Saturday, July 21, 2018

What is the Texas Ascendant Campaign?

Ten years ago, after the financial crash of 2008, I started posting articles to the Texas Ascendant blog.  Texas is a great state with wonderful people, and we have a lot to offer America.  Texas has a great economy and the people of Texas have a great spirit, a spirit that America needs, a positive spirit, a can-do spirit.

America has lost its way.  Starting as far back as the Vietnam War and continuing on through the Great Recession, our country's leaders in the Northeast, in Harvard and Yale, have failed and are continuing to fail America.  Our country's failure started with John Kennedy's election in 1961, with his Vietnam War and the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and this failure continues to this day in 2018, 57 years later.  It is Harvard and Yale that have failed America.  Read The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam and see how America's elites wrecked Vietnam.

One of the Northeastern elites mentioned by Halberstam was Robert A. Lovett, who was born in Texas.  His father, Robert S. Lovett, sent his son to a Northeastern prep school, then to Yale.  The younger man married into a wealthy banking family, and he eventually joined his father-in-law's firm Brown Brothers Harriman.  Robert A. Lovett eventually served the State Department as under secretary and later became Secretary of Defense.

For too long we in Texas have accepted the leadership of Harvard and Yale, sending our children to the Northeast so they could be accepted by the ruling elite, serve the ruling elite, and become wealthy in this service.  I contend that Harvard and Yale ruin young people's minds.  I contend that our country is poorly served by letting the Northeastern elites continue to rule this nation.  The book Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite by William Deresiewicz  is a reasonable indictment of the education, or miseducation, of our best and brightest.  (You should know that Halberstam was ironic when he used that phrase in his book title.)  Another expose of Harvard is Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class by Ross Gregory Douthat.  William F. Buckley exposed the flaws of Yale back in 1951 in God and Man at Yale, an excellent book I highly recommend.

What Then Should We Do?

We in Texas should stop thinking of Harvard and Yale as the pinnacle of education.  They are not.  They are doorways to power.  They are a club.  If you want a good education for your children, they should go elsewhere.  So find good schools in Texas or the Midwest, and work to increase opportunities here in Texas and the Midwest.  Everyone can start thinking about what we can do to grow the economy in Texas, the Midwest, and the Southeast, the areas we interact with the most.  I have prepared a List of Projects for ideas to improve our lives, our country, and our economy.

We can improve our banking industry in Texas and the Midwast, as I describe in The Texas Banking and Finance Project.  We can develop an industrialization plan as I describe in Industrialization Instead of Economic Development.  There are many things we can do in Texas and neighboring states to improve our economy.

Better Leadership

We must look locally for leadership, and we must send our best citizens to serve in Washington without them selling-out to get ahead.  Here is what I said back in 2008 in the article Integrity and Competence, the Cornerstone and KeystoneWe need to restore America to greatness and prosperity. We need to start here in Texas, we need to start now, and we need to start upon a foundation of integrity. Then we need to rise to the apex of competence, accumulating wealth, power and influence along the way.

We need to work with our neighboring states, as I said in 2009 in The Heartland Union.  We all need to work together across our country to build a stronger America, a more prosperous America,  a country brimming with hope and happiness.  Our children deserve a bright future.  We can start now, here in Texas.  First we make Texas ascendant.  Then we make America ascendant.

Robert Canright
Founder, Texas Ascendant

PS
My first approach to organizing ideas was to sort ideas into these categories: (1) The Texas Leadership Revolution (TLR) and (2) the Texas Business and Arts Renaissance (TBAR).  I described this arrangement here:
The Texas Ascendant Campaign Overview  March 15, 2009
If you see references to TLR or TBAR in old articles, this is the source of these acronyms.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

National Security Council Part 3: Texas National Security Network

I recommend that the people of Texas lead the way in becoming better citizens by becoming more engaged in issues like national security.  There is now within Texas an organization called the Texas National Security Network.  It has a Texas National Security Review with this website:  https://tnsr.org/.  I find the website War On the Rocks pretty interesting:  https://warontherocks.com/.  They have an article, e.g., about anti-access and area denial — known as A2/AD:  Demystifying the A2/AD Buzz by Luis Simon.  A2AD is a big topic, as shown by this article:  The Russia – NATO A2AD Environment by Ian Williams.  Here is a picture of air defense around Kaliningrad  from that article.



Kaliningrad can be conflict hot point.  It is one of the most heavily militarized zones in the world.  You might remember that Kaliningrad is a German city given to Stalin by F.D.R. in the Potsdam Conference.  We must remember that F.D.R. was responsible for the Iron Curtain and the enslavement of many free Eastern European people by the U.S.S.R. because F.D.R. appeased Stalin in much the same way that Neville Chamberlain appeased Hitler.  Kaliningrad is an enduring testament to F.D.R.'s abandonment of the Eastern Europeans.  Of course no Americans died for the freedom of these people so it is hard to blame F.D.R. for his decision.  This is realism:  freedom has a price.

Here is a quote from their website:  War on the Rocks is a platform for analysis, commentary, debate and multimedia content on foreign policy and national security issues through a realist lens.

It is good that Texans are looking carefully at national security issues.  If you are a Texan, you ought to be reading the War on the Rocks website.

Robert

Saturday, June 23, 2018

National Security Council Part 2

If you wish to serve on the U.S. National Security Council, perhaps serving as National Security Advisor, how might you prepare?  You can read.  There are so many books you might wish to read that I will not touch that topic now.  At this time I will recommend a few online sources related to our military.  I recommend the Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute.  Here is a recent article as an example:  Visualize Chinese Sea Power.  The U.S. Naval Institute encompasses the Marines and the Coast Guard in addition to the Navy.

For the Air Force you might look at The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.   Their publications are online in their Mitchell Forum.  Examples , which are available for free download in PDF format, include the following

No.18: Rethinking the Information Paradigm: The Future of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance in Contested Environments by Col Herbert C. Kemp, PhD, USAF (Ret.)

No.11: Targeting the Islamic State: Activity-Based Intelligence and Modern Airpower by Maj Michael P. Kreuzer, USAF and Maj Denis A. Dallaire, USAF

No.10: Order In Chaos: The Future of Informed Battle Management and Command and Control by Col Tom Nicholson and Lt Col Nelson Rouleau, USAF

No.5: Chasing Relevance: Building Actionable Intelligence Analysis by US Air Force Maj. John M. Minear

No. 1: An ISR Perspective on Fusion Warfare by Maj Gen VeraLinn "Dash" Jamison, USAF and Lt Col Maurizio "Mo" Calabrese, USAF

What good does reading do?  Looking at the paper, "Chasing Relevance: Building Actionable Intelligence Analysis," you can see this in the abstract (my summary):  This paper proposes that intelligence analysts should adopt the “capabilities theory” as the core guiding principle of Air Force intelligence analysis.  If you had read the book, Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully, then you would have read this:  "In the War College's opinion ... a truly cardinal sin was Yamamoto's designing his plan around America's perceived intentions rather than their capabilities." (Page 399)  The U.S. Naval War College report was published in 1948.  Now you can see that capabilities analysis has been around for at least 70 years.

If you want to know what people in the U.S. Army are thinking then you can look at publications from the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College.  Here is an example article:  Strategic Insights: Making Good on the NSS and NDS: Competing with Russia in Europe and Beyond by Dr. John R. Deni.

There are in town book clubs studying military history.  I do not know of any strategic studies clubs.  It is important to discuss and collaborate, so a Strategic Studies club is one more step we might take as informed civilians.

In a representative republic our representatives are no smarter than we are.  If we want better representation, better leadership, then we need to be better citizens.  We need to be more informed and we need better understanding of complex topics, including strategic military topics.

And we can do it.  It might take years of study, but this what college education is for: it prepares us to teach ourselves, to expand our knowledge and understanding.  I remember members of Congress saying they had to vote for the TARP bill because they did not understand banking and finance and so had to accept the advice they were given.  That is no excuse.  Members of Congress and all citizens can pick an area of expertise -- like banking, finance, economics, history, the U.S. Constitution, military or economic intelligence,  or military strategy -- then teach themselves and be prepared to question and challenge the experts.  We can do it; we should do it; we must do it.  Our survival as free people in a republic with representative government depends on us being better citizens in order to have better representatives.

Robert

Monday, June 11, 2018

National Security Council Part 1

If Texans are going to help get our country back on track, then Texans need to prepare to serve on the National Security Council.  Why would a Texan ever end up on the National Security Council (NSC)?  Well, it is happening right now.  Our former governor, now Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry is on the National Security Council.  Here is an article about that:  Rick Perry is Now on The National Security Council by Leif Reigstad, Texas Monthly Apr 5, 2017.  Here is a snap-shot of the executive members, including Rick Perry.  When Mr. Perry was a Yell Leader at Texas A&M, I'll bet he never gave a thought about the likelihood of his being on the NSC.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

All of us in Texas need to be ready to step up and serve our country.  However, how can anyone ever really prepare to serve on the NSC?  We will examine that in the future.

Robert

You might like these posts as well.  I call this collection of articles the National Security Project.
National Security Council Part 2  June 23, 2018
National Security Council Part 3: Texas National Security Network  July 4, 2018

Thursday, December 28, 2017

What is this Talk About Resistance?

Shortly after Donald Trump was elected President there was talk about a Resistance.  That was a strange thing to hear and it was said pretty quickly.  I have seen tee shirts and bumper stickers that say, "Resist."  What is meant by this and why did this talk about resistance pop up so quickly?

I did some research.  The talk about resistance in America goes back to the Vietnam War.  In Days of Rage by Bryan Burrough we learn that the national secretary of the SDS, Greg Calvert, said in 1966 that it was time to move "from protest to resistance."  This led the radicals in the SDS to create the Weather Underground and start a campaign of bombings .  People died in these bombings.  Robert Fassnacht was a 33-year-old postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  Dr. Fassnacht had a wife and children and he died when radicals bombed the building he worked in on August 23, 1970.   The Weather Underground wanted the violent overthrow of the U.S. Government.

Bill Ayers was a founder of the Weather Underground, along with Bernardine Dohrn, his wife. Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn did not serve time for the violence of the Weather Underground.  Bill Ayers was hired by the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Bernardine Dohrn served as an adjunct professor of law at the Northwestern University School of Law.  You can see why American universities are shutting down free speech as left wing hooligans are assaulting conservative speakers:  Communists who want to overthrow our government have been on our college faculties for decades.  Bill Ayers, in his book Prairie Fire, said he and Bernardine were revolutionary communists.  Bill Buckley in his book God and Man at Yale warned us in the 1950's that socialists had taken over the economics department at Yale.

From On Resistance by Howard Caygill we see the love affair radicals have with resistance goes back to the French student rebellions in the 1960's related to the French Algerian War.  The French are in love with the idea of being in a Resistance.  France collapsed like a house of cards with the Nazi invasion in World War II.  The French are embarrassed by how they collaborated with the Nazis.  The French documentary Night and Fog about Nazi atrocities was halted by French censors because the film showed a French policeman helping the Nazis load Jews onto trains taking them to concentration camps.  The film maker had to edit the film to hide the policeman's collaboration before the film was approved for release.  The French cling to the French Resistance to reclaim their sense of honor.  So the French have a warm spot in their heart for Resistance in general.

Many French intellectuals have been Marxists:  Jacques Derrida, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Michel Foucault are the best known.  They broke away from Stalinist Communism, but they stayed Marxists. Karl Marx believed in revolution.  This is to say that French intellectuals have been believers in Resistance, Revolution, and Marxism for decades.  In the book On Resistance, A Philosophy of Defiance by Howard Caygill you can see how the love of Resistance has spread from French intellectuals to English intellectuals.  Dr. Howard Caygill also wrote Philosophy and the Black Panthers, published in the online journal Radical Philosophy.  Here he says, "... back in 1970, some representatives of the Black Panthers visited Jean Genet in Paris asking for solidarity."  Some members of the Black Panthers saw themselves as revolutionaries.  Here is a direct link between French intellectuals and American radicals back in the 1970's.  This love affair with Resistance originates in Europe; it is not an American sentiment.

On Resistance was published in 2013, years before Donald Trump was elected President. The book Phishing for Phools by George Akerlof and Robert Shiller was published in 2015 and it has a chapter titled, "The Resistance and its Heroes."  This is a silly title for the chapter because it is about consumer advocates, not resistance fighters.  But it shows that American professors are enthralled with the idea of resistance and have been talking about resistance before Trump ran for office.

Conclusion


What I first wondered was "What is meant by all this talk about Resistance?"  My research indicates that, historically, a call to resistance is a call to violence, which is why a supporter of Bernie Sanders, James T. Hodgkinson, drove to Washington D.C. and shot Republican congressmen.  Revolutionaries understand the call to resistance even if the rest of us do not.  I also wondered "why did this talk about resistance pop up so quickly?"  My research indicates that the far left has been talking about revolution and resistance for decades, long before Trump.  Resistance talk was building to a crescendo within the far left before Trump came onto the scene.  An SDS activist told journalist David Horowitz, "The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution."

I started out with some questions, did research, and drew conclusions.  Please do not think of this article as an opinion piece.  Think of this as open-source intelligence analysis.  The best intelligence is actionable intelligence.  If I have provided you with actionable intelligence, what actions are called for?  People who put on masks and commit violence on college campuses need to be captured, unmasked and documented.  Marilyn Buck came out of the SDS chapter at the University of Texas, Austin. Later she joined the Black Liberation Army and spent decades in prison for committing murder.  Some of the young people committing violence on college campuses might be fools, but others might commit murder in the future.  Their finger prints and DNA collected now might help solve murder cases in the future.

We need to be more alert to the violence from the far left.  Here in Texas, Republican member of the state legislature Matt Rinaldi was physically assaulted by Democratic member Ramon Romero in May 2017, as reported by the Washington Times.  We need more rigorous law enforcement to stop the escalating violence.  We need to realize that the far left wanted violence in the past and wants violence today.  We also need to remember that we do not repay violence with violence.  We need to rely on the rule of law, but we also need to resume building intelligence dossiers on revolutionaries so we can better prosecute them when they commit crimes.  Remember that Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn were never convicted for the bombings they masterminded.

There is something wrong with our education system that so many people find violence and anger appealing.  We need to look at our schools to discover what has gone wrong and fix the problem of creating gullible and emotionally manipulated citizens.

Patriotism, love of America, is disappearing from our schools and our society.  Nick Adams is an example of someone working to bring instruction about our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution back into our schools.  Mr. Adams started Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness (FLAG) for this purpose.  While writing this article I realized the importance of his work and I have made a donation to his organization.  We have to do something to save our republic, or we might lose it to people who place their hope in Marxism.

Finally, for Christians, there is the appeal to God.  Our founding fathers George Washington (b 1732) and John Adams (b 1735) were children during the First Great Awakening in American.  Christians can pray to God for another Great Awakening so Americans can turn away from anger by turning towards God. We might feel helpless in the face of so much hostility, but we can pray.

Robert

Days of Rage by Bryan Burrough, Penguin Books, 2015, page 59 has Calvert's call to resistance.  You can look up Marilyn Buck in the index of this book. I recommend this book.  It is a good read and is very informative.
SDS = Students for a Democratic Society
On Resistance, A Philosophy of Defiance by Howard Caygill, Bloomsbury, New York, 2013.  I do not recommend this book.  It is tedious.
Note: Bernadine Dohrn has resolutely refused to apologize for her years of violence: AT HOME WITH: Bernadine Dohrn; Same Passion, New Tactics by SUSAN CHIRA, New York Times, November 18, 1993
David Horowitz's quote is from https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/6254.David_Horowitz
The article about James T. Hodgkinson is, Virginia gunman hated Republicans, and 'was always in his own little world' by Matt Pearce and Joseph Tanfani, Jun 14, 2017, Los Angeles Times online

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Excess Global Capital

I read an article today, Goldman To Lend to House Flippers by Liz Hoffman and Peter Rudegeair, in the Friday, October 13, 2017 Wall Street Journal.  This article said that Goldman Sachs Group is investing in house flipping by acquiring Genesis Capital, "a closely held Los Angeles firm that backs investors seeking to buy, spruce up and quickly sell homes."

We need to be able to read between the lines.  When Goldman stoops to investing in house flipping, we can read between the lines and say, "Goldman is having trouble finding good investments."  Then we might say, "maybe Goldman has more money than it knows what to do with."

It has been my contention for years that there is too much money floating around the world.  But I did not reach this conclusion on my own.  Niall Ferguson in The Ascent of Money wrote, "The volume of derivatives - contracts derived from  securities, such  as  interest  rate  swaps  or  credit  default swaps (CDS) - has grown even faster, so that by the end of 2007 the notional value of all 'over-the-counter' derivatives (excluding those traded on public exchanges) was just under $600 trillion."  I recall seeing his video version of this book saying there is more money in derivatives than in the capitalization of all companies on the U.S. stock market.

Investopedia defines "capital surplus" as "equity which cannot otherwise be classified as capital stock or retained earnings. It's usually created from a stock issued at a premium over par value."  This is not what I mean by excess global capital.  I mean that money available for investment exceeds the value of all businesses, of all corporate property.

Here is a quote from the Bain Report, November 14, 2012:  By 2010, global capital had swollen to some $600 trillion, tripling over the past two decades. Today, total financial assets are nearly 10 times the value of the global output of all goods and services.  The article is A world awash in money by Karen Harris, Andrew Schwedel and Austin Kim. 

A couple of questions arise naturally.  (1)  How did it happen that too much money came into existence? (2)  Does this mean that world governments have lost control over their money supply?  (3) And what dangers to the world economy lurk in the background, waiting to wreck our lives?  You might profit from reading the Bain Report on excess global capital.

Wikipedia has an article, Global saving glut, saying 'Ben Bernanke expressed concern about the "significant increase in the global supply of saving" and its implications for monetary policies, particularly in the United States.'  Corporations holding onto their money instead of investing it is not what I am concerned about.  That is certainly a topic worthy of consideration, but corporations make money by selling products and services.  Saying corporations do not always know what they are doing is not a surprise, that is the human condition.  I am concerned about financial firms making money out of thin air, sort of like Bitcoin.  It seems to me that governments losing control over their money supply is a dangerous circumstance.  If you and I do not understand these issues, we can be sure our representatives in Congress do not understand them either.

I believe it is important for us to better understand these financial issues because we depend on money to pay our bills.  If our money is destroyed, we are in incalculable trouble.

Robert

I have touched on this topic before.
Global Surplus Capital August 9, 2012
The Cause of the Crash of 2008 and the New Business Project August 5, 2012

Monday, September 4, 2017

Financial Thinking and Bitcoin Valuation

There is a fabulous article by Andy Kessler, "The Bitcoin Valuation Bubble," that came out in the August 28, 2017 Wall Street Journal.  Within this article you get two views of valuations for Bitcoin.  In one case Mr. Kessler models Bitcoin as a competitor to credit cards and he derives a value of $100 per Bitcoin.  Then he models Bitcoin as a software service and, using Salesforce as a comparison, he derives a value of $300 per Bitcoin.  Today a Bitcoin is selling for $4485.51, which is why Bitcoin looks like a bubble.

I recommend Mr. Kessler's article, also available on his own website, as an exposition on financial thinking.  I had to think hard on whether to refer to his thoughts as financial analysis, economic analysis, or accounting valuation.  I think it is best described as financial analysis.  Mr. Kessler started as an electrical engineer, which might be why his analysis seems so logical.

We in America need to think more astutely about economics and finance.  Mr. Kessler's article is a great starting point.

Robert