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Donald Trump is Not the ‘Manchurian Candidate’

An answer was needed, so one was created: the Russians. As World War II ended with the U.S. the planet’s predominant power, dark forces saw advantage in arousing new fears [1]. The Soviet Union morphed from a decimated ally in the fight against fascism into a competitor locked in a titanic struggle with America. How did they get so powerful so quickly? Nothing could explain it except traitors. Cold War-era America? Or 2018 Trump America? Yes, on both counts.

To some, that fear was not a problem but a tool—one could defeat political enemies simply by accusing them of being Russian sympathizers. There was no need for evidence, so desperate were Americans to believe; just an accusation that someone was in league with Russia was enough. Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy fired [2] his first shot on February 9, 1950, proclaiming there were 205 card-carrying members of the Communist Party working for the Department of State. The evidence? Nothing but assertions [3].

Indeed, the very word “McCarthyism [4]” came to mean making accusations of treason without sufficient evidence. Other definitions [5] include [6] aggressively questioning a person’s patriotism, using accusations of disloyalty to pressure a person to adhere to conformist politics or discredit an opponent, and subverting civil and political rights in the name of national security.

Pretending to be saving America while he tore at its foundations, McCarthy destroyed thousands of lives over the next four years simply by pointing a finger and saying “communist.” Whenever anyone invoked his Fifth Amendment right to silence, McCarthy answered [7] that this was “the most positive proof obtainable that the witness is communist.” The power of accusation was used by others as well: the Lavender Scare [8], which concluded that the State Department was overrun with closeted homosexuals who were at risk of being blackmailed by Moscow for their perversions, was an offshoot of McCarthyism, and by 1951, 600 people had been fired based solely on evidence-free “morals” charges. State legislatures and school boards mimicked [9] McCarthy. Books and movies were banned. Blacklists abounded. The FBI embarked on campaigns of political repression [10] (they would later claim [11] Martin Luther King Jr. had communist ties), even as journalists and academics voluntarily narrowed their political thinking to exclude communism.

Watching sincere people succumb to paranoia again, today, is not something to relish. But having trained themselves to intellectualize away Hillary Clinton’s flaws, as they had with Obama, about half of America seemed truly gobsmacked when she lost to the antithesis of everything that she had represented to them. Every poll [12] (that they read) said she would win. Every article [13] (that they read) said it too, as did every person [14] (that they knew). Lacking an explanation for the unexplainable, many advanced scenarios that would have failed high school civics, claiming that only the popular vote mattered, or that the archaic Emoluments Clause [15] prevented Trump from taking office, or that Trump was insane and could be disposed of under the 25th Amendment [16].

After a few trial balloons during the primaries under which Bernie Sanders’ [17] visits to Russia and Jill Stein’s [18] attendance at a banquet in Moscow were used to imply disloyalty, the fearful cry that the Russians meddled in the election morphed into the claim that Trump had worked with the Russians and/or (fear is flexible) that the Russians had something on Trump. Everyone learned a new Russian word: kompromat.

Donald Trump became the Manchurian Candidate. That term was taken from a 1959 novel made into a classic Cold War movie that follows an American soldier brainwashed by communists as part of a Kremlin plot to gain influence in the Oval Office. A Google search [19] shows that dozens of news sources [20]—including The New York Times [21], Vanity Fair [22], Salon [23], The Washington Post [24], and, why not, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti [25]—have all claimed [20] that Trump is a 2018 variant of the Manchurian Candidate, controlled [26] by ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin.

The birth moment of Trump as a Russian asset is traceable to MI-6 intelligence officer-turned-Democratic opposition researcher-turned FBI mole Christopher Steele [27], whose “dossier” claimed the existence of the pee tape. Supposedly, somewhere deep in the Kremlin is a surveillance video made in 2013 of Trump in Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, watching prostitutes urinate on a bed that the Obamas had once slept in. As McCarthy did with homosexuality, naughty sex was thrown in to keep the rubes’ attention.

change_me

No one, not even Steele’s alleged informants, has actually seen [28] the pee tape. It exists in a blurry land of certainty alongside the elevator tape [29], alleged video of Trump doing something in an elevator that’s so salacious it’s been called “Every Trump Reporter’s White Whale.” No one knows when the elevator video was made, but a dossier-length article [30] in New York magazine posits that Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987.

Suddenly no real evidence is necessary, because it is always right in front of your face. McCarthy accused [31] Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower of being communists or communist stooges over the “loss” of China in 1949. Trump holds a bizarre press conference in Helsinki and the only explanation must be that he is a traitor.

Nancy Pelosi [32] (“President Trump’s weakness in front of Putin was embarrassing, and proves that the Russians have something on the president, personally, financially, or politically”) and Cory Booker [33] (“Trump is acting like he’s guilty of something”) and Hillary Clinton [34] (“now we know whose side he plays for”) and John Brennan (“rises to and exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin”) and Rachel Maddow [35] (“We haven’t ever had to reckon with the possibility that someone had ascended to the presidency of the United States to serve the interests of another [35] country rather than our own”) and others have said that Trump is controlled [36] by Russia. As in 1954 when the press provided live TV coverage of McCarthy’s dirty assertions against the Army, the modern media uses each new assertion as “proof” of an earlier one. Snowballs get bigger rolling downhill.

When assertion is accepted as evidence, it forces the other side to prove a negative to break free. So until Trump “proves” he is not a Russian stooge, his denials will be seen as attempts to wiggle out from under evidence that in fact doesn’t exist. Who, pundits ask, can come up with a better explanation for Trump’s actions than blackmail, as if that was a necessary step to clearing his name?

Joe McCarthy’s victims faced similar challenges: once labeled a communist or a homosexual, the onus shifted to them to somehow prove they weren’t. Their failure to prove their innocence became more evidence of their guilt. The Cold War version of this mindset was well illustrated in movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the classic Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street [37].” Anyone who questions this must themselves be at best a useful fool, if not an outright Russia collaborator. (Wrote one pundit [38]: “They are accessories, before and after the fact, to the hijacking of a democratic election. So, yes, goddamn them all.”) In the McCarthy era, the term was “fellow traveler”: anyone, witting or unwitting, who helped the Russians. Mere skepticism, never mind actual dissent, is muddled with disloyalty.

Blackmail? Payoffs? Deals? It isn’t just the months of Mueller’s investigation that have passed without evidence. The IRS and Treasury have had Trump’s tax documents and financials for decades, even if Rachel Maddow has not. If Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987, or even 2013, he has done it behind the backs of the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and NSA. Yet at the same time, in what history would see as the most out-in-the-open intelligence operation ever, some claim he asked on TV for his handlers to deliver hacked emails. In The Manchurian Candidate, the whole thing was at least done in secret as you’d expect.

With impeachment itself on the table, Mueller has done little more than issue the equivalent of parking tickets to foreigners he has no jurisdiction over. Intelligence summaries claim the Russians meddled, but don’t show that Trump was involved. Indictments against Russians are cheered as evidence, when they are just Mueller’s uncontested assertions.

There is no evidence the president is acting on orders from Russia or is under their influence. None.

As with McCarthy, as in those famous witch trials at Salem, allegations shouldn’t be accepted as truth, though in 2018 even pointing out that basic tenet is blasphemy. The burden of proof should be on the accusing party, yet the standing narrative in America is that the Russia story must be assumed plausible, if not true, until proven false. Joe McCarthy tore America apart for four years under just such standards, until finally public opinion, led by Edward R. Murrow [39], a journalist brave enough to demand answers McCarthy did not have, turned against [40] him. There is no Edward R. Murrow in 2018.

When asking for proof is seen as disloyal, when demanding evidence after years of accusations is considered a Big Ask, when a clear answer somehow always needs additional time, there is more on the line in a democracy than the fate of one man.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well [41]: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper’s War [42]: A Novel of WWII Japan. Follow him on Twitter @WeMeantWell [43].

93 Comments (Open | Close)

93 Comments To "Donald Trump is Not the ‘Manchurian Candidate’"

#1 Comment By Thrice A Viking On July 31, 2018 @ 4:25 pm

Collin, your last sentence is rather ironic, considering that may be why Democrats are so eager for increased immigration.

#2 Comment By Cynthia McLean On July 31, 2018 @ 4:37 pm

I despise Trump but agree with the author that the demonization of Russia by the Democratic corporate establishment and the likes of msnbc Rachel Maddow is
deeply demoralizing. Watching allegations, accusations and insinuations morph into FACT (without proof) in 24 hours, during the past year, is shocking.

Russiagate (!) is a distraction from Americans’ domestic needs of housing, healthcare, infrastructure, education, the environment, decent wages etc. But as long as the wealth of the 1% Wall Street and Pentagon stock holders increases nothing else matters, eh?

#3 Comment By Lenny On July 31, 2018 @ 4:56 pm

WOW

So is Trump lying about his interactions with Russia?

You cannot shake a tree in Trump’s forest with a Russian falling off. Why?

#4 Comment By UltraModerate On July 31, 2018 @ 5:17 pm

Right, because the Manchurian candidate did what he did unknowingly through hypnosis. Trump does what he does through blackmail, which everyone knows by now he is extremely susceptible to.

#5 Comment By Claire On July 31, 2018 @ 5:33 pm

Trump’s taxes are a black hole. His income is a black hole. His cash purchases of buildings/businesses everyone else leverages is a black hole.

Trump supporters lambaste the straw man of the pee tape and utterly ignore the opacity of Trump’s finances despite his numerous ties to Russia.

Trump supporters do not want to know Trump’s financial history because they are terrified the tax cuts and conservative judge appointments will end.

#6 Comment By Li Ping On July 31, 2018 @ 5:40 pm

Oh, the irony. After haunting Obama with years of his bs birtherism nonsense, he is now, by his own claim, being unfairly haunted with collusionism. Only a year in.
Yes, there needs to be evidence to convict a man and up until now, nobody knows what the outcome will be. Let Mueller do his job, no matter where it will lead.

#7 Comment By Mightypeon On July 31, 2018 @ 6:17 pm

@John

Just some pointers:

Manafort was not pro Russian. Yanukovich, the Ukrainian Oligarch who employed them, was, at the time he was employing Manafort, eagerly trying to get himself some western options as alternatives to relying on Russian support. He effectively wanted to move from being somewhat pro Russian to being multi vector (which would allow him to extract more concessions from Russia, even if he opts to not take the western option).

The bad thing about this is that many people in the USA have incredibly strong, potentially world endingly strong, opinions about things they know very little of, and what little they do know is frequently false.

#8 Comment By Dale On July 31, 2018 @ 6:28 pm

“There is no evidence the president is acting on orders from Russia or is under their influence. None.”

If you don’t count the Russian underground on which his finances have been built, or his hope to see his name on a bunch of ugly buildings in Russia, the feverish dream now driving United States/Russian diplomacy, then yes, that statement is correct.

#9 Comment By Kit Fox On July 31, 2018 @ 6:51 pm

Eric Swalwell, when asked whether there was direct evidence of collusion, admitted there was none. He then stated that Trump should provide evidence of the lack of collusion. And Swalwell purports to be an attorney! His mindset, and that of Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman, should be huge embarrassment to their party.

#10 Comment By Steve R. On July 31, 2018 @ 7:49 pm

Donald Trump is Not the ‘Manchurian Candidate’ he’s the Useful Idiot.

#11 Comment By P On July 31, 2018 @ 9:47 pm

Van Buren has become embarassing. The Constitution’s protections against corruption are archaic? Only so long as despicable pundits write articles with zero integrity in defense of a man so clearly acting in his own self-interest and against that of our fair nation. The fact that he has benefitted from laundered Russian money is not even primary among his crimes. But who’s counting?

#12 Comment By Ross On August 1, 2018 @ 3:49 am

The long response to Peter Van Buren’s statement that McCarthy simply pointed fingers and slurred innocent people as communists is M. Stanton Evans’ “Blacklisted by History.” Facts is stubborn things.

#13 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 1, 2018 @ 4:24 am

“Both those points are undisputed facts. In addition, the Trump campaign was chaired (for free!) by a lobbyist deeply in debt to a Russian oligarch. The only changes the Trump campaign made to the party platform (under Manafort’s leadership) were pro-Russian.”

excuse me, There’s not an iota of evidence that president Trump met with any nofficial government actors. I found an article reported to be damaging and found not a spc of evidence to make that case.

The constant misuse of data to make a case are disturbing. As a matter of routine members of congress have met with russians — that does not mean they are in cahoots to disrupt anything. as for back channeling if that was indeed took place — that is neither unique nor criminal.

Of course russians seeking influence or who are influential would share the contents of their meetings — to a point with their governments. The wealthy in the US do it all the time.

This is off the wall nonsense, turning the mundane and routine into something sinister.

[44]

(yahoo — yuck)

#14 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 1, 2018 @ 4:28 am

“You cannot shake a tree in Trump’s forest with a Russian falling off. Why?”

Stop shaking trees that only have president trump dealing with russians. That’s “cherry picking” reasoning that ignores a forest full of other trees.

i am more inclined that russia made personal attacks against me, than i am they attempted to undermine an election.

#15 Comment By JeffK On August 1, 2018 @ 6:29 am

@Cynthia McLean says:
July 31, 2018 at 4:37 pm

“Russiagate (!) is a distraction from Americans’ domestic needs of housing, healthcare, infrastructure, education, the environment, decent wages etc. But as long as the wealth of the 1% Wall Street and Pentagon stock holders increases nothing else matters, eh?”

What party continually up your concerns? The Democrats. Which party demonizes Mueller and continually claims ‘Everything is great. Nothing to see here with this witch hunt. Move on’.

New poll released this morning. From 538, Trump 52.9% disapproval rating. 41.4% Approval. Probably enough to flip the house. After that, the investigative committees will be run by Democrats. Once they use subpoenas and hearings to peel this rotten onion back the American people will get a true view of this president and his Republican sycophants. Hopefully this will lead to a Democratic president, senate, and house in 2020, after which most of your concerns will be addressed.

#16 Comment By didi On August 1, 2018 @ 8:02 am

President Trump will enter history and stay there forever as the president who separated children from their parents and could not reunite all of them.

#17 Comment By Michael Flores On August 1, 2018 @ 8:30 am

A wonderful premise, marred by the McCarthy connection. Too bad the author didn’t just jump to the chase.
Of all the reporters at the so-called 205 speech, the one who wrote he said that wasn’t there. He later admitted that under oath. No other reporter heard him give a number.
There is no amendment protection to keep you from giving your party affiliation. The CPUSA ran political candidates. In primaries you have to declare your party. That is why the Supreme Court rejected the claim by The Hollywood 10. They knew the court would, but they had derailed the hearings before the subject of their treasonous activities with the German American Bund during the Hitler- Stalin Peace Pact could be exposed. 1 year in prison beats the electric chair.
Joe had 2 lists which you can read about by searching THE POND STUDIES IN INTELLIGENCE, the CIA journal that has had posted on its website for years a full confession of making a fake dossier to discredit and shake up Joe. The name is still classified but easy to find as everyone from William F. Buckley to Ayn Rand denounced him when he accused this military man.
The fake dossier worked.
I traced all the lies about Joe to Michael Straight. He was recruited by the KGB at Cambridge and became FDR’s speechwriter. Russian interference goes back that far. The first Russian killed on foreign soil was Trotsky, for stating that Stalin and Hitler would unite (they did) and the Communist Party’s of the world existed only to recruit spies.
Joe had threatened Dulles- he was going to investigate the Army, then CIA and then the White House.He wanted to know why the names on his second list, of KGB spies in the CIA, hadn’t been acted on. ( All were eventually arrested).
But what he didn’t know was that Truman and FDR supported the holocaust. They would not allow the bombing of train tracks going to the hundreds of camps or the bombing of gas chambers. Truman, a former Klansman who only left because they wouldn’t allow Catholics who he thought hated Jews and Black Americans as much as any Protestant, brought in 200 architects of the holocaust and gave them passports, money and many jobs in CIA.
Had Joe found this out the Russians would have had a propaganda coup and CIA would have been ended. It was also against international law.
Straight becomes the publisher of THE NEW REPUBLIC where I traced every single lie about Joe. Then he takes over the National Endowment of the Arts and funds anti- McCarthy “art” like the propaganda piece, POINT OF ORDER.
The CIA and FBI made a horrendous mistake- they allowed a KGB agent to create the smears on Joe giving Russia inroads into our press, history, media and colleges. They have been here a lot longer than we have been told.
Oxford University by the way funds The Computational Propaganda Project (CCP) which has stated in the most under reported story of the year that Russia sent out more pro- Hillary posts than pro- Trump posts.I wait for Mueller to admit this. And I wait. And I wait.

#18 Comment By curri On August 1, 2018 @ 9:14 am

Putin is not Stalin, today’s Russia is not the Soviet Union and Russia (aside from its nuclear arsenal) is way too weak to be a threat. It’s true Russia could invade the Baltics-but they would gain next to nothing while risking nuclear annihilation. And China has an economy 10x the size of Russia’s and easily 100x the influence in the US.

#19 Comment By Frank D On August 1, 2018 @ 10:25 am

And all of this could be proved or disproved by Mr. Trump releasing his tax returns to show everybody that he had no financial dealings with any Russians that are suspect. Who is going to lend a four times bankrupt shady real estate developer (with his reputation) millions? Perhaps some billionaire who needs to launder lots of money to bypass sanctions? Especially since real estate is one of the easiest markets to launder money.
So there is no way that any of that Russian money found its way into Trump World? Mr. Trump would never accept money from such a questionable source. Does anybody really believe he wouldn’t take money from Russians avoiding sanctions because that would be illegal let alone unethical? That would require taking Mr. Trump’s word at face value. His track record is not so good on that one.

#20 Comment By MM On August 1, 2018 @ 12:36 pm

JeffK: “Hopefully this will lead to a Democratic president, senate, and house in 2020, after which most of your concerns will be addressed.”

Yeah, right, because when everybody thinks back to 2009-2010 when that was last the case, America was such a progressive utopia compared to today.

And of course, you never make predictions that don’t pan out, right?

[45]

Hey, JeffK, how much money did you send the Treasury today?

#21 Comment By MM On August 1, 2018 @ 12:41 pm

Frank: “So there is no way that any of that Russian money found its way into Trump World?”

If it’s a crime simply to do business with foreigners, I’d love to see the statute.

Indict him, Clinton, Bush, Obama, and most everybody else in Washington. I’m fine with that…

#22 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On August 1, 2018 @ 1:02 pm

It’s hard to fathom the crusade against Trump without positing the existence of a deep state–a deep state that is extra-legal but cloaks itself in legality; requires the complicity of at least some leaders of Congress, especially leaders of committees that oversee military and intelligence affairs; relies heavily on Big Donors who distrust the government (Kochtopus) or who deny the legitimacy of the current government (Soros) in order to keep members of Congress from speaking out against known or suspected treacheries; the “engine” of which is the military-industrial complex; which funnels money to judges who aid it by commission or omission; and whose secret weapon is the cowardice and/or complacency of the nation’s constitutional law professors, that being necessary for the deep state’s continuing to hold on to power.

#23 Comment By Dale On August 1, 2018 @ 6:01 pm

@Ken Zaretzke:
“It’s hard to fathom the crusade against Trump without positing the existence of a deep state”

Jeeze. What idiocy.

#24 Comment By HyperNV On August 1, 2018 @ 9:49 pm

He is the best president money or stroking his megalomaniac ego can buy.

#25 Comment By Eileen Kuch On August 1, 2018 @ 9:55 pm

Brother Nathanael Kapner, a Russian Orthodox monk, and a native-born US citizen described Russia as an Orthodox Christian nation (it was only an atheist Bolshevik nation for 70 years out of over a thousand-year history), in both his latest article and video.
Br. Nathanael grew up as a Jew but was converted to Orthodox Christianity as a young man and a few years later entered the monastery and became a monk. For at least two decades, he traveled across the country to preach the Gospels to all who’d listen; and when computers and social media made the scene, he added articles and videos to his ministry. He’s the best man to turn to if you want to learn the truth of Russia’s 1,000+ year history.

#26 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 2, 2018 @ 6:14 am

The country is paying a very high price the cause of chivalry. Had this election been ended with two men running —

I seriously doubt, We would not be having this discussion.

#27 Comment By EliteCommInc. On August 2, 2018 @ 6:16 am

Though I do wonder where my check is from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Russia, China, Niger and others who benefit from the current president’s tenure.

Money orders are preferred.

#28 Comment By JeffK On August 2, 2018 @ 9:02 am

@MM says:
August 1, 2018 at 12:36 pm

JeffK: “Hopefully this will lead to a Democratic president, senate, and house in 2020, after which most of your concerns will be addressed.”

Yeah, right, because when everybody thinks back to 2009-2010 when that was last the case, America was such a progressive utopia compared to today.

And of course, you never make predictions that don’t pan out, right?

[45]

Hey, JeffK, how much money did you send the Treasury today?”

Give it up MM. I made quarterly payments of $5K in April, July, and will make others in Oct and then Jan of next year. Then make the final payment for 2018 in April of 2019. Probably around $25K total, depending on how the year ends up. How much will you pay?

You’re still butt hurt because I am going to receive $2700 monthly from social security in 2024 for the hundreds of thousands of dollars I and my employers have paid into the fund over 45 years. Get over it.

BTW, I bet it really chaps you poor butt to know I have $830K in my 401K. Guess what. 22 Years ago I took $15K out of my savings to put down on my house, 30 year mortgage. This left me $3K in total savings, almost broke. During the next 18 years I paid off the mortgage, paying 50% more per month than what was on the coupon. Also, during that time I contributed the maximum amount allowed by law into my 401K in order to get the employer match. This required a pretty frugal lifestyle. But it was worth it.

My family and I during that time only took 1 expensive vacation. Mostly we visited relatives and nearby cities during extended weekends. During that time I paid 100% of my step daughters 4 year college expenses. During that time I put aside enough money for my son in a 529 account so now it totals $73K. During that time I made major renovations to my house, and did them myself on weekends and during slack periods to save money. During that time I bought and ran into the ground 5 used cars. When I had the time I did my own oil changes and repairs, including brake caliper and rotor replacements. My current car, bought last year for $2500, is a 2004 Nissan Maxima with 150K miles. I expect to drive it for another 50K.

So, my suggestion is the same as before. If you are unhappy with your situation then get your butt off your mothers basement couch, get an education, work hard (50+ hrs/week, save as much as you can so that your interactions at work don’t include ‘Would you like your receipt in the bag?’.

#29 Comment By JeffK On August 2, 2018 @ 9:17 am

@MM says:
August 1, 2018 at 12:36 pm

I am working from home for my current project. When I take a break I surf the web, read interesting articles, and make comments if I want.

You seem to comment a lot on TAC. Why not devote that time to bettering yourself by making yourself more employable, instead of complaining and showing your bitterness regarding your current situation? You are a walking talking definition of a right wing entitled snow flake.

#30 Comment By Ivo Olavo Castro da Silva On August 2, 2018 @ 10:45 am

The Establishment media political murder of Joseph McCarthy is being replayed now on Donald Trump. He was absolutely right in his accusations. So, he had to be destroyed. That became evident during the Vietnam war, when widespread treason was openly displayed in the media, the universities and leftist politicians. It is a shame that The Conservative American has joined the bandwagon. We are paying the price.

#31 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On August 2, 2018 @ 11:07 am

“Jeeze. What idiocy.”

You have a memory like an elephant, man. Here’s more of what you call idiocy: the deep state is a small-r republican perversion of Rousseau’s General Will. (The French Revolution is a democratic perversion of the General Will.) The deep statists consider themselves to be the true representatives of the people. That’s their “righteous” motivation.

#32 Comment By MM On August 2, 2018 @ 1:15 pm

JeffK: “You are a walking talking definition of a right wing entitled snow flake.”

How I choose to spend my time is my business, sir.

But you seem to love to label anybody who dares to disagree with you all kinds of pejoratives. Could you explain how I’m a “right-wing entitled snowflake”, specifically?

Because I can demonstrate, quoting your own comments here at TAC, how you’re a progressive with authoritarian tendencies who has absolutely no objections to more and more state control and massive government waste…

#33 Comment By MM On August 2, 2018 @ 1:21 pm

JeffK: “So, my suggestion is the same as before.”

Oh, my wife and I are doing just fine. You’re whistling into the wind, pretending you know what my personal financial situation is like, when you’re pretty far off the mark. I don’t have as much in my retirement account as you do, but I’m half your age.

And as I asked before, why do you deserve $2,700 a month in SS benefits when you’ve only paid in $500 a month in your entire working life? There’s no good answer to that one, which was the entire point I was making.

But I have to say, you really come across as a pretty resentful old guy. On the one hand you complain that you’re taxes aren’t high enough, and then you gloat about how much you pay in taxes, and then you complain about tax cuts you don’t want, etc.

My point was, if you think you’re well-off and don’t deserve it, and want to pay MORE in taxes, please do so, and then post the receipt from the U.S. Treasury to prove it:

[45]

Otherwise, why do you keep complaining? Unless you’re just a phoney who’s putting on an act online…

#34 Comment By JeffK On August 2, 2018 @ 4:47 pm

@MM
This country is $20 Trillion in debt. Anything that increases the deficit, and therefore the debt, will eventually drive this country into ruin. Trump and The Republicans tax cuts are just hastening the downfall. The Republicans are not a serious party when it comes to responsible governing.

Bill Clinton, with a Republican congress, handed George Bush an annual surplus. George Bush, and a Republican congress, squandered that surplus and began the largest increase in indebtedness in the history of the world. This eventually turned into The Great Recession, which Obama inherited, which came with an $900 B annual deficit.

Obama and a Republican congress handed Trump a $400 B annual deficit. Trump, and a Republican congress, are going to add another $1T to the deficit next year.

And so it goes….

#35 Comment By MM On August 2, 2018 @ 11:21 pm

JeffK: “Anything that increases the deficit, and therefore the debt, will eventually drive this country into ruin.”

And yet you have no comment on the prior President doubling the national debt?

Fascinating…

JeffK: “Bill Clinton, with a Republican congress, handed George Bush an annual surplus.”

Oh, not quite so, sir. You betray more ignorance with respect to Social Security. If you discount the excess payroll taxes collected by SS and then lent to the federal government during the Clinton years, there was only one small surplus of about $60 billion in one year, 1999 I believe, and that’s it. The idea of massive budget surpluses during the Clinton years is largely revisionist economic history, which is no suprise coming from you.

JeffK: “Trump, and a Republican congress, are going to add another $1T to the deficit next year.”

I don’t believe that’s the current CBO projection, not that they have the best track record. But I’ll make a note of this prediction of yours, and throw it back in your face next year if it doesn’t pan out.

By the way, you continue to take credit for you past employers’ SS contributions, even though it wasn’t on your behalf. Their portion isn’t even included in the SS calculation of your monthly retirement benefits, and it’s wrong to lump them in with your own.

But even though you are wrong, I reran you contribution numbers. Adding theirs in with yours, you still only paid in about $800 per month, adjusted for inflation, into SS over 45 years.

So pardon me for questioning the reason you need to collect between 3x and 5x per month what you ever paid in to the program in your entire life.

So ungrateful… your generation expects mine to accept that?

You’re a poster child for a Boomer feathering his next who deserves to have his SS benefits cut, by a third at least.

You’ve admitted you don’t need them all.

Why don’t you just give some back, then?

I don’t expect an answer, you’ve been dodging all my other common sense questions anyway… 🙂

#36 Comment By MM On August 2, 2018 @ 11:27 pm

JeffK: Oh, between this: “George Bush, and a Republican congress, squandered that surplus and began the largest increase in indebtedness in the history of the world.”

And this: “Obama and a Republican congress handed Trump a $400 B annual deficit.”

You glossed over the fact that Obama’s party controlled Congress for 2 years, and when he left office, he had doubled the national debt, which was literally larger than when Bush doubled the debt before him.

So no, “the largest increase in indebtedness in the history of the world,” doesn’t apply to the Bush administration, it applies the subsequent Obama administration.

Not that I liked either, but please, such economic ignorance is beneath you. You make it so obvious and transparent. Plus, I have a BA in the subject and can spot this sort of BS a mile away…

#37 Comment By JeffK On August 3, 2018 @ 11:22 am

@MM
I don’t have time to respond to all your blah blah, but check this out.

Debt by President. Plus I never said Clinton handed Bush a massive surplus. It was rather small, but a surplus none-the-less. Also note that, as the article indicates, the debt of the first year of a presidency is baked in. It comes from the previous president.
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Note also, as I have shown in the past, that Republicans have controlled The House 10 of the last 12 2 year terms, during which the deficit has grown the most, which is an inconvenient fact, since, as you know, budgets come from The House.

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Now that The Republicans have the presidency, the senate, and the house, they have passed one of the largest deficit deficit increasing budgets in history, benefiting the fewest, and the richest, with the vast amount of tax reduction. All while the economy is doing well, which is when governments should pull back and start paying off debt, instead of increasing it.

Anyway…. It’s clear that Republicans think debt is horrible when there is a Democratic president, and great when there is a Republican president.

And finally, as if we didn’t know that it would, The Republican tax cuts of last year, going mostly to the elites, have brought the need to increase the debt ceiling much sooner than what was projected prior to the tax cuts.

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You now have you presidency, a Republican congress, and a Republican senate. Enjoy the sugar-high economy while you can. Indicators are that a real estate bust led recession may be coming, based on housing prices and sales. I am especially sensitive to this indicator, since I lost my a$$ on a Houston house purchased in 1984. I accurately predicted the 2008 recession based on it, on the San Diego housing crisis too, when I was doing an IT project in SD at the time.

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And finally, for those that are paying attention, Trump has basically killed the upward trend of the DOW. It reached it’s high on Jan 26 of 2018 and is now at 25,386. The trendline is heading down, or flat at best, now that the markets have figured out that Trump and The Republicans are a financial catastrophe. Set the chart to 5 years and it’s clear.

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On March, I took my 401K, SEP, and investment accounts to 80% cash, 10% precious metals, and the rest index funds. I sleep so much better now, knowing that I won’t wake up and find that Trump is bombing Iran, the Straits of Hormuz are closed, oil is $150/bbl, the stock market is tanking, Putin is winning, we are losing, and our European allies are telling us to go take a hike.

But then, there’s always HRC’s emails to worry about. Or maybe ebola….

Now, I’m going back to work so I can add to my SS earnings and 401K while you toil and sweat to serve your Republican elite masters.

#38 Comment By MM On August 4, 2018 @ 8:49 pm

JeffK: “It’s clear that Republicans think debt is horrible when there is a Democratic president, and great when there is a Republican president.”

It’s clear that you think debt is horrible with the GOP is in the White House and not the Donkey Party. You do know what those links show about Obama, and FDR, and Wilson, right? Kings of Debt, along with Bush.

Thanks again for all of your complaining. I don’t take any of it seriously.

And thanks again for all of your doomsday predictions. I don’t take any of them seriously, either.

You have to get up pretty early in the morning to come up with all of your nutty conspiracy theories, you know that?

Good grief… age gracefully, if it isn’t too late. Unless you are a phoney online, which wouldn’t be a surprise at this point.

#39 Comment By MM On August 4, 2018 @ 8:52 pm

JeffK: “I accurately predicted the 2008 recession…”

Oh, this is easy to claim. I’d pat you on the back, but you’re already doing that.

Could you by chance prove that you made any of your brilliant predictions before they happened?

I’m not holding my breath, because that’s what a lot of crackpots claim, but you are a source of rambling entertainment around here… 🙂

#40 Comment By JeffK On August 5, 2018 @ 3:05 pm

@MM
Do you ever link to any meaningful article, or rely on ad hominid attacks to try to make a point.

Regarding predicting the 2008 recession, I was sitting in the office of a friend of mine that was VP of Investment Trusts for a major regional bank. When I went to the bank for other business I often stopped in to chat economics and politics. He is a very insightful guy, who impressed upon my the wisdom of the saying ‘The trend is your friend’. What I came to appreciate, over time, is that it doesn’t matter what any one market participant understands or believes, it’s what everybody else participating in the market believes that matters since aggregate market psychology and beliefs rule.

The market only changes when participants believe it is changing. If you are the first to spot, AND ACT ON a trend, you will reap most of the benefits. If you spot it, but fail to act, you won’t benefit. This, unfortunately, is what I did. I rode my 401K all the way to the bottom, and it took almost 10 years to get back to where it was.

I told my friend that national 2007 conditions reminded me so much of Houston in 1985. I lost my a$$ on a Houston house, purchased around that time. I learned a hard lesson.

In 2007 housing prices were stalling, homes were on the market longer every month, and unemployment was rising. But I never foresaw the NATIONAL implications for this. So, when the 2008 crash came, every month my 401K statement came in, and it was down. Maybe 5%, maybe 10%. Quarter after quarter. My thoughts were ‘selling now will only lock in my losses’. So I held all the way to the bottom. Bad move. That’s why I am overwhelmingly in cash now. I think a severe market correction is coming, based on a stock price and housing price bubble and too much government and private debt. Plus Trump, whom I believe will stumble us into some major crisis he is incapable of getting us out of.

I cannot prove that I made this claim, although my friend might remember it. So be it.

Now here’s another link for you. It’s the unemployment rate. Note that in Jan of 2008 (Bush’s last year in office) the unemployment rate was about 5%. Note that on Jan 1 of 2009, before Obama took control, the unemployment rate had doubled to almost 10%. Now, you might claim that somehow employers ‘anticipated Obama would be elected in Nov of 2008’ so they started laying people off in Feb of 2008. But I doubt even you would make that claim. Instead, the economy was clearly imploding.

To claim that The Republicans, and Bush, with 8 years of their totally clueless economic and political policies, had nothing to do with the economic turd that Obama inherited from them, is quite disingenuous.

You claim a BA in Economics. Then you should understand basic Keynesian economics, which advocates using deficit spending when economies are in recession/depression, and restrictive policies when the economy is booming, in order to reduce the chances of asset bubbles via speculation. Typically asset bubbles burst. They do not deflate gradually.

Also, as an economics major, you should also understand the differences between a business cycle recession vs a financial recession caused by rapid asset bubble deflation. Business cycle recessions have to do with the bullwhip effect of the business cycle, where inventory tends to build longer than it should. After the business cycle turns, the inventory takes longer to sell, which leads to layoffs. Once Inventory is sold, business start to produce and hire more. The cycle then repeats.

Asset bubble recessions, however, are much more severe and tend to take much longer to work out of. As the link to the article explains. It even mentions the 2008 real estate bursting asset bubble.

I suspect, however, that you understand all of this since you have a BA in Economics. However, since basic economic understanding is in conflict with your Republican/Faux News political ideology, you throw economics out in support of the political ideology. That’s the Trump way. Fiction over fact. Emotion over reason. Unrealistic anger over realistic solitude and introspection.

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#41 Comment By JeffK On August 5, 2018 @ 3:24 pm

@MM
I opine on this blog to put out a reasoned point of view, and try to link to supporting articles. I do it so others can see 2 sides to complicated issues. And I greatly appreciate TAC providing the forum to do it.

You, however, choose to attack the beliefs of others with ad hominid snark and rebut with logical fallacies, as I have called you out on repeatedly.

Since you have a BA in economics, and seem to have strong political opinions, why don’t you put a position out there that you can support and defend?

How about making a case that Trump is a much better president than Obama, based upon the economy Trump inherited vs what Obama inherited, and what each did in response?

Or how about making the case that The Republicans are pushing an agenda that benefits average Americans instead of the top 2%?

Or how about making the case that somehow The Republicans actually care about the deficit and national debt, and are doing something about it?

Please make your case by creating a narrative of your making, supported by generally recognized facts. Come on, show us what you have. You can ever ‘roll your own’. Put something original out there, and be prepared to defend it. I bet I won’t be the only one that responds.

#42 Comment By MM On August 5, 2018 @ 8:02 pm

JeffK: “I opine on this blog to put out a reasoned point of view.”

Yeah, right, because you never engage in character assassination when others disagree with you, huh? How many times have you labeled by a right-wing, Breitbart-reading, Trump-loving nut? That was one of the first things you did, last year, when I pointed out some factual errors in your statements, which have been volumnious since then.

For the record, you’re totally wrong when you try to pidgeon-hole where I stand on the issues. Three strikes and you’re out. Despite your claims of a monopoly on reasoned discourse, I rarely see much of that in your strange screeds. You’re a progressive ideologue, by your own admission. You come here and post because you like hearing yourself spout rubbish, why not just admit that?

JeffK: “Please make your case by creating a narrative of your making, supported by generally recognized facts.”

I’ve done so, on issues ranging from the federal budget to Supreme Court cases to U.S. carbon emissions.

You don’t like facts that conflict with your ideological POV. You’ve made that abundantly clear time and again.

If you think your taxes are too high, you shouldn’t disparage others for pointing out the obvious. You should donate more of your disposable income to the U.S. Treasury:

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If you continue to complain, I will continue to point out your rank hypocrisy on the issue.

Sorry, pops, but you have a track record. No clean slate for you every time you opine…

#43 Comment By Brian On August 15, 2018 @ 1:07 am

M. Stanton Evans, “Blacklisted by History”
Thorough analysis of McCarthy and “McCarthyism.” Tailgunner Joe’s reputation has been unfairly maligned by the Left.