Friday, May 12, 2017

The Sisi Trend Again

It was only last Friday that things were looking up for Trump. Now things appear quite differently. The first place to start this morning is Yves Smith's re-post of Gaius Publius' "Trump – A Nation in Crisis, Again":
Yves here. The media’s fixation on the scary Putin monster takes energy away from opposing Trump on real issues: health care, climate, dropping life expectancy, the surveillance state, to name a few. It also validates the effort of the CIA and certain elements of the military to meddle in domestic politics in a shockingly open manner, which is a terrible precedent.
As Lambert wrote, “If we can’t win on the facts, we do not deserve to win.” As Ilargi said yesterday:
It’s not about whether Trump is or has ever been guilty of anything he’s accused of, it’s that the insinuating narratives about that have long been written and repeated ad nauseam. It’s about whether the witch hunt exemplified by PropOrNot makes objective news gathering impossible. And the only possible response to that question must be affirmative….
Does Trump deserve being resisted? It certainly looks that way much of the time. But he should be resisted with facts, not innuendo of yellow paper quality. That destroys the media, and the media are needed to maintain a democracy.
Gaius’ post focuses on how the “get Trump on Russia” campaign has gone down a series of rabbit holes and his opponents are now likely to shift to “extra-Constitutional means” to remove him.
Gaius Publius hypothesizes that a constitutional crisis occurs in the U.S. every 70 years:
The Next American Constitution
One last thought. This country has had a constitutional crisis every 70 years, after which the government restructured itself. In effect, we have been ruled by three Constitutions, not just one, each producing, in practice, very different governments and societies. We’re rapidly producing a crisis that will produce a fourth.
In order, our constitutional crises are:
• 1789, the Revolutionary War and transition from colony to slave-holding republic.
• 1865, the Civil War and transition from divided slave-holding nation with two competing economies to united freed-slave state. This change took down the Southern agricultural aristocracy (by depriving it of the nearly free labor it depended on); made the Northern industrial economy nationally ascendant; and put us firmly on the path to first-world industrial powerhouse.
• 1933, the Great Depression and transition from a light-handed pro-business government to a heavy-handed regulatory state.
• And now, this.
What will the next American Constitution look like? Turkey’s and Hungary’s, with their dictators and single-party governments wrapped in the old constitutional forms? A naked kleptocracy, where constitutional forms are simply ignored, like those in many third-world countries? A state in which forms are observed but the hand with real power belongs mainly to the “security” apparatus? In many countries, coups by segments of the elite, blatant or covert, are welcomed as correctives and tacitly approved (another way constitutions are revised without being rewritten).
In the past this is what I have referred to on this page as the "Sisi Trend."

Macron's attempted third-party renewal of neoliberalism is part of this Sisi Trend, a desperate lunge to create an electoral majority to implement all the hugely unpopular policies that have pauperized so many the last 40 years (and created a new definition of the working class, the precariat).

Macron's Republic En Marche! reeks of intelligence agency dial-spinning. But already Macron is running into trouble ahead of the June 11 legislative elections in France. According to the Reuters story, "France's Macron woos conservative moderates as row simmers with ally":
Thursday's publication of Macron's partial candidate list produced the first sign of tension within his camp since he was elected.
Francois Bayrou, a centrist who gave up his presidential bid to join Macron, told L'Obs magazine that the list contained only 35 names from his Modem party, whereas he and Macron had agreed it should have 120.
"We got him elected," Bayrou told L'Obs. "This (candidate list) is a Socialist recycling operation."
Richard Ferrand, secretary general of Macron's REM party, responded to Bayrou's complaint. "There was no set agreement," he said on BFM TV, adding that there was still room for maneuver given there are more constituencies to be assigned.
It is going to be difficult for Macron to govern. The Thomas Friedman fantasy of a legislatively potent third party devoted to the toxic nostrums of neoliberalism will likely disintegrate sooner rather than later in the French parliament, allowing the West to march on to unvarnished Sisiism.

Three days before the French election the Brits vote for a new parliament. The press is savaging Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn per usual. Next to Putin and Kim Jong-un there is not a figure more reviled in the mainstream media.

A Labour campaign platform was leaked this week which sent the Tory press into a howling rage. Labour is returning to its social-democratic roots, calling for the re-nationalization of certain industries and making universities tuition free. What's not to like? Stephen Castle includes the following sidebar in  "U.K. Labour Party Approves Manifesto That May Take Sharp Left Turn":
The program includes some eye-catching policies likely to appeal to traditional party supporters and younger voters.
  • Abolish university tuition fees.
  • Provide free meals to more schoolchildren, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees.
  • Renationalize some energy companies, train operators and Royal Mail.
  • Impose a levy on companies “with high numbers of staff on very high pay.”
  • Prohibit government contracts from companies that pay bosses more than 20 times as much as the lowest earners.
  • Guarantee the rights of European Union nationals living in Britain, and "secure reciprocal rights" for British citizens living elsewhere in the bloc.
  • Ensure no rise in income tax for those earning below 80,000 pounds, or about $105,000.
It is worth taking note of Labour's attempt to exorcise its New Labour Blairite demons. Will voters reward an anti-neoliberal mass political party? We'll find out soon.

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