Reason Roundup

Mueller Mulls Middle East Meddling: Reason Roundup

Plus: Trump inauguration spending also under scrutiny, feds want fentanyl cases out of state court, and Twitter's stock is surging.

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Middle Eastern influence on U.S. politics and inauguration spending under investigation. "Yes, Democrats are right to feel good this week," writes New York Times columnist Lisa Lerer, citing several new developments regarding President Donald Trump. "But sometimes, in politics, feeling too good can cause the worst falls."

Some in the party worry that a rush to impeach Trump or too much focus on investigating him could distract from more pressing matters the newly Democrat-controlled House should tackle. "Last week, a group of incoming House freshmen sent a letter asking Democratic leadership to prioritize action on health care, immigration, infrastructure and other issues over investigations," notes Lerer. But among the party's superstars and base, the zeal to target Trump right away is strong.

And the number of Trump-adjacent actions under investigation keeps growing. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors were looking into spending by Trump's 2017 inauguration committee. The committee raised a record $107 million in donations. Now the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan "is examining whether some of the committee's top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions," the Journal reports.

Implicit exchanges of cash for access and influence are all over politics. But the Journal suggests there could be more to it than that, although the investigation is reportedly still in its early stages.

Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller is apparently plotting "phase 2" of his investigation into foreign influence in U.S. politics. Mueller's work thus far has probed potential ties between Trump and his associates with various Russian entities. Now the team is expanding its focus to consider Middle Eastern countries, too.

"In court filings that are set to drop in early 2019, prosecutors will begin to unveil Middle Eastern countries' attempts to influence American politics, three sources familiar with this side of the probe" said, according to Erin Banco at The Daily Beast. "In other words, the 'Russia investigation' is set to go global."

Mueller's team is reportedly looking into interactions between U.S. figures and "influential individuals from other foreign governments, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel."

FREE MINDS

America's War on Drugs never wanes, it just takes new forms. Confronted with a massive spike in fentanyl overdoses and deaths, the feds are pledging to take more state fentanyl cases to federal court, where mandatory minimum sentencing laws prohibit judges from issuing the lighter punishments available in state sentencing.

FREE MARKETS

Twitter turnaround. The company struggled to make money for years. Now it's seeing growth as competitors' momentum stalls. Twitter stock "has surged nearly 50 percent since the beginning of 2018, crushing competition from Facebook and Snap, and tracking for its best annual performance ever," reports CNBC. And "advertising revenue grew by 29 percent in the September quarter, its third quarterly increase of more than 20 percent."

"The knock on Twitter is that the daily average user growth has been slowing for the last few quarters, but keep in mind that they're really focused on shutting down fake accounts, so I think a number like that is really important for Facebook where people might only log in once a day, but with Twitter it's more about the user engagement," Strategic Wealth Partners President Mark Tepper told CNBC yesterday.

QUICK HITS

• Read Ken White on why the Michael Flynn investigation and prosecution has (contra The Wall Street Journal) been business as usual for the FBI.

• A seven-year-old girl died of dehydration in Customs and Border Protection custody last week. From The Washington Post:

According to CBP records, the girl and her father were taken into custody about 10 p.m. Dec. 6 south of Lordsburg, N.M., as part of a group of 163 people who approached U.S. agents to turn themselves in. More than eight hours later, the child began having seizures at 6:25 a.m., CBP records show. Emergency responders, who arrived soon after, measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees, and according to a statement from CBP, she "reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days."

• Nearly 15,000 immigrant children are now being held in federal custody. "Most of migrant children are teenage boys from Central America who travel to the border alone," reports NPR.

• Senior Wall Street executives say they're avoiding young female colleagues out of fear of sexual harassment claims.

• A federal appeals court just struck down part of the Trump administration's revised rules on the Obamacare contraception mandate. But the ruling only applies to residents of four states.

• Bomb threats seeking Bitcoin as ransom were sent to people in the U.S., Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

• The federal deficit for November was around $205 billion, according to the Treasury Department's latest announcement. "Federal spending in November was $411 billion, up 18 percent from the same month in 2017, while receipts were $206 billion, down 1 percent compared to November 2017," reports Reuters.

• Some federal student loans will be forgiven for attendees of for-profit colleges that shut down. "The discharge of loans applies automatically to about 15,000 students who attended now-defunct colleges that closed between Nov. 1, 2013, and Dec. 4, 2018," notes NBC News. Some $150 million total will be canceled.

• A Ukrainian court has found two state officials guilty of meddling in the U.S. 2016 election by leaking a ledger showing payments from former president Viktor Yanukovych and then–Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

• The attempt to repeal the repeal of a minimum wage raise for D.C.'s tipped workers is over.

• Cincinnati is the latest city to raise the smoking age to 21.

• Mario Vargas Llosa's new book The Call of the Tribe is "a condensed history of three centuries of classical liberal thought, from Adam Smith to Jean-François Revel, that doubles as a kind of intellectual autobiography." It's not yet available in English.

• "Among the many questionable bits of the Terrorist Regulation," reports Techdirt, "are that it will apply no matter how small a platform is and even if they're not in the EU, so long as the EU claims they have a 'significant number' of EU users."

Kamala who?

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    1. Hello.

      “Mueller’s team is reportedly looking into interactions between U.S. figures and “influential individuals from other foreign governments, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.””

      Oh, so the Clintons are finally being properly investigated for their ‘Foundation’?

      1. U.S. “figures”, Rufus; not U.S. *icons*.

        1. So excited to see this blatant corruption get little coverage then watch the DOJ focus on a rich guy banging floozies.

          Speaking of, why doesn’t Trump just tell them to investigate? Isn’t he their boss?

  1. Cincinnati is the latest city to raise the smoking age to 21.

    you call this an internet site? it’s smocking until properly memed to death.

    1. Jesus. Pick an age of majority and stick to it.

      If this kind of crap is going to happen, then the voting age should be raised too. I suggest 40 as a good minimum voting age.

      1. How about 35? You should have sufficient maturity and experience to choose the leader of your nation.

        1. Sure. I just said 40 because that’s how old I am now.

          Or how about you have to be at least the minimum age to hold a particular office in order to vote for that office?

          1. It’s funny how everyone thinks people younger than him or her are dumb and lack wisdom.

            1. it’s funny because it’s true.

            2. 70 percent of college women (progressives) think 1 in 4 of them get raped.

              So yea I’d say they’re pretty dumb

          2. I am with you just so I don’t have to pay taxes until I can vote. That’s a win, win for me. Keep an extra hour every two years and a bunch of my money.

        2. And waste the enthusiasm and idealism of youth on pursuits other than politics? Madness!

      2. This is a great point Zeb. You can join the military and go off a-murderin’ at 18, but you’re obviously not to be trusted with alcohol or cigarettes. The mental gymnastics are stunning.

  2. Twitter stock “has surged nearly 50 percent since the beginning of 2018…”

    Thanks to a certain president.

  3. Kamala who?

  4. Some in the party worry that a rush to impeach Trump or too much focus on investigating him could distract from more pressing matters the newly Democrat-controlled House should tackle.

    They can’t harangue the president and turn us into Venezuela.

  5. Senior Wall Street executives say they’re avoiding young female colleagues out of fear of sexual harassment claims.

    oh yuck, i dont want to know what “avoiding” is slang for

    1. Senior Wall Street executives say they’re avoiding young female colleagues the next day out of fear of sexual harassment claims.

      FTFY

  6. A seven-year-old girl died of dehydration in Customs and Border Protection custody last week.

    The administration wants to remind asylum-seekers that you’re not necessarily safer in the hands of United States federal law enforcement than you are at home.

    1. America didn’t kill this poor girl, her idiot parents and their evil backers like George Soros did.

      1. Look, just because the man that claimed to be her father hadn’t given her any food or water for days prior to being apprehended is no reason to absolve the U.S. government for giving her food and water!

        Wait, what are we talking about again?

        1. Propaganda from the Left often gets doxxed by facts.

  7. “…but with Twitter it’s more about the user engagement,”

    they’ll fit right in with the US government promoting marriage

  8. $107 raised? Those corrupt fat cats!

    1. whoops?$107 million. Thanks for pointing out the mistake.

      1. Thank you for links.

  9. “Most of migrant children are teenage boys…”

    In other words, the worst possible version of children.

    1. The news reported that a 7 yr old GIRL died, it was national news. Boys die in that desert everyday, that’s not news.

      1. Well, it’s news because they were in custody. But it sounds like the girl was already in bad shape before that.

        1. The kid was dying when they found her and they just failed to save her. This headline is like saying she died in the custody of the hospital. It is just cheap slander and does nothing except discredit the writer.

          1. Isn’t that what I said?

            I’m just saying that their being in custody of ICE or border patrol or whatever is what makes it a different story from all the other people who die in the desert before they get caught. An observation about why it’s a story, not a judgement on how it was reported or headlined. It seems pretty clear from the reporting I’ve heard about it that she didn’t die because of any action or inaction of US officials.

            1. I was agreeing with you. Sorry that wasn’t clear.

  10. ? Senior Wall Street executives say they’re avoiding young female colleagues out of fear of sexual harassment claims.

    A whole new glass ceiling emerges.

    1. And the young female colleagues are on top of the ceiling with the executives below, looking up?

    2. Which do women prefer, glass ceilings or glass floors?

  11. Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller is apparently plotting “phase 2” of his investigation into foreign influence in U.S. politics.

    i imagine rock star status might diminish at exactly the same rate at which he moves focus from trump

    1. It’s amazing watching so many people ignore what the Clintons did for decades. The mental gymnastics are mind boggling.

    2. As long as his investigation results in Putin’s Puppet’s removal from office, he’ll remain a rock star in my book. In fact I expect centuries from now Robert Mueller will be viewed as an American icon like Lincoln or Washington. Actually Mueller is better than Washington because at least Mueller never owned slaves.

    3. A better question is how is Mueller even authorized to look into influence peddling by any entity other than Russia? Wasn’t his mandate regarding Russian interference?

      This guy has the most expansive ‘mandate’ in U.S. history, and there’s no criminal statute as his basis for being appointed. Blank checks are the best kind, am I right?

  12. Kamala who?

    Uh-oh. The United States Senate is going to have to find a way to have more televised hearings next year.

    1. Maybe not. She is a textbook case proving that familiarity breeds contempt.

  13. “Cincinnati is the latest city to raise the smoking age to 21.”

    But first, here’s a rifle and go kill the yellow man.

    1. 13 yrd old boys died fighting as soldiers in every US war before World War 2. Times change, whether it’s for the better, remains to be seen.

      1. Times may change, but notably the age to enter the military has not changed lately so you can now join the military but be prohibited my law from drinking or smoking. Apparently, the only thing an 18 year old is mature enough to decide is if they want to go abroad and murder people.

        Seems legit to some, I’m sure.

  14. Bomb threats seeking Bitcoin as ransom were sent to people in the U.S., Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

    Does that count as ransom? Anyway, an organization with which I am affiliated got one of these emails and the message demanded people BUY bitcoins for THEIR OWN PORTFOLIO because its price is BOMBING so bad. Get it? That was the bomb part of the threat.

  15. The federal deficit for November was around $205 billion, according to the Treasury Department’s latest announcement.

    Look what the Obama economy is forcing Trump to do.

  16. Most Americans aren’t familiar with the current 2020 Democratic contenders

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing at this early stage. Once a clear front runner emerges, the solid majority of us patriotic Americans who aren’t under Russian control will unite behind that candidate. My top 3 are still Harris, Gillibrand, and Warren. Warren is an especially formidable candidate since she scientifically proved the main right wing smear against her (“She’s not really Native American; she only pretended to be”) is completely and utterly false.

    #LibertariansForWarren
    #ILoveScience

    1. Something something heap big something something forked tongue something Sacagawea…?.

  17. Still nothing on the New York Attorney General threatening Trumps family?

    1. Reason’s monopoly of the news continues.

      1. Why don’t you just post ‘LEAVE REASON ALONE!!”? You could write a bot to do it for you and you wouldn’t have to mess with typing.

        1. Your war on sanity is noted.

          1. LEAVE REASON ALONE!!

            That makes just as much sense and it would have saved you the trouble of typing. Do you get a little bit of drool down the side of your mouth when you type these things? You feel so passionate about wonderful reason is and seem so deeply offended by anyone who questions them.

            I am glad you are back. I missed the sad, angry, train wreck that you are. I will you credit, you are passionate. So that is something I guess. And it is funny and entertaining in kind of pathetic way.

          2. at least we know which war you’re objecting to.

      2. I’m curious what libertarians think about open threats by public officials to private citizens. We already know its okay to lie to congress as long as there’s a D next to your name, I’m wondering if that extends elsewhere

        1. A state AG threatening political prosecution is just a local story Ryan. Sparky understands that reason reports on the important things like food trucks and mayors of small African towns that say bad things about gay people.

          1. John the mind reader, at it again.

            1. LEAVE REASON ALONE!!

              Say it loud Sparky. Say it proud. Has the staff gotten a restraining order keeping you 500 feet away from reason HQ yet?

  18. Some federal student loans will be forgiven for attendees of for-profit colleges that shut down.

    So never go to a school that runs at a loss.

    1. I mean, arguably the students received part of an education from an accredited institution for free that will probably transfer so I don’t see much downside for the kids.

  19. Apparently Mueller regards his job as Special Counsel as a lifetime appointment.

    1. He’s a government man. If there’s no crisis, he’s out of a job.

  20. “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”

    It only matters who ends up with the hot potato.

    1. In this case, the 105.7?F potato.

  21. Muh Private Monopolistic Overlords: Google Schemed To Block Breitbart from Making Money on Ads
    The briefing argues that Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are caught between two incompatible positions, the “unmediated marketplace of ideas” vs. “well-ordered spaces for safety and civility.”

    The first approach is described as a product of the “American tradition” which “prioritizes free speech for democracy, not civility.” The second is described as a product of the “European tradition,” which “favors dignity over liberty and civility over freedom.” The briefing claims that all tech platforms are now moving toward the European tradition.

    The briefing associates Google’s new role as the guarantor of “civility” with the categories of “editor” and “publisher.” This is significant, given that Google, YouTube, and other tech giants publicly claim they are not publishers but rather neutral platforms– a categorization that grants them special legal immunities under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Elsewhere in the document, Google admits that Section 230 was designed to ensure they can remain neutral platforms for free expression.

    1. Only the government can save the Internet now!

      1. Nothing is more libertarian that corporate oligarchs running monopolies. Save us leftist corporate overlords. You are our only hope!!

        1. Nothing except government intervention in markets, that is.

          1. Oppression is good if it is done by a benevolent leftist billionaire. They are only doing what is best for us. I don’t know why these people can’t understand that.

            1. I also hate being forced to use specific Internet sites as part of my daily routine.

              1. But it is for your own good Sparky. You know that. It is so good we have you around to remind us of the nobility of our leftist corporate overlords.

                1. The government is also for my own good, so I’m told.

                  1. But it is not wonderful like the leftist billionaires that you want to rule us.

                    1. Apparently I just need to choose the correct overlord to rule my life.

            2. Did someone claim it was good?

              What do you think should happen, John?

              I really don’t think I’m being oppressed by Google. Google still hosts plenty of right of center content and it’s not difficult to find whatever point of view you are looking for. I am troubled by many of their recent moves against certain people and types of content. But I don’t think regulation or opening them to law suits for content posted by users is a good idea.

              1. It is an interesting question Zeb. And it is a question worth some serious thought. Sadly, Sparky is a complete moron unworthy of anything except ridicule. One of these days when Sparky is not around and the adults can actually have a conversation we can do that. But this isn’t the time for that because Sparky will just shit all over the thread making the same idiotic statements accusing people of mind reading.

                1. Your overblown sense of self-worth is a wonder to behold.

              2. If they are actively curating what is allowed in a one-sided manner then their exemption from suits because they are a free speech forum should be tossed because their actions and exemption don’t jibe anymore.

                1. We need the government to save us from ourselves.

                  1. We need the government to save us from ourselves.

                    Well, that island of stone-age grub eaters that killed the missionary certainly seems to be living in libertopia. All we need to do is assassinate any outsiders who try to set foot on American soil.

                    1. I’ll bet their Internet is terrible.

                    2. God damn first you whine for days about Ken after he triggered you, and now John is owning you.

                      Why did you come back if all you were going to do is cry like you have?

    2. The second is described as a product of the “European tradition,” which “favors dignity over liberty and civility over freedom.” The briefing claims that all tech platforms are now moving toward the European tradition.

      It’s hard to ignore that as these companies move into places like Europe, the Middle East, China, and other foreign markets that they are absolutely going to need to censor content more and more because that is the law in those places. Sure, they can just run parallel systems but…at that point American companies are being paid to censor foreign internet outlets.

      I’d invite you to think about that a minute.

  22. … it will apply no matter how small a platform is and even if they’re not in the EU, so long as the EU claims they have a ‘significant number’ of EU users.

    Brexits all around.

    1. Reinstate or reinsert (into the conversation of course)?

      1. Maybe “un-ban” would have been a better choice of words. Because I’m under the impression he’s banned since his contributions to this thread have vanished.

        As someone who usually agrees with Mr. Buttplug (except when he talks about Islam), I will try to bear some of the responsibility for reminding everyone how Drumpf has ruined the fantastic economy he inherited from Obama. Of course I cannot be as effective as Buttplug in this role since my economic knowledge is not as extensive as his.

        1. I heard he drew a picture of Mohammed and got his head lopped off.

      2. banned from this site? for words?

        1. I had a user name banned once for responding to and mimicking a spambot.

          1. not just anyone can make $3000 a month while never leaving home.

        2. Probably for not paying the bet he lost.

        3. It doesn’t really matter if they were banned or not, the guy (or gal I suppose) has admitted multiple times that they have at least 30 different accounts here. You can never fully ban someone from your platform.

  23. “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”

    In other words, the kid was just a passport for the adult taking her across the border

    1. I bet Trump followed them through the desert and swatted water out of her hand

      1. Well no, but the Border Patrol regularly dumps stashed water caches when they come across them.

        1. You mean litter?

    2. Can we just agree that the left using the death of this little girl to score points for their side is as disgusting as the right using murder victims to score points for their side in the debate?

      1. Yes we can.

      2. si se puede

      3. Seems pretty fair to me.

      4. Hope and change?

  24. Free minds, free markets, and no rule of law for people who want to turn this country into Venezuela.

    Nothing to See Here: After Mueller Was Forced to Fire Lisa Page and Peter Strzok for Scheming To Cook Up an “Insurance Policy,” He Seized Their Phones and… Deleted All Messages and Gave Them to Other FBI Agents To Use, Instead of Preserving Them
    Short version: Mueller’s Office scrubbed clean both Strzok and Page’s phones. Reset to factory settings. SCO also didn’t know who handled Page’s device after she left in July 2017. SCO records officer said she doesn’t recall whether there were ANY texts on Strzok’s phone… https://t.co/xl2zOdtrkr

    ? Julie Kelly (@julie_kelly2) December 13, 2018

    1. That is called obstruction of justice. But laws are for little people.

    2. Obviously the solution is a Special Counsel to investigate the Special Counsel.

      1. “Today, the Special Counsel investigating the Special Counsel investigating the Special Counsel investing the Special Counsel investigating Trump issued a preliminary report, pursuant to the Its Special Counsels All the Way Down Act.”

  25. Patreon is on a deplatorming binge.

    They kicked both Milos Snuffleupagus off the platform and Sargon of Akkad.

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with the service, Patreon allows average people to act as patrons of content creators a la the Medici did of sculptors and painters. So, for instance, if you dig a certain YouTube celebrity and you want them to devote more of their time to content creation and less to whatever else they have to do to pay the bills, you become their patron by way of Patreon.

    This has proved popular with all kinds of content but maybe especially so with controversial content creators from stage right, who may not be able to get paid for their content through traditional channels otherwise. Sarkon of Akkad, for instance, became famous by way of his content regarding Gamergate, and he was taking in about $12,000 a month by way of Patreon.

    Patreon’s latest binge is interesting because they’re going after content creators for things that have nothing to do with the content Patreon’s donors sponsored. Milos is being deplatformed because of his past associations with the Proud Boys, and Sarkon is being deplatformed because of content that wasn’t on a platform sponsored by Patreon.

    Outside the context of Patreon’s contractual obligations with providers (which Patreon may or may not be violating), Patreon has the right to do as they please, of course.

    And I have the right to point out that Patreon sucks.

    1. Meanwhile, they do provide a platform for a bunch of radical leftists looking to fund a violent revolution. So there is that.

    2. “Sargon of Akkad”

      Hasn’t he been dead since, like, 2700 BC give or take? About time he was deplatformed??..

      1. Zombies have rights too bevis.

    3. P.S. Whether laws against collusion a la trust busting should be acceptable may be an open question, but if Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Patreon and PayPal are colluding against content creators, etc., that almost certainly is against the law.

      IF IF IF PayPal and Patreon are telling each other, don’t worry, if you deplatform gun sellers, we won’t pick up their business and compete against you, then you’re talking about what should be illegal activity. Same thing with Facebook and YouTube if they do the same thing against someone making gun enthusiast videos.

      IF IF IF there were a legitimate area for Congress to be investigating charges of monopolistic behavior or trust violations, this would be the place–not policing Google and Facebook to be on the lookout for fake news or content that’s critical of one part or another.

      1. Also Matt Christensen (along with Sargon) have disclosed the letter/explanations received from Patreon via Twitter and youtube. Seek it out. Interesting, if not creepy-cringey.

      2. Part of the problem is that they aren’t necessarily ‘colluding’ it’s just that they all share a similar world view where people that say things they don’t agree with shouldn’t be allowed to speak. I mean, in theory anyway. I wouldn’t claim that as fact. I seriously doubt they’re actively working together to silence anyone in particular.

        What is interesting is that the mob mentality is ruling the country at the moment. A bunch of pissed off people, who may or may not be a majority, just need to scream really loud and businesses fold and deplatform people and that first deplatforming becomes all the excuse needed for every other platform to follow suit. The majority of this is coming from the far left, as well.

        This is one reason why I can never be for a political party that believes in ‘democracy’ or in making more and more American institutions democratic. American’s in particular like to forget that democracy is a bad thing no matter how many examples of it are right in their face. Probably because the thinkers that came up with the concepts simply aren’t taught anymore outside college, and barely even then.

    4. Sargon explained what happened on youtube.

      Pimplefaced pumpernickel illiterates are perusing the nether-regions of hate speech.

      And they’re the worst kind!

  26. executives say they’re avoiding young female colleagues out of fear of sexual harassment claims.

    “Avoidance” accepted as a form of sexual harassment in 3, 2, 1, ….

    1. I’ve been harassed all my life!

    2. Avoidance will be labeled simple sexism, and in some ways it is.

      I think what amuses me most about this kind of thing is that it was one of the reasons prior generations didn’t think the sexes working together would work out very well. That’s a bit of lemon in the eye when sexist rubes 100 years ago might have turned out to have a better grasp of human nature, huh?

  27. I won’t mind if Trump goes to jail over all this shit. Just as long as all living presidents, and Hillary Clinton, occupy the cells on either side of him.

    1. If they get him and let her go.

      The system is broken.

      There’s no credibility.

      1. No kidding. But the very people who claim to care about that system will cheer it one because TRUMP. This is what mass hysteria looks like.

        1. Its also what a bloodless coup looks like.

          1. I mean, the impeachment rules are basically there to provide an avenue for a bloodless coup so technically pretty much any impeachment of a President could be described that way.

            This particular impeachment is on such thin grounds that even the Democrat party, while promising to impeach Trump to their base, is hesitant to actually pull the trigger since even they must realize the barrel of the gun is against their own head.

            1. While I mostly agree with you, impeachment is not what the deep state is trying to pull off.

              Theyre trying make up stuff to get a duly elected president put of office. A president critical to their deep state shady and probably illegal activities.

              Which is why I call it a coup.

  28. “China’s Economy Flashes New Warning Signs
    Industrial production slows and retail sales growth falls to lowest level in more than 15 years”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/ch…..544771116?

    So much of what’s happened in the world over the last 20 years has been about China coming online with the world economy by way of joining the WTO in 2001.

    When we picture what’s going to happen in the future and why, we should always keep in mind that China hasn’t experienced a recession since 2001.

    Circa 2000, China’s middle class hardly existed. Now I see China’s middle class expected to hit 500 million in the near future. China will go into recession eventually, as all economies do, and when they do go into recession, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the Chinese government and the world economy.

    As bad as it is to be a peasant going through a recession, it’s not as far to fall, and when you’re down, there doesn’t seem to be as far to fall. 500 million people who may remember what being a peasant was like and suddenly fear becoming a peasant again, however, when you’re up it’s a long way down.

    1. China is going to fall into one of its periods of anarchy and madness. It is overdue for one.

      1. Recessions make Americans crazy, and we’ve all been through a number of them over the course of a lifetime.

        It will happen eventually.

        One of the advantages of democracy is that you get to keep the institutions and just get rid of the politicians every time there’s a recession–instead of needing to have a revolution.

        Someday, the pitchforks and torches will come out, and I don’t know why we shouldn’t assume that won’t coincide with a recession. It’ll be a bad one, too. They’ll have 20 years of misinvestment to correct.

        Anyway, I still hope Trump negotiates with the Chinese in good faith and we get a deal, and with all the other economic problems Emperor Xi is facing, surely he’s motivated to deal.

        1. I am a Hayekian in my view of Recessions. I believe they are largely caused by shortages of money- generally caused when either money is too expensive to get, or it has been locked into assets that cannot be liquidated.

          In the US, this happens because we have too many controls on Interest Rates. We lower the interest rates, leading to money being easy to get. Now you have all sorts of investing going on- and the average rate of return goes down because of the glut of money leads to more and more investment in things that earn less and less return. We tip into recession while we wait for all these malinvestments to wind down. Lowering the interest rates (which we tend to do at this time) frees up money, but because the market is saturated with investments, you still have a lag while people take losses on the investments.

          The interesting thing about China is that they do less screwing around with Interest Rates. While they set benchmarks, banks have more lattitude to go above or below those rates, as determined by the market. Their control on the money supply is more largely based on buying and selling bonds from banks, to increase or decrease their money supply. This more fine tuned approach allows them to correct in specific sectors by targeting banks in certain sectors rather than setting money supply at a national level.

          I am against all money controls, but by allowing interest rates to provide real signals on the cost of money, they have probably staved off a lot.

          1. If we really could get trustworthy metrics out of China, we would probably see many mini-recessions in several sectors over the past 20 years. But because the money shortage is often limited to those sectors, the rest of the economy gains enough to offset the slowdown.

            The US would be smart to move away from using Interest Rates as a control on the money supply. It really fuels booms and busts, because it removes a hugely important price signal from the market that is strategically vital when big companies are deciding whether they should invest. In fact we did this during the great recession when they were staving off deflation by buying up massive amounts of investments.

            I would prefer NO intervention, mind you, and there are other costs to buying up mal-investments (moral hazard). China also imprisons and executes bank managers who are sufficiently reckless with their capital. And because they focus only on cash reserves in those banks, companies using that money to make bad investments are somewhat shielded from the distorting effects.

            Overall, my point is that we may not see recessions from China, because their strategy tends to contain slowdowns to specific sectors, rather than letting it hit multiple sectors.

        2. I’ll give you a clue about how China will handle it: Tiananmen square.

  29. Representative Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), apparently a member of the Freedom Caucus, introduced a bill:

    “To allow the Secretary of the Treasury to accept public donations to fund the construction of a barrier on the border between the United States and Mexico”

    http://www.scribd.com/document…..ll-Funding

    Shouldn’t such a donation be tax deductible?

    1. Why? Wouldn’t such a donate effectively be a tax? Like if you check the ‘I want to send extra money to the USG’ box on your tax return – you don’t get a tax deduction for that.

  30. According to CBP records, the girl and her father were taken into custody about 10 p.m. Dec. 6 south of Lordsburg, N.M., as part of a group of 163 people who approached U.S. agents to turn themselves in. More than eight hours later, the child began having seizures at 6:25 a.m., CBP records show. Emergency responders, who arrived soon after, measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees, and according to a statement from CBP, she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”

    George Soros should be arested, charged with murder, and executed.

    1. You guys are getting rapidly more deranged as things close in around Trump, huh? Do you toss dishes around and stuff? Scream into your pillows?

      1. As if the #BlueTsunami wasn’t humiliating enough for Drumpf voters, 2019 will be even worse for them. The walls are closing in. This is the beginning of the end. By the second half of next year Robert Mueller and House Democrats will remove this illegitimate Russian puppet government and hopefully bring us a Hillary Clinton Presidency which we should have had in the first place if Russia hadn’t hacked the election.

        #StillWithHer
        #TrumpRussia
        #Impeach

      2. Nah. Kicking off Civil War 2: Antifa Boogaloo will be an education in how progressives try to execute Operation Get Behind the Darkies.

  31. >>>Bomb threats seeking Bitcoin as ransom were sent to people in the U.S., Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

    playing Kaboom ’18

  32. The committee raised a record $107 million in donations. Now the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan “is examining whether some of the committee’s top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions,” the Journal reports.

    Yes. This is why political donations exist.

  33. >>>A seven-year-old girl died of dehydration in Customs and Border Protection custody

    what assholes, arresting a seven year-old and killing her in jail.

  34. A seven-year-old girl died of dehydration in Customs and Border Protection custody last week. From The Washington Post:

    According to CBP records, the girl and her father were taken into custody about 10 p.m. Dec. 6 south of Lordsburg, N.M., as part of a group of 163 people who approached U.S. agents to turn themselves in. More than eight hours later, the child began having seizures at 6:25 a.m., CBP records show. Emergency responders, who arrived soon after, measured her body temperature at 105.7 degrees, and according to a statement from CBP, she “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”

    Thank you for including the details. As much as I dislike CBP, I’m not holding this one against them – this kid was dead already and its only a technicality that she dies ‘in CBP custody’.

  35. China cracks more and buys soybeans.

    Nothing from reason. Where Boehm and his stupid inaccurate assessments of economic affairs?

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