The Octant
Insights and reporting from Caleb Maupin


The line from James Mattis that seemed to stand out the most was “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

Mattis spent the prior paragraphs of his resignation letter describing the threats of terrorism, the importance of US military alliances, and the perceived danger of Russia and China. He then dropped the subtly worded bombshell sentence, indicating that Trump did not share these views which are considered to be the standard perspective of the global situation by US mainstream media.

The Mattis resignation coincided with the announced withdrawal of US troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Mattis is reported to have disagreed with the President’s decision. Shortly after the resignation, Trump visited US troops in Iraq and infuriated the military by signing “Make America Great Again” hats and announcing, falsely, that he had increased the troop’s pay by 10%.

The mainstream of American politics went into overdrive denouncing Trump for “giving a huge gift to Putin” and “abandoning the women” of Afghanistan. US Senator Lindsey Graham said “The only reason they’re not dancing in the aisles in Tehran and ISIS camps is they don’t believe in dancing.” Those who are familiar with contemporary US history should realize that Trump seems to be in an increasingly dangerous position as he has apparently earned the scorn of the Pentagon brass.

The struggle between the elected President as “commander-in-chief” of the US military and its uniformed brass is quite longstanding. Abraham Lincoln famously fired General George McLellan with the historic rebuff “If General McClellan does not want to use the Army, I would like to borrow it for a time.” Truman fired General Douglas Macarthur for threatening to drop atomic bombs on China without Presidential authorization.


When it comes to the genocide of Native Americans, the people of the United States seem to face an existential crisis. The cultural clashes and recent diversification of rhetoric around this issue illustrates how deeply confused the people of the United States truly are about their identity and their history.

Ethnic Cleansing, Cultural Genocide and Mass Murder

Long before the creation of the United States, or the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, massacres of Native people by settlers had already begun. Incident such as the Gnadenhutten massacre of 1782, or the Massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, cannot be described “accidental” or as outliers.

The forced removal of Native Americans ordered by US President Andrew Jackson in 1838 and carried out against the wishes of the US Supreme Court resulted in at least 10,000 deaths. It is hard to honestly describe the “Trail of Tears” as anything but ethnic cleansing.

The Native American Schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs conducted a cultural genocide. Children were forcibly removed from their parents and taken to government run facilities in which they were not permitted to speak their own language, and indoctrinated with Christianity. Native American religion was illegal in many parts of the United States until the passage of the Federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978.


Jordan Peterson is not a political scientist or an ideologue and does not purport to be. The wildly popular clinical and academic psychologist packages his lectures as self-help. His best-selling book “12 Rules for Life” is not by any means a political tirade or manifesto. However, regardless of his wishes or intent, the Canadian Professor has become a key face of American conservatism.

But this points to the bigger question: what does it mean to be a conservative in the United States in 2018?

Donald Trump, the Republican President, is hardly a right-wing archetype. Trump is a wealthy real-estate tycoon known for his foul mouth and sexual promiscuity. Trump has been known to insult his opponents in ways that would cause conservatives of previous eras to vomit. Trump insulted John McCain for being captured during the Vietnam War. Trump boasted about his own lack of military service, and referred to his struggles with venereal disease during his youth as his own “personal Vietnam.”

Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence, is a highly masculine evangelical Christian who grabbed national headlines as Governor of Indiana. Trump’s policies have certainly involved de-regulation and privatization. But overall, anyone who is familiar with the Post-World War Two American right-wing from William F. Buckley to Ann Coulter must look at Trump and wonder “What has happened?”

ElectricBusThe numbers speak for themselves. 746,000 New Energy passenger cars were sold in China between January and October. By the end of 2018, all buses and taxis in the vital tech hub city of Shenzen will be electric. The central borough of the city of Dalian is expected to reach this benchmark by 2020. Chinese manufacturers created 358,000 non-fossil fuel buses from 2014 to 2017.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Sandra Retzer of the German Agency for International Cooperation as saying that when it comes to electric cars: “China is the only one in the race; it’s all Chinese manufacturers.”

The push for New Energy Vehicles is at the center of the “Made in China 2025” technology project heralded by Xi Jinping and the Communist Party. From 2009 to 2017 the Chinese government spent $48 billion to subsidize electric cars.


The arrest of Chinese telecommunications CFO Meng Wanzhou has sent shockwaves through the global markets. The context of the smartphone industry and the new challenges facing big western monopolies from Russia and China is vital background information for anyone who wants to understand these recent, dramatic events.

One of the favorite talking points of defenders of free markets is “capitalism made your iphone.” According to the meme, those who believe in socialism or Marxism are presented as total hypocrites if they own smartphone as only the profit system’s rewarding of entrepreneurship could ever produce such a technological creation.

However, a little investigation reveals that the entire premise of the meme is false. The first cellphone was created by Leonid Ivanovich Kupriyanovich, a Moscow-based engineer in 1955 who conducted his research in state-run facilities. Furthermore, the screens of most smartphones are illuminated by Light Emitting Diodes (LED), the first of which was invented in 1927 by Oleg Vladimirovich Losev. Losev was also a Russian who conducted his research in state sponsored facilities.

Asked to present to the Center for Political Innovation and Students and Youth for a New America on the topic of "What is Neoliberalism?" Caleb Maupin led the discussion based class which can be viewed in the above video.


The contrived outrage regarding Putin’s high five with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman obscures the fact that Russia-Saudi and Saudi-US relations are completely different.

The US relationship with Saudi Arabia, a longstanding outrage among those who take US foreign policy rhetoric about “human rights” seriously, is widely in question. The slaughter of Jamal Khoshoggi, a journalist associated with the Washington Post, carried out in a particularly brutal manner, was hard to overlook. The fact that the USA sells huge amounts of weapons and purchases huge amounts of oil from a despotic monarchy that still practices public beheadings, has suddenly become a widespread topic of debate. The atrocities in Yemen, currently committed by the Kingdom in effort to restore puppet leader Mansour Hadi, are suddenly now up for debate as well, with liberals suddenly being outraged by crimes they previously ignored.

However, those forces that seek to change the conversation, have latched on to clever conversational diversion. Yes, while the US government’s relationship with the Saudi monarchy is one of billions of dollars in weapons sales and contracts with Wall Street’s four supermajor oil monopolists, Russian President Vladimir Putin is being blasted for giving a “high five” to the Saudi Crown Prince at the G20 in Argentina.