Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lawyers Object to the Killing of Drug Dealers in the Philippines

From here:


Thirty "drug dealers" have been killed since Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as Philippine president on Thursday, police said, announcing the seizure of nearly $20 million worth of narcotics but sparking anger from a lawyers' group.
Duterte won the election in May on a platform of crushing crime, but his incendiary rhetoric and advocacy of extrajudicial killings have alarmed many who hear echoes of the country's authoritarian past. He has been nicknamed "The Punisher."
Oscar Albayalde, police chief for the Manila region, said five drug dealers were killed Sunday in a gunbattle with police in a shanty town near a mosque not far from the presidential palace.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Feminist Prosecutor Causes Computer Prodigy to Commit Suicide, Yet May Not be Sued

Repeatedly, the Supreme Court has granted prosecutors absolute immunity from tort liability. This feminist inquisitor took out one of the most talented computer prodigies by her persecutory hounding. All those that believe in prayer should pray for her slow painful death by cancer spreading to her bones in 100 places. This vile feminist lawyer called him a thief, when he was really a liberator of public property. I would support a boycott black list by all product and service providers. As she wants to take down our progress, so should be made to live in the Stone Age by a total boycott. http://www.france24.com/en/20130113-suicide-internet-prodigy-stokes-activist-anger

Monday, October 10, 2011

Profit Seeking Firms are Right to Feel Demoralized by the Rent Seeking of Others

Money and politics
Ask what your country can do for you

Oct 1st 2011

MUCH as some businesses whine about government intrusion, others do pretty well out of it. An index based on the amount of lobbying that American firms do has outperformed the broader market since its creation in 2008; data going back to 1998 show that it has done better over the longer term, too.

The index is produced by Strategas, an investment-research firm. A first effort, to rank firms on the amount they spend on lobbying, was no use: it just corresponded with the largest firms. Strategas now looks at the intensity of lobbying—expenditure as a percentage of assets—to create an index of 50 firms that is revised quarterly.

In aggregate the results have been stunning, comparable to the returns of the most blistering hedge fund. The index has outperformed the S&P500 by 11% a year since 2002 (see chart). There have been bumps along the way: the index fell sharply in 2008 and again this summer, when debt-ceiling brinkmanship raised the prospect of government austerity. But at other times, it seems remarkable that companies would do anything but lobby. A particularly vivid example was in 2004, when an aggressive corporate campaign prompted Congress to grant a one-off tax holiday for American companies to repatriate foreign earnings. The outright return on lobbying costs, according to one of the various studies that served as inspiration for the Strategas index, was $220 for each $1 spent.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"It's Not for the Money" Unethical?

"The attorney handling the case is Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and now of Freedom Watch, who said money is not the issue.

"This case is filed as a matter of principle," he said. "We need more Bradlee Deans in the world and hateful left wing television commentators must be made to respect not only his mission but the law."

Torts has the aim of compensating the plaintiff for damages. Any other purpose should be considered an improper purpose. Such an utterance justifies a complaint to the ethics agency, a motion for dismissal with all costs assessed to the assets of the plaintiff attorney and plaintiff, and a civil suit for misuse of a civil procedure. An improper purpose is an element of most states' misuse of a civil procedure laws.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Maximum Sentence for Norway Shooter

21 years.

Thank the lawyer for 1) slap on the wrist, and what abolitionists really want for the USA;

2) Disarming law abiding citizens, so they cannot shoot back;

3) allowing paranoids to kill thousands a year. Now the shooter qualifies for involuntary commitment.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Google Mistrial

Go to page 71.

Asking the judge to question jurors in the middle of the trial may emerge as a new tactic to get a mistrial declared.

"...But the ubiquity of instant, electronic communication
and mobile applications for social networking sites such
as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn allows
jurors to research the issues in the cases on which they
serve, as well as to immediately interact with others. So,
how does this play out?
In a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, drug trial in March 2009,
a juror informed the judge seven weeks into the trial that
she overheard a fellow juror talking about researching
the case. The judge interviewed all 12 jurors, and after a
majority admitted searching Google for the defendant’s
name and medical terms, the judge declared a mistrial.
Other instances of Google “research”—including juror
use of Google’s Earth Street View to examine crime
scenes—have occurred with such frequency in recent
years that legal experts have coined the phrase, “Google
mistrial.” John Schwartz, As Jurors Turn to Web, Mistrials
Are Popping Up, N.Y. Times, Mar.17, 2009. In February
2009, an Arkansas juror used his handheld mobile device
to post messages on Twitter during court proceedings,
including the following tweet: “I just gave away twelve
million dollars of somebody else’s money.” Id. The judge
denied the defense counsel’s motion for a new trial, and
the decision has been appealed. Id.
A January 28, 2010, memorandum to all federal district
judges from U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson—
chair of the Committee on Court Administration and
Case Management of the Judicial Conference of the
United States—endorsed a set of suggested jury instructions
that district judges should consider to deter jurors from using electronic technology to research or communicate
about trials on which they serve.
The proposed model instructions cover juror conduct
through a judge’s acceptance of a jury’s verdict:
You should not consult dictionaries or reference materials,
search the Internet, websites, blogs, or use any
other electronic tools to obtain information about
this case or to help you decide the case…. You may
not communicate with anyone about the case on your
cell phone, through e-mail, Blackberry, iPhone, text
messaging, or on Twitter, through any blog or website,
through any Internet chat room, or by way of any
other social networking websites, including Facebook,
MySpace, LinkedIn, and YouTube."

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Series: Ideas from Sentencing Law and Policy Blog

This blog is a rare one that has not banned the Supremacy. The Supremacy rarely uses bad language, rarely makes personal remarks. Blogs will tolerate personalized death threats, links to bestiality sites, to foreign pharmacies, vicious personal remarks. What lawyer blogs do not tolerate is the questioning of the fundamentals of their criminal cult enterprise beliefs, which are supernatural. Supernatural legal doctrines are unlawful in our secular nation. Prof. Berman, the owner, has bravely resisted massive calls for the banning of the Supremacy. The charge now? Repetitiveness. Well the idiocy and illegality of the lawyer profession is repetitive, so its loving criticism has to be repetitive. In any case, Prof. Berman is an expert at provoking debate and thought. So the Supremacy will begin listing some of the ideas evoked by this blog.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Connick Decision: Insurmountable Obstacle to Prosecutor Liability

"Held: A district attorney’s office may not be held liable under §1983 for failure to train its prosecutors based on a single Brady violation. "

If tort liability is a substitute for violence, the obverse is true in formal logic. Immunity justifies violence.

Immunity is a form of unauthorized stealthy industrial policy because it grows the entire enterprise, and liability deters the entire enterprise, not just a defendant.

The sole justification for sovereign immunity in the common law is that the Sovereign speaks with the Voice of God. That is a psychotic delusion and not a valid reason to allow immunity of any government entity.

Because the sole tool of the court is punishment, it qualifies for strict liability. Professional standards of due care is sufficient, however.

Finally, the court will say it has no time for lawsuits. The welder's time is far more valuable than that of the coffee swilling, lazy, do nothing government workers on the Supreme Court.

Immunity may also be a factor in the failure of every self stated goal of every law subject. Accountability may prod the intelligent lawyer into being more competent and productive. The rule of law is an essential utility product. Its utter failure is a huge drag on the progress and development of the nation.

An amendment should be passed to end the immunity of all government agencies, including prosecutors, courts, and regulators. To deter.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dealing with Denial of Care by Insurance Doctor Reviewer

The doctor is a traitor to clinical care, and a clueless dunce. Evidence based medicine is the medicine of 7 years ago, after academia has caught up with their research paper shuffling. It represents deviations from current standards of due care, but a convenient pretext to deny care by traitors to clinical care.

Appeals are totally rigged against spending by insurance, and phony time consuming procedures.

Here are other ideas to get approval.

1) Keep submitting or calling about approval. Eventually, a low level reviewer will randomly approve the request. Most of the decision are inappropriate and driven by personal profit from denial of care. This doctor should tell us whether he gets bonuses from company profits.

2) Have a standard letter to be signed by a patient. When these insurance company collaborators deny adequate care, send a formal request for an investigation by the licensing board. If the doctor is out of state, not licensed in the state of the patient, the denial of care is a medical act, requiring a license. Submit a request for an investigation into the unauthorized practice of medicine.

If the doctor is licensed in the state of the patient, but qualified outside the specialty of the prescriber, ask for an investigation into practice outside the scope of training and knowledge.

If the reviewer is licensed in state, and deny care within his own specialty, ask for an investigation into a medical act taken without direct evaluation of the patient, on an unknown patient. Records are not transcipts, so they are not adequate substitutes for a thorough evaluation in person by the reviewer.

3) If there will be a difference in pay, refer to the Department of Justice for a violation of the Stark Amendment and Anti-Kickback statutes.

To deter.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Proposed New Profitable Prison Industry - Making Barbiturates for Execution Injections

European governments are pressuring drug manufacturers to cut off the states from their barbiturate supplies. This is to impose their abolitionist views on the United States and an attack on US and on state sovereignty.

There are likely many meth amphetamine manufacturers with chemistry training in some state prisons. Barbiturates represent mid-19th Century technology, and should not be challenging to produce. Because no health claims are being made for these products, but they are to be used as intentional poisons, FDA oversight should be avoided.

Here is an example of a recipe: for making a kilogram at a time. DEA oversight seems appropriate to prevent diversion of any supplies or output by prisoners, guards, etc.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Commentary on the Child Porn Law Entry Below this One

If a law has an aim, and it can be shown to result in the opposite of that aim, shouldn't the law be void? If mere expert testimony must meet certain standards of reliability under Daubert or Frye, shouldn't a far more prescriptive and coercive utterance such as a law meet even higher standards of reliability? For example, an expert testifies to some standard of practice in a torts trial. That expert is telling all practitioners in that jurisdiction the minimum required from them as a standard, under pain of civil liability. He is bossing all practitioners. The Supreme Court has set standards of reliability for such prescriptive testimony. Here is a legal resource on that standard of testimony:


Now, the criminal law is far more prescriptive, bosses the entire population not just practitioners, and carries penalties that are harsh. (From the introduction of Section 2251, "Whoever, in the course of an offense under this section, engages in conduct that results in the death of a person, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for not less than 30 years or for life."

Then, shouldn't a law meet even more stringent criteria of reliability than mere influential expert testimony? If a law is meant to reduce child abuse by punishing its visual depiction and possession of such, but the opposite has taken place, shouldn't the law be voided as toxic and harmful itself. Here. Organized crime profits from high prices, and is the biggest beneficiary of the child pornography. Most of the child porn is produced in Eastern Europe, and one wonders about jurisdiction questions if the law is to prevent child abuse. May a US law have its biggest impact on foreign territory?

The law was passed in 1977. Since then, child sexual abuse has doubled, according to this review.


In studies, porn consistently reduces the incidence of sexual crimes, including the sexual abuse of children.


According to this academic institute, pics of children playing in a bathtub can be indicative of pornography, kids at the beach, splashing, and fully clothed in swimwear, can be indicative.


One suspects feminist lawyers and rent seeking. However, beyond that suspicion, shouldn't a law be scientifically valid or overturned? The law against child porn is an example, but this question applies to all law making. The Supreme Court has surprisingly or not surprisingly addressed scientific validity of laws or regulations only once to my knowledge.


And the Supreme Court ruled that a law need not be scientifically valid to be upheld (What the ...!@#?), allowing the EPA to classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant. It is allowing faith based law making, even in the face of evidence of opposite effects to the intent of the statute.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Study: Child Porn Reduces Child Abuse

Review of other studies here.

The federal law is reviewed here.

It is indisputable that prosecution for child porn viewing is a big lawyer business.

The policy justification for this law is that buying child porn results in more production. Production is child sexual abuse. To be charitable, that conclusion is not a settled scientific question.

Should laws meet Daubert standards? If a law does not, should it be declared unconstitutional? The law may be based upon or emanate from an expression of religious faith, in violation of the Establishment Clause. Or, it may be based on false, anti-scientific assumptions, violating the procedural due process right of the defendant to a fair hearing.

See here. See the article here.

Study: Making Pornography More Accessible May Curb Child Abuse
By Alice Park Thursday, December 2, 2010 |

Whether pornography is an expression of free speech or a form of exploitation remains a hotly debated issue, and new research may only stir up the controversy further.

Scientists led by Milton Diamond at the University of Hawaii found that easing access to sexually explicit material may help lower sexual abuse of youngsters. Diamond's group compared rates of various crimes, including sexual abuse, murders, assaults and thefts, both before and after the fall of the communist regime in the Czech republic. Before a more liberal government gained power in the country in 1989, all forms of sexually explicit material, including magazines such as Playboy, were banned, and all nudity was considered pornographic. (More on Time.com: Will Polygamy Be Legalized in Canada?)

The new government, however, passed a law allowing some expressions of nudity, including child porn, and when Diamond and his group compared rates of child sexual abuse both before and after the communist regime was in power, they found that there were fewer cases of abuse after pornography became more accessible.

The data support previous work that found similar trends when pornography laws were relaxed in Japan and Denmark. Coupled with the fact that rates of other crimes did not change in the same time period in the Czech Republic, Diamond speculates that the reason for the decline in child sexual abuse could be due to the fact that potential offenders were able to substitute child pornography for sexual acts themselves. (More on Time.com: Is Banning Pro-Pedophilia Books the Right Answer?)

But not all child abuse experts buy that theory, and take issue with the idea that child pornography, in any form, could be considered an antidote to sexual abuse. “The study and its findings are provocative,” says Dr. Cindy Christian, chair of the Committee for Child Abuse and Neglect for the American Academy of Pediatrics and chair of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, “but as a pediatrician I would never condone any child pornography even in order to protect other children from child sexual abuse.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Proportioality in the Arithmetic of Sentencing for Fraud and Other Financial Crimes

I have argued that someone who steals $6 million is destroying a constructive economic life, or whatever the consensus value of life is being used. Therefore, the defendant should be executed, summarily, since there is no controversy about the amount.

What about stealing $850,000? That is about an eighth of a human life. If the life expectancy is around 80 years these days, the defendant should serve an eighth of a human life or 10 years. During that time, he should be as productive as possible at whatever occupation, make as much money as he can. Say, he makes $425,000 as a hedge fund trader from prison. He may repay that amount and have his sentence reduced by a half. This person is not being incapacitated because of his physical danger to others, but because of his lack of good judgment and morals. He should do well in the structured setting of the prison.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MERSA - Al Qaeda Weapon of Mass Destruction

Given today's pat down procedures, Al Qaeda can recruit people with MERSA, or infect a suicide bomber with MERSA. Then, just have them travel continually. The TSA gloved inspectors would spread MERSA to dozens of people each time. Then Al Qaeda would laugh and send a thank you note to the TSA.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Trial Itself Violates the Daubert Standard

The trial itself has no scientific validation. It comes from the Scholasticist method of disputation, as a method of arriving at the answer of a difficult question. The rules of evidence violate multiple tenets of formal logic, critical thinking theory, and most do not meet Daubert standards. Then you have a jury. In 1275 AD it was a good advance. The jurors had knowledge. They brought the wisdom of the crowd. Those benefits have been removed. You now have twelve strangers who will be using their gut feelings to detect the truth, when lie detectors are prohibited. They will detect likability, if lucky, and no more. The lawyer is excluding people with knowledge, and even people married to people with knowledge.

Next, the lawyer hobbles the most experienced person in court, the judge. This is the oldest lawyer, who may have done the jobs of the lawyers, and has the biggest experience. If he so much as drives by the crime scene, you will crush the judge. Why? The trial is a fictional play. Any attempt to introduce real facts cannot be tolerated.

The criminal law, is in utter failure. It has a high false negative rate (1 in 10 major crimes is prosecuted). It has a high false positive rate (there is 1 exoneration for every 5 executions). It uses methods from the 13th Century, when anyone else trying to would be arrested as a threat to public safety.

Here is one potential remedy. I propose to exclude all lawyers from all benches, legislative seats and responsible policy positions in the executive. Waiting for that to come about, an intermediate remedy would be to end all self-dealt immunities. Prosecutors and judges should be held to professional standards of due care. They qualify for strict liability because their sole product is punishment. However, that would be too draconian and would ruin them.

There is no justification for prosecutorial or judge immunity from either defendant nor from future crime victims. I find it funny when ALI types dispute this idea as a potential cause of litigation explosion.

Friday, November 5, 2010

To Get the Legislative Intent

If a law has recently been enacted, most of its drafters and supporters should still be alive. If term is ambiguous, has anyone ever interviewed the living enacters as to the real intent of legislature, as opposed to divination and mind reading?

If this has never been done, is there any procedural or constitutional obstacle to such a tactic? Naturally, both sides should be allowed to do an interview and to present their results, before a tribunal.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Complaints About 1L Miss the Biggest Problems

The problem is deeper. The content of the education is unacceptable, even unlawful. I understand the student is not getting prepared for the shredder that is practice later. One may think of the education as learning a language. One learns the grammar and vocabulary. Then later, one practices conversations and writings, on the outside with strangers. Those are shocking later. The comments address that shortcoming. This is a marginal and small problem.

Here is the big problem, and where the profession ends up damaging the nation.

Modern, very intelligent students are forced, against their wills, through intimidation, to accept supernatural doctrines and methods from medieval philosophy of Scholasticism, with its church origin. These were OK for 1275 A.D. They are ridiculous today. They explain the utter failure of every self-stated goal of every law subject. There is no practice from 1275 AD that is in any way acceptable in any other field. One could not even build cathedrals as they did. It would not be cathedral building malpractice. The police would arrest anyone attempting to as a threat to the public safety.

The student will resist these absurd, ridiculous core doctrines. That is where the intimidation, and the depressing cult indoctrination methodology comes in.

The student is force fed the ideas that minds can be read, that the future is foreseeable, that 12 strangers can detect the truth by using their gut feelings, after excluding all with knowledge (canceling the advantages of the medieval jury). Most important is to accept the central word of the law, reasonable. Why not a hundred alternative words? Beneficial, intelligent, common sensical, healthful, what my calm, caring friend would do, etc.

St. Thomas Aquinas explains. Man fell from the Garden of Eden, and intellect was subject to mistakes from the tendencies and temptations leading to mortal sins (prohibitions in the 10 Commandments). The sole reliable guide to moral decision making is the New Testament. And St. Thomas spends a great deal of effort in a deposition like proof. What is the technical meaning of reason in this context? It is the ability to perceive God. Reason best relies on the New Testament. That book is the story of Jesus. The reasonable person may very well be a hidden, disguised Jesus, and what he would do as described by the New Testament. The reasonable person must remain fictitious. Why? To be objective, of course. This reserves the seat of the reasonable person for Jesus.

This content is disturbing, ridiculously, laughably false, and intelligent students must be forced to accept it by intimidation. Thus the high pressure and other cult methods ongoing in law school. This includes taking 80 hours a week in exhausting, socially isolating study of minutiae, most of it, cult garbage.

That is the content. What about the structure? Disputation is the best method to arrive at some answer, according to the Scholasticists. So we get the adversarial system. There is no scientific evidence to support any part of the legal process. Disputation is chosen because the intellectual leaders were French or lived in France.

IRAC came from Sic et Non by Peter Abelard and friends of his. You see the tightest, best IRAC reading St. Thomas.

The medieval rules of evidence are ridiculous, and result in a high rate of false convictions.

The profession has also adopted the business model and methods of the Inquisition, ongoing by 1275 AD. The Inquisition was excellent, and lasted 800 years. It ended when, again the French, beheaded and expelled 10,000 church officials during the French Revolution. The lawyer picked it up, without missing a beat. The regulations were infinite. The penalties draconian. The targets were sincerely grateful when a plea bargain was offered, enriching the church, and saving the life of the accused.

The coercive cult methods. The ridiculous core doctrines. The organized crime style of making money. The devastation to the interests of the nation. The total failure of every self-stated goal. That would make for some dissatisfaction, even among those who will get rich off it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why Do Some Jurisdictions Have Low Crime Rates Despite Poverty?

Crime persists when crime pays, and grows when it pays well. The US endures over 20 million FBI Index felonies (murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault; property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft; and arson), and has only 2 million prosecutions. There is a 90% chance of not being prosecuted after committing these major crimes. If prosecuted, there is over a 90% chance of being charged with a lesser, or even fictitious lesser crime in a plea bargain. In this plea bargain, there is less than a 10% chance of going to prison, depending on the damage caused by the original crime. Thus, when non-violent criminals are set to be released due to prison overcrowding, there is no way to know the released inmate is dangerous, because he may have pled to a non-violent offense.

Prices equalize rapidly today. So the cost of a minimum standard of living for an America lifestyle is the same over the world. So, maintaining a family on $1000 a year is as difficult in India as it is in the US. Such stress pushes people into interdependence and gives the family greater value as a survival tool. Thus the rate of bastardy is lower in places with severe poverty.

One may generalize that the police is not harder working nor more competent than in wealthier areas. The productivity of the police cannot be a factor in areas of extreme poverty.

That leaves only one factor. The amount of self help is much greater than in wealthy areas.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

To Improve the Jury Method, Get Medieval

The jury is a methodology, like timing a car with a radar gun. It must be proven accurate. Its management must be standardized under the edict of the Equal Protection Clauses. Like a radar gun, it must be maintained, calibrated and retested for accuracy every day.

Unlike the radar gun, this tool is used by the lawyer to put people to death, and to transfer $trillions, and to have untold but important effects on the economy, the culture and the behavior of the public.

How can it be improved?

1) Selection should reflect statistical principles. If it to represent the population at large, random selection from the entire population is essential. That means, no one can get out of it. And the selection is random.

2) Stop excluding people with knowledge either of the subject matter or of the parties. If you had no recordings, having a juror who walked the boundaries of the property 10 years earlier at the time of transfer is invaluable in a property dispute. Nothing has changed. If you have someone who ran with the defendant and knows all his secrets is OK to have on the jury. Why do doctors' wives have to be forced off in a medmal case. Her bias could go either way, and the risks cancel each other.

3) Only the first secret ballot represents a valid finding. Subsequent ballots represent the opinion of a big loudmouth bully and the desire of the rest to just go home. There should be one ballot, and a supermajority requirement reflecting the burden of proof certainty.

4) Stop the slavery. Pay people their standard daily earnings, up to some high maximum.

5) Stop the hobbling of the jury. Allow note taking. Allow questioning of witnesses by juries, for example, they may want to say to an expert, "Doctor, we have no idea what you mean. Could you rephrase your opinion in simpler language?" Or would lawyers prefer they keep that feeling to themselves?

6) Allow the strengths. They have the wisdom of the crowd. They have balance. Group think and pressure is where extreme views get polished, and become less extreme.

Monday, September 6, 2010

NYT Columnist: Restore Economic Growth or Threaten Pax Americana

Pax Americana is best for the entire world because of the soft, non-colonial nature of American policy. Many nations taking advantage of it have thrived. I recall an example. India and Pakistan massed troops at their border, and both made angry statements. The leader of India received a call from an American corporate head. War was not compatible with further investment by American industry. No war took place, and troops went home, this time.

In order to grow faster, the self-dealing lawyer profession must be crushed. It does not mean tort reform or limits on anti-scientific regulation. It means reducing the legal load by a half or more.

1) Judges who attack productive sectors of our economy should be arrested by federal marshals, tried for collaboration with the enemy, and executed for treason. The same goes for state attorney generals.

2) The economic burden of crime must be ended by executing all repeat violent offenders, until violent crime is reduced by 99%. Their protectors in the legal profession get arrested for treason, tried and executed.

3) The $trillion stolen by the lawyer lawyer profession must end, by shrinking the lawyer profession to a more appropriate 700,000 from 1.3 million. Do so by closing law schools, starting with the extreme left wing Top Tier, headed mostly by Hate America left wing extremists. Transfer that stolen loot to research and development, across the board. About 20% of our economy should consist of high end, innovative, brain work.

Op-Ed Columnist
Superbroke, Superfrugal, Superpower?
Published: September 4, 2010

In recent years, I have often said to European friends: So, you didn’t like a world of too much American power? See how you like a world of too little American power — because it is coming to a geopolitical theater near you. Yes, America has gone from being the supreme victor of World War II, with guns and butter for all, to one of two superpowers during the cold war, to the indispensable nation after winning the cold war, to “The Frugal Superpower” of today. Get used to it. That’s our new nickname. American pacifists need not worry any more about “wars of choice.” We’re not doing that again. We can’t afford to invade Grenada today.

Ever since the onset of the Great Recession of 2008, it has been clear that the nature of being a leader — political or corporate — was changing in America. During most of the post-World War II era, being a leader meant, on balance, giving things away to people. Today, and for the next decade at least, being a leader in America will mean, on balance, taking things away from people.

And there is simply no way that America’s leaders, as they have to take more things away from their own voters, are not going to look to save money on foreign policy and foreign wars. Foreign and defense policy is a lagging indicator. A lot of other things get cut first. But the cuts are coming — you can already hear the warnings from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. And a frugal American superpower is sure to have ripple effects around the globe.

“The Frugal Superpower: America’s Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era” is actually the title of a very timely new book by my tutor and friend Michael Mandelbaum, the Johns Hopkins University foreign policy expert. “In 2008,” Mandelbaum notes, “all forms of government-supplied pensions and health care (including Medicaid) constituted about 4 percent of total American output.” At present rates, and with the baby boomers soon starting to draw on Social Security and Medicare, by 2050 “they will account for a full 18 percent of everything the United States produces.”