At The Financial Times: @BEAMander ‏ on ‘Argentina on a knife edge’ & ‘Argentina learns to live with its inflation dragon’ and other questions. Old Socialist comments

Mr. Mander’s short essay arrived in my e mail this morning.: July 14, 2018. It does not appear, as such,  in the pages of the Financial Time. Its melodramatic title is ‘Argentina on a knife edge’! Impending  ‘crises’ , manufactured or real sells newspapers and or creates traffic on websites.

But what is of interest, to those readers of this newspaper’s advocacy/apologetics, for Macri’s failed attempt to bring Argentina back into the line with the utterly bankrupt Neo-Liberal coterie of nations. That have tried  to extricate themselves from this trans-generational political/economic nihilism,that has missed the attention of Macri. Macron, and late arrival to the Neo-Liberal fold, Moreno.  That Macri appealed to the IMF, not even a year and a half into his presidency demonstrates with utter clarity that his ‘Austerity Lite’ is a failure!

Never fear, Political Economy, tinctured in statistical modeling, and other forms of Economic Theology, used by the Technocrats/Priests of Economic Science appear in Mr. Mander’s essay, to demonstrate that he is a titular member of that coven.

But look to Mr. Mander’s informative essay published by the Financial Times July 13, 2018 for a more nuanced, but by no means lacking in ideological propinquity/conformity to Macri’s Neo-Liberalism Lite.

In this essay Mr. Mander  quotes from a frustrated man buying half a tank of gas, a sociologist Marcos Novaro, a housewife Gloria Carrasco, an executive , Macri himself and  Eugenia Campos a shop assistant. In sum, he has exercised  his due diligence as a reporter. Or can the reader assume that a ‘stringer’  handled the ‘man in the street interviews’?

Headline: Argentina learns to live with its inflation dragon

Sub-headline: Mauricio Macri is all but ignoring stubbornly rising prices as he searches for growth

https://www.ft.com/content/edce64de-84a5-11e8-96dd-fa565ec55929

A copy on the Financial Times e mail:

 

Few would dare to assert openly that the recent turbulence in the Argentine peso is over. Nevertheless, the currency has appreciated over the last two weeks. Having reached almost 29 pesos to the dollar, it is now closer to 27. But even if stability has returned to the foreign exchange markets, albeit temporarily, that would be just one battle won in a war whose outcome remains far from certain.

The next step is to start lowering sky-high interest rates, which in turn will allow the government to start reviving economic activity. With a technical recession expected in the second and third quarters of this year, overall growth in 2018 could be close to zero. Only then can authorities effectively tackle alarmingly high levels of inflation, which have taken everyone by surprise, and could reach 30 per cent this year. That is “the logical order” in which to rebalance Argentina’s economy, according to a senior local banker.

In the best of all possible worlds, this plan could work. But President Mauricio Macri is walking a terrifyingly fine line; plenty could go wrong. For one, who knows whether the international context – which played a key role in the rout on the peso – will be kind to Argentina?

Regardless of dangers that Macri cannot control, his next great hurdle is to push a credible 2019 budget bill through congress. That must be done with the support of the unruly Peronist opposition, to enable the government to meet its ambitious targets agreed with the IMF for reducing the primary fiscal deficit to 1.3 per cent of GDP in 2019. While there does appear to be an emerging consensus in Argentina that it needs to balance its budget – and keep it balanced – it remains unclear how this will be achieved.

Wherever you look, someone will always argue why cuts should be made elsewhere. No one wants to be the one to take the hit. Any whiff of a failure to meet the targets will not go down well with the markets, potentially triggering a new round of exchange rate volatility.

Like never before, Macri is hostage to the demands of a population which is showing signs of fatigue with austerity, and the demands of the markets which have effectively obliged him to speed up his drive to reach fiscal equilibrium. Success in appeasing these opposing forces will have a critical bearing on Macri’s re-election chances next year. At least he can take heart from the fact that, for now at least, Peronism has not been capable of presenting a viable alternative.

Old Socialist

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David Frum on Trump: Episode DCCCIX. Old Socialist comments

AtlanticDavid FrumTrump July122018

David Frum,Wise Republican Elder & Midwife of Trump chatters while the American Empire is in its slow motion collapse!  NATO the tool of Empire, and the E.U., Monnet’s Neo-Liberalism before the fact, are the twin beneficiaries of this Neo-Con’s chatter.

Trump is a Know-Nothing and Frum a political opportunist who sees the advantage of calling Trump what he is: as the means of his political self -rescue from author of the propaganda sloganeering  of  the ‘Axis of Evil’ , to a Political Moralist. Like his ally David Brooks.

Old Socialist

DavidFrumWiseRepublicanElderMidwifeof Trump July122018

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/07/post-brexit-britain-needs-americas-help/565043/

 

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janan.ganesh@ft.com warns against the ‘dead end’ of a ‘Left Turn’ for the New Democrats. Old Socialist comments

Headline: A left turn could be a dead end for the Democrats

Sub-headline: It is misleading to draw comparisons with the state of European centre-left parties

Unsurprisingly Mr. Ganesh takes the Party Line of the Clinton coterie, on the ‘Left’ represented by ‘Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an avowed “democratic socialist”.

‘ Donald Trump’s unwitting service to his country has been the transformation of the US left. Enemies of the “Washington consensus” now speak up for trade. Old relativists cherish facts. American leadership is recognised, however tardily, as indispensable to the world. It will not console his vanquished rival of 2016, but the first wave of counter-Trumpism has been decidedly Clintonian: a defence of the liberal centre, not a move to the orthodox left.

The presentation of Clinton and her fellow travelers  as representative of a ‘Liberal Center’ is inspired not by fact, but by the imperative of propaganda. Mrs. Clinton represents the ‘Center’ of American political life: define this ‘Center’ as the alliance of the Neo-Cons and the Neo-Liberals. That is the actual political ‘Center’ without the ideological myopia that  Mr. Ganesh presents to the reader. Call it as unconvincing as the headline and sub-headline of this essay! The threat is from a Left Wing Social Democrat!

Never fear the usual FT carefully framed  ‘Anti-Left’  hysterics are just moments away for the patient reader:

This does not add up to leftist capture of the Democrats, yet. Middle-of-the-road candidates have prospered in other primaries and, for every enemy of ICE, the immigration and customs agency, there is a party elder to shout them down. But look at the trend. Fringe ideas are no longer fringe. Such an outlaw candidate in 2016, Bernie Sanders can seem pale in his politics next to the so-called Resistance to Mr Trump, and this is before confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh give focus to the movement. For the first time since the 1980s — before the New Democrats, before their hardening of the heart on crime and welfare — the left is a force.

‘Fringe ideas are no longer fringe.’ The utter  failure of the Neo-Liberal swindle has brought back to life, in America, the New Deal spirit of FDR and his legislative  ally Ferdinand Pecora! Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were/are the harbingers of  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, except Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, has yet to be tested by the New Democrats . And it is christened as a ‘fringe’ by Mr. Ganesh.  . Why would Mr. Ganesh demonstrate his ignorance of American political history so brazenly? The why of that eludes me. Perhaps because he writes for a British, and even for a European audience who have no knowledge of The New Deal?

The resort to Newton’s Third Law is diversionary at best, but  is redolent of an Oxbridgers elite education: a calculated instance of intellectual snobbery or just an appeal to authority? The questions ramify. But the menace of Populism is an ever-present ‘threat’ to a failed Neo-Liberalism.

The mystery is why anyone expects a better result this time. It is easy to fall for a political version of Newton’s third law: that someone as extreme as Mr Trump must create an equal and opposite reaction — that victory for the populist right implies latent electoral demand for the populist left. Even if this were true, it is unclear how a liberal line on immigration meets any standard of populism.

Skipping most of the remainder of Mr. Ganesh’s long apologia for the New Democrats/Neo-Liberals the reader is left with this paragraph about how the New Democrats view the failure of the European Center Left:

Democrats who scan the world know, and want to avoid, the ordeal of the European centre-left, squeezed as it is between true socialists and the jingoist right. But the US is not Europe. It does not have Italian levels of unemployment. It does not have Britain’s recent experience of fiscal cuts. It does not have the Marxist pedigree of France. Unlike Germany, its voters cannot count on the right to guard the welfare state as part of an immemorial consensus. These local particulars have worked against social democrats in these countries, who are either never left enough or too easy to take for granted.

The Clinton coterie are defined, not by their judgement of the Europe’s failed ‘Center Left’ , but by their political opportunism. The Schumer/Pelosi leadership of the Party are yet to confront the fact that Clinton didn’t campaign in the three states, that allowed Trump to win in the Electoral College

Ganesh’s summation of the quandaries of the political present:

The question is not whether the US could do with a proper party of the left. Given its inequalities, perhaps it could. The question is whether it wants one. You have to be looking very hard to see evidence that it does. It is craven to urge moderation on the president’s opponents while he stretches basic norms until they twang. Immoderation, however, could gift him a second term.

In sum , the  political triumph of the ‘Left’ in the Democratic Party will usher in a second term for Trump! Moderation, in the form of the New Democrats, is according to Ganesh, the answer. Clinton is even considering a run in 2020! What is so compelling is the utter ignorance that Ganesh demonstrates of American political history: politicians like Eugene V. Debs, Robert M. La Follette, Norman Thomas, Henry Wallace , Eugene McCarthy , Benjamin Spock, Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders remain unmentioned, in Mr.Ganesh’s long apologetic for the Clinton coterie. Even Ross Perot made a contribution to a changed political climate in America.  These politicians, win or lose, were the harbingers of ‘change’  that Ganesh and his employers inveigh against.

The fact that Cynthia Nixon’s candidacy for the governorship of New York, in opposition to the sclerotic New Democrat Andrew Mark Cuomo, reveals Mr. Ganesh’s essay as an exercise in Anti-Left Hysteria with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez as its central bad actor.

Old Socialist

https://www.ft.com/content/39ad9ab0-84e1-11e8-96dd-fa565ec55929

 

 

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Our Man from Opus Dei on the Kavanaugh nomination: not celebration but guarded optimism. Political Observer comments

Mr. Douthat expresses caution in regards to the Kavanaugh nomination, as the starting point of the overturning of Roe and Casey. In sum, Kavanaugh allied with Roberts will be cautious in its rulings. The Citizens United decision is exemplary of the Roberts as stealth destroyer of stare decisis .

From Douthat’s  point of view this is just the beginning of a protracted fight for the lives of the ‘unborn’. Amy Coney Barrett merits two mentions in his polemic, as she is  Ultramontane just as is Mr. Douthat.  He goes on at length, rhetorical economy is not one of his practices. What stands out in the remainder of his essay is his comments on Conservative Legal Movement: it ‘originalism’ and ‘textualism’ are key components of this movement. The Anti-abortion coterie is the indispensable actor, in his melodramatic  potted history.

Without that promise the current Republican coalition would not exist; without it the Federalist Society and all its intellectually impressive work wouldn’t have millions of voters in its corner. And at the heart of the promise is a pledge that what happened in Casey, when three Republican-appointed jurists limited Roe’s ambit but basically upheld its vision, will never happen again — so long as pro-lifers trust the process, trust originalist and textualist theory, trust the hyper-qualified candidates the conservative legal movement puts forward.

The exercise of  legal history would demand, of an honest writer, that the Conservative Legal Movement began with its opposition to Brown v. Board I and II. The Federalist Society was founded on the propaganda that these decisions were not based in Law but in Sociology and expressed Judicial Activism. And the interpretation of the Constitution by way of ‘originalism’ and ‘textualism’ serves as two of Douthat’s articles of the faith.

On the founding of the Federalist Society:

The society began at Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, and the University of Chicago Law School in 1982 as a student organization that challenged what its founding members perceived as the orthodox American liberal ideology found in most law schools. The society was started by a group of some of the most prominent conservatives in the country, including Attorney General Edwin Meese, Solicitor General and Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, Indiana congressman David M. McIntosh, Lee Liberman Otis, Energy Secretary and Michigan senator Spencer Abraham, and Steven Calabresi. Its membership has since included Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia, John G. Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.[10] The society asserts that it “is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.”[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_Society

On the question of ‘textualism’ here are some quotes from Robert Post’s essay titled ‘Justice for Scalia’ published in the June 11, 1998 issue of The New York Review of Books:

A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law

by Antonin Scalia, edited by Amy Gutmann, with commentary by Gordon S. Wood, Laurence H. Tribe, Mary Ann Glendon and Ronald Dworkin
Princeton University Press, 159 pp., $19.95

Textualism is a theory of the way judges ought to interpret legal documents, like statutes and the Constitution. Scalia uses the theory to support a number of highly consequential and controversial propositions. He believes that judges who interpret statutes should avoid all reference to legislative history. And he also believes that judges should interpret the Constitution strictly according to the original meaning of its language.

Scalia’s relentless campaign against the use of legislative history, and his refusal to join opinions interpreting statutes by referring to that history, have been astonishingly effective. One recent study estimates that the proportion of Supreme Court opinions in cases involving statutory construction that refer to legislative history has dropped from 100 percent in the 1981 term to 18 percent in the 1992 term.2 Scalia may justly claim a large share of the responsibility for this transformation.

Purporting to save Scalia from the inconsistency of allowing “intention to trump literal text,” he reconstructs Scalia’s position as resting on the distinction between what Congress “intended to say in enacting the language [it] used,” which Dworkin calls “semantic intention,” and what Congress hoped to achieve by using that language. Dworkin notes that “any reader of anything must attend to semantic intention, because the same sounds or even words can be used with the intention of saying different things.”

But Dworkin’s distinction is a poisoned gift. Having accepted it, Scalia can no longer maintain any principled objection to the general use of legislative history. Such history may always reveal something about “the occasion for” the enactment of a statute and hence illuminate the search for semantic intention.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1998/06/11/justice-for-scalia/

What I have quoted, is just a sample of Mr. Post’s revelatory essay/review of Scalia’s book,  and  Dworkin’s  devastating evisceration of Scalia’s ‘textualism‘. This essay/review must be read in full, such is its value. The reader confronts the fact that in the Conservative Legal view  ‘originalism’ is historical, and that ‘textualism’ is a-historical : a glaring contradiction that escapes the notice of the Originalists/Textualists.

The fact that the state legislatures of the states where Segregation was institutionalized, would never have ended Segregation . The NAACP and Thurgood Marshall took their grievance to Federal Court, and won two unanimous decisions in both Brown I and II. The redress of grievances being one of the cornerstones of this republic.  Roe wasn’t decided until 1973, so in terms of the Conservative Legal Movement, it  is a late, but welcome cudgel to attack the Warren Court. And the short but influential tenure of Arthur Goldberg, and the six Republican appointees to the Supreme Court who voted for Roe.  Elided from Mr. Douthat’s essay is Brown decision as that cornerstone of the Conservative Legal Movement. Douthat provides a self-serving ‘history made to measure’:

There will be time to discuss the first potential watershed, the possible post-Roe-Casey political landscape, in the months to come. But the second one is worth discussing briefly now, because the Kavanaugh appointment brings us to a testing moment for the conservative legal movement’s political promise, delivered to social conservatives for years and decades now, that judges formed by its philosophy and principles would necessarily vote to overturn the post-1973 abortion regime and return the abortion debate to the democratic process.

Without that promise the current Republican coalition would not exist; without it the Federalist Society and all its intellectually impressive work wouldn’t have millions of voters in its corner. And at the heart of the promise is a pledge that what happened in Casey, when three Republican-appointed jurists limited Roe’s ambit but basically upheld its vision, will never happen again — so long as pro-lifers trust the process, trust originalist and textualist theory, trust the hyper-qualified candidates the conservative legal movement puts forward.

On Roe, 6 out of the 7 votes that legalized abortion were Republican appointees:

The Court issued its decision on January 22, 1973, with a 7-to-2 majority vote in favor of Roe. Justices Burger, Douglas, and Stewart filed concurring opinions, and Justice White filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Rehnquist joined. Burger’s, Douglas’s, and White’s opinions were issued along with the Court’s opinion in Doe v. Bolton (announced on the same day as Roe v. Wade). The Court deemed abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution, thereby subjecting all laws attempting to restrict it to the standard of strict scrutiny.[37]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_v._Wade#Supreme_Court_decision

The reader can only ponder the schism of political present, with what a Republican Party, of more that a generation ago found of political/ethical value!

Political Observer

 

 

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On Amy Coney Barrett: Political Observer comments

Amy Coney Barrett is an Ultramontane Catholic, she shares that with Scalia: an open rebellion against Vatican II.  Pope John Paul II made internal war against Pope John XXIII’s reforms by appointing conservative Cardinals, and made open war against Liberation Theology, forcing Gutierrez to his knees!
At least be honest about Barrett’s reactionary religious positions , not to speak of her membership in People of Praise:

The highest office a woman can hold in the community is “woman leader” (formerly “handmaid”). Women leaders “teach women on womanly affairs, give advice, help in troubled situations” and lead specialized women’s activities.[28] The term handmaiden was chosen in 1971 as a reference to Mary, the mother of Jesus, who in the Bible described herself as a “handmaid of the Lord” or a woman who is close to God.[5] The community teaches that husbands are the head of the household as well as the “spiritual head” and pastoral leader of their wives. While it emphasizes traditional gender roles, the organization encourages women to pursue higher education and employment.[28]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_of_Praise

The imperative of a practice of deference to male leadership ends where? A deference to a tradition of male leadership, that denied women were capable of moral autonomy? Abortion is a ‘Mortal Sin’ ,then any argument advanced,  by anyone other than a long tradition of the primary male leadership  is prima facae  without merit.

Political Observer

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/brett-kavanaugh-trumps-double-down-scotus-pick/

 

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American Jurisprudential Melodrama, episode LXXI: On Brett Kavanaugh. Political Cynic comments

Is the Trump, almost nominee, to replace the * utterly corrupt Kennedy, Neo-Confederate/Originalist Brett Kavanaugh, already on the ‘Conservative Shit List’ ? America’s premier political gossip sheet, Politico can’t resist speculation on this question.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/06/trump-supreme-court-pick-kavanaugh-immigrant-abortion-teen-700856

* http://www.businessinsider.com/anthony-kennedy-son-loaned-president-trump-over-a-billion-dollars-2018-6

Political Cynic

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/06/trump-supreme-court-pick-kavanaugh-immigrant-abortion-teen-700856

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janan.ganesh@ft.com channels Bernie Sanders? Political Observer comments

Headline: Economic rights are being eroded under US liberals’ noses

Sub-headline: Supreme Court rulings on deregulation tend to pass without much fuss or attention

The most common dread is a liberal reversal in the otherwise one-sided culture war. If the court overturned the 45-year-old ruling in Roe v Wade, states would regain the freedom to ban abortion. Democrats also fear for affirmative action and voting rights.

One has to wonder at Mr. Ganesh’s ignorance of contemporary American history. On the question of fear about ‘voting rights’  Shelby County v. Holder struck down the ‘pre-clearance’ clause of the Voting Rights Act, so that the members of The Solid South no longer have to clear any legislation having to do with voting with the Court. In sum, the Republican controlled state legislatures and governors  can and have limited access to motor vehicle departments, because the lie of voter fraud, now requires a state issued I.D. in order to cast a vote. My license renewal in late June of this year in California was $35. That may not be much to Ganesh and his readers,  that high cost is just the reinstatement of the Poll Tax, that affects poor blacks and students, the dependable Democratic base.

But Mr. Ganesh continues :

From Ronald Reagan nominee to upholder of same-sex marriage, Mr Kennedy had a politician’s feel for changing social norms and a realist’s reluctance to buck them. It is not such a rare trait among judges, at least once appointed.

Here is a news item from  Business Insider that has escaped Mr. Ganesh’s attention regarding Mr. Kennedy and his son:

Headline: Trump’s business career is more connected to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy than we ever knew

Sub-headlines:

  • Deutsche Bank loaned President Donald Trump over $1 billion for his real-estate projects while Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s son led a real-estate division there, The New York Times reported Thursday.
  • Justin Kennedy was the global head of the real-estate capital markets division of Deutsche Bank, which loaned to Trump when other banks wouldn’t.
  • Anthony Kennedy’s retirement next month will give Trump an opportunity to shift the balance of the Supreme Court to the right.

The son of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was leading a real-estate division of Deutsche Bank as it gave President Donald Trump over $1 billion in loans to finance his real-estate projects when other banks wouldn’t, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Justin Kennedy, the former global head of Deutsche Bank’s real-estate capital markets division, was one of Trump’s close business associates, The Times reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

Because of Trump’s inconsistent track record in business, which included multiple bankruptcy filings and frequent lawsuits, most other major banks would not lend to him. Deutsche Bank loaned Trump the funds to construct and renovate skyscrapers and other developments in New York City and Chicago, The Times reported.

After Trump’s first address to Congress, in February 2017, he reportedly stopped to chat with Anthony Kennedy, saying: “Say hello to your boy. Special guy.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/anthony-kennedy-son-loaned-president-trump-over-a-billion-dollars-2018-6

The obviousness of Judicial corruption in America is represented by this Kennedy  impropriety. Kennedy is unlike Caesar’s wife!

The removal of Judge Shira A. Scheindlin from the ‘Stop and Frisk’ case by oligarch Michael Bloomberg, and the three judges he had in his pocket. The judges had to issue an utterly lame ‘explanation’ as to the why of  Scheindlin  removal, she was not guilty of any wrongdoing but her ruling had the potential to embarrass Bloomberg!

And the Occupy Wall Street Show Trail of Cecily McMillan, in which the Prosecution told the Defense how they could argue their case.  Conviction followed in short order!

I must say that in some regards the remainder of Mr. Ganesh’s essay almost makes this reader believe the headline about ‘Economic Rights’ – somehow Mr. Ganesh channels one of the only bone fide Liberals in American politics, Bernie Sanders. Will all this change in the next essay?  Washington D.C. and the company of other ‘pundits’ …

Political Observer

https://www.ft.com/content/60e8df46-7f6d-11e8-bc55-50daf11b720d

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