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PGTS Humble Blog

Thread: Only in the USA

Author Image Gerry Patterson. The world's most humble blogger
I don't live today. --- Jimi Hendrix

Coulraphobia - Now we should be afraid!

Chronogical Blog Entries:

Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2016 23:00:00 +1100

Recently your blogger opined that coulrophobia may only be fear of a certain orange haired clown winning an election across the Pacific. Your blogger humbly expressed the opinion that this would not happen ... Because he had confidence in the "common sense" of American citizens. It seems that this confidence was misplaced.

Back To The Future

Emmett Brown: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?

Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.

Emmett Brown: Ronald Reagan? The actor? [chuckles in disbelief] Then who's vice president? Jerry Lewis? I suppose Jane Wyman is the First Lady!

Marty McFly: Whoa. Wait, Doc! ...

Emmett Brown: And Jack Benny is secretary of the treasury.

Marty McFly: Doc, you gotta listen to me ...

Emmett Brown: I've had enough practical jokes for one evening. Good night, future boy!

-- Back To The Future, 1985

Of course we can laugh at the dialogue in a movie like Back To The Future ... But the election of The Donald is way more fantastic then the election of the 40th president (Reagan) in 1981. So how did it come to this? There were a number of contributing factors.

All of these things came together in a perfect storm to carry Trump across the line ... But only just ... He still lost the popular vote by a couple of million votes.

Mad As Hell

I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.'

-- (Mad) Howard Beale: Network, 1976

Your humble blogger must also confess, that he like the pundits and media commentators, also predicted that Trump probably would not be the Republican nominee and in the unlikely event that he was, would almost certainly not win the election. Alas dear reader, this was not because your blogger considered himself an expert, but because he had confidence in the decency and common sense of American voters. It seems that this was misplaced. Although we still have to see how this plays out ... While Trump has successfully tapped into a rich vein of resentment, it's difficult to see how his election is going to help those who voted for him. The party he represents is committed to tax cuts for the most wealthy, cutting spending on welfare, and reducing (worker's) wages. Trickle down economics didn't work for Bush when the USA had money. It is even less likely to work now that the piggy bank is empty.

Trump's utterances about China (and many other topics) are so contradictory that it's difficult to take him seriously. While it is true that manufacturing jobs have been exported to China, cheap goods have been imported into America in order to keep those imaginary printing presses printing untold trillions of imaginary dollars ... Voodoo economics and zero interest rates won't work even if the US did manage to resurrect manufacturing again. Any surge in manufacturing in any developed country is far more likely to employ robots than unemployed workers who used to work in the rust-belt economies.

The bozos may be laughing now ... But your blogger sees tears coming.

And while your blogger must plead guilty to not taking Trump seriously, he must also opine that if one does take him seriously, there are seriously disturbing things that he has said. The following list was compiled by Scientific American from Trump's tweets:

Climate Change

The Autism-Vaccine Connection


Other Topics

Bear in mind dear reader that the above are Trump's actual words. Of course he has spent the last few weeks back-peddling and back-flipping. But if you took half of the above seriously, then there are some major challenges for the USA and the entire world.

And We're Not Going To Take This Any More!

Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANY MORE!'

-- (Mad, mad) Howard Beale: Network, 1976

It seems that Mr. and Mrs. America are as mad as hell and they are just not going to take this any more!

Although Trump has backed away from some of his more outrageous commitments, he has re-affirmed that he will cut company tax to 15% and reduce taxes in general (mostly for the wealthy) ... And, at the same time, increase spending on infrastructure. Thus affirming that we can add arithmetic incompetence to the long list of his many short-comings. This has implications for the possibility of another economic "shock". Even if we gave Trump the benefit of the doubt and assumed that all of this extra spending will not be carried out by the US government but by public-spirited American corporations who will happily follow the lead of Donald Il Duce, it's difficult to see how such a fool-hardy policy will fail to be very, very inflationary ... It just is not possible to cut tax for the wealthy and cut another "New Deal". And if things go pear-shaped as they did last time a Republican was in The Whitehouse, this time the Chinese will not be able to bail them out.

And on this point, one of the more concerning things about Trump is his erratic, bizarre utterances about China. The US is the primary beneficiary of globalisation and cheap Chinese goods have helped under-write reckless zero-interest rate policies that have been pursued by reserve banks around the world. If Trump really did put a stop to these imports now, it would be a big shock to the US economy and probably to the world. And even if the US did start manufacturing all its own automobiles, we all know that the manufacturing will probably be done by robots and the cars will probably be driving themselves.

This ignorance of arithmetic and history is prevalent amongst right wing US Republican supporters in general. But Trump is so weird and unpredictable, we all should worry about how he might respond to a genuine crisis. Especially if it was one of his own making.

It also seems that Trump's election has emboldened and energised extreme right wing movements around the world. Since the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) there has been a steady deterioration in the opportunities and circumstances for middle and lower income groups, whilst the upper income groups have been amply rewarded for their handling of the crisis. In your blogger's most humble opinion some of those in the upper income groups actually caused the crisis and their rewards have been entirely underserved. And there may be some amongst the lower and middle income groups that share your blogger's humble opinion. Understandably this has engendered some resentment.

In Australia the One Nation party has emerged phoenix-like from the ashes of their previous spectacular self-immolation. The right wing of the Liberal party, who are decidedly un-liberal, have become vocal. They are demanding the right to insult and offend people on the grounds of race, gender and/or ethnicity. They claim that section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act which forbids this behaviour restricts their rights to free speech. Now while your blogger is inclined to agree that such a section does restrict free speech, it seems only fair to level the playing field a little. If we are going to rid the Racial Discrimination Act of section 18C, shouldn't we also look at the laws regarding libel? After all, while the right-wingers demanding these rights are very hairy-chested and vocal when it comes to insulting people, the tend to have a glass jaw when the intended target responds in kind in the public sphere. They quickly start sooking and run off to their lawyers blubbering about the dreadful libel that they have been subjected to. To make it fair, shouldn't we also restrict access to libel for public figures? This should apply especially to politicians who already have such generous access to media outlets ... Or then again ... Perhaps we should just leave section 18C as it is. Those who can't observe the commonly accepted conventions of civility and decency in public discourse can just hold their tongue. This would be preferable to the situation in the USA where this no longer seems to apply. Trump has lowered the tone of public discourse. And as the leaked tapes reveal, his private utterances are even lower.

Many commentators have pointed out that Australia has enjoyed 25 years of uninterrupted economic growth, that we have tight control of borders, and that (compared to the rest of the developed world) general prosperity. So these commentators argue that we will not have a Trump phenomenon here. However if this is true then then the fact that One Nation still managed to get seats in The Senate tends to suggest that ... Perhaps we are only one recession away from a right-wing resurgence? The threat of US inflation is quite dire for for Australia, since our own political masters have put so much effort into inflating the value of assets classes (especially property). And the possibility of a confrontation between the USA and China is very concerning for Australia.

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