Archive for the 'General' Category

Sanity

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

How rare is this?

Super Freak

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Newsweek:

Conservative host Tucker Carlson’s nightly Fox News series, Tucker Carlson Tonight — described by the network as an “hour of spirited debate and powerful reporting” — has focused on threatening stories about immigrants and outrage over political correctness since it debuted in November 2016.

In the wake of two mass shootings in America over the weekend that left dozens dead, Carlson called Americans’ growing concerns about the rise of white supremacy and white nationalism a “hoax” during his opening monologue on Tuesday. It’s a “conspiracy theory used to divide the country,” the host said, lashing out at the media for criticizing President Donald Trump’s response to the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

“The whole [white supremacy issue] is a lie,” he added. “It’s actually not a real problem in America.”

Following the host’s remarks, #FireTuckerCarlson began trending on Wednesday, with thousands of Americans calling on Fox News to dismiss the host from his job.

The movement was not the first time citizens have banded together in an attempt to get Carlson off the air. Numerous boycotts — starting in December 2018 over Carlson’s constant espousal of comments deemed by some as inflammatory, racist and homophobic — have lost the show a large number of its advertisers. At least 35 companies have pulled their advertising on the show this year over controversial statements made by the host, including bedding company Sheex and drugmaker Astra Zeneca.

The show lost its first round of advertisers in December, when Carlson made racist remarks about immigrants. One month later, the next round of boycotts began after the host declared that societies worsen when women earn more money than men. Tucker Carlson Tonight continued to lose more advertising in the following months after Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog, shared a compilation of the host’s radio appearances between 2006 and 2011, which showed him making offensive remarks about child rape and women. The group later released another clip of Carlson claiming that Iraq is populated with “semi-illiterate monkeys.”

Despite near-constant boycotts and calls for his firing, Fox News defended Carlson and his program in December and March. “We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants,” the company said in a statement earlier this year.

In March, The Hollywood Reporter noted that the average number of ads on the show had halved in the first quarter of 2019, dropping from roughly 36 to 18 per show. A few months later, Bayer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, reportedly stopped advertising on Tucker Carlson Tonight and The Ingraham Angle.

Following Carlson’s show on Wednesday, critics of the host continued to share ongoing petitions on Twitter calling for advertisers to boycott Carlson and Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

“I just took action with Color of Change in the face of the El Paso, Texas tragedy to demand advertisers to drop The Ingraham Angle show and Tucker Carlson Tonight. Will you join me to stop the spread of white supremacist media?” Twitter user @BrianKSutton wrote, alongside a link to a petition titled: “Fox News advertisers must stop supporting white nationalist talking points NOW!” Dozens of other Americans joined Sutton in sharing the same statement and link.

Despite the primetime show currently being the second most-watched cable news program in America, Tucker Carlson Tonight appears to be filling commercial breaks with an increasing number of in-house Fox News ads and lesser known brands.

Here is Newsweek’s list of some companies that advertised with Carlson on Wednesday’s show:

My Pillow USA — a pillow manufacturing company, founded in 2004 and based in Minnesota.

WeatherTech — a company that produces products that provide automotive interior carpet protection.

Hello Fresh — an international publicly traded meal-kit company, founded in 2011 and based in Berlin, Germany.

Sandals Resorts — an operator of resorts for couples in the Caribbean, founded in 1981 and is part of parent company Sandals Resorts International.

Zona Health — a company that sells medical devices for the treatment of hypertension, founded in 2004 and based in Boise, Idaho.

Wesley Financial Group, LLC — a consumer rights group that specialists in complete timeshare cancellations and timeshare debt eliminations.

Instaflex — a company that produces a dietary supplement, manufactured to relieve joint discomfort.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America — a national, for-profit network of cancer care and research centers and patient care centers throughout the U.S., with its headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.

A more complete list of Tucker Carlson Tonight’s leading advertisers can be found on Media Matters.

Newsweek reached out to Fox News for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

No, Tucker Carlson is not the Super Freak, Christina Zhao is. She’s the kind of girl you read about in Newsweek Magazine.

Wow

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Regarding the crazy times we’re living through, we’ll just take Spengler’s thoughts directly from his piece at PJ. Wow:

“Writing in the left-wing Forward website today, Cathy Young warns the Left to take its own violence seriously:

…It has been a staple of conventional wisdom that the real danger comes almost entirely from the far right….But is that still true today? We don’t know if Connor Betts, the 24-year-old Ohio man who killed nine people (including his own sister) and wounded 27 more when he opened fire on a crowded street in Dayton on Sunday, had any involvement with Antifa. But Betts’s Twitter trail makes it clear that he was a hardcore leftist who embraced some fairly extreme ideas—and, in some cases, advocated violence toward political enemies in Antifa-style language.

Good for Ms. Young, who declines to join the chorus blaming President Trump for the last two atrocities. Never mind that the five worst mass shooting incidents took place outside the United States, or that more mass shootings occurred during the Obama presidency than under Trump. But that leaves us with the question: Why are there mass shootings?

Mass shootings are a special form of suicide. The shooter never expects to survive. But the shooter combines self-hatred with group hatred. Hate becomes so melded with the shooter’s identity that he determines to take as many people as he can with him. They are of the same order as the pilot who crashed a Germanwings airliner into the Alps in 2015.

Emil Durkheim’s 1897 diagnosis of “anomic suicide” describes the Columbine perpetrators as well as the 2016 San Bernardino attack by Muslim fanatics, the “right-wing” shooter in El Paso and the “left-wing” shooter in Dayton. They are individuals cut off from society, destabilized by change and despairing of their own place in the world. Such monsters always have been among us. But now we are cultivating such monsters by destroying the ties that bind us to each other, to our past and to our future.

Everyone used to matter. No-one matters anymore, not at least in the postmodern dystopia of invented identity. In the good old days we mattered because each of us was radically unique. We were unique as members of a congregation standing before the God who made us, and unique as parents watching over the children we had brought into the world. We knew that each of us had a singular purpose, first because God does nothing in vain. We hoped to make the previous generation proud of us, and the next generation worthy of its predecessors. Each of us had a mission that no-one else could carry out for us, and that mission was to raise children who were uniquely ours, and with whom we had a unique rapport through bonds of intimacy that no master’s degree in psychology could replace.

Everyone used to know who they were. We did not shop for an identity in the alphabet soup of postmodern sexuality, but bore the identity we inherited. We honored the aged and raised the young. Life was tragic but triumphant. We might grow frail and die but our children, our community, and above all our country carried something of our mortal existence into an indefinite future. Our brief time on earth had purpose. We could expect a modicum of joy among all the tears.

No more. The liberal consensus now tells us that we are free to invent our own identities–not only free to do so, but required to do so on pain of public shaming, because the entirety of the past is polluted by racism, colonialism, misogyny, Islamophobia, and so forth. Our past supposedly is a Black Museum of abuses by the white patriarchy, and no stone may be left atop another in our fervor to raze it. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Left seeks to destroy every recollection of the past, not because our ancestors were so wicked, but rather because it wants to clear the ground for its Frankstein-like experiments in the creation of a New Man. That is what Mao did in the 1960s during China’s horrible Cultural Revolution. A Chinese acquaintance comments, “Now America is having its own Cultural Revolution.”

Yet we also are told that we are irrelevant specks of carbon circling one star among billions in our galaxy, which is one galaxy among billions in a universe which cares nothing about the brief flickering of our existence. Our brain is a machine whose functions soon will be mimicked by artificial intelligence. The brain scientists and evolutionary biologists tell us that our freedom is an illusion. Our lives don’t matter, because there is nothing we possibly might do that could matter. We have nothing but the illusion of freedom, directed towards arbitrary whims.

The ruling liberal dogma tells us that the past was an unrelieved pageant of oppression against people of color, women, and other victims. We are the first “woke” generation, and everything that preceded us is to be abominated. If we abominate our ancestors, why should we bear children who will invent their own identities by abominating us? Nothing will be left of our mortal existence when we die, but there is worse: Long before that we will grow old and irrelevant, with nothing to do in the absolute loneliness of old age except to wait for death. We fear the waiting as much as we fear death itself. No wonder that tech billionaires are obsessed with preventing aging and even death, as Tad Friend reported in a creepy 2017 New Yorker essay. They aren’t fooling anyone, least of all themselves.

We peruse the alphabet soup of sexuality and wonder which app to swipe to find a moment’s respite from abysmal, aching loneliness. We look in the mirror with contempt for our own illusions. We know that we aren’t fooling anyone, and we know that everyone who sees us laughs behind our back at our pretensions. The harder we try to construct an identity, the greater our fear of being found out for a fraud. That is why we require identity politics. That is why we require identity politics. What we cannot possibly achieve as individuals we hope to do as a collective, by censoring any utterance that might call into question our counterfeit identity. This censorship goes to extremes of absurdity, for example, the case of Access Hollywood host Mario Lopez who was fired for advising parents not to make a determination of preferred gender for their children at the age of three. Identity politics on the right, for example “white nationalism,” work exactly the same way that identity politics do on the left.

If our identity is an arbitrary choice, life has no meaning. A randomly chosen “meaning” is no meaning at all. “Meaning” implies a unique meaning. If we can pick a letter, any letter on the LGBTTTQQIAAPAGPGB spectrum (not my invention), or any intersection of gender and ethnic combinations, our life has no meaning in particular, and we are condemned to a wraith-like existence in a perpetual present with neither past nor future. That is a formula not just for misery but for despair, not “woke” so much as a waking nightmare. Our lives don’t matter, and neither do those of anyone else. It’s no surprise that the occasional lunatic fed on the identity politics of left or right decides to put himself out of his misery and take other meaningless lives with him.

High suicide rates in failed cultures are common. Neolithic peoples that encounter the modern world suffer from extreme anomie. Members of Brazil’s Guarani tribe have a suicide rate 34 times the national average, the highest in the world. The crisis of Muslim cultures has produced a fearfully large number of individuals willing to kill themselves in order to kill civilians of another Muslim sect, not to mention Americans or Israelis. Our Cultural Revolution has the same effect: We have hollowed out the sense of purpose in life that formerly sustained us and reduced large parts of our population to atomized lost souls. It’s not surprising that individuals with severe psychological problems lose all restraint and turn into killers.

I find it especially loathsome that the liberal ideologues who have done everything in their power to undermine family allegiance, congregational devotion and patriotic loyalty now blame the problem on guns.”

’nuff said.

More on these unsettled times

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

1) The APA says this: “Routinely blaming mass shootings on mental illness is unfounded and stigmatizing. Research has shown that only a very small percentage of violent acts are committed by people who are diagnosed with, or in treatment for, mental illness. we are facing a public health crisis of gun violence fueled by racism, bigotry and hatred. The combination of easy access to assault weapons and hateful rhetoric is toxic.” The Secret Service says that at least two thirds are nuts. You decide.

2) Archbishop: Trump’s “invasion” rhetoric against Hispanics, language echoed in a manifesto police believe was posted by the alleged El Paso gunman, helped create a climate that led to the tragedy. The 62-year-old archbishop said on Twitter this week that Trump — a very weak and “poor man” — had caused “Too much damage already” and that the president’s rhetoric had “destroyed” people’s lives. “President stop hate and racism, starting with yourself,” he said. Glad we didn’t join the Benedictine monastery.

3) NBC News: Frank Figluizzi, an NBC News national security contributor, said during an appearance on MSNBC Tuesday night that President Trump erred in ordering flags to be flown at half mast because of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, because of the importance of Aug. 8 to white supremacists. Figluizzi, a former FBI assistant director of counterintelligence, said Trump’s move would result in flags being raised again at dusk on Aug. 8. “It’s the little things and the language and messaging that matters,” Figluizzi told anchor MSNBC’s Brian Williams on “The 11th Hour.” “The president said that we will fly our flags at half-mast until Aug. 8. That’s 8/8.” “The numbers 88 are very significant in neo-Nazi and white supremacy movement. Why? Because the letter ‘H’ is the eighth letter of the alphabet, and to them the numbers 88 together stand for ‘Heil Hitler.’

4) History: Classic civil wars, from Thucydides’ account of the Corcyrean revolution of 431 B.C. to the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, tend to be far more bitterly murderous than anything that has yet happened in America. These wars ignite when public power abets—or is perceived as having abetted—violence in longstanding social struggles, when authorities treat opponents as outside the protection of the laws, or when they criminalize political differences outright. The authorities also bear most of the responsibility for piling up and drying the partisan fuel that they then ignite. Thucydides tells us that the Corcyrean parties’ adherence to the Peloponnesian War’s opposing sides simply sharpened their long simmering conflict. It mattered little which of the two first refused to accept losing a vote in the city assembly and accused the winners of improprieties. Reciprocally, they heated their cold civil war until one side shed blood. The spiral of violence then accelerated, and the city essentially depopulated itself.

If you think this can end well, let us know.

Simultaneously funny and sad

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

The state of the media today.

Interesting day for numbers

Monday, August 5th, 2019

CNBC:

Stocks fell sharply Monday as a trade war between the world’s largest economies intensified with China retaliating against President Donald Trump’s latest move.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 850 points, while the S&P 500 dropped nearly 3.3%. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, dropping 3.9%. The Nasdaq was on track to fall for a sixth straight session, which would be its longest losing streak since late 2016. The S&P 500 also headed for a six-day losing streak. The Dow was set to fall for a fifth straight day.

The major indexes were headed for their worst day of 2019 and have also fallen more than 5% from their record highs set last month.

Trade bellwethers Caterpillar and Boeing dropped 3.6% and 3%, respectively. Semiconductor stocks like Micron Technology, Skyworks Solutions and Advanced Micro Devices fell at least 4.7%.

Apple shares slid 5.4%. Nike dropped 3.1%. Retail stocks like Etsy, Abercrombie & Fitch and Stitch Fix all fell at least 6.9%. Office Depot slid 7.8%. Party City fell 5.6%. Macy’s and Best Buy pulled back 5% and 4.8%, respectively. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) traded 3.2% lower. FedEx dropped 5.2%.

“Now we have a trade situation that is going off the rails as the side effects multiply due to the ramping up of the use of tariffs and we are only further apart from any resolution with the Chinese,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “The policy of using tariffs as a tool to address our legitimate beefs with the Chinese has failed miserably.”

China, which has historically controlled its currency, the yuan, allowed it to fall to its lowest level against the dollar in more than a decade. The onshore yuan broke above 7 per U.S. dollar and traded at 7.05.

Trump later accused China of manipulating its currency, saying in a tweet: “This is a major violation which will greatly weaken China over time.”

China “appears to have decided that, given the increasingly dim prospects of a trade deal with the US, the boost to China’s export sector from currency depreciation is worth attracting the ire of the Trump,” Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note. “The fact that they have now stopped defending 7.00 against the dollar suggests that they have all but abandoned hopes for a trade deal with the US.”

Multiple news outlets also reported China has asked state-owned companies to suspend U.S. agricultural imports, despite an agreement in June with Trump to resume purchases of U.S. farm products.

These moves come after Trump announced last week the U.S. would impose a 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. The tariff will take effect on Sept. 1. Trump’s announcement came after Chinese and U.S. officials discussed trade earlier last week as the two countries tried to restart talks.

That tariff would target retail, along with other consumer goods from companies like Apple. The tech giant told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a June letter that tariffs on this tranche of goods would hit “all of Apple’s major products,” hindering the company’s contributing to the economy.

The news pushed the S&P 500 to its worst weekly performance of the year. The S&P 500 dropped 3.1% last week. The Dow had its second-biggest weekly drop of 2019 last week, sliding 2.6%.

Investors rushed to traditional safe havens like Treasurys and gold on Monday amid the uncertainty. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.74% and reached its lowest level since November 2016. Gold futures for December delivery gained 1.3% to settle at $1,476.50 per ounce.

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered to be the best fear gauge in the market, jumped 31.8% to 23.21.

Other than this minor thing, what’s happening?

Brief update on this silliness: (a) a 10% tariff on $300 billion is $30 billion, rounding error whether you’re talking about a $20 trillion economy or a measly $12 trillion; (b) agricultural commodities are commodities, so if one country stops buying, in many cases another will pick up the slack.

Classical music, etc: things to think about

Monday, August 5th, 2019

The other day Dennis Prager advanced the idea that the music of Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and so forth were in themselves, through their existence and their creative and complex beauty, compelling arguments for God’s existence. We don’t know what you do with that re Judaism, Christianity, and all the rest of the world, but Prager’s comments seem plausible. How could the beauty of such creation be totally without meaning? Pick your favorite, Beethoven’s 9th, Brandenburg 5, Mozart’s EKN, etc. Hey, what about the lower orders, Flute Thing, Bill Evans (which song we discussed with him), or maybe the fantastic Keith Jarrett Köln concert (minute 7 ff.). We’re not sure to make of all this, but such calculated beautiful things seem to us the opposite of atheism.

Save the birds

Monday, August 5th, 2019

Yay. Some good news for a change after a horrible few days.

Some cause for concern

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

AT, Lifson:

President Xi realizes that the one thing that can unite the fractious Chinese people, who have many things to complain about, given the corruption that is a way of life there, the absolutist rule they face, and now the tanking economy, is anti-foreign agitation. China has deep, legitimate grievances over they way it suffered at the hands of foreign governments, starting with the deliberate supply of opium in the 18th century by first British, and then other Western powers (including American “China traders”). Not only was mass addiction fostered, a successful war was fought tobe able to continue and expand that narcotics trade…

I am not saying that bloody repression and blaming the West is inevitable, but it is an option for Xi, one that would address domestic issues for him. But it would also come at a heavy price, for China’s efforts to target and wait out President Trump, hoping for his defeat in 2020, depend on maintaining and expanding ties with the advanced nations of the West (and Japan and South Korea). Exploiting such a division would be difficult if Hong Kongers are slaughtered. And China – and various politically influential people in China – makes a lot of money and is able to enjoy access to personal financial flexibility through Hong Kong’s special status.

RTWT. WSJ:

Violence between protesters and police spread across five districts late Saturday, with several police stations besieged and hundreds of residents pouring on to the streets to drive riot police from their neighborhood.

Clashes between citizens and police are growing, with no sign of a political resolution to the unrest that has driven eight weeks of protests that are underpinned by anger at China’s growing influence in the city.

In front of one police station, thousands of black-clad pro-democracy protesters in yellow hard hats gathered. A few used poles to dent parked police vehicles, while others shot with slingshots. Two small fires were set outside the station.

Police massed to clear the protesters, charging at them with riot shields and firing rounds of tear gas that left the street outside in a fog. The crowd fell back but didn’t disperse. Around 10 p.m. a standoff took hold. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on the street, some building barricades with sandbags and other debris from a nearby work site.

“The situation is really precarious,” said Albert Ho, a Hong Kong human-rights lawyer who is defending several protesters arrested in recent demonstrations. “Right now there are a lot of young people out there who feel they have nothing to lose, who feel they are looking at the end of rule of law, of a legal system, of a culture.”

We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but we don’t have a good feeling about this.

Trivial Pursuit, but hey, it’s the weekend

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

Star Wars came out in 1977, and the initial film as shown did not have any scene with Jabba the Hutt. Then the 1997 re-release did, and it created a big huh? for us. That’s because the physical depiction of Jabba resembled in some ways the owner of 20th Century Fox, Marvin Davis, a joke by Lucas no doubt. (As a banker we spent a fair amount of enjoyable time with Marvin.)

But Davis didn’t buy Fox until 1981, so how could a 1977 movie suddenly have him in it, as it clearly did in Return of the Jedi in 1983. The answer is that the original 1977 scene, not in the movie, featuring Declan Mulholland as Jabba, was left out of the original movie, but when the 1997 re-release was done, they used a CGI Jabba instead of Declan. We really liked Marvin Davis and hope everyone gets a chuckle out of this.

Super LA bonus: Marvin’s office was on the 29th floor of the building you now know as Nakatomi Plaza.

Numbers again

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

WSJ:

China imports far less from the U.S. than it exports, leaving Beijing unable to match Washington’s tariff escalation. Beijing has slapped tariffs on $110 billion in U.S. products, in response to Mr. Trump’s hitting $250 billion in Chinese imports with punitive levies. It has only about $10 billion in U.S. goods left to hit in response to the threatened U.S. tariffs against $300 billion in Chinese products.

And, via Foreign Policy:

Worse for China’s economic future, perhaps, is a recent report that the country’s total debt, from corporations, households, and the government, now tops 300% of GDP — and much of it is caught up in opaque and complicated transactions that could become a ticking time bomb.

Tick, tick, tick.

Reality TV appears to be working

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

The Evil One got 8% of the black vote in 2016, as we noted the other day. Now Rasmussen says his approval rate is 32%, up from 26% last year. Even with a plus or minus 9% margin of error, that’s very impressive, given what his foes say about him 24/7.

Bonus: we can’t bear to read this, but maybe we will after a few indictments.

Codevilla is not optimistic on justice happening.

Another brief update

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

DOOM AGAIN by next year:

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

‘Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,’ concludes the Pentagon analysis. ‘Once again, warfare would define human life.’

Climate change ‘should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern’, say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is ‘plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately’, they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 ‘catastrophic’ shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war.

“European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020.” The DOOM prediction is from fifteen years ago. Duh!

Brief update

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

WaPo:

The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump.

The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement. “This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for President of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency,” he said.

The suit asserts that the Russian hacking campaign — combined with Trump associates’ contacts with Russia and the campaign’s public cheerleading of the hacks — amounted to an illegal conspiracy to interfere in the election and caused serious damage to the Democratic Party.

The lawsuit echoes a similar legal tactic that the Democratic Party used during the Watergate scandal. In 1972, the DNC sued President Richard Nixon’s reelection committee seeking $1 million in damages for the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.

The suit was denounced at the time by Nixon’s attorney general, John Mitchell, who called it a case of “sheer demagoguery” by the DNC. But the civil action brought by the DNC’s chairman, Lawrence F. O’Brien, was successful, yielding a $750,000 settlement from the Nixon campaign that was reached on the day in 1974 that he left office.

Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor who specializes in computer-fraud cases, said he thought the Democrats’ suit had merit and, despite predictions from Trump-allied lawyers, was unlikely to go away “There is no way it’s going to be dismissed,” said Akerman, a partner in the New York office of the Dorsey & Whitney law firm.

Brief update: Judge John Koeltl has dismissed the Democratic National Committee lawsuit against the Trump campaign, Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, George Papadopoulos, Richard Gates, Roger Stone, the Russian Federation, various Russians, Joseph Mifsud, Wikileaks, and Julian Assange.

More humor

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

WaPo on the “debate” laff-riot:

“Science tells us that we have 12 years before we reach the horizon of catastrophe when it comes to our climate.” – South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

More “debate” fun via NYT:

Other major points of Mr. O’Rourke’s plan include: New regulations, such as building efficiency standards and hazardous waste limits; Ending government fossil-fuel leases and requiring that all federal permitting decisions “fully account for climate costs and community impacts”; Reducing methane emissions from oil and natural gas facilities and eliminating hydrofluorocarbons, which are more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide; $5 trillion over 10 years for, among other things, clean-energy research, infrastructure and extreme weather preparations.

Idiots all, but that doesn’t mean they lose, as we link once again to the Marcus piece. Further evidence re Idiots and/or serious mental illness.

“Google Camp”

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Beginning of the joke:

The billionaire creators of Google have invited a who’s who of A-list names — including former President Barack Obama, Prince Harry, Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry — to the Sicilian seaside for a mega-party they’ve dubbed Google Camp. The three-day event will focus on fighting climate change. “Everything is about global warming, that is the major topic this year,” a source told The Post. Their three-day summer camp will cost the tech giant some $20 million, sources said.

Punchline: “114 jet privati all’aeroporto di Palermo.”

A beautiful thing or two

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

We know there’s a new Lion King out, and that’s fine, but the first version is so beautiful, particularly if you saw it with your young kids. Speaking of that, our son, when he was one, would make the following request nightly for a Gerber yogurt drink, if memory serves, while watching Barney and reciting the pictures on the Gerber product: “Perra, Green Grape, Banana: I want a babba to the brim, warm and cozy and pink too – get it for me you may; okay, they will get it.” Which we did of course. Nice times. (Kudos to Elton John, Tim Rice, and all the rest.)

Hey, anything has got to be better than this evidence that America is circling the drain. Ugh to the 55th power or more. Unlike our JFK era, these D’s are trying to appeal to utter stupidity. Lloyd Marcus also addresses the frankly unbelievable stupidity, particularly among the youngsters.

Reality TV’s new show

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

In 2016 the Evil One got 8% of the African American vote. Now we turn to the Atlantic for sober, subdued down-the-middle journalism on recent events:

“What the hell do you have to lose?” Trump said, addressing his question to black voters. The point, he said, was that African American communities were already a shambles, and their condition could only improve. The remarks drew shocked reactions at the time. Three years later, as the president attacks Representative Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, the answer to his question is clear. Trump has sabotaged a law that guaranteed health insurance for many African Americans. He has undermined protections for voting rights. His Justice Department has stopped going after police departments that discriminated against African Americans. He has rolled back environmental protections. Beyond policy, he has used rhetoric that suggests the citizenship of African Americans and other minorities is conditional and less than that of white Americans.

8% is pretty close to zero. The Evil One knows Reality TV very well, and this is a new show. Every day his detractors say the same boring thing, Racist!, in a voice that sounds like this, only louder and louder. If he can turn 8% into 16%, let alone something truly amazing like 24%, he will have accomplished a lot. Let’s get some popcorn and stay tuned.

Added fun: The Wicked Witch and her friends are all over the Ratcliffe appointment. Here’s hoping that Barr’s people can get nice new striped outfits for the likes of Clapper, Brennan and Comey.

Who’s the bad guy?

Monday, July 29th, 2019

PBS or the Evil One? Just asking.

Good luck with that

Sunday, July 28th, 2019

WSJ:

U.S. dollar-denominated junk bonds from Asian companies are one of the few investment products with average yields of more than 7%, as low interest rates and Treasury yields have dragged down prospective returns on a wide range of debt. In today’s market, most of the Asian high-yield bonds are from Chinese companies, and the country’s heavily indebted property developers are collectively the biggest issuer.

Junk bonds from Chinese companies are drawing more international interest because the returns are too good to miss out on, money managers say, with yields in some cases running into the midteens.

Asian dollar-denominated high-yield debt issuance is on pace to hit an annual record this year, and Chinese companies account for about $38 billion of this, or more than two-thirds of the $59 billion raised so far this year, Refinitiv data shows. On average, dollar-denominated junk bonds from Chinese companies were recently yielding 7.9%, versus 6.0% for U.S. junk bonds and 3.1% for euro-denominated high-yield debt, according to ICE BofaML indexes.

Last month, Chinese home builder Tahoe Group issued a $400 million, three-year bond. It was priced to yield 16%, the highest yield on a dollar-denominated bond issued in Asia this year, according to Refinitiv. The bonds are rated Caa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and hold a similar CCC+ rating from Fitch Ratings, grades which are far below investment grade.

Asia’s debt market is “so big now that you just can’t ignore it, especially as China is becoming such a big influence on global financial markets,” said Monica Hsiao, who heads Triada Capital, a Hong Kong-headquartered hedge fund.

Ms. Hsiao said in recent months, she has been approached by prospective investors she has never heard of. “Even U.S. and European endowment funds and foundations want to get involved because they realize that they’ve been missing out on years of returns,” she said.

Chinese developers have $114 billion of offshore high-yield bonds outstanding, compared with just $8.9 billion in 2010, according to analysis by Fitch based on Bloomberg data. These are bonds that have at least one junk credit rating and are cross-border, meaning issuers are borrowing in dollars or other foreign currencies. That sum represents more than half of all junk-rated cross-border bonds from the Asia-Pacific region, and is about 10% the size of the $1.18 trillion U.S. high-yield market.

The increased interest has been a boon for Chinese companies. Earlier this month, Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd., a Chinese developer with a troubled history, sold a $300 million four-year bond at a yield of 11%. The company, which defaulted on its dollar bonds in 2015, returned to the offshore market earlier this year.

About $21 billion in junk-rated offshore debt from the Chinese developers will be due in 2020, and $29 billion the year after, Fitch says. Earlier this month, dollar bonds from China Minsheng Investment Group plunged after the conglomerate said it couldn’t repay bondholders or pay interest as planned.

Speaking of Minsheng, hey, no big deal; its revenues only went down 50%.

In other news, the freakouts continue apace (here and here); it’s getting sooooooo boring. Chill out and watch Shindig or Hullabaloo.