PictureThe lesson is not what you think it is.
Donald Trump has completed his first 100 days as president of the United States.  In that time he has struck terror into the hearts of the American left who have branded him a racist, homophobe, and Fascist.  He has simultaneously disappointed many of his supporters by failing to get congress to repeal Obamacare, and starting a war with Syria.  There are many lessons to be learned by the controversies swirling around the Trump presidency, but you won’t hear any of them discussed in the national media.

The overriding lesson to be learned by the right and left and the pro and anti Trumpsters is the nature of power and what happens when a centralized national government assumes too much power.  For eight years of the George W. Bush presidency, America’s leftists and Democrats railed against Bush’s policies of illegal surveillance, terrorist detentions, tax cuts, and extra-judicial assassinations of terror suspects.  This was followed by eight years of the Obama presidency, one of the most lawless and secretive administrations in history, and which witnessed mass illegal surveillance, accelerated and expanded drone assassinations around the planet, indefinite terrorist detentions, and aggressive prosecution of government whistle-blowers.  The American right watched in horror as the federal government seized control of the medical industry, left Iraq without an American military presence, and doubled the national debt (With the full cooperation of the Republican Party).

Now comes the Trump presidency, which is unprecedented in modern American history; not since Andrew Jackson won the election of 1828 has such an iconoclastic populist outsider occupied the White House.  Trump is in the unusual position of being despised by the elites of both the opposition Democrats and his own Republican Party.  He ran mainly as a conservative, appealing to traditional American values of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and modern America’s powerful currents of chauvinism and militarism.  Now once again it is the left’s turn to watch in horror Trump’s efforts to repeal Obamacare, lower taxes, end illegal immigration, and reduce governmental regulations; all the while of course hurling the standard charges of racism and homophobia.

As this back and forth political theater plays out every eight years in presidential administrations and congressional chest beating, the American people as a whole are watching their economy, infrastructure, and social fabric disintegrate before their eyes.  Those Americans who have been trying to reverse the American leftist counterrevolution since electing Ronald Reagan in 1980, have placed their hope in two Bushes and now Trump.  Americans who want the government to control all aspects of human existence in order to enforce their concept of equality and fairness and usher in utopia have had sixteen years of the Clinton and Obama administrations to achieve their ends.

Yet despite the past 37 years of political savagery, pronouncements of the end of days with the election of one president or another, and the shifting control of congress between Republicans and Democrats, America has continued on a very steady course toward ruin; a downward spiral which will ultimately consume us all.  The lesson to be learned is the nature of political power and the danger it poses to human happiness and liberty; a lesson we seemed doomed to never learn.  We live under an all-powerful government that recognizes no real limits on its power and views the constitution as an irrelevant museum piece.  This government is 100 percent controlled by a political cartel known as the Republican and Democrat Parties - no other viewpoints are permitted.

In this piece, I am using the terms left and right in the most simplistic terms, denoting the media-defined dichotomy between so-called conservatives and liberals.  This is another part of the lesson of the nature of power; it divides people into competing groups for the purpose of manipulation.  We see ourselves as competing groups; left versus right, white versus black versus Latino, straight versus gay, Republican versus Democrat.  What we fail to see as a society is that we are all arguing about the wrong things.  We are passengers on a train hurtling toward a destination not of our choosing, with none of us having any control over where it goes, nor even any knowledge of who’s actually driving the locomotive.  We are in the steerage class cars fighting and clawing at one another’s throats over issues like gay marriage and whether or not to say Merry Christmas, while the engineers and their few corporate cronies live it up at our expense in the first class cabins up front.

We, as a society, are arguing from a false premise; that is that government is the solution to every problem.  Sure, Republicans generally talk a good game about “limited government,” but they still want to order society and control people’s behavior - just a little less than Democrats and in slightly different ways.  Democrats and Republicans have enjoyed periods of complete control of both the presidency and congress several times over the past four decades and what has changed?  The income tax has remained and grown ever more complicated and burdensome; we continue to maintain a global military empire we cannot afford, with troops stationed in nearly every country on the planet; we continue to start wars and engage in acts of war around the globe, yet have not won a war since 1945; both parties conspire to raise our debt limit time and time again - albeit with a bit of kabuki theater these days; our infrastructure is crumbling; our wages have stagnated for decades; and the web of laws and regulations we struggle beneath grows more complex and soul crushing with every passing year.

The lesson is this; government is a necessary evil, not a force for good.  This is the maxim that underpinned the American Revolution and set humans free for the first time in the history of civilization.  This simple understanding - that humans are endowed with the right to be free from the hand of government and to pursue their own course in life, insofar as they do not interfere with the same rights of others - catapulted the entire western world from subsistence farming and the horse and buggy, to modern luxury and men on the moon in less than 200 years.  George Washington said it best when he described the nature of government power, “like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

This is the lesson for Trump cheerleaders and Obama worshippers alike.  All of you that are still staring, mouth agape, in horror at the ascension of Trump to the presidency, and cringe in shock and outrage at his every word and action, now know what the other half of the country felt like for the past eight years under Obama.  Yet neither side seems to be able to grasp the lesson that it is the vast and unchecked power of government that is the problem - not the transient occupant of the White House.  Rather than stand together for human liberty and against tyranny, Republicans and Democrats, right and left, conservatives and liberals, struggle to seize the mantle of power and use it to bash in the skulls of their opponents.

Meanwhile, the people who really control the government carry on unseen and unmoved by the political theater played out in the entertainment news media.  Those on the left cannot see that eight decades of socialism has failed, and will not usher in the utopia they anticipated; instead they clamor for the government to seize more power to enforce their version of fairness.  They express outrage at dragnet government surveillance, illegal wars, and drone assassinations under George W. Bush, yet fully support Barack Obama’s dragnet government surveillance, illegal wars, and drone assassinations.  Those on the right cannot see that the nature of state power is the problem and that simply fighting for control of government institutions is not a solution.  They demand “limited government” yet many want to ban gays from marrying one another, and jail people for burning a flag or smoking or eating certain plants.

Were America to return to being a constitutional federal republic as we once were, Donald Trump being president would not be such a cause for either alarm or celebration.  If our federal and state governments concerned themselves with the business of government - that is protecting our natural rights to life, liberty, and property - we would not be arguing about things like who can marry whom and what bathroom a cross-dresser should use.  We would not need to fear the person who sits in the White House, because he or she would not have the power to pick up the telephone on a whim and launch a war; whether that president is Obama attacking Libya or Trump bombing Syria.  We would not need to fight desperately for control of the state to get public money for the things we want; because we could keep the money we honestly earned, rather than having it vacuumed up by the IRS for distribution by the federal congress.  We would not have a backlash of hatred against our police officers because they would no longer be aggressively trying to arrest people for having a joint in their pocket or failing to fasten their seatbelt.  We would no longer argue about which country to invade next, but rather would return to a foreign policy of peaceful coexistence with all nations as we did for our first 122 years as a country.

Sadly, we seem doomed to never learn the lesson.  Our arguments are not about freedom versus tyranny, but about how best to use the brute force of the state to order society.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Under George W. Bush and Republican and Democrat-controlled congresses, the national debt nearly doubled from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion.  During the Obama administration and Republican and Democrat-controlled congresses, the national debt nearly doubled again from $10.6 to $19.9 trillion.  Today, American voters have the anti-Obama as president and a Republican-controlled congress, yet the current budget passed by congress calls for adding half a trillion dollars to the national debt, increases spending for nearly every government agency, and has no provision to build Trump’s signature border wall.  Obama’s “opponents” in the Republican Party, now in the majority in congress, have not repealed his odious government healthcare law, but rather have simply passed their own version of nationalized healthcare.  President Trump ran on keeping the US out of the Syrian civil war, and yet was convinced to jump in with both feet in less than 100 days by the people who actually control our government.  Like the man said, “If voting made any difference, it would be illegal.”

While the left screams for free college and medical care, and the right demands more wars and no transvestites in public toilets, and Americans sit mesmerized by split-screen cable news bickering between party mouthpieces, our collective freedom and wealth is being drained away.  The Federal Reserve continues to print worthless currency, bleeding the value out of the dollars we possess and placing it in the hands of their corporate benefactors; the welfare state and its bureaucracy continue to expand, and the military-industrial complex continues to grow and prosper as hundreds of billions flow from your paycheck directly into the bank accounts of defense contractors.

Frédéric Bastiat said it best more than 150 years ago; “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”  Instead of the law being used strictly to protect our lives, liberty, and property, it has become a club that we struggle to wrest from our opponents’ hands to beat them with it in our turn.  Bastiat too saw this potential, “As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose - that it may violate property instead of protecting it - then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder.” 

Unless and until Americans wake up and realize that the game is rigged, and start having debates based upon principles rather than policies and which government boondoggles to fund, we will continue to be ruled by the shadow government that takes very little notice of all our howling and protesting.  We passengers viciously fighting in that train will be driven right off the cliff, without ever knowing who was driving the train we rode to our destruction.

A collection of some 450 American writers has penned an open letter of opposition to the candidacy of Donald Trump for president.  Released on May 24, the letter suggests that Trump is an aspiring dictator and a bigot, “who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities…”  While these people are certainly entitled to their opinion, one wonders where there sense of moral outrage is when it comes to Trump’s opponent; the redoubtable Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Firstly, the letter itself is an example of free and open expression of ideas, yet typical of type of empty gestures we’ve come to expect from lefties.  The notion that Mr. Trump is a bigot is absurd when one looks at his past; politically “insensitive” comments that trigger spasms among Republican elites and college students notwithstanding.  As for the aggression of Trump’s followers, it was Trump who survived an assassination attempt earlier today, and it is his Democrat opponents that have repeatedly rioted and assaulted Trump supporters, and destroyed tens of thousands of dollars of property, and made numerous death threats against Mr. Trump.

Secondly, while Donald Trump may very well not possess the proper temperament and experience to be president, what sort of pathetic hypocrites can publicly voice their opposition to him and remain silent on Hillary Clinton?  Ms. Clinton has been exposed for telling far more lies than even Richard Nixon ever dreamt of.  She is under investigation by the FBI for her illegal use of a private email server and mishandling of classified government information.  She is a warmonger of the first order, just as much as her former boss, Barack Hussein Obama.  She is the most transparently phony and duplicitous politician in recent memory, and yet these writers are completely unconcerned about the prospect of her becoming president.

By their denunciations of Trump and silence with regard to Clinton, these writers expose themselves as mere partisans who eagerly hope for another Clinton presidency and the continuation of the Obama administration policies of the past eight years.

Were these writers as concerned about the well-being of America as they are about posing as earnest intellectuals frightened by a candidate who shuns their speech codes, they would call for an end to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, which has drained 95 percent of the dollar’s value since 1914, and thus disproportionately hurt the poor; these preening authors would also demand an audit of the Federal Reserve to see just how many trillions of Americans’ money has been handed over to big corporations and big political donors; they would demand an end to our overseas military empire that inspires hatred of our country the world over; they would demand honesty and transparency from their politicians - immediately disqualifying Clinton from holding public office; they would take a break from patting themselves on the back and demand that their government end illegal wars like the one Hillary and Barack waged in Libya, and extrajudicial assassinations of individuals across the globe in violation of our constitution; they would climb off their high horse and go tell their congressman to balance the federal budget and pay down our debt before the total collapse of our currency, economy, and way of life.

These are the things that someone truly concerned with the public welfare would write a letter about.  Such a principled stand would, however, leave many signatories like Stephen King and Junot Diaz off the guest list at Democrat fundraisers.  Just for the record, both the Republican and Democrat political parties are against all of the things listed above, because they are all part of the same cabal of crony “crapitalists” and political shills that run this country.  The owners of our nation are not elected - they select the people we get to vote for.  Even the super-rich, bombastic, bigger-than-life Donald Trump will not be permitted to change the status quo if he wins the election.

So fear not, my earnest, learned, and high-minded fellow writers; no matter who wins in November, one thing is for certain - the owners of this country will never permit anything to really change.

Americans are in uncharted territory this election year.  Never before in living memory have there been candidates with a real shot at the nomination who were not pre-approved by the owners of the United States; or what the media call “The Establishment.”  These are the massive Wall Street Banks and Brokerages such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, and CitiGroup; massive weapons manufacturers like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrup Grumman; and corporate billionaires like the Koch brothers (conservative) and Warren Buffett (Leftist).  While nothing of any real substance will change regardless of who gets elected, it is still fascinating, if disheartening to watch.

On the Republican side, we’ve had well over a dozen candidates coming and going and endlessly debating, and for the first time ever, more than one of them is not a member of the political elite.  As expected, those that espouse beliefs that challenge the status quo in our federal regime have been marginalized and silenced - with two remarkable exceptions.  Donald Trump remains in the race, both due to his front-runner status and the fact that he does not have to rely on America’s owners to foot the bill for his campaign.  Ted Cruz is still in the race despite the fact that the Washington power elite despises him and their corporate masters distrust him.  Marco Rubio is an empty suit that rode the Tea Party into the Senate, then promptly proved himself to be an obedient servant of the congressional power brokers.

On the Democrat side of the race, there is Bernie Sanders; a crotchety, aging, Jewish guy from Brooklyn who openly espouses socialism; an ideology America spent trillions of dollars and more than four decades to defeat in the form of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  Despite this fact, he is beloved by vast numbers of supporters.  Then there is Hillary - the poster child of establishment Washington, corporate cronyism, and cynical pandering and political machinations - also beloved by millions.

How, one may wonder could Donald Trump be leading the race for the Republican Party?  He is an arrogant and bombastic bully that has said a dozen things on the campaign trail that would have ended the career of any other aspiring politician.  He has overly simplistic and sometimes blatantly unrealistic plans to solve America’s problems in international trade, immigration, and terrorist threats, yet people love him.

What most observers fail to see is that Trump and Sanders are tapping into an underlying emotional current in America’s hopelessly ignorant electorate; that is that something is wrong.  The game is rigged; the system is unfair; America can’t get the job done anymore.  The Tea Party and Occupy movements are opposite sides of this same coin.  While virtually no one understands why things are so wrong, they are, sadly, correct.  Bernie says he’ll fix everything by having the government take all money from the greedy rich people and give free stuff to everyone.  The Donald is going to fix everything by getting ‘really, really smart people to come up with really, really great ideas, while telling the rest of the world to pony up their fair share of cash and trade fair with us, or go pound salt.’

Both Sanders and Trump are right - and they are both wrong.  Yes, Bernie, the game is rigged; Wall Street and multinational corporations do control the election process.  They select and vet the candidates and only the people upon whom they bestow their money get to have a chance at winning.  They rig the rules at the SEC and other government regulatory agencies to allow them to loot the public and the US Treasury out of trillions of dollars.  But you are talking about a tiny handful of people, and even if you take all their money it won’t begin to pay for all your promises of free stuff for everyone, nor make even a small dent in our 19 trillion dollar national debt.  An even more powerful and wealthy government is not the answer to problems created by our corrupt government in the first place.  Moreover, aside from the handful of criminals that manipulate financial markets and deliberately defraud investors to make their billions, the vast majority of very wealthy people have earned their money; it’s not yours or anyone else’s Bernie.  Didn’t your mother teach you not to take things that don’t belong to you?

Donald, you’re right; America doesn’t win anymore, we haven’t won a war since 1945, we have open borders, no foreign policy, bankroll the free world’s collective defense, tolerate unfair trade policies, and if we are going to prosecute a war against ISIS, we ought to be doing it with some sense of urgency and ruthlessness.  But the solution is not to build up our military empire still further.  You and every Republican have pledged to “rebuild” America’s military.  With a global military empire that occupies every continent and nearly every country on earth, and with a budget that outstrips the next ten biggest military spenders combined, it strains my imagination to think what you could possibly mean by “rebuilding.”  Yes, something must be done to secure our borders and deal with the millions of illegal aliens in this country.  However, deporting them all is both politically and logistically impossible.

After Super Tuesday, it will come down to Bernie/Hillary and Donald/Marco.  America’s owners will do whatever it takes to make certain we can only choose between Clinton and Rubio; they represent the width of the political spectrum we are allowed to choose from, and both can be relied upon to do as they are told.  While Bernie can be starved of cash, and Hillary has mounting legal problems over her mishandling of classified documents, Trump is an entirely new phenomenon; he has his own money and just plain doesn’t care what the establishment says about him.

The two year long presidential race serves merely to distract the public and provide a false belief that we have some say in how our government is run.  Still, it will be instructive to watch what the establishment does to derail Trump and Sanders; it has been a very long time since an unapproved candidate was nominated by either party.  Whether the puppeteers go all in for Hillary as a solid Wall Street soldier, or hedge their bets with Trump figuring he’s one of them and can be reasoned with on immigration once in office, will be interesting to see.

Even if Trump or Sanders were somehow to win the White House, nothing will change.  Voters are completely unaware of the fact that it is congress that makes law and spends money, and that the vast majority of laws are made by unelected, faceless bureaucrats in Washington’s regulatory agencies.  As for our foreign policy in terms of trade, war du jure, kill lists, and the rest, this is set by forces larger than the president; people you never hear about at CIA, NSA, NSC, and influential think tanks and corporations.

Here’s the spoiler folks; regardless of the November election, four years from now our national debt will have grown larger still, there will be thousands of new federal laws and regulations, the government will still be collecting your phone data and emails, we will be at war somewhere and everywhere, and if you work for a paycheck your real earnings will be lower.  But at least this one will be fascinating to watch.