July 9, 2017


Free Market of Ideas

Milton Friedman

Blue Army: Persons of Interest

On few matters over the centuries has the human conscience been more amenable and the human brain more resourceful than in finding reasons why the rich and the fortunate should live in comfortable coexistence with the poor.

John Galbraith (1908 – 2006), The Affluent Society, 4th Edition, Penguin, 1984, p xxiv.

One of the problems in this country is that we have this Judeo-Christian heritage of wanting to help those in need.
And this … sometimes causes people to promise more than they can deliver.

Nelson Rockefeller (1908 – 79) [41st Vice President of the United States, 1974–77], Dallas, 12 September 1975.

I know it makes you sick to think of that word ‘fairness.’
[Nonetheless, the American public believe that] it’s right to help the vulnerable.

Arthur Brooks (1964) [President, American Enterprise Institute], Conservative Political Action Conference, American Conservative Union, 16 March 2013.

Conscience is but a word that cowards use,
Devised at first to keep the strong in awe …

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), Richard III, Act 5, Scene 3, 1562.

[In] today's regulatory environment, it's virtually impossible to violate [the] rules …
[This] is something the public doesn't really understand: … it's impossible … for a violation to go undetected — certainly not for a considerable period of time.

Bernie Madoff (1938), The Future of the Stock Market, Philoctetes, 20 October 2007.

(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)

Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004):
We're going to turn the bull loose.

Lincoln Savings & Loan:
[The] weak, meek and ignorant are always good targets.

Sam Donaldson (1934):
[If] we excuse unethical conduct by saying: 'well everyone does it', or 'it's really okay unless you get caught', or 'it's not against the law' — we miss the point of why it's important we not do it period.
The point may be no less than national survival as a people who can live together honorably.
If we let lying, cheating, and stealing become an accepted way of life, it's not just a few dollars that will be lost, it's the spirit of the country that will be lost.
The decision is ours.
(Greed is Good, The Eighties, Episode 6, 12 May 2016)

Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) [On behalf of the American Medical Association]:
One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine …
The doctor begins to lose freedoms.
It's like telling a lie, and one leads to another …
All of us can see what happens once you establish the precedent that the government can determine a man's working place and his working methods, and behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country.
Until, one day, we will awake to find we have socialism.
(Michael Moore, Sicko, 2007)

Donald Regan (1918 – 2003) [Secretary of the Treasury, Reagan Administration]:
I've read an awful lot about how we're really going to hurt the poor … with our cuts.
That is absolutely not what we're going to do.
(The Reagan Revolution, The Eighties, Episode 5, 7 April 2016)

John Galbraith (1908 – 2006):
Personal interest always wears the disguise of public purpose, and no one is more easily persuaded of the validity or righteousness of a public cause than the person who stands personally to gain [from it.]
(The Age of Uncertainty, BBC / Andre Deutsch, 1977, p 232)

[Under Ronald Reagan, along with tax cuts for the rich,] there was the attack … on economic support to the poorest of the population — on welfare payments, food stamps and aid to families with dependent children.
(p xvii)

There is … the by no means remote chance that management of the modern economy by the affluent for the affluent will fail.
It involves a basic contradiction between,
  • on the one hand, the conservative commitment to free enterprise, the monetarist illusion and taxation especially tailored to the affluent, and,
  • on the other, the hard fact that depression and recession are only avoided by comprehensive, socially concerned measures, notably by the required fiscal and prices and incomes policies …
Failure could easily put enough people in jeopardy so that the economic contentment arising from affluence would be threatened and political attitudes thus changed.
This was the effect of the Great Depression …
(p xxxi)

[Monetary] policy is a blunt, unreliable, discriminatory and somewhat dangerous instrument of economic control.
No other course of action in economics has ever rivaled monetary policy in its capacity to survive failure.
(The Affluent Society, 4th Edition, Penguin, 1984, p 179)

Labor and labor unions are no longer the primary enemies of the business enterprise …
The enemy … is government. …
[And for] the defense of private enterprise against the state the commitment to the classical market is of vital importance.
(A History of Economics, Penguin, 1987, p 285)

John Kennedy (1917 – 63):
[My] fellow Americans:
  • ask not what your country can do for you;
  • ask what you can do for your country.
(Inaugural Address, 20 January 1961)

Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006):
The free man will ask neither:
  • what his country can do for him; nor,
  • what he can do for his country.
(Capitalism and Freedom, 1962, emphasis added)

The strongest argument for free enterprise is that it prevents anybody from having too much power …
[The workers of 19th century Britain] were not exploited.
The studies that have been done recently have shown over and over again that the 19th century was a period in which the ordinary English worker experienced a very rapid and very substantial rise in his standard of life.
(The Tyranny of Control, Episode 2)

{[That system] of unregulated rapacious capitalism} did a far better job of expressing … compassion than the governmental welfare programs are today.
[It saw] the greatest outpouring of … charitable activity the world has ever known.
And one of the things I hold against the welfare system most seriously, is that it has destroyed private charitable arrangements that are far more effective [in helping people] in disadvantaged situations.
(From Cradle to Grave, Episode 4)

[Look] at the way the welfare system has been corrupting the very fabric of our society. …
[We] are inducing [welfare recipients] to become dependants — to become children …
(How to Stay Free, Free to Choose, Episode 9, PBS, 1980)

Mary Kissel (1976) [Editorial Board Member, Wall Street Journal]:
[By expanding] the entitlement state [Barack Obama has] hooked a lot of lower income Americans on welfare programs — 1 in 7 Americans on food stamps, for instance.
(The Trump victory, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 10 November 2016)

Karl Marx (1818 – 83)
William Wood, 9 years old, was 7 years and 10 months when he began to work …
He came to work every day in the week at 6 am, and left off about 9 pm …
Mary Anne Walkley had worked without pause 26½ hours, together with sixty other girls, thirty of them in one room …
[She] died of apoplexy, but there is reason to fear that her death had been accelerated by overwork in an overcrowded workroom.
(Capital, Vol 1 Ch 8, 1867)

The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class …
During its rule of scarce one hundred years, [capitalism] has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. …
[It] has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life …
(Marx & Engels, The Communist Manifesto, 1848)

Terry Hillman:
In the eighteenth century, factory owners chained children to the machines.
They fought the government's attempt to [make the] shackling children illegal.

The Mills and Factory Act (1833):
  • No child workers under nine years of age.
  • Children of 9 to 13 years to work no more than 9 hours a day.
  • Children of 13 to 18 years to work no more than 12 hours a day.
  • Children are not to work at night.
  • Two hours of schooling each day for children.
(The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economics, 2014, pp 20 & 23)

April 2, 2017

Donald Trump

Blue Army: Persons of Interest

Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.
The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 65), First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1861.

Truth for us nowadays is not what is, but what others can be brought to accept …
[Dissimulation has become] one of the most striking characteristics of our age. …
Our understanding is conducted solely by means of the word: anyone who falsifies it betrays public society.
It is the only tool by which we communicate our wishes and our thoughts; it is our soul's interpreter: if we lack that, we can no longer hold together; we can no longer know each other.
When words deceive us, it breaks all intercourse and loosens the bonds of our polity.

Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 92), On giving the lie, Essais, Chapter 18, Book II, 1580.

Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe.
It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief … that mental lying has produced in society.
When man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.

Tom Paine (1737 – 1809), The Age of Reason, 1794-1807.

We live in a time when:
  • political passions run high,
  • channels of free expression are dwindling, and
  • organised lying exists on a scale never before known.
George Orwell (1903 – 50), New Statesman and Nation, 9 January 1943.

The sleep of reason produces monsters.

Francisco Goya (1746 – 1828), Los caprichos, No 43, 1799.

If you elect a clown:
Expect a circus.


I Am Your Voice

(Michael Kirk, Trump's Divided States of America, PBS Frontline, Episode 2, WGBH, 2017)

Hillary's Margin per 10,000 votersDonald's Margin per 10,000 voters
ReligionNon-Christian or No Religion1,035ReligionChristian1,149
ResidenceUrban816ResidenceSuburban or Rural721
Marital StatusUnmarried714Marital StatusMarried580
Age18-44528Age45 and older504
EducationCollege Degree450NativismAmerican Born Citizen455
Military ServiceNon-veteran435EducationNo College Degree400
IncomeUnder $50,000396Military ServiceVeteran351
OrientationQueer390Income$50,000 or more128
NativismOverseas Born Citizen297OrientationStraight95

(Barak Goodman, Clinton, PBS American Experience, WGBH, 2012)

RT = Russia Today.
(Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election, ODNI Statement on Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 6 January 2017, p 11)

What's the difference between the Russian government and the Republican party?
(The Russians are competent burglars.)

(The Berlin Wall And The Fall Of Communism, Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History, Episode 8,
CNN Films, 2017)

Richard Nixon (1913 – 94), 8 August 1971:
[As] president, I must put the interests of America first.
Therefore, I shall resign the presidency, effective noon tomorrow.
(The United States vs Nixon, The Seventies, Episode 2, 2015)

Arthur Goldwag:
Paleoconservatives like the former Nixon speechwriter … Pat Buchanan hearken back to the anti-New Deal, America First ideologues of the 1920s and 1930s, such as the aviation hero and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh (1902 – 74) and the radio priest Father Charles Coughlin (1891 – 1979).
(pp 49-20)

George Wallace's presidential campaigns of the late 1960s and early 1970s and Pat Bucanan's in the 1990s all incorporated tropes from the America Firsters of the 1930s, inveighing as they did against elite academics and the media, globally minded Wall Streeters and multinational corporations, homosexuals, immigrants, and, implicitly, international Jewry.
(p 51)

In 1947, Gerald L K Smith (1898 – 1976) … founder of the America First Party, launched the Christian Nationalist Crusade, which called for the deportation of Zionists and blacks, and the dismantling of the United Nations.
(Isms and Ologies, Quercus, 2007, p 210)

(Michael Kirk, Trump's Divided States of America, PBS Frontline, Episode 2, WGBH, 2017)

Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) [1 September 1980]:
This country needs a new administration with a renewed dedication to the [American] dream …
An administration that will give that dream new life, and make America great again.
(The State of the Union Is Not Good, The Seventies, Episode 5, 2015)

Michael Kirk:
[The Taj Mahal casino was] the biggest deal of his lifetime …
[Trump] spent a billion dollars on the Taj. …
Burdened by debt, [it] would not turn a profit [and closed in October 2016.]
The Plaza Hotel — a financial disaster; the airline, Trump Shuttle, was bleeding money. …
Trump and his companies owed more the $3 billion, much of it to the banks …
[But as the bankers] stared into the Trump Organization's abyss, [they] came to believe that Trump's assets … were worth more with his name on them than in foreclosure. …
They sold the yacht and the airline; and they put Trump on a $450,000 allowance.
In exchange he would continue to promote the business.

Donald Trump had survived but his casinos were deeply in debt.
He was looking for a way out.
He found one: Wall Street. …
Trump paid himself $44 million for services … even as the stock price began to fall.
The company filed for bankruptcy 3 times, investors lost billions. …
Trump characteristically described his time in Atlantic City as a success.

For Trump — real estate was increasingly a side business — marketing his name, a full time job. …
For 14 seasons [of The Apprentice,] millions of Americans watched a carefully crafted Donald Trump. …
And for his political guru … the TV audience could become Trump voters.
Roger Stone (1952):
Now, I understand that the elites say:
Oh that's reality TV!
Voters don't see it that way.
Television news and television entertainment — it's all television.
Now he saw an issue he could turn into headlines … the birther issue …
(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)

Omarosa Manigault (1974) [Director of Communications for Donald Trump, September 2016]:
[If he wins, every] critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump.
[Everyone] who's ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him.
It [would be] the ultimate revenge [for him] to become the most powerful man in the universe.
(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)