Saturday, March 18, 2017


The left and right join in opposing the future – the one because it is not a planned future and the other because it is not identical to the past.--McCloskey

The Anthropocene  is a new geological epoch, not yet formally adopted by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which designates the transformation of the entire planet. Most recent scientific proposals posit a mid-twentieth- century starting date, with the formation of a discrete stratum of human detritus including concrete, plastics, radioactive isotopes and even chicken bones. According to this view, before around 1950, the earth enjoyed a relatively stable 11,700-year period known as the Holocene. Now the planet’s chemical cycles of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorous, its physical forces like storms and earthquakes, and its biological systems are behaving wildly, in ways unprecedented during the Holocene and sometimes for much longer. Nothing is as good for a brand as making an "Age" of it. Nor are plastics and chicken bones as characteristic of the age as the arrogance of a people here for such a short time naming a Period after themselves.

Krauthammer writes, "Trump outlined a world in which foreign relations are collapsed into a zero-sum game. They gain, we lose. As in: "For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries" while depleting our own. And most provocatively this: "The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world."
JFK's inaugural pledged to support any friend and oppose any foe to assure the success of liberty. Note that Trump makes no distinction between friend and foe (and no reference to liberty). They're all out to use, exploit and surpass us.
No more, declared Trump: "From this day forward, it's going to be only America First."
Imagine how this resonates abroad.
It will be interesting, especially among the Brits, how this "America First" theme is perceived. That was the phrase of Americans opposed to American intervention in WW11; they were done with sacrificing for ancient European hostilities and land grabs. This group had many German-American supporters, some of whom were romantic, some who were Nazis. My father hated the idea of another European war and used to speak for the America First guys. My old first generation German-American office manager had a father who was an active member.

"[Trade]...Agreements are not a transfer of sovereignty from the U.S. government to authorities outside the United States but from governments around the world to citizens.  Political power is not transferred abroad but merely curtailed at home."--Griswold

Who is...Dorothy Kilgallen and what's her line?

There's strong evidence from polling data that when people are asked if they want something nice, they will say yes. But when they are asked if they want something nice but they will have to pay something for it, the numbers drop.
From The Economist's View of the World:  "Some years ago a similar poll found overwhelming support for increased spending on social programs. Seventy percent of respondents wanted more spent on the elderly. Sixty percent favored increases both for the needy and for education. And 54 percent wanted more spent on hospitals and medical care. But when the same people were asked if more should be spent even if more taxes were required, those favorable disposed dropped to 34, 26, 41, and 25 percent, respectively. Making clear who will pay the taxes can also have a dramatic effect. One poll that found 50 percent support for the use of tax monies to supplement the cost of operating bus services found only 27 percent support a few months later when the words "personal income tax monies" were used instead of "tax monies." We, the public, seem quite willing, if given half a chance, to believe that there is such a thing as a free lunch."

Attention Oliver Stone: The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is looking into the mysterious death 51 years ago of newspaper writer and “What’s My Line?” star Dorothy Kilgallen, who was investigating the JFK assassination, The N.Y. Post has learned. The stunning development comes after a new book, “The Reporter who Knew Too Much,” suggests Kilgallen was murdered to shut down her relentless pursuit of a Mafia don linked to JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald.

When Napoleon was defeated and exiled in the summer of 1815, one of his generals, General Michel Ney, was arrested and tried for treason by the Chamber of Peers. In order to save Ney's life, his lawyer Dupin declared that Ney was now Prussian and could not be judged by a French court, as Ney's hometown of Sarrelouis had been annexed by Prussia. Ney ruined his lawyer's effort by interrupting him and stating: "I am French and I will remain French". He was convicted, sentenced to death but requested to command the firing squad. The request was granted. He said, at his execution, "Soldiers, when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you. I protest against my condemnation. I have fought a hundred battles for France, and not one against her ... Soldiers, fire!"

Taxes raise revenue but reduce quantity of what is taxed, whereas subsidies cost revenue but increase the quantity of what is being subsidized.

Golden oldie:
There is a recent article in Slate by Anne Applebaum whose title tells all: American Hypocrites. The thrus...

This immigrant ban will be a mess because politicians, especially ideologues, are simple un-teachable. Butterfly in Asia, hurricanes in the Caribbean.  Visionaries are dismissive of process. The ACA was a disaster partly because of the disregard its creators had for process.

Troglodyte: N: 1.a person of degraded, primitive, or brutal character. 2. a prehistoric cave dweller. Origin: The Greeks themselves confused trōglodýtai ”cave dwellers” with Trōgodýtai, the name of an Ethiopian people mentioned by Herodotus and in the Septuagint. Troglodyte entered English in the mid-16th century.

Many [managing agents of New York cooperative apartment buildings] promote arbitration and mediation. This would prevent cases like the recent one in which $130,000 in legal fees were exhausted to decide who should pay for window bars costing $924.~The New York Times, October, 1995

"Lord Harcourt, a British diplomat and general, was so determined to create a landscaped retreat around his new villa in Oxfordshire that he had the entire village of Nuneham Courtenay moved a mile down the road. Then Harcourt kindly invited the displaced villagers back for a feast, and a lesson in rural living: There were two pictures on the lawn, one showing an idyllic cottage scene, with clean little children playing peacefully on the doorstep while the housewife plied her spinning wheel, and the other depicting a miserable and dilapidated hovel, with dirty children neglected by a slatternly housewife. The deferential villagers bedecked the first with flowers and the second with nettles, urged on by their benevolent landlords, who then presented awards for virtue and industry. Later on the most deserving villagers were visited, and granted a red M for Merit to put in their windows." (steve King)

This immigrant ban is significant. One of the advantages of legislation is how slow it is. You need to set the infrastructure in place before anything can be done. So it is in slow motion. When Obama did it, he never announced it; it sort of gradually emerged. Trump insists on being public about these things and, of course, it is immediately in front of everyone, with no infrastructure and no process, only an announcement trying to find an outlet. "Nobody has any idea what is going on," a senior Homeland Security official told NBC News.
It looks haphazard and poorly thought out--as most of legislation is--but it is certainly more visible and Trump will suffer for it.

The Fourth Turning (1997) by William Strauss and Neil Howe describes American history, reframed around generational cycles which restart in the aftermath of a crisis, approximately eighty years apart from one another. According to the authors, a “turning” occurs four times within each cycle, and each cycle ends when the nation’s institutions become unfit to serve the interests of anyone other than the elite. After a violent upheaval, another cycle begins with the birth of the next generation. The first cycle cited by Strauss and Howe ended with the American Revolutionary War, the second with the Civil War seventy-eight years later, and the third with the Great Depression and the Second World War. The authors argue that the generation born after each crisis experiences four “turnings” or “mood eras” which lay the foundations of the next crisis, usually a devastating war. In each cycle, there is a “high”, then an “awakening”, before an “unravelling”, which culminates in the “crisis”.  Steve Bannon, the White House Chief Strategist,  transformed this book/thesis into a documentary called Generation Zero, which tracks the "turnings" of the baby boomer generation.
Another historical straight-jacket for us.

The Great October Revolution was always celebrated in November. Why? Because the Russians were on the Julian calendar at the time of the Revolution. Lenin changed it to the Gregorian, skipping directly from  January 31st to  February 14th.
That's the thing about communism: Instant progress.

Vocations are down in the Catholic Church across the globe. And the religious are leaving.
First among the factors the Pope cited as causing nuns and priests to quit their vocations is a society that discourages lifelong commitments. Francis lamented that many conduct their lives based on "a la carte" choices.

California is among a handful of so-called “donor states,” which pay more in taxes to the federal Treasury than they receive in government funding. Some California legislators are suggesting withholding federal taxes in response to federal crackdown on sanctuary cities.

A quote from the Fed transcript from 2011: “I frequently hear of jobs going unfilled because a large number of applicants have difficulty passing basic requirements like drug tests or simply demonstrating the requisite work ethic,” said Dennis Lockhart, a former Citibank executive who ran the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank.One contact in the staffing industry told us that during their pretesting process, a majority - actually, 60 percent of applicants - failed to answer ‘0’ to the question of how many days a week it’s acceptable to miss work." (This was greeted with laughter.)

AAAaaaaannnnnddddd......a graph:

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