NORMANDY, France – What has happened to TIME magazine?
Henry Luce, who started TIME – the first weekly news magazine in the U.S. – would be appalled to see what it has become.
Vapid, fawning, puerile… sucking up the rich, the pretentious, the cronies and zombies – it is a journalistic disaster.
What brings on this revulsion is an issue of TIME we found in the airport lounge.
It features a photo of the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, on the cover and promises to name the world’s “100 Most Influential People.”
Right from the start, the editors are in trouble. Practically every one of the most “influential” people in the world is a celebrity… a hack… or a has-been.
Ms. Lagarde, for example.
We’re not sure which category she should go into. But since she – like almost everyone else listed in the magazine – is committed to upholding the system and avoiding change… we have a hard time seeing what kind of influence she could have.
At most, her influence is like stomach gas or cockroaches: You get them anyway. Without her, things would be right where they are today.
Ms. Lagarde’s hagiography was written by another champion of the status quo, Fed chair Janet Yellen.
Yellen tells us that “no organization is more crucial to the stability of the global economy than the International Monetary Fund.”
Again, we catch our breath. Stability is a misleading word.
Like the Mafia helps stabilize poor neighborhoods in Palermo… or free heroin helps stabilize addicts… the IMF is meant to keep the system functioning – no matter how much damage it does.
That is the theme running through the 100 top influencers.
Like charitable tax deductions at a billionaire’s get-together, they all claim to be doing good. But there’s no evidence that the ones we know (many, we don’t recognize) have done a single damned thing other than build their own reputations and peddle their influence, not exert it.
Ms. Yellen calls Ms. Lagarde a “trailblazer.” But what trail has she blazed?
Lagarde is the first woman to head the IMF, says Yellen (not needing to mention that she, Ms. Yellen, is the first woman to head the Fed). BFD.
The other 99 “influencers” are a mix of entertainers, politicians, yahoos, and monkey shiners.
The common denominator is that they are all people who get their names in the paper.
U.S. Airforce General Lori Robinson “protects our homeland”…
…Senator Ted Cruz “will not back down from any obstacle that stands in the way of more jobs, greater freedom, and true security for the American people”…
…Novelist Marilynne Robinson “is determined to be as intelligent as possible”…
…Indian tennis player Sonia Mirza “has inspired a generation of Indians to pursue their dreams”…
…University president Diana Natalicio “was ahead of her time, seeing the future of America in the faces of her students”…
…Ford Foundation president Darren Walker wants to “conquer inequality”…
…FBI Director James Comey is trying to counter “international terrorism and emerging cyber-security threats”…
…And decades from now, people will look back at Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s work and “see that her idea of creation and infinity has an eternal endurance.”
Blah. Blah. Yeah… yeah.
But our favorite claptrap comes from French “philosopher” Bernard-Henri Lévy.
He names French president Francois Hollande as the “defiant European” and claims he should be included among the 100 most influential people on the planet.
Hollande, says Lévy, is “one of the very last European leaders to believe in Europe – that without it, we will go back to the Dark Ages.”
We’re not sure which one we should laugh at first – Hollande or Lévy.
We’ve followed Lévy’s career, from a great distance and with much disinterest, for more than 40 years.
We met him in the early 1970s. He was the leader of a leftist movement called “The New Philosophers.” We thought it would be worth exploring. Alas, we couldn’t figure it out.
We blamed ourselves. Our knowledge of the old philosophers was sketchy, at best; we doubt we could have picked Plato out of police line-up at the time.
So, we assumed it was our fault that the The New Philosophers didn’t make any sense. Now, we’re not so sure.
What makes Lévy think Europe would go back to the “Dark Ages” if the European Union were disbanded?
The E.U. has been around since 1992. Was it really so bad before that?
Not that we recall.
But Lévy doesn’t stop there. He says Hollande is a “great world leader. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact.”
What kind of a fact is that? And what kind of philosopher doesn’t know the difference between fact and opinion?
Apparently, the kind who thinks Francois Hollande is a great world leader. Or the poor dimwit who is now editing Henry Luce’s once important magazine.
BY CHRIS LOWE, EDITOR AT LARGE
Today’s chart is of the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT). It invests in over 7,000 stocks of companies located in 46 developed and emerging countries around the world.
As you can see, it broke below its bullish uptrend in July 2015 and has been heading lower ever since
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Bill’s Diary about why you won’t find him voting for either Trump or Clinton continues to draw fire from readers.
Don’t vote? Seriously? That’s your plan to save America?
So, here we are. Our choice is to hope the American people know what they are doing and support Trump. Or we can sit on the sidelines and watch Clinton win the White House. This is an easy choice for any “thinking person.”
Trump may turn out to be as bad as we think he might be, but it is an absolute certainty that Clinton will continue, and hasten, the death spiral our country is in now. You can choose to live in Argentina, or anywhere else you like. I hope you enjoy it. I’ll continue to do what I can to save this country.– Pat H.
An elitist self-rightist attitude, quick to draw, shoot and skip town to avoid critique on poor earlier judgment. Kind of like if I was to say "can this letter" because its’ [sic] not as advertised.– Don P.
I will exercise my right to vote. I will be voting for Trump because he is the people’s choice for my party. You never know what is going to happen when they are elected but I know that I don’t want to take a chance on Hillary. I personally feel you are acting like a spoiled child. (Since I don’t get my way I’ m taking my toys and go play by myself).– Phyllis C.
You are wrong. We must shake Americans up. Wake up people, the same mistakes over and over. Let’s do try something different. The same money grabbing congress also needs to be ousted. Wake up Americans. We must change our thinking and actions, for the sake of the next generation.– Gloria W.
Well, I guess you’ve lost me… By not supporting the Republican nominee, you allow Clinton to win. That win will possibly place seven liberal Supreme Court justices to two along with the continuation of the destruction of our Republic. I thought this was what your organization was about, saving the Republic. Thanks for nothing.– Landon H.
Donald Trump is God’s anointed man for such a time as this! Stop putting [him] down!– Sylvia W.
Recent U.S. presidents include actors, amateurs, baseball team owners, liars and farmers. So why not a real estate mogul?– Steven C.
Thanks for showing your lack of political knowledge. Here’s how it works. By not voting for the Republican candidate, you are handing the presidency to the Democrats.
If you doubt this, I invite your attention to the fact that 4 million stupid Republican voters didn’t vote in 2012 and we got Barak Obama. If you wish to not vote for Trump, and he’s the nominee I say your [sic] joining the “stupid Republicans.”– Evan J.
It’s very difficult to respect someone who won’t do everything possible to prevent Hillary from becoming president. To refrain from voting for Donald Trump is disgraceful.– Roy F.
But not everyone thinks Bill is “disgraceful” for not voting in November. Other Diary readers think he has the right idea…
I find it kind of sad that Hillary and Donald are the best the two parties can come up with to run for president. I’m thinking I will vote for the Libertarian candidate again this time.
On second thought… maybe I’ll write in Bill Bonner.– Bob M.
Unless there is a viable Independent candidate that thinks like Bill Bonner, I will neglect my so called duty to vote.– Gerald S.
I got a kick out of people’s reactions to not voting. What they fail to realize is that non-participation IS a vote – a vote for no confidence.– Mike C.
I’ve seen numerous comments, both from your readers and elsewhere, that not voting for Trump is voting for Clinton. By the same logic (or maybe lack thereof), not voting for Clinton is voting for Trump, right?
So, I guess I’ll be voting for both of them in the fall.– Mike L.
In the last 40 years, there have been three truly major currency trends. And Bill’s longtime friend and business partner Doug Casey is perhaps the only person in the U.S. to make a killing off of each one…
Now, Doug’s investing $800,000 in the next big currency trend – and he wants to show you how to do the same.