Wall Street and big business believe that the country has passed through a magic portal into a new age of heroic businessmen-warriors (Trump, Rex T, Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, et. al.) who will go forth creating untold wealth from super-savvy deal-making that un-does all the self-defeating malarkey of the detested Deep State technocratic regulation regime of recent years. The main signs in the sky, they say, are the virile near-penetration of the Dow Jones 20,000-point maidenhead and the rocket ride of Ole King Dollar to supremacy of the global currency-space……I hate to pound sleet on this manic parade, but, to put it gently, mob psychology is outrunning both experience and reality. Let’s offer a few hypotheses regarding this supposed coming Trumptopian nirvana.
Ultra-loose finance was a global phenomenon. According to the Financial Times, global debt issuance reached an all-time high $6.60 TN, surpassing 2006’s record. Global corporate issuance was up 8% from 2015 to $3.60 TN. The year supported the view that things tend to get crazy near the end of epic Bubbles……But with global QE in the neighborhood of $2.0 TN annually and hundreds of billions flowing out of China, the vulnerable Periphery enjoyed a liquidity windfall. Global fragilities were in the short-term ameliorated by unprecedented global rate and liquidity dynamics……I expect future historians will see 2016 chiefly through the geopolitical perspective. How can market happenings compete against Brexit, the Trump phenomenon and Renzi’s failed political reform referendum (to name only the most obvious)? But clearly unstable markets, unsettled societies and simmering geopolitical turmoil are more than coincidental. At their roots, all can be traced to a prolonged period of unchecked finance, central bank activism and the general effects of inflationism.
Over the last ten days, the markets have been jinxed, and nearly everything changed direction. Stocks fell. Treasury yields backed off as beaten-down Treasury prices recovered a little bit. The much maligned dollar, after surging to a decade high, couldn’t quite get to parity with the euro, and then fell against the euro and yen. Banks got bruised. Even oil was down except over the last few hours Friday afternoon. And everyone has been feverishly waiting all month for the Dow to finally hit 20,000 any moment now. And everyone is still waiting….
But Trump or no Trump, this year marked the beginning of the end of hedge funds as we’ve known them. Their investors are joining a growing revolt, spurred by years in which fund managers grew rich while producing little in the way of returns. In 2016, big money clients finally decided to bail. “Let them sell their summer homes and jets and return those fees to investors,” one New York City official said in a nod to the populist wave that swept Trump into the presidency…….Public retirement plans from Kentucky to New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island have decided to pull money from hedge funds. So did a state university in Maryland and other endowments. MetLife Inc. and other insurers followed suit.
A Russian military “more or less” back in working order doesn’t sound much like an existential threat, nor like one in any shape to “erode the principled international order.” That has not deterred our military leadership from scaremongering rhetoric, as typified by Philip Breedlove, who stepped down as NATO’s commander in May. Breedlove spent much of his three-year tenure issuing volleys of alarmist pronouncements. On various occasions throughout the Ukrainian conflict, he reported that 40,000 Russian troops were on that nation’s border, poised to invade; that regular Russian army units were operating inside Ukraine; that international observers were reporting columns of Russian troops and heavy weapons entering Ukraine. These claims proved to be exaggerated or completely false. Yet Breedlove continued to hit the panic button. “What is clear,” he told Washington reporters in February 2015, “is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day.”
The presidential election and its aftermath tell you everything you need to know about the level of civic decay overtaking this country. The country is as divided as it was after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. There is virtually no common ground between liberals and conservatives. The pure hatred and contempt between the winners and losers in the recent election does not bode well for the country over the next four to eight years.
Obama’s failure was all his own — it’s not because of the good things that Republicans had blocked him from doing; it is instead because of the horrible things (such as his failed TPP, TTIP and TISA trade-treaties, and his successful 2011 killing of Gaddafi, and 2014 coup in Ukraine) that were central to his actual agenda — a conservative, even reactionary, agenda, which favored the interests of the hundreds of billionaires who control U.S.-based international corporations, above the interests of the 300+ million American people, whom the U.S. President is supposed to be serving.
Parents of college-age children are finally catching on to the cultural Marxist PC scam. Cries of “insensitivity” every time a conservative or libertarian speaker appears anywhere near a college campus; “safe rooms” equipped with play dough, soft music, and videos of frolicking puppies; the endless accusations of “racist/sexist/homophobe” aimed at all non-leftists on campus; and widely-publicized episodes of vulgar, ignorant, x-rated, “students” screaming their heads off at conservative campus speakers have exposed the real purpose of political correctness: censorship of any and all non-Marxist ideas. It’s not about fighting racism, sexism, etc.; it’s about censoring the ideas of freedom.
When Barack Obama and his feminist foreign policy cadre made occasional public peeps of protest, he and VP Joe Biden were slapped down and abjectly humiliated. It mattered not that the Obama administration pledged to give Israel $38 billion of US taxpayer’s money to buy arms, vetoed an endless series of UN resolutions condemning Israel for illegal expansion and massive violations of human rights, Israel made clear who was really boss in Washington, and it wasn’t Barack Obama.
The Post’s story also predictably and very rapidly infected other large media outlets. Reuters thus told its readers around the world: “A malware code associated with Russian hackers has reportedly been detected within the system of a Vermont electric utility.” What’s the problem here? It did not happen. There was no “penetration of the US electricity grid.” The truth was undramatic and banal. Burlington Electric, after receiving a Homeland Security notice sent to all US utility companies about the malware code found in the DNC system, searched all their computers and found the code in a single laptop that was not connected to the electric grid.