@tylercowen: Macron is ‘The Wrong Man’!Old Socialist comments on this map of misreadings

When you think that America’s ‘Academic Intellectual Class’, has hit rock- bottom- think of ‘The Coddling of the American Mind’ , a more sophisticated version of what that officious Neo-Con, not to speak of self-appointed wise Platonic Guardian,  Alan Bloom offered in ‘The Closing of the American Mind’. The recycling, of not just riffing on the title of Bloom’s hysterical polemic, with the added intellectual ballast at the level of Moral Psychology, aided by the experience of a practitioner of manufactured political propaganda, makes for a more convincing narrative, about the inherent apostasy of The Student, as nefarious political actor! It has been a very useful political device used by authoritarians, no matter their politics. The ‘Center’ of American politics now defined as the alliance between the Neo-Cons and the Neo-Liberals.

Prof. Cowen begins his essay, with the help of the headline writers of Bloomberg:

Headline: Macron Just Doesn’t Get It

Sub-headline:He and others on the left are being swept along by world-historical forces they do not fully understand.

The sorry truth is that both progressives and neoliberals still don’t get it, and that seems true in France most of all.

Since the election of President Emmanuel Macron in 2017, I have read or heard that he is the leader of the free world, the hope for Europe, and a model for the U.S. Instead, he increasingly seems to be a well-meaning guy elected in the wrong historical era.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-12-12/macron-is-the-wrong-man-for-france-right-now

Prof. Cowen provides a map of misreadings of Macron:‘a well-meaning guy’  does not cover the territory! 36.5 % of voters, in the final round, rendered their ballots ‘spoiled’ or in some way un-countable. That looks like beginning of the current French Crisis, if you were actually in search of the reasons for the current ‘Revolt’. That startling, yet utterly ignored fact, by Prof. Cowen, and other other pressing questions,  puts these other two propagandists, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt,to shame!

Neo-Liberalism is not and cannot be ‘of the Left’ ! Neo-Liberalism seeks not just to supplant the Republican Tradition, that Tradition’s history as presented in The Machiavellian Moment by J.G.A. Pocock, but to destroy it completely, and replace it with the ‘Value of the Market’ . Such is Prof. Cowen’s demonstration, of not just utter political ignorance, but the self-serving political myopia, of the Corporatist hireling, who writes respectable bourgeois propaganda for Bloomberg Opinion!

To take just one glaring example, of the Refugee Crisis facing Europe, is that Prof Cowen ignores America’s Wars of Empire in the ‘Middle East’! and its seemingly ever expanding theaters of war. That has created this overwhelming flood of desperate refugees fleeing America’s ‘War on Terror’. There is no excuse for this, no mitigation can relieve Prof.Cowen from the moral responsibility of speaking about the reality of this crisis!

Old Socialist

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-12-12/macron-is-the-wrong-man-for-france-right-now

 

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At The Financial Time: On Draghi & Quantitative Easing. Old Socialist comments

Here is a helpful link to a Financial Times Lexicon  on Quantitative Easing and a portion of that entry:

Central banks normally set the price of money using official interest rates to regulate the economy. These interest rates radiate out to the rest of the economy. They affect the cost of loans paid by companies, the cost of mortgages for households and the return on saving money. Higher interest rates make borrowing less attractive because taking out a loan becomes more expensive. They also make saving more attractive, demand and spending reduces. Lower interest rates have the reverse effect.

But interest rates cannot be cut below zero and when official rates get close to zero the effect they have on regulating the economy becomes muted. Banks still need to make a profit and in troubled times the gap between the official interest rate and the rates faced by companies and households can rise, because lenders want a greater return for the additional risk of granting a loan when times are tough.

When interest rates are close to zero there is another way of affecting the price of money: Quantitative Easing (QE). The aim is still to bring down interest rates faced by companies and households and the most important step in QE is that the central bank creates new money for use in an economy.

Only a central bank can do this because its money is accepted as payment by everybody. Sometimes dubbed incorrectly “printing money” a central bank simply creates new money at the stroke of a computer key, in effect increasing the credit in its own bank account.

http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=quantitative-easing

Being who I am, here is an excerpt from an interview with Michael Hudson that offers some even more valuable insights on QE and Mr. Draghi’s loyalty to such interventions !

PERIES: So, Michael, what’s wrong with with the ECB has announced in terms of a trillion euros worth of quantitative easing for Europe?

HUDSON: They head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, has said that he’ll do whatever it takes to keep banks afloat. He doesn’t say whatever it takes to help economic recovery or to help labor more; it’s to help banks make more money because he used to be vice chairman of Goldman Sachs during 2002 to 2005. And his view is that of Wall Street and of the financial sector. It’s not a vantage point of helping labor or helping economies grow. So it’s not surprising that the trillion euros of new money that the Central Bank of Europe is creating hasn’t gone to help Greece, for instance, survive, hasn’t gone to help Greece, Spain, Italy, or Portugal get out of depression by fueling government spending. It’s been given away to the banks to buy bonds and stocks, including buying American stocks and bonds. It’s all the idea that if you can make the financial sector richer, if you can make the one percent and the 10 percent richer, it’s all going to trickle down. This is the view of Paul Krugman, it’s the view of the advisers that Obama has had. It’s trickle-down economics. And instead of trickling down, what it does is drive a wedge in the economy by increasing the value of stocks and bonds and real estate and wealth against labor. So it’s quantitative easing that is largely behind the fact that the distribution of wealth has become worse rather than better since 2008.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/michael-hudson-quantitative-easing.html

Old Socialist

https://www.ft.com/content/4b478964-fecd-11e8-aebf-99e208d3e521

 

 

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Macron: C’est une cause qui fait monter les travailleurs aux barricades? Almost Marx comments

Headline: A humbler Emmanuel Macron needs to relaunch his agenda

Sub-headline: Crisis over the French president’s reforms is a concern for all of Europe

Macron in neither ‘humbler’ –imagine a humble enarque? , nor  does he need to ‘relaunch his agenda’ , a catch phrase awash in Neo-Liberal jargon, as the Financial Times editors propose! Macron’s plans are described in the text that will be posted below,  after his mealy-mouthed ‘apology’ to the French people. The police strategy of  ‘preemptive arrest’ does not signal humbleness, but shows that Macron shares with Radical Thatcherite Fillon an authoritarianism, Macron’s  under the guise of  the bloated notion of Jupertarianism. With the help of Financial Times’ preposterous phraseology like this: ‘After vanquishing the far-right in the 2017 presidential election,…’  : 36.5% of ballots cast in the final election were ‘spoiled’ or otherwise uncountable. Vanquish is not the right word, perhaps that old comic movie title more aptly describes the Macron victory: ‘The Mouse that Roared’?

Headline: Police flood into Paris to contain gilets jaunes

Sub-headline: Security forces put 8,000 on the streets of the capital to quell fears of rioting

French security forces contained fears of a fourth weekend of rioting by extremist gilets jaunes in Paris with a change of tactics including a massive show of strength.

About 8,000 police and gendarmes refused to allow the gilets jaunes to gain the upper hand, as they had the previous week, by attempting to filter out troublemakers before they could act. They put parts of the city into lockdown before dawn and carried out widespread stop-and-search operations. Plainclothes officers pinpointed extremist elements and made hundreds of “pre-emptive arrests”.

Small groups of gilets jaunes from the extremist fringe of the grassroots movement succeeded in playing cat-and-mouse with security forces, but were repeatedly pushed back by police using water cannon, mounted officers and armoured vehicles.

The government deployed a force of 89,000 police and gendarmes across France. Outside the capital, protests passed off mainly peacefully.

In a change of tactics from last week, when Paris saw the worst violence for more than 50 years, police and gendarmes chose to directly confront troublemaking demonstrators.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/08/paris-police-flood-streets-gilets-jaunes

Macron: C’est une cause qui fait monter les travailleurs aux barricades?

Almost Marx

https://www.ft.com/content/0a8162ca-fd37-11e8-ac00-57a2a826423e

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gideon.rachman@ft.com on Macron’s appeasement of The Mob. Old Socialist comments

Mr. Rachman’s little melodrama starring the ‘wounded’ Macron could not qualify for the Spelling-Goldberg treatment on American Network Television, such is its weakness in terms of dramatic kitsch.
Forget the stunning fact that in the final election 36.5% of voters expressed their revulsion at the choice of Macron vs Le Pen, by rendering their ballots uncountable. A subject never broached by Macron’s apologists, here at his propaganda headquaters in the Anglophone World.

Patience grasshopper! Mr. Rachman offers this, and himself as the ultimate arbiter of the question of Macron:

So Macron-haters have seized upon the unrest in Paris to argue that the French president stands revealed as a massively flawed leader — remote, arrogant and pushing an outdated neoliberal agenda. By contrast, Macron-lovers insist that their hero can ride out his current troubles and still be a transformative president.

There is more, but hardly surprising is his contemporary hagiography of The Great Man, with a bit a caviling to lend an ersatz verisimilitude . It cannot be otherwise at The Financial Times:

Neither verdict is convincing. Mr Macron is indeed an impressive figure. He has correctly identified the need for structural reforms of the French economy and has bravely made the case for internationalism. But the bleak truth is that the president is gravely wounded by the gilets jaunes protests, the accompanying violence — and the panic-driven U-turns in government policy.

The above paragraph succeeds the first to demonstrate to the reader that  Mr. Rachman  isn’t just another apologist for Macron, it is a rhetorical feint. Mr. Rachman presents the three imperatives of Macron’s ‘Jupertarian Politics’:

To understand why that is the case, you need to examine three key aspects of the Macron agenda: internal economic reform, deeper European integration and global governance. These three ideas are interdependent.

‘Internal economic reform’ is a stand-in for the Neo-Liberlization of France, that has brought forth open rebellion. ‘Deeper European integration’ means more of the failed institution of the E.U. , a cartel with the trappings of ‘Democracy’: look to Greece and Italy as the economic laboratories that failure. ‘Global Governance ‘ is the place holder for the Trade Agreements TTP and TTIP, that take their Corporatist model from the ersatz democracy of the E.U.

Mr. Rachman sees Macron’s ‘sense of momentum created by these reforms has now been destroyed. ‘:

The Macron loyalists are right to point out that their man has already notched up real achievements. He has pushed through changes to the rigid French labour markets, which should make it easier to create jobs. And he won an important victory against the powerful railway unions. But the sense of momentum created by these reforms has now been destroyed. The Macron government has had to reverse its increase in fuel taxes. And the president is likely to promise further sweeteners to appease the demonstrators.

Appeasement makes its appearance as evidence of the prima facae unworthiness of The Mob, in sum, Macron represents Enlightenment Values, while that Mob represents a retrograde Socialism. The critique that Mr. Rachman offers of Macron is that he capitulated to The Mob. Reading through the rhetorical underbrush of Mr. Rachman’s polemic, the reader reaches its final glum paragraph, awash in *political disillusion :

If Mr Macron had been able to break this dismal cycle, his international credibility would have soared. He could have emerged as the global champion of liberal values — such a champion is sorely needed. Now, however, it seems highly unlikely that Mr Macron can save the world. He will be lucky if he can save his own presidency.

Old Socialist

*This reader just wonders, Isn’t this a bit premature?

https://www.ft.com/content/f0b113e0-fc5f-11e8-ac00-57a2a826423e

 

 

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The Great Unwashed confront M.37%’s ‘Jupertarian Revolution’ episode IV: Almost Marx comments

Place this under the category  schadenfreude: M. 37% is not just an utterly clueless enarque, but an authoritarian under the dull-witted propaganda of ‘Jupertarian Politics’! ‘The Paris Police’ are ,in fact, under the command of M.37%, is an attempt to remove the notion of political agency from M. 37%: a not very cunning move by the Financial Times writers/editors/propagandists/apologists.

I and many others saw the photos and videos of the Police holding students ‘as if’ they were the Palestinians, under the IDF’s violent thrall. ‘Bad Optics’ like this are the enemy of M.37% and his minions. Is that self-proclaimed  ‘Jupertarian Revolution’ reaching the point of an evolving series of political denouements, that signal that M.37% and his elite educated minions share in a folie à millions, to state it in the hyperbolic, not shared by the gilets jaunes? These dissidents exist with the tacit acceptance of the general populous, as reported in this essay! There is one other dread possibility: that M.37% and his Police will commit a horrendous crime of executing one or more of the gilets jaunes or students, in their zeal in pursuit of ‘Law and Order’! In American history Kent State and Nixon are inextricably linked. Is M.37% so lost in venal egotism …?       

Almost Marx

https://www.ft.com/content/21f84f9e-fadb-11e8-ac00-57a2a826423e


 

Replies to my comment, that were removed by the Financial Times’ censors :

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My reply to Pompeo

Thank you for your comment. Aside from the self-congratulation that suffuses your reply, there isn’t anything like convincing argument in the face of the inconvenient evidence:

In Brazil, Major New Corruption Scandals Engulf the Faction that Impeached Dilma

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/25/in-brazil-major-new-corruption-scandals-engulf-the-faction-that-impeached-dilma/

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Major New Brazil Events Expose the Fraud of Dilma’s Impeachment — and Temer’s Corruption

https://theintercept.com/2016/06/30/major-new-brazil-events-expose-the-fraud-of-dilmas-impeachment-and-temers-corruption/


Brazil Is Engulfed by Ruling Class Corruption — and a Dangerous Subversion of Democracy

https://theintercept.com/2016/03/18/brazil-is-engulfed-by-ruling-class-corruption-and-a-dangerous-subversion-of-democracy/

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Brazil’s all-corrupt politics

https://mondediplo.com/2018/10/06brazil

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A Blow to Brazilian Democracy: The Illegitimate Removal of Dilma Rousseff from Power

http://cepr.net/publications/briefings/testimony/a-blow-to-brazilian-democracy-the-illegitimate-removal-of-dilma-rousseff-from-power

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Noam Chomsky – A “soft coup” in Brazil´s election will have global consequences – The Intercept – out 2018

http://dowbor.org/2018/10/noam-chomsky-a-soft-coup-in-brazils-election-will-have-global-consequences-the-intercept-out-2018.html/

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Your ‘experience’ of both Mexico and Brazil, of the strength of Brazil’s institutional safeguards against corruption, and your assertion of Mexico as a ‘failed state’ , as you present them, trumps the objective evidence? And Obrador as ‘Leftist Ideologue’ plays to an audience habituated to Anti-Left hysterics: the very bread and butter of  The Financial Times.

Regards,

StephenKMackSD

https://on.ft.com/2PpkwI4

 

 

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American National Security State Propaganda , episode MMMCCLVII: On the death of Bush The Elder. Old Socialist comments

Mr. Ganesh is a gifted stylist, in this paragraph that seems too steeped in the present rhetorical poverty, he still manages to almost ensorcell. It is the preamble to not just  a meditation on ‘Extremism’ but a homily.

Experience of trauma does not instil risk aversion as a matter of course. But having lived through the near ruin of civilisation, that cohort of westerners did not trifle with dangerous ideas after 1945. Obituaries that attribute Bush’s caution to high-born Waspery or the Episcopalian Church miss the formative effect of war.

That ‘high-born Waspery’ that Ganesh attributes to ‘others’ is not the territory that he wishes to explore. A history made to measure is the ‘sine qua non‘ of this essay.He moves his essay from porcine Robespierre Newt Gingrich: Bush The Elder is by implication the antidote to this populist.  Next is this telling observation, that places the utterly discredited Freud before Shakespeare as the ‘diviners’ of  human motivation.

The question is where such vigilance came from. It takes a Freud or a Shakespeare to divine human motivation.

Then the reader comes to this extended apologetic for what can only be called Bush The Elder’s  unapologetically racist Willie Horton advertisement. Not having the honesty to mention it by name. Lee Atwater was its creator, and quite pointedly asked Mr.  Dukakis, on his death bed for forgiveness! The words ‘foot-dragging’ , ‘tawdry’ and ‘uncharacteristic’ are the weakest form of apologetics.

That generation is already revered to the point of mawkishness. Bush should not be. A nuanced account must reckon with his initial foot-dragging on civil rights and his sometimes tawdry bid for the White House in 1988. But these trips to the darker edges of politics stand out precisely because they are uncharacteristic.

The remainder of Mr. Ganesh’s homily is devoted to the virtues of ‘Social Order’ and an  ‘aversion to wild ideas’ No need to insert the name of Bush The Elder, as a model of this kind of Enlightened Centrist Politics. It a question of belief, that in the Age of Trump even Bush the Elder represents an aspiration toward the Political Good. Such is the desperation of The Midwives of Trump! While ignoring the catastrophic  Foreign Policy of this ‘high-born Wasp’!

Old Socialist

https://www.ft.com/content/921f8b8c-f7b3-11e8-8b7c-6fa24bd5409c

 

 

 

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