Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Roots of Jew Hatred [UPDATED]

The massacre of Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue last week was the most deadly attack on Jews in our nation's history.  And while a single deranged person did this on his own, these things do not happen in a vacuum.

Being Jewish myself, I always assumed Jew hatred was based on ancient gripes that only simple minds could abide, and since simple minds would always be around, so would Jew hatred.  I still believe that, but I've also seen how contemporary words and attitudes play a role in causing men to act on those ancient gripes.

While my last name is distinctly German, my family all originated in Russia, and I can't trace a single family member back to Germany.  Jewish persecution in Germany goes back much further than the modern holocaust and Hitler's Nazis.

Jews began being murdered in Germany en masse way back in the 11th century.  Not only were Jews a religious minority, they were also accused of usury, causing plagues, and, of course, killing Jesus.  Back then, the church prevented Christians from lending money, so if you borrowed money, you were probably indebted to a Jew.  Moreover, Jews were frozen out of many professions including farming, and thus were less susceptible to plagues which tended to affect agrarian populations.  These things formed the basis of Jew hatred.  Then came the Crusades in the 11th century and Jews began their long history of being slaughtered by Germans.

Despite that, many Jews survived and remained in Germany after the Crusades.  Some even thrived.  But then came Martin Luther.           

In 1543, a German named Martin Luther wrote a 75 page screed called "The Jews and their Lies".  It instantly became a best-seller.  Luther was a key figure in the Protestant Reformation and one of the most influential Christians in history.  He was also a rabid Jew hater.   His book laid out the case that ultimately led to the bulk of the Jews being driven from Germany, and 400 years later, the Holocaust of WWII.

Luther labeled Jews as vermin, vipers, dumb, miserable, stupid, fools, blind, senseless, thieves, and usurers.  To deal with them, his recommendations included burning their synagogues, burning their houses, not allowing them safe passage on roads, forcing them into labor,  and killing them. 

Here's a sample of his conclusions:
Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them, as Moses did in the wilderness, slaying three thousand lest the whole people perish.

These words have reverberated throughout history.

Which brings me to my point.  In the wake of the slaughter in Pittsburgh, many are looking to point fingers and find out what led this deranged man to take action.  What ideas filled the vacuum of his twisted mind?  Who knows. The only thing we do know is that he was not a Donald Trump supporter.  He was listening to other voices.

A week before the murders, a modern American religious leader and influential Democrat named Louis Farrakhan went on a Jew hating rant in front of a large cheering crowd, and then followed up with this Tweet:

As far as I can tell, no prominent Democrat has publicly and emphatically condemned Louis Farrakhan for this latest Jew hating rant.  None.  Not one. 

Words and ideas matter.  They echo through history.  As a Jew, I must shine a light on this and point out its pedigree.

[UPDATE 11/4/18]
Louis Farrakhan is currently in Iran and chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel".  Democrat leaders have remained steadfast in their.....complete and absolute silence.   

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Why The Pipe Bombs Did Not Come From A Conservative: [UPDATED]

Several prominent Democrats and Liberals recently received pipe bombs in the mail.  It goes without saying that this is wrong regardless of who did it.  And while I have no idea who actually did this, I have a pretty good idea who did NOT do it:  this was not done by a Conservative!

That doesn't mean it's necessarily  a "false flag" act by a Liberal.  It could be a deranged Liberal who hates these people.  It could be a deranged Liberal with a single issue gripe.  But it most likely is not a Conservative.

How can I be so sure?       

Pre-emptive political violence is a phenomenon of Liberal behavior.  Take the example of Presidential assassinations; no President has ever been assassinated by a Conservative:

  • Lincoln, a Republican, was killed by a Democrat actor. (the Robert DeNiro or Alec Baldwin of his day?)
  • Garfield, a Republican, was killed by a deranged person ostensibly from the same party, but he was a lawyer who spent time on a "free sex" commune.  No Conservative, he. 
  • McKinley, a Republican, was killed by an Anarchist.
  • Kennedy, a Democrat, was killed by a Communist.
What are the odds this is a coincidence?

And take for example what's been going on recently:

  • Senator Rand Paul has been shot at, physically attacked at his home, and had his family threatened by an ax.  Three separate incidents, all by violent Liberals.
  • Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman, has had constant threats on his life, the most recent resulting in the arrest of a Liberal who specifically threatened to murder his kids.  
  • EPA Chief Scott Pruitt was verbally assaulted by a Liberal while dining in a restaurant.
And these were just the names beginning with "P" on a single recent news day!  I could go on with every other letter of the alphabet based on recent events, all the way up to and including today.  Nothing approaching this happened during Obama's eight years when Conservatives routinely but peacefully opposed his policies.

What explains this phenomenon?  

At the root of the Liberal/Conservative divide on violence are four intertwined dichotomies: 

First, at the base level, Liberals and Conservatives make decisions through different pathways. Liberals decide emotionally, and Conservatives decide rationally.  That’s not to say anyone makes decisions entirely one way or the other.  It's a matter of degree.  Think of the Yin Yang Taoist symbol where each side has a piece of the other.  Violence is an emotional response to political differences.   

The second part has to do with limiting principles.  A rational mind understands the concept of limiting principles and operates within those constraints.  An emotional mind knows no limits. Everything is on the table.  That’s why artists, musicians,  entertainers, and entrepreneurs tend to fit in the Liberal category.  These are the people you want to party with, and whose concerts you want tickets for.  But it’s also why violence is an option; if everything is on the table, nothing is not.

Third, is the difference between Liberals and Conservatives on the importance they place on the individual vs the collective.  Conservatives believe that individual rights are supreme over any group or collective.  Liberals believe the opposite, putting group and collective rights at the top.  Therefore, an individual or several individuals can literally become sacrifices to aid a group or a larger collective. Millions have been killed under this Liberal assumption in socialist countries by the likes of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, etc.  A Conservative respects the rights of individuals, including Liberals, to live in peace.  Liberals have no such qualms.   

Fourth has to do with an understanding of the nature of man.  Conservatives intuitively understand that any sustainable system must acknowledge the nature of man.  Liberals believe that they can control men, essentially denying their nature.  This cannot be done without totalitarian control, and totalitarian control can only be obtained through force and violence.     

A nominal Republican or Trump supporter could indeed go haywire and send bombs to Liberals and Democrats, but it won't be a Conservative one.    

That, I can tell you!

Racist violence is usually portrayed as coming from the "far right", the implication being that it is Conservative violence.  It is not.  For example, when the "Alt-Right" marched in Charlottesville and a  participant drove into protesters killing a woman, the media portrayed this as being the act of a Conservative.  Watch this Prager U video below to understand why this is not the case.  (Hint: the alternative to the Right is the...Left.  Hence, the Alt-Right is actually Left and has three core beliefs that are in direct opposition to what Conservatives believe.  Watch the whole video:)

Well, of course he's been caught, and while he IS an outspoken Trump supporter... he's NOT any kind of conservative.  This perp is a career criminal / male stripper who's been exhibiting deranged behavior for 30 years.  His long list of prior arrests includes bomb threats, domestic violence, theft, and drugs.  He was a whack-job long before Donald Trump ever came on the scene.  Behold Cesar Sayoc, the new face of "conservatism" according to the Pop Media:


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Trump vs. The Fed

Donald Trump has been causing eyes to roll in the economic community by taking on the Federal Reserve in a very Trumpian way.  "I think the Fed has gone crazy", said the President who appointed the current Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell.  Why is Trump doing this?  What is going through his mind?

Here's a guess: Perhaps Donald Trump knows his economic history?

One of the untold stories of the financial crisis in 2008 is how the Federal Reserve under the very respected Ben Bernanke collapsed the housing market by raising rates too high and too fast.  Ben Bernanke became Fed Chairman February 1, 2006 when the Fed target rate had already been raised by Alan Greenspan to 4.25%. The day Bernanke became Chairman he raised the Target Rate to 4.5%, but he didn’t stop there. He kept raising until July 1, 2006 when the Fed Funds Target hit 5.25%.  So, from July 1, 2004 to July 1, 2006 the Fed raised its Target Rate from 1.00% to 5.25%, an increase of 425% in two years.  Imagine if food or gas went up by 425%!  Shortly thereafter the yield curve was negative and the rest is history.  

As of today, the Fed has gone from 0.25% to 2.25%, in under three years, an increase of 800%!  Granted, the percent increase means less when below the Goldilocks neutral interest rate and the denominator is so small, but respected Fed Chairmen have been "wildly" wrong about that before.   If Powell is wrong, 800% IS crazy. 

And why does the Fed always do this when Republicans are in the White House?    

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Why Trump Is Right About Global Warming [UPDATED]

There are many things a President can do.  Controlling the weather is not one of them.  Yet Lesley Stahl chose to begin her 60 Minutes interview with Donald Trump by badgering him about global warming and hurricanes!  Sure, there are geopolitical and domestic crises to deal with, and sure, half the country is currently waging a civil war, and sure, top Democrat leaders are calling for violence on a daily basis, but why don't you do something to make it nicer outside, Mr. President? 

Instead of kowtowing to political correctness, this President did what he always does and laid a truth bomb on the clueless Ms. Stahl:   

Lesley Stahl: Do you still think that climate change is a hoax? 
President Donald Trump: I think something's happening. Something's changing and it'll change back again. I don't think it's a hoax, I think there's probably a difference. But I don't know that it's manmade. I will say this. I don't wanna give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don't wanna lose millions and millions of jobs. I don't wanna be put at a disadvantage. 
Lesley Stahl: I wish you could go to Greenland, watch these huge chunks of ice just falling into the ocean, raising the sea levels. 
President Donald Trump: And you don't know whether or not that would have happened with or without man. You don't know.

Indeed she doesn't.  And the truth is, all evidence points to climate and weather as being natural phenomena, with man being a global non-factor.

Here's some scientific proof for those open to skepticism on the issue of manmade climate change:

  • The Earth is 4.5 billion years old.  (That's billion, with a b.)  
  • What the data show is a remarkable cycle of cooling and warming at least every 100,000 years.  Like clockwork. 
  • If that trend has been consistent for 4.5 billion years, there have been at least 45,000 such cycles on Earth.  
  • That's 45,000 cycles of global cooling followed warming!  
  • Not a single one of those cycles was caused by man.
  • The ice core data also show that CO2 changes lag temperature changes by 1200 + or - 700 years.  In other words, CO2 doesn't drive climate, climate drives CO2!  This is the opposite of what the warmists have been telling you. (Here's an analysis of the lag for those interested.)       

How many people like Ms. Stahl, who are convinced that Hurricane Michael and Greenland's melting glaciers are caused by man, even know there have already been at least 45,000 natural global warmings in Earth's history?  And how many people know that the historical record shows the opposite of what the warmists have been telling you about CO2?

[UPDATE] For a full guide to Global Warming (aka Climate Change) read,  "Fact Check: The Truth About Global Warming"

[UPDATE]  Also, here is a brilliant debunking of the entire premise and theory of manmade CO2 climate change that aired on the BBC:

Friday, September 28, 2018

A Kavanaugh Prediction... [UPDATED]

They tried attempted rape.  They tried attempted manslaughter.  They tried drugs.  They tried booze.  And they even tried gang rape.  So far nothing has worked. 

Now it appears they have one more week before the floor vote thanks to Jeff Flake.  What do you suppose will magically appear in the coming week?  Hmmm...something's missing from that above list.      

I hate to make predictions because I don't have a crystal ball.  But I do have a darn good rear-view mirror! 

The next allegation against Brett Kavanaugh will be so obvious when it hits that you will instantly know what I'm getting at.

Stay tuned...

[UPDATE]  Now they're trying perjury, saying Kavanaugh lied about his drinking during testimony.  He didn't, and it won't work.  And perjury is not the final gambit in any event.  What I'm predicting is an old, old standby in the left's playbook.  (Hint: it starts with R and ends in ISM...)

[UPDATE2]  While this prediction did not pan out, race was brought into the debate.  Brett Kavanaugh was guilty because he is a male member of the white race and, well, all white men rape... or something.  And the judiciary committee Republicans were all white men too! Watch as the left media fixates on "white men"...

[UPDATE3]  If you want to see just how deeply race was inserted into the Kavanaugh kerfuffle, watch Tucker Carlson's wrap-up the Monday after Kavanaugh was approved: (If you just want the race discussion, skip to 7:26)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Sorry, We're Already a Socialist Country [UPDATED]

The Undiepundit Socialist Index:

First, let's talk about socialism.

Strictly defined, socialism refers to government owning the "means of production".  That means business assets like buildings, fixtures, tools, machines, vehicles, goodwill, etc. all become the property of the state under textbook socialism.  But that's not what we mean when we use the word today.  Socialist Bernie Sanders isn't calling for government nationalization of business assets.  He just wants medicine, education, housing, food, transportation, etc. provided for free to anyone who wants it, whether a citizen or not. How he intends to do that and how the quality of those things will be affected is never explained.

And that's the point; socialism is not a specific policy-set.  It's more a mindset.  It starts out being about economic issues, and it ends up being about power.

Here's a simple test:  if you believe that the federal government should provide basic human services to everyone for free, then you are a socialist.  If you understand that this kind of cure is always worse than the disease, then you are not.

Again, that's when the FEDERAL government does it.  State and local governments providing basic human services is another matter.  States cannot print and borrow money like the federal government can.  This imposes "limiting principles" on their largess.  States must make ends meet when they go socialist; they cannot hide insolvency for very long.  The U.S. federal government has no such limiting principles.

The U.S. government has found myriad ways to socialize whole sectors of our economy without making ends meet or doing it openly.  For example, in the 1990s the U.S. federal government wanted to massively subsidize housing, but they were unwilling to raise the revenue to pay for it.  So, they simply changed the mortgage requirements.  All of a sudden, any person regardless of credit history could obtain a mortgage.  It worked fabulously well for over a decade until the housing market stalled in 2006.  By 2008, the entire financial system of the planet was in ruins.

Very little has changed. No one would accuse Donald Trump of being a socialist, yet under him every new mortgage in the U.S. is owned by a government sponsored enterprise (GSE) like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  Those same GSEs were the epicenter of the financial crisis in 2008.  The unfunded liabilities of Fannie and Freddie do not appear as "spending" until a crisis hits, as it did during the sub-prime financial mess.  You can see the effects on the graph above.

But we've been pretty socialist since about 1982.  That's when government spending first consumed over 50% of the private sector in the U.S..  50% is the tipping point.  When half the population becomes dependent on government, they tend to vote accordingly.  Before long it leads to "totalitarian" socialism. 

Why totalitarian?  Because without "limiting principles", socialism eventually requires force.  Once the predominant belief is that the federal government should provide basic needs for free, then those needs become "rights".  Once those needs become "rights", it's only a matter of time before that necessitates confiscation of wealth and power.  Your money, your power, your freedom, must all be subordinated for the "rights" of others.  Without limiting principles this has been proven throughout history.

Limiting principles are what saved the Scandinavian countries.  They reversed course from socialism because they were constrained by limiting principles.  Prior to the 1960s the Scandinavian countries were free market exemplars of health, literacy, productivity, and happiness.  Then in the 1960s they became enamored with socialism.  After about fifty years of progressive socialism they realized the cure was worse than the disease.  Wealthy citizens were fleeing, businesses were moving, economies were lagging, birthrates dropped, labor was being imported at unsustainable rates, and the fiscal trajectory was ominous.  These countries are relatively small compared to the U.S. and do not control the world's reserve currency.  Those on the Euro do not even control their own currency! They have built in limiting principles.  So they changed course.

Today, Scandinavian countries still retain some of the legacy socialist items, but the mindset has changed.  The Prime Minister of Denmark recently admonished Bernie Sanders for calling Denmark a socialist country.  In a 2015 speech at Harvard he said:
"I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy."
Sweden also backtracked, and both countries improved.

Similar results can be seen in the U.S. after the modest two year Trump reversal that is evident on the graph above.  To be clear, many manifestations of Trump's reversal cannot be seen in the numbers. Deregulation, a huge part of Trump's reversal, does not appear immediately on a spending graph.

But Trump is an anomaly.  We can see that the socialist mindset has inexorable momentum.  We were at 10% on the Undiepundit Socialist Index when WWI broke out.  One hundred years later, we averaged about 70% under Barack Obama.  Notice: the other two big spikes were for major World Wars!

So why doesn't it feel like we live in a socialist country?  If government was consuming 70% of the private sector from 2008-2016, wouldn't we sense that and change course?  No, because we were insulated due to massive borrowing, printing, and near 0% interest rates.  During that period the  federal debt doubled from $10 to $20 TRILLION and the Federal Reserve Bank added another $3.5 TRILLION to its balance sheet. You can hide a lot of economic signals when you create 13.5 TRILLION dollars from thin air.   At least temporarily.  The dollar's status as the world's reserve currency removes ALL limiting principles.

Sorry, we've been motoring towards totalitarian socialism since at least FDR.  Donald Trump is probably just a speed bump on that road.

It is also worth noting that Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto is the 3rd most assigned book at U.S. colleges today according to the Open Syllabus Project.  Of all the books ever published in history, the 3rd most assigned one is the one teaching socialism and communism to our kids.  You are what you teach. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Evan Sayet: Why Trump is Forgiven for his Lack of Decorum

A great explanation of why Trump supporters ignore his flaws:  Evan Sayet - "He Fights"

Here's a taste:
My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #NeverTrumpers) constantly ask me if I’m not bothered by Donald Trump’s lack of decorum. They ask if I don’t think his tweets are “beneath the dignity of the office.” Here’s my answer:
We Right-thinking people have tried dignity. There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush as he suffered the outrageous lies and politically motivated hatreds that undermined his presidency. We tried statesmanship. Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized “collegiality” as John McCain? We tried propriety – has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney? And the results were always the same.
This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob.
But, read the whole thing

As I've said before, George W. Bush's, John McCain's, and Mitt Romney's Queensbury Rules approach was a betrayal of their supporters.  It was selfishness.  Not that they saw it that way.  They thought answering the Alinsky street-fighting tactics in kind would soil them and hurt their dignity. What they forgot was that ideas, policies, and those who support them have dignity too.  Some of those ideas are even worth fighting for. The truth is,  gentleman Republicans unwilling to engage the  Alinsky Left on its own terms were putting their their own dignity above that of their supporters and the ideas on which the country was founded.  Trump has endeared himself to the keepers of those ideas because he, uniquely, is willing to fight for THEIR dignity.     

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Abraham Trump

Consider the words:
  • He's: a tyrant, a despot, a racist, a bigot, a dictator, a liar, a demagogue, grossly unqualified, lacking in character, ugly, an idiot, a braggart, a buffoon, a monster, foul tongued, indecent, disrespectful to women, vulgar, intellectually lazy, a white supremacist, deranged from syphilis, disrespectful of freedom of the press.
  • His way of speaking is: silly, slip-shod, loose-jointed, lacking in the simplest rules of syntax, coarse, devoid of grace, filled with glittering generalities.
  • He should: be impeached, be removed, go to hell, be assassinated.
Except, these verbatim quotes are about Abraham Lincoln, not Donald Trump! The rhetoric is  identical. In the end, Lincoln was assassinated.  After all, that was the only rational way to deal with a president IMAGINED to be the person described above.

The thing is, there's a big difference between dissent and hate. Dissenters will assert that the other side is wrong. Haters will assert that the other side is evil. When Democrats employ the vitriolic rhetoric they used against Lincoln, they are labeling Trump and his supporters evil.  Once a person is identified as evil, all tactics to eliminate them, including violence, are not only allowed but required.  It's worked against Jesus, Jews, Lincoln, Infidels, and countless others throughout history.          

In both Lincoln's and Trump's case, Democrat civil disobedience and violence began immediately after the election. Southern Democrat states began seceding the moment Lincoln was elected.  Immediately following Trump's win, Democrats were in the streets violently protesting.  In the ensuing months, the rhetoric has only gotten more hysterical, and predictably the violence has metastasized too.   

Ominously, Democrats hate Trump for the same reason they hated Lincoln; they are afraid of losing entitlements. By entitlements, I'm referring to any policy that benefits one group at the expense of another which has become entrenched.   

Slavery was such an entitlement.  It benefited Democrats (no Republican in history ever owned a slave!), came at the expense of Africans, and had been going on unabated for hundreds of years.  Along came Abraham Lincoln, a Northerner, the first Republican President, a vocal opponent of slavery, and the Democrats lost their collective minds.  Sound familiar?       

Today’s Democrats and political establishment have several entitlements under threat by Donald Trump.  Among them are the the cheap labor illegal immigrant entitlement, the open borders & new Democrat voters entitlement, the teacher's union monopoly entitlement, the government workers union entitlement, the Muslim refugee entitlement, the congressional unlimited tax and spend entitlement, the subsidized mortgages entitlement, the pop media power entitlement, the lopsided trade agreement entitlement, the EPA unlimited power entitlement, the radical LGBTQ federal rights entitlement, the federally funded late term abortion entitlement, and many, many, more including the obvious ones like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Welfare, Obamacare, etc.  

After all, Democrats are the party of entitlement and unlimited government.  Republicans are the party of limited government.  Thus, pretty much every Republican since the Progressive Era has been labeled evil. Most recently, Reagan was Hitler, Bush was Hitler, McCain was Hitler. Even Mitt Romney, perhaps the most decent man in America, was Hitler. All were portrayed as evil.  

Now it is getting dangerous. You can’t go to a play, a concert, a restaurant, or any public space and wear a hat that says "Make America Great Again" (like that's a controversial goal!).  If you do you'll be assaulted verbally and/or physically.  At this point, Trump's entire cabinet needs Secret Service escorts just to go out in public.  The only other cabinet member in history needing that level of protection was a Drug Czar under threat from the cartels! 

Look, dissent is a necessary part of democracy. Hatred, on the other hand, is a necessary part of dissolution and civil war. Once Democrats convince themselves that half the country is made-up of deplorable, fascist, evil, Hitlers bent on treason, don’t they then have an obligation to eliminate them? If you are convinced that any Trump supporter you know is evil, where does that logically lead? Hateful rhetoric disguised as dissent can paint impressionable minds into a dangerous corner with no peaceful way out. We know what that led to in the 1860s.

Tragically, we’ve seen the play before, and seem to be rooting for a sequel.


The Anti Lincoln Tradition

How Lincoln Was Dissed In His Day

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Trump Wins Again! [UPDATED]

It may not feel like it, and headlines notwithstanding, but Trump was handed a huge victory in Helsinki.

The hyperbole from Democrats, Never Trumpers, and many past supporters reads like a thesaurus of condemnation. He's committed treason, high crimes, anti-American acts.  He's clearly Putin's puppet, is colluding with Russia, is afraid of what they have on him.  He is unqualified as Commander in Chief, is in over his head, is a joke on the world stage.  He should be impeached, imprisoned, overthrown in a military coup.

What did he do to earn these indictments?

First he was asked by a journalist to call Vladimir Putin a liar to his face.  Trump refused. He knew it was a trap.  Think of it:  Trump is there to establish detente with a temperamental nuclear adversary. An adversary, by the way, which the Democrats have declared war against because they think Russia jacked their emails.  Trump is there acting as a diplomat to cool these tensions.  What purpose would it serve to call Putin a liar to his face?

Second, Trump refused to emphatically endorse the assessment of the intelligence community regarding Russian meddling in the election.  This is another trap that Trump was unwilling to walk into.  Why would he delegitimize his own presidency?  And didn't the FBI's counter intelligence chief, Peter Strzok, just spend ten hours lying in front of a congressional committee?  Who could endorse such dishonesty?  Anyone paying attention knows that the intelligence community has been plotting a coup d'etat against Trump since he came down the escalator! 

So he avoided two traps by equivocating in a typically clumsy Trumpian word salad fashion.  Just like he does every day!  Is this an impeachable high crime?  Hardly.  The American people can see that Trump's critics are falling into a virtue-signaling vortex.   It's a mob mentality.

Take his actions regarding Russia. Trump has been tougher on Russia than any president in my lifetime.  He has hurt Russia by working towards making the U.S. the worlds largest energy producer, re-building our military, re-building NATO, defeating ISIS, standing up to Putin in Syria, standing up to Iran, supporting Israel, strengthening our economy, asserting our power at the UN, strengthening the dollar, and much more.  What's more important, the atmospherics or the results?

Conversely, Obama was caught on a hot mic signaling secret concessions to Vladimir Putin.  Did the pop media condemn this behavior?  No, they covered it up!

Americans can sense hysterical over-reaction and mob virtue-signaling.  Once again, Trump's critics have crossed a line and handed him a yuuuge victory.  They constantly do this and never learn.  I expect his poll numbers to unexpectedly go up once the dust settles on this episode.

[UPDATE 7/23]

As predicted, Trump's approval rating ticked up in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, half of which was taken after the Hilsinki summit.  Trump is extremely lucky to have such inept opposition.     

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Socialism is The Darwin Award for Economic Ignorance [UPDATED]

Socialism got a fresh transfusion the other day with the surprise victory by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (above) in a NY congressional primary.  The 28 year old Democrat is a full-on  socialist whose platform reads almost point for point like the constitution of the defunct Soviet Union.  Within hours,  supposedly mainstream Democrats throughout the country began calling her the future of the party and adopted much of her socialist agenda.  Overnight, the Democrat Party, the party of JFK and "a rising tide lifts all boats" has become the party of "let's lower the tide and ground all the boats"!

Most people paying attention to economic history know full well that all forms of socialism lead to economic collapse and untold human suffering when left in place.  It's not surprising that some would wish that fate on their fellow countrymen, after all some people are inherently cruel, nihilistic, and even suicidal.  But that doesn't account for everyone sucked into this self-destructive vortex.  Some are true believers.  Why is that?             

Pop quiz:   
  1. Who is the father of modern socialism/communism?  
  2. Who is the father of modern capitalism? 
Odds are you will be able to answer the first question correctly and can name Karl Marx as the father of modern socialism/communism.  You probably can do a decent job of explaining Marxism without even looking it up on Wikipedia.  You may even be familiar with the Marxist slogan, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

Conversely, if you are asked who the father of modern capitalism is, odds are you'd either draw a blank, or be mostly wrong.

If you attended a public school in the U.S., chances are most of your teachers were union members. Unions were prohibited for most government workers prior to the 1960s because organized labor in the U.S. began as a communist/socialist movement.  Public sector unions were seen as a huge conflict of interest. But that changed in the 1960's under Democrat John F. Kennedy, and since then government workers, including school teachers, have flooded into organized labor. That's not to say all teachers and organized laborers are socialists.  Most probably don't even think in those terms, but the politics of organized labor leans undeniably in that direction. You may or may not have been taught Marxism in school, but you probably weren't taught anything positive about "capitalism"!  

If you attended a college in the U.S., particularly in recent years, you are very likely to have been taught Marxism.  Karl Marx's "Communist Manifesto" is the third most assigned book at U.S. colleges today.  That's out of all the books ever published!  The next most assigned book in economics, capitalist or otherwise, is not even close.      

So how did you answer the second question above?  In one sense the answer to that one is again... Karl Marx.  Yes, Karl Marx is both the father of modern communism/socialism AND the father of modern capitalism. Karl Marx was the person who defined that term for the masses in his risible critique of 1860s capitalism, "Das Kapital".  

Many scholars credit a Scotsman named Adam Smith as the person whose ideas most influenced our economic system.  Adam Smith’s book, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” was actually published in 1776.  (That date rings a bell, no?)  But the word capitalism wasn't in common use in Adam Smith’s day.  He never used it.  We mistakenly call our economic system capitalism because that's what Marx and the critics called it.  The name unfortunately stuck. 

If everyone knows what "Marxism" is, why doesn't everyone know what "Smithism" is?  Because it’s not taught, except to select economics majors.  According to the Open Syllabus Project, Adam Smith is assigned at a rate about 25% compared to Karl Marx.  "Smithism" never became a word the way "Marxism" did.  You can go through K-12 and well beyond in schools in the U.S. and never hear the name Adam Smith, never learn about his ideas, and never understand the influence those ideas had on the founding and success of our country.

Pop quiz:  
  1. What is Supply Side Economics?  
  2. What is Demand Side Economics?
You are probably familiar with the first term, but can you accurately define it?  Have you ever heard of its opposite, Demand Side Economics?  

·         Supply side economics is the theory that people will SUPPLY (create) more value if they are allowed to function in a free market.
·         Demand side economics is the theory that people will DEMAND (consume) more value if wealth is redistributed to them.    

These are opposite approaches for achieving different economic goals.  Supply Side seeks to optimize overall economic vitality (Smithism).  Demand Side seeks to stimulate consumption (Keynesianism), or at times to redistribute wealth (Marxism).

If you look up supply side economics on Wikipedia, you’ll find a thorough entry along with plenty of criticisms.  If you look up demand side economics, you’ll get... crickets.  The language in this case does not favor the Marxist/socialist demand side ideology.   Hence, it is not even defined.  [UPDATE:  There is now a short and inaccurate entry on Wikipedia for Demand Side Economics.  When the first version of this piece was written in 2016, there was only a re-direct to "Keynesianism".] 

Pop quiz:

The financial crisis of 2008 was caused by:

      A) Greedy bankers, deregulation, George W Bush, and capitalism
      B) Socialism

Most likely, you are 100% certain the correct answer is A.  

No event had a more profound impact on this country's recent tilt towards socialism than the financial crisis of 2008.  It is said that history is written by the victors.  That has never been more true than in the wake of the financial crisis.  Democrats controlled the government commission that wrote the post-mortem.  Barack Obama won the presidency.  Democrats had both houses of congress.  And liberals made the movies and wrote the books explaining the crisis to the masses. Unfortunately, everything they told you was a deliberate deception designed to exonerate socialism, and scapegoat capitalism.   

The fact is, the financial crisis of 2008 was a perfect demonstration of the failures of socialism. Redistribution of wealth, in this case redistribution of mortgage credit, was at the heart of the financial crisis.  At times, the support for this redistribution was bi-partisan, but the ideology behind it was socialist/demand side regardless of who was advocating.

It all began with the affordable housing goals promoted by Democrats in the early 1990s, which lowered mortgage requirements.  It accelerated in the mid 1990s under Democrat Bill Clinton with further loosening of mortgage standards, pressure on banks to write loose loans, and mandates for government backed companies FNMA (Fannie Mae) and FHLMC (Freddie Mac) to buy all the new mortgages.  It finally reached its apex in 2007 under Republican George W. Bush, while Democrats including Senator Barack Obama, ran both houses of congress.

All of the risk from this socialist redistribution was supposed to be assumed by the federal government, mostly in the form of the afore mentioned government backed companies.  Fannie and Freddie were ground zero for the financial crisis.  No government official took more money from these two companies, and at a faster rate, than the junior Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama.  His closest competitors in that money grab included Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Hillary Clinton.  If this is news to you,  it's because they wrote the history.

What they told you was that it was a perfect storm involving greedy bankers, deregulation, and the natural flaws of capitalism.  It was a plausible argument designed to deceive.  Bankers today are no greedier than their banking forebears.  So why did they suddenly engage in such risky lending? Because they were coerced to do so.

Deregulation also had nothing to do with it.  Canadian banks are lightly regulated compared to their U.S. counterparts and none of them failed.  Why the difference?  Only in the U.S. was mortgage credit redistributed.  To make matters worse, government regulations encouraged financial institutions to load up on mortgage backed securities.   Unfortunately, when the scheme went bad the damage quickly spread to the private financial sector bringing the entire global financial system to its knees.

The deceptions about this animated the Occupy Wall Street movement, got Barack Obama elected twice, and are responsible for the acceptance of openly socialist candidates like Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez today.   They are also part of the continuing campaign that has mischaracterized the mortgage market as an example of free-market failure.

The frightening thing about this is, if history is written by the victors and they engage in deception, aren't we doomed to repeat it?  Fannie and Freddie own just about every new mortgage written since 2008, and the socialist policies promoting home ownership and borrowing accelerated under Barack Obama.  We are currently in the process of building a second real estate bubble.  Adding to that are new socialist bubbles in national debt, student loans, auto loans, and equity prices.

Pop quiz:

People love Scandinavian socialism because:

      A) Scandinavian countries are happy, healthy, productive, prosperous, AND socialist
      B) They misunderstand Scandinavian economics and history

Scandinavian success came long before their experiment with socialism.  They were happy, healthy, productive, and prosperous prior to the 1960s when they first began their turn towards socialism. Socialism had nothing to do with their success.  But sixty years of high taxes and socialism has slowed their growth and momentum.  Until recently, Sweden and Denmark spent more than 100% of their private sectors on government - an obviously unsustainable level.  In response, socialist Europe has been freeing their economies and sharply turning away from socialism.  Switzerland, Ireland, and the U.K. are economically freer than the U.S., and Sweden, yes "socialist" Sweden, is essentially tied with the U.S. in economic freedom today.  (According to the Heritage Foundation rankings.)

Here's the thing:  National socialism has never produced anything long term other than misery, poverty, totalitarianism, and death.  Think Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea.  The NAZIS, who brought about the holocaust, WWII, and directly or indirectly caused the death of 70 million people, were known by the German acronym for "National Socialists".

So, that's at the national level.  And long term.  At the local level, socialism can survive a bit longer. Local socialism does not eliminate the incentive killing aspects of socialism, but it does avoid the inevitable monetary collapse.  That's because local governments cannot create money and therefore tend to be more fiscally responsible. National governments can hide their insolvency, plunder future generations, devalue currencies, manipulate interest rates, and cause much bigger problems down the road.

This is an important point that deserves repeating;  socialism cannot work long term at the national level.  The national level is where money is created and controlled.  Our system was never designed to be a socialist system.  The Constitution implied that the states were the proper place for redistributive experimentation.  The conflict of interest at the national level is just too great.  National politicians will eventually destroy the currency, borrow too heavily, undermine the work ethic, and undermine national defense in an attempt to gain and maintain power. The founders knew that.  It is happening today.  We doubled our national debt during just Obama's eight years.  Interest rates were artificially held near zero for that entire time.  If and when rates normalize to historical levels, the debt service alone will cause the kind of pain socialist nations have felt throughout history. We are not immune.
In summary: You were indoctrinated to be a socialist. You were indoctrinated to call our system capitalism.  You've been deceived about the benefits of socialism.  You've been deceived about the evils of free markets.  And you've been deceived about the perils of national socialism.  If you still think socialism is great after all that, congratulations, you've earned a Darwin Award in Economics!