Bullet with Butterfly Wings

Bullet with Butterfly Wings

Let me start today with a list of apologies.  First, let me apologize for being late – later than usual for the “Morning” Call.  Second, let me apologize for my tone today.  I don’t mean to be a crab, but…you’ll see. Finally, let me apologize for the content of this note.

I tried.  I really did.  I tried and I tried and I tried to write something positive and hopeful and engaging.  But I failed.  It’s not easy to do.  Everything that looks hopeful turns out to have a dark side as well, and often that dark side more than overwhelms the light.

Obviously, the issue that dominates the news (and our thinking) these days is the war between Israel and Hamas.  Here, there is some truly good news.  Some of the smartest people we know think that Israel is doing what its critics said couldn’t be done.  It is winning the war against Hamas:

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has already killed several thousand Hamas fighters, according to Israeli cabinet minister Ron Dermer. That is, the IDF has already accomplished a quarter to a third of the killing required to disable Hamas as a military force….

Flushing out and killing several thousand Hamas fighters ensconced in tunnels is slow and difficult work, but not particularly challenging for a modern army with advanced armor, drones and electronic surveillance. The fact that only 46 Israeli soldiers have been killed during the Gaza ground campaign indicates that the IDF is cautious and casualty-averse….

There is no quick way to mop up a military organization with ample underground space to hide. By the same token, a fighting force in hiding has limited opportunity to ambush a well-prepared modern army that is prepared to destroy every standing structure in an urban environment.

That is, as I said, excellent news, but it is tempered by the fact that the war has, apparently, made antisemitism socially acceptable throughout the West.  Both the Left and the Right are awash in blatant, open, and unapologetic antisemitism.  It’s not just that neither side/party appears to have any idea what to do about this – even though they don’t – it’s also that neither seems to want to do anything about it.  They’d both rather “reconcile” with their lunatic fringes rather than purge them.

To be clear, we aren’t exactly surprised by the emergence of rampant antisemitism.  We’ve written about the subject endlessly over the last five years, always warning that it lurked beneath the surface of polite society.  Still, the extent of the rampant-ness has caught even us off-guard.  We have been shocked, to say the least, most particularly by the relative indifference with which it has been greeted.

Worse still, there is no putting this genie back in the bottle.  Now that the fascists and wannabe-fascists of the West are aware that antisemitism is no longer considered entirely off-limits, their boldness will only grow.  And it doesn’t matter if or when Israel destroys Hamas.

Aha, you say, but isn’t Pope Francis on his way to the Middle East?  Surely, his presence will prove a calming influence?

Well…don’t bet on it.  For while the other two of the three Abrahamic religions destroy one another, fighting over land, faith, and salvation, the Catholic Pontiff is on his way to the Middle East, not to help end the suffering or to broker a religious truce, but for other, less charitable reasons:

Pope Francis said on Wednesday that he will attend the COP28 climate conference starting next month in Dubai, the first time a pontiff will be at the U.N. environmental meeting since they began in 1995.

The pope told Italy’s state-run RAI television TG1 news in an interview that he expected to be in Dubai Dec. 1-3. The conference runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12.

In Dubai, the pope is expected to drive home his recent appeal for action to curb global warming.

“We are still in time to stop it,” Francis said in the interview, speaking of global warming. “Our future is at stake, the future of our children and our grandchildren. A bit of responsibility is needed.”

Oh.  Something is needed alright, though we’re not sure the guy flying his private plane to Dubai should be deciding for us what that is.  It’s not like he’s infallible.

Well, at least on the domestic political front, there’s hopeful news.  A real alternative to an insufferable Biden-Trump rematch is emerging, providing at least some hope that we can movie beyond this destructively tragic era in American partisan politics, right?

A new Marquette Law School Poll national survey of registered voters finds President Joe Biden trailing against each of the top three potential Republican candidates, with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley leading Biden 55% to 45% among registered voters….

Among likely voters, Haley sees her advantage rise to 12 percentage points at 56-44.

Well, sure. That’s great, we guess.  Except there’s also this:

Nikki Haley’s strong performances in the Republican presidential debates have won over several of the party’s big donors and intrigued other Wall Street figures this week, as she swung through New York seeking moneyed backers who want an alternative to Donald Trump.

The former US ambassador to the UN drew big names to New York events on Tuesday, among them a small meet-and-greet breakfast with financiers including BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink, and an evening fundraiser co-hosted by former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn…

JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon, a Democrat, has held several phone calls with Haley and been impressed with her intelligence, reasonableness and open-mindedness, according to a person familiar with the conversations. Axios reported on Tuesday that Dimon “believes she has the potential to bring the country together”.

Larry Fink AND Jamie Dimon?  What could possibly be better?

The less we say about Ambassador Haley the better, we suppose.  Still, we think it’s telling that she’s more popular with the Finks and Dimons of the world than she is with the people who are actually members of the party whose nomination she’d like to win.

OK, OK.  But speaking of Fink, the fight against ESG and “woke capital” is going pretty well, right?  Even Apple, among the most duplicitous companies in the world, is getting some measure of comeuppance, isn’t it?

Maybe, we suppose.  But that won’t stop them from sleeping with the enemy, proverbially at least:

The business leaders gathered at the Hyatt Regency in downtown San Francisco greeted Xi with a standing ovation as the Chinese leader went on stage, introduced by insurer Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg.

In attendance were chief executives including Apple’s Tim Cook and BlackRock’s Larry Fink….Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff  greeted Xi during the predinner reception but didn’t stay for the dinner….

Cook, Fink, Benioff, and Xi.  FFS.

The world, as Billy Corgan says, is a vampire.  Sent to drain.

Certainly, it’s draining us – of our spirit, our confidence, and our energy.

Stephen Soukup
Stephen Soukup
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Steve Soukup is the Vice President and Publisher of The Political Forum, an “independent research provider” that delivers research and consulting services to the institutional investment community, with an emphasis on economic, social, political, and geopolitical events that are likely to have an impact on the financial markets in the United States and abroad.