Our Fake President is Playing Scrooge Just in Time for Xmas

❝ ’Tis the quarter before holiday shopping season, and the president just announced tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, in addition to the $50 billion in products he imposed duties on over the summer.

The new tariffs could jack up prices on all sorts of standard Christmas purchases, including televisions, computers, mittens and knit hats…

More to the point, Trump’s tariffs could make Black Friday truly bleak.

❝ That’s true for the consumers whose wages are barely keeping up with inflation, and who don’t have the spare change lying around to cover a 10- or 25 percent price hike if Trump’s tariffs get tacked on to the cost of presents they plan to stash under the tree.

But it’s also true for U.S. companies, including major American success stories such as Apple. The consumer products giant counts on holiday retail sales for about a third of its annual revenue. It has already warned investors that its watch, wireless headphones and Mac mini computer, among other products, might take a hit.

Unless you are the sort of Republican Party donor who loves truly grotesque indulgences like, say, ostrich jackets or Gucci golf bags, the average wealthy American doesn’t spend a whole helluva lot more geedus on family presents than an upper middle class family. There are limits to consumerism before you reach neurosis.

The Fake President and his Congressional flunkies consider saddling future generations with a quick Trillion$ addition to the national debt just part of the election game. The part of this nation defined by the words “working families” has to guide their economic lives with some form of budget. And, now, the Washington Clown Show is making it even harder.

“Frankly, it’s not surprising that the citizenry of this state have absolutely lost faith in their government.”


NY Gov. Cuomo’s top advisor sentenced to six yearsPickett/NYTimes

❝ Joseph Percoco, a former top adviser and confidant to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was sentenced to six years in prison on Thursday in a case that cast a long and unflattering shadow over the Cuomo administration.

Mr. Percoco, 49, was convicted in March of soliciting and accepting more than $300,000 in bribes from executives of two companies with state business in return for taking official actions on the firms’ behalf.

❝ “I hope that this sentence will be heard in Albany,” Judge Valerie E. Caproni, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, said before sentencing.

She said the case had reached to the highest level of the executive branch. “Frankly, it’s not surprising that the citizenry of this state have absolutely lost faith in their government.”

My question, of course, is…Anyone surprised?

When granular bulk cargoes act like liquids they can sink ships


Loading bauxite

❝ Think of a dangerous cargo and toxic waste or explosives might come to mind. But granular cargoes such as crushed ore and mineral sands are responsible for the loss of numerous ships every year. On average, ten “solid bulk cargo” carriers have been lost at sea each year for the last decade.

❝ Solid bulk cargoes – defined as granular materials loaded directly into a ship’s hold – can suddenly turn from a solid state into a liquid state, a process known as liquefaction. And this can be disastrous for any ship carrying them – and their crew.

In 2015, the 56,000-tonne bulk carrier Bulk Jupiter rapidly sunk around 300km south-west of Vietnam, with only one of its 19 crew surviving. This prompted warnings from the International Maritime Organisation about the possible liquefaction of the relatively new solid bulk cargo bauxite (an aluminium ore).

❝ A lot is known about the physics of the liquefaction of granular materials from geotechnical and earthquake engineering. The vigorous shaking of the earth causes pressure in the ground water to increase to such a level that the soil “liquefies”. Yet despite our understanding of this phenomenon, and the guidelines in place to prevent it occurring, it is still causing ships to sink and taking their crew with them.

Cripes. I’ve been aware of liquefaction for years. Never occurred to me it might be a problem with deep water bulk carriers.

Trump’s “Great” Cleanup is Years Behind Puerto Rico’s Needs


A year after Hurricane Maria

❝ A year ago, shortly after Hurricane Maria tore its way across Puerto Rico and upended Ana Rodriguez’s small mountain town, all she wanted was reliable electricity and safe drinking water in her home. She still doesn’t have either.

❝ Her water is bottled and her electricity — which flutters off and on and can’t even power her vacuum cleaner — is something her neighbors in Cidra jerry-rigged after getting tutorials from YouTube videos. (They also snatched abandoned transformers from other towns for their setup.) Rodriguez isn’t expecting the Puerto Rican government or the Federal Emergency Management Agency to come to the rescue.

“People here feel so bad about the government and FEMA,” says the self-employed mother of two. “You can’t say which one is better or worse — they are equally bad.”

If you can’t promise a winning number of votes to the Republican Party and their Fake President – this is the kind of “service” to citizens in need you can expect.

Trump’s trade war cancels Alibaba’s promise of 1 million U.S. jobs


Mercury News

❝ Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma said the company can no longer meet its promise to create 1 million jobs in the United States due to U.S.-China trade tensions, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

❝ Ma has already warned that the trade war between the world’s two largest economies could last decades and that China should focus exports on the “Silk Road” trade route, citing Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe.

❝ Ma met U.S. President Donald Trump two years ago and laid out the Chinese e-commerce giant’s plan to bring one million small U.S. businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years.

“This commitment is based on friendly China-U.S. cooperation and the rational and objective premise of bilateral trade,” Ma told Xinhua…The current situation has already destroyed the original premise. There is no way to deliver the promise.”

Understand thoroughly, Trump is an ignoranus incapable of leading trade or cultural relationships with another nation to progress and parity. He relies on reactionary advisors like Lighthizer and Navarro who wish to halt any and all mutual trade relations with China.

Roubini Warns of ‘Perfect Storm’ for U.S. Economy in 2020

Not exactly a surprise. Supply-side “solutions” used to justify tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy have never resulted in anything other than recession. Roubini explains his analysis more clearly and thoroughly than I might. Watch the video. Bloomberg has blocked linking directly; but, you can click through to YouTube.

Yes, Roubini’s a conservative economist. In this instance, his prediction of doom and gloom is founded on the track record of Republicans who try this every decade or so – and fail each time.

Should UPS worry about Amazon buying 25,000 vans?

Last week brought the news that Amazon.com had ordered 20,000 delivery vans from Mercedes-Benz. CNN reports that this deal is a big leap from the Seattle-based e-commerce company’s first order of 5,000 vans. Amazon will lease these to third-party partners, who will operate them for last-mile delivery — basically, getting packages from a shipping hub to your house.


This is yet another step in Amazon’s plans to build its own delivery service, and it’s worth watching to see how it will affect United Parcel Service Inc. Amazon also is allowing allow people to use their personal vehicles for delivery in some cities…

…20,000 shipping vans is modest, as Market Realist points out. It notes that UPS has 119,000 vehicles and FedEx has 160,000 vehicles that do last-mile delivery.

And the United States Postal Service has 190,000 vehicles in their total delivery fleet. The sum of those three = 469,000 vehicles. While, Amazon may get some play for its portion of the gig economy popular in current culture, the sum of those two purchases = a little more than five percent of the rolling stock of established carriers.

Coal ash pits, hog manure lagoons — what could go wrong in North Carolina?

North Carolina is home to 31 coal ash pits where Duke Energy stores an estimated 111 million tons of toxic waste produced by coal-fired power plants. The state is also home to thousands of manure pits, known euphemistically as “lagoons,” which hold approximately 10 billion pounds of wet waste generated each year by swine, poultry, and cattle operations.

A handful of news outlets are reporting about the danger of coal ash and hog manure spilling into North Carolina’s waterways in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Bloomberg covered the serious environmental and public health risks and the Associated Press warned of a potential “noxious witches’ brew of waste.”

Don’t worry, be happy! Our Fake President is so confident after being reassured by his coal pimp buddies that he relaxed the rules regulating coal ash pits. Before Hurricane Florence arrived.

And the Hog Manure Lagoons? Hey, there’s only 4,000 or so. Not much of a problem if, say, only 5 or 10% of them overflow. Right? Ain’t any Senators or Congress-critters living nearby.