Thursday, September 29, 2016

Two Things President Trump Would Do: Deport Mexicans and Default on the Debt

Because he's been a racist for decades, and because he always defaults, if he can get away with it.

Heather Digby Parton: "Trump has a long history of racism, of a very ugly sort." That goes back to an incident in May of 1989, during which Trump "took out a full-age ad in four New York City newspapers with the title 'BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY! BRING BACK THE POLICE!'" Five young African-American and Hispanic men were sentenced for that crime…but several years later, they were exonerated, and they sued the city and won a $40 million settlement. And what did Trump have to say about that? "Forty million dollars is a lot of money for the taxpayers of New York to pay when we are already the highest taxed city and state in the country. The recipients must be laughing out loud at the stupidity of the city."

And then we have Trump on CNBC, back in May.

The U.S. never has to default on debt "because you print the money," … Asked if the U.S. needs to pay its debt in full or if it could negotiate a partial repayment, Trump said: "I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal." — CNN. Analysis on Politifact.
I think he would default, because that's what he does. F—, f—, f'ity F—.

Friday, September 16, 2016

War, Peace, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton

Let us keep silent about Clinton’s presumed faults until we are through this election and after, until it is no longer necessary. The fragile imperfect peace we won after World War II, is being torn apart in a wave of reaction, and we have to fight for that. We have, in the high income world, had perhaps two generations of peace, and it has changed us more than we know. A huge number of people no longer believe that war is normal and healthy. Is that not an objection, a constant and wearying objection, of our reactionaries, that there is not enough conflict to toughen us, to make men of us? (And all the while we fight distant wars for no good reasons.)

I am seeing complaints that Hillary Clinton is a warmonger. Well, perhaps. But Trump? The very basis of his campaign is hostility to non-whites, non-Americans. Someone, anyone, here who is defending him, can you honestly write that Donald Trump is a man of peace? We all know he is not!

Please, everyone, it is direly important that we stand for the future, for peace.

Short Reflections on Donald Trump's Health

(Based on my exasperated remarks in Crooked Timber's comments section.)

Trump is one of the oldest people to stand for the Presidency. He does not look healthy. He is considerably overweight, and what is with that orange color? And…he is male. His life expectancy is shorter than Clinton’s, for that reason alone. Overweight, male, ruddy…if he doesn’t have hypertension and significant atherosclerosis I would be surprised.

And then there are his speech patterns. He sounds impaired. Perhaps he is, perhaps his peculiar incantory speech, that speaking in triplets, is in fact a result of some sort of mild aphasia. Is he perhaps a stroke survivor, or had a series of microstrokes? He has other oddities: he believes that Barack Obama is not a US citizen and has held to that belief despite all evidence. This is delusion.

Now, I realize that everyone is looking desperately to find something wrong with Clinton, but the threat that Trump presents is yuge and it deserves attention.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Republican Leadership and Money

We got through 9/11 with a few attacks on Muslims but no serious acts of Islamic terrorism in the USA. This ought to convince us that Da'esh is weak; if they could have done something, they would. So today I woke up wondering if Mike Pence was a gold bug, and what the Republican leadership and platform had to say about the Federal Reserve and the currency.

So I looked. Yup. And the Republicans, if they gain control of Congress and the Presidency are likely to pass policies that would make the crash of 2008 look like a minor blip.

Mike Pence, VP pick: He’s a goldbug
The U.S. abandoned [the gold standard] in 1971, and as Krugman notes: Since then the price of gold has increased roughly tenfold, while consumer prices have increased about 250 percent. If we had tried to keep the price of gold from rising, this would have required a massive decline in the prices of practically everything else — deflation on a scale not seen since the Depression. This doesn’t sound like a particularly good idea.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House: His idea is from Ayn Rand.
The Fed would have to raise interest rates when commodity prices go up, regardless of the state of the economy. This is all kinds of crazy. Commodity prices have shot up the past decade as developing nations have developed — unrelated to inflation here. It makes no sense to make our economy worse because China's economy is getting better. 
Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Leader, is not a public gold bug, but he doesn’t like the Federal Reserve and believes there has been substantial inflation in the past eight years (there hasn't.)

Ted Cruz, influential Republican Senator, is a gold bug: "I think the Fed should get out of the business of trying to juice our economy, and simply be focused on sound money and monetary stability, ideally tied to gold.”

2016 Republican Platform is goldbug:
Determined to crush the double-digit inflation that was part of the Carter Administration’s economic legacy, President Reagan, shortly after his inauguration, established a commission to consider the feasibility of a metallic basis for U.S. currency. In 2012, facing the task of cleaning up the wreckage of the current Administration’s policies, we proposed a similar commission to investigate ways to set a fixed value for the dollar. 
With Republican leadership, the House of Representatives has passed legislation to set up just such a commission. We recommend its enactment by the full Congress and the commission’s careful consideration of ways to secure the integrity of our currency.
Hey, us corvids will be here to pick over the bones of the economy.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The World Economy is Stumbling and Shipowner Hanjin Has Filed For Bankruptcy

From the Washington State labor blog, The Stand:
In today’s Seattle Times — Bankruptcy of Hanjin, key Port of Seattle customer, stalls shipments of consumer goods — Hanjin Shipping Co.’s vessels are getting stranded at sea after the South Korean container mover filed for court protection, roiling the supply chain of televisions and consumer goods ahead of the holiday season. Hanjin is the key user of Seattle’s Terminal 46. The Port of Seattle agreed to millions of dollars in improvements to the terminal in 2012 to assure Hanjin remained a customer.

From KING — Hanjin Shipping files for bankruptcy — Marine ports worldwide, including in the Northwest, are scrambling after South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping filed for bankruptcy Wednesday.

Business Insider: There's now a fleet of ghost ships with nowhere to go after its owners went bankrupt

Seeking Alpha. Part 1: Hanjin Bankruptcy: What Does It Mean To The Global Containerized Shipping Industry? Part 2: Hanjin Bankruptcy, Part 2: Shipping Industry Must Find Solutions Beyond Alliances And Mergers

This is very odd. We keep hearing the world economy is OK, and now this. If trade with Asia is falling, the economy is not OK.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Trump: Democracy is the Loser, part II

(Talking Points Memo masthead, 2016-09-03)

As I wrote about Brexit last June, how can we say that the conservative fears about democracy and democratic institutions are wrong when they are producing this result?

I think, at this time, given the nature of modern mass media and balloting processes, we ought to be very, very afraid of direct democracy: demagogues have far too much power in this environment.

"Strange women handing out swords" is looking better and better.