The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection$
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 Nomi Prins Archive
The Entropy Wars
Five Financial Uncertainties of 2018 (So Far)
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • B
Show CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Here we are in the middle of the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency and if there’s one thing we know by now, it’s that the leader of the free world can create an instant reality-TV show on geopolitical steroids at will. True, he’s not polished in his demeanor, but he has an unerring way of instilling the most uncertainty in any situation in the least amount of time.

Whether through executive orders, tweets, cable-news interviews, or rallies, he regularly leaves diplomacy in the dust, while allegedly delivering for a faithful base of supporters who voted for him as the ultimate anti-diplomat. And while he’s at it, he continues to take a wrecking ball to the countless political institutions that litter the Acela Corridor. Amid all the tweeted sound and fury, however, the rest of us are going to have to face the consequences of Donald Trump getting his hands on the economy.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, entropy is “a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder.” With that in mind, perhaps the best way to predict President Trump’s next action is just to focus on the path of greatest entropy and take it from there.

Let me do just that, while exploring five key economic sallies of the Trump White House since he took office and the bleakness and chaos that may lie ahead as the damage to the economy and our financial future comes into greater focus.

1. Continuous Banking Deregulation

When Trump ran for the presidency, he tapped into a phenomenon that was widely felt but generally misunderstood: a widespread anger at Wall Street and corporate cronyism. Upon taking office, he promptly redirected that anger exclusively at the country’s borders and its global economic allies and adversaries.

His 2016 election campaign had promised not to “let Wall Street get away with murder” and to return the banking environment to one involving less financial risk to the country. His goal and that of the Republicans as a party, at least theoretically, was to separate bank commercial operations (deposits and lending) from their investment operations (securities creation, trading, and brokerage) by bringing back a modernized version of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.

Fast forward to May 18, 2017 when Trump’s deregulatory-minded treasury secretary, “foreclosure king” Steven Mnuchin, faced a congressional panel and took a 180 on the subject. He insisted that separating people’s everyday deposits from the financial-speculation operations of the big banks, something that had even made its way into the Republican platform, was a total nonstarter.

Instead, congressional Republicans, with White House backing, promptly took aim at the watered-down version of the Glass-Steagall Act passed in the Obama years, the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. In it, the Democrats had already essentially capitulated to Wall Street by riddling the act with a series of bank-friendly loopholes. They had, however, at least ensured that banks would set aside more of their own money in the event of another Great Recession-like crisis and provide a strategy or “living will” in advance for that possibility, while creating a potent consumer-protection apparatus, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Say goodbye to all of that in the Trump era.

Dubbed “the Choice Act” — officially the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act — the new Republican bill removed the “living will” requirement for mid-sized banks, thereby allowing the big banks a gateway to do the same. When Trump signed the bill, he said that it was “the next step in America’s unprecedented economic comeback. There’s never been a comeback like we’ve made. And one day, the fake news is going to report it.”

In fact, thanks to the Trump (and Republican) flip-flop, banks don’t need to defend themselves anymore. The president went on to extol the untold virtues of his pick to run the CFPB, meant to keep consumers from being duped (or worse) by their own banks. Before Trump got involved, it had won $12 billion in settlements from errant banks for the citizens it championed.

However, Kathy Kraninger, a former Homeland Security official tapped by Trump to run the entity, has no experience in banking or consumer protection. His selection follows perfectly in the path of current interim head Mick Mulvaney (also the head of the Office of Management and Budget). All you need to know about him is that he once derided the organization as a “sick, sad” joke. As its director, he’s tried to choke the life out of it by defunding it.

In this fashion, such still-evolving deregulatory actions reflect the way Trump’s anti-establishment election campaign has turned into a full-scale program aimed at increasing the wealth and power of the financial elites, while decreasing their responsibility to us. Don’t expect a financial future along such lines to look pretty. Think entropy.

2. Tensions Rise in the Auto Wars

Key to Trump’s economic vision is giving his base a sense of camaraderie by offering them rallying cries from a bygone era of nationalism and isolationism. In the same spirit, the president has launched a supposedly base-supporting policy of imposing increasingly random and anxiety-provoking trade tariffs.

Take, for instance, the automotive sector, which such tariffs are guaranteed to negatively impact. It is ground zero for many of his working-class voters and a key focus of the president’s entropic economic policies. When he was campaigning, he promised many benefits to auto workers (and former auto workers) and they proved instrumental in carrying him to victory in previously “blue” rust-belt states. In the Oval Office, he then went on to tout what he deemed personal victories in getting Ford to move a plant back to the U.S. from Mexico while pressuring Japanese companies to make more cars in Michigan.

He also began disrupting the industry with a series of on-again-off-again, imposed or sometimes merely threatened tariffs, including on steel, that went against the wishes of the entire auto sector. Recently, Jennifer Thomas of the industry’s main lobbying group, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, assured a Commerce Department hearing that “the opposition is widespread and deep because the consequences are alarming.”

Indeed, the Center for Automotive Research has reported that a 25% tariff on autos and auto parts (something the president has threatened but not yet followed through upon against the European Union, Canada, and Mexico) could reduce the number of domestic vehicle sales by up to two million units and might wipe out more than 714,000 jobs here. Declining demand for cars, whose prices could rise between $455 and $6,875, depending on the type of tariff, in the face of a Trump vehicle tax, would hurt American and foreign manufacturers operating in the U.S. who employ significant numbers of American workers.

Though President Trump’s threat to slap high tariffs on imported autos and auto parts from the European Union is now in limbo due to a recent announcement of ongoing negotiations, he retains the right if he gets annoyed by… well, anything… to do so. The German auto industry alone employs more than 118,000 people in the U.S. and, if invoked, such taxes would increase its car prices and put domestic jobs instantly at risk.

3. The Populist Tyranny of the Trump Tax Cuts

President Trump has been particularly happy about his marquee corporate tax “reform” bill, assuring his base that it will provide jobs and growth to American workers, while putting lots of money in their pockets. What it’s actually done, however, is cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, providing corporations with tons of extra cash. Their predictable reaction has not been to create jobs and raise wages, but to divert that bonanza to their own coffers via share buybacks in which they purchase their own stock. That provides shareholders with bigger, more valuable pieces of a company, while boosting earnings and CEO bonuses.

Awash in tax-cut cash, American companies have announced a record $436.6 billion worth of such buybacks so far in 2018, close to double the record $242.1 billion spent in that way in all of 2017. Among other things, this ensures less tax revenue to the U.S. Treasury, which in turn means less money for social programs or simply for providing veterans with proper care.

As it is, large American companies only pay an average effective tax rate of 18% (a figure that will undoubtedly soon drop further). Last year, they only contributed 9% of the tax receipts of the government and that’s likely to drop further to a record low this year, sending the deficit soaring. In other words, in true Trumpian spirit, corporations will be dumping the fabulous tax breaks they got directly onto the backs of other Americans, including the president’s base.

Meanwhile, some of the crew who authored such tax-policies, creating a $1.5 trillion corporate tax give-away, have already moved on to bigger and better things, landing lobbying positions at the very corporations they lent such a hand to and which can now pay them even more handsomely. For the average American worker, on the other hand, wages have not increased. Indeed, between the first and second quarters of 2018 real wages dropped by 1.8% after the tax cuts were made into law. Trump hasn’t touted that or what it implies about our entropic future.

4. Trade Wars, Currency Wars, and the Conflicts to Come

If everyone takes their toys to another playground, the school bully has fewer kids to rough up. And that’s exactly the process Trump’s incipient trade wars seem to be accelerating — the hunt for new playgrounds and alliances by a range of major countries that no longer trust the U.S. government to behave in a consistent manner.

So far, the U.S. has already slapped $34 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports. China has retaliated in kind. Playing a dangerous global poker game, Trump promptly threatened to raise that figure to at least $200 billion. China officially ignored that threat, only inciting the president’s ire further. In response, he recently announced that he was “willing to slap tariffs on every Chinese good imported to the U.S. should the need arise.” Speaking to CNBC’s Squawk Box host Joe Kernen on July 20th, he boasted, “I’m ready to go to 500 [billion dollars].”

That’s the equivalent of nearly every import the Chinese sent into the U.S. last year. In contrast, the U.S. exports only $129.9 billion in products to China, which means the Chinese can’t respond in kind, but they can target new markets, heighten the increasingly tense relations between the world’s two economic superpowers, and even devalue their currency to leverage their products more effectively on global markets.

Global trade alliances were already moving away from a full-scale reliance on the U.S. even before Donald Trump began his game of tariffs. That trend has only gained traction in the wake of his economic actions, including his tariffs on a swath of Mexican, Canadian, and European imports. Recently, two major American allies turned a slow dance toward economic cooperation into a full-scale embrace. On July 17th, the European Union and Japan agreed on a mega-trade agreement that will cover one-third of the products made by the world economy.

Meanwhile, China has launched more than 100 new business projects in Brazil alone, usurping what was once a U.S. market, investing a record $54 billion in that country. It is also preparing to increase its commitments not just to Brazil, but to Russia, India, China, and South Africa (known collectively as the BRICS countries), investing $14.7 billion in South Africa ahead of an upcoming BRICS summit there. In other words, Donald Trump is lending a disruptively useful hand to the creation of an economic world in which the U.S. will no longer be as central an entity.

Ultimately, tariffs and the protectionist policies that accompany them will hurt consumers and workers alike, increasing prices and reducing demand. They could force companies to cut back on hiring, innovation, and expansion, while also hurting allies and potentially impeding economic growth globally. In other words, they represent an American version of an economic winding down, both domestically and internationally.

5. Fighting the Fed

President Trump’s belligerence has centered around his belief that the wealthiest, most powerful nation on the planet has been victimized by the rest of the world. Now, that feeling has been extended to the Federal Reserve where he recently lashed out against its chairman (and his own appointee) Jerome Powell.

The Fed had been providing trillions of dollars of stimulus to the banking system and financial markets though a bond-buying program wonkily called “quantitative easing” or “QE.” Its claim: that this Wall Street subsidy is really a stimulus for Main Street.

Unlikely as that story may prove to be, presidents have normally refrained from publicly commenting on the Federal Reserve’s policies, allowing it to maintain at least a veneer of independence, as mandated by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. (In reality, the Fed has remained significantly dependent on the whims and desires of the White House, a story revealed in my new book Collusion.) However, this White House is run by a president who couldn’t possibly keep his opinions to himself.

So far, the Fed has raised (or “tightened”) interest rates seven times since December 2015. Under Powell, it has done so twice, with two more hikes forecast by year’s end. These moves were made without Trump’s blessing and he views them as contrary to his administration’s economic objectives. In an interview with CNBC, he proclaimed that he was “not thrilled” with the rate hikes, a clear attempt to directly influence Fed policy. Sticking with tradition, the Fed offered no reaction, while the White House quickly issued a statement emphasizing that the president “did not mean to influence the Fed’s decision-making process.”

Ignoring that official White House position, the president promptly took to Twitter to express his frustrations with the Fed. (“[T]he United States should not be penalized because we are doing so well. Tightening now hurts all that we have done. The U.S. should be allowed to recapture what was lost due to illegal currency manipulation and BAD Trade Deals. Debt coming due & we are raising rates — Really?”)

Fed Chairman Powell may want to highlight his independence from the White House, but as a Trump appointee, any decisions made in the framework of the president’s reactions could reflect political influence in the making. The bigger problem is that such friction could incite greater economic uncertainty, which could prove detrimental to the economic strength Trump says he wants to maintain.

When Entropy Wins, the World Loses

Trump’s method works like a well-oiled machine. It keeps everyone — his cabinet, the media, global leaders, and politicians and experts of every sort — off guard. It ensures that his actions will have instant impact, no matter how negative.

Economically, the repercussions of this strategy are both highly global and extremely local. As Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) noted recently, “This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and [the] White House’s ‘plan’ is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches… This administration’s tariffs and bailouts aren’t going to make America great again, they’re just going to make it 1929 again.”

He was referring to the White House’s latest plan to put up to $12 billion taxpayer dollars into those sectors of American agriculture hit hardest by Trump’s tariff wars. Let that sink in for a moment and think: entropy. In order to fix the problems the president has created, allegedly to help America become great again, a deficit-ridden government will have to shell out extra taxpayer dollars.

Subsidizing farmers isn’t in itself necessarily a bad thing. It is, in fact, very New Deal-ish and Franklin Delano Roosevelt-esque. But doing so to fix an unnecessary problem? Under such circumstances, where will it stop? When those $200 billion or $500 billion in tariffs on China (or other countries) enflames the situation further, who gets aid next? Auto workers? Steel workers?

What we are witnessing is the start of the entropy wars, which will, in turn, hasten the unwinding of the American global experiment. Each arbitrary bit of presidential pique, each tweet and insult, is a predecessor to yet more possible economic upheavals and displacements, ever messier and harder to clean up. Trump’s America could easily morph into a worldwide catch-22. The more trust is destabilized, the greater the economic distress. The weaker the economy, the more disruptable it becomes by the Great Disrupter himself. And so the Trump spiral spins onward, circling down an economic drain of his own making.

Nomi Prins is a TomDispatch regular. Her latest book is Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World (Nation Books). Of her six other books, the most recent is All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power. She is a former Wall Street executive. Special thanks go to researcher Craig Wilson for his superb work on this piece.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
Hide 62 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Trump has indeed been a disappointment, but he can’t possibly worse than Hillary would have been. He seems to mean well but his choice of advisors has doomed his administration’s chances to be a positive agent for change.

    • Agree: Stan d Mute
    • Replies: @Bucky
    , @Moi
    , @Colin Wright
  2. Yes, fair to say Hillary would have been as bad & probably worse.(Although, would she have thrown out the Iran deal ?)
    Trump is a standard Republican: prior to election focus on masses of cultural issues (immigration), blue sky rhetoric (make America great again) & once in
    office, serve his 0.01% oligarch masters (& mates). Tax cuts for the rich & Co’s, deregulation, gross budget increases for the military/security complex, & so on. Wow, who could have predicted it…& yet still, those not pathologically delusional could have voted for Clinton ?
    Apparently, the relationship between short & long term rates has inverted – apparently a sign of oncoming recession….But, don’t worry, many believe US GDP figures are so “fake” that the US has been in recession since 2008….

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Stan d Mute
  3. Globally, the world is re-balancing away from American Hegemony. Alliances are dissolving and reforming. Turkey would be an example.

    Also, America is beginning to pay the price for its wickedness, much of which predates Trump. Destroying Libya, Syria, Venezuela has given the world a look at what American Hegemony could become and they don’t like it. The U. S. elites want to establish Full Spectrum Dominance over the planet. The rest of the planet doesn’t want that.

    Domestically, American citizens are tired of having our elites secretly collude with foreign elites to our detriment and their profit. NAFTA, GATT, WTO etc. They dislike the cronyism of the Uranium One deal for example. The ongoing wars do not benefit the average American and it is harder to sell the idea that Americans should continue to sacrifice in order to bring “Democracy” to the heathens.

    In short, they want The Swamp drained.

  4. Gibberish-foreign cars manufactured in the US are not tariffed, and China cannot withstand the fight against any tariff. This article is Globalist neocon buffoonery.

    • Agree: Anthony Wayne
    • Replies: @Kurt Gayle
  5. renfro says:

    Good article….those are the five blow up points.

    • Replies: @Moi
    , @anonymous
  6. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    the Fed has remained significantly dependent on the whims and desires of the White House, a story revealed in my new book .

    I disagree. For one thing, although the president appoints Fed board members, the president chooses them from a list the FED compiles, a fact that waters down your assertion the FED “significantly dependent on the whims and desires of the White House..,” which you prove by saying “These moves were made without Trump’s blessing and he views them as contrary to his administration’s economic objectives.” Again, this shows the FED acts on its own, raising interest rates that goes against Trump’s economic plans.

    Earlier this year, Trump issued pardons (Most likely at the FED’s insistence) for 5 Megabanks involved in massive corruptions, but most Americans never saw this on the MSM, since the news anchors were too busy barking at the Moon over non-existent Trump-Russian-Putin collusion on nearly everything under the Sun. That’s called the shotgun approach, hoping at least one blast will hit something they can spin into an even more sinister plot.

    Let’s face it, the bankers own this country and the FED owns those TBTF banks or maybe the FED is the Godfather, those TBTF casinos mob lieutenants that aren’t dependent on whatever billionaire picked POTUS is in the WH.

    So I’ll give you one guess as to who is the victim of this ruthless gang of greedy psychopaths who love it when they see people wearing MAGA hats, heads high in the clouds, since they know another of their schemes is working and they can continue to loot at leisure.

  7. It is difficult to understand what goes on between currencies.
    But what I miss is the tremendous USA debt, BRICS, the petro yuang, Erdogan flirting with BRICS.
    Of course the euro also is a disaster, Italy’s banks are bankrupt, Deutsche Bank will fall, Spanish banks are on no better situation than the Italian.
    Saddam is said to have signed his death warrant when he in 2000 announced that he would sell his oil in euros.
    Deutsche Bank has a derivates portfolio of some fifteen times the German GDP.
    Not for nothing Varoufakis predicts a monetary crisis of a magnitude that will dwarf the 1929 Wall Street crash.
    According to him derivates, that the Fed did not want regulated, worldwide are some 20 times world income.
    If anyone wants advice, good advice is expensive, this one is for free, in crisis assets lose their value, but debts remain.

  8. Anonymous[711] • Disclaimer says:

    Entropy isn’t what it used to be.

  9. Bucky says:
    @Fidelios Automata

    Trump is worse than Hillary would have been.

    He is more incompetent and more cruel. Hillary btw would still try to reduce illegal immigration only she would do so in a way that didn’t outrage people or cause suffering for no reason.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  10. Here is an article that looks at a little-discussed aspect of trade between China and the United States:

    One has to wonder how many jobs would have been created in the United States if those hundreds of billions of dollars had been invested in American factories rather than building manufacturing infrastructure in China.

    • Replies: @anon
  11. Moi says:
    @Fidelios Automata

    Instead of electing a real estate speculator, perhaps we’d have done better electing a janitor–janitors earn their money honestly and live much closer to reality. Okay, maybe next time…

  12. Moi says:

    But she overlooked the most important point–our moral meltdown.

    • Replies: @renfro
  13. Entalphy and entropy.
    Your car motion is generated by instant burning of fuel in cylinder. Burning of fuel generates pressure
    that pushes the piston down. The heat energy at the moment of explosion is entalphy.
    The heat energy escaping through muffler is entropy.
    Webster dictionary is incorrect. In the transferred meaning entropy should mean as something wasted and not decaying

    • Replies: @FB
  14. anonymous[107] • Disclaimer says:

    Have yet to see a pundit expand on the fullness of the tax cut scam: wage earners see more in their weekly/biweekly paychecks. Hooray!

    But many wage earners don’t do their own taxes and think of the refund they get at the end of the tax year as some great gift from IRS. It is not, it’s the return of your own money, that you overpaid by not closely calibrating the withholding tax.

    Uncle Sam Trump has done that for you: you get more in your regular paycheck.

    The bomb will detonate when wage-earners get less – or – nothing in a tax ‘refund.’
    There will be the wailing and the gnashing of teeth.

    But that won’t hit until after the election, so no worries.

    • Replies: @another fred
    , @renfro
  15. FB says:

    Your understanding of thermodynamics is inadequate…

    Entropy and The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to more than just heat engines…it is about irreversibility of any process involving energy…and applies to any thermodynamic process, which includes living organisms [cell energy processes] and large scale systems such as the universe itself…it is as the author correctly stated about ordered systems having a natural tendency to progress to a disordered state…ie any process involving energy transfer or conversion into another form of energy, involves irreversible losses which are entropy…and this is manifested as the system ending up more disordered than when the process first started…

    Also even your description of an Otto cycle heat engine is inadequate…the addition of heat energy by chemical reaction [combustion] of fuel is not in itself the source of pressure…we recall that only pressure energy can be converted to work energy in a heat engine…heat energy simply allows us to do MORE with the pressure we have…that pressure is why every type of heat engine has a COMPRESSION cycle…without the piston first compressing the air there could be no work…also many engines are constant pressure devices, such as jet engines, where the combustion chamber is open on both sides, so the combustion does not increase the pressure…in fact there is an inevitable small pressure loss due to entropy…

    Here is a simple way to understand this fundamental concept of energy…if you blow up a balloon and then release will fly across the room, which is doing work…[ie the mass of the balloon moving by a distance = work]…the balloon does this by pressure energy [which you have expended work to create by blowing air into it]…

    However a heat source by itself can do no work…take a candle, or a camp fire or even a gasoline fire…there is no mechanism to convert heat energy into work without pressure energy…so we see from the balloon that pressure energy CAN be directly converted into work energy, but heat energy ALONE cannot…

  16. Anonymous[142] • Disclaimer says:

    We deplorables elected Trump to do just that, to cruelly crush the immigrant invaders, see them driven back, and to hear the lamentations of their women. The more outrage and suffering, the better, which gives them an incentive to stay home the next time.

    But wait, there’s more! “If Trump wins, we will all hang.” Won’t that be sweet to watch her eat her words for a last meal, if he can pull it off. “We came, we saw, he died.” Suffering for no reason, you said? At this point, what difference does more suffering make?

    • Replies: @Bucky
    , @David
  17. Hold on boys! The tsunami is coming …

  18. @FB

    Your contribution is highly appreciated.
    Irreversability always intrigue me.
    The unending big bangs in universe are changing matter into heat energy. Pressure and kinetic energy are only side product. Final result of it must be that all matter in universe eventually will be expended. That to me is terrifying thought.

  19. @FB

    Doesn’t a lighted candle emit photons and might they not directly move something by their impact?

    • Replies: @FB
    , @Anonymous
  20. @anonymous

    The bomb will detonate when wage-earners get less – or – nothing in a tax ‘refund.’
    There will be the wailing and the gnashing of teeth.

    The “bomb” will detonate when the rate of unemployment rises above the level to which the people have been habituated.

    Our economy is based on consumer spending and consumers will continue to spend as long as they do not feel threatened. As long as business are hiring they do not feel threatened.

    The people at the helm know this – the rest is noise.

    Keep an eye on Initial Jobless Claims. The number does not have to go down, it just can’t go up much without triggering a drop in consumer spending. The FED knows this and will not let the number rise too much without opening the spigots.

  21. Bucky says:

    The neocons are right that the us has no choice but engage the world. Jet airliners, the Internet, and nuclear weapons means that you simply cannot be isolationist but you have to be at the table.

    Look, Obama also clamped down hard on immigration. He had self-interested reasons to.

  22. FB says:

    A photon may have a tiny amount of momentum…and also position…but not both at the same time…so there can be no change of momentum as we would have in a particle with mass, such as an atom…since a photon has a mass-wave duality…

    In any case, this is not an example of a heat engine…

    A better example might be a hot air balloon…the early types simply burned wood and the heated air in the enclosed balloon caused it to rise, due to the lower density of heated air inside the balloon…as such the balloon is doing work, since its weight is rising against the force of gravity…

    We could consider this a heat engine, but we must take into account the process of convection which causes the heated air to rise…the actual mechanism of the balloon rising is a difference in density between the outside and the inside of the balloon…

    The earth’s atmosphere is considered a heat engine also, and here again the natural convection of rising air plays a key role…

    Both of these types of ‘heat engine’ meet the definition…which generally means a device that uses a heat source and a heat sink to create useful work…

    However, in the heat engines that we are concerned with as mechanical devices, such as a car engine, a jet engine, a steam turbine, or even an air conditioner or refrigerator…the simple rule about pressure energy being the only kind of energy that can be DIRECTLY converted to work energy holds true…

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  23. FB says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    sorry…comment here was meant as reply to your question…

  24. edNels says:

    Entropy is a concept. When the universe quits expanding some future point in time, everything that was orderly and had a purpose will be expended in a heap. All the light will be dim and all the flowers will fade, things like libido will be a forgotten altogether in that mishmash place that is opposite to life and it’s bad enough to even summon up such things. Incidentally Life is an energy conservative process adversarial to entropy, somewhere I read, though the universe is full of order that is seen declining into chaos and entropy, which metaphorically is clutter, like floor of a workshop, for one.

    I don’t buy that any of it is ”Irreversible” though, all they need is a forward oriented cosmic recycling co. The detritus and goop will be ground up into compost again. Or they can summon up a dimension phase change to another state… ?

    Steven King’s Langorliers movie/story had Pacmans that came at the end and ate up yesterday, that was excellent!

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  25. FB says:

    Sorry but entropy is definitely NOT a ‘concept’…it is a real physical quantity that is measured in units of joules per kilogram-kelvin [J/kg*K] and can be easily calculated for any thermodynamic process…and I do it every day…as does any thermodynamicist…

    I would respectfully suggest you not comment on things you know absolutely nothing about…

    And btw…looking at your reference to Stephen King I also have to wonder if you even know reality from fantasy…

  26. anon[317] • Disclaimer says:

    what gets me about your comments and the comments or observations of j millions of others, is the governed have not set out to discover what they can do to fix that. If these “election time frauds that promise but result in refuse to perform as promised to get elected” were made punishable by life on the chain gang in prison I think things would straighten out.

    Do you think it possible to sue elected persons who promised a fraud for damages especially when the network of the nation declines?

    If Americans were in charge of those who govern (the 527 elected, salaried members of the USA), there would be strict laws on the books, you promise you do as you promised or you loose you freedom and your money for your entire life.

  27. @edNels

    You are correct! Everything in universe must be cyclical. My conclusion is that when heat wave hits the zero Kelvin the energy changes back to matter.

    • Replies: @edNels
  28. Anonymous[209] • Disclaimer says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    It’s called radiation pressure.

  29. Anonymous[134] • Disclaimer says:

    Speaking to CNBC’s Squawk Box host Joe Kernen on July 20th, he boasted, “I’m ready to go to 500 [billion dollars].”

    That’s the equivalent of nearly every import the Chinese sent into the U.S. last year. In contrast, the U.S. exports only $129.9 billion in products to China, which means the Chinese can’t respond in kind …

    Which should give us the whip-hand if and when a trade war between the US and China actually does break out.

    There aren’t many advantages to having a gargantuan trade deficit … but I guess that makes one!

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Miro23
    , @bluedog
  30. David says:

    I think Trump’s 2020 campaign should give away wooden spoons with “TRUMP/PENCE 2020” printed on them, to be used to beat Dreamers and illegal immigrant children until they self-deport.

  31. not your worst piece.

  32. @Fidelios Automata

    ‘Trump has indeed been a disappointment, but he can’t possibly worse than Hillary would have been…’

    Took the words right out of my mouth. It’s not the most inspiriting slogan, but it’s the truth.

    • Replies: @bluedog
  33. renfro says:

    yes…there is that also

  34. renfro says:

    I paid 30% of my income in fed and state (5%) taxes last year…..because I use interest on investments and annuities I set up as most of my income.
    If were a hedge fund trader all that investment cash that flows back to me would only be taxed at 15%.
    So fuck Trump and Washington in general.

  35. @FB

    Thank you. Could you now turn your knowledge and admirable clarity of mind to deal with the assertions (“arguments” would flatter) of the 9/11 enthusiasts who insist that the twin towers weren’t/couldn’t have been brought down by the weakening of their weight supporting steel structures , partly by impact, but mostly by fires started by the planes full of fuel exploding in them?

    • Replies: @FB
  36. Anon[381] • Disclaimer says:

    Actually, there is something that China can do. China can seize all the capital of US corporations in China. (factories, equipment, …) US corporations have a lot of capital in China.

    How much capital does China have in US? US won’t allow China to invest in many sectors in the US. On that score, China could be ahead.

    Would that mean hot war? Dunno.

  37. anon[217] • Disclaimer says:

    Sorry. But the economy is good.

    Trump encouraged the animal spirits. Obama had them on life support. Trump mostly left them alone. Thats all it took.

    • Replies: @bluedog
  38. FB says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    I’ve already discussed the thermodynamics and heat transfer of this at length on this site…

    The answer is that no, the steel members could not have been sufficiently weakened by an open flame of jet fuel [kerosense] burning in the buildings…

    Couple of important reasons…one is the nature of a diffuse flame…which is an open flame where the fuel and air not mixed in their ideal or stoichiometric ratio…we see this type of diffuse flame when you take an acetylene torch and light it without opening the oxygen valve…only the outside part of the acetylene fuel that is exposed to air will burn, and the flame temperature will be quite low…

    It is the same with a pool of gasoline or kerosene on the ground that is burning…only the top layer of fuel molecules actually exposed to air will burn…while the rest of the pool remains liquid underneath…the presence of a diffuse flame in the building is evidenced by the black soot, which is a signature of a diffuse flame…[we see the same black soot on the acetylene flame]

    With kerosene burning in an open flame [diffuse flame] the flame temperature could optimistically reach 1,000 C…whereas a precisely mixed ratio of fuel and air [for example in the combustor of a jet engine] will reach 2,500 C…

    Then there is the matter of heat transfer from the flame to the steel members…heat transfer is a specialized discipline within the broader science of thermodynamics…and is a hugely important science in its own right, since many important technologies make use of heat exchangers…including nuclear power…automotive [radiator and oil cooler]…refrigeration…steam power generation…chemical process industry…medical etc…

    Heat transfer from an open flame is going to be very ineffective…heat transfer effectiveness does not happen by chance, just as stoichiometric air-fuel mixture does not happen by chance…it happens by careful, scientific design…for instance, in an oxy-acetylene torch with the right ratio the flame temperature will be about 3,500 C…but if you hold that torch even a foot away there will be little heat transfer…in fact you could hold your hand a foot away because the heat transfer will be so low…and that is with the very high flame temperature to begin with…with the diffuse acetylene flame [no oxygen] you could hold your hand an inch away and feel no heat…

    There is also the sheer mass of the steel columns as well as the concrete…it takes a certain QUANTITY of heat [even at high rates of heat transfer] to raise the temperature of a given mass…this depends also on the thermal properties of the material in question…such as the heat capacity [ie how much heat energy it takes to raise a kg of the material by a single degree…also called the specific heat]…for concrete this is very high so it would take a huge QUANTITY of heat to raise significantly the temperature of such a large mass…

    The heat capacity of steel is also high..and there is a lot of mass there too…

    I’m not going to get into the finer points of heat transfer science here, but I have discussed this with colleagues who are thermal science professionals…one is a retired physicist from Livermore National Lab, having worked on the design of nuclear weapons…the consensus is that that it would be impossible for a diffuse flame of 1,000 C to get such a huge mass of steel to even a temperature of 600 C or so where its strength is merely half of room temperature [and still within the margin of safety of building load engineering]…from the total energy contained in the fuel that was present…

    We also note that much of the fuel burned up initially in those two huge fireballs which are visible in the pictures OUTSIDE the fireball for each wing fuel tank…so the amount of fuel available for burning inside the building would have been a fraction of the fuel carried…the combustion of fuel in those fireballs is entirely what we would expect to see, since the high speed impact would have created a fuel vapor cloud that would combust much like inside a combustion much closer to stoichiometric…hence its very rapid combustion…

    We must remember also that all of the dozens of steel columns would have needed to collapse at the same time…and so the rate of heat transfer to all the columns would have to have been the same…this is not possible since some were farther and some were closer…

    To my knowledge no one has looked at the thermal science of this in a professional way…unlike many other aspects of the building structure etc…

    The thermodynamics and heat transfer is in fact an analysis that could be applied quite readily to this question…I have obtained some data on the dimensions of the steel columns and hence an estimate of the mass involved…as well as a rougher estimate of the much larger mass of concrete…we are talking thousands of tons…getting such a huge mass to a high temperature from a diffuse flame and a low rate of heat transfer [mostly by radiation from the flame itself, the most inefficient mechanism of heat transfer]…would be highly unlikely…

  39. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

    Right, because one more federal bureaucracy filled with utterly useless dead weight bureaucrats will make the difference.

    getting Ford to move a plant back to the U.S. from Mexico while pressuring Japanese companies to make more cars in Michigan.

    Seriously? More cars in Michigan? Is this writer too stupid or too dishonest to know Michigan is a union state and Japs (and Krauts) make cars in right to work States, not here in the birthplace and home to the UAW?

    I don’t mind reading communist lunacy here, it’s actually very instructive. But the level of stupidity in this broad’s drivel is more than I can take. I quit reading with the ‘Japs making cars in Michigan’ garbage. The only quasi Jap car manufacturing was a JV with Ford/Mazda in Flat Rock in a Ford built factory which was shuttered and then converted back to Ford only Mustang manufacturing (10,000,000 sold – Yay Iacocca) years ago. I tolerate insane better than I tolerate stupid liars.

  40. @Bucky

    If the neocons are ever right about anything it’s on the same principle as a stopped clock, accidentally correct twice a day.

  41. @FB

    The trouble about Truthers’ persistent focus on the Towers is that it takes the focus away from who knew what BEFORE the attacks. This book asks some interesting questions about the CIA’s lack of action against the terror plot:

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  42. Miro23 says:

    Speaking to CNBC’s Squawk Box host Joe Kernen on July 20th, he boasted, “I’m ready to go to 500 [billion dollars].”

    That’s the equivalent of nearly every import the Chinese sent into the U.S. last year. In contrast, the U.S. exports only $129.9 billion in products to China, which means the Chinese can’t respond in kind …

    I may be wrong here, but if most of these Chinese imports are basic items like Walmart stuff, then aren’t $ 500 Billion in tariffs are going to double their price in the US.

    So either the public stops buying (difficult for essentials that are mostly no longer produced in the United States) or pays higher prices (seriously inflationary)? It takes time to arrange alternative sources of international supply in these volumes.

    At least inflation would reduce consumer and government debt (and evaporate what is left of US middle class savings), while also wrecking Chinese investment portfolios of US bonds.

    That’s what the Chinese get for cleverly industrializing through the US outsourcing game.

    • Replies: @FKA Max
  43. @animalogic

    don’t worry, many believe US GDP figures are so “fake” that the US has been in recession since 2008….

    More like the 1980’s. The 1990’s was fake with the dotcom tech bubble of Wall Street casino action. The 2000’s was fake with the housing bubble of illegals and fraudsters frothing the Wall Street casino action. The 2010’s is fake with more tech bubble fakery and Wall Street casino action.

    A real economy is based on making stuff. Real stuff. Manufactured goods, food, energy, and all that combines to make it possible. An economy based on the casino and interest model with nothing but mercantilism at its core is bullshit and entirely Jewish in conception. It’s a giant scam that has bled us dry and made us all wage slaves except the Jewish globalists and their many Yeshuan acolytes.

    • Agree: FB
    • Replies: @animalogic
    , @Wizard of Oz
  44. @Bucky

    Obama also clamped down hard on immigration.

    You’re better than this, I know you are. No President has “clamped down hard on immigration” since Ike booted the Wetbacks.

  45. @Stan d Mute

    Think you’re pretty spot on Stan. “Growth” based in large part based on neoliberal casino capitalism will be fake.
    One problem I have is narrowing the focus down to Jew = Globalist, Globalist = Jew.
    Of course it’s now pretty indisputable that organised Jewry has been a major force behind the whole neoliberal globalist evil. However, they are not the ONLY guilty party. There are a lot of non Jewish persons who deserve their own lamp posts.

  46. Wally says:

    Prins said:

    “Indeed, the Center for Automotive Research has reported that a 25% tariff on autos and auto parts (something the president has threatened but not yet followed through upon against the European Union, Canada, and Mexico) could reduce the number of domestic vehicle sales by up to two million units and might wipe out more than 714,000 jobs here. Declining demand for cars, whose prices could rise ”

    Yet a 25% tariff is exactly what US cars are subject to in Europe.

    So why isn’t that bad for Europe’s economy if it would be bad for the US economy?

  47. anon[317] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sally Snyder

    The problem you address is much much bigger than just numbers of jobs lost; its education, training, and cutting edge expertise, and the spirit of fair but intense job competition, that has been lost.

    When I graduated in 1964, their was no place in America that did not want to hire me. There were jobs everywhere, millions of people were working in millions of corporations, most of these corporations were under 100 persons, competition was everywhere but so was collaboration between persons and between corporations. By 1970 nearly all of the companies that had interviewed me, had closed or were in the position of closing down their American operations. Space center engineers, top of the line scientist, and millions of highly skilled, cutting edge craftsmen were hopelessly jobless. Living in cars, or on the street, or taking jobs driving taxi or working for governments or migrating to where the jobs were. So the job lost to the FDI is just just part of the story, the other part is the knowledge base. Sam Walmart made it clear, no damn foreign made good would ever be sold in his store.. we all know what happened as soon as he died..

    When you graduate with degrees in chemistry, science, physics, math, biology etc. you have a set of tools but no experience in any industry. Your tools get rusty quickly, and the tools themselves change making your knowledge outdated before your 5 th year after graduation. Jobs in your field keep you current. Changing jobs expand your knowledge and make you expert in time.

    But the report you linked us to, has a glaring almost unforgivable, from an academic point of view, omission. Do you know what that omission is? It is the copyright laws and the Patent laws; these two laws prevented competition, so out from under Americans, the globalist took nearly all productive jobs from Americans, and at the same time, they tied the hands of the technologist that made America great, with the copyright and patent laws (Congress passed them, but the corporations made them do it). Even though the patent and copyright laws existed before 1960s , patents and copyrights were by law relatively short termed 7 years or so, until the late 1960s when the globalist puppets in congress extended patents and copyrights from a short time to, over 100 years, just look at the growth in the patent office employment to see what I mean. Little study is required. At the time, China did not care about the restraints of patents or copyrights, they just did as they pleased, but could do little since they did not have the expertise to invent for themselves. Now though the situation has reversed, the Chinese have the knowledge, skill and competitive spirit, and the Chinese have told the globalist get lost, we don’t need you leeches any longer.. we have learned enough. and gotten rich in the process and now we are going to eat you alive.

    The Americans cannot compete because it corrupt USA has written laws that make it impossible for Americans to compete(tied their hands and bound their feet). Because of the patent and copyright laws Americans cannot even compete against each other, everyone needs a license to breathe, or go to the bathroom, worse those same laws that depleted the edge Americans had on the rest of the world, made the very same corporations that moved their American operations global (to China, India or wherever) very wealthy indeed, in fact so wealthy these corporations, not Americans, control the USA.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  48. @FB

    Thank you. Very interesting. Of course you leave open what fire there might hiave been other than and after the diffuse flame from the burning fuel.

    Also the gravitational energy (maybe amateur terminology) from the number of floors above which makes one ask why the tower which was hit lower down took so much less time to collapse. (Cp. WTC 7 where a fire burned all day before the tower collapsed and that fire was started by burning debris, not kerosene exploding.)

    You mention concrete which reminds me that the WTC designs were apparently a product of regulatory changes which allowed much less concrete to be used than in earlier buildings: said to be relevant to the effect of the aircraft impacts (cp. an earlier one on the Empire State building).

    As another reply reminds the underfunded commission did a good job obscuring the incompetence of the CIA/FBI defences of the nation. But I’m not sure what technical stuff it missed in the end. Have you an opinion?

    PS when it comes to motive I’m on the side of those that say Osama bin Laden had most reason to be pleased because America became mired in Afghanistn.

  49. @anon

    I agree with you about the iniquity and/or stupidity of American IP law and what it has, with varying degrees of success, forced on other countries, but, if you want your argument to have impact you should not quote such erroneous figures. E.g. just off the top of my head, patents only extend for 20 years – though it used to be less and some subterfuge are attempted to attempt extensions.

    As a matter of interest Austrlia’s ll absurd Resale Rights Royalty for Visual Artists (name from memory) announced with great fanfare at an outvack Aboriginal settlement by a trendy Labor minister was of French inspiration.

  50. @Stan d Mute

    “mercantilism”? I would have thought US policy has been the opposite of mercantilism as I have understood the word from my school studies of Modern History. What do you mean by it?

  51. @Fidelios Automata

    Thanks for the link though I think Kevin Fenton’s friendly reviewers may satisfy my appetite for ingesting the full output from his apparently scrupulously researched material.

    He has already upset the kind of people who frequent UR threads with sneering certainties about the impossibility that the towers were brought down by ObL’s lads. My own dose of scepticism would be based on the history of huge failures of intelligence such as those which let down scapegoat Admiral Kimmel before Pearl Harbour, Soviet failure to be ready for Barbarossa, and the extraordinary mishmash of competing agencies in WW2 Germany. Apparently Fenton only thinks it most likely that the CIA’s pre 9/11 failures were part of a conspiracy, so, let’s welcome the full inquiry. (Another stray thought… As few CIA people suffered for their failures as bankers for the 2008 melt down. Given the general savagery and vengefulness of US criminal justice – how come?).

  52. edNels says:

    Yeah, cycles! That is observable. Thinking in cycler movements helps things, move along.

    Whether humans are pure rational-capable enough to set aside ego stakes to approach a condition of mind to accept ultimate realities is a question though.

    Oh wait! I sense a phantasy… no it was just a passing thought about some carpentry problems now potentially solved. Blast all them sources of unnecessary sensory triggers in the environment that constantly distract from important discourse.

    Your idea about energy going back to matter at 0 Kelvin is pretty good, but how can it be measured? Because as the scientists (with their PH&d’s) go out there to test it, they will pollute the space with they’s own gd… body warmth or their instruments!

    Fact is, somewhere I read that nuclear physicists of mind to talk about such things has said that when the U is studied (as to the ya know… Quarks and particles with new fangled names etc.) they have said that the U changes from the observations (like moving the goal posts!!!) I could go back to Hawkin’s book, or was it Feynmann’s and offer the graphic illustration of the experiment with the two slits in a wall where light particles are measured at a random occurrence and how the statistic changes when on of the slits is removed. That doesn’t prove nothing, but if you read these type books, some times…

    Another thing is the Black Holes theories, and energy and matter goes there and can’t get out, well where’s the exit? must be a dimensional warp deal or Phase Change! Fantasy is much under rated by some types of rationalist over achievers who are babes in the woods… really.

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  53. ohmy says:

    When talking about banking we can’t headline Trump, or pretend he is the author of everything banking. Bankers are the real deep state, and they call the shots. In essence they’re the enemy, and Trump is their straw man. he is set up to take the blame should all of their plans fail. Let’s focus on the guilty rather than the patsy.

  54. ohmy says:

    After reading a few comments here, it is obvious the section is dominated by trolls or low IQ readers. There is nothing complicated about today’s banking regulations, or practices. The fact is the London Central bank franchise has run it’s course. Today many nations are close to bankruptcy, driven there by an system designed to build unsustainable debt. Until the populace of every country wakes up to the fact that; their politicians have been paid off to sustain the status quo, and that life is sustainable without the European Central bank system, until then enjoy our journey into complete servitude.

  55. @edNels

    Concerning black holes.
    I do think that slowly is being accepted that Black holes are not actually holes. They are great masses of matter having an ambient temperature of our universe 2.23 Kelvin.
    I did write a little comment on the subject in article named Who were Greeks and Romans.
    If you would be interested to find it.
    I would be really curious to hear your opinion.

    Concerning the creation of Universe I am convinced that there is no other option than to consult God.

  56. FKA Max says: • Website

    At least inflation would reduce consumer and government debt […]

    Exactly right!

    And Jerome Powell is raising interest rates much too aggressively, while Trump increased government spending BIG LEAGUE!?

    Maybe I was a little too hard on Jerome Powell. He seems to be aware of the debt problem/burden. But him saying we need to grow the economy faster than the debt and him simultaneously raising interest rates seems somewhat bipolar to me.

    The budget deficit in fiscal 2018 (which runs from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018, the first year budgeted by President Trump) is forecast to be $804 billion, an increase of $139 billion (21%) from the $665 billion in 2017 and up $242 billion (39%) over the previous baseline forecast (June 2017) of $580 billion for 2018.
    CBO estimated under an alternative scenario (in which policies in place as of April 2018 are maintained beyond scheduled initiation or expiration) that deficits would be considerably higher, rising by $13.7 trillion over the 2018-2027 period, an increase of $3.6 trillion over the June 2017 baseline forecast. Maintaining current policies for example would include extending the individual Trump tax cuts past their scheduled expiration in 2025, among other changes.

    But the IMF warned that now is the time for investors and policymakers to pay attention to growing debt, singling out the United States. The Fund said the revised tax code and spending agreements will mean the U.S. is the only advanced economy where the debt-to-GDP ratio will increase over the next five years.

  57. Sandy says:

    I’ve followed Nomi’s work for some time, along with Danielle di Martino. I like them both. However, I have come to think of them as unintentional limited hangout artists. Desirous to milk some continued acceptance among the financial mainstream, they cling to quaint ideas like the President actually decides who runs the Fed or that the Fed is a quasi-government agency. Surely they know the history. But they want to distance themselves from “conspiracy theorists” who, unlike these ladies, go all the way.

    But not to be too hard on them–they are at least half-hearted whistleblowers. And she who blows the whistle, however shallow-throatedly, is a world less gratifying to the corruption than she who sucks the whistle–Maria Bartiromo, et al.

  58. bluedog says:

    Indeed and yet almost 42% of China exports come from American,European and Asian international corporations,now where’s the tariffs on those, as more and more American business’s move to Mexico,India or yes even China,what a snow job we are getting and its lapped up like a cat at a bowl of milk….

  59. bluedog says:
    @Colin Wright

    Lol no its an old worn out excuse’ that we chose the lesser of the two evils’ so why did you waste time even bothering to vote…..

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  60. bluedog says:

    That and the $1.3 trillion they dumped into the system that is or so I read, and of course the billions added to an over bloated defense lol budget if one can call it that,then the orange clown howls that the world will end as we know it if he gets impeached,and I’m sure that many American voters will take that as gospel truth,and they wonder what’s happened to America,ignorance would be the number one reason and stupidity the second….

  61. @bluedog

    ‘…Lol no its an old worn out excuse’ that we chose the lesser of the two evils’ so why did you waste time even bothering to vote…..’

    Why vote? Umm…to avoid the greater evil? Somewhat to my surprise, it actually worked, too.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Nomi Prins Comments via RSS
The Surprising Elements of Talmudic Judaism
Analyzing the History of a Controversial Movement
From the Leo Frank Case to the Present Day
Shouldn't they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?
The Shaping Event of Our Modern World
The JFK Assassination and the 9/11 Attacks?