July 5, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 8:29 PM

THE rIGHT IS THE lEFT (profanity alert):

Proud Boys Rally Rocked by Sex, Cocaine Allegations: Top speakers are fleeing and one-time allies are feuding as the gathering of MAGA faithful teeters. (Will Sommer, 07.05.19, Daily Beast)

A far-right rally scheduled for downtown Washington on Saturday has been thrown into disarray by dramatic allegations centering on cocaine, a love triangle, and the far-right Proud Boys men's group.

"The Proud Boys? More like the Joke Boys," Republican congressional candidate Omar Navarro, a key player in the bizarre feud, told The Daily Beast.

The drama has torn apart one-time allies prominent on the pro-Trump internet and cost the so-called "Demand Free Speech" rally at least one speaker, after other prominent right-wing celebrities already cited other reasons for not appearing. While the rally was meant to protest the banning of conservative figures from social media, the surrounding drama has cast a shadow over the event. 

On one side of the fight: Navarro, a perennial challenger to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) whose losing campaigns against the liberal stalwart have become a cause celebre on the right. 

On the other: the Proud Boys, the all-male group of self-described "Western chauvinists," and DeAnna Lorraine, a self-styled MAGA relationship expert and Navarro's ex-girlfriend. 

The clash became public late on Wednesday night, when Navarro tweeted that Lorraine had been using cocaine and "sleeping with the proud boys." Navarro declared that he would no longer speak at Saturday's rally, which was organized in part by top Proud Boy leaders. [...]

"The Proud Boys are just as bad as antifa is," Navarro said.

Posted by orrinj at 6:10 PM

AT LEAST THEY DIDN'T NEED A TELEPROMPTER...:


Posted by orrinj at 3:57 AM

IT'S A DEFLATIONARY EPOCH:

Interest Rates Just Keep Falling. Economic Orthodoxy Is Falling With Them.: Investors expect even lower growth and inflation; this isn't the way it's supposed to work. (Neil Irwin, July 4, 2019, NY Times)

Consider some of the assumptions that are embedded in the economic models of the two government agencies most respected for their independence and technical expertise: the Congressional Budget Office and the Federal Reserve.

When the C.B.O. projects how legislation will affect the economy, it assumes that when the government borrows more, higher deficits will cause interest rates to rise, crowding out investment by the private sector.

Generations of college economics students have been taught that this is simply how things work, and the reason that countries should avoid running large budget deficits. But the logic just isn't holding up right now.

For example, in the spring of 2018, when the C.B.O. modeled tax cuts and spending increases that had been agreed to the preceding winter, it forecast that higher deficits would result in higher interest rates: 3.7 percent on 10-year Treasury bonds in 2019.

That is 1.75 percentage points higher than actually was the case on Wednesday. [...]

At the meeting in December 2015 where Fed officials first raised rates, for example, their consensus projection was that the longer-term level of the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent and that they would need to raise interest rates to 3.5 percent by now to keep the economy in balance and forestall inflation.

The actual results have undermined those assumptions. The unemployment rate has fallen to 3.6 percent. But the inflation rate has remained persistently below the 2 percent the Fed aims for. If anything, the growth rate of workers' wages has been slowing in recent months. That's important because higher wage growth is, in the traditional theory, the mechanism by which a tight labor market fuels overall inflation.

Moreover, the movements in bond markets the last few weeks suggest that very low inflation is likely to be the norm indefinitely, despite the low jobless rate. 

In a global economy of free trade and technology adoption what do prices have to do with antiquated things like jobs?

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

NORMALLY, THE SHATTERED CHAIN OF COMMAND WOULD BE A CRISIS:


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

PARKS, NOT STADIUMS:

Ballpark: How Baseball Stadiums Became Beautiful Again: a review of Ballpark: Baseball in the American City, by Paul Goldberger  (RICH LOWRY, June 20, 2019 National Review)

Memorial Stadium in Baltimore wasn't much of a ballpark. I didn't know that when I went there for my first major-league baseball game as a kid in the late 1970s and while walking up to our seats caught a glimpse through a tunnel of the field, the greenest, most perfect grass I'd ever seen, a color I didn't know existed. (This was long before the advent of high-def TV.) 

The lush field at the center of an enclosure of concrete and steel provides one of the themes of Paul Goldberger's new book. For him, the ballpark is the garden in the city, the rus in urbe, a sports combination of the Jeffersonian agrarian tradition and the Hamiltonian emphasis on cities and industry. 

A former architecture writer for the New York Times and The New Yorker, Goldberger calls the ballpark "one of the greatest of all American building types" and argues that, "as much as the town square, the street, the park, and the plaza, the baseball park is a key part of American public space." 

Goldberger relates the history of baseball through its physical facilities and the business, real-estate, and design considerations that created them. You couldn't do this with any other major sport. It's rare that a football stadium or basketball or hockey arena becomes memorable in its own right. The experience of baseball, in contrast, is caught up in its surroundings. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

WHAT LITTLE:

'A Nation Built on a Universal Claim to Human Dignity' (RONALD REAGAN,  JULY 4, 1986, The Bulwark)

All through our history, our Presidents and leaders have spoken of national unity and warned us that the real obstacle to moving forward the boundaries of freedom, the only permanent danger to the hope that is America, comes from within. It's easy enough to dismiss this as a kind of familiar exhortation. Yet the truth is that even two of our greatest Founding Fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, once learned this lesson late in life. They'd worked so closely together in Philadelphia for independence. But once that was gained and a government was formed, something called partisan politics began to get in the way. After a bitter and divisive campaign, Jefferson defeated Adams for the Presidency in 1800. And the night before Jefferson's inauguration, Adams slipped away to Boston, disappointed, brokenhearted, and bitter.

For years their estrangement lasted. But then when both had retired, Jefferson at 68 to Monticello and Adams at 76 to Quincy, they began through their letters to speak again to each other. Letters that discussed almost every conceivable subject: gardening, horseback riding, even sneezing as a cure for hiccups; but other subjects as well: the loss of loved ones, the mystery of grief and sorrow, the importance of religion, and of course the last thoughts, the final hopes of two old men, two great patriarchs, for the country that they had helped to found and loved so deeply. "It carries me back," Jefferson wrote about correspondence with his cosigner of the Declaration of Independence, "to the times when, beset with difficulties and dangers, we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right to self-government. Laboring always at the same oar, with some wave ever ahead threatening to overwhelm us and yet passing harmless ... we rowed through the storm with heart and hand . ..." It was their last gift to us, this lesson in brotherhood, in tolerance for each other, this insight into America's strength as a nation. And when both died on the same day within hours of each other, that date was July 4th, 50 years exactly after that first gift to us, the Declaration of Independence.

My fellow Americans, it falls to us to keep faith with them and all the great Americans of our past. Believe me, if there's one impression I carry with me after the privilege of holding for 5 1/2 years the office held by Adams and Jefferson and Lincoln, it is this: that the things that unite us -- America's past of which we're so proud, our hopes and aspirations for the future of the world and this much-loved country -- these things far outweigh what little divides us. And so tonight we reaffirm that Jew and gentile, we are one nation under God; that black and white, we are one nation indivisible; that Republican and Democrat, we are all Americans. Tonight, with heart and hand, through whatever trial and travail, we pledge ourselves to each other and to the cause of human freedom, the cause that has given light to this land and hope to the world.

My fellow Americans, we're known around the world as a confident and a happy people. Tonight there's much to celebrate and many blessings to be grateful for. So while it's good to talk about serious things, it's just as important and just as American to have some fun. Now, let's have some fun -- let the celebration begin!

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS:

Pediatricians share migrant children's disturbing drawings of their time in US custody (Elizabeth Cohen, 7/04/19, CNN)

Pediatricians shared disturbing images drawn by migrant children who were recently separated from their parents while in US Customs and Border Protection custody. The drawings show people behind bars and in cages. The pictures were drawn last week by three children, ages 10 and 11, at Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas, after being released by CBP.

The staff at the center asked the children to depict their time in CBP custody. A social worker at the center gave the drawings to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which gave them to CNN.

"The fact that the drawings are so realistic and horrific gives us a view into what these children have experienced," said Dr. Colleen Kraft, immediate past president of the AAP. "When a child draws this, it's telling us that child felt like he or she was in jail."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

KNOWING THE ENEMY:

Wahhabism confronted: Sri Lanka curbs Saudi influence after bombings (Alexandra Ulmer, Omar Rajarathnam, 7/05/19, Reuters) 

Sri Lanka is moving to curtail Saudi Arabian influence, after some politicians and Buddhist monks blamed the spread of the kingdom's ultra-conservative Wahhabi school of Islam for planting the seeds of militancy that culminated in deadly Easter bomb attacks. [...]

The outcry in Sri Lanka is the latest sign that Wahhabism, which critics deem a root cause of the jihadist threat, is under pressure internationally.

Jihadist organizations, including Islamic State - which claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings - follow an extreme interpretation of Islam's Salafi branch, of which Wahhabism was the original strain.