Sunday, November 27, 2016

Isn't It Interesting...

...That Mr. Trump can vilify Castro as a "Brutal Dictator," but then find it so convenient to cozy up to another.

One could certainly argue, if one accepts the assumption that Castro was in the same ilk as, say Stalin, or Pol Pot, or Mao, even if it was on a much smaller scale, whether he was more or less so than Putin, but it would be difficult, I think, to argue that Putin is not so, even if the scale of his achievements so far still pale to the B.D. list just indicated.

Putin, after all grew up within the cherished legacy of Stalin, making a point to prosper within the very institutions (the KGB probably being only one of them) that Stalin made so infamous. And there can be little doubt now that a considerable number of people have been tortured, and/or eliminated, as a part of his trying to re establish a Stalin like pinnacle of power in Russia; even if he tries to cover it with the facade of a supposed Democracy.

It would be natural then to wonder why this inconsistency has taken place.

On the one hand Trump is a narcissistic, opportunist who simply likes to latch onto whatever is outrageous, for both the quick publicity, as well as the thrill of pissing off what he considers is just another elite (in the foreign policy world). But be that as it may, one cannot, on the other hand, escape the obvious observation that Trump has been in a quite beneficial quid pro quo relationship with Mr. Putin (getting hackers, and god only knows how much behind the scenes propaganda). The bottom line being that there was hardly anything for him to get in return for not vilifying the dead guy, and a great deal to gain in being buddies with the guy not only still alive, but actually still in power.

The cold calculation at work here ought to be an alarm bell for those who have so far been either entranced, or just asleep at the switch, as they supported and voted for this man. It is, unfortunately, clear that this is quite unlikely. Even as the early indications are that, despite the lip service, or the token efforts, little in the realm of substance for true economic change is likely to occur; assuming, of course that by "change" one means something quite positive. Which is to say that even that alarm bell is likely to be ignored as well. At least for the time being.

The next question then becomes how bad things will have to become before those folks finally do get it into their heads that they have been played like a bumpkin at a carney show.

See Also:

From the Quartz Daily Brief
 Sat, Nov 26, 2016 4:38 am:
"...An unlikely mix of populism and conservatism has abruptly shaken up financial markets.
For decades, globalization and free trade supported companies and boosted stock prices. After the 2008 crisis, slow growth and inflation led central banks to inject record amounts of stimulus into markets. This created a “new normal” for traders, where the direction of trading was controlled by expectations of monetary policy. In sum, it was boring.
In just a few months, that’s all changed. The Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election have made traders expect a surge in spending. Throwing skepticism to the winds, they’ve poured money into stocks, sending the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to record highs, while dumping safer government bonds ($1 trillion in the week after the US election).
But this is irrational. The politicians promising this spending spree are right-wingers, better known for strict adherence to tight budgets. And Trump’s plans to double US economic growth don’t square with the global rollback in free trade that he seems to want.
Right now the stock rally is mostly benefitting American markets at the expense of export-dependent markets in Asia. How long that disconnect can continue is unclear. And bank shares are soaring on Trump’s promise of regulatory cuts, but leniency for the creators of the financial crisis won’t enthrall voters.
The conflict between the populist majorities in the US and UK and the conservatism of the governing elites will at some point come to a head. This week’s UK budget statement hinted at that, showing that the rhetoric of an economy “for everyone” cannot be met by action.
In reality, Brexit will worsen the living standards of the poorest, and further aggrieve many people who voted for it. In the US, Trump is fighting(paywall) to stop companies moving jobs to Mexico. If he fails, he could lose some of his support even before his term begins..."