Blog Archives

409Ks, 90% Gains, The Fed and Darth Vader’s Warning

In case you missed it, here’s a snapshot of the most recent Federal Reserve board meeting:

It’s certainly a peculiar moment in history when the President chides everyone who hasn’t gained 90% in their 409K (sic), seemingly unaware that only the top 5% have enough in a 409K to make a difference.

President Trump and the Federal Reserve agree: the “solution” to inequality and malaise is to boost the 409Ks of the top 5%, leaving the rest of the American workforce as glorified servants of the few who benefit from a record-setting stock market.

Note to the Prez and the Fed: goosing the stock market only increases wealth/income inequality. There’s only so many dogs owned by the top 5% the peasantry can walk, only so many Priuses and Teslas to wash, only so many preciously over-scheduled children to tutor, only so many $50 steak dinners to bus, only so many bedpans of the top 5%’s parents to empty. The top 5% who benefit from the stock market’s relentless melt-up can’t generate a tide that raises all ships; all they can do is further enrich themselves on the debt-serfdom of their servants.

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Will the Clintons Destroy the Democratic Party?

Let’s start by stipulating my bias: I would cheer the collapse of both self-serving, venal political parties, which have stood by for decades as the rich have become immeasurably richer and the politically powerful few have disempowered the many. The transparent “populist” bleatings of both parties–“we serve the people!”–sound increasingly like stale, pathetically disconnected from reality Soviet-era propaganda.

Let’s say I’m a relatively disinterested observer other than my fervent wish that both corrupt, self-serving parties slide into the dustbin of history, the sooner the better.

The Republicans were hijacked by Donald Trump and given a binary choice: accept Trump as their candidate and have a chance of winning, or reject him and guarantee losing. After surveying the wreckage left by the Bush dynasty and Romney’s loss, the Repubs swallowed their distrust and distaste for The Donald and chose winning over losing–the easily predictable choice for all politicos.

The Democrats chose to enact a Greek tragedy featuring off-the-charts hubris. Despite Hillary’s private email server, the Clinton Foundation’s shameless shakedowns for millions of dollars in “contributions” (the polite word for influence peddling), and her delight in mocking those who chose not to vote for her as “deplorables,” the Democrats were supremely confident that the Clinton dynasty would sweep them to an easy and overwhelming victory.

As the Greek dramatists understood, hubris doesn’t just invite disaster, it welcomes disaster.

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Trump’s high school yearbook picture by Sketchaganda

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Man of the people by Sketchaganda

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Does a Rogue Deep State Have Trump’s Back?

Suddenly everybody is referring to the Deep State, typically without offering much of a definition.

The general definition is the unelected government that continues making and implementing policy regardless of who is in elected office.

I have been writing about this structure for 10 years and studying it from the outside for 40 years. Back in 2007, I called it the Elite Maintaining and Extending Global Dominance, which is a more concise description of the structure than Deep State. Going to War with the Political Elite You Have (May 14, 2007).

I’ve used this simplified chart to explain the basic structure of the Deep State, which is the complex network of state-funded and/or controlled institutions, agencies, foundations, university research projects, media ties, etc.

The key point here is you can’t separate these network nodes:

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Trump as Lightning Rod–Not Just for Disaffected Progressives, But For Panicked Insiders

Political agnostics who are skeptical about Big Government “solutions,” left or right, view the current hullabaloo about the Trump presidency with some detachment. What’s remarkable to us is the extremism, not just of those bitter about Clinton’s loss, but by insiders who are threatened by the possibility Trump may upset their insider skims and scams.

As an opening observation, I don’t recall bitter Nixon supporters issuing death threats to performers at John Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961–and the 1960 election was extremely close.

I also don’t recall bitter Gore supporters issuing death threats to performers at G.W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001–even though the 2000 election came down to a few hundred votes in Florida.

Trump is a lightning rod for a spectrum of people and organizations. Let’s see if we can separate the spectrum into socio-political groups.

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The Source of our Rage: The Ruling Elite Is Protected from the Consequences of its Dominance

There are many sources of rage: injustice, the destruction of truth, powerlessness. But if we had to identify the one key source of non-elite rage that cuts across all age, ethnicity, gender and regional boundaries, it is this: The Ruling Elite is protected from the destructive consequences of its predatory dominance.

We see this reality across the entire political, social and economic landscape.

If I had to pick one chart that illustrates the widening divide between the Ruling Elite and the non-elites, it is this chart of wages as a share of the nation’s output (GDP): 46 years of relentless decline, interrupted by gushing fountains of credit and asset bubbles that enriched the few while leaving the economic landscape of the many in ruins.

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Politics As Usual Is Dead

Hillary and Trump are symptoms of a fatal condition: politics as it has been practiced for 70 years is dead.

As my friend G.F.B. observed, the key development was not the nomination of insider-Hillary or outsider-Trump–it was the enormous success of Bernie Sanders’ campaign, a campaign that arose outside a Democratic Party establishment that tried to suppress or destroy Sanders’ campaign at every turn, a campaign funded not by the Goldman Sachs of the world that funded Hillary but by tens of thousands of small donations from the citizenry.

Who drew the mass crowds of enthusiastic supporters? Bernie, not Hillary. Who inspired thousands to donate small sums that quickly accumulated into millions of dollars? Bernie, not Hillary. Who won primary after primary despite a virtual Mainstream Media blackout and a Democratic Party establishment that relished plunging a poisoned blade into Bernie’s campaign at every opportunity? Bernie Sanders, not Hillary.

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The Mainstream Media Bet the Farm on Hillary–and Lost

The mainstream media bet the farm on Hillary Clinton, confident that their dismissal of every skeptical inquiry as a “conspiracy” would guarantee her victory. It now appears they have lost their bet. Let’s do something radical and be honest for a moment: the mainstream media has smoothed the path to Hillary’s coronation in countless often subtle ways.

MSM “Opinion” hacks have unleashed unrelenting attacks on legitimate inquiries with accusations of “conspiracy” and obsequious kow-towing headlines such as “Can we please stop talking about Hillary’s health?”

Suggestions that the Clinton Foundation engaged in “pay to play” during Hillary’s term as secretary of state are glossed over; yes, it looks bad, the MSM reluctantly admits, they they hurry to add that no impropriety can be proven in court.

Given the foundation is run by attorneys who obfuscate the meaning of the word “is,” do you really think they’re going to leave tracks that can make it to court?

The Democratic National Committee’s corruption was downplayed, and the mainstream media’s pathetic lack of inquiry was of a piece with old Soviet “news”: a scapegoat or two is cut out of the leadership photo, and the DNC corruption machine moves on untouched.

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The More the Establishment Freaks Out Over Trump, the More Attractive He Becomes

The Establishment is freaking out about Donald Trump for one reason: they didn’t pick him. The Establishment is freaking out because the natural order of things is that we pick the presidential candidates and we run the country to serve ourselves, i.e. the financial-political elites.

Donald Trump’s candidacy upsets this neofeudal natural order, and thus he (and everyone who supports him) is anathema to the Establishment, heretics who must be silenced, cowed, marginalized, mocked and ultimately put back in their place as subservient debt-serfs.

With Trump ascendant, the serfs are selecting the noble in the castle on the hill. Outrageous! Unheard of!

You know the Establishment is freaking out when Establishment pundit mouthpieces like David Brooks and Francis Fukuyama are freaking out about Trump. David Brooks could not restrain his disdain for Trump on a recent Charlie Rose segment, in which he intoned (and I paraphrase) that Trump can’t put eight words together without referring to himself, i.e. he is not just a narcissist, but he is (take this, Trump!) a fragile narcissist— unlike people like Brooks, of course, who are solid, secure, wise, well-educated, erudite water-carriers for the status quo.

Policy heavy-hitter Fukuyama confesses the political system in the U.S. is broken but he can’t understand why the citizenry has selected the “singularly inappropriate instrument” (his description of Trump in the pages of Foreign Affairs) of Donald Trump to express their disdain for their neofeudal lords.

Well, Mr, Fukuyama, let me explain it to you: the debt-serfs have selected Trump precisely because the neofeudal financial-political nobility you represent consider him a “singularly inappropriate instrument”.

But, the pundits rage, he’s a narcissist. He’s fragile. (Now isn’t that a classic middle-brow slam from the hopelessly middle-brow (“I only sound middle-brow due to my starring role in the mainstream media; actually I’m brilliant beyond words”) Brooks.

Policy guru Fukuyama has a much better turn of phrase, of course: “narcissist” is way too common and middle-brow a critique at his level. Thus we get “singularly inappropriate instrument” (ooh, now there’s a sharpened blade that slips easily between the ribs).

Dear Establishment pundits, flacks, hacks, sycophants, apparatchiks, toadies, lackeys, functionaries, leeches and apologists: the more you label Trump as “singularly inappropriate,” the more attractive he becomes to the 81% who’ve been left behind by the financialized-globalized-neofeudal order that has so greatly enhanced your own wealth, influence and power.

Trump is attractive because the Establishment fears and loathes him. Why? 1) They didn’t pick him and 2) he might upset the neoconservative liberal hegemonyEmpire that the Establishment elites view as their global entitlement.

The elitists like Brooks and Fukuyama admit that politics have failed. But they believe the solution is more people like us in power. You know, reasonable, well-educated elitists who won’t stoop to get our hands dirty with laundered millions (for example, the Clinton Foundation).

The utter cluelessness of the professional apologists and punditry would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic: the more you fume and rage that Trump is unqualified, narcissistic, singularly inappropriate, etc. etc. etc., the more appealing he becomes to everyone who isn’t inside the protective walls of your neofeudal castle.

The people outside the cozy walls of the protected elites don’t care if he is unqualified (by the standards of those who get to pick our presidents for us) narcissistic, singularly inappropriate, and so on–they are cheering him on because you, the multitudes of water-carriers for the Imperial elites, the teeming hordes of well-paid, I-got-mine-so-shut-the-heck-up pundits, flacks, hacks, sycophants, apparatchiks, toadies, lackeys, functionaries, leeches and apologists, are so visibly afraid that your perks, wealth, influence and power might drain away if the 80% actually get a say.

Dear pundits, flacks, hacks, sycophants, apparatchiks, toadies, lackeys, functionaries, leeches and apologists: we’re sick of you, every one of you, and the neofeudal Empire you support. We want you cashiered, pushed outside the walls with the rest of us, scraping by on well-earned and richly deserved unemployment.

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