Our Political Parties Are Obsolete

When the parties do finally implode, the general mood will be: good riddance.
History informs us that once something is obsolete, it can disappear far faster than anyone expected. While we generally think of obsoleted technologies vanishing, social and political systems can become obsolete as well. Should a poor soul who entered a deep coma a year ago awaken today, we must forgive his/her astonishment at the political wreckage left by the 2016 election. The Democratic Party, a mere year ago an absurdly over-funded machine confident in an easy victory in the presidential race, is now a complete shambles: its leadership in free-fall, its Fat-Cat donors disgusted, and its demented intoxication with pinning collaboration with Russia on the Trump camp eroding whatever feeble legacy legitimacy it still holds. What the party stands for is a mystery, as its Elites are clearly beholden to insiders, special interests and Corporate donors while glorifying the worst excesses of globalism and the National Security State’s endless war on civil liberties. The newly awakened citizen would also marvel at the chaotic war zone of the Republican Party, in which the Insider Warlords are battling insurgent Outsiders, while the same Elites that fund the Democratic machine are wondering what they’re buying with their millions of dollars in contributions, for it’s unclear what the Republican Party stands for: it’s for Small Government, except when it’s for Bigger Government, which is 95% of the time; it’s for more law enforcement and the militarization of local police, and more intrusion into the lives of the citizenry; it’s for stricter standards for welfare, except for Corporate Welfare; it’s for tax reform, except the thousands of pages of give-aways, loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations all remain untouched, and so on: a smelly tangle of special interests masked by a few sprays of PR air freshener to the millions left behind by the globalization that has so enriched Corporate America and the class of financier-owners, bankers, insiders and technocrats–the same group that funds and controls both political parties.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, JULY 05, 2017.

Macron & His Socilist Agenda

Macron’s funding reveals that elite Socialists were really behind him changing the label to sell a centrist agenda, but in reality, to maintain their agenda. Macron was able to raise funds from French abroad with the promises of change, and this targeted particularly the French who fled Hollande living in London and New York. He did a photo-op with Nobel Prize laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz before journalists who is critical of the management of globalization, against laissez-faire economists who he classifies a ‘free market fundamentalists’, as well as international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
Stiglitz is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University and is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank. He was also a former member and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Bill Clinton and supported Hillary over Obama saying she is more ‘liberal’ (socialist) than Obama. Stiglitz believes in Georgism, which is a variety of Marxism whereby the State should own all the resources derived from land, which is an old Physicocrat(French) idea that wealth is derived from land. In this way, all natural resources should belong to government from mining to energy just for starters as if government operated industries ever ran efficient or were free from corruption. He also supported a single tax for all and believes that, while people should own the value what they produce themselves with everything derived from land should belong to government characterized as belonging equally to all members of society (government).

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on May 16, 2017.

Trump Foiled Soros’ Master Plan to Impose New World Order — Hedge Fund Manager

“George Soros and Clinton Inc. were nearly able to declare ‘Mission Accomplished’ on their vision of establishing an opaque ‘New World Order’,” Feierstein, a hedge fund manager who has spent 38 years working in the New York, Tokyo and London global financial markets, said on Tuesday.
On Monday, Trump announced that he was scrapping the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that his predecessor President Barack Obama had sought to complete during his eight years in office.
The top-secret TPP free trade agreement was one of the worst trade deals ever crafted by Washington’s pay-to-play culture of corruption, Feierstein stated.
The TPP was deliberately crafted to ensure a form of “globalization” so that these same corporations who designed the “rules” could operate in the dark with total impunity while stripping member nations of their sovereignty and denying consumers of all their rights and protections, Feierstein explained.
“TPP was Obama’s ‘Crown Jewel’ achievement after 35 years of failed neoliberalism funded by oligarchs for the benefit of oligarchies,” he observed.

This post was published at Sputnik News

Are You a Deplorable? Take This Quiz to Find Out

Regardless of your ethnicity, class or religion, if you perceive the institutions that govern American life as corrupted, riddled with favoritism and spin or as broken, you’re a Deplorable.
Are you a Deplorable? The answer might surprise you. Take this short quiz to find out.
1. If you agree with this characterization of American Elites: “The self-satisfied cosmopolitan culture that sprang up among the affluent 20% or so of the industrial world’s population, who became convinced that the temporary ascendancy of policies that favored their interests was not only permanent but self-evidently right and just.”(The Fifth Side of the Triangle The Archdruid Report)
You’re a Deplorable.
2. If you question whether globalization is actually in the national interest:You’re a Deplorable.
3. If you question whether endless wars of choice, drone strikes and foreign interventions that cost the lives of countless civilians are actually in the national interest: You’re a Deplorable.
4. If you see the major institutions of American life as corrupt, ineffective, and blatantly favoring the financial/social elites: You’re a Deplorable.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on DECEMBER 18, 2016.

Globalization Faces Challenges

For much of the second half of the 20th Century, and even into the new millennium, ‘Globalization’ was the dominant theme used to describe the drift of the world economy. It was widely considered both natural and inevitable that the world economy would continue to integrate and that national boundaries would become less constraining to commerce and culture. And with the exception of the eternal ‘anti-globalization’ protesters, who robotically appeared at large gatherings of world leaders, the benefits of globalization were widely lauded by politicians, corporate leaders and rank and file citizens alike. But a casual glance at the world headlines of 2016 suggests that the belief in globalization has crested, and is now in retreat. What are the consequences of this change?
International trade has existed for millennia. But few modern historians would characterize the trade caravans that crossed the Himalayas and the Sahara as sources of international conflict. Rather, they are widely seen as a useful means to bring goods that were plentiful from one region to other regions where they were scarce. Along the way, routes like the Silk Road in Asia created a great number of positive secondary benefits in culture and politics. But relatively modern developments such as ocean-going sailing ships, modern navigation, and steam and diesel power, have greatly increased the size and scope of trade. Globalism was also boosted rapidly by technological advances in communications, including intercontinental jet travel, fax machines, satellite telephones, the Internet, real time money transfers and massive investment flows to international and emerging markets.
Since the end of WWII, the establishment of international reserve currencies and the rise of supranational organizations, such as the United Nations, The World Bank, and International Monetary Fund, has saddled trade with more political baggage. The rise of bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade negotiations, which are often shadowy and bureaucratic affairs conducted behind closed doors, have further eroded support for trade. Oftentimes these efforts have resulted in deals that clearly favor politically connected players and have given rise to justified accusations of cronyism. By opening larger markets and reducing costs, certain corporations have amassed shocking wealth. The benefits to workers are far more diffuse and difficult to quantify.
The Harvard Business Review of May 13, 2016 published an article by Branko Milanovic about the unequal distribution of wealth generated by globalism. Milanovic comments that, since the mid-1980s, globalism has resulted in the ‘greatest reshuffle of personal incomes since the Industrial Revolution. It’s also the first time that global inequality has declined in the past two hundred years.’ Milanovic points to two main conclusions. First, he highlights the massive percentage gain in wages in Asia, particularly among the middle classes. In some cases, percentage wage gains in the Asian middle class have eclipsed the percentage gains experienced by the top one percent in the richer Western economies.
In stark contrast, the U. S. and Western lower and middle classes have enjoyed almost no percentage wage increases, while their top one percent was the only group to experience significant income gains, based on available household surveys from 1988 to 2008. A recent unpublished paper by John E. Roemer, a political scientist at Yale, suggests that the diminishing of global inequality made possible by trade is far less potent politically than the relative increases in national inequality. In other words, the benefits of globalism are obscured while the costs are highly visible.

This post was published at Euro Pac on October 26, 2016.

Hanjin Fall Is Lehman Moment for Shipping, Seaspan CEO Says

The fall of South Korea’s biggest container line Hanjin Shipping Co. is similar to the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and has materially impacted the shipping industry, Seaspan Corp. Chief Executive Officer Gerry Wang said.
Seaspan, the Hong Kong-based container-ship leasing company that has three vessels chartered to the distressed line, is evaluating all options and examining systemic risks resulting from Hanjin’s bankruptcy filing, Wang said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. In June, Wang had rejected Hanjin’s requests for charter-rate cuts before the shipping line filed for court receivership last month.
‘The fallout of Hanjin Shipping is like Lehman Brothers to the financial markets,’ Wang said. ‘It’s a huge, huge nuclear bomb. It shakes up the supply chain, the cornerstone of globalization.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 14, 2016.

The Foreign Invasion of American Politics – – To Stop Trump And Stay On The Washington Gravy Train

As one of my Twitter followers put it so succinctly: ‘Globalization: Where leaders from any country get to pick US Presidents.’ As the Clinton campaign’s Robby Mook tears a page out of Joe McCarthy’s book and smears Donald Trump as being ‘Putin’s puppet,’ the irony is that this election has seen foreign interference in American politics to an unprecedented degree – on Hillary’s behalf.
In the past, foreign actors tried to hide such activities, rightly thinking that they might encounter resentment – or even legal consequences – for trying to meddle in affairs that are none of their damned business. Not anymore. Now that we’re a global empire, with our leaders proclaiming the supreme importance of exercising ‘US leadership’ and sticking our noses in every petty squabble on earth, our client states are openly interfering in our internal affairs. After all, if we can engage in ‘regime change’ campaigns, and dictate the terms and results of Lower Slobbovia’s elections, why can’t they interfere in ours? To this end they employ legions of publicists, lobbyists, and tame congressmen to pursue their national interests, mostly at our expense: the billions in ‘foreign aid’ we ship overseas come back to our shores in the form of exorbitant fees paid to PR firms – a rare trade deal where American firms actually come out ahead!
Most of this is relatively subtle, and covert – or, at least, it has been up to now. However, the Trump phenomenon has changed the rules of the game, and foreign actors are now openly coming out of the closet – so to speak – and brazenly attacking the GOP candidate. I can’t recall a presidential contest where a foreign ambassador has written an op-ed piece attacking one of the candidates, but this election season has Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Valeriy Chaly, publishing a piece in the Ukrainian Weekly echoing the Mookarthyite charge that Trump is the Manchurian candidate. Trump’s comments on the Ukraine issue ‘have raised serious concerns,’ we are told, as Chaly goes on to write that:

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Justin Raimondo ‘ August 24, 2016.

Why A Weak US Consumer Makes A Grim Outlook for the Economy, Stocks

For some time, Stephanie Pomboy, an economist and the founder of MacroMavens, has pushed a provocative theory that a crisis-chastened U. S. consumer would retard global growth. That is why a U. S. recovery has taken so long to take off, and why Japan and Europe look set to embark on more rounds of quantitative easing.
An avid reader of Shakespeare, Pomboy appreciates the comic and tragic dimensions of the markets – the giddy optimism for the second half of the year, and the potentially disastrous consequences of excessively low rates. As stocks teetered at new highs, we phoned Pomboy in Vail, Colo., where she lives when not in Manhattan, to hear her latest views. They aren’t rosy: Investors and policy makers are deluding themselves that we will soon return to a pre-financial crisis framework. Things have changed, she says, which means expectations for economic growth in the second half are far too optimistic. And today’s low rates could cause another financial crisis, bankrupting pension plans, putting retirees at risk, and hurting stocks.
Barron’s: You like to focus on the consumer – and plot U. S. consumer spending as a percentage of GDP versus world trade. Why?
Pomboy: What ignited and supported the entire era of globalization was the spendthrift U. S. consumer; economies have been totally reliant on trade to U. S. consumers. This once-in-a-generation asset deflation will fundamentally change behavior, just as the Depression changed an entire generation’s attitude about spending and saving.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 22, 2016.

Could Inflation Break the Back of the Status Quo?

Political resistance to the oligarchy’s financialization skimming operations will eventually cripple central bank giveaways to the financial sector and corporate oligarchs. That inflation and interest rates will remain near-zero for a generation is accepted as “obvious” by virtually the entire mainstream media. The reasons for this are equally “obvious”: central banks have the power to suppress interest rates indefinitely by creating money out of thin air and using this new cash to buy bonds in unlimited quantities; and the commoditization/ globalization of labor, capital and production has generated a global backdrop of over-capacity and near-zero pricing power. But suppose for a moment that this confidence in near-zero interest rates and inflation as far as the eye can see is wrong. As I have demonstrated this week, rising interest rates and inflation would break the back of the status quo. What makes inflation difficult to grasp is its multi-faceted character. Inflation is a monetary dynamic, to be sure, as creating new fiat currency in excess of increasing production / productivity reduces the purchasing power of the currency. But as I have shown this week, inflation is also one result of cartel capitalism, in which politically powerful cartels can raise prices and reduce quantity and quality without fear of consumers going elsewhere because the cartels have effectively eliminated competition via regulatory capture, lobbying and the immense advantages of unlimited credit from central banks.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on THURSDAY, AUGUST 04, 2016.

Donald Trump is Right About Globalization: It’s a Broken System

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (Project Syndicate) – – While seemingly elegant in theory, globalization suffers in practice.
That is the lesson of Brexit and of the rise of Donald Trump in the United States. And it also underpins the increasingly virulent anti-China backlash now sweeping the world. Those who worship at the altar of free trade, including me, must come to grips with this glaring disconnect.
Truth be known, there is no rigorous theory of globalization. The best that economists can offer is David Ricardo’s early-19th century framework: If a country simply produces in accordance with its comparative advantage (in terms of resource endowments and workers’ skills), presto, it will gain through increased cross-border trade. Trade liberalization – the elixir of globalization – promises benefits for all.
That promise arguably holds in the long run, but a far tougher reality check invariably occurs in the short run. Brexit, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, is just the latest case in point.
Voters in the U. K. objected to several of the key premises of regional integration: free labor mobility and seemingly open-ended immigration, regulation by supranational authorities in Brussels, and currency union (which has serious flaws, such as the lack of a fiscal transfer mechanism among member states). Economic integration and globalization are not exactly the same thing, but they rest on the same Ricardian principles of trade liberalization – principles that are falling on deaf ears in the political arena.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Stephen S. Roach, Marketwatch ‘ July 25, 2016.

Greenspan On Bubbles – – At 90 He Still Doesn’t Get It

Bloomberg’s Tom Keene (Monday, June 27, 2016): ‘If I take Paul Krugman and Alan Greenspan’s primal cry, ‘we want simple models.’ Is our solution now to think simple or is there a value to the complexity of globalization and the complexity of institutions? Which way should we turn now?’
Alan Greenspan ‘You want to have as simple a model as you can get that actually captures the complexity of the forces in play… The FRBUS (Federal Reserve Board US) model… that model works exceptionally well for the non-financial area… The financial model was awful. It captured nothing. It didn’t grasp what the issue is. And I tried to reproduce what I would do in ‘The Map and the Territory 2.0′… And I demonstrate what we have going – that we don’t measure correctly – are bubbles and their implications. Bubbles per se are not toxic. The 2000 bubble collapsed. We barely could see a change in economic activity. On October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones went down 23% in one day. You will not find the slightest indication of that collapse of that bubble in the GDP number – or in industrial production or anything else. So I think that you have to basically decide what is causing what. I think the major issue in the financial models has got to be to capture the bubble effect. Bubbles are essentially part of of the fact that human nature is not wholly rational. And you can see it in the data very clearly.’
As Mr. Greenspan spoke on Bloomberg Radio Monday morning, the UK’s FTSE 100 Index was trading just above 6,000. Europe’s STOXX 600 Banks Index was down 7.2% for the session at 120. Germany’s DAX index was quoted at 9,370. Also suffering post-Brexit effects, S&P500 futures were trading just above 2000. Bloomberg ran the headlines: ‘Greenspan: Brexit ‘Terrible Outcome in All Respects.” ‘Greenspan: Euro is Unstable Currency.’ The former Fed chairman was extraordinarily gloomy on the UK, Europe and the world. Markets that morning appeared wholly rational.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 5, 2016.

Revenge Of The Rubes – – Why They Days Of The Financial Elite’s Rule Are Numbered

Talk about not waiting for the body to get cold. The establishment oracles are out in force today proclaiming that Brexit has already been cancelled. Apparently, like in the case of the first negative vote on TARP, two days of currency and stock market turmoil have taught the rubes who voted for it the errors of their ways.
The argument is that the unwashed masses outside of Greater London have shot themselves in the foot economically based on some atavistic fears of immigrants and cultural globalization. Why, right soon they will demanding a second referendum in order to get back on the EU’s purported economic gravy train.
Thus, Gideon Rachman, one of the Financial Times’ numerous globalist scolds, professed that his depression about the Brexit vote has already given way to a worldly vision of relief:
But then, belatedly, I realised that I have seen this film before. I know how it ends. And it does not end with the UK leaving Europe.
Any long-term observer of the EU should be familiar with the shock referendum result. In 1992 the Danes voted to reject the Maastricht treaty. The Irish voted to reject both the Nice treaty in 2001 and the Lisbon treaty in 2008.
And what happened in each case? The EU rolled ever onwards. The Danes and the Irish were granted some concessions by their EU partners. They staged a second referendum. And the second time around they voted to accept the treaty. So why, knowing this history, should anyone believe that Britain’s referendum decision is definitive?

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on June 28, 2016.

Demagoguery, Duopoly, & The Death Of America’s Body Politic

It seems such an improbability, impossibility at times, that such a diverse population in ethnicities, races, religions and ideologies be politically housed in two tents. But this United States of America for all its diversity, and at times forced accommodation, did manage early on in its history to develop an economic critical center of gravity – a large, unprecedented economic marketplace – that kept the nation un-fragmented, magically glued principally because of a single reason: an unrivaled economic prosperity that the United States maintained for its people vis- -vis other economies in the world.
However, that unique economic and political America that Alexis de Tocqueville would describe almost two centuries ago [Democracy in America] may have had its incredible seven-generation run, and be now ready for a meltdown; for the patent to that magic glue held by America has now expired, free for all to emulate via globalization. And, ‘though the international playing field has yet to become competitively flat, we might just be a short generation away from that occurring; and the miracle that once was America could soon become but a memory of recent past.
Poof… goes the American mythic star! The diamond-studded American exceptionalism, together with the touted and revered American dream – dual virtuosity that we were made to believe came from above… from a god who prejudicially played favoritism on our behalf – are rapidly coming to an end, as we begin to recognize and acknowledge that our lucky star was mainly the result of an unprecedentedly large marketplace that industrious Americans created in their westward territorial expansion… something which de Tocqueville clearly saw and aptly described in the 1820′s.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 6, 2016.

Welcome to Dystopia Episode 10: Crony Capitalists/Warmongers of the World, Unite!!

My friends and colleagues, Eric Dubin of The News Doctors and Jason Burack of Wall St. For Main St. have produced a discussion in their ‘Dystopia’ series in which they discuss Glencore, China/yuan globalization, Deutsche Bank and several other topics affecting the markets currently and which the Fed/ECB/BoE are working furiously to paper over:

It’s called ‘the American Dream’ because you have to be asleep to believe it. – ‘Julie Sheats’ on Twitter @JulieSheats
IRD


This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on Oct 17, 2015.

First Takes on Hillary-nomics

I finally got a hold of Hillary Clinton’s ballyhooed economics speech. It’s a little too late in the day for a really deep dive, but here are some preliminary observations.
First, the speech was incredibly wide ranging, and was described by the candidate as ‘about my economic proposals.’ But it was more a detailed laundry list of goals sprinkled with calls for a few specific initiatives and knit together by a (loose) narrative about how a series of historical developments that are (supposedly) unrelated to human decisions (like globalization), and a series of big mistakes (like regressive tax hikes and ill-considered regulatory rollback), have undermined the nation’s ability to generate both adequate economic growth and adequately rising wages for most workers.
Second, it’s hard to identify much of significance that’s genuinely new even in the catalog of objectives. Not that that’s necessarily bad, especially if you’re on the left of center, for much of the agenda adopted by Democrats since the turn of the century simply hasn’t been put into effect, or not to an especially great extent. So perhaps not surprisingly, Clinton’s speech was filled with material about boosting green energy’s role in the economy, closing tax loopholes that allegedly excessively reward much Wall Street pay and that supposedly encourage job and production offshoring, creating more incentives for longer-term and more productiveINVESTMENT by financiers, establishing an infrastructure bank, mandating more family-friendly workplace policies, raising the minimum wage (nation-wide), raising taxes on the wealthy, reversing the decline of unions, improving education for everyone from toddlers to displaced workers, encouraging job-creating investment in inner cities – I could go on.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Alan Tonelson ‘ July 13, 2015.