Saturday, November 12, 2016


An Extended Vacation in his Own Head

For an appetizer I offer this recent history: Nobel Laureate in Economics Paul Krugman, just after the election results were in, said that the stock market would take a dive and never recover. Hours later the Dow Jones average reached a new high. So he was 100% wrong. Not that surprising, as his award winning work in economics was about labor, not financial markets. But can he keep the streak going? Let's see.

Here is his latest hate-filled, bubble insulated, self-revealing screed against President-elect Trump and all who voted for him. I'm going to focus on a few things below. But let me start, however, by saying that when the subject is building a big building in New York City, there is no one on the planet I'd rather listen to than Donald Trump. About nearly everything else, unfortunately, he's hard to stomach. He's as big a narcissist as Obama and, like Schwarzenegger and Bloomberg, he's a Democrat who pretended to be a conservative in order to get elected. I have no illusions about the man; he just happened to be less bad than the hypermass of lies and corruption the Democrats were foolish enough to nominate. I wish him (and, thus, us) tremendous success, despite my reservations. OK, on to Krugman whose piece is titled "Thoughts for the Horrified".

So what do we do now? By “we” I mean all those left, center and even right who saw Donald Trump as the worst man ever to run for president and assumed that a strong majority of our fellow citizens would agree.

The gist here is perhaps partially correct; Trump was the worst man to run for president this year, but there have been much worse people elected president in the decades before the civil war. This year, there just happened to be a woman running for the office who was much worse, and enough voters in just the right locations thought so too.

...God knows it’s clear that almost everyone on the center-left, myself included, was clueless about what actually works in persuading voters. For now, however, I’m talking about personal attitude and behavior in the face of this terrible shock.

Wow, what an admission! Indeed, Krugman and his ilk were indeed clueless and still are, unfortunately, and not just about persuading voters. And why was it a 'terrible shock'? Why a shock at all? Was it because you people who are shocked were clueless about what ordinary Americans were feeling and thinking? Was it because you dismiss those who would vote for Trump as deplorable or bitter clinger racists (as your candidates for the past three presidential elections have) and have no contact whatsoever with them? Was it because you were so insulated from reality that you could not see some powerful signs that your pathetic candidate would lose to our bombastic candidate? To ask these questions is to answer them.

The Trump campaign was unprecedented in its dishonesty; the fact that the lies didn’t exact a political price, that they even resonated with a large bloc of voters, doesn’t make them any less false. No, our inner cities aren’t war zones with record crime. No, we aren’t the highest-taxed nation in the world. No, climate change isn’t a hoax promoted by the Chinese.

I love it when the Democrats call the Republican candidate dishonest. Beam, speck, eye, perception. But let's look at the examples of dishonesty Krugman focuses on. The inner cities of all the historically Democrat ruled cities are indeed hot spots for crime. Some, but not all, of the Republican controlled cities are too. Crime has indeed fallen from its height during the Clinton Administration, but it's been on the rise lately under Obama. So not all wrong there. Certainly not the lie "If you like your healthcare insurance, you can keep it" certainly was. The moribund European socialists nations do have higher personal income tax than we do, but we have one of the world's highest corporate income tax and it's been slowing the recovery from the recession for over 8 years now. It used to be that the steeper the dive in a recession the steeper the V-shaped climb back out. Not with Obama at the helm; it's been more an L-shaped recovery. So again, not all wrong. Not the lie "I never had classified information on my e-mail server" was. I'm not ready to call the global warming crisis de jure a hoax just yet, but it's not much of a crisis to have more plants and the weather be nicer generally. If it turns out to be a hoax, and we'll probably know before I die, I doubt the Chinese created it, but what do I know? So all in all, not the best three examples of dishonesty ever. I'll skip listing any of the thousands of other lies Hillary and Obama have told.

So if you’re tempted to concede that the alt-right’s vision of the world might have some truth to it, don’t. Lies are lies, no matter how much power backs them up.

I'm still not sure what the "alt-right" is. Is it any worse than the plain old "right"? Is it conservative people who love their country and Western Civilization as we once knew it? Does Krugman really believe that the Republican view of the world has absolutely no truth in it? What if one of our beliefs is that the sun seems to rise in the East and set in the West? What about our belief that maximum freedom for 'We, the people', should be the default position of our government. All lies? Also, if Krugman hates lies, why does his writing contain so many of them?

I particularly worry about climate change. We were at a crucial point, having just reached a global agreement on emissions and having a clear policy path toward moving America to a much greater reliance on renewable energy. Now it will probably fall apart, and the damage may well be irreversible.

Eco-disaster true believers are always saying we are at a tipping point to irreversible damage and they are always wrong. The inevitable next ice age will certainly stop the slight warming we've seen in the last century or so. But to call the recent Paris accords, which are just pretend agreements about CO2 and energy use cuts, something we must maintain if life on Earth will continue is a slight exaggeration. Also, renewable energy is crap. The sooner we can agree on that the better. But then Krugman gets to the standard slanders.

The political damage will extend far into the future, too. The odds are that some terrible people will become Supreme Court justices. States will feel empowered to engage in even more voter suppression than they did this year. At worst, we could see a slightly covert form of Jim Crow become the norm all across America.

The odds are that some excellent judges will be appointed to the Supreme Court. That they will (I hope) be originalists/constitutionalists does not make them "terrible" any more than voting for Trump makes one "deplorable." What voter suppression? Less people voted this past Tuesday than voted in the earlier, recent elections because the candidates this time were both horrible. What voter suppression happened in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, Paul? Give me a single example. But he really lets his inner hate and ignorance out when he says the Republicans "may", under Trump, become racist, even more racist than the Democrats generally and falsely accuse us of being. He is ignorant enough to talk about Jim Crow, which was 99% the creation of Democrats. Oops, the projection seeps through.

And you have to wonder about civil liberties, too.

What civil liberties do you have concern for? Being able to live your religious beliefs without being fined or jailed? Being able to contribute to a political interest without being fired from your job? Being able to make truthful statements, or voice genuine opinions, without fear of being sued?  Being able to assemble with others in a political sub-group without being harassed by the IRS? Being able to run for office as a Republican without facing completely bogus criminal charges? Are these the ones you're fearing? What a Chicken Little, emphasis on chicken!

What about the short term? My own first instinct was to say that Trumponomics would quickly provoke an immediate economic crisis, but after a few hours’ reflection I decided that this was probably wrong. I’ll write more about this in the coming weeks, but a best guess is that there will be no immediate comeuppance

This is rich. He admits being completely wrong about the immediate stock market reaction to Trump's election as I discussed at the start of this, but now he claims to have decided, with in a few hours, that his prediction was "probably" wrong. Yeah, right, and the total lack of your voicing this reflection before the stock market took off on Wednesday shouldn't cause us to doubt you on this.

Trumpist policies won’t help the people who voted for Donald Trump — in fact, his supporters will end up much worse off.

Note that he doesn't use "may" or "might" here; he says this economic damage will certainly happen. I think this prediction is about as sound as his infamous permanent market crash prediction. If Trump cuts business taxes and rolls back some of the worst regulations, I predict that the growth of GDP will at least double and maybe triple under his Administration. I have the history of the intersection of modern American politics and economics to support my prediction (Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan). Krugman's got bupkis besides an extraordinary history of failed predictions and dishonest statements.

I myself spent a large part of the Day After avoiding the news, doing personal things, basically taking a vacation in my own head.
But that is, in the end, no way for citizens of a democracy — which we still are, one hopes — to live. I’m not saying that we should all volunteer to die on the barricades...

Wait, "die on the barricades"? Is he supporting the crybaby vandals and arsonists protesting the loss? Should we think that his saying that not "all" of us [Democrats] should die violently protesting is actually giving support to "some" of the protestors rioting? Hmmm.

The rest is drivel.

And the New York Times wonders why ever fewer people are reading what it produces. Talk about being clueless.


I'm not quite sure why you continue to indulge in the masochistic activity of reading Krugman. That he may have won an economic award decades past does not, and never has, conferred upon him any claim to social, political or any other -al, wisdom.
But, of course, YMMV. ;-) Perhaps you enjoy the mental gymnastic exercise....

When I read this post, I wondered how the author had managed to get inside my head (and convert my own thoughts into much text.) He petty much reflects my own thought process in arriving at my vote choice(s).
*pretty* (I really should NOT short-cut the preview!)
Thanks for the comment as usual, but you have done me a disservice. I used to love John Scalzi. Novel after novel of his were good, fun, thoughtful. Now he's dead to me and I can't, won't actually buy or read another. Damn.
Yeah. Loved his "Old Man's War" and others, then his politics got in the way. Transitioned to John Ringo.... "The Last Centurion" is a winner, as is his Black Tide Rising series -- very fun stuff, the latter. I read sci-fi only occasionally, so don't know many other sci-fi authors.

Dunno if you've read James Hornfischer? His newest book, "The Fleet at Flood Tide," covers the naval war in the Pacific 1944-1945. His level of detail is amazing, yet it doesn't get in the way of his narrative. I'm at Ch. 8, I think, and it's very good. He has yet to disappoint me with any of his books.
'44-'45 was when my father was in the Pacific aboard a destroyer. I'll look into it. Thanks, again.

You know what ship he was on? I'll see if it's listed in the index.
PS: if you are not familiar with Hornfischer, his "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" about the Battle off Samar has to be one of the best naval history books of all time. It's hard to put down. [this sounds familiar...., I think I may have recommended it already?)
Followed closely by his "Neptune's Inferno" - the Navy fighting the "Tokyo Express" coming down thorugh the Slot from Rabaul to supply and reinforce the Japanese forces on Guadalcanal. "Ironbottom Sound."
My dad's ship was the Buchanan DD484. It fought most the war, is tied for 7th (with a cruiser) for most battle stars for a navy ship, raided Rabaul, won the presidential unit citation and had the honor of taking the American brass (including MacArthur) from the dock out to the Missouri for the signing of the surrender papers. I've written about it a lot here. But my dad was only on it for the typhoon, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Page 468.

"The formal ceremony of surrender took place on the USS Missouri on September 2. The destroyer Buchanan delivered Nimitz and other Allied representatives at 8:05 a.m. With MacArthur insisting on absolute punctuality, the ship's company had rehearsed the transit time of the peg-legged Japanese foreign minister, Mamoru Shigemitsu, from the bottom of the forward gangway to the veranda deck, where the ceremony would take place. Sailors took turns stuffing a broom handle down their dungarees, then walking stiff-legged along the route while a stopwatch ticked."

That's it for Buchanan.

I'm just up to the Marianas turkey shoot, June 1944 -- Iwo Jima and Okinawa are the following February-March, and April-June, resp., so I don't even yet know which task forces take part. Ahhh, here's a typhoon on June 5th '45....

Anyway, with your personal connection, you may find it even MORE enjoyable!
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