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.


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.


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
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.


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.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Is the Press Our Enemy?

The last time I watched CBS news, which was a while ago, they advertised as providing "Real News."  That was a response to the charge of "fake news" leveled at the press.  But the news media has not responded to charge of being the enemy of the American people. That was a flamboyant charge, but it is reasonable to ask, "Does the American press harm America?"

Walter Lippmann

Walter Lippmann is considered the foremost journalist in American history.  He was a Harvard graduate, a confidant of President Woodrow Wilson, and Mr. Lippmann said the press is a threat.

Walter Lippmann in his book Liberty and the News (1920) said "the health of society depends upon the quality of the information it receives," [p. 47] Lippmann spoke against activist journalists and advocacy journalism, saying, "the reporter ... ought not be serving a cause, no matter how good. In his professional activity it is no business of his whose ox is gored." [p.52] Then he says, "there is need for disinterested reporting ." [p.52]

As far back as 1920 people were frustrated by the poor quality of news reporting:  "There is everywhere an increasingly angry disillusionment about the press, a growing sense of being baffled and misled," [p. 45] Walter Lippmann said.

Later, in 1922, Mr. Lippmann expanded his thoughts in what is perhaps his most important book, Public Opinion, in which he describes journalism as a weakness in our democracy, the role of the press in either serving our democracy or threatening our democracy, and then he presents a plan for a professional and objective news corps.  It is a shame the profession of journalism has undergone "professional collapse," to quote the journalist Sidney Blumenthal, a former aide to Bill Clinton and advisor to Hillary Clinton.  Many believe the U.S. news media is untrustworthy, people on the left and people on the right.

Noam Chomsky 

Conservatives complain steadily about liberal bias in the press, but the far left also notices the press is untrustworthy. Dr. Noam Chomsky, a stalwart of the left, excoriated the press in a book, Manufacturing Consent, published 15 years ago. There is an excellent documentary with a similar title, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media.  I recommend the movie; it is good and it is inexpensive.  I suggest you watch it up to the intermission.  The second half of the movie is a paean to Noam Chomsky.  ("Manufacturing consent" is a term created by Walter Lippmann.) This documentary, Manufacturing Consent, is also available for free -- full length -- on YouTube.

Election Manipulation

Perhaps the greatest attack the media has launched against our democracy was their manipulation of the 2016 Presidential election.  In the first Democratic Party debate the moderator Anderson Cooper would not let candidate Senator Jim Webb speak.  Senator Webb could see the Democratic primary election was rigged towards Hillary Clinton and he dropped out.  In my opinion, Senator Webb might have been an excellent candidate for the Democrats, but the media boxed him out of the Democratic primary.

The media bent over backwards to help Donald Trump do well in the Republican primaries, thinking the Billy Bush interview they saved  to ambush Donald Trump as the Republican Candidate for president would destroy his chances in the Presidential election.  The Billy Bush interview gambit did not work, and Donald Trump is now President of the United States.

We should have had an election free of media manipulation.  The Democratic Party and the liberal media are running an anti-Russian propaganda campaign, but the real manipulation in the U.S. election was by the liberal media and the Democratic National Committee, as proved by Wikileaks.  They are furious, however, that their manipulations backfired.  Walter Lippmann worried about the press manufacturing consent, but the media manipulation during the 2016 election exceeded anything Walter Lippmann might have imagined, and anything any foreign power might ever hope to pull off.

What Can We Do?

To maintain our republic I think we should quit watching network news.  I believe the most trustworthy newspaper in America is the Wall Street Journal.  I suggest a subscription to the Wall Street Journal.  And I suggest looking at the print edition in addition to the online edition.  The front pages  of all national newspapers are scrubbed by management so it approaches propaganda.  Lippmann wrote, "... the most destructive form of untruth is sophistry and propaganda by those whose profession it is to report the news.  The news columns are common carriers.  When those who control them arrogate to themselves the right to determine by their own consciences what shall be reported and for what purpose, democracy is unworkable." [pp. 5-6]

Then Walter Lippmann goes on to say, "In so far as those who purvey the news make of their own beliefs a higher law than truth , they are attacking the foundations of our constitutional system." [p. 7]

The inner pages of the print edition will have articles that can impact your life or help you understand the world.  It is in the inner pages where you can find the truth.  But you must read the print edition to get past the thought police who control what you see on your iPhone or iPad.

Noam Chomsky said, "Citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for meaningful democracy.

We need to communicate among ourselves with blogs and social media.  Our political meetings bring speakers to us.  Documentaries are informative.  Sometimes the foreign press is more accurate than the American press, but there is bias there as well.  I feel like Diogenes with his lamp, looking for an honest man.  We need to read to be informed, but we need to understand the bias within our reading material. James Fallows, a writer for The Atlantic magazine,  was President Jimmy Carter's speech writer, so we can understand that our impression of The Atlantic magazine as a left leaning periodical is an accurate assessment. Publications, editors, and writers all come with their own baggage, so we have to sift through the muddy waters of bias, looking for the gold nuggets of meaningful truth.

Contacting our Representatives

Since public universities have journalism programs, it seems right that our state legislature mandates the teaching of Lippmann's concerns.  When you pay the salary, you can demand quality work.  The Society of Professional Journalists does not mention "objectivity" in their Code of Ethics.  They mention fairness, but fairness might mean something different to a Communist than to you or me. If our taxes educate journalists, they should learn that objectivity and truthfulness are important, that journalism is not advocacy.  I have included below a sample email that I have sent to my Texas legislators.  If the press is a threat to our democracy, we should do something about it.


Walter Lippmann warned us about a manipulative press almost a hundred years ago.  He wrote two books on this topic, not just one book.  Fifteen years ago Noam Chomsky warned us that the press is untrustworthy, singling out the New York Times for its misdeeds.  Calling the press an enemy is a bit flamboyant, but there is no doubt the media is a threat to our democracy.


Copyright © 2017 Robert Canright all rights reserved

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

References:  The Walter Lippmann quotes are from Liberty and the News by Walter Lippmann, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-691-13480-2.  I recommend this edition and this book.  It is less than 100 pages long, including an informative Forward and a thoughtful Afterword.
The Noam Chomsky quote is from  Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies, as reported here.
The best book on journalism I have seen is  The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect by Bill Kovach & Tom Rosenstiel.  The authors mention Lippmann a fair bit, but convey a superficial view of Lippmann's work.

Sample email to your representative:
Dear Representative,
Please consider legislation to mandate the teaching of objective reporting at Journalism programs at state funded colleges.  Additionally, the threat to our democracy by biased reporting, as discussed by Walter Lippmann in his book "Liberty and the News," needs to be made clear to journalism students.
Thank you
Your Name