Weekend Open Thread

“Volumes might be written upon the impiety of the pious.”

–Herbert Spencer


28 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    TikTok ….. (while Microsoft is in talks to buy them) 

    Give us the daily countdown V…

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      July 30th, 2020 – A new video released today by The Lincoln Project, “Wake Up,” imagines what it might be like to awaken from a 3-year coma and try to get caught up on the news of 2020.

      Directed by Jon Turteltaub, the spot takes a humorous look at a Republican family trying to rationalize many of President Trump’s misdeeds — including his Wall Mexico was supposed to pay for, illicit affairs, and failed pandemic response — to a son that was a proud Republican before Trump’s tenure.

      Jon is known for several successful mainstream films including: While You Were Sleeping (1995), Instinct (1999), and National Treasure (2004). Most recently, he directed The Meg (2018).

      “It would be funny if it wasn’t so true,” said Rick Wilson, co-founder of The Lincoln Project. “Republican Senators are doing the same mental gymnastics to justify their support of Trump. But no one is laughing.”

      Many Republicans are exasperated by the way Trump and Trumpism have corrupted the Grand Old Party. November 3rd brings a chance to create change.

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      Love that. Nothing is more satisfying than instilling in your adversary a genuine sense of impending doom. laugh

  2. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Ninety four days until we dump Trump

    He's a double-digit stink.

    Live this day in a loving way

    Ninety three days sends Trump to the clink!

    • davebarnesdavebarnes says:

      He will still be in office for an additional 87 days.

      Just imagine the damage he will do.

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        87 days of utter humiliation for the loser-in-chief!  He'll try desperately to cling to power and be rebuffed again and again.  And New York will start prosecuting him for state crimes where he can't pardon himself.


      • Genghis says:

        We'll see. I'm hoping he'll be like unto a brain-injured bonobo in a small cage during that time, shrieking and flinging his own shit 24/7 but doing little to no actual damage.

        • Mr. L. Prosser says:

          The damage will be done by all his enablers, the Senate, his family members and other assorted thieves and psychos.

          • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

            Fer sure. As this tragi-comedy stumbles to its ignominious end, the level of larceny and self dealing will increase dramatically. As you examine the list of players in the Whitest House and its sphere of influence, finding a redeemable soul is difficult. In my mind, Stephen Miller is next in line behind Barr as the dangerous ones who need to be held accountable right away.

            Jared, Vanky, Mnoochie, Wilbur, Larry….ah, they are just thieves, not sociopaths like Miller and Barr.

  3. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Now it’s 93 days until we dump Trump

    And he’s screaming in impotent rage.

    He’d love a coup but to even try

    He’d need the help of the FBI!devil

  4. Duke CoxDuke Cox says:


    Lucian Truscott @ Salon :

    Everything we suspected about Donald Trump has come true

    Donald Trump is a fascist. He comes right out and says it. Even his friends admit it. He’s also a whiny loser


    People aren’t affected by Trump anymore. They’re affected by reality. They are worried about the virus. They’re worried about their jobs. They’re worried that they can’t travel to visit their relatives. They’re worried about their rent and their mortgages. They’re worried about losing federal unemployment benefits, which ended this week. They’re worried about whether or not to send their children back to school. The things people have done to protect themselves aren’t working. Being a citizen of a red state doesn’t work. Living in suburbia rather than an inner city doesn’t work. Private schools are as vulnerable as public schools. Corporate jobs are as vulnerable as blue-collar or gig economy jobs. Graduating from Harvard won’t keep you from getting sick. Being a politician or a professional athlete or a famous entertainer won’t protect you.


    People want to know when they’re going to get their lives back, and Donald Trump doesn’t have an answer for them.  

    What’s going to happen over the next 95 days? What’s happening right now gives us a pretty good answer. The virus is out of control and will continue to spread. Trump is desperate and will continue to act in increasingly unstable ways. He will reward his friends and use the levers of power, such as the Department of Justice, against his enemies. He will continue to act like a fascist because he is a fascist. 

    Trump is losing it because he is losing. He doesn’t know anything else. It’s who he is.


  5. MADCO says:

    As a small part of much larger work project attempting to forecast wages, employment and health care demand nationally so as to model the required premium and cost share structure to maintain solvency I have been looking at a lot of wage data.

    I can’t share the work product out side the work group but I have been reminded why it’s called the dismal science.

    Malthus was wrong, thankfully. Population will always grow faster than food supply.
    But so was Greenspan. The banks will never overleverage or risk their capital base to fail based on leverage or velocity correction.

    Piketty and Gini were correct. The economy with more income disparity will grow more slowly or not at all compared to the economy with less disparity.


    Economists who avoid political analysis are not really doing the necessary  analysis. Where I work we do the whole thing and that includes a “lobbying” team that is pretty successful. (I’m in the quantitative analyses team – and I got the one that assumes ACA more or less as it is.)

    So as much fun as south suburban Denver has been this summer – I’ve been focused on stagnant wages and contraction of the middle class. Sure, fixing Social Security (very unlikely in most models) is a concern. Likewise, some kind of universal medical care coverage for all citizens (which we cannot afford in the for profit system we have).

    But the BIG deal is the income/wealth disparity that any “free” market will trend toward, and will trend there faster with government regulation that favors the concentration. (my team)
    This is the BIG deal because capitalism’s best selling point is anyone can get ahead if they just work hard, sacrifice, live on less than they make, save and invest the difference and keep working hard. The top income quintile, and especially the top 10% and 1% don’t care about the disparity that much as long as they feel an increase and especially if they don’t see government adjusting in a way intended to lessen disparity overall by redistributing their accretion to a lower quintile.

    Then on top of the president, the virus and both leagues using the DH, we get this:
    For most U.S. workers, real wages have barely budged in decades


    (Not explained in this article but most perception of increase in the reference group is really easier access to debt.  See working your way through college  – https://newrepublic.com/article/122814/how-many-hours-would-it-take-you-work-todays-college-tuition)

    I feel like the EPA guy in this clip* (skip to 3:22 and listen for ‘spread of deadly disease’  – he means infectious disease, not cancer or diabetes)


    Trump2020 is going to win most of the states he won in 2016.
    Who flips?

    *the claims have been fact checked, if you go for that kind of thing.



    • kwtreekwtree says:

      You think income disparity will continue to grow (and the US economy to contract) even if  Biden wins and his advisers and Congress implement a progressive tax structure?

      What if the US becomes more "socialist" with universal health care, and some or all aspects of the Green New Deal economy? Keep in mind that we're overdue for a swing of the pendulum that way, or the arc bending back towards justice… no doubt, another group was tasked with looking at the world economy and its effects on the US economy, because we're all connected.

      Won't the US tire of being the stepchild that every other country hates or pities in the aftermath of disastrous Trump policies, and want to become more of a good global citizen? (rejoin climate accords, renegotiate trade agreements, stop wars for profit,win-win immigration policy)

      I can see why you feel like the EPA guy in the "Newsroom" clip.

      But food for thought, so thanks.

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      re:  “Trump2020 is going to win most of the states he won in 2016.”

      If by most, you mean more than half, I can see it.  But losing MI, WI, and PA will seal the electoral college.  AZ and FL push Biden’s margin substantially.  NC, GA, and TX are toss-ups and one or two of them will likely flip. IA and OH are a reach, but possible to flip. 

      • MADCO says:

        WI is voting R again, so is Florida.

        PA, MI – maybe.
        So let's assume a best case – and PA, FL and other double digit electoral votes are certified in time and no law suit can push it into the House.

        I hope I am wayy, wayyy, off. But rural and disaffected Michigan and central and western PA.
        Which 2016 voters in PA and MI are changing their vote?

        Donald J. Trump 2,970,733
        Hillary Clinton    2,926,441
        Gary Johnson      146,715
        Others                  122,819

        New voters:
        Start here



        Donald J. Trump     2,279,543
        Hillary Clinton        2,268,839 

        Gary Johnson          172,136
        Jill Stein                    51,463
        Others                       52,279

        New Voters

        National polls are worthless.
        CA, NY, IL, OR, WA, and some others are safely D.
        I will accept that all 2016 blue states stay blue. (An argument can be made, but)
        And I believe AZ is going to vote D for Senate but that will encourage more Trump voters at the top of the ticket.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          I think you’re overlooking the “Hillary dislike” factor.

          Also, consider a visit here: rvat.org   (Republican Voters Against Trump).  An acquaintance of mine; I won’t say which state; got quoted on the site.

          • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

            That is a good point. Others have noticed a decided lack of "Joe hatred". Hillary, of course, was another matter.

          • MADCO says:

            I hope I'm underestimating the dislike Hillary effect. Bigly.

            With no real data – I'd estimate at best it's not double digit percentage change anywhere.

            And it doesn't flip Wisconsin.
            Let's take PA – where there was reasonable turnout, a 45,000 differential, but 270,000 bleed off to wasted votes.

            Forget death and relocationfor a moment and assume the 270,000 will vote again but mostly trump or Biden.

            Will Biden get enough of the 270 to overcome? Will there be additional turnout and if so – will Biden get enough there? Are there enough soccer moms who are ok with BLM and Defund the Police? I don't see a ton of R voters now out of work coal miners, or oil and gas field workers deciding to go D. (16 tons and whaddya get? – not Biden.)

            My cousin did one of the rvat videos in WI – rvat didn't use it cause she's a little crazy looking. It was up on YouTube for a few days – 136 views and I guarantee 100 of those were my cousin looking at herself. Then her husband took it down – cuz she doesn't have online presence where he doesn't have the passwords so he can help her once in awhile.
            In the end, she has decided to 'keep the peace' she and her girl friends who dislike Trump and just want help for their farms, just won't vote.

            • Conserv. Head Banger says:

              I think you're probably being realistic. Three months out from the official election day, opinions are a dime a dozen. From this vantage point, though, I see a reasonable chance of PA and MI flipping back to Blue. But turnout is everything. Trump and his minions are doing everything possible, from closing polling places in minority neighborhoods to screwing with the Postal Service, to suppress the vote.

              I suspect AZ will flip to Blue before WI does. FL has a good chance of flipping. NC not so much. PA, MI, FL flipping gives Biden the election, assuming no 2016 Blue states flip to Red. We shall see.

            • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

              "Just won't vote"

              The fervor just doesn't seem to be there. Can he get them back? Can he fire them up?

              Tik.Tok.Tik.Tok.  Stay tuned!

        • VoyageurVoyageur says:

          You are quite deranged to think Trump wins MI WI PA Florida or Arizona.   he not only loses, he loses big time.

          400 EV votes or more for Biden

        • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

          Trump voters from 2016 are not necessarily Trump voters in 2020.

          1.  the oldest cohort and their higher proportion of voters, which Trump won by 9 or 10%, has been dying off by 2% per year.  [The youngest cohort follow their slightly older friends, who voted against Trump by something like 15%-18%; and now, the proportion of them voting is going to be higher, too. So Trump loses on both ends of the demographic progression.]

          2.  There are disillusioned Trump voters.  One story focused on eastern Ohio and western PA is ‘The Craziness Is Exhausting People’ How Trump could lose the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.

          3.  Famously, Clinton did not campaign much in the upper Midwest, and Trump did.  That disparity is unlikely to occur again. 

          4.  Polling is a snapshot of now.  But those snapshots are piling up.  CNN’s curated polling aggregate of state by state polls in June, July and August show Biden up by 10% in PA, “within the margin of error” in OH, and up by 9% in MI.

          5.  And of course, there will be a much smaller vote for minor party candidates.  Minor party voters who voted against Clinton as a continuation of a Democratic administration and who come out in 2020 are more likely to vote against the incumbent. 

  6. MADCO says:

    – Biden wins and
    – the US tax structure is made more progressive and
    – we put our best economic recommendations in effect and
    – there is no war or crisis that is a national threat…

    Most models still show disparity increasing for another generation because the wage stagnation in the bottom 3 quintiles is now structural, and social security purchasing power parity is declining, and faster than before, and the safety net is incomplete, and (and this cannot be overemphasized) immigration is not contributing the big numbers of lower skilled workers (who were supposed to be the way the baby boom was going to be absorbped into SS & Medicare.. you know 18 workers to one beneficiary trending to 2:1 now was never supposed to go that low cause dreamers and low wage immigrants – not HB1 immigrants making more than the earnings cap. Ie, 5 workers makeing $50K are better for the model than 1 worker making $250k+. In fact, 3 $50k workers are better than the $250K+ worker. Prior to 1980, the model assumed more like 10 @ $50k)

    No question – universally accessible, mandatory, community priced health care that replaces the current for profit model is one of the biggest opportunities. Green New Deal is a double plus- employment opportunities, think big public works projects from Roman Republic to present.  And atmospheric carbon mitigation based on a modernized infrastructure.  Other well placed, non-military infrastructure spending will also help.

    The rest of world part of the model is far, far easier. It's China, Europe (incl UK) and India. The hardest part is determining what must, should, can, shouldn't and cannot be outsourced and modelling the impact to US employment. (That model confirms either solidly or more weakly that there is no significant US inflation until every farm worker in China and India who wants one, has a wage paying job. That would be a few hundred workers left to go.)

    Middle quintile Americans (2-4) will care – and we're being gutted
    Top quintile Americans already don't care that much. 5th quintile is still focused on Maslow  1&2. (Sure- they may favor lower carbon emissions, but not if it means tiny tim is going to remain damaged and die in childhood.)

    I love that millions of people saw that Newsroom episode, reacted accordingly and promply called for fact checking, because … you know, surely it coul not be so bad and convinced themselves it's not existential.

  7. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    Interesting article looking at a potential Biden administration's impact on the economy and the stock market.

    The report’s authors say the Biden policies may, on balance, have a positive economic impact. That would be expected to yield better stock returns.

    On taxes, for example, the [Trump] cut in corporate rates has not been accompanied by an increase in research and development or economic growth. By contrast, Biden’s “emphasis on supporting the welfare of the middle class by offering greater access to education, job training and lower student debt should offer longer term benefits” that could translate into stock market gains, the authors said.

    The historical record shows that since 1900 the stock market has fared far better under Democratic presidents, with a 6.7% annualized return for the Dow Jones Industrial Average compared with just 3.5% under Republicans. (The results are similar when measured from Election Day to Election Day.) Data provided by Bespoke Investment Group shows the best annualized returns under individual presidents:

    • 25.5% under Calvin Coolidge, a Republican, in the 1920s.

    • 15.9% under Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

    • 12.1% under Barack Obama, a Democrat.

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