Nov 132016
 November 13, 2016  Posted by at 5:57 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Esther Bubley Waiting for Greyhound bus trip from Memphis to Louisville, KY 1943


Been scribbling several some post-election notes over the past few days, it seemed a good idea to not publish things too soon after the upset, even if I at least had the advantage that it wasn’t that much of a surprise or upset. But I’ve read far too many people too eager to write about how they haven’t moved an inch, and too many others who have -mostly reluctantly- moved but don’t know how or where to. It’s okay to think about such matters first, guys and dolls. Make that: it’s better. There’s too much nonsense out there as is. Why bother adding to the pile? Here’s a few thoughts in no particular order:



The transition we find ourselves in, into an era as profoundly different as it will be from the one that preceded it, can only possibly be chaotic. Smooth is not an option. Because it takes much time for people to recognize let alone accept that there is such a transition to begin with, and not everyone acknowledges or accepts it at the same time. Many never will at all, they will be left behind in their own realities tied down by the chains of what once was.

This transition is the one away from economic growth and globalization -centralization in general- and towards smaller, less centered and grandiose, politics and markets. It is not an idealistic transition towards self-sufficiency, it’s simply and inevitably what’s left once unfettered growth hits the skids. It doesn’t have to be anywhere near as bad as people would have you believe, or at least not necessarily so. What could make it real bad, though, is the widespread resistance and denial which seem certain to meet it.

Our entire worldviews and ‘philosophies’ are based on ever more and ever bigger and then some, and our entire economies are built upon it. That has already made us ignore the decline of our real markets for many years now. We focus on data about stock markets and the like, and ignore the demise of our respective heartlands and flyover countries, even as we experience Brexit and Trump and similar movements set to come to many more countries.

Donald Trump looks very much like the ideal fit for this transition – but nor because he understands the issue itself, or its implications. What matters is he promises to bring back jobs to America, and that’s what the country needs. Not so they can then export their products, but to consume them at home, and sell them in the domestic market.

That is the future of the world post-growth, and post-globalization. Every country and every society needs to focus on self-reliance, not as some idealistic luxury choice, but as a necessity. And that is not as bad or terrible as people would have you believe, and it’s not the end of the world. What would be terrible is if all we do is try and restart growth and globalization, because that would be a hideous waste of time and resources.

You’ll be flooded in the years to come, even more than today if you can imagine, with terms like protectionism and isolationism and even populism, but ignore all that. There’s nothing economically -let alone morally- wrong with people producing what they and their families and close neighbors themselves want and need without hauling it halfway around the world for a meagre profit, handing over control of their societies to strangers in the process.

There’s nothing wrong or negative with an American buying products made in America instead of in China. At least not for the man in the street. It’s not a threat to our ‘open societies’, as many claim. That openness does not depend on having things shipped to your stores over 1000s of miles, that you could have made yourselves at a potentially huge benefit to your local economy. An ‘open society’ is a state of mind, be it collective or personal. It’s not something that’s for sale.



Earlier this week I read what looks to be an apt observation: ‘Every white person in New York who didn’t vote for Trump is now out in the streets protesting against him’. But the people who protest now are miles off target and months too late: they should have stood up for Bernie when it became clear that the Hillary camp and the DNC conspired to oust him. Indeed, Bernie himself should have stood up back then, not for himself but for his supporters; they would have stood up with him.

Whether they all like it or not, being asleep and/or silent when big things happen that count, does carry a price. If you drop the ball, you can’t just pick it back up again and pretend it didn’t fall. Shouting ‘not my president’ in the wake of an election is a sign of weakness, no matter how well-intentioned. The protests should have taken place before the election, not after.

Moreover, to a large extent people are up in protest against the image the Hillary campaign and the media have painted of Trump, not the man himself. A difference they cannot see. Would these same people have been protesting if Hillary had won? No, they wouldn’t. But why?

Many voices expressed the wish that Americans would vote for Hillary, a story about a woman and a glass ceiling, instead of for the male and allegedly sexist and misogynist Donald Trump. Simply because she’s a woman, and it’s time for a female president.

These voices have been consistently and for a long time been blind to the fact that Hillary’s campaign and Foundation, in legal, shady and downright illegal ways, have long been financed to a substantial degree by uber-rich men in charge of Middle East oil extracting nations who have far more misogynist views and attitudes towards women than Trump will ever have.

These men carry things like misogyny, racism, xenophobia and homophobia high and proudly in their banners. Also, they’re well on their way towards obliterating not just an entire country in Yemen, but indeed an entire people, all with the enthusiastic support of Obama, Hillary and their friends and donors in the arms industry. And lest we forget, they sponsor ISIS too. Is that the future Americans want?



The bright side is the chances of a war with Russia have gone down substantially. While the odds have gone up dramatically of much fewer US servicemen and -women being sent abroad to engage in endless and countless battles and wars that never seemed to have much to do with the US, going back all the way to Korea and Vietnam.

How can either of these things can be perceived as negative? The continuation and expansion of -often proxy- hostilities versus Moscow would have been cast in stone had Hillary been elected, it was a milestone of her entire campaign. And a major part of this would have been fought at some desert location in the Middle East.

Where America has needlessly squandered the lives of many of its young and finest, to and in a mad scramble over control of oil resources which has resulted in nothing but a shapeless chaos that has equally needlessly killed millions of people, sent millions of others fleeing their homes and razed entire ancient civilizations, accomplishments that will follow America around the world for many years to come. Is that the future Americans want? Double down?

There’s -undeniably- still a risk that Donald Trump will succumb to the mighty hand of the military industrial complex. But at the same time, he may well be the country’s -and the world’s- best if not only chance at making that hand that much less mighty. There may be many things wrong with Trump -there are- but being in the pockets of arms manufacturers and other doctors of death is so far not among them, to our best knowledge.



Hillary and her crowd ran the entire election process from inside a cocoon, built largely on hubris and a lack of contact with the world outside. They had the media so much on their side that TV and newspapers became part of the Hillary cocoon, and reporters got locked into a groupthink mode that then in its turn infected the campaign itself.

What I mean is you can’t stop at saying Trump is a disaster, so let’s pick the other side, it was always very much a choice between two disasters. And at the same time, as I wrote at the Automatic Earth the day of the election, the US presidency is a poisoned chalice. There’s nothing simple about this.

Trump means a big clean-up for the GOP, and the Hillary loss means the chance for the Democrats to do the same. You bet those folks realize achingly well they could have won with Bernie. Hopefully that wing can take over substantially from the lying conniving machinery the DNC has turned out to be.

Someone summed it up as: Trump swept aside the Republicans, the Democrats, the Bush dynasty and the Clinton dynasty, all in one fell swoop, and we should perhaps be thankful to him for that.



Trump has run his campaign catering to the anger that exists among Americans. And people experience and label that as ‘terrible’ and ‘awful’. His Republican friends and opponents find it terrible, because it scares the bejeezus out of them, and they’re too scared to go anywhere near that anger. Trump embraced the anger. Because he knew from the start, instinctively, that it was the only way he could win.

And you can think like the majority of your peers do, that all that commingling with the anger, with racists and bigots and what have you, is inexcusable. But what you miss out on if you take that approach and hold on to it, is that in that case the anger does not get addressed at all. It’s instead left free to just wander over the land and fester and grow on society, out of reach of politics, media, everything.

A certain by now very vilified cartoonist explained that what Trump does is to ‘feel’ what the angry crowd wants, and then play into it by making over the top statements targeted at the anger. That way this crowd will follow him, gather around him. This has worked like a charm. But no, that doesn’t make him look like a certain German dictator.

Because it does not mean that Trump is going to literally do everything he said in the over the top statements he made. It’s all just a basic sales trick. Trump makes the angry people feel like he knows, and cares about, their grievances. Just like a car salesman makes you think he knows just what you want and need in a car, and praises the assets of that car in such a way that it touches that part of you which makes you want the car.

But that doesn’t mean at the end of the day he’ll drive the same car home that you just bought off of him. He makes you think he is like you, and knows what you want, so he can sell you that car. That’s all. He’s judged you to be the right ‘target’ for that vehicle.

That is how Trump has reeled in America’s hidden anger, how he has gathered its lost hidden mob. And before you say anything else, it’s perhaps a good idea to wonder where that anger would go without Trump. Because it’s not going to go away by itself. It’s been growing and festering for a long time, and it’s well-armed, lest you forget.

The question then becomes: would America be a better, or a safer, place if the entire angry part of its population had again, and still, been ignored by everyone? Or is it better to have them gathered under the umbrella of Donald Trump? Take your pick. Don’t be shy.

Another way to phrase the issue is this: without the exact same sales tactics that Trump used to ‘gather the anger’ around him, the TV ads (most ads in general) you see on a daily basis would look completely different. Whatever products these ads sell, from detergents to cars, they do it by referring to your unconscious, not your rational abilities.

The ads, like Trump, sell feelings, not facts (if you don’t get that, you’re lost).

Yet nobody would think of taking the companies whose products are advertized this way to court -nobody even gets really angry with them- because the happy smily people and unending open roads bathed in sunshine from the ads do not magically appear once you purchase the product. We would even find that crazy, that anyone might take the images shown in the ads, literally.

We should interpret Trump’s campaign words along those same lines, the same way we ‘undergo’ the ads that play to our subconscious. The problem is, how do you do that? How do you interpret what you are largely unaware of on a rational level?

The president-elect will now need the same skills in order to ‘come down that mountain’ without antagonizing each and every side of the discussion, of the nation. He’ll have to convince the liberal camp that he didn’t mean everything he said in a literal sense, while at the same time keeping his ‘angry mob’ satisfied that he will do enough of what he promised them.

That will take a lot of persuading. But at the same time that happens to be the one thing he’s really good at. He’ll have to convince his voters that he’s not breaking his promises, just adjusting them in ways that will, if at all possible, be even more beneficial to them than the original ones.

Difficult, but if he can convince them that there are signs, delivered relatively fast, that their living conditions are improving, he may succeed. They just vent their anger at people that are visibly not themselves, but that’s not where the anger stems from.



There are all sorts of nasty things going on, racists and supremacist etc. But you can’t say that Trump caused that to happen. The most you could say is that he gives the people involved in that stuff the idea that because someone finally hears them, they can, are allowed to, make themselves heard.

But just because a few loose cannons let loose, doesn’t mean America has 60 million loose cannons who all voted for Trump and should all be condemned including Trump himself for good measure because there’s a few incidents. Not only is that a misinterpretation of what goes on, it prevents you from understanding what lies behind.

Those incidents at least have a lot to do with the fact that so many ignored Americans live in what Washington has long considered flyover country. It would be a lot more positive and productive at this point in time if everyone looks at what they themselves have gotten wrong over the past years -not just this election campaign- before pointing fingers at everyone but themselves.

But seeing the dug-in heels in Britain almost five months after the Brexit vote, it’s hard to get your hopes up about people coming together, or even doing some genuine introspection. It’s easier to just remain stuck in your comfy little rut.

Thing is, the world is rapidly changing -it already has-, America is changing, Britain is, and many more countries will, it just takes an election to show how much. We’re transitioning to a next phase, and trying to deny we are with all our might, good luck and good night.

Or in a more poetic fashion – we can do that too-:


the blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul





Home Forums No More Flyover Country

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    Esther Bubley Waiting for Greyhound bus trip from Memphis to Louisville, KY 1943   Been scribbling several some post-election notes over the past
    [See the full post at: No More Flyover Country]


    I strongly suspect that Trump’s change will not amount to any more than Obama’s. I would be happy to be proven wrong. No change will play out with massive amounts of new money printing, the continued expansion of the power and reach of corporations and the linkedin corporate hierarchies at the expense of citizens and the same if not even more direct military action against ‘terrorism’.

    I understood the basic common sense of many of Trump’s ideas but thought the huge amount of nonsense ideas negated them. A huge swath of the alt economic world have hinged their hopes that the basic ideas will see the light of day. We will see.

    Joe Clarkson

    If Trump is such a great “persuader”, why didn’t he simply persuade everyone, including the angry, that America was never going to be great again, that the era of growth was over, and that everyone had better get used to having less stuff to buy at Walmart and less money to buy it with? He didn’t because you can’t be persuasive about something you don’t believe or understand.

    I agree with you that resource depletion is gradually calling a halt to the end of the growth of the global market economy, but I have grave doubts that Trump understands any of that. I take him at his word, which in the light of the reality we are facing, is complete nonsense. He won’t build the wall. He won’t provide high paying manufacturing jobs as America once again becomes the export powerhouse it was in the ’50s and ’60s. He won’t cut taxes dramatically and watch a giant growth spurt balance the budget. Trump doesn’t have a clue.

    You seem to think (as I do too) that since the world economy must re-localize and shrink, bringing all production closer to the people who use it, that Trump’s anti-trade tirades will somehow make it happen. What will make it happen is dire necessity, the inevitable result of decreasing resources per capita and the resulting inability to keep a hyper-complex, world-wide economy functioning.

    I agree that Trump tapped into a great deal of anger. Unfortunately, he will not be able to do anything to assuage that anger; it will only grow and grow as things fall apart. When he runs for re-election, he will have even more anger to pander to and he will be good at finding some group to blame for all of it.

    Using anger as part of one’s “sales pitch” is extremely risky. It is almost impossible to turn off anger once it passes a certain threshold. It may be that that threshold has been passed. Rather than being a cause for hope that something good will come out of America’s angry reaction to the decline we face, Trump’s election is a harbinger of a dangerous and fear-inducing future to come.


    We live in interesting times. May we hope they continue to be interesting.


    Not so sure Trumps election victory had as much to do with anger as it did being the outcome of a feeling of hopelessness among a wide swath of disenfranchised middle class law abiding working Americans.

    I might have used the term “frustrated” in place of “angry.”



    The people chosen to run the new administration will tell you all you need to know about the direction to be taken. So far it doesn’t look good. If John Bolton is selected for any position your relief about avoiding war is way off. Same crap, different shovel. only possibly worse. IMHO


    Professor LNL,

    In my rural neck of the woods, and I am as rural as they come, the somewhat prevalent opinion was: We put up with 8 years of that AFRICAN and we’re not about to let them shove that haughty WOMAN down our throats. Not so much fear as the want for revenge. People are not as nice as we would like to think. I am not a Hillary fan or voter.


    I no longer have very much to say. I just want my circle of life to look at what is happening and to prepare to avoid being destroyed.


    How could you get so many things right about the Middle East, mention Saudi Arabia, Yemen and so on, without mentioning a single time the role of Israel?

    Are the Dutch programmed from a young age to believe that Zionists are automatically exonerated from any crimes? 9/11, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon etc.

    Who do you think is the main beneficiary of the destruction of all the countries near Israel? Who mainly carried out the looting of Russia and Ukraine? Is it the truth taboo?

    V. Arnold

    Well Ilargi; you pretty much nailed it, IMO.
    My take meshes with yours about 99%.
    IMO, everybody should just calm the hell down and see what transpires.
    Genuine change is painful and scary.
    As the Buddhist monk said regarding the future is: We’ll see…

    E. Swanson

    We in the Western World are so good at dancing around the Truth. People living for many generations on islands learn a basic truth. Populations can not continue to grow without meeting limits. The results have always been various means to limit population to that which can be supported by the available resources. Humanity lives on an island called Eearth, in the sense that all our resources are ultimately limited and, sooner or later, both locally and on a global scale, population growth must cease. That the prevailing thinking from our political and economic “leaders” refuse to admit this basic truth can only result in population growing beyond sustainable levels, leading to the most brutal paths to lower levels.

    We’ve been able to get by thanks to our exploitation of cheap fossils fuels, but the time will come when we can no longer continue to ignore reality. In so many ways, the Trump campaign represents an appeal to those who do not understand or accept these truths, as the voters cast their ballots to continue Business as Usual. The anti-abortion Fundamentalist zealots, the pro-growth CEI/Koch brothers and the anti-EPA crowd have won a hollow victory and we can only hope the Trumpetistas will burnout quickly before the wrong button is pushed and mega deaths result…


    The anti-truth is..or rather was..politically correct. Political correctness given human nature is unfortunately a tool not for equality but one that can give minorities power to exercise hubris and superiority. Humans are strange creatures.

    Ken Barrows

    E Swanson,
    Not only do we get by on the exploitation cheap fossil fuels (getting less cheap to produce, notwithstanding the current low price for consumers), but we now need debt to rise faster than income. We need both of these phenomena to continue if we want to avoid considering a different future.


    Excellent analysis Raúl.

    On-target, relevant, and, with time, historical.

    Amazing. I wish that your wisdom and insight could be communicated to the American people. But, such are the times we live in.

    Thank you.


    Thanks Raul. You did a good job of providing perspective. As a former regional planner, I have seen local and state government work for the people. General Federal policy was another matter, though working with the Senators and Congressman was very important for our region. That was in the 1990s.

    The inherent falsity of the policies then seemed to hide the errors of the 1950s Cold War policies which we’d learn about. Neoliberals and neocons have given us this world, one that recently figured out that sustainability would be a good idea, though it is so depleted that, at best, strong mitigation can break the fall due to global pollution, manifest in part by climate disruption.

    I felt Clinton was safer, even though an Eisenhower Republican. I did appreciate President-Elect Trump demonstrating that the other candidates and the Republican Party had nothing. Being from the Midwest, I’d watched the decline from Virginia where I stayed after doing my Navy enlistment, experiencing another version of it here.

    You say: “This transition is the one away from economic growth and globalization -centralization in general- and towards smaller, less centered and grandiose, politics and markets.”

    The challenge for the world will be downsizing “great”. It has been underway for longer than most suspect. That is a source of anger for the people that did everything right and after all these years have little to show for it. If their children went to college to move up, they may be highly in debt and not moving at all.

    I don’t think “flyover country” is the problem, but “Metropolitan Obsession” is. This is where national economic policy has been failing non-metro people for decades. The metros, on the other hand have many on the economic margin due to high housing cost, long commutes and wage stagnation.

    I think your proposition is correct: “The question then becomes: would America be a better, or a safer, place if the entire angry part of its population had again, and still, been ignored by everyone? Or is it better to have them gathered under the umbrella of Donald Trump? Take your pick. Don’t be shy.”

    I pick “better”. America has many elites. They all have their own ideals; ideals that blind them.

    President Trump is not likely to change the Republican Party elites which do not share his values, but if his supporters stick with him, and perhaps grow, because many who did not vote, in effect voted for him, he might be able to pull back from the New Cold War, diversify the economy away from the Military-Industrial-Congressional complex and establish secure borders, so illegal immigrants can no longer be used to undercut wages – as has been done for the last 30+ years,

    Odds are he won’t be able to be a one-man revolution and that he’ll be co-opted or otherwise constrained. Non-cooperation of the corporate elites is powerful. Still, the ultimate outcome can not be avoided. There are a lot of hills/mountains from which there must be ‘come down’ moments.


    The president-elect will now need the same skills in order to ‘come down that mountain’ without antagonizing each and every side of the discussion, of the nation. He’ll have to convince the liberal camp that he didn’t mean everything he said in a literal sense, while at the same time keeping his ‘angry mob’ satisfied that he will do enough of what he promised them.

    I’m not sure why that’s the case. That assumes Trump wants to govern, and he wants to govern the majority of the populace. I don’t see clear evidence that is the case.

    I agree with the general comments that we can’t assume how Trump will govern based on his hate- and fear-stoking campaign. But there are clear warning signs in the formation of his advisors and names being floated for cabinet positions. Yes, he’s a wild card. And that may be both the greatest concern and greatest opportunity to break the status quo. But he’s also woefully ignorant of how government and governance work and so will quickly surround himself by so-called expert advisors. There’s a void there that will likely be filled by the military-industrial complex (which is very good at scaring/keep elected officials in line) and his stupid friends like Rudy Giuliani.

    The other thing that we can likely assume is that 1) Trump will be as corrupt in office as he’s been outside of it; 2) he will try to deregulate as much as he can; and 3) he sees the environment as the equivalent of a golf course. All of these are deeply worrisome.

    All that said, those of us who understood that Limits to Growth were inevitable and upon us saw that there was a high probability of disruptive events. So we can’t be too surprised with this outcome.


    Automatic Earth has been predicting Trump for at least 5 years now. If you’ve been a long-time reader, you were not at all surprised by Trump. A shift towards local vs global, increased sentiments of protectionism, rejection of establishment. All of this has been explained by The Automatic Earth since I started reading in 2010.

    Of course all those shifts can be negative…but they can also be positive. And ironically, despite all the hair-pulling and clutching at pearls, Trump is far, far, far more positive than many of the alternatives could have been.

    Because as the global unwind gathers pace, more such seismic political shifts will take place, and some of those truly will be dangerous and authoritarian.

    Thankfully Trump is not those things. Yes, he is “protectionist”. Yes, he is “populist”. But he’s far more progressive than the Left are willing to give him credit for.

    Trump is a necessary correction. I’d rather have a benign “necessary correction” than an evil one.

    I’m relieved to have Trump. He’s a positive example for other such regime changes coming elsewhere in the world. But he really has inherited the poisoned chalice. I think he knows it too. That’s called sacrifice.

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