Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bret Stephens Exposes The Anger Driving The Republican Party's Inability To Function. The Interrelationship of Will Power and War,The New Norm . Food Equality.

Dagny is dressed as Johnny Appleseed  for a school project and prior to having the picture taken caught her hand in a slammed door which her mommy warned her would happen.  She put on the best face possible because she wanted a photo of her costume.

She and Blake are here for the Holiday and we are introducing them to "Tall Paul" Sunday for a tennis lesson.

They came with PJ who just graduated from obedience school and his companion , Kahlua, remains in school for more obedience training.

PJ is now a well behaved social member of the family and greeted us in a very sedate and respectful manner.

No child, male or female, should be raised in a dog less family. If the world was inhabited by more dogs and less people, I suspect it would be a better world. Dogs do not, as far as I know, produce weapons of mass destruction and chop off heads of humans.
Bret Stephens has expressed his anger about the anger he believes keeps the Republican Party from functioning.

In part he is correct and I am in total agreement.

Now let's see him write an article describing the state of the Democrat Party and why it remains unwilling to work on behalf of the Union and has gone so far left it no longer believes in this country, its history, its values and  even its economic system. (See 1 below.)
I just finished reading the latest Naval War College Review.  I was particularly fascinated with two articles whose thoughts struck home.

The first article discussed how a vastly superior industrial nation, the United States, lost the war to a nation tiny in comparison.  Why?  Because, even though the military power of America brought the Vietnamese to their knees they had the will to fight whereas, America lost its will among other reasons.

The second article, suggested war is the new norm and peace is the unusual.

When I think about these two expressions and link them to the technology that is so much a part of social media, I believe Western Civilization is more disadvantaged than the forces aligned against us.

Western Societies value life and thus are more vulnerable to casualty rate exposure.  The higher the rate the more our will is sapped.  When death rates are low and stretch over time the mass media devote little coverage because such does not sell and they are in the business of selling and making money.  However, when death/casualty rates rise and become large and concentrated over a short period the mass media's focus becomes intense and magnifies the psychological impact thereby, undercutting the will to continue.

Closed and autocratic societies are not as subject to pressures created by mass media exposure because news is both controlled and directed..

Additionally, I believe the mass media knows audience's concentration is limited and unless it has a specific goal, like bringing Trump's poll rating down, it is unwilling to stay on a subject for a continued period of time. Again money drives focus.  I have said many times, once corporate America and publicly held companies became dominant owners of our mass media entities, entertainment and making profits became the driving goal.

The Trump Collusion story was drumbeat constant  but now you hear very little.  Part of the reason is that there really is no there, there and, in fact, the more the mass media dwelled the more Democrats became exposed and  their own involvement became evident. Secondly, as previously suggested, once the public loses interest and/or realizes the mass media's effort is driven by bias interest wanes and profits fade.

If war is the new norm the West's ability to meet the challenges will be undercut if it cannot sustain its will.  I suspect  this is well understood by Chinese, Iranian and N Korean leadership as well as various Islamist terrorist groups.

What are your thoughts?
Meanwhile, is what is happening in Puerto Rico a precursor of what former CIA  Director Woolsey warns could be our nation's plight should we be subjected to a magnetic attack?
"Left" em all eat cake at public taxpayer's expense. This teaches our school children government is here to serve you equality in food but inequality when it comes to feeding your mind food for thought.. (See 2 below.)
More on the retirement bomb (See 3 below.)
1)The Strange Impotence of the Republican Party
By Bret Stephens

Suppose you’re a Republican. Since you’re reading The Times, suppose hard.

The White House and both houses of Congress are yours. So are 34 governorships, matching a 1922 party record. The Republican Party has complete control of state government in 26 states, and full legislative control in 32 states. Next year, Senate Democrats will have to defend 25 seats. Just eight Republican incumbents are up for re-election. The Supreme Court retains a conservative majority. The Dow keeps hitting record highs, and the economy is finally growing above the 3 percent mark. The prospect of Donald Trump being removed from office? See above. The prospect of Trump inflicting permanent brain damage on Democrats? Outstanding.

Liberal strategists used to write optimistic books with such titles as “The Emerging Democratic Majority.” The Republican rebuttal could be called “What, Me Worry?” with a foreword from Alfred E. Neuman.

So why is your party in such obvious disarray? Why can’t it pass its signature bills? Why can’t your congressional leaders control their caucuses? Why can’t an incumbent Republican senator publicly endorsed by an incumbent Republican president win his primary battle against his nutty opponent?

Maybe you’re tempted to answer that all would be well if only the party hadn’t been stabbed in the back by a handful of self-infatuated G.O.P. moderates — read John McCain and Susan Collins — supposedly more concerned about their reputation on the Sunday talk show circuit than with the welfare of their constituents back home. Welcome to the Dolchsto├člegende, 2017 edition.

Yet party “saboteurs” come in many colors, including the phony conservative purists Ted Cruz and Rand Paul as well as the genuine conservative crazies of the House Freedom Caucus. The basic test of any leader, Republican or Democratic, is to get a grip on the inevitably fissiparous elements of his political herd. Republican leaders — President Trump most of all — have thus far failed to get that grip.

There’s a simple explanation for this: They can’t. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have the parliamentary skills but not the political authority. Trump has the authority but not the skills. Probably not the desire, either: A tight-lipped numbers nerd like Ryan must be about as congenial to the president as a tax auditor in Mar-a-Lago. Their shotgun political marriage has all the sincerity, and passion, of Charles and Diana.

Still, the G.O.P.’s problems aren’t mainly a matter of personality. They’re a matter of mentality. And they’re part of a pattern that’s world-wide.

We are living in an era of party failure, especially on the right. The Trumpkins sacked the G.O.P. The Brexiters humiliated the Tories over Europe. Marine Le Pen’s fascists have supplanted the Gaullists as the face of the French right. Germany’s own nasty alt-right, the Alternative f├╝r Deutschland, humiliated Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats in last weekend’s election.

The high-toned explanation for these serial rebukes of the establishment by the base is that the former has failed to address the anxieties and disgruntlements of the latter: immigration and culture shocks; wage stagnation and the stresses of a globalized world.
But globalization, immigration and changing social mores have been with us for a long time without producing awful political outcomes. What’s new is the existence — and metastasis — of the fury factories of the right, from Fox News to Breitbart to Frontpage Mag.

Opinion journalism is meant to influence and inflame, and it does. Especially in an age in which civics is taught poorly (and, increasingly, rarely), people are politically suggestible. Bill O’Reilly is now the right’s historian, Mark Levin its go-to legal expert, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham its moral conscience. These are not ideas guys. They’re anger guys. Their specialty is the communication of rage to an audience prone to histrionics. It can feel awfully good to be awfully mad.

Should it be any wonder that a Republican Party with almost complete control of government has turned so fiercely on itself? Dominant parties often do that when they have little to fear politically from the nominal opposition party.

Should it be any wonder, either, that in the intramural fights the Donald Trumps and Roy Moores of the party are winning? As in economics, so too in G.O.P. politics: Gresham’s law applies. Bad money drives out good. Bad Republicans drive out good ones. When nastiness sells, the worst rise. Political gerrymandering doesn’t help, but that’s a separate column.
The political paradox of 2017 is that a Republican Party that cannot seem to lose also cannot seem to govern. Anger is an excellent emotion for pushing ratings and winning elections and a terrible one for agreeing to compromises and crafting legislation. This won’t end as long as Trump is in the White House. Whether it won’t also be the end of the Republican Party as a functional institution is another question.
2) The Free Lunch Slide into Socialism

New York City's Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina recently announced the new "Free School Lunch for All" for the big Apple's public schools. This means  the entire public-school population, some 1.1 million students, will now be provided with free lunches irrespective of family income.

Prior to this, approximately 75 percent of the city's students were getting free lunches. Under this "Free Lunch for All" program, an additional 200,000 students will now be eligible. This will save the just included families about $300 a year as the cost of a school lunch is $1.75.

To the precious few in New York City who worry about the cost of public education, officials say not to fret. This added expenditure won't adversely affect the school's budget. It's "cost free" to the city as the tab will be paid out of state and federal funds. That's me and you. 

Incidentally, NYC is not breaking new ground here. Cities including Boston, Dallas, Chicago, and Detroit already offer free lunches in  their respective public schools.

It is not surprising to learn  urban public schools can find novel ways to squander taxpayer money. That's in their DNA. What you might find interesting is the rationale groups like Community Food Advocates use for justifying these free school lunch programs. It's about shame and equity.
As articulated by NYC's left-wing mayor, Bill de Blasio, and Chancellor Farina, well-off youngsters need a free lunch in order to keep poor kids from becoming social outcasts. According to that view, kids receiving free lunches will feel shamed if they see others doing the unmentionable -- that is, actually paying for their food. And as Ms. Farina put it in a recent press conference, "This is about equity. We're erasing all the terrible history of the school food program -- not just in New York City, but nationally -- that has divided children by income."

You don't have to sit and ponder what kind of message this is sending to the school kids. Among other things, it is surely feeding the expectation that things should be free to them, all provided from some abstract entity known as "The Government. As Naomi S. Riley of the Independent Women's Forum correctly writes
'Free School Lunch for All' could in fact represent an entirely new approach to inequity. Maybe middle-class families should receive food stamps so that poor families don't feel stigmatized. Perhaps we should send 1% to eat at soup kitchens, so people in desperate straits won't feel bad about their situations. Or maybe we should offer public housing to the rich, so no one who is forced to use it will get self-conscious. The left says it wants a safety net, but if everyone falls into it, then the safety net is properly called socialism.
The urban public schools are the exclusive domain of Democrats. In viewing the situation, you can be forgiven if you think the primary purpose of these schools is something other than learning per se. Maybe it is to provide jobs for "community" members; maybe it is a costly form of babysitting and warehousing center for juveniles; maybe it is for general social services. Whatever it is, academics seems a low priority judging from the performance of big city schools.  

Here's an example of what I mean. In 2012, Barack Obama's Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, tried to get New York City to push more kids into the free school-breakfast program. Tha,t in-and-of itself, was a worthy effort. The problem, however, was that to get the free breakfast, students would have to arrive at a set time before class. This was not happening. So what was Mr. Duncan's solution? Attempt some discipline? Perish the thought. Rather, Secretary Duncan wanted the children fed in class. If you know any teachers, ask them what they think this would do to the ability of kids to learn. 

What is breathtaking about this cockamamie suggestion is that it came from the highest-ranking education official in the country, a man who is ostensibly charged with enhancing the academic performances in the public schools, especially the failed urban schools. (Noticed, I said 'failed,' not 'failing.') Fortunately, Michael Bloomberg was mayor at the time and not Comrade de Blasio, and he had enough sense to squelch that idea.

The "Free School Lunch for All" is a microcosm of the left's agenda, and by left, I include liberals, progressives, the Democrat Party establishment, and now the anarchists. When it comes to politics, Democrats, when not wrecking cultural norms and our national cohesion, invariably work to make ever more people dependent on government. Although it does not work, the party's habitual recipe for economic expansion is ever more government spending and creating government jobs of one sort or another.

There's another characteristic of what the leftist coalition is all about. It lowers the standard of everything it sets its sight on. Academic standards have been lowered from grammar school throughout college; college entrance exams are made easier; qualifications for free school lunches are eliminated; affirmative action has lowered the standards for admittance into colleges and hiring for civil service jobs; citizenship is cheapened due not just to a tolerance for illegal aliens, but also for protection of them in sanctuary cities; and voter registration laws are flouted and attacked as racist. The list could go on and on.

The leftist agenda will continue on unabated in areas when Democrats are in firm control, like the big cities and states like New York and wacky California. Fortunately, the prospects for the left to foster its suffocating agenda on the rest of the country has greatly diminished with the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the wisdom of the non-coastal states. 

Global Retirement Reality

By John Mauldin 

Lately I have focused on the trend in US public pension funds, many of which are woefully underfunded and will never be able to pay workers the promised benefits, at least without dumping a huge and unwelcome bill on taxpayers. And since taxpayers are generally voters, it’s not at all clear they will pay that bill.
Readers outside the US might have felt smug and safe reading those stories. There go those Americans again, spending wildly beyond their means. You are correct that, generally speaking, we are not exactly the thriftiest people on Earth. However, if you live outside the US, your country may be more like ours than you think. Today we’ll look at some data that will show you what I mean. This week the spotlight will be on Europe.
First, let me suggest that you read my last letter, “Build Your Economic Storm Shelter Now,” if you missed it. It has some important background for today’s discussiion, as well as a special invitation to attend my Strategic Investment Conference next March 6–9 in San Diego. With so much change occurring so quickly now, next year’s conference is an event you shouldn’t miss.
Global Shortfall
I wrote a letter last June titled “Can You Afford to Reach 100?” Your answer may well be “Yes;” but, if so, you are one of the few. The World Economic Forum study I cited in that letter looked at six developed countries (the US, UK, Netherlands, Japan, Australia, and Canada) and two emerging markets (China and India) and found that by 2050 these countries will face a total savings shortfall of $400 trillion. That’s how much more is needed to ensure that future retirees will receive 70% of their working income. This staggering figure doesn’t even include most of Europe.
This problem exists in large part because of the projected enormous increase in median life expectancies. Reaching age 100 is already less remarkable than it used to be. That trend will continue. Better yet, I think we will also be healthier at advanced ages than people are now. Could 80 be the new 50? We’d better hope so, because the math is pretty bleak if we assume people will stop working at age 65–70 and then live another quarter-century or more.
That said, I think we’ll see a great deal of national variation in these trends. The $400 trillion gap is the shortfall in government, employer, and individual savings. The proportions among the three vary a great deal. Some countries have robust government-provided retirement plans; others depend more on employer and individual contributions. In the aggregate, though, the money just isn’t there. Nor will it magically appear just when it’s needed.
WEF reaches the same conclusion I did long ago: The idea that we’ll enjoy decades of leisure before our final decline simply can’t work. Our attempt to live out long and leisurely retirements is quickly reaching its limits. Most of us will work well past 65 whether we want to or not, and many of us will not have our promised retirement benefits to help us through our final decades.
What about the millions who are already retired or close to retirement? That’s a big problem, particularly for the US public-sector workers I wrote about in my last two letters. We should also note that we’re all public-sector workers in a way, since we must pay into Social Security and can only hope Washington gives us something back someday.
Let’s look at a few other countries that are not much better off. 
UK Time Bomb
The WEF study shows that the United Kingdom presently has a $4 trillion retirement savings shortfall, which is projected to rise 4% a year and reach $33 trillion by 2050. This in a country whose total GDP is $3 trillion. That means the shortfall is already bigger than the entire economy, and even if inflation is modest, the situation is going to get worse. Further, these figures are based mostly on calculations made before the UK decided to leave the European Union. Brexit is a major economic realignment that could certainly change the retirement outlook. Whether it would change it for better or worse, we don’t yet know.
A 2015 OECD study (mentioned here) found that across the developed world, workers could, on average, expect governmental programs to replace 63% of their working-age incomes. Not so bad. But in the UK that figure is only 38%, the lowest in all OECD countries. This means UK workers must either build larger personal savings or severely tighten their belts when they retire. Working past retirement age is another choice, but it has broader economic effects – freezing younger workers out of the job market, for instance.
UK employer-based savings plans aren’t on particularly sound footing, either. According to the government’s Pension Protection Fund, some 72.2% of the country’s private-sector defined-benefit plans are in deficit, and the shortfalls total £257.9 billion. Government liabilities for pensions went from being well-funded in 2007 to having a shortfall 10 years later of £384 billion (~$500 billion). Of course, that figure is now out of date because, just a few months later, it’s now £408 billion – that’s how fast these unfunded liabilities are growing. Again, that’s a rather tidy sum for a $3 trillion economy to handle.
UK retirees have had a kind of safety valve: the ability to retire in EU countries with lower living costs. Depending how Brexit negotiations go, that option could disappear.
Turning next to the Green Isle, 80% of the Irish who have pensions don’t think they will have sufficient income in retirement, and 47% don’t even have pensions. I think you would find similar statistics throughout much of Europe.
A report this summer from the International Longevity Centre suggested that younger workers in the UK need to save 18% of their annual earnings in order to have an “adequate” retirement income – which it defines as less than today’s retirees enjoy. But no such thing will happen, so the UK is heading toward a retirement implosion that could be at least as damaging as the US’s.
Swiss Cheese Retirement
Americans often have romanticized views of Switzerland. They think it’s the land of fiscal discipline, among other things. To some extent that’s true, but Switzerland has its share of problems, too. The national pension plan there has been running deficits as the population grows older.
Earlier this month, Swiss voters rejected a pension reform plan that would have strengthened the system by raising women’s retirement age from 64 to 65 and raising taxes and required worker contributions. From what I can see, these were fairly minor changes, but the plan still went down in flames as 52.7% of voters said no.
Voters around the globe generally want to have their cake and eat it, too. We demand generous benefits but don’t like the price tags that come with them. The Swiss, despite their fiscally prudent reputation, appear to be not so different from the rest of us. Consider this from the Financial Times:
Alain Berset, interior minister, said the No vote was “not easy to interpret” but was “not so far from a majority” and work would begin soon on revised reform proposals.
Bern had sought to spread the burden of changes to the pension system, said Daniel Kalt, chief economist for UBS in Switzerland. “But it’s difficult to find a compromise to which everyone can say Yes.” The pressure for reform was “not yet high enough,” he argued. “Awareness that something has to be done will now increase.”
That description captures the attitude of the entire developed world. Compromise is always difficult. Both politicians and voters ignore the long-term problems they know are coming and think no further ahead than the next election. The remark that “Awareness that something has to be done will now increase” may be true, but there’s a big gap between awareness and motivation – in Switzerland and everywhere else.
Switzerland and the UK have mandatory retirement pre-funding with private management and modest public safety nets, as do Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, and Hungary. Not that all of these countries don’t have problems, but even with their problems, these European nations are far better off than some others.
(Sidebar: low or negative rates in those countries make it almost impossible for their private pension funds to come anywhere close to meeting their mandates. And many of the funds are by law are required to invest in government bonds, which pay either negligible or negative returns.)
Pay-As-You-Go Woes
The European nations noted above have nowhere near the crisis potential that the next group does: France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Spain are all pay-as-you-go countries (PAYG). That means they have nothing saved in the public coffers for future pension obligations, and the money has to come out of the general budget each year. The crisis for these countries is quite predictable, because the number of retirees is growing even as the number of workers paying into the national coffers is falling. There is a sad shortfall of babies being born in these countries, making the demographic reality even more difficult. Let’s look at some details.
Spain was hit hard in the financial crisis but has bounced back more vigorously than some of its Mediterranean peers did, such as Greece. That’s also true of its national pension plan, which actually had a surplus until recently. Unfortunately, the government chose to “borrow” some of that surplus for other purposes, and it will soon turn into a sizable deficit.
Just as in the US, Spain’s program is called Social Security, but in fact it is neither social nor secure. Both the US and Spanish governments have raided supposedly sacrosanct retirement schemes, and both allow their governments to use those savings for whatever the political winds favor.
The Spanish reserve fund at one time had €66 billion and is now estimated to be completely depleted by the end of this year or early in 2018. The cause? There are 1.1 million more pensioners than there were just 10 years ago. And as the Baby Boom generation retires, there will be even more pensioners and fewer workers to support them. A 25% unemployment rate among younger workers doesn’t help contributions to the system, either.
A similar dynamic may actually work for the US, because we control our own currency and can debase it as necessary to keep the government afloat. Social Security checks will always clear, but they may not buy as much. Spain’s version of Social Security doesn’t have that advantage as long as the country stays tied to the euro. That’s one reason we must recognize the potential for the Eurozone to eventually spin apart. (More on that below.)
On the whole, public pension plans in the pay-as-you-go countries would now replace about 60% of retirees’ salaries. Further, several of these countries let people retire at less than 60 years old. In most countries, fewer than 25% of workers contribute to pension plans. That rate would have to double in the next 30 years to make programs sustainable. Sell that to younger workers.
The Wall Street Journal recently did a rather bleak report on public pension funds in Europe. Quoting:
Europe’s population of pensioners, already the largest in the world, continues to grow. Looking at Europeans 65 or older who aren’t working, there are 42 for every 100 workers, and this will rise to 65 per 100 by 2060, the European Union’s data agency says. By comparison, the U.S. has 24 nonworking people 65 or over per 100 workers, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which doesn’t have a projection for 2060. (WSJ)
While the WSJ story focuses on Poland and the difficulties facing retirees there, the graphs and data in the story make clear the increasingly tenuous situation across much of Europe. And unlike most European financial problems, this isn’t a north-south issue. Austria and Slovenia face the most difficult demographic challenges, right along with Greece. Greece, like Poland, has seen a lot of its young people leave for other parts of the world. This next chart compares the share of Europe’s population that 65 years and older to the rest of the regions of the world and then to the share of population of workers between 20 and 64. These are ugly numbers.

Source: WSJ
The WSJ continues:
Across Europe, the birthrate has fallen 40% since the 1960s to around 1.5 children per woman, according to the United Nations. In that time, life expectancies have risen to roughly 80 from 69.
In Poland birthrates are even lower, and here the demographic disconnect is compounded by emigration. Taking advantage of the EU’s freedom of movement, many Polish youth of working age flock to the West, especially London, in search of higher pay. A paper published by the country’s central bank forecasts that by 2030, a quarter of Polish women and a fifth of Polish men will be 70 or older.

Source: WSJ
Next week we will look at the unfunded liabilities of the US government. It will not surprise anyone to learn that the situation is ugly, and there is no way – zero chance, zippo – that the US government will be able to fund those liabilities without massive debt and monetization.
Now, what I am telling you is that every bit of analysis about the pay-as-you-go countries in Europe suggests that they are in a far worse position than the United States is. Plus, the economies of those countries are more or less stagnant, and they are already taxing their citizens at close to 50% of GDP.
The chart below shows the percentage of GDP needed to cover government pension payments in 2015 and 2050. But consider that the percentage of tax revenues required will be much higher. For instance, in Belgium the percentage of GDP going to pensions will be 18% in about 30 years, but that’s 40–50% of total tax revenues. That hunk doesn’t leave much for other budgetary items. Greece, Italy, Spain? Not far behind.
And there is other research that makes the above numbers seem optimistic by comparison. The problem that the European economies have is that for the most part they are already massively in debt and have high tax rates. And they can’t print their own currencies.
Many of Europe’s private pension companies and corporations are also in seriously deep kimchee. Low and negative interest rates have devastated the ability of pension funds to grow their assets. Combined with public pension liabilities, the total cost of meeting the income and healthcare needs of retirees is going to increase dramatically all across Europe.
Macron, the new French president, really is trying to shake up the old order, to his credit; and this week he came out and began to lay the foundation for the mutualization of all European debt, which I assume would end up on the balance sheet of the ECB. However, that plan still doesn’t deal with the unfunded liabilities. Do countries just run up more debt? It seems like the plan is to kick the can down the road just a little further, something Europe is becoming really good at.
In this next chart, note the line running through each of the countries, showing their debt as a percentage of GDP. Italy’s is already over 150%. And this is a chart based mostly on 2006 and earlier data. A newer chart would be much uglier.
I could go on reviewing the retirement problems in other countries, but I hope you begin to see the big picture. This crisis isn’t purely a result of faulty politics – though that’s a big contributor – it’s a problem that is far bigger than even the most disciplined, future-focused governments and businesses can easily handle.
Look what we’re trying to do. We think people can spend 35–40 years working and saving, then stop working and go on for another 20–30–40 years at the same comfort level – but with a growing percentage of retirees and a shrinking number of workers paying into the system. I’m sorry, but that’s magical thinking. And it’s not what the original retirement schemes envisioned at all. Their goal was to provide for a relatively small number of elderly people who were unable to work. Life expectancies were such that most workers would not reach that point, or would at least live just a few years beyond retirement.
As I have pointed out in past letters, when Franklin Roosevelt created Social Security for people over 65 years old, US life expectancy was about 56 years. If the retirement age had kept up with the increase in life expectancy, the retirement age in the US would now be 82. Try and sell that to voters.
Worse, generations of politicians have convinced the public that not only is a magical outcome possible, it is guaranteed. Many politicians actually believe it themselves. They aren’t lying so much as just ignoring reality. They’ve made promises they aren’t able to keep and are letting others arrange their lives based on the assumption that the impossible will happen. It won’t.
How do we get out of this jam? We’re all going to make big adjustments. If the longevity breakthroughs I expect happen soon (as in the next 10–15 years), we may be able to adjust with minimal pain. We’ll work longer years, and retirement will be shorter, but it will be better because we’ll be healthier.
That’s the best-case outcome, and I think we have a fair chance of seeing it, but not without a lot of social and political travail. How we get through that process may be the most important question we face.
I haven’t even thrown in the complications that are going to arise because of changes in the nature of employment and the future of work that will be caused by technological change in the next 10–20 years. That will mean even fewer workers for each retiree. Facebook’s Zuckerberg talks about a basic minimum income. I think that is the wrong thing to do. It is the nature of human beings to need to do things that contribute meaningfully to the lives of their family and society. But the reality is that increasing numbers of people are already having trouble finding that sort of work.
Maybe we should think about basic minimum employment. FDR put a generation of people to work building public projects that helped get us through the Great Depression. Our world is going to change in ways that we don’t yet understand and that we are not prepared for, psychologically, socially, politically, or economically.
In the US and much of Europe we have developed social echo chambers in which we talk just to ourselves and those who are like-minded, ignoring or demonizing the other side. We have lost the ability to disagree rationally and productively. When the children’s books written by Dr. Seuss are considered by some to have been written by a white racist and are therefore deemed unacceptable to be in a public library, you know the quality of civil discourse has spiraled downward.
I do not like that, Sam I am.---
John Mauldin

Friday, September 29, 2017

My New Year Resolutions Fell On Sleeping Ears.Facts and History.Bolton and Haley and Obama's Duplicitous Iran Deal.Kim Strassel and Three "UGE" EGO"s! Price Paid The Price!

I made a New Year Resolution.  I told Lynn I would improve and display more affection and tell her all the things she wants to and deserves to hear but I never say.

By the time I told her all of the things I fail to do she had fallen asleep.

Speaking of New Year Resolutions, the New York Times came up with their's.  "Print on first page first then retract on back page later."
We have been at war longer than we think, still are and will be long after I am gone and I hope to be around a few more years.

Since facts form the basis of history and we no longer teach meaningful history we may not believe it when it hits us in the face.(See 1 below.)
Bolton and Haley regarding  Obama's sickening/corrupt/duplicitous Iran Deal. (See 2 and 2a below.)
Kim discusses the enemies within and alleges there are, at least,  three within the Republican ranks.

In her very direct manner, Kim has identified three different reasons why each of the anti-Trump Senators use to explain their actions but , in the end, it comes down to a basic contempt for Trump and disloyalty to their Party's needs, which is to live up to its commitments

"Uge" egos are a troublesome matter.(See 3 below.)
Trump fired Sec. Price and I commend him for doing so.  Price failed the nation, he failed the president and most of all, he failed himself.

You cannot spend your life expressing displeasure about those who engage in wasteful spending and then do so yourself. If you talk the talk you also need to walk the walk.  Price cost too much and paid the price.  That is what is true justice.

Facts are Facts
So if you are offended - blame History!

The War started in the 7th Century
And lasted through the 17th Century.
Many will contend it never stopped;
The Facts below are Historically correct.
That is why many of us Choke
When we hear someone say we will defeat
Or contain these Islamic Terrorists in a few Years,
Or even "30 Years" as has been stated by Leon Panetta.
If the latest batch of Murders,
And Killing of Innocent Christians has at all shocked you,
It is time for you to read this Compilation
Of Historical Facts about the Intense Hatred
That Muslims have for ANY and ALL who are “NOT” Muslims!
In 732 A.D.,
The Muslim Army,
Which was moving on Paris,
Was Defeated and turned back at Tours, France,
By Charles Martell.
In 1571 A.D.,
The Muslim Army/Navy was defeated by the Italians
And Austrians as they tried to cross the
Mediterranean to Attack Southern Europe
In the Battle of Lepanto.
In 1683 A.D.,
The Turkish Muslim Army,
Attacking Eastern Europe,
Was finally Defeated in the Battle of Vienna
By German and Polish Christian Armies.
This Nonsense has been going on for 1,400 years!
The SAD thing is that more than half of all Politicians
Do not even know any of this.
If these Battles had not been Won,
We would most likely be speaking Arabic.
And Christianity could be Non-existent.
Judaism certainly would NOT exist!
Reality check:
A lot of Americans have become so Insulated
From Reality that they Imagine America
Can Suffer defeat without any Inconvenience to themselves.
Think back:
The following events are true historical facts.
It has been many years since 1968,
But History keeps repeating itself.
1. In 1968,
Robert Kennedy was Shot
And Killed by a Muslim Male.

2. In 1972,
At the Munich Olympics,
Israeli Athletes were Kidnapped
And Massacred by Muslim Males.
3. In 1972,
A Pan Am 747 was Hijacked
And eventually Diverted to Cairo
Where a Fuse was lit on Final Approach.
Shortly after Landing,
It was Blown up by Muslim Males.
4. In 1973,
A Pan Am 707 was Destroyed in Rome
With 33 People Killed,
When it was Attacked with Grenades by Muslim Males.

5. In 1979,
The United States Embassy in Iran
Was taken over by Muslim Males.
6. During the 1980’s,
A number of Americans were Kidnapped
In Lebanon by Muslim Males..
7. In 1983,
The United States Marine Barracks
In Beirut was Blown up by Muslim Males.
8. In 1985,
The Cruise Ship Achille-Lauro was Hijacked,
And a 70-year-old American Passenger
Was Murdered
And thrown Overboard in his Wheelchair by Muslim Males.

9. In 1985,
TWA Flight 847 was Hijacked at Athens,
And a United States Navy Diver,
Who was trying to Rescue Passengers –
Was murdered by Muslim Males.
10. In 1988,
Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by Muslim Males.
11. In 1993,
The World Trade Center was Bombed
For the First Time by Muslim Males.

12. In 1998,
The United States Embassies
In Kenya and Tanzania were Bombed by Muslim Males.
13. On 09/11/01,
FOUR Airliners were Hijacked.
Two of the Planes were used as Missiles
To take down the World Trade Centers. 
One Plane Crashed into the United States Pentagon,
And the other Plane was Diverted
And Crashed by the Passengers.
Thousands of People were Killed by Muslim Males.
14. In 2002,
The United States fought a War
In Afghanistan against Muslim Males.
15. In 2002,
Reporter Daniel Pearl was Kidnapped and Beheaded by
You guessed it - a Muslim Male.
(Plus two other American Journalists
Who had just recently been Beheaded.)
16. In 2013,
The Boston Marathon Bombing
Resulted in Four Innocent People,
Including a Child,
Being Killed
And 264 other People injured by Muslim Males.

I really do not see a pattern here to Justify Profiling. 
to ensure we Americans never Offend Anyone
- particularly Fanatics intent on Killing US
- Airport Security Screeners will NO longer
be allowed to Profile certain People..
ask yourself:
"Just how Stupid are we?!?!"
Have Americans completely lost their Minds
or just their
"Power of Reason?"
As the writer of the Award Winning story 
"Forrest Gump"
so aptly put it,
"Stupid is as Stupid does."
As Barack Obama said in his book:
"Nothing sounds as Beautiful
as the Muslim Evening Prayers from the Tower."

Wake up America!!!
2)The Iran Deal Isn’t Worth Saving
The idea of ‘decertifying’ the agreement but staying in it is too cute by half. Trump should cut cleanly.
‘Cut, and cut cleanly,” Sen. Paul Laxalt advised Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, urging the Philippine president to resign and flee Manila because of widespread civil unrest. The Nevada Republican, Ronald Reagan’s best friend in Congress, knew what his president wanted, and he made the point with customary Western directness.

President Trump could profitably follow Mr. Laxalt’s advice today regarding Barack Obama’s 2015 deal with Iran. The ayatollahs are using Mr. Obama’s handiwork to legitimize their terrorist state, facilitate (and conceal) their continuing nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs, and acquire valuable resources from gullible negotiating partners.

Mr. Trump’s real decision is whether to fulfill his campaign promise to extricate America from this strategic debacle. Last week at the United Nations General Assembly, he lacerated the deal as an “embarrassment,” “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

Fearing the worst, however, the deal’s acolytes are actively obscuring this central issue, arguing that it is too arduous and too complex to withdraw cleanly. They have seized instead on a statutory requirement that every 90 days the president must certify, among other things, that adhering to the agreement is in America’s national-security interest. They argue the president should stay in the deal but not make the next certification, due in October.

This morganatic strategy is a poorly concealed ploy to block withdrawal, limp through Mr. Trump’s presidency, and resurrect the deal later. Paradoxically, supporters are not now asserting that the deal is beneficial. Instead, they concede its innumerable faults but argue that it can be made tougher, more verifiable and more strictly enforced. Or, if you want more, it can be extended, kicked to Congress, or deferred during the North Korea crisis. Whatever.

As Richard Nixon said during Watergate: “I want you to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up, or anything else if it’ll save it—save the plan.”

Mr. Trump should not be deceived. The issue is not certification. The issue is whether we will protect U.S. interests and shatter the illusion that Mr. Obama’s deal is achieving its stated goals, or instead timidly hope for the best while trading with the enemy, as the Europeans are doing. It is too cute by half to employ pettifoggery to evade this reality.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 embodies the deal and includes two annexes: the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action itself, and a statement by the other negotiating parties on “transparency . . . creating an atmosphere conducive” to full JCPOA implementation. Resolution 2231, the JCPOA and the statement were all crafted word-for-word with Iran (with Russia and China acting as Tehran’s scriveners on the statement), as was the cash-for-hostages swap Mr. Obama sought desperately to conceal. This packaging is more than a diplomatic nicety. It means Iran’s ballistic-missile program is integral to the deal—fittingly, since Iran’s missiles would deliver its nuclear warheads.

The ayatollahs have neither the desire nor the incentive to renegotiate even a comma of the agreement. Why should they, when it is entirely to their advantage? Both Resolution 2231 and the statement, for example, “call upon” Iran to forgo activity regarding “ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” The U.N. secretary-general recently reported that Iran is violating this provision and implicitly lying about it. But the deal’s language allows Iran to claim solemnly that its missiles are not “designed” to carry nuclear warheads, an assertion whose verification would require polygraphs and psychologists, not weapons inspectors. This is one of many textual loopholes.

If the deal is vitiated, Tehran would not be freer than it is now to pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Not only is the international compliance regime a far cry from Mr. Obama’s promised “anytime, anywhere” inspections, crucial language is vague and ambiguous. Mr. Obama’s negotiators crippled real international verification by pre-emptively surrendering on what were delicately termed “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program.

Moreover, simple economic logic suggests that Tehran’s scientists are probably enjoying Pyongyang’s hospitality, well beyond the International Atomic Energy Agency’s limited capability to detect. Even U.S. intelligence could be in the dark if Iran is renting a uranium enrichment facility under a North Korean mountain. It is specious to assert that the North Korean nuclear crisis should lead to deferring action on the Iran deal. The conclusion should be precisely the opposite: Failure to act decisively on Iran now worsens the global proliferation threat.

The IAEA has interpreted Mr. Obama’s possible-military-dimension concession as requiring new evidence before it attempts to visit Tehran’s military bases, where the real work on weaponization and missiles is taking place—if not under mountains in North Korea. Mr. Obama acquiesced in this emasculation of the IAEA’s will to inspect, making the agency today like the drunk looking for his car keys under a street lamp because the light is better there. This is a sorry caricature of a robust, Reaganesque “trust but verify” regime.

Perhaps the most inane argument is that Congress should decide the deal’s fate and whether to reimpose U.S. sanctions. If a president is unwilling to solve this kind of problem, he shouldn’t have applied for the job. Watching what has happened on failed legislative efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare, can anyone doubt that Senate Democrats (joined by Rand Paul ) would filibuster any legislative effort to renew sanctions? The only sure way to resume economic pressure on Iran is for President Trump to stop waiving the sanctions, as he did a few weeks ago. The power to act is in executive hands, as it should be.

Mr. Trump knows his mind on Iran. And as Mr. Laxalt said to Marcos, “the time has come” to act decisively.
Mr. Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad” (Simon & Schuster, 2007).

American UN Envoy Nikki Haley Says Russia Shielding Iran From IAEA, Warns Nuclear Deal Without Inspections Is an ‘Empty Promise’

American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley took sharp aim on Thursday at Russia’s insistence that the International Atomic Energy Agency had no mandate to inspect Iranian nuclear activities that could include the design and production of a detonation device.
“If the Iran nuclear deal is to have any meaning, the parties must have a common understanding of its terms,” Haley said. “Iranian officials have already said they will refuse to allow inspections at military sites, even though the IAEA‎ says there must be no distinction between military and non-military sites.”
In a reference to the Russian position, Haley added: “Now it appears that some countries are attempting to shield Iran from even more inspections. Without inspections, the Iran deal is an empty promise.”
Haley’s comments are the latest indication of the Trump administration’s impatience with the JCPOA — the nuclear deal agreed to by the Tehran regime and the US and five other world powers in July 2015. Under US law, the president is obliged to confirm every 90 days that Iran is “transparently, verifiably, and fully implementing the agreement.” While President Donald Trump has recertified the deal twice during his time in office, the gaps in the deal’s monitoring regime revealed by the current row with Russia could lead to a different outcome when he announces his assessment on October 15.

On Tuesday, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told the Reuters news agency that the IAEA’s “tools are limited” when it comes to monitoring “Section T.”The present doubts over the deal’s survival center on “Section T” of the JCPOA, which forbids Iran from engaging in a range of listed activities “which could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” Prohibited activities include work on detonation systems and the use of computer models to simulate nuclear explosive devices.
“In other sections, for example, Iran has committed to submit declarations, place their activities under safeguards or ensure access by us,” Amano said. “But in ‘Section T’ I don’t see any (such commitment).”
Like Haley, Amano also emphasized that Russia was effectively blocking further IAEA access. “Russia has a different view,” he said. “They believe that it is not the mandate of the IAEA. Others have different views and discussions are ongoing.”
Pressure is growing on Trump from Republicans in Congress who want the president to decertify the deal. Speaking to the Weekly Standard, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) said there were “grounds” for decertification. “Iran has been, at a minimum, in violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the agreement, from the first day,” Rubio stated.
Rubio also expressed concern at the potential for the deal to blunt the US response to Iran’s provocations in the wider Middle East. “The agreement should not be a free pass for them to continue to develop ballistic missile capabilities, sponsor terrorism, conduct cyber attacks, or human rights violations,” he said. “If Iran considers that to be a violation of the deal, then too bad.”
Haley expressed a similar view during a speech on Thursday at a UN Security Council meeting on terrorist threats.
“The United States is…committed to holding state sponsors of terror accountable, especially the number one state sponsor of terror, Iran,” the ambassador said.

The Never-Trump Triumvirate

What do Rand Paul, Susan Collins and John McCain have in common? Very little.

The press corps is busy quizzing the president, the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader on their plans for tax reform. The question is why they aren’t chasing after the three people who actually hold all the power.
If the past eight months have proved anything, it is that all the 24/7 news coverage of Donald Trump’s antics, all the millions of words devoted to Paul Ryan’s and Mitch McConnell’s plans, have been a complete waste of space and time. In the end, control of the entire policy agenda in Washington comes down to three senators. Three senators whom most Americans have never had a chance to vote for or against. Three senators who comprise 8% of their party conference. Arizona’s John McCain, Maine’s Susan Collins and Kentucky’s Rand Paul. Forget Caesar, Crassus and Pompey. Meet the Never-Trump Triumvirate.
At least the House Freedom Caucus scuttles GOP legislation based on shared principles. Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have also led revolts against bills, again based on shared criticisms. But what do the Arizona maverick, the Maine moderate and the Kentucky libertarian have in common? Very little.
Well, very little save motivations that go beyond policy. And that is the crucial point that is missing from the endless analyses of the McCain-Collins-Paul defections on health care. The media has treated the trio’s excuses for killing their party’s top priority as legit, despite the obvious holes in their objections over policy and process. What in fact binds the three is their crafting of identities based primarily on opposition to their party or Mr. Trump. This matters, because it bodes very ill for tax reform in the Senate. Overcoming policy objections is one thing. Overcoming egos is another.
Mr. McCain, who is gravely ill with brain cancer, has decided his final legacy will be a return to the contrarian “straight talk” persona of old, which wins him liberal media plaudits. The Arizonan has never gotten over losing the presidency, and it clearly irks him that Mr. Trump succeeded where he failed. His personal disdain for the president is obvious, and his implausible excuses for opposing the Graham-Cassidy health-care reform are proof that this is personal.
Ms. Collins is reportedly days away from deciding whether she’ll ditch the Senate gig and run for governor. That potential campaign has guided her every move for at least a year now—perhaps her entire career—and was clearly among her reasons last summer to abandon her party’s nominee and publicly excoriate Mr. Trump. It is a basic precept in Washington that Sen. Collins votes in whatever way best serves Sen. Collins. Right now that means being Never Trump.
Mr. Paul worked hard during his first Senate campaign to reassure Kentuckians that he was not his father, and it turns out that’s very true. Because even Ron Paul was to be found with his party’s House majority on issues that truly mattered, and largely saved his defections for the lost causes that produced 434-1 votes. Sen. Paul’s standards for “conservative” policy are as varying as the wind, and lately they blow toward whatever position can earn him the title of purest man in Washington.
The press was fixated this week on Mr. McConnell’s bad week, which is an easy piece to write. But it ignores the obvious reality that the Triumvirate seems to have never had any intention of letting its party succeed. After all, a senator who intended to stand firm on “regular order,” as Mr. McCain said, would have informed his colleagues of that demand at the beginning, rather than allow his colleagues to set up for another vote and then dramatically tank it (again) at the last minute. A senator who voted for “skinny” ObamaCare repeal in the summer on the grounds that anything was “better than no repeal,” in the words of Mr. Paul, would not suddenly engineer an unreachable set of demands for his vote on an even better repeal.
The Senate has no lack of lime-lighters. Nor is it low on Trump critics. Think Nebraska’s Ben Sasse and Arizona’s Jeff Flake. The difference is that the clear majority of the critics aren’t allowing ambition or disdain get in the way of votes for better policy.
But this raises the question of whether the White House understands that the Triumvirate is also the prize on tax reform. Mr. Trump took a shot at Mr. McConnell this week, but the president needs to shift his focus to those who hold the actual power. Those dinner invites to Chuck and Nancy would be better reserved for Ms. Collins. Its internal conversations need to focus on what forms of flattery or policy or misery might appeal to the political motivations of Messrs. McCain and Paul, and get them on side.
Because the Triumvirate made very clear during the health-care debate how it operates. Pretending it won’t do it again is to ignore reality.