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"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 

Tuesday
Nov132018

E pluribus unum

While I still disagree with Macron's statement on Sunday, after mulling it over I understand it better. It was still designed as a direct insult to Trump and America. Trump did attend a memorial service to commemorate the dead, but he did not attend both of them. I wonder if the Macron insult, which followed an earlier insult, was the reason. 

For a European, nationalism is bound up in which ethnic group you belong too. There is German nationalism, French nationalism, and it is linked to those ethnic groups. One reason for the hard time that the EU is giving Hungary's refusal to allow immigration is that that form of nationalism is against the "European Values" that the EU is trying to foster. But there is no Europe, as a country, right now. Nationalism fights against a future European unity. In a sense, the EU is trying to make the motto of the United States, E pluribus unum, as its unofficial motto, out of many one. To the European mindset, at least the ones that want a Europe as a country, is that nationalism is a form of ethnic pride. It can be, but does not have to be. 

In US history we had considerable reluctance to accept Caucasians from European countries that were not English. You can google for signs that say, "No Irish Need Apply." This is inconceivable today. The "No blacks" part of the sign I chose is unfortunately conceivable. Italians were looked down upon, the fact that they might have a white tone to their skin did not matter. The Know Nothing Party is a good example of this:

The Native American Party, renamed the American Party in 1855 and commonly known as the Know Nothing movement, was an American nativist political party that operated nationally in the mid-1850s. It was primarily anti-Catholicxenophobic, and hostile to immigration, starting originally as a secret society. The movement briefly emerged as a major political party in the form of the American Party. Adherents to the movement were to reply "I know nothing" when asked about its specifics by outsiders, thus providing the group with its common name.

They were the Alex Joneses of the 19th century. 

As I said, this is inconceivable today. 

Does Trump consider himself German because his grandfather was born in Germany? Does Trump consider himself a Scot since his mother was born there? He does not, because out of many (countries) one (country) is formed. (I can picture Trump trolling his adversaries in a kilt.) 

My own family history also indicates this. In 1699 My ancestor Jean De Jarnette arrived in Virginia as an immigrant. He was 19. He married Mary Mumford and had a family. His grandson, James De Jarnette, served as a Major General in the war of 1812. Did James consider himself French? He did not. 

I recently did an ancestry.com test. It showed pretty much what I expected. An English cluster, and a Northwest French cluster. While Jean left La Rochelle, his ancestry was more Normandy than French. But what was surprising was that the second largest nationality in my background was Swedish. Do I regard myself as Swedish, or English or French? I do not. I am American, because out of many one is formed.  

In other words, the nationalism that Trump advocates is Civic Nationalism:

Civic nationalism, also known as liberal nationalism, is a form of nationalism identified by political philosophers who believe in an inclusive form of nationalism that adheres with traditional liberal values of freedomtoleranceequality, and individual rights.[1][2]

Civic nationalists often defend the value of national identity by saying that individuals need a national identity in order to lead meaningful, autonomous lives[3] and that democratic polities need national identity in order to function properly.[4] Civic nationalism is frequently contrasted with ethnic nationalism.

Trump is not advocating a nationalism based on an ethnic group, being both "German" and "Scottish" which would he pick? He is proposing a nation based on shared values. This is quite different. 

Charles De Gaulle, the founder of the current French republic that Macron has the privilege to serve as president had this to say in 1913:

He who does not love his mother more than other mothers and his country more than other countries, loves neither his mother nor his country. 

Sounds right to me. 

Sunday
Nov112018

The New "N" Word

You may have heard the new controversy that President Trump has declared himself a Nationalist. That of course means he is racist. He recently contrasted nationalism with globalism, so that mean he is anti-semitic. Sometimes it is hard to keep track of the memes. 

The goal is to take the average person and change the way they use words. What the desired outcome is that when one hears the word "nationalist," that the listener thinks "white nationalist." Or when one hears the term "globalist," to think the person saying it is anti-semitic. 

This is a weird conformation of George Orwell vision of the future in his novel 1984. The meaning of words changes until you no longer know what a word means. 

Here is what the president of France said: 

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.” 

So being a nationalist is not being a patriot? He said this recently at the 100 anniversary of the end of WWI. Trump attended this event. So why does anyone wonder about Trump's lack of respect for Macron? This was a direct insult to Trump. 

Humpty Dumpty had it right. 

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that's all.”

Remember: 

War is Peace

Freedom is Slavery

Ignorance is Strength 

Yes, one can be a nationalist and not be a racist, and against globalism and not be an anti-semite.

Sunday
Jan072018

Why No Peace in Ukraine? 

I have heard a few talking heads say that the reason there is no peace in Ukraine is "Russia, Russia, Russia." If you want to know why there is no peace in Ukraine, watch this short video. 

This next clip is Russian news, and needs to have the same skepticism that you would direct toward any news, even US news. Since the news is reporting that what Ukraine President Poroshenko promised in the first clip is happening, I think this is accurate. These are the people to whom Trump is sending lethal arms and is training. 

BTW, today is the Russian Christmas, and civilians in Eastern Ukraine are huddling in basements in fear. 

Thursday
Jan042018

Trump Verses Putin

I thought a comparison between Trump's New Year's message and Putin's might tell us a lot about their character. 

Here is Trump's:

 Here is Putin's: 

To be fair, New Years is a much bigger deal in Russia than it is in America. Both messages are heavily produced, but only the Trump message is about Trump, and nothing else. I found it embarrassing. Be sure to listen to the music at the end of Putin's message, the music is very traditional Russian. 

Monday
Jan012018

2018 Predictions

Here are my predictions for 2018. 

1. The stock market will increase 10%.

2. The stock Market will crash 30%.

3. The stock market will decrease 10%.

4. The stock market will rise 30%. 

Confused? You are not alone. There are several reason why I am making contradictory predictions. First, this is the way the prophecy game works. You make contradictory predictions and only point out the ones that ended up correct. There is even a Twilight Zone episode about this.  

But I am following my usual practice of having my even number predictions not being serious. So I do not expect a large increase or decrease in the markets. But either of these options is possible. With the expected repatriation of overseas money legally, but immorally, placed/left overseas, there will be a lot of investments and stock buybacks. The reduction in the corporate tax rates will also increase corporate profits. This seems an unlikely outcome as the rate of corporate profits is the highest in modern history. But nevertheless it is what will probably happen. This could mean another 30% increase for this year like last year. 

Since the stock market is actually higher in relative terms than it was in 1929 before the great depression, one would think that the market will crash. One would be wrong. I still can't believe I am saying this. There will not be a crash for several years. Since the longest period without a recession is 118 months and we are in month 114, this prediction seems unlikely. But looking at the madness that is Japan, the US has a long way to go before the fiscal madness gets out of control. (It is already out of control, but the bubble still has a long way to go.) I think that the stock market will go up slightly next year, prediction 1. 

5. The 1.5 trillion estimated deficit increase that will be the consequence of the Trump tax cut will not even cause a hiccup in the markets. No one will care. 

6. Krugman, since there is a Republican in office will continue to prediction dire consequences, and he will continue to be wrong, as he was when he predicted that the internet would not have a significant impact on business and his prediction that the Trump stock market would be bad. The prediction biz is tough. 

7. The real estate market in Southern California is nuts. If my family had kept any of our family homes from the 60's and 70's, I could sell it and retire to Costa Rica and live the live of leisure. One would think this would mean I am predicting a crash. I am not. Everyone seems to be buying houses and then renting them out. Many rentals on the market are in this category. As long as interest rates are low, this will continue. I do wonder how many of these new landlords are committing loan fraud by claiming they will live in the unit. 

8. Bitcoin will rise to $50,000.

9. There will be no evidence that Trump colluded with anyone, but there will be a lot of noise about it. There will be charges, but the charges will have nothing to do with Russia. I do not think one can be in business and not violate some law somewhere. For example, if a business charges less than the competition, they are trying to monopolize and drive the competition out of business; if you are charging the same amount, then you are colluding; if you charge more, then you are using your market position to cheat the consumer. You can't win. To channel Jan Brady from the Brady Bunch, instead of "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia." It will be "Russia, Russia, Russia."

10. No one will care that no evidence will be found and Trump will still be declared guilty in the court of public opinion. I advise that everyone who can should get out of debt. I am trying to do that. But it is tempting to just go out and buy the tulips. I will be smart enough to know when to sell. Right?