Holiday snapshots of America, food for year-end thoughts about 2016

Summary: Here are snapshots of America at the end of 2015 that give us food for thought about the New Year. None of stories are what they appear to be. If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Distorted Reality


  1. How Saddam Hussein Gave Us ISIS.
  2. Six Signs That 2016 Will Be Much Worse Than 2015.
  3. Revisiting the ticking time bomb of US stocks.
  4. The Great Republican Revolt.
  5. About the war on Christmas.
  6. Afghan forces battle to push back Taliban in Helmand.
  7. ISIS: The Threat to the United States.
  8. Recommendations of two books & two films.

(1)  Apologists for the Deep State are always welcome in American newspapers: “How Saddam Hussein Gave Us ISIS” by Kyle W. Orton (Henry Jackson Society), op-ed in the NYT — Big demand for explanations why it is not our fault that our invasions and occupations set the Middle East afire.

(2)  A pointless but popular year-end tradition: “Six Signs That 2016 Will Be Much Worse Than 2015” by Claudio Grass (a Libertarian, loves Austrian economics). It is a generic list of the sort that can be produced every December about the New Year.

(3) Revisiting the ticking time bomb” by Mark Spitznagel (CIO of Universa Investments) at Pensions & Investments — His analysis concludes “that the crash should commence right about now.” It’s a powerful analysis. However, it is misleading to describe a 20% drop in stock prices as a “crash”. Long bull cycles in equities tend to end with 40%+ drops as the economy turns down AND the inevitable valuation correction overshoots to below average levels. For more about this see…

(4) The Great Republican Revolt” by David Frum at The Atlantic — “The GOP planned a dynastic restoration in 2016. Instead, it triggered an internal class war. Can the party reconcile the demands of its donors with the interests of its rank and file?” Frum buries the lede: he correctly refers to Trump and the other GOP insurgents as “populists” but quickly drops that insight. It is too hot and implies that the GOP’s “revolutionaries” are potentially powerful.

For more about this see Next phase of the Trump revolution: rise of the new populism.

Blindfolded people

(5)  Yes, there is a “war on Christmas” (despite those who deny the news). That is, to drive Christian symbols out of public spaces. Here’s an update. It is part of the US elite’s culture war; the reaction to it powers the new populist revolt.

(6) Afghan forces battle to push back Taliban in Helmand“. How many times has Reuters run this headline since October 2001? The press, fed by DoD propaganda, reports that we’re always winning — but we keep losing.

(7)  Always a good living in America for fear-mongerers: “ISIS: The Threat to the United States” — a Threat Knowledge Group Special Report by Dr. Sebastian L. Gorka (Marine Corps U) and Katharine C. Gorka (President of the Council on Global Security). Countless such reports were written about al Qaeda before it faded. ISIS was a better model than al Qaeda, but I suspect it will also fade (making so many powerful foes was a major strategic error).

What form will Jihadist 3.0 take? For more about this see…

(8)  America suffers from change blindness and selective attention. Not serious in normal times; a major disability in turbulent times.

(9) Recommendations of two books & two films

The Odyssey
Available at Amazon.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension
Available at Amazon.
The Second Machine Age
Available at Amazon.
Countdown to Zero Day
Available at Amazon.

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