Monday, December 24, 2018

Monday Reading (UPDATED)

As always, please go to the links for the full articles/ op eds.

Today's must read:  Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's (D-RI) "battle plan for beating the right."
Victory has traits. Victory must be organized. Organization requires strategy, preparation, tactics, training, and teamwork. Brave and able troops have been slaughtered throughout history in failures of organization. 
Losing has traits, too. As Democrats, we offer better and more popular policy positions, and we have flamboyant heroes. Yet, so often, we lose. Now we have won back a foothold on power, and the question is: what do we do with it? I’m sick of losing. I’m particularly sick of our “loser traits.” It’s time we faced up to them.
Go read it, absorb it, promote it.

In his retrospective of former Defense Secretary James Mattis, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jim Hoagland offers his historical perspective on Mattis and the regime he worked for:
This much we know: Mattis never expected, intended or accepted that he would be driven to resign from the Trump administration. He told friends as much when they teased that he must keep a letter of resignation tucked inside his jacket pocket at all times. Unspoken but hanging in the air at such moments was the Mattisonian thought: The bastards will have to fire me. 
He abased himself — not something he would have endured willingly — by staying on in a Cabinet of crooks, dolts and sycophants who form the biggest swamp in Washington in my 50-plus professional years here(our emphasis)

Speaking of crooks, dolts and sycophants, Treasury Secretary Steve "Mr. Marie Antoinette" Mnuchin took a break from golfing at Cabo (while 800,000 federal employees are on shutdown furlough) to make some calls at his boss's request, the kind of calls a crook, dolt and sycophant would make:
The Treasury Department said that Mnuchin held a series of calls with CEOs of major banks: Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo.
"The CEOs confirmed that they have ample liquidity available for lending to consumer, business markets, and all other market operations. He also confirmed that they have not experienced any clearance or margin issues and that the markets continue to function properly."
Equity markets have been rocky for various reasons, including tariff wars, general uncertainty, and the Fed increasing interest rates. No markets rise forever and we've seen a long run. A recent survey of global CEOs showed that chief financial officers overwhelmingly expect a recession by 2010 and many think 2019 will be the year. [snip]
Mnuchin's move might have made sense if there were public concerns about bank stability. Bank stocks have been taking a hit with market oscillations. When people worry about the economy, they expect that banks may suffer. When things slow, fewer people and companies take out the loans that are the source of institutional income. 
But there hasn't been a lot of concern about underlying bank stability. At least, there wasn't until Sunday evening when the tweets hit the fan. Particularly as Mnuchin was reportedly on vacation in Mexico(our emphasis)
Paul Krugman has a brief twitter thread on the subject here. Here's the conclusion:

See also the Update below.

All quiet on the Mueller front?  Not really.  Max Bergmann and Sam Berger tell us Individual 1's cooked:
For nearly two years, since the U.S. intelligence community released its report on the Russian campaign to assist Donald Trump in the 2016 election, the American people have been seeking an answer as to whether the Trump campaign colluded with its Russian counterpart. In the endless speculation about the direction of the investigation, a common view was that maybe the investigation would never implicate President Trump or find any collusion.

But a flurry of recent activity this past week all points in the same direction: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will likely implicate the president, his campaign, and his close associates in aiding and abetting a Russian conspiracy against the United States to undermine the 2016 election. [snip]
Mueller is coming. And he is clearly coming for Trump. Not simply for obstructing justice but for conspiring with a hostile foreign power to win an election. This is a scandal unlike any America has ever seen. 
Man, would that make the season bright!

Where there's smoke, there's probably something hot and burning:
Jerry Falwell Jr. confirmed that he loaned $1.8 million — with the help of President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen — to a young pool attendant he and his wife had befriended while staying six years ago at a luxury hotel. 
Buzzfeed News had previously reported on a lawsuit that claimed the evangelical leader and his wife had developed a “friendly relationship” in 2012 with Giancarlo Granda, then 21 years old, at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and Falwell confirmed in a court filing that he helped set up the younger man in business. 
Fallwell, who runs homophobic/ theocratic Liberty University, was among the first evangelical endorsers of serial adulterer and crime boss Donald "Rump" Trump.  If you don't smell something off here, you may want to consult an ENT specialist.

Finally, as always, please check out the link round- up at Infidel 753's joint.  He's done his usual fine job of collecting items for you to browse, so give him some love.

UPDATE:  Well, we heard from the New York Stock Exchange today -- it dropped 653 pointsThanks, Mnuchin!  Thanks, Trump!

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