Two promising new books on the current political situation

Read any good books lately?
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Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:00 pm

I just checked these out of the library yesterday and am now well into both of them.

One of them is Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence by Rachel Sherman. Sherman is associate professor of sociology at the New School for Social Research. For this book, she interviewed 50 couples (straight, gay/lesbian, white, black) around New York (well, Manhattan and Brooklyn, to be specific) making over $250,000 per year (in some cases multi-millions per year). That is, the top 5% of Americans in terms of income. She wanted to know how they viewed themselves. According to her summary, some of them "looked upward" and focused their attention on the people who had still more than they did. Those people didn't feel any guilt and hardly recognized the existence of poor, struggling people, including their own cleaners, maids, nannies, chauffeurs, and the like. Others focused downward and were conscience-ridden about spending their money. What both groups have in common is a wish to present themselves as hard-working productive people who deserve their wealth. It would be difficult for them to face the fact that something else must be at work, since so many other hard-working productive people do not have comparable wealth, or indeed, anything one would describe as wealth.

Sherman makes the valid point that the population as a whole tends to condemn self-indulgent rich people like the Kardashians and the Trumps, but admire wealthy people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who live more modestly and share their wealth. She says, very tellingly, that "the focus on individual behavior and affect...draws attention away from social processes that foster the unequal distribution of resources, including the decline of public education and social welfare programs, employers' assault on trade unions, and tax policy that favors the rich." Right on, Rachel!

The other book is Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap? by Graham Allison. Allison is director of Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He's an old man who has seen a lot in his time, and he knows what he's talking about. The early-on surprises I have found in the book are the details of the Chinese miracle in the 21st century. To put it bluntly, China is beating our ass, and is going to be far, far ahead of us within a decade. Already, China has surpassed the US in purchasing power parity, which Allison says is probably the best measure of international clout there is. All the international financial institutions that the US put in place to consolidate its position at the top of the heap (International Monetary Fund, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and others), which excluded China for decades, have now been undercut, as China uses its economic power to replace them with other international institutions more to its liking. And the world is lining up behind China. Even the UK was quick to sign up for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2015. And the China Development Bank now is now the biggest financer of international development. China has finance assets $130B larger than those of the six major Western development banks combined. As for such things as roads, high-speed rail, education, computers, and military preparedness, there is simply no way America can keep up or catch up. China now has more supercomputers than the United States, and its best is five times faster than the best one in the US. China has a hack-proof quantum communications satellite. Between 2011 and 2013 China produced and used more concrete than the US did during the entire twentieth century (when, you will recall, the now-crumbling interstate highway system was built). And so on it goes. I won't depress you further with comparisons of the competence of typical high-school graduates in China and the US.

Allilson is mostly worried that the now-inevitable dethroning of the US will lead to a world-wide version of the Peloponnesian War, caused by Spartan alarm at the growing power of Athens during the fifth century BCE. He plans to look at 16 instances of such rivalry (prominent among them the British-German rivalry of the twentieth century, which led to America's current prominence as Top Gun). He says that 12 of these rivalries did lead to war. Not good odds. On the other hand, the US/USSR rivalry did not lead to war. Perhaps the new weaponry is a deterrent.

How can America respond to this situation? Trump didn't create it and is in no way responsible for it, but there is also not the slightest reason to think he knows how to deal with it or is competent to do so. He plans to build a lot of impressive aircraft carriers and beef up the US military. But China is already onto this strategy and can easily and cheaply defeat it, with land-based, satellite-guided missiles costing a few million dollars that can destroy a billion-dollar aircraft carrier in a trice. Beefing up the military and impoverishing our citizens won't help. I say the way out is to gracefully step down from being the Top Gun and play a co-operative role in the world, one commensurate with our actual resources. But that is not going to happen as long as Republicans are running things in Washington.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Gord » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:30 pm

What political situation? :heh:
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Tom Palven » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:01 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote: Beefing up the military and impoverishing our citizens won't help. I say the way out is to gracefully step down from being the Top Gun and play a co-operative role in the world, one commensurate with our actual resources. But that is not going to happen as long as Republicans are running things in Washington.


I agree except that I don't think that the Republicans are running things. I think that the CIA, in control of the deep state, is running things.

The US empire, like the British, Soviet, and other empires before, has become morally and fiscally bankrupt, and is losing control throughout the world despite drone bases now being expanded into sub-Saharan Africa, US troops now being placed on the Russian borders of Finland and Poland, and multiple incursions in the Mid-East and elsewhere.

As the Imperial death throes accelerate the deep state apparatchiki are becoming more and more strident in their desperate calls for attacks on North Korea and Iran as last ditch efforts to save their lucrative jobs, despite the prospect of thousands or even millions of lives being lost.

It was this way under well-intentioned Obama, and it will be this way even if Bernie Sanders is elected President next time.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:38 pm

Tom Palven wrote:As the Imperial death throes accelerate the deep state apparatchiki are becoming more and more strident in their desperate calls for attacks on North Korea and Iran as last ditch efforts to save their lucrative jobs, despite the prospect of thousands or even millions of lives being lost.

It was this way under well-intentioned Obama, and it will be this way even if Bernie Sanders is elected President next time.


Excellent phrase "imperial death throes." That's exactly what we are seeing, and I don't think we are going to retire from empire as gracefully as the French and British did. This will be bloody.

Allison notes that, while Obama was aware of the Chinese surge, he still remained distracted by events in the Middle East and gave very little attention to the problem. He bears a lot of responsibility here. Still, his sins are as nothing compared to the sins committed against him. No President in US history (at least, since Lincoln) has been so shamefully vilified. Of no other President has it been said that he was NOT an American, that he was UN-American, that he was Anti-American, and that he sided with terrorists against America.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:39 pm

Gord wrote:What political situation? :heh:


Your humor was almost too subtle for me, Gord. Nice one!
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Gord » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:48 am

I like subtle. I hit it with my hammer to hear it squeak.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rCoseZkII0
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Phoenix76 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:56 am

Well Upton, I fear that both books are telling us nothing we don't already know, or at least should know. Your American politics amuse and confuse me, but then I'm sure our Australian politics appear the same to you.

Just how much influence or control your agencies, I.E CIA, have on your day to day running of the country, I have no idea, and I wonder if you actually have any idea.

And I am under no illusion as to what control our agencies have here. We all go through the process of electing governments, but whoever we end up getting, probably means little in the scheme of things.

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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Tom Palven » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:54 am

Upton_O_Goode wrote:Excellent phrase "imperial death throes." That's exactly what we are seeing, and I don't think we are going to retire from empire as gracefully as the French and British did. This will be bloody.


How about "Arrogant Machiavellian control freaks" of the CIA? :mrgreen:

...probably with mindsets similar to those who ran the British Empire, the Dick Cheney, Ashton Carter, Donald Rumsfeld, Cecil Rhodes types.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:06 am

Upton_O_Goode wrote:The other book is Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?


What is the Thucydides's Trap? I understand Sparta went to war against Athens. England v Germany. USA v USSR. I don't see any "trap" at all. Perhaps more accurate is the Thucydides Dilemma? Countries don't go to war to protect their "No 1"/Super Power status but rather they go to war to protect what they see as their interests. Lots of overlap with the two notions, but not the same thing at all.

To whit: should the USA go to war against North Korea or not? Seems to me, losing our No 1 Status has nothing to do with the issue, but protecting our perceived interests is. What to do???? Any informed person can see a few pros and cons to any position taken? Given that is the case, I always prefer to "take action" which does risk war....but I don't see why blowing missiles up on their launch "necessarily" leads to war. Certainly it could, but that would be the choice of NK...not the US.

Point is...right now war with NK potentiates the loss of millions of lives.............but this has to be contextualized with the worst case alternative..... war with NK 10 or 20 years from now with the potential loss of lives in the 100's of millions.

With no certainty at all.......how would you play the game?
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:44 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Upton_O_Goode wrote:The other book is Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?


What is the Thucydides's Trap? I understand Sparta went to war against Athens. England v Germany. USA v USSR. I don't see any "trap" at all. Perhaps more accurate is the Thucydides Dilemma? Countries don't go to war to protect their "No 1"/Super Power status but rather they go to war to protect what they see as their interests. Lots of overlap with the two notions, but not the same thing at all.

To whit: should the USA go to war against North Korea or not? Seems to me, losing our No 1 Status has nothing to do with the issue, but protecting our perceived interests is. What to do???? Any informed person can see a few pros and cons to any position taken? Given that is the case, I always prefer to "take action" which does risk war....but I don't see why blowing missiles up on their launch "necessarily" leads to war. Certainly it could, but that would be the choice of NK...not the US.

Point is...right now war with NK potentiates the loss of millions of lives.............but this has to be contextualized with the worst case alternative..... war with NK 10 or 20 years from now with the potential loss of lives in the 100's of millions.

With no certainty at all.......how would you play the game?


Thucydides's Trap is a feedback/resonance mechanism, usually in the form of an arms race (or diplomatic exchanges) in which each side expects to "deter" the other side but winds up "incentivizing" it instead. It's the long, sad history of the rising power/ruling power rivalry, of which Allison gives 16 examples, 12 of which led to war. In that respect, the international community resembles nothing so much as a chimpanzee tribe, in which an alpha male surrounded by a supporting group of thugs fends off challenges until finally some younger and fitter rival knocks him off. That's what's happening now, with the younger and fitter rival being China. I won't go into the NK situation, since it's actually only a small part of the bigger picture.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:48 pm

Phoenix76 wrote:Well Upton, I fear that both books are telling us nothing we don't already know, or at least should know. Your American politics amuse and confuse me, but then I'm sure our Australian politics appear the same to you.

Just how much influence or control your agencies, I.E CIA, have on your day to day running of the country, I have no idea, and I wonder if you actually have any idea.

And I am under no illusion as to what control our agencies have here. We all go through the process of electing governments, but whoever we end up getting, probably means little in the scheme of things.



Right you are. I know full well the extent of the secrecy that prevails in the CIA and the FBI, and especially the insanity of Homeland Security. (For a while, they were confiscating GI Joe dolls from little boys on the grounds that the 5 cm-long plastic rifles they carried were a threat.) That is batshit insanity, and nobody dares call it that, not if they want to actually get on the plane for which they bought a ticket. I think Shakespeare said it well in "Measure for Measure": Clad in a little brief authority, like an angry ape, plays such tricks before high heaven as make the angels weep.

I wouldn't go as far as Tom Palven does and posit a coordinated Deep State, but on the other hand, I also wouldn't rule it out.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:53 pm

That makes sense...thanks.

Years ago I think I heard it repeated until near gospel that "America's leadership/power/military might in the world was based upon its economic power...........and that eventually when this ECONOMIC power was frittered away in overseas wars and deficit trade balances, we will fall from power as Number Two takes over."

And viola: we are on the cusp. Its been obvious for years that China was beating us on the economic/trade/manufacturing competiton: "trade is the new war" issue.

Everybody "sees" it........and we continue to self destruct.....mostly in the interest of stateless AllreadyTooRich interests that have their way in USA. How rich can you get in China before the State simply takes your money?
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:19 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:That makes sense...thanks.

Years ago I think I heard it repeated until near gospel that "America's leadership/power/military might in the world was based upon its economic power...........and that eventually when this ECONOMIC power was frittered away in overseas wars and deficit trade balances, we will fall from power as Number Two takes over."

And viola: we are on the cusp. Its been obvious for years that China was beating us on the economic/trade/manufacturing competiton: "trade is the new war" issue.

Everybody "sees" it........and we continue to self destruct.....mostly in the interest of stateless AllreadyTooRich interests that have their way in USA. How rich can you get in China before the State simply takes your money?


Good question, that last one. It's probably a close call as to which of the two countries is financially the more corrupt. The Chinese aren't beating us on the fair play side of things. They're beating us by simply being smart. We need our politicians to read Sun Tzu's "The Art of War."
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:05 pm

Why is China so successfull....and so fast?

Key elements are easy to identify after centuries of looking inward and rejecting progress as "foreign" then decades of failed enforced communalism before a modified capitalist system was put in place (aka: allow individuals to profit from greed and avarice) GIVEN they have all the natural resources to support industry AND a labor force preferring slave wages to starvation.

The groundwork was there..................then..............the USA and the West: GAVE THEM THE MARKET. (We) silly bastards didn't know, or care, that it was war by economic measures. And too many STILL think "free trade" is a good idea==>as if standard of living was the only metric that mattered?

Ha, ha........................ s i l l y h o o m a n s. We do it to ourselves.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:19 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Why is China so successfull....and so fast?

Key elements are easy to identify after centuries of looking inward and rejecting progress as "foreign" then decades of failed enforced communalism before a modified capitalist system was put in place (aka: allow individuals to profit from greed and avarice) GIVEN they have all the natural resources to support industry AND a labor force preferring slave wages to starvation.

The groundwork was there..................then..............the USA and the West: GAVE THEM THE MARKET. (We) silly bastards didn't know, or care, that it was war by economic measures. And too many STILL think "free trade" is a good idea==>as if standard of living was the only metric that mattered?

Ha, ha........................ s i l l y h o o m a n s. We do it to ourselves.


We do indeed. Actually, having read further into Allison's book, I'm inclined to think China (at least Xi Jinping) is getting a handle on the corruption there. But it's totally out of control in the US right now. This does not bode well for us. I feel about the way Saint Augustine felt, back in 410 CE, after Rome was occupied by the barbarians. And in fact, those barbarians probably thought of themselves as good Romans, just as the {!#%@} around Trump think of themselves as "the best people."
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:33 pm

this might be too random, but I caught myself thinking of how good men like Washington, Jeffeerson et al could found a country based on FREEEEEEEEEDOM, and yet hold onto their slaves as tenaciously as they did. Kinda similar to how arguably "good people" can be running our country into the ground.

Its: GREED.

"How can I stay RICH if I give up my slaves?"...........same as.............."How can I stay RICH if I give up offshoring my profits?"

Now, that argument had no sway with the slaves.........but it does with the victims of current philosophy, all hoping against any analysis at all that one day too they will be millionaires and not wanting to pay tax on the second 10 Million of Estate evaluation.

How often have any of us betrayed the better nature of ourselves in favor of filthy lucre???? Now.......just add computers.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Tom Palven » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:38 am

Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Phoenix76 wrote:Well Upton, I fear that both books are telling us nothing we don't already know, or at least should know. Your American politics amuse and confuse me, but then I'm sure our Australian politics appear the same to you.

Just how much influence or control your agencies, I.E CIA, have on your day to day running of the country, I have no idea, and I wonder if you actually have any idea.

And I am under no illusion as to what control our agencies have here. We all go through the process of electing governments, but whoever we end up getting, probably means little in the scheme of things.



Right you are. I know full well the extent of the secrecy that prevails in the CIA and the FBI, and especially the insanity of Homeland Security. (For a while, they were confiscating GI Joe dolls from little boys on the grounds that the 5 cm-long plastic rifles they carried were a threat.) That is batshit insanity, and nobody dares call it that, not if they want to actually get on the plane for which they bought a ticket. I think Shakespeare said it well in "Measure for Measure": Clad in a little brief authority, like an angry ape, plays such tricks before high heaven as make the angels weep.

I wouldn't go as far as Tom Palven does and posit a coordinated Deep State, but on the other hand, I also wouldn't rule it out.


What a great Shakespeare quote.

Immediately makes me think of The Donald and the French saying "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose."

BTW, nobody ever commented on my posting of the article by Donald W. Miller, Jr, M.D. that the plays couldn't possibly have been written by someone of Shakespeare's background and that they were actually written by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604).

He makes an awfully solid case that I think you would find interesting, even if you diagree with the opinion.
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/08/don ... akespeare/
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Tom Palven » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:56 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Why is China so successfull....and so fast?


I submitted this before, but imho it's relevant:

Once Upon a Decade (1968-1978)

I968 Richard Nixon elected President, sworn in on Quaker family Bible turned to page containing beating swords into plowshares.

1972 Nixon visited Moscow and negotiated an Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia., and was the first sitting President to visit China, establishing relations there.

Nixon took the US off what remained of the gold/silver standard with silver coins being changed to silver-colored copper coins, and said "We are all Keynesians now," opening the door to unlimited spending and the eventual "quantitative easing" and $20 trillion debt.

The Nixon administration declared a "war on drugs" and initiated the No-Knock Laws, co-sponsored in the Senate by Democrat Ted Kennedy, which led to the militarization of US police.

In 1973 Nixon ended conscription and withdrew US troops from Vietnam.

1976 Jimmy Carter was elected President. On his second day in office he pardoned Vietnam War draft-dodgers, a good thing.

1978 The Carter administration expanded the US bureaucracy with the creation of the Departments of Energy and Education.

In 1978 the Chinese Communist Party picked free market advocate Deng Xiaoping to lead them out of their economic nightmare. It worked, and for the last four decades central command economists like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich have been chanting a mantra that the Chinese economy is overheated and about to crash.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:49 pm

Sets a date, but not the how. Every 4 years the USA picks a leader that touts free markets........oh!===and btw, China is NOT a free market. They advocate the concept to get all the suckers to play, then have various not free market elements in their MANAGEMENT of their economy.

So, yes "It Worked" but what is It? It is free market ideas with a mix of central control, investment, management, AND protection. Very pro capital, anti labor and anti consumer. Just as if a typical western capitalist was in charge.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:45 pm

Allison thinks Xi Jinping has a tough job ahead of him, keeping the Chinese momentum going. From what he says, it would appear that big-power status can be sustained ONLY by keeping the workers down. A melancholy thought, since there is always some ambitious booby trying to be the alpha male top gun in town. The happiest people in the world are the Scandinavians, probably because they haven't had such an ambitious booby in charge since Karl XI of Sweden got his ass kicked at Poltava by Peter the Great.

ETA: Allison presents some scary scenarios that look all too plausible about how the US and China could blunder into a war over the South China Sea, each side thinking it is acting with restraint and mystified that the other side doesn't recognize that "obvious fact," until it is too late.

It's now almost totally forgotten that during the 1960 presidential campaign, Kennedy said publicly that the islands of Quemoy and Matsu were "not worth a single American life." In other words, he wouldn't defend them. For that, he was pilloried by the right-wing press (which was most of the press, back then) and accused of giving away advantages to an implacable enemy. But he was right, of course. If only more politicians would recognize what the real interests of their countries require and limit themselves to that, the world would be a more peaceful place. I've forgotten which Holy Roman Emperor it was (perhaps Frederick Barbarossa?) who was ordered by the Pope to go on a crusade. Instead, he negotiated with the Sultan to get Christians access to their sites in Jerusalem. For that, I believe, he was excommunicated. Those were the days when Popes had an even bigger sense of entitlement than they do today.

But Paul Ryan is right about one thing: Entitlements will bankrupt us. I refer to our sense of an entitlement to run the world our way. We're going to arm ourselves into poverty and extinction, producing useless white-elephant weaponry that can't be used without blowing up the world.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:39 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote: Those were the days when Popes had an even bigger sense of entitlement than they do today.
......... When Heaven just isn't enough.

Foreign wars ..... bleeds the interloper like a stuck pig. "What Happened?" What a terrific title, with the right punctuation. The Study of History: only informs you of what has happened and therefore could happen again....but no guarantees or even liklihoods in most cases. Well, ......... maybe ............. that conflicts will always arise? And by that I mean...take any two powers that come into "contact" with one another. Will there be peace or war? History cannot tell us.

Its what builds the Ivory Tower...........and that sense of entitlement.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Matthew Ellard » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:13 am

Upton_O_Goode wrote:I wouldn't go as far as Tom Palven does and posit a coordinated Deep State, but on the other hand, I also wouldn't rule it out.
"Deep State" is simply the current buzz word for existing problems of corruption, bribery, agency theory, and all those other headings in an auditor's management audit check list.

Upton_O_Goode wrote:And viola: we are on the cusp. Its been obvious for years that China was beating us on the economic/trade/manufacturing competiton: "trade is the new war" issue.
China used cheap labour to transfer trillions of dollars of capital from the west to China for roughly twenty years. Today, China still has to import food. I'm not 100% sure China will even exist as one country in another twenty years.

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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:12 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Upton_O_Goode wrote:I wouldn't go as far as Tom Palven does and posit a coordinated Deep State, but on the other hand, I also wouldn't rule it out.
"Deep State" is simply the current buzz word for existing problems of corruption, bribery, agency theory, and all those other headings in an auditor's management audit check list.


That's your definition, Matt. The Wikipedia definition is:

"State within a state in a political situation in a country when an internal organ ("deep state") such as the armed forces and civilian authorities (intelligence agencies, police, secret police, administrative and branches of government bureaucracy) does not respond to the civilian political leadership.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_within_a_state

In the US, imho, this corresponds to the Central Intelligence Agency, its 16 subordinate intelligence agencies, and the apparatchiki in the Pentagon, State Dept., Treasury Dept., and the Associated Press which faithfully prints their press releases as news.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:27 pm

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Upton_O_Goode wrote:I wouldn't go as far as Tom Palven does and posit a coordinated Deep State, but on the other hand, I also wouldn't rule it out.
"Deep State" is simply the current buzz word for existing problems of corruption, bribery, agency theory, and all those other headings in an auditor's management audit check list.

Upton_O_Goode wrote:And viola: we are on the cusp. Its been obvious for years that China was beating us on the economic/trade/manufacturing competiton: "trade is the new war" issue.
China used cheap labour to transfer trillions of dollars of capital from the west to China for roughly twenty years. Today, China still has to import food. I'm not 100% sure China will even exist as one country in another twenty years.


Actually, that second quote isn't from me.

I don't know. True, Japan and South Korea came to natural barriers and ceased to be "Asian tigers." I, like others, expected the same thing to happen to China. But now I'm not at all sure. China has done what the others couldn't and assembled a sphere of influence, and is dictating trade terms to just about everybody in the region. It has undercut most of the institutions that the US put in place after World War II. And Trump just trashed the Transpacific Partnership, leaving China the leadership in this area. So, I think we've got a situation analogous to that between the US and Japan back in 1940. I hope it ends better than that one did.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:44 pm

In The Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776, Sottish philosophy professor Adam Smith explained his theory that the abolishment of quotas, tariffs, and other trade restrictions would benefit all nations. Some feel that the implementation of Smith's ideas was at least partially responsible for the British industrial revolution.

in 1850 Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli pronounced that "protection is not only dead, but damned," but special interests and politicians sucking up to them always seem to have ways of promoting specious arguments and getting restrictive laws passed.
Last edited by Tom Palven on Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:45 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote: And Trump just trashed the Transpacific Partnership, leaving China the leadership in this area. So, I think we've got a situation analogous to that between the US and Japan back in 1940. I hope it ends better than that one did.

As the USA never left Japan the leadership in any area...........what analogy that matters are you thinking of?
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:49 pm

Tom Palven wrote:In The Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776, Sottish philosophy professor Adam Smith explained his theory that the abolishment of quotas, tariffs, and other trade restrictions would benefit all nations. Some feel that the implementation of Smith's ideas was at least partially responsible for the British industrial revolution.

in 1850 Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli pronounced that "protection is not only dead, but damned," but special interests always seem to have ways of promoting specious arguments and getting restrictive laws passed in their favor.

"Nations" don't benefit or fail at all as they are constructs and mostly just a label for groups of people. Within those groups of people, no matter what you are talking about, some will prosper while others fail. Its nothing but propaganda to lump so many disparate issues together===>just as Adam Smith and all too many other experts do.

In the main with free trade vs protected trade, a Nation, or groups of people within it, will benefit in some ways and suffer in other ways. PROS AND CONS TO EVERYTHING YOU DO. Conflation is propaganda.

Most people buy into it.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:05 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:In The Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776, Sottish philosophy professor Adam Smith explained his theory that the abolishment of quotas, tariffs, and other trade restrictions would benefit all nations. Some feel that the implementation of Smith's ideas was at least partially responsible for the British industrial revolution.

in 1850 Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli pronounced that "protection is not only dead, but damned," but special interests always seem to have ways of promoting specious arguments and getting restrictive laws passed in their favor.


"Nations" don't benefit or fail at all as they are constructs and mostly just a label for groups of people.


Nations may only be constructs, but they are constructs with the police power to impede or prevent trade between consenting adults.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:20 pm

Tom Palven wrote: Nations may only be constructs, but they are constructs with the police power to impede or prevent trade between consenting adults.

Yes............ and?????

or contra:

No.....its still individual people that have the police power that impedes or encourages trade between different consenting adults. Hmmm....you jumped horses there. Your adults should be "nations" .........or at a minimum corporations? You might be heavy into the black market where consenting and unconsenting adults play a more common role?

But the gravamen what does Older Japan got to do with Today's China? I do love analogies. They always fail at some point because no two situations are the same on all points. Much to learn though before the fault, making analogies powerful tools for learning..........when they make a worthwhile fit to enough facts that matter.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Matthew Ellard » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:32 pm

Tom Palven wrote: That's your definition, Matt. The Wikipedia definition is:

"State within a state in a political situation in a country when an internal organ ("deep state") such as the armed forces and civilian authorities (intelligence agencies, police, secret police, administrative and branches of government bureaucracy) does not respond to the civilian political leadership.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_within_a_state


Unlike Wikipedia and yourself, real people actually have definitions that allow for prosecution.

That's what you will never understand. When Lockheed bribed the Japanese government, or AWB bribed Saddam $300 million during the Iraq War, it was real people using tangible laws that convicted these criminals. Not your anti US, wishy washy, talk points, scripted in Moscow.

You must really hate Robert Mueller.
:lol:

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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Matthew Ellard » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:34 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote:Actually, that second quote isn't from me.
You're right. I did screw up there. It was from Bobbo. Whoops. :D

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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby OlegTheBatty » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:36 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:"Nations" don't benefit or fail at all as they are constructs and mostly just a label for groups of people.


Clearly, you are not familiar with Living Systems theory. Time to brush up, son.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Matthew Ellard » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:42 pm

Matthew Ellard made a claim and wrote: China used cheap labour to transfer trillions of dollars of capital from the west to China for roughly twenty years. Today, China still has to import food. I'm not 100% sure China will even exist as one country in another twenty years.

Upton_O_Goode wrote:I don't know. True, Japan and South Korea came to natural barriers and ceased to be "Asian tigers." I, like others, expected the same thing to happen to China. But now I'm not at all sure. China has done what the others couldn't and assembled a sphere of influence, and is dictating trade terms to just about everybody in the region. It has undercut most of the institutions that the US put in place after World War II. And Trump just trashed the Transpacific Partnership, leaving China the leadership in this area. So, I think we've got a situation analogous to that between the US and Japan back in 1940. I hope it ends better than that one did.


I think China is going to get more pushy as it needs to secure political influence over the foreign countries where it has been buying land for food security reasons. However Japan tried that with their co-prosperity sphere in Asia and it didn't end well. As soon as any third world country reaps an economic benefit from dealing with China, it will start absorbing their own food production. That's when the rich Chinese provinces are going to start squeezing poor Chinese provinces to produce more and eat less. :D

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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:26 pm

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Tom Palven wrote: That's your definition, Matt. The Wikipedia definition is:

"State within a state in a political situation in a country when an internal organ ("deep state") such as the armed forces and civilian authorities (intelligence agencies, police, secret police, administrative and branches of government bureaucracy) does not respond to the civilian political leadership.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_within_a_state


[color=#000080]Unlike Wikipedia and yourself, real people actually have definitions that allow for prosecution.

That's what you will never understand. When Lockheed bribed the Japanese government, or AWB bribed Saddam $300 million during the Iraq War, it was real people using tangible laws that convicted these criminals. Not your anti US, wishy washy, talk points, scripted in Moscow.



Wow! That Wikipedia article was scripted in Moscow?

You sure have a lot more inside info that I do!
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:25 am

"Living Systems theory" /// did not know of this. Quick google.....as described, sounds like a PhD Thesis that tried to become a book and a social movement with all the attendant speaker fees involved.

Just another label, except perhaps not as pragmatically functional. We don't need new words to discuss old ideas.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:38 am

On the notion of "Nations Benefiting." Its a rank anthropomorphism as Nations as artificial construct cannot benefit...... so what more accurately is being described? Let's take a current example of the productivity gains the NATION of the USA has seen over the past 20-30 years. It is said that the USA had benefited. But its only people that benefit or lose. In this case, its well know that the average working wage has stagnated with 80% of all productivity gains being sucked up by the Top 1%. Is the Top 1% "the Nation?"

You can slice and dice it either way. I hear the USA economy is doing great.... Stock Market Up, Unemployment at 4%. But who is actually benefiting and losing?..................... Hint: same 1%. Silly to equate the economy, or the Nation, with the rising or falling Ponzi Scheme called the stock market as well as the economy. The cost of certain consumer goods, and food has decreased over the years ....but everything else is outstripping inflation. Education, Housing, Medical Care, Retirement, Time Off==>all too expensive when the median cost of such items can only be afforded by the top 20%.

Its true now, true for the USA and China, and it was true for Adam Smith and Scotland in his day and now. Not much changes in economics. Its capital vs labor, greed and corruption.........leading to fairy tales.
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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:56 am

Tom Palven wrote: Wow! That Wikipedia article was scripted in Moscow?
No Tom. It is your anti CIA and FBI talk points. Let me show you.

As you are probably now aware, Australia became aware in May 2016 that the Trump team was receiving anti-Clinton emails from Russia before Wikileaks released them, and informed the USA and our other allies, through our Five Eyes liaison officer and ambassador to the USA.
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/ ... 0c58c.html

Who do you think Australia should have informed
1) The KGB
2) Donald Trump's team.
3) The FBI and CIA.


You're not allowed to answer that question, right? :lol:

Have you worked out why Trump said his phone call with our prime minister was his worst ever yet?

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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:57 am

Tom Palven wrote: You sure have a lot more inside info that I do!
My cat has better information that you do. :lol:

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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:14 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Tom Palven wrote: Wow! That Wikipedia article was scripted in Moscow?
No Tom. It is your anti CIA and FBI talk points. Let me show you.

As you are probably now aware, Australia became aware in May 2016 that the Trump team was receiving anti-Clinton emails from Russia before Wikileaks released them, and informed the USA and our other allies, through our Five Eyes liaison officer and ambassador to the USA.
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/ ... 0c58c.html

Who do you think Australia should have informed
1) The KGB
2) Donald Trump's team.
3) The FBI and CIA.


You're not allowed to answer that question, right? :lol:

Have you worked out why Trump said his phone call with our prime minister was his worst ever yet?


Matt,
You gave your definition of "deep state" and I gave you the totally different Wikipedia definition.

You came back with irrelevant BS and the contention that the wiki article was "scripted in Moscow,"

I call you on that and you come back with a rehash of previous allegations against Trump spiced up with probably fake news by David Wroe, who is in all likelyhood, like many foreign and domestic journalists past and present, a paid stooge of the CIA.

Can you man up and you and your cat just go back a little bit and admit that your definition of deep state was total doublespeak disinformation gibberish before we continue?
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

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Re: Two promising new books on the current political situation

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:15 pm

Tom Palven wrote: Matt,
You gave your definition of "deep state" and I gave you the totally different Wikipedia definition.

You came back with irrelevant BS and the contention that the wiki article was "scripted in Moscow,"

..... Can you man up and you and your cat just go back a little bit and admit that your definition of deep state was total doublespeak disinformation gibberish before we continue?[/b]

Matt rarely backs up like that, so as its of interest to me, Matt defined the Deep State as:
"Deep State" is simply the current buzz word for existing problems of corruption, bribery, agency theory, and all those other headings in an auditor's management audit check list.


that is definitely NOT double speak, and from the PERSPECTIVE of an auditor, it is totally accurate. From just a word play appreciation, certainly what Matt posted is "part of" the appreciation of what your own given definition of the Deep State is. What else is the entrenched military but an auditors nightmare?

You are fixated on some little aspect of whatever you think is important. Take the bigger view. Nothing Matt has posted negates what you have posted....except for the manufactured argument you want to have.

Id take "Scripted in Moscow" as meaning in Deep State manner simply that Russia interfering in our elections had the effect they were looking for: simply a disruption. Trump actually winning, or really that Hillary Lost, was just a Lotto Payoff. ........... and no..........my comment has nothing to do with the Lotto. See how that worked?
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