Consensual reality still crashing:
[University of Washington professor Kate] Starbird says she’s concluded, provocatively, that we may be headed toward “the menace of unreality — which is that nobody believes anything anymore.” Alex Jones, she says, is “a kind of prophet. There really is an information war for your mind. And we’re losing it.”
(The ‘we’ — as usual — is fog-shrouded.)
Headlines that make your eyeballs bleed:
How was a gay Islamist porn star able to penetrate Germany’s intelligence agency?
Kevin Rudd in The Guardian:
The slow, but steady decline of the UN, and the wider multilateral system which has the UN as its foundation, would be catastrophic for an increasingly unstable world. The peoples of the world, in one way or another, are increasingly asking the question: “Is anybody in control anymore?” when they see growing disagreement among the great powers, the re-emergence of old inter-state conflicts, terrorists on their streets, chaos in their markets, and jobs disappearing with nothing to replace them. People are questioning whether we are beginning to see the beginning of a deeper crisis in the foundations of the overall post-war order itself.
[Sarcastically derisive editorial comment deleted]
Thus a civilization dies, whimpering.
The Left-Liberal agony:
There’s more to a democracy than just the holy scripture of the constitution — there are also sacred numbers: election results. Together, words and numbers mold a country’s politics. In this process, the constitution is the constant while election represent a dynamic element. In the near future, this could also present a problem in several places: Election results are expected to deliver the wrong numbers. In Austria, a right-wing populist might get elected president. This could also happen in the United States. Germany’s AfD and France’s Front National have also attracted strong minority followings. A right-wing populist brush fire has become conceivable.
It wasn’t so very long ago that regime legitimation through popular will seemed like a great idea to just about everybody. Now it’s looking disturbingly like a blank check, in the hands of an unpredictable maniac.
(On the Outer Right, of course, the historical diagnosis is quite straightforward: Democracy first destroys the people, and then falls prey to them. The Ancients would have found it odd that anybody could imagine this to be a new idea.)
An etymology lesson from Tyler Cowen:
trump (v.2) “fabricate, devise,” 1690s, from trump “deceive, cheat” (1510s), from Middle English trumpen (late 14c.), from Old French tromper “to deceive,” of uncertain origin. Apparently from se tromper de “to mock,” from Old French tromper “to blow a trumpet.” Brachet explains this as “to play the horn, alluding to quacks and mountebanks, who attracted the public by blowing a horn, and then cheated them into buying ….” The Hindley Old French dictionary has baillier la trompe “blow the trumpet” as “act the fool,” and Donkin connects it rather to trombe “waterspout,” on the notion of turning (someone) around. Connection with triumph also has been proposed. Related: Trumped; trumping. Trumped up “false, concocted” first recorded 1728.
Note also (from same internal link):
trump (v.1) “surpass, beat,” 1580s, from trump (n.). Related: Trumped; trumping.
The bitter harvest of multi-decade leadership failure.
Seeing a major political party fundamentally broken is a world historic event. The coming months will (of course) be extreme.
The Baltic Dry Index isn’t looking great these days:
Other important freight indices are telling roughly the same story.
Bloomberg concludes (understandably) “the world economy is toast”.