Here at the Diary, we try to connect the dots.
Today, we connect some big ones…
Fire and brimstone
The papers are full of fire and brimstone concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh…and what happened in a boozy bedroom long ago.
The New York Times calls it ‘an explosive charge’…
‘It was 36 years ago. The accusation: There was a party, alcohol. A 17-year-old boy was drunk and started groping a 15-year-old girl, pinning her down and covering her mouth so she couldn’t scream. Today, she doesn’t remember some of the details. He insists it didn’t happen at all.’
Poor Christine Blasey Ford — the accuser — decided to do her public duty. Why she thought the Senate should know about Mr Kavanaugh as a 17-year-old is not clear.
But she set off an uproar…at least, a Washington-style uproar, circa 2018.
We’ve never met Mr Kavanaugh. Nor have we followed his career or parsed his legal decisions. But we’ve been in a bedroom more than once. And we were once 17 years old.
And if every public servant were disqualified on the basis of what he got up to in high school, Washington would be empty.
Myths and mysteries
We also spent three years at Georgetown Law School, sitting at the feet of some of the nation’s leading legal scholars. We learned a few things there, too.
First, Supreme Court justices aren’t saints. Instead, they are subject to myths, mysteries, and mob thinking, just like the rest of us.
Second, anyone who expects Brett Kavanaugh or the Supreme Court to make any significant changes — take on the Deep State…or pull the plug on the Swamp — is going to be disappointed.
The Supreme Court sits not on Olympus…but squarely in the middle of the Swamp. It is important to the Swamp denizens because it can shift the balance of power from one faction to the other.
But not since 1937 has it ever threatened the Swamp itself. Back then, Franklin Roosevelt proposed to ‘pack the court’ with friendly judges if it got in the way of his New Deal; it quickly fell into line.
And now, in the brouhaha concerning Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, America has squandered even more of its most precious resource — time.
The Kavanaugh affair may take up some 100 million hours’ worth of the public’s time…and help it not to notice what is really going on.
Over the last half century, the feds have taken up, squandered, and misallocated more and more of our time.
We saw yesterday that the typical working stiff has to spend about twice as much of his time today earning his house and his truck as he did in 1971.
We saw, too, that the entry of a billion new people into the international labour pool should have cut his costs, thereby increasing his real income. But housing is not imported…so it escaped competition.
But it did not escape the feds’ zoning, building codes, and work rules. House prices more than doubled in real terms, while real wages remained the same.
And we’ve always wondered about the trucks. In South America, we drive a small Amarok made by Volkswagen. It is one of many small, light, fairly inexpensive pickups that you can’t find in the US.
The feds put a 25% tariff on imported trucks, effectively eliminating the cheap imports.
The Tax Foundation think tank calculates that the typical citizen must work from 1 January to 24 April to pay for government. But that’s just the direct cost. In addition, there are 96,000 pages of regulations — each demanding time and attention.
Few politicians have been willing to vote for tax hikes in order to cover costs, so they switched to more indirect means — regulation and debt, mainly.
And today, nearly every transaction involves some oversight, control, or paperwork by the feds. And each one takes time.
Time — not oil, gold, or water — is our ultimate resource. And as it is stolen, wasted, and frittered away…so, too, are our lives.
Debt is also a claim on time…
The typical American works 19 hours per month for his truck… and 92 hours per month for his house. And taking the Tax Foundation figures… he works another 53 hours per month supporting the feds.
But Americans don’t seem to notice. They stand in line at airports — even though there is very little threat — to get scanned and frisked.
They fill out forms. They vote…and rat out old friends three decades after the fact. Americans are mesmerised, distracted, and enthralled…as their time is taken away.
Here is how the dots line up…The Kavanaugh affair is best seen as entertainment — a time-waster and diversion.
The fight — between pro and con factions — is a Swamp fight. Neither side would reduce the power of the Swamp itself…or threaten the established elite that runs it.
Mr Kavanaugh and the furies assaulting him are all Swamp critters. Mr Kavanaugh was a student at the Deep State insider Georgetown Prep when Ms Blasey Ford was at the Deep State insider counterpart, Holton-Arms.
Whether he sits on the Supreme Court or not…there will be no significant change in the direction of the country. The Swamp doesn’t care about Roe versus Wade, Marbury versus Madison, or Dred Scott versus Sandford.
Yes, of course, there are different factions within the Swamp — little islands infested with people who are worried about global warming or inequality…and deep, dark holes where the monsters want to put in place an electronic, totalitarian state to control every aspect of your life using algorithms backed by machine guns.
The factions fight it out. But what they share is more important than what they argue about…
All are committed to shifting power, prestige, and money from the public to themselves.