December 6, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 7:11 PM


Trump did not know about Huawei extradition request before Xi dinner: source (Reuters, 12/06/18) 

President Donald Trump did not know about a U.S. request for the extradition of Huawei's chief financial officer from Canada before he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping over dinner last weekend, a White House official said on Thursday.

Why would anyone trust him with information useful to our enemies?

Posted by orrinj at 7:08 PM


GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert just said some very questionable things about George Soros (The Week, 12/06/18)

On Thursday, the congressman appeared on Fox Business' Varney and Co. to discuss the rapidly plummeting stock market. Google's parent company Alphabet was among the businesses that saw diminishing shares in the past few days, and Gohmert suggested that was because "Google has repeatedly sold their souls" and invaded user privacy. He then compared that to the surveillance state George Orwell envisioned in his novel 1984.

Discussing Orwell soon reminded Gohmert of "another George," he said. Just like how Google was "born in a free country" but shifted to "oppress others," the Hungarian-born liberal philanthropist George Soros is "supposed to be Jewish" but went on to "damage" Israel, Gohmert alleged. Without any form of proof, Gohmert then claimed that Soros, who received a suspected pipe bomb in the mail in October and is frequently the target of anti-Semitic smears, "turned on fellow Jews and helped take the property that they own."

If he's only a pretend Jew then is he absolved of eating Christian babies?

Posted by orrinj at 7:01 PM


Trump Personally Employs Undocumented Immigrants? That May Be a Federal Crime (Colin Kalmbacher, December 6th, 2018, Law & Crime)

President Donald Trump has long employed undocumented immigrants at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to a New York Times report. This arrangement may run afoul of federal law.

A mid-afternoon Thursday exposé identified two of the undocumented women by name.

Victorina Morales, the report notes, has made Trump's bed, "cleaned his toilet and dusted his crystal golf trophies." The second woman, Sandra Diaz, no longer works at the golf club but had similar duties during her three-plus years there.

Per the Times:

[Diaz] said she washed and ironed Mr. Trump's white boxers, golf shirts and khaki trousers, as well as his sheets and towels. Everything belonging to Mr. Trump, his wife, Melania, and their son, Barron, was washed with special detergent in a smaller, separate washing machine, she said.

Substantial media attention has focused on the stark divide between Trump's personal employment of undocumented immigrants compared to his campaign rhetoric and governing priorities. Morales herself noted that disconnect.

"We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money," she told the Times. "We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation."

Aside from the disconnect between the Trump administration's approach to illegal immigration and the apparent reality at his club, there could be a federal crime afoot here, too.

Posted by orrinj at 4:11 AM


Explainer: What is an inverted yield curve? (Reuters, 12/06/18) 

Shorter-dated securities are highly sensitive to interest rate policy set by a central bank such as the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Longer-dated securities are more influenced by investors' expectations for future inflation because inflation is anathema to bond holders.

So, when the Fed is raising rates, as it has been for three years now, that pushes up yields on shorter-dated bonds at the front of the curve. And when future inflation is seen as contained, as it is now because higher borrowing costs are expected to become a drag on the economy, investors are willing to accept relatively modest yields on long-dated bonds at the back end of the curve.

The deflationary epoch is driven by the free movement of goods and people (and the decline in labor costs as a function of off-shoring, integration and technology).

Donald and his war on trade and immigration represent a temporary inflationary aberration.  The Fed is fighting him prophylactically with rate hikes and the market is responding logically in pricing securities.

Donald can either abandon his Nationalist policies and get credit for extending the Bush/Obama recovery or he can set up his successor for an easy first term.

Posted by orrinj at 4:00 AM


Migrants tend to be healthier, live longer: study (Reuters, 12/06/18) 

Migrants tend to be healthier than the residents of wealthy countries they travel to, such as the United States, and often help fight diseases by becoming healthcare workers in those nations, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Populist arguments that migrants pose a health risk and a burden to health systems are myths used to drive anti-immigrant sentiment, the report published by University College London and the Lancet medical journal concluded. 

Posted by orrinj at 3:56 AM


Volkswagen Will Stop Making Gas Powered Cars in 2026: More Automakers Have More Plans to Sell Electric Cars, And the luxury electric-SUV market is really heating up. (CHRIS MORRIS December 5, 2018, Fortune)

Volkswagen, which has been increasingly shifting its focus to electronic vehicles, says it will stop making gas-powered cars entirely in 2026.

Michael Jost, who heads strategy for the automaker, made the announcement at a conference at the company's Wolfsburg, Germany headquarters Tuesday, saying "in the year 2026 will be the last product start on a combustion engine platform".

Posted by orrinj at 3:53 AM


We finally found election fraud (Jennifer Rubin, December 5, 2018, Washington Post)

President Trump and his kangaroo court -- the Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity -- never found evidence of widespread voter fraud, the sort of fraud by impersonation that the Republican Party's voter-ID laws are supposed to combat. That's not for lack of trying, but as we've seen in study after study, voter-ID laws are a solution in search of a problem -- and a means of deterring traditionally Democratic constituencies from voting. [...]

Now, however, we have a big, ugly and blatant example of what is very likely election fraud. And strangely, Trump and the rest of the Republicans are silent, which is hardly surprising given that the alleged fraud may have put Republican Mark Harris in the House to represent North Carolina's 9th Congressional District.

The Post reported on a GOP operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless, who allegedly ran an operation to collect absentee ballots (which they are not permitted to do) and discard them.

On Monday, the board issued a subpoena to the Harris campaign, according to campaign attorney John Branch. The board is expected to issue one soon to Red Dome Group, a GOP consulting firm based in the suburbs of Charlotte that hired Dowless, according to two people familiar with the probe. . . . 

Investigators with the bipartisan state elections board -- which last week voted unanimously to delay certifying the race -- have identified hundreds of potential witnesses to interview, many of them voters whose absentee ballots were never turned in, according to the people familiar with the probe. That raises the possibility of a weeks-long investigation and an uncertain start date for the next congressman from the 9th District.

The absentee ballots, wouldn't you know, are disproportionately from African American neighborhoods.

Posted by orrinj at 3:51 AM


India to import Iranian oil using rupee payment mechanism: source (Reuters, 12/06/18) 

India will import crude oil from Iran using a rupee-based payment mechanism, an industry source told Reuters on Thursday, adding that 50 percent of those payments will be used for exporting items to Tehran.

Posted by orrinj at 12:04 AM


Saudi-funded lobbyist paid for 500 rooms at Trump's hotel after 2016 election (David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell, December 5 , 2018, Washington Post)

Lobbyists representing the Saudi government reserved blocks of rooms at President Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel within a month of Trump's election in 2016 -- paying for an estimated 500 nights at the luxury hotel in just three months, according to organizers of the trips and documents obtained by The Washington Post.

At the time, these lobbyists were reserving large numbers of D.C.-area hotel rooms as part of an unorthodox campaign that offered U.S. military veterans a free trip to Washington -- then sent them to Capitol Hill to lobby against a law the Saudis opposed, according to veterans and organizers. ][...]

Some of the veterans who stayed at Trump's hotel say they were kept in the dark about the Saudis' role in the trips. Now, they wonder if they were used twice over: not just to deliver someone else's message to Congress, but also to deliver business to the Trump Organization.