Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dissidents in American Politics

The year 2016 had become the most depressing and ominous Presidential election year since 1860. Then out of the fog came Michelle Obama....

This is a face and voice of a 20th Century American telling 20th Century Americans what we should already know, that 2016 is the year we decide what life will be like in 2050 for Americans age 16 and younger - telling us that the focus of our nation over the next decade cannot be about the needs of people who voted for Jack Kennedy or Ronald Reagan.

As Hillary Clinton says:
“Stronger Together” is not just a lesson from our history. It's a guiding principle for the country we've always been and the future we're going to build. So let's be stronger together. Looking to the future with courage and confidence. Building a better tomorrow for our beloved children and our beloved country.

In contrast, in 2016 the 20th Century Republican Party has been declared dead and reborn. Longtime GOP strategist for President George W. Bush and for Senator John McCain, Nicolle Wallace, recently bemoaned that Republican Party candidate is "a man who believes in protectionism, isolationism, and nativism."

(As an aside, we need to note that the Democratic Party survived only because the outsider who attacked it was unsuccessful. Bernie Sanders was never a Democrat and has declared he will continue to serve in the Senate as an independent. Political parties are, of course, private organization whose members and staffs work hard to elect majorities in the Senate, House, and state legislatures where public policy is made.)

One can't help but ponder, to consider the historical context, about how too many 20th Century American dissident voters (and yes, all current voters were born in the 20th Century)  brought America back to where we are today.

It is not like vocal dissidents are a new thing, but what we've seen this year is the worst that is embedded within the American soul. This, at least partially, is the result of an unforgivable ignorance of American and world history, particularly political and economic history.

Voters' attitudes are painfully reminiscent of the "Know Nothing" movement of the 1850's which arose in response to an influx of  Irish and German Catholics and other immigrants, thus reflecting nativist and anti-Catholic sentiment (though in California it was based on opposition to Chinese immigration). It resulted in former President Millard Fillmore running for President in 1856 on the American Party ticket, winning 23% of the popular vote and carrying one state.

It may seem like this is just what happens in America. But history has details that the broad strokes don't tell you.

Yes, if you add to Nicolle Wallace's words "protectionism", "isolationism", and "nativism" the anti-Muslim anti-Hispanic bigotry of Donald Trump's rhetoric and you might think you have Millard Fillmore reborn, just with Islam substituted for Catholicism.

Except that unlike Trump, Fillmore was a knowledgeable, experienced public official who, when it came to government administration and public policy, "had a clue" as they say.

Prior to his run for President on the American Party ticket, Fillmore was an Inspector of the New York Militia's 47th Brigade with the rank of Major, an attorney, a New York State Assemblyman, a Congressman as a Whig Party candidate, a Vice-President as a Whig, and a President as a Whig after the death of President Zachary Taylor.

In Trump we have as a major party nominee someone that spent his life as a con man who gained notoriety as a reality show host. A reality show host....

This happened because we are in a time in which our political discussion has been reduced to the divisiveness of uninformed, dismissive, content-free, frequently hate-filled tweets.

We have literally created in the form of "apps" the mechanism to amplify the worst in ourselves, the worst in America, creating the worst kind of dissidents.

Because those "apps" - whether they are tweets, Facebook posts, or news web sites - generate corporate revenues, they proliferate becoming the source of "The Conventional Wisdom" instead of truthful facts.

For those who do not understand the term "The Conventional Wisdom", economist John Kenneth Galbraith in his 1958 book The Affluent Society prepended "The" to the phrase "conventional wisdom" to emphasize its meaning narrowed to those commonplace beliefs that easily became acceptable and comfortable to society, thus enhancing their ability in the minds of people to resist facts that might diminish or belie them.

In contrast to tweets, I can only offer "for the record" my ruminations on early 21st Century American politics in an historical context, adapting an early-20th-Century-magazine-article-style long-form format divided into 10 more long, though  hopefully provocative and/or informative, blog posts.

Below is a linking "table of contents":
  1. Dissidents in American Politics: "Left", "Right", "Conservative" and "Liberal" are Meaningless Labels
  2. Dissidents in American Politics: 21st Century Political Divisions
  3. Dissidents in American Politics: The Authoritarian U.S. President
  4. Dissidents in American Politics: Who are we angry at?
  5. Dissidents in American Politics: The Shareholder Capitalist Class
  6. Dissidents in American Politics: The Academic Oligarchist Class
  7. Dissidents in American Politics: The Romantic & Mythical in Politics
  8. Dissidents in American Politics: Shareholder Capitalists versus Academic Oligarchists
  9. Dissidents in American Politics: The Prospect of Revolution and Tyranny In the United States
  10. Dissidents in American Politics: Beliefs, Facts, and  Future Shock

Monday, July 18, 2016

3. Dissidents in American Politics: The Authoritarian U.S. President

"Dissidents" are people who actively challenge established doctrine, policy, or institutions. This post is the third in a series of 10 posts regarding the confusing "revolutions" of the 2016 Presidential Election.

The Whiskey Rebellion, also known as the Whiskey Insurrection, was a tax protest by dissidents in the United States beginning in 1791, during the presidency of George Washington. Throughout counties in Western Pennsylvania, protesters used violence and intimidation to prevent federal officials from collecting the tax.

It ended when President Washington rode at the head of an army of 12,950 militiamen provided by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania effectively suppressing the insurgency. Because relatively few men volunteered for militia service, a draft was used to fill out the ranks. Draft protests were widespread, and conscription efforts resulted in protests and riots, even in eastern areas. That was handled in a clearly authoritarian, violent manner.

Click on image to see a larger version!

For example, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, two civilians were killed by the federalized militia, an unarmed boy was shot by an officer whose pistol accidentally fired and a man was stabbed to death by a soldier while resisting arrest. Eventually, a federal grand jury indicted 24 men for high treason, ten men stood trial for treason in federal court, only two were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging, but were pardoned by President Washington. Pennsylvania state courts were more successful in prosecuting lawbreakers, securing numerous convictions for assault and rioting.

President Andrew Jackson began the Indian Removal Policy which as continued by President Martin Van Buren led to the "Trail of Tears." Subsequent Presidents, as Commander in Chief, continued the genocide of Native Americans over the next 70 years. But the Native Americans weren't the only ones who experienced this fun side of traditional American bigotry.

Click on image to see a larger version!

Religious discrimination has been supported by the authoritarian use of power by a President. The Mormons are well aware of the tradition of authoritarian Presidents as their forebears experienced it as religious discrimination.  The religion's Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois, and the alleged murderers were found not guilty by a trial jury was composed exclusively of non-Mormons after the judge dismissed the initial jury, which included Mormons.

Click on image to see a larger version!

To make a long story short, the Mormons moved to the Utah Territory and established a territorial government. Because of a great deal of rumor and innuendo, in 1857 U.S. President James Buchanan sent an army to Utah resulting in the Utah War.

(President's George W. Bush and Barack Obama both worked to avoid the rapid expansion of this kind of religious bigotry toward Muslims.This contrasts with Donald Trump's successful effort to capitalize on the bigotry within America using a promise that isn't far from Buchanan's attitude - a traditional American attitude of religious bigotry that, right behind racial bigotry and ethnic bigotry, has always been the third core element of the American truth, as opposed to the American myth)

When does the use of violent force by the established government become authoritarian in conduct. Juan Linz's influential 1964 description characterized authoritarian political systems by four qualities:
  1. limited political pluralism; that is, such regimes place constraints on political institutions and groups like legislatures, political parties and interest groups;
  2. a basis for legitimacy based on emotion, especially the identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat "easily recognizable societal problems" such as underdevelopment or insurgency;
  3. minimal social mobilization most often caused by constraints on the public such as suppression of political opponents and anti-regime activity;
  4. informally defined executive power with often vague and shifting powers.
Abraham Lincoln's Republican Presidency clearly fit that description. So let's take a look at the Civil War, not as Northern lefty intellectuals nor Southern Klan members, but as open minded truth seekers.

The U.S. Civil War produced at least 1,030,000 casualties (3 percent of the population), including about 620,000 soldier deaths. Based on 1860 census figures, 8 percent of all white males aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6 percent in the North and 18 percent in the South.

It could have have been avoided, but Americans in the North had latched onto a goodness versus evil belief system about the institution of slavery that ignored the Three-Fifths Compromise part of the U.S. Constitution permitting states to maintain the legality of slavery.

(As an aside, if you think the rule of law is critical, than you would have supported slavery. If you believe in the recently invented moral absolute that human slavery is unacceptable even though we know it was a continuously accepted human condition dating back to at least 8000 BC, than you would have supported killing 1 million Americans to free 4 million slaves. Absolutes in morality are such fun things.)

As is always the case, when a large minority of the U.S. population embraces beliefs contrary to the status quo beliefs of another large minority of the U.S. population, a high level of fear for personal wealth and well-being is created, in this case within The Establishment in the South.

(As an aside, today we have anger because a large minority of the U.S. population embraces beliefs contrary to the status quo beliefs of another large minority of the U.S. population which has created a high level of fear for personal wealth and well-being is created. The solution, of course is for these folks to defend their beliefs irrationally in some manner comparable to the 1860's, justifiably killing 10 million Americans at random.)

Prior to Lincoln assuming the office of President, negotiations over the issues were moving forward. On December 18, 1860, the Crittenden Compromise was proposed to re-establish the Missouri Compromise line by constitutionally banning slavery in territories to the north of the line while guaranteeing it to the south. Here is the map they were arguing over. Red states were slave states, blue states were free states, the green line is the Missouri Compromise line. The gray indicates territories that would become states.

Click on image to see a larger version!

The adoption of this compromise likely would have prevented the secession of every southern state apart from South Carolina, but Lincoln and the Republicans rejected it.

It was then proposed to hold a national referendum on the compromise. The Republicans again rejected the idea, perhaps because they knew a majority of both Northerners and Southerners would have voted in favor of it. (This self-righteous minority group also self-swaddled themselves in ignorance choosing to believe that even if there was a Civil War it would be over in months - something anyone informed about the other side would never have believed.)

Click on image to see a larger version!

By the definition discussed in a previous post, Lincoln's Republicans were Romantic Populists who believed "virtuous" people were being mistreated by a small circle of elites wrongly holding economic power.

History has been so twisted that it is not bothersome to most Americans that with an 82.2% voter turnout, Lincoln won with only 39.9% of the popular vote but still led Americans into a Civil War assuming authoritarian powers and refusing compromise.

Lincoln is an American hero who could be a model for authoritarian action for Donald Trump's deportation program.  In case you didn't know this, here is a history lesson:
In 1861, John Merryman, a state legislator from Maryland, was arrested for attempting to hinder Union troops from moving from Baltimore to Washington during the Civil War and is held at Fort McHenry by Union military officials. His attorney immediately sought a writ of habeas corpus so that a federal court could examine the charges. However, on May 25, 1961, President Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus in the United States, and the general in command of Fort McHenry refused to turn Merryman over to the authorities.

The chief justice of the Supreme Court
Roger Taney issued a ruling that President Lincoln did not have the authority to suspend habeas corpus. Lincoln didn’t respond, appeal, or order the release of Merryman. But during a July 4 speech, Lincoln was defiant, insisting that he needed to suspend the rules in order to put down the rebellion in the South.

Five years later, a new Supreme Court essentially backed Chief Justice Taney’s ruling. In an unrelated case, the Court held that only Congress could suspend habeas corpus and that civilians were not subject to military courts, even in times of war.

This was not the first or last time that a U.S. President imprisoned Americans at will. Pursuant to Executive Order 9066 issued by another revered President, Franklin Roosevelt, hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps and denied the right to
a writ of habeas corpus.
Indeed if a President Trump were to imprison Muslim Americans after persuading Congress to declare war on ISIS, he could become a revered hero like the extremely authoritarian Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt.

Looking at the Crittenden Compromise map, in hindsight many argue that slavery would have ended without the Civil War but not for a number of decades. If so do you think those decades were worth the 1+ million casualties? Without arguing about what the people thought at the time, what does it say about you if you believe the Civil War was justified?

It doesn't matter because a minority Party of an authoritarian President rejected compromise thereby initiating the killing 620,000 soldiers and tens of thousands of others, all Americans fighting because of the true believers and the truly fearful.

By the time the Civil War was over, authoritarian actions of Presidents had been validated beginning with Washington and continuing until Lincoln who gave a permanent home in the Presidency for what is clearly defined as authoritarianism.

Of course, in the end the Civil War was a testing ground for modern total warfare. Total war is warfare that is not restricted to purely legitimate military targets, and can result in massive civilian or other non-combatant casualties. Americans perfected it in WWII.

Feeling a bit guilty about mass casualties in the Vietnam War, we've recently applied technology to our warfare with President's authorizing the use of drones to kill evil radical Muslim terrorists foreigners and even evil radical Muslim American terrorists in foreign lands.

Since that worked so well, following the model of the authoritarian U.S. Presidency, domestic police forces now use a variation on that technology (robots carrying small bombs) within the United States to kill alleged terrorists. It's far less of a video media embarrassment than all those police in body army carrying assault weapons riding around suburban Boston in armored military vehicles.

Just think. Instead of shooting all those holes in that bystanders boat and not killing the suspect, resulting in a long expensive trial, they could have just blown up the suspect and the boat. Soon we won't need to worry about all those Constitutional rights. After all, the Presidents don't.

The authoritarian U.S. Presidency has become an accepted tradition. Since the Civil War, as examples we've had:
  • the Pullman Strike of 1894 with military and U.S. Marshal intervention ordered by President Grover Cleveland:
  • the 1902 Coal Strike in which President Theodore Roosevelt fearing that the "attitude of the operators" would "double the burden" of those who stood against "Socialistic action" continued the practice of intervention in labor disputes though this time achieving success with on the threat of using force; 
  • the 1932 Bonus Army incident of President Herbert Hoover;
  • the 1942 internment of Japanese Americans ordered by Franklin Roosevelt; 
  • in 1950, in anticipation of a crippling strike by railroad workers, President Harry S. Truman issued an executive order putting America’s railroads under the control of the U.S. Army; 
  • and more.
For an analysis of how this expansion of Presidential powers has continued in more recent times, read The Washington Post article Donald Trump and the expanding power of the presidency.

Perhaps one thing needs to be made clear. An Authoritarian Revolution strikes at the heart of a democratic republic government which depends upon compromise in the recognition that the give-and-take in such a political system is a substitute for violence being used to secure a preferred outcome (such as killing a million people in the Civil War).

In the United States there usually is a block of reasonable citizens, about 40% of the voters, who at some level understand and prefer that give and take decision-making system. A problem arises, however, when the system is hijacked and brought to a halt.

In the past 20 years the Mythical Reactionaries, never representing more than a small minority of Americans, frequently have succeeded in bringing that give-and-take system to a halt. At that point, the patience of the reasonable citizen erodes, and some of those 40% of the voters become unenthusiastic Mythical Reactionaries or Romantic Populists.

A further review of the four groups of people can help understand our political system. But first, we need to examine recent developments in our economy that have amplified the likelihood of an authoritarian Presidency.

8. Dissidents in American Politics: Shareholder Capitalists versus Academic Oligarchists

"Dissidents" are people who actively challenge established doctrine, policy, or institutions. This post is the eighth in a series of 10 posts regarding the confusing "revolutions" of the 2016 Presidential Election.

Shareholder Capitalists and Academic Oligarchists together make up a group all others can despise called "The Establishment." Shareholder Capitalists manipulate our economy and Academic Oligarchists control key facets of our national government including monetary policy.

Whenever Academic Oligarchists determine that shareholder capitalism is not sufficiently benefiting the common good, the two groups can get into conflict. Whenever Shareholder Capitalists determine Academic Oligarchists are standing in the way of  "beneficial" economic change,  the two groups can get into conflict

In the middle of those conflicts are Congress and state legislatures led by people who are normally not automatic members of the Academic Oligarchy nor true Shareholder Capitalists.

The conflicts traditionally have been fought within the framework of political parties, elections, and legislative bodies that rely upon negotiations and compromise.

But, as previously discussed, during the past 30 years within the United States some wealthy Shareholder Capitalists, having become a subgroup of dissidents themselves, using the State Policy Network have successfully bypassed the norms of the process by investing large sums of money in Congressional and legislative candidates and in the news media.The Koch brothers are the best known example.

This is not unusual in the U.S. Henry Ford was probably the most notorious because of his active support of the rise of Hitler. "I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,"  said Adolph Hitler in 1931. It is the extreme extension of the corporate view that people are unimportant.

This change has allowed Shareholder Capitalists to operate with far fewer restrictions from Academic Oligarchists. During the past 30 years, many Academic Oligarchists have become complacent permitting the undoing of changes made earlier in the 20th Century to avoid an Authoritarian Revolution.

In the process, they've allowed the word compromise to become despised. The fact that an effective democratic republic can only work if the players can find a middle ground on complicated issues is lost, or that fact specifically has been suppressed.

You only had to look at the candidates in this year's primary (or in the Brexit vote) to find examples of Romantic Populist and the Mythical Reactionary movements opposing the developments of the past 30 years.

What Romantic Populist and Mythical Reactionary dissidents typically don't understand is that Shareholder Capitalists need and use strong central governments (which they don't want to try to manage on a day-to-day basis):
  • to assure a stable currency, with minimal restrictions on how that government-created commodity is used;
  • to defend and facilitate the existence of corporations;
  • to protect property rights including everything from real estate ownership to patents;
  • to maintain borders safely open to trade; and
  • to provide and protect transportation infrastructure such as roads, ports, and airports.
To accomplish corporate goals successful Shareholder Capitalists don't hold political office as their power is found in corporate environment based upon a lifetime of focus on work.

Academic Oligarchists assure this framework for them, arguing only over the details based upon perceived impacts of monetary policy on the rest of us. Without the reasonable support of Congress and the state legislatures along with the concurrence of the majority of the Supreme Court, Academic Oligarchists are at a major disadvantage. Unless of course they use military force in an Authoritarian Revolution.

A true peaceful total revolution by populists or reactionaries is a mythical, romantic fantasy which is exactly what our founding fathers intended.

Some peaceful policy successes by Romantic Populists and Mythical Reactionaries have been accomplished. Within the American Congress and the state legislatures, both Romantic Populists and Mythical Reactionaries occasionally win some policy battles through legislation.

Then the Shareholder Capitalists adapt to (or sometimes thwart) those policies by working with the Academic Oligarchists to fine tune how the new rules are administered and/or by allowing detail variations where Shareholder Capitalists control state governments

As a group neither Academic Oligarchists nor Shareholder Capitalists embrace a particular "ideology". Neither is rigidly "left" or "right", "liberal" or "conservative" because those labels have no real world meaning beyond political spin. Most understand that if you get caught up in an ideological myth, you are inside a bubble that prevents your meaningful participation in the world. They let the rest of us argue over ideology.

Let's take a look at some examples of  issues of  concern to 21st Century Americans because they have contributed to the Economic Collapse and which Academic Oligarchists and Shareholder Capitalists have struggled with.

Example #1 - Housing Costs

That 2016 housing costs are the source of voter anger in the U.S. is a no brainer.

Most Americans Think the Housing Crisis Never Ended written in 2016 tells us:
The Great Recession rewrote the American dream. Millions of Americans who thought they’d captured the flag instead got swallowed up by a national mortgage-foreclosure crisis. Many of those former homeowners are now renters, competing in ever-more concentrated job markets for ever-scarcer affordable housing.

So perhaps it comes as no surprise that most Americans say that the housing crisis never ended. In fact, one in five Americans say that the worst is yet to come....
In a 2008 article in the Village Voice we were told:
Perhaps the only domestic issue George Bush and Bill Clinton were in complete agreement about was maximizing home ownership, each trying to lay claim to a record percentage of homeowners, and both describing their efforts as a boon to blacks and Hispanics. HUD, Fannie, and Freddie were their instruments, and, as is now apparent, the more unsavory the means, the greater the growth. But, as Paul Krugman noted in the Times recently, "homeownership isn't for everyone," adding that as many as 10 million of the new buyers are stuck now with negative home equity—meaning that with falling house prices, their mortgages exceed the value of their homes. So many others have gone through foreclosure that there's been a net loss in home ownership since 1998.
We have, of course, been deluged with news stories, books and movies about the whole mortgage scam that created The Great Recession. Articles such as Home Insecurity 2013: Foreclosures and housing in Ohio indicated the situation in a "swing" state:
Ohio foreclosures are at crisis levels, with more than 70,000 new foreclosures filed in 2012. This was about the same as in 2011 when the state experienced 71,556 foreclosures. What began as mostly an urban problem in the mid-1990s later erupted into a statewide epidemic. Levels have been, for the past three years, below the peak level of 89,000 in 2009. Despite these recent declines, last year’s rates were still two times higher than they had been a decade before in every Ohio county. The high foreclosure numbers persist despite national, state, and local efforts to stem new filings.

Foreclosures represent a major and ongoing blow against families’ main source of savings and against stability. This report analyzes the new foreclosure filings statistics in Ohio along with some of the latest developments in foreclosure prevention efforts. To add context to the foreclosure numbers, the report provides updates on mortgage defaults and negative equity. It ends with recommendations to better assist individuals, families and communities in becoming more stable.
While the number foreclosures have declined since then, a new problem has developed as explained in The financial pain of middle- and low-income renters:
Even as home prices continue to recover from the last decade's housing collapse, there's another crisis developing: sky-high rent burdens.

About 11.4 million American households are paying more than half of their incomes to afford their rent, a record high, according to a new report from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Rent burdens are especially widespread in moderate-income households in the 10 most expensive housing markets, where the report notes that three-quarters of renters earning less than $45,000 pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

Younger Americans are also struggling with a decline in real incomes, with 25 to 34 year olds coping with an 18 percent slump in real incomes, which has added to the difficulties of saving for a down payment.

With homeownership declining, the rental market is where the housing market is shining. More than 36 percent of U.S. households were renters last year, the highest share in five decades.

"Rental demand has risen across all age groups, income levels, and household types, with large increases among older renters and families with children," the report noted.

That's also prompted a rise in households who are cost-burdened, or paying more than 30 percent of their incomes to their landlords. About 21.3 million American households are now considered cost-burdened, an increase of 3.6 million from 2008.
The anger of many Mythical Reactionaries supporting Trump begins with the disappointment brought about  by George Bush and Bill Clinton advocating maximizing home ownership (part of the ownership society Bush talked about which dates back to Margaret Thatcher's administration in the United Kingdom).

It also is of serious concern to the Romantic Populist Millennials whose concerns range from never being able to buy a home to high rents leading to articles like The American housing crisis threatening to put us all on the streets which emphasizes action taken by the Administration of New York Mayor and Academic Oligarchist Bill de Blasio (alma mater Columbia):
On Monday, New York City took a dramatic step that highlights just how out of control rental housing costs have become in the Big Apple and in many cities nationwide. For the first time, New York froze rents for one-year leases on a million rent-stabilized apartments.

“Today’s decision means relief,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters. “We know tenants have been forced to make painful choices that pitted ever-rising rent against necessities like groceries, child care and medical bills.”

Landlords balked and criticized City Hall, calling the move an “unconscionable, politically driven decision.” But Rent Board chair Rachel Godsil was having none of it. Her staff had found that landlord incomes had grown for nine years in a row, including by 3.4 percent last year, while costs only grew by 0.5 percent. In contrast, a majority of most stabilized renters faced continuing income stagnation.
Some, but not all, landlords are Shareholder Capitalists and this is an example of conflict with Academic Oligarchists.

But the fact is that in many regions, particularly in California, Academic Oligarchists have supported policies that create housing shortages. The reasons are complex and include popular environmental rationales.

They rationales are, of course, part of a sales pitch hiding economic impacts by diverting attention, much like gay marriage as an issue diverts attention.

This drives up the cost of housing as thoroughly explained by the California Legislative Analyst in a 2015 report California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences. Yet, Mythical Reactionaries and Romantic Populists for different reasons are going to find it difficult to support the recommendation of the California Legislative Analyst:
We advise the Legislature to change policies to facilitate significantly more private home and apartment building in California’s coastal urban areas. Though the exact number of new housing units California needs to build is uncertain, the general magnitude is enormous. On top of the 100,000 to 140,000 housing units California is expected to build each year, the state probably would have to build as many as 100,000 additional units annually—almost exclusively in its coastal communities—to seriously mitigate its problems with housing affordability. Facilitating additional housing of this magnitude will be extremely difficult. It could place strains on the state’s infrastructure and natural resources and alter the prized character of California’s coastal communities. It also would require the state to make changes to a broad range of policies that affect housing supply directly or indirectly—including policies that have been fundamental tenets of California government for many years.
Those "fundamental tenets" - mostly environmentalism - curiously had the side effect of creating a housing shortage inflating the value of existing homes to the benefit of homeowners who then also apply additional pressure on California's Academic Oligarchists.

To date no possible compromise has been achieved, though the recent termination of the Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission, Academic Oligarchist Charles Lester (Columbia), was attributed in part to pressure from "some of the state's most powerful lobbyists, representing some of the state's wealthiest people and corporations" or Shareholder Capitalists.

Example #2 - Student Loans

If housing costs are a 21st Century issue, student loan programs began in the 1950's, as explained in Wikipedia:
U.S. Government-backed student loans were first offered in the 1950s under the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), and were only available to select categories of students, such as those studying toward engineering, science, or education degrees. The student loan program, along with other parts of the Act, which subsidized college professor training, was established in response to the Soviet Union's launch of the Sputnik satellite, and a widespread perception that the United States was falling behind in science and technology, in the middle of the Cold War. Student loans were extended more broadly in the 1960s under the Higher Education Act of 1965, with the goal of encouraging greater social mobility and equality of opportunity.
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Education William Bennett raised the issue underlying expanding student debt in a New York Times Opinion Piece titled Our Greedy Colleges. A Harvard Law graduate and automatic Academic Oligarchist, Bennett is  ignored by the public and considered a conservative by those who like to use meaningless labels.

At the time Bennett wrote his opinion piece the Reagan Administration was trying to minimize the future impact of the student debt problem by creating Income Contingent Loans which would permit repayment schedules to be tailored to a student's income.

As Bennett explained it in the context of a time when graduates would likely get good jobs: "A graduate's payments would never have to exceed 15 percent of his adjusted gross income, and he could have as long as necessary to repay."

But Bennett was angry at what he was seeing and wrote:
Many of our colleges are at it again. As they have done annually for the past six years, they have begun to unveil tuition increases that far outstrip the inflation rate. Next year, tuition is expected to rise 6 percent to 8 percent - even though inflation during 1986 was about 1.8 percent.

...Since 1982, money available through Federal student aid programs has increased every single year. Overall, Federal outlays for student aid are up 57 percent since 1980. Since 1980, inflation has been just 26 percent....

If anything, increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities blithely to raise their tuitions, confident that Federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase. In 1978, subsidies became available to a greatly expanded number of students. In 1980, college tuitions began rising year after year at a rate that exceeded inflation. Federal student aid policies do not cause college price inflation, but there is little doubt that they help make it possible.

 At the same time that higher education has been cutting a bigger piece of the Federal pie, it has also received huge infusions of cash from state governments, from corporations, from foundations and from loyal alumni. The total increase in higher education spending from all these non-Federal sources is staggering. Spending for higher education now consumes about 40 percent of all money spent in America for education.

It is by no means clear that the performance of many of our colleges and universities justifies this level of expenditure. As I said on the occasion of Harvard's 350th anniversary, too many students fail to receive the education they deserve at our nation's universities. The real problem is not lack of money but failure of vision. 
While Bennett and other members of the Reagan Administration in the context of the time attempted to make the impact of the student loan program less onerous, Bennett was attempting to get future Academic Oligarchists and Congress to deal with the underlying problem - greedy colleges and universities which he felt were not offering a good product and were beginning to look a lot like institutions operated by Shareholder Capitalists.

It is more than ironic that by the 21st Century Shareholder Capitalists, including Donald Trump, were actually running colleges for profit. And, of course, by the 21st Century students from all types of colleges and universities were saddled with high debt while the number of employment opportunities for new graduates that were typical from 1950-1990 declined.

The Bernie Sanders Romantic Populist movement used student debt as one of its key issues but presented the solution as "free tuition" for everyone. This is, of course, consistent with the delusional nature of the movement. As explained by a federal pamphlet on student loans:
You may use the money you receive only to pay for education expenses at the school that awarded your loan. Education expenses include school charges such as tuition; room and board; fees; books; supplies; equipment; dependent childcare expenses; transportation; and rental or purchase of a personal computer.
This would, of course, pay for costs calculated like this from a California university's website:

Click on image to see a larger version!

When I say that the "free tuition" for everyone as being presented is a delusional solution, it is because as you can see from this website without tuition a four year program still would cost about $80,000.Having the government fund tuition at California's state colleges would cover an additional $20,000.

(Vermont, on the other hand, has its state colleges charge students double that because Bernie and his fellow false-Progressive Vermonters won't subsidize college like California taxpayers do. Or maybe because there are a number of private colleges such as the one Bernie's wife ran.)

Sure, it would help to have free tuition. But it wouldn't come close to keeping students out of debt. That the  Sanders Romantic Populists aren't well enough informed to understand this reinforces William Bennett's comment: "It is by no means clear that the performance of many of our colleges and universities justifies this level of expenditure."

Still, the Shareholder Capitalists and Academic Oligarchists together have failed to devise a compromise to minimize this debt problem.

Further, the Shareholder Capitalists - particularly the tech sector innovators - are the ones demanding this additional education/training. Many have been hiring immigrants from Asia rather than funding adequate education.

This has resulted in the political backlash from both Romantic Populists saddled with the debt and Mythical Reactionaries objecting to immigration.

Example #3 - Net Neutrality

It is still possible for the Academic Oligarchists to devise solutions to problems even with resistance from Shareholder Capitalists, particularly when the latter group is divided on an issue.

No one thought about the internet in ideological terms when it was being developed in the framework of the Department of Defense and cooperating universities - both stable institutional environments mostly controlled by Academic Oligarchists.

Then the internet was broadly implemented by Shareholder Capitalists in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Following broad implementation, however, America was confronted with a populist uprising over net neutrality with Shareholder Capitalists disagreeing with each other because of contrary interest - internet service providers versus web site operators. In this case Academic Oligarchists devised the adaptation.

Academic Oligarchists this past year set some operational rules within a framework of encouraging the profitable consolidation of internet service providers by Shareholder Capitalists and the profitable operation of popular web sites by new Shareholder Capitalists. It also assures a mix of Shareholder Capitalist beneficiaries such as cloud service providers ranging from the venerable IBM to Jeff Bezos' Amazon.

This is a good example of adaptation by Academic Oligarchists and Shareholder Capitalists. But it is also an example of how what is a public utility - in terms of a historical understanding of that term - typically heavily regulated to achieve egalitarian economic goals, can become something else just by administrative actions of Academic Oligarchists. It was necessary because of gridlock in Congress.

The rules will avoid any continuing threat of revolution from tech Romantic Populists, who were focused not on rates charged to American families, but on making sure the entertainment website corporations didn't get reduced speeds or have to pay "fast lane" charges to the internet service corporations.

The issue of net neutrality appears to have been resolved by a policy decision from a government bureaucracy - the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In the process,  two automatic Academic Oligarchists - Jessica Rosenworcel,  Wellesley, for neutrality regulation (see How Jessica Rosenworcel Is Shaping Our Digital Future) and Ajit Pai, Harvard and University of Chicago, against neutrality regulation (see - Net neutrality's chief critic)  - played key roles in the debate.

The net neutrality policy approved by a 3-2 Commission vote orders what tech nerd Romantic Populists believe is beneficial true net neutrality. (The policy might be reviewed by the Supreme Court though they may pass on taking up the appeal of the appeals court decision approving the new policy written by Appellate Court Judges Sri Srinivasan, Stanford, and David Tatel, University of Chicago.) Within this discussion, the FCC has assured all Shareholder Capitalists that it will not get involved in their routine setting of rates for internet activity.

The sad fact is, of the three examples, the first two matter in people's lives but the Academic Oligarchists failed miserably. Even Net Neutrality will not assure internet affordability nor universal high speed internet for ordinary folks.

In 2016 it appears we have reached a point that the Academic Oligarchists and Shareholder Capitalists may face a serious revolution.

7. Dissidents in American Politics: The Romantic & Mythical in Politics

"Dissidents" are people who actively challenge established doctrine, policy, or institutions. This post is the seventh in a series of 10 posts regarding the confusing "revolutions" of the 2016 Presidential Election.

Romantic Populists

Populism is a political position which holds that the "virtuous" citizens are being mistreated by a small circle of elites, who can be overthrown if the people recognize the danger and work together.

The elites (aka The Establishment) are depicted as trampling in illegitimate fashion upon the rights, values, and voice of the "legitimate" people. The "legitimate" people are, of course, the Romantic Populists who rarely constitute more than 20% of the population, plus everyone else they believe they have the right to speak and think for.

One of the reasons as an American I call it "romantic" populism is that most of the American adherents, who appear out of the ether every four years, seem to believe that solely by winning the Presidency that will have solved all their problems by having overthrown Academic Oligarchists in a revolution.

The followers of Bernie Sanders primarily fall into that category (as do many of those who voted for Brexit) because the bulk of financial benefits of 21st Century economic growth have gone to upper middle class (in terms of per person income over $80,000 a year) and wealthy (in terms of asset value per owner over $10 million).

Romantic Populists are, of course, delusional dissidents when they see Academic Oligarchists as the The Establishment that has brought about the dysfunctional growth of economic inequality by its failure to restrain the Shareholder Capitalists.

To understand how that inequality came about they would need to take a quick look in the mirror, then in recognition of the truth turn off their iPhones and contemplate them. They should see in their phones the $181 billion held offshore by Apple to avoid taxes on wealth accumulation by the corporation, wealth from profits not distributed to shareholders. They should see the manipulation of consumers by Steve Jobs.

If they thought about it, even that lack of distribution of profits may seem illogical based on theoretical capitalism. But remember that a true Shareholder Capitalist within the corporation looks to advance corporate wealth without regard to the well-being of persons. And, after all, the shareholders are the owners of the $181 billion which has been set aside to assure longer term corporate goals which will enrich the corporation they own, so its all good.

Romantic Populists think the Academic Oligarchists controlling the power of the Presidency could correct this situation. But in fact that kind of governmental policy must come from laws passed by Congress which, as we know, is not controlled by Academic Oligarchists.

Rather it is controlled by other people elected to their positions by voters, voters who were persuaded to elect them by publicity and advertising bought by Shareholder Capitalists involved in the State Policy Network (more on that group below).The key elections regarding that kind of governmental policy occur two years after each Presidential election when the Romantic Populists seem to disappear, even from the voting booth.

Through their ignorance of American history, Romantic Populists seem to forget that at the beginning of the 20th Century, the Robber Barons were the target of a number "progressive" changes to be instituted by Academic Oligarchists (Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Harvard) which, of course, the new Shareholder Capitalists had rolled back or bypassed with the cooperation of Congress and the state governments by the end of the 20th Century.

For American Romantic Populists to achieve economic egalitarian change without a violent socialist revolution, they would have to never again buy an iPhone, symbolically rejecting the current world of Shareholder Capitalists and particularly the current world of entrepreneurial Shareholder Capitalists. They would have to spend much of their time every day working to elect new members of Congress and state legislatures, new members who also reject the current world of Shareholder Capitalists.

Or they can pretend it is enough to get enthused about a Presidential candidate once every four years and spend the rest of their time streaming "Game of Thrones" on their Apple TV, which is certainly ironic.

Mythical Reactionaries

A reactionary is a dissident who holds political views that favor a return to a previous political state of society, which they believe possessed characteristics (discipline, respect for authority, etc.) that are negatively absent from the contemporary society.

Those who voted for Brexit to "take back" Britain - mostly white folks - did have a real time to remember. At least those over 500 years old had a real time to remember. It was before the British Empire. Britain was just a little island with no significant wealth, generally fighting wars with the French and each other. What they think they remember is a time that was before the industrial revolution and before immigration from the colonies.

The followers of  Donald Trump primarily fall into that category also. The reason I call them "mythical" reactionaries is the previous political state of American society with the characteristics they long for never existed.

In some cases American Mythical Reactionaries believe that there was the "Leave It to Beaver" 1950's  - when "fairly" paid hard working men went home to a three bedroom, two bath home they owned where their homemaker wives and 2.6 children greeted them. Their economic situation was the result of their hard work and adherence to values. In this mythical time all that happened without unions and without having had The New Deal government intervention or the myth wouldn't be mythical enough.

In other cases, American Mythical Reactionaries believe that there was a time like the 1880's in the West where brave hardworking pioneers made it on their own. This was achieved without having the government pushing in railroad capitalism and pushing out the Native Americans using genocide when necessary or the myth wouldn't be mythical enough.

At that time governmental intervention was necessary, of course, to offer government benefits to the European immigrant ancestors of the Mythical Reactionaries. The benefits were the various Homestead Acts giving those immigrants land specifically to take pressure off an economic unstable Eastern United States, a time in which Catholic immigration was a significant disruptive force.

Mythical Reactionaries among the general population too suffer the delusion that by overthrowing the Academic Oligarchists through winning the Presidency, some outsider will solve all their problems.

However, over the past two decades, unlike the Romantic Populists who are too busy to be bothered with uninteresting people like members of Congress and their state legislatures, some Mythical Reactionaries have been effective in electing a Congress and state legislatures that push for social policies they think will return America to one of those mythical previous state of society.

Unfortunately for the Mythical Reactionaries from the general populace,  members of Congress and the legislatures they have elected are catering to the economic interests of Shareholder Capitalists. This is not an accident. Their success was facilitated by the State Policy Network, a consortium of conservative and libertarian groups which focus on state-level politics funding a successful ongoing coordinated strategy across 34 states (the other 16 states are pretty much blue despite their best efforts) which was a blueprint for the Mythical Reactionary conservative political success.

In December 2013, The Guardian, in collaboration with The Texas Observer and the Portland Press Herald, obtained, analyzed, and published 40 grant proposals from SPN regular member organizations. The grant proposals sought funding through SPN from the Searle Freedom Trust. According to The Guardian, the proposals documented a coordinated strategy across 34 states, "a blueprint for the conservative agenda in 2014." The reports described the grant proposals in six states as suggesting campaigns designed to cut pay to state government employees; oppose public sector collective bargaining; reduce public sector services in education and healthcare; promote school vouchers; oppose efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions; reduce or eliminate income and sales taxes; and study a proposed block grant reform to Medicare.

A month earlier, the State Policy Network was tied to the billionaire Shareholder Capitalists Koch Brothers. This year the Koch Brothers have offered clarity as noted by The Washington Post:
The Koch political network, which has steadfastly refused to engage in the 2016 presidential contest, plans to invoke Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in paid messages to voters as part of its campaigns supporting GOP Senate candidates, top officials said Saturday.

“We are going to tie the Democrat candidates to Hillary Clinton and the failed policies that she supports, and highlight the differences with the Republican candidates that we favor and that we’re supporting,” said Mark Holden, chairman of the board of Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the network’s funding arm.

But Holden said the network has no plans to run an explicit campaign opposing Clinton’s efforts to reach the White House, saying: “We are going to differentiate on policies alone. It’s not going to be anti-Hillary.”

The plans to invoke Clinton in Senate ads come as the network is under pressure from some of its wealthy donors to get off the sidelines and use its national field infrastructure and paid advertising capacity to back GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. But Koch Industries chief executive Charles Koch has refused to budge, repeatedly expressing his dismay with Trump's tone and policy positions.

But the billionaire Shareholder Capitalists Koch Brothers not withstanding, the Mythical Reactionaries candidate to assure replacement of the Academic Oligarchists in the Executive and Judicial Branches is Donald Trump, a Shareholder Capitalist who ironically qualifies as an automatic Academic Oligarchist.

He will be helped by his Vice-Presidential Candidate Mike Pence who in 1991 became president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, an organization that is part of the State Policy Network.

Pence was placed in the Vice-President candidate position under confusing circumstances and generally dismissed by the press as someone there to appeal to the religious right. Of course he will appeal to the religious right, but he likely will have a significant role in facilitating the State Policy Network agenda with support from Congress and the States. As The Washington Post article notes: "Still, the invocation of Clinton in Koch-backed ads is another way that the operation could end up indirectly boosting Trump."

As a Shareholder Capitalist Trump has embraced some of the worst abuses and misuses of the corporation, turning the impersonal into personal, and showcasing it on television. It's hard to imagine how he and Pence will perform, what goals they will have, where up to now the standard is how best to achieve the goals of the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But even the Koch Brothers have serious problems with Trump.

It would, of course, be against the wishes of a substantial majority of Americans. However, protests movements can easily be shut down by an authoritarian President.

Let's now take a look at how the Shareholder Capitalists and Academic Oligarchists struggle with issues that place them on opposite sides.

6. Dissidents in American Politics: The Academic Oligarchist Class

"Dissidents" are people who actively challenge established doctrine, policy, or institutions. This post is the sixth in a series of 10 posts regarding the confusing "revolutions" of the 2016 Presidential Election.

Academic Oligarchists advocate control of government executive and judicial power by people who can be trusted to act on behalf of the "common good." They can be trusted because they have shared ties and knowledge gained through higher education, meaning colleges and universities they have attended.

Membership into the American Academic Oligarchy can automatically derive from holding a degree from an American Ivy League school (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale) plus a few others (College of William and Mary, University of Chicago, Duke, Georgetown, Stanford, Wellesley, and the three military academies).

It is important to recognize that Academic Oligarchists are not employed by a university or college, except on a temporary basis or when semi-retired. Nor are they employed regularly in the private sector. Rather they work as elected or appointed public officials.

While the focus here is on the latter half of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st Century, the American Academic Oligarchy assumed control at the creation of the United States. Of course our first six Presidents attended one of those colleges:
  • George Washington - College of William and Mary
  • Thomas Jefferson - College of William and Mary
  • John Adams - Harvard
  • James Madison - University of Pennsylvania
  • James Monroe - College of William and Mary
  • John Quincy Adams - Harvard
And among the Supreme Court Justices appointed by those Presidents were:
  • John Jay - Columbia
  • Oliver Ellsworth - Yale, Princeton
  • William Paterson - Princeton
  • William Cushing - Harvard
  • John Blair, Jr. - College of William and Mary
  • Bushrod Washington - College of William and Mary
  • John Marshall - College of William and Mary
  • William Johnson - Princeton
  • Henry Brockholst Livingston - Princeton
  • Joseph Story - Harvard
  • Smith Thompson - Princeton
In reality it began with the Declaration of Independence as the signers included:
  • John Hancock - Harvard
  • William Hooper - Harvard
  • Samuel Adams - Harvard
  • Robert Treat Paine - Harvard
  • Elbridge Gerry - Harvard
  • William Ellery - Harvard
  • William Williams - Harvard
  • Oliver Wolcott - Yale
  • Philip Livingston - Yale
  • Lyman Hall - Yale
  • Carter Braxton - College of William and Mary
  • Benjamin Harrison V - College of William and Mary
  • Benjamin Rush - Princeton
  • Joseph Hewes - Princeton
  • Thomas McKean - Princeton, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania
  • Francis Hopkinson - University of Pennsylvania
  • James Smith - University of Pennsylvania
  • James Wilson - University of Pennsylvania
  • William Paca - University of Pennsylvania
It's even more complicated than that.

We all know that Benjamin Franklin, like so many of his time, was educated more informally. That might make you think he wasn't involved in the Academic Oligarchy. What you may not know is the Academy and College of Philadelphia located in Philadelphia was founded in 1749 by a group of local notables that included Benjamin Franklin. Franklin, the first president of the board of trustee, drew up the constitution for the academy, which was notable for its emphasis on modern languages and science in place of Latin and Greek. It was reorganized in 1791 as the University of Pennsylvania.

Twenty-one members of the Continental Congress were graduates of Benjamin Franklin's school, and nine signers of the Declaration of Independence were either alumni or trustees.

Given the times, as we might expect many signers not listed were educated in Great Britain. As an example, John Witherspoon attended the University of Edinburgh but emigrated from Scotland to New Jersey in 1768 to become the sixth President of the College of New Jersey, later known as Princeton University.

While holding a degree from any university, any person can become affiliated with American Academic Oligarchists by working in a senior position for a President, or Cabinet Member, or even a State executive official who is an Academic Oligarchist.

Most significantly, the American Academic Oligarchy controls the U.S. Presidency and Supreme Court. Oh. And did I say that they believe they work to achieve "the common good" which in the 20th Century was defined by The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a documents most Americans don't even know exists. On other hand, how to achieve "the common good" is the subject of political disputes.

Here is a list of the American Presidents who first entered the office after the adoption of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and their alma maters:
  • Barack Obama - Columbia and Harvard Law School
  • George W. Bush - Yale and Harvard Business School
  • Bill Clinton - Georgetown, Oxford, and Yale Law School
  • George H. W. Bush - Yale
  • Ronald Reagan -  Eureka College
  • Jimmy Carter -  U.S. Naval Academy
  • Gerald Ford -  Yale Law School
  • Richard Nixon -  Duke University School of Law
  • Lyndon B. Johnson - Texas State University
  • John F. Kennedy -  attended Stanford and graduated from Harvard
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower - United States Military Academy (West Point)
Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson were not automatic members of the American Academic Oligarchy.

As we know, Lyndon Johnson accidentally became President after the assassination of Jack Kennedy and immediately was surrounded by members of the American Academic Oligarchy who were part of the Kennedy administration. Ironically, because of timing the American Academic Oligarchy in 1964 had to use Johnson, whose leanings were toward being a Romantic Populist, to stop a Mythical Reactionary movement led by  Barry Goldwater. Johnson only recently has been posthumously "embraced" by Academic Oligarchs.

By the time Ronald Reagan entered the Office of the President he too was surrounded with automatic members. But he had served two terms as Governor of California 1967–75 with Ed Meese as his Chief of Staff.  Meese was a Yale graduate. It is in examining the people like Meese around Reagan's political career that we can gain a clearer picture of what it means to be an Academic Oligarchist.

For instance, a classic example of an Academic Oligarchist associated with Reagan was Caspar Weinberger, who held a BA and a law degree from Harvard.
  • Governor Ronald Reagan named Weinberger chairman of the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy in 1967 and appointed him State director of finance early in 1968. 
  • Two years later Weinberger became chairman of the Federal Trade Commission where is credited for having revitalized the FTC by enforcing consumer protection. 
  • Weinberger subsequently served under President Richard Nixon as Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. 
  • Weinberger then became vice president and general counsel of the Bechtel Corporation in California directly working in the world of Shareholder Capitalists for what is today the largest construction and civil engineering company in the United States, ranking as the 5th-largest privately owned company in the United States; it was and is a major contractor working for the U.S. Government which, as of July 2015, leads a consortium that manages three national security-related facilities in the U.S.: the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the combined Y-12 National Security Complex/Pantex Plant..
  • Weinberger then served as Secretary of Defense for the first six years of Reagan's Presidency. 
  • Afterwards Weinberger joined Forbes, Inc., in 1989 as publisher of Forbes magazine, and in 1993 he was named chairman. 
  • In he early 21st Century Weinberger was a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute of Oxford University.
Regarding Ronald Reagan as California's most conservative Governor, the presence of Academic Oligarchy thinking in him or around him led to some rather non-conservative policies:
  • In 1968, he signed the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act, establishing collective bargaining for California's municipal and county employees which is consistent with his history as a union leader;
  • During his term as Governor, he oversaw adoption of sweeping tax packages at least four times larger than the previous record California tax increase obtained by Governor Brown in 1959;
  • In 1970 he signed the landmark California Environmental Quality Act; he worked with Nevada Republican Governor Paul Laxalt to establish the Lake Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to protect the Lake from irresponsible development; he signed the bill that created the California Air Resources Control Board; and he opposed a major federal highway construction project through the southern Sierras, literally putting on his cowboy hat and riding his horse through the John Muir Wilderness to publicize his opposition;
  • He signed the Therapeutic Abortion Act, making California the third and largest state to allow for abortion in cases such as rape, incest, or where pregnancy would impair the physical or mental health of the mother, though he did struggle with this bill personally as explained in this story.
By the time his term as Governor ended, Academic Oligarchists accepted him one of their own. As a Presidential candidate, Reagan was an experienced union executive and governor who throughout his life regularly sought the advice and counsel of automatic Academic Oligarchists.

Regarding the Supreme Court, here is a list of the current Supreme Court justices:
  • John Roberts - Harvard and Harvard Law School
  • Anthony Kennedy - Stanford and Harvard Law School
  • Clarence Thomas -Yale Law School
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Cornell University, Harvard Law School, and Columbia Law School
  • Stephen Breyer - Stanford University, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School
  • Samuel Alito - Princeton and Yale Law School
  • Sonia Sotomayor - Princeton and Yale Law School
  • Elena Kagan - Princeton, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School
In terms of the future of the Presidency we have a strong challenge to the Academic Oligarchist tradition:
  • Hillary Clinton is the model Academic Oligarchist who graduated from Wellesley in 1969 and received a Juris Doctor degree from Yale in 1973, and has held the positions of U.S. Senator and Secretary of State. Her Vice-Presidential nominee Tim Kaine also is a model Academic Oligarchist who holds a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard, has specialized training as an Academic Oligarchist from the Coro Foundation, and has held the positions of City Council Member, Mayor, Lieutenant Governor, Governor, and U.S. Senator.
  • The challenge comes from Donald Trump who did graduate from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, Penn's business school, but has never held any governmental office having always been a Shareholder Capitalist. His Vice-Presidential nominee Mike Pence is an anti-Academic Oligarchist as a long-time member of the State Policy Network (we will discuss that further in the next post) who has held the position of the president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, a conservative talk radio show host, Congressman and Governor.
Regarding Donald Trump's alma mater, there is a certain irony that has to be noted given his bombastic anti-China demagoguery which can be seen if you click on the image below:

You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to look at the lists above and think: "Yes, the evidence indicates that the American Academic Oligarchy dominates the  U.S. Presidency and Supreme Court."

However, Academic Oligarchists do not dominate the law-making or budget-adoption roles in the United States. That function is left to Congress and the state legislatures, members of which are directly elected and are therefore responsible to the voters.

If members of the public do not like our laws and budgets, they need only look in the mirror to find someone to blame. Academic Oligarchists only have review and veto power, and do control administration of the laws and budget.

Like the Shareholder Capitalists, they do try to influence the direction of policy-making pursuant to those laws.The views of  Academic Oligarchists, particularly in the context of seeking a common good as defined by The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, frequently do conflict with those of Shareholder Capitalists. We need to examine that conflict and how resolution is achieved.

But first we need to look at the other two classes - the dissidents.

1. Dissidents in American Politics: "Left", "Right", "Conservative" and "Liberal" are Meaningless Labels

"Dissidents" are people who actively challenge established doctrine, policy, or institutions. This post is the first in a series of 10 posts regarding the confusing "revolutions" of the 2016 Presidential Election.

The political terms Left and Right were coined during the French Revolution (1789–1799), referring to the seating arrangement in the Estates General:
  • Those who sat on the left generally supported the revolution including the creation of a republic and secularization;
  • Those who sat on the right were supportive of the traditional institutions of the Old Regime including the monarchy and a strong belief structure derived from a revered book of beliefs we call "religious."
In other words, the terms were based on an 18th Century French seating chart.

In many ways it was weird that those terms were incorporated into the political language of the United States; after all, the American Revolution created a secular republic.

If that isn't bad enough, we English speakers then divided into "left" and "right" the two extreme 20th Century implementations of tyrannical, totalitarian dictatorships - Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union - both of which embraced a strong, religious-like belief structure derived from a revered book.

It is even harder to understand logically how we got from there to a broad acceptance of the idea that...
  • the American right is laissez-faire capitalism based on the reactionary writings of Russian immigrant Ayn Rand - Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum. a member of a Jewish bourgeois family born in 1905 and raised in Russia - who, after the Russian Revolution opened universities to women, was in the first group of women to enroll at Petrograd State University and who in her later years was a lecturer at Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and Harvard; and
  • the American left is libertarian socialism influenced among others by Robert Owen's experiment in New Harmony, Indiana, by the Nonpartisan League's North Dakota tradition of government rejection of big business, and more recently by the reactionary writings of Noam Chomsky (born in the United States of Eastern European immigrant Ashkenazi Jewish parents) who was educated at the University of Pennsylvania
 ...both of which embrace an economic philosophy that abhors centralized state control of the economy. If Rand and Chomsky had held public office they would have been in America's Academic Oligarchy by virtue of university affiliations, as that term is explained later in these posts.

What is odd is that politics and economics as academic studies somehow became separated in the minds of serious, but confused, people. Perhaps it is time we Americans remind ourselves of something:

In the 21st Century, as it was in the 20th Century and half of the 19th Century, paper (and now digital) money is a central government created and controlled commodity.

For our first 65 years, from the founding of the United States to the passage of the National Banking Act, some 8,000 different entities - mostly state charted banks - engaged in the highly profitable business of issuing currency. In addition to encouraging rampant counterfeiting, this created an unreliable money supply as frequently these banks would fail. It also created a multitude of local economies, interfering with travel even between cities, much less between states.

Without going into all the complexities, by establishing a single national currency during the Civil War, the National Banking Act eliminated the overwhelming variety of paper money circulating throughout the country thereby facilitating a true national economy.

To put it as simply as possible, the central government controls the supply of money through  monetary policy and assures its acceptance as "legal tender" so that payment for labor and goods can be accomplished reliably. Further, the value of an asset - property - is measured by what someone would pay for it in dollars - federal reserve notes - not in pumpkins or "Bank of Nome Alaska" notes.

(As a side comment, Brexit is about money. It is no coincidence the United Kingdom never substituted the Euro for the Pound. The UK was only "sort of half in" when it came to the European Union. Thus in part the Brexit vote ironically reflected the reluctance of those who opposed Brexit to be a full participant in the first place.)

By definition, an economy depends upon the money supply and in the 21st Century it is the government's responsibility to see that an economy works. Government is controlled by politics. Therefore, politicians facilitate the economy. Remember this fact - politicians facilitate the economy, economists ruminate on the idea of an economy, businesses take advantage of the economy, workers struggle to survive and sometimes they can strive to be comfortable in an economy.

On the other hand, a government has a hard time coping with the impact of what people do with the money they are allowed to keep - after taxes sends some of that money back to its creator. Not to be repetitive, money is a government created commodity in the first place.

It is the dispute over how much wealth (measured in money) individuals and corporations can control versus how much the government controls that supposedly is reflected in the popular labels  "left" and "right."

What that has to do with gay marriage and being "liberal" or "conservative" demonstrates just how confusing these labels are and how little we understand the role of government in our society.

With the advent (the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event) of Brexit into British politics and Donald Trump into American politics, it's time for English speakers to toss the political terms "left" and "right" into the scrap heap of history. And based upon the vote in Britain and the weakness of the parties in the United States, we should reconsider our use of the labels "liberal" and "conservative" in politics.

In the second post of this series, I will discuss proper labels for people actively participating in politics and the economy either as members of "The Establishment" or as "dissidents."

2. Dissidents in American Politics: 21st Century Political Divisions

"Dissidents" are people who actively challenge established doctrine, policy, or institutions. This post is the second in a series of 10 posts regarding the confusing "revolutions" of the 2016 Presidential Election.

In the 21st Century, our nation, if not the world, has clarified how to classify people in the context of the political and economic milieu. People engaged in the political/economics milieu fall into one of two divisions and one of four classifications:
  • An Establishment including
    1. Shareholder Capitalists who run the world's economy, and
    2. Academic Oligarchists who run the national governments;
  • Authoritarian Revolutionary dissidents opposing "The Establishment" including
    1.  Romantic Populists who believe that the "virtuous" citizens are being mistreated by a small circle of elites and favor the "proper" division of economic resources through a government imposed sharing society, and
    2. Mythical Reactionaries who believe that "once upon a time" there was a state of society which possessed characteristics such as discipline, respect for authority, etc., that are absent from contemporary society and favor a government imposed return to that state of society.
Politically disengaged persons, typically about 40% of the adult population in the United States, are not relevant to these classifications. Their disengagement becomes relevant only when a revolution is attempted.

In the 21st Century world through experience (See Arab Spring) we have learned that the likelihood of a successful relatively peaceful democratic - non-authoritarian - revolution is slim mostly because of that disengagement. The likelihood of successful non-authoritarian democratic revolutions through violence offered by the American Revolution is also slim as the French learned when their revolution culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon. What we need to understand is that, in most of the world, positive government change towards a non-authoritarian model is achieved in an evolutionary process such as occurred in the United Kingdom.

As we shall explore later, the division of powers within the American Constitution creating a strong central government was necessary to replace a weak, failing national government established under the Articles of Confederation and one of those divisions created the position of President in which intuitive authoritarian powers were vested.

In response to the rise of Donald Trump, early on in this Presidential Election cycle we began to be offered in news commentary and in-depth articles on the 1990's-2000's research of political scientists who have defined "authoritarianism" as a psychological profile of people. Under the right conditions, people will desire certain kinds of extreme policies and will seek or favorably respond to strongman leaders - demagogues - to implement them.

This year the rabid supporters of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have made it clear that a large number of voters desire an authoritarian revolution, though they are somewhat divided in orientation between over-40 reactionary ultra-nationalists (Trump supporters) and the under-40 populist multi-culturalists (Sanders supporters).

From the beginning it rapidly became clear that the rabid Trump supporters are supporters of authoritarian government. It wasn't until the majority of Democratic Party voters selected Hillary Clinton that the rabid Sanders supporters indicated they are also supporters of authoritarian government when they clearly rejected the democratic outcome in favor of imposing their own sense of order and correctness on the majority.

We also saw that generally the younger the voter age, the more likely a dissident will embrace populist multi-culturalism while seeking economic change through authoritarian actions by a President. Generally, the older the voter age, the more likely a dissident will embrace reactionary ultra-nationalism while seeking economic change through authoritarian actions by a President.

This split is at least partially the result of two terms seemingly with a common root - communications and community. (After all, "commune" has two different definitions: (1) a noun, a group of people who live and work together and share responsibilities; (2) a verb, to converse or talk together, usually with profound intensity, intimacy, etc.)

The younger the voter's age, the more likely the voter will have embraced the early 21st Century communications system - the internet and text messaging - which creates a sense of participation in a broad multi-cultural, even international, community, but without actually contacting another human where "contact" is traditionally defined as "the act or state of touching; immediate proximity or association."

In addition, their heavy personal device use reduces direct human interaction within the local geographic community creating a sense of isolation from groups, clubs, organizations, such as the political party system which is structured from local party "central committees" which participate creating the national party.

This has created a misuse of the word "community" where people think a community exists because of interactions on Facebook and the like - where participants have interactions with others for whom they have no responsibility for their well-being as breathing mammals beyond impersonal devices like GoFundMe.

The older the voter's age, the more likely the voter does not use the internet or text messaging, or does not use it as extensively. In the 21st Century these people have continued sense of participation in a geographic community of friends, family, and older co-workers - people they know in person from direct face-to-face interaction.

On the other hand, these older voters are more isolated from. and usually fearful of, the rapidly changing face of the broader American community and the very foreign international community. It creates a sense of isolation from the late 20th Century national political party systems where national leaders in both the national Democratic and Republican parties had a strong sense of internationalism.

Most of these older voters do understand that the grassroots "Tea Party" Mythical Reactionaries have impacted on the Republican Party. However. most Americans do not know that since the 1992  a well-financed sophisticated organization of extremely conservative Shareholder Capitalists - the State Policy Network - has successfully implemented a specific goal of taking over the state governments and Congress using those "tea party" folks.

While age and other factors may tend to divide dissidents into Romantic Populists and Mythical Reactionaries, we need to acknowledge something simply expressed by one American stock market analyst:
There are a lot of angry people almost anywhere you care to look, and that anger isn't simply going to blow over. That's what happened in the late ‘60s and all of the 1970’s, and that is what's happening again now.
Age difference has not created an anger divide; they are all equally angry at "The Establishment" even if for different reasons. An increase in mass anger means an increase in the number of people who become avid Romantic Populists and Mythical Reactionaries as the number of politically disengaged become angry.

This isn't limited to the United States, as observed by a New York Times Editorial Board Opinion Piece which described the Brexit vote results:
It was a cry of anger and frustration from more than half the country against those who wield power, wealth and privilege, both in their own government and in Brussels, and against global forces in a world that they felt was squeezing them out.
The important fact to understand is that most of these angry dissidents are not avid ideologues - most of the large numbers of Romantic Populists and Mythical Reactionaries in the U.S. aren't advocates for some esoteric communist or fascist philosophies which they've studied in detail.

But they do feel the need to immediately and significantly disrupt the complex status quo created by the Shareholder Capitalists who run the world economy as facilitated by Academic Oligarchists who run the national governments. And they want it done by an authoritarian President.

The disengaged really don't care about their country being ruled by an authoritarian President ... until they do.

For ordinary people in Nazi Germany, life was comfortable, and in the period from 1950-1990 many disengaged Germans looked back and remembered accurately their years before 1939 as good years, much better than pre-1932 years. After 1939?  Yes, each day they began to care a bit more when it was too late.

Since many Americans do not understand the historical legitimacy of the authoritarian President, we will explore that subject next.