Thursday, November 10, 2016

Today's links

1--Rasmus on Trump Victory --Blame Obama

Hillary Clinton was not defeated so much by Trump, but by the failed performance of the Obama administration the past eight years, and her obvious inability to separate herself clearly from policies associated with the past eight years and to offer an alternative more radically different—as Trump clearly did....

Trump’s election can be traced to the shift in key groups of voters who had supported Obama in 2008 and who gave Obama his ‘one more chance’ to do something in 2012, and who were deeply disappointed when he failed to do so since 2012.  At the forefront of these groups was the white non-college educated working class, especially those concentrated in the great lakes industrial states in that geographic ‘arc’ from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin. This group not only turned from Democrats but turned to Trump—as they had in 1980 as the so-called ‘Reagan Democrats’—in response to another economic crisis of the 1970s during which they were also abandoned by the Democratic Party. Clinton 2016 thus lost key swing states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, and Michigan that helped put Obama ‘over the top’ a second time in those states.

Another important voter group that delivered for Obama in 2012 and did not for Clinton in 2016 in similar percentages were Latinos.  They voted by a margin of 44% for Obama 2012, but only 36% for Clinton.  Apparently, Trump insults of Latinos were less important than Obama deportation policies in recent years. Women voters were supposed to vote overwhelmingly for Clinton, but white women aged 45 and over did not.  And 75 million ‘millennials, 34 and under, were driven away by Clinton and the Democratic Party’s treatment of the Sanders campaign during the primaries and by offering no solution to the hopeless scenario of insecure, low pay service jobs in exchange for record student debt.  In short, white non-college educated workers abandoned the Democrats, while other groups simply ‘stayed home’ and did not vote in the numbers they previously had in 2012.

Somehow over recent years the Democrats, once a party purporting to represent workers, abandoned them to free trade, to low paid insecure service jobs, and to the wholesale privatization of retirement and healthcare systems in America. What was begun under Bill Clinton, expanded under George W. Bush, was allowed to accelerate under Obama....

The data show clearly that US corporate profits more than doubled after 2009. The US Dow stock market tripled in value.  Bond market prices accelerated to record levels....In each of the last three years corporations ‘borrowed’ $2 trillion a year by issuing corporate bonds. ..

Obama not only became the greatest deporter of immigrants in US history, as H1-B legal immigration was expanded by several hundreds of thousands.

2--60 percent of voters had an unfavorable opinion of Trump

Remarkably, 60 percent of voters had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, including 20 percent of those who voted for him, while 23 percent of Trump voters described him as unqualified and 29 percent said he was not honest and trustworthy. Clinton was seen as both more qualified and more dishonest, and viewed unfavorably by 54 percent of voters.

These figures demonstrate the dead end of the corporate-controlled two-party system, which gave voters the “choice” of the two most unpopular figures ever to run as candidates of the two major parties.

Trump will come to Washington in partnership with a Congress that is near-universally reviled, with only 9 percent of those voting having a favorable opinion of the institution. Nonetheless, within the confines of the two-party system, nearly every incumbent senator and representative won reelection on November 8.

3--These facts make abundantly clear that it was economic and class issues, not race or gender, that underlay the defeat for Clinton and the Democrats.

The interpretation of the 2016 election through the prism of race and, to a lesser extent, gender, stands in glaring contradiction to the facts. The electorate that defeated Clinton—the multimillionaire personification of the political status quo—had voted twice to put Barack Obama in the White House.

Trump owes his victory largely to a surge in voting by non-college-educated whites aged 45-64, particularly men. This demographic voted by a lopsided margin for the Republican billionaire.

These people, born between 1952 and 1971, entered the work force between 1970 and 1989. They therefore experienced mass layoffs, declining wages and worsening working conditions throughout their working lives...

For this broad section of the working population, the past four decades have brought a continuous erosion in living standards. According to Census data analyzed by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, white male workers without a college degree saw their median incomes fall by more than 20 percent, after adjusting for inflation, between 1975 and 2014....

Between 2007 and 2014, under Obama, their incomes fell 14 percent....

These facts make abundantly clear that it was economic and class issues, not race or gender, that underlay the defeat for Clinton and the Democrats.

4--Market rallies on Trump victory

However, the elevation of bond yields and the prospect of rising inflation and interest rates do not point to a return to financial stability. In fact, the opposite may be the case. Such is the extent of the bond market bubble—the product of years of quantitative easing and the cheap-money policies of the Fed—that it has been calculated that a 1 percentage point rise in interest rates could bring losses of around $3.36 trillion for traders, who have been buying on the expectation that prices will go even higher...

Trump has pledged to reduce the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, from 35 percent, and cut taxes on the wealthy. As the chief economist of one investment fund put it, Trump had made a good start because “we have never seen a tax cut we don’t appreciate.”

According to the Tax Policy Center, the top 1 percent of income earners would receive an average tax cut of more than $214,000 in 2017 and the top 0.1 percent, a reduction of more than $1 million each....

By the time Wall Street opened yesterday, the initial plunge on share markets was over and indexes moved up, finishing the day close to their record highs. The biggest increases were recorded in healthcare and financial stocks.
The former were lifted by the removal of the prospect of a tighter regulation under a Clinton administration. Bank stocks received a boost from the prospect of higher interest rates and less financial regulation. The president-elect has denounced the quantitative easing policies of the US Federal Reserve and accused Fed chair Janet Yellen of keeping interest rates artificially low in order to aid the Obama-Clinton camp. He has touted a rise in infrastructure spending to boost the US economy....

The shift was ignited in part by the view that Trump’s promises of tax cuts and increased infrastructure spending would lift inflation and thereby bring about a fall in bond prices and a rise in interest rates

5--Donald Trump, After Blasting Iraq War, Picks Top Iraq Hawk James Woolsey as National Security Adviser

Donald Trump named former CIA director and extremist neoconservative James Woolsey his senior adviser on national security issues on Monday. Woolsey, who left the CIA in 1995, went on to become one of Washington’s most outspoken promoters of U.S. war in Iraq and the Middle East.
As such, Woolsey’s selection either clashes with Trump’s noninterventionist rhetoric — or represents a pivot towards a more muscular, neoconservative approach to resolving international conflicts...

Trump has called the Iraq War “a disaster.”
Woolsey, by contrast, was a key member of the Project for the New American Century — a neoconservative think tank largely founded to encourage a second war with Iraq. Woolsey signed a letter in 1998 calling on Clinton to depose Saddam Hussein and only hours after the 9/11 attacks appeared on CNNand blamed the attacks on Iraq. Woolsey has continued to insist on such a connection despite the complete lack of evidence to support his argument. He also blames Iran.
Weeks before the invasion of Iraq, Woolsey called for broader war in the Middle East, saying “World War IV” was already underway.

6--Attorney General Rudy Giuliani? Trump Cabinet Takes Shape

Hadley at DOD, G sax at Treasury, Gingrich at State

7--Dow soars 150 points, surges to new all-time high as post-election rally continues

8--Donald Trump’s Financial Advisory Team Stocked With Wall Streeters

John Paulson, a hedge-fund billionaire, was tapped as an adviser because of his understanding of housing, one adviser said. Mr. Paulson, who made a spectacularly well-timed bet shorting the U.S. subprime mortgage market in 2007, has more recently taken large stakes in the mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have been in a government-run conservatorship since the 2008 financial crisis. Shares of Fannie Mae were up nearly 17% to their highest levels of the year on Wednesday.

9--To Make America Great Again, Write Off The Private Debt, Steven Keen Important

On this issue, your instincts are correct, and there’s official data to prove it: the employment rate shows that 3% less Americans are employed now than before the Great Recession. Part of that is demographic change, but most isn’t: fully 2 million less Americans aged 25-54 have a job now than had one in 2007

10--"Whites without a college degree" won the election for Trump; Revenge of the working class whites or another stolen election?

"Whites without a college degree — men and women — made up a third of the 2016 electorate. Trump won them by 39 percentage points, according to exit polls, far surpassing 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney's 25 percent margin. They were the foundation of his victories across the Rust Belt, including a blowout win in Ohio and stunning upsets in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In polling, these voters have expressed deep racial and cultural anxieties. In exit polls they were more likely than the country as a whole to say that illegal immigrants should be deported. But those polls also suggested economic concerns and hostility toward leaders in Washington were much more important factors driving them to Trump.

Half of these voters said the economy was the most important issue in their vote, compared to 14 percent for immigration. A majority said international trade takes away American jobs. Three-quarters said the economy is “not good” or “poor” and nearly 8 in 10 said their personal financial situation was the same or worse than it was four years ago. Two-thirds said they preferred Trump to handle the economy instead of Democrat Hillary Clinton, compared with less than half of the electorate overall."  Washpost

11--Obama's Parting Gift to Kiev? NATO 'Strategic Advisors' Set Up Shop in Ukraine

Ukrainian media confirmed the significance of Tuesday's meeting by pointing out that the NATO 'strategic advisors' included very senior figures — US four star General John Abizaid, ex-commander of USCENTCOM, and Nick Parker, former Commander Land Forces of the British Army.

Asked whether the NATO mission is an indication that Kiev is considering new military designs on Donbass, Russian political scientist Vladimir Zharikhin responded by underscoring that the mission, led by the United States, is part of an outgoing administration in Washington. "The situation has changed somewhat after elections in the US," the expert explained. "Secondly, the problem with the Ukrainian military is not that there is a lack of trained generals and officers. They are trained well enough, many of them graduates of Soviet military academies. The main problem is that the army does not feel that it is fighting for a just cause. And here no advice will be able to help – especially from retired generals and admirals who for many years fought with little apparent success in Iraq and Afghanistan

As for the prospect of advisers being used to plan a new round of military action in the Donbass, Zharikhin suggested that it is probably (and thankfully) too late for this scenario. "In early October, I was really concerned that this might happen. There were fears that the Clinton team, if it felt that it was losing the race, might try to repeat the trick used by John McCain, who during the 2008 presidential rate attempted to turn the tables against Obama through military adventurism in Georgia. For three weeks McCain polled ahead of Obama on a wave of anti-Russian feeling."

But considering Clinton's electoral defeat, and the presence of OSCE peacekeepers in Donbass (making it difficult to pin any aggression on the Donbass republics), Zharikhin noted that it's unlikely Kiev will renew any military offensive. "In the next six months, the Trump administration will be working to figure out the situation," he said. "I don't want to say that he is a 'peace dove', but he will be working to understand what's what. Only after that will he begin any steps in one direction or another."

13--Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Russia wants “a return to normal relations, which is: respect of sovereignty, acknowledgement of each other’s interests, a respectable attitude towards international law, including non-intervention into domestic issues, and nothing more.”


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