CoupAugust 18, 2017
It’s dangerous to discuss politics — regardless of your position, you’re likely to offend 49–51% of your audience. I’ve tried to avoid it, as, let’s be honest, that’s not why you invited me into your inbox.
Like that’s going to stop me.
1. a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government
2. a notable or successful stroke or move
According to Quora, there are several types of coups:
— bloody coup (Chile 1973, Pinochet)
— self-coup (leader abuses power, with support of paramilitary, Hitler 1933)
— civilian coup (demagogue rallies popular support and demands power from a weak state, Mussolini)
— white coup (chief of state / government ousted without direct or overt involvement of the armed forces, without violence — Paraguay 2012, impeachment of Fernando Lugo)
I believe this week we witnessed the beginning of a slow-moving white coup, by business leaders and the military, to unseat (a more delicate term for “overthrow”) the president. I believe it will be led by … Republicans. They will be frontmen for corporations, who have filled the void of the incredible shrinking presidency. If Walmart can come out against the president, so can Republicans, who will feel their testicles descend as the president’s tweets / weapons become increasingly flaccid.
The Democrats have been neutered as their outrage at the president seems correlated with more Republican wins in races around the nation. The Democratic party has become an old-age home. But not the Ron Howard Cocoon version of a home where everyone is wise and likable. This home is full of old folks who complain a lot, make no sense, and have largely been forgotten about — nobody listens or visits them.
The calculus changed
For the last several decades the math, for corporations, has been to stay out of politics unless it directly impacted shareholder value (tariffs, employment law, taxation, etc.). However, the calculus changed last weekend as the president emerged from the core of the ideological Fukushima nuclear plant (Nazis), glowing, without a protective suit. The correct instinct is to run from the radioactive guy. And they are running. Btw, my second most liked tweet since joining the platform eight years ago:
— Scott Galloway (@profgalloway) August 15, 2017
Our religion is capitalism, the dollar. Our Jesus Christ is Steve Jobs and the iPhone our cross. Fortune 500 CEOs, especially the Four, are the cardinals. Our president went to the trouble of assembling all the cardinals in America so they could, in chorus, repudiate him at St. Peter’s Square, during Easter, in front of his flock. The downside of walking from the president has become a lack of photo ops (which looked more like a walk of shame) and mean tweets (accusing Merck of predatory pricing the day after Mr. Frazier left the council). However, the markets don’t care — Merck’s stock was up the day the leader of the free world accused them of stealing from sick people. Woody Allen said half of success is showing up. At this moment, half of success is leaving — denounce the president.
The incredible shrinking presidency has created the vacuum of an event horizon when the stress-energy tensor is set to equal zero (I have no idea what I’m talking about, but it sounded … AWESOME). Anyways, who has seized the moment, filled the vacuum, and increased their relevance?
— Corporations have become the new nation-states, making more thoughtful statements and moving the center stage (the markets, earnings, etc.) vs. the sideshow that is the White House.
— Macron and Merkel have become the leaders of the free world. President Xi is now the leader addressing climate change, stepping in to break up the fight between to two ugly, fat kids, which rendered him the adult in the room / planet.
Biggest winners & losers of the week
— Runner-up (winner): Sundar Pichai. Nobody this week gives a shit about the engineer the Google CEO fired for his manifesto. We’re in no mood for manifestos after Charlottesville.
— Biggest winner (hands-down) is Kenneth Frazier, who resigned before it was cool. The son of a janitor who rose to be CEO of the largest pharma firm, he’ll be the face of this moment in history, specifically being on the right side of it.
— Unsung winner is Richard Trumka. The AFL-CIO representative is the only council member who had the stones to call out Trump by name and directly reference white supremacy. The others likely had these references starched out by their PR departments.
— Biggest loser: one guess.
— The president’s non-apology apologies are to fire someone, and his next apology will be (firing) Steve Bannon. The media will then mess itself with stories about how influential Jared and General Kelly are.
— The resignation that would be the last straw would be General Kelly. Not likely in the short run, as Marines don’t scare easily. However, the armed services have been a source of good in race relations, as nothing makes you color-blind like having your ass saved by, or saving the ass of, someone else. His colleagues, the Joint Chiefs, issued an unprecedented repudiation on Wednesday, as they are recognizing this guy is not only crazy, but stupid … and a risk to national security.
The next resignation will be Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic advisor. Goldman Sachs are the best “advisors” in the world. They provide this advice through the lens of the markets, but nonetheless the firm has a number of big brains who give great counsel. Their counsel to Gary: “Declare victory (being appointed CEA) and leave.”
Mr. Cohn is leaking to the press that he’s “deeply upset” by the comments. Yeah, Gary … that dog won’t hunt. You either support an apologist for bigotry, or you don’t. His decision is simple: will his page in history be the image of him next to Trump defending Nazi sympathizers, or the guy who wouldn’t stand for it. Mr. Cohn is already successful and economically secure. His only litmus test should be what his children and grandchildren will think of him. The resignation letter should read:
No adjectives, no embellishment, no drama. Just drop the mic (we feel you, Gary) and wait three years to be appointed to another cabinet position without having to swim the butterfly in a cesspool, nor apologize to your congregation, kids, and god.
Btw, the #1 most liked tweet for @profgalloway also happened this week.
Would a 4 year old London Jew (my mother–1939) have survived if Churchill placed "blame on both sides?"
— Scott Galloway (@profgalloway) August 16, 2017
Life is so rich,