Morning Report: Goldman sees the unemployment rate falling to 3.25% this year

Vital Statistics:

 

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S&P futures 3362 9.25
Oil (WTI) 50.51 0.72
10 year government bond yield 1.58%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.66%

 

Stocks are higher this morning as China begins to restart industrial production. Bonds and MBS are down.

 

Jerome Powell goes to the Hill today for his semi-annual Humphrey Hawkins testimony. The Fed is closely monitoring the Coronavirus issue with respect to global growth. With this being an election year, the questioning will probably be more focused on political posturing (what would you do about income inequality? what would you do about affordable housing?) than anything else. I doubt there will be anything market-moving in the testimony, but you never know.

 

Small Business started the year off strong, according to the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index. “2020 is off to an explosive start for the small business economy, with owners expecting increased sales, earnings, and higher wages for employees,” said NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg. “Small businesses continue to build on the solid foundation of supportive federal tax policies and a deregulatory environment that allows owners to put an increased focus on operating and growing their businesses.” Labor continues to be an issue: “Finding qualified labor continues to eclipse taxes or regulations as a top business problem. Small business owners will likely continue offering improved compensation to attract and retain qualified workers in this highly competitive labor market,” Dunkelberg concluded. “Compensation levels will hold firm unless the economy weakens substantially as owners do not want to lose the workers that they already have.”

 

Speaking of the labor market, Goldman Sachs Chief Economist Jan Hatzius sees the unemployment rate falling to 3.25% this year. That would be the lowest since 1953. But first, the Boeing and Coronavirus issues need to recede into the rear-view mirror.

 

The Trump Administration released its 2021 budget, which cut social programs and increased defense spending. Some housing related programs were hit, such as the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund, which are funded by a 4 basis point charge on Fannie and Freddie origination. The Community Development Block Grants would be eliminated. As a general rule, these proposed budgets are not meant to become law (one of Obama’s budgets received exactly zero votes) – but are more statements of priorities. It also cuts Medicare and Medicaid, which means it would get no support from Democrats.

 

60 Responses

  1. Worth noting:

    “Ruth Bader Ginsburg probably just dealt a fatal blow to the Equal Rights Amendment

    A half-century-long fight for equality is likely at an end.
    By Ian Millhiser
    Feb 11, 2020, 12:30pm EST”

    https://www.vox.com/2020/2/11/21133029/ruth-bader-ginsburg-equal-rights-amendment-supreme-court

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/10/politics/ruth-bader-ginsburg-equal-rights-amendment/index.html

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    • Congress imposed a 1982 deadline on states hoping to ratify the ERA, though there’s doubt about whether this deadline is binding.

      On what basis would it not be binding? Or is this just some liberal judges throwing anything they can come up with against the wall to see if it sticks?

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      • Brent:

        Or is this just some liberal judges throwing anything they can come up with against the wall to see if it sticks?

        The claim that there is doubt about the 1982 deadline being binding is actually correct, but in precisely the opposite way of that implied. The actual deadline was 1979, at which point Congress extended the deadline to 1982. The legal dispute, which was never actually resolved by SCOTUS, was over whether this extension was legally valid. Can Congress change the substance of an amendment after it has already been ratified by several states? (The progressive judge’s answer: depends on what the change is.) The Federal Distict Court that heard the case said no, it can’t, and invalidated the extension. The case was appealed to SCOTUS, which sat on it until the deadline expired without being ratified and then dismissed the case as moot.

        So the only real legal question is which deadline is binding, the 1979 date or the 1982 date. No doubt, however, that some lawyer somewhere will argue that neither of them are. And I also don’t doubt that some Obama or Clinton appointee to the bench is willing to write an opinion agreeing with it.

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      • The argument is that the ratification deadline has to be in the text of the Amendment itself to be binding.

        The last one that actually had that was the 22nd.

        This of course is what inspired it:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-seventh_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

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  2. Re the Coronavirus. We had all passengers (that’s my understanding if I remember correctly) from a flight from China to LAX transferred to March Air Force Reserve Base here about 2 weeks ago and quarantined. All of them were released this morning with no signs of the virus. I have a friend who returned from a two week visit to Taiwan a week ago and has been fighting a cold ever since. She’s convinced she has Coronavirus even though she’s been to the doctor and the ER twice and they say no, it’s just a cold…………..people tend to panic over the next new virus and meanwhile there are parents in the US who won’t vaccinate their kids. I don’t get that at all.

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    • I don’t get not doing the standard vaccinations. Even the chicken pox vaccine has been around long enough to be presumably safe. Not 100% sure on measles vaccine but I’ve never done a deep dive on comparative safety of the vaccine vs. mortality of the disease.

      Still, why wouldn’t you get basic vaccines for polio and small pox and other diseases where it’s demonstrable any danger presented by the vaccine is tiny compared to getting the disease? I get the flu vaccine every year. Why not?

      Not sure the argument for the HPV vaccine for boys is that strong.

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      • KW:

        I get the flu vaccine every year. Why not?

        Because the one time I got it, within a week I got sicker than I had ever been, before or since.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Scott: Sounds to me like the vaccine hadn’t actually done it’s job yet. We get the vaccine every year knowing that it may or may not be a spectacular match to this year’s flu virus. I’ve never gotten sick from the vaccine though so maybe I would change my mind if I had.

          We’ve also had the pneumonia vaccine (it’s a two year process), the latest pertussis vaccine because my daughter asked us to when our latest grandson was born a bit pre-maturely, and I had the shingles vaccine because I really don’t want shingles.

          I tend to trust vaccines since I grew up without most of them and had measles (two kinds), mumps and whooping cough. My mother had rheumatic fever and it ruined her heart for life.

          I probably don’t need any of these vaccines as I rarely get sick but why take the chance right?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Then you probably shouldn’t. I’d reach the same conclusion likely. But it’s a year that I didn’t get the vaccine I came down with the flu and it was frackin’ awful. Also my daughter didn’t get her vaccine (though I and my wife had) due to scheduling, and she got the flu last year and it was awful. So we’re gonna keep going with it.

          Once I got the vaccine at like CVS and my wife and kids got it somewhere else, and mine was like the 4 strain variety and hers was the 3. And sure enough a month or so later she got the flu but I did not.

          Not conclusive but for now I’ll keep getting it.

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        • Kevin, I’ve only had the flu twice, once in college and another time about 4 years later, both were A strain and I thought I would die. I’ve never even had bronchitis/pneumonia or even a sinus infection. I don’t know why but the main reason I get the vaccines is for the health of those around me. On the off chance I might get sick one year I don’t want to spread it around. I generally get the common cold once or twice a year and that’s about it.

          I save my illnesses for things like food poisoning leading to a liver abscess or something like vertigo which I have zero control over. I spend a bit of time in doctor’s offices for injuries too because I’m a big klutz.

          I’ll be 70 in April so I guess I should thank my lucky stars, but in the meantime I’ll take all the preventive measures offered.

          How is your daughter? She’s the one with Type 1 right?

          Liked by 1 person

        • @lmsinca — Yes, oldest daughter is Type 1. She getting an insulin pump system with a monitor. Eventually it’s basically just supposed to monitor her blood glucose and give her just as much insulin as she needs. Which will be good. But dang it’s expensive!

          Otherwise she’s doing all right!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. And now for something completely different. Variance from guidelines is justified by cooperation. As the original USA’s report to the Court noted, Stone did not cooperate, but obstructed. Trump has the power to pardon, but does not have the power to meddle in sentencing guidelines.

    Barr doesn’t actually have that power, either, as USAs are independent.

    But Barr appointed an acting USA obviously a toadie, after the sentencing recommendation was signed off on. This has never been done before and should never happen at all.

    I don’t care that Barr would be acquitted by the Senate, he should be Impeached and the investigation should start with testimony from all four AUSAs who quit tonight.

    I consider this the very worst thing that has happened to the justice system recent years – command influence. Friends get preferential treatment, enemies get the sword. It mus be aired widely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark:

      Friends get preferential treatment, enemies get the sword.

      You mean like how Brennan can commit perjury and Comey can leak classified info all without any punishment at all, while people like Flynn get raked over the coals?

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    • I do not know enough to venture an opinion, so I’m just gonna agree with Mark that it’s bad. However the stuff Scott says is bad, too. As is a lot of other things done by folks in both parties, IMO. Politicians and their appointees all suck. 😉

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      • I agree with Kevin!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s also worth recalling how Stone was arrested in the first place. Mueller sent more than a dozen special agents, all in tactical attack gear, on a pre-dawn raid of his home to arrest the apparently super-dangerous 67 year old. But, of course, they first tipped off CNN that the raid was going to happen, so that CNN could get its mobile broadcasting trucks in place to capture the whole event on camera.

        You know, the same kind of standard procedure that one would expect from disinterested, objective investigators just looking for justice.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Excellent point. What a load of horsehockey that was. Complete overkill and staged for the media for what I can only see as transparently political purposes.

          It’s fracking’ Game of Thrones in DC. Sans any Ned Stark character.

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        • KW:

          What a load of horsehockey that was. Complete overkill and staged for the media for what I can only see as transparently political purposes.

          To put Stone’s original sentencing recommendation of 8-9 years into perspective, consider the fact that John Ehrlichman, HR Haldeman, and John Mitchell were all sentenced to 2-1/2 to 8 years, also on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury, all in relation to an investigation of actual crimes, ie the Watergate bugging and ensuing cover-up, as opposed to the Russian collusion hoax investigation that ensnared Stone.

          FYI, the DOJ’s revised recommendation that has everyone’s panties in a twist does not actually ask for a specific amount of jail time, saying only that while jail time is appropriate, the original recommendation was “excessive and unwarranted”, and that the specific amount of time should be left to the judge’s own discretion. Is this really so outrageous?

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        • FYI, the DOJ’s revised recommendation that has everyone’s panties in a twist does not actually ask for a specific amount of jail time, saying only that while jail time is appropriate, the original recommendation was “excessive and unwarranted”, and that the specific amount of time should be left to the judge’s own discretion. Is this really so outrageous?

          On this topic, I’m not educated enough to have any opinion I’m expressing, but I would say it doesn’t seem to be so at all. I don’t even know this: is a sentencing recommendation binding? Does a judge have to follow the sentencing recommendation (in which case it should be called a mandate) … if not, what’s the point of all this to just arrive at the same place?

          I may be off here but it seems the fundamental complaint is the “how it was arrived at”? I guess?

          Also, Trump could pardon Stone, could he not? In which case, why is this the approach they are taking.

          Could this be an issue of Barr just being unhappy with what he sees as abuse of power from those with political axes to grind?

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        • KW:

          Could this be an issue of Barr just being unhappy with what he sees as abuse of power from those with political axes to grind?

          I assume that is exactly what this is.

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    • BTW Mark, on this:

      Barr doesn’t actually have that power, either, as USAs are independent.

      According to the US Attorney website:

      The United States Attorneys serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.

      Perhaps in this context “under the direction of” means something other than what I understand it to mean, but normally that would suggest that US Attorneys are not independent, and in fact can be directed to do things by the Attorney General, ie William Barr.

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      • You do not understand the function and practice of the Sentencing Guidelines. You do not understand the structure related to that at all. Only in cases led by Main Justice does the USA lose his primary sentence recommendation authority in the District. Barr has placed a toadie as a temp USA to get around that.

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        • To give you a bit of the flavor of the Guidelines, it takes supervisory approval to deviate from the guidelines based on an individualized assessment if facts and circumstances. These always include “cooperation” which is often enough on the point system to get two years off a sentence by itself, and ‘remorse”. In my own experience I have usually seen cooperation points and only once seen remorse points, that having been granted to a guy who turned himself in because he read that his boss was arrested for fraud. He wanted to tell everything he did for the boss and he wanted to know if anything he did helped with the fraud. The FBI told him he had been helpful but that he was indeed an accessory. He said that he was ready right then to take his punishment and asked to be brought before a judge so he could apologize. No lawyer. The FBI agents dutifully noted all this and the guy got probation on a federal fraud case because of his combination of cooperation and remorse points.

          The guidelines changed in the early 90s so Haldeman and Erlichman are ancient history. But I think both of them got cooperation points. From the US Attorney’s signed summation on Stone: “…when his crimes were revealed by the indictment in this case, he displayed contempt for this Court and the rule of law.”

          No points for cooperation or remorse. The only deviation points here? Corrupt influence.

          Kev, while DJT could pardon Stone that is within his power. So whether or not Barr is doing this to please Trump or on his own, this is, as you suggest, on Barr, alone. He is not the first AG to monkey with the system nor will he be the last, but this is different in kind from all other occasions in my memory. The gudielines are meant to treat offenses by classification not individuals. They allow for deviation for rather obvious objective considerations, not bloodlines or political considerations.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Given that, as Mark rightly pointed out, I don’t understand the Sentencing Guidelines, I took a look at them to see what I could figure out.

          From what I can make out from the offense level categorizations, all of the charges that Stone was convicted of are base level 14 offenses, which depending on one’s criminal history, carry a recommendation of between 15-21 months (0 or 1 prior criminal points) and 37-46 months (13 or more points). I do not believe that Stone has any prior criminal convictions, so the basic sentencing guideline would seem to be 15-21 months.

          However, the base level is bumped up by 8 levels if “the offense involved causing or threatening to cause physical injury to a person, or property damage, in order to obstruct the administration of justice”. In one of his many attempts to convince radio host Randy Credico not to testify to congress, apparently Stone texted Credico that he would “die” if he testified. Credico dismissed this as unserious hyperbole (and has told the judge as much) but assuming it was intended as a real threat, then the base level offense jumps to 22. This carries a recommended sentence of 41-51 months.

          There is also a bump of 3 levels if “the offense resulted in substantial interference with the administration of justice”. I don’t quite understand this one, since the charge of obstruction of justice would seem to actually require substantial interference with the administration of justice, and in any event no one was charged with any underlying crime related to his obstruction, so it isn’t clear what “justice” could have been substantially interfered with in the end anyway. But, assuming this too was applied, that bumps the base level up to 25, with a recommended sentence of 57-71 months.

          I make that to be a range of just under 5 yrs to just under 6 yrs, and that is assuming the worst interpretation on the “specific offense characteristics” that bump it up from its initial level of 14. In order to get to the 7-9 years that was originally recommended, you would need an additional bump of 4 levels up to 29, again assuming Stone has no prior criminal record. I’m not sure how they got there, but I would be interested in hearing their justification.

          All that said, it seems to me that the recommendation table still leaves the prosecutor with plenty of personal discretion. The “specific offense characteristics” that result in the various bump ups in base level (in my accounting from 14 to 25) are definitely subjective, and give the prosecutor plenty of interpretive room to really turn the screws on someone they don’t like, or ease off on someone they do like, for whatever reason.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Not to pat myself on the back too much, but it seems my understanding of the sentencing guidelines isn’t so bad after all.

          https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/12/why-a-nine-year-prison-sentence-for-roger-stone-is-insane/

          In Stone’s case, the government’s calculation relies on several guidelines enhancements. Generally speaking, certain conduct can increase the offense level guidelines calculation. Here, the base offense level is 14, but with all of the enhancements the government argued for, it jumped to 29.

          One enhancement the government recommended jumped out. The government argued that an eight-point enhancement is warranted because Stone’s obstruction of justice “involved causing or threatening to cause physical injury to a person, or property damage.” The government pointed to two particular comments by Stone to a witness: “Prepare to die, c-cksucker” and him threatening to “take that dog away from you.”

          I’m still not sure how they got from this 8 point jump to the required 15 point jump, but at least I got this part right.

          And this was a useful reminder.

          I can’t help but think how different the reaction would be if President Obama intervened in a case and decided to cut a prison sentence short. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say someone was convicted of espionage—spying—and had his 35-year sentence reduced to six years by President Obama.

          Oh, wait, no need to speak in hypotheticals—that happened. See Chelsea Manning.

          Break out the fainting couches.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Mark:

          You do not understand the function and practice of the Sentencing Guidelines. You do not understand the structure related to that at all.

          That is undoubtedly true!

          But given what has become apparent through the whole Russian collusion hoax fiasco of the last three years, I do not automatically assume the good faith, objectivity, and non-political motives of anyone who was connected with executing it, and certainly not to anyone who acted as one of Comey/Mueller’s “toadies” (hat tip, MiA), as two of the recently departed US A’s were. In fact, quite the opposite, especially when it involves anyone who fell under the gun because of it. So rather than being outraged when someone steps in to reign in their seeming excesses, I wonder to myself whether it ought to be welcomed.

          I also can’t get too exercised over charges that Barr is “politicizing” the DOJ when it is coming from the same crowd that spent the last 3 years trying to kneecap Trump through use of the Russia collusion hoax. Seems to me to be a good example of gaslighting.

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        • @scottc1: But given what has become apparent through the whole Russian collusion hoax fiasco of the last three years, I do not automatically assume the good faith, objectivity, and non-political motives of anyone who was connected with executing it

          This. I mean, I can think of plenty of things before that, but I don’t trust the good faith or objectivity (or desire to honor oaths of office) of anyone in government, and especially not the bureaucracy. But also most elected offices.

          also can’t get too exercised over charges that Barr is “politicizing” the DOJ

          Eric Holder didn’t politicize the DOJ? Loretta Lynch didn’t politicize the DOJ?

          Not saying Barr isn’t, but I feel like there’s lots of precedent.

          Janet Reno? Ed Meese?

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        • The sentence was excessive, but that doesn’t mean that what Trump and Barr did was right.

          They interfered in an ongoing judicial proceeding.

          The Obama analogy doesn’t hold because Obama used his commutation power after the proceedings against Manning were over.

          However, Obama did get called out for prejudging the Manning case and declaring he was guilty before the trial was done.

          https://www.politico.com/story/2011/04/obama-says-manning-broke-the-law-053601

          The appropriate way for Trump to intervene in Stone’s case if he felt there was a miscarriage of justice would be to commute his sentence or pardon him. That would also preserve Trump’s political accountability for the commutation or pardon, rather than allowing him to deflect the responsibility to a subordinate to get the outcome he wants.

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        • jnc:

          The sentence was excessive, but that doesn’t mean that what Trump and Barr did was right.

          The assumption here seems to be that Barr was acting on Trump’s orders. That could be true, but it isn’t necessarily true, and the DOJ denies it. If you are able to recognise that the recommendation was excessive without being a Trump toadie, surely Barr is able to recognise it, too. And if he did, as their ultimate boss surely he has the right, and perhaps even the obligation, to correct it, no? Especially if he had reason to believe that the excessive recommendation came not from a good faith effort to do justice but rather from vindictive, political motives.

          The appropriate way for Trump to intervene…

          Again, the assumption is that he did. What is the appropriate way for the AG to prevent his underlings from acting improperly, if not to, well, step in and stop them?

          I think the difference between you and I is that you assume the good faith of the prosecutors and the bad faith of Barr. I assume neither of those things, and I am especially skeptical of the former.

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        • Mark/jnc:

          BTW, I am genuinely interested in how a charge of obstruction of justice can be rendered to be even more serious, and therefore open to a longer sentence, if “the offense resulted in substantial interference with the administration of justice” as stated in the sentencing guidelines. Doesn’t the charge of obstruction of justice actually require that a substantial interference with the administration of justice be present in the first place? I mean, if you haven’t interfered with the administration of justice, how can you be guilty of obstruction of justice at all?

          It seems to me that it is like requiring a longer sentence for someone convicted of first degree murder if “the offense resulted in significant physical harm to the victim.” What am I missing?

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        • “I think the difference between you and I is that you assume the good faith of the prosecutors and the bad faith of Barr.”

          No, I just recognize that excessive sentencing occurs every day and if the defendant wasn’t Roger Stone, then neither Trump nor Barr would care.

          In fact, they would more likely be cheering it on.

          Radley Balko gives the long version of the argument:

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/13/roger-stone-case-highlights-our-pernicious-system-tiered-justice/

          Liked by 1 person

        • jnc:

          No, I just recognize that excessive sentencing occurs every day and if the defendant wasn’t Roger Stone, then neither Trump nor Barr would care.

          That’s probably true, but it doesn’t turn what happened into an abuse of power, or at least not a particularly unique and outrageous one. People who have a personal connection to those in power have always, and will always, be in a better position to avoid the inherent abuses/excesses of the system than those who don’t. The same is also true of people in highly charged political prosecutions.

          Liked by 1 person

      • It’s obvious the sentencing recommendation was designed to provoke a response to create another need for another investigation and scandal. The resignations were a part of that.

        No one outside the activist base cares.

        Liked by 1 person

      • US Attorneys are not independent, and in fact can be directed to do things by the Attorney General, ie William Barr.

        It seems to me–as a completely ignorant layperson on the issue–that there would still have to be a lot of either restrictions on that power or some sort of reverse-accountability, otherwise you’d run into abuse of power and conflict-of-interest on a regular basis.

        I can see (again, as a layperson) the conflict-of-interest here. Not sure there’s a real abuse of power argument, but I honestly don’t know.

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      • When they ran the early morning take-down of Roger Stone, weapons in hand and cameras on, heads spinned. After all, it was Roger Stone, the cartoon character political operative of the vuglar and amoral, but still, it was Roger Stone, who would have walked in to surrender upon request. What else would he do?

        And this is the sort of thing that shouldn’t be a left/right issue. That was clearly overkill. What, he was going to have a shoot out? And what was the point? Who saw that and said: oh, well, that makes sense, and totally isn’t completely insane. Orange man bad!

        The prosecutors — one of whom resigned from the department — were said to be furious over the reversal of their sentencing request, filed in federal court late Monday.

        A question I always have with this stuff: they don’t have mortgages? How much money do they make or what kind of resource do they have or expect to have that they can make their point by resigning?

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      • Agreed.

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    • This is the part where Trump snatches defeat from the jaws of victory in terms of his reelection.

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      • jnc:

        This is the part where Trump snatches defeat from the jaws of victory in terms of his reelection.

        We’ll see. If it wasn’t this, it would be something else. Given the D’s overwhelming desire to create a scandal out of everything, and Trump’s complete lack of concern about providing them with fodder, there is always going to be something. How much of an impact it has remains to be seen, but the law of diminishing returns suggests to me that it won’t be that big.

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      • Man, I really don’t think so. I don’t see this as making a dent in the mental headspace of the general electorate.

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  4. Here are some of the exit polling numbers from NH. I’m surprised that health care is still a #1 issue and that may mean something considering Trump’s desire to gut or completely undo the ACA, and it may actually hurt Sanders and Warren in the long run as well.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/new-hampshire-primary-election-results-updates-tonight-2020-02-11/

    Hey sorry, this isn’t really a good link because it includes lots of other crap about the NH Primary and the exit polling numbers are pretty far down in the list of articles. I couldn’t seem to get just that link. I left if up in case anyone is interested. I kind of doubt many of you are since it’s the Dem Primary and none of you are Dems…………of course I’m not either though. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m still watching the trend here and right now Pete B is 2nd in NH. I’m trying really hard to find someone to fight for and he’s my favorite right now. I doubt any of you care but I kind of think, even though he lacks a lot of experience, he might be able to take Trump on! Walter doesn’t agree with me.

    I can’t fight for Sanders or Warren, so here I am stuck with Pete!

    https://www.huffpost.com/elections

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m always interested. Because of historical trends and the power of incumbency I don’t expect Trump to lose in 2020, and I’m anticipating 4 more years. But then I never thought he’d win in the first place, so what do I know?

      But historic trends of solid economy and 1st term incumbency for the party in power point to a Trump victory, so I’m going with that. Got nothing against Mayor Pete but if he gets the nom, Trump better carefully avoid any gay jokes. Or tweet anything homophobic sounding.

      But he can probably goad the press into doing it for him, basically.

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      • I’m sure the R’s will make an issue of it and I’m not looking forward to that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah. I’m not sure how much the vast majority of RNC and Trump campaign people will make an issue of it, but local party people and certainly independent online agitators (who may or may not be legitimate Trump supporters) certainly will. Which will provoke responses and cherry-picking from Democrats, including the potential elevation of the worst people they can find so they can point to those outliers as “this is how awful Republicans are! Deplorables!”

          I like that we are a democratic republic, but there’s definitely an unpleasant side to it.

          I find our tendency to elevate the worse human beings saying the worst things into the spotlight in order to guilt-by-association to be an awful tendency. I get that sometimes you want to “bring to light” the bad behaviors of certain people, but there’s a lot of just finding awful human beings who happen to be lefties or righties and giving them far too much media attention because they fit a desired narrative. I would much prefer that we didn’t do that.

          If Bernie Sanders talks about burning Milwaukee down if he loses, sure, expose that. If his second in command talks about how we need gulags for alt-right people, sure, expose that. If some guy who volunteered to man the phone bank says it, frackin’ ignore him. Or if he sounds sufficiently off his nut, alert the authorities.

          Of course I feel the same thing about the elevation of hate crime accusations sans actual evidence. Don’t give these things media attention–it’s the reason a lot of it happens. It’s a form of validation. And we shouldn’t do it.

          But we think: oh ho! Richard Spencer and David Duke support Trump! Get them on MSNBC! Get them on CNN! Elevate them! Oh ho! This practical nobody supports Trump and is using secret white supremacist hand signals! Blanket social media with this guy!

          And so on and so forth. So many people in this world should just be ignored.

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        • They supported Obama in ‘08. No one give a shit.

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        • Kevin, you’ve pretty much described the main reason I gave up on politics 4 years ago. There is just so much garbage to filter through and hysterics to get bored with. Not sure I’ll stick this one out if it gets too bad and I’m sure it will. The extremists get too much attention and people of reason get very little. And it’s all so intentional!

          Liked by 1 person

        • The extremists get too much attention and people of reason get very little. And it’s all so intentional!

          Yup. And too many people like the gotcha politics of it, the identity politics, the tribalism. They respond and many clicks are had and many posts go viral.

          So it’s not going to go away, alas. So much for sartorial and deliberate debate and thoughtfulness. 😉

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  6. re: Sanders

    1. Ds do not have winner take all primaries, like Rs, so there is no legit comparison to Trump’s path in 2016, despite that repeated notion.

    2. Sanders won NH by 23% last time and by less than 2% this time. 60% against HRC, 26% against a field. That means that most of the persons who voted for him last time voted against him this time.

    3. The none-winger vote is piling up delegates.

    I think the pundits underestimate how poorly HRC connected to voters and thus overestimate how well her opponents connected. I think there are 24/7 pundits who are pushing the horse race because it is good for ratings.

    But the fact is that Bernie is demonstrating his high floor low ceiling support against likeable moderate opposition.

    On a related note, we are seeing massive Bloomberg ads in Texas.
    What do you see where you are? They are well crafted ads that would not likely help him in a general election in Texas but that may well wound the libleft in the D primary. What is at stake in the D primary in R Texas is a ton of delegates to the D Convention.

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    • Mark, we’re seeing lots of Bloomberg ads here as well. Most of them include photos of him with Obama working on various common interests during Obama’s presidency. Lots of ads for Pete B as well though. I don’t get to vote for president in the primary as an Independent but I think I’m going to reach out to a Pete B group and see what they’re doing and if I can help.

      Edited to say I do vote in the primary but only for the Independent candidates…………….as of right now I’m not really familiar with any of them although I will choose one before March 3.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Trying to mop up those disaffected Biden voters now. That’s smart. But I feel like Bloomberg lacks the charisma of even Elizabeth Warren, much less Mayor Pete or Sanders. I still think it’s down to those three at this point.

        Although holding out hope for Tulsi Gabbard, the dark horse candidate!

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        • I don’t actually sit down and watch television but Walter does so it’s on and I can hear it from every room in the house unfortunately. I’ve got him doing 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles with me now so fortunately that distracts him and he turns it off. He’ll watch less and less at the political rhetoric heats up……………he hates that.

          This was supposed to be under your other comment re the ads!

          Liked by 1 person

    • I think there are 24/7 pundits who are pushing the horse race because it is good for ratings.

      That’s a fact. I still thing it’s possible Sanders could take it. He does connect with a lot of people, especially millennial males (but he also resonated with a lot of boomers and X-ers I know, so, you know–you never do know!)

      I’ve seen a lot of Bloomberg ads online. I don’t watch enough actual network television to know what’s going on locally. But online, I’ve seen a repeated ad that essentially blames Trump for tornados, floods and hurricanes and I’ve got to think that falls flat for almost everybody outside of the true believers, and thus far he doesn’t seem to be rousting them to the polls.

      I really don’t see Bloomberg taking it. Or Steyer. I’m thinking Sanders, Warren or Buttigieg.

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      • I agree, those 3 seem to be the standouts. I don’t think, as of right now, that any of them can beat Trump but we’ll see how it pans out I guess. I would find it very difficult to vote for Sanders or Warren……………..uggghhh. This is exactly the reason I’ve only voted for one D presidential candidate in almost 50 years. My CA vote doesn’t usually matter anyway though.

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        • Also, Bloomberg is waiting for Super Tuesday to jump into the primaries so who knows what kind of support he might get.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Polling suggest Bloomberg isn’t going to move the needle much. But we shall see!

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        • I would find it very difficult to vote for Sanders or Warren

          In a general election, I think we often pick the lesser of two evils in our mind. I knew Trump would take Tennessee (even if he took no other state) so I was free to vote 3rd party. So I did. If I had thought Tennessee could swing, I might have voted for HRC–not because I liked her but, 3 dimension chess, I could easily see a Republican sweep of house and senate during midterms of an HRC presidency, and the logjams would have meant the government could do minimal damage.

          But at this point I’d probably vote for Trump directly, as a vote against the candidates the Democrats are fielding–unless it was Tulsi Gabbard. Then it would renew my confidence in the Democrats!

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