Thursday, November 17, 2016

“The Fog of Politics”

“The Fog of Politics”
by Jesse

"People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. Intellectual myopia, often called stupidity, is no doubt a reason. But the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-given right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing compared with that of the rich." 
- John Kenneth Galbraith

The sugar high of the Trump election seems to be wearing a bit thin on Wall Street. I had said at the time that I thought they would just execute the trading plans they had in place in their supposition that Hillary was going to win. And this is what I think they did, and have been doing. And so when the thrill is gone, and dull reality starts sinking in, I suspect we are going to be in for quite a correction.

However, I am tuning out the hysteria from the Wall Street Democrats, especially the pitiful whining emanating from places like MSNBC and the NY Times, because they have discredited themselves as reliable, unbiased sources. They may just be joining their right-leaning peers in this, but they still do not realize it, and think of themselves as exceptional, and morally superior. And the same can be said of many pundits, and insiders, and very serious people with important podiums in the academy and the press.

Hillary was to be their meal ticket. And their anguish at being denied a payday for their faithful service is remarkable.

We are being treated to rumors that Trump is going to appoint this or that despicable person to some key position. I am waiting for him to show his hand with some actual decisions and appointments. This is not to say that I am optimistic, not in the least. I am not, and I most certainly did not vote for him (or her for that matter). But the silliness of the courtiers in the media is just too much, too much whining from those who had their candy of power and money by association expectations taken away.

I am therefore very interested in seeing who the DNC will choose as chairperson. Liz Warren came out today and endorsed Ellison, which I believe Bernie Sanders has done as well. He is no insider like Wasserman-Schulz, Brazile, or Dean.

The Democratic party is at a crossroads, in a split between taking policy positions along lines of 'class' or 'identity.' By class is meant working class of the broader public versus the moneyed interests of financiers and tech monopolists. Identity implies the working with various minority groups who certainly may deserve redress for real suppression of their rights and other financial abuses, but in a 'splintering' manner that breaks them down into special interest groups rather than a broader movement of the disadvantaged. Why has this been the establishment approach of the heart of the Democratic power circles?

I think the reason for this Democratic strategy has been purely practical. There was no way the Wall Street wing of the Democratic party could make policy along lines of the middle class and the poor, and keep a straight face, while gorging themselves in a frenzy of massive soft corruption and enormous donations from the wealthiest few who they were thereby expected to represent and to serve. And so they lost politically, and badly. The average American, of whatever identity, finally became sick of them, and rejected the balkanization of their interests into special identity groups that could be more easily managed and messaged, and controlled.

This was a huge difference that we saw in the Sanders campaign, almost to a fault. Not because he was wrong necessarily, but because it was so unaccustomed, and insufficiently articulated. Sanders had his heart in the right place, perhaps, but he lacked the charisma and outspokenness of an FDR. Not to mention that his own party powers were dead set against him, because they wanted to keep the status quo that had rewarded them so well in place.

It is not at all obvious that the Democrats can find themselves again. Perhaps Mr. Trump, while doing some things well, will take economic policy matters to an excess, and like the Democrats ignore the insecurity and discontent of the working class. And the people will find a voice, eventually, in either the Democratic party, or something entirely new.

This is not just an American phenomenon. This has happened with Labour and Brexit in the UK, and is happening in the rest of the developed nations. One thing that the ruling elite of the West had in common was a devotion to corporate driven globalization, and inequality. And that system is not going to 'cohere' as economist Robert Johnson had put it so well.

And with all this change and volatility and insecurity, it appears that people will be reaching for some sort of safe haven for themselves and their resources. So far the Dollar index has benefited from this, not because of its virtues, but from the weakness and foundering of the others. 

I am afraid that the confidence in the Dollar as a safe haven is misplaced, especially if things go as I expect that they will with the US economy under a Trump administration. But that is still largely in his hands to be decided and written, if he has the will and mind to opposed the vested interests of his own party. That is an enormous, history-making task, and so I am not optimistic. Have a pleasant day.”

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