October

While periodic breakdowns in American history’s “law and order” respect have occurred in the last century, noone could have foreseen the ongoing disregard for civilized behavior, as seems prevalent in today’s all-time high population of 330 million.

The underlying strength that has been central to American global leadership, since the end of World War II, has won the overwhelming respect of this nation’s just and equal law enforcement.

This has been especially true in the past 100 years, when the incomparable support of the United States tipped the scales of victory in two wars against what seemed to be certain victory by the German-led scourge in World Wars I and II.

But since the beginning of the current century/millennium, the respect for the high standards of America’s winning example of support, by practicing what it preached, has started to erode.

The following major digressions of the American example would have been unthinkable as late as one generation ago:

1) Open door immigration from such declared anti-American nations as Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, etc., carry the expansion of a “Trojan horse” in America’s future midst.

2) Even worse, the declaration of sanctuary states and cities by the ultra-liberal, heavily populated states like New York, California, and Illinois would have been unthinkable a mere 25 years ago.

3) An overwhelming U.S. print, radio, and TV media, whose ongoing left-wing propaganda (fake news) is central to its daily presentations of overwhelmingly liberal points of view.

4) What amounts to an ongoing war against American law enforcement agencies by political leaders, and college professors is becoming ever more prevalent.

5) The glorification of lifestyles, previously rejected overwhelmingly, are now increasingly venerated by relatively uneducated college graduates, and their voting power of the future.

6) The unvarnished Socialism, spouted by the likes of Vermont “Independent” Senator Bernie Sanders, is gaining significant ground in the Democrat Party, as indicated in the recent primaries.

7) The “war on police,” state troopers, and even National Guard military personnel, is threatening the unified public support of these “law and order guardians. Whether the Trump Administration is strong enough to stop this dangerous trend remains to be seen.

Monday, 30 October 2017 14:50

Was the Dunkirk Episode a Defeat in Disguise?

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A recent “blockbuster” movie, Dunkirk, featured a brief episode in the humiliating defeat of the once highly regarded French Army, overrun by Hitler’s Wehrmacht within six weeks of the Nazis’ breakthrough at Sedan, France, on May 10, 1940.

This incidental “heroics” in the midst of Germany’s blitzkrieg successes throughout Europe, has been glamorized as a heroic incident at the time which saw the might of Anglo-French military power crushed by Hitler’s hordes. Although numerically inferior in manpower, tanks, and guns, the Nazi Wehrmacht was highly superior in strategy and tactics.

Further, the Anglo/French combine underestimated the “blitzkrieg” capability of the smaller German military depth, which the numerically superior French “Maginot Line” would contain in a stalemate.

While the highly superior German strategy included their main attack through the impenetrable Ardennes Forests, the British provided the bulk of their expeditionary force as a stop-gap against a second arm of the German infantry, expected to move along the English Channel, after disposing of the nominal resistance of the Netherlands, and Belgium. But the amazing success of the Nazis’ Ardennes blitz took the British by surprise, driving them up against the Channel, with all their weaponry. This amazingly speedy surprise, with which the Germans crashed through the Ardennes Forest, seemed to threaten “curtains” for the 360,000 British forces and French infantry additions; with two prongs of the “Wehrmacht” surrounding them in a large “pocket” around the Belgian/French border Channel port of Dunkirk.

Only the bravery/genius of two men saved the bulk of the 300,000 plus manpower to beef up the forthcoming defense of the United Kingdom— famous French General Charles De Gaulle; and British Lord of the Admiralty, Bert Ramsay.

DeGaulle, against the will of the French President’s General Staff, kept his tanks under his command, long enough to deal a tactical defeat against the lead force of the rampaging Germans. This command even convinced “Mad-dog Hitler to halt in fear of being outflanked by other unknown French tank groups. Lord Ramsay wasted no time in rerouting British shipping of all types to rescue the thousands of Allied forces waiting on the beaches, in the limited availability pause.

With only a few days to spare, the valiant British responded with mighty speed and courage. This happened in the brief time before the Nazis realized that the DeGaulle tank attack against their lead attack arm was an isolated incident. Even the German “Luftwaffe” could impact only minor losses as the bulk of the Allied survivors were being rescued.

These “brave heroics” in the context of the world’s most brutal carnage, made it possible for the saved British infantry to post a defense against an anticipated German invasion, and eventually became the crux of a rebuilt British Army.

While Hollywood does a masterful job of turning the humiliation of the French “Maginot mentality” into a tale of heroics, it at least explains how a minority of “real heroes” kept the lone British military intact, until the combined might of the U.S. and the revived Russians crushed the Germans, once and for all, a few years later.

As the current year’s U.S. economy staggers to a modestly acceptable 2017 end, the complete lack of America’s two-party cooperation has made an anticipated forward jolt impossible.

When the nation’s founding fathers wisely mandated a cooperative House and senate relationship, they deliberately made sure that a one party superiority would never become dominant in fashioning the nation’s future growth. They wisely foresaw that lack of at least some two-party cooperation was necessary to preserve a thriving democracy; with only “anarchy” or dictatorship providing the alternative.

This sense of balance has only been found in infrequent instances in America’s recent history. The most glaringly successful example approach was in President Ronald Reagan’s eight year (1981-89) two-term presidencies. What, unfortunately, has been forgotten about this short, but dramatic “interlude;” was the amazing success of the former film actor’s accomplishments.

In practicing the wisdom of America’s “founding fathers,” Republican Reagan, in conjunction with extremely powerful dominant Democrat “Tip” O’Neill, House Speaker, accomplished more than any post World War II President, before or since. Having inherited a runaway inflation and economic disintegration from inept Democrat predecessor, Jimmy Carter, these two American patriots, Reagan and O’Neill, reversed Carter’s plea for downsizing by accomplishing the following:

1) His inherited double digit annual inflationary interest rates were reduced by two-thirds of those existing when Reagan was voted into the presidency in 1980.

2) Increase of overall U.S. employment skyrocketed to as high as 8% per annum during Reagan’s his last two years.

3) The Reagan Administration encouraged energy, and utilization of indigenous commodities, such as fossil fuels, and agricultural exports to lower the trade deficit, caused by increasing foreign dependence on imports.

4) But most important of all was convincing the Soviet Union that confrontation with the U.S. was a losing proposition. This amazing impact on then Russian dictator, Mikhail Gorbachev, led to a collapse of the non-Russian aspects of the Soviet superpower, which resulted in the divestiture of centuries-long entities, such as the Ukraine, Belarus, and its Moslem republics, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, etc. and all its satellites.

As President Trump is learning, much to his dismay, there is no chance of successfully confronting healthcare revision, irresponsibly delayed infrastructure rebuilding, and tax updating, etc., under present circumstances. With Democrats 100% unified in opposing everything the Republicans have to offer, together with the GOP split, this predicts an “impasse, at least until the mid-terms in November, 2018.

Saturday, 28 October 2017 00:57

Why Europe’s Greatness Lies in the Past

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While the year 2017 nears its end, so does the focus on the one century ago that witnessed the peak of Western Civilization’s global dominance.

When viewed from the current perspective, it’s hard to grasp that these major empires controlled 80% of the world’s political and economic dominance; and as much as 90% of its equivalent gross domestic product. While the outburst of America’s current power was still in its infancy at that time; Italy, already shrunk from previous expansion before World War I, threw in its lot with the “Allies.”

The British, French, Austro-Hungarian German, Russian, and Turkish empires had held unchallenged sway over the world’s four of the five major world continents for centuries. Only the Western Hemisphere, previously controlled by the once indefatigable Spanish/Portugese overlordship, still held a foothold in Latin America, comprising Portugese-speaking Brazil, with “two-thirds” hold over South America.

While 1917 comprised the still undecided World War I victory, waged between the Russo-French, Italian, British, and American forces against the German, Austro-Hungarian, and Turkish military assemblance, it was the year that the U.S. entrance in the war on the “Allied” side tipped the balance.

While that “conflagration” ended in an uneasy armistice, dictated by the “Allies” in 1918, most historians believe that World War II was the continuation of “revenge” of the German/Japanese/Italian Axis to literally conquer the world 25 years later. The major factors that have unfolded by the events from 1914 to 1945, leading to today’s restructured global power positions are as follows:

1) The emergence of Nazi Germany, that manifested the Holocaust of 10 million, before being crushed. In addition to experiencing a humiliating defeat, Germany lost two-thirds of its pre-World War I territory in these wars.

2) The failure of the post-war “League of Nations. The combination of Nazi-German, and Russian military powers proved more powerful than the “League,” with the U.S. on the sidelines.

3) The total destruction of Japan’s early takeover of China, and most of the “Pacific” nations by the U.S., decimated the Axis’s military threat completely.

4) The emergence of two antagonist “nuclear-armed” superpowers, the U.S. and the USSR; with the Soviet Union receding back to its pre-World War II Russian status.

5) To sum up the negation of Europe’s status is to cite the minimization of the United Kingdom, Germany, and France’s Eurocom failure— and its lessened influence worldwide, to the World War II status.

6) The USA, having reached the position of the world’s most ever influential nation, economically and geopolitically, as the 1917-2017 century-long period ends, is today in a class all by itself.

President Richard M. Nixon’s call for U.S. energy independence after the Saudi oil embargo in 1974, seemed like an idle “pipe dream” at the time. With domestic U..S. demand increasingly dependent on foreign sources, especially that from then belligerent world-leading oil producer, Saudi Arabia, America’s conventional oil production staggered to a minimum production of three million oil barrels a day; little more than a third of the domestic amount needed during that period.

Although the U.S. downward production attrition was eventually offset by increased exports from the Saudis, Venezuela, and other major OPEC producers, this did not prevent the price per oil barrel from temporarily shooting up to $145 per barrel in early 2007, just before the outbreak of the multi-year financial recession in the fall of 2008. But it did collapse oil prices dramatically in the post “depression” period. By mid-2014, prices had risen again, but suffered a 50% price collapse in that year’s second half.

In fact, the low of $26 per barrel of “light oil” in 2010 never again reaching $60 per barrel in the “post-recession recovery period.” But by early 2016, it wallowed in the mid 40's per barrel as the end of 2016 approached. This resulted in President Obama’s lifting of the 42 year old U.S. export embargo, in order to gain approval of the fiscal 2016-17 budget, just before he left office in January 2017.

But in a simultaneous collusion of circumstances, the U.S. oil industry was able to make hydraulic fracturing (fracking) more cost-effective. This offset global price recovery sought by OPEC’s member nations, even after setting back their annual production quotas.

While the “new life” given to U.S. oil production, and natural gas availability by the “fracking revolution” had put the U.S. near the top of production of fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal) as a whole, it had “imprisoned” the global WTI oil price structure to the mid-to-high forties” range. But, surprisingly, it has also created a new world market for U.S. light oil, especially in Southeast Asia, as opposed to the much “heavier” Brent crude found in most of the rest of the world.

This is leading the U.S. into the realm of top world exporters, while also reaching the lofty objective in shipments of liquid natural gas.

This anticipates a U.S.-based energy development bonanza, suppressed for the past 16 years. It led to the cancellation of an even greater suppression call of fossil fuels, called for by losing presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Such unexpected positive developments could easily position the U.S. at the global top, as Asia’s falling oil reserves open the door to America’s WTI light oil. China and India represent the world’s fastest growing demand providers, but they are possessed of only the most “rudimentary” oil refineries— a bonanza for the U.S.

While much of the world’s concern with global peace focuses on the tragi-comical nuclear threat of North Korea, as a current major concern, it tends to divert attention from the growing tentacles of “Shia Islamic” Iran, in partnership with the disconcerting power threat of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Although the once super-influential oil domination of Sunni Saudi Arabia, as well as Turkey and Egypt, maintained a generally pro-Western Mideast balance, this is fast fading, as the combination of military power has shifted to the Russo/Iranian power block and it’s not well hidden in its desire to assert the combat capability to use its ever-growing strength.

While the bloody ISIS terrorism serves as a convenient diversion from the forthcoming Russo/Iranian Shia block, Egypt, Turkey, and the Saudi/Arab Emirates Sunni block pose little capability to overcome the militant Shia war machine on the march.

While the incredible naivete of former President Obama, in his misguided speech of June 9, 2009, along with his description of “ISIL” as a bunch of “Jayvees “ ignored much of the current disaster potential, it may be too late for the U.S. to regain its once highly respected influence in curbing disintegration of current world peace.

With the “Chamberlain-like” attempt to soften Iran’s warpath, the farcical nature of the Obama/Kerry “peace in our time” is already straining at the seams.

Since much hope is placed on the current embattled Trump Administration’s military comeback, the Shia Moslems are wasting no time in infiltrating the “inviting” borders of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, plus the incredible Democrat U.S. “Sanctuary/state/city” approach. They all but invite a major “Trojan horse” into their midst. While perhaps not threatening America’s global power position, it could easily undermine the U.S. as a serious tempering force in the Middle East.

NATO is no longer a serious military alliance to be reckoned with, and the United Nations are all but supportive of the growing Shia danger; while blaming little Israel for all the problems that have existed since the post-World War II Middle East turbulence

Barring an unexpected “turn of events” change, one should not be surprised to view a forthcoming Middle East Shia power alliance as the current disconcerting direction is coming to a “boil.”

Egypt, already weakened by a reborn Moslem Brotherhood, Turkey facing a potentially renewed civil war, and a collapsing defenseless Saudi Arabia may be on the way to “a point of no return” in the not-too-distant future.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017 10:32

Why have Global Investments in US been Lagging?

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It’s become axiomatic that the U.S. financial investment sector is tops in its worldwide approach. Much of it is based on the acquisition by American conglomerates in expanding their worldwide reach; also the expansion of existing overseas subsidiaries and divisions, able to greatly reduce their production costs by substituting similar products, previously developed within America’s 48 contiguous states and territories.

However, although U.S. foreign investment expenditures in “greenfield” investments, and upgrading major foreign sectors, such as automotive and industrial instruments are at respectable levels, they are only a large fraction of the many tens of billions of U.S. dollar investments found around the world.

In 2016, foreign direct investments to acquire, establish, or expand U.S. businesses totaled $373.4 billion. This was actually down 15% from $439 billion in 2015; but still above the annual average of $350 billion for 2014-15, and well above the annual average of $226 billion for 2006-2008. As in previous years, expenditures to acquire existing businesses accounted for a large majority of the total.

In the 2016 total, almost all of it was for the acquisition, or upgrading of existing businesses; with only a minute $5.6 billion, and an additional $2.2 billion spent in foreign-owned businesses. Planned total expenditures, which include both last year (2016) and future planned expenditures, were $387.7 billion.

With American production expenditures primarily concentrated on U.S. overseas manufacturing capabilities (approximately one-third), most of these were in chemicals ($64.7 billion), professional, scientific and technical services ($59.1 billion) and insurance ($47.9 billion).

By ultimate country destination, Canada easily led all others with $58.5 billion. The United Kingdom followed with $54.5 billion, with Ireland and Switzerland bringing up the rear in the mid $30 billion range.

The American states making the largest expenditures were California, with $64.7 billion, and Illinois following with $41.3 billion.

By U.S. industry, in 2016, greenfield expenditures were largest in real estate, rental, and leasing, accounting for much of the puny amounts invested in this sub-sector. The bottom line on such sizable “outgoing” U.S. expenditures continues to verify the relatively small amounts now invested by U.S. investors overseas. This only magnifies the lack of foreign investment opportunities in the U.S., and the relatively small direct investment overseas, especially compared to growth opportunities elsewhere in the recent past.

In a “landmark” success over the attrition of unfair competition, tolerated by previous U.S. consumption-emphasized Administrations, Weldbend Corporation, a leading PVF manufacturing titan, accomplished this historic anti-dumping success, where previous attempts had failed.

In effect, this provides the Trump Administration with a prime example for reversing the attrition against America’s shrinking manufacturing sector. This has witnessed a catastrophic decline of more than 50% employment, from 20 million to less than half that amount during the last 16 years.

While the current Commerce Department’s mandated levels of punitively large import tariff increases from Italy, India, and Spain have been focused on finished carbon steel flanges, these were subsidized by the major foreign producers’ home countries. Although these will likely discourage such foreign illegaliity in the future, it’s only a first step in protecting such outstanding independent, American manufacturers from the rampant competition to which they have been exposed for years.

But this puts only a dent in the activities of major U.S. conglomerates who continue to shift both production facilities and finished goods to foreign countries that provide them with higher margins of profit to fatten their bottom lines, and the value of their stock market shares.

The continued freedom to import such conglomerates’ from offshore facilities must be greatly controlled if America’s currently abbreviated facilities are to be kept from even greater reduction. The current 68% of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) must be eventually lowered to less than half this percentage for the U.S.A. to return to the first rank of manufacturing capacity and capability, enjoyed by this former world leading industrial production leader.

While infrastructure and upgraded realistic tax structure are waiting in the wings, the return of U.S. manufacturing superiority should share in the near future plans of the Trump Administration’s forthcoming achievements.

Although this combination of near 20 year neglect may seem like an impossible burden, there is no alternative to America’s return to its mid-1980's greatness, and advanced progress thereafter. Delayed neglect in this arena, and a major upgrade delay in U.S. overall infrastructure development will only worsen America’s return to manufacturing capability leadership.

When incoming President Trump chose to untangle Obamacare as his primary target, he may have undermined the effective start of his new Administration.

A rereading of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s immediate “attack” on the worst economic depression in America’s history began a three-time reelection (12 year term), unmatched in American history, before and after his highly illustrious national leadership.

From the very beginning of his turbulent White House occupancy, FDR recognized the primary issue of reversing America’s plunge into oblivion in our nation’s most critical moments ever.

In hindsight, his immediate and judicious recognition that unemployment reversal/new job creation, and, most of all, national confidence plunge were critical, led him to choose innovative national infrastructure building, and rational new tax policies as the most urgent objectives. By “inventing” such new work programs as WPA, PWA, TVA, etal, he almost immediately reduced the 25-30% unemployment figures, to less than half at the time of his record reelection percentage against Republican Alf Landon (R-KS) in 1936.

Although America’s 32nd President was deeply committed to putting “America back to work,” he was also extremely aware of the sinister specter of Nazism, and Fascism threatening a new world war in Europe.

Roosevelt shrewdly, but unceremoniously, started rebuilding America’s military strength, culminating in the nation’s first time ever conscription of males, 18 years old and over, in 1941. He bent America’s “neutrality” close to the breaking point, thereby keeping the United Kingdom in the fight against Hitler’s Germany, and subsequently helping arm the Soviet Union’s successful resistance to Hitler’s seemingly unstoppable “Blitzkrieg.”

This led to America’s factories becoming the “arsenal for democracy” producing tanks, guns, aircraft, etc, thereby also eliminating unemployment and putting women to work massively for the first time in America’s history.

It may have been historically accidental that his turbulent Presidency contained the rise and fall of civilization’s darkest hours, (1930's to mid-1940's). But it unquestionably saved the continued existence of Western Civilization.

While President Trump should be borrowing from the pages of Roosevelt’s uncanny global and national leadership, his premature involvement in the “Obamacare” healthcare disaster is already proving costly to the confidence that his expected singular leadership in foreign and domestic policies, helped elect him in November 2016.

Upcoming events will, hopefully, bring home the FDR lesson of economic primacy, that lifted America from the depth of disintegration to the mightiest world power ever in modern history.

During the 16 years of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama Administrations, the move away from fossil fuels to renewables took on accelerated speed. But during the last eight years, this took on the trappings of a crusade against coal, oil, and natural gas by empowering the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce and eliminate coal production permanently, without Congressional or Presidential approval.

This is best exemplified by the Obama Administration shifting U.S. Treasury allocations designated for environmental infrastructure to the global commitment of eliminating carbon dioxide emissions and all energy considered harmful to the global environment, by EPA mandate.

This led to huge wastes in U.S. solar panel franchises, a greater percentage of ethanol for each gallon of gasoline, and committing to the global “Paris Treaty,” expected to cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars in the next decade.

While the U.S. had experienced a major oil/natural gas breakthrough in 2013, this was doomed to termination if Hillary Clinton were elected. This had already been certified by the Democrat candidate’s campaign, which had committed to a “renewable” speedup in her platform.

Just the opposite of the past 16 years has now been promised by the Trump presidency, which is aggressively reversing the Obama energy approach.

The unexpected lifting of the 40-year-old U.S. oil embargo in the waning months of the Obama Administration was a stroke of good luck, approved by the outgoing President to pass the 2017 expenditure budget. This has already produced record U.S. oil exports, expected to reach global leading levels by the end of the current decade.

Although nuclear energy has lost appeal by former friends and foes alike, the retention of maximum coal export production, energy expansion of oil, and natural gas, will be proceeding post-haste. Since fossil fuel energy development in general, is leading the list of available employee and production expansion, this is topping the list of promised commitments by the candidacy of President Trump.

The withdrawal of the U.S. from the top-heavy expenditures of the “Paris Treaty’s” spending accords is only a first step in the long-term reversal of future energy approaches in favor of fossil fuels; and reducing renewables (solar, wind, geodesic) to secondary status.

As the recent G20 gathering of the world-leading nations indicated, the riots in the streets of Hamburg, Germany, the global meeting place, made most of the headlines.

While anti-capitalism was reported as the rationale behind the unruly street mobs, it indicated that anarchy has replaced democracy as the focal point of unrest by these unruly rioters.

Although the irony of these incidents happening in the second largest city of the once most murderous nation before and during World War II, should not be lost, it dramatizes the fact that responsible leadership in today’s “civilized world” is increasingly difficult to locate.

While the pro-and-con media headlines emerging from this multi-day world event revolved around the “cat-and-mouse” dialogues between U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, it only dramatized that charismatic leadership elsewhere is almost non-existent.

The best example of this is France, where a relative non-entity, Emmanuel Macron, and his self-made political party won a presidential landslide victory, never before seen in France’s post-Napoleonic history, ending in the early twentieth century

What rings loud and clear in the aftermath of the current lack of influential leaders is the great American founding father Thomas Jefferson’s warning, 200 years ago, that democracy can only function effectively, when backed by an educated, electorate. Such a development seems to have backpedaled among the world’s leading nations in the recent past:

1) Although such blame is often attributed to modern technology and the ultra-liberal educators that have emerged in the free world’s leading universities, it creates a climate of despair that has brought forth the Hitlers, Mussolinis, and Stalins of yesteryear. They were temporarily successful in providing regimented solutions, and blaming anti-nationalistic minorities for the grievances pitting liberals, conservatives, and nihilistic non-entities against each other.

Whether an eerie repetition of the 1930's and 1940's becomes the tragic outcome of this nightmarish possibility will be determined by the number and type of world leaders that will fill this vacuum. At this point in time, only the U.S.A. appears to again be the genesis of future world direction. The outcome of America’s sagacious leadership and direction may well determine the ultimate fate of the 21st century’s global population in the years to come.

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