Beyond the Cusp

September 27, 2016

Nation State or International Integration

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The election this fall is not about Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Taliban, or other security. It will not be about most of the items the media is talking about. What it is about is the economy, jobs, employment, wages, and everything about the economy but not in the obvious ways being discussed. Where will this next Presidency balance? The main item is which way does it benefit the United States most, continuing internationalism or returning to nationalism.

 

The media and most politicians are pushing this global economy, global integration, global cooperation, global solutions while hiding a dirty little secret, they are selling global as the solution while having the United States and the advanced nations pay for everything while equalizing the global playing field, whatever that means. We had a debate last night and we heard more of the same. Clinton claimed more globalism and taxes on the rich and Trump tried and may have meant to sound like Reagan. What they were not telling the people is that Clinton was using the same internationalism where the world matters more than the United States so in order to equalize the world the United States and the advanced world has to bleed to allow the rest of the world to catch up and then all will be well and how wonderful the world can be. Trump is actually claiming that every nation take their own and put them first and attempt to allow the nations who are leading the world to continue to be the leaders and then assist other nations in making gains and follow and give them access to advances as they are able to implement these advances. So, which way will work best. That depends on which nations one decides should be permitted to advance their own interests than to share with the world.

 

Internationalism is wonderful if your country is on the receiving end and not so wonderful if you are being bled to bring the other nations up to their level. The problem with that are many of these nations that are presumably being given advances in order to raise them to the same level are led by dictators who are enriching themselves and not making their nations any closer to the advanced world as that does not directly benefit them. What these dictators are not being intelligent about is that had they advanced their nation they would have enriched themselves in the process. They are not even thinking nationally rather than internationally. Internationally is a recipe for disaster as it inhibits the leaders from leading and demands that the least efficient be granted the largess while the leaders are placed in financial straight-jackets. Internationalists place a stop sign where all nations must park their own business and park their nation by the side of the highway and wait for the rest of the world to reach an equal position. The problem is that many of these nations, which they are waiting for to reach the same point, are themselves broken and not gaining and will never catch up as they are not even making any effort to reach the next level. Internationalism believes that making all nations equal will solve the world’s problems and inequalities, despite it not ever bringing the rest of the nations to first world status.

 

 

World Map with Borders Deemphasized

World Map with Borders Deemphasized

 

Nationalism is the opposite view which allows each nation to advance at their own rate and still demands that the first world assist the developing nation but does not demand they try to make equal those nations so dysfunctional that they are the closest thing to an economic black hole as can be found. Nationalism rewards each nation for their efforts and allows each nation to gain at their own speed. Allowing the leaders to lead gives other nations a target and proven path they can emulate but without national gain by the wealthiest nations to blaze the trail for the others to follow. The basis for nationalism is it allows each nation to set their own monetary policies and is against unifying monetary policies as such a system is flawed and destroys the lesser productive nations which has been proven by the European Union Euro which has benefited Germany while leaving Greece behind. Nationalism allows each country to do the best for their own people and society. That does not mean that nations which are developing should not be aided and it is in the interest of the most advanced nations to assist those nations who are developing and making the right choices and allowing them to benefit from the experiences of those nations who have traveled those roads before them. But those nations which are completely dysfunctional cannot be assisted as long as their governance is broken and until the nation decides to change their dysfunctions there is no reason to throw good money after bad.

 

Internationalism is a wonderful, feel-good policy filled of kind words and low on actual results. Internationalism demands that all nations be made to give according to their ability and the funds are granted to countries according to their needs. Internationalism demands open borders allowing free immigration with no limits or criminal and other background checks or other limits or restrictions. The policies sound as if they will allow all nations equal opportunities in word while defining this policy as bringing all nations up to the same level and making things fair for all nations. The truth is that this is accomplished by tearing down the greater nations while benefitting some of the least deserving nations who are corrupt criminal enterprises more than they are actual functional nations. Rewarding the worst while impeding the best prevents progress and will constantly restrict progress and the discoveries of new technologies and new systems which would result in assisting those nations seeking a better future to implement the proven methods. To get an idea on the difficulties caused by internationalism there is a perfect example which we can observe, the European Union. How has that equal currency been working for over half of Europe who are not Germany or Britain but are Greece, Spain, Italy and even France and many of the former Warsaw Nations. The common currency has taken the small differences of economic production where the agrarian economies which work on a different production level having to survive with the same policies of the industrial and other highly developed nations.

 

World Map and Relative Wealth of Nations

World Map and Relative Wealth of Nations

 

Permitting each nation to perform at their highest level and to their full potential will set target paths for other nation to follow along the proven road set by the highest performing nations. Progress is the fuel that raises all nations in turn. Progress provides the test paths and allows developing nations to benefit from their more advanced nations but only when they decide to advance. No nation could be forced to grow their economy and advance their national infrastructure and when a nation refuses to advance itself then forcing the rest of the world to wait for such a nation to reach an equative level is ridiculous and counterproductive. Internationalism is wonderful idea if it could function as promised. Nationalism is the dirty sounding word which is accused of being selfish because it benefits the wealthy nations and prevents developing nations from ever reaching the top level. The obvious fault is that accusation is completely false. If nationalism prevented up and coming nations from ever becoming the top nations were true then China would have ruled the world, Spain would be a leading nation, Greece would be the top nation in Europe, Egypt would be the most advanced nation in construction and engineering, Persia would still control East-West trade routes, Portugal would be a great power with colonies throughout the world, and the Hittites would be the great power in the norther worlds of Europe through to Turkey. Top nations change and have changed throughout the history of the world while nationalism was the rule of the world. Internationalism has caused massive stagnation as the world as a whole is not permitted to advance because the leading nations are held back presumably for the benefit of the lesser nations. This will always be a supported philosophy as there will always be more developing and undeveloped nations than leading nations as only a few nations will be in the top ten percent, which is why it is referred to as the top ten percent. Internationalism has been working so well over the past twenty to thirty years since 1979 while the rest of history was pathetic and without economic advancement advances by all nations and we are still using salt as a currency, aren’t we? The progress from salt as money to salt as something on almost every dinner table was a result from nationalism, not internationalism.

 

Compare the two with eyes open and the preferable form, open competition or controlled advancement, the choice could provide opportunity or a slow decadence and eventual decimation. Internationalism is welfare on an international scale much in the form of the Soviet Union and the initial Plymouth Rock Colony which would have starved if not for the Native Americans who grew and hunted for surplus for the winter and had sufficient to teach and feed the Pilgrims. After that experience of all get all they need, while most gave nothing in effort, they introduced a new program where each family kept a percentage of what they grew and the remainder was shared, the amounts of food skyrocketed. That is the balance which nationalism can produce, the most advanced achieve at their highest level and those developing nations learn from those leaders and in time some will replace them as they eventually falter. That is the secret of effort based economies, the people or nations at the top changes with time when another makes decisions which make them even more profitable as the other sinks under likely bureaucratic waste. You decide.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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September 4, 2016

Foundations of Pay to Play

 

The Clinton Foundation, or should we call it the Clinton’s Fundnation, where donations of varying sizes were deposited often in direct correlation to the length of time they were granted with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Well, not all the visits with Secretary of State Clinton were linked to contributions to the Clinton Foundation; some were linked to very impressive payments for speeches by one former President William Jefferson Clinton. Of course we are told that there is no smoking gun or definitive proof or actual links, well, provable links. It is remarkable the degree to which far too many highly placed law enforcement agencies and individuals voluntarily develop tunnel vision. It is a miracle they can drive a car safely with such obstructed eyesight. Yet the news has been filled with reports about the horrors and downright dastardly practices and unconscionable business relations which apparently have plagued Donald Trump over the years. We can only assume that previously law enforcement and business oversight and enforcement departments have suffered an equal measure of tunnel vision when it came to policing the business deals of Donald Trump. Of course the surprising item is the lack of law suits brought against Donald Trump if so many of his business dealings were actually as fraudulent as we have been led to believe. There was one business venture though which truly could have qualified as fraudulent had it actually made the guarantees or promises claimed by the media, and that was Trump University. Fortunately for Donald Trump the only actual guarantees given by Trump University were that one might be able to benefit and enrich themselves with the lessons and they would receive a diploma and a picture of them with the facsimile of Donald Trump. The picture with the cardboard Mr. Trump was only worth slightly less than the wisdom one might have gleaned from the lessons. So, there has seemingly been loads of the blind leading the blind in law enforcement around both Presidential candidates if the media reporting on one and the claims of ignoring direct evidence on the other are to be believed. This leads to one big question, which one is the least crooked and least seriously soaked in criminal behavior and thus the lesser choice to be President.

 

I know what you’re thinking, where am I going with this and that I sure started with some twisted and tortured lack of logic. Well, why should editorial commentary here be any less confusing and in the dark than the rest of the media? If you answer is because you have come to expect better, then thank you for your confidence and read on, it will hopefully be worth your time. The problem is that far too many of the politicians are crooked as a broken and twisted ancient oak tree with the varieties of corruption, insider trading (which is actually legal for members of Congress and the members of the Administration of the President), bought and paid for political hacks, politician turned lobbyist and other crimes of unimaginable complexity and criminal behavior obvious even to the most casual of observers which reach out from the rotting central core of the political tree in the ever outward reaching branches seeking new and more imaginable ways to deceive and steal. Are there some politicians who are clean, respectable and trusted to work for their electorate? Astonishingly, yes. Unfortunately they are also the politicians shunned by the opposition party and their own party and unfortunately cannot seem to get together on issues due to their different beliefs and political orientations. If only there were some means of getting the true representatives of the people to work to clean up the rest of the political quagmire, that would be simply grand. Unfortunately most of the truly honest representatives of the people fall into one of a few categories, socialists even bordering on communist, religious conservatives often referred to as the religious right, and the true believers of causes which are as varied as often separate be the narrowest of degrees yet still chasing mutually exclusive dreams as one can paint. There are likely more than a dozen of causes which come under the ecological umbrella from save the whales or the seal cubs to save the rain forests as well as stop acid rain who sometimes protest with the save the oceans and even save the polar bears who have been taking care of themselves quite well. Then there are those who want electric cars, hydrogen cell cars, universal transports which take everyone to their destinations, public transport such as busses, light rail or subways and those who want to ban all vehicles which run on petroleum even including aircraft and the rigs without which we would soon have less choices of food and other goods, but that is not their concern. There are some who desire making the United States a Christian based nation where Christianity would become the recognized religion of their state or even the nation. And then there are our favorites, the constitutionalists who simply desire to have the United States return to the limitations intended by the Founding Fathers.

 

Founding Fathers of the United States

Founding Fathers of the United States

 

Those chasing causes, dreams some call them, are probably the least harmful as they are easily predictable and can be clearly understood. The less than honest politicians are also predictable once their motivations and those who own their pocketbook are understood. There are those who have so many positing bribes, sorry, contributions and charitable donations, which work their way back to the politicians through nefarious and twisted paths making them not so obvious. Let us say that a politician or group of politicians receive contributions to their campaigns and to supportive political action committees (PACs) as well as donations to charities or other groups who also contribute to the election campaigns where all this cash finds its way back to the politicians and they simply promote a bill which provides funding for some aid package helping the poor or the sick in impoverished nations which in turn buy drugs or food using much of the aid from the United States from those who initially arranged the funding from the varied sources for their campaigns. The twisted paths and the indirect funding leads to crossing the eyes of any investigations such as there is nothing directly untoward making these actions prosecutable. There are thousands of scams which have been operating for more years than any care to admit. Ask historians or political studies professors and one can learn that these problems assisted in the fall of empires past and have predated writing. There are theories about what is the oldest profession and it very well may turn out it was politician and the first politician was the individual who convinced the leader of their clan that they needed a religion and they should be the priest or medicine man or any position which did not require brawn as much as brains. That politicians got to eat without having to hunt as hunting was dangerous and too often the hunting parties came back minus one or more members while priests or medicine men stayed at the camp near the fires and out of the rain.

 

We have come a far way since then and now we have entire echelons of politicians in layers upon layers doing all sorts of functions. But in modern society the politician is not the greatest menace, just the most efficient ones where the greatest concentration of money can be found. The menace are those faceless individuals who sit in offices and cubicles making up rules and regulations and even law in some instances when directed to flesh out legislation which is all too often loosely written and paints broad swipes leaving room for interpretations and that leads to mischief. There was a temporary position a number of years back which was referred to as the Regulations Czar whose lead individual was Cass Sunstein known officially as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. The position was directed to review laws and legislation from the last fifty years or so and define or formulate new regulations which could be enacted with a special emphasis to use these reviews to enact and formulate regulations supporting policies the Administration was having difficulty passing through Congress. How many thousands of additional regulations were discovered hiding in laws recent or ancient we probably will never discern. Things have gotten to a choking point with the numbers of regulations, requirements and other rules holding an equivalence of laws that the average citizen cannot be expected to even have knowledge of the extents and depth of what is considered illegal and can place one on the wrong side of the law in court. The sad truth is difficult to put one’s arms around but be it the United Statesor be it Briton or any nation in Europe or potentially the entire world, the reality is we all break laws as part of our normal everyday lives and the criminality of living increases by thousands of new laws and regulations annually. This is the real criminal output of politicians who are paid to pass laws which outright or through inferred regulations give those who can pay an advantage over the rest of the population. This is the crooked legacy which is almost as criminal as the money stolen from our pockets through taxes, fees or higher prices so that others can benefit from corrupt politicians. This is why elections matter and primary elections this year proved to be the surprising ones which mattered. In the United States the choice is between two political forces either of which will provide the media, and especially us if we choose, more to cover than they will know what to do with. One will have half the media screaming about the illegalities with the other half excusing it while the other will have half most of the media claiming they are completely lost as to what are the motivations of the actions from the White House and others will play the game of guess what’s up next. Either way we will have plenty of news we just as soon would rather tune out, but it will affect our lives and the effects will be anywhere from minor inconveniences to drastic enough to threaten the entire planet. The real problem is none of the candidates, including third party, have even an inkling about the state of the world and what needs be done to repair the most egregious of the difficulties or threats, and it will be some of the threat which will offer the greatest danger if not mitigated and mitigated right out of the gate. Many will claim that will simply cause more difficulty but indifference to the world of problems has worked so well that we’ll gladly risk actually addressing threats and problems over leading from so far behind you may as well not be there at all, which too often was the case, Benghazi anyone? Please America, choose well.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 24, 2016

Venezuela is Just the Latest Example

 

Socialism is the greatest form of magic and it can work wonders under one small technicality; those in charge must be capable of predicting everything and every need weeks before they occur. There have been some great minds and some not so great minds which have attempted to master this simple little but key problem. They have never succeeded and likely until we have some extremely advanced artificial intelligence (AI) capable of figuring more computations and be inspired and intuitive as well, even AI will not save the day. Unfortunately for Venezuela they were relying on Hugo Chavez’s daughter and the rest of his crony socialists which has led to the riots in the streets because when the government gives everything and its fails, everything fails right along with it. The people are suffering as there is no food, no electricity, nothing, not even toilet paper. Venezuela is on the fast track to join that other socialist utopia, North Korea as that was the system they were emulating. What were they thinking? Anyone looking at North Korea and thinking, ‘hey, maybe we should try that total socialist thing and see how it works for us geniuses,’ is asking for ruin for their people. But what they saw in North Korea was the ruling elite who were living large and eating good and they looked no further than the feast served in the palatial grounds of the Kim family and thought, we can live large too. They didn’t look at the people who have been eating grass and the bark off of trees. North Koreans have it so good that they are trying to sneak into China where they see a world of plenty. Maybe China has found a secret to make socialism work as China is socialist, right?

 

So, since China might have found a secret, perhaps looking back at the socialist history and see what their magic bullet turned to be. Back when Mao Tse-tung initiated his socialist communist utopia of a planned production and state run farms and factories, they had such a failure that it is still unknown how many Chinese paid with their lives as a result of that first famine produced by crop and other farm failures. Estimates run from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions to hundreds of millions to unimaginable millions. The only Chinese who were safe from father Mao’s wonderful central planning were the peasants living in the furthest reaches of China in the remote farmlands who raised their own crops and were self-sufficient. Mao Tse-tung and his central planners then came up with a brilliant idea based on those remote peasants and allowed the farmers to work and plant as they saw fit and permitted them to keep sufficient food to feed their communities. But the factories still were under central planning because the communists understood the needs of the people. There were often shortages of particular items and sometimes unforeseen demands which were completely unexpected and there would be a lag time and waiting lists grew for such things as cars, televisions and other thought of luxury items. Housing became more sterile and stark as central planners placed a higher emphasis on quantity over quality and function and basics over appearance and luxury or even comfort. The people wanted more and knew about the rest of the world despite the attempt to control their news from the outside world. Mao Tse-tung gave in areas to the better minds but still retained much of the control centrally and thus restricting reactive production which led to continued waiting lists and production lagging demand sometimes by years. Mao died and the communists with time made a fateful decision as their economies could not meet their directive goals. They let loose of a degree of control and allowed for a select group of entrepreneurs, some free enterprise where industry owners were permitted to keep some of their profits providing they met the expectations and projections. This stimulated their economy and this led to meeting projections and industrial and economic growth beyond anything they had previously attempted. This led to economic growth rates sometimes surpassing 9% annual gains and brought the Chinese economy into the modern age and spawned the rise of a middle class, a new concept in socialist governance. But China was no longer a purely socialist system and it was the free enterprise which was permitted economic freedom which spawned the growth rates.

 

I can hear the questions asking what would happen if the growth rate slowed or even, heaven forbid, hit a recessive downturn. Well, that would be an easy one to answer with only one problem, the Chinese economy had been so repressive that the last decade plus, as they liberalized their economy and allowed more and more of the economy to be a semi-free demand economy with free enterprise, that they only recently finally reached a point where their gains slowed and failed to meet expectation and fell below their desired, if unreasonable, 9% per year and the initial signs are what some might call ominous. The central planners are showing signs of throwing out the baby with the bathwater as they are showing indications of returning to form and taking back the control over production planning thinking they can plan better than the profiteers as their decisions are empirical and not driven by guessing and risk taking. There is a positive side to this and that is we will see if after having witnessed the methods of for profit manufacturing and investment that the central planners might have an improved ability at decision making. Even if the central planning takes back sufficient control that the wait lists return and they end up where they were before their first experiment in free market economy, then their second experiment in free market economy will be the same inevitable success that they had the first time. The reason a free market economy works is that it is driven by greed, a vice which has never been vanquished from the human spirit and as long as there is greed, then profit based economy will work the best in satisfying the greed of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie as all gain from such a driven system. This could lead to a cyclical Chinese economy with it going in spits and starts as the free market produces growth until the inevitable recession. The central planners then clamp their control back over the economy and as that fails they resort to free market until it slows and back and forth and back and forth and eventually one will prevail. The likely winner, for the benefit of the Chinese people, will hopefully be free market and the central planners simply resort to governing wisely as we have always been taught the ancient Chinese rulers had managed when they were not fighting against one another in order to consolidate their control. The one thing that can be learned from the Chinese who found their way to allow for free market economy when central planning failed to meet the people’s demands is that even central planners can sometimes know when they have failed before it is too late.

 

Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie Lead to the Revolution

Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie
Lead to the Revolution

 

That is the problem with too many socialist governments, even those which are based on a free market economy but use socialist programs to redistribute wealth more evenly and to provide retirement income so nobody gets left out in the cold. When these programs reach a point where they outstrip the resources then either taxes need to be increased or other means of making the programs affordable even if they must cut back on their benefits. When the taxes are too high in order to presumably pay out welfare and retirement benefits the economy can still collapse into freefall such as was the case resulting from the 2008 economic downturn, bust if you insist, and Greece, Spain and others found themselves so deep in the hole that the economy was unable to recover. This was further exacerbated by the fact that they are on the Euro which receives much of its value based on the combined economies of the European Union which include Britain, Germany and other nations whose economic output is far greater than Greece thus Greece could also not support the value of the Euro which furthered their problem. The single currency may result in the end of the European Union if the nations being damaged by the single currency decide to leave so they can manage their own currency. Add into this the Brussels Eurocrats dictating immigration policies and forcing refugees into countries which feel threatened by the refugee situation. This will be a further demand on the economies of the nations taking in the refugees and you have another stress that will force more nations into economic difficulties. There is much to look at going forward and Europe is on the leading edge of the coming problems many which will result from the many and varied conflicts and other problems ongoing in the Middle East and North Africa, things we will most certainly cover here along with the other items of particular interest around the globe. In the meantime, let us hope that Venezuela figures out where they went wrong and change their economic means and systems to something which at least can feed and provide a few other necessities and even the luxury of toilet paper soon and the people can stop rioting and work and produce for their own enrichment and not just the enrichment of the central planners who apparently decided their wealth mattered more than the people and are now facing an ugly truth, they were wrong. We could hope for the people of North Korea as well, as their new leader, Kim Jung Un is apparently unbalanced and seems to believe if he is doing well the people should be happy enough by that knowledge even if they lack for virtually everything including decent food.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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