The Octant
Insights and reporting from Caleb Maupin


In the fall of 2017, as China announced its dramatic new regulations pushing electric cars, the price of lithium and cobalt went through the roof. The two minerals, essential in the production of batteries for ‘New Energy Vehicles’, were highly sought. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Australia and other countries that are source of rare minerals sped forward, expanding extraction to meet rising demand.

However, the price of these two prized commodities is now decreasing, amid a glutted market. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Cobalt prices have fallen more than 30% in 2019 to their lowest level in two years” and “a lithium price index published by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence dropped for the 10th consecutive month in January.”

Even though New Energy Vehicles have been selling at a much higher rate, with sales increasing by 64% in 2018, the demand for minerals has dropped. The trade war between the USA and China, with constant renegotiation and complicating factors, has made investors worried, and those who produce electric cars have put their purchases on hold, waiting with baited breathe to see what happens.

This comes after Lawrence Kudlow of the White House National Economic Council announced on December 3rd that it was rescinding Obama-era subsidies for the production of electric cars by American automakers.



Jeff Bezos, considered to be the richest man on earth in terms of measurable wealth, and Donald Trump, arguably the most powerful man on earth as President of the United States, are figuratively at each other’s throats. US media is abuzz with talk of genital photographs, blackmail allegations, sexual misconduct, and media bias. However, those who look deeper may see bigger differences and hidden rivalries at stake. Two hostile camps have emerged within the circles of American power. 

Widespread Notions of a Shadowy Elite

The notion that wars, political unrest, and clashes within society are the result of disagreements among a shadowy elite is a theme that repeatedly surfaces in art, culture, and fringe political discourse in western countries.

On Feb. 2nd, 2019, Caleb Maupin spoke to a group of young people in New York City. His presentation gave an analysis of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire utilizing a socialist understanding of world history and economy.

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Across the southern and midwestern United States, it is common at high school sporting events to see the players join hands in prayer. This tradition has even become the subject of court cases, as it violates the US Constitution for any public school or government institution to promote religion.

Regardless, in many football fields and basketball courts, you will see American high school athletes joining hands, and led by their Coach or instructor, bow their heads, and ask for the blessing of Jesus Christ before they go out and engage in competition.

Now, what purpose does this tradition serve? High School Athletes and Coaches will be very open and honest about this. The prayer is asking God’s assistance in helping the players to fully concentrate, give their most full efforts, play to their best ability, and vanquish the opposing team.


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?”