CNN has this article which, I have to say, chilled my blood.
It is not that I have been predicting a bear market; I have, and now we’re in it.
It is not that I was never alone in calling Trump a disaster in the making; I was hardly alone and the true disaster began after his election and began before he was even sworn in.
The speech does not surprise me. The accusation of pundits that the media is responsible for sowing chaos immediately after does not surprise me. It is a play straight from the totalitarian handbook; all despots have done everything they could to interfere with communication between their subjects. To stop information being shared.
Trump, on the other hand, is no despot, no matter how grotesque his delusions and fantasies have been or can get. He is a sick man with people desperate for a bit of power surrounding him. He is a symptom of a plague, the onset of which is impossible to trace, a far-right shift of neoconservative defectors from the left in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, when liberals became the “cause” and Clinton had failed to contain Osama bin Laden.
But in fact the deepest roots go much further back. If the early 2000s saw a shift politically, then there were floods of input no one could hope to process, all made more terrible by the awful day of September 11, 2001.
The Patriot Act was welcomed by all but the few who knew that once used, it always would be. It is too late to regret it now. Those on the far right should hate it, because like everyone else, they too have skeletons in their closets. But when it works for them, they love it.
The political climate has been radically changed, in some ways damaged, probably forever. The one bright spot is Joe Biden. If he can unseat Trump, we will have reason and accountability again in the White House. And Biden will do something Trump does the opposite of: he will use his professional friends and recruit expert people for government advisors and the heads of critical departments, and he will consistently seek the counsel of men and women who are reliable. Trump has managed to cheapen that benefit of the office by getting rid of everyone who disagrees with him, since his behavioral pattern presents as a brat, petulant and bullying and prone to tantrums.
The coronavirus has caused a severe breakdown in our trust in government, our willingness to behave without undue hysteria and it has been fodder for conspiracy theorists, whose damage we have never needed, but now, less than ever.
Anonymous is a group drastically changed from its former self. It, too, has been putting out information that, whether on purpose or inadvertently, makes Trump look smart and the general public stupid.
Joe Biden earlier gave his plan to fight the coronavirus, and of course it was the perfect time for Sanders to reinforce his “Medicare for all” credo.
Trump answered Biden by accusing him of making a mess during the 2009 H1N1 virus. Trump also calls COVID-19 a “foreign” malady lest anyone be tempted to hold him accountable for his dreadful response to it. It seems perfect for the stuff conspiracy theorists love: first Trump cut the funding to the CDC, then a “suspicious” virus emerges from China. And you just knew people were calling it a biological weapon as soon as it “escaped” (or was deployed) by the government on its own people.
Conspiracy theories are as bad as downplaying this illness as less dangerous than it is. Trump does the downplaying. Nuts do the conspiracy theories. Which one is worse depends on what happens next. Certainly having a president with a dreadful job history (just in the White House alone) is the worst, but how to tell anyone?
The situation is not really going to change soon. But what has changed, all in the space of a week, is sports. No March Madness. No NBA, No NHL, no baseball. All have stopped.
What’s worse is, I’ve never seen anything like this before. And let me be clear: I’ve seen a lot in my more than half-century of life. Never anything like this. We are, once again, living a Tom Clancy novel.
With school closings, crowds limited to 250 persons, the MDARNG being given the go ahead to raise alert levels to their highest, and Wall Street finally entering a bear market, it can look indeed grim, but I want to point out that despite this never before seen set of circumstances, we are merely seeing belated cautionary measures.
The world of finance is a snow globe, and we can only see in, rarely to quite grasp the greater meaning. We on the outside suspect all sorts of leveraging, price fixing, insider trading and who knows if we’re cold or hot? But the signs have been there and experts have warned us for the last few years that the bull market would not last forever.
Because of the fears of coronavirus spreading and last evening’s presidential address, the market has ended its bull run and not only plunged into bear territory, but also registered its worst day since October, 1987. I was among those who thought that Trump was mismanaging the country so egregiously that the market he inherited from the Obama administration was bound to fail. And sure enough, Trump took yesterday’s unceremonious entry to bear market territory and threw gasoline all over the place, then lit a match.
His announcement of travel and cargo ban hit hard and even with his clarification that freight was not included, it was a major blow to all kinds of investors who believe he did mean to say that overseas cargo was included. That is something that would bring global commerce extreme chaos. Nobody should want to see that happen. Not the most jaded anarchist.
For now, they keep a wary eye on Trump and the coronavirus. As do we all.
This is not the time to lose hope or to be in despair. The containment measures in place aren’t unwarranted but should not be taken as a doomsday scenario, the evidence of nearness to Armageddon. Things happen. Then we deal with them. That is how things work. We will get through this. Take heart that the private sector is all hands on deck, with Mike Bloomberg and Bill Gates throwing in to form coalitions for communication and information, testing supplies and more. Take heart that good people from all walks are uniting and going into action to help others. Maybe you, too. There will be more casualties. Then there will be less. At some point, a vaccination will come, but not yet. Not even soon. You know what you have to do until then.