Morning Report: Bond yields flirting with 2016 lows

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 3251 -88.25
Oil (WTI) 51.16 -2.19
10 year government bond yield 1.38%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.63%

 

Stocks are lower this morning on overseas weakness, as investors continue to fret about Coronavirus, which is spreading beyond Asia. Bonds and MBS are up (yields down) on the flight to safety trade.

 

The 10-year Treasury is trading just off the lows of 2016, where it hit 1.36%. FWIW, that is a modern historical low – long term rates never fell below 2% even in the Great Depression. How low can rates go? The thing about bubbles is that they on longer and further than anyone expects. How many people are talking about a sovereign debt bubble? It hasn’t even registered yet.

 

Existing Home Sales fell 1.3% MOM in January to an annualized rate of 5.46 million. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, finds the outlook for 2020 home sales promising despite the drop in January. “Existing-home sales are off to a strong start at 5.46 million.” Yun said. “The trend line for housing starts is increasing and showing steady improvement, which should ultimately lead to more home sales.” The median existing home price was $266,300 up 6.8% from a year ago. The first time homebuyer accounted for 32% of sales.

 

Fannie and Freddie will be freed with “limited and tailored” government backstops, according to US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. SIFMA has warned that removing the explicit government guarantee from Fannie and Freddie’s MBS would have a devastating impact on the market. Remember during the crisis, a trial balloon was floated about removing the government guarantee, and Bill Gross shot it down with a howitzer. No mention was made of what will happen to current stockholders.

 

Wells agreed to pay $3 billion to settle DOJ and SEC cases over the fake accounts scandal. Whether this will permit the company to begin growing again remains to be seen. The Fed has restricted growth in Well’s balance sheet since 2017.

108 Responses

  1. JNC, I am becoming frightened that the D base is buying into Sanders’ delusions. This is another guy who likes the company of dictators, albeit different dictators than the ones Trump likes.

    If the President were not Trump, I would not be concerned that Sanders should likely lose as big as McGovern.

    I still think there will be a brokered D convention and thus Sanders will be out of it, but I am no longer nearly certain of it.

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    • FWIW, I am seeing support for him around here from people who should know better.

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      • I have changed the quote from the high minded George Washington, now that his birthday has passed, to one more suited for the possible cold dark world of Sanders or the hot mess of Trump.

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      • I think his socialist populism is appealing to a lot of people. Especially youngsters but also old hippies. I think the superwoke crowd aren’t going to be happy he’s a white male but you can’t have everything.

        I don’t think he’s going to unseat an incumbent president with a strong economy and no viable 3rd party challenge (and Trump also had no serious primary challenge)–historically, incumbents in Trump’s position don’t lose.

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    • I’m getting nervous too but I’m trying not to panic until after Super Tuesday.

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      • Nervous that Sanders will be the nominee?

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        • Yes, I really don’t like the way this is going. We’re switching out one crazy for another. I don’t understand it to be honest.

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        • There are a lot of angry people out there and it’s been building for decades. The reaction to the financial crisis fed it with the bailouts.

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        • Yes, I really don’t like the way this is going. We’re switching out one crazy for another.

          I think that’s what we always do, it’s just historically less-obvious.

          That being said, I don’t see Warren coming across much better. Buttigieg looks better now but I’m wondering how he comes across in a national competition.

          But I don’t think even my favorite, Tulsi, beats Trump this time around.

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    • MarK;

      If the President were not Trump, I would not be concerned that Sanders should likely lose as big as McGovern.

      I am curious…what policies of Trump’s are good examples of why you view him to be such a uniquely dangerous president?

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      • I can’t speak for Mark but I think the biggest downside to Trump is his personality. He tends to be mercurial and unpredictable and uninterested in how things have been done in the past, or why they’ve been done that way.

        This clearly has an upside, too. I kind of feel that if he were more like Dubya in temperament, he’d be a lot more generally appealing and more moderate folks and many NeverTrumpers might feel better about him.

        Some of his speeches are excruciating. He comes across as just pure pathological narcissist while seeming to struggle to put across a coherent thought. These are things I really don’t want to see in a president.

        Yet, policy wise–things I like least are mostly carry-overs from Obama or would be done by any Democrat and probably most Republicans (vape flavor ban, for example–so dumb, IMO, but the federal government has always worked against public health while thinking it was doing the opposite). Very happy with all his judicial appointments. On the whole, I’ve liked the Trump presidency so far much better than the Dubya presidency, or Clinton, or Obama. In terms of what is actually happening that I am aware of. There may be stuff I wouldn’t like or would like even better happening behind the scenes and I just don’t hear about it because it gets unreported . . . because the media has a narrative, after all.

        Some stuff I’m not sure about. I’m not sure about how he’s using tariffs. I just don’t know enough to have an intuition if this sort of “trade war” is good or bad, although I feel like it may be pretty good.

        Otherwise . . . I’m for a border wall and controlling illegal immigration. I don’t object to restricted legal immigration, and especially not merit-based immigration. Somebody may think of something but aside from the vape ban there’s really nothing that’s directly come out of Trump’s administration in terms of policy initiatives that I object to vehemently.

        Personality-wise, though, he leaves a lot to be desired.

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      • Skipping over both personality and character, and concentrating on what he has caused to come to fruition:

        TPP Withdrawal
        Travel Ban
        Leaving the Paris Agreement
        Navigating Qatar’s Crisis
        Rolling Back Ties With Cuba
        Putin in Helsinki
        North Korea
        Abandoning DACA
        Torpedoing Iran deal
        Jerusalem
        Tariff war against just about everyone
        Wall boondoggle
        Detention camps/family separations
        No increase in courts to hear refugee cases or provision of lawyers for kids
        Shutting down virtually all refugee immigration
        Withdrawal from Human Rights Council

        I think his singular success is the updated treaty with CA and MX.

        I am an agnostic on Syria and Venezuela. So it hasn’t been all bad, but the bad has been very bad, serving to weaken our alliances and in my view, our national security.

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        • Mark:

          Skipping over both personality and character,…

          Yes, I think we both agree that those leave a lot to be desired. I generally cannot bear to listen to him speak. But I don’t see that as particularly dangerous to the nation, which is why I asked specifically about policy.

          Thanks for the list, but I did ask about what policies made Trump uniquely dangerous, and to be honest it looks like mostly a pretty basic laundry list of fairly generic policy disagreements of the sort that you might have with any administration. There is not too much on there that seems to me particularly unique to Trump, nor uniquely dangerous to the nation. For example, I am no fan of tariffs, but the use of tariffs is hardly an innovation of Trump’s, and has quite the storied history in the US. Several of the things on your list might have come from any Republican administration. And moving the US embassy to Jerusalem has been bi-partisan policy, actually law, since 1995. Trump is unique simply in actually executing the law, which is in fact his job.

          In light of all the worries about Trump’s abuse of power, I think it is notable that you included things like the Paris Treaty Accord, DACA, and the Iran deal. Given that none of those were implemented by Congress, and were instead simply unilateral executive actions, in some cases of highly questionable constitutionality, I would actually count their past implementation as far more dangerous to the nation than Trump’s cessation of them.

          Immigration policy seems to feature highly…6 of your items relate to immigration. I can understand opposition to a more restrictive immigration policy (although I find opposition to the simple enforcement of already existing immigration law less understandable). But I don’t understand the notion that a more restrictive policy is actually dangerous to the nation. For example, do you think that taking in substantially fewer refugees in 2018 than in 2016 represents a danger to the nation? If so, how?

          I think that Trump in Helsinki is a good example of something that was uniquely Trumpian, and definitely bad optics. But I am not sure there were any particularly worrisome policies that came out of it. Were there?

          Leaving the Human Rights Council is probably also uniquely Trumpian, although moreso in his boldness of action rather than the underlying concern compelling it. With membership that includes the likes of Saudi Arabia, and its anti-semitic focus on Israel, I think most people recognize it as a joke, but would never consider leaving it simply for the sake of appearances. It is definitely true that Trump is far less concerned with appearances than most. What do you see as the danger in withdrawing from the council?

          the bad has been very bad, serving to weaken our alliances and in my view, our national security.

          In what way do you think national security has been weakened? Do you think NATO countries are less likely to come to our aid if we were attacked? Are we more likely to be attacked? Less able to defend ourselves from an attack? I am genuinely curious.

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    • It depends on how representative Plum Line and Twitter are of the actual base.

      But this is looking a lot like how Trump won in 2016.

      This is a good piece:

      “Bernie Sanders and the socialist ethic

      What it means for Democrats to nominate a Sanders-style socialist.
      By Ezra Klein
      Feb 24, 2020, 8:40am EST

      What sets Sanders apart from many liberal Democrats isn’t his voting record or even his policy proposals. It is an animating belief that our political and economic system is unjust, and its successes do not remotely blunt its failures.

      In 2016, Molly Ball, now a national political correspondent for Time magazine, made a sharp observation on why Trump was beating the rest of the Republican field. “All the other candidates say ‘Americans are angry, and I understand,’” she wrote. “Trump says, ‘I’m angry.’”

      Sanders, too, is angry. And that sets him apart. Democrats who believe in, and in some cases built, the political and economic system balance a celebration of its successes — think of former Vice President Joe Biden repeating the Obama administration’s accomplishments during each and every debate — with an ongoing recognition of its failures. They recognize that Americans are angry about those failures, and these Democrats understand that anger.

      Sanders helped build parts of that political and economic system, too, but he doesn’t celebrate its successes. He lives in fury over its failures. “The more you learn about what life is actually like for people at the top and bottom, the more grotesque everything seems,” Robinson writes, in what could serve as a simple, one-sentence summation of Sanders’s worldview.

      The difference between the socialist ethic and its absence isn’t the recognition of that moral fact — many agree with it abstractly — but the emphasis of it, the refusal to look away from it. Anger is the core of the socialist ethic. And Sanders is angry.”

      https://www.vox.com/2020/2/24/21149460/bernie-sanders-2020-democratic-primary-socialist-socialism

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      • I just don’t see Marxism selling in a strong economy.

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        • I spent the weekend with 2 pretty hardcore British progressives…one a life-long Labour member and the other a life-long Lib-Dem (because Labour is not left enough). Neither of them have any time for Bernie at all, and are bewildered by the D’s apparent failure to see Corbynite Labour as a warning sign rather than a model to follow.

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        • “I just don’t see Marxism selling in a strong economy.”

          As the piece points out, he’s selling the critique of the system, not the solution. And there’s a lot of people who haven’t benefited in the economy, or who believe that they should be doing better and the only reason that they aren’t is because of the “billionaire class” screwing them over.

          But if the electorate is still pissed off and in a change mood, Sanders can match Trump on the anger side and his narrative has villains to target just like Trump’s.

          Dark side vs Dark side.

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        • Is Bernie’s base as animated about defeating Trump as the rest of the Democratic Party?

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        • Scott, Lib Dem is more left than Labour?

          Liked by 1 person

        • jnc:

          I’m not sure about the longer history, but ever since I have been close to it, which was when Blair gained control of the Labour party, that has been the case. On economic matters, it may be less true in the Corbyn era, but on SJW issues I think LD’s have always been more woke than Labour, which traditionally had to appeal to the not-so-woke blue-collar working class (union) vote.

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        • I think Marxism is popular with over-educated underpaid people.

          If you have a MA in gender studies, with 100k in student debt and are slinging flat whites at starbucks, bernie sounds good. He does will among the chattering classes as well, because they are largely cut from the same cloth and have zero understanding of business.

          If you are a skilled laborer, you are in demand and seeing the best economy in 15 years. And is you are down and out in rural america, you probably aren’t going to vote.

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        • I don’t see Sanders as a great salesman for it. You want to sell Marxism, don’t be running against an incumbent in a strong economy (first of all), and don’t have an angry old white man making the sales pitch.

          They need an Obama promising free phones and stuff. Running for an open presidency. That’s how you sell Marxism to the hoipoloi.

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    • There hasn’t been a brokered convention since 1952. So that 68 years, right? I’m thinking they’ve gotten good at avoiding brokered conventions. I’m betting there won’t be any brokering this time around either.

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  2. Another piece worth a read:

    “What Trump got right about white America

    AEI’s Tim Carney discusses how social breakdown killed the American dream on The Ezra Klein Show.
    By Jane Coaston
    Feb 24, 2020, 9:20am EST

    A lot of what I do is bar reporting. And one place that I was skipping for years were the roadside country bars because I would pull over, start talking about the economy, try to gently bring it over toward politics, [and] universally people would say “Politics is a bunch of BS. I don’t vote, and I’m not going to talk about it.” In 2016, [it was] “politics is a bunch of BS; that’s why I’m voting for Donald Trump.” There was this disaffected white population that was pushed totally away from politics. And these people in Pennsylvania weren’t voting for Pat Toomey for Senate, but they were voting for Donald Trump. ”

    https://www.vox.com/podcasts/2020/2/24/21147042/tim-carney-donald-trump-white-america-the-ezra-klein-show

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trump can’t bring back the factory. But they see the closure of the factory as a first domino that’s led to a collapse of their community. And Trump is the only one saying this whole thing has been bad while Marco Rubio would say, some of this is bad but trade generally is good. Trump was most willing to curse the changes that have led to real suffering in these people’s lives. And white working-class guys — the sons of the people who had the factory jobs 30 years ago — really are struggling,

      My question here is, for these people Carney is talking about, have their fortunes or sense of community improved with Trump as president? It seems to me that it probably hasn’t, why else does Bernie have such a large following? I doubt these are people who will vote for Bernie but why would they vote for Trump again? The economy has been good for some but certainly not all and I doubt that little town with the bar that can only afford to stay open two nights a week is doing any better.

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      • “but why would they vote for Trump again”

        Because he makes the right enemies. By picking a fight with China and in so doing causing a meltdown in the media, they see that at least he’s trying to fight for them.

        And the other side isn’t offering anything better.

        This was a really good insight:

        “Election 2016 has prompted a wave of head-scratching on the left. Why would economically struggling blue collar voters reject a party that offers to expand public safety net programs? The answer is simple – they don’t want these programs. Working class white voters are not interested in the public safety net. They want to restore their access to an older safety net, one much more generous, dignified, and stable than the public system – the one I and my neighbors still enjoy.

        When it seems like people are voting against their interests, you have probably failed to understand their interests.”

        https://www.politicalorphans.com/socialism-for-white-people/

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is good. I want to go back to the days where it was fashionable to complain about how numbing factory jobs are. Relive Bob Seger’s “Feel Like a Number”

          Liked by 1 person

        • i still hate his analysis of health care. If a business is providing health insurance to its employees, it is a legitimate deductible expense. Calling the tax deductibility of health insurance a subsidy is like calling the deductibility of payroll or rent a subsidy…

          Liked by 1 person

        • Which they all are, all other things being equal.

          They are tax subsidies relative to expenses that aren’t deductible.

          But his main point is that they are definintely subsidies compared to people who have to purchase health insurance with after tax income.

          Liked by 1 person

        • they see that at least he’s trying to fight for them.

          Even though he’s not succeeding? I don’t think a vote for Bernie will change their situation either though. I don’t know when or if the economy will ever trickle down again to some of these people. I don’t believe Trump cares and I don’t believe Bernie has the right answer. I think the government/economy is essentially broken for the poor and those replaced by so-called progress. Maybe we just have to wait for them to die?

          Liked by 1 person

        • lms:

          I don’t think a vote for Bernie will change their situation either though.

          I don’t think a vote for any D candidate will.

          Liked by 1 person

        • If you look at wage growth on the lower income spectrum, he is delivering. That’s the blue collar base.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t think he is McWing.

          Wage gains were significantly larger for workers in the bottom 20% than they were for middle-class workers, due largely to measures such as higher minimum wages that took effect in 13 states and the District of Columbia in 2018 and 19 states in January 2019. These are policies that were implemented by state legislatures and local governments around the country to help offset the effects of a decline in the real value of the federal minimum wage. They also helped offset the negative effects of dozens of efforts by the Trump Labor Department to weaken labor standards, attack worker rights, and roll back wages.

          Globalization has reduced wages for working Americans by putting non-college educated workers into a competitive race to the bottom in wages, benefits, and working conditions with low-wage workers in Mexico, China, and other low-pay, rapidly industrializing countries. The Trump administration’s two trade deals don’t change that reality. Workers counting on Trump to deliver a “great American comeback” have been left waiting at the station.

          https://www.epi.org/blog/trumps-blue-collar-boom-state-of-the-union/

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        • That’s hard to square with the rising wages, consumer confidence and the data showing satisfaction with their current situation and with the future. That’s at 90%, the highest ever. That means even most Dems feel pretty good economically.

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        • @lmsinca: Wage gains were significantly larger for workers in the bottom 20% than they were for middle-class workers, due largely to measures such as higher minimum wages that took effect in 13 states and the District of Columbia in 2018 and 19 states in January 2019. These are policies that were implemented by state legislatures and local governments around the country to help offset the effects of a decline in the real value of the federal minimum wage.

          Irrespective of the source, for a lot of voters I think being a little better off financially improves their mood. It’s not a great thing for the opposition party, even if they are arguably responsible for the better economic situation–because of the local parties, BTW, rather than national–because they feel all right, are less angry, and are less likely to go vote against the guys in power. Unless they are politically engaged and then the economic situation is perhaps a little less relevant.

          There are also independent government entities that have increased their minimum wages, and a number of large companies that have implemented their own minimum wages. So I expect that helps with the wage growth and slightly better economic security at the low end as well.

          If everybody puts 2+2 together and decides their largesse is the result of Democratic policies, so they are going to show up and vote Democrat, it could go well for the Dem candidate. I’m not personally seeing it, and given historical trends I really don’t expect it–but Trump has done nothing except buck historical trends, so who knows?

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        • Kevin,

          Irrespective of the source

          I can see how out of practice I am linking sources here I guess. I looked at the charts and they seem to support the assertion, but as with everything, it’s all open to interpretation I guess as well as the “mood” of the country.

          I admit that the economy seems to be working for most of us, I’m just not sure that those “flyover” areas are getting the deal they think from Trump.

          You seem happy with him as president so I can’t really argue with you. It’s funny to me how, AFAIK, none of you voted for him.

          I’ll probably do a “none of the above” vote or write someone in if it’s between Trump and Sanders.

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        • I didn’t vote for him but I have no hesitation now. It’ll be the first time I’ve voted for a nominee since, hell, a long time. I’ve been writing in Sarah Palin since ‘08.

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        • Wage gains were significantly larger for workers in the bottom 20% than they were for middle-class workers, due largely to measures such as higher minimum wages that took effect in 13 states and the District of Columbia in 2018 and 19 states in January 2019.

          EPI (a liberal think tank) just asserts this with no links. But, to put things in perspective, there are about 157MM workers and about 1.8MM minimum wage / sub MW workers. 20% of 157 is 31.4MM and 1.8MM is about 5.7%. Remember only 15 states raised the MW, so maybe 1MM (being generous) got a wage hike…

          Sorry, i have to see the math here to buy that assertion that a phased-in hike in the MW for maybe 3% of the bottom 20% accounts for their 5.6% increase in real wages..

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        • I get it Brent……………..don’t worry I won’t link to them again………..I’ve been scolded!

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        • I’m not scolding you, i just suspect EPI is trying to steal a base here…

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      • My question here is, for these people Carney is talking about, have their fortunes or sense of community improved with Trump as president?

        My guess is for some of them yes while others probably not, thus it’s likely a wash. Yet their sense of connection to the blustery, angry-at-the-elites Trump is still probably pretty strong. If anything, the impeachment trial–if they paid attention to it–probably made that connection stronger. They would be much more likely to identify with Trump than Adam Schiff or Nancy Pelosi.

        It seems to me that it probably hasn’t, why else does Bernie have such a large following?

        Progressive and liberal populists want their own Trump? I think Bernie has much of the same following he had last time, with a high degree of likelihood that Bernie supporters that crossed over to Trump with HRC got the nod are back with Bernie.

        but why would they vote for Trump again

        As a statement. Because of impeachment, because of how the press treats Trump, because Trump gives off a vibe of loving flyover country as much as the big cities, because Trump will hold rallies in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and North Dakota and wherever. Because Bernie is angry at the right people but not as many of them as Trump? Because Trump has more of a “government is the problem” vibe while the Democrats still have a very strong “government is the solution” vibe.

        And “doing better” is a subjective assessment. If they feel better about things, and they hear the economy is strong, they are more likely to think that Trump is making things better (magically) and attribute poor local economic circumstances to bad luck or something beyond the president’s control. People tend to be emotional when considering their current economic state and the president’s role in it.

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      • LOL, McWing, I’ve been voting Independent, “none of the above” and write ins for almost 50 years. The only Democrat I ever voted for was Obama and I think you all know why. I would vote for him again if I could.

        I’ve never really believed I’ve had a voice but here I am again in another election………..LOL I honestly don’t know why I bother!

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  3. “I still think there will be a brokered D convention and thus Sanders will be out of it, but I am no longer nearly certain of it.”

    If Sanders goes into the convention with a plurality and doesn’t get the nomination, Democrats will absolutely lose as his supporters will revolt.

    The other interesting thing is that Sanders is still running against both the Republicans and the Democratic establishment at the same time. It will be interesting to see how that plays out with the down ballot races if he’s the nominee.

    https://www.newsweek.com/bernie-sanders-faces-backlash-saying-neither-republican-nor-democratic-establishment-can-stop-him-1488599

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  4. Another Russiagate story fails to live up to initial reporting:

    “US intelligence briefer appears to have overstated assessment of 2020 Russian interference

    By Jeremy Diamond, Jake Tapper and Zachary Cohen, CNN
    Updated 5:52 PM ET, Sun February 23, 2020”

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/23/politics/intelligence-briefer-russian-interference-trump-sanders/index.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • I continue to fail to see Russia’s interest in interfering with elections–and now more than ever, given the public attention.

      In terms of private-ish folks creating clickbait sites that take advantage of political fervor to get Facebook users over to their clickfarms, sure. In terms of Russian political advantage, I’m not seeing it.

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      • At least coming in on the side of Trump makes no sense considering the best thing for those commie bastards is the fracking ban and a green new deal. That’s the tell of the Russia hoax, there is no upside with going with Trump.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Which is demonstrable in the fact they claim Russian interference as obvious and provable facts (there’s a scientific consensus between 97% of intelligence agencies) but there’s never a statement of what Russia’s supposed end goal is. They were trying to get Trump elected to accomplish what sorts of things specifically? I’ve heard the Ukraine mentioned–but exactly how is Trump going to help them there? And why? Why would they expect that?

          Wouldn’t the most obvious thing to want to be some kind of lifting of all sanctions and a trade deal?

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  5. Good piece on the failure of all the doomsday predictions about Trump’s foreign policy:

    “What Democrats Aren’t Admitting About Trump’s Record

    The episodes in which critics’ predictions weren’t borne out offer valuable lessons for Trump’s challengers, even if they still vigorously disagree with the moves the president has made.

    Uri Friedman
    February 22, 2020”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/02/democrats-trump-foreign-policy-iran-north-korea/606928/

    Also a good read:

    “Trump’s Transactional. And Estonia’s President Is Cool With It.

    “Thinking back historically, when everybody else said it nicely, we didn’t react,” Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid told us.

    Uri Friedman Yara Bayoumy
    September 24, 2019”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/09/estonias-president-sees-value-trumps-transactionalism/598708/

    Liked by 1 person

    • This pattern has recurred on several occasions during the Trump era: The president’s detractors foretell doom caused by one of his decisions, only to be proved wrong, and then nobody acknowledges that they got it wrong or admits that Trump’s policies have had some advantages.

      I think this unwillingness to admit incorrect analysis and instead just come up with a new batch of likely incorrect predictions is a tendency that convinces nobody. Not sure what the goal is, but it definitely isn’t to convince people there’s a better option than Trump.

      Also, I feel like most of Trump’s voters think Trump’s approaches to China, Iran, and North Korea are strong, America-first, and reflect out-of-the-box thinking we wouldn’t get with a typical American president. And, for good or for ill, I think a lot of Trump’s voters think that this is exactly what they sent him to Washington to do.

      Like

    • Looks like it was deleted. What was it?

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      • He was saying that 99% of Trump supports announce it social media so they will be easy to identify and get fired from Federal Jobs, etc. he’s running for Congress as a Democrat.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Said something like: Not proposing policy – just seeing where people are on this: In 2021, after Trump is gone, we will be able to tell who 90% of his supporters are …

        Apparently someone told him what was wrong with that, and went so far as to get it scrubbed from the accessible Google cache pages. I found that bit in the search engine but looking for the cached page, it’s already been scrubbed. Soon it won’t come up in the search at all.

        I find that interesting.

        Washington Examiner has it. Going to see if posting the image link works:

        Too late to hide things from the Internet.

        https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/democratic-congressional-candidate-polls-twitter-on-whether-pro-trump-federal-employees-should-be-fired

        Like

        • kind of funny after Greg’s “Trump’s purges!” piece from this morning

          Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t visit PlumLine much, but went to check out Greg’s “purges” piece. Written in a tone as if Trump had just purged hundreds of federal employees, it looks like he yanked one woman’s name from being a nominee. That is a purge, to Greg. If Judson got his way and there were mass firings of Trump supporters from the federal government under President Buttigeig, would Greg be complaining about purges then?

          I don’t think so.

          Then he complains about Roger Stone’s sentence reduction, but saying this:
          Even if you think the original recommendation was too strict, this is still not okay, given who Stone is.

          Not: it’s not okay but this isn’t how things done. Or, no it’s not okay because he’s getting a privilege that others don’t under this strict sentencing. Now, it’s not okay given who Stone is. Which is–I guess?–a blustery, bloviating Trump supporter? Thus demanding of the harshest possible sentencing?

          Barr actually did badly mislead the country about the special counsel’s findings.

          Everything he writes about Barr seems like a stretch to me, including that. He presented what he thought was significant, then the full thing came out and people got to decide for themselves. I’m not seeing the “misleading”. And apparently it wasn’t all that, because nothing changed significantly after the full report was released.

          “I don’t think most people understand that the norm we’ve gotten used to of DOJ operating independently from the president is now functionally dead,” Miller told me.

          Reno, Holder, Lynch. But whatever.

          When Trump ousted former National Security Council official Alexander Vindman, who had also tried to stand in the way of Trump’s corruption

          So, anytime you do something that’s not part of your job, disobey orders, work against your superiors, or otherwise don’t do your job you can argue that you were “standing in the way of corruption”.

          At best I feel these folks are selectively standing in the way of corruption at this point in time, because Orange Man Bad. But I’m also pretty sure these kind of “I don’t like the job you’re doing, you’re fired” things are not unique to Trump.

          And we have no idea how much worse it could all get.

          He’s been president for over 3 years now. They should at least have an idea by this point.

          Like

        • KW:

          I haven’t read Greg in years, but it sounds like he is even more of a cartoon character than ever.

          As for the alleged lack of independence of the Justice department, like so much that comes out of the left, it is pure gaslighting. Hillary tries to smear Trump with Russian disinformation during the campaign, and we spend the next 3 years listening to how scandalous it was that Trump had a meeting with a Russian who offered dirt on Hillary. The left carries on and on about the “intolerance” of the right, even as it shames, stigmatizes, and even passes laws against the expression of ideas that the left doesn’t like. Now we have to listen to the supporters of Barry and his “wingman” AG roll out the feinting couches over Barr.

          I’ve said it before, but if you want to know what the left has done or plans on doing, all you need to do is listen to its complaints about what its opponents are allegedly doing, and you know. It is all pure gaslighting.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’d toss in RFK as well.

          Like

  6. “Russia Isn’t Dividing Us — Our Leaders Are

    A last-ditch effort to derail the Sanders campaign fails as voters finally reject the Russia con

    By Matt Taibbi

    The plot running through all of these stories has been the idea that Russia is trying to “undermine our democracy” by “sowing division.” But these charges are coming from the same people who spent the last four years describing Republicans as deplorable fascists, and progressives on the other side as racist, sexist, Nazis, and “digital brownshirts.”

    This has resulted in a four-year parade of official cranks muttering about Russian efforts to “divide” us, when their own relentless message has been that America is besieged by a pair of Hitlerian movements on the left and right that must be put down at all costs. The only vision of “unity” they promote is one of obedience to the crackpot anti-utopia of neoliberalism that populations around the world are currently rejecting at the ballot box.”

    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/russia-sanders-campaign-taibbi-957377/

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope Taibbi doesn’t have some sort of accident. Or have to take a job at the Dispatch after Rolling Stone fires him.

      Like

    • The logic of Russiagate is now beyond absurd. Vladimir Putin, somehow in perfect sync with American voting trends, seeks to elevate both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, apparently to compete against himself in the general election, in a desperate effort to suppress the terrifying political might of, say, Joe Biden. I doubt even Neera Tanden in the depths of a wine coma could believe this plot now.

      That is gold

      Like

  7. I should just probably bow out gracefully here at this point. I tried to fit back in but obviously it’s not going to work……………You’re all a lot smarter than I am and even though I don’t think I’m you’re enemy, because oddly enough I agree with all of you sometimes, I’m still to your left!

    This is not a place for someone like me! 😦

    Like

    • This is not a place for someone like me! 😦

      Yes it is!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Why not? Too right wing? Not fun enough? I am honestly super curious. I kind of bowed out of PlumLine. But I love your participation and was so glad you came back!

      If it’s something I’m doing let me know and I’ll stop! 😀

      Like

      • Hah, I bowed out of PlumLine years ago. I feel as though I don’t fit in politically anywhere Kevin…….I loved Obama because I believed he steered us through a major economic melt down here………and I know none of you agree. I also think the ACA solved a lot of problems even though it wasn’t perfect.

        I think if most of us are willing to admit our health insurance situation is better than pre-Obama. At least that’s the gist I get from most of my friends from both sides of the fence here in CA.

        I think all of you know that health care and insurance issues are where my focus lies and 2nd is Immigration. I live in CA and we have so many wonderful people here hiding from INS that it’s scary.

        Like

        • I don’t think presidents play a huge role in that sort of stuff period. But I liked Obama despite not voting for him (voted 3rd party) and think he’s the best Democratic president of my life time. I don’t have to agree with his politics to like him as president. He really won me over when he went on Fox for that O’Reilly interview.

          My insurance situation is not better, but only about $170 bucks more expensive. Not all of that is Obamacare but some of it is pre-existing condition—that’s not something that’s likely to benefit me, but it could one day. But I don’t like how health insurance works period—I think it should be better catastrophic care and less checkup coverage but it is what it is.

          I’ve got my own theory about a slow expansion of Medicare to cover more catastrophic coverage. Also a big ass carb tax. No sugar subsidies! Or corn subsidies! That stuff leads to like 75% of our healthcare expenses!

          I thing borders should be strong and legal immigration should be simplified. If you can come in and support yourself you should be able to immigrate here.

          I do think we ought to get rid of birthright citizenship, or put a term of residency on it.

          Like

        • lms:

          I live in CA and we have so many wonderful people here hiding from INS that it’s scary.

          I assume they are hiding because they are here illegally. So what is your preferred immigration policy? No immigration laws and open borders?

          Like

        • I remember back in the late 80’s when we did an amnesty program for a year, it may have been longer, and I thought that worked really well here in CA. It wasn’t necessarily easy but it gave people a chance to stay here and become legal without having to go back to Mexico. There are a lot of illegals that have been here for years and years who literally have nothing to go home to in Mexico.

          I know one woman in her 40’s who came here on a work visa about 20 years ago and has been here ever since. She can’t drive or get medical insurance and supports herself as a nanny/house cleaner. She’s a wonderful woman but is terrified to even try for legal status for fear she’ll be sent back.

          We have a lot of people here who would be much better off with an easier path to citizenship but there isn’t one. I think we would benefit from it as well, they would become taxpayers at the very least.

          If they commit a crime, send them back, but otherwise I think we need to figure out a way to make it work, at least for those who have already been here a long time.

          I don’t like the idea of a wall and I don’t like the way Trump talks about immigrants. I have a soft spot for the Mexican people. I grew up in a largely Hispanic neighborhood and at least half the population in my high school was Hispanic.

          Like

        • lms:

          If they commit a crime, send them back, but otherwise I think we need to figure out a way to make it work, at least for those who have already been here a long time.

          The trouble is that all illegals will eventually have “been here a long time” unless you take steps to either 1) stop them from coming in illegally or 2) deport them once you find them. Hence my original question: What immigration policy do you prefer? Do you want open borders? If not open borders, what restriction should we have on legal immigration? And whatever those restrictions are, should we enforce them for people who we subsequently find out are here and have successfully evaded them? Or should we have a policy that, if you successfully avoid being caught as an illegal immigrant for X amount of years, you then get to remain here legally?

          We can all sympathize with the anecdotal plight of individuals, but emotion is not a policy. What are the actual details of a policy that you would support?

          Like

        • Considering the fact that we have approximately 11 million people living here illegally, it makes sense to me to pass legislation to legalize those with no criminal records. What that entails exactly, I don’t know. Perhaps a fine and proof of employment or student status, a temporary citizenship trial period? I’m not a legislator so how that would be written I don’t know.

          I wonder how many of those 11 million have similar stories to my friend? I remember working in restaurants while I was in college and most of the kitchen staff were illegal. INS would raid the restaurants and deport them and two weeks later they were back, sometimes with a brother or cousin in tow. They would live in apartments with 8 to 10 guys and send all their money home. They were hard working decent men but they weren’t paying taxes or benefiting the economy in any way other than cheap labor. I’m not sure much has really changed since then.

          I understand that immigration issues are very complicated and there are no easy answers. It just makes sense to me to admit that our borders will never be secure and that it’s time to tackle the problems from the inside rather than throwing a bunch of money at a wall and hoping it sticks.

          I don’t consider being illegal a criminal act unless they commit other crimes. So yes, I think we should let the people who entered illegally find a way to citizenship without being deported. I like to imagine the tax revenue they would contribute! 😉

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        • lms:

          It just makes sense to me to admit that our borders will never be secure and that it’s time to tackle the problems from the inside.

          Do you even want secure borders? That is the first question. You won’t say explicitly that you want open borders, but it seems to me that you do. If you want to give anyone who has successfully crossed the border, whether legally or not, citizenship (or at least permanent residency), and you refuse to support any restrictions on legal immigration for those who are not already here, then I don’t see any distinction between what you want and open borders with no immigration policy at all.

          Everyone in the world gets to be a US citizen, or at least the right to live and work in the US in perpetuity, as long as they can manage to get there. If that isn’t what you want, then how does what you want differ from that?

          Like

        • @lmsinca: How would you feel about an immigration reform plan that included amnesty for illegals tied to full funding for a wall?

          Walls can work. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have so many of them in the world. Nothing is perfect but every obstacle to illegal immigration will reduce illegal immigration by some amount. A wall would be expensive but the government spends a lot of money, anyway.

          To get folks like me to sign on to any kind of amnesty plan, there would have to be some definitive plan to increase border security. A wall infrastructure can be a good way–especially if the construction includes sensors to detect foot traffic or wall-impacts. A wall could do a lot to simplify border patrol.

          It’s not perfect, but it’s an obvious step to take in terms of providing border security, and it’s entirely reason for a country to want to be able to control its border.

          Then we can focus on visa overstays. 😉

          Like

        • Scott, I think we need to better secure the borders and also make it easier for immigrants, especially from Mexico, to become citizens. No, I don’t believe in open borders. I do think we’re wasting our time and money worrying about people who are already here and making them fear deportation. There should be a process to getting here permanently and it shouldn’t necessarily be a cake walk. At the same time the 11 million people here already should be paying their way and have a path to citizenship without fear of being deported. It probably doesn’t make sense to do that but I think that’s what we need to do.

          Kevin, the problem for me with a wall is that we’re stigmatizing a nation that has always been on our south western border and the money to build it could be better spent. We used to have an immigration stop on one of the main freeways coming from San Diego to the Inland Empire and LA. Budget cuts did away with it. We used to have to stop there on every trip coming from my parents house or the beach we go to. They were always pulling cars over and questioning people or searching their cars. I prefer that type of policing to a wall. I suppose it the wall is linked to an Amnesty program it would be useful but I doubt we will ever actually pass another Amnesty program. We’re not a very forgiving country anymore.

          The bill in 2013, which was a bipartisan bill, passed the Senate but was never brought to the House floor for a vote. If I remember correctly, it wasn’t called Amnesty but there was a path to citizenship for illegals already here contingent upon some increased funding for border security and waiting in line behind those who were already pursuing legal status.

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        • lms:

          I do think we’re wasting our time and money worrying about people who are already here and making them fear deportation.

          I just want to be clear. It seems that for you, then, the primary qualification for US residency status should be the ability to cross the border without detection. Once a person is “already here” they should be automatically granted citizenship/permanent residency, regardless of whether or not they would have been granted entry had they been detected. Is that correct?

          Like

        • @lmsinca:

          Kevin, the problem for me with a wall is that we’re stigmatizing a nation that has always been on our south western border and the money to build it could be better spent.

          I don’t see it as stigmatizing particularly, and in terms of illegal border crossings the problem is–to my knowledge–much worse on our southern border than our northern border. It’s the border where a wall makes more sense–and, frankly, is just another form of border control. If patrols are okay and non-stigmatizing, I don’t see why a wall should be, myself.

          We used to have an immigration stop on one of the main freeways coming from San Diego to the Inland Empire and LA. Budget cuts did away with it.

          Was that a federal decision or a state decision? Just curious as to who had control of dispensation of funds.

          I suppose it the wall is linked to an Amnesty program it would be useful but I doubt we will ever actually pass another Amnesty program. We’re not a very forgiving country anymore.

          That may be because the last amnesty didn’t do anything to control illegal immigration and may have encouraged it–one of the reasons I wouldn’t support amnesty without a secure southern border (and better visa enforcement).

          And I do tend to think illegal immigration is a crime, but that’s just me. Because I would never in a million years think about illegally crossing into another country (at least on purpose!) or overstaying a visa (at least, on purpose). I could see characterizing such things as misdemeanors, and slapping violators with fines. Really, we should be using working illegal aliens as a source of revenue, IMO.

          I have noted here and elsewhere I disagree with deporting illegal aliens except when they are arrested in the commission of another crime. I think deportation is a much bigger waste of money than building a wall–especially without a wall! But I don’t see the financial argument for mass deportation, or how it’s going to benefit American citizens to do so ultimately.

          The bill in 2013, which was a bipartisan bill, passed the Senate but was never brought to the House floor for a vote. If I remember correctly, it wasn’t called Amnesty but there was a path to citizenship for illegals already here contingent upon some increased funding for border security and waiting in line behind those who were already pursuing legal status.

          It’s gridlock. Which ultimately I approve of. I’d be okay with the broad strokes of that bill, at least. But I’d prefer a quick in-place amnesty for illegals to become complete and legal at some point of completion of a border wall–say, 75%. Which I don’t think will happen but that’s what I’d like!

          And if it ever became useful or necessary, I’d be all for a wall on our northern border as well. I like a fence around my yard and walls on my house, too! 😉

          Like

        • Scott

          It seems that for you, then, the primary qualification for US residency status should be the ability to cross the border without detection.

          No, I think I said we need a better path to legal status and secure borders. I don’t see why we can’t do both. Deporting and criminalizing 11 million people, 70% of whom are from Mexico, is a waste of both time and money. Why not enable a path to legality for them instead? It could include a fine of some sort, a waiting period, and also to be placed behind others who are pursing a legal path. If they’ve committed crimes send them back. The fear of deportation and criminal status needs to be lifted IMO.

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        • lms:

          No, I think I said we need a better path to legal status and secure borders.

          Sure, but you also said that people who are “already here” should not have to fear deportation, and that it was a waste of time and money worrying about them.

          So let’s clarify. Assume the following scenario: Person X enters the US illegally by sneaking across the border. He spends the next 2 years living and working illegally in the US, at which point he is discovered by the federal authorities. Should X be given US residency and allowed to stay, or should immigration authorities seek to deport X for having entered the country illegally?

          Why not enable a path to legality for them instead?

          Because it rewards and encourages people to enter the country illegally, and punishes those who follow the rules.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Kevin

          It’s the border where a wall makes more sense–and, frankly, is just another form of border control. If patrols are okay and non-stigmatizing, I don’t see why a wall should be, myself.

          When you talk about it it doesn’t sound so bad. When Trump talks about it saying Mexico is sending their rapists, drug cartels and murderers here, it sound as though he’s lumping all the people of Mexico into a class of people that we need a wall to keep out.

          Looks like we agree on mass deportation and I’ll have to do some research on the border check point. I thought it was federally funded but I could be wrong.

          We have a very confusing immigration policy that hasn’t really been reformed since the 80’s I think. In that regard I don’t appreciate the gridlock surrounding the issue. While Trump is in office I kind of like it though……;-)

          Edited because I pasted the wrong quote here earlier……………….my name is Joe Biden and I’m running for the Senate. Not quite as old as Joe but not that far behind.

          Like

        • When you talk about it it doesn’t sound so bad.

          And that’s why I’ll never be president!

          When Trump talks about it saying Mexico is sending their rapists, drug cartels and murderers here, it sound as though he’s lumping all the people of Mexico into a class of people that we need a wall to keep out.

          I’m not a fan of his language choices. Wish we had a guy with a lot of the same ideas but a nicer way of putting it.

          But I think we should control our borders and our southern border is there one where the porousness of it is the biggest problem. I’m for liberalizing immigration laws and processes but I do believe we need to be able to control our border. A wall is historically a good way to do this, particularly if it’s difficult to climb over or dig under. It will probably cost more than it’s financial return over 50 years or whatnot to the country, but that’s true of the majority of money the government spends. We spend trillions on healthcare, most of it in the last year of life, and there’s literally zero financial return for that money! And we could build a wall around the entire US twice for the money we spend on end-of-life care that ends up with the patient dead, anyway, in a single year! I think. I’d need to check the numbers but I may be understating it.


          Looks like we agree on mass deportation and I’ll have to do some research on the border check point. I thought it was federally funded but I could be wrong.

          I figure it was, which was why I asked about dispensation–some stuff is federally funded but the state allocates the money, where as other stuff is the federal government coming in and saying: we are putting this here. Seems very odd that the federal government would have put and end to that–because I agree, that’s low-hanging fruit. Illegal immigration and especially drug trafficking is likely to go by road, as would any kind of mass human trafficking. While I do support a wall–I support checkpoints more. Eh, maybe they had statistics that said it was working like they hoped.

          I know driving from San Diego to Anaheim last time I was in California I ran into a checkpoint, which was confusing to me. I was like–I never left America! What is this?

          I was pissed that it slowed me down, because time was of the essence, but I get the immgration control value.

          In that regard I don’t appreciate the gridlock surrounding the issue. While Trump is in office I kind of like it though……;-)

          I’m pro-gridlock, all the time! It’s easy to believe that all the things I like and support are genius and would be great for the world, but even my genius ideas need to run the gauntlet. If they can’t get through, maybe they aren’t as genius as I thought.

          We’d have more and better gridlock if we could limit the president’s power. I’d like to see legislation restricting what the president can do by executive order, and see all the expansions of executive power granted by the Patriot Act rolled back.

          Given that I don’t think many if any of the politicians in DC are serious about governing or “the common good” (if they were, in my opinion, the Patriot Act would be defunct now, amongst other things) . . . gridlock is the next best thing. It’s where both sides are agreeing on things generally that there’s real trouble!

          Like

      • @scottc1: Person X enters the US illegally by sneaking across the border. He spends the next 2 years living and working illegally in the US, at which point he is discovered by the federal authorities. Should X be given US residency and allowed to stay, or should immigration authorities seek to deport X for having entered the country illegally?

        While I don’t think we should be spending money searching for him, per se, if discovered (say, stopped for reckless driving) then he should be deported. No one tricked him into coming here. He knew he was breaking the rules when he did it, and this was always a possibility because he decided to go the extra-legal route. Same with folks overstaying their visas. They know that they are doing. They just want to be above the law, and in that way, they are no better than Trump! And didn’t all the Democrats just get together a try to deport Trump from office?

        They should understand the logic here!

        Why not enable a path to legality for them instead?
        Because it rewards and encourages people to enter the country illegally, and punishes those who follow the rules.

        I agree with this generally, although I still say I wouldn’t mind a one-time path-to-citizenship thing that comes with a giant frackin’ wall attached. It’s a way to deal with the situation productively and humanely if we know we have control over our border. If we don’t control our border (or enforce our visas) any better than we did when they came over (or overstayed) and by doing so knowingly broke the law, then a “path to citizenship” is no different than open borders, and it’s a slow slide into simply not being a sovereign nation.

        Tulis Gabbard understands.

        Like

  8. Btw Scott, I was wondering about your girls and their college education but your email here doesn’t work……….anywhoo hope they’re doing well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lms:

      Strange that my email doesn’t work. It should.

      Anyway, number one graduated from BC, spent 2 years as a counsellor in a local high school, and is now getting her masters in social work, again at BC. She is still in Boston living with her girlfriend(!).

      Number 2 graduated from Clemson and immediately moved out to LA last summer to go to USC and get a master in Occupational Therapy. She’s not a fan of LA, though, so I don’t think she will stay out there after school.

      Number 3 is in her sophomore year at Georgetown. Majoring in Math and Economics (finally one of them listened to me!) but not at all sure what she wants to do with herself. Her primary activity outside of academics is singing in an a cappella group called the saxatones.

      That’s the update!

      Like

      • Thanks for the update. Sounds like they’re all doing well. I spent some time as a high school counselor in my 20’s as well. I didn’t care for it too much………..LOL

        LA can be a nightmare but there are a lot of things to do anyway.

        And at least you have one that listened, none of mine really did but they turned out ok!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Neither of my kids are going to have listened to me. I’ve argued they should learn to code . . . but they aren’t interested!

        Like

  9. “You seem happy with him as president so I can’t really argue with you. It’s funny to me how, AFAIK, none of you voted for him.”

    My feelings on Trump are complicated. I didn’t vote for him in 2016, and actually marked Clinton on the ballot as did NoVA. I suspect we had similar reasons. For me, it was worrying that the downside risk of Trump wasn’t worth any possible upside, and Clinton was the status quo candidate and the status quo had been pretty good to me. Especially if she had to deal with a Republican congress and gridlock.

    Having said that, Trump has mostly turned out better than expected on policy while he continues to be a disaster as a role model, advocate for his own side and on staffing.

    However, when it comes to Internet posting I’m definitely an anti-anti-Trumper, and by that I mean that the criticism of Trump from people on PL and elsewhere on the Internet (“He’s been a Russian agent since 1987”) is so over the top that it has to be objected to simply to defend the truth. I put myself in the camp of Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi in that regard. This usually ends up with my being accused of being a Trump supporter and/or a Russian.

    My main issue with Trump is probably immigration and family separation, in that in addition to cracking down on illegal immigration he’s also trying to deter legal immigration. Again though, policies like “kids in cages” didn’t start with Trump. He just made them worse. And no, they aren’t “concentration camps” either.

    The problem for me with just accepting Trump and going with four more years is that past performance may not be indicative of future performance. I.e. I think he’s getting worse.

    The Democrats have done their best to make their candidates unacceptable alternatives though on taxes and gun rights, so I don’t know what I’m going to do for 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with most of what you’ve written. I think a lot of the hyperbolic language coming from the left actually does us (not including you in that us), who lean left, more harm than good. And yes the Democrats have no one to appeal to many of us on a number of issues.

      I really dislike Trump as a human being, I don’t say that often. The language he uses, as well as his preferred policies, toward immigration reform bother me more than most of the things he says. I don’t think much of his stand on health care reform either. Luckily for him, the country has continued to bounce back from the recession or I think he would be voted out of office.

      I don’t know what I’m going to do this election either as far as voting goes. I keep hoping for a miracle from the Dems but I don’t really see a path for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wish Gary Johnson and Bill Weld were running again as the Libertarian candidates.

        It’s interesting that the Libertarians still have a real convention where their primaries don’t bind the delegates.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_Libertarian_Party_presidential_primaries

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think that’s actually better. I think the democracy should be reserved for the actual election. Honestly, I think the old system of delegates basically making the decision at the convention tended to give us higher quality candidates.

          I also wouldn’t have any problem with the state legislatures appointing senators. It gives the states power, the state legislatures are elected by the state’s voters . . . nothing wrong with that system.

          I do think the electoral college should be bound by the popular vote of their state, however. If the executive branch was another governing body, like a 50 person committee, I wouldn’t have a problem with the members of the committee being selected by state electors. But then I’d want the electors to be an actual state elected office.

          Like

  10. @lmsinca: I admit that the economy seems to be working for most of us, I’m just not sure that those “flyover” areas are getting the deal they think from Trump.

    Generally, a “rising tide lifts all boats”–at least in terms of overall electorate. You will always find people and pockets doing poorly, no matter how good the country is doing.

    But I think a lot is psychology. How do people feel about how they are doing? If they are happy enough, they might vote for the incumbent or just not be bothered to vote because they aren’t in an emotional state that makes them want to go through the bother.

    But it’s hard to read minds or really guess if folks in flyover country like Trump because he’s very much like having a pro-wrestler president, or don’t like him because he’s really an awful role model, communicator, and advocate for Republicans. So I look at historical trends and the power of incumbency for president’s in Trump’s position is extremely strong. I think he’s going to win re-election, and everything else is just talk.

    But historical trends are trends until they aren’t. So you never do know!

    You seem happy with him as president so I can’t really argue with you.

    I’m not unhappy with him. But this would be true of almost any president who didn’t get us involved in some kind of endless war somewhere else. I like aspects of his presidency, especially in terms of policy. Others I don’t. When I hear him speak in almost any context, it makes me long for the eloquence of Obama . . . or even George W. Bush! Also think the vape ban is just him getting rolled by the strange bedfellows of big tobacco and actual health advocates. Would be good if he was more concerned about the family-separation policy and was really arguing to fix that–might be, for all I know, but I haven’t heard of it if he is.

    It’s funny to me how, AFAIK, none of you voted for him.

    Trump has been much bettered than I feared. Not sure if I’d vote for him if it mattered, but since I know it does not I’m not going to vote for him this time, either. But Tennessee will 100% go for Trump.

    I’ll probably do a “none of the above” vote or write someone in if it’s between Trump and Sanders.

    I’ll probably write in Tulsi Gabbard. She’s to the left of me on a lot of things, but I like her. And HRC called her a Russian asset so you know she’s got to be doing something right.

    Regarding my last paragraph: it is my opinion that this is how a lot of independents and swing-voters make their voting decisions. In any case, no president since I’ve been an adult has turned out anything like I thought they would before the election. So I consider presidential elections to be a system for randomizing and varying results (and thus refreshing the system and avoiding monarchy or dictatorship) that makes people feel involved while providing results that are not dissimilar to a result decided by weighted random numbers.

    That is, let us say we had a program that selected the winning candidate by picking a number between 1 and 10. Then add weighting by a handful factors, such as incumbency, unemployment rate, gas prices, purchasing power, stock market average, etc). The results would, like as not, look pretty much like what we’ve gotten. We just use a bunch of people as the source to seed the weighted random result that gets us a president. 😉

    Like

    • When I hear him speak in almost any context, it makes me long for the eloquence of Obama . . . or even George W. Bush!

      That made me laugh, I’ve recently realized that I miss George W also. Trump opens his mouth and I cringe.

      I admit that you’re probably correct regarding the economy and people’s sense of being better off financially, at least in general.

      But like JNC, I fear what he will be and do if given another 4 years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a valid fear. Trump is always going to be something of a wild card, and there is a possibility he’ll have a compliant house after 2020. So then what happens? My guess would be GOP overreach . . . but nobody has a crystal ball.

        Yet America survived Woodrow Wilson. And I might argue we also had to survive LBJ. We survived Nixon. Some might argue we survived FDR. One might also argue we survived John Adams, Andrew Jackson and even Lincoln–depending on who is talking about them and at what time in history.

        In my own lifetime I have been assured that Nixon was the end of democracy, Carter was going to ruin us, Reagan was going to start World War III and we were all going to die, George H.W. was real bad for reasons, Clinton was going to destroy the economy, Dubya was basically Hitler reborn, Obama was a secret Muslim and was going to destroy the country, and now Trump is New Hitler and going to destroy the country.

        Sanders or Trump: we will survive. Sanders would have exactly two years to advance the cause of socialism before getting saddled with a rock-solid Republican congress. Trump may have a Republican house from 2020-2022 but I expect the Democrats will take the house back in 2022. Checks and balances, baby!

        None of us may be living in our own personal utopia (and your personal utopia isn’t going to be mind, so most people will never be satisfied no matter who is in charge and no matter what they do). But the system keeps the lights on and the water running so . . . I remain generally optimistic!

        🙂

        Like

        • Oh yes, all the dire predictions and yet here we are still plugging along as a nation. I teased the other day about leaving but I’m too much of a patriot for that and I’ve been campaigning since I was in the 6th grade………….LOL, opposing my father’s Republicanism.

          I tend to slide into complacence when the elections are over because “what will be will be”.

          Liked by 1 person

        • “I remain generally optimistic!”

          I’m the opposite. I think the United States as a society peaked with the moon landings and is now in a state of decline that started with Watergate and the Vietnam War.

          There was a brief recovery with Reagan, but the end of the Cold War has left the United States without a unifying organizing principle and now it’s coming apart.

          Trump is a symptom of that, not the cause.

          Liked by 1 person

        • jnc:

          There was a brief recovery with Reagan, but the end of the Cold War has left the United States without a unifying organizing principle and now it’s coming apart.

          Very much agree.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’m the opposite. I think the United States as a society peaked with the moon landings and is now in a state of decline that started with Watergate and the Vietnam War.

          I think it’s fair to say we peaked with the moon landings–particularly in terms of government, although we were already in Viet Nam. Which tends to bolster my contention that we’re always taking two steps in the right direction and then two steps in the wrong diretction.

          There was a brief recovery with Reagan, but the end of the Cold War has left the United States without a unifying organizing principle and now it’s coming apart.

          I think there’s a lot of truth to that. At the same time, I don’t think it’s ever a straight line. I’d pick our present situation over America during the Wilson administration any day of the week!

          I think we’re still moving forward, just not in every area and often not as much as we could be. But I remain generally optimistic. Specifically, I’m not optimistic about our military adventurism, space exploration, or civil unity. I think we have peaked in terms of general education and will forever decline, more and more substituting technology for knowledge (but there will always be outliers).

          But on the whole I think we will keep on trucking–generally. Certain specific areas, like obsolete businesses, will languish and die. We may not have serious space exploration the way we once expected to for 50 or 100 or 150 years. Assuming we survive that long, which I think we will. Just as I don’t expect we will ever have a huge manufacturing base again, or that coal mining is going to be a huge sector of the economy.

          But for the next five or ten or fifteen years I think we will be facing the Trump-type/reality television/social media/safe space conflict. And we may never get to a point where we generally agree on what constitutes civility and what is permissible to say. But hopefully we can at least still be arguing about it.

          But I believe we will continue to solve problems while creating new ones. Some things will get better while other things get worse.

          I couldn’t tote around a supercomputer that gave me access to all the world’s knowledge (and let me communicate with anyone in the world, and find my way to anywhere in the world) in my pocket back when we landed on the moon (even if I hadn’t been 4 months old at the time!).

          I remember being in high school I think and getting lost in my own city. I had a real estate Handy Map, and I remember flipping through pages trying to find where I was and then figure out over pages and pages how to get to somewhere from which I would know how to get home. Now I can just tell my phone to do it.

          I have access to better medicines and medical treatments for a broad spectrum of things unavailable in 1969.

          Of course, we were all generally healthier (aside from smoking, which has much improved over the past 50 years) in 1970. Processed food manufacturers, corn growers, and the government have kind of conspired over the past 50 years to actually shorten the average lifespan and widely expand disease. So that’s definitely worse.

          But I expect it will get much better over the next 50 years, while other things (of course) get worse.

          I’ll leave you with the good news from Vox!

          https://www.vox.com/2014/11/24/7272929/global-poverty-health-crime-literacy-good-news

          Which is not really about America, but still reasons to be generally optimistic about the future!

          But there are positive stats about the US, too. Including on crime–one of the things that Trump lied about during the campaign that really got my goat!

          Like

    • “Would be good if he was more concerned about the family-separation policy and was really arguing to fix that”

      It’s his policy. It’s what he wants as a deterrent to Central American immigration. And it along with his other policies are working as intended to reduce the immigration, provided that you don’t care about the cost.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/remain-in-mexico-deportation-asylum-guatemala/2020/02/20/9c29f53e-4eb7-11ea-9b5c-eac5b16dafaa_story.html

      Like

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