Saturday, August 10, 2019

today's question

Isn't there now, a whole bunch of "bad debt", on company books, that is currently being listed, as "assets" ?


 Most bad debt has some book value if there is any possibility that it can be collected. Then there is outright fraud claiming totally worthless junk is AAA rated liked the bundled mortgages under Bush which is probably much more common again with the orange fraudster in charge. 

The biggest risk comes from Trump having rolled bank bank reserve requirements which means if the default rate begins to climb the banks start dropping like flies and this cascades into other sectors as it did during the Bush Crash. There is also the dark money lending run by hedge funds that's probably over half of business lending.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

With some practice the kids will probably put a gold coin through a rat's head clean across the yard

The Federal Reserve is poised to cut interest rates from a level that's already historically low for an economy that Trump declares as, "the best economy ever". The big question is the Fed appeasing the orange moron or do they see the big flashing red warning lights of an impending collapse?

We do have a couple of huge debt bombs strapped to the pillars that support the economy as we've come to know it. Consumer and student debt are at record levels as are the default rates on both that continue to climb. After the 120 consecutive months of steady growth that Trump takes credit for, we should not have such problems. 

If you noticed that the "120 consecutive months" in that Trump claim seemed wrong then you're not a calendar challenged conservative. He's a bright orange Banty rooster strutting around the yard taking credit for his crowing making the sun rise. Of course is was Obama that did this, just as Trump alternates his racist tweets with claims that he lowered the Black unemployment rate to a new record low while it was Obama that cut the number in half and it ticked down just one more point under Trump. Trump calls Black Congressmen racist and ends the tweet with #BlacksForTrump2020 or in reality #chickensForTheColonel. 

The very stable genius's claim of a 3% growth rate just evaporated with revised government numbers. The easy to compile numbers looked good but when you dig into what is really going on there's a lot of rot. 

Trump has been cutting regulations on banks allowing them to issue riskier loans while maintaining reserves too small to cover the defaults from even a modest down turn in the economy. 

Then there is the Dark Money credit market that accounts for half of business borrowing that isn't regulated at all. Good time to invest in a 'board up service' because retail stores will be going under at a record rate once the shit hits the fan. 

The ballooning Federal debt is rarely even mentioned anymore. Remember when Republicans screamed about Obama's deficits when he inherited trillion dollar short falls from Bush and then cut them in half? Conservatives don't seem to notice that Trump has 1.25 billion deficit and it will be higher every year into the future.

The Federal debt isn't an actual problem because the Treasury has no problem selling all the bonds it offers at very low rates that are now starting to fall. Rich people and their corporations have more money than they know what to do with thanks to low taxes and government debt is the only safe place to put it. After the Bush crash they were paying the government a premium for bonds so rather than it costing to borrow, the government made money on every bond it sold. The rich have never invested their tax cuts in anything that would trickle down to the rest of us and they never will. 

Today's pro-tip: shotgun shells will make an excellent barter item for the post Trump apocalypse world, light and small for their value and always in demand. You can buy them now surprisingly cheap in bulk. Or if you prefer gold, maybe you can hunt rats using a slingshot loaded with a Krugerrand.  - prairie2.com


Monday, June 17, 2019

Deep State to the Rescue

It has come to light that US military has been screwing with the Russian power grid. This was apparently a yuge surprise to Commander in Chief Bone Spurs who accused the "failing NY Times" of treason for reporting it. You need to translate that from Trumpeze to understand that when the Orange Egotist says "treason" he means against him not against the United States which he could care less about.

Nobody in the intelligence establishment is upset with the revelation that they've been actively going after the Russians probably because they want to make sure they know it was the US and not China. 

Trump is spitting Big Mac chunks all over the Oval Office because this makes him look bad to his handlers in Moscow. Intelligence officials are making it clear that they're operating behind the Leaker in Chief's back because they know he'd either stop them or report it directly to Putin. Trump's biggest concern with Putin's reaction to this that this could make the Russian's withdraw their support for Republicans in the next election. 

Ironically this is actually an example of the "deep state", the real meaning of the phrase comes from Turkey where the military and government bureaucrats have been keeping religious fanatics out of power since they became a democracy. The way Trump uses 'deep state' is to describe law enforcement and counter intelligence agencies whose job it is to keep crooks and spies out of our government. 

Now a line has been crossed into actual sedition where they are acting against the Commander in Chief's obvious wishes, perhaps even acting in violation of the law. All though it's certainly possible that Putin's lap dog signed the order without reading it. 

Unlike the anonymous functionaries in the White House who told us they were thwarting Trump's worst inclinations while preserving the things they wanted like tax cuts for the rich, the people behind this are risking everything to protect us from a hostile foreign power and its operative in the White House. We'll probably never know who they were. They know that this isn't the sort of thing you get a medal for, just an anonymous star on the wall at CIA headquarters if you're caught.  


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Rotund Orange Rooster, A Bed Time Story

The rotund Orange Rooster had been strutting around for a week or more squawking about putting tariffs on trade with the farm next door if they didn't stop refugees from the farm called Honduras crossing their farm to get to his farm. The Orange Rooster thought he could do whatever he wants to the farm because 20% of the animals voted to put him be in charge of the Hen House. 

Things were tough down on the farm called Honduras since the American Foxes drove out their leader a decade ago and put a Fox in charge of their Hen House. Things that used to be provided freely to all in their farm yard like healthcare, education and water to drink are now privatized and everyone must pay and pay. American Foxes profited mightily while the farm fell into chaos. 

Packs of dogs roamed the streets victimizing the poor animals while the foxes in charge did nothing. So the widows of animals killed by the foxes and the dogs gathered their young and fled north hoping to find refuge on a great farm where all animals said to live in freedom. 

The rotund Orange Rooster is outraged by the caravans of animals and their young walking thousands of miles to come to 'his' farm. He is only outraged because the Foxes that put him in charge of the Hen House tell him to be. You see the Orange Rooster doesn't care about anything but how much scratch grain he can steal for himself and exploited the poor foreign animals in his own businesses all the time.  

The Orange Rooster is worried about the report from the Wise Old Owl that says the Orange Rooster knew the Russian Bears interfered in the farmyard election in order to get him elected and that he committed crimes to try to hide it. So after returning from his trip across the Big Pond honoring the many animals who fought and died to make all animals free, which the Orange Rooster made all about the Orange Rooster, he began to crow about his great success in the Great Trade War. 

The Orange Rooster crowed that his threats of tariffs had forced the farm next door to block the caravans of frightened and suffering animals from crossing their farm. The only problem is that everything in the new trade agreement with farm next door had been agreed to months before. So all the squawking, strutting and crowing was just for show. 

Putting on a show was what the Orange Rooster had always done to hide his life of crime.  Meanwhile in the House elected by the animals the faint sound of an ax being sharpened could be heard. 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Trump's best hope for re-election

Some people are taking the thick black smoke rising up from the bond market as some sort of signal about the economy. Huh? Trump says he can't  be impeached because he's responsible for the greatest economy ever. But we make a yuge mistake by assuming that a good old fashioned market crash will in anyway change Trump's re-election chances. Trump thrives on chaos, he can convincingly argue to people stupid enough to vote for him that they need him to fight for them. 

Remember that Trump is a minority President, I don't mean because he's orange, but because he got less than half the vote from the less than half of Americans that voted. Trump really represents 20% of Americans, this includes the 15% that are conservative plus people that are otherwise liberal but buy into the bullshit conservatives peddle on one issue or another.

So how do you make sure your candidate wins when more than half the population hates them? Pick the schmuck who running against them. This was supposed to make Hillary President, it doesn't always work. Big money poured into her campaign but the former middle-class wouldn't vote for another Clinton. Oddly they hold a grudge about free-trade forcing their families into poverty. Trump was able to ride this to the White House much to everyone's shock.

The big money has since decided that Trump isn't so bad after all (apparently somebody hid the nuclear football) and so the big money is just pouring in but the really strategic big money is going to Democrats. Biden is the conservative money's choice, if he wins he'll give them four more years of Reagan/Clinton policies. And he's guaranteed to produce a low voter turn-out because he's got all of Hillary's baggage and more, a low turnout favors Trump and all the Republicans who would otherwise be voted out get a real shot. 

The big money isn't just going to Biden, a number of faux progressive candidates are getting a nice stipend to help make Bernie's numbers look weak. Of course Biden is getting a huge boost in the polls by weighting the results with the assumption that people under 50 won't vote. Ironically that will be true if Biden is the candidate. 

Trump is doing his part by blustering about Sleepy Joe and the media then pumps up Biden by saying Trump is afraid of him because Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania will go for Biden. The former middle-class in those states won't be so inclined when Biden's record is splashed around anymore than they voted for Hillary. The Big Money intends to give us a choice between extra flavorful Orange Fascism and Pale Fascism Lite. It's a killer hang-over either way. - prairie2.com


Thursday, May 23, 2019

China fires a ranging shot

It's been speculated for some time that the reason China has acquired over a trillion dollars in US Treasury bonds and several trillion in cash (not literal cash but bank holdings) is to use it as a weapon. In reality it was just a tool being used to back China's vast trading and asset acquisition policy. They've been buying copper mines, oil fields, ports and well just about anything all over the world for decades. 

It appears that now with a belligerent orange idiot in charge of the US who has been firing the relatively competent people around him and replacing them with sycophants that China may have decided that it's time to hammer the plowshare into a sword. Ever since the Bush Crash the Chinese have been quietly inserting their own currency into trade all over the world. Since China makes everything and the US makes nothing there is no country that isn't willing to trade in Renminbi (the People's currency) instead of insisting on USD.

China typically does its trading of US debt quietly through proxies but this week they dumped $20 billion of US debt for no apparent reason. That is a tiny amount but it was done right in the open, much the way an artillery battery fires a single round deliberately short of the enemy position to test the range. 

Wall St ran for the fox holes but the pundits are mostly saying China isn't really going to do this. Meanwhile in China, President For Life Xi, who Trump thinks is totally in awe of his Orange Greatness, is giving policy speeches at multiple appearances where he is invoking the history of the Great March. He's saying times will be hard for a decade or more but that China will prevail. Yeah....  Have you got your canned goods?  - prairie2.com

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The War with Iran has been cancelled

It appears we won't be going to war with Iran because the President summoned Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and issued orders to end the saber rattling. President Putin was quite clear in yesterday's Kremlin meeting and it will be done as ordered. At least that's the way it is today in Orange Krazy World.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Raise the Threat Level to Orange, a stupid dangerous shade of orange

Trump isn't as stupid as he lets on or more likely he's taking advice from someone who isn't. Corrupt, deceitful, bloodthirsty and cruel, Trump's kind of guy. 

Trump is ignoring North Korea, no profit there but Venezuela, Libya and Iran, all have oil and they're getting the same Axis of Evil treatment that Bush used to run oil up from $18 to $140 a barrel. You'd think he'd be afraid to anger his base by driving up the price of gas and with it the price of 'hamberders' but he'll blame it on The Green New Deal and the brain dead fools will eat it with a spoon. 

Trump really likes the idea of starting a war with Iran, it's good to be a war President, it gets you into the history books but this is fraught with danger, since they aren't Iraq. They're one united people unlike the fractured Iraq and they're experienced with bloody warfare having fought Iraq at great cost.

Plus this could pretty easily turn into a real shooting war with their major oil buyer China and China has 21st century weapons instead of 1960s Soviet surplus equipment like Iraq. Our own military can't function without high tech Chinese parts and while our DARPA labs do reverse engineer the computer chips we buy from them looking for back doors, there is no real certainty we've found them all. 

If China was only to supply Iran with ship killer missiles and modern anti-aircraft systems it would be a short costly war for the US.  Would Trump accept the bloody nose of losing a couple of aircraft carriers and heed demands that he step down from office or would he test his access to the nuclear codes? Maybe he would just go for martial law, there could be elements of the military that would be just fine with that.

You can buy a modern Geiger counter pretty cheap, it might be something to keep with the canned goods. This is assuming that you don't get rounded up by ICE, it is what they train for. 

- prairie2.com

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Azincourt Class Super Carrier

Joe Biden put on a strange performance in Iowa where trotted out some 20th century talking points about trade with China. He was dismissive of anyone who thinks that China is competition for the US economically or militarily. Apparently Joe hasn't noticed that everything in Walmart says "made in China" in really small print. He doesn't notice the trillion dollar annual trade deficit or that wages have not improved since he was a freshman in Congress forty years ago. He helped Clinton bring us the trade policies that are turning us into a third world country and he just doesn't see it, or hopes we won't. His surrogates are alternately dismissing complaints about this on the Republican partisanship or the ignorance of socialists on the left depending who they're talking to.  

He went on to drop some Trump like comments to justify his position by claiming Beijing has its hands full with domestic and regional problems. 

Biden cited tensions in the South China Sea that he called "the China Sea" which is unwittingly appropriate since the tensions there are strictly of China's making as they claim the entire area for themselves and are building artificial islands with military installations to enforce this new found sovereignty.  Yeah Joe, it is the "China Sea".

Joe then went with a full-on disconnect saying, "... the problems in the mountains... in the west". Nobody knows what he was referring to, maybe Tibet? It's in the mountains and was a big deal in the 90s but this never created any real problems for China. China is engaged in massive infrastructure building to the west to spread its influence and control. These aren't problems for China, these are opportunities they are exploiting.

Biden went on to dismiss concerns about China's military with the tried and true, "America has the strongest military in the world". Old Joe seems to think we're facing off against a People's Army armed with bamboo spears. Sure we have a dozen 100 billion dollar super carriers but China has been building thousands of hyper-sonic ship killer missiles that the USNavy has zero defense against.

You can compare this to the French armored calvary at the Battle of Azincourt in 1415. Expensive and invincible calvary ran up against the cheap simple English long bow and was cut to pieces. If you don't know history, you are doomed to repeat it. Joe wants his turn as President and willing to say anything to get it. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Sleepy Joe vs the Orange Nazi

Sleepy Joe as the Orange Disaster called him this morning on twitter is officially running for the Democratic nomination. He set about establishing his liberal bona fides immediately by pointing out that Trump thinks Nazis are "fine people". The people whose votes he's courting at the moment already knew that but it did get him a few seconds on the news.

A couple of weeks ago Joe managed to get on the news with a supposed slip of the tongue saying that he's, "the most progressive Democrat running". The big news was supposedly that he let slip he's running, nobody noticed that he claimed he's a progressive. That of course was a big fat lie. Trump is every bit as progressive as Joe, that is not at all. 

Biden was an active and enthusiastic participant in the corporate dems dismantling of the American middle class. The Bankruptcy reform that made it impossible to write off student loans was his baby. Student loans have shot past credit cards and auto loans to $1.55 trillion and climbing fast as the student share of education balloons and wages after graduation fizzle despite the good economy. 

Obama-Biden policies moving student loans directly under the jurisdiction of the Dept of Education didn't really cut out the banks from making loans at a tidy profit but created a new profit center of private loan servicing companies that make examples out of scofflaws by sending Federal Marshals to arrest them and haul them before a special judge to be further threatened. A six percent Federally guaranteed return $1.55 trillion plus all the fees they can generate makes doing anything productive seem like a total waste of time.

Biden was involved in every bad policy to which Dems have been a party since Bill Clinton banished the Progressives to the wilderness. Trump was able to beat Hillary because he could tie her directly to the decline of the middle class and he'll have an even better case against Biden who was a full participant. Hillary went from co-president to a simple first lady when anyone pointed out just how awful the things Bill Clinton pushed through really were. 

Hillary only started calling herself a progressive after it was obvious Bernie was beating her. Biden hasn't missed a beat in picking up the progressive mantle. It's about as disgusting as watching Republicans wrapping themselves in the Flag. Biden has been signaling to the big donors that they need to really pony up in the first 24 hours to match Bernie's war chest. Time to send Bernie another ten spot. There are thousands of corporate Dems but there are tens of millions of us.

prairie2.com where the disgust is shared freely but bring your own canned goods. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

For a Russian spy her involvement with the Yuge Rotten Orange will get her time wearing orange

The Feds are recommending 18 months in prison for the only Russian spy arrested in the ongoing Orange Treason Scandal. They submitted in evidence to the sentencing Judge a note that Maria Butina wrote to her handlers in Moscow detailing the advantages of putting resources into an 'unnamed' Presidential campaign and into conservative groups like the NRA.

Butina's American boyfriend (whom she complained about to in her reports to Moscow) was a mid-level Republican operative that has been indicted for basically swindling little old ladies is responsible for at least one person placed in the WH as an aide to General Micheal Flynn who was indicted in his own right and still cooperating. Flynn's sentencing Judge wondered out loud after seeing the sealed information in his case if the prosecutors had considered charging him with Treason. The Judge told him to go back and cooperate some more because he wasn't inclined to accede to the prosecution's call for leniency in his case.

It appears that the NRA funneled as much as 70 million dollars in Russian money into the 2016 election (30 million to Trump alone) which might explain why high ranking GOP members of Congress are sticking with Trump, they're all dirty. Trump changed FEC regulations to exempt the NRA from revealing where their money comes from the day after the Russian/NRA story broke, this won't stop the FBI from investigating.

There are 14 ongoing investigations redacted in the Mueller Report, this probably doesn't include investigations that weren't referred by Mueller directly. When the FBI kicks over a log they're free to chase anything that runs. Trump's log is yuge and very rotten.

Trump's Monday morning tweets indicate he really feels the noose tightening. Spouting that he can't be impeached and his enemies are the real wrong doers. This includes his own lawyers who he claims fabricated their notes to make him look guilty. Mueller reported ten instances where Trump ordered his staff to commit obstruction of justice and they refused. The rightwing defense that their refusal exonerates him. Endeavoring to commit obstruction is the same as doing so under the law. The only defense is that Trump is too incompetent to hold the highest office in the land. Impeachment is the only course of action either way.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Solid as Sears or rotten as Steven Muchin

What's left of the once the once storied Sears Roebuck & Co has filed suit against it former Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert and a string of its high-profile past board members, including Lampert's former Yale roommate, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, alleging they conspired to steal $2 billion in assets from the company forcing it into bankruptcy. 

Looting the assets of a company and then stiffing all the creditors has been standard operating procedure for 'yuge' business in America ever since Ronald Reagan de-criminalized many of the practices that people like Trump depend on to make these schemes work. But some of these practices aren't completely de-criminalized and the not-so-bright individuals involved do sometimes get caught.

Trump isn't as afraid of the redacted Mueller report as he is of the number of spin-off prosecutions that are still under seal. Trump's ex-lawyer Micheal Cohen alluded to Trump's practice of inflating and deflating the value of assets to his advantage. This is called wire fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud and insurance fraud. Considering the amount of money involved, these offenses potentially carry decades in prison.

This is how white collar crime works, stealing from poor people is applauded; stealing a little from other rich people is just part of the game, stealing a lot (if your victims are rich) gets you Bernie Madoff like prison time.  The reason Lori Loughlin didn't plea bargain her college admission bribery case while Felicity Huffman did is the amount of money involved. Having paid 'only' $14,000 in bribes, Huffman will get a slap on the wrist. Aunt Becky spent hundreds of thousands and will do some significant prison time.  Trump is feverishly scheming to avoid dying in prison. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Trump and his fellow travelers

Trump apparently tuned into his personal network to see the Fox hosts pillory "crazy Bernie" in front of a mob of Trump supporters at a televised town hall event. He turned a deeper shade of orange on the greeting Bernie actually got from the crowd as the Fox shills were unable to control and humiliate Sanders as was their obvious plan. Apparently the average Fox viewer would actually like to pay less for healthcare that is simple and really provides for their needs instead of rich insurance executives.

Trump tweeted his displeasure but was out done by the so-called liberal establishment that was out in force to vilify Bernie for not being a team player and breaking the boycott of Fox. They were also willing to embrace Trump's conspiracy theory that the Fox audience warmed up to Bernie because they were really Bernie supporters and not actual Fox viewers. 

Clinton apologizers won't admit that the 8% of Bernie supporters that didn't vote for Hillary were in fact Republicans, they instead prefer to characterize "Bernie-bros" as misogynists. In reality 15% of Hillary supporters refused to vote for Obama in 2008 calling themselves PUMAs (party unity my ass). If the math seems off on that it's because that Hillary has never been very popular despite the puffery and Obama was. Bernie becomes more popular as more people actually hear what he has to say and it drives conservatives nuts.

Establishment Democrats hate and fear Bernie and actual Progressives because they see their world going away if the middle-class ever comes to power again. A lot of them work in jobs that would no longer exist in a world where Wall St isn't allowed to scam people. An economy has evolved since Reagan where people at the top don't really do anything and get paid handsomely for it. A meritocracy just isn't their thing. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

The enemy within or "Hey this soap seems to be a stone?"

Bernie Sanders has sent a scathing letter to members of the board of the so-called liberal think tank Center for American Progress. He's objecting to CAP pushing a smear campaign against Sanders that focuses on the idea that he makes too much money writing books to be a lefty.

CAP never said a word about the hundreds of millions the Clintons have taken in from so-called speaking fees after delivering media consolidation, Wall St deregulation, free-trade and other give aways to the super rich that must have made Reagan smile down in hell. Their money comes from Clinton devotees with the moniker billionaire attached to their names.

Would we be better off if Clinton had won the election? No question we'd have less truly crazy nonsense going on but the GOP would still have both houses of Congress insuring that we wouldn't really be better off now or in the future. Not that the conserva-dems would ever fix the damage the Clintons did. They're real good at keeping any real conversation about it from even taking place.

We need to be aware that our real enemies are not just the crazy conservatives but the people calling themselves liberal who in fact work for the billionaires as well. They're even more dangerous than the GOP clown car because almost half of Democrats think they're our saviors. This way to the showers folks. 


Saturday, April 13, 2019

They can't go anywhere, they don't have golf carts

It's comes as no surprise that Trump tried to hatch a scheme to dump asylum seekers into the congressional districts of his political enemies. Supposedly it was rejected as illegal, more likely they just couldn't figure out how to do it without getting caught. 

After this story became public, officials claimed it was considered and discarded but Trump immediately tweeted that he was still considering it. One big flaw in Trump's revenge strategy is that after they dump the people in one city there's absolutely nothing to keep them leaving. They have shown a willingness to walk a thousand miles to get here while Trump drives his golf cart onto the green to avoid a couple of steps.

An Appeals Court temporarily lifted a ban on Trump's scheme to force asylum seekers to rot in Mexico while awaiting a hearing. A full hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

From the Golden Age of Television to Pee Pee tapes in Moscow, a very brief history.

Today's $64,000 question: what disgraced quiz show contestant died this week at the age of 93? You'll need to be fed the answer, Charles Van Doren. He wasn't caught exactly, his performance while too good to be true was convincing. The problem was that the producers were doing this constantly and while Van Doren was getting the modern equivalent of millions the rest were getting chump change and someone blabbed. 

Van Doren lied to a grand jury as did many others before the scheme was exposed completely. He's best know for his appearance before Congress in 1959 where he spilled all, televised of course. Today they could have called what he did a reality show and the shenanigans would have been no problem. Trump parlayed his totally fabricated persona as a billionaire on reality tv into being POTUS aka a hand-puppet for Russia. This is why Trump won't release his taxes he's probably not even a millionaire let alone a self-made billionaire. It's not the risk being exposed as a criminal or a traitor that concerns him, it's the humiliation of being poor.

The Grand Orange has an older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, who has just retired as a federal appeals judge. Her sudden dash for the door from a lifetime appointment ends a judicial inquiry into the crooked tax schemes that the Trump family engaged in settling the estate of their father Fred Trump. Donald had been looting his father's assets and this scheme was probably his way of paying off his siblings. The statute of limitations maybe expired  on criminal charges in the matter but civil action from tax authorities may still be in the offing. 

Apparently AG Barr doesn't feel totally secure in his position with the Orange Queen of Hearts regularly demanding "off with their heads". Under questioning before a Congressional committee he hemmed and hawed for an excruciating period before stating he believes that Trump was spied on during the campaign. This is a favorite conspiracy theory of Trump's and Barr later walked it back off-camera presumably hoping Trump either won't see that or will just ignore his lack of fealty in his orangegasmic state over having this nonsense mouthed for him in public. Trump seems particularly desperate to muddy the water around the investigation into his treason, he says he doesn't know what's in the Mueller report but really, he lived it, he knows the pee-pee tape with the Russian hookers will come out.

Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange's arrest is so far unrelated to Trump's Treason but it's been known for some time that Mueller wants to question him. His best shot at not dying in a Federal Prison would be making a deal with Mueller but it's hard to see him having a smoking gun unless the Russians have been really sloppy. We'll have to wait and see what Moose and Squirrel come up with. 



Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The is no law, there is no history.

In the Orange Realm, Trump says, "the only one running the DHS is me", to him the rule of law simply doesn't matter. In his world "there is no law", that's his latest declaration about releasing his tax returns which is true in the campaign but he's not being asked to release his returns. The IRS is being ordered to hand over them over to the appropriate committees in Congress per a 1924 law written in response to the Tea Pot Dome scandal.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Mar-a-Lago is a funny name for a sieve

Officials were downplaying the Mar-a-Lago security breech as perhaps nothing but Chinese hustlers selling non-existent access to Chinese business people. Turns out the Chinese agent had a bag full of super sophisticated electronics including a device to detect hidden cameras. 

The very stable genius is trying to pack the Federal Reserve Board with sycophants like Herman Caine but Trump apparently doesn't understand how a calendar works. The seven positions are held for fourteen years regardless of when a seat is filled. An opening only occurs naturally every two years, there just happens to be two open seats right now. While another of the terms expires in 2020, the rest of the Board will be there long after Trump. Of course he's probably still harboring the delusion that he can fire the ones he doesn't like.

Monday, April 8, 2019

How to build a despotic regime 101: An entry level course for tyrants

It's hard to believe that demonstrating a willingness to lock kids in cages isn't sufficient to stay on as one of Trump's henchmen (hench-person would be more appropriate but seems wrong somehow). Kirstjen Nielsen wasn't the only one to go at Homeland Security as Trump is mounting a full on purge of anyone connected to John Kelly the former Sec. 

His Orangeness gave the axe to several officials including the dept's general counsel, that would be the lawyer who keeps pointing out that Trump's policies are illegal and pose a risk of prosecution for those who are 'just following orders'.

The head of the Secret Service (also part of DHS) was shown the door over the Chinese agent arrested at Mar-a-Lago. It's doubtful that it was really because of the breach of security but more likely the director told the Orange Tiger Woods that they've been warning him since day one that spending his time a a facility that cannot be secured is really dumb. Of course Boss Orange can't rake in millions on every trip if he goes to Camp David like past Presidents. 

Trump is steadily creating an administration headed by people who didn't receive Senate confirmation. He actually withdrew his nominee to head ICE apparently because the shine on his jack boots didn't meet with his standard, he wants someone "tougher". Trump even purged the one remaining Deputy Director because under the law as a Senate confirmed officer she would assume the Secretary's job and Trump really hates following the law.

It's hard to say what's really going on in the fruit salad Trump has between his ears but this is no way to run a salad bar.  

Saturday, April 6, 2019

When you don't know how things work but are sure that you do

When the Federal Reserve undertook quantitative easing (QE) a number of years ago conservatives totally freaked out, "the gov't is just printing money, bread will cost a billion dollars!!!!!". The Fed was in fact printing money and buying up existing debt so the money was in theory backed by something 'real', not the same as just printing money. This is really what the Federal Reserve does all the time when it loans money to banks, it's just not so obvious. 

The Fed felt compelled to take this unprecedented action because the GOP controlled Congress made it clear that they would burn the entire country to the ground rather than let Obama have a win. Now the Fed has been unwinding this program by reselling these debt instruments on the open market effectively taking cash back out of circulation. No wheelbarrow needed when going to the bread store. 

The Orange Nightmare has latched on to this as the reason his economic policies aren't generating the 6% growth rate he promised. Really some of his sycophants must be telling him this rather than telling him tax cuts for the rich and his disorganized trade war are crippling the economy. It's not like he's read about the Fed's policies, he orders McDonald's because reading anyone else's menu it too much work. 

So Trump wants the Fed to resume QE, not just stop unwinding the old program although he probably doesn't know the difference. It likely wouldn't have any effect if they did undertake a new QE program, of course if Trump was calling the shots maybe he could trigger runaway inflation.

The Orange Baboon is building a situation where the economy is going to abruptly stall and he will certainly follow this with blunders that will crash the world economy. Bread will be cheap, you just won't have any money to buy it. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Make Pizza Great Again

The Orange Blunderer has resurrected Herman Cain by nominating him to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. You might remember the one time pizza chain figurehead for his signature tax plan that he promoted during the 2012 GOP primary. It was catchy if simply nonsense. He promoted the idea of a 9-9-9 tax system. Nine percent  for each of personal income tax, Federal sales tax and corporate income tax.

This system allowed for no deductions or loopholes. The bottom 40% of taxpayers who pay no income tax would pay 9% plus a new sales tax of 9%. The rich and their corporations would pay new lower rates. He couldn't say where this idea came from or how it could possibly work but it must have impressed Donald Trump.

Trump's last Fed Board nominee is an incompetent economist but at least he probably knows what the Fed does. Herman Cain probably hasn't heard of them much like the current Dept of Energy Sec Rick Perry that didn't know what that Dept did until he arrived at work.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Spinning the tax cut

The right is crowing about the number of new claims for unemployment has reached a 49 year low. They don't mention that this has been a steady trend over the last 8 years and instead tie it to the $1.5 trillion tax giveaway to the richest of the rich even as they acknowledge that the effects of this "stimulus" is fading.

In reality there was no stimulative effect from this giveaway but they are pretending the economic downturn we're experiencing is normal "fading" and hoping you'll forget that they promised us endless prosperity. 

The tale of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft took another strange turn, it seems the pilots of the Ethiopian plane knew what the corrective action that Boeing recommended was, did that and then crashed anyway. More stories of incompetence at Boeing keep coming out. Boeing will have a hard time getting their reputation back. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Who is the new Trump whisper?

Trump did a sudden about face on all his new "policy" positions on ObamaCare, the border shutdown etc and is instead intent on mocking poor old uncle Joe about his touching the women. He seems to forget we have the Orange Groper on tape. 

It's been reported that Trump's acting Chief of Staff is the one who originally told him to take these politically awkward positions, so who's telling him to reverse them? Turtle Man in the Senate seems to be taking credit but Trump has never listened to him before. I guess we'll have to wait for the next WH leak to find out.

Trump's obsession over reversing all things Obama ran into a major snag in the person of a Federal Judge in Alaska that has blocked Trump's executive order reversing Obama's expansion of National Monuments and Wildlife Preserves. It seems that the law allowing Presidents to preserve nature has a provision forbidding future Presidents from undoing it. Only Congress can undo the preservation order. Too bad they didn't notice this provision in the law while the Republicans controlled Congress but reading the law is not a Trump thing.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Believing your own propaganda

When I hear about some of the really stupid things that Republicans do I often think about a point that was used to illustrate the calamitous Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1939-40. Even though they were marching into Finland in November the Russian soldiers lightened their packs by leaving their long johns behind. This was because they were conditioned by Soviet propaganda to think that they wouldn't face any resistance, expected to be greeted as liberators and welcomed to spend the winter in front of the fire. Much the way Republicans said the Iraqis would greet the US with flowers and chocolates. 

You might think Trump would know better, after all he's been nothing but a huckster his entire life. His appointments to cabinet positions and the courts usually make sense from a rightwing hack point of view. Appointing as AG the man that arranged the pardons for everyone involved in the Iran-Contra Treason scandal and thereby keeping Bush the elder from dying in prison makes sense from somebody who was looking at a long walk to the gallows himself.

Some of Trump's cabinet choices are obviously dictated by the unwillingness of anyone with a reputation to work for him but now he's extended this to the Federal Reserve Board that's typically populated by people that the bankers pick. Stephan Moore is well known as the Heritage Foundation (Koch Brothers) economist that always says the opposite of Democrats no matter how stupid he sounds doing it. He's been consistently wrong but he always told Trump what he wanted to hear about Obama's policies and that's good enough for Trump. Never mind that Trump is taking credit for Obama's successes, he's sure things will be twice as good if he simply reverses all Obama's policies. 

This brings us to the latest assault on ObamaCare, Trump just can't help himself. A far right Judge in Texas with his gavel up his ass ruled the whole thing null and void and now suddenly Trump is refusing to defend the law on appeal to a far right appeals court. At first blush it seems like he's still clinging to the fantasy that the Republicans have an actual alternative, of course what's really driving his recklessness is that John McCain literally got up off his death bed to vote against Trump on this.

Trump handed the House to the Democrats in 2018 and you might think he's handing the Senate and White House to them now but we need to survive the chaos Trump is creating in the mean time. If he does collapse the economy before the election he not only won't be inclined to do anything useful about it. Worse he'll probably use it as an excuse to live out his tyrannical fantasies and things could really get out of hand fast. Don't forget to rotate your canned goods.

Friday, March 22, 2019

When value added costs lives or "Do you want your plane super-sized?"

"Want fries with that?", an innocuous seeming phrase that is the basis for modern marketing. I wonder how many business school graduates have "value added" tattooed in latin on their private parts as they undertake a career of sticking to the unwary.

At the fast food counter value added marketing just makes you fat, and of course you will eventually die but not today. This can be an even bigger problem when the decision isn't just a hunger impulse of the consumer but the choices are made by somebody who doesn't really understand the implications of the so-called cost savings of blindly avoiding this sort of marketing. The ObamaCare debate showed us how happens when actual healthcare isn't included in the basic health insurance policy. 

But 'value added' is a more common problem than one might assume. Take the Boeing Max 8, it seems that along with better seats and fancy lighting, the plane is offered to buyers with an optional indicator light for the control panel. The angle of attack sensors tell the pilots if the plane is trying to climb at too steep an angle and risks simply falling straight down. A big blaring alarm sounding indicator light that tells pilots the angle of attack sensors are sending conflicting signals to the autopilot, then even the most junior pilot knows he should shut the computer system off and assume manual control. If you don't have this alarm it's up to the pilots to figure out why the plane continues to pitch the nose down and add speed at the expense of altitude. 

What Boeing did is actually even worse than allowing the computer to get conflicting signals and not telling the pilots, the computer actually only accepts data from one sensor and the pilots have no way of knowing that the backup sensor isn't even connected. 

The pilots will pull back on the yoke to correct this nose down situation but the computer just keeps repeating the nose down maneuver more aggressively each time until there's not enough slack left in the controls to pull the nose up with the yoke and the plane flies into the ground.  

The FAA is supposed to review all aspects of a new plane's design but thanks to conservative government they no longer have the resources to do this. Doing something so stupid as selling a plane with vital safety equipment on the option list is why we need the regulatory oversight that conservatives rail against. 

Boeing told the FAA that the MAX 8 was just a minor upgrade to the same plane they've been building since the 1960s. It's not. The new efficient engines don't fit under the wings so they moved them and this makes the plane inherently unstable. To fix this problem they wrote a very aggressive computer program to control stall situations (this is where you push the nose down to increase speed).  

And they didn't tell anybody because potential buyers don't want to know their shiny new plane is inherently unstable. Exotic military aircraft are designed this way but they have ejection seats. From now on pay close attention to the flight attendant giving the safety talk, "In the event that the Eject light comes on remember to fasten your seat belt before pulling the handles to eject yourself. If you are flying with children turn the selector to Family Eject...."





  

Friday, March 8, 2019

Well here we go - Today's economic report from the circling drain

With today's abysmal jobs number coming in at 20,000 new jobs, a tenth of what was projected, we find ourselves caught in the whirlpool of The Orange Moron's incompetence meeting the confluence of economic down trends. The straw that the administration is trying to cling to is a significant jump in hourly wages but there is absolutely nothing to maintain a trend of 'rising wages' in a labor union free economy. Wages are so low that offering slightly higher pay to attract people to change jobs is not going to calm the raging river of economic collapse. The average hourly wage today is roughly equal to the minimum wage paid in 1968 and those weren't great wages back then.

The next biggest problem that this country has is its trade deficit and Trump has managed to drive that to an all time record high. Nobody is going to invest in making things in the US because they know Trump's tariffs are not permanent and will only last until he gets what he wants. With China, Trump wants their cash in Trump's pocket, he's already gotten $500 million funneled into Trump development in Malaysia but it's not clear if China is willing to make him into a real billionaire or if they'll simply wait him out. It's not that they can't bribe him, they don't have that pesky 'rule of law' problem that our other major trading partners must deal with. But destroying the US is their ultimate goal and they may just let Trump do it for them.

At a joint White House photo op with the Chinese Vice President announcing progress in trade talks, Trump embarrassed himself by saying that the memorandums of understanding (MOU) that they were showcasing were not to his liking "because a MOU didn't mean anything". The US trade negotiator couldn't help himself and interrupted to correct Trump by pointing out that the MOU was very detailed, legally binding like any contract and that they are what trade deals are based on. Trump doesn't actually know anything about the Art of the Deal, his book on the subject was ghost written. Not accepting any correction from an underling he gave the hapless trade expert a tongue lashing repeating his earlier nonsense. The stoic Chinese responded by laughing out loud in Trump's face. He doubtless took it as a compliment.  

We are living in those interesting times the Chinese curse refers to.