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Notes on Election 2016

14 Nov

It all went the way it was supposed to right?

While Princeton professors have to eat insects on TV because they predicted the predictable wrongly, luckily the Bhatany Report did not make any official forecasts for the presidential election.  Donald J. Trump, America’s Mogul, in alliance with Rudy Giuliani, America’s Mayor, romped the Electoral College in a Rust Belt blowout that really lived up to his claim of a “Brexit times 50.”  Watching CNN in a historic downtown Los Angeles theater, I knew the end was nigh when Hillary’s U.S.S. Pennsylvania triangulated into a red iceberg in the Allegheny Mountains.  I almost laughed at the room’s maladroit hipster anger until I thought about, you know, the consequences.

Like  Caesar galloping into Gaul, Mr. Trump astounded the inbred and sheltered pundits and pollsters and number-crunchers in the capital.  They shed tears for their career paths in the once and future queen’s court.

This sack of Rome by a ragtag band of alt-right deplorables led by a Penn graduate received its votes from a population so sick and tired of politics as usual that they held their noses and voted for a birther and groper just to send Washington a message and get jobs back in exchange.  They were under no illusions that Trump was a well-bred taxpayer.  This was not 2004.  The naïve voters were the Democrats, not the Republicans.

Andrew Jackson Trump

Earlier this year, I warned people that a Trump-Clinton race would smack of the nasty 1828 presidential election when the last American presidential dynasty crumbled before the rage of Greater Appalachia.  The “most qualified man” to ever run for president, John Quincy Adams, a former secretary of state and son of a president, had won the 1824 presidential election by a vote in Congress due to an Electoral College deadlock despite getting many fewer popular votes than Andrew Jackson. J.Q. Adams still, by far, has the record for the highest IQ of any president. A well-educated Harvard gentleman, he refused to stoop to “campaigning.”

Andrew Jackson, a wild man with wild hair, hailed from Tennessee. He claimed to speak for the common man but was a fairly wealthy slaveowner and land speculator by the time he ran for president. And he did not just imagine shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, he actually did! He executed soldiers as a general and shot a man in a duel long before running for president. He did not have many ideas and not much experience compared to the series of secretaries of state turned presidents preceding John Quincy Adams. But he instead inveighed against the “corrupt bargain” in Congress that gave Adams the White House and the speaker of the house, a Cabinet job.

Running against a corrupt, elitist system, Jackson made inroads in the North with some sharp alliances (Chris Christie anyone?) and overblown rhetoric about Washington D.C. The Adams camp accused him of being a violent bigamist living in sin and adultery with his wife. Jackson supporters called Adams a pimp who supplied women to the Russian czar as ambassador.

You can guess the outcome; Jackson wins bigly, but his wife dies from depression after the election from all the negative campaigning. He throws a wild party of an inauguration by inviting the masses to the White House who promptly trash it and break all the china looking for spiked punch. Old Hickory goes on to deport the Cherokee and cause a financial crash by destroying the Second Bank of the United States and unleashing a wave of shifty loans in the West.

We have a lot to look forward to America.

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What you should read

27 Jul

These are some of the latest and greatest articles that I have meant to send to you.

  • Mother Jones ran a fantastic article a few months ago explaining how the American oligarchy has succeeded in its war against the middle class.  Key to their strategy was the the destruction unions in the United States through Ronald Reagan’s  attack on the working class.  These fascinating charts show how the bottom 80% of Americans have had a net loss of income over the last thirty years that has been transferred to the top 10%.  Most of that went to the top 1%.  That means that every year $743 billion is lost from 80% of Americans and $673 billion of it goes to the top 1%.  Inequality has also slowed economic growth as money circulates through fewer and fewer hands.  A must read.
  • TIME ran an interesting article on a number of myths about the recession and the “recovery.”  They end concluding that the solution for America’s jobs crisis is German style industrial policy.  Not everyone should go to college, and it is important for the economy to produce middle and lower tier jobs that rely on skilled labor developed through technical or community colleges.  That also relies on re-emphasizing industry over services, something the United States has refused to do.  Besides Obama’s bailout of the automobile companies, he has made no significant efforts to support heavy industry in the United States.
  • Is India developing into an oligarchy? – Raghuram Rajan warns that India’s development is very unequal and could potentially turn into oligarchic capitalism like Russia or many Latin American countries.  Economic development would proceed up to a point and then fall into a middle income trap whereby any further development of the country would depend on breaking the power of large, powerful, and well-connected industrial families.  India is not there yet, but if the connections between businessmen and politicians grow even more then the country will come to resemble Mexico and not South Korea.  Given that Rajan  warned that financial deregulation was making the world economy more unstable long before the financial crisis, he is worth listening to.
  • Are vaccines a CIA plot?  – a common complaint heard in the Muslim world is that vaccine drives are really a conspiracy against poor people by the United States.  Polio drives in India fail often in Muslim neighborhoods where this belief is common.  Unfortunately, The Guardian, reveals that the CIA really did run a fake vaccine drive in Pakistan to “find” Osama bin Laden.  Naturally, Doctors without Borders is not amused.  This can undermine public health everywhere!

Dispatch from London: The Middle East’s Laundromat

8 Mar

This morning’s edition of the Guardian fronted the news that the head of the London School of Economics and Political Science had resigned last night over donations from Libya.  Colonel Qadaffi’s son received a Ph.D. from the institution that may be fraudlent.  Lord Megnhnad Desai (an economics professor) supervised the dissertation that a quick Google search revealed to be ripped off of the IMF’s website.

Is it really that unusual?  London is the Middle East’s favorite spending place.  An Egyptian owned Harrod’s and sold it to the Qatari royal family.  A few steps north of Oxford Street finds offices of all the Middle East airlines.  U.A.E. money paid for the Sheik Zayad Theatre in the LSE’s New Academic Building.  Hijabs and rather stylish burkas parade down Regent Street shops.

It’s in a central time zone (not too far from the Continent, Africa, the Middle East, Russia, Asia, or the Eastern U.S.A.).  The tax laws are favorable to foreigners in a wayAmerica’s are not.  Financial regulation like Sarbanes-Oxley did not apply here; a little known fact about the AIG implosion is that it began at their division in London.

Is there a better way for this city to exist and prosper?

Deconstructing the Economist

17 Feb

The Economist may rank among the world’s most prestigious publications, but it is easily among the most dishonest and deceptive newspapers in the English language.  A classically liberal rag from the 1800s, it would more easily be classified as “libertarian” in American political terms.  I know a good many of you admire this British magazine, so I will deconstruct a recent editorial (“leader”) on rising inequality in the world.  They basically shrug the problem off and say it is perfectly natural and part of globalization and development.  Their counterexamples also include many countries and leaders they have opposed editorially in the past.  Let’s begin.  First read the editorial “Inequality: The rich and the rest.”  Below I will demonstrate their FOX News-for-the-global-elite-biases.

Continue reading

On Egypt

1 Feb

“I believe the arc of history is long but it bends toward justice” – Martin Luther King

As that great liberator of men once spoke of slaves in Egypt, perhaps will come true in Egypt itself.

 

Links

Human Rights Watch Egypt

MLK Day Links

17 Jan

To celebrate Martin Luther King Day, I would like to share with you some original speeches of Dr. King.  While the media will dilute his message and ignore his radicalism to make him family friendly, I will remind you that Dr. King was a socialist, a friend of organized labor, and opposed materialism and war.  In his own words, I present to you the following:

Dispatch from Pune: Shiv Sena strikes again

5 Jan

The day before I reached Poona, a strike was called against the relocation of a statue by the local government of Dadoji Konddeo from an intersection and moved somewhere else.  The bandh turned violent as 4 local buses were destroyed and 2 Pune-Mumbai buses were ransacked over the course of the strike.  It turns out that the riots were planned by the none other than the Shiv Sena boss Uddhav Thackeray.  Who are these Thackerays and what is Shiv Sena?  How can the cause such damage in the historical capital of Maharashtra and booming IT metropolis?  As in all things Indian, it is difficult to distinguish what is ancient and what is today.

Chatrapati Shivaji ruled Maharashstra in the 1600s as the founding maharajah of the Marathi people.  Maharashtrians (especially Maratha kshatriyas known as Marathas) lionize him as the Hindu king who fought off the Muslim sultans of North India.  His independent state protected South India from Muslim invasion from the north.  Shivaji’s capital was in Poona (now called Pune) and Marathi culture flourished there.

Nowadays, a political party called Shiv Sena (Shivaji’s Army) claims to represent ideals.  It’s directed by a man named Bal Thackeray and his family.  Shiv Sena includes a trade union and a newspaper; its financing also comes from a protection and extortion racket enforced on local businesses.  This local state party allies itself with the BJP in national elections as part of the National Democratic Alliance.

Shiv Sena’s main accomplishments to the outside world are renaming Bombay as Mumbai and its participation in the Bombay religious riots in early 1990s.  In this recent disturbance, they are causing a ruckus because they oppose the moving of a statue of Shivaji’s guru.  However, scholars and the local government have discovered that it is unlikely that this Konddeo could have taught Shivaji because they lived 100 years apart.  That does not matter to the Shiv Sainiks who attacked historians and the Bandarker Oriental Research Institute which contains the papers of Shivaji.  Apparently they don’t like people doing any research on their hero.

Who knows?  Maybe they are afraid of finding out that the legends built up about Shivaji are inaccurate.  Maybe they might be afraid to find out Shivaji was actually a pretty tolerant king and would be ashamed of the Thackerays and their gang of illiterate hatemongers.