Bolton Unloads on UN ICC

You Go John!!

I saw a video of this on Reuters on the Roku but a quick search didn’t show a youtube up at that time.

Basically John Bolton gives the big Heave-Ho! to the International Criminal Court should they try an “investigation” of the USA and our people. IIRC, we have never signed the “treaty” that would subject us to that court, which would make any attempt by them to assert authority over us an illegal act.

John Bolton threatens war crimes court with sanctions in virulent attack

US national security adviser calls ICC illegitimate and says ‘we will let it die on its own’

John Bolton, the hawkish US national security adviser, has threatened the international criminal court (ICC) with sanctions and made an excoriating attack on the institution in a speech in Washington.

Bolton pushed for sanctions over an ICC investigation into alleged American war crimes in Afghanistan. He also announced on Monday the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington because of its calls for an ICC inquiry into Israel.

“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” Bolton said.

He said the Trump administration would “fight back” and impose sanctions – even seeking to criminally prosecute ICC officials – if the court formally proceeded with opening an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by US military and intelligence staff during the war in Afghanistan or pursued any investigation into Israel or other US allies.

Bolton vowed that the United States would retaliate by banning ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the US, imposing sanctions on any funds they had in the States and prosecuting them in the American court system.

“If the court comes after us, Israel, or other US allies we will not sit quietly,” he said, also threatening to impose the same sanctions on any country that aided the investigation.

He condemned the inquiry into war crimes in Afghanistan as an “utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation” and the court as illegitimate.

“We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead,” Bolton said.

[… the article then spends a while praising the ICC and dissing Bolton]

“We will consider taking steps in the UN security council to constrain the court’s sweeping powers, including to ensure that the ICC does not exercise jurisdiction over Americans and the nationals of our allies that have not ratified the Rome statute,” Bolton said.

In May, Trump opened a US embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, ending decades of consensus that the contested city’s status should be decided in future negotiations, as Palestinians claim its eastern parts while Israel claims the entire city as its capital.

The embassy opening prompted the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to reject Washington’s traditional role as a mediator, recalling his envoy to the US and stopping communication.

Days later, the Palestinian foreign minister asked the ICC chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to open an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, and apartheid. The referral came during a period of heightened bloodshed in Gaza as Israeli snipers shot hundreds of people attending weekly protests.

Israel is not a signatory to the ICC and has said the body lacks jurisdiction. The ICC launched a preliminary examination in 2015 into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and the Palestinian territories. However, the court has not opened a full investigation that could ultimately lead to indictments.

“We will not allow the ICC or any other organisation to constrain Israel’s right to self-defence,” Bolton said on Monday.

A spokesman for the ICC said earlier on Monday: “The international criminal court is aware of media reports of the speech scheduled to be delivered by US national security adviser, Mr John Bolton, later today concerning the ICC.

“The Rome statute, the court’s founding treaty, today benefits from the membership of 123 states parties representing all regions of the world. The ICC, as a judicial institution, acts strictly within the legal framework of the Rome statute and is committed to the independent and impartial exercise of its mandate.”

Oddly, this article stresses Israel while the Reuters TV bit said it was about “alleged war crimes in Afghanistan under the Bush administration”. Go figure.

So looks like once again it’s Israel and the USA standing in the path of Globalist Un-elected Government. It is also quite clear that “Treaties” are the back door mechanism by which the Globalists and the UN are attempting to destroy national sovereignty and domestic rule by democratically elected governments. ALL “treaties” and any proposed treaties and agreements must be subject to a strong review looking specifically at any wording that would allow or could be stretched to allow un-elected authority over the USA, our citizens and our laws. Those that violate the sanctity of the US Constitution or home rule need to be voided.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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54 Responses to Bolton Unloads on UN ICC

  1. jim2 says:

    Have we cut our payments to the UN yet? If not, what the heck are we waiting for?

  2. beththeserf says:

    I wish – in Oz likewise.. And get rid of UN pushed core curriculum education policy
    inculcating a social agenda transformation of education by promoting emotional
    learning over critical thinking. and developing competencies.

  3. ray warkentin says:

    About the Trump economy:
    I am glad that Trump won mainly because the alternative was the Clinton crime syndicate. And I’m glad that the Democrats, with so many warped, bent, twisted people in their ranks don’t control congress and can’t just now further the weaponization and corrupting of certain government agencies. It would please me to see some of the low-life corrupt individuals receive their deserved retribution, were it to ever happen.
    I understand the sympathies many Americans have for Trump and the hopes for his success. From that angle I can understand the delirious belief among his fans in the claimed makeover and success of “his” economy. But I don’t believe it! An economy doesn’t reconstitute itself that quickly. It is the product of underpinnings that have been laid down over a number of years. The only time it changes direction quickly is when as a result of bad underpinnings and accumulated frailties it crashes like a house of cards.

    This economy is the result of ten years of worldwide money printing and debt-induced activity to the tune of trillions of dollars. The tailwinds of bubbles are usually strongest toward the end. To this milieu have been added the Trump tax cuts and over the last few months, substantially increasing deficit spending input by the government. Yes, Trump’s policies have resulted in some job creation that wouldn’t have happened under Clinton or Obama but this contribution is a pimple on the face of the bubble combined with the other considerations. Activity to front-run tariffs and inventory building has also contributed to GDP.

    This is where Trump may have made a mistake. By so vociferously claiming ownership of the economic numbers, while it may help him in the coming elections, the ownership will also be his when things go seriously wrong as they almost certainly will. Here is a quote from an article on ZeroHedge:

    “The current “boom” story rests on more than a trillion dollars of money-pumping enabled by tax cuts and racking up evermore debt. Mr. Trump was foolish to take “ownership” of it, and when reality re-enters the scene, the Resistance will finally have something real to hang him with—-.”

    Another thing to consider is that increased GDP is not the same thing as wealth or improved standard of living. The US has recently substantially increased the military budget. The government debt increases per month have dramatically ramped up in the last few months. When you spend debt money on missiles and military equipment you have increased GDP numbers but added nothing to the store of wealth for the larger population. In fact, by diverting production from other consumer oriented production you have decreased the wealth that counts. Just saying!

  4. Graeme No.3 says:

    ray warkentin:
    Which is worse, adding to the military capabilities or having more and more public servants (sic) passing memos to each other and issuing more questionnaires at added cost to companies?

  5. ray warkentin says:

    The point I was making was that the economic numbers present a false reality. They are the product of the tailwind from massive money printing and debt-originated spending combined with tax cut related spending and increasing government deficit spending. Then add in some temporary current economic impetuses. There is also the money currently flowing into the US because of economic turmoil and uncertainty elsewhere in the world. But frailties , imbalances, and instability are accumulating under the surface.
    It won’t go on indefinitely but I would like to see it go at least beyond the 2020 election. But it may not and I am afraid.

  6. rhoda klapp says:

    Terrible for this international outfit to try to enforce its laws in the US. Now, if we could get the US to back off from some of its attempts to enforce its laws all over the world..

  7. seabrznsun says:

    Ray Warkentin, you must have missed the nerdy guy in the WH press conference today. He was able to definitely show how the dramatic uptick in the economy was only able to be attributed to President Trump’s economic plans. Furthermore, he indicated anyone who tried to surmise otherwise wouldn’t do well in a graduate class on economics.
    I didn’t take economics in undergraduate classes; but it was hard to argue, as he was able to show using nonpartisan information, that the significant increase in all measurable areas of growth were not attributed to prior administrations actions. And, indeed, the success we are seeing can only be attributed to the “Trump factor” with people and businesses having renewed faith and trust in the economy under President Trump.
    I’m happy to see our President has instilled in America this belief in and desire to “Making America Great Again” through policies to bring about changes to make these things happen.

  8. Jon K says:

    Here’s the video of that press briefing if you want to see the associated charts.

  9. p.g.sharrow says:

    The key feature that many talking heads ignore is massive regulation of commercial activities, both actual and proposed, by the Obama administration acted as a brake on the economy for 8 years. With the election of Trump and his philosophy of reduction of government interference in business efforts a great dam of economic activities was released, even before the tax burden on business planning was reduced.

    The very same thing happened in the 1950s when the burdens of the Socialist FDR’s New Deal was swept away. FDR did not save the US in the Great Depression, It was the Cause!
    Just as in the 1930s, saving the banks resulted in starving Main street of investment as the Fed and government drained the economy of liquidity just when it was needed the most. Runaway government spending to fix that problem just reduced the funding needed to re-energize the real economy that actually creates wealth for everyone.

    The same medicine of over regulation by Socialists was again tried with the election of Obama and again stagnation was the result. Again the socialist cure for business cycles is over regulation and the resultant stagnation. The later tax cut was nice and is now adding a second gear as business can now expense improvements immediately rather then deprecate them over years…pg

  10. cdquarles says:

    While I have never taken a formal economics class beyond high school, I have studied human beings extensively. The school of economic thought that most closely conforms to actual human nature is, today, called the Austrian school. I suggest reading Carl Menger’s works, Eugene von Baum-Bawerk’s works, and Ludwig von Mises’ works, along with some Thomas Sowell, F. A. Hayek, Julian Simon and Milton Friedman.

  11. cdquarles says:

    Argh, hit ‘Enter’ too soon again. If you want a rough and ready rule-of-thumb with reference to what’s happening in the real world and in real time, watch capital goods creation and spending plus transportation. These are known as leading indicators. [The charts clearly show the truth that we didn’t really have a proper recovery, until after the election.]

    No business, incorporated or not, pays taxes. Regulations are functionally taxes. People pay taxes. Taxing businesses simply means that businesses become a tax collection agency. Thus, the people who are actually paying the price are the owners (includes shareholders and bondholders; thus everyone with investments, self directed or not), the operators (employees, current and future), and the customers (all of us who are actors making decisions).

  12. H.R. says:

    @ray, re your 3:54 am and 6:27 am comments:

    I don’t disagree with the facts of your observations, but I see those facts as representing a race. President Trump needs a Congress that will support his MAGA agenda. If the Uniparty can just stall and wait him out, then what you wrote becomes a good possibility.

    [Sidebar on my definitions: The Globalist Uniparty consists of the Democrats, who are the left wing of the Uniparty, the Republicans, who are the right wing of the Uniparty, the YSM, who are the propaganda arm of the Uniparty, and the bureaucracy (FBI, CIA, Courts, State) who are the protectors of the Uniparty.) The National Chamber of Commerce (K Street lobbyists) write the legislation that supports the GEB (Globalist Evil Bastards) agenda and funnel the GEB money to where it is needed in the Uniparty construct.]

    An increase in GDP and wealth-creating activities will allow us to grow our way out of the debt trap. President Trump’s agenda includes downsizing government, but current laws have his hands tied, though he has made some progress under current law, such as the 1,600 gone from the EPA and other small reductions at other agencies. There is a bill working its way through Congress that will allow more of President Trump’s famous “You’re fired!” to occur. Also, he needs Congressional support to abolish some agencies and eliminate the functional redundancies where many departments attempt (badly and wastefully) to do the same thing.

    As a businessman, President Trump definitely knows the best thing to do is to cut or eliminate spending in the areas that are not the core business of the Federal government and shift spending to areas that are the legitimate business of the Federal government (defense, border security, trade). He is well aware that draining the swamp is a crucial component of his plan, and that he will be wrestling the alligators in the swamp the whole time it is being drained.

    President Trump already knows everything that we Deplorables worry about. He has been developing the MAGA agenda for years along with a plan. For all those who say, “President Trump should do this, or he should do that, and such and such is a trap; don’t fall for it!” he already knows about it, and has plans for it (plan A and backup plans B, C, & D).

    But it is a race and the Uniparty’s best chance to keep their agenda in place is to run the clock out on President Trump. These mid-terms are key to preventing the Uniparty from stalling his agenda. In 2020, his reelection and the addition of more MAGA-supporting Congresscritters will put him over the hump and allow him to get even more MAGA support in Congress. More wins in the 2022 mid-terms will allow him to lock in MAGA through legislation.

    So, if President Trump can win the race against time, his last two years in office will be anything but a lame duck Presidency.

    I don’t disagree with the pitfalls you pointed out, Ray. I just think President Trump has viable – difficult but viable – plans to get around those pitfalls. We can only vote and wait and see.

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ray W:

    This was not an instant turn around. It’s nearly 2 years since Trump won the election. As soon as it was clear Obama / Clinton Cartel was gone, folks started taking action and the doldrums ended. We saw this same movie once before when the Carter Malaise turned into the Reagan Miracle.

    Zero Hedge is not a good source for economic advice. They are perpetual-paranoids. Yes, the money printing is an issue, but not the catastrophic end of the world they paint it to be. Trump era growth can, in fact, grow us out of the debt burden. Endless massive tax & spend with soul crushing regulations is why a decade of “economic stimulus” achieved nothing of merit. At about 18% Federal Tax Take, folks stop trying to get ahead and build a future and instead focus on tax reduction as the bigger win. Thus Fed revenue hangs about 18% even as we go to 90%+ ranges of top tax RATES in “soak the rich”. (Been there, done that, it’s history not speculation).

    What trump has done is realize this and realize that if you get the regulatory burden off of makers and let them keep their money, they make more and hire more. That doesn’t take 2 years to have an impact.

    That Said:

    The EU is as described by the worriers. It’s still in the high taxes high regulations loads of government boot on the neck mode. It is also politically in disassembly due to that. I’m not seeing anything to indicate the Euro will not have issues “going forward”. Especially given their insane fealty to the Global Warming Garbage and incredibly rising power costs. They can not for long remain economic competitive in ANYTHING that has a significant power consumption to produce it. That’s pretty much all metals, cement, plastics, and anything made from them. (What’s that leave? Wood? Food? No, food is energy intensive too… Maybe tourism? No, wait, given $3000 for a EU vacation and 19% VAT or $1000 for a dream time on a beach in Jamaica… Not sure what is left, really. )

    So yes, the inflationary potential of the US Debt is a worry, but a manageable one in an era of full employment and economic growth – all due to the Trump driven lower tax rates, lower regulatory burden, and replacing malaise with hope and energy. The time lag in Fed policies and economic stimulus is about 1 year. Had that been sufficient, we’d have been in roses in about 2010 and not 8 years later… But let’s see, what changed just over a year ago? Hmmm…. ;-)

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    @Rhoda Klapp:

    I’d agree with that! I see USA “leadership” and intervention as just another kind of Globalism and something to be reduced. I resent spending nearly a $Trillion / year to be Global Cop.

    Unfortunately, I’m not seeing any good option. After being pulled against our will (and our isolationist leanings) into 2 World Wars started and largely run in Europe (one of them between the two major Socialist movements of the day – Soviet Communism and Italian / German National Socialism) it became clear that if we in the USA didn’t step up and stop it, we’d have World War III in short order. So far that’s worked out OK. Not well, but OK. We kept Russia from absorbing Europe too..

    The UN was expected to step up to that role, but has shown itself to be a corrupt home for Globalist Socialist aspirations and graft. Run by the corrupt and the power mad for their own gain. I can’t see them being moral enough to be entrusted with global peace, or a real military force.

    So what’s your alternative?

    1) Let things decay back into “Biggest Army Wins”? Hope you like speaking Russian or German.

    2) Let the UN run things military and peace keeping? Hope you like dictators and graft, and an army more dedicated to spreading AIDS around the world than protecting women and children.

    3) Chaos and nobody stopping regional wars? Welcome to Jihad 3.0 and China running South East Asia. Africa a blood bath of tribalism and Muslim North vs South everyone else.

    What else?

    I’m not saying I have the answer; but I am saying every alternative direction I look looks far worse.

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jon K & Seabrznsun:

    Thanks for the links and videos. I only caught a moment of him on a YSM show and it was chopped and formed to anti-Trump. Wanted to find more but was busy re-filling the “Sleep Hump” that was seriously empty after 2 coast-2-coast marathon drives in 2 weeks, a hospital vigil, and butler duties… so now I can just click and watch from the couch ;-)

    It is well worth remembering that Fed Reserve ( i.e. money supply / economic stimulus or contraction) has a KNOWN lag time to effect. Between 9 months and a year, IIRC. It is NOT a hypothetical. It is used in figuring ALL Fed Reserve actions and is widely known in business and financial circles (as it is taught in all undergraduate econ classes…). THE big “mystery” (at least to the Left and Socialists) was why with all that “stimulus” nothing was happening. Something about having their foot firmly on the brake (regulation, taxation, bad policy, malaise,…) while doing economic stimulus as the only “good news”… Trump just removed the big fat feet from the brakes…

    P.G. has it exactly right.

    CDQuarles has a good reading list, and has the way real economies work described nicely. I’ve spent many years as a “Recovering Keynesian” as my formal Economics training was mostly that. We did have a mandatory section on Communism and a modest “Chicago School” section that introduced Austrian thought, and that gave me the foundation to escape the Keynesian Bias…

    H.R. has the future plan / risk profile nicely laid out. Trump needs folks he can trust in Congress. At present, far too many of them are actively being his (and thus our…) enemies. Heard on the radio a bleating about how bad it was that “This is now Trump’s Republican Party”. I found it an uplifting statement. Trump is, via endorsements and other actions, reforming the Republican Party. This was a Democrat radio show and they were horrified that “Trump has an 80% to 90% approval rating among Republicans.” That made my day. With that truth “protecting his back”, Trump can finish Making Republicans Republican Again ;-) and with that, save Congress and via that, the Nation.

    But it all will hinge on the mid-terms… Which is why the Democrats are so blatantly doing anything, even things that will be terribly damaging in the short run, in an attempt to create mayhem, blame it on Trump and “motivate the base”. The move by “fellow travelers” in Social Media to silence Conservative and Libertarian voices is an act of extreme desperation (that might well end some companies and will end some careers) and I hope has a Horrific Backlash…

  16. cdquarles says:

    @ H. R.,
    I agree, particularly about Congressional support. Today, of all days, I get a mailing from the RNC. Never mind that I dropped membership because the leaders at the time betrayed me. The RNC is ‘surveying’ me and people in my district. They even ask me to volunteer to help them recruit Republicans. They do ask some good questions. I’m torn about it. I suspect that they will do lip-service and will stab me in the back, figuratively, again. I’ll probably return their survey. I’m not likely to join formally nor donate any money to them. Individual candidates, sure might, depending on who those candidates are.

  17. ray warkentin says:

    President Trump inherited a lousy economic situation and has done some things in this regard that of themselves are positive. But he is operating within a paradigm that will smother the effects of his efforts.

    As bad as the spending was under Bush and then Obama, it is getting worse under Trump. In spite of the improved economic numbers recently, the spending deficit for this year is going to be some 300 billion more than Obama’s last year and is projected to hit a trillion dollars next year. That tells me that most of the uptick in GDP numbers comes from this increased deficit spending as government spending works its way into economic numbers. There are large ongoing deficits built into the cake with increases in social security and medicaid outlays growing year over year and now the decrease in government revenues due to the tax cuts combined with increases in the military budget adding to it substantially. The numbers are horrid. I know the mantra is that increases in economic activity because of the tax cuts and Trump policies will offset this but this defies reasonable calculations and falls into the category of wishful thinking.

    The imbalances and artificial dynamics in the economy because of previous government and central bank activities are so profound that to resolve them will require pain before the economy can move forward in a healthy and sustained way. When this pain comes the deficits will soar. Plus there is the lousy worldwide economic reality from which the US is not immune. This is what Trump has inherited and as I have just said, some aspects of it he is actually worsening. Decades of neo-keynesian economic policies have brought us here. Central bank stupidity has brought us here. The current political dysfunction in the US isn’t going to help.

    The numbers are the numbers but look at the reality on the ground. There has been a small uptick in retail spending probably related to the tax cuts with people buying mostly foreign-made goods. Where are the swath new factories or expansions all across the country? Mostly a lot of new low-level jobs. The increase in optimism seems to have induced an increase in credit card spending. I maintain that increases in government spending are propping up the numbers. I wish it were otherwise and everyone’s optimism justified. It would be nice if I am wrong.

  18. ray warkentin says:

    There is truth in what you say. Ron Paul would love you.

  19. E.M.Smith says:


    Driving across the country, essentially every major trucking company had “Drivers Wanted!” on their trucks. It was not that way a couple of trips ago. The BNSF Railroad trains were long and piled high with shipping containers. Everywhere has help wanted ads. The economy is already running well. Folks don’t hire when it is doing badly. Heck, I’m even thinking of looking for a job again(!). I’d shifted to “just retired” as I was tired of dealing with all the legal crap and contracts were hard to find; but now? It looks like just about everyone is ready to hire or looking for a RFP response (Request For Proposal).

    Before anyone builds NEW factories, they must use up idle capacity in all their old factories. New builds come toward the end of a boom cycle, not at the start.

    Stores were also full. Admittedly, I mostly shopped the low end places as I don’t buy much when on the road; but they were packed. The poorer folks were buying. They don’t buy when they don’t have a job as they don’t have saved money to spare and credit is highly limited for them. This is not credit card spending. Faces were smiling and folks were not pinching pennies and being dismal just trying to stay above water. It was very clear the feeling was “Times are good and getting better”.

    My neighbors just sunk somewhere in the 5 figures into a home improvement project. They’ve been holding off for years… Instead, they are “going for it” as he feels secure in his job now. That isn’t unique. Driving the neighborhood, there’s more “load of materials” in front yards than I’ve seen in many years. I’ll be having a new roof and a yard “do over” now (long delayed. Too long really.) You can repeat that a 1000 times just in this part of Silicon Valley. That is not an economy in decline.

    It pains me to say it, but the reality is that a Sovereign Nation can carry an established debt load indefinitely. (IFF it is growing exponentially it is a different matter). We’ve had a step function in borrowing, but now a step function in economic activity that will offset it. Trump knows he gets a “borrowing lift” in the front end to get over the start-up lag, but he also knows after that lag the revenues go up (dynamic scoring) and it is not a long term exponential borrowing ramp (as long as the Democrats don’t get the checkbook…) So I’m not seeing the problem.

    (Realize I’m 100% anti-debt. Were it up to me, we would be actively paying the National Debt down to zero. The only real exception is times of real declared war with existential threat, and as a very short terms – like 1 year – bridge over identifiable catastrophes. It does no good to be out of debt and solvent if you are dead or your government is destroyed by invaders… But debt to be carried for 30 years? Dumb IMHO. I didn’t even want a 30 year mortgage but “spousal input” resulted in not doing the 15 year… But hating the use of it does not blind me to the reality of the operation of it. IMHO part of the “game” here is rolling the 10 to 30 year bonds into near 0% coupon with the Fed pushing rates so low, then the carry of that debt is near free or even negative if then they ramp up some inflation. That is not a burden for the US Government to carry then.)

  20. ray warkentin says:

    OK, so we’ve stated our views on the economy thing. We’ll see!
    Now I’ll make a broader claim that there is serious dysfunction in all of the western Democracies. We are living on the remnants of our capital–economic, political and social. That capital is diminishing and problems accumulating. Trump as savior is a big stretch and the Idea that we are going to vote our way out of the mess, while a necessary hope within the democracy fantasy is certainly misguided and unjustified and unsupported by all of experience. Now that I’ve rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, I’ll irritate them even more by making this a putrid confession:

    I decided several years ago to stop voting. I know that will be a sacrilegious statement to some people. The concept of Democracy has attained the status of the ultimate in political or societal attainment, even to the level of a god-like or at least god-delivered truth and imperative. So in the United States every four years you get to cast a vote for one of two people for President–two people selected, vetted, and supported by establishment elites and wealthy interests– and that is supposed to mean that you are politically empowered and that you are free. I don’t think so! There were only minor differences between Clinton and the intended candidates on the other side such as Bush or Rubio. I know, Trump wrecked that but that was a freak aberration and I think a temporary one.

    But that is just a minor issue for me. I have come to the opinion that democracy is a pathway and process that ineluctably inevitably leads to serious dysfunction. A rot that ultimately destroys a society from within itself by its own choices that depletes its economic strength as well as weakens most other societal structures. It can happen quickly or slowly over decades. Hitler came to power via democracy and Chavez in Venezuela. In the 1930’s into the 40’s Argentina was on a per-capita basis the third richest country in the world. Then the Peronists came to power via the vote and in a few years the country was a third world basket-case.

    In America, Canada, Australia, Western Europe, etc., the process has been at a much slower pace but on-going nonetheless. We have constructed parasitic welfare states, gigantic government and bureaucratic apparatuses and layers of laws, rules and regulations, and huge debts all of which combined suck dry the vitality of the society.

    But it’s worse than that. Unlike as is claimed, democracy does not bring people together to peacefully sort out their differences. It may start out that way but as time goes by it divides people and brings them into conflict. A sordid synergy develops between people who realize that they can receive benefits that others pay for and politicians who then cater to special interests to garner votes. As time goes by society becomes divided into special interest groups and then sub-groups. Everyone is competing against everyone else for the spoils, whether it be economic, political, ideological, or power-oriented in nature. People who in a non-democratic environment would have no reason to be divided but would be inclined to be united and on guard against power overreach by an arbitrary authority, instead are at each other’s throats. All experience shows that the best of human nature does not hold sway in the democratic process but that the selfish side of human nature and short-term considerations do.

    The modern democracies have only been around for a short while. The United States the oldest, Canada since 1867, Western Europe since the second world war. They’ve all been in steady decline. Economically weakened, indebted, social cohesion, shared values and amity diminished; divisions, enmity, hostility, and even hatred ascending. I think that it’s as a law of nature. Given what we are in our very nature with our intellectual and moral failings, within a democratic context, it is as it must be. That’s not a product of pessimism, just realism. Yes, this thinking will be anathema to many people and I will be scorned for it but the world as it is playing out supports me.

    Therein lies an eternal human dilemma that has plagued us from the beginning and I think always will. If not democracy, what? We have never been able to devise a system of governance that leads to sustained prosperity, stability and a reasonable amount of happiness and fairness on an on-going basis. That’s why empires, countries, and societies collapse or disintegrate and likely always will. Democracy will not be the solution.

    Another thought. Originally and for a while the western democracies were quite prosperous with a rising standard of living but that had nothing to do with Democracy per se. It was the fruit of property rights, free markets, contract law, honest money and interest rates, and relatively limited governments. There are conditions which are necessary for economic and societal success and to varying degrees they existed. But over time the predictable intrusions conjured within the democratic paradigm asserted themselves and the accretion of them undermined those conditions and ingredients for success, and that’s where we are now, headed in the wrong direction.

    Now excoriate me.

  21. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ray W:

    No excoriating needed. Only one correction really:

    We are not a democracy, nor are most of the EU countries (perhaps all, I just am not that familiar with the minor governments).

    The USA and much of the EU are Representative Republics.

    Even the ancient Greeks characterized democracy as one of the “bad” forms of government. They typically end in a Tyranny Of The Masses and collapse into debt and ruin.

    The Founders were very aware of this and took great pains to assure we are NOT a Democracy.

    The Electoral College elected Trump. A democratic vote count would have elected Hillary.

    The Senate is full of States Representatives (though inroads to make them directly elected have weakened their independence). They often have held the House in check.

    etc. etc.

    In the EU there are similar representative democracies along with a bunch of residual monarchies; but even the monarchies often have a representative parliament in real control. I’m unaware of any significant or effective direct democratic initiative process to change EU or EU Member Nation’s laws and constitutions.

    So what you say would largely be true, IF we were democracies, but we are not.

    BTW, economics is not a matter of opinions and “we’ll see”. It has real and immutable realities and it has known and measured facts about how it operates. Now that said, there ARE lots of folks willing to state their opinions and call it Economics. That does not make it so. (See all the various Marxist, Leninist, and other Socialist economic theories that have universally been shown wrong, often via spectacular failure). So while you may wish to “wait and see”, I’m comfortable that I’m pretty much in tune with how actual economies operate. Not just due to my degree in it, but also due to my actions in overcoming that Keynesian Bias and moving on to more Austrian observations. While I’m a bit of a Geek, it sometimes has its virtues. One is that I started paying attention to economics and watching reality closely about 60 years ago and never stopped. From the Gold Standard through Breton Woods to today, I’ve been observing. So I don’t come to this from just a theoretical base.

    Where debt is crushing is when you need “foreign exchange” in metals or a “hard currency”. Where Sovereign Debt is at most a bother is when you have no need for that foreign exchange money and can print all the payments you need to make to domestic suppliers. It results in inflation, eventually, but nations have lived for a very long time with low to medium inflation. In a very real sense, the Greek Debt Crisis was precipitated by their use of the Euro, thus needing “foreign exchange” to pay it. Had they stayed with the Drachma they could have continued to print and pay for many more decades (centuries?) as they had for all the decades to centuries prior.

    It is in the fundamental nature of Sovereign Debt. The Sovereign can simply print a paper and dismiss it.

    Take the USA, for example. The U.S. Treasury could, if desired, print a couple of $Trillion bank notes (technically have the Bureau of Engraving and Printing print them) and hand them to The Fed and demand in return that the equal $Trillion of bonds held be returned for cancellation. The Fed would then hold that note on their balance sheet as a “Primary Reserve” in order to continue to show solvency. At the end of the day, the U.S. Government would be a couple of $Trillion less in debt and nobody would really notice. That’s the power of the Sovereign. Over time, The Fed could buy up even more bonds if desired and repeat the process. Similarly, on a smaller scale, the U.S. Treasury could print up a bunch of $Million or $Thousand bills and just use them to pay off bond holders as bonds come due. That would result in inflation (the rate of which would depend on the rate of distribution of the notes) but no physical changes to the economy. Keep the rate under about 5% and nobody would even notice, or care.

    It really is that simple. We, the USA, don’t NEED $Trillions of Euros or Yuan to continue to operate. We don’t need to try turning an inflating paper currency into an external “hard currency”. Swapping a formal bond for an informal IOU Currency Note is trivially doable and minimally prone to side effects. It would screw over some rich and powerful banking families, and that is likely part of why, when Kennedy had the Treasury start directly printing treasury notes again, well, we know what happened to Kennedy and that the printing then stopped and The Fed again had a monopoly on issuing currency:

    Here’s an example photo with the distinctive red seal:

    Some history on the move away from “specie” and silver as money and making inflation via printing possible as Kennedy took silver out of coins and bank note backing:

    Bankers don’t like it when you threaten their vig

    So there are some “logistical” issues involved in staying alive were a President to follow that strategy, but nothing technical prevents it. That is the power of the Sovereign.

  22. corsair red says:

    But over time the predictable intrusions conjured within the democratic paradigm asserted themselves and the accretion of them undermined those conditions and ingredients for success, and that’s where we are now, headed in the wrong direction.

    Change ” democratic paradigm ” to ” unfettered capitalist market ” and you have Elizabeth Warren’s campaign speech at any intellectual enclave.

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @Corsair Red:

    Had a serious case of echo what? and took a while to realize you were quoting the first paragraph. I’ve added the blockquote and /blockquote (inside angle brackets) to make it a proper quote…

  24. philjourdan says:

    @EM Sight correction. JFK proposed, LBJ did the deed – taking silver out of money. Last year for silver coins was 64. I know. I kept everyone I could lay my hands on (until a junkie stole most of them).

    I also have the red Notes ( US Notes – $2 and $5). Also some Silver Certificates. For the same reason I have the coins. Collector value. I almost got a $20 yellow (gold certificate). But the cashier who was selling me the other bills at face value decided to keep that one. I still regret not bidding up to get that from her. But I was a starving student and setting aside $20 was a big enough pain 45 years ago.

  25. ray warkentin says:

    Chiefio, I absolutely agree that there are economic cause and effect relationships. Where people disagree is in the nature of these relationships, although many actually refuse to accept there are relationships or economic laws and think they can make an economy be whatever strikes their fancy.
    When I said we’ll see I was referring to the dynamics currently at play and whose understanding of what those are is most correct because the nature of those dynamics will determine the effect.

    The Federal Reserve is already doing much of what you said. It has been printing money to buy government bonds from the bond buying banks and severely depressing interest rates and thereby greatly capping government interest expense. That has been a major reason behind the conjured money creation otherwise the government interest expense would have exploded the budget several years ago. I think you are being far too insouciant in your analysis about the lack of very bad consequences. There are cause and effect relationships at play here too but it’s not an exact science and I expect different results than you do. I won’t say we’ll see this time.

  26. Larry Ledwick says:

    The issue with fiat currencies, is not so much in the concept but that humans are involved and their failures eventually destroy the currency.

    If you look at the history of fiat currencies they “always fail and crash in value”, but that crash in value is driven by greedy humans who think money is free and don’t understand the consequences of excessive inflation.

    Low order inflation near 2% is almost invisible to the average consumer and they only notice the result over decade time spans. It is really a silent tax on their savings but is so small/slow that it does not modify their behavior to dodge it. Around 4% – 5% inflation people start to notice (gee this only cost X last august). Price changes become big enough that they are noticeable in daily transactions over time. When inflation gets up around 7%-12% like it did during the last 1970’s and early 1980’s it becomes a very real tax on people’s earnings and they start to modify their behavior by either trying to avoid it or to make money off of it.

    That is when inflation becomes destructive.

    Like EM mentioned it is when inflation gets high enough to trigger those destructive outcomes is when it starts to destroy the economy. Once people develop and “expectation of inflation” high enough to be note worthy many begin trying to game the system. The buy commodities on credit then flip them and use the earnings from the price inflation as revenue. This leads to things like the house flipping frenzy just before the 2008 crash and similar behavior in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when folks who were lucky enough to get a large tangible asset prior to the inflation rate going exponential could sit on that asset (house or land) for a few years and the inflation growth in nominal value would essentially pay off a fixed rate loan when they sold it. They were in effect skimming money from those who had no choice but to buy at the new inflated prices.

    This book gives a great history of fiat currencies and the human foibles which cause these crashes.

    By the way when I bought this book in February of 2013 it cost $30, it is now selling for $39.99 five years later, which is a compound interest rate of just under 6%, although the official inflation rate publicized by the government calculated on a market basket basis, supposedly was much lower.

    According to the official inflation calculator it should only cost about $32.70 today.

    This is the other issue many people do not realize, that inflation rate of individual commodities may be substantially different than the calculated market basket method calculation for the whole economy.

    Massive inflation in Germany was driven by outsiders speculating on the exchange rate much like Greece (and Venezuela today) they were put in a position where they could not control their own exchange rate and inflation was driven by other concerns (such as a government trying to avoid defaulting on debts at all cost, or being able to pay entitlements regardless if they were now paid in worthless currency at obsolete fixed rates)

  27. corsair red says:

    Thanks for making the correction. I didn’t know how. I did get off my lazy backside and find out.

  28. Graeme No.3 says:

    Larry Ledwick:
    It wasn’t just outsiders speculating on the exchange. And the German government wasn’t too concerned about inflation until things got out of (nominal) control.
    And my feeling is that Greece and Venezuela had governments ‘buying’ support and not at all worried about those who would lose if inflation took off.
    And thank you for the reference to the book.

  29. ray warkentin says:

    The Fed. printing money to buy government bonds is not really much different than the government printing the money. It is circuitous and a camouflage but the money enters the economy in any case. The difference would be if the Fed. would actually sell those bonds into the market and cancel the money received thereby taking it back out of circulation. It is making a small show of this now but I doubt it would ever take more than a small percentage of the bonds off its balance sheet this way since it would tank the economy. So yes, as chiefio says, the fed could just cancel the debt but more likely it just stays on its balance sheet to keep the charade going. In fact in the next recession you will surely see a massive increase in bonds on the fed’s balance sheet. Anyway, the fed returns most of the interest profit to the government so it’s the same thing as the gov. printing the money itself.

    So far the consumer price inflation predicted by some hasn’t taken-off for a couple of reasons. One is the Asian wage arbitrage and job off-shoring that has capped wage growth. The other is, as one pundit put it, the money has remained trapped in the canyons of Wall Street. Consumers have been saturated in debt, in aggregate close to the limit, so the mechanism of getting money into the consumer’s pockets via loans for spending has been limited. The result has been modest consumer price inflation but wild increases in asset prices such as stocks, bonds, real estate and art because that’s where the new money went. They haven’t yet resorted to helicopter drops–that is depositing free money directly into people’s bank accounts.

    Just cancelling the debt on the Fed’s book would keep all of the previously created money in the economy and with the on-going deficits requiring ever more money printing it would just continuously add to the supply. If the money continued to remain in the canyons of Wall Street the rich would accumulate ever more of the total wealth but inevitably some of it will leak int the consumer economy.

    With artificially low interest rates malinvestments and misallocation of resources will continue resulting in ever-less productivity and economic inefficiencies. If a black swan event doesn’t crash the whole artificial edifice first, there are other possibilities. Even an inflation rate that is modestly above wage increases will continuously erode the standard of living and put more people into hardship or poverty. Pensioners would be especially hard hit as would be savers as indeed they already are. There is no guarantee that inflation would remain ever modest and if not then real hardships start. In the late 70’s into the 80’s with just a fraction of today’s money printing inflation reached 15% before Volker raised rates to 20% to kill it. But I say, expect the unknown, unpredicted event. It’s likely.

    It’s a myth that hard money restricts economic activity and causes credit crunches. It prevents bubbles and inflation. Central Bank fiat creation or government printing cause bubbles and inorganic growth. The natural business cycle without money printing would be a very gentle thing. Governments or central banks cause exaggerated bubbles and all the nasty post-crash fallout. Hard money doesn’t crimp production minus fractional reserve banking. Prices simply adjust. As production increases prices fall and the the purchasing power of a unit of hard money increases. There is never a lack of purchasing power. What people don’t understand is that commodities trade against commodities and money is just a medium. With any stable supply of money prices adjust to the supply of commodities and there is no diminishing of purchasing power.

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    There’s one very huge difference if The Fed buys in bonds vs if The Treasury prints money and buys in bonds: The bonds at The Fed still collect interest and are debt. Bonds bought by the Treasury can simply be retired and cease to exist.

    The Fed is a private body owned by banks. They gain from the interest earned and the power granted. They lose big if the Treasury hands them a Zero Interest IOU of currency and takes back an interest bearing bond…

    As to hard currency economies not having big swings: That’s just not correct. Economic history is full of major crashes in economies using metals as money or even metal backed paper. One of my first postings here was about just such an event.

    Part of the reason for the creation of The Fed and other Central Banks was for the express purpose of controlling the rampant boom / bust cycles;

    i rough counted about 43 prior to the USA leaving the gold standard…

    The basic problem is the Velocity Of Money is highly variable. With a fixed gold money supply, large changes of velocity show up as rampant inflation and big deflation. With a Central Bank and fiat money, the bank can adjust the quantity of money to match the velocity changes and stabilize prices (and the economy). At least, that’s the theory. It’s THE most basic formula of economics.

    V=PT/M which rearranged becomes V x M = P x T

    Velocity x Money supply = Prices x Transactions

    With fixed M, then any change in V must show up in prices (inflation / deflation) or transactions (depression / bubbles). And V changes rapidly based on human emotions of fear and greed.

    So “sorry”, but both your claim of stable and gentle business cycles and the benefits of a fixed and stable money supply both “have issues”.

    The statements about what’s bad about inflation are correct, but not relevant at rates under about 10% inflation (as evidenced by all the long decades of countries doing just that, like Italy and Greece pre-EU. Not great, but better than what was just done to Greece by the EU…)

    But please don’t take that to mean I’m defending fiat money. I’m not. I’m just pointing out the history of money and that some claims about it are not quite accurate.

    The only point I’m defending is that the $Trillions of national debt are not really critical to keeping the economy going, nor to hurting it; so long as inflation remains low and is not rapidly accelerating and so long as the USA can print money directly not via The Fed to retire bonds. Stable debt at near zero interest rates is essentially irrelevant to economic performance so long as it is not external debt requiring foreign exchange earnings to pay it off when it comes due. It is NOT where I’d rather the economy be; but it is something that could be managed. Rather like being diabetic and needing to watch your food choices and / or take an insulin shot. Not something to strive for, but something that can be prevented from messing up your day.

  31. gallopingcamel says:

    Jon K,
    Thanks for that CEA video. It will come in useful over the next month or two.

  32. ray warkentin says:

    Well here is an article that is in keeping with my suspicions about the economic numbers. I don’t trust government numbers.

    The Employment Report Has Become Orwellian In The Extreme
    September 7, 2018Financial Markets, Gold, Housing Market, Market Manipulation, Precious Metals, U.S. Economyemployment report, unemployment rate

    “Today’s job numbers might be the biggest disaster I’ve ever seen reported. This Fall could get real ugly real fast. The deterioration of the participation rate is so big it makes me suspicious of earlier numbers.” – John Titus, producer of Best Evidence videos.

    Titus goes on to say, “”The Household Survey” is showing a net loss of 1.47 million jobs year-over-year and a Labor Force reduction north of 2 million [YoY]. CNBC headline: ‘Economy adds more jobs than expected.’”

    The employment report is unquestionably the most manipulated economic report issued by the Government. The content of the the headline on which the mainstream media bases its broadcast and analysis of the report is entirely disconnected from the actual data contained in the report. The damning data that no one in the financial media or Wall Street seems to be able to find is at the top of the BLS’ report:

    As you can see, the “civilian labor force”declined by 469,000 people in August from July. The number of “employed” dropped 423,000. The “not in labor force” increased by nearly 700,000. With these facts in mind (“facts” at least as far as the BLS numbers contain any shards of credibility), how can the Government claim that 201,000 “jobs were created” in August? How can CNBC say the “economy created more jobs than expected?” Based on the numbers in the details of the BLS report, it looks like, between the decline in the number of people employed and the decline in those not counted as part of the labor force, the economy shed over 1 million jobs.

    Titus remarked to me that, in terms of manipulating the data to make the headline report look positive, this is the worst report he’s ever scrutinized: “In terms of people leaving the labor force, it sure looks like earlier data was was manipulated to hell and back and the BLS just couldn’t hide it any longer. The deltas are f—ing crazy.”

    By the way, has anyone besides me noticed that the BLS calls this report the, “Employment Situation Report?” What does that even mean?

  33. cdquarles says:

    Yep, 1964 was the last year real silver and copper coins were circulated. The outer cladding is still nickel-silver though, so there is some silver in our larger coins and some copper in all of them. I had to sell most of my collection years ago, sadly. I had a silver certificate $20 bill once. I spent it before I realized that the bill wasn’t the typical Federal Reserve Note (the seal was different and it had the Silver Certificate heading where the Federal Reserve Note heading is located). I’d bought a tank of gas and had pulled out of the lot when I realized what I’d done. Oh well. I paid for most of my college years from working, scholarships, and war bonds that my parents bought. I left college owing about $4000. I paid that off while in professional school.

  34. cdquarles says:

    Why do people keep saying that the Fed is private? It is not. It is a government sponsored enterprise, like FNMA and others. Will someone please show me a private business that is chartered by the congressional statute, has a board appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate?

  35. Larry Ledwick says:

    It is well known that the Obama administration was cooking the books big time on the employment and GDP reports, perhaps the skew you are seeing is that the reports are more accurately reporting the actual numbers??

    Sooner or later they would have to normalize the numbers you can only use accounting tricks to cook the books for so long before they start getting really screwed up.

    It was common during the Obama years to have the reports come out touting a positive spin then quietly get “adjusted” some time later with little if any media mention of the adjustments back toward reality.

    Personally I trust the numbers coming out of private sources like ADP to be more accurate.

    Another skew that might be showing up.

    Old reports wage earners holding 2 less than ideal jobs to make ends meet, improved economy they get a real full time job at a reasonable income. It depending on how they do the numbers show up as a drop in the number of job holders although it is actually a major improvement in the employment situation for the individual, a casual glance from the outside would seem to show number of jobs dropping when in fact it is a shift in the type and quality of jobs being held by workers.

    If I was a moderate skill worker, would much rather have a single $50,000 per year job with good benefits than hold down a $30,000 and a $20,000 both with minimal benefits.

    Jobs reports do not always tell the whole story. For example lots of people in my age group are retiring or were semi-retired like EM as it was just not worth the hassle to go to a low end job and suffer all the secondary costs like travel to work, eating at work, taxes etc. when they could make do on SS or 401 distributions, or some off the books work like free space rent to be a care taker at an RV park like a friends parents did for several years.

  36. E.M.Smith says:


    If you object to “private” then the full description would be quasi-private government sponsored enterprise. Yes, like Fanny Mae and others. Just not an actual government body or agency.

    The Federal Reserve System is composed of several layers. It is governed by the presidentially appointed board of governors or Federal Reserve Board (FRB). Twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, located in cities throughout the nation, regulate and oversee privately owned commercial banks. Nationally chartered commercial banks are required to hold stock in, and can elect some of the board members of, the Federal Reserve Bank of their region. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) sets monetary policy. It consists of all seven members of the board of governors and the twelve regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents, though only five bank presidents vote at a time (the president of the New York Fed and four others who rotate through one-year voting terms). There are also various advisory councils. Thus, the Federal Reserve System has both public and private components.

    Can you show me any other public agency that has stock owned by private banks and who elect the board members?

    @Ray W:

    The employment numbers, as noted, are incredibly highly manipulated. Unless you look at the raw data you have no idea what is going on. I can’t say if the “loss” was real, or some deep state flunky “adjusting” them downward. Often the “seasonal adjustments” exceed the actual changes.

    So yes, they are junk. Which just leads me to ask “Why get excited about junk numbers?”…

    I ignore them until at least 2 months after release and after the inevitable large “revisions” are applied.

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and do note the banks get a profit first, then money goes to the government. Nice to have a guaranteed profit…

    The federal government sets the salaries of the board’s seven governors. The federal government receives all the system’s annual profits, after a statutory dividend of 6% on member banks’ capital investment is paid, and an account surplus is maintained.

  38. philjourdan says:


    ” I had to sell most of my collection years ago, sadly. I had a silver certificate $20 bill once.”

    Yep, Silver has the blue seal. US Notes the red. Gold the Yellow. I have all but the latter. But since I was a PT cashier, I took close note of what I was getting. How was I getting them so long after they had stopped issuing them (I was a mere tad of a lad when JFK was around)?

    I worked in Europe at a PX in the early 70s. I suspect most of what I got was from folks like you (or the kids who stole it from their parents). Just the last bill they had, or they were not paying attention. And since it was “over there”, the bills did not go back to a fed (until they literally fell apart) so they kept circulating. Until someone like me pulled them out of circulation. :-)

  39. cdquarles says:

    For me, though, EM, what matters is control. If the government controls it, it functionally owns it. So, yes, I see a distinction without a difference between the Fed and the DoJ or the Treasury Department, in that aspect.

  40. gallopingcamel says:

    ray warkentin, 12 September 2018 at 3:30 am,
    Those job statistics look really crazy but there is a simple explanation. Jobs are being created under Trump but it will take a little longer to replace the “Fake Jobs” reported during the Obama years with real jobs. Let’s hope the job statistics will be real by 2020.

    There are plenty of other statistics that show how the economy changed once Donald Trump was elected. Jon K linked a CEA video upthread.

    Stuart Varney on Fox Business mentioned that almost 900,000 small businesses have been created since Trump was elected. Given that small businesses are responsible for two thirds of all job creation this is an important leading indicator of job growth.

    In October 2016 Obama ridiculed Trump when he promised to create jobs, saying “….how is he going to do that?” That question has been answered in decisive fashion so I look forward to Trump making mincemeat of Obama over the next 55 days using facts to counter empty rhetoric.

    Obama destroyed the Democrats by losing seats in the House, in the Senate and Governorships. Under his reign over 900 state legislature seats were lost. If he is the best the Dems have expect Trump to eat him alive.

    You can already see how this is going to play out. Under 1,000 for the media hyped Obama roll out rally while ten times that number attend routine Trump events. Obama has a negative message while Trump is overwhelmingly positive……….that may explain the disparity in the attendance numbers.

  41. David A says:

    For a time the number of people working – in the labor force, was increasing under Trump. Just how those numbers are assembled is difficult at best.
    (How do you get hard numbers on who is really in the labor force looking for work among the working age?) Demographically of course, boomers are retiring.

    I suspect the numbers reported now are highly inaccurate as we know that the jobs created and people hired are real! In the last 17 months of the O administration the US created 26,000 manufacturing jobs. In the first 17 months of the Trump administration the U.S. created 850,000 manufacturing jobs.
    The O said those jobs are not coming back, as he ridiculed Trump. Consumer confidence is very high. Wages are beginning to increase. Trump vowed to cut two laws or regulations for every one created. The current rate is more like 10 to 1.

    Trump was forced into the Omnibus spending bill to get his military objectives through. ( For many reasons including negotiation leverage with China and others. ) If he retains or increases majorities in the house he will not let that repeat. He is currently working on legislation to enable greater reductions in federal employees.

    Ray W, beyond E.Ms correction on democracy vs representative republic, please consider that the foundational principles of the U.S. were designed to protect individuals from group power, primarily government and religious institutions, from ” two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for lunch” ( Later from corporate monopoly abuse, something that still needs improvement on with recent suppression of free speech by major tech communication companies.) The more power we give to ” Big brother” the more we, the individual, become dependent powerless children. And that is how statists look at populations. It turns out that government is a necessary evil.

  42. E.M.Smith says:

    @David A.:

    The really pernicious bit is the “unemployment number”. That’s folks looking for work and not finding it. Folks getting unemployment insurance payments. As those run out, they leave the “unemployment” numbers even though they didn’t get a job.

    As times improve, they get a job (often part time) doing something trivial. It pays the bills. Then 2 or 3 part time jobs (especially with the government mandates on extra costs for benefits over 20 hours work in a week). Then along comes that real job they wanted. Now you get 2 or 3 “jobs lost” and only 1 job created… but nothing counts the relative worth of the jobs to the one person…

    IMHO, the ADP Payroll numbers are far more important (but still have quality of job issues) and even more important is how many places have a sign in the window soliciting workers. I’m seeing that just about everywhere “low end”. On the cross country trip, lots of fast food and Walmart and gas stations and such had help wanted signs in the windows. Every trucking company had drivers wanted on their trucks (some with claims of over $100,000 / year pay! ) That to me says we’ve got real economic growth going on and folks are “moving up” in the job market.

    One other example: Took the spouse to Kaiser for a minor medical check. The check in clerk was a 20 something Black Male. He clearly was “new” as when I asked him a slightly off script question he was a little flustered. ( I made a joke about it with “Jump Ball!” and we both grinned ;-) So here’s a guy who is in the worst demographic for unemployment numbers, and he’s got a new job in a name institution with a career path and decent pay. (I’ve done that job, BTW, as one of my “while in school” jobs – admissions clerk).

    Yes, it’s not a glamorous job. Yes, it’s not like being a doctor, nurse, or even assistant. But it IS a job, a paycheck, a uniform & badge, a start up the organization. And he was a little stressed at trying to work the computer, but clearly happy to have a Real Job ™.

    Knowing that folks are “moving up” and vacating the entry jobs and the low end jobs for something better is the best observation about the job market. That’s how you know is is actually growing and “times are better”. Not some manufactured government statistic where the adjustments are often bigger than the raw data.

    FWIW, I’ve even contemplated tossing my hat back in the ring for an I.T. job. (Usually I then shudder and look for where I left the Scotch ;-) Why is pretty simple. I’d not be wasting my time banging on doors and getting nowhere. Now, were I to get such a job unemployment numbers would not go down!. You see, I’m not in the unemployment numbers. I’m in the “discouraged workers” estimate or missing from the statistics all-together. During recovery after a long stagnation it is common to have the paradox of significantly rising total employment and no change or even a small increase in the “unemployment rate” due to their specific construction methods and statistical nature. They measure very different things and are not complements of each other (in the math sense).

    All of which usually causes me to think: “We give these people statistics and expect them to know how to use them….” /sarc;

  43. philjourdan says:

    To add to David A and EM: In August 2012, when it was clear that Obama would be the first president to NOT have jobs added during his term (over the peak employment of Bush), magically, 800k+ jobs were “found” by the BLS and added to the stats. There was never any real explanation (it was an accounting error we were told). The effect is that he managed to limp into the election with an U3 below 8% (the magic number).

    Those 800k jobs never existed and had to be bled out of the numbers over time to get back to the real number. However, the “recovery” that Obama was expecting, (but never arrived) caused the overage to be pushed into Trump’s term. So each month, a little is shaved until it is back.

    And that is how you stack the deck.

  44. David A says:

    Just a thank you to E.M. and Phil and really all for their comments.

  45. H.R. says:

    @Phil: The operative words from anything BLS usually are “seasonally adjusted.”

    That one has always raised my eyebrows. It just seems to me to be a license to make up any numbers you want.

    What the heck does “seasonally adjusted” even mean? I think it means, “We get to fudge the numbers to get the necessary political optics.”

  46. cdquarles says:

    Seasonally adjusted is supposed to mean comparing like with like at the same point in a cycle, of which there are seasonal influences in economic action. It is not supposed to be a license to ‘make stuff up’, though I am sure that politics can and does enter the picture. We are talking about humans and human nature.

  47. Steve C says:

    I have to second David A’s comment above – economics has long been one of my blindspots and reading through threads like this is most instructional. Thanks!

    Going back to Bolton, well, as far as I’m concerned someone certainly needs to light the blue touchpaper under the entire UN and launch it into the heart of the sun – and, notwithstanding the wisdom above, I think the international banks as some sort of supra-national power over and above national governments should follow. The late Tony Benn used to make a point of asking anyone he met in a position of power “… and how can I get rid of you?” – right! No-one should hold power over others without a means for the others to get rid of him/her should he/she prove unsatisfactory.

    Re democracy, it is a slippery concept – “the worst form of government, except for all the others.”, as Churchill observed. Quite clearly we need some sort of government, if only to keep the country in good repair and functioning (etc. – its exact functions to be decided by the people building it). I must admit I always balk at the standard “right-wing” position of decrying government in all its forms as being some sort of external evil: if you build the governmental system right, it is us, or at least decently representative of us. (I also balk at building giant hierarchies of control, btw, which I would simply call naked authoritarianism, nothing “left-wing” about it at all.)

    The great problem of democracy, of course, is the inexorable statistic that 50% of the population is of below average intelligence: the hopeless alcoholic waster and the highly qualified economist have the same “say” in the country’s future, despite the evident advantage in allowing the greater abilities of the trained man to count for more. (I am also assuming here that the people’s votes, not the corporations’, control the result … ) I suspect that most people who are truly “expert” in their subject despair at the stupidity of much of what they have to put up with – I know I, as a lifelong radio enthusiast, have over 50 years seen most of the spectrum disappearing under the EM pollution of millions of unscreened digital doodads and their switchmode power supplies. If those of us with interest and expertise had more say, the law would require a damn sight better screening and suppression of all this tat: in the event, the corporations who make more money by ignoring “details” like that have more say, so the spectrum (the only one we’ve got) suffers.

    However you conceive of intelligence and/or the IQ figure, there’s a paper by Anatoly Karlin on at the moment called “The Idiocy of the Average – And Why it Matters” which metaphorically slapped me around the face the other day. I really recommend reading it, because it shows actual sample questions from a standard maths test, along with the percentages of people in different countries who can understand and answer the questions, at six levels of difficulty. I suspect most others here will be like me: look at the most difficult question, eyes glaze for a second or two, answer correctly. When you see how many people around the world can barely understand anything beyond “2+2=4”, it will send a shiver down your spine, especially in conjunction with the (ahem) “cultural enrichment” such as we Westerners are currently experiencing.

  48. Larry Ledwick says:

    I must admit I always balk at the standard “right-wing” position of decrying government in all its forms as being some sort of external evil

    I balk at that characterization as it is a reductio ad absurdum summary of the conservative position.

    Legitimate conservatives recognize some government is necessary. They also recognize it has a strong tendency to go malignant, so the correct summary would be.

    The conservative position that : “The government should be as small as possible and still be able to effectively perform all essential functions AND governmental control should always be exercised at the lowest possible level so that the government is directly accountable to it’s constituents.”

  49. Steve C says:

    @Larry – Sorry if I offended – I agree it is a gross oversimplification, but even so I see too much online taking pretty much that position. (Not round here, I hasten to add.) With your fuller definition I have no problem – with either half. There will still be blood spilt over which functions are “essential”, of course … ;-)

    Wholly off-topic, the hour or two gap here was due to me listening to a young American pianist, Eric Lui, performing my favourite Beethoven piano concerto (the 4th) in the Leeds International Piano Competition final, and producing a delightful performance with delicacy and power in all the right places. Much as we all (rightly) deride the BBC for its propagandising, it still does some things deliciously well, and happily classical music (with an approximate national audience of ~100,000, including jazz fans … ) is one of them.

  50. Steve C says:

    @E.M. – I think my last just went into the bucket, can’t see why.

    And … the young man I mentioned has just won the £25k prize (+recording contract, + live appearances, + touring, + mentoring from the “old pros”, etc.). Well deserved. I hope his Beethoven 4th is an early release.

  51. Larry Ledwick says:

    No Offense taken Steve, just a handy cue to separate the conventional wisdom regarding conservative beliefs from the traditional conservative view of government as I have always seen and understood it.

  52. E.M.Smith says:

    What folks (from all sides) shout as slogans in masses is significantly different from what they advocate when in thoughtful conversations. So you are both right.

    “Conservatives” often are seen saying we need to take a meat ax to government (me among them – I’d simply eliminate a half dozen agencies and let the needed bits grow back). Yet the reality is that I’d not want anarchy and do see a critically important role for government in several areas.

    The problem is that the “essentials” for government are about 1/10 th of the present budget / government “product” so taking time to explain that and set those bits out just is less pressing than shouting “Burn it all down!” when marching in the streets….

    Take the Department of Education: We did not have one prior to Carter and education in the USA was much much better then. Just terminate the whole legacy. It’s a net loss. I’d even go further and assert that most State Departments Of Education are net wasters of time, money, and children. They, too, ought to be closed. What is the minimum effective and economic scale for education? We have many existence proofs: The One Room Schoolhouse. (My spouse is one of the few remaining teachers accredited to run a k-12 One Room BTW) Anything beyond that is not strictly necessary and at some point you reach the Maximum Economic Scale. that point at which you get DIS-economies of scale setting in. IMHO from observation of various school districts, that happens at about the point the high school population exceeds 500 students. Call it roughly 20,000 of population. Put more population than that into your “school system” and you start to have worse performance and higher costs.

    Similarly, the Department of Agriculture: A large part of their “mandate” is now running a food giveaway welfare system that is both welfare for the people AND welfare for the farmers. Not much to do with actual agriculture. Welfare payments is NOT a Federal duty. Now for Agriculture, you would need to sort out some bits of value (perhaps some of the R&D and weather stuff), but even there, are those really Federal duties? Does Rhode Island really need to worry about corn propagation and ethanol production, or “contribute” to it? So while I’d advocate for a bit of looking through all their duties to see if something were really necessary in it; mostly I’d just “Ax first, then hear special pleadings”…

    Or NASA: Yes, they do a lot of neat stuff. But do we really need them now? Who said we are the ones who ought to pay to measure the edge of the solar system or take pictures on Titan? Extremely Rich Folks can pay for that kind of thing too (see Elon Musk and his doing what NASA ought to have done 2 decades ago – go to Mars and set up a colony). IMHO NASA has entered that over grown, over paid, over lazy, and under delivering stage where it would benefit most from being sold off to better management. I’d shit-can the whole “climate” department first, though; it is just a propaganda operation by another name and wearing a metaphoric white lab coat.

    You can go right down the list of Government Agencies that way. Easily 50% of the stuff they do can just be tossed on the trash bin. Another 25% can be heavily pruned and the last 25% argued over.

    Unfortunately, the bulk of the money the Federal Gov’t spends these days goes for “Transfer Payments” (i.e. various kinds of welfare payments including the Social Security I’m about to start collecting), Military (where we are defacto World Cops against my will – but I see no better alternative), and payments on debt (since Politicians love going to the giant credit card that is paid by folks without a vote 30 years from their term…) and I don’t see a good way to cut back any of those things without Political Hell To Pay (or geopolitical hell to pay for the military).

    OK, so now tell me: Just how can I put all that above explanation on a 3 foot sign on a stick or into a chant in the march? Eh? So you get “Government IS the problem!!!!” instead.

  53. H.R. says:

    E.M.Smith says: 16 September 2018 at 4:25 pm

    One of your better (not a) rants, E.M. That about sums up my position exactly, though I came to those thoughts from a different path in life. We did share a lot of American cultural touchstones that the GEBs have been furiously trying to eliminate or bury. The shared experience that was the coming to and assimilating in America is being actively and ruthlessly suppressed.

    I agree 100% that your thoughts are not particularly amenable to a protest sign or a bumper sticker. (It might work on a bumper sticker if gridlock is really, really bad and the driver behind you has really, really good eyesight. 😜)

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