wages/?_r=0

"Also the pace of health-care cost growth has also slowed (exactly as) the ACA promised" as ever-increasing upfront individual medical deductibles lead to Self-Rationing as 'There is ample evidence that people are forgoing medical care due to cost':

http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2015/10/07/trouble-ahead-for-high-deductible-health-plans/

Finally, it is important to note that Trump, Brexit & Nationalism are analogous to many other harmful activities: Like Alcohol, Drugs & Tobacco, all have been proven to be more harmful than good, forbidden as sinful & pilloried by science, yet people still indulge because of short-term enjoyment, individual choice & sheer bloody-mindedness, so much so that all attempts at 'Prohibition' are doomed to spectacular failure.

Whereas DB loves to swing the hatchet, Carrie Nation was the prototype of the progressive reformer.


Best

Jeff B. said...

Strangely familiar themes in a piece by Norman Ormstein and Thomas Mann over on Vox: "The Republicans Waged a Three-Decade War on Government. They Got Trump."

http://www.vox.com/2016/7/18/12210500/diagnosed-dysfunction-republican-party

(Also discussed on Paul Krugman's blog, which raises many of the same points...)

Jeff B.

LarryHart said...

From the vox article Jeff B posts above:

Then a ballyhooed foreign policy speech in late April was widely panned by experts across the foreign policy spectrum. ("A very odd mishmash"; "strident rhetoric [that] masked a lack of depth.") Corker’s response? He praised "the broadness, the vision" of the speech.

When Corker subsequently praised Trump's disastrous press conference in Scotland as "one of his better events" — this was the press conference that mainly showcased Trump's golf resort, and in which Trump praised the UK's vote in favor of Brexit in strongly pro-Europe Scotland, after earlier demonstrating he did not even know what Brexit was — the cave-in was complete.


Those literate in Ayn Rand, specifically "The Fountainhead", might see a reflection of one of the few ideas she actually got right. To wit:


> He had given up trying to understand. He knew dimly that the
> explanation of the change swallowing the world was of a nature
> he preferred not to know. In his youth, he had felt an amicable
> contempt for the works of Guy Francon or Ralston Holcombe, and
> emulating them had seemed no more than innocent quackery. But
> he knew that Gordon L. Prescott and Gus Webb represented so
> impertinent, so viscious a fraud that to suspend the evidence of
> his eyes was beyond his elastic capacity. He had believed that
> people found greatness in Holcombe, and there had been reasonable
> satisfaction in borrowing his borrowed greatness. He knew that
> no one saw anything whatsoever in Prescott. He felt something dark
> and leering in the manner in which people spoke of Prescott's
> genius; as if they were not doing homage to Prescott, but spitting
> upon genius. For once, Keating could not follow people. It was
> too clear, even to him, that public favor had ceased being a
> recognition of merit, that it had become almost a brand of shame.

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul451: You are right. I missed your point. I'll go have a look at how things change using a median measure. Color me skeptical, but I'll go look. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion: I suppose I fall into the camp that thinks a shave won't hurt the folks at the top all that much, but still believe HOW one lives (and how one makes one's living) matters far more than most folks realize, and a shave is less important than reining in parasitism.

Heh. You’ve got a bad case of bourgeois ethics there. Congratulations. 8)

I’m all for squishing/killing parasites, but I’m doubtful that shaving works well when all are shaved. History is full of examples of the shavers being the very people who are the parasites. Adam Smith railed against them. Setting government against parasites would have been seen as hilariously ridiculous during this time. We may be better at it now with our divided governments, but it strikes me as thick-headed to shave the rich, centralize that money, and then be upset when the parasites we didn’t see mis-use it. To prevent this attractive corruption, I’d rather squish than shave and focus on the truly unethical.

I go along with shaving because many people support it and it is far better than doing nothing. Progressive shaving isn’t something I get frothed up over, but I DO occasionally take a moment to point out to its supporters that they could probably do better in this new world we are building. Consider, please, an approach to preventing entrenchment of new oligarchs that does less damage to our honest and ethical heroes who produce betterments that make them rich only to be punished as if they were unethical louts. In a digital world, I doubt we need to lump them all together and there is a huge potential upside if we can avoid this.

Should we sneer at all bankers as if they are thieves? Would we not be better off if we could target our indignation at the real thieves among them? Isn’t our appreciation for the people who make the world better the very thing that motivates them to make the world better? Hmpf. They aren’t in it just for the money.

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB: I am forgetting Jonathan Sills, who commented on the Spectrum. Rude of me. I don't even really know if I actually have the disorder,

Seems to me you’ve proven you don’t. Whether the wait qualifies as rudeness or not, awareness of the possibility is a strong counter-indication.

Lots of us parents with kids on the spectrum ARE known to be mildly/moderately OCD, but that’s so common I’m not inclined to accept it as a disorder. We are the type many employers need when they write job descriptions that request ‘attention to detail.’ 8)

Galtar said...

matthew Said: "Trump is way ahead in Florida and Pennsylvania polling without fraud."

I don't understand how why anyone would think Trump is winning at the polls. Only a few outliers that are rarely right (i.e Rasmussen) show he even has a change. Ohio and Florida show Hillary still winning there. I think the only A rated poll was Quinnipiac that showed any polling for Trump.
It looks closer at the moment due to the convention bump but more than likely that will go away.
http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/

I also find it hilarious that Melania Trump plagiarized a Michelle Obama speech at the convention. Trump is wholly amateur hour. The remaining rump of the Republican staffers are the only ones holding it together, barely.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/20/us/politics/melania-trump-speech.html?_r=0

LarryHart said...

Galtar:

I also find it hilarious that Melania Trump plagiarized a Michelle Obama speech at the convention.


Supporters try to make it no big deal--everybody uses the same words, etc. Detractors make it sound as bad as...well, Benghazi. But no one focuses on what I see as the main point of that issue: that if these folks hate and loathe the Obamas so much, why are they stealing the Obamas' lines as inspirational material? I mean, plagiarism is a form of flattery, so why do the Trumps (or Marco Rubio) flatter the Obamas so?

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul451: Okay. I’ve looked now and see a story I already know and admit. Real wages in the US (denominated in $) have been flat for some time. Whether one uses means or medians doesn’t change the message. Flat real wages while productivity has obviously grown means money is going somewhere, right?

The usual culprit blamed is a new crop of oligarchs because we expect growing inequality to explain this. Another possibility, though, is the ‘money’ isn’t showing up as money, but instead as trade potential in a vastly larger market. For example, when I was unemployed in 2004, I got to see that I was competing with H1B visa folks in my software engineering niche in the US. Some of these folks were willing to work for 1/3 what I wanted. To compete, I’d have to argue I was 3x more productive than them or accept a fraction of my expected wage. I WAS more productive, but I took a mix of the extremes and changed jobs again quickly. The money I did not make didn’t go into the CEO’s pocket, though. More work got done for less money because people were willing to do it and the company was able to compete in a much larger market. The US labor market is protected by a border for many people, but that protection isn’t perfect. Where it leaks, I expect wage pressure.

None of this matters much, though, if you denominate labor in terms of the basket of goods and services we need day to day. I don’t care how many diamond bracelets the rich are convinced to buy by slick salespeople. The average person buys and sells things in the basket, so inequality there is a measure of necessities instead of luxuries. One rich person can’t eat 100x the food a poor person needs, so the price of the basket is a decent measure of what the average person faces. How many minutes/hours do I have to work to buy the gallon of gasoline I need to get to and from work? What about the food I eat? Utilities I need? Etc. THAT is what matters to the average person.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart: My wife's first comment was Melania Trump's speech writer might not be loyal to the cause.

donzelion said...

@Alfred - "History is full of examples of the shavers being the very people who are the parasites."

I think I've been pretty clear which sort of parasites I'm most worried about. Some people regard a "welfare queen" or other freeloader as the worst kind of lazy parasite. I find them far less harmful than the "river poisoner who monopolizes clean water." I believe that sort of monopolist (usually, an aristocrat linked to government) is the kind of parasite Smith was most concerned about.

"I’d rather squish than shave and focus on the truly unethical."
As would I, BUT I recognize the limitations of enforcement mechanisms: trying to convict a single perpetrator of the 2008 Financial Crash would require investing tens of millions for each prosecution (and even then, almost none of the prosecutions went anywhere - it's just too easy to avoid crossing clear lines).

Typically, it's easier for police to catch "broken windows" than to prove and prosecute the "paid window breakers" (e.g., the thugs Trump paid to run out the residents in one of his properties in the 80s so he could tear it down and expand the property).

"Should we sneer at all bankers as if they are thieves?"
Who is sneering? "To those whom much has been given, much will be expected from them" is not persecution, it's a simple, straightfoward principle that reflects a world where some people are disproportionately capable of foisting risks of loss onto other people.

Bankers make their money only as a result of government guarantees (not the least of which is the money itself). While they may believe they are more productive than a great biologist and smarter than a scientist, in practice, they're shaping risk and shifting it about. Which is not simple work, but it's not rocket science either.

"Isn’t our appreciation for the people who make the world better the very thing that motivates them to make the world better?"
Sometimes. Sometimes, though, I think the ones who make the world better don't do it for appreciation, but for the sheer pride of solving some puzzle others couldn't solve. Many sorts of motivation exist, and not all are motivated by the same forces. But I see no reason to believe someone who wasn't motivated by $50 million/year will suddenly become motivated by $500 million/year, nor do I believe their work will be 10x better than the "punitive" little $50/million paycheck.

donzelion said...

@Alfred - "How many minutes/hours do I have to work to buy the gallon of gasoline I need to get to and from work? What about the food I eat? Utilities I need? Etc. THAT is what matters to the average person."

A fair measure, but also -

"Do I have enough money to take a vacation this year? Am I confident enough about my job to actually take 2 weeks off at one time?" Leisure is second to home-ownership in the standard definitions of security and middle class status, and a two-week vacation is increasingly uncommon.

"Do I have enough money to pay for my kids to go to college?" Again, a standard that separates the upper-middle class from the middle class (if you own enough money to buy a 2nd and 3rd home, you can buy a house for your kids, charge rent to other kids, and use that rental income + capital gains to pay off your kid's college bills - but not if you're middle class).

"Do I have enough money to pay for health needs if something goes catastrophically wrong? Do I have enough to retire?"

All of these measures of well-being are based on projections from current expectations (and fears). Typically, those with larger assets WILL take that vacation, will finance that education, and will cover any health costs they encounter. Those without will lose all that.

Berial said...

You can use all the economic theory you want, but when the average guy hasn't seen a pay raise in YEARS, but he HAS seen the management get raises, has seen the news that the business he works for is sitting on so much cash it doesn't know what to do with it. Sees that same management getting RAISES for putting guys like him out of work. He's going to feel he's being, mistreated, to put it lightly.


When the average guy's pay hasn't gone up, but he has seen housing costs go up, food seems to cost more (probably because he's buying for 3-5 instead of 1-2 but he's just gong to think 'enough for us to eat cost more'), and he finds he has to repair instead of replacing items like appliances, vehicles etc, and he cannot afford to purchase the slightly BETTER versions of those things, he KNOWS he isn't 'getting ahead' and leads to some serious stress and in some cases anger that he isn't getting the deal he was promised by parents. Work hard, and you'll get ahead.

So many people are 'one lost job or hospital bill away from the abyss'. It is stressful. Have them be in this situation and told constantly that the CEO's are getting ANOTHER Million for shutting down a plant when the business is ALREADY making profit? There's going to start building HATE.

And I think that's what we are seeing RIGHT NOW with this election. You can point out they are mad at the wrong people or directing their dissatisfaction in the wrong way but it's not going away anytime soon.

TheMadLibrarian said...

The question becomes how can the average guy become informed so that he can not only see who has been lying to him, but see who is more worthy of his support? Bernie supporters were one 'there but for the grace of Deity go I' right turn from supporting Trump, both sides being angry about the current state of governmental affairs and feeling powerless to do anything about it.

Another yardstick of well-being might be the ability to get credit when needed. On one side, you have people who don't need credit, but have the ability to broker enormous deals with mostly leverage and their good name. On the other side, you have the poor schmoes who get fleeced by payday loans and are being crushed under nondischargeable student debt.

I wish to point out one more lefty example of crazypants thinking: hatred of GMOs based on minimal evidence. Revile Monsanto, but do it for their predatory business practices, not because you are scared of genetic plant modification. The science just doesn't show the dangers, and has had decades to find them. Don't screech, lie and fling poo.

Duncan Cairncross said...

A thought on Trump's motivation

Trump inherited from one of the richest men in the USA,

How much are his kids going to get?
If he drops dead today how much would they get?
The Trump "Brand" would be worthless
I suspect that his actual assets after paying his debts are going to be quite low - possibly even negative

Ignoring that just assume that he is worth $5B - how does that work out?
His dad was one of the richest men in the USA
Where would $5B put Trump today? about 100th!!

David Brin said...

Locum… at his best. Even made a point or two that – if imperfect – were not instantly and diametrically opposite to fact. Even about me.

LH: The Fountainhead was without question AR’s best work. And indeed, when it comes to the ferociously competitive and often villainous world of art (architecture) you wind up admitting that Howard Roark was70% right to be exactly the way he was. Things collapsed for her when she inflated this insight to prescriptions for civilization… horrific ones.

Alex, finding the right closeness to shave oligarchs is not a matter for theory but perpetual pragmatic adjustment by each generation, each decade and year. I do know the oligarchs themselves are poor judges of this! What we need is to keep seeing most billionaires earn it rather than inherit. For most having come from new goods and services. And yes, for the 2nd billion to be harder and so on… except that the second billion etc can mostly go to great projects instead of the government!

donzelion said...

@Berial - "You can use all the economic theory you want, but when the average guy hasn't seen a pay raise in YEARS, but he HAS seen the management get raises..."

Well said, though I would pause a little: most "managers" haven't seen all that much in terms of raises either, since most managers were classified as such primarily to exempt them from overtime regulations. They know they're not "real" managers, so they'll work 50-60+ hours to earn their spot - knowing it could be taken away at any time. All those people working extra means no need to hire more people, making OWNERS wealthier, without increasing their income in obvious ways.

It's a variation on my "poison the river, profit from owning the only well in town" story, albeit within most organizations, rather than between an entity and the community.

"...the CEO's are getting ANOTHER Million for shutting down a plant when the business is ALREADY making profit? There's going to start building HATE. "

The saddest thing of all is that when you work people hard, you can also goad them to hate someone other than the person for whom they work - "I hate to call you in on the weekend, again, guys, but if we don't do this, the whole thing is shutting down and moving to Mexico."

The OWNERS recognize how easily hate can be routed in whatever direction they wish - and how profitable that can be. If the people rise up in fury, the OWNERS will have already placed their positions on bets against civil society, and have already protected their investments. They'll laugh all the way to the bank.

Cold, careful, communal reason can check the sort of parasites I'm worried about. The sort of reason that is seldom popular, because it suggests there is no simple solution, no silver bullet, no holy grail: just work, after so much work has already been done.

Deuxglass said...

I think Melania Trump's speech was exactly what Donald Trump wanted. It was a parody of Michelle Obama’s speech. Dems are still falling into the trap of underestimating Trump. You can say whatever you want about Trump but he is not dumb. It was a deliberate poke-in-the-eye to Obama. It was put in on purpose and it was his way if saying to Obama “Fuck you and the donkey you rode in on”. At least that’s my take on it.

I tried to read The Fountainhead in college and after a couple of chapters I found it boring and dropped it. About 15 years ago I picked it up again and found it just as boring so I dropped it again. To me Ayn Rand is just plain boring and that is all I can say about her.

Lorraine said...

Makes sense. Show me someone who even thinks in terms of "plagiarism" and I'll show you an egghead, I take it? In which case we're being "tested" and we failed miserably (not because we care about things like plagiarism, but because we took the bait). I'll confess I didn't realize the parody and poke-in-the-eye aspect of it until you pointed it out. To my credit (I think) I didn't jump on the plagiarism-meme-sharing bandwagon, but that's mainly because I detest bandwagons, and I really really hate the electoral horse race even more and largely tune out campaign-related "news stories."

locumranch said...


Deuxglass is quite correct -- Melania's speech works on many levels:

(1) It was delivered well in a confident manner (presentation);
(2) It was an effective parody of progressive 'Girl Power' feminism (content);
(3) It mocks the triteness of typical political 'Speechifying' thru plagiarism (context);
(4) It distracts & immunises Trump from direct media scrutiny (effect);
(5) It provides evidence that Melania's critics are women-hating 'misogynists' (inference); and
(6) It declares equivalency between First Lady Michelle O & Melania T (comparison).


Best

Deuxglass said...

Lorraine,

Remember when Trump did his "serious president" parody? It is the same thing and totally in character for him.

Jumper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jumper said...

A few points:
Money spent by the rich on luxuries is at least recouped by the makers of the luxuries.
Actually, banks make money from fractional lending. It is government which reins in the extent which it's allowed.
Wealth is not taxed in this society. Income is. You can earn, or steal, all you want and if you get away with it, it's not touchable any longer.
Also, I'm beginning to suspect something that is awful if true: that routine real estate valuation procedures have bubbles baked into them. If valuators are allowed to "bump" a valuation because "housing prices are rising recently" then this is an error. No provision is given to the chance of falling prices. It seems a gambler's fallacy. If true, it's destructive as hell.

Hans said...

I think the next recession has been delayed due to the price of oil (and natural gas) being so low for so long.

Hans

A.F. Rey said...

Deuxglass is quite correct -- Melania's speech works on many levels:

(1) It was delivered well in a confident manner (presentation);
(2) It was an effective parody of progressive 'Girl Power' feminism (content);
(3) It mocks the triteness of typical political 'Speechifying' thru plagiarism (context);
(4) It distracts & immunises Trump from direct media scrutiny (effect);
(5) It provides evidence that Melania's critics are women-hating 'misogynists' (inference); and
(6) It declares equivalency between First Lady Michelle O & Melania T (comparison).


Or these are all rationalizations for accidentally plagiarized Michelle Obama.

Which happens to be the truth.

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/trumps-campaign-finally-admits-melanias-speech-was-plagiarized

Berial said...

@A.F. Rey
Or these are all rationalizations for accidentally plagiarized Michelle Obama.

Which happens to be the truth.


And they couldn't even get THAT to go smoothly. Apparently there is going to be MORE to the story. From the Washington Post. "Did the Trump campaign violate federal law by using a Trump organization speechwriter?"

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion: I’m with you when it comes to identifying the more dangerous parasites. Welfare queens aren’t much of a problem until they become very numerous and teach their children to become peasants. We aren’t there. I’m optimistic that we never will be. The people I worry about are the folks who enter government with good intentions and learn to serve those river poisoners because those external parasites are the only people they see. The danger is that they come to think there service is to a small clade of cheaters. In this way they are corrupted. I know of some example civil servants who prowl for new welfare queens thinking they are doing a good thing. Unfortunately, they remind me of loan officers I knew who prowled for sub-prime customers ‘who needed a little help getting a loan.’ There are many paths to corruption. Once one falls, one becomes a parasite in the ideological sense of undermining the social traits we need in support of trade-tested progress. We can focus on the big dangers first, but we should devote at least some attention to the small ones as opportunities arise.

As for convicting perpetrators of the 2008 crash, you are thinking too much like a lawyer. I’ll settle for a level of openness that mangles a person’s reputation. In fact, I’d prefer that to jail time. There are far, far too many who are responsible in some way for the crash for prison sentences to make any sense to me. We intentionally make it difficult to convict people we know are guilty of crimes and I’m okay with that. This is where David’s transparency interest works for us.

I know quite a few people who sneer at all bankers now. They use a broad brush and blame them all because we couldn’t convict the few and they don’t know the evidence. They make up a lot of stuff and broadly denigrate a large group of useful people. Even you put them down a bit as a class and that is a terrible idea.

People who help make the world a better place, even small betterments, should be rewarded socially. If we only nod our heads occasionally and thank them, that’s enough. I don’t care much what motivates an innovator when they improve the world and I argue we should all adopt something close to that attitude and leave them be in whatever mental space produced the progress. Puzzle solvers can enjoy themselves. People chasing paychecks can do that. Entrepreneurs can do whatever within the customs of their communities. If they manage to improve things, even if that is through creative destruction, we should thank them for the productivity gain. It is the ONLY known method that has succeeded in helping the poor. Charity helps at the fringes. Trade-tested progress is the rising tide of our history and hopefully of our future.

Anonymous said...

Yet more cherry picking of stats of little comfort to those who have been left behind--median wealth in America is rather low when compared with peer nations (19th place in 2014) so it matters little to "those people" if the economy is said to be doing better. Now while having a slightly closer to zero negative net worth is certainly a plus, it's probably not much of one. Meanwhile, entrepreneurship has been on the decline for decades, a trend perhaps more notable than any noise added by the political season, to use the Arctic sea ice analogy.

Now, some blame for the manufactured plight of the median American might perhaps be pointed towards democrat Lewis Franklin Powell, but I could totally see why the average corporate apologist might skip mentioning that, especially when things are, as you say, going so very well. Meanwhile, the U.S. suicide rate has surged to a 30 year high.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion: If the wage cost of goods and services I need drops while my dollar wages stay flat, I’ll be able to afford things not normally included in the basket. Over time, we might expand the basket to include vacations, payments that support the social safety net, ‘forced’ unemployment insurance, and loan guarantees supporting home ownership. Who knows? As real income rises (wages up OR prices down), we become richer relative to what we need to buy and many other options become possible.

Human capital is an investment made by many, but only after the basic basket of goods and services is secure. We can see the economic effects in the West in the latter half of the last century from this investment. My wages may be flat, but my human capital is NOT. Not even close. The same is true of whole nations. Can you imagine a world about two or three generations from now with 50x to 100x more engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs? The more real income we have to spend on human capital the more this becomes possible… even likely.

As for your other measures, I think they demonstrate your full understanding of bourgeois concerns. Only people who earn a living worry like that and want progress. Huzzah! Reward the innovators who make it happen even in small bits and try to defend them from parasites. Don’t protect the people they disrupt beyond encouraging them to do the same and ensuring no one starves or becomes homeless or fails in other ways involving basic needs. Demonstrate through reward what society needs to lift those at the bottom. Trade-tested betterments.

Alfred Differ said...

@Berial: Allow me to be a tad blunt, but not out of any ire directed toward you.

Anyone foolish enough to stay in a job where their wages are flat, the CEO’s wages go up, while the company is obviously competitive and flush needs to examine their own inclination to make a slave of themselves. DEMAND a piece of the pie or get the heck out and own the next pie. Entrepreneurship is risky business, but it is far less stupid that sitting still to be exploited by a management team that won’t reward the very people who make their company prosperous.

If entrepreneurship is down, it is because people are scared little puppies. Get over it! It is better to try and fail (even a few times) than it is to serve on your knees. Don’t wait to learn hatred of one’s masters. Just don’t accept the scraps they toss under the table. Rebel and/or leave. The courage to do so is a useful skill to bring to other entrepreneurs making a go of it.

Alfred Differ said...

So the world gets to see the Trump campaign as an amateurish organization. Ho hum.

The notion that Melania Trump likes Michelle Obama's speech is a nice twist, though. Maybe we should just vote for her instead. Yah, yah. I know she isn't eligible. 8)

donzelion said...

@Alfred - "The people I worry about are the folks who enter government with good intentions and learn to serve those river poisoners because those external parasites are the only people they see."

A possibility, but rarer one than one might think, largely because mismatched incentives drive the public sector and the private sector. When government helps the river poisoner, people have options to change the regime that they do not when private sector does so unfettered (ask Flint, Michigan).

"There are far, far too many who are responsible in some way for the crash for prison sentences to make any sense to me."
My point wasn't that convictions are necessary to rein in financial abuse, only that enforcement is so much more difficult, and that incentives for public servants usually favor "getting the most bang for the buck" and "chasing low hanging fruit." In such a world, those who expose others to risks without their knowledge or consent tend to get away with it, and simply rehabilitate their reputations if they get a small slap to the hand.

"Even you put them down a bit as a class and that is a terrible idea."
I confess I may have done so inadvertently, though my target is not bankers per se, so much as the worship of bankers as a class. The notion that "if you were as smart as me, then you'd have as much money as me" mocks intelligence, and that notion merits more than a sneer.

Most bankers are salesmen. There's nothing wrong with sales, but there's nothing intrinsically noble about it either, and little evidence that it contributes as much to the betterment of humanity as several other professions (teaching, for example). Salesmen should be treated with the same love and trust as lawyers, or any other profession that deals with risk. That may sound like a sneer, seeing as how lawyers are so beloved in our culture, but is not intended as one. ;-)

Laurent Weppe said...

* "DEMAND a piece of the pie or get the heck out and own the next pie"

A threat you can't use when you're only one paycheck away from starving or sleeping under bridges alongside your family.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"A threat you can't use when you're only one paycheck away from starving or sleeping under bridges alongside your family."

It is far far worse than that

Changing employer especially when you change town as well is incredibly expensive and takes a hell of a lot of energy as well as money

You can't use that threat when you can see that you are doing better than many people and that the slope will take you downwards

Jerry Emanuelson said...

"A threat you can't use when you're only one paycheck away from starving or sleeping under bridges alongside your family."

This is exactly why free markets also require social safety nets.

The traditional cartoon version of libertarianism (which many people calling themselves libertarians" actually believe in) advocates a totally free market without a safety net. This, however, entails a situation where you get only one chance at entrepreneurial success. If you have a significant entrepreneurial failure with large debts, you would be doomed to die in the streets under this kind of ideological purity.

You might get around this if you had already become very wealthy as an employee, but very few people are in this situation. The cartoon version of libertarianism is a "one strike and your out" scenario (literally leaving failed entrepreneurs homeless and starving to death).

This cartoon version of libertarianism is the greatest threat to freedom. It is an excellent illustration of the superiority of pragmatism over dogmatism.

donzelion said...

@Jerry - "If you have a significant entrepreneurial failure with large debts, you would be doomed to die in the streets under this kind of ideological purity."

These days, at least in America, relatively few entrepreneurial failures become homeless. This isn't really because of the 'social safety net' (social security, welfare, food stamps, community programs to support the poor, etc.), so much as the "anti-social" safety net (debt shifting, tactical bankruptcy, migration to flee creditors, legal opposition to debt payment that reduces effective debt loads - for wealthy - by 40-90% - and at the most extreme, bailouts). A person with $10 million in bad debt is far less likely to become homeless than a person with $50,000 in bad debt.

LarryHart said...

Lorraine:

Makes sense. Show me someone who even thinks in terms of "plagiarism" and I'll show you an egghead, I take it? In which case we're being "tested" and we failed miserably (not because we care about things like plagiarism, but because we took the bait). I'll confess I didn't realize the parody and poke-in-the-eye aspect of it until you pointed it out.


I'm not so sure Trump is playing chess that way. I think he'd have done a "gotcha!" by now instead of making flimsy, contradictory excuses.

I'm not shocked by the plagiarism aspect so much as I'm amused that she chose Michelle Obama as inspiration. In today's newer excuses, a speechwriter says that Melina was impressed by Michelle's speech and listed some lines from that speech that she liked, which the speechwriter claims she took from her notes directly into the speech without thinking much about it. To me, the news item there isn't that Melina committed plagiarism. It's that she admires Michelle Obama.


To my credit (I think) I didn't jump on the plagiarism-meme-sharing bandwagon, but that's mainly because I detest bandwagons,


Sounds like something Dave Sim said to the effect of "Sometimes, jumping on the bandwagon is the best way of demonstrating that the wheels have fallen off."

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

(6) It declares equivalency between First Lady Michelle O & Melania T (comparison).


And why exactly would that be a positive for Trump? Is he going to peel off Democratic voters because they can't tell the difference between Melina and Michelle? Or will it solidify Republican support, because they all secretly admire Michelle Obama too?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion: As for Flint, are you saying there is no culpability among civil servants? Civil servants are not that easily changed out. They too are unionized much of the time, but more important is they are rarely elected. How many communities still elect their dog catchers? 8)

I sincerely hope the risk of capture of government function by market participants is small, but I’ll admit to a strong inclination to be a pessimist. When one hires from the other to acquire expertise, correlation is swift. When the hiring goes in both directions, causation follows. I watched the opinion of a small office within the FAA shift over a few years from being entirely hostile to my friends to being warmly inviting as their purpose for being. No one intended government capture, but I have to wonder if that isn’t exactly what we tried to do. It’s all about people and who they think they serve, so color me a pessimist still.

Heh. I’ve met those kinds of salespeople. If you are so smart, you’d be like me! Pfft. If they truly are rich, they’ve proven they are alert or lucky, but not necessarily smart. I don’t offer them a sneer, though. I just laugh in their faces and congratulate them on their delusion. Mocking the mental failure avoids denigrating their actual success. I want them doing what they will be paid well for in the market.

Salesman CAN make the world better. They can even do so through creative destruction. It’s rare, but that’s true in most endeavors. Lawyers can too. I’ve benefited from one such person, though he probably doesn’t know it. They all need more than trust, though. They need us to grant them the dignity they need TO innovate in their field and leave them free enough to do it. It’s all right if most never innovate. We only need a fraction of the people trying to produce the real income growth we see.

Alfred Differ said...

@Jerry: Yah. That cartoon version is pretty lame. Fortunately, we don’t actually stick to that. Serial entrepreneurs might be guilty of behaviors Donzelion describes, but we tend to leave the responsibility for detecting such fraud to those tempted to invest in or lend to them. I’ve met far more who simply failed the ‘trade-tested’ portion of what it means to be a market success. Nice idea… bad implementation… busted investors. Dumb idea… decent implementation… investor takeover and repurposing.

From what I’ve seen the cartoon has little to do with the approach in the US. We tend to applaud failed entrepreneurs too for giving it a try. Investors might not clap, but they might not show you the door either if you can show them you’ve learned from your mistakes. Novice entrepreneurs are risky in difficult to know ways. Comeback entrepreneurs might know some of the reefs they could strike.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan and Laurent: Imagine holding a $100 bill about 2 meters off the ground and then letting it go. Ask a physicist and an economist what happens to the bill. The physicist will imagine the question as a kinematics problem and try to calculate a trajectory. The economist will say simply that it will wind up in someone’s wallet.

Easy money gets found easily…

…and our freedom is easy.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: (specific to you)

You can't use that threat when you can see that you are doing better than many people and that the slope will take you downwards

Sure you can. Repeat after me. I COULD BE WRONG.

Combine that with ‘THIS JOB REALLY SUCKS’ and it becomes possible to imagine freedom.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Alfred

I made that decision
In the USA I was a recognized world expert on diesel engine testing and doing quite well

However I was one accident away from a disaster for my family
(As is everybody in the USA except the very rich)

Instead I went to NZ - there is NO diesel engine manufacture here!
So my "expert" status took a big hit!
The jobs I got here paid less
BUT my family was insulated from the disaster scenario

Freedom means nothing left to lose

Alfred Differ said...

I'd argue you chose wisely. NZ is also known to be less corrupt than the US and to have a comparable real income per capita. Securing your family is a good move when you do it in a place where alertness pays.

I trained to be a physicist, but I don't work as one. I'm pretty good at it if I say so myself, but no matter. I'm not very rich, but I'm not one accident away from disaster either. I tested this (unintentionally of course) in late 2013. The medical bills would have bankrupted me, but I'm well insured.

Expert status is a matter of human capital. Keep investing in yourself as it makes sense. Diversity too as it makes sense. Much of the advice a decent financial advisor would give applies to marketable skills too. You've already seen that, though.

Paul SB said...

Alfred,

"Seems to me you’ve proven you don’t. Whether the wait qualifies as rudeness or not, awareness of the possibility is a strong counter-indication."

I'll do my best to accept words of encouragement from our Designated Optimist. I'm probably too tired to do much else, but I do wonder, is it better to explain the quirks of your personality as the function of a disorder, or to accept those as your own? If a person has a disorder, then they are not really to blame for any flaws. But on the other hand, do they get credit for their virtues? My coworkers often comment on how hard-working and considerate I am, but in my mind I just feel like I am doing what is normal and right. Autistic people tend to be pretty rigid about morality, and are compulsively honest. Do I get credit for honesty? Do I allot credit to my children for their honesty, or do I shrug shoulders and chalk it up to the disorder? I see that compulsive honesty as a great thing, but I can also see how it has hurt my prospects in the past, and how my daughter's honesty strikes against her in looking for work (to say nothing of the dishonesty that seems to be the norm in flirting/dating - aspects of human behavior that have always flummoxed me.)

But there's an irony here that strikes me as important: I may be genetically predisposed to be inflexible, and yet I have no problem accepting neighbors who come from different backgrounds, different ethnicities or nationalities, different tastes and opinions - whatever. And yet there are so many ostensibly normal people who start having a conniption if you so much as mention the word "diversity." Apparently the genes aren't quite what people think they are.

Paul SB said...

A thought on Melania Trump: Note the specific plagiarisms (an issue in the minds of college professors, but few others). She went on and on about the value of hard work to get what you want in life, but she did not use her own or her husband's hard work as examples. "Taking your clothes off for the camera is very hard work, and I earned my place in society. Being born the son of a rich man and inheriting his wealth is not an easy job, nor is failing business ventures so spectacularly, yet still managing to get positive press. I am proud of what we have done with our lives and our labor."

Stripping for the camera must be much harder work than picking fruit under the hot sun and making less than minimum wage for it, or managing a farm, or working construction, or spending years of your youth struggling to survive on part-time minimum wages and packaged Ramen noodles while pursuing higher education, which might not get you a job anyway.

Melanie's speech sounded like rich-man's mockery of the unwashed masses, the hoi polloi who are foolish enough to believe that hard work and honest will get them to the top. Gangsters talk this way, and so do "the smartest men in the room."

Paul SB said...

Matthew,

""..toking so much anger." Heh. What a vivid description. Drugs as a metaphor for righteous indignation. Nice typo, Doc. I *like* that one."

Have you read Existence? While this might be a Freudian slip on Dr. Brin's part, the drug thing goes beyond metaphor. Righteous indignation releases dopamine, a key drug we all have between our ears. It may be that our angry mobs of Trump voters just need a dopamine antagonist to see past the fog between their ears.

donzelion said...

@Alfred - My notion that a fair number of market participants earn their fortunes by "digging a well, poisoning the river, and marking up their water" isn't really connected with Flint, though the story is fascinating. The idea is that a large number of market actors will act anti-socially, through schemes that are "mostly" legitimate, but become profitable only upon the occurrence of a number of bad actions.

That said, both government actors and private actors can perpetrate the bad actions - BUT private actors have an incentive to do so, which public actors (generally) do not. To the extent incentives matter, we should expect the problems to come from there (of course, if incentives don't matter, then there's no reason to predict greater risk from private sector actors - but then again, that also means tossing psychology, economics, and most social sciences as well).

"We only need a fraction of the people trying to produce the real income growth we see."
The way I see it, we need (1) someone to produce something (what Veblen would have referred to as "industry"), (2) most folks not to get in the way or try to destroy the productive enterprise, and (3) some folks stopping the predators from poisoning wells.

Every profession could fall into any of those categories, and most, by-and-large, fall into the second - neither creating nor destroying, but mostly, rearranging (which can set the stage for both creation and destruction). But there's good reason to look out for the predators - they do have the power to wreck the whole enterprise (e.g., one crazy president with his finger on the nuclear button, who gets angry about folks calling his third wife a plagiarist).

donzelion said...

@Paul SB - the problem with dopamine released through anger (or any other source) is desensitivity. Folks who are angry enough to support Trump have been desensitized to anger - they hear angry rants every day on FoxNews, which triggers their daily fix for years, but which also leaves them incapable of experiencing the same dopamine until a larger set of actions accompany that anger. The limits to such anger, once aroused, are quite disheartening.

Tony Fisk said...

@donzelion, if you've read 'Existence', you'd know that a little something in the water coolers at the RNC might enliven things.

Apk Download said...

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Lorraine said...

I've found that, nine times out of ten, when a conversation partner adopts the tone of "not being self employed is for suckers" the trajectory of the conversation soon veers like a curve ball and it is revealed that I'm having a conversation about Amway or something similar.

Jumper said...

I had my own little company. I had a bad time and couldn't afford the workman's compensation insurance anymore. I should have chewed one of my relatives' ears off until I got a loan, but I didn't, and that was the end of the respect I got from my erstwhile customers. It's not so easy to go it alone. Plus I was in a fairly expensive bracket.
On the other hand, the power to fire your bad customers is a pleasure I enjoyed very much.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

locumranch said...



Paul451's statement was too true: "Melanie's speech sounded like rich-man's mockery of the unwashed masses," yet all Melanie did was copy Michelle Obama's words & sentiment.

This, then, is the subtext of Trump's message: The Establishment (whether Red or Blue) are a bunch of self-interested Elitists who (1) mouth hollow platitudes about noble servitude, (2) betray the democratic principles they claim serve and (3) enslave the hoi polloi to federal overlords, foreign entanglements and 'free' trade pacts that enrich only the Lord & Master elite.

Of course, Trump is also a putative member of this same Elite but, much like the criminal who is quick to recognise the criminality of others, this is the very reason why the horrifying extent of Establishment perfidy has become apparent to him.

What is NATO, after all, but a one-sided (unconsciable) obligation to protect foreign interests at US expense? I dare you to name one instance (since the time of the 'Marquis de Lafayette') when our so-called EU Allies have sacrificed their resources, their interests or their lives to defend US soil & sovereignty.

Again & again, US & EU Elites demand that their citizens sacrifice their freedoms, their resources & their very lives to defend a despicable Financial, Abstract, Corporate or Ungrateful Other, yet this times appears to have passed as a once anethetised hoi polloi arise from their slumber, eager to regain the 'Inalienable Rights' that the Our Unquestionable Elites claim to hold in escrow by unenforcible social contract.

Best
______

@Larry_H: Comparison asserts similarity & similarity asserts equivalence, so much so that the MSM's inclination to compare Melania's words, intent & appearance to First Lady Michelle O asserts (subconsciously, at least) that Melania is a First Lady equivalent.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

@Larry_H: Comparison asserts similarity & similarity asserts equivalence, so much so that the MSM's inclination to compare Melania's words, intent & appearance to First Lady Michelle O asserts (subconsciously, at least) that Melania is a First Lady equivalent.


No it doesn't.

Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Difference Between said...

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