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The Purple Muse

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Welcome to the web site of The Purple Muse.  We offer commentary and opinion on the major issues being debated in our world today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Unsubstantiated "Facts"
 
Today is the fifth day of President Trump's term in office.  Mainstream media, alternative media, pundits, analysts and "experts" on the US political system are delivering their words to us using all forms of media.  In addition our politicians are taking every opportunity to speak their minds to every microphone that comes near them.  It is critical to our nation that all citizens have the freedom to speak their minds no matter what their point of view. 
 
However,  the amount of false news, partially correct news and unsubstantiated statements of "fact" seem to be on the rise by both "media" (in its broadest sense) and politicians.  The term "fake news" has been used to describe much of what the media has been reporting inaccurately.  Many of our politicians are also spreading "fake news".  It is disgusting watching Senate confirmation hearings and watching Democrats look stupid making statements that are blatantly wrong.  However,  Democrats and liberals are not unique in making false or unsubstantiated statements.  Republicans and conservative commentators are also filling the media with many inaccurate or unsubstantiated statements.  There is very little effort being made by anyone to obtain a full understanding of the facts of any issue and present those facts in context.  A maximum effort is being made in selling a perspective or bias that an individuals have to others. 
 
From my perspective all of the people involved in making all of the unsubstantiated statements are losing credibility.  All media are becoming less relevant.  Politicians are losing the ability to influence others.  If the media and political types want to regain support of the people they are going to have clean up their act when it gets down to presenting facts.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  But nobody gets to create "facts" out of nothing or distort facts unfairly.  Both sides are guilty.  Both sides need to clean up their act. 
 
TPM
11:25 am          Comments

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington

I was out of town for Donald J. Trump's inauguration but I got back in town last night and took the opportunity to go to downtown Washington, DC today and see what was happening during the Women's March on Washington.  I reached the protest area around 2:00 PM and spent over three hours walking around the National Mall checking out the protesters.  I took a number of photographs and they are posted on my Twitter feed, thepurplemuse. 

As I was walking from Metro Center toward the National Mall a number of protesters were leaving, walking away from the Mall.  I thought I may have missed the whole thing.  I soon found out that thought was incorrect.  I ended up standing in front of Trump's new hotel on Pennsylvania Ave.  It was a prime target of the protesters but was screened off from the general public and protected by police.  This is where I first encountered wave upon wave of marching protesters as they walked up Pennsylvania Ave from the Capitol area toward the White House. 

I walked against the flow of the protesters for many blocks around the Mall and ended up at the Washington Monument area.  I didn't see any bad behavior by any protester.   I did see one incident of intolerant behavior by a protester against a Trump supporter attempting to take a photo on the street. 

I met a very nice lady from NY that had one of the best signs on the day.  She wants to focus on the 2018 mid-term elections starting on Monday.  We talked for a few minutes about future Democratic leadership.  One of the problems of the Democrats is their leaders are going further and further left.  This is the Democrats big problem and the fundamental reason why they have lost power at every level of government in the past eight years.  Can the Democrats find a moderate left leader that can lead the party back towards the middle and help them become a national political force again?  It would be nice for Independents to have a real choice in national elections at some point in the future. 

As the sun began to set most of the protesters started heading for home or their hotels or cars outside of DC.  Metro was jammed.  However, I have to give Metro credit.  They cleared the massive crowds away from downtown DC fairly quickly. 

Anyone with an open mind has to be impressed with the massive crowd the Women's March generated in DC and other cities around the world.  Some of the marchers were expressing views that deserve thoughtful discussion as our government determines its actions during the Trump administration.  There is no single point of view that is right in every case or on every issue.  I hope some of the more conservative members of the Congress were paying attention.  In order to Make America Great Again we must listen to all sides.  The Trump era has begun.  We will see where it takes us. 

TPM

9:52 pm          Comments

Saturday, January 14, 2017

What Road Are We On?

We are six days away from the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States.  Trump has redefined communication between a senior political leader and the people by significantly reducing the impact of the mainstream media through his use of social media.  Trump's nominees for his Cabinet have begun their confirmation process.  Leading Democrats continue to attack Trump and Trump attacks back.  The Congress is preparing to take action on Trump's policy agenda.  The outcome of any action remains to be seen.  The US is about to undergo a major change in government leadership that will have a significant impact on our country.  Does it really matter from an intermediate and long term perspective? 

During recent days I have been reading James Rickards' new book, The Road To Ruin - The Global Elites' Secret Plan For The Next Financial Crisis.  I have been watching the news on TV, reading news on-line and reading a lot of liberal progressive propaganda in my daily newspaper, The Washington Post.  I ask myself a simple question "What is really happening here?" 

The Road to Ruin is Rickards' fourth book.  I have commented on the first three on this site.  This book is different.  It is darker, much darker.  There is much discussion about what the financial leaders of the world are doing.  We should all know that the world is drowning in unsupportable debt now with massive increases of debt expected in the years ahead.  There are trillions of dollars of derivatives that create massive potential for instability if a major problem occurs.  The global financial system is a massively complex system that our leading economists don't fully understand and are unable to control.  Rickards discusses the history of economic/financial crises that provides context as to "How we got here?"  He provides an updated analysis of the situation and predicts we will experience a more powerful economic/financial crisis in 2018. 

Rickards writes "The elite worldview rests on the intellectual pillars of equilibrium models, monetarism, Keynesiansism, floating exchange rates, free trade, globalization and fiat money.  Meanwhile, the real world is best understood through the lens of complexity theory, conditional probability, behavioral psychology, currency wars, neomercantilism, and gold.  Cognitive dissonance between the elite worldview and real-world economics is taking its toll on elite self-confidence and control.  The elites now divide into two types: those that are confused by lost credibility, and those that are quietly panicked because they understand their intellectual failure and its consequences." 

Rickards also writes "Debt, deflation, demographics, and depression are demolishing elite dreams of free trade, free markets, and free capital flows.  Elites hope for the turn of a friendly card but the deck is stacked by decades of denial about income inequality and lost jobs."  I would have thought that Rickards would end the book with a statement like this, but there is more, a much darker more. 

Rickards makes the case that the US has been evolving into a fascist state for a century.  Rickards states "Fascism is not in our future, it is here now." and "What matters to fascists is continuous action and state control of civic life."  Rickards states that fascists can come from the left or the right.  "What unites them is a shared view that the state is the exclusive mediator of human activity, and ends justify means."    Rickards also explains why Woodrow Wilson was the first fascist US President and why Herbert Hoover, FDR, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Barack Obama should be described as fascists.

Rickards gives a number of examples to support his point that the US has become more fascist.  Militarized police have attacked and abused innocent people.  Police have confiscated the assets of innocent people and not returned those assets.  Rickards final example is dramatic.  New York City's stop and frisk program which began as a positive contribution to improving public safety and reducing crime has evolved into a revenue generating program to support the cost of the police force.  In the poor neighborhoods of New York City, people are given a summons for no justified reason for the purpose of collecting fines, effectively a tax on the poor.  Contrast this with the fact that no financial industry executive was charged with a crime after the 2007/2008 financial crisis in the same city. 

So what does it all mean?  Rickards believes we are on The Road to Ruin.  Trump has been fighting the establishment from the day he first announced his candidacy.  It appears he wants to reverse many of the actions of the globalist elites within the US.  Can he actually make real progress?  Or is the battle we see on TV and read about just a side show while the real action takes place out of sight?  Is there a way to avoid what appears to be an unavoidable economic/financial crisis in the years ahead?  I don't know.  All we can do is attempt to protect ourselves and try to help Trump - Make American Great Again. 

TPM

1:09 pm          Comments

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Israel - Palestinian Solution?

In the past few days the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has hit the head lines of the world news.  A vote in the United Nations regarding Israeli settlements in the West Bank passed, the US government abstained allowing it to pass, which infuriated the Israelis.  President Obama is accused of being pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel.  The Obama Administration is accused of working to get the documents prepared and voted upon before the end of President Obama's term.  Today, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a speech justifying the vote.  Kerry's speech was panned by the Israelis and American supporters of Israel.  In the meantime Donald Trump sent a clear message to the Israelis that they shouldn't worry too much because when he takes office on January 20, 2017, his administration will fully support Israel.  Talking heads and "experts" are all over the news media supporting and criticizing all sides of the settlement issue and the overall conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. 

From my perspective the entire discussion and debate is pure nonsense.  I have had the good fortune and privilege to spend a total of five days of my life on two visits to Israel.  I had the opportunity to see with my own eyes a decent percentage of the country and including a visit to the West Bank.  I have also had the opportunity to read what I believe to be honest histories of the region.  I believe I have a fairly reasoned understanding of the situation and the ability to judge it rationally, which most of the people I see on the various news programs don't seem to be able to do. 

The first question one must ask is: Who is entitled to what land and resources of Israel?  This is an extremely hard question to answer and is likely never to be fully answered without armed conflict where one side destroys the other.  That is the history of the region and there is no reason to suspect the future will be any different than the past.  There is no "logical" answer to my question.  One could make the case that the Canaanites and other tribes that lived in the Levant that were conquered by the Jews upon their exodus from Egypt might be the most entitled to inherit the land of Israel since the Jews took their land from them by force.  However, I don't believe there are many people around today that claim to be descended from the Canaanites.  Since the Jewish population of the region was reduced significantly during the diaspora which began about 70 CE and was fully complete about 135 CE, one can make the case that the Jews effectively abandoned the Levant and others came in and took their place.  The decision to support the creation of the nation of Israel in 1948, after the Arab-Israeli War of Independence and in the aftermath of the Holocaust in Europe, was a no win situation for decision makers in the US and Europe.  There was no great or easy solution.  There was only a somewhat workable solution that has sparked conflict in the region for the past 70 years. 

Beginning in the early 1900s and continuing through today, both sides of the conflict have committed war crimes on the other side from time to time.  Both sides have inflicted incredible horrors on the other.  Both sides have been intolerant of the others perspective.  Both sides have failed to tell the entire truth about the their actions to the rest of the world. 

As one drives around Israel and observes the borders of the West Bank and Israel the impression is not one of permanence and stability, it is exactly the opposite.  It looks and feels unstable.  Even though there is no major military actions happening it has the feel as if war could break out at any moment.  The status quo doesn't really work in its totality despite the incredible success the Israelis have had in developing the land and their nation and its economy. 

The ultimate goals of the Israel's leaders and the Palestinian leaders are not compatible at a fundamental level.  Israel has made a number of attempts to make a deal with the Palestinians but the events of the War of Independence and the numerous conflicts large and small since then are a huge burden for the Palestinians to overcome.  The Palestinians refusal to recognize that the Jewish people have a right to exist as a sovereign nation in the Levant, with Jerusalem as part of that nation, is a fundamental barrier to any permanent peace agreement. 

The US has the largest number of Jews within its population than any other nation in the world other than Israel.  Jews have made incredible contributions to the development of the US as a nation.  The US has more in common with Israel than any other nation in the Middle East including shared culture and a fundamental system of values.  The US was responsible more than any other naton in supporting the developement of Israel as an independent nation. 

So what do we, the US, do?  There is nothing we can do.  We can't change the current circumstances.  We can't change the history.  We can't change the fundamental beliefs of either side.  All we can really hope to accomplish is to maintain the current unstable system.  This is really hard to do. 

Donald Trump was asked about the possibility of peace in the Middle East during an interview a number of months ago.  He said it is probably too hard to accomplish based on his conversations with people that understand the situation extremely well.   He said he would give it a shot but the world can't expect to be successful.  I believe Trump was correct then and he shouldn't make the situation worse in an attempt to smooth over the recent problems created by the Obama Administration. 

At some point the time will come for the final battle between the Israelis and Palestinians to determine which is the ultimate victor and has earned the right to fully control the disputed land and Jerusalem.  This is truly unfortunate but it is the way the world has worked for its entire recorded history.  There is no reason to expect any fundamental changes now.

TPM

1:09 am          Comments

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What Is True?

What is true? That is the fundamental issue that many Americans face when they try to evaluate what is happening in the US and around the world. Is the information I am watching or reading completely true, partially true or completely fabricated for the benefit of someone or a group. We know that the mainstream media reports information that ranges from sometimes factual to completely false. Most of us have caught the mainstream media fabricating news because we saw the actual event happen; or we happen to know the exact circumstances that are being reported; or we have tracked stories over time and have seen that the original reporting was completely wrong. It is very easy to see political bias in reports from people that we used to think were simply reporters.


Many of us are looking for information by researching alternative media. Typically, these are online sources run by people that aren't well known by the bulk of the population. We know that many of these people are only in business for the purpose of supporting some type of agenda that may or may not true, or have some truth within the totality of the information being presented.


The bottom line is that there is almost no such thing today as pure news or pure information. Everyone presenting anything has an agenda or a political bias. In order to evaluate any topic requires time and effort to research the issue or the person needs a lot of direct knowledge of the topic. It is very hard to trust any organization or any person that presents themselves as the purveyor of truth.


All we can do is our best. What do we think is right or best or most optimal based on the options presented to us? All of us are different people. We have different lives in different places with different values. We have different goals and plans for the future. We are attempting to optimize different things.


What we can all do is listen to what people are saying and attempt to reconcile their views with our own and decide if we need to make any adjustments in how we look at life or if we should change direction or our views in some way. I know that during my life I have changed my views on a number of issues that are important to me from time to time. Only those people that are willing to continue learning throughout their lives can continue to progress, otherwise they are lost somewhere in the past, overcome by events and new information. 

TPM

1:28 am          Comments

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