Today, we will look at a handful of dots.
You’ll have to connect them yourself.
First, we went to a lawn party yesterday. It took place in a little village about 20 minutes away, where two couples each celebrated 50 years of marriage.
Towns in this area were built on hilltops, surrounding a castle. Often, the castles were later demolished so the villagers couldn’t protect themselves from the royal army.
But this château still stood, looking out over the countryside like a lonely, old sentry who never learned that the war was over.
Near the castle were the remains of a louveterie — a place where wolfhounds were kept.
According to researchers, wolves have killed more than 7,000 people in France since the 1300s. And according to local legend, the last wolf in France was killed near here, early in the 20th century.
Naturally, the conversation at the party turned towards Le Roi des Loups himself, Donald J Trump. As Americans abroad, we are expected to have an insight…or at least an opinion.
‘I don’t know what to make of him,’ said a local doctor. ‘But I think overall, so far, he’s been good. Not intentionally, perhaps. But he calls into question things that should have been questioned years ago.’
‘Such as: What are US troops still doing in Europe? Why shouldn’t Germany buy gas from Russia? And why should Europeans spend more money to defend themselves against Russia, which has only a tiny economy and poses no real threat of invasion? America might be a much bigger threat. Homo homini lupus.’
‘Man is wolf to another man.’
‘Oh yes…of course…’
Second, the ‘easy to win’ trade war is becoming more complicated.
Yesterday, Jim Cramer, of Mad Money TV fame, opined that stocks were rallying because ‘China blinked.’ Maybe.
But ‘saving face’ is a big deal in China. And the Chinese — in our experience (we have an office in Beijing) — are even more jingoistic dumbbells than Americans.
When it comes down to an ‘us versus them’ trade fight…we would put our money on the Chinese.
Real trade barriers between the two countries have been coming down for years…and would probably continue to come down if left alone. So the trade war between the US and China may be just a silly political stunt.
But stunts go wrong from time to time.
The Chinese and American economies are mutually dependent…and both depend on fake money lent at fake rates. Today, commercial and financial transactions between China and America represent about a third of the entire world’s GDP.
Over the last 30 years, investment in China has increased 50 times. Nobody, nowhere, no how could invest all that money wisely. Instead, the Chinese overdid it, and now have excess capacity in a whole range of industries…and empty cities all over the country.
Blink? Probably not. Collapse? Maybe.
A major shock to US–China trade might cause the Chinese economy to tumble first…sucking the US and the whole world down into a depression with it.
Third dot: Trump’s Supreme Court pick.
Brett Kavanaugh seems like a safe choice. He’s not an extremist. He’s Catholic, but not a religious zealot. He’s a ‘conservative,’ but not too particular about what is conserved. All in all, he seems like a reasonable, decent human being.
Why, then, would Donald J Trump recommend him for the Supreme Court?
Our hypothesis is that Trump has no personal regard for the Constitution…nor does he care about Roe versus Wade.
What he does care about is the power of the office he now inhabits; he doesn’t want anyone on the court who might get in his way.
Further fleshing out our hypothesis: The Deep State runs the country. But the Deep State has competing factions, with different ideas about how to divvy up the spoils.
Mr Trump champions one faction and embarrasses another. But his main achievements — bigger budgets, bigger deficits, more wars — always find favour in the eyes of the Deep State itself.
Big Data is becoming a big tool for the Deep State to manage, modify, and manipulate the public.
If we’re right, it is teaming up with Google, Facebook, and Amazon to gather data…and use it to identify and marginalize troublemakers.
The HuffPost has the answer:
‘In 2015, Kavanaugh wrote a concurring opinion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirming the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s warrantless phone records collection program. The controversial program had been revealed in 2013 with the help of Edward Snowden, a former intelligence contractor who had leaked classified documents about the government’s surveillance of the American public to the press. The NSA, it turns out, had for years been secretly collecting telephone metadata — allowing the government to see whom a person calls, but not what was said — from major American phone companies.
‘Kavanaugh wrote at the time that he felt that the ‘critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy’ and joined other judges on the court in declining to rehear a case challenging the program under Fourth Amendment grounds.’
Brett Kavanaugh is a Deep State guy…of, by, and for the Swamp.
Things go wrong
Our final dot: What’s going on in Nicaragua?
Regular readers know that we have property on the Nicaraguan coast. So we tend to keep an eye on developments in the country.
News reports tell us that 100 people have been killed, mostly on the streets of the capital city, Managua. Protestors want to get rid of Daniel Ortega and his wife, the president and vice president, respectively.
His supporters — including, apparently, Deep State paramilitary units — attack the protestors. And criminals and cutthroats may be using the unrest as cover for robberies and murders of their own.
How far this will go is anyone’s guess. But things go wrong.
Often, reform movements begin with reasonable objectives. Then, they come under the spell of the most ruthless and radical of the reformers.
Like Donald Trump’s trade war, the protests in Nicaragua could turn into something much more lethal.
But who knows?
For now, our sources at Rancho Santana — the Pacific resort we helped start 20 years ago — tell us that the sun is shining, the surf is up, and people are calm.
Yet it’s quiet, with few visitors from North America. With luck, the problems in Managua will sort themselves out…and life will go back to its normal, pleasant pace.
But who knows?
Homo homini lupus.