The Wrath of a failed god: Fidel & Utopian Marxist thought

For those old enough to remember, the soft underbelly of the Pax Americana was south America.  As the House of Saud assisted Reagan in the slaughter of Mother Russia on the southern Eurasian heartland of Afghanistan, the Comintern laid plans to bleed the Amerikans on the fields of Central America.

The Soviet push back was brutal, efficient and ruthlessly ideological.  Although the American regime would win, resolving the world’s longest genocide in history in Guatemala, it was El Salvador and Nicaragua where Fidel and his commandant of Marxist legions would seek to even the score.

If ever there was a true Satanic humanist, it was Fidel Castro.

His legacy is best sought in places far away like Congo, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

There were strongmen or caudillos throughout this realm that sought to try their wares on the millet of ideology.  The late Hugo Chavez took his cue from Castro as Morales in Bolivia and hosts of other romantic ideologues seeking refuge from slights imagined or real.  The fact is, Mexico and other Roman Catholic oligarchic command economies were always home to romantic revolutionary Trotskyites.  It really was no different with Fidel and his brothers in arms.

After the demise of Marxism his new benefactors were a different breed; Damascus, Tehran and the long suffering Shia sought a beach head from which to slay the great Satan.  In a sense, this war is already over, but it sustains itself from the cauldron of hatred that breeds life in marginal folk.  If Castro and his henchmen have a coda, it has yet to be written; given the wide range and reach of militant Shia throughout South America, one should expect Fidel to have his coda indeed.

To the innocent life that bled white under the knife blade of this murderous thug, their lives are redeemed in faith.  As for Castro. . . well. . vengeance is mine, says the Lord. . .

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Mexico. . . worthy of our best efforts

When Arnold Toynbee revealed that the criteria for growth was self-determination, he espoused principles deeply resonating with any nation state alloyed to our Judaeo-Christian heritage.  A love of liberty alone remains insufficient as Tocqueville explained throughout the 19th century; the requirement that cultural-political institutions hue closely to moral principles of federalism, subsidiarity and due process remain inalienable.

This Anglo mercantile heritage never found a home south of the border.  Having monarchist Spain as a progenitor has not helped the vast sprawling southern continent. Change has been slowly brewing with the arrival of geopolitics and globalism, witnessing capital transfers throughout the 1990’s helped pull disparate oligarchies into the productive commons.  When Carlos Salinas linked Mexico to North America, economic integration pulled Mexico’s dominant political class into range of Milton Friedman’s Chicago school of monetarist thought.  Today, Mexico’s central bank possesses leadership rivaling any first world nation.  NAFTA underwrote Mexico’s modernization and liberalization efforts that are only beginning to pay off in petrochemicals, education and medicine.  This is a long slog equal to an act of war, but Mexico is slowly winning.

What team Trump needs to learn fast is that cross border capital flows of $1.4 billion is now inextricably bound to the U.S.  How so?  Mexican cooperation in migrants, trade and drugs dominates any longterm bilateral interest.

Given current trends in liberalization efforts from its central bank, Mexico can be a hot bed for FDI, but the permanent scandal of violent crime continually damages Mexican leadership.  The fault line is social.  The Mexican revolution that began in 1911 ended in a near socialist monopoly of PRI’s one party rule, when that ended in 2000, Mexico’s dominant political class was openly defeated electorally, but the nation states political heritage remained stagnant.  Currently, monopoly power is held by a defeated PRI President, but power is shared by state governments along with binary federal opposition.  This arrangement does not provide any check or balance on the exercise of a federal mandate.  The consequence is illustrated by the larceny of state governors.

How does Mexican political leadership gain traction matching efforts led by its central bank?  With very little time left in office, Enrico Pena needs to appoint a truly independent attorney general.  A grant of permanent autonomy would help shape a federalist structure that would stabilize the rule of law.  Secondly, Pena must tackle the declining legitimacy of Mexican politics.  With a staggering approval rate of barely 25%, Pena must address radical political fragmentation of America’s southern neighbor.

Mexico is worth our best efforts.2a

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In Memory of Robert Bartley: Getting It Right, Again. . .

Anyone over the age of 50 knows the name Robert Bartley.  He ran the editorial pages of the Wall St. Journal for decades and can, with authority and panache evidence his influence in positioning America favorably in its grapple with Soviet Marxism.  Bartley, along with a handful of others (George Melloan comes to mind), are responsible for vanquishing the allure of the collective.

Because Bartley was born in the heartland, is can safely be said that his turn of mind and mores were never influenced by secular convictions.  Bartley and Volcker are perhaps the only master degree conferees who saved the American Imperium.  Everyone else was busy polishing a dissertation.  Bartley and his elk (read Volcker & Charles Wolf at RAND et al) were too busy working, earning a living on how best to defeat Mother Russia. They did just that.

How?

They knew that human dignity requires free markets.  You read that right.  To use the nomenclature of the professoriate, productivity gains happen with surging private investment, that’s what drives innovation.  Want better paying jobs, higher incomes?  Well then, policy matters.

That means a growth surge will require a deferential look at what fortified the Reagan revolution.  It means putting forth and defending economic, monetary policies that eliminate uncertainty and give businesses more confidence for capital investments.  It means tax reform, elimination of regulatory tyranny, dumping the ACA; it means a rules based monetary policy eliminating overt accommodation.

Their’s a sad truth that many administrators at Dow Jones are relearning; its an identical truth most Congressional members of the GOP caucus worry over; how to do it again.

Here’s Robert Bartley on CSPAN being interviewed on how he fortified U.S. executive leadership in its mortal grasp to defeat Mother Russia.

I miss the man.

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Mosul, Madness & Shia Terror Proxies

The gift the Great Satan gave Iran was Obama.  Having sought to burnish liberal principals of disengagement, he opened a westward advance of Iranian ambition from western China to the eastern Mediterranean.  This will not end well.

Mosul is by far the most complex operation the Iraqi’s have undertaken.  The opening phase of encirclement may take weeks, initial reports reveal a quickening tempo among advancing columns of coalition forces.  Kurdish Peshmerga are advancing on three fronts from the east to within three miles of Mosul proper.  The encirclement was to conquer surrounding cities covering the plain of Nineveh, then move onto Mosul itself.  The major thrust of the Iraqi advance was to arrive moving north linking up with Kurds.

The Shia Iraqi’s remain in thrall of American thought to have permitted advance air cover with attack helicopters and small drones.  Qayyarah air base is 40 miles from southern Mosul and remains ground zero for logistical support.  Team Obama gave 600 military advisers for 25,000 Iraqi troops.  This is significant because of Iraqi’s multi-ethnic sectarian divisions.  The Iraqi Shia game plan was to leave open an eastern tactical retreat to Syria. They have, but it remains to be seen if it will be used to decimate the Islamic State.

How should we expect the Iraqi Islamic State to react?  We should anticipate that they gather inside their western stronghold of Mosul and throughout the old city ramparts where smaller areas blunt superior fire power.

Unless the Shia governing Baghdad got their politics wrong, the liberation of Mosul could mark the end of the Islamic State.  Expect guerrilla war, but pray that the Iraqi Shia can surmount a lasting victory.

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Early Modern Period, Political Sensibilities & Rome

Aquinas is considered a Doctor of the Church, yet the Holy Roman Catholic Church’s distain for Republican regimes is notorious.  Possessing an unreformed Augustinian view of both the human person, money, and political order the Church was simply unable to accommodate competing views of emerging power relations.  It hewed closely to that Muslim lake and took insult to most monetary endeavors.

What changed?

The arrival of the new world was certainly a factor, as was the near satanic drive of atheist humanism in France under the revolution.  But what accounts for the weath and prosperity of the developed world?  Clearly when one looks at periphery regions like littoral Africa, one ponders how nation states assimilated by Imperial powers are today flourishing, yet Gallic and Islamic cultural nation states are despotic.  How did one side get it right?

The answer is compelling and Dr. Deirdre Nasen McCloskey’s latest explains how it happened in Bourgeois Equality:  how ideas, not capitalism nor institutions enriched the world. 

For this distinguished economist and historian, it was ideas about commerce, innovation and the humanist virtues that support them accounts for the great enrichment transforming the world since 1800.

The grinding Malthusian poverty came to a halt around 1800, that’s when the takeoff began, first in western Europe with coal denominated industrial economies, then North America with the boring of hard steel into rifles and railroads.  The cultural antecedent was individualism and perspective, the twin psychological virtues of Protestant modernity. What some numbers?  Income alone rose 2,900% since 1800.  The great enrichment is the single most significant event procured by the Church since the neolithic revolution in agriculture.  Make no mistake, with McCloskey, we’re mining the social, political and economic impact of the specificity of Christian ethics.

Why is the final repository found in the social impact of revelation as the Church?

Because other civilizations possessing favorable material or social explanations sufficient for a great enrichment never launched it.  Social theorists reveal favorable conditions from capital accumulation to property rights, or the rule of law, yet these favorable environmental or social conditions failed.  China possessed a thriving mercantile culture and strong institutions; Italian bankers accumulated vast sums of capital throughout the early modern period similar to imperial or colonial regimes, even still theft or favorable environmental, social institutions cannot account for the revolution that overcame the west from 1800.

Only a change in self-consciousness or values can underwrite the wests achievement.

Historically conceived by littoral Anglo-Dutch, the new ideology presented a deep moral vision of the world that vaunted the value of physical exertion, innovation, earthly happiness and prosperity.  Consequently, it was the demonstrative liberty, dignity and equality as consequences of any endeavor that procured western ascendancy.  These secular achievements are consequences or impacts of applied Christian ethics.

What McCloskey has done is to unearth the theological foundation of secular achievements.  By mining the foundation of both the reformation and scientific-industrial revolutions, she ties together stands of abstractions that have long since underwritten western ascendancy.

Finally, an apologist worthy of our time and best efforts. 

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Failure of Democracy

I know we’re a Constitutional Republic.  The Founders knew the limits and dangers idealism had among the great unwashed, so they numerated the Republican political ideals into a Constitution.  Our founding documents should never be viewed in isolation. One cannot really understand the moral tenor of the fight against the Crown unless you read both the Constitution, the Federalist Papers and the Declaration of Independence together.  It is this synoptic viewpoint that’s been lost since the ascendancy of late 19th early 20th century historicism.  It would finally be defeated by Antonin Scalia and Thomist ideals that always had a home in the Church.

Historicism was the appeal that animated John C. Calhoun and Stephen Douglas.  Its origin is discovered in semitic epistemologies denial of interior order, something Aristotle called teleology.  For Plato, the source identity of any particular thing was its relation to the unhistorical world of ideas.  For Aristotle it was a predicate.  Both Calhoun & Douglas denied any interior reality independent of language, for these nominalists believed that language constituted reality.  Both denied that their could be any interior component driving growth independently.  This fallacy underwrites todays progressive ideal that history has a ‘right side‘ independent of morality.  The fallacy perpetuates the dualism that their are two distinct realities, the order of creation and the order of redemption.

It fell to Lincoln to fix this drama with war.  And so the war came. . .

Conservatives are fighting a rear guard action in tackling identical secular claims playing out politically in our culture war.  This should explain why the 2016 election remains so significant.

About a year before his death, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia revealed at an academic conference that under the Obama administration, the American experiment in liberty was failing.  He adamantly said, “its a failed democracy“.  This admonition so frightened the conference host that he immediately asked for a break.  Scalia continued in this vein. . .

We are moving down the road toward judicial supremacy by subjecting everything to litigation in federal court.  It is these extra-legislative transfers of power to the judiciary that disable the workings of the democratic process. 

What do progressive militant secularists want:  they want a social democracy for the purpose of criminalizing political differences, the very sine qua non that destroyed every Republic in history.

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Churchill & The Irish

My parents immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland.  It is typical of smaller nation states that its citizenry have unqualified grasp of their own history.  I’ve noticed it in the Balkans, and throughout eastern Europe.  The Irish, perhaps better than any people have a unique understanding of the British.  

The genocidal conflict of the 100 Years War is northern Ireland.  It is also Elizabethan foreign policy; England being an island feared encirclement of Papist Spain and France, so London sought permanent refuge in securing its rear.  Preventing any nation from flanking her, London forcibly removed Dutch and Scottish into Irelands northern corridor, then watched as these Scotch Irish willingly became a proxy for foreign interests.  Interests that would become so archaic it solicited a fascist Fenian response.

Winston Churchill is part of this drama, perhaps the only man with the temerity to openly seek conciliation with Dublin.  But that was after he initiated brutal, near genocidal reprisals in Ireland.  The truth isn’t so straight forward here, but its main tenets can be openly discerned.  Winston, after having openly supported the Crown in the violent suppression of civilians in Ireland, retuned home to England ashamed.

Churchill’s earliest memories are of Ireland.  In 1876, Winston’s grandfather, the Duke of Marlborough received a royal appointment in Dublin, taking his son (Randolph, Winston’s father) as his private secretary introduced Winston to Ireland.  Winston’s first memory of Dublin was witnessing radical armed Fenian separatists in Phoenix Park.

Why is this important?

It fell to Abraham Lincoln to say that Reconstruction was the greatest question ever presented to practical statesmanship, but he never tried reconciling Irish rural Catholic nationalism to the stalwart unionism of the Union Jack.  So central was the Irish question in British politics throughout the early 20th century, it lambasted and damaged many prominent British foreign secretaries.  Gladstone, Disraeli, even Wellington, Salisbury, Palmerston, Canning, and Castlereigh all cut their teeth on Fenian separatism.  

The Act of Union in 1801 abolished Irish parliament, but the Home Rule party began growing under the leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell, with more than one hundred seats in English Parliament and favorable positioning by William Gladstone, the Home Rule Bill passed in 1893, only to be vetoed by the House of Lords.  The stumbling block was Ulster, and these Scottish besieged farmers believed that “Home rule was Rome rule“.

Elected to Parliament as a Tory in 1900, he cast aside his father’s public admonition to Home Rule, publicly stating that “Ulster will fight, and Ulster will be right“.  Casting aside his fathers fervent Unionism, Winston crossed over to the liberal side in 1904 and became a passionate supporter of Home Rule.  In 1914 British parliamentarians passed a redundant bill advocating for Irish Home Rule, irreconcilable Unionists in northern Ireland began arming themselves.  The Irish Civil War was coming.

Events in Dublin were eclipsed by the emergence of World War I.  The Balkans fiasco permitted London to suspend Home Rule; 200,000 Unionist men joined the fight against Germany, while trench war besieged nation states throughout western Europe, Irish separatists launched the East Rising in 1916.  Tory encirclement was nearly complete.

With the Dardanelles disaster nearly finishing Winston’s career, he rode out the 1918 elections only to watch new radical separatists called Sinn Fein (translated as for ourselves alone).  Sinn Fein never arrived in London for Parliament, they instead set up an Irish parliament and executive in Dublin.  The Irish War for Independence began.   Churchill returned to government as minister of war only to be given the northern Ireland portfolio. He dispatched illegal irregulars known as Black & Tans, men taken from the British Army in India and South Africa and given orders to kill civilians.

It was Churchill who overtly sought political accommodation by both carrot and stick. London gave partial independence to Dublin while advocating that Sinn Fein leadership Michael Collins crush separatist irreconcilables led by Eamon de Valera.  Collins was murdered, but the Irish Free State party defeated de Valera’s faction and consolidated Irish Independence.  By 1932, Eamon de Valera re-wrote an Irish Constitution while Winston fumed as a civilian that a nascent Republic was emerging in the Tory rear.  By 1938, it was Chamberlain who gave away three Irish treaty ports of Berehaven, Queenstown, and Lough Swilly to Irish nationalists.  Winston’s fear was imminent.

Churchill’s only ploy was to solicit for the end of partition, IF de Valera ended neutrality and backed London.  Winston has openly sought what he most feared and hated:  an Irish Republic.

What specifically could Winston never understand about British foreign policy in Ireland.

Winston was an imperialist at heart and could never properly access the strength of anti-British sentiment in Irish nationalism.  The Irish simply never had any interest in Winston’s grand vision of a union of English speaking people.

Even still, the man’s magnanimity outlasted his ambivalence for a free Ireland.

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That Sharp Useless Look. . .GDP & Digital Mediums

Anyone remotely familiar with the work of Marshall McLuhan would make easy work of dismantling much that underwrites the work of Robert J. Gordon.  Dr. Gordon is an economist at Northwestern whose work is primarily used to justify institutionalized opacity that has become the canard of secular stagnation.  According to Gordon and the legion of bean counters working at govmint, the arrival of digital technology is to blame for sluggish growth.  He’s only partially true, for the real answer rests politically.

Anyone over the age of 50 remembers how members of the Carter administration sought refuge in a determinist frame of mind, citing limits to growth.  For Carter, the U.S. had become too big to govern, we simply had to live with the malaise that underwrote stagflation.

Reagan thought differently.  And because of it, we’er better off today.  Reagan and his team of advisers thought of a policy framework whose sources drew from the moral foundations of liberty.

For Gordon and the technocrats at the FED, intensive growth is that of output per unit of input.  This is called productivity.  Extensive growth refers to total output.  A standard productivity measure that encompasses all inputs is called total factor productivity or TFP.

Why is this important?

When a nation states political economy is no longer characterized as a center-margin based framework, then the commanding heights of the center lose the ability to measure. The U.S. economy isn’t a steal and wheat economy anymore, we’re a service based economy whose center is dispersed.  This means GDP isn’t measuring objects anymore but velocities, magnitudes, even relations whose components aren’t alloyed from a commanding center.  What digital technology confers upon us is a new sphere of autonomy that hinders traditional methodologies of econometrics.

Previous administrations had it harder than we do.  Reagan and Robert Bartley of the Wall Street Journal implicitly knew that U.S. stagnation had multiple sources, chiefly Nixon’s closing of the gold window and OPEC.  The former had to be fixed politically, sourced to an engaged executive who anchored the new regime of floating exchange rates.  The latter was geopolitical even though it masked the former.  Nevertheless, rising energy costs, growing regulatory burdens and structural shifts out from manufacturing did hamper U.S. growth for decades.

For Gordon, the input components of GDP underestimate growth in that real income is understated in flawed price indexes.  The price indexes used to convert dollars of output into inflation corrected ‘real’ output underestimates ‘real’ output growth.  Also, GDP omits economic activity that cannot be measured nor captured in market transactions.

All of this serves to obscure the reality that economic policy matters.

For Gordon and his cohort of Keynesians, there remain two variants of secular stagnation. The first emphasizes a demand side saving glut in China with low inflation leading to weak aggregate demand in high income regions.  Never mind that this Chinese savings glut occurs in a nation state without a social safety net!

The second variant views stagnation as occurring from a supply side dynamics.  For this group of economists, first world political economies possess a dearth of productivity and persistent weaknesses caused by the business cycle, high unemployment and almost neo-Malthusian group think that current policy remains optimal and therefore non subject to change.

Both variants are incapable of thinking about the social, political even revolutionary technological advances embodied in digital nano-technology and other variants of emerging miniature technologies.

My monies on the hard working stiff cut off from D.C. enjoying the miraculous gifts of secular life.

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Financialization of U.S. Economy & An Emerging Ideological Civil War Brewing

It isn’t difficult to discern the dominant trends that have emerged from Obama’s interventionist central bank policies.  The surging debt, fictional (politicized) unemployment rates, currency interventions etc. . . Everyone familiar with business indices is familiarized with the growth of the top 1%.  What hasn’t been well told is the impact financial engineering has had on the U.S. outside highly dependent capital markets.  Our economy has become so dependent on financial engineering that we no longer perform research and development.  The U.S. isn’t doing manufacturing or serious capital intensive innovation.  How is this turned around?

To reverse the dominant trends toward financialization and the bumping of leveraged balance sheets, broad capital market reform indicative of both fiscal and monetary reform would be required.  Wall Street must be reintegrated back into main street.  If we fail at this during our post 2016 election, then the divisions of our political economy will become permanent.

This entire reality is embodied in the moribund state of U.S. IPO’s.  We simply don’t do them anymore.

The public knows a thing or two that Congress could consider, namely that employment and tax reform is required.  Why?  Because growth alone cannot come from government. If civil society is to grow, productive members of our society must be permitted to enjoy capital/equity formation.  The U.S. citizenry is ready to be a breakout nation, but the formal institutions of governance continue to confiscate the very capital required to succeed.

The post 2016 election gamble has begun.  And its contours run against the very monolithic institutions that sustained previous growth.  A new ideologically driven civil war is emerging.  Place your monies on those few brave, bold citizens moving against the grain.

A Convention of the States is off and running.

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Allan Meltzer Nails It: The FED & Reform Agenda

Allan Meltzer was there for Margaret Thatcher.  When she was accosted by the entire British establishment for pursuing monetary, fiscal reform she called Allan Meltzer for advice.  He quietly assured her that reform was an absolute priority.  Thatcher calmly moved ahead with an Austrian school supply side reform that created a sustained 25 year boom.  He never took the credit for that advice.  Now currently serving at the Hoover Institution, his multi-volume work History of the Federal Reserve still proves that titanic efforts in academia happen, even if there seldom read.

He continues to advise Congress on monetary reform.  He’s a lone wolf in a denizen of groupthink, but the turn of mind is deeply attuned to the needs of our Republic.

He continues to serve the publics interest in admonishing how the board of the Federal Reserve operates.  In his mind, the entire framework underwriting Federal Reserve policy is deeply flawed.  For Meltzer and a few others, the FED needs a broader reform agenda, not new inflation targets.

This is significant.  Why?

A new inflation target would only serve the interests of multinational companies and over leveraged banks.  It would permanently undermine the FED’s already weakened policy positioning.  The FED is exhausted and over-extended; we’re simply at the end of unconventional monetary exertion.  We need an executive engaged to a policy mix dominated chiefly by fiscal policy, tax/supply side reform.  Any further adherence to inflation targets would only institutionalize the obscurantist tendencies of contemporary policy craft.  We continually hear rationalized excuses of headwinds and other canards that serve to perpetuate zero growth.  Shifting blame to something, anything outside of political control isn’t policy.  It’s exhaustion.

A change in the numeric inflation target isn’t reform.  What’s needed is a legislative agenda informed from recent policy errors; a review of the Fed’s tools, communicative policies and strategic governance.  A new monetary framework would dump Humphrey-Hawkins.  It would conceed that money is no longer strictly government policy, but a measuring tool and a repository for sustained value.  To achieve this insight the FED and its academic cohorts must confront their own institutionalized reluctance.  They must end the hubris that underwrites the authority of positivist science.  The groupthink dominating this cohort could begin by quietly incorporating Hayek’s thought of dispersed knowledge and its relation to fatal conceits.

Any new framework would have to concede that monetary policy since the great recession has had one goal, to perform the work of a dominant political class.  It succeeded in doing that.  But it failed as a functioning institution of this great Republic.  The new dogmas of data dependency have kept the FED adhered to artificially high asset prices.

We know from John Taylor that central banks throughout the globe cannot fix interest rates and control exchange rate regimes in an age of globalization (the free movement of capital).  But the FED seeks to do just that while licensing ambiguity in the name of forward guidance.  The grave concern here is that we’re witnessing a formidable institution treat markets with contempt; as if western civilization doesn’t have independent components constituting  civil society.  This totalitarian mien of hand and outlook is deeply troubling.  It validates hindsight that the foundation of contemporary liberalism is tyrannical.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is now an adjunct to secular militant thought.  Because of this turn, the Federal Reserve is poorly positioned to manage new shocks emerging from emerging social, political paradigms of liberty that seek autonomy.  The central bank cannot respond with efficacy to new challenges with any credibility.  It is an archaic institution that seeks to perpetuate imprimaturs unalloyed from the extended order.  It is vulnerable.  With its vision inward and weak, it will no longer be able to properly discern how best to rescue the Republic from the wiles of the collective. 3s

Radio Interview John Batchelor Show Begins Minute 19:00

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