Desert Tortoise comments

Posted in: Biden's test: Engineering economic boom in a partisan divide See in context

A return to growth once the Covid-19 pandemic is controlled will be more or less straightforward fiscal stimulus. This is a familiar and well worn path. The far more difficult task for Mr. Biden's final years of his term will be to find ways to increase revenues in order to start paying the national debt down. It is critical the nation does this, especially if the US ever wishes to bring its trade deficit down, but I don't see much appetite for the decisions required to achieve a balanced budget among either house of Congress or even much appreciation for the necessity to do so.

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Posted in: Biden's test: Engineering economic boom in a partisan divide See in context

During the first nine months of the Obama presidency, the unemployment rate climbed to 10% and the swift recovery that was predicted never happened as the country took years to work through housing foreclosures and rebuild its financial system.

This say's everything about that administration..

Please get your history right. In late 2008 the US experienced the first absolute decline in the money supply since the early 1930s. Not just a decline in money supply growth but an outright decline in the money supply. Why? As the value of mortgage backed securities crashed and home values declined steeply, money and particularly the measure of the money supply once called M3 was destroyed. The US lost something between $16 to $20 trillion from the total money supply, equivalent to the GDP for one year. The US entered a deflation, TARP and the much maligned bank bailout prevented a catastrophic deflationary spiral from taking hold but deflationary pressures persist to this day. Because Congress refused to engage in fiscal stimulus the recovery took longer than necessary. In fact Congress was so stubborn about resisting fiscal stimulus the Federal Reserve took it upon itself to engage in monetary easing to stimulate the economy. It was a second best solution but all that was available to the US in the face of a recalcitrant Congress.

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Posted in: Sapporo decides to sell new beer with English mistake on label See in context

Good for Sapporo ! Wasting good beer would be alcohol abuse ^_^

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Posted in: Sapporo decides to sell new beer with English mistake on label See in context

Foreign languages are simply used as decoration in the world of advertising. Accuracy isn't a factor, the font is generally more important.

I have some mundane Japan market 100 volt appliances and their data tags have their information printed in a mixture of Japanese and English characters. I have also noticed that the appliances that are made in Japan say so in Japanese characters while those made in China say "Made in China" in English.

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Posted in: Republicans grapple with post-Trump future See in context

Then we have a far more representative government in Canada where there are multiple parties giving far more choices.

There is good and bad in that. The deals necessary to achieve a legislative majority can be detrimental to good policy, and governments can be highly unstable when coalition partners use blackmail tactics threatening to leave the coalition and bring the government down to achieve their legislative goals. The public doesn't chose their national leader. No one in UK voted for Boris Johnson to be PM. He represents one district as a Member of Parliament. His party chose him to be PM, not the public. Is that more representative than the US Presidential system? No. Terms of an administration are hardly fixed when a vote of confidence, or the whim of a prime minister calling a snap election can cause a national election on very short notice. Stability suffers under such circumstances and necessary policy doesn't happen when politicians are fighting for power or there is an election cycle. Problems get shoved aside until a new parliamentary majority can be cobble together, for however long it lasts. Canada has not been as bad as Italy, Belgium or Israel in this regard but a good argument could be made against the parliamentary system on those grounds. I certainly do not ever wish to live in such a country.

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Posted in: Republicans grapple with post-Trump future See in context

I think once the Trump family and its several business entities are deep into their many upcoming legal challenges they will fade from importance politically. The facts that will come out in the course of the several court cases will make them radioactive.

Also, in the fullness of time the current dismay of the Qanon crowd might lead to many of these people to realize they have been played by pros, perhaps even foreign pros, and this will lead to some introspection on their part and circumspection in the future. You know the old saying; make a fool of me once, shame on you. Make a fool of me twice, shame on me.

Review the effects of Proposition 187 and former Governor Pete Wilson on the viability of the Republican Party in California. Mr. Trump and his many xenophobic, anti-immigrant policies, government shutdowns and budget blackmail may have accomplished on a national scale what Pete Wilson accomplished in California. It didn't happen overnight but the Republicans were stubborn and refused to change in alignment with the voting public. Now Republicans hold no statewide offices and Democrats have solid super-majorities in both houses of the State Legislature. The state also has a $15 billion rainy day fund from consecutive budget surpluses going back to 2008 and this year experienced record tax receipts, much of which will go to covid relief and into that rainy day fund. State GDP exceeds $3 trillion, the worlds fifth largest economy.

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Posted in: Biden's inauguration goes off with no security issues See in context

Trump had a bigger crowd greet him in Florida today than the guy with 81 million "votes."

Yeah, thanks to the turd the 6 January crowd threw into the inauguration punch bowl. If Trump hadn't provoked an insurrection there would have been a normal inauguration ceremony.

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Posted in: Japan protests China's repeated intrusions into waters near Senkakus See in context

How many noticed that for the first time ever, the de-facto Taiwanese ambassador to the US, Hsiao Bi-khim, attended Mr. Biden's inauguration at his request. I think that says volumes about where US interests lie, especially knowing how this will enrage the Chinese.

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Posted in: Democrats gain Senate control as new members take oath See in context

McConnell needs to show he cares more about the country than he does about maintaining the wealth and power of the Republican Party. And his own bank account.

His wife and her family take care of their bank account. Old Turkey Neck doesn't have much wealth of his own. His wife is his fountain of wealth.

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Posted in: 'We will be back in some form,' Trump vows at end of tumultuous presidency See in context

One of the great ironies of Donald Trump is how he made lowering the trade deficit such a big part of his platform. Then he lowers taxes and increases the current accounts deficit which is really the whole reason the US runs a huge trade deficit. He engaged in many futile trade wars with the US allies, its immediate neighbors and especially China but the overall trade deficit is at an all time high. All those T-Bills the Fed has to sell to finance the national debt become the means by which America's trade partners soak up their excess US dollars, artificially inflating the value of the dollar while also keeping the value of their own currency artificially low against the dollar. Thus the terms of trade are kept perpetually in favor of America's trade partners. The only way the US will ever reduce its trade deficit is to run a balance budget or preferably one with a surplus. The last two years of the Clinton administration showed this is possible to do if a nation puts its mind to it. This should be the goal of the final two years of the Biden administration. No, I'm not holding my breath because too many politicians still think the solution to every economic problem is a tax cut. It isn't, but try to convince those lawmakers.

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Posted in: 'We will be back in some form,' Trump vows at end of tumultuous presidency See in context

freedom of religion

Laughable. Mr. Trump's policies gave licence to religious discrimination. When somebody can refuse another person service in a business because they say their religion is offended, that is not religious freedom but legal discrimination that if allowed to flourish become religious tyranny.

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Posted in: Biden's inauguration goes off with no security issues See in context

My only caution is that there are a lot of older small towns and cities across the US that time has passed by. Many who live in these places feel forgotten and ignored and feel as if the only places in the US that are benefiting from anything the government does are some big coastal cities. These forgotten places with increasingly desperate people are ripe for radicalization. Their schools have been ignored, economic development has passed them by. Their farmers are beholden to big agricultural monopolies who suck all of the profit out of the foods they grow and leave the farmers scraping by while their own portfolios and those of their executives overflow. Rural and small town America needs attention. And while I agree those who committed violent acts desecrating the US Capital need to go to prison I also think the US Government and both parties need to pay more attention to these small towns. There also needs to be a very blunt discussion about the tax burden in the US so the national debt is paid down after the Covid crisis is past.

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Posted in: Biden bets big on immigration reform in opening move See in context

I'd rather have a poor immigrant for neighbor or co-worker than what I saw running through the US Capital on 6 January. Just look at some of those creatures! Give me a hard working, family oriented immigrant any day.

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Posted in: Japan protests China's repeated intrusions into waters near Senkakus See in context

Japan should perhaps establish their own maritime militia, fishing boats with well trained crew members armed with small arms and grenade launchers to run off vessels that intrude into Japanese waters or which harass Japanese fishing boats inside our outside of Japan's EEZ. Make it dangerous for the Chinese to play rough.

The Japanese probably also ought to look at adding a couple of large coast guard cutters able to carry up to three helicopters to deploy to the region. Maybe overhaul recommission as Coast Guard ships the best of the old JMSDF DDHs if they are not yet scrapped and use those to patrol the area.

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Posted in: Trump's legacy: A more divided America, a more unsettled world See in context

Trump made boldface lies into a political tool. 

It's not just Donald Trump. Read Shep Smith's interview yesterday with Christian Amanpour where he explains why he left Fox News. The talking heads start from a false premise and opine from there. it's one thing to start with a fact and have an opinion, but to start from a lie, asserting this lie is a fact, and then build a case off a lie is reprehensible. But this is what much of conservative media does.

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Posted in: 3 women arrested for operating massage parlor offering sex services See in context

I recall being out in town in Olongapo, just outside the gate to the big naval base at Subic Bay, listening to a band in a local bar. There was simply no way back then for an unaccompanied male to be out in such venues without a bar girl plopping herself in your lap and cooing something like "ooooh, guapo". I hadn't yet learned that you had to find an American woman to go out with you to keep the bar girls off you. I wasn't interested in sex and didn't buy them the overpriced "ladies drink", just wanted to listen to this guitarist play Steppenwolf songs every bit as good as Steppenwolf could, and I've seen them a couple of times btw. So I asked this bar girl on my lap why she doesn't get the hades out of there and do something with her life? Her answer has stuck with me all these years. She told me she couldn't leave, she owed the mamma-san too much money, a debt incurred when her mother sold her into prostitution, and if she left the police (realize Ferdinand Marcos was still the dictator there) would arrest her and bring her back to the bar. I did notice that once Marcos was thrown out you didn't see the legions of pimple faced teenage boys in poorly made uniforms walking around with automatic weapons.

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Posted in: Vogue to release new Kamala Harris cover after controversy See in context

Personally, I just could not see anything wrong with these two photos. Her eyes are bright and her smile is warm as usual.

Well bright eyes and a warm smile are not the face those she sent to prison got to see, lol. Don't forget she spent the great majority of her life as a prosecutor sending all kinds of criminals to prison. She has a courtroom face that is very different. But you wouldn't put that face on the cover of Vogue.

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Posted in: China triumphant one year after Wuhan lockdown See in context

The CCP is not telling the world the truth about conditions inside China. Just as they have downplayed the Swine Flu epidemic killing herds in northern China they are hiding the facts of the Covid epidemic there just as they have inflated the efficacy of their vaccine. I suspect China will have a rough time after their New Years celebration. The world also doesn't really get to know the degree of anger at and distrust of the CCP among the people of China.

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Posted in: What to do if you're snowbound on the road See in context

Carry water, sleeping bags and fleeces, emergency rations, and a phone charger.

Don't forget your laptop so you can read J-T !

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Posted in: McConnell says Trump provoked Capitol siege; mob 'fed lies' See in context

He sees the writing on the wall now. Voter suppression has failed because of activists like Stacey Abrams. 

Maybe it hasn't? McConnell did his darnedest to make sure the Supreme Court has a hard right majority. The states are going to do a lot of things to limit access to the polls for minorities and the poor. Statehouses in many states are further to the right than anyone in Congress and they have their knives out looking for ways to keep the poor and blacks from voting. Those efforts will be challenged in court and most if not all will likely end up being decided by the US Supreme Court. I would not trust the current court to uphold anything resembling voting rights. While most state Constitutions have a clear statement that voting is a right, at the Federal level the US Constitution does not. I worry this Supreme Court could approve all manner of voting restrictions and further gut the Voting Rights Act. There is zero chance of this Congress strengthening the Voting Rights Act after SCOTUS partially gutted it in 2013 so the US is at the mercy of SCOTUS except for a handful of states that are not dominated by the right. Ask yourself how many times have you heard someone say something to the effect of "the privilege to vote" or "the voting privilege"? I've heard this many times. There is a growing assumption on the right that voting is a privilege instead of a right. It goes with the general ignorance of the US Constitution in the US population at large. That is a very dangerous trend that has to be aggressively nipped in the bud.

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Posted in: McConnell says Trump provoked Capitol siege; mob 'fed lies' See in context

McConnell says Trump provoked Capitol siege; mob 'fed lies'

Of course he does.

Why wouldn't he? It is the truth.

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Posted in: McConnell says Trump provoked Capitol siege; mob 'fed lies' See in context

 I suspect Ivanka and Don Jr. will be running for political offices. 

The Manhattan District Attorney and New York Attorney General will keep them both too busy to run for political office I suspect, and once the financial records of the Trump companies are public they will be radioactive. The prosecutions are coming and the discovery process is going to reveal a great deal of information that I suspect will be highly damaging to their reputations. On top of that it appears that Dominion Voting Systems was just waiting for Mr. Trump to cease being President to start dropping suits on him and his family for defamation over their claims of Dominion voting machines being rigged.

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Posted in: McConnell says Trump provoked Capitol siege; mob 'fed lies' See in context

sn't McConnell 79 yrs old? 2021 - 1942 = ... yep.

Granny Pelosi is 80. Chuck Schumer is 70. Strom Thurmond retired from the US Senate at age 100. Dianne Feinstein is 87 but reportedly having "cognitive problems", apparently why she won't chair the Senate Judiciary Committee after years as the Senior Democrat on that committee. 86 yo Don Young of Alaska has been in Congress since 1967 with the exception of two years between Congressional seats, 1971-1973, spent in the Alaska Senate. Think about that, TVs were all black and white and had a maximum of 13 VHF channels you had to select manually with dial on the TV set and the few TV stations out there all shut down between midnight and 6:00am, in 1967 when he entered office.

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Posted in: McConnell says Trump provoked Capitol siege; mob 'fed lies' See in context

This isn't just about what happened at the Capitol Building. There are representatives who were elected in November making all the same lies that Trump did. They need to go too - that's probably 80+% of the GOP people.

They are a fair representation of the Republican base. If you think the members of the US Congress are far right, Republicans in various state legislatures make the Republicans in Congress look like Boy Scouts.

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Posted in: McConnell says Trump provoked Capitol siege; mob 'fed lies' See in context

Here's a far right classic response to McConnell:

https://thefederalistpapers.org/us/report-claims-mcconnell-pleased-attempts-impeach-trump-allegedly-not-whipping-votes-trump

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Posted in: McConnell says Trump provoked Capitol siege; mob 'fed lies' See in context

I imagine Mr. McConnell's comments will inflame some on the far right. Reuters had a video up for a very short time on this subject and before I could watch it, it disappeared. "This video file cannot be played". He and his wife sadly might need a small security detail in the future.

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Posted in: What to do if you're snowbound on the road See in context

Leave the scene searching for a warmer place at highest pace, while you still can

Eh, experience suggest this is a bad choice. It is usually better to stay with your vehicle where you can be found. If you take off on foot you are more likely to die from exposure or injury than find to find warm shelter.

Where I live if there are predictions of snow on the highways I bring extra winter clothing, coats, paper products, food and water, maybe even a toilet kit if I am going very far out of our valley. There are a couple of routes that are known to be shut down in a big enough snow and if I have to travel them I plan ahead in case the road is closed or we are stuck due to snow. Keep your fuel above half a tank too.

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Posted in: What to do if you're snowbound on the road See in context

Typhoon conditions are forecast hours, if not days, in advance. Isn't that also the case for heavy snow?

Usually, but sometimes the weather has some surprises.

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Posted in: 3 women arrested for operating massage parlor offering sex services See in context

Even companies like Toyota can do this with factory workers from other countries.

No Toyota does not do this. Their factories and workforce are far too visible for them to even think of using forced labor like that. I doubt any of their subcontractors could do it either. Really where do you come up with such things?

Human trafficking and forced labor is most prevalent in agriculture including deep sea fishing (big problem for Thailand), domestic work, low skill factory work, bars & nightclubs and the hospitality industry. Some estimates put about 70% of female sex workers as being trafficked into forced labor. Even if not trafficked from abroad pimps and madams are not model employers. It is almost always an exploitive relationship. Nice to see you see nothing wrong with any of this though.

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Posted in: Kremlin foe Navalny held in pre-trial detention, Moscow tells West to butt out See in context

"No Russian troops in Crimea"

Vladimir Putin even stated Russian troops were used to invade the Crimea in a 17 April 2014 public statement, saying the use of Russian forces was necessary "to ensure proper conditions for the people of Crimea to be able to freely express their will". The Russian Defense Minister acknowledged the use of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the defeat of Ukrainian forces, something this old naval officer already knew from watching the action. Don't try to tell me there were not Russian forces involved because it was painfully obvious.

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