Destruction, Creative or ???

In the area of foreign policy, is Trump just plain crazy, or crazy like a fox? Is this random flailing bent on isolating America, or is it creative destruction which tears up the old deal before dictating a new one?

Everyone in America has their opinion now. But so, too, do the leaders of foreign nations who have to deal with it. Europe seems to think that Trump is an idiot for smashing the old alliances, and that’s understandable. China, on the other hand, is much more wary that they are dealing with a more serious and permanent change.

There are very good reasons for this.

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Ya Gotta Laugh …

There’s no way we’re gonna get through this without a few old-fashioned political jokes. It doesn’t matter what “it” is or what “getting through it” looks like to you. We gotta laugh. So I’ll start it off:

How many bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb? Um, whoever said that bloggers actually do something useful?

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How Stupid Are We?

It’s nothing but a sideshow. The real story is indeed how much Trump has sold out to Putin and his mafia, and what that group did to get him elected. But as a sideshow to the main circus, The Michael Cohen story unfolding in the press, not a courtroom, is a great test.

We can see in real time just what this particular group of people is made of, and it’s not good. The salacious details, all about affairs and how to cover them up, is attention grabbing. But if there is anything to learn from this it’s that we are, indeed, dealing with a group of gangsters who are largely incapable of telling the truth.

That clarity might be useful when the real story advances to impeachment. More interestingly, we may learn just how the public digests stories like this and what they wind up believing.

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Other People’s Money

The stock market is high. What gets a market feelin’ good and oblivious to everything around it is a powerful drug, one that has the ability to cloud judgement like nothing else. The opium of markets is OPM, or Other People’s Money.

Where the stock market should be feeling blue and dealing with the realities of a world unraveling with trade wars and debt, it’s taken another course. It’s decided to just get high the best way it can. In that state of euphoria none of that other stuff matters, and everything is good. We have plenty of OPM to go around.

Right now, the stock market has a serious OPM crisis that very few people are talking about.

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One Giant Factory

This is a post from 2009, updated heavily.  

Canton, Ohio, is a brick and proper kind of town that most people know for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  I was there to visit a customer who was kind enough to give one of the new products I was developing a real-world trial.  That went well enough, but Canton itself was a bit of a mystery.  Why is it there?  What did people do that gave them the scratch to create a decent town that was aging poorly?  One night I had to ask my favorite authority on these kinds of questions, which is a random person in a bar – color is always more important to me than accuracy.  But in Canton, Ohio, there is only one answer to the question as to why they exist:

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Treason

The United States is under attack.

It is not an attack with bombs or airplanes. No one has been killed and property has not been damaged. It is, however, an attack on the most valuable thing that we have, something over a million people have gladly given their lives in the past to protect – our democracy.

This is a highly coordinated and sustained attack by a foreign power. It is still ongoing, and appears to have gradually grown more sophisticated over a period of years. There is reason to believe that will continue unless it is stopped.

Denial of this attack and the perpetrators who we certainly know are carrying it out, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, is hindering our response to this attack and making our democracy more vulnerable. That this effort to thwart our defenses and distract the public’s attention away from the threat comes from the very top of our leadership can only be described as treason.

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Inflation

In 1981, America stood at a genuine crossroads of the Postwar era. It seemed as though everything had been floundering for nearly a decade. Watergate, oil price shocks, and inflation were eating away at the faith and the paychecks of American workers. Millions of them had entered the workforce as Baby Boomers came of age, only to find that working life was no longer a ticket to any kind of American Dream.

Into this rode a hero as if on horseback. The assault on runaway inflation had been orchestrated since 1979, but it was about to come to full fruition. No, that hero wasn’t Ronald Reagan, it was Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. Interest rates rose to 21%, the highest the Fed has ever seen. It worked. Volcker would eventually be mythologized heavily for his role in killing inflation once and for all.

It’s an important story because inflation, the villain of the 1970s, is definitely back.

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