On Willie Sutton, Liberty Valance and Donald Trump.

A longtime contributor to this blog and a good friend, Blackswan, asked me a question recently. Why did I mainly blog about American politics when I live in Europe? As usual, a trenchant thought from that source. My answer came down to something similar to what the American bank robber Willie Sutton allegedly replied to the question “why do you only rob banks?” when the police finally caught up with him. “Because that’s where the money is”. That simple reply is now called Sutton’s law and in a similar sense, I blog mainly on American politics because that’s where all the real action is.

In passing, he denied or couldn’t recall ever having said it in the autobiography he eventually wrote when he was let out of prison on compassionate grounds, but it’s now passed into legend, and to quote that movie the man who shot Liberty Valance when the legend becomes fact, print the legend. He did say something about his 25 year career robbing banks all across America without ever killing anyone and getting away with an estimated two million dollars – “Why did I rob banks? Because I enjoyed it. I loved it. I was more alive when I was inside a bank, robbing it, than at any other time in my life. I enjoyed everything about it so much that one or two weeks later I’d be out looking for the next job. But to me the money was the chips, that’s all.”

You could see why the cops who took him in didn’t just shoot him down in cold blood like they did with John Dillinger and the other desperadoes of those times. He may have been a robber, but he was a decent one as far as they were concerned. He also made three successful prison escapes without injuring a corrections officer, which put him in that extremely rare Tommy Crown zone of being a very classy kind of criminal.

Why do I think American politics is where the action is? Because the election of Trump and by any measure his scintillating performance as president thereafter, has energised politics in Europe and around the world. People yearned for a return to basics, to pride in their country and culture and were totally fed up of a sort of sick, diseased and almost omnipresent grafted on culture of political correctness that not only seemed to paralyze the exercise of any common sense but also seemed to be handing the keys to their country to frankly deranged minorities who actually believed in things like there are 65 genders of human beings, and were getting government support for such idiocy.

What was worse was that the current crop of politicians around the world had the political smarts of middle management filing clerks, no real bollocks and the last thing they could ever be trusted to do was create a successful economy. In short, they were dumb, dire and totally out of ideas.

The average person was just terminally fed up and ready for some leadership that would stand up and denounce all that incompetence and insanity for what it was. The fuse that was lit initially was Brexit, followed a year later by the election of Trump. They were both events that proved to the average citizen that the paralysing grip of an elitist but essentially jaded establishment on their futures was not something which couldn’t be broken.

Across Europe, new parties are forming modelled on the belief that you don’t have to accept irrational theories and ideas, which are both offensive and quite frankly at times degenerate. It’s pushback by the common person and that is growing steadily. The first one of those parties to gain power happened just recently in Italy, but my feeling is they’re just the tip of the spear. Bavaria, for instance, has all but nearly seceded from the federal republic of Germany over the issue of mass migration, and that might ultimately prove to be the unseating of Queen Merkel of Europe.

Even in Sweden, which I’d written off completely, there are stirrings of a new political awareness with the anti-EU, anti-mass migration Swedish Democrats party coming from nowhere and powering into the lead ahead of a September general election.

North of the border in Ontario Canada, Doug Ford, by my reading a traditional conservative irrespective of what the fake news vendors have branded him, recently crushed the local liberal opposition so badly that they no longer even enjoy the perks of a major party.

That is the real danger presented by Trump to both the liberal elite and the deep state. If they can stop or destroy him, then they can prevent the dominoes starting to fall in other countries. So far they haven’t, and it’s a reflection of their frustration at both his success and his growing popularity with middle America that the attacks on both him and his family have grown increasingly puerile, if not just plain outright vile.

It’s okay to call his daughter a “feckless cunt”, it’s okay to show his bloody severed head in a promo, it’s okay for Hollywood celluloid heroes like Robert De Nero to shout “fuck Trump” to great applause while handing out awards at a theatrical luvvie ceremony, it’s okay to call his elegant wife, who speaks five languages, a brainless cow, it’s okay to say he has an incestuous relationship with his children, it’s okay to wish his 12-year-old son dies of cancer and probably most disgustingly, to wish that same child was kidnapped and then placed in a cage with a gang of pedophiles.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) recently called on people to mob any members of the Trump administration seen in public. The rather obvious subtext is she’s encouraging physical attacks on people who work for the administration. Sarah Sanders and her family are refused service in a restaurant because she’s Trump’s press secretary, and the only comment the mainstream media can make is that she should be grateful she and her family weren’t served with a meal that the chef hadn’t ejaculated into.

That’s the level, the gutter, to which political discourse has fallen to on the left-wing of American politics, and it’s one massive self-inflicted wound, though they’re so blinded by hate, they can’t see that. Listening to them and the progressively more extreme threats coming from them, they remind me in an uncanny way of the KKK leaders of the 1960s who saw the civil rights revolution threatening their hegemony over all blacks.

Just swap nigger for conservative, and it’s the same tired old tune but with a new lyric. No niggers in our restaurant, niggers drink at a different tap, niggers at the back of the bus and of course it’s alright to attack a nigger on sight, beat the shit out of them and then set the dogs on them. The liberals of a 1960s vintage would look at that level of hate and intolerance and recognise the enemy they fought against.

The ordinary person, of no particularly strong political persuasion, finds such statements totally abhorrent and in a readily understandable human instinct to protect anybody who’s being so viciously abused, will feel in all common decency they must have sympathy for the victim rather than the abusers. The bit that will guarantee that impulse is that the people hurling all the abuse which just bounces off Trump, have decided to shift their attentions to his children.

That’s a big no no. You can fight the parents of a family all you want, but if getting nowhere with them, then taking the fight to their children breaks all the hard-wired family protectiveness taboos, even if you are some Hollywood/fake news head honcho. It smacks of a low-born cowardice that nobody likes. Your career will die and anyone you do the celebrity endorsement of will look at you as if you’d just given them a dose of the clap.

There’s a phrase I first heard used by Jack Kennedy and then nearly twenty years later by Ronald Reagan that comes from the bible, Matthew I think. It’s a rather fanciful comparison of America to a shining “city on a hill” whose light cannot be hidden. I think it was in both their inauguration speeches and its inclusion gave a vivid imagery to the notion that a great nation was about to flex its muscles once again and provide not just leadership for America, but an optimism for the world in the face of uncertain times.

For a lot of people in other countries watching political events unfold in America, Trump is the latest manifestation of that distant shining “city on a hill”. He waved his magic wand, and brought back jobs that Americans were confidently assured had gone forever, putting the economy back on its feet. Coal miners in Kentucky are going back to mines that’ve reopened and a record number of working men are bringing in a family paycheck once again. Black, Hispanic and female unemployment have plunged to lows not seen for decades. That’s just the domestic turnaround he did, and will be more than enough to slam the mid-terms as well as ensure a landslide re-election in 2020.

On the foreign policy side, he let the military off Obama’s leash and they promptly destroyed ISIS within six months flat, he relieved North Korea’s dictator of his nukes and my feeling is he’ll do the same with Iran. Putin has prudently decided he doesn’t have any more territorial ambitions just as long as Trump is around. Trump’s busy battling for a levelling of the foreign trade playing field and looks like he’ll succeed. He’s hard at work steadily draining the Washington swamp, and the deep state operatives are in full panic mode and scurrying in all directions towards plea bargains.

These are all good things for America, which is what you’d expect as he’s the type of America first, middle and last president the country has so desperately needed for about the last four decades. Where it gets interesting and why I say it’s where the action is, is in watching, analysing and picking apart the pure dogfight that’s happening between him and the deep state swamp in Washington.

In essence, it’s the same battle being fought in all the Western democracies around the world, and with the same two groups in contention. On one side an unholy combination of deep state, fake news providers and the entertainment industry versus the ordinary person who sees Trump as their champion who’s beating the shite out of the lot of them. He’s a scrapper, and he loves a good fight, but he always leads with his head, unlike them, who always appear to favour leading with their faces.

It’s hard to get excited about, never mind blog about, the mindless day-to-day displacement activity of what passes as government policy from a doomed Theresa May, Angela Merkel’s low but obvious East German cunning as she suborns yet another obscure EU committee of faceless bureaucrats, Macron poodling along behind Merkel like a rentboy on her leash, and the rest of the politicians in W. Europe are fairly anodyne, to say the least.

However, I do finally see the beginning of some stirrings of political discontent in Europe that are resulting in changes of policy, if not administrations, but in my opinion it’s being inspired and the template is being set by events occurring on a far distant “city on a hill” on the other side of the Atlantic and the battle occurring there. If Trump loses, it’ll probably have a stifling effect on the nascent return to traditional conservative politics that’s starting to reawaken around the world.

If he wins, it will almost certainly be the second great extinction of the liberal dream, and not only in America.


Related articles by Pointman:

The second great extinction of the liberal dream.

Europe in crisis and the new politics.

The loss of faith in the political class.

Click for a list of other articles.






16 Responses to “On Willie Sutton, Liberty Valance and Donald Trump.”
  1. Leigh says:

    Actually thought you were in the US. I appreciate your writing from outside as I feel the same way here in Australia. The shining city on the hill is an apt description. I am thoroughly engrossed in the political upheaval around the world and the push back against the swamp. I appreciate your insights and writing, along with others such as Thomas Wictor on twitter. It’s engaging to try and pull the pieces together and estimate what will occur next, who will be successful. Reading your writing at times confirms I’ve made some correct assumptions, puts the icing on the cake of something I hadn’t quite worked through completely, or throws something in that I hadn’t considered at all. Thanks mate.


  2. Blackswan says:


    That’s the really satisfying thing about reading your blog for so many years … ask a question (silly or not) and you’ll always give a cogent answer, easily understood by the average person. Thank you.

    Your reference to a shining “city on a hill’ has been integral to the ethos of the American dream of liberty since before the Pilgrim Fathers first arrived at Plymouth Rock. I think the whole quote includes Trump himself … “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” 

    For the rest of us in the West, Trump has indeed been the ‘light of the world’ as he constantly challenges the Marxist Global Elite and their stranglehold on the future of our sovereign nations.

    And also from the Sermon on the Mount comes the quote “You are the salt of the earth”. That is always how ordinary people of the land have been described … farmers, herdsmen, miners and builders … salt of the earth. But the quote goes on to say – “But if salt becomes tasteless, by what will it be made salty? It is good for nothing any longer except to be thrown outside and trampled under foot by people.”

    That’s how the Marxists see us, good for nothing except to be debt slaves and trampled under foot.

    Trump has put the ‘saltiness’ back into global politics – everywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ingvare says:

    Good analysis! There is a bit of a revolution growing in Sweden. People are getting really P.O. with “Multiculture”, tax-money used to help the already rich to by Tesla cars and building ugly ineffiicent wind generators. What Sweden needs is a person like half Trump and half Vaclav Klaus.


  4. Shoshin says:

    Trump made an interesting comment a few days ago as he re-branded the “Deplorables” as the “Super-Elite”. He’s right on the money with that one. Hollywood only exists because the Deplorables do dirty and productive jobs to send them money. Hollywood and Democrat elites are nothing more than parasites and like all parasites they dig in deeper when they sense that someone is trying to root them out.

    Expect more and worse until the Red Tsunami cleans out their Aegean stables in November.


  5. spetzer86 says:

    It’s not surprising that people with liberal feelings would recognize the hate that is being communicated today. It’s coming from the same group as it was in the 60s. It’s just that the meaning of words has changed enough that the hate group is now identified as “liberal”.


  6. beththeserf says:

    He’s like John Wayne, true grit!


  7. philjourdan says:

    You could have added that you blog about American politics because you are good at it. And you are very good at it. My analysis indicates you get over 90% of it correct. And it could well be 100%, but we disagree (and I am no great prognosticator) so I could be wrong on the other 10%.

    And you are dead on again. I think it was Brexit combined with Obama that begat Trump. Brexit showed people that they COULD retake control of their lives from the ruling class (although the ruling class in the UK have managed to subvert Brexit for the most part since it was passed). Obama pushed too far, too fast, and left most of the folks behind. Back in 1972, before Watergate became a household word, Nixon destroyed a George McGovern, winning 49 states in a landslide. And McGovern was to the right of Obama! But the creeping incrementalism has pushed JFK to be right of Trump, yet he was a democrat. In another 40 years, Obama may not have been a blip on the radar. But the early 21st century was not the time to turn society on its head, especially when the folks you were singing to, for the most part, do not vote.

    So Trump came to us, and erased the Obama pen, and cut the Obama phone cord. He has actually gotten precious little passed in congress – other than a bunch of judges seated. But he does not need congress to reverse to what amounts to illegal orders, as SCOTUS told Obama 23 times (9-0) and now Trump many times (5-4 mostly). But the biggest impact Trump has had is in the SCOTUS make up. Not that he has changed anything yet. Roberts will be the new swing vote (he was the one that saved Obamacare by turning a fee into a tax), but without Trump, there would be 2 more liberal jurists on the court instead of essentially the same makeup there has been.

    So yes, there is a lot going on here in politics. And only some of it by Trump. The rest is the unhinged left that has decided that insanity beats policy every day of the week. Their base loves it. The other 65%+ are scratching their head wondering why they voted for them in the first place.,


  8. Graeme No.3 says:

    Here in Australia the Labor Party often refer to ‘the light on the hill’ which comes from a speech many years ago by Ben Chifley, whom many old timers when I was young regarded as Australia’s best PM. Labor has long since lost the plot to the extent that their current leader had to be reined in by his backbenchers but they will still go to the next election imitating the worst excesses of the Left.
    As for the ‘right wing’ government I must not comment, as there are ladies reading this.
    In South Australa where the rush to ‘renewables’ resulted in the developed world’s highest electricity prices and blackouts, the new government is continuing the farce and trying for even higher levels of idiocy. The latest is that the increased fluctuations will require spending another $A1,500 million on another interstate connector when the original offer (spurned by Labor) was for $30 million subsidy for the now destroyed coal fired station to keep going.
    Yet the voters ignored the only party which wishes to stop the madness. The ancient greeks had a saying about those whom the gods wished to destroy…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dolf (a.k.a. Anders Ericsson) says:

    Oh, I thought you were an American all along. Are you British born?

    On a side-note as regards sweden: we now have 3 signifikant parties against the establishment, the sweden democrats, a splinter off party AfS from them (Alternative for sweden), and a more mainstream Medborgerlig samling (Citizens Coalition).
    The sweden democrats that has been long hated and denounced as right-wing extremists and even outright nazis (but in fact ideologically are more classical social democracy, and can be considered a sane version of the utterly corrupt and insane social democratic party) will most likely end up being the biggest party hitting close to 30% of the votes in the coming election (and 30% is a lot considering that we currently have 8 parties in the parliament, and it was quite an upheaval both in the election 2010 when they made their first entrance in the parliament with about 5% of the vots and in 2014 when they became the third biggest party with 13%)
    The splinter off, more right-wing, party AfS will probably not make it into the parliament this election (there’s 4% threshold for parliament) but they are really hated by media and I would not be surprised at all if they make it by the next election (and maybe even in this).
    The third one (Citizens Coalition) which I am myself a member of, is conservative/libertarian, and unfortunately, I do not think we will make it by this election, we are too far from the threshold, but we might very well be force to reckon with by the next election. We have already started getting the “nazi”-treatment by the media, and are many times actively ignored, a surefire sign that we are not regarded as insignificant, but rather a threat that should not be given any attention. The same kind of treatment the sweden democrats had to content with for over 20 years, and AfS also has to contend with now.
    The coming election in September will most likely be a political earthquake.


  10. rapscallion says:

    In short then Pointman, it’s the common people versus the elites. I suspect my political antennae is a tad more tuned than most, but that’s only because I take a great interest in politics It is those antennae that are picking up on a return to nationalist, traditionalist sentiment across the West where people want a return to strong borders, a return of their customs, law, traditions and perhaps most importantly; their culture. You can see it in the rise of the Swedish Democrats, the defiance of the Visegrad Four, a centre right party in Austria and the complete removal of the socialists from Italy. Matteo Salvini perfectly encapsulates how the Italians are feeling right now – they’ve bloody well had enough.

    You’re right. Trump is representative of all those virtues, which is why so many of us are rooting for him. The opposite is too ghastly to contemplate (Fonda and Waters being cases in point).

    A minor correction to your article Pointman. Trump’s victory came only 5 months after Brexit and not a year later as you suggest.


  11. gallopingcamel says:

    Oh, Pointy! What an amazing review.

    Trump loves Auntie Maxine (may she live to be 120). Likewise he loves the vapid “Abolish ICE” movement. The non-stop Media “Trump is a Nazi” and “Confront Members of the Trump Administration” drives Trump’s popularity up. Even the Mueller investigation is helping Trump.

    Please read “Licensed to Lie” by Sidney Powell. She documents the destruction of Arthur Andersen and the wrongful conviction of Ted Stevens. It is available on Kindle for $7.99.

    Powell names everyone including many people involved in the current witch hunt directed at Trump:

    Liked by 1 person

  12. gallopingcamel says:

    Here in the USA we are fortunate to have Donald Trump. He is the solution, the bringer of reform, the disruptor in chief. Sadly, he is at best a short term solution given that he is one man and an old man at that. He could die at any time leaving us to the tender mercies of president Pence. Even if Trump survives he must leave office on January 17, 2025 and it is simply not possible to reverse 30 years of stupid government in such a short time. So what can prevent the Oligarchs from rolling back Trumpian reforms once he leaves office?

    Trump may succeed in making the GOP “The Forgotten People’s Party” and thereby make it more democratic. He may appoint two more supreme court justices and thereby influence events for decades to come. Even if these things happen states may secede if the Oligarchs retain their control of the Media………in a recent poll 30% of the respondents believed that a second civil war is likely!

    The defeat of the Robber Barons in the late 1800s would not have happened without unbiased investigative reporting. While the term Muckraker was intended as an insult these were the people who diligently exposed the activities of the ruling elites. Once the American people learned what was going on they demanded reforms such as the Sherman and Clayton acts.

    Today there is no equivalent of the Muckrakers; the Media exist to spin everything as their Oligarch masters require. This is not just an American problem, it is a global problem; governments around the world should have no control over Media yet it is common for governments to punish people who try to expose the truth about immigrant crime, sex trafficking, the climate change hoax and government misconduct.

    People who openly challenge Politically Correct views are subjected to ad hominem attacks (e.g. Racist, Homophobe etc.), shouted down or even prosecuted. Freedom of speech is under attack even on college campuses.

    What I propose is an organization in the fashion of Wikileaks but with a much broader scope. The point about Wikileaks is that it publishes facts with close to 100% accuracy. I am not aware of any situation where they have been proven wrong. To broaden the scope of Wikileaks one would need far more leakers and that could be an expensive undertaking. What I recommend is setting up a network of unpaid leakers. Rommel called Montgomery’s 8th army “Desert Rats” and the insult was gleefully turned into a shoulder flash. In a similar way the corps of amateur leakers should be known as Muckrakers.

    Is this a good place to start the search for Muckrakers?


  13. hoppers says:

    Love you to death Pointman, since your epic multi year assault on all things global warning, and while I agree with most of what you say you’ve really got to sort this foreign policy thing out.

    Saying America smashed ISIS in six months is the same as saying America won WW2. The heavy lifting was done by others, but Trump must take credit for removing a lot of the Obama created roadblocks to their demise and a great deal of funding. Rather confusing that after his excellent decision to defund the While Helmets he has suddenly done a 180 and bunged them $6.5 mil. Whats that about?

    Still not sure where the Putin territorial ambition thing comes from. After all, he pulled out of Georgia immediately after the 2008 war, when Russia could easily have occupied the place. Has not invaded the Donbass despite the slaughter of ethnic Russian citizens by the Kiev regime. You could argue the Crimea thing, but it’s obvious to anyone with a brain that Russia was never going to allow NATO to have Sevastopol, and even Trump is now making noises about recognising the Crimea as Russian. Russia cannot afford to have territorial ambitions. Hard enough to keep the Worlds largest land mass going on a relatively small economy without trying to take on more.

    Interesting Trump has made a request for a meeting with Putin in Helsinki, just the two of them, no-one else in the room. The usual suspects are obviously losing their minds over this, but I suppose Trump is now feeling ahead enough of the Russiagate/Mueller farce to not care what such people think.

    Far from anyone trying to curb anyone elses ambitions, I’m hoping that the two of them will work together to rid us of the Cabal/Deep State that has plagued the West for so long once and for all.

    His performance at the G7 was nothing short of brilliant, he deserves enormous credit for his success with North Korea (which the Deep State are currently trying to sabotage), but his Iran policy is utterly misguided.

    Trump is Trump, one minute completely brilliant, the next utterly infuriating. However, when you look at the alternative, thank goodness he’s there, and given time it’s quite possible that he’ll make America great again, a great nation among equals in a multi-polar World.

    Not the uni-polar hegemon that the deep state neocons planned, and that Trump, God bless him, is dismantling.


    • gallopingcamel says:

      I think you get Trump. He knows that Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Il are not boy scouts. However if he goes into full moral condemnation mode as demanded by the Democrats and the RINOs war becomes much more likely.


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