Obama's Katrina

Visuals: Some of the thousands of children suffering in a humanitarian disaster at the US border on the top of the split screen. On the bottom, President Obama drinking beer and shooting pool with locals 246 miles away. crisis-management-obama

Audio: President on deploying National Guard to alleviate humanitarian crisis: "I'd be happy to consider it," but it would be "a temporary solution."

Face it: the press was going to blame George Bush for Katrina no matter what. That's what the press does. I understand that.

But the Bush administration's handling of the post-Katrina crisis was a visual disaster on par with the humanitarian disaster.

Don't worry, though. This isn't a critique of post-Katrina actions. It's an observation of Obama's handling of the what's going on with the flood of illegals.

The Border Crisis is Obama's Katrina.

First, Obama's actions led led to the crisis. As we used to say during the Reagan Administration, ideas have consequences. As Senator Ted Cruz told Fox News:

It's important to understand what causes this… President Obama unilaterally and illegally granted amnesty to some 800,000 people who were here illegally who came as children.

I'll say it again: no reasonable person will deny that the humanitarian disaster along the US Southern border is a disaster the President asked for.

And the crisis threatens to swamp the scale of Katrina.

Cautious Prediction

Obama's smug arrogance and complete lack of urgency or compassion for the children dumped on America's door step Obama Smugborders on pathological. The crisis reveals Obama as a psychopath. If he really doesn't care, he's an indifferent psychopath. If the border disaster is a Cloward-Pivens tactic, he's a power-hungry psychopath. Obama has no path out that doesn't lead through the psychopathic jungle.

A glance at the mainstream media tells me that Obama's amen chorus is ready to abandon their former hero. But I could be wrong, and it wouldn't be the first time.

No matter what, Obama's psychopathy is undeniable.

Peering Into the Future from the Past

Check this out:

As far as the market drop and the comeback of the market, I'd just like to pass along the following information. I stand in the Ten-Year Treasury-Note pit in the Chicago Board of Trade. The name of the room I trade in is the Financial Room. We trade the commodities that represent most of our national debt. When the gov., sells debt, the buyers of that debt have to hedge somewhere. They hedge with us.

This room is the center of the universe as far as our national debt is concerned and it will become increasingly more visible as the crisis approaches. (If you’ve ever seen CNBC during the day, they cut to the CBOT floor with a reporter named, Rick Santelli. Behind Rick, you can see a trading floor; that’s the Financial Floor of the CBOT.)

That’s from James Goulding’s blog from August 2003. (The blog has been reduced to a static web page. Scroll down to see this entry in its entirety.)

I love reading people’s predictions years later. Most prognosticators miss by a mile. A few land in the ball park.  A handful scare the begeezes out of me.

Do you find it peculiar that Mr. Goulding mentioned the significance of national debt and introduced Rick Santelli so long before the two converged to inspire the Tea Party? I do.

James Goulding is a big fan of two other prognosticators who freak me out: William Strauss and Neil Howe who wrote The Fourth Turning among other works. 

Here’s a quote from that book:

A spark will ignite a new mood. Today, the same spark would flame briefly but then extinguish, its last flicker merely confirming and deepening the Unraveling-era mind-set. This time, though, it will catalyze a Crisis. In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party [bold mine].

The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy - What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny

fourth-turning0001Of course, Howe and Strauss did not predict the emergence of the Tea Party movement when they wrote in 1997. Did they? 

It’s eerie, nonetheless. Why that term? Why in that syntax?

We can’t really predict the future, but we can arm ourselves with a lot of information about the possible courses history might take and the dangers and trade-offs we face.

Strauss and Howe believe that we live though a 20-year period of Crisis every 80 to 100 years.  The last such period ended in 1945 with the end of WWII. It had begun in 1929 with the stock market crash.  The next one was between about 2005 and 2013.

And here we are.

Back to Goulding:

The point is this; the market (the DOW) is behaving [in August 2003] like the market of the 20s. However, I noticed something recently. When I advance the chart of the twenties in time, by 14 months, the similarities of this latest rally we are having (August 2003) are startling. 9/11 may have escalated the pace of the impending Spark. (The Spark wasn’t expected until 2009) It may have advanced to 2007.

Or 2008.

In this crisis, I try to make myself useful.  I am guided by these words, again from The Fourth Turning:

“Now once more the belt is tight and we summon the proper expression of horror as we look back at our wasted youth,” F. Scott Fitzgerald said after the crash that hit his peers at the cusp of what should have been their highest-earning years. “A generation with no second acts,” he called his Lost peers—but they proved him wrong. They ended their frenzy and settled down, thus helping to unjangle the American mood. Where their Missionary predecessors had entered midlife believing in vast crusades, the post-Crash Lost skipped the moralisms and returned directly to the basics of life. “What is moral is what you feel good after,” declared Ernest Hemingway, “what is immoral is what you feel bad after.” “Everything depends on the use to which it is put,” explained Reinhold Niebuhr on behalf of a generation that did useful things regardless of faith—a role the Missionaries chose not to play.

Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (2009-01-16). The Fourth Turning (Kindle Locations 5978-5984). Three Rivers Press. Kindle Edition.

The modern day Lost we call Gen X, the Missionary, Boomers.  Next up were the GI whose modern version we call Millennial.

I hope I’ve learned well the lessons of history. We have a tough row to hoe. We can whine and complain, or we can shoulder the work.

Given a choice, I’d prefer more income, better markets, and a quiet life. But the cycles of history have decided otherwise.

What do you think?

Did You See the Crisis Coming?

Can you guess the year?

  • Scottish scientists cloned a sheep named Dolly
  • President Clinton signed a bill barring federal funds for human cloning
  • Bank robbers in Kevlar suits staged an epic gun battle with Los Angeles police
  • The English Patient wins Best Picture Oscar
  • Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister of England
  • Timothy McVeigh convicted of pure evil
  • Titanic bounced off the iceberg and hit the box office

The year was 1997. Monica Lewinsky still enjoyed relative obscurity. Dot coms had not yet bubbled.

How old were you? How old were your kids?  What was your favorite song? How much money did you make that year, and what was your retirement account worth?

In 1997, did you think America would be teetering on the edge of another Great Depression in 2011?

The word “crisis” is overused.  Everything isn’t a crisis.  But there are crises. We’re in one right now.

You knew that. But you probably didn’t know how long it will last. Or that it’s happened before and will happen again, if we survive this one.

Read this brief passage from a very important book:

Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation, and empire.

Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (2009-01-16). The Fourth Turning (Kindle Locations 147-149). Three Rivers Press. Kindle Edition.

Howe and Strauss wrote those words in 1997—fourteen years ago.  They aren’t soothsayers or tea-leaf readers; they’re historians. Their prediction from 1997 came not from looking at the conditions of day, but at the pattern of history since the Etruscans.

Even more sobering:

Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.

That means we have about 15 years of turmoil before we overcome the great, final obstacle to a “new normal.”

It’s easy, of course, to dismiss predictions as speculation. It’s comforting to believe that Howe and Strauss sensationalized history to scare people into buying their books.

But something about The Fourth Turning simply feels true today.  Or, maybe, something about today makes  the book feel true.

If these historians were right, then we have a long, hard row to hoe.  We will need with us people we can trust.

We’ll also need a roadmap toward the better world, not a treasure map to a misremembered past.

St. Louis Tea Party Coalition is launching The After Party program to create this network of trust and to paint that roadmap toward the next iteration of our republic.

We’re inviting you to join us.  Each month will involve a short meeting that will introduce an action to be completed before the next month’s meeting.  Then we’ll have a long social hour.   We hope that everyone will stay, have a dinner or appetizers, and talk about the future.

The action plans will be very simple. They will leave time for other civic or political actions.  Those actions will be more effective as your network of trust grows larger and stronger.

We need to get to know each other better. We need to develop stronger bonds of trust than we’ve known in generations—since the 1930s and 1940s to be exact.

If you want to be fully prepared for the next 12 months and the next 15 years, read The Fourth Turning by Howe and Strauss.

The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy - What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny

Don’t Look for Quick Fixes

According to a book by historians Neil Howe and William Strauss, history follows a fairly predictable pattern, rotating in cycles equal to a long human life. The book, The Fourth Turning, was written in 1997. Read it.

If Howe and Strauss are right—and so far, they’re dead on—then we recently entered a Fourth Turning in the current saeculum which they named “millennium.”

What is a Fourth Turning?

The Fourth Turning is a Crisis, a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one.

We’re not talking about an election cycle; we’re talking about an entirely reformulated society.

So far, America has experienced three significant turnings.  (Four, really, but the first was long before the Revolution.)

The Revolution, when the colonies declared independence from Great Britain and formed a democratic republic under the Constitution.

The Civil War, when we established the impossibility of secession and ended slavery.

The Depression-WWII, when we effectively abolished Constitutional government and re-ordered the entire world for increased security.

With the exception of the Civil War, each of these saecula lasted the length of a long human life—80 to 100 years.  That’s also about four generations.

Fourth Turnings—Crisis turnings—begin not because of chronology, but because of generational attitudes.  Fourth Turnings begin when the Boom children from the last Crisis reach Elderhood.

Think Bill  Clinton as elder statesman.

Behind that Boom generation is a generation of Nomads—the Gen Xers in this saecula.  My generation.  Reality Bites people.  Wild risk-takers. Generals George Patton and George Washington were the Generation Xers of their days.  So was Francis Marion.

Next, ready to do battle, is a Hero generation. These were the foot soldiers and Marines and sailors of WWII.  They’re also the kids fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq today. They’re the Millennials whom we too easily dismiss. But they’ll receive our ticker-tape parades someday. They’ll be the next Greatest Generation, if Howe and Strauss are correct.

Those born after about 2002?  They’re the next generation of artists.  The last generation of Artists were the Silent Generation who came of age just after WWII. They were too young to fight, but too old for Vietnam.  This generation is great at following orders.  It is the only American generation never to produce a President.  (We skipped from the GI generation of George H.W. Bush to the Boomers with Bill Clinton, George W., and Obama.)

So the stars—and the players—seemed aligned for a Fourth Turning: 20 to 25 years of total upheaval and, possibly,  total war. Those who think the worst is over, as I’ve said repeatedly, have another thought coming.  The debt problem that caused the 2008 crisis was not solved; it was papered over and compounded. February’s deficit was 40 percent bigger than the entire deficit for 2007.  The March deficit will be larger still.

I know some people believe that we can end the crisis with a single election—2010.  That’s beyond wishful thinking.  It’s irresponsible thinking.  Our troubles go deeper than an election cycle.  Or even two.

That doesn’t mean we don’t start now, though.  In fact, the Tea Party movement was really a recognition of the Crisis, though I didn’t know it at the time.  (Maybe some of you did.)

With spiraling debt, rising international tensions, Japan melting down, and public sector unions demanding the power to take even more away from the producers, we’re just beginning a long generation of turmoil.

Read The Fourth Turning this week.  Learn your role and the risks we face.  Then, we might as well get started.