Sunday 12th of July 2020

white house improvements: repainted in goose-shit (off-green greenback) colour...

trumpum   This year may well go down as the most disrupted year in global politics since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the subsequent implosion of the former Soviet Union.

However, the likelihood is that 2020 will be worse and bloodier.

Conditions that spawned global unrest on every continent in 2019 are unlikely to recede. Rather, they are likely to worsen in the face of a slowing global economy and little sign of causes of disaffection being addressed.

Washington as disruptor

In a word, the world is in a mess, made more threatening by the retreat of the Trump administration from America's traditional role as a stabilising force.

If anything, Washington is a disruptor in its abandonment of international agreements. These include: the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, previously the Trans-Pacific Partnership, aimed at liberalising Asia-Pacific trade. The US has also withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that froze Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Washington's defenestration of the JCPOA and its reimposition of tough sanctions on Iran has further destabilised the world's most volatile region.

All this and more, including an unresolved trade conflict between the US and China, virtually guarantees 2020 will stretch the sinews of a fragile global order.

An evolving US-China technology war and risks of a technological decoupling add to the gloom.

The world is in worse shape than during the GFC

The global financial crisis of 2007-08 was a period of intense uncertainty as a global financial system buckled. But, for the most part, that distress was confined to governments, boardrooms and the offices of international lending institutions.

The GFC did not fuel widespread global unrest as a shell-shocked financial world came to terms with the reality of a regulatory framework that had failed.

In 2019, the story has shifted dramatically.

Mass protests over the skewed benefits of globalisation accompanied by faltering confidence in a democratic model are challenging the assumptions on which a Western liberal capitalist system has rested. Local grievances are fuelling protests against an established order in places as far apart as La Paz in Bolivia and Beirut in LebanonEndemic corruption is looming larger.

If there is a defining issue that is driving popular unrest more or less across the board, it is that people do not feel they are sharing the benefits of an extended period of global economic expansion.

In January, Oxfam reported that the world's 26 richest individuals owned as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population.

Billionaires grew their combined fortunes by $US2.5-billion-a-day ($3.66 billion) in 2018, while the relative wealth of the world's poorest 3.8 billion people declined by $US500 million a day.

A rich-poor gap is widening across the world to the point where it is no longer possible to argue that an economic growth model that advantages the few is lifting all boats.

Inequality and anger

Something had to give.

Professor Henry Carey of Georgia State University acknowledges differences in causes of localised unrest now sweeping the world, but he also identifies shared characteristics. He writes:

Each protest in this worldwide wave has its own local dynamic and cause.

But they also share certain characteristics: fed up with rising inequality, corruption and slow economic growth, angry citizens worldwide are demanding an end to corruption and the restoration of the democratic rule of law.

Carey makes the useful point that, as the world becomes more urbanised, overcrowded cities are staging points in a global wave of unrest.

In 1950, there were only two mega-cities with populations of 10 million or more — the New York metropolitan area and Tokyo. Today, there are 25 such megacities.

Of a world population of 7.7 billion people, 4.2 billion, or 55 per cent, live in cities and other urban settlements. Another 2.5 billion will move into cities in poor countries by 2050, according to the United Nations.

In other words, poverty, gang crime, drug trafficking and all the other ills associated with an impoverished urban environment will become less manageable as overcrowding gets worse in cities, parts of which have become urban slums. Carey writes:

Ignored by the municipal government, [overcrowded urban settlements] usually lack sanitation, clean drinking water, electricity, health care facilities and schools […] The injustices of this daily life underlie the anger of many of today's protesters. From Quito to Beirut, extreme marginalisation of so many people living in big dysfunctional and dangerous places has boiled over into deadly unrest.

In these circumstances, it is no accident that Latin America, with the world's slowest economic growth and most glaring inequality, has exploded in the longest-lasting violent protests.

In Chile, where economic grievances boiled over into days of mass protests, an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit was abandoned because of security concerns.


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Can Trump be blamed for all the crap?... Not quite... The shit-giving has been equalled by Boris Johnson, Scumdungison (Orstraya), Macron and many other political intellectually brain-dead champion athletes of Europe and of North, Central and South America. 

victoria nuland’s pastries have gone stale?...


To deal with ‘Russiagate,’ however, Trump has pursued a hard-line policy towards Moscow, expelling Russian diplomats, closing consulates, approving sanctions, and siding with allies such as the UK in their “highly likely”claims – but no evidence – against Russia. That has done nothing to appease or mollify his critics, however, while making any sort of cooperation with Russia on international security issues, counter-terrorism or nuclear disarmament that much more difficult.

The semi-official agenda for the Lavrov-Pompeo meeting is not terribly informative. What could they possibly discuss about Ukraine, when the two countries can’t even settle on basic facts? Russia maintains that it has no troops in the Donbass and that Crimea rejoined its motherland voluntarily, after a US-backed coup in Kiev. Meanwhile, Washington insists Russia “invaded and occupied” Crimea and the Donbass after freedom and democracy came to “Kyiv” with Victoria Nuland’s pastries.

Russia sent an expeditionary force to Syria at the invitation of Damascus, and has been fighting terrorists ranging from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) to rebranded Al-Qaeda, and everything in between. The US, whose troops are in Syria without legal invitation, has recently redeployed them to occupy oil wells and deny them to the government – which it never gave up on overthrowing.


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I think that the writer of the article at top is living in dreamland... We've been living in "cacad'oie" (goose-shit) way before Trump's. The Obama years were full of smelly events hidden by nice turn of deceitful phrases, while the G W Bush years were more than shitty all around. If we want to define a post-Reagan shit-dump, we cannot go further forward than Bill Clinton who basically released the phenomenon of derivatives upon the financial system, turning it into a huge gambling den. His Kosovo adventure was a deceitful job as well.  So what is the difference between Trump's crap and the others? Well, Trump does not lie about the shitty colour: he loves it.

poor trump is harassed by young girls...


Poor Trump. This [his] tweet didn’t sound very chill [“Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!”]. And Thunberg knew it. Like the majority of girls growing up in the digital age, she has been cyberbullied before – by Trump himself, who, after her celebrated speech before the UN General Assembly, sarcastically tweeted, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

Both times Trump has tweeted about her, Thunberg’s responses have been jocular, and sarcastic in kind. This week, she changed her Twitter bio to: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.

In her handling of being cyberbullied by the president of the United States, at age 16, Thunberg has become an inspiration for girls two times over – first as a climate activist, then as a social media ninja.

But that doesn’t mean that Trump’s cyberbullying of Thunberg is any less despicable, or dangerous. What it says to girls all over the world is: no matter what you do, no matter how much you achieve, powerful men can and will try to cut you down.

This message is depressing, scary and not without potentially dire consequences. It’s a message that has contributed to a precipitous rise in the suicide rate among girls. It’s a message that has contributed to rising anxiety and depression among girls and young women. It’s a message that Trump’s wife, Melania, is supposed to be combatting, with her campaign against cyberbullying.

But girls don’t need Melania Trump to be their role model in fighting against online harassment. They have each other, and they have Thunberg.


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and the winner is... trump the white guy, again...


This is why both Warren and Sanders are hated by the Democratic establishment.

It’s also why much of the corporate press is ignoring the enthusiasm they’re generating. And why it’s picking apart their proposals, like a wealth tax and Medicare for All, as if they were specific pieces of legislation.

And why corporate and Wall Street Democrats are mounting a campaign to make Americans believe Warren and Sanders are “too far to the left” to beat Trump, and therefore “unelectable”.


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It got dumber. Partisan supporters of various candidates weaponized the whiteness of white candidates. I think that’s gross, but there’s at least an internal logic for, say, Booker, Castro or Yang supporters to play that game. But supporters of white candidates attacked other white candidates for their whiteness.

The Twitter hashtag #PrimariesSoWhite started trending. A Warren supporter Tweeted “#PrimariesSoWhite because Joe Biden kept a very strong plurality of black support that eliminated the paths for Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.”

Huh. Did Biden force black voters to support him? Did he refuse to tell them to back a black candidate? Are those black people at fault for liking Biden? If those black voters swung their support to the equally white Warren, would she suddenly be at fault?

Lots of Democrats are talking about the “structural racism” of the primary system. But none of the non-white candidates complained about the rules at the beginning. Is it only structurally racist if Democratic voters support white candidates? Are the black voters who prefer Biden to Harris or Booker complicit in this racism? If Buttigieg bombed out, would we hear about the structural homophobia of the Democratic Party?

No doubt many of these activists are sincere in their beliefs. But some are just grabbing the most convenient weapon they can to tear down other candidates or get more oxygen for their candidates.


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Buttigieg is the only viable opponent to Trump. Will the Democrats be ready to go with him, instead of the others who have bad history, heavy baggage and socialist delusions (for the US)? This does not mean that Buttigieg is sure to win — but the others are sure to lose... 



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unequal economic boom...

The chaos of the primaries, the lack of a clear party vision in the last debate—are Democrats a progressive party, a party of moderates, a plaything for billionaires, or just people sniping each other for virtue points? It is time for concern.

Politics is always about the biggest story you tell and how voters see themselves in that story. If the Democrats lose in November, one of the main reasons—and the competition is strong—will be that they’ve gotten trapped inside a set of false narratives. Or they’re, in the words of James Carville, “Losing our damn minds.”

Think how powerful the narratives of “Morning in America” and “Hope and Change” were, and contrast those with the Dems’ “things suck more than you realize, people,” and you see where this is headed.

At the top of the list is the economy. The Democratic narrative is that the economy is bad, with a recession just around the corner (or maybe the corner after that, keep looking). Yet outside the debate hall, 59 percent of Americans say they are better off than they were a year ago. Overall quality of life is satisfactory for a massive 84 percent. Unemployment is at historic lows. Wages are up a bit.

The reality is bad enough for Dems. But the narrative problem is that they’re confusing a strong economy with economic inequality. The economy does benefit everyone, but it benefits a small percentage at the top much more. They have not gotten this message across to an electorate that is happy to have any job, content with some rise in wages, and, for the half of Americans who own some stock, want to see just enough growth in their 401(k) to suggest at least part of retirement won’t be dependent on canned soup being on sale. The Dems are running on a narrative that the economy is failing; Americans believe that if it is failing, it’s failing less than it did before, and that’s good enough.


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the poor stay poor, the billionaires loose some pocket money...

Monday stock plunge took a big bite out of the world’s top billionaires.

The Dow’s 2,000-point drop wiped nearly $24 billion off of the net worth of the five richest men on earth.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the richest man alive, lost $5.6 billion to start the week, taking him to just over $111.3 billion from $117 billion, according to Forbes.

World No. 2 Bill Gates, meanwhile, lost $3.8 billion on Monday, taking his fortune down to $104.4 billion.

But the biggest loser of the morning was the third-richest man on earth, French luxury magnate Bernard Arnault, whose net worth took a $6 billion nosedive, leaving him at $92.6 billion, according to Forbes.

Even legendary investor Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and world’s fourth-richest person, got slammed. The Oracle of Omaha’s fortune was down by $5.4 billion on Monday, at $76.2 billion.

Other major losers include Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who took a hit to the tune of $4.2 billion, and Elon Musk, who lost $3.4 billion as Tesla shares got pummeled on fears that plunging oil prices will kill demand for electric cars.

Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia said it would increase oil production and slashed prices, a move that led crude oil futures to plunge.

The price cut came on the heels of a wild week on Wall Street in which investors grappled with the growing coronavirus threat and digested the Federal Reserve’s emergency interest-rate cut aimed at blunting the outbreak’s impact on the economy.


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Just imagine that within a month all the losses would have become "regain" and the fortunes might double on the derivative markets... Read from top.

billionaire wealth has surged...

New data from the Census Bureau found nearly half of all American adults say they or a member of their household had lost employment income since mid-March. But not all Americans have suffered. One new report found the wealth of the nation’s billionaires has increased by $434 billion, or 15%, since the pandemic began. This is Chuck Collins of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Chuck Collins: “Since March 18th, 38.5 million people have filed for unemployment. Over that same two months, billionaire wealth has surged — $434 billion in that short time. And we’re seeing the billionaire class in the United States, overall, seeing their wealth accelerate in the last couple months. Even Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth combined has gone up $60 billion since March 18th.”



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