David Fuller and Eoin Treacy's Comment of the Day
Category - General

    Trumped America and Brexit Britain are Both Calling the Bluff of the Established Order

    The Brexit view is a good deal more coherent than the Trump one. Brexit’s leaders, for example, want to open up world markets rather than put up new tariff walls. But both share a desire to bring power home to the nation’s own citizens. Both recognise that everything is different now.

    Part of the great bluff of the Washington elites and their Europhile cousins is that there is only one sensible way of doing things and they, being the experts, can tell the rest of us what it is. But since 2001 in relation to security, and 2008 in relation to money, their way doesn’t look so sensible.

    Does Mr Obama’s deal to let Iran off the hook about nuclear weapons feel outstandingly rational? Does Angela Merkel look wise to have let in 1 million Middle-Eastern immigrants? Does reinforcing the euro seem like the way of the future after its imposition has impoverished the younger generation right across southern Europe? A growing constituency calls the bluff of the established order.  

    Once you start on this road, establishment disapproval only makes you feel stronger. Why vote for an elderly groper with strange hair and no political experience? Why incur the anger of the 27 other EU member states by Brexiting?

    Partly because of seeing the pursed lips of the powerful when you do so. The only person who piped up to say the emperor had no clothes was a child: being electoral naughty boys proves to be fun.

    It is not within the power of electors to run their country. It is within their power to point out to the self-righteous mighty when they are wrong. That is what has happened, first in Britain, now in America. By that logic, Mrs Clinton had to lose to Mr Trump.

    I can think of at least one difference between Brexit and Mr Trump’s administration. The former will be led by a woman who didn’t even vote for it, the latter by the man himself.

    The British situation may be the better, because it is less likely to inspire false hopes. It wouldn’t take all that many errors for Mr Trump’s vision to turn into Brexit minus minus minus.

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    The world has just become a more dangerous place

    This article by Lara Marlowe for the Irish Times may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    White Americans are traumatised to know they will become a minority within 50 years. The French extreme right believe there’s a conspiracy to replace the European population with Africans and north African Arabs. Like Trump supporters, they hark back to the “good old days” and want France to be “great again”.

    Virtually all western democracies appear to be infected with the anger and disillusion that brought Trump to power. An opinion poll published by Le Monde on November 8th showed that close to three-quarters of the French electorate believe their elected officials are corrupt. They believe elections serve no purpose, and that political parties, trade unions and media block the country. Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” has certain resonance.

    During the campaign, Le Pen told the right-wing magazine Valeurs Actuelles: “What Americans like is that he’s a free man. If I were American, I’d choose Donald Trump.”

    On Wednesday morning, she tweeted congratulations before final results were in.


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    India scraps 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes overnight

    Thanks to a subscriber for this article from BBC news which may be of interest. Here is a section:

    The surprise move, announced on Tuesday evening, is part of a crackdown on corruption and illegal cash holdings.

    Banks will be closed on Wednesday and ATM machines will not be working.

    India is overwhelmingly a cash economy. New 500 and 2,000 rupee denomination notes will be issued to replace those removed from circulation.

    "Black money and corruption are the biggest obstacles in eradicating poverty," Mr Modi said.
    People will be able to exchange their old notes for new ones at banks over the next 50 days but they will no longer be legal tender.

    The announcement prompted people across the country to rush to ATMs that offer 100 rupee notes in an attempt not to be left without cash over the next few days.


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    Hillary Clinton has enough electoral Votes to Win the White House in final Fix map

    The presidential election ends — we hope! — Tuesday.

    Below we offer our last ratings of the race, our look at the truly competitive states on the eve of this most unpredictable of elections. While we are moving two states in Donald Trump’s direction on this second-to-last day of the campaign, the overall map still clearly favors Hillary Clinton: She has 275 electoral votes solidly or leaning her way — five more than she needs to win the White House on Tuesday night. In fact, even if Trump holds all of the states either solidly or leaning his way and wins all three states currently rated as “toss-ups,” he is still seven electoral votes short of 270.

    Our big change on the eve of the election is to move North Carolina from “lean Democratic” back to “toss-up.” From mid-September to mid-October, Clinton led in 19 of the 20 polls conducted in the state. But, of the nine most recent polls, four show Clinton ahead, three show Trump in the lead and two project a tie. Trump has a 1.4 percent edge in the RealClearPolitics polling average.

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    The Upside of Russian Interference

    Figures on both the left, such as journalist Glenn Greenwald, and the pro-Trump right, such as the Republican nominee's friend Roger Stone, have spoken of a "new McCarthyism."

    I'm not ready to subscribe to that notion yet, if only because, as a Russian citizen, I am not merely able to work for a mainstream U.S. news organization: I've been welcomed by the many Americans I have interviewed while covering this campaign. These span a political spectrum from fiery progressive Liz Garst in Iowa -- a person that, to me, embodies the best of Russia's old-time influence on the U.S. -- to far-right militia members in northern Florida, who are perhaps the most susceptible to the current brand of Russian propaganda.

    Americans are generally nice to visitors -- and uncommonly helpful to journalists -- but they used to be far more suspicious of Russians while the Soviet Union was still around. Despite the best efforts of supposedly progressive Hillary Clinton, that suspicion has not yet returned. It may do so if the Russia-bashing continues after the election; I suspect it will die down somewhat as the electoral battle recedes into history.

    In any case, it's worth considering how the U.S. will internalize the real and perceived Russian meddling this year. Americans are hard-headed and used to doing things their own way; they turned the previous Russian influence campaigns, often waged with the worst of intentions, to their advantage. Can Putin's propaganda and perhaps cyber-espionage campaign also serve a useful purpose?

    I believe it can. Putin is providing a useful service to the U.S. by holding his malicious mirror to its political establishment. It's a troll's mirror, but it does reflect a nasty reality: A complacent, clannish elite that has written convenient rules for itself but not for the society it governs. Much of this society, both on the right and on the left, doesn't like what it sees.

    As with previous Russian attempts to change the U.S., this one should lead to a realization that it's time to clean up U.S. democracy and make it more representative and inclusive, perhaps by stripping away some obsolete voting rules, perhaps by breaking the destructive stranglehold of the ossified two-party system.

    The country I have seen this year -- the big cities and small towns I've explored, the progressives and Second Amendment zealots I've met, this whole vast, great land -- deserves far better than what I watched it live through. I'd like to help in my small way, and I think my country will end up helping, too, even though it may be trying to inflict damage.

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