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Signifyin(g)Monkey

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  1. Isn't the likelier explanation that A.) people, especially the relevant law enforcement officials, really really hate pedophiles and sex offenders and didn't really care that they were leaving Epstein in a situation where he could easily off himself, or be offed by a fellow pedophile-hating inmate, and B.) now that he's dead, the investigation into the details of the case seem less important to them, and they've been really slow in getting around to searching his compound? Or, in a nutshell, this all stems less from a giant conspiracy and more from the FBI being like
  2. If one is going to make the argument that 'this time is different', and that the yield curve is not sending the kind of surefire signal of an oncoming contraction that it usually does, then the notion that QE's attempt to depress long-term yields through its asset purchases ought to part of it. (although I think the central premise should be something else...see below...) The idea is that yields have already been 'artificially depressed' by QE. The Fed has still not unwound much of the debt purchases it made then. So (according to this view) the yield curve does not accurately reflect investor sentiment anymore. I am actually pretty open to the idea that 'this time is different', but not just because of the Fed's interventions via QE; I think it could actually be more the case that, now that the yield curve is so widely talked about and observed, it has lost its predictive power. The way a 'tell' in poker (or any card game involving bets) loses its influence on the betting behavior of the players of the game when it becomes widely known and discussed among everyone at the table. In truth, the 'tell' is only useful in predicting bettors' behavior when only a select few players know about it, so it's not being widely factored into the players' expectations and decision-making. That would be my #1 candidate for an explanation why a recession doesn't follow the yield curve inversion this time around, if that indeed turns out to be true. But it's worth noting that, even before everyone knew about its predictive power, the recession that has usually followed upon the curve's inversion has oftentimes occurred at a considerable lag. It's occasionally taken up to two years for a contraction to happen.
  3. The truth is that incumbents rarely lose unless there’s a recession under their watch. The Dems’ odds don’t look great regardless of what they do. But Closing the enthusiasm gap is key. That’s why, the more I reflect on it, the more I think This cycle is one instance where a left-wing firebrand who riles up the base (but eschews the socialist label and thus needless Cold War baggage), like Warren, might actually be more competitive in a general election than a milquetoast establishment centrist like Biden. But the people who think the odds are against Trump need to take a cold, hard look into the annals of electoral history.
  4. In general it’s a bad idea to attach your emotional well-being to an election. Unless you’re in the military, it’s very likely there are a thousand other factors that will have a greater impact on your everyday well-being than who’s president. In fact, I think it’s partly these intensely personal attachments to our political representatives, facilitated and amplified by social media, that’s causing our politics to go increasingly haywire. I can’t help but feel that our politics would be less dysfunctional if people didn’t feel like either a.) the world was ending, or b.) the messiah has arrived, depending on whether so-and-so won the latest election. At the very least it helps to remember that every politician, even the president, is constrained by larger historical forces—worry about those, not who wins the next election.
  5. Stroke of genius. Trump’s smartest policy idea, ever. If he makes this the center of his re-election platform, he’s guaranteed to win. Just think of the .37 electoral votes it would put up for grabs...
  6. I meant ‘silly’ more along the lines of ’clumsy’. I get the point he’s trying to make, but he’s using a politically clumsy example; people will misunderstand him as arguing that we should all live in shipping containers, when he’s actually arguing for sensible housing reform. But, clumsiness aside, he’s right; I for one have never seen a shipping container apartment that was anything less than swanky.
  7. He’s not wrong, that silly last comment about shipping container apartments aside. Has Bernie talked about how to address the inflationary effect of NIMBYism on housing rents/costs? Any honest conversation about what to do about out of control housing rents needs to.
  8. And yet... ...(said to members of Congress who were, with one exception, born in the United States)
  9. I really don’t get the Biden love. Nominating him will play to every single one of Trump’s strengths, outside of his tactic of using white male chauvinism to generate resentment for a woman/minority candidate.
  10. For the most part The debt they own is like the US treasury debt most countries own—it’s not kept as leverage but as a means of exchange, because the dollar is still the only universally accepted reserve currency. ‘Calling it in’ would hurt China way more than it would hurt the US.
  11. One big longer-term question is whether Powell will continue to accommodate Trump, or whether he’ll hold steady and follow the market into recession. He could easily tip the scales given that the market’s already priced in several more rate cuts. I’m of the opinion the Fed can’t stop a recession from happening, but can forestall it for a time, and the timing could be crucial to the short-run outcome of the trade war. Either way, Long run, China will come out on top, IMO. It’s better prepared for the long game and doesn’t have to worry about public opinion. I’m not totally against industrial policy in all circumstances, but the populists and Trump have picked a fight they can’t win. In an ironic twist, if they lose the upcoming election, they might be able to avoid the consequences by blaming any ensuing recession on a democratic president.
  12. A majority of House Democrats now support impeachment. Sounds like Pelosi wants to keep the investigations going while not moving into full-on impeachment, while folks like Cummings are hoping to goad Trump into doing something like disobeying a court order, which will give them more political cover to go after him.
  13. Oh, the horror! But seriously, folks, all he was saying was that we need to prepare to adapt to the issues climate change will throw our way *while* we try to fight it, and that we’re already late. If you believe that climate change is a problem, and it’s set to hit us soon, and that we haven’t enough to date to fight it, then that’s an entirely sensible position.
  14. That's a simplification; if Fatah was just 'Israel's monkey' it wouldn't have funded militant terrorist groups like the Tanzim and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Fatah Hawks, the (earlier) Black September Organization, etc. And groups like the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are unrepentant militant Islamists. You can't credibly argue the ultimate goal of their struggle is a secular pluralist society. And, yeah, in its struggle to undercut a party funding militants fighting for an Islamic dictatorship, Israel threw its support behind Hamas, a party gunning to create an Islamic dictatorship. It's not the first time it's engaged in this kind of ironic self-mutilation, and yet another reason that I don't really sympathize with Israel. But I also don't sympathize with militant Islamists, either. I'm totally cool with Muslims who want to live in a secular pluralist society--but, again, that's not what groups like the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are fighting for--and we both know that Fatah knew that, too.
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