Loony Lefty Jill Stein – Russia, Part Deux

Loony Lefty Jill Stein and the Russian influence investigation

Who is this loony? She claimed:

1] There are “real questions” about whether vaccines cause autism in children.

2] wi-fi in schools might be harming kids.

Her dependence on RT was notable:

3] RT regular Ajamu Baraka, who slammed the “gangster states of NATO,” was her choice for VP.

4] The only network to consistently cover her candidacy and invite her on air was RT.

5] RT hosted a primary debate for the Green Party.

6] She travelled to Russia in 2015 to attend that dinner where Putin lauded Flynn.

7] Shortly before that she attended an RT event and met with the Ambassador.

8] Claimed no knowledge of how and why Assange addressed the Green Convention on closed circuit to promote the wikileaks/Russian exposure of DNC emails.

9] Pretty much spouted the Russian lines about HRC throughout the campaign.

Now she claims that Senate committee interest in her Russian ties is an attempt to smear her and that she sees no evidence of Russian interference during the campaign season, because the intelligence community is often wrong.

Back in the day when the only foreign money in an American campaign was Canadian, MX, or Brit, generally from investors in multinational sellers like Schenley’s and Molson’s and Dos Equis, and generally to both parties, this was all tolerable. It was during the Clinton-Dole race when Chinese and Indian money went to Clinton and Saudi money to Dole in very big sums that we saw how campaigns could be bent and beholden. The Russians knew that this loony was a spoiler on the margins, and they knew that DJT was not a cold warrior R. Their objective was disruption and fragmentation of their adversary, and they could pick a D next time if it suited them, which it might well, against a traditional R.

I don’t know how we can possibly stop it from happening again. But somehow, keeping anti-American, as opposed to simply commercial, interests out of our campaigns would be a good thing. My guess is that the best we can do is continuing exposure.

Could we force American media voting ownership to be limited to American citizens? Would there be a constitutional bar? Could we create a credible ombudsman to expose the source of digital media rumors, in a timely fashion?  I wonder what the Intelligence Committees will advise.

And Jill Stein remains a complete loony.

Morning Report: Home Prices within 1% of peak 11/28/16

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2206.0 -58.0
Eurostoxx Index 340.9 -1.6
Oil (WTI) 47.0 0.9
US dollar index 91.7 -0.1
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.33%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 104
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.14

Investors return to the markets after the Thanksgiving holiday contemplating a re-litigation of the 2016 Presidential election. Bonds and MBS are up.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein is requesting a recount in PA, MI, and WI. Donald Trump took to Twitter to condemn the effort and alleged that “millions” of votes were fraudulent. The Clinton campaign is keeping its distance but will watch to make sure outside players aren’t interfering with the process. If she manages to turn all 3 states, then she could win. One question that has come up has been whether Russia could have hacked the voting machines. That possibility looks unlikely.

Since the election, bank stocks have increased their market caps by $300 billion. The bet is that a roll-back of regulation will increase profits.

The highlight of the week will be the jobs report on Friday. The Street is looking for 170k jobs added, an unemployment rate of 4.9% and an increase in average hourly earnings of 0.2%.

The FOMC minutes from the early November meeting were a non-event, and the FOMC is definitely setting the stage for a December hike: “Most participants expressed a view that it could well become appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate relatively soon, so long as incoming data provided some further evidence of continued progress toward the Committee’s objectives.” In fact, a “few” participants wanted a hike at the November meeting. The December FOMC meeting is in two weeks.

The FHFA raised the conforming limit from 417k to $424k. This was the first increase in 10 years. They also increased the high balance conforming limit to $636k.

Home Prices rose 0.1% in September and are up 5.4% YOY. Home prices are now within a percent of their peaks from June 2006.

Black Friday saw more shoppers, but less spending than in the past. About 154 million bought something in a store or online over the weekend, but they only spent about $289 as opposed to $300 a year ago. The National Retail Federation attributed the drop in spending to deep discounts offered by retailers. Black Friday online purchases were up 22% YOY.

Morning Report: Will the late teens resemble the early 80s? 11/10/16

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2167.5 7.0
Eurostoxx Index 340.7 0.9
Oil (WTI) 44.9 -0.3
US dollar index 89.3 0.4
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.09%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 104
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.75

Stocks are higher this morning as the markets come to grips with a Trump presidency. Bonds and MBS are down.

Strangely, the 2 year bond is trading at 90 basis points, while the consensus is that we should be getting 2 more rate hikes by late 2018. This is even more surprising given the action in the 10 year. A poll of economists and strategists indicates that the Fed will still raise rates in December. Given the market action since Trump won, the Fed has every excuse to do so.

Trump will not ask for Janet Yellen’s resignation. That said, she probably won’t get re-nominated when her term expires in 2018. Donald Trump has been critical of Fed policy, insisting that rates should be higher than where they are now.

After an appeals court ruling, President Trump could fire CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

Mortgage Applications fell 1.2% last week as purchases rose 1% and refis fell 3%. The average interest rate for a 30 year fixed conforming mortgage rose 2 basis points to 3.77%.

Initial Jobless Claims fell to 254k last week as employers continue to hang onto their workers.

The conventional wisdom that a Trump victory would be stock bearish, bond bullish, and dollar bearish turned out to be dead wrong, at least initially. Stocks were destroyed in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, and then had a massive turnaround during the day. Legendary investor Carl Icahn probably singlehandedly cleaned up the sellers overnight, pouring $1 billion into S&P 500 futures. He was probably up about 6% on that trade by noon.

The overall feel to the tape is “risk on” and investors are definitely selling bonds to buy stocks. Financials, Pharma, and construction stocks led the charge. Surprisingly the homebuilder ETF (XHB) underperformed. Ultimately a Trump presidency should be bullish for housing, so I am surprised at the stock action.

The more I think about it, the more I believe the Trump presidency will most closely resemble the early Reagan Administration economically. Reagan took over after a long period of economic underperformance and shocks to the economy. Early in his administration, the Fed was tightening while fiscal policy loosened. I think that dynamic is going to play out here, as the government cuts taxes, deregulates, and spends on infrastructure while the Fed methodically raises interest rates off the zero bound. Ultimately the Fed has an easier job here, as they don’t have the raging inflation problem and any recession will probably be more mild since we are already at full employment. I don’t see a deep recession like 81-82 in the cards, however we are certainly in uncharted territory with monetary policy worldwide. The biggest difference is that that the early 80s ended a secular bear market in bonds that began in the 50s. This time around, we are ending a secular bull market in bonds that started in the early 80s. Note that we are also probably at the beginning of a secular bull market in stocks, just like the early 80s.

10 year long term.PNG

The Lessons To Be Learned from This Election – 11/09/16

trumpup

First, a disconsolate victory lap for the predictions I got right. I believed Trump would take Florida, and he did. I believed he could win the election, although as election night neared I decided he would not. So, I ultimately was swayed by the polls and my general sense of his awfulness as a candidate. So I was mostly wrong, but at least I foresaw the possibility that he would win.

I warned a few very cocky liberals and Democrats at the Plum Line to be careful what they wish for. During the Republican primary, they were talking about crossing party lines, even temporarily registering as Republicans to vote for Trump. They were excited about the possibility of Trump being the nominee, because he was clearly the most easily defeat-able Republican.

No small number of liberals helped Trump to win the Republican nomination. Those few cases where I interacted with them, I warned them to be careful what they wished for. So, did I call that, or what? I called it when there were still 14 Republican presidential hopefuls.

It was the same thing I said during 2008, when excited Republicans were calling into Rush Limbaugh to report how they had crossed party lines and voted for Barack Obama. Tee-hee-hee! There’s just no way Barack Obama could possibly win. Limbaugh doesn’t tend to bring up his campaign to make Barack Obama the Democratic nominee in 2008, but he did it.

Be careful what you wish for. I would always recommend folks vote for what they want, not to game the system. But people will always want to be too clever by half. Human nature.

So, that’s lesson 1 (other than always listening to me, because 60% of the time I’m right all the time): be careful what you wish for. You might get it. And then keep getting it, even though you want it to stop now.


cliches

I think lesson number 2 is the demographics isn’t destiny, at least not yet.

It might be, 8 years from now or 16 years from now or 24 years from now, but not yet. The corollary lesson is: impatience is not a virtue. Demographics looks to be the critical factor in American elections in the future, but it isn’t yet, and saying “But I want it now” like Veruca Salt doesn’t make it happen.

In fact, it might end up with your candidate being determined a bad egg and getting memory-holed by a reclusive serial child-abuser disguising himself as a chocolatier.


polls

Lesson 3 is that polls are not worthless, just almost worthless.

In the lead up to the election, while Trump was complaining that the vote would be rigged, there was some interesting discussing on the Plum Line about how elections weren’t rigged, but Republicans only won when they rigged elections.

The primary example given was 2004, where exit polls predicted a clear Kerry victory, but somehow George W. Bush stole the election. Although an incumbent president who replaced a president of the opposite party almost always wins re-election. But never mind, it was stolen, because the exit polls said Kerry won. Kerry did, briefly, mull a challenge to the results based on those exit polls.

But the problem wasn’t that Bush stole the election, the problem was that the exit polling was bad. This time, almost all the polling was off. The polls captured growing momentum as election night neared, but in no way captured the scale of Trump’s electoral victory.

Another way to restate this lesson: don’t trust the polls.


dkh

Lesson 4 is a lesson for both parties and political sides, but I think it’s particularly applicable to the Democrats and liberals in this cycle: name calling is fine, if it’s your opponent or common enemies of the people. It’s bad when it’s potential voters.

Making everyone who disagrees with you into a hopeless racist sexist bigot homophobe beyond redemption is a losing strategy. And will continue to do so, until demographics finally do become destiny. Until then, insisting there is no reason not to call a spade a spade, and you will, in principle, stand tall and strong and call everyone who doesn’t agree with you a Nazi, is not a winning strategy.

There is a deeper dive into the risks of playing identity politics that could and should be had, but that’s a future lesson.

Insulting the voters also applies to the Republicans, of course, but I think it’s pretty clear who had the lower opinion of rural folks, flyover country, and middle-town America in this election. Not to mention what Democrats apparently think of folks south of the Mason-Dixon line.


sara-palin1

Lesson 5 is mostly for the Democrats: when playing identity politics, stick with race, not gender. An important part of identity politics ultimately has to be that the candidate reflects the identity of the class of people you want to vote for you. Ergo, Obama was a successful candidate in terms of identity politics. He got African-Americans to turn out and vote Democrat in unprecedented numbers and, importantly, vote for him specifically.

Hillary was unable to do that with women, and I’m not sure any woman could. Could Sarah Palin? Carly Fiorina? I don’t think so. Not every potential grouping of humanity is susceptible to identity politics-style appeals. Whichever woman finally does become president, in other words, it’s not going to be because she is a woman and “it’s time”.


george-soros

Lesson 5? Money doesn’t buy electoral victories.

This will be lost on most of the left, I expect, but it’s simply true. Demonstrated repeatedly. Donald Trump didn’t spend as much as Clinton. His supporters didn’t spend as much on him as Romney’s did on their candidate. The PACs weren’t as flush with cash. Jeb! Bush had far more money, and spent far more money, in the primaries than Trump, and went nowhere. Meddlesome billionaires poured cash into the election, and not just in ads, but into support networks and astroturfing and on and on. The result? Rich jerk who occasionally said positive things about the working class, and actually would do a little fighting for them, sort of, won the election. Oligarchs who plowed money into the election like their lives depended on it lost.

As corollary, I would say another lesson, to be learned or ignored, is this: in a democracy, the elites and oligarchs ignore the proletariat and the common man at their peril.


giphy

Lesson 6? Presidential debates just aren’t that important.

Might be becoming less important as time goes on. Neither performed that well but Trump was generally seen as the loser. My own observations were that he did not come off as presidential, and sometimes not even as competent. He missed obvious opportunities, was not articulate, and mostly HRC more than held her own against him. Ultimately, none of that seemed to matter that much.


Predictions now?

  1. Hillary will not go to jail, despite Trump’s implying that she’d be in jail under a Trump presidency.
  2. There will be more turn over in the Trump cabinet than is typical. This may not be a bad thing.
  3. Deportation will become self-deportation, perhaps a beefing up of e-Verify.
  4. There will be no wall.
  5. He will urge the house to repeal ObamaCare. It will become something similar with a different name. I don’t believe pre-existing condition coverage will be going anywhere. Now that the Republicans control everything, Obamacare will cease to be a huge issue.
  6. Many on the left will rend their garments and tear out their hair, predicting that abortion will be outlawed, all Mexicans forcibly deported, Muslims shot on site at airports, etc. None of this will happen, but nobody will be called out on their crazy predictions.
  7. Democrats will continue to make a serious push for an end to the electoral college, especially if they get the house or the senate in midterms, but will make no headway.
  8. The filibuster, if used much, will get the nuclear option. For reals, this time.
  9. And, my far out prediction? Trump puts some fairly well-known Democrats in his cabinet, and maybe plays identity politics (minorities edition) with some of his choices.
  10. And, along with that, keep in mind that Trump is less partisan than he is Trumptastic. He will continue to make enemies amongst Republicans and Democrats. It won’t matter, he’ll still win re-election in another close race in 2020.

Scott Adam’s is a Fascist 6-8-16

Today, Amanda Marcotte published an article in Salon maintaining that Dilbert has Gone Fascist.

As an interesting aside, I discovered this when I was typing in the words “scott adams” into my search bar to get to Scott Adams blog. Google and/or Apple is apparently heavily invested in making sure that everybody who wants to go to Scott Adam’s blog gets a chance to read Amanda Marcotte’s wisdom on Dilbert’s/Scott Adams’ embrace of racism.

scottadamssearchbar

Anyway, onto Marcotte:

In the real world, Trump has off-the-charts unfavorability ratings, but in the world of Scott Adams, Trump is  a svengali of politics, headed for a landslide in November, due to the enormous persuasive power of racist cracks and non sequitur ramblings. If you read enough of Adams’s blog, it becomes quickly apparent that the only reason Adams thinks this is because he himself is persuaded to vote for Trump. And, like his fellow narcissistic Donald Trump, Adams mistakes his views for the majority.

I think this is a legitimate objection to Scott Adams’ insistence that Trump will win by a landslide in November. Specifically, what I have not seen Adams address is the difficulty of persuading entrenched opposition. Persuasion and branding are powerful things, but their effects are also often semi-permanent to permanent. Once successfully persuaded to buy fully into something from a car brand to a computer ecosystem to an ideology, it’s very difficult to brand and persuade someone out of it.

If you’ve been buying Apple Macintosh computers for years, your next one is likely to be an Apple Macintosh, and no amount of compelling persuasion techniques by Lenovo or Intel or Microsoft is going to change that. No matter how good. This is why Trump’s powerful persuasion techniques identified by Adams’ are unlikely to result in a landslide for Trump in November. This is not a competition between two brand new products in an entirely new category. There is already a lot of baked-in brand loyalty, and a good advertising campaign may move the needle, but the shift will not be seismic.

However, things like this are awesome:

Despite claiming not to support anyone, Adams has largely handed his blog over to defending Trump from his critics.

He doesn’t really do a lot of defending Trump from his critics. He’s asserting that Trump’s dispensing of facts and logic in favor of persuasion techniques, intentional or accidental, is superior to what anybody else is doing in the campaign, and that certainly proved to be true as far as the Republican primary went.

Trump makes a blatantly racist remark about Judge Gonzalo Curiel being “Mexican” and therefore, in Trump’s opinion, unable to render an impartial verdict in the Trump U case? Adams says that Trump critics must therefore be saying Curiel is a “robot” because “100% of humans are biased about just about everything.”

She includes a link to the original blog post which makes it pretty clear Adams is writing a satirical piece on the absurdity of identity politics and the concept of impartiality (in his opinion), and analyzing Trump’s strategy from his perspective on the art of persuasion:

Curiel looks human on the outside, and he has passed as human for decades. But Cooper made it clear in his interviews yesterday that while science understands that 100% of humans are biased about just about everything, this robot judge is not susceptible to being influenced by his life experiences. It sounds deeply implausible, but no one on CNN challenged Cooper’s implication that Judge Curiel is the only bias-free entity in the universe. Ergo, he must be a robot.

Anyway, lots of folks on Twitter are asking me why Trump would accuse the robot judge of being “Mexican” when that is obviously a racist thing to say. Did Trump make a huge mistake, or is it some sort of clever persuasion thing?

Clearly, Adams is defending both racism and fascism. It is not possible to reach any other conclusion.

The nut of Adams argument (as with pretty much all his Trump posts) and basically untouched on by Marcotte, who tries to use her own lame skills at persuasion to convince us that Adams only wants to slavishly defend Trump and was only using the above blog post to assert that Trump critics were saying the judge, Curiel, is actually a robot (literal, much?) … and, where was I? Oh, yes, the nut of Adams argument regarding Trump and Curiel:

1. Trump wins in court, in which case, Trump wins.

2. Trump loses in court, in which case, Trump says Democrats rigged the system to give him an unfair trial. We’re already primed to believe it.

From a legal perspective, race is not a reason to remove a judge. I haven’t heard anyone argue otherwise. But from a persuasion perspective, Trump is setting the stage for whatever is to come. So yes, it is smart, albeit offensive.

Not quoted by Marcotte, of course, presumably to avoid her readers being offended by reading what Adams actually said, instead of her skewed interpretation of it.

Adams writes a whole blog post sneering at the very idea that one is capable of predicting a person’s future behavior on their past record.

Except, of course, Adams is demonstrably correct in his actual assertion. Also, there are no quotes, of course, because things like this would erode her primary assertion:

So, how did President Obama do on the job? Was he a good president?

If you have an answer in your head – either yes or no – it proves you don’t know how to make decisions. No judgement can be made about Obama’s performance because there is nothing to which it can be compared. No one else in a parallel universe was president at the same time, doing different things and getting different results.

I’m not a fan of everything our president has done, but I feel as if historians will rank him as one of our best presidents. Definitely in the top 20%.

Wait, what? Am I crazy?

Many of you think Obama nearly destroyed civilization. You and I can’t both be right. But both of us can be irrational in trusting our opinions. We are literally comparing Obama’s actual performance to imagined alternatives that exist only in our minds. Maybe you think the imaginary president in your mind is way better than the real one, whereas I think the real one did well compared to my imaginary alternative.

That isn’t thinking. Science is pretty clear on that.

Marcotte never mentions that this Trump-infatuated sycophant thinks Obama will be ranked in the top 20% of US Presidents. Hmmm.

I will not dive into the plenitude of evidence that people are horrible at prediction, and wildly overestimate their own ability to predict the future, their own future behavior, and the future behavior of others beyond the simplest degrees of complexity.

Back to Marcotte:

Now Adams has a real doozy of post, where he pretends to endorse Clinton, but of course it’s a cover story for his real endorsement: Trump. In the post, Adams literally accuses Clinton of trying to get Trump killed because, “once you define Trump as Hitler, you also give citizens moral permission to kill him.”

I understand that when people lampoon our sacred cows, we don’t find the humor funny. However, I am prone to believe that Marcotte doesn’t understand that part of what Scott Adams is doing is parody. I find it also ironic (and interesting un-self-aware) that Marcotte does not seem to associate that post as using an inversion of the same logic Trump’s critics do when they blame him for violence at his rallies.

Obviously, this is not a Clinton endorsement. The purpose of this is to try to convince people that Clinton is some kind of dangerous fascist demagogue who will send her brownshirts into the street to force people into compliance with violence. This opinion, of course, has nothing to do with the real life Clinton and everything to do with Adams’s fantasy version of her.

I’m not sure she understands satire. Or irony. There has been a constant and ongoing comparison of Trump to Hitler and his supporters to brownshirts for the more hyperbolic elements of the left and the Democrats. Did Marcotte miss that?

It’s a fantasy version of Clinton that is quite obviously a direct result of Adams’s own bizarre hang-ups about women. Adams has a long history of being obsessed with the idea that women have grown too powerful and they are pushing hapless men around in our new feminist dystopia.

Oh, well. Of course she missed it. When you are a hammer, I suppose everything looks like a nail.

For instance, there is the classic post where he argued that ours is a “female-dominated” society, because, in what he clearly believes is a grave injustice, “access to sex is strictly controlled by the woman.” They are allowed to turn you down even if you pay for dinner first. And you ladies think you have it bad just because you get paid less, are far likelier to be raped, and have to endure politicians trying to force childbirth on you against your will.

Some of that she’s just making up. An important part of that post that Adams’ perhaps should have emphasized is this:

Now compare our matriarchy (that we pretend is a patriarchy) with the situation in DAESH-held territory. That’s what a male-dominated society looks like. It isn’t pretty. The top-ranked men have multiple wives and the low-ranked men either have no access to women, or they have sex with captured slaves.

He’s arguing that a real patriarchy looks like ISIS or the Taliban or Saudi Arabia. Yet she asserts that Adams is suggesting the fact that America isn’t run by the Taliban is a “grave injustice”.

About another post, in which Adams suggest there’s really no middle ground in the war between the sexes, either men or women will win (and he seems, to me, to think it’s sad that men can’t win, but it’s better for humanity that women do) , Marcotte writes:

 He concludes that the only solution to this problem is to “come up with a drug that keeps men chemically castrated” and eliminate all copulation, because clearly, in his mind, the only way men can express themselves sexually is by abusing women.

Always comes to the same thing with feminists. Men and women having sex = abusing women.

I gotta say, she needs to work on her persuasion skills.

UK Election Next Week: “Economist” endorses Cameron 5/1/15

About Labour, this: Mr Miliband is fond of comparing his progressivism to that of Teddy Roosevelt, America’s trustbusting president. But the comparison is false. Rather than using the state to boost competition, Mr Miliband wants a heavier state hand in markets—which betrays an ill-founded faith in the ingenuity and wisdom of government. Even a brief, limited intervention can cast a lasting pall over investment and enterprise—witness the 75% income-tax rate of France’s president, François Hollande. The danger is all the greater because a Labour government looks fated to depend on the SNP, which leans strongly to the left.   http://tinyurl.com/nwqjron

Hump Day Craziness

I read this yesterday and it lead me to some interesting questions.  Well, they were interesting to me anyway.  I’ve been fascinated with the different factions of the Republican Party and the increased number of Libertarians who primarily seem to vote Republican when there is no Libertarian around to vote for.  This piece mentions the possible break between Evangelical Christian Republicans and conservative Catholics over the new Pope’s recent comments regarding gays and poverty.  It appears to me that Libertarians have also broken with the Christian wing of the Republican Party over many social issues.   I’ve learned from our discussions here that Libertarians seem to be for both open borders and abortion, in some cases “on demand”, even I don’t believe in either of those suggestions, so is that to the left of me?

I guess I’m wondering where all this will eventually lead.  How hard will it be for Libertarians to vote for a Republican of the evangelical sort?  Is it just a case of voting for the lesser of two evils in a Presidential election, or even a local election?  When do your votes and principles collide?  I swallowed my objections and voted for Obama because of health care, and a couple of other accomplishments I supported,  rather than third party, which is what I normally do.  A big fat wasted vote either way really.

My thoughts rambled from the original piece but I wanted you guys to see how it got me thinking.  I’m finding it somewhat interesting that I tend to vote social issues and for the preservation of things such as Social Security, Medicare and other safety net protections.  There doesn’t seem to be that much difference to me in the reality of economic policy between the parties or for that matter even foreign policy now that many conservatives seem to be more isolationist than they were in the past, but I’m guessing the Libertarians/Conservatives here don’t agree and vote their pocket book, or is it all big vs small government and the demolition of the safety net that motivates y’all.  I’m curious.  It seems to me that the differences between us are more along the lines of priorities.  I think we all value similar things but just place more weight on some than others.  Or maybe I’m delusional.

I think it is a safe bet that if Pope Francis I lives more than a few years that Catholics will soon be kicked out of the Republican Party and resume their previous status as the semi-black race. The reason is simple. Pope Francis I is on the opposite side of the political divide from Pope John Paul II. The Polish pope was a Cold Warrior who basically took the Reagan-Thatcher line on left-leaning political movements in the Third World, including in Latin America. The Argentinian Jesuit pope isn’t a communist, but he advocates for the poor without any apology.

For now, conservative American Catholics are trying to parse the distinction, but it isn’t going to work. They are not going to be able to embrace The Slum Pope who wants to “make a mess” of the established order within the Church by encouraging young people to shake up the dioceses and force them to embrace the convicts, drug addicts, and the truly impoverished.

Our country is uniquely unable to appreciate this change specifically because our right wing succeeded in categorizing the left in the Third World (and, to an extent, even in Europe) as communist in sympathy. The right assumes that the Vatican is an ally in all things, but that is no longer even close to being the case. On so-called family values, the papacy is still reliably conservative, even if it can’t be counted on anymore to demonize homosexuality. But on economic issues, the papacy is now a dedicated enemy of the Republican Party.

Before long, the right will have no choice but to break from the pope, and then their opposition will grow to a point that the alliance between Catholics and evangelicals will not hold.

There sure has been a lot of talk lately about women.  I’ve been troubled by some of it as it seems we’re going backwards in some respects.  There are too many stories to link but between all the states enacting TRAP laws, all the strange definitions of rape, the mayor of San Diego’s bizarre harassment and who has and has not shielded him from investigation, the treatment of rape victims in the military,  USC redefining rape as not rape if there is no ejaculation (my personal favorite), who is and isn’t hot enough to either run for office or other more nefarious activities, etc. etc. that I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on.  Maybe nothing ever really changed.  I’m concerned that so much of it has become political football.  I thought this piece on the subtleties of how a woman can succeed in the financial industry was pretty troubling.

Our youngest is working in another male dominated industry and is constantly trying to determine how to proceed on her merits while most of the men are attracted to her looks.  She has a few male mentors who seem to take her seriously so she’s focusing on that and trying to stay away from the guys who want to date her and stay focused on her work.  She’s discovering it’s an interesting dynamic that has many challenges.  She faced numerous challenges as a grad student but that was nothing compared to what she’s dealing with now.

It doesn’t help when other women give this kind of advice.

New details have emerged from a bias lawsuit filed by three former employees of Merrill Lynch against the company, which alleges that during training they were instructed to read a book called “Seducing the Boys Club: Uncensored Tactics From a Woman at the Top” and emulate its advice.

The tips in the book, published by New York Magazine’s The Cut, are truly shocking. “I play on [men’s] masculine pride and natural instincts to protect the weaker sex,” says a section of the book advising women on how to get men to do their work. “Unless he is morbidly obese, there is no man on earth who won’t puff up at this sentence: Wow, you look great. Been working out?” suggests a portion on diffusing tense situations.

On a lighter note the Anthony Weiner story is in another realm altogether in my opinion.  I guess I’d like to know why his wife is standing by him but it’s none of my business really.  Otherwise it seems to be a case of “consenting adults” which doesn’t bode well for his marriage or his candidacy but otherwise is just more creepily entertaining than anything else.

I wish I could share all the “Carlos Danger” jokes my husband has come up with, they’re hysterical, and just pop out of his mouth at the most inconvenient times.  He’s a true comic and I’ve thanked my lucky stars more than once that he makes me laugh.  Anyway we’ve had a lot of fun at Anthony Weiner’s expense around here.  I saw this and couldn’t resist.

Anthony Weiner Forever

Weiner forever

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