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''Let Me Know When It's Over'' - The Boredom And / Or Hilarity Of Geopolitics (2 Articles)

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(edited)

This is an article, by a journalist.  Note - I added the second half of the title as I find geopolitics funny and interesting and anything but boring, unlike the journalist.

Let me me know when it's over: yes, all of it: the impeachment, the trade dispute with China, U.S. involvement in Syria, the manic stock market rally and the 2020 election. 

Maybe it's my cheap seat or my general exhaustion, but the whole staged spectacle is beyond tiresome; I've had my fill.

I'm not interested in following every twist and turn of the endless trauma-drama because none of it changes anything: Swapping Pence for Trump changes nothing, and then swapping Warren for Pence in 2020 doesn't change anything, either: the rot is too deep for any one person to do much beyond feel-good virtue-signaling and symbolic gestures (tax the billionaires, etc.)
 

The entire political process has devolved to staged battles in the Bread and Circuses Coliseum, entertainment that is highly profitable for the corporate media that whips the partisan mobs into a frenzy and highly useful for the status quo, as the sound and fury signifying nothing serves to distract the restive audience from the decline of everything of value: civil liberties, free expression, social mobility, free markets and so on.

The nation is in the deadly grip of cartels, monopolies and bureaucracies tasked with increasing and protecting the continuing concentration of wealth and power in financial and political elites. We are eating our seed corn while borrowing profligately from the future to create an illusion of growth--an illusion that requires ever greater levels of intervention / manipulation and propaganda. Dissent must be buried or silenced, as the absurd disconnects from reality reach new extremes. 

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China is in the same boat, having borrowed $40 trillion into existence to fund a vast permanent construction project that has completed everything that is remotely useful and is now lumbering onward building ghost cities, stadiums, malls, highways across deserts, etc. because that worked so well for 30 years and policy makers don't have any sustainable alternatives. That malinvestment leads to default and bankruptcy is That Which Cannot Be Spoken, lest the entire financial house of cards collapses.

In other words, a trade agreement won't change anything: the world's major economies are careening toward a demographic / financial / energy cliff that can't be reversed with a trade deal or any other policy tweaks on the margins.

As for all our foreign entanglements--there's no ending them, no matter how disastrous because the Imperial Pretensions / Project has no intention of ceasing the multi-level interventions of postmodern imperialism, regardless of who's president. Look, the clowns are harassing a chained bear--it's the Stock Market Circus, led by head clown Powellus Absurdus. The must-always-levitate-higher stock market is the comic relief for the dismal slaughter of innocents that makes up the rest of the entertainment. Ha-ha, what fun the clowns make of the enraged bear, until the bear break loose and then ha-ha, the clowns scatter.

The mood of the mob is fast becoming ugly; even the victors of the staged games are being booed. The attention span of the audience has dwindled to the point that few even wait for the outcome of the contest to scream for somebody's blood. The crowd is no longer satiated by gore or drama, and even the comedic interludes no longer mask the sense that the mob is one spark away from taking their rage and frustration out on each other--the vicarious thrills are no longer enough.

Maybe it's my cheap seat or my general exhaustion, but the whole staged spectacle is beyond tiresome; I've had my fill. So let me know when it's all over: the impeachment entertainment, the trade war drama, the stock market comedy, the election circus, all of it. Until then, I'll look to the real world for amusement and distraction. The Bread and Circuses Coliseum is feeling increasingly deranged and dangerous.

 

Edited by DayTrader

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(edited)

And in related news ...  Politics Drops Its Pretenses  Profile picture for user Tyler Durden  by Tyler Durden 

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 13:55  Authored by Jeff Deist via The Mises Institute,  

Can the increasing politicization of life in America be stopped, or even slowed?

To be sure, average Americans do not want this. Most people prefer not to lead overly political lives, beyond perhaps voting once in a while and grumbling about taxes or potholes. Most people prefer to focus on work, family, hobbies, sports, or a million other pursuits instead of politics. We watch the game instead of attending the Tuesday night city council meeting. But increasingly we all feel the pressure, drawing us inexorably into a highly-politicized world which demands we take binary "sides" on Trump, impeachment, abortion, guns, climate change, and far more. This politicization seeps into our jobs, family lives, neighborhoods places of worship, social interactions, and even our sports and entertainment. 

The most salient feature of national politics in 2019 America is its lack of pretenses. The two political Americas, represented by Red and Blue teams, no longer pretend to share a country or any desire to live peaceably together. Much has been made of this cold civil war on both the Left and Right, and much of what has been made is probably over-hyped. Americans, after all, are materially comfortable, soft, addled, diabetic, and rapidly aging; the over-65 population is set to double in the coming decades. Hot civil wars require lots of young men with nothing to lose who are not busy playing Fortnite. But the overall mood of the country is decidedly hostile and suggestive of irreconcilable differences. 

So how does our political system address this? By throwing gasoline on the fire, in the form of another national election in 2020. That looming contest already tells a story, it's not about healing or coming together. Today the political class is more open about its desire to hurt and punish opponents; in fact, revenge and punishment feature prominently in the political narratives that fill our media feeds.

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Hillary Clinton recently quipped that maybe she should run against Donald Trump in 2020 and "beat him again," openly positioning her personal vendetta as the rationale for seeking the presidency. "The issues," such as they are, take a distant backseat to her more pressing goal of defeating both Trump and his voters in a visceral way. Her 2020 candidacy, should it materialize, will coalesce around revenge: voters failed her not once but twice, in 2008 and 2016. Her campaign, almost by necessity, will be a scorched-earth exercise in revenge against the Deplorables. 

Her potential Democratic primary rival Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, appeared last week at an LGBT equality town hall—organized by CNN for the express purpose of further politicizing sex and sexuality (so much for pre-political rights). In response to a softball question about gay marriage (likely planted), Warren sneered that a hypothetical religious man should marry a woman "if he can get one." Needless to say the audience loved it, which tells us less about Warren's safe, vanilla views that it does about the setting and mood of attendees. Identity politics is required, not optional.

These presidential aspirants, like Trump, no longer care to maintain a facade of representing all Americans or smoothing over divisions when elections are over. Nobody runs for president to represent all Americans, and of course, nobody could in a far-flung country of 330 million people. A candidate who gives lip service to the idea, as Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang have, gain little traction in the media-driven bloodsport. The presidency is about winning either Red or Blue America, not both, and presidential candidates will be far more open about this in 2020—and with their hostility for the Electoral College. They are in the business of winning at all costs, not persuading. 51% of the electorate will do, and the rest deserve to suffer for not going along with the program. 
 
The standard explanations and justifications for politics are breaking down. Democratic consensus and needful compromise and good governance were always empty bromides, but today our political overlords understand and pander to an altogether different mood. The Trump presidency, like the Brexit vote, was never accepted by the same elites who spent the early 21st century gushing about the sanctity of democracy. The entire pretense for democratic politics, ostensibly the peaceful transfer of political power and the consensual organization of human affairs, now gives way to new and uncomfortable questions. What if we cannot vote our way out of this? What if the structural problems of debt and entitlements and central banking and foreign policy cannot be solved politically? What if the culture wars are unwinnable? What if we have reached the end of politics as an instrument for keeping American society together?

Democracy and politics will not alleviate our problems; only committed individuals working in the intermediary institutions of civil society can. Democratic elections can work locally, and in small countries or communities; Switzerland's system of express subsidiarity comes to mind. And clearly the best hope for America's survival will come through an aggressive form of federalism or subsidiarity, one that dramatically reduces the winner-take-all stakes of national elections. But mass democracy, in a country as large as America, is a recipe for strife, bitterness, endless division, and much worse.

As Murray Rothbard said in Power and Market"ballots are hailed as substitutes for bullets." But in modern America, politics leads us closer to war, not closer to peace and justice and comity. Why should we accept weaponized mass politics when we have civil society, markets, and non-state institutions?

We need an anti-politics movement just as surely as we need an antiwar movement. 

Edited by DayTrader
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