Is Trump Purposefully Dividing America?

Is Donald Trump purposefully dividing America? Absolutely.

Did Obama purposefully divide America? Absolutely.

In the perpetual campaign that being President has become – dividing America is now a highly effective campaign tactic. If you do not like it – look in the mirror for whom to blame.

Why is it now an effective tactic? We have effectively killed the republic. Government is no longer about protecting individual rights but about using its’ extraordinary powers to reassign winners and losers and redistribute wealth. Government is now about nothing more than dividing up the spoils of other peoples labor and life – hence being divisive rather than unifying is a highly effective tactic at getting to 51%. “I will take from that 49% and give to that 51% and I will win the election.” There you have it in a nutshell. Of course the 51% never receives what they thought they were getting but that is another post.

The political concept is that the 49% simply do not count – and why should they if we are going to pretend to be a democracy rather than a republic? This is why democracy is essentially ever expanding evil while republics are the least evil form of government. No government can continue without the consent of the governed – so if you do not like the role of government in your life being the reassignment of spoils do not consent to it and demand a return to a republic.

However – that is not what will happen. Obama supporters will not consent to Trump reallocating the spoils – but they were perfectly happy with Obama allocating the spoils. Trump folks may be happy with Trump reallocating the spoils but they hated Obama allocating the spoils.

The problem here is that government should not ever be allocating spoils.

Yesterday I posted on my Facebook page – “Can put a new sign up on the White House lawn – “Owned and Operated by Goldman-Sachs””

The Trump White House is now dominated by the alumni of Goldman-Sachs. This is not to imply that everyone from Goldman-Sachs is corrupt but that the same policies that Obama followed are now likely to continue in the Trump administration. I have often noted that during the eight years of Obama that $15 trillion in net worth was transferred from the bottom 93% to the top 7%. Those are just the facts. It is fair to assume that the policies that greatly favor Wall Street banks will continue with the Trump White House being just as dominated by the Wall Street banks as the Obama White House.

A great many people who voted for Trump voted explicitly against the White House being dominated by Wall Street banks.

Expect more division.

Trump’s Arpaio Pardon–the Right Call; Here’s Why.

President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was reasonable and appropriate. In short, it was a political resolution to a political standoff. It was the last card in a clash instigated by the political policies of the prior US Administration, the political policies of an Arizona Sheriff, the political overreach of federal trial judges, and the trump card of a new president whose policies aligned with the sheriff rather than the prior administration.
 
Before I try to break all that down, let me acknowledge that the instant eruption of hot argument over the pardon is mostly detached from the facts that make up the story. Rather, it simply reflects a clash of two narratives. A) Vigorous border enforcement good; Obama administration weak; Arpaio a brave soldier; Presidential pardon good. vs. B) Vigorous border enforcement racist and xenophobic; Arpaio racist; Disobeys lawful court order; Lock him up.
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First, and to be revisited later, Arpaio was not convicted by a jury of violating any law. He was sanctioned by a judge for disobeying the judge’s order. Those circumstances dispose of much normal due process, and essentially make the judge, judge, jury, and executioner. The bigger issue is that Trump critics believe this action just confirms his alleged racism and lawlessness, and are rushing to make it the next impeachment level frenzy. Let me also disclaim that I am writing this on the fly, working from recollection, and will need to go back to document and substantiate with links and possibly submit for outside publishing.
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The merits here are more nuanced than the clashing narratives admit. Arpaio went out of retirement from law enforcement in 1992 to run for sheriff precisely to address what Maricopa perceived as a problem of rampant crime and lax border enforcement. President Obama’s record on immigration is complex and debated. Some, including Obama and his defenders when it’s convenient, cite a high level of deportations. However, if accurate, those numbers reflect not border security, but a focus on illegal immigrants who have violated criminal laws. The border itself, critics charge, became increasingly porous and in places in Texas and Arizona, a virtual lawless no man’s land and sometimes warzone.
 
The federal government has legal authority over immigration policy and enforcement. But, two complications come into play here. First, the policy and its enforcement should reflect the statutory law of the land, and not purely the whims of the current administration. Many in Arizona believed they were being neglected and sacrificed to the administration’s desire not to police and interdict border crossers.
 
Second, state and local law enforcement cannot establish or execute immigration policy, but, they have had the long recognized authority, when they come into contact with people illegally present in the US, to detain the people and hold them for apprehension by federal authorities. Arpaio was an enthusiast of this practice. The Obama administration was not an enthusiast of retrieving all the detainees Arpaio wanted it to claim. Among other related issues, it became something of a festering debate between Arizona and the United States, Arizona’s position being: “Enforce the damn law!” and the Administration’s position being: “We are the law.” Recall the spectacle of the faceoff between Obama and Governor Jan Brewer at the airport. Some of the coverage embarrassed the administration. Most of it was designed to embarrass Arizona and to demonize Arpaio.
 
In 2007, I believe, Arpaio had improperly detained for eight hours a Mexican immigrant who actually held a valid travel visa. The immigrant sued Arpaio for civil rights violations. The Obama administration intervened in the lawsuit and basically tried to tie Arpaio’s hands. Claiming absolute authority over immigration policy, the administration argued, and the judge bought, that Arizona had no authority detain people simply because of their illegal presence in Arizona. The administration asked for and the judge entered an order barring Arpaio from detaining illegal immigrants and trying to present them to ICE to take into custody.
 
This was essentially a lawless order constituting an “Arpaio Exception.” Any other police or sheriff department in the land could, when contacting an illegal immigrant in the course of ordinary law enforcement, whether traffic, domestic, or criminal, hold that person and notify the feds. But now, not Joe.
 
Arpaio’s Department said: “That’s nuts. We’re going to keep doing it.” And announced to the public they were going to keep doing it. And so, the clash between the sheriff and the feds continued for a number of years. Obama’s DOJ sought and obtained a finding of civil contempt against Arpaio. Arpio pressed on. Obama’s DOJ sought a criminal contempt citation. The first judge referred the matter for hearing to a different judge. In typically slimy political mode, DOJ brought the criminal complaint weeks before Arpaio’s run for reelection in 2016. Trial to a judge, not a jury, was in late October. Arpaio was convicted and lost reelection in early November. Trump won election the same day, in part running for strong border enforcement and against Obama’s immigration policies. The proceedings continued till the present and the 85 year old Arpaio was about to be sentenced, until Trump yesterday pardoned him.
 
People can and will think what they want about Arpaio and about Trump. As for the disposition of this case, I believe it was the right political outcome of a thoroughly political clash and that Arpaio does not belong in jail.

Distortions And Structural Issues And You

Paul Brodsky had this to say this week

“It should not surprise anyone that Western societies are becoming restless. Trump, Brexit, Charlottesville and, arguably, even radical Islamic terrorism are bi-products of global economic distortions largely created by the unwillingness of the Western political dimension to let the global factors of production naturally settle global prices and wages. (Sorry, it had to be said.)”

“As discussed, the biggest challenges facing the US economy and US labor stem from a distorted global price and wage scale. Mr. Trump’s domestic fiscal, regulatory, tax and immigration goals seek only to raise US output and wages. This cannot be achieved without the participation of global commerce. There is no such thing anymore as a US business that makes US products sold only in the US without being influenced by global prices, wages and exchange rates. The romantic, patriotic “made in the USA” theme does not comport with the reality that the US also seeks to keep the dollar the world’s reserve currency and that maintaining America’s power requires the US to control the world’s shipping lanes. Mr. Trump and his base cannot have one without the other. (Do we really have to articulate this?)”

“Mr. Trump’s “Being There” presidency is reflecting an inconvenient truth back on a society that has, until maybe now, successfully deluded itself into believing government is functionally the glue holding society together. Though he does not mean to, Mr. Trump is single-handedly demonstrating to groups ranging from idealistic Washington elites to social media zombies to southern white supremacists that Madisonian government has become a dignified cover for the financial, commercial and national security interests that control it. We suspect those interests would rather the reach of their power be less visible”

Brodsky used a term this week – ‘fake politics’ – not just fake news. Very apropos – the fake politics covers the market distortions and structural economic issues that the politicians lack the courage or intelligence to address.

The distortions in the global economy are causing structural issues around the world – Trump and all this we are experiencing is a by-product of those distortions and structural issues. I don’t agree with everything Brodsky said but he nailed it with “global economic distortions largely created by the unwillingness of the Western political dimension to let the global factors of production naturally settle global prices and wages” – this cannot and will not last and when the current price and wage regime collapses it is likely to do so quickly – which is why debt is your enemy.

Governments and central banks around the world are going to extraordinary measures in order to extend the lifespan of the existing paradigm – but that paradigm will be ending. When the paradigm ends it will be a global earthquake as prices and wages reset in the midst of mountains of unserviceable debt.

Buckle up…

The Great Monument Purge of 2017. What’s the Endgame?

As activists gain momentum in their drive to remove monuments related to the Confederacy from public places, people from the President to pundits to interested citizens are wondering where the movement leads, and whether there is a logical end point. Keith the other day observed that if the intent is to repudiate defenders of slavery as well as historic figures with offensive ideas about race, then it unavoidably swallows all of the American founding. The United States was tainted in the beginning. Many of the framers owned slaves Those who didn’t entered into a compact that acknowledged and maintained slavery. The logic is inexorable.
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If, in the 21st century, society means to purge and remove from honor all who condoned slavery, we will inevitably pull up by the roots the men and texts of the American founding, sparing not even Jefferson the author of the Declaration and Washington the preeminent founder. The United States would, in this view, be disqualified as a viable, worthy political entity. You might start with the Confederacy, but the reasoning doesn’t stop until Philadelphia.
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Is that, Keith wonders, where the Left wants to go?
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I thought the question was puzzling, because I believe it has been evident for some time that many on the Left are in fact eager to erase and rewrite our founding precepts. They have no use for a limited federal government, for cumbersome checks and balances, for an expansive First Amendment that protects speech and associational choices they disapprove. It would serve their purposes well to disqualify the United States as a legitimate political entity, the better to usher in their desired revolution.
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Still, I believe the slope, perhaps more of a whirling vortex, that Keith identifies should give the Left pause if they consider its implications that reach beyond the United States. Slavery has been a part of the heritage of almost every nation. Moreover, the United States and England were global leaders in the fight to eradicate slavery, which exists to this day, especially in some of the nations the left likes to champion as oppressed by the west.
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So, if the presence of slavery in history or even more so in the present day, is a disqualifier from legitimacy, then the Left has to denounce and repudiate a large chunk of the world: Most societies in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and elsewhere. In other words, to sincerely reject the roots of slavery in any nation, the Left has to reject the human condition, denounce all of history, and hope for some nuclear or biological cleansing event that can wipe earth clean until some Leftist Noah can pick up the pieces and start over.

The Trump Storm, Establishment Elites, and America’s Attention Deficit Disorder—What is Going On?

The inescapable conclusion from watching America’s political and media class shift from one flailing attack on Donald Trump to another to the next, is they believe in their souls that grossness is an impeachable offense. They will keep flinging monkey poo until something sticks.
 
Now, don’t get me wrong. Trump turns my stomach and I did not vote for him. Some friends insist I have to abandon that disclaimer and just full throatedly defend the man and his agenda. I disagree. The utility of reciting that I believe Trump is a cretin who treats personal and political adversaries in a brutish, vulgar, and intolerable way is to buttress the sincerity of the defense that follows: America elected him. They knew he was a smarmy, intemperate SOB when they gave him 304 electoral votes. And Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and the New York Times just don’t get to reverse that because the guy is unsavory.
 
Let me interject here that I don’t trust Trump to have any fixed stars or guiding principles, other than what he thinks is in America’s interest. But, I’m satisfied that he’s at least aiming for America’s interest, not the global anti-West dreams from his communist father or his terrorist mentor. I like a number of his appointments. I like his emphasis on rolling back intrusive, heavy handed, regulations. I like his much more realistic approach to international policy and foreign relations.
 
 
Where was I? So far, Congressional Democrats and their loyal PR firm consisting of the major media have manufactured a series of disorienting frenzies, but, they have not laid a finger on a high crime or misdemeanor. The day after the election, speculation raged about hacked voting machines in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Nothing. Then, there was a supposed groundswell of faithless electors who would change the outcome. No, there wasn’t. Next, collusion became the new favorite three-syllable word of every writing and talking head with an audience. For a stretch of many weeks, it was not possible to attempt to deflect the completely weightless accusations without being accused of being a treasonous toady for Vladimir Putin.
 
Next up, the Chief Executive deciding to fire the head of one of the executive branch agencies was furiously ginned up as obstruction of justice. It took the talents of Andrew McCarthy on the right and Alan Dershowitz and Jonathon Turley on the left to expose such nonsense as frantic hyperventilation.
 
Then, storm clouds gathered over East Asia, and the dynastic fat boy tried his family’s old shakedown routine. Rattle some nuclear sabers and extract ransom from the West. Trump answered with a typically jarring tweet that set all respectable America abuzz in fear of pointless nuclear annihilation. For a week or two, it was impossible to discuss Trump without being accused of supporting a nuclear warmonger. And then a miracle happened. The Jong regime backed down without a bribe for the first time in modern history. No president from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama ever achieved that.
 
About 30 minutes after Trump did just that, the whole issue disappeared from the radar, falling into the Bermuda Triangle of any good news about Trump. I joked at the time that it would be only days until the chattering class seized on its next “impeachable” offense. Sure enough, when Nazis clashed with Antifa commies, and Trump criticized bigotry and hatred, and had the ecumenical good sense to criticize both factions, the monkey poo hit the fan again.
 
Apparently, it is some kind of reverse-Godwin’s law sin to mention Leftist violence when you should focus pure and undiluted condemnation on fascist violence (which is also Leftist violence).
 
The bottom line, the wearying, disgusting offensive conclusion is that there will never be a normal, because the media will pick a theme du jour or du week, and pound the drums for impeachment. America will bounce from crisis to crisis. From. Now. Until. November. 2020.
 
Because the Deep State and its media megaphone are going to nail their target or tear America apart trying. Interestingly, they aren’t lowering Trump’s dismal approval rating, they are just further alienating themselves from their audience. Also interestingly, Trump won the presidency with his dismal approval rating. Americans just aren’t buying what its tired, corrupt, scared elites are selling. So they took a gamble on Trump.
 
Meanwhile, the media does its best to become some kind of hybrid mix of Days of Our Lives, As the World Turns, and Mother Jones magazine.

Welcome To The Echo Chamber

Welcome to the Echo Chamber.

Society is dividing itself into self-selected bubbles of agreement. If what is being agreed on has any basis in reality or any resemblance to a good idea is passé. All that matters is finding a bubble that will not intellectually or morally challenge our beliefs and then attack the other bubbles.

Two nights ago Trump gave what was essentially a campaign speech at a rally in Phoenix. The social media comments were enlightening – 95% of the comments were nothing more than confirmation bias. The very few people who attempted to give honest objective analysis were attacked by the Trumpsters for being sell-outs or liberals and attacked by the Democrats for being racist and haters. This is what our society has been reduced to.

Society is much more interested in yelling about how the other bubble is populated by sub-humans than it is attempting to determine what is true or not true – let alone what might be a good idea and what might be a terrible idea. Rational thinking using facts and other such out dated practices is the true enemy of those in their chosen bubbles.

If you live long enough and pay attention you notice things. You notice that people such as James Kunstler, who became a Democrat in 1972, is disowned by the modern Democrat Party for pointing out that their policies amount to not much more than a wealth transfer to the 1%. You notice that people such as Charles Hugh Smith, who has been a Progressive for longer than most of these current ‘Progressives’ have been alive, is disowned by the modern Progressives for pointing out that the policies the modern Progressives have adopted and propose are nothing more than a wealth transfer to the 1%. That the policies are nothing more than massive wealth transfers to the very richest people is not factually in dispute. The dispute – and why these folks have been disowned – is that they bother to point out the facts. People in the bubbles do not wish to be intellectually or morally challenged by facts.

Many Republicans have been disowned for pointing out the indisputable truth that Trump has no more interest in following the constitution than Obama had in following the constitution. Adopting the stance that Trump will be supported when he does the right thing and opposed when he does the wrong thing – which seems to me to be an entirely rational position to adopt – will result in being branded a traitor and often threatened by the Trumpsters. Once again – the bubble cannot accept being morally and intellectually challenged.

Perhaps the only thing most people now agree on is the universal uselessness of a GOP congress and that Democrats would be even worse.

The interesting thing about a fact-based society is that one does have to agree on what to do in regard to those facts in order to find comity. There can be no comity when each bubble is spinning its’ own fantasies and mythologies and facts are no longer relevant. The fantasies and mythologies are typically justified with false equivalencies and false dichotomies – which often revolve around the ‘other’ bubble being subhuman in some respect. That being said – there are few ideas in human history as colossally bad as socialism – be that in its’ National Socialist form, Bolshevik form, or anything other form ever adopted. Socialism is universally a bad idea because socialism relies exclusively on force.

This new term, ‘Democratic Socialism’, is the very definition of ambiguity. When ask how ‘Democratic Socialism’ differs from Hitler, Castro, Stalin or Mussolini the most common answer is along the lines of “We are not racist.” Well, most people are not racist so that does not differentiate it from anything else. That proclaiming “We are not racist” is viewed as a difference in comparison to other socialist systems tells you much about the history of socialism. Furthermore, being ‘not racist’ hardly defines an economic system. Asking ‘Democratic Socialist’ questions about economics and how things would be done under their proposed system will almost inevitably get one branded a racist – because people are in the bubble in order to avoid being intellectually or morally challenged.

Socialism is inevitably a wealth transfer scheme to enrich the elites and impoverish everyone else. The ‘Democratic Socialist’ cannot explain how what they propose will be any different.

I have often remarked that I do not think Trump has the personality or skill set to do what needs to be done. In many ways Trump inherited a dump truck load of manure from Obama. It appears he wants to hand that dump truck off to his successor – in other words there are many hard problems that Trump declines to address. Obama owns what he left Trump, Trump owns what he will do with it.

That this is the reality of the situation has nothing to do with the politics of the situation. The politics are that Trump and his followers are racist and that socialism is better than racism so vote for socialist.

I doubt those politics will fly very far – but the political paradigm of the last forty years is dead. What the new paradigm will be will not be known until we escape the collective insanity.

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