Turn The Machines Back On

The Kroog looks at the state of global markets after Friday’s bad day (and the impending bad day today) and notes there’s something of a global commodities glut.

What’s causing this global glut? Probably a mix of factors. Population growth is slowing worldwide, and for all the hype about the latest technology, it doesn’t seem to be creating either surging productivity or a lot of demand for business investment. The ideology of austerity, which has led to unprecedented weakness in government spending, has added to the problem. And low inflation around the world, which means low interest rates even when economies are booming, has reduced the room to cut rates when economies slump.

Whatever the precise mix of causes, what’s important now is that policy makers take seriously the possibility, I’d say probability, that excess savings and persistent global weakness is the new normal.

My sense is that there’s a deep-seated unwillingness, even among sophisticated officials, to accept this reality. Partly this is about special interests: Wall Street doesn’t want to hear that an unstable world requires strong financial regulation, and politicians who want to kill the welfare state don’t want to hear that government spending and debt aren’t problems in the current environment.

Once again, with interest rates at rock bottom, Republicans refuse to invest in government spending so they can privatize and profitize as much infrastructure as possible (which is the real problem), and they’re shocked that years of Austerity Bombing hasn’t created utopia yet (ask Kansas how that’s going.)

Meanwhile, Trump’s solution is “I’m really rich and I want to go after hedge fund guys“, which makes about as much sense as the rest of his campaign, but I guess that’s the point.



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Monsters from the Repub Id

From the NYTimes article:

… “Now I know how the great Billy Graham felt, because this is the same feeling,” Mr. Trump, referring to the celebrated evangelist, thundered from a stage built for the night’s rally, where the vast stretches of empty seats indicated that attendance had fallen short of the more than 30,000 people he had predicted…

By the time of the flyover, some Trump fans had been at the stadium for about 12 hours, attracted to an event whose potential for scale and boisterousness surged as the week went on. Mr. Trump’s campaign at first intended to hold the rally at a far smaller site. But as word spread that he would bring his red, white and blue road show to Mobile — an easy drive from New Orleans, Birmingham, Ala., and Jackson, Miss. — his aides said that interest was outpacing their plans…

Although Mr. Trump has drawn criticism for unveiling few detailed policy proposals, many of his supporters said they were unbothered.

“When he gets in there, he’ll figure it out,” said Amanda Mancini, who said she had traveled from California to see Mr. Trump. “So we do have to trust him, but he has something that we can trust in. We can look at the Trump brand, we can look at what he’s done, and we can say that’s how he’s done everything.”…

He has the electrolytes plants crave!…

Robert Costa & David Weigel, for the Washington Post:

His speech focused heavily on illegal immigration — “We’re going to build a wall,” he declared to booming applause. And Trump basked in the early success of his campaign, noting all the states where he leads in the polls, including Bush’s Florida.

“Has this been crazy? Man! I mean, it’s been wild,” he said while suggesting that the United States should have an expedited election as in some other countries. “I’d like to have the election tomorrow. I don’t want to wait.”…

As the crowd formed Friday morning, Trump tweeted from New York: “We are going to have a wild time in Alabama tonight! Finally, the silent majority is back!” He echoed Richard Nixon’s 1968 “silent majority” pitch that was aimed at attracting disaffected white Southerners…

Trump chose Mobile for his big rally in part because it is the hometown of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R), an immigration hard-liner who has been counseling Trump and helped him develop his immigration policy paper. Trump brought Sessions onstage. The senator put on a white “Make America Great Again” hat…

Matt Taibbi, at Rolling Stone:

Trump is probably too dumb to realize it, or maybe he isn’t, but he doesn’t need to win anything to become the most dangerous person in America. He can do plenty of damage just by encouraging people to be as uninhibited in their stupidity as he is.

Trump is striking a chord with people who are feeling the squeeze in a less secure world and want to blame someone – the government, immigrants, political correctness, “incompetents,” “dummies,” Megyn Kelly, whoever – for their problems.

Karl Rove and his acolytes mined a lot of the same resentments to get Republicans elected over the years, but the difference is that Trump’s political style encourages people to do more to express their anger than just vote. The key to his success is a titillating message that those musty old rules about being polite and “saying the right thing” are for losers who lack the heart, courage and Trumpitude to just be who they are… Read more








Late Night Open Thread: The Blind Elephants & The Donald

We take our parables where we can grope to find them. Roy Edroso, at Alicublog, spots dependable puke funnel Ross Doubthat edging towards a Hindenbergian acceptance of Trump. With his popularity among the lumpenproletariat, Ross fantasizes, The Donald could reform conservatism, just as Ross and his ideological allies have longingly imagined! Edroso, of course, is more cynical:

…[T]he “reformcons” Douthat endorses are more con than reform — a bunch of pencil-necked repackagers of Gilded Age philosophy, looking for jobs in the upcoming GOP Bureau of Bold New Boondoggles. I can appreciate, from a comedy perspective, blinkered and hubristic social policy wonks as well as much as the next fellow — but to see them holding up a broken chair and cracking a licorice whip against a charismatic buffoon bully-boy, and imagining that they’re the ones in control, strikes me as a formula for disaster.

Or then again, maybe Trump’s the human Mirror of Erised. At the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf sought input on why “Donald Trump supporters… believe that the billionaire real-estate developer will treat them any better than the career politicians they mistrust.” The result so overwhelmed him (“Many of the responses contained so many rationales that summing them up proved impossible”) that he put online no fewer than thirty different letters, each one similar only in their Erisian glee. Trump is an anarchist’s dream, a moderate compromiser, a “corrective to America’s cultural pathologies“, a successful leader, the anti-Obama. He is large, he contains multitudes!

And if all there is in this world is lulz, why not choose a trickster for your champion?








The Trumping Of Compassion

As The Donald keeps saying, “We gotta take our country back.”

The homeless man was lying on the ground, shaking, when police arrived early Wednesday. His face was soaked, apparently with urine, his nose broken, his chest and arms battered.

Police said two brothers from South Boston ambushed the 58-year-old as he slept outside of a Dorchester MBTA stop, and targeted him because he is Hispanic. One of the brothers said he was inspired in part by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

This will end well.

Trump, told of the alleged assault, said “it would be a shame . . . I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”

Other “passionate” things include rabid wolverines, angry mobs, and racist beatings administered by a couple of assholes from Southie.

Alerted by witnesses, troopers arrested the brothers, and said the men continued to be disorderly in custody. Steve Leader allegedly urinated on his cell door, and both brothers allegedly made threats to staff members.

Police said Scott Leader, 38, told them it was OK to assault the man because he was Hispanic and homeless.

Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” he allegedly told the police.

Whether or not you think Trump is a colossal cosmic joke inflicted on the body politic, the hatred he’s stoking is very real, and has very real consequences.  This is apparently what Trump’s campaign is inspiring in some people, and I’m only surprised that it took this long to manifest.

“Making America greatly racist again” is a hell of a campaign slogan, Donny.








Open Thread: Winners & Losers

You’d think some of the Repub ratfvckers and dog-whistlers would at least remember a few lines from the first part of that book they talk about loving so much… like, for instance, Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling. From the numbers guy at the Washington Post, “We Can Now Name the Winner of the GOP Debate…“:

Fox News released the results of the first major-outlet national poll since the first Republican debate three months two weeks ago. Comparing those results to the Fox poll released immediately before the debate, we can, as objectively as possible, declare a winner: Ben Carson, who saw a five-point jump in the polls — a 71 percent increase over where he was two weeks ago…

Trump essentially held steady. Don’t read too much into a one-point drop, given the margin of error here and the fact that these numbers are rounded. Trump certainly didn’t see a gain, though. Is this his peak? Who knows anymore. But feel free to read things into Jeb Bush’s change: He dropped six points — and three spots in the ranking.

Over time, Bush has gone from the consistent leader to part of the second-tier pack. Scott Walker also dropped a fair amount and is now in the third tier, which Fiorina has just joined. (Marco Rubio and John Kasich, whose debate performances were generally praised, basically didn’t move.)

In total, 42 percent of the support from Republican voters went to people who have never held elected office: Trump, Fiorina and Carson. Feel free to read into that, too.

What I’m reading, as a cynical Democrat, is that Fox has convinced its Repub-base watchers that government is just another crappy reality show, so they might as well vote for the gaudiest bloviator on the dais. The sercon Establishment picks eroded their perceived support, the niche candidates didn’t impress anyone who wasn’t already enamored of them, and the winner was that nice quiet doctor man who was just different enough, for some reason, that those half-watching while they did other stuff remembered his name when the pollsters called.
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Apart from being cruelly cynical about almost half the American voting public, what’s on the agenda for the evening?