Free Markets, Free People

Summing up the state of America

Zero Hedge sums up both the “Super Tuesday” results and the broader political and policy situation in the US very well:

Negative interest rates. The war on cash. More quantitative easing. Monetary policy described as a “helicopter drop”. An avowed socialist running for President – and competing well. Another candidate under investigation by the FBI for mishandling classified information. A debate that featured a candidate begging for someone to attack him so he could get some air time. One candidate accusing another of stealing from the party and calling another a liar. The closed captioning for most of the debate reading “unintelligible yelling”. An accomplished, serious-minded governor getting drowned out by three buffoons competing to see who can get the biggest guffaws from a crowd that makes the audience at a professional wrestling match look reserved and intellectual.

It’s getting weird and the market is having a tough time figuring out what to take seriously, what to ignore, what to laugh nervously about and what to just laugh at. Are we really about to put up our very own American version of Silvio Berlusconi as the Presidential candidate of a formerly serious political party? Is the other party really having a competitive race with one candidate running on an overtly socialist agenda that is barely distinguishable from his opponent’s? Who doesn’t claim to be a socialist? Are central banks actually considering pushing interest rates more negative after getting basically no positive response from the initial push below the previously sacrosanct zero bound? Has the Federal Reserve actually told banks to prepare for negative interest rates here in the US right after raising rates for the first time in years? Are serious economists actually have a debate about whether it is a good idea to just print up cash and pass it out? Is that really monetary policy? Are governments really talking about banning actual currency, the very money created by that government? Money that depends, oh by the way, solely on people’s trust that the government will stand behind the money they are about to outlaw? Has everyone lost their freaking minds?

My sentiments to a tee.  This is probably the most awful domestic political climate I’ve seen in my lifetime.  I’ve can’t remember having such a horrible “choice” before.  And for me, there really isn’t a choice given who is likely to win on either side.

Yes, there’s anger out there on both sides toward the political establishment.  They took a great country and have run it into the ditch.  Got it and agree with the anger.  But what this is boiling down to is the white version of Obama and a crook that makes Nixon look like an altar boy in comparison.  The voting public obviously wants some sort of political change but it also seems to be demanding change that will make a bad situation worse.

The pregnant question is “how did we get here?”  The Republican party obviously got here by a fairly conventional route – promise them anything to get elected and then, basically, ignore them.  The “them” being the GOP faithful.  So how did Trump become the answer, unless you’re a low information voter who is content to let a more unstable version of the current resident of the White House call the shots? How can anyone spend anytime researching the guy and come away with a positive feeling about what he’d do if he were in the Oval Office?  I’m sorry, but this bombastic political chameleon, who has duped and used people his whole life, will be as large if not a larger disaster than Obama has been.

And as for the crook on the other side, if anyone wants to firmly establish corruption at the highest levels of the country just to say we have a “woman president”, then you deserve to be horsewhipped.  Machine politics will survive and become even more pervasive and controlling.  Is this what everyone wants?   The Democrats are sliding hard left.  Sanders is popular because he too has a vast support group that is willfully (or not) ignorant and wants “free” stuff.

For goodness sake this is about what is best for the country, not some ideological check mark.  Certainly a woman should be our chief executive at some time.  But Clinton?  As a whole, those who voted for Obama willfully ignored the glaring and obvious reasons not to elect him to make sure the race check mark was made.  And what did it give us?  The worst president in my lifetime.  Now, it seems, the voting public is going to double down and make him the second worst president in my lifetime regardless of who wins in November.


“The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.” – Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

That’s where we’re headed.  Those that want to see it “all burn down” may be in the middle of seeing just that.


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25 Responses to Summing up the state of America

  • A Trump Presidency is going to see a ‘yuuuuge’ array of things deployed against it that never stopped Obama, and in fact the very things that aided and abetted Obama… to whit
    1) The American Media.
    2) The full force of a rabid Democratic party in Howard Dean mode.
    3) The members of what Trump claims is his party, the Republican party.
    4) Government institutions who’s liberal intertia is going to make them fight tooth and nail against Trumpery, EVEN legal and Constitutional Trumpery.
    5) The mockery of the world press that will make their mocking of George Bush look like they were his fan club.
    6) the voters who have imagined he was going to be what they wanted because Obama has drained the main patience supply, and the reserve.

    Now I suppose with that sort of resistence to his imperium, given his personality, that could make him go to ObamaCon level 1 in short order, but I can’t see how that will work in his favor.

    Those don’t apply to Hillary –
    -the world press will love her,
    -the American press will love her,
    -the Democrats will love her,
    -the Republican party will be the Republican party you have right now, they’ll sleep with her tonight as long as she tells them they’re pretty and they’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow.
    -Government institutions will do as she tells them 95% of the time.
    -The people who didn’t vote for Hillary will be told to shut up, the ones who did will stand by her, just like they do Obama, because, uh, sexist, or war on women, or VRWC, and shut up you right wing wackos.

    So IF I have to make the choice,
    I think, maybe I’ll check with my nephew to see if he can find me some property around Montreal before it’s all bought up.

    • Trump could be the first President to unify Washington, against him, but unified none the less.
      Its also safe to confront him being Blanco Privileged and all.
      He also isn’t inspired to change America. Aren’t the dictators with what they feel are good intentions the ones more to be feared. The exact cliche escapes me at the moment.

      • CS Lewis perhaps?
        “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    • In retrospect, Canada of course will not be immune to what we do – after all, when you fall off a cliff while wearing a hat usually the hat goes with you.

  • I think two things drive this “rage”: 1) The US is culturally, demographically and politically a far different country than it was 20 years ago, let alone 40; and 2) Relative wealth over the last 30 years has become far more concentrated in the elite, who are in bed with government. This has created middle class angst about economic security and globalization. Those prone to nationalism go to Trump, those more progressive go to Sanders…but their support is driven by similar forces. Still, things really aren’t that bad. In 2008 the US was a global laughing stock due to failure in Iraq, enmeshed in an economic collapse, and disrespected on the world stage. Eight years later economic problems remain, but we are in far better condition (indeed, very good in global comparisons). President Obama – continuing policies President Bush embraced after 2006 – has improved our foreign policy status and respect abroad. The recent sweep in Iranian elections by moderates was an instant benefit of the Iran deal Obama sealed (after unifying international sanctions against Iran to pressure the regime).

    • Scott:

      Even NPR yesterday questioned the label of ‘moderates’ as applied to the Iranian election.

      According to our VP, Iraq is one of the crowning achievements of the Obama presidency. So how could it be a failure? (Video link is readily available.)

      The concentration of wealth is in large part due to crony capitalism. The Clintons are in a class by themselves in this regard. Except of course for president Goldman-Sachs. Taken all the way back, a friend was a major player in the Whitewater investigation – and was absolutely appalled at the corruption involved.

      The housing collapse was largely due to Freddie and Fannie giving mortgages to people who had neither the means or inclination to ever pay them back in the name of ‘fairness’. Private banks had to follow suit (See Community Reinvestment Act), so when it finally hit the fan the feds didn’t back Fannie and Freddie, and the house of cards fell.

      The President has improved our foreign policy ‘status’ and ‘respect’? You’re just trolling now…

      • I’ve been watching Iranian politics for decades, this election was very good for Iran and the region. This election is proof that we’re on the right policy track with Iran. And while Democrats often are wrong in accusing only Republicans of crony capitalism, you’re wrong if you think the Clintons are worse than others. It’s bipartisan. You’re dead wrong about the housing collapse. This has been well documented – loans to poor people for homes could never have caused the meltdown. (Read: “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis for a good explanation). It was a free market created bubble as the Wall Street banks bought up mortgages from companies who were churning them out to rich and poor without regard to qualifications due to lack of regulation. These banks turned them into derivative bonds, and thus thought they were avoiding risk. There is absolutely no way that Fannie and Freddie could have caused such a bubble. No way at all – this was a Wall Street creation. But – the administration that refused to regulate the OTC derivative market thus making this possible was the Clinton Administration, so you have that!

  • Even if you’re an anti-Trumper, I think we can all agree the party’s behavior is abominable. Every election we are expected to hold our noses and vote for a candidate we aren’t happy about. But now that the professional donor and establishment class of the party are the ones who have to eat the sh it sandwich, it’s all “get out so we can form a unity ticket behind Rubio (establishment guy)” or “work for a brokered convention do we can swindle the nomination from the guy who has the most delegates” or my favorite “get the guy who couldn’t beat Obama to ride in on the white horse as the 3rd-party savior”

    Gimme a freaking break.

    At this point I want Trump if only to break the GOP. Beating that power mad hag is actually a secondary consideration.

    • The best one of all – “If we can’t have our crap sandwich candidate, we’ll vote for Hillary!”

      Same people who were screaming that not voting (for Romney) was the same as voting for Obama.
      By that logic, voting for Hillary would be voting for Hillary TWICE.

      Is it any wonder that people are angry enough with the Republican party to vote for the clown known for his “the Apprentice” TV show line – “You’re fired!”.
      Maybe that’s what they think he can do once he’s President (who knows, maybe he would….)

      Heh – we’ll end up with Omarosa Manigault as a Supreme Court nominee.

      • The part that bothers me this is somehow the electorates fault. Bullshit!

        • Well, it actually IS the electorate’s fault overall. Not just Trump – I mean the sorry state we’re in. Not just the free sh*t brigade on the left either. On the right we put up with wayyyyyyyyyyy too much BS over the years.

          Cleanup in aisle 1776 begins this year, even if we do make a hash of it at the start with Trump

          • Unfortunately it took me too long to realize the level of deceit from the side I was voting for, but bless Mitch and John and now Paul for helping me see reality.
            I was puzzled until I started paying close attention to the goings on in Crapington DC.

            Now they’re all stressed out because the Republican electorate wants Trump’s crap in the sandwich instead of the GOPe/Donor crap.

            My one bright spot remains being in Texas – where we elected Cruz as Senator against the will of the GOPe, and where the state voted for Cruz in the primary.
            People outside the state don’t know, or have forgotten that David Dewhurst was the GOPe Senate candidate choice.

            But I don’t kid myself, the GOPe only hates Trump more than Cruz because Trump is the front runner in beating their crap sandwich candidates, they don’t like Cruz any better, he’s just not as big a problem…yet.

    • Rubio moved to trying to help Poison Trump for the General. He’s also trying to out-Trump Trump. He’s not good at it. He looks like a Jackass. Its clear to me the donor class decided to lose this one since they couldn’t get their guy Jeb or Rubio. So Rubio is a wrecker.

      If they had any shred of decency, they whould have kicked Jeb to the curb a long time ago. Rubio next. Then put all the cash into Cruz’ pocket so he can spend to match Trump’s free airtime without having to act like a Jackass to get camera time.

      Oh wait, that probably would violate campaign finance reform where you have to be pre-known nationally to have a shot, meaning something like a Senator, like the author Senator John McCain. Or a cult of personality celebrity like Trump. At the same time putting campaign power in the hands of the Media who promptly turned on McCain when he became an obstacle but can’t resist Trump ratings. Reap what you sow.

  • Brian Pagliano granted immunity for testimony in the Hillary server investigation.
    Ah, latest excitement.
    For those thinking Hillary is officially now the target of the investigation and in the sights, I submit you’re behaving the part of the 1 year old in the game of peekaboo.

    The story goes as follows from here –
    Republicans will get all dancy and excited that Hillary is FINALLY going to be brought low.
    The Justice Department will investigate.
    The results of the testimony will reveal Pagliano has pointed to (some person or persons who have agreed to act as bullet catchers for HRH Hillary Clinton) everybody BUT Hillary for guilt.
    (Obama administration State and Justice Lucys snatch the football of Joy from the gullible Charlie Brown Republicans one more time).
    Republicans suffer disillusion, disbelief, foam at the mouth.

    The Media and Clinton Campaign (but I repeat myself) scream Pagliano can’t possibly be lying, because he’s immune from prosecution and has no reason to lie!!!! Time to MOVE ON!
    For the good of the country the Republicans MUST cease these Alex Jones level conspiracy based witch hunts against HRH.
    Hillary will be fully cleared by Justice in time to accept her nomination.
    Justice will pretend to take action on the “guilty” parties through the remaining time till November.
    Guilty parties will eventually be pardoned by HRH once she ascends the throne, owing to their good intentions and faulty implementation because they were ‘confused’ and ‘didn’t understand’ and ‘what difference does it make no actual harm was done’.

    Closing image –
    American flag flaps in breeze over Republican Charlie Browns laying back to the field wondering how the football got snatched away again.

  • I think that somewhere Billy Beck is laughing his arse off.

  • I think this election cycle is a lot of fun to observe. I also have faith in the American system to handle this just fine, and think those who see gloom and doom everywhere will be proven wrong. That said, this is a result of money in politics. Money has become so important that power shifted to what you call the ‘donor class.’ Then with all that money, politics became more about marketing than a real discourse on the issues. Marketers will tell you that emotion drives sales, not reason. So who comes along – Donald Trump, a masterful marketer who appeals to people emotionally. Get most of the money out of the process, and things would be much different.

    • I think this election cycle is a lot of fun to observe.

      >>>>First thing we ever agree on.

  • I see two factors coming together to make this cycle … unpredictable.

    1) On this past “Super Tuesday”, Trump won the state’s with “open primaries”, Cruz won the “closed primary” states.
    2) the Democrats are running a far Left grifter and a Communist.

    Put these two together and you get people fleeing the Democrats and voting in the “open primaries” as Republicans.

    • ….or operation chaos in reverse.

      PS- This open primaries cr_ap is another thing we put up with and shouldn’t. What an abomination

      • And if I may one more….. EFF EARLY VOTING. In some states a large portion of the vote is already banked and 3/4 of the candidates at the time are now gone and we know lots more about the candidates (mostly about canned answers, sweat gland activity and hand size, but still….)

        • You too? What the hell is up with that? Life just too busy to manage to make it to the polls on election day like our parents and their parents did, before everyone had an automobile, for example?

          It’s supposed to be for people who have a hard time making it to the polls on THE DAY, not a freaking McDonald’s class fast vote convenience for every Tom, Dick or Harriett who doesn’t want to stand in line on election day.

  • “That said, this is a result of money in politics. Money has become so important…”

    Tell it to JEB!

    “Donald Trump, a masterful marketer who appeals to people emotionally.”

    As opposed to the rational, reasonable appeal of Hillary & Sanders with their appeal to Revolution!, envy, and self-pity.

    • Not to mention the marketing of “the one” who never really did anything, other than be an articulate, well groomed black man. I guess he could have been sloppy and unable to read from a teleprompter, but mostly it would have been hard for him to classify those three things as actual accomplishments.

      Did Obama renew the “Hope and Change” domain this year? Trump might want to grab it if it’s available.