Saturday, April 30, 2011

tragedy and farce

Anybody who's ever paid any attention to him, however briefly, can't help noticing that Donald Trump is an extreme "type A" personality. His intelligence may be limited, but his cunning, combined with a sharply-honed killer instinct, render his unlimited ambitions formidable.

According to at least one poll, Trump is now the leading Republican candidate for the presidency, and in an f-word seasoned speech in Vegas last night he showed why. Among the other highlights of his calculated rant, Trump suggested that when negotiating with the Chinese, we should refer to them as "motherfuckers."

His bold and audacious embrace of birtherism, when his party's most overt ovaries-to-the-wall lunatics, Palin and Bachmann, are timidly tiptoeing around the issue, has won him the affections of the tribe's loosest cannons. He might look like Don Quixote, but, like the famous knight-errant, money and power mean nothing to him. It's all about dreaming "The Impossible Dream" and overcoming the challenge to "boldly go where no sociopath (except George W. Bush) has gone before."

Trump is not the first Republican politician to notice that the teabaggers are the ideological engine driving the party right now, but unlike the others he has shrewdly and boldly bet all his chips on winning their enthusiastic allegiance. He's wagering that their devotion is the key to the nomination, and I'll bet he's right.

Of course, after the nomination comes the election, which Trump can't possibly win. Like an earlier demagogue willing to say or do anything to fire up his fanatical and potentially violent base, he will pull about a third of the vote in the presidential balloting, and this country doesn't have a chancellorship or a President Hindenberg to appoint him to it. But if there is any avenue to power available, rest assured that Trump will find it.

What he would actually do with such power were he to achieve it remains a mystery, because I'm sure he hasn't thought about that yet. But a rotten tree never bears good fruit.

Karl Marx, using the career of Napoleon III as his example, declared that "History happens twice, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." I can't imagine what the comic version of the political disaster that happened in Germany in 1933 would look like, and I'm afraid to find out.


Monday, April 25, 2011

hi yo silver (updated)

Word on the street is that tonight, April 25, Japanese bankers and investors are going to take silver down. If so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

What prompted their decision to do it now was the American Precious Metals Exchange (AMPEX), the biggest on-line trader, confirmed that it is offering to buy any amount of silver at $3. over spot price. Demand is overwhelming available supplies, and that hurts Asian economies.

About 40 percent of silver demand is for industrial purposes, and a lot of that is the amount of silver needed for the circuit boards that go into so many of the electronics products coming from the Far East.

Could be a roller coaster.

UPDATE: If that four-dollar drop last night was it, and I think it was, there's not much to be afraid of. The shiny stuff is holding its own today at about $45. Industrial demand, plus the demand generated by millions of small buyers of bullion now outweighs the power of investors to control prices.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

picture this

Tarot de Besançon, France, first half of the 19th century.