March 16, 2017 (Thursday)

by Yule Heibel on March 15, 2018

History is …everything, isn’t it? This morning A. sent me a link to a Fabius Maximus article about Janet Yellen and the Fed’s decision to raise the interest rate now. His accompanying message was simply, “Sound familiar?” I began to read it, but didn’t get to the meat because Fabius Maximus has a lot of preamble verbiage. However, I read enough to grok the gist, which I think was about using the manipulation of consumers and consumption to get the economy to do A or B. This resonated with something I tweeted at M.S., about workers, ranchers, business owners being citizens, while consumers are just bargaining chips in trade (im-)-balances. It also of course resonates with Judith Stein’s arguments that our great leaders have, since the late 1960s, failed to put the US economy and its workers first, choosing instead to work on agendas of international and free trade allegedly meant to “stabilize” the world or something like that, but having resulted by now in the destruction of the American working and middle classes.

I also yesterday had a couple of conversations via Twitter direct messages with L. in Canada. In my last text, about media (she brought up the idea that they’re lying to us), I also argued that I don’t completely believe their line on Steve Bannon. Not that I think he’s good, but that I don’t believe they’re not taking sides (against him) in the battle royale playing out in the White House between his faction and the other side (Wall Street insiders, business as usual types). L. didn’t respond to that last message, and I maybe stepped over a line of hers by casting doubt on the “Bannon is literally Satan” narrative, not sure. I just prefer to pick things apart… Then, last night, the Dutch election results rolled in, and the center-right candidate appears to have won, the Greens picked up lots of seats (but Labor lost), and Geert Wilders’s populist party got the boot. Tweets this morning typically say it’s a victory over racism, and Greens are tweeting that they welcome more refugees, more immigration, and so on. And all I can think is, this is all part of a game that’s been playing for decades. All the little new-seeming variations fit into the old puzzle and it’s useless to get into the weeds of ideology. We’ve let Ayn Rand worshiping idiots like Alan Greenspan pretend – and convince us – that economics is somehow a science versus a play at being a witch doctor, and our economy and our markets are hosed at the macro-level as a result. There is nothing to do but support workers’ rights, and otherwise keep one’s head down and try to create a bit of security for oneself and one’s family. All the ideological posturing is distraction. All the media brouhaha, ditto. Attention and outrage economies have hollowed out discourse, it’s froth and bubbles galore. Hype everywhere. I’m feeling extremely cynical about the future.

In other news, W. has some interviews in Cambridge tomorrow, starting at 9am. That means we get up early and rush for the train, first time since 1/24. The weather continues very cold and icy. I’m not thrilled (understatement of the month). Every day seems to slide out of my grasp, with nothing of consequence getting done. I feel like I’m in suspended animation, waiting to wake up. Time to wake myself up, but wake up into what? Sometimes oblivion seems preferable, easier. I don’t want to end up in B. when I’m (really) old. Not even sure I want to be in this country anymore.

Oh, and embarrassment? It’s spelled like this. I was wrong on all counts.

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