The Orange Injector and the Troubling Tariffs

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

He did it again. I am so fed up with this nonsense. This:

is yet another perfect opportunity for someone to game the market and do so in a big way.

Just look at this drop:

One needed only to short the market before it opened on Monday make huge amounts of money with no effort. And this time even the entire American market could have jumped on this; no more advance notice required apart from Trump’s Sunday and Monday tweets.

Believe me, the opportunity tempted me. I could see it coming. I only needed to short the NYSE:DIA using my pre-open trading access and I’d have raked in cash.

But it’s unethical; I can’t make money off people on the wrong side of Trump’s ridiculous foreign policy. It’s more like gambling on a steroid-doped horse and not true investment.

Nothing about Trump’s trade policy makes any sense (not that anything he does makes sense to a rational, ethical, sentient human being). What is the fundamental problem he wants to solve?

…Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership without ever proposing a replacement, and he appeared ready to do the same with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He imposed stiff levies on imported steel and aluminum, leading Canada, China, Mexico, and the European Union to slap the United States with retaliatory tariffs. At the same time, however, his administration ultimately agreed to a renegotiated NAFTA without major changes to the original agreement. It did the same for the U.S. free trade agreement with South Korea. So what signs could reveal his true intentions in 2019?

(source: Understanding Trump’s Trade War by Doug Irwin via Foreign Policy Winter 2019)

This entire paragraph operates on the assumption Trump acted in good faith on NAFTA.

This is the biggest mistake anyone can make about Trump, however. He has never done anything altruistic in his life. Every he’s done has been transactional. His lack of empathy for others combined with his selfish transactional nature precludes any good faith.

One need only look at his marriages to see his true self. He didn’t make any concerted effort to keep his vows, and when he’d obtained all he wanted from those relationships, he ditched his wives.

Even his Access Hollywood “grab them by the pussy” video revealed this: he believes that if one is a celebrity, one can do anything to a woman. In other words, the woman is receiving the attention of a celebrity in exchange for access to her body.

A transaction. Presence and access is consent as far as he’s concerned.

He is incapable of seeing anything he does as president as action on behalf of the country. In his mind the country already got what it wanted — his attention of a celebrity and his commitment to live in our house.

Rather like a second or third wife, we’re supposed to have gone into this relationship with our eyes open and have already received the best that we’ll get out of this deal. Meanwhile, he’s using our house for his personal aims.

And he’s using our relationship with major trading partners to shake them down for something to his benefit.

Re-read that paragraph from Foreign Policy again, only this time recognize the shakedown, the grift in between the lines. He received something from rattling NAFTA partners even if in the end it looks like nothing changed.

The New York Times published another expose on Trump’s finances based on transcripts of his IRS filings from 1985 to 1994. In the wake of the article there’s been a lot of chatter about how deeply in debt he was during the period these filings covered. But debt is just a number; it’s all in the accounting. The average American under the age of 40 is also deeply in debt if they’re buying a home, a car or two, and/or paying off the last of their tuition debt. Some of these debtors may tell you they made money and put it in the bank last year, though.

Trump was doing the same thing but at a much larger scale, only without the same consequences upon failure the average American would face:

Mr. Trump was able to lose all that money without facing the usual consequences — such as a steep drop in his standard of living — in part because most of it belonged to others, to the banks and bond investors who had supplied the cash to fuel his acquisitions. And as The Times’s earlier investigation showed, Mr. Trump secretly leaned on his father’s wealth to continue living like a winner and to stage a comeback.

Here’s the bit that jumped out at me from the NYT’s piece:

As losses from his core enterprises mounted, Mr. Trump took on a new public role, trading on his business-titan brand to present himself as a corporate raider. He would acquire shares in a company with borrowed money, suggest publicly that he was contemplating buying enough to become a majority owner, then quietly sell on the resulting rise in the stock price.

The tactic worked for a brief period — earning Mr. Trump millions of dollars in gains — until investors realized that he would not follow through. That much has been known for years. But the tax information obtained by The Times shows that he ultimately lost the bulk of the gains from his four-year trading spree.

Now Trump — or any of his partners/associates/financiers — no longer has to buy stock in a specific company to make money. He can use our house to act like a corporate raider. He can threaten to make or break a deal using the good faith and credit of the United States (instead of his own bad faith) and mess with the entire market.

In addition to Trump’s Sunday tweets. I suspect participants in the US and overseas markets in Asia and Russia could also have traded on Trump’s early Monday morning tweet:

This tweet is pure bullshit. There is nothing factual about it; it displays a gross ignorance about the trade deficit.

Putting aside the rational explanations about the trade deficit, the U.S. must keep in mind that China has been carefully negotiating its recovery after Mao Tse-tung’s Great Leap Forward and a realignment of mixed capitalist-communist system. It would be all too easy for the balance to shift reactively toward a more militarized communist system if it had an insufficient demand for its capitalist output.

But understanding this requires a degree of nuance beyond the grasp of the malignant narcissist-in-chief. He can only manage to ponder what’s in it for him.

Trump’s early Monday morning tweet would have been seen at these local times:

4:06 am Washington DC
6:06 pm Sydney Australia
5:06 pm Tokyo Japan
5:06 pm Seoul South Korea
4:06 pm Beijing PRC
11:06 am Moscow Russia

Ample time to jump in between the Sunday tweets and this Monday tweet if one was already holding index shares.

Those of use who didn’t trade on this information, though, went for a roller coaster ride on our hard-earned retirement savings and college funds as they plummeted Monday morning.

And because Trump is using our good faith and credit for his own aims, we can’t be absolutely certain he isn’t running some opaque con for a personal gain we know nothing about. We’re trapped in this vehicle for as long as he wants to run this scam.

And like some of the investors who loaned him money or contractors who worked for him in good faith in the past, we’ll end up holding the bag.

Just stop this crazy thing.

~ ~ ~

Oh, two more things:

First, Steve Bannon needs to be de-platformed. He is deliberately sowing anarchy across the globe by promoting white nationalism. Populism, he calls it, but it’s racist appeals encouraging insurrection and sedition against liberal democracy.

When he encourages Trump’s stupidity toward China it’s not because it’s helpful to the common good. He may say that Trump’s tariff threats are a benefit to the working class but Bannon has no fucking clue how manufacturing actually works. It’s all an abstraction to him that capital might reshore from investment in China to investment here.

Reality looks more like Lordstown, Ohio where General Motors just shut down a plant. The economic changes that led to the closure have been years in the making. It takes years and hundreds of millions in capital investment to plan a new product line to respond to trends in consumers’ tastes including the manufacturing processes required. We’re also in the midst of a massive sea change in transportation, with competing countries shifting entirely to electric cars within the next two decades.

But Trump can tweet damaging nonsense in seconds, smashing those carefully laid-out product manufacturing plans to smithereens.

Which may be the point considering Trump and his minions and financial backers are no fans of organized labor in the U.S.

I’m sure Bannon will assure the workers of Lordstown jobs will be there for them at any moment once the impending trade war with China has settled.

[Note: While I was drafting this post Trump tweeted that GM was selling the Lordstown plant to electric truck manufacturer Workhorse. Now Trump will look like a winner for badgering GM’s CEO Mary Barra when this deal was likely in the offing for some time. Really stupid move on Barra’s part because now he’ll use this as leverage — her call gave him presence and access.]


Second, it may be valuable to note that key problem children who have supported anarchic white nationalism through Trumpism in the US and Brexit in the UK have something in common:

Steve Bannon = former investment banker

Robert Mercer = former co-CEO of hedge fund

Rebekah Mercer = former trader at daddy’s hedge fund

Nigel Farage = former commodities trader

Arron Banks = owner, insurance company

Wilbur Ross = investment banker

Steve Mnuchin = former mortgage securities and hedge fund executive

Imagine them realizing they could make a shit ton of money by injecting planned volatility into the market using Trump (or Brexit) as their injector.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire Trump administration was in on this scam. Here’s U.S. Trade Reprepresentative Robert Lighthizer about Trump’s latest tariffs on Chinese goods:

“This was Trump acting out on a rainy Sunday in Washington with nothing on the public schedule,” he added. “To paraphrase Lenin: there are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks when decades happen…and then there is a single week in the Trump Presidency. What a time to be alive.”

Head, meet desk.

This is an open thread.

242 replies
    • Stacey says:

      Thank you for writing this!!!!
      I was not aware until the recent NYT article mentioned Trump’s discovery of pump and dump schemes back in the day. I saw his tweeting and stuff from early on and thought, I wonder if he knows about that fraud practice, and realizes what he could do with his little twitter fingers? Without digging into it, I hadn’t known for sure until that article, that he in fact does know all about that, which told me in pretty uncertain terms that ‘of course, he’s doing that behind the scenes, because it’s Trump, so duh!’

      My only question is how does a person looking for financial fraud of this type find it? I’d bet the farm he has a fund or many funds that someone is managing that he is “marionetting” as he pulls the levers and twists the knobs, but how does one get a view finder into that? I remember learning that someone had a view onto the 9/11 moment because someone had shorted the airlines, so I know that the data is knowable, I just don’t know how one comes to see into the data to catch the activity correlated in time with the levers and knobs.

      • SaulGoodman,Esq says:

        At least someone is pointing this out. Its not just him being an unstable moron who can’t keep his stubby little fingers off the Twitter. Someone is making huge sums of money off this. Sometimes things are just what they look like they are. It ain’t complicated. Its been happening like clockwork since the start of his presidency.

      • Silence Hand says:

        Screw it all, I want in!

        Maybe someone at Twitter can get a little delay between the instant he hits “post” and actual appearance of the tweet. All my algorithm needs is something like a 500 ms head start!

        Just a little information delay, the tiniest bit….is knowing the future!

        Maybe we could set up something like in “The Sting”!

        • Rayne says:

          LOL Not that I’m advocating anything here but if one were competent in IFTTT applets, ostensibly one might not need a sophisticated algorithm to trade on Trump’s tariff trash. I think it’d be a bigger challenge to connect IFTTT to a trading account because of security. Perhaps merely setting up a notification through IFTTT anytime orange wanker tweets the word “tariff” will give one enough time to execute a trade.

          I see there is at least one other automation tool connected to one’s investment accounts; just not certain if it can trigger a trade based on a keyword in a tweet.

    • REG says:

      REG Prediction:

      I think the Republicans calling DT jr. to testify again is a rouse. If he lied to Congress, he should be charged. They are calling him back to make it appear they are interested in getting the truth. But the real reason is to give him a way to correct his lies and misstatements on the record. They want to appear that they are really looking into things but are really providing a way for DT jr to absolve himself of lying to Congress to “correct the record” and avoid being charged. It is a set-up with a stacked deck! That is why McConnell is predicting a “happy ending”.

      • bmaz says:

        As I said yesterday, then WHY would they need to subpoena him? If that were the purpose Burr’s staffers would have quietly worked out an appearance time and date with Jr.’s attorneys. And Trump Jr. would not be fighting.

        But that question needs to be answered before thinking it is all a chess move to help Jr.

  1. Rayne says:

    Ack. I really had a problem with prepositions today. I’ll tweak them as soon as I can.

    I’m afraid to look at my retirement+college fund portfolio. I wouldn’t be surprised if the orange tweet-mongering wanker cost me tens of thousands in valuation this week.

    • P J Evans says:

      I had to sell some – last week. They called (Monday, IIRC) and wanted to know if I wanted taxes taken out now or later. I said “now”; if I’m going to have to pay 10% on it, get it over with.

      • Rayne says:

        Thank goodness you sold last week. I’m kicking my butt that I didn’t buy a few things on open Monday to sell them before EOD on Thursday. Pure gravy.

  2. Seouljer says:

    Makes sense. Once a conman always a conman.

    Pretty ambitious plan though.

    How can they get away with this so easily? It’s insane.

    How can so few affect so many?

    • Rayne says:

      How’s it ambitious? I have an investment account, could have traded online. Easy-peasy. If I was really wealthy and not just a middle-class American nearing the end of their work career I’d have accounts offshore around the globe and trade just as easily through other markets. I’d have to spread assets just to hedge currency fluctuations. Super easy if one is rich enough to afford accountants and dedicated traders.

      • Seouljer says:

        This is all technically legal? Manipulating the market via twitter, preceded by a short?

        I assumed it was illegal and there would be more pushback.

        • anomar says:

          The President cannot be indicted, remember? It no longer matters if the Prez does anything or everything illegal.

          • bmaz says:

            This is bunk. Whether or not he can be criminally charged at this given moment is NOT the point. Saying “it no longer matters” is complete garbage.

              • P J Evans says:

                It’s possible, but they should have tagged it, if so. (If they don’t know about snark tags, it’s ‘/s’ after the comment.)

                • Valley girl says:

                  Dunno, but that was my first guess. Guess I should have waited for the commentator to weigh in.

                  If this commentator has a history of stupid statements, you would know.

                • Silence Hand says:

                  Normally I’d say the “everything illegal” bit was the tell. Normally. We live in strange days. Strange days indeed.

                • LeeNLP says:

                  Late to the conversation, but I heard snark on my first reading. Sad, cynical snark. The kind I feel on my best days nowadays.

  3. OldTulsaDude says:

    Arranging for such a drop in value would be an easy way for a criminal president to repay a debt, no?

    • Rayne says:

      Yup, so easy. It wouldn’t take much to signal there’s a trade opportunity ahead, either. Imagine, for example, that several large countries are all in on this and they agree through intermediaries to provide signals. Maybe even something subtle like a missile test.

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        Maybe that explains the $53 million interest income the NYT found in his taxes (If you guys are interested, I can help you make some money, for a small surcharge.)

        • Rayne says:

          Could be something semi-benign like the management services agreement with Merv Griffin, but perhaps a deal Trump doesn’t want aired. There’s just so little supporting documentation available. Would love to know how often he was really audited by IRS or state tax authorities.

          • Mainmata says:

            There’s also the little matter of the money laundering for Putin’s pet oligarchs at least since 2004 or so when Daddy’s money finally petered out. In part, this was because no US bank would give him any more loans except Deutsche Bank’s real estate division, which was also laundering Russian money. The rest of the money went through shell companies. This allowed multiple times bankrupt Trump to go on a buying spree: hotels, golf resorts, office buildings all over the US and some foreign countries. My guess is that is part of what the SDNY and the state AG are looking at (tax and wire fraud and other common financial crimes).

            • Christopher Thomas says:

              Didn’t he buy that Scottish golf resort with cash, and isn’t such a purchase a red-flag for possible money laundering?

              • P J Evans says:

                Somehow it’s staying in business despite losing money every year since he bought it.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        On one hand, this is so despicable and depressing.
        On the other hand, it’s almost a relief to see that it’s written down for public comment.

        And either McConnell/GOP is in on it, or their stupidity knows no bounds.

        I switched off blurbs at both Bloomberg and CNBC on Monday. I just didn’t have it in me to watch ‘market reports’ that didn’t dig into the very topics that you just laid out.

        I am not sure what is going to happen to financial news if they don’t find the stones to do the kind of reporting that you are putting up here.

        • Rayne says:

          I’m sure it will be blown off as a victimless crime if indeed this is what is going on. The average American didn’t lose any cash out of their wallet, right?

          But this is one of the other dangers: this scenario, using the presidency to manipulate markets, makes it all the more likely oligarchs from around the world will try to interfere in elections because they can make up any expenditure with a few transactions and then rake in enough moola to buy small countries.

          Now every time I hear some jackass right-winger pule about the ‘free market’ I just want to projectile vomit.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            I could not agree with you more.

            What I still can’t quite figure out is why and how the people whose meal tickets are: (1) law practice, and (2) financial services, haven’t started raising holy hell with their federal and state elected’s.

            If I made my living from a law degree, a law school, or an array of related services, and I saw that Trump daily gutting the rule of law, wouldn’t I recognize that he’s basically smashing my rice bowl right out of my hands? With a whole lot of assistance from GOP Senators, Barr, and potentially SCOTUS. How are US legal services going to hold their value, when the entire system is revealed as corrupt, inept, and at the whim of authoritarians?

            Similarly, the capital markets traditionally were a ‘safe haven’ for money from everywhere. Their reputation was key to their value, and implied that the financial system had ‘legal and procedural guardrails’. Post Madoff, and post Enron, that sense of ‘security’ took a beating. So why, financial services sector employees aren’t hollering holy hell simply baffles me. Do they genuinely not grasp the fact that Trump, et al, are breaking their rice bowls? Or at the very least, drilling holes in them?

            Carol Cadwalladr at the Guardian has been phenomenally insightful and hard-working on a whole cluster of topics related to your post. I’ve heard more than one story about the market implications of Brexit: whoever shorted ‘Leave’ made a killing.

            Your mention of Bannon and Mercer both being hedge fund guys called this to mind:

            I’m horrified that people seem to be allowing thugs to corrupt their reputations to such a profound degree that maintaining their lifestyles, billing scales, and professional claims is going to be increasingly difficult.

            • P J Evans says:

              And his tame whatchamacallit, Rudy, who is telling the media that the 700-some attorneys are all wrong for signing that letter about how they’d have charged Tr*mp based on the public version of Mueller’s report.

            • Rayne says:

              You know why I think Brexit petered out? Not just because the premise was a fraud finally exposed to the UK public…because there were too many variants of Leave and not enough critical mass behind any one of them. The guys who counted on shorting Brexit couldn’t write a successful algorithm to execute trades.

            • Rayne says:

              IMO, that Deutsche Bank and Citigroup are playing it safe and neutral tells me finance industry is carefully threading the needle. They don’t want to piss off Trump and his overseas sponsors but they need the stability of regulatory frameworks — hence the cautious approach to compliance.

              • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                You make a lot of sense.
                But if they believe that they can thread that particular needle indefinitely in today’s chaotic, climate-challenged, edging-toward-Facebookie-authoritarianism world, they are whistling Dixie.

                Seems like they need a longer, structural strategy.

                Also agree with your previous point that these folks know how to steal, but they are clueless about how to build. All takers, no makers.

              • Doug R says:

                Deutsche Bank knows to stay on Merkel’s good side. She’s been working against Putin for a long time, she got her start in East Germany so she knows how the game is played.

    • CitizenCrone says:

      Congress needs to step up and do some oversight –and legislation. Stop backing off the banking and finance regulations.

      And, forgodssake do some real reform on campaign finance.

      Any comments on Adam Schiff’s proposed constitutional amendment?

      • Doug R says:

        Considering Justice Kennedy said something to the effect of “in this internet age it should be easy to find out who funds who” it shouldn’t be that hard to make it law that all contributions over say $1000 cannot be anonymous.

        • P J Evans says:

          one of my friends suggested, years ago, these basic rules:
          all donors must be natural persons (and citizens)
          all donations are reportable
          no upper limit on amount

          It’s the first two that would make the biggest difference.

          • Doug R says:

            Organizations like the NAACP have relied on anonymous donations from members to literally avoid lynch mobs, I think we could find a reasonable floor.

          • Rayne says:

            We still need to have a national discussion about money=speech since money entitles some entities under Citizens United to more speech than others, and speech via unnatural/synthetic ‘persons’ (corporations). IMO we need a constitutional amendment about natural persons, speech and other rights before we end up allowing AI/robots to have rights some of us natural humans still aren’t guaranteed.

            • P J Evans says:

              I want that amendment that’s supposed to fix “Citizens United” to define corporations as “not persons” for all 1st Amendment uses. (Fix that headnote from SP v Santa Clara County so it’s understood to Not Be a Legal Decision.)

  4. viget says:

    Great post Rayne!

    I thought of you and your previous posts on Boeing and Air Force One when this happened this weekend. Great way for Trump to pay his masters overseas, especially those who are barred from the US banking sector by sanctions…

    They get theirs one way or another..

    • Rayne says:

      Once you see it, you notice it — and it’s happened often enough it’s hard to believe it’s just happenstance.

      I didn’t even get into his use of Twitter to conduct this market manipulation-cum-POS foreign policy. Jack Dorsey should have kicked Trump off because of this crap alone, I thought; but then, what if Jack is trading on this, too? Even with Trump trash-talking about Twitter booting white nationalists off the platform, Jack could make bunch of cash if he had any advance notice of trade opportunities.

      Pure speculation, of course, but how easy would it be to pull this off? ~sigh~

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        The NYT story makes yours especially prescient as it points to the market manipulation history of Individual-1.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        Hold a Trump tweet for ten minutes and forward the content to Dorsey’s wealth managers ? Not likely I’d guess, but something like it is definitely possible.

          • Eureka says:

            Yep, that would do it. And our nation-state actor (fr)enemies could just listen in to what he’s carping about with his captive Mar-a-Lago audience via his insecure-ass phones, pre-tweet, ETC. (heck, thinking aloud they could probably also get keylogs before he hits send and do the scripts, too). OMG it’s _everything_ with this guy.

            I have wondered if his insecure practices are features, given the ample warnings about them.

            • Rayne says:

              Didn’t even think about keylogging, definitely a possibility but so far for trading unnecessary. His manipulations have happened with ample lead time for those who are aware of his practices to trade profitably. The tightest lead time was the 12-minute gap between threaded tweets about the aerospace industry after the Boeing 737 MAX crash in April, and yet anyone who understood Trump’s practice could have prepped a transaction before the first of the two tweets.

              JFC I’m going to end up doing this kind of trading just to make a point. It’d be a sick way to pay for this site’s bandwidth, eh?

              • RWood says:

                Makes me think that if one had a list of his donors, and a history of his pump-and-dumps via his twitter account, one may be able to predict who was on-deck for their payback tweet.

                Probably too much work for what return you might get, but the pattern of behavior might be interesting to a NY AG.

                • Rayne says:

                  I seriously doubt anyone will look into this. It just bugs the crap out of me this is another potential abuse of power — unethical but legal acts — which are too challenging to chase especially since no one can point to damages.

                  What worries me the most is that this could be happening AND the profits used to fund information warfare against us. It’d be almost invisible if done right. I’m even worried I typed this because if they haven’t already been doing this, it’s just a matter of time and they don’t need a map.

  5. roberts robot double says:

    As it’s an open thread, I just want to say a huge “Thank You All” for helping me remember that there are Americans who both see through this corrupt administration and give a shit. I say this because it appears that, while the percentage of our citizens that are actual Trump supporters is perhaps around a third (still disturbingly large), there are not enough of the rest of us who seem to actually see this latest incarnation of Republicans to be the existential threat to America that they truly are.

    I especially hope that our national tresure, Ms. Wheeler, is getting some R&R to keep her energy up. She and Charles P. Pierce do this country a great service every word they put to “paper”.

    And everyone so inclined, please send a wish or a prayer that some true patriot will come forward and leak the unredacted Mueller Report “Panama Papers” style. Shine the light of truth on the bastards!

  6. Sandwichman says:

    Of course Trump is a swindler. See Hyman Minsky’s 1990 essay, “The Bubble in the Price of Baseball Cards” starting at the bottom of page 6, “One of the puzzles of the 1980s was the rapid rise in the financial wealth of Donald Trump…” Minsky went on in the essay to explain that Trump’s “success” was essentially a Ponzi scheme, depending on new loans to pay the interest on outstanding loans.

    • JD12 says:

      For 1990 that’s a keen observation. The only thing separating his casinos from literal Ponzi schemes is that he had the balls to bluff bankruptcy judges into signing off on them.

      • vicks says:

        The whole casino thing makes no sense.
        I know the big rumble back in the day was “debt parking” meaning they did not believe Trump when he claimed the money he lost was his own so he could take the loss against his personal taxes, that actually it was someone else’s money he lost and he may be still on the hook to this “someone” for it
        OR the casinos debt was forgiven by the bank or the debt was bought for pennies on the dollar by “someone” to save him.
        Trump’s casinos filed bankruptcy which is another way to get out of repaying your debts, and all three methods get counted as income and go against any losses.
        I can’t shake the thought that DJT never invested his own money in the casinos hoping he picked a winner but perhaps actually created his “loss” by using personal money to buy some debt from his company for pennies on the dollar and figured out a way to reverse it back from pennies to dollars as a giant loss on his personal taxes.
        I am sure Trump didn’t go without, so who knows? As he saw the train wreck coming maybe pumping some last minute cash in could have been a way to make his play and still suck the last drop out before he stiffed everyone else

    • Eureka says:

      For folks enjoying (anew) ’80s/’90s Trump drags, another writer linked to Jimmy Breslin’s columns:

      From 1990 (with a Kentucky Derby parable opener–“Because, gentlemen, this is the rule. A sucker has to get screwed.”):

      …[I]nstead of horseplayers, the suckers who must get screwed are a combination of news reporters and financial people. It is all quite simple. Donald Trump handles these nitwit reporters with a new and most disgraceful form of bribery, about which I will tell you. He uses the reporters to create a razzle dazzle: there are five stories in the newspapers in the morning papers leading into 11 minutes of television at night. The financial people, who lead such dreary lives, believe what they read and see on television. Trump is larger than life. No, not Trump. Don’t use that name. It’s Donald! He cannot lose. The financial geniuses can’t wait to rush into the glamour and lights. They want to touch Trump’s arm. “Here, I’m from Prudential, the rock of Gibraltar. Take our $ 75 million to build another crap game. Can I ride on your boat?”

      …The scandal in journalism in our time is that ethics have disintegrated to the point where Donald Trump took over news reporters in this city with the art of the return phone call.

      …All Trump has to do is stick to the rules on which he was raised by his father in the County of Queens:
      Never use your own money. Steal a good idea and say it’s your own. Do anything to get publicity. Remember that everybody can be bought.

      The trouble with Trump’s father was that he was a totally naive man. He had no idea that you could buy the whole news reporting business in New York City with a return phone call.

      Other early critics are linked/excerpted in a THR article I posted below.

  7. Vicks says:

    My hope from the beginning of his reign when he was tweeting about Lockheed and Delta and jumping the news with jobs numbers there was some actual coffee boy or gal following him around making trades (and a fortune) off his stupidity.
    In my movie it would be a single mom or better yet a DACA kid…..

    • Vicks says:

      Silly man just did it again..
      I know there are rules here for posting links I will learn for next time but look up “Workhorse”
      Stock was down almost 6.5% yesterday and up 150% today after a DJT pump, I mean tweet…

  8. Lulymay says:

    It occurs to me that while Australia has the great white shark, Americans seem to be beholden to the great orange shark! Unfortunately for all but of few of your citizens, he is also one giant chicken-shit; a “reality show host” who has never had to face reality in his whole life.

    Its not just your average investor that he is royally screwing over on behalf of a short list of friends and grifters, but those low income folks that don’t have a hope in hell of rising above the poverty line. Just before I left AZ to return home, I saw a quick note on the financial news that major “Dollar Store” enterprises are starting to close some of their stores. These are the retailers that folks living in poverty are able to at least afford a few of their essentials – but where do all those products come from? well, its China of course. So these tariffs that super genius thought were such a fine idea, merely raised the price of all items, leaving a large chunk of the population unable to afford even critical essentials any more. This is what happens when a brain hasn’t been exercised for at least 70 years, even when it started out as only a pea brain!

    • P J Evans says:

      Almost everything in US stores, the ones that aren’t dealing in high-end merchandise, is made in China. (This is especially true of discount stores, especially W*lM*rt and Target.)

    • joejim says:

      At the Dollar Store where I shop there are always public school teachers buying poster board and other paper/art/display supplies for their kids, as do I for high school equivalency workshops at the homeless shelter. You can pick the teachers out by how they dress and what they buy and hear them joking in line about spending their paychecks this way. Sounds like even those in this magnificent donor class will soon be thwarted. No way can any of us afford $5 a sheet like you pay at a regular store.

  9. Mosey says:

    Over the past 2-3 years, a number of investment leaders/gurus have been taking a contrarian view towards the markets and their inflated values. One example of this is that the majority of the trillion dollar tax cut from late 2017 went directly to the biggest corporations who promptly took that free money to buy back their own shares, thus artificially boosting the stock value of a share in the company. (Indeed, it was only about ten days to two weeks ago, when Apple stated their latest earnings that they also mentioned that they would purchase an additional 75 billion dollars worth of their own stock, as an example.) At any rate, while I feel the pain of those who lost money in their retirement accounts due to The Toddler King’s tweets earlier this week, please be aware that the markets potentially are not going to continue their outsized growth for much longer. I am hearing from contrarian investors that there is a good chance that by the end of this year the stock market could only be worth half of what it is right now – how does a 13,000 Dow index sound – yikes. So it is easy to say that The Toddler King and his tweeting is rocking the markets, and that is true in this particular instance…but the markets are very precarious even without Donny. Something (nobody knows what) is potentially going to trigger a notable sell off at some point. It might not have anything to do with Trump. My guess is that TTK’s tweeting is just exposing the weakness that is already there, hiding in plain sight. Volatile market conditions are ahead so be very careful! Just my opinion. I think this article does a good job of explaining where we are right now.
    Cheers to all, Mosey

      • Stacey says:

        And maybe Mosey’s point was ALSO that in the chaos that’s in the offing no one will notice the shenanigans that Trump and others will be playing in whatever kind of collapse scenario unfolds, and that part of Trump’s superpower is being what he does in chaos, that’s why he loves creating it around him. I’ve been expecting the house of hollow cards called our stock market to do what houses of hollow cards do at some point, and fall down, for a long time, since it seems so obvious that that will happen.

  10. cat herder says:

    Is it really unethical to make use of a method that looks, to this very poor person, designed to be unethical from the bottom-up? They made it the way it is for a reason.

    But, the entry to this glittering world of portfolios and valuations is barred to the vast majority of us.

    • AitchD says:

      CHICO. Hey Boss, what you got there?
      GROUCHO. This, Gonzango, is a one-of-a-kind framed and autographed copy of The Rayne Portfolio. It’s for sale, Gonzango.
      CHICO. How much, Boss?
      GROUCHO. For you, Gonzango, fifty bucks. Below the signature it has a button, you press it, it plays an mp3 of Astrid Gilberto singing “Here’s That Rainy Day”.
      CHICO. That’s a-cool, Boss. How much for just the frame?
      GROUCHO. You couldn’t afford it.

    • Rayne says:

      No offense but I find that piece rather short-sighted. Almost as bad as Trump’s so-called foreign policy.

      It’s as if the Belt and Road Initiative didn’t exist.

      • AitchD says:

        Oh, I’m the one who may have offended by posting the link. I was not endorsing the essay; I’m grateful for your taking the time as I didn’t know what to make of it. Thanks.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As you say, that Trump ever acts in good faith is self-evidently false. He always acts to promote his personal self-interest rather than some more abstract goal, such as promoting an institutional interest, the rule of law, good government, or good foreign policy. Trump’s career amply demonstrates his belief that acting otherwise than in his own self-interest is a sucker’s game.

    Equally unsustainable is the MSM default explanation that a politician acted in some way because he did not comprehend an issue or policy. That, too, is normally false. They act because they choose their path, not because they are unaware of where it leads. That implies intent, though, and the MSM is loathe to claim purposeful action, because it leads to liability, whether legal or political.

    There are exceptions. A barrel-full of GOPers are dumb as fence posts: Gohmert and Gaetz come to mind. Trump, too, is stunningly ignorant. But they can and do follow a prearranged script.

    Trump has trouble following any script, but his default is to promote his self-interest. That makes some his choices more akin to willful ignorance, in that he has the resources and responsibility to find out what he’s talking about and uniformly refuses to do so. That, too, leads to liability.

      • Tom says:

        One of my most vivid childhood memories is of having the measles; this was before the vaccine came along. I recall being in bed for days, drenched in sweat and covered with red spots. I felt so sick that I finally told my mother, “Mummy, I think I’m gonna die.” Parents and adults in general shouldn’t play Russian roulette with their children’s health.

        • P J Evans says:

          I remember that with measles, they kept the curtains closed in the room they used for isolation. (Light made my eyes hurt.)
          Mumps hurt, and chickenpox was itchy. All those in the late 50s, so no vaccines against them at all.

          • Eureka says:

            Hope you both escaped longer-term effects (I hear rumblings there may be more later-in-life implications, sounds like verdict not yet in on that). I know pre-vaccine polio folk who decades later suffer post-polio syndrome. I am thankful for all the vaccines; I only had to deal w/chicken pox…and staring out the window at my friends playing outside in the freedom.

            • Tom says:

              Actually, decades later my sister told me that our mother once said to her that I was “never quite the same” after my bout with the measles.

            • Molly Pitcher says:

              Well, I had mumps, BOTH measles but no chickenpox. UNTIL I was an adult. You haven’t lived till you experience Chicken Pox as an adult.

              When the Chicken pox vaccine came out, I asked the Pediatrician if I should get it. They said ‘oh no, you probably had it and just don’t remember it’. yeeeaaahhhh……

              • Rayne says:

                There was a study published recently in which researchers combed through decades of data to look at big picture effect of measles vaccine. They found that there was an unexpected and substantial decline in mortality from ALL childhood diseases once the measles vaccine was widely deployed. They’d only expected to see marked decrease in measles-related deaths.

                But they found something else in the data: the order of exposure to childhood infectious disease or vaccine mattered. If a child had chicken pox (varicella-zoster virus) or its vaccine first and then had the measles (morbillivirus) or its vaccine, they’d “lost” their immunity to chicken pox and were at risk of having chicken pox again.

                So…there’s a possibility your doctor was right (since chicken pox exposure was pretty ubiquitous pre-vaccine), but having measles after you may have lost any acquired immunity. It’s too bad you didn’t have this study to validate getting a VZV booster.

                Any mature adults thinking about updating their immunizations should keep this in mind: get the measles booster first, plan on a VZV booster later (which for adults includes shingles protection)**. VZV has been implicated in prion diseases like Alzheimer’s so don’t blow this off as a childhood disease.

                **EDIT: I am not a doctor or any kind of medical professional, want to make that clear. With regard to VZV boosters for mature adults, ask your health care provider what kind of booster you should have. Adults over 50 are offered a shingles booster as dormant VZV from previous exposures may reemerge as shingles later in life.

            • P J Evans says:

              One of my cousins had polio (he’s the same age as me). He’s one of the luckier ones: he got a leg that’s damaged. I don’t know if he’s gotten post-polio.

              I’ve had shingles twice. After the second time, I got the vaccine (via ACA coverage – Medicare doesn’t seem to cover that one, in spite of the age recommendations.) Not the new one, but the old one. Even if it’s only 50% effective, that’s better than nothing.

              (AFAIK, I didn’t get rubella. But I’ve never been tested for resistance.)

  12. punaise says:

    with apologies to the Clash:

    Tariff don’t like it
    Rockin’ the Cashbar
    Rock the Cashbar
    Tariff don’t like it
    Rockin’ the Cashbar
    Rock the Cashbar

    By order of the profit
    We ban that boogie sound
    Degenerate the faithful
    With that crazy Cashbar sound

  13. Geoff says:

    A lot of this was covered in an episode of Dirty Money way back in early 2018, but it seems it was lost in the general stream of effluent coming out of the administration.

    I’m always reminded how, if we somehow slept through the last two plus years, and woke up to read about all the things this grifter had done during this period, plus what we now know he was doing before, we would probably all have strokes.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “Self-impeachment” is a nice rhetorical slap at Donald Trump, but it hasn’t any legal or political consequence. Congresscritters in the House should stay focused on the real thing, and not be put off by imitations.

      • Stacey says:

        Donald has 2 skills: 1) being a victim no matter the outcome of what victimized him: an ‘exonerating’ Mueller Report that he gets to whine about as an attempted deep-state rebellion that failed? and 2) pulling out his own dick and stomping on it if no one else is around to do that for him!

        If there were ever a guy for whom you’d want to run the ‘give him enough rope to hang himself’ play on, it’d be THIS guy! Nancy is really good at counting and whipping votes. She knows that there were not enough Dem votes (let along R votes) to make the impeachment flag fly…yet… and she knows that Donald and team think they will benefit politically from an impeachment attempt–therefore Donald’s trying to get himself thrown into the briar patch because that’s where he wants to be–and she knows that if she’s not going to pull Donald’s dick out and stomp on it FOR him, he’ll do it HIMSELF, because he can’t let an opportunity to be victimized go utilized! And she also may have plenty of intel we don’t yet know that’s coming out which will turn her vote count problem around, as one can observe now is happening! Conservative Dem after conservative Dem is being brought to the place where they have no choice but to say, ‘well, this is clearly a lawless President, and we can not let this stand!’

        At the end of the day, if Pelosi tries to PULL the nation toward impeachment THEY will resist. If she lets the NATION PULL HER TOWARD impeachment, THEY will NOT. This is simple ‘political physics’. Emotionally, yes, I wonder daily where that wonderful rogue Regime Change Unit of the CIA is already, but making him a martyr sets us up to lose the ‘political physics’ match in a REALLY BIG WAY!

        • ANZAC Friend says:

          I’ve been thinking along the same lines re Pelosi and impeachment. So last week I posted on twitter saying as much and used the same description “‘give him enough rope to hang himself”. And was banned from Twitter for 12 hours for an abusive post. I was somewhat surprised but then again what would I know.

  15. P J Evans says:

    Well, the House Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.
    And the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoena’d Trump Junior (AKA Uday).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Let me know how that contempt fares and when the impeachment inquiry hearings begin. This is not an administration or, frankly, a Congress one can take at their word.

    • bmaz says:

      SCI doesn’t, institutionally, do squat that Burr does not approve.

      Ask yourself why he approved this. Something doesn’t smell right.

      • P J Evans says:

        I expect that most of any answers will be either taking the Fifth or “can’t remember”. As to why Burr-the-leaker is going with this – I don’t know, but maybe he thinks it will help Tr*mp avoid impeachment by putting everything on Junior.

        • P J Evans says:

          Most of the comments on this at Kos are “What are they trying to do”, mixed with “It’s a trap”.

      • Jockobadger says:

        Doubtless a dumb question, but I’ll ask anyway:

        What are the chances that Burr is sensing that all is not quite right and that he’s possibly starting to distance himself…? Like Ignatius Reilly sensing a downward spin in the Wheel of Fortuna?

        (putting on tinfoil bmaz-flame reduction helmet)

      • ItTollsForYou says:

        My sense is that they are giving him the opportunity to “clean up” his previous testimony before he gets subpoenaed for realzies.

        • bmaz says:

          I dunno. Guess that is possible, but it it were really a friendly clean up session, his appearance would likely have been arranged without a subpoena.

          • Stacey says:

            And he wouldn’t be trying to resist the subpoena. but I heard that he was, which I thought was odd, given that my first guess was that he was being invited to come in and clean up his previous testimony. Is he just too dump to realize that, or?

    • fpo says:

      re Junior – Finally, the Republicans have a witch hunt of their own. This should be good.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Something the Japanese make a fetish of is the observation that appearance and reality seldom coincide.

        • fpo says:

          It’s Burr doing the WH a diversionary favor. He’ll get called in for a round of golf for effect, and that’ll be that. Jr won’t answer – ‘self incrimination’ – and the GOP can trot around the “See, we even subpoenaed the kid.” I can hear Jungle Gym Jordan already.

      • harpie says:

        From the attachment to Feinstein’s letter:

        Unanswered Questions from the Mueller Report
        Set out below are several key issues and questions based on the redacted version of the “Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference In the 2016 Presidential Election,” released to the public on April 18, 2019. This is not an exhaustive list of issues or questions, and Members may have additional areas of concern and questions.
        Russian Interference Offers of assistance from Russia or its potential intermediaries to the Trump campaign, including the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting. [9 questions]
        […including #8:]
        Why did the office elect not to pursue an interview with Donald Trump Jr. and did his refusal to be interviewed impact the investigation? If so, how?

        • harpie says:

          Another question SJC Dems want to ask Mueller:
          [quote] President Trump’s conduct towards Michael Cohen.
          1] […] You also found evidence that “the President intended to discourage Cohen from cooperating with the government because Cohen’s information would shed adverse light on the President’s campaign period conduct and statements.” [Vol. II, p. 155]. Did your investigation determine what campaign period conduct and statements President Trump wished to conceal? [end quote]

          That question made me think of this recent article from Reuters, on 5/7/19:
          Exclusive: Trump fixer Cohen says he helped Falwell handle racy photos

      • harpie says:

        Laura Rozen Retweeted FoxNews’ Chad Pergram wrt: new Graham quote about: Don Jr.: [FOX NEWS]
        7:53 AM – 9 May 2019

        From colleague Jason Donner.
        Graham on Senate Intel Cmte subpoena for Donald Trump Jr:
        If I were his lawyer I wouldn’t put him back into this circus. The freak show in the House. I’m not going to let it come to the Senate

          • RWood says:

            I’ve been thinking about this since your “Burr approval” comment, and asking to-what-end they have done this. I end up back at “the GOP may like Trump now, but they like themselves better”.

            I’ve only come up with two scenarios, the first being the “clean up the previous testimony” angle that has already been mentioned here. But that seems rather dangerous when Jr’s mental capacity is taken into account. Scripted questions and answers aside, he could still talk his way into perjury quite easily I would think. Unless that doesn’t matter to them.

            The other may require some tin foil, but here goes.

            What is Trumps out? I can only see re-election, which is far from guaranteed, as one option, and that might only kick things down the road four years.

            The second would be a deal of some kind for him to escape prosecution in exchange for his resignation. I can’t see his ego allowing that. There would have to be some leverage added to it, something that would force his hand and give him no other option but to take the deal.

            Perhaps Jr is that leverage they desire? Does the GOP want/need the ability to show Trump the way out if needed. I can see a day when it will get too bad for them to continue protecting him, and the best thing for them at that point would be if Trump left seemingly on his own accord.

            My mind-it wanders. I’ll put my TFH back on now.

            • bmaz says:

              Yeah, wish I had something smart to say or opine. I don’t. The initial Burr comment was kind of axiomatic. But there is clear blowback in the Senate. By appearances, even with Burr, a contempt citation likely would not clear a vote. What a weird deal.

            • Rayne says:

              My gut tells me there’s internal polling that looks really bad for both the White House and the Senate. They can’t save both even with the help of the Russians. They’re thinking about splitting the baby by tossing the entire Trump family under the bus.

              A second possibility is that they figured out how to get out from under whatever is being held over their heads — again, throwing the Trump family under the bus in the process. The right-wing media machine in this country is theirs yet, not the Russians, and they can use it to generate a lot of trash (read: truth) about the Trump family to that end. Perhaps combined with the implosion of the NRA they might be able to save control of the Senate. They’ve been blessed by the Democratically-held House which saved them from some of their worst instincts this year; they can say they didn’t end ACA only because the House was their backstop. And they will have completely fucked up the judiciary by the time 2020 election takes place — accomplishment achieved.

              But I think the GOP has bitten off more than they can chew. I think this bullshit in Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, and a few more states where they are criminalizing anything but a healthy full-term pregnancy is going to backfire spectacularly in their faces. They are pissing off the largest single voting bloc in this country. Better stock up on pitch and torches or get out of the way.

              • RWood says:

                That all fits as well. I’m still attacking it from different directions, but so far its holding up. And yes, they will have to get control of the wedge issues quickly. I bet we’ll see some of that in the headlines very soon.

                And now I’m seeing reports that McConnell gave Barr the green light!? That had to be leaked on purpose. It’s a message to Trump.

                Somewhere in a sub-sub-basement of the West Wing some nervous men are drawing straws to see who has to explain this to Trump. Slowly of course, with pictures.

                Orange crayon.

                • RWood says:

                  One of my other “reminders” is: “What can they get from Trump that they can’t get from Pence?”

                  They would have to write off the oval in 2020 before asking that, and maybe already have. So it might apply here as well.

                  • P J Evans says:

                    In terms of voters – the militia types who aren’t fundies. Or other conservative but not fundy voters, like the libertarioids. Pence gets them the fundies, but not much else, and that’s a group that can’t hold together much longer; they’re pissing off just about everyone else.

                    • RWood says:

                      I was thinking more in terms of him finishing Trumps time. He can still allow them to stack the courts, monetize everything, and in the end, pardons. It would basically become a McConnell presidency.

                      But you are absolutely right as to what he brings them in terms of voters. They would have to run someone else in 2020 to even have a chance. Which may be the plan anyway.

                      IDK, I may need to change my tinfoil.

                  • Rayne says:

                    They don’t like Pence. Nobody likes Pence. He’s not a leader but a follower. They don’t want him because he projects that and can’t persuasively represent the GOP. What they want is somebody with swagger. The closest they have is Romney.

                    I figure they are aiming to drag this out enough that Trump loses and doesn’t get impeached and they aren’t forced to a vote on removal — they might go so far as to encourage Trump to leave early to save the election knowing Pence won’t win.

                    The other thing which could be going on is Bill Weld’s primary run, but I think he doesn’t have the Big Man swagger the base wants after being fed so much ugly rotting red meat by Trump.

                • Rayne says:

                  Keep in mind attrition. Mortality rate has gotten worse in this country in tandem with a growing youth movement furious about the lack of action on climate and on gun control. This will be the first general election in which the class of MSDHS-Parkland can vote. There is no getting around it, youth are coming for the decrepit white zombies.

                • Jockobadger says:

                  I’ve been wondering about this since the subpoena was issued. I still think that Burr can feel an ill wind blowing and wants to get ahead of it. I like the thinking going on immediately upthread and below. The R’s are getting nervous and there’s going to come a time (or an event) where they can’t keep the lid on anymore. The R’s will be running for the exits. Woo hoo.

    • harpie says:

      wrt: BURR:
      7:47 AM – 9 May 2019

      Two Republican senators facing re-election fights are defending Donald Trump Jr. after he was subpoenaed by the Senate Intel Committee.
      Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the committee, told @mkraju the probe is “wearing kind of thin.” And Sen. Tillis said it’s “time to move on.”

      Emma Loop:
      7:45 AM – 9 May 2019

      Rarely have we seen Republicans on SSCI publicly break with Burr, their chairman, throughout this investigation. This is fairly remarkable.

      I guess this IS “political” for some people.

    • harpie says:

      So, this morning, WaPo’s Felicia Sonmez notes:
      7:56 AM – 9 May 2019

      Earlier today, Donald Trump Jr.’s friend Charlie Kirk tweeted a warning to Thom Tillis.
      Not long after, Tillis, who faces a primary challenge from the right, criticizes fellow NC Republican Burr’s decision to subpoena Trump Jr.

      …so it seems this IS “about politics”, just not from the Dems.

  16. earlofuntingdon says:

    Conservatives love austerity when the little gal and guy have to endure it.

    A Warwick, RI, school district provides school lunches, but has unpaid lunch fees totaling some $40,000. Apparently, that amount includes parents who can pay and those too poor to pay, but the breakdown is not given. []

    A charitable restaurant owner offered to pick up ten percent of the shortfall. (Possibly, having read Michael Hudson’s tales of the Jubilee Year, he was encouraging others to help pay the total bill.) The school district said no: it could not distribute the relief equitably. Apparently, no one managing the school district passed junior high school math and learned about pro rata relief.

    To add fuel to the fire, children whose parents have not paid their tab will, in effect, be named and shamed. (Not much equitable relief there.) They will be given a lunch of “a sunflower-seed butter and jelly sandwich.” My guess is that this austerity absolves a state legislature, which has refused adequately to fund state schools. Another aspect of this that DKos’s Walter Einenkel points out (internal links omitted):

    Our current nutritional system for schools is a privatized, profiteering machine, more interested in lobbying against healthier food standards than providing nutritious meals to children. There are angels out there trying to get kids the food assistance they need, but they are doing work our elected officials should be, if they weren’t so morally bankrupt.

    To his point, peanut butter with little added sugar and other adulterants is modestly healthy. Sunflower seed oils (ignoring adulterants) are less healthy, but presumably cheaper and more profitable. High-sugar fruit jellies – fruit deleted – have no nutritional value, but make the paste and white bread easier to swallow.

    • Rayne says:

      Dude, come on. Kids today have much higher rates of allergies to nuts especially peanuts. During the last 25 years it’s been difficult to make treats for kids to take to school for fear two or more students in any class has a severe allergy.

      Focus on moral and economic failure which you know more about.

    • P J Evans says:

      I believe that fruit jellies are required to contain actual fruit (basically juice), like jams and preserves are. “Fruit-flavored” is a warning that they probably have none.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Having a good reason to substitute something for peanuts – hard to do since most equipment also processes peanuts and other nuts – does not mean that sunflower butter is an adequate nutritional substitute.

      Regarding industrial fruit jellies, juice and fruit are not the same thing. The latter has the fiber and nutrients, the former is basically sugar, which is the problem. Wonder bread and its peers are industrial, batter-based puffed air products that take about an hour and a half from raw ingredients to finished packaging. Not much “bread” or nutrients in that.

      • P J Evans says:

        My opinion of “Wonder Bread” is that it’s good for making bread-based crafts like beads and flowers – it’s not something I’d eat if there was a choice.

      • Rayne says:

        Earl. Stick to the values, not the food. You’re over your depth.

        The cost to provide safe alternatives to the hot lunch program tells us what we need to know: it’s about shaming the poor and not about ensuring all kids are adequately nourished and ready to maximize learning.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Making one point frequently requires making a preliminary point. As the cited article points out, it’s a race to the bottom in the outsourced school food service industry. It affects schooling for all ages, but is most pernicious in elementary schools. Nutrition, children and the poor suffer by design.

        That is directly attributable to government choices to underfund schools, frequently to give tax breaks to the wealthy, who rarely live with its consequences.

        It is directly attributable to the neoliberal model’s claim that an organization can do only one thing well and should outsource everything else – a recipe for instability, chaos, and profit-taking – and to the absurd claim that privatization increases value and lowers cost. As school lunches and the charter school “movement” illustrate, it does the opposite.

        Shaming the poor is a tool, a shiny object that distracts from the model and justifies its intentionally painful consequences. As did Social Darwinism, it makes the haves feel good about rigging the system to reward their systemic, policy-driven, ruthless social pathology.

        • fpo says:

          More uhh…grist for the mill, eoh:

          “Some 45% of college students say they experience ‘food insecurity’ — meaning they have limited or uncertain access to nutritious food.”

          The study, by the Hope Center for College Community and Justice at Temple University in Philadelphia, looks at two fundamental needs – access to affordable food and housing – of college students. The nationwide survey was conducted each of the past four years; the latest surveyed 86,000 students from 123 colleges.

          A bit of an eye-opener for anyone who’s been there, is thinking about going, or has kids headed that way. Results are indicative of how educational institutions have failed to take into account the impact diversity among student populations can have on everyday life.

          This MarketWatch article has a decent overview:
          [ ]

          Here’s a link to the study (includes exec summary, list of colleges, survey methodology; pdf file)

          [ ]

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            “Food insecurity,” that delicious bureaucratic euphemism for hunger.

            An astonishing figure I read from an anthropologist studying similar issues in the UK is that about 60% of women students at university have at least once faced the choice of offering sex for food or lodging.

            But hey, let’s load students up with mortgage-size debt loads so that they have skin in the game and don’t go all Berkeley on the adults running the system. Not.

          • P J Evans says:

            Too damned many politicians and CEOs have never lived on a limited income and tried to have a non-junk-food diet.

            (I remember living in a dorm for a while. The food was okay – but on Sundays they did breakfast a lunch only; after 3pm you were on your own when it came to food. The dorms had “kitchenettes” that were basically a sink and a cooktop – I don’t remember if they went as far as a range with an oven. (No fridge, IIRC.) And the nearest store was in the student ghetto nearby – which still exists and is worse now than it was 50 years ago – or miles away and requiring either a car or a long bus ride to get there and back.)

            • Rayne says:

              Just made me laugh thinking about my daughter’s freshman year at college — her school also had limited cafeteria hours including limited service on weekends.

              Apparently she’d packed some Spaghettios (yuck, yes, I know, yuck) but forgot a can opener. She proudly sent me a photo of the mangled can she’d opened in one of the engineering labs with whatever tools were on hand. Must have been pretty hungry or pretty pissed off, I’m not sure which to this day.

          • harpie says:

            And here, [I apologize for posting this yet again, but she is SO good!] is Katie Porter talking to Jamie Dimon:
            11:11 AM – 10 Apr 2019

            [email protected] outlined the budget of a single mother who works as a Chase bank teller, and asked JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon for solutions for the mother’s over-$500 shortfall.
            Dimon did not have a response [VIDEO]

            Porter later followed up with this tweet:

            During my questioning, @jpmorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said he didn’t know if all my numbers were accurate. Here’s the math so he can check. [photo]

            • fpo says:

              Yep. Can’t get enough of Rep. Porter – so damned refreshing. No grandstanding, no bs. She just lays out the facts, presents her case and waits for an answer – which in the case of her GOP peers or unwitting bank CEOs, often leaves them twisting like so many pretzels. Just hope she doesn’t get fed up or bored with DC.

              There’s another clip of her questioning a Cabinet official about ‘same day’ loans and lending rates…at one point she ends up offering her calculator to the witness, who had no clue about what the final payback might be.

              • bmaz says:

                She is fantastic. Had a chance to meet Katie Porter a couple of summers ago when she was just starting her nascent campaign in CA-45. I was meeting one journalist friend in Irvine for a happy hour, and he shifted it to a different place so we could meet up with a national journalist friend of both of us, from the Washington Post, who was there to interview Porter. In the process, we had 10-15 minutes alone with Porter after that interview. She was beyond awesome. I’ll be honest, I did not think she had a chance in hell to win that district in 2018. But she was obviously a force and impressive. And then she won! She is truly special.

  17. JD12 says:

    I thought exactly the same thing Rayne when I saw that tweet, and again upon reading the NYT report. It fits a pattern. When Trump first announced the tariffs a reporter found that Carl Icahn sold a bunch of steel stocks just prior to the information being public. Then Wilbur Ross shorted stocks when a reporter asked for comment on a negative article. These amoral bastards will do anything to make a quick buck.

  18. Eureka says:

    Rayne, I really appreciate how you framed the NYT report in the broader context of Trump’s gaming for personal advantage, especially how you handled the part about the debt. My first concern with the post-NYT flood of debt-related commentary was that the same could be said of (the soybean) farmers, etc., albeit at a different scale. Instead you point to the other hinge of commonality between them: that Trump’s heedless greed caused their problems, too. (Same thing with your points about the average household debt-load and those regarding the financial- sector histories of the white nationalist “problem children.”)

    This is the long-arc of his story that needs widest play. Those in the catchment of critical NY/NJ media coverage over the last four decades ‘know’ this, but judging by a comment above re “a lot of this” was covered “back in early 2018,” plus the whole Burnett-Apprentice con, maybe the audience hasn’t been that broad past Trump’s critics. Pre-POTUS, Trump largely got national network coverage of his legend, and local coverage of his failures. It’s not so much how much he has or doesn’t, but how he fluxes the system to (others’) selective (dis)advantage to get it. Geopolitical emoluments, coming to a tweet near you.

    Sing it, sister!

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I am only an occasional fan of the WaPo’s Dana Milbank, Bonesman that he is, but he has covered the White House for 21 years and deserves the press pass that Trump’s White House just revoked. [–its-curtailing-access-for-all-journalists/2019/05/08/bb9794b4-71c0-11e9-8be0-ca575670e91c_story.html]

    It was part of a mass purge of “hard pass” holders after the White House implemented a new standard that designated as unqualified almost the entire White House press corps, including all six of The Post’s White House correspondents. [Five were restored as grace-and-favor “exceptions,” but not WH critic Milbank’s.] White House officials then chose which journalists would be granted “exceptions.” It did this over objections from news organizations and the White House Correspondents’ Association.

    In this latest attack on his critics and a free press, the playbook Trump is using is probably Putin’s, but it is very like those used by military juntas round the globe.

    [FYI, link edited to remove tracking. /~Rayne]

    • P J Evans says:

      Their “requirement” is insane: “No credentials to any journalist who is not in the building on at least 90 out of the previous 180 days — in other words, seven of every 10 workdays.” – Milbank, from the article.
      Which is insane: they don’t even hold press gaggles, so there’s no reason for reporters to show up. (Tr*mp himself isn’t in the building that much.)

  20. Eureka says:

    Re: HJC hearing, I was pleased to see Nadler (in presser afterwards) and at least one rep during the hearing (Dean) cite the conspiracy-related MR evidence. Another (Scanlon) did the same in a recent article. It’s a rhetorical move towards accuracy, as many prior statements were dually-focused on “Russian interference” and “Trump obstruction.” Pols are more consistently now citing this as a tripartite issue, with “Trump campaign coordination” (however it gets exactly phrased) becoming part of the narrative.

    Elizabeth Warren (as one example, on Chris Hayes last night, I believe) has been especially clear about including the conspiracy part. THANK YOU. I could barely tolerate more of the Rudy-Maggie-Mike-primed obstruction-to-exclusion-of-else framing from folks who should know better.

    ETA: it was last night. Warren called it ‘part 2’ of three clear things post-reading MR:

    “Part 2, Donald Trump as a candidate welcomed that help.”

  21. harpie says:

    Greg Sargent reports [see Marcy’s tweet below]:

    NEW: @RepAdamSchiff tells me the case for impeachment hearings is getting stronger. [WaPo] […] Here’s another interesting point from @RepAdamSchiff.
    He suggests to me that William Barr and the White House might be behind the refusal of the FBI to turn over the investigation’s *counterintelligence* findings: [screenshot]

    …to which Marcy responds:
    3:33 PM – 8 May 2019

    If Barr is refusing to turn over the counterintelligence side of the investigation–which may explain why Vladimir Putin helped draft a statement that’s part of the obstruction case–it suggests Trump may NOT have gotten a clean bill of health on that front.

    Earlier, bmaz recommended the following from Robert Litt
    Bill Barr’s Actions on the Mueller Report: A Response to Jack Goldsmith
    …in which Litt also says:

    While certain aspects of Barr’s behavior could be defensible if they stood alone, taken as a whole his course of conduct—what he said, how he said it and what he didn’t say—shows that Barr is not merely “defen[ding] the presidency” institutionally, as Goldsmith argues, but defending this particular president politically. I want to highlight a few points that undercut the argument that Barr has been acting in good faith. […]

    • harpie says:
      3:59 PM – 8 May 2019

      BREAKING: House Intel just subpoenaed DOJ for all counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials in the probe, the full report, and underlying evidence.
      DOJ has responded to our requests with silence and defiance.
      Congress needs the material. We will not be obstructed.

      Screenshots of the letter, here:
      4:07 PM – 8 May 2019
      Attention, bmaz: Ryan Goodman:
      5:15 PM – 8 May 2019

      Potential master stroke in House Intel Committee’s subpoena of full #MuellerReport and underlying docs:
      @RepAdamSchiff letter invokes Rule 6(e)(3)(D) —exception to grand jury secrecy —doesn’t require prior court approval
      @marty_lederman @BoutrousTed were on this from the start [screenshot]

      • harpie says:

        Here’s a good explanation of Rule 6(e) and the Rule 6(e)(3)(D) national security/foreign intelligence exception:
        8:37 PM – 7 May 2019

        As I discussed with @maddow tonight, AG Barr’s claims that he is barred from disclosing grand jury information contained in the Mueller report to Congress by Rule 6(e) is false.
        Rule 6(e)(3)(D) creates a national security/foreign intelligence exception that applies here. 1/ […]

      • harpie says:

        Ted Boutrous to bmaz:
        7:51 AM – 9 May 2019

        Replying to @bmaz @marty_lederman and 3 others
        The drumbeat from all quarters has had a positive effect — and I think the exception sweeps in the obstruction volume too since it directly relates to the foreign intelligence/national security matters and alleged obstruction by the President is itself a national security issue.

  22. Savage Librarian says:

    Barr-Burr Shop Harm-Money

    Stints and Ops
    Hints and Drops

    Flips and Fops
    Dips and Cuts

    Nips and Thugs
    Tips and Bucks

    Stocks and Bonds
    Blocks and Cons

    Pleas and Cries
    Sighs and Seize

    Rise and Freeze
    Juice and ICE

    Boos and Vice
    Ruse and Price

  23. Eureka says:

    Speaking of counterintelligence, what is old is new again. Consider his finances, courting of Soviets, Middle East, no- NK, no- cold war nuclear peace plan, and 1988+ presidential teases with all of the NOW: we the people need his aughts/recent financial info:

    Scott Feinberg: “My @THR exclusive from two years ago (linked) identified the earliest known point at which Trump was trying to get into business with the then-Soviets. Tuesday’s NYT piece shows that this was *right* after his personal finances began going down the drain.(links to article below)”

    Donald Trump Angled for Soviet Posting in 1980s, Says Nobel Prize Winner (Exclusive) | Hollywood Reporter

    Donald Trump, in the mid-1980s, aggressively pursued an official government post to the USSR, according to a Nobel Peace Prize winner (Bernard Lown) with whom Trump interacted at the time.

    “He said to me, ‘I hear you met with Gorbachev, and you had a long interview with him, and you’re a doctor, so you have a good assessment of who he is,'” Lown recalls. “So I asked, ‘Why would you want to know?’ And he responded, ‘I intend to call my good friend Ronnie,’ meaning Reagan, ‘to make me a plenipotentiary ambassador for the United States with Gorbachev.’ Those are the words he used. And he said he would go to Moscow and he’d sit down with Gorbachev, and then he took his thumb and he hit the desk and he said, ‘And within one hour the Cold War would be over!’ I sat there dumbfounded. ‘Who is this self-inflated individual? Is he sane or what?'”

    Though the lengths to which Trump went to learn about Gorbachev and to secure an official post from the Americans never have been revealed, Trump’s interest in “making a deal” with the Soviets was widely reported — and mocked — at the time.

    (internal links removed)

    Feinberg excerpts those reports, including a 1984 NYT piece where Trump credits (naturally) Uncle John for his plaguing concerns over “nuclear holocaust.”

    Who taught him, “plenipotentiary ambassador?”

    Putin and KJU (et al.) undoubtedly know the recapitulatory details better than we do, and that is not right.

    • P J Evans says:

      ‘And within one hour the Cold War would be over!’

      …because Gorbachev and his generals would have nuked Moscow just to get the idjit to shut up.

    • Eureka says:

      Note the gap (and tv filling some of that gap):

      Here is a timeline of Trump’s history in politics:
      1987-1988: Trump considers a run for president, while simultaneously juggling large debts stemming from his purchase of the Taj Mahal casino.
      2000: Trump enters the presidential race as a Reform Party candidate and receives more than 15,000 votes in the party’s California primary.
      2003-2004: Trump begins hosting the reality show The Apprentice on NBC, which he also executive-produces. He again mulls a run for president, but ultimately decides not to join the race.
      March 2011: A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Trump leading all presidential contenders, including Mitt Romney.

      From []

      • Eureka says:

        Note the gap between 3 & 4 (roughly, and common in other timelines):

        Timothy Snyder: “0/50 Why we do think that Mr. Trump owes a debt to Mr. Putin? Here are fifty reasons. All of the facts are a matter of public record, and all of the sources can be found in my book The Road to Unfreedom. #RoadToUnfreedom”

        “1/50 In 1984, Russian gangsters began to launder money by buying and selling apartment units in Trump Tower (#RoadToUnfreedom, p. 220).”

        “2/50 In 1986, Mr. Trump was courted by Soviet diplomats, who suggested that a bright future awaited him in Moscow (#RoadToUnfreedom, p. 220).”

        “3/50 In 1987, the Soviet state paid for Mr. Trump to visit Moscow, putting him up in a suite that was certainly bugged (#RoadToUnfreedom, p. 220).”

        “4/50 In 2006, Russians and other citizens of the former Soviet Union financed Trump SoHo, granting Mr. Trump 18% of the profits — although he put up no money himself (#RoadToUnfreedom, p. 221).”


      • JD12 says:

        The first thing the Soviets looked for in recruiting targets was someone who was primarily motivated by greed because they’re the ones who will sell out their country. Surely their UN ambassador read the New York Times and saw Trump’s personality flaws advertised all over them. It’d be crazy to think they didn’t approach him.

  24. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    Direct quote form the Orange Blowhard’s tweet…

    “These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results.”

    What is he even talking about? In the end American consumers pay for the tariffs when the importers just mark up the products, right?

    And isn’t the Drumpf Administration running MASSIVE losses for the current fiscal year?

    Great economic results, my Cheney…

    • P J Evans says:

      It’s great for him and his “friends” – we’re paying extra for all his trips, even for golf at “his own” properties. Then there’s the markups of a few multiples over what anyplace else charges for the same stuff….

    • Honest Insincerity says:

      Last year, when Trump announced the tariffs (before he’d even enacted them), the American steel companies all raised their prices 10-15%. So despite the fact that an American company might only be buying domestic steel, they have been punished. Say that a company bids on a job assuming the old prices (or they’re under a long term contract), now they’re actually paying 30%-40% more. This is because the companies who buy the steel directly from Nucor and US Steel are not the ones who install it, but it goes through several middle men before getting to the actual construction companies, all of whom put in their own 10-15% margins.

      And because Trump just changes his mind on a whim without worrying about the effects of it, those who buy the steel never know when the price might go up again, so none of the middle men or alternate suppliers will guarantee a price for more than a week (it used to be three to four weeks) which changes whether you bid on something at all. The people who get hurt by this are not those at the head of the company, just those at the bottom. When profits randomly shrink and riskier jobs can’t be bid on, it’s not the boss who gets hurt, it’s the employees who get laid off, since now there isn’t enough work to go around.

      But let’s say you were able to anticipate the rise in costs and so did all of your competitors. And let’s say you’re bidding on a government contract. Now your bid, like everyone else’s, is at least 30% higher (probably more to account for another random tariff). And now the government has to pay 30-40% more to the winning bidder, simply because of the tariff. But who is actually paying those costs? Because it’s government or state work, the taxpayer is. So when a steel tariff is even threatened, the only people who benefit, short term, are the shareholders at Nucor and US Steel. The huge numbers of companies that have to buy from them suffer, as do their employees, and, eventually the tax payer. And since Trump has been promising an infrastructure bill (and finally began negotiating with the democrats about a week or so ago), somewhere in the $1.5 trillion range, the taxpayers are now getting 30-40% less than you would have had he not brought up tariffs at all.

      There’s a lot more to this, with a huge number of people being hurt (though amusingly, the shares of steel companies actually went down 30%, because everyone knew this was an artificial bubble). But at least the Washington Post finally reported a few days ago on how much money was being lost because of just the steel tariff (we are paying $900,000-1.2 million for every steel job retained). I’d link to the article, but as this is my first post here, I don’t want to seem like a spammer.

      • Rayne says:

        This was excellent for a first comment. You’re absolutely right about who is carrying the costs of tariffs and how it’s affecting business.

        When GM’s CEO Mary Barra said retooling Lordstown would be cost prohibitive, the biggest cost would be capital equipment — and it’s steel. GM would try to lock in a price on fabricated equipment, but the equipment companies would be forced to carry any increase from the time the purchase order was signed until the equipment was installed and operational. Some of these companies operate on single digit margins; they may quote a competitive price at 10-15% margin, but that includes allowances for unexpected costs GM won’t pick up under an adder. A swing of more than 10% in steel prices like we’ll see this week makes quoting these kinds of jobs really hairy.

        And as long as this craziness continues, we could reasonably expect companies to try to reduce risk by making fewer investments in new/updated equipment. Hello, recession.

        Welcome to emptywheel.

  25. Tyler says:

    Eh, shorting the Dow Jones on Sunday might have been a pretty difficult task. For one, you cant directly short an index, only a stock. I am unsure if you can short an ETF. If you can, it still requires you to borrow the shares and sell them. Which means someone has to take the other side of that trade. There are no market makers for index ETFs that I know of, so you would basically have to put an
    order on the books and wait for it to get filled. Which it just never would have been monday morning until the price has fallen precipitously. Ther just was no one buying monday morning.
    Same with buying an inverse index etf. There just was no one selling, and anyone who was surely got gobbled up by HFTs long before their order was visble to anyone with a consumer trading account.

    • Rayne says:

      Dark pools. Think about it.

      EDIT: I used to regularly buy/sell/hold SPY (SPDR S&P 500 ETF) when the tech sector wasn’t as tightly bound up in and around the FAANG ecosystem. I *never* had any restrictions on how to trade that ETF, operated just like a stock. That was before I could trade in pre-/post-market hours. Guess what? Now I can do that, too.

      The ETFs’ underlying stocks also trade in after-hours, and if dark pools are employed, they mask the identities of traders even further.

  26. e.a.f. says:

    Never understood why people put money in the stock market. They referred to it as “playing” the stock market. That didn’t engender any confidence. Having grown up in a city (Vancouver, British Columbia) where the stock market was known to be about as weird and wonderful as anything could get, o.k. some referred to it as the most dammed crooked thing in the country, there were stories galore about the games which were played there, pump and dump, etc. and that went back to the 1960s. Never trusted it. Figured if they could do it in our city, they could do it all over the world. Figured if you put your money in land and gold and Canada Savings bonds you’d do just fine.

    Having read Rayne’s article and the majority of comments, yes, it could well be this is all a game to make specific people money. Saw it as a much younger person. Worked then. obviously can work now.

    In the meantime the U.S.A. is going down the road to becoming what Trump referred to as “shit hole countries”. When the next really big depression comes, the U.S.A. won’t be a rural country and starvation will be massive. I remember seeing a picture of a woman and her baby in the deep south in I believe a Life mag, from 1951. The child was dying from starvation.

    This Constitutional crisis which has come to Washington, like other crisis in the past 2 years, will pass and Trump will have more power, having gotten away with something again. With each thing Trump has done and gotten away with, he has pushed the envelope. He is working towards his goal. He was able to shut down the American government for 4/5 weeks, put people in cages, take children from their parents; no repercussions. He is now invoking executive priviledge. I expect more to come and nothing can or will be done. Whatever keeps McConnel in line must be the money he is making. When I look at some of the Republicans, you can see the “true believers”, but mcConnel isn’t one of them. He’s the conductor of the orchestra.

    If Trump doesn’t go, there won’t be an American democracy. The rest of the world will pass it by. We have seen what Durante has done, wonder when Trump is going to pull a Turkey–didn’t like the election results for mayor in Istanbul and is having the election redone. Americans voted for a dictator, just like Germany did.

  27. B. W. says:

    ~ Trump did not go through the World Trade Organizations “retaliatory process” and “Trumps Tariffs” will cause the United States to go into a downward spiral and another “recession or depression” will be on the horizon and millions of jobs will be lost all over again. ~ Trump is using “Distributive Bargaining” and his trade war could destroy 4% or higher of global trade. The “Trade Flows” used to be 25% of the U.S. GDP and now with global trade since WW2, It is 60% of the U.S. GDP. ~ If Trump were to go ahead and impose over $500 billion dollars of tariffs on China’s trade goods, these tariffs would be on everything that China sends to the united states. ~ If this were to happen it would rattle the world markets and another “global recession” or even a depression could happen. ~ Trump also wants to leave the “World Trade Organization” and this could also cause major problems in everyone’s “global economies”. ~ Trump has no idea about “International Trade” and how it is often seen as desirable because it allows countries to specialize, in order to produce goods that they are relatively efficient at producing, while importing other goods.~ This is the essence of the comparative advantage argument supporting gains from trade and exchange of goods allows countries to “do what they do best, and import the rest”. ~ Once you start to disrupt the “Supply Chains” all around the world, here is where you will see a drag on everyone’s economies. ~ Strong trade between countries helps to keep jobs and in some countries, if trade is lost, then you will see the effects of a “shooting war” in the making. ~

  28. fpo says:

    “Over the past year, the Democratic Party’s geriatric leadership has begun to feel the ground moving beneath its feet. For decades, moderate Democrats have kept a tight grip on the party’s platform. The 2018 midterm elections were a watershed. Boomers and members of the Silent Generation still make up more than three-fifths of the party’s House members and hold all major leadership roles. But newly elected members—including 14 Millennials and 32 Gen Xers—are driving the conversation on policy, from Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal to a recent resolution to withdraw support from Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.”

    Some will argue that the timing couldn’t be much worse, but like it or not, change is coming. Great article on the interplay of generational change and US politics:

    [ ]

  29. harpie says:

    [I accidentally previously posted this on another thread]
    Via Zoe Tillman, from Judge ABJ wrt: STONE
    8:21 AM – 9 May 2019

    NEW: At least one federal judge is going to get see behind some of the Mueller report’s redactions — in Roger Stone’s case, the judge has asked [really ordered] to review redacted parts that relate to Stone re: his motion for access to that info

    From the order, signed by Judge ABJ, 5/9/19:

    “[..] the Government is hearby ORDERED to submit unredacted versions of those portions of the report that relate to defendant Stone and/or “the dissemination of hacked materials,” including, but not limited to pages 41-65 of Volume I of the Report, to the Court for in camera review by May 31, 2019 […]”

  30. elk_l says:

    Re: “One need only look at his marriages to see his true self. He didn’t make any concerted effort to keep his vows, and when he’d obtained all he wanted from those relationships, he ditched his wives.”

    Yes. In fact, he apparently timed his divorces to minimize the financial impact on him. I believe both divorces occurred not long before prenups stipulated substantial increases in the financial settlements. Ivanna, with 3 kids did okay (but could have done much better), and Marla walked away with a lousy $2Million when another year would have given her much more.

  31. BobCon says:

    I’m curious if Barr fights that as an extension of his radical view of presidential power.

    I’m sure he’s weighing the optics of giving in to the courts while defying the legislative branch, and whether it makes him look reasonable or weak.

    I suspect he’ll comply and decide to continue to defy the House on the famous “Because I Say So” doctrine.

  32. harpie says:

    Via Adam Schiff
    CNN interviews 12 year old school shooting survivor, Nate:
    8:36 AM – 9 May 2019

    “I was holding a baseball bat, because I was going to go down fighting.”
    Nate is in sixth grade. Twelve years old.
    As a father, watching this interview was gut-wrenching. No child should have to think like this. But they do.
    Enough is enough. [CNN VIDEO]

    • e.a.f. says:

      If school shootings were considered a disease, researchers would be totally involved in finding a cure.

      My condolences.

      Two children shot and killed. It just keeps happening and I can’t get my head wrapped around it, About all they want to do is arm teachers and have more drills. Now there are reports that all that does is cause children more emotional stress and doesn’t really help in case of an attack.

      These school shootings are like some country in the middle of a civil war, with armed militia roaming the country, killing any one not part of their group.

      Again, I’m so sorry this is happening to the children in the U.S.A.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        It IS a disease. In a so-called “advanced society” it’s referenced as mental illness when an individual or a group is in the position where it thinks the only solution to its own problems is harming/killing other individuals.

        • Stacey says:

          It’s always good to go back and re-watch Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” again after a few decades and realize that he called it right at the time. One of the main points he makes in that movie is one of a “political fractal”. He says that when the larger picture America is solving its problems at the point of a militarized foreign policy and has been since long before those first school shooter kids were even born–it’s literally all they know from that big picture–what the hell do you think they will think is a good solution to their problems! The way fractals are understood in in a social or political context is that what you see at the largest dimension, you will always absolutely see at the lowest dimension. And of course this is true on any ‘fill-in-the-blank’ you want to use for the bigger picture American dimension and its corollary on the family/individual level.

          The good news about fractals is also that as you intensionally change those smallest dimensions, you make progress on the larger ones. And one can see those changes in the ground underneath the gun control debate’s feet since Parkland. This is no time to relax though, the stars are the most aligned they’ve ever been to shift this debate, the iron is hot and striking is in order!

    • Jenny says:

      I cried when I saw the report with the 12 year old. As a teacher to children 3 – 5 years old, it is heartbreaking.

      Children killing children. It is inhumane. Look at what we are teaching our children. Plus the PTSD being created. Despicable.

      The lack of value for human life is just astounding. Conscious leaders in Australia and New Zealand did away with assault weapons as did New Zealand. They chose to create change. It can be done.

      Upset, I called McConnell’s office asking, “How many more children will die, be injured or watch classmates get shot in school before congress will act?” Do nothing congress more interested in keeping the NRA alive than the children of our country. Politics over people is shameful.

      “When will be ever learn. When will we ever learn.” Pete Seeger

      • Jockobadger says:

        Thanks Rayne, Jenny, P J, etc. My younger son graduates from HS on June 7th. I will be so relieved when he’s done and off to college – though they’ve been shot up a lot too, of course. At least it’s a campus and he can run or fight back. Gonzaga has emergency buttons all over the place that can be pushed in any kind of emergency and they also have an emergency texting system. I imagine most do these days. Hard to believe.

        Unfortunately, I see no sign that our current crop of congress critters will ever have the will to outlaw semi-auto rifles like they did in NZ/Australia. The only way it’s going to happen is to vote them out and replace them with real representatives. I’ll be pushing up daisies when that happens. JHFC.

  33. harpie says: [CBS News]
    7:16 AM – 9 May 2019

    At a @csmonitor breakfast this morning, @MarkWarner said SSCI’s final report will include areas that will be “much more extensive than what Mueller had,” especially as concerns Russian networks and their interactions with the Trump campaign. [read the rest]
    On Trump, Jr subpoena: “We’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of witnesses and have always reserved the right to call [them] back.”
    On WH efforts to stymie testimony from Mueller, McGahn: “…These are not the actions of an individual that is in the clear.” [read the rest]
    Asked whether Russian services sought to compromise organizations besides the NRA @MarkWarner paused for a long time and said,
    “I don’t think i’m going to answer that today” —
    but said it was a “fair question.” “Keep asking it.” [read the rest]

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for the links. I saw another analysis of Trump’s follower count on Twitter just after his meeting with Jack Dorsey — ridiculous number of fake persons/bot accounts — and yet he was whining about losing followers because of a purge.

      Someone else noted at the time that Trump has roughly half the followers Obama has and I can’t recall if that number was active human users only or all followers. Can’t imagine why there’d be such a disparity…/s

  34. Carla breeze says:

    Rayne, Thank you for this analysis which explains so much on so many levels—economic, political, the orange man’s innate larceny and corruption and how the oligarchs have probably been rewarded. I hope the CIA & FBI, NSA, Congress, etc are heeding your thoughts…As always we must continue voter registration and voter turnout.

  35. Propertius says:

    “He would acquire shares in a company with borrowed money, suggest publicly that he was contemplating buying enough to become a majority owner, then quietly sell on the resulting rise in the stock price.”

    This would seem to be the very definition of a “pump and dump” securities fraud scheme. There are plenty of people in prison for doing just this.

  36. harpie says: [CNN]
    1:33 PM – 9 May 2019

    This is BIG. Federal judge fast-tracking case over Congress’ subpoena of Donald Trump’s accounting records (read: tax returns and more). The court hearing is on Tuesday. [CNN]

    1:36 PM – 9 May 2019

    Very big. Overarching q for me has been whether judges would respond to Trump’s unprecedented stonewalling tactics by speeding things up. At least one is.

    • klynn says:

      Interesting against the backdrop of Beerman asking for an unredated portions of the Mueller rpt relating to Stone. Seeing as Stone and Manaforts paths join in the Ukraine. Add in the Ukraine stories breaking last night in the NYTs re Ambassador and Manafort’s lawyers trying to collect evidence…a bit of an interesting timeline. Seems like a race to “fix” the game and smash our judicial branch and the judicial branch fighting back.

  37. Blueride27 says:

    The hits just keep on coming. Put these 3 words together in any ole search engine. Patrick Shanahan – Spaceforce, and Boeing. He was just nominated for secretary of defense. This puts him in charge of Boeing’s potential contracts with the spaceforce. He has worked his ENTIRE life for Boeing!!!!
    I honestly believe that this has been the plan since the release of the Mueller report. The Republicans were successful in fooling the public into thinking that they got the full report. And while the sane part of our government fights a long and drawn out battle for the complete picture. They will have all the time in the world to rob us blind and stack the courts.
    I’m still stuck on impeachment… Will it be an even bigger distraction? Or will it finally start convincing enough people that impeachment, and conviction by the Senate is what must happen.

  38. earlofhuntingdon says:

    When Anna Sorokin rips off NYC’s high society wealth elite, it’s time for clutching pearls and rending hand-made suits, with up to twelve years of prison to follow. [] When that same wealth elite rips off the poor, it’s called good business practice.

  39. Scott says:

    You’re a rule of law nation, if he’s such an obvious criminal and con man why don’t you just indict him for fraud?

    Oh yeah I forgot, while POTUS he’s essentially Louis XIV, plus nearly half your citizenry is just fine with him as he is.

    • bmaz says:

      Ah yes, more sanctimonious blather from our new friend from Canada, who appears to come here only to spew shallow trolling. Go away.

  40. harpie says:

    Yesterday evening, Ken Vogel [NYT] tweeted this scoop/story:
    6:13 PM – 9 May 2019

    SCOOP: @RudyGiuliani is headed to Kiev to urge the incoming president to pursue probes that could help TRUMP politically by casting suspicion on the origins of the MUELLER probe & the MANAFORT case, as well as the involvement of @JOEBIDEN’s son in Ukraine.
    ACTUAL @RUDYGIULIANI QUOTE: “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do … because that information will be very very helpful to my client, & may turn out to be helpful to my government. Maybe not.”
    [email protected] tells me he spoke yesterday to MANAFORT’s lawyer about trying to collect evidence that might be used to undermine the case against MANAFORT … who of course pleaded guilty to his crimes 8 months ago.

    I didn’t see it yesterday, but evidently there was a tweet in that thread that Vogel has since deleted. In that tweet, Vogel wrote:

    SCOOP: @VicToensing, once tapped for Trump’s outside legal team, has been representing the Ukrainian prosecutor who has scrutinized @JoeBiden’s son and Manafort’s critics. (She has highlighted these cases on @FOXNews without disclosing this representation.)

    Here, Vogel explains why he deleted that tweet:
    9:05 PM – 9 May 2019

    I deleted this tweet & amended our story, because @RudyGiuliani called me after our story posted to say he misspoke & @VicToensing does NOT formally represent the Ukrainian prosecutor, but rather has only met with him to discuss various Ukrainian inquiries that could help TRUMP.

    • harpie says:

      Shortly after Vogel’s story came out, Matthew Miller wrote:
      7:24 PM – 9 May 2019

      This story about the administration firing the ambassador to Ukraine this week after she took on the prosecutor Giuliani has been buddying up to merits a lot more scrutiny in light of tonight’s NYT story.

      He links to this MAY 7, 2019 Foreign Policy story:
      U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Recalled in ‘Political Hit Job,’ Lawmakers Say Marie Yovanovitch stepping down as ambassador follows attacks from both right-wing media figures in the United States and a senior Ukrainian official.

      • P J Evans says:

        If anyone is in need of having the Logan Act dropped on top of them, it’s Rudy Noun-Verb-9/11. He isn’t part of the US government, and especially not part of the State Department, so what the fuck is he actually doing in Ukraine?

        • bmaz says:

          Well, yeah, but he may well be, and almost certainly is, blessed by Trump and the White House. That takes it out of Logan Act parameters, because there is permission.

          • P J Evans says:

            He’s still a private citizen. If they’re going to whine about Kerry, a former Secretary of State and US Senator, doing it with, I assume, the blessing of the WH, then they need to use the same standards for their own people. (No, I don’t think Giuliani has any business doing this. He’s a retired lawyer, not a diplomat, and not a good lawyer, AFAICT.)

            • bmaz says:

              No, that is not right. Permission from the current Exec Branch overcomes that argument. As big of an asshole as Rudy G is, you are making a bad argument. The situations are different.

          • Rayne says:

            There’s still something very wrong about Giuliani’s work on behalf of Trump in Ukraine.
            — The ambassador to Ukraine was fired. Is Giuliani doing what would have been the ambassador’s remit but without the Senate’s blessing since ambassadors must be nominated and approved by the Senate?
            — Is Giuliani doing this as a State or Justice Department employee or contractor, and if so, is he investigating a political opponent of the White House while on our dime?
            — Is Giuliani doing this as a Trump 2020 campaign team member, chasing opposition research on Trump’s behalf? Has he used any government resources in the process, which would make this a Hatch Act violation?
            — Is Giuliani doing this on behalf of Trump, potentially disrupting any evidence which might be related to Manafort+Gates’ work in Ukraine and thereby furthering obstruction?

            This may not be a Logan Act situation if Giuliani is conducting statecraft on behalf of the White House with its blessing. But something is still very wrong here and deserves more attention. I’d like to know what’s in this for Giuliani — he seems particularly invested in this.

    • harpie says:

      This morning:Jonathan Chait reminds about the following:
      Trump is Pressuring Ukraine to Smear Clinton and Biden

      […] So why would Ukraine pursue baseless charges? Because its government has a strong interest in mollifying Trump. The Times reported last year that Ukraine halted its cooperation with the Mueller probe because it couldn’t risk provoking Trump. “The cases are just too sensitive for a government deeply reliant on United States financial and military aid, and keenly aware of Mr. Trump’s distaste for the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into possible collusion between Russia and his campaign, some lawmakers say.” […]

    • harpie says:

      More on Vic Toensing, from Thomas Cleaveland:
      8:25 AM – 10 May 2019

      Victoria Toensing doesn’t get enough credit. She orchestrated (fixed typo): 1. Uranium One [Reuters link] / 2. “Spygate” [NBCNews, Daily Caller, and WaPo links] / 3. And now this: [yesterday’s NYT link] [screenshot]

      The screenshot has this sentence, with a link to Twitter:

      They increasingly began pushing the claim that “the real collusion began in @Ukraine,” as Ms. Toensing put it in a post on twitter in March

      Here’s that March tweet:
      8:25 AM – 21 Mar 2019 [emphasis added]

      The real collusion began in @Ukraine. US Ambassador Marie #yovanovitch at @USEmbassyKyiv pro #HillaryClinton and a #NeverTrumper.

        • bmaz says:

          Of what relevance is the right wing crackpot Solomon, and his idiotic current publisher, The Hill, to anything discussed here? Are you arguing that Solomon should be taken at face value in this discussion? And, if not, why not notate the same??

          • harpie says:

            wow, bmaz. I thought it was important to show the link between these two DANGEROUS crackpot conspiracy theorists, who support our crazy dangerous conspiracy theorist president.
            And I did call Solomon’s thread a “crazy conspiracy theory!”

    • harpie says:

      This has been since added to Vogel’s thread:
      8:15 AM – 10 May 2019

      SCOOP: Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-American whose mysterious company donated $325k to pro-TRUMP @AmericaFirstPAC, has been helping @RudyGiuliani dig for dirt in Ukraine to help TRUMP.
      *He’s also seeking European energy business, per great @lachlan reporting.

      • Tom says:

        Looks like Rudy G. is attending to the shady type of business that Michael Cohen used to handle, like an enforcer going to shake down the Ukrainians for the bogus information (protection money in another form) that they know they better provide if they want to stay on Trump’s good side. It’s as if the proud American eagle has become a verminous turkey vulture scavenging for carrion in foreign lands.

        • P J Evans says:

          Go look up bald eagles and their feeding habits. They are thieves and scavengers (unlike the turkey).

          • Tom says:

            Well, I suppose I’d have to admit that I’m scavenging for carrion, too, when I’m at the grocery store meat counter looking for the packages marked 40% off because the contents are just about ‘off’ as well. But PJ, I did mean turkey vultures–not turkeys–which, just as Rudy G. has a hairless dome, have no feathers on their heads so that they can stick them inside rotting carcasses without getting their feathers all clotted with gore. Actually, up until about 25 years ago, the only turkey vultures I ever saw were in Western movies, but they have since expanded their range here into southeastern Ontario and are now quite common. I see an occasional bald eagle, too, but much less frequently.

            • bmaz says:

              Heh, love this. And we buy at the meat counter the same way. It not only is smart and cheaper, but almost always works out quite well. You have to cook it fairly immediately, but it is better for the aging. Thankfully, there is a grocery with a great meat counter less than a mile away.

            • P J Evans says:

              Point was that bald eagles, the US national bird, aren’t “noble” – they’re no better than turkey vultures, they’re just prettier.
              (I’m familiar with turkey vultures. They’re common in rural parts of California, and even over cities, though they prefer open areas.)

    • harpie says:

      The latest on Rudy’s plans:
      10:26 PM – 10 May 2019

      NEW: @RudyGiuliani cancels his Kiev trip, saying he feared he was being “set up,” & blaming Dems for “spin” that he was pressuring Ukraine to push probes to help Trump in 2020.
      *He had ADMITTED YESTERDAY he was “meddling in an investigation” to help Trump. [NYT]

  41. Jockobadger says:

    Good piece by Heather Digby Barton – Salon. Is Burr the reincarnation of Howard Baker? Doubtful, but one can always hope….

    Richard Burr’s mysterious game: Why is one Republican senator still pursuing the Trumps?
    Is the cryptic Senate Intelligence Committee chair looking to play hero, Watergate-style? I wouldn’t count on it

    I won’t post a link so as to save potential hassle for Rayne, but it’s worth a read. Sounds much like some of the speculation upthread, but fleshed out a bit.

  42. fpo says:

    The cost of TVs and cell phones is one thing. But the costs associated with Trump’s sanctions aren’t limited to dollars and yuan:

    “We find that the sanctions have inflicted, and increasingly inflict, very serious harm to human life and health, including an estimated more than 40,000 deaths from 2017–2018; and that these sanctions would fit the definition of collective punishment of the civilian population as described in both the Geneva and Hague international conventions, to which the US is a signatory.”

    “Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela”; a report by the Center for Economic Policy and Research, April 2019.

    Link to full report here:
    [ ]

  43. debbie terhune says:

    You are brilliant. I wonder just who did make money from that drop? Probably everyone on your list and more. How interesting would it be to see his history of tweets and market reactions and who won and who lost.

  44. Herringbone says:

    Not that anyone’s going to answer my questions this late in the thread, but I’ve got one that’s been nagging me: what about the possibility that some floated that the Mueller grand jury could take it upon itself to ask that the judge unseal testimony and evidence? Is such a thing impossible, nearly impossible, or just highly unlikely? Because if I were on that grand jury, and I knew that I could act to circumvent Barr, then I’d like to think that I’d be game to try.

  45. Blueride27 says:

    Not sure of the proper place to post this but, I thought I’d share this quote from Trump’s bridge troll.
    “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do.” -. Rudy Giuliani

    • P J Evans says:

      That’s the kind of comment that should get Rudy disbarred, or at least sanctioned. “Meddling” doesn’t even come close to describing what they’re doing, and they don’t have a right to do it – certainly not without consequences.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL he’s arguing obstruction of justice is their right? How is this guy still a practicing attorney let alone a former prosecutor?

      • Blueride27 says:

        It would be great to have that quote plastered across his face every single time he is on TV. Hell, if I had enough ink in my printer I would be putting up posters everywhere.
        Even when Devin Nunes got caught saying to donors that his JOB was to shield the president. I can’t think of any other moment that pissed me off more were a republican said the quiet part out loud.

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