Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Trump Administration Proposes Limiting Protests Near White House

The Trump administration has proposed changes to limit demonstrations near the White House and National Mall. The limits include closing 80% of the White House sidewalk, placing limits on spontaneous demonstrations, and imposing a “First Amendment fee” for protests (gotta make up for the deficits he created).

✓ The public has until October 15 to comment on the plans.

✓ Under current policy, the National Park Service charges fees for special events (e.g., concerts and weddings), but not for First Amendment demonstrations (e.g., marches and protests).

✓ The American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP, Hispanic Federation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Women’s Law Center, Human Rights Campaign, Sierra Club and a number of other organizations oppose the change.

Trump clearly wants to limit protesting outside of and near the White House; but, it would not cover protests coming from inside the White House.

Donald Trump continued his tirade against the Federal Reserve in a late Wednesday television appearance, laying into the central bank’s policy decisions and suggesting it is to blame for Wednesday’s sharp market decline. Saying he is “not happy” with the Fed, Trump explained why he was not happy with the Fed in a broad based economic review of Fed policy of continuing increases in Fed Rates to stave off the threat of inflation.

“The problem I have is with the Fed. The Fed is going wild. I mean, I don’t know what their problem is that they are raising interest rates and it’s ridiculous. The problem [causing the market drop] in my opinion is the Treasury and the Fed. The Fed is going loco and there’s no reason for them to do it. I’m not happy about it.”

Earlier Wednesday, Trump suggested; “They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy.”

To date, this has not been a wage driven inflationary spiral as YOY hourly income increases in nonsupervisory has been stuck at 2.7%. Trump does not appear to grasp that his and Republican policies have created the an inflationary spiral which the Fed is trying to slow and which constituents will suffer from soon enough.

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A Book Called “Eggshells”

Each morning, she awoke at 4:45 a.m., pulls on her blue janitor’s smock and heads over to the college to clean from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Then she returns home to take care of her 14-month-old daughter, Alice. The day she got the call over the summer telling her she had won a prize and Alice was being fussy.

“I’d been having a rough day — up early for my cleaning job, tearing home to mind the baby, baby wouldn’t nap and was making her feelings known,”

Caitriona Lally had written a book, a book called “Egg Shells.” As described to the Post,

“Eggshells’ is about a socially isolated misfit who walks around Dublin searching for patterns and meaning in graffiti or magical-sounding place names or small doors that could lead to another world.

I spent the guts of a year wandering around Dublin in 2011, the year I was unemployed. I had been laid off from my job in the recession and was walking the streets myself looking for ‘staff wanted’ signs, and came up with the idea of my character, Vivian, who’s just looking to belong, to connect with someone.”

This I can not describe better than she, having spent a year gaffing up trees in Wisconsin, cutting them down, and chipping the wood in a malfunctioning chipper which I had to clean the chute out by hand. I still have my fingers. For one year, I managed to keep home and family in a home until I found a better job.

Caitriona’s path to literary acclaim has been marked by plenty of rejection and job hopping.

Caitriona attended Trinity College Dublin as an undergraduate student and studied English. She worked as a custodian for the college when she was a student to offset expenses.

“I spent a couple of summers working as a cleaner in Trinity,” she wrote to The Post. “I spring-cleaned student residences after they vacated them, then worked as a chambermaid when guests came to stay in the college in the summer months. The spring cleaning was tough work — a year’s worth of grime doesn’t shift easily!”

Once Caitriona realized that she won the award and that it came with a 10,000 euro prize (about $11,500), she described it as “just pure magic.”

Caitriona hadn’t applied for the award; the prize committee selects the nominees. Winners over the years have become some of Ireland’s best-known writers, including Anne Enright and Frank McGuinness.

The benefactor of the prize is Peter Rooney, who took over from his uncle, Dan Rooney, former U.S. ambassador to Ireland and chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who died last year.

Caitriona said her janitor job works for her schedule as a mother and is a great fit for writing. She’s finishing up her second novel, and she’s not planning on giving up her morning work.

The author who works as a janitor had won a prestigious literary prize from the university she cleans.

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“Lock Her Up!!!”

“Lock Her Up!!!”

For several years now we have all grown accustomed to the fact that President Trump likes to go to rallies of his supporters where they relentlessly chant the subject head of this post.  It has always referred to his opponent in the presidential election of 2016, the person who got about 3 million more votes than he did, even as he managed to win in the determining electoral college.  While I recognize that Hillary Clinton has many flaws, she has been investigated more times than I can count for many alleged offenses, some of which I suspect she is guilty of, even as some of them were pretty minor (see financial shenanigans back in Arkansas).  She also was subjected to many Congressional investigations by several committees for many alleged offenses, including her notorious getting emails in her home like her three predecessors did, although none of them were ever so investigated. She even had 8, really 8, investigations of her role in the Benghazi fiasco, these costing taxpayers many millions of dollars.  The final one involved her  sitting for 11 hours straight while a GOP led committee interrogated her, ending up with them looking like a bunch of exhausted foolish idiots while she looked  cool as a cucumber. The final bottom line is that none  of those investigations led to even an indictment for anything.

A peculiar sideshow on this is that among the more bizarre investigations of her, costing millions of US taxpayer dollars, was that in 1998 by the Starr group of the chance that she had been responsible for the death of Vincent Foster, who committed suicide on the GW Parkway.  The person advocating this investigation of a conspiracy theoty and engaging in it, only to find a big fat nothing, was none other than Brett Kavanaugh, apparently about to be confirmed to be the  next lifetime member of the US Supreme Court.

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Dumb and Dumber

Two bits of news from Twitter.

The GRU employed 305 morons who have been identified as GRU operatives, because they registered their cars at a GRU office address to intimidate the traffic police. In theory automombile registries are not available to the public. In Russia everything is available for a price.

Click the link and read the thread.

Yep they are a bunch of corrupt buffoons who probably didn’t manage anything except for hacking the DNC, John Podesta and Smartech. What is Smartech ?
It’s the internet company that the Bush administration used to evade the Presidential Records Act hiding 22,000,000 e-mails which should have been preserved (“but her e-mails”). Unlike Clinton.com, it definitely was hacked by the Russians . Projection it’s always projection. Always.

It was also used by Senator Graham whose sudden switch from Trump critic to Trump fan has lead many people to assume he is being blackmailed. It was also use by Senators Corker and Flake before their mysterious retirements (and Flake’s incomprehensible Kavanaugh related decisions — damn I was trying to not name he who can not be named).

Click this link. It’s just a thread on twitter, but it has links to sources. Also I knew many of the facts (from various sources some of them reliable) but didn’t know about Flake and Corker.

So the corrupt idiots seem to have managed to get kompromat on 3% of the US Senate — probably enough to decide who will be on the Supreme Court.

I have one question which I urgently want answered. Did Susan Collins use Smartech ? I won’t care in 100 minutes when she announces her final vote on Kavanaugh, but I want to know now.

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Michigan Today

US Auto Sales Fell by 4 Percent in the Third Quarter

“Major automakers said Tuesday that U.S. sales fell 7 percent in September and 4 percent for the June-through-September quarter, compared with the same periods last year.

Weaker numbers for September and the third quarter wiped out a 1.8 percent gain during the first half of the year, and left auto sales on pace with 2017. Some analysts had cautioned that the first-half gains were driven by incentives and low-margin sales to fleet buyers like rental car companies.”

Auto makers are blaming this on the hurricanes. More likely, it is building to an inventory goal without adjustments to meet demands. Inventory costs money.

Michigan’s Gubernatorial Race: Whitmer Focuses on ‘Fundamentals’ Like Roads

“Democrat Gretchen Whitmer said she is focused on fixing Michigan’s ‘fundamentals’ like roads, water systems and schools in her run for governor, contending that not spending enough on core services under Republican leadership has still left residents paying more out of pocket for car repairs and other unexpected expenses.

She said her polling lead over GOP rival Bill Schuette since last month’s primary shows the problem-solving message is resonating, but “not for one second” will she let up less than two months until Election Day. She dismissed as ‘phony political talking points’ Schuette’s warning that she would be the next Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat who was governor during the state’s protracted economic decline.

‘It’s not working. Maybe they’re going to figure that out at some point during this campaign, that people want solutions to problems,’ Whitmer told The Associated Press in an interview.”

Michigan Repubs and the AFP are claiming Whitmer is trying to steal another decade from Michiganders by fixing infrastructure through increased revenues.

US House Candidate Arrested During Wage Protest in Detroit

“A U.S. House candidate was arrested Tuesday in Detroit during a protest for higher pay and the right to form unions.

Democrat Rashida Tlaib and more than a dozen other demonstrators sat at — and banged on — a long table that took up a lane of traffic in Detroit’s Midtown. They were part of a group of several hundred people who marched along the street before gathering outside a McDonalds. Management inside locked the doors as marchers approached.

The protest followed one Tuesday morning in Flint where eight people were injured after being struck by a pickup truck as they marched outside another fast-food restaurant. Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson said he doesn’t believe the crash was intentional and that the driver “seemed pretty shaken up” afterward.

Both protests were organized by Fight for $15, a national movement seeking to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast food.”

I do not believe we would see Kavanaugh out there protesting for a $15/hour wage. He would be to busy trying to explain away what he meant by “boofed” as a teen.

Major GOP Group Pulls Support for 2 Imperiled Congressmen

“In an ominous sign for the GOP’s bid to hold onto the House, the political group affiliated with Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday dropped its support of two incumbent congressmen, signaling how difficult November could be for the Republican majority.

The Congressional Leadership Fund canceled $3.1 million in ad spending in the districts of Michigan Rep. Mike Bishop and Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman. It’s CLF’s first act of triage ahead of the election and comes at the time of the cycle when major spenders cut their losses in races they think are no longer winnable.
The Congressional Leadership Fund canceled $3.1 million in ad spending in the districts of Michigan Rep. Mike Bishop and Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman. It’s CLF’s first act of triage ahead of the election and comes at the time of the cycle when major spenders cut their losses in races they think are no longer winnable.

Dropping Bishop is perhaps the more significant sign of the party’s prospects. President Donald Trump won the suburban Detroit district by 7 percentage points while narrowly winning Michigan overall. But Republicans in Michigan have struggled this year, and Bishop has been regularly outraised by his challenger Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA agent and defense official.

Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the House GOP campaign arm has not canceled its ad reservations in either Bishop’s or Coffman’s district.”

It is too early to declare a victory. Pour it on . . .

State of Michigan Rank amongst the 50 states?

Click on the picture to make it bigger.

Republicans have a lot to account for in Michigan. They have controlled the legislature and the governorship since 2011. Republicans have controlled the Senate since 1992. Republicans have controlled the House 18 years since 1992. Since 1992, the governorship has been controlled by a Democrat 8 years of 26 years. Yet, everything is former Governor Granholm and Senate leader Whitmer’s fault for infrastructure being in bad shape.

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Senator Jeff Flake Says He Will Vote to Confirm

As he retires from being a Senator; he has made many noises about being opposed to many things Trump has done as President. Except that is all it was, no action and just noise.

“In an announcement that many saw coming, Senator Jeff Flake, of Arizona, announced on Friday that he would retire from humanity, effective immediately.

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol, Flake said that the demands of being a human being had ‘taken their toll,’ and that it was time to move on.

‘Having empathy and compassion for other human beings has been a thoroughly draining experience,’ he said. ‘I for one am ready for something new.’

Flake said that, before making his decision, he consulted with others who had retired from humanity years earlier, such as Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Donald Trump.

‘They all fully supported my decision,’ he said. ‘It’s great to be one of them now.'” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker.

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A Weak Defense of Citizen United: Ownership v. Control

A Weak Defense of Citizen United: Ownership v. Control

Many thanks to Peter Dorman for highlighting Citizens United As Bad Corporate Law. I guess we had to endure this comment, which is a really weak rebuttal:

Corporate shareholders are most definitely owners; they alone have the authority to sell their shares or the company’s assets. Their rights are based not on contract law but statutory rules of franchise. They are guaranteed rights of assembly abd representation, and they cannot legally surrender those rights even if they elect Directors who vote to do so.

My first thought to this attempted rebuttal was the complaints of condominium owners in San Francisco. They may own the rights to what is effectively an apartment but they have to deal with management as they really do not own the land. And even the land owner does not have that much control in a city where regulations control land use. My second thought involved the minority shareholders of Yukos Oil during Yeltsin’s Russia, which I noted in this related post:

AB noted yesterday that some of Sinclair Broadcasting’s shareholders were upset the decision of management to aid the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign with free air time for another smear of John Kerry. Their stock, which was around $10 a share in early August, is trading now for about $7.30 a share.

Now I get that the corporate governance rules in the U.S. are not as pathetic as they were during Yeltsin’s Russia but the idea that an individual shareholder has any real control of how a corporation is run is quite naïve. Peter asked this commenter if he had read the paper. Had he done so, he might have noticed footnote 34 on page 19, which included a seminal paper by Ronald Coase entitled “the Nature of the Firm”. This paper initiated an entire literature on what this recent paper calls the “nexus of contracts theory”. If our commenter has not read this literature, he should.

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A Few Thoughts on “Sorry to Bother You”

A Few Thoughts on “Sorry to Bother You”

I saw this film several weeks ago and have been meaning to say a few things about it.  Herewith:

1. This is an exceptionally intelligent movie by American standards.  It maintains a high level of wit and observation from beginning to end, and little zingers flash by in almost every frame without announcing themselves.  It speaks up to its audience, something I really appreciate.

2. STBY fits into a tradition of films in which the act of organizing a union and carrying out a job action is held up as a revolutionary political and personal challenge.  Other examples include “Norma Rae” and “Bread and Roses”, but actually I was reminded even more of “The Cradle Will Rock”, at least in spirit.

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BRETT KAVANAUGH: A MULTIPLE TRAIN WRECK IN MANY DIMENSIONS

by Brad Delong (originally published at Grasping at Reality with at least Theree Hands)

BRETT KAVANAUGH: A MULTIPLE TRAIN WRECK IN MANY DIMENSIONS: MONDAY SMACKDOWN

Clowns (ICP)

I confess that I have been procrastinating on various things. Why? Because I have been unable to tear my eyes away from the multiple train crash that is the confirmation process… the career… the life of Brett Kavanaugh. My view of this is a third- or fourth-hand view. It is the view of Georgetown Prep from Sidwell Friends. And it may well be wrong. But I think that it is right. So, with that warning, here goes:

The first… oddity… is Brett Kavanaugh‘s reaction to Christine Blasey Ford. It really ought to have been something like this:

 

I cannot say that I have a good memory of this, and I am not certain I am remembering the incident that was clearly very traumatic for her. I was drunk. I think she was drunk. From my perspective, we were roughhousing, and I was hoping she would let me see her tits. When it became clear she clearly was scared, Mark and I backed off.

I was in an unhealthy liberal culture in my high school and college years. When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible. I hope I have learned to be a better person since then. I am now trying hard to be my best possible self.

I was too much of a dork and a dick back then to call her up the following day to apologize. And I have not been my best self in shirking my duty to apologize to her, to repent, to atone. It maybe too late now— better late than never Is not always true. But if better late than never is true in this case, I would like to say: I do regret my actions at what I believe was that incident and at other incidents where I was young and irresponsible. But I am not a rapist. I do not like to force myself I’m scared, struggling women.

That would’ve been the same thing to do. The non-psychopathic thing to do. The normal thing to do. The Manly thing to do.

But Brett Kavanaugh and company did not do that. Why not?

I think the balance of the probabilities has to be that he was, more likely than not, poisoned by his upbringing, and perhaps especially by his upbringing in the right wing of the Catholic Church of Pope Paul VI and John Paul II—their moral imbecility in the age of artifical birth control is truly wondrous.

I think it is more likely than not that he did and perhaps does have a particular kink: enjoying destroying female agency, through intoxication and a little light restraint, perhaps especially when women find themselves of multiple minds, with hopes, fears, regrets, and anticipation. Perhaps especially when there are no hopes and anticipations but only fears and regrets.

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Mainstream Media Says Trump Triumphs Over Iran!

Mainstream Media Says Trump Triumphs Over Iran!

That would be several stories in both the New York Times and the Washington Post over the last two days: Trump’s policy against Iran is a great success and it  is completely reasonable and justified. This reporting and columnizing has followed three tracks.

One was in a column yesterday in WaPo from Mark Thiessen of AEI, generally pro-Trump.  His column was about how Trump in general doing well on foreign policy, although with no mention of the trade war.  He did not spend much time on Iran, but it is a success, so obviously so it does not need much discussion.   He fulfilled a campaign promise and showed he is strong, and of course it is so justified he did not waste time defending it.  However, he made no comment on how Iran has responded to this supposedly gloriously successful policy, and in fact Iran has basically done nothing.

Anouher thrust in both papers have been reports of the release of the State Department’s annual report  on terrorism.  As in past years the report again without question names Iran as the world’s “leading state sponsor of terrorism,” something that Trump and politicians of both parties have regularly repeated without a shred of embarrassment.  Juan Cole points out several problems here.  For starters, there is not a single terrorist act that happened last year (this report covers 2017) that can be blamed on Iran or any of the groups it supposedly supports.  The single piece of evidence on Iran’s supposed terrorist threat to the US is that in February two supposed Hezbullah “operatives” were arrested in Michigan.  There is not even a claim that these “operatives” were even planning a terrorist act, much less actually carried out one.  As Cole notes, Hezbullah is the dominant force in the Lebanese government, and it is well over a decade since anybody has tied that organization to an actual terrorist act. As it is, Cole notes that the report notes a 23% decline in terrorist acts from 2016 to 2017, with most of that due to a reduction of acts by ISIS in Iraq especially.  Who helped shut down ISIS in Iraq?  Iran-supported gropus, but the report fails to note that, just as it fails to note ongong Saudi support for terrorist actions.

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