Current Politics - Sig

 

Well, it now looks as if Clinton and The Donald are done deals.  A bit courageous for Sig to say that he would vote for Trump, but then he hedged.  An American friend recently told me that, as a born and bred Republican, she switched to the Democrats 15 years ago – couldn’t stand Bush.
 

But it’s the potential economic crisis that I really want to address.  Sig is so right to pinpoint it as The Big Issue to worry about.  Yuval Noah Harari in his book “Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind” has some interesting things to say about it.  (Chap. 10 “The Scent of Money”, and Chap. 16 “The Capital Creed”)  The cause of the potential economic crisis is the ever expanding use of credit.  In the middle ages before credit, there was no method for a baker to expand his business.  A person thinking of lending him money didn’t, because he wasn’t sure if he would ever get repaid.  Why?  Life was short and there was little trust in the future.  Although a universal culture of trust had gradually built up about the money system, it hadn’t yet for credit.  Eventually that culture of trust also grew in the business of giving credit.  It did so in concert with the Industrial Revolution as new scientific and technical innovations worked hand-in-hand with credit to continually expand the economy and give hope for the future.  If you think about it, there is no such thing as real money.  It’s a figment of our imaginations that rests solely on trust.  If humankind were to lose that trust, money would revert to being worthless as it reality is.  So the biggest danger is that humankind will become so worried about being engulfed in debt that positive outlook for the future wanes, credit stops being offered, the world economy shrinks and collapses, and indescribable chaos ensues.  And another possible trigger of an economic collapse is when no new innovation is found that needs credited investment in order to foster the further expansion of the economy.  Any ideas about what will follow the latest one (computers and the internet)?

Bill Broughton (16 June 16)

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Thanks so much as always, Bill.  I really enjoyed this article by Sig. I found it very readable and interesting and forwarded it to a couple of Ted’s “accountant friends” here.
Again thanks - I so enjoy being in on the discussions of your class.
Diana Tremain

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Bill, we owe Sig a vote of thanks for demonstrating the fact our site is not moribund.
 
Sig does some serious thinking on important topics and he is troubled by the political landscape in the present Excited States. The situation has been brewing since the 70's when Nixon devalued the currency and the national economic pie was divided in an ever decreasing portion for the people and a rapidly rising portion for bankers, corporate executives, financiers, doctors, corporations, the medical and legal professions, celebrities and sports heroes. Thomas Piketty deals with this, at great length in his Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century.
 
We have here an unstable process, as the appeal of Drumpf and Bernie demonstrates. Historically, there are many examples of this and the rise of the Corporal in Germany in 1933 cannot be ignored nor that of El Duce and there are many more, including Tunisia not so long ago. And we see two rather opposed means to deal with this. The Donald wants to do what appeals to the pissed off and uneducated. Bernie says there is a way to right the ship by methods which will not result in violence. In both cases the traditional stands of the two parties are rejected rather vehemently. Globalization and the pursuit by coprorations of their deemed right to operate beyond the legal bounds of any nation state has created the inequality and this is just now being recognized gy the IMF. 
 
So I agree with Sig's second and third paragraphs- he describes the problem very well but I do not blame it on the massive debt the US carries because it does not have to pay this back. The US can print money forever and no one is going to stop them because of the reference currency status of the buck. Michael Hudson is going to explain this in his upcoming book- Killing the Host. In any case Sig cannot say that all countries in the world are in trouble because of debt because someone has to own this debt. The world cannot be in net debt because this would mean there is an extra-terrestrial body holding this debt!
 
I also agree with his supposition that HRC is in a spot because of her criminality in the matter of her personal computer. However, the Donald may also be culpable of the equivalent of our Section 380 of the Criminal Code of Canada- fraud. We should also remember that the GOP establishment is pleased to support HRC as she would meet all of the expected demands placed on her by the financial establishment. The Koch brothers have already endorsed her and I believe  Sheldon Adelman has also.
 
Sig dismisses Bernie as "an avowed socialist descending in flames to a pugnacious Trump". And he considers this to be a certainty. Labelling is not such a persuasive tactic and Bernie is rather more right than most European socialists. In any case, he has enormous support and has financed his campaign without selling out to any corporation or industry. He has huge support from the younger segment and this, if nothing else, should drive the DNC in a different direction, but is not doing so. Killary has only slightly more committed delegates and most of hers are from states which have not voted Democratic since the 60's. In the swing states and in solid Dem states Bernie is far stronger. It does not appear Killary will get the majority of the committed and the decision will be made by the super delegates at the convention. And these Dems are going to take into account their self-interest; loyalty will vanish as each Congressman will calculate what will advantage him more in November. So far the polls show Killary losing to Drumpf quite badly and this has been the case for some time. And the polls consistently show Bernie beating the Donald by five to ten points. So this is what will go into the calculations of the supers.
 
In the matter of geo-politics, I can mention my ongoing argument with the CBC. They have reported during the brief Crimean confrontation that Putin had invaded Crimea and in the background a video clip is running showing armored vehicles tearing along raising clouds of dust. It is never directly mentioned these are actual Russian tanks. The CBC repeated a week ago that Putin had invaded Crimea so I emailed the CBC ombudsman the question "How did this invasion take place? Did the Russian army traverse about 400 km of Ukrainian territory to arrive in Crimea or was this an amphibious assault across the Sea of Azov? There is no land connection between Russia and Crimea, as you can easily determine." I have received an acknowledgement but no reply.
 
Sig correctly describes the events in the Ukraine and there is a guy named Robert Parry, who has good contacts in the spook business, who describes the ouster of Ynukovich. We should recognize who is running things in Ukraine. The finance minister is an American of Ukrainian descent, another minister is Lithuanian and one of the reigning governors is an Israeli citizen. 
 
Anyway Bill. it is stimulating to hear from our buddy and I hope he keeps it up!
 Emil Bizon

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Hats off to Sig and John.
 
They have articulated many of our very real and very large concerns about the current situation in the world, and notably in the USA which is currently exhibiting rather disquieting ( if not alarming ) symptoms.
 
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are each confronting the unease that the majority of Americans are feeling about their changing/diminishing prospects.  Trump’s followers are guided  by some panic if not  desperation.  Sanders supporters are still hopeful.  All of this to contend with the situation described in the book mentioned by John,  Thomas Piketty deals with this, at great length in his Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century.
 
Again I want to use one of John’s paragraphs in particular to isolate the driving forces in creating the current situation.
 
Sig dismisses Bernie as "an avowed socialist descending in flames to a pugnacious Trump". And he considers this to be a certainty. Labelling is not such a persuasive tactic and Bernie is rather more right than most European socialists. In any case, he has enormous support and has financed his campaign without selling out to any corporation or industry. He has huge support from the younger segment and this, if nothing else, should drive the DNC in a different direction, but is not doing so. Killary has only slightly more committed delegates and most of hers are from states which have not voted Democratic since the 60's. In the swing states and in solid Dem states Bernie is far stronger. It does not appear Killary will get the majority of the committed and the decision will be made by the super delegates at the convention. And these Dems are going to take into account their self-interest; loyalty will vanish as each Congressman will calculate what will advantage him more in November. So far the polls show Killary losing to Drumpf quite badly and this has been the case for some time. And the polls consistently show Bernie beating the Donald by five to ten points. So this is what will go into the calculations of the supers.
 
The current situation in the USA has been building steadily since at least the eighties and the end of the Soviet threat to the USA and the world. At that point it became every corporation and legislator for himself or itself. Union bashing, offshoring and tax reduction became the gospel ----- and was steadily implemented. In other words special interests of all kinds replaced the common national/international effort.
 
Again to borrow from John’s note,
The Donald wants to do what appeals to the pissed off and uneducated. Bernie says there is a way to right the ship by methods which will not result in violence. In both cases the traditional stands of the two parties are rejected rather vehemently. Globalization and the pursuit by coprorations of their deemed right to operate beyond the legal bounds of any nation state has created the inequality and this is just now being recognized by the IMF. 
 
So we are all in for an interesting time ahead for all the dramatic reasons presented by Sig and John ----- and more!!!!!
 
The question is really ----- what is going to come first to upset the proverbial applecart???????
 
Cheers, Glenn
 
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Sig Carlsen: 31 May 16

I don’t know whether I am unwise to hit the send button, but if I do and you are so inclined, perhaps the enclosed might be timely.
 
Classmates, you would be well excused were you to ask just what the hell is going on down here in the good old USA? Canada by comparison is generally a somewhat more restrained and better mannered place. So why is it that almost everyone seems to have such strong opinions about a Trump, a Hillary or a Bernie? Each in their own way such flawed and inadequate characters soon asked to solemnly deposit our different grief's and hopes upon some altar of salvation. This “something” is surely much more than just about another national election although it is most certainly all of that, plus perhaps much more importantly; it is about the fear and uncertainties about our collective futures that weigh upon us. Something is terribly terribly wrong, and time only seems to make it more so. That invisible and heretofore seemingly invincible mask of illusion has been ripped away, and stark realities are visible to most.
 
Most people tend to vote their pocket books, their own self interests. It is human nature, and that is still the most certain measuring stick available to us and perhaps the most reliable future indicator. Clearly for most, the Economy is not growing in relation to demographics nor working, not long ago one in thirty relied on food stamps, now it is one in ten. Way too many young adults delay marriage, having children and instead still live with their parents; demographics get seriously distorted as a result. Good jobs are difficult to find and soon will be more so. The middle class, that center of social stability, is dangerously shrinking in size and nominal wealth. Student debts are accumulating etc. Despite being members of the so far “protected classes” we have all heard of these stories, and perhaps these matters have even affected family or friends that we know. You may even have heard rumors that pension and insurance plans and perhaps even your very bank deposits may be at risk in the not too distant future; well such tales though still hard to believe are quite true! Perhaps a small nuance concerning the safety of bank accounts is in order, your deposits could still be safe, in which case the value of your dollars would be trashed in the name of currency wars, so take your pick for they amount to the opposite sides of the same coin.
 
All right you might say, what’s the cause of this bloody mess and what can be done about it, for things as they are, is simply unacceptable as most Americans would say. We haven’t had a real pay raise in 25 years while certain of our core services and products are inflating far more than the lying governments tell us, such as health services, food, and most services like insurance products. The cause is simple and the remedies are, truth to tell, also quite unacceptable, or at the very least questionable at best. The cause quite simply is the existing debt and the rate of accumulating additional debt; technically it is sometimes referred to as “peak debt”. Well that’s real helpful isn’t it?  So America is now at peak debt, that is just another expression of being INSOLVENT!  How did we get there, and the unerring answer to my mind is specifically due to the inherent temptations of material self gratification expressed in weaknesses of HUMAN NATURE!  As an additional unhelpful aside, America is not alone in this economic mess, and misery in this case most certainly ought not to love company.  But unfortunately so is in the EU, the UK, Japan par excellence, and most probably China as well. I leave it for others to explain where Canada finds itself. Let me leave this aspect, before returning to the US election, by also reminding ourselves of the singularly unhelpful observation that mankind has NEVER EVER been in the economic situation that we now find ourselves in! Yes there is still a short lived roadmap available to get us back on the right economic track, BUT its effects would immediately be very painful and last for some years to come. There is at least one other among us who can much more persuasively elaborate on this elusive and arcane business than me; and by the way because he is a sagacious and knowledgeable fellow he may not thank me for this sentence either.
 
So come Nov 8, where to cast my ballot? For starters Hillary may not be on the ballot, it will depend on FBI director Comey, will he take refuge in prosecutorial discretion and refuse to see a former First Lady, US Senator, and Secretary of State charged under the Treason Act for her unsecured server activities while in office, or will he go for a lesser charge that wouldn’t lead to a criminal conviction, but if it is to be the former, what would Obama or Loretta Lynch the AG do, would they first sanction a prosecution as constitutionally they must, or would they throw Hillary under the bus unless she withdraws now (with a post election last minute Presidential pardon in the offing?), well who knows; let’s just say that right now as I see it, there is at least a chance that Hillary won’t be on the ballot. I can easily imagine the Democratic establishment being more interested in preserving the economic status quo, and nominating a Joe Biden the VP, over a Bernie, the avowed Socialist descending in flames to a pugnacious Trump. I really think that we can now see Trump heading up the GOP ticket. That at the moment is about the only election “certainty” that I can imagine, plus one other cynical confession saved for the end of this note.
 
 
And so for the simple purpose of preserving our species I intend voting for the “Donald”, because I am persuaded first of all that he will do the “deal”, avoid a nuclear war with Russia and allow them, what in my opinion they had every moral and historical right to do, to keep the Crimea. Better Red than Dead as Pearson rightly said. I could easily expand on this at length but it has all been well, accurately and thoroughly documented in detail by Pat Bucanan recently. Did not Nato, the EU and the US  break their specific promise not to expand to the Baltics in exchange for the peaceful reunification of the two Germany’s? And did not the US State Dept. people specifically engineer the  present coup winner in Kiev in the overthrow of the previous president? And did not a drunken sentimental Nikita Khrushchev merely reassign, within a single unitary state at the time, a small region for emotional reasons? And is it not also true that the very early resort to the use of tactical nuclear weapons in their order of battle for reasons of distance and lack of manpower is now the enshrined and planned for Russian military doctrine?  Well all these rhetorical questions are easily verifiable to anyone one wishing to pursue such questions. As I agued and based upon the events just described, is all that really seriously worth risking blowing the world up over? Over mere narrow principles of sovereignty in this particular context, that in the greater historical scheme of things must and in time invariably do yield to realties on the ground. Will a Trump be equally sagacious concerning an even more dangerous adversary in the far East? Admittedly it is a different question, and I am not so sure about a Trump, and what he would do. One would think that China might curtail dramatic aerial acrobatics over USN vessels and simply sit tight and further harden their artificial islands, knowing full well that by such measures they are effectively exerting strategic control over the crucial straights, for no US carrier group would truly be safe entering too close to such land carriers in effect. We would then be in the position of having to attack such artificial islands, and here again I think that a Trump would not risk that. Anyway in such matters hope springs eternal as they say.
 
As promised, my confession is that I may not vote at all because at least economically speaking it will make little practical difference whoever is elected.