The Demise of the Republican Party

We start with the somewhat perplexing recognition that the Chief Deplorable enjoys favorable ratings by normally objective Gallup polls. But we will come back to that. In the meantime, what does the Republican Party stand for today? Certainly nothing to do with fiscal responsibility (leaving the Covid19 emergency aside). Supporters would say “conservative”  values, but what do they mean by “conservative? Draconian laws that command women what they have to do – or cannot do – with their bodies? Tearing down federal programs for consumer protection; for environmental protection? Openly denying that there are any environmental crises whatsoever? There is only one word that describes the Republican party of today: reactionary!

That itself is not going to make a big hit poster for the 2020 Presidential Election. So what is it that gives us hope? And by “us” I mean folks who admire honesty, moral backbone, & objective thinking and want to see that in their political, community, as well as business leaders! We look back at the 2018 Mid-Term Elections and what drastically changed from the 2016 Disaster. The one clearly identifiable & crucial segment of voters that changed their votes to Democrats were suburban white people. Remember that in 2016 the Chief Deplorable lost the popular vote by 3 million – a blatant fact lost in all the self-serving rantings out of the White House about the “great victory” in the electorate college. Nothing will sway the “base”, who adore the “chosen one” the more crass, the more vicious & mean he becomes in punishing anyone with divergent views. So what is the difference, the characteristics that differentiate the mostly rural and the suburban voters who supported a Republican candidate in 2016? And the answer is EDUCATION! People who were willing to overlook personality shortcomings to support a conservative candidate have since seen actual evidence that policies have not been successful, even harmful to the welfare of the country as a whole. Add to that the exposure we all have had to the real personality traits of an ego-centric, vain, unread bully. What was recognized as an anti-establishment, say-it-like-it-is candidate can now openly be seen as the corrupt liar that he is. The Chief Deplorable said he would drain the swamp, but never mentioned he would achieve that by inviting them all to Washington and giving them high positions in his administration.

If the there is one positive from the current Covid19 catastrophe, the exposure put on our leaders openly shows how wanting, how inadequate the head of the federal government really is as a leader – at least for educated individuals who deal in facts. The “base” of the great Chief Deplorable has already  shifted to cult adoration modus. The Republican Party (with very few, but  notable exceptions), tightly grouped in the hind cheeks of their great leader, will completely share his fate as they have no other recognizable characteristics!

I wish the Democratic free-for-all had lasted longer. I wanted to see more of the new candidates. I wish a more new revolutionary type had come forth, but understand that people want to see calm reasoning and a belief in facts again in their President. Actually I wish Mickey Mouse had been a candidate, I belong to the vast majority of the “anybody but trump” movement and wanted to send a message. But if Democrats want to send  a calm, experienced, educated fellow to the race then fine with me!

In 2016 Hillary was not popular, not a problem  today. In 2016 the Dem Party presented itself as elitist, hopefully they’ve learned. In 2016 enough folks were enamored by a supposedly anti-establishment type who insulted all politicians,  today we remember the old saying: You can fool some of the people all of the time, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool the American People after they’ve seen who you really are!

Brexit….. please!!!

Well, it’s really a good time for people like me who watch the news as entertainment. The Brexit fiasco is in full swing as of this writing: Boris has just (partially) sidelined Parliament to keep them from effectively blocking. (<< Yes, that’s a period. Normally a noun comes after an active verb. But Parliament has blocked everything coming their way, simultaneously offering no ideas of their (aggregate) own!)

So, is this a good thing that Boris is trying? Well, think of it this way: is the glass half-full or half-empty. For three (count them: 1 year, 2 years, 3 years!!!) Parliament has come up in total with 1 conundrum – rejected everything coming their way and offering no new ideas. They are mostly and adamantly in favor of “Brexit Only With a Deal”, but repeatedly reject the only deal the EU will give them! One can easily see that getting Parley-mess out of the way can clear the path to some resolution, some action. On the other hand, if you’re hung up on the machinations of democracy, an extended suspension of Parley-mess for political expediency reeks of demagoguery.

My point here is that time is running out for the EU itself!! It needs to deal with corrupt and undemocratic heads of state in Slovakia and Poland, and has formally recognized corruption running flagrant in several member countries – at all levels. Its agricultural policy machinery is infested with dirty money from chemical firms. The list goes on and as long as Britain sends so many overt, active anti-EU representatives to Brussels to strengthen the ranks of the existing anti-EU forces, no progress will ever be made. What doesn’t grow, stagnates. So, I favor what the majority of Brits voted for: an exit from the EU; for the sake of the EU! Whatever form that takes …. who cares on this side of the Channel (After 3 years, yes, a bit of indifference.)

One of the things that irks me are the standardized story-line that Brexit without a deal will leave gaps in Britain’s supply chains. And the news channels dramatically make it worse by erroneously stating that Britain will no longer find certain articles. Britain can buy anything in Europe, the same things they bought before, they simply need to follow WTO regulations. That is what they voted for: the ability to choose for themselves from whom they buy & to whom they sell. And who knows, maybe that pompous loudmouth in the White House #10 will be right: it will turn out better for Britain. But the longer it takes (my bet is Britain will still be in the EU in 2020) the worse – maybe even deadly – it will be for the future of a true European Union!

The Definitive Guide to MMT

MMT is currently a hotly discussed topic in financial circles and already has various monikers: Modern Money Theory; Magical Money Tree. We find the first too grandiose, too pompous and the second as more descriptive but simply shortsighted. We have our own moniker!

First, MMT is simply the idea that governments can print additional money (lots of it), then spend it to spur growth. In “normal” times such an idea would be recognized as a reckless, populist mistake. We are not in normal times, but rather we are all living in the shadow of monstrous world-wide debt mountain. And this mountain is holding us back from making progress. (Actually Japan has been doing this and the US is pretty much underway.)

Now – to lay the groundwork to explain the background dynamics – first think of a tsunami or an earthquake. These are outcomes because a mass of energy and then their release made them happen. A tsunami occurs perhaps because a side of an underground mountain slid off, or in the case of the earthquake one of two continental shelves shifted and released a mass of pressure energy to the surface. My apologies to the many, many victims of such disasters, the point here is simply to make the point that these phenomena start, release their new energy and … stop (mostly).

So, lets get to the point. This gargantuan mountain of debt is being widely recognized as the cause of blocking both present & future economic growth. The elephantine debt piles of governments is widely recognized as a danger to the actual functioning of governments themselves. We all need a solution.

And here comes our moniker to elucidate the evolution that will resolve this buildup of pressure: Make Money Trash!

When the printing of money comes at no or negligible cost to governments – or better, makes them money with negative interest rates on bonds – the responsible politicians will certainly do it. For MMT to be a substantive solution, they need to not only do it, but do it an a grandiose style. This will most certainly lead to inflation: the stated, but elusive goal of central banks. A little inflation, the fantasy number of 2% of the ECB or the Fed, will be reached – and passed like a regional train stopping shortly at the first of many, many stations. The end station will be a “hyper”station. This itinerary to the end station will have many calamities along the way where people will want to stop the train – and some will try. Won’t happen. But at the end station we will have surpassed the mountain of debt! Debt will be solved with cheap ‘trash’ money.

And just as the tsunami and the earthquake left behind many victims and much damage after their energy was spent, so will this force of a money avalanche after its force is spent. But society will survive. What this society looks like will be different from today, that is certain.

The Bitcoin Scam Explained

To understand the scan nature of all crypto-currency scams – not just Bitcoin , all of them – you have to differentiate between the technology and the subject: the “thing” being handled.

The technology is great! It is called “block-chain”. It is 3-dimensional:

–> it takes data and raises it to a higher level with encryption.

–> it widens the data at hand through distribution to many sources.

–> The data is deepened by keeping a time history of all transaction back to the beginning.

The technology has vast potential. (That is undisiputable – when hackers rip off millions in crypto-currencies, they have done it by hacking the exchange themselves, not the block-chain.) The application to real estate ownership eases the disputes of conflicting claims & eases sales transactions. Applied to car ownership, it does the same. Now lets look at these “things”.

Lets say your house is worth 300K ($, €, whatever…) and your government body that manages ownership of houses decides to keep its records in block-chain technology, it is still worth only 300K. There is nothing that changes its intrinsic value. If your car is worth 20K and the Department of Motor Vehicles implements block-chain to keep its records, your car is still worth only 20K. Your car is not automatically an object of speculation and the “blue book” that quotes average prices will still say “20K”. Now let’s look at money units as the “thing” being tracked.

When you invest 1 unit (1USD, 1EUR, whatever) it really is worth only 1 unit. Until, that is, it is accepted by people as an object of speculation and speculators put money units into or take out of a specific implementation of crypto-currency (c-c) based on perceived value of the units in that implementation. There are now dozens of Bitcoin-wanna-bes. Why? What makes them different from Bitcoin? Maybe they offer more convenient exchanges; geared toward the local currency, have better support by stores & shops…..but all have speculation in common – basically bastardizing the original idea of Bitcoin: convenient, electronic, anonymous payment.

A new crypo-currency does nothing but put a lot of real money in the pockets of sometimes very questionable operators. But that is to be expected when you have an opportunity for easy money. The one money unit that was put into a c-c is absorbed. But the perceived “value”, the price being discussed is now relevant to a unit of c-c. When one takes money out, each individual unit of real money is the same as before (1USD,1EUR…), but whether you take more or less of these real units out than was put in has only to do with a perception of a c-c unit value. The c-c unit now is a pure speculative object based on emotion and -at best- an estimate of how many real money units are floating around.

The wonderful idea of convenient, electronic, anonymous payment has been subverted by greedy finance people to an object of speculation. Should the prices of c-c’s become too volatile, their usefulness as payment method will disappear also. The implementation of a dynamic technology to the xfer of payments has simply been monetized by a certain class of finance types. Most of society would look down on someone who sent their sister out to work the streets! These finance types would simply say “One was optimally monetizing their familial relationships.”

Brexit Schmexit

Probably everybody not living in England is pretty weary of Brexit news… if “nothing accomplished” can be made into news. Don’t get me wrong, I love the English and I especially feel for those that voted for Brexit. They are actually the ones at the end of the line in this sham.

First, lets look at 2 possibilities:

  1.   PM May is ambitious (maybe power-hungry) enough to want to be PM even when the government’s current primary mission –  Brexit –  is something she didn’t vote for nor support earlier.
  2. PM May is diabolically, purposely making a mess of Brexit, after wasting almost the whole 2-year transition period by allowing useless, irrelevant arguments to prevail; and culminating in a half-baked plan guaranteed to satisfy very few on either side.

 If it’s #1,then history will not be kind to her for taking on and botching something she did not believe in. England will face the “hard Brexit” as the EU is keen to reinforce the advantages of being “IN” the EU. Possibly a clean break could have worked, England may even make something of it after a botched EU-Exit, bu it will all be much worse than if someone who supported Brexit from the beginning and could give the British people a sense of hope and spirit had taken the reigns early and prepared for a real, an honest, a complete &ambitious Brexit.

Now #2 is much more intriguing! And I dare say some of the facts on the ground support the thesis of a saboteur PM May. Have you noticed how so many voices  in English Parliament suddenly equate the ever-delayed (endlessly delayed just like the original Brexit referendum) vote on PM May’s deal as a referendum itself? What I mean is, the choices presented or insinuated – as if already somehow hard-coded into the whole process – seem to be: Vote for this deal or there will be no Brexit. The deal is being slowly e.g. the delays, presented as the Brexit itself. It is being substituted for the actual embodiment of the Brexit concept (“the best deal possible”, “no time for anything else”…) Result: If you don’t vote for this deal, you’re voting against Brexit itself.

Another scenario supporting #2 is to simply waste the whole transition period (already done!); continue to sow fear of the great Brexit “UNKNOWN” (continually done!);establish a EU court ruling that Brexit can be simply cancelled (with conveniently no mention by whom specifically); and March next year simply let PM May declare we “can’t do it – not enough time…”; make an endless transition period out with the EU; wait for a more politically propitious time.

The EU and Germany I will leave for separate articles, only to say that there has been nothing surprising or out of the ordinary for the EU’s response to Brexit. It was decided by the British people, after they finally got a say in the matter.Unfortunately all the Brexiteers were forced to quit or have resigned from their government posts. Can anyone thereafter expect a successful, popular-supported Brexit?

One aside about Germany and their Political Correctness. We have an old politician from Bavaria where his CSU party is very strong but who’s time (his) has come and gone. I think he’s interior minister, but mostly spends his time peeing in Angela Merkel’s lunchbox. He’s sour ‘cause he never made it on the national stage and few in the rest of Germany have any use for the old fart. But the point is: All he said was “Immigration is the mother-of-all political issues.”[My translation!].That’s all he said – no more, no less. Boy, did he get hell in the press. There was no end to the lambasting him of being bigoted, illiberal, intolerant, narrow, narrow-minded, small-minded – all of the terms were used in one or the other broadcast. But here we are in the same time-frame and 160+ countries are represented by heads-of-state or close, to sign a UN mutual agreement about… migration. Look at the elections in Italy, Hungary, rest of East Europe, etc.

Q: What was the deciding factor in the Brexit referendum?

A: Immigration was the kicker in the Brexit vote!

Anybody think the main factor was fishing rights? .. the status of Gibraltar? Just look at the mainstream news channels – on any continent. The only country in the whole world with no immigration issues is China! Uiguirans raise their voices for freedom, just put their whole country in “re-education” camps! Africans bitch about lost land,just send a few thousand Chinese laborers for the fields and few thousand Chinese soldiers to keep the piece (of land).

So, my point here is that maybe Britain is a little ahead of us all on this important issue! I’m not taking sides, I’m simply saying that they discussed it on a national basis with the referendum. More laudable than the chaos here in this EU.

If I have endeared myself with too many Britons, allow me another observation that may or may not please. The US encouraged England to join the EU, a competitor to the US on the world commerce stage, because as a closest ally, England could hold the EU back and prevent anything too drastic, too optimistic. All one has to do is read the venomous US business press about the Euro to recognize the adversarial stance – from the very beginning. Now powers in the US are chuckling over how Brexit is tying up EU energies that could be better spent on progressive issues, large and small.

Before going further,let me say I am a proponent of EU 2.0, a restart with an emphasis on the common human values and the mutual respect of European cultural & political values.I am a critic of a current EU: led by the influence of monopolistic conglomerates; producing a hundreds of pages of dilettante, sometimes asinine regulations – per day! An EU with leaders so enamoured by their might that they could never envisage shrinking the EU by throwing un-democratic countries of East-Europe out. Instead they are eager to expand at any cost, to include countries plagued by corruption and embroiled in cold war politics. All in the interest of monopolistic business interests.

Speaking of corruption and getting back to Brexit: All efforts by the EU to tackle the billions of Euros being stolen by agrarian mafias has been steadily blocked by the British elite through the House of Lords & their representatives to the European Parliament. They collect billions also, as they own most of the farmland in England and the EU agricultural subsidies are a real boon for them. Money from EU taxpayers – including British taxpayers – all going into the pockets of the aristocracy.

Brexit is a chance for Britain to move forward on its own path and an opportunity for the EU to start tackling its own major issues. But this current Brexit will never be allowed to succeed by British bureaucrats with different agendas and the EU will address problems by adding some more bureaucracy on top of what it already has and call it a solution.