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August 21, 2020

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The Politico article notes that, in 2016,

Trump pledged an uptick in “showbiz,”
But I'm betting that the usual Trump incompetence will make this next week look a badly made, low budget film compared to the Democrats. Technical glitches galore. Lots of paste trying to pretend to be diamonds.

And if they somehow miraculously manage to avoid all that, there will still be Trump being Trump.

So, NASA is reporting that an asteroid is heading toward Earth, arriving the day before the election: CNN.

Anyone regretting those "Giant Meteor 2020" bumper stickers now?1??

Of course, it's only ~2m in diameter, so hardly 'giant'. And the probability of impact is < 0.5%.

If it squishes Trump, I'd say "Thanks, Thor!"

I'm voting for the asteroid.

Can't we split it so it only vaporizes the worldwide conservative movement in all of its subhuman guises, and the other other half goes off to live as a RINO is deep state space?

I don't know that it's genre appropriate for a child of Loki to thank Thor.

Easier to imagine than a child of Thor being willing to thank Loki.

They even managed to print the first honest political statement from Frank Luntz for what must be several decades...

“What do Republicans believe? What does it mean to be a Republican?”
https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/08/24/republicanmeltdown-trump-convention-400039
...When I pressed, Luntz sounded as exasperated as the student whose question I was relaying. “Look, I’m the one guy who’s going to give you a straight answer. I don’t give a shit—I had a stroke in January, so there’s nothing anyone can do to me to make my life suck,” he said. “I’ve tried to give you an answer and I can’t do it. You can ask it any different way. But I don’t know the answer. For the first time in my life, I don’t know the answer.”...

“What do Republicans believe? What does it mean to be a Republican?”

At the moment, for most of the party (me, obviously, not included), it appears to come down to two pillars:
1) Whatever ridiculous thing Trump has said most recently. No matter how daft. No matter if it contradicts what he said an hour before.
2) Whatever the opposite is to whatever the Democrats have said. Even if it is identical with what you were proclaiming just moments ago. That is, if ever they agree, that must be eliminated instantly. (Although, in extreme cases, it can be sufficient to claim that the Democrats are lying about what they believe.)

One interesting question is what happens when Trump is gone. Will some new demagogue arise to fill his shoes? (Naturally several grifters will try. The question is whether one succeeds.) Or will the GOP just drop to pillar 2? Or, sadly the least likely, at least in the short term, will the GOP recover its soul and believe in something again?

To those asking the obvious question (So why are you still there?) I can only say that if everyone like me leaves, the chances of option 3 go from slim to none.

Republicans don't believe 1 or 2. The caricature of Republicans believes nothing. Republicans believe what they always have, if the didnt they could just vote for Biden.

I think its interesting that in most of the key policy debates Republicans just believe the opposite of Democrats, and always have. Yet, that is being presented as some new stance. Guns, abortion, free speech, low taxes, less government, constitutional judges, states rights, which of these are new places Republicans and Democrats disagree?

Immigration policy is where the disagreement has grown the most, and that's because Dems moved further left.

Now, the ballot drop boxes:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/ballot-drop-boxes-are-safe-secure-and-have-been-used-by-republicans-and-democrats-for-decades-so-why-is-trump-bashing-them-2020-08-24?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

Kellyanne Conway's 15-year-old demanded emancipation from her parents, so one of the mothers of conservative Evil quit.

I know how the kid feels.

I want emancipation from the entire conservative movement, not just its lying, thieving, ruthless political operatives.

Please steal my vote.

Then ......

"Immigration policy is where the disagreement has grown the most, and that's because Dems moved further left."

Steaming dogshit.

whatever Republicans believe in their black little souls, i don't know. but both 1 and 2 are what they tell the world they believe in by the actions they take and the statements they make.

don't like the caricature? quit living up to it.

"Steaming dogshit."

Yeah. It wasn't Democrats who torpedoed immigration reform under GWB - that was Republicans moving hard right against the idea. And it wasn't Democrats who torpedoed the agreement on DACA - that was Trump under Miller's influence, who decided that because Democrats were willing to pass what he had already said he wanted, he would add a bunch of new conditions radically restricting legal immigration to the deal. "The Art of the Deal," indeed.

also from Nigel's link:

“Owning the libs and pissing off the media,” shrugs Brendan Buck, a longtime senior congressional aide and imperturbable party veteran if ever there was one. “That’s what we believe in now. There’s really not much more to it.”

Republicans believe what they always have

Yet somehow they couldn't manage to put together a platform for this convention. One would think, if no beliefs have changed, they could at least recycle a previous one.

Governor Mike Dewine, far right republican, hasn't moved an inch to the so-called Left:

Doesn't matter in the fetid fascist ruthless sty of the conservative movement:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/dewine-ohio-impeachment-articles-covid

Kill it.

Well, they tried to recycle the previous party platform without any changes. But then they realized that it was about getting rid of the dastardly administration in power with no names attached. Reminds me of the walrus protection in the Golf of Mexico as per the copy-paste emergency documents of BP.

The caricature of Republicans believes nothing. Republicans believe what they always have, if the didnt they could just vote for Biden.

Perhaps the large group of voters that tend to vote Republican hasn't changed much. But the party itself certainly has.

"Where Have All the Conservatives Gone?

As Politico points out, "the supposed canons of GOP orthodoxy—limited government, free enterprise, institutional conservation, moral rectitude, fiscal restraint, global leadership—have in recent years gone from elastic to expendable. Identifying this intellectual vacuum is easy enough. Far more difficult is answering the question of what, quite specifically, has filled it."

The Republican Party has long been devolving into a loose collection of cultural grievances, meaningless gestures, and crime panic. But Trump seems to have accelerated the decline, sending "conservatives" in a new direction in the process.

"Trump ran in 2016 and swamped a sprawling Republican field of more conventional conservatives" and "in doing so, he didn't merely win the nomination and embark on the road to the White House," suggests Gerald F. Seib in a weekend Wall Street Journal essay.

He turned Republicans away from four decades of Reagan-style, national-greatness conservatism to a new gospel of populism and nationalism.

In truth, this shift had been building for a while: Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, the Tea Party, an increasingly bitter immigration debate—all were early signs that a new door was opening. Mr. Trump simply charged through it. He understood better than those whom he vanquished in the primaries that the Republican Party has undergone profound socioeconomic changes; it has been washed over by currents of cultural alienation and a feeling that the old conservative economic prescriptions haven't worked for its new working-class foot soldiers

The 2020 Republican Convention Doesn't Have a Platform—It Has Trump's Pet Peeves: Plus: Protesters could lose right to vote in Tennessee, Apple and Microsoft fight over Fortnite, and more...

it's a cult. specifically, it's a cult dedicated to uplifting Donald Trump and all his works.

Judging by the people I know who are involved at the local level, the Republican party is now in its second coming of McCarthyism. Communism and the radical left must be defeated or else they will destroy the free practice of religion and the right to parent in accordance with that.

It's not all that different from the 14 Words at its heart.

See Jerry. See Jerry Falwell.

Fall well, Jerry. Fall well.

Anyone who declares loudly and publicly how RIGHTEOUS and HOLY they are, disparaging the SINNERS who oppose them, should be assumed (based on massive evidence, over decades) to be an enormous perv and fraud.

Just scrag 'em and save everyone a lot of time and trouble, sez I.

BTW, a comment on LGM that had me cracking up, regarding the GOP convention lineup of speakers: "Worst ComicCon EVER!".

Anyone who declares loudly and publicly how RIGHTEOUS and HOLY they are, disparaging the SINNERS who oppose them, should be assumed (based on massive evidence, over decades) to be an enormous perv and fraud.

Seconded, thirded, ad infinitumed. My bold, for emphasis.

Anyone who declares loudly and publicly how RIGHTEOUS and HOLY they are, disparaging the SINNERS who oppose them, should be assumed (based on massive evidence, over decades) to be an enormous perv and fraud.

Well where did you think they got their detailed knowledge of sin and perversion, in order to denounce it? It's like (just like, actually) Trump routinely accusing his oppinents of the misdeeds he himself has been committing.

Republicans just believe the opposite of Democrats, and always have.

For the specific slate of issues you list, yes, "always" as of about 1980.

Also, "constitutional judges" is... perhaps a case of eyes of the beholder.

If you can't bring yourself to vote for Biden, so be it, but it's hard for me to imagine him as being actually unfriendly to business. The man is the Senator from DE.

In any case, I think you speak accurately for yourself, but the (R)'s as a party may have departed for another shore.

Oddly russell, a few months ago I said I would vote for Joe but not Kamala. It creates a quandary for me.

It will likely come down to whether I believe the GOP will hold the Senate.

The absolute state of the Republican convention.

It’s like a meld between a communist party congress at the height of a totalitarian personality cult, and the cheesiest aspect of US show business.

"It will likely come down to whether I believe the GOP will hold the Senate."

Well, at least that'll keep your go to "both sides do it" alibi intact.

De-platform the malignancy:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/new-gop-platform-authoritarianism/615640/

It creates a quandary for me.

It's a tough time to try to split the difference. Not a lot of middle ground to be found.

Just to be clear, I won't vote for Trump either way. But I probsbly won't add the imprimatur of my approval to the political, economic and social destruction of the country a Democratic sweep will cause.

And for anyone who thinks its all about my tax cuts, I'm pretty sure my SS would be nicer in a few years if that happened. But at a cost to the country I dont want to extract.

You've been clear and consistent about your unwillingness to vote for Trump. I, personally, appreciate that. A lot.

I've been one of the folks who have hammered on you about the tax cuts issue. The reason for that, is that it's one of the things that you yourself named as something you were hoping to get, and did get, from a Trump presidency, and a typical (R) policy that you supported.

IMO your belief in the "political, economic and social destruction of the country" that a (D) sweep would cause seems unrealistic. But we're all entitled to our own point of view.

To me, arguments about questions like what the top marginal tax rate should be, and whether we should have Medicare for All or just a public option or none of the above, more or less pale in comparison to the need to get DJT the hell out of the White House.

There's also an equally urgent need to scrub the toxic, destructive ethos that he embodies out of the body politic, but that's a much, much, much harder task, one which realistically will probably never be achieved.

I'll settle for getting Trump and his band of corrupt minions out of public life. Or at least out of any position of public responsibility.

If the best you can find your way to doing is not voting for him, that's fine with me.

"But we're all entitled to our own point of view."

Time to cut entitlements.

a few months ago I said I would vote for Joe but not Kamala. It creates a quandary for me.

Happily for you, Harris isn't running for President. So you only have to choose between Trump and Biden. (Sure, something could happen to Biden. But consider how long it's been since a VP succeeded in mid term.)

Trump also raised taxes with his trade wars and tariffs.

Trump also raised taxes with his trade wars and tariffs.

But those mostly just impacted the little people, who also didn't get the more than offsetting benefits of the big income tax cut. So, a net win for the big libertarian donors.

The trade wars and tariffs affected everyone to some degree. Tariffs on commodity resources harmed US manufacturers. US farmers took a hit when China wouldn't buy their products. Then they were bailed out spreading the hit over everybody.

So, a net win for the big libertarian donors.

Libertarians, including the Kochs, are against tariffs. Are they lying? Or is this just another straw libertarian from your closet full of same?

Whether or not the Kochs are ideologically against tariffs, they will donate to get the tax cuts so long as their cuts give them a net gain.

What nous said.

You'll notice I said net gain.

Any one who thinks a trade conflict faith China is a net negative is wrong. The positive impact far outweighs the short term negative impact. I deal with multiple companies who have or are pulling their manufacturing from China. More than half ofcthem back to the US.

So talking about tariffs as taxes is disingenuous at best.

So talking about tariffs as taxes is disingenuous at best.

Fair enough. If you prefer to (accurately) chatacterize it as guided industrial planning ala socialism, feel free.

We are all about outsourcing when it makes investors money.

We are all about bringing manufacturing back to the US when it makes investors money.

"We" here refers to the general direction of public policy.

I'm not sure "investors" as a class disagree, however, I have been for less offshoring of jobs and increased ip protection for for 30 years.

Clearly, not all people in positions to make decisions about stuff like that share your point of view.

"So talking about tariffs as taxes is disingenuous at best."

Disingenuous is a word. But not for this bullshit:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/03/kudlow-mr-president-tariffs-are-really-tax-hikes.html

Regarding Biden's alleged plan to break the country by improving Social Security:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/8/25/1972125/-Social-Security-would-be-gone-by-2023-under-Trump-s-plan-to-terminate-the-payroll-tax

And when that happens, Republicans and conservatives won't have Social Security because they WILL BE dead.

It's not that there aren't any powerful Democrats who will follow conservatives into an early grave:

https://prospect.org/politics/future-of-health-care-hinges-on-this-primary-massachusetts-richard-neal/

But that'll have to come after we have the ham sandwich.

Re: consequences of Dem controlled Senate with Biden president:

Keep in mind the likely 50th/51st/52nd votes for any legislation will be coming from some combination of Joe Manchin (WV), Jon Tester (MT), and prospectively Cal Cunningham (NC), Theresa Greenfield (IA), Steve Bullock (MT), all states that Trump won in 2016 and may well hold this year.

And even that would only be the case if some/all of the above sign off on dumping the filibuster into the dustbin. Absent the willingness to do that the state of play will return to what it was under Obama after Scott Brown was elected in MA. That is to say, nothing of consequence will pass.

That is to say, nothing of consequence will pass.

Sometimes gridlock is the best you can hope for. The party in control of both the Whitehouse and congress often makes bad laws. And, when there's bipartisan agreement, really bad laws get created.

Charles, please enlighten us as to what you would consider a "good law".

Any one who thinks a trade conflict [with]China is a net negative is wrong. The positive impact far outweighs the short term negative impact. I deal with multiple companies who have or are pulling their manufacturing from China. More than half of them back to the US.

I wonder how much of this is due to the trade conflict, though, and how much of this is related to either climate change (trying to shorten supply chains) or to worry over future disruptions to supply chains as a result of global pandemics?

Probably not easily separable, but how one decides the relative effect of the three seems like it's a bit of an article of faith.

All my children:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/8/25/1972143/-RNC-speaker-says-her-Black-son-is-more-likely-to-commit-a-violent-offense-over-my-white-sons

With that hard bigotry of low expectations, would it be any surprise?

She spoke at the RNC.

Subhumans.

Joan Crawford, Caligula, and Stephen Miller's beaten, rabid dog will be on the speaking roster tomorrow to provide uplift and vision.

nous,

Not so much an article of faith when you talk to the owner about the reasons and impacts directly. In my direct knowledge there were many companies moving to Vietnam and Malaysia along with a few to the states when the trade skirmish kicked up. The pace of moving back to the US picked up considerably in the last 5 months, with the US government providing incentive by demanding US made for a broader range of contracts.

In particular, I have some relationship with 9 companies building out PPE manufacturing capabilities in the US and Canada (I only work for money for two of them), all turning down in place capability in Hanoi and China so they can meet new government requirements, even though some large portion of their business is commercial.

Technology is of course the key to making these new facilities price competitive.

there were many companies moving to Vietnam and Malaysia

Vietnam and Malaysia have cheaper labor costs than China.

Some of the move back to the US is (depending on industry) compliance, some is concern about supply lines. A number of things have happened in the last 5 months, some of them quite noteworthy.

And some is simply that wages in China have risen, while real wages here basically have not, and the differential between Chinese and US labor is not what it was 10 or 20 years ago.

If total cost of production - including but not limited to labor cost - is lower somewhere other than the US, production will quite often move overseas. Or, if it's already there, stay overseas, or maybe move to someplace else overseas.

Some industries mix and match, where some aspects of production are overseas, and some here.

The trend in my industry lately is offshoring to eastern Europe, which has the legacy of Soviet era engineering education (which was quite good) and low cost. India's still cheaper than here and works well for some stuff, Romania and Bulgaria are competitive with that and have smaller time zone issues, among other things.

Trump made a lot of noise about an "America first" industrial policy, but I'm not seeing that much action. Free flow of capital and markets has been the go-to mantra for the last 30 or 40 years - certainly since Clinton - and I don't see much change today.

Free flow of capital and markets has been the go-to mantra for the last 30 or 40 years - certainly since Clinton - and I don't see much change today.

You don't? That's definitely not the Trump/populism mantra. And the self-styled conservatives are enabling him, not fighting for their onone-time principles on that.

You don't? That's definitely not the Trump/populism mantra.

I think you are correct, at the level of mantra, and at the level of actions like tariffs and provocative trade wars.

I'll amend my statement:

Trump made a lot of noise about an "America first" industrial policy, but I'm not seeing that much constructive result.

Mostly because I don't think he has any way of negotiating other than starting a pissing contest. And his counter-parties in this case are sovereign nations, and aren't obliged to play by his rules.

The RNC gaslighting of America would be a fascinating case study, if it wasn't clear (even here) how easy it is to persuade otherwise sane people of a complete through-the-looking-glass "reality". Alternative facts in action - Kellyanne might be leaving, but her construction lives on.

Even after three and a half years, it's still absolutely mindblowing. There's no doubt in my mind they might end up pulling it off.

otherwise sane people

Facts not in evidence.

otherwise sane people

Facts not in evidence.

Well, 35%-40% of the population being total, all around, lunatics seems improbable. So likely some of them qualify as "otherwise sane people."

Admittedly, the number of total nutters does seem depressingly high. But I suspect it's more in the 10% range.

27%

How interconnected is our world?

My wife is watching a cooking show. And they're making pool boy jokes. (With nobody feeling a need to explain the sudden proliferation.)

how easy it is to persuade otherwise sane people of a complete through-the-looking-glass "reality"

Look, I'm going to quote Marty here, which is probably going to seem unfair. But it's just an example.

Upthread here Marty offers this:

the political, economic and social destruction of the country a Democratic sweep will cause.

Which seems, to me, to be pretty much divorced from reality. Maybe it was intended as an exercise in hyperbole, I don't know. But as a prediction of any kind of probable outcome - if the (D)'s win the White House and the Senate and hold the Senate, the nation will experience political, economic, and social destruction - it just seems batty.

Marty participates here regularly, is welcome here, quite often has insightful things to say, is generally considered to be a well-meaning guy. He's not crazy. But he appears to be convinced of things that seem plainly untrue and unlikely.

And he is not, remotely, anywhere near the outer fringes of current-day (R) thought. Not within a light-year of it.

Marty is middle of the road.

I have no idea how to engage people in dialog about any of this. There is no common understanding of basic reality. It's hard to even call it disagreement, it's much deeper than that. It's almost an epistemological chasm - a failure of consensus on how you can even know anything, let alone any discussion of what the thing is that is known.

What I feel pretty confident about is that, if Trump gets another four years, he will fuck this country up beyond any reasonable hope of repair in my lifetime, and probably a generation or so beyond that. No matter who wins, the nation has been diminished, in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world. What's been lost may never be fully regained. Whether that's a good thing, or a bad thing, I'm not interested in having that debate. It's just a reality we are going to have to deal with.

I just want this freaking election to be over so we know what we're dealing with. Where it goes from there, I have no idea. I really don't.

It's the damndest thing I've ever seen.

Shorter me:

A significant portion of the nation has gone mad.

Will that turn around? I don't know.

What happens if it doesn't turn around? I don't know.

It's ironic, if we had gone for something like a Green New Deal, we could have ameliorated some of the outsourcing issues, if wind and solar had been picked up, with perhaps a feed-in tariff
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed-in_tariff

we would have kept a lot of work within the US. Funny how that worked out.

https://digbysblog.net/2020/08/they-knew-he-was-a-snake-before-they-let-him-in/

Yeah, the last time there was a "Dem sweep" was for a few short months in 2008 (between the Coleman/Franken recount & GOP intransigence and Teddy Kennedy's death) when they (shock! horror!) made health insurance a bit more sensible, affordable, and available.

Which, of course, didn't include a majority in the Supreme Court, allowing John 'lawless' Roberts to toss parts of the Voting Rights Act by completely ignoring the 15th Amendment, claiming that the lopsided congressional votes renewing the VRA were reasons to toss it, and citing part of the Confederate Constitution as a basis for his ruling.

... There is no common understanding of basic reality. It's hard to even call it disagreement, it's much deeper than that. It's almost an epistemological chasm..

I think you have to accept that Trump has a genius for emotional manipulation, and that for all of us, in particular circumstances, emotion overrides reason.

It's analogous to those that find Boris Johnson charismatic (to some extent irrespective of whether they'd actually vote for him).
I just don't get that at all, as for whatever reason, I'm utterly immune to it. But it's very clear that for some people, it's a real thing.

Yes, that (even here) of mine was specifically thinking of Marty, and that comment of his upthread about Dem destruction of America. And we've seen in the not-too-distant past how effective the propaganda on Trump's handling of the pandemic was on him.

I've been yammering on for years about the terrible danger posed by there being no agreed basis of fact, no agreed "reliable source". And this starts to look like its horrific apotheosis: a convention where they tell nothing but lies, the complete opposite of the truth, and are believed by enough of the population to possibly win the next election. It's beyond terrifying.

Snarki: Yeah, the last time there was a "Dem sweep" was for a few short months in 2008 (between the Coleman/Franken recount & GOP intransigence and Teddy Kennedy's death) when they (shock! horror!) made health insurance a bit more sensible, affordable, and available.

Yes, that health care act set them off! What, somebody gets to go to see a doctor without declaring bankruptcy?

Nigel: I think you have to accept that Trump has a genius for emotional manipulation, and that for all of us, in particular circumstances, emotion overrides reason.

They've certainly found their hero in Trump, but the tea party movement in 2010 was an indication that whatever is happening in the US is not just about Trump. It's the culture of [mostly] white entitlement, resentment, and insecurity. I never realized how deep it still ran.

Any one who thinks a trade conflict [with]China is a net negative is wrong. The positive impact far outweighs the short term negative impact. I deal with multiple companies who have or are pulling their manufacturing from China. More than half of them back to the US.

A trade conflict with China is a net negative. Having Chinese people making stuff for the US much more cheaply than US people will make it is a clear positive.

Consider iPhones for example. Apple sells a lot of them around the world, and the product accounts for about half of the revenue which values the company at $2tn. If the phones were made in the US they'd cost maybe three times as much, and Apple would be able to export none of them.

I've been yammering on for years about the terrible danger posed by there being no agreed basis of fact, no agreed "reliable source".

That's one reason I get so snitty when people don't have links, you really need to point to precisely what is being said. (I get snitty for other reasons too, but I'd say that this is number one on my list)

Sorry lj, to the extent this applies to me. I was thinking specifically about the insanely rhapsodic version of Trump's impeccable reaction to the pandemic portrayed at the convention. I've watched some of it (on the news) in slack-jawed disbelief, along with much of the rest of the world, but don't have time to find a really juicy example to link at the moment. Will do so when I get back from chores in the great outside!

Pro Bono,

The reality is that the cost, as russell points out, for many of the things built in China is no longer the reason things are manufactured there.

The ability to do precision manufacturing no longer exists as a skill set in the US. If Apple needed to rely on US manufacturing it would be able to make a million or two a year. Putting it out of business.

The lower cost manufacturing of textile products is becoming more automated, reducing the people requirements by 5 to 10 times making US manufacturing more realistic.

The move from China for those companies that can find the skills for what they make is based on the realization that eventually the US and other countries will have to create an alternative to the workforce in China. Which will take years of investment by governments since Apple obviously wont.

no agreed basis in fact

Speaking of which, there is again violence in the streets. Again, the violence is not caused by people protesting violence against black lives.

(Not speaking for lj here, but I think he may have been referring to a conversation related to this issue.)

Marty at 8:16: You write with authority, Marty, but where do find this information out? Links help other people evaluate the strength of your remarks, yet you almost never provide them.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/01/17/how-much-would-an-iphone-cost-if-apple-were-forced-to-make-it-in-america/

Here's one I found this morning.

This editorial by Brian Klaas belongs here, although it would also have been fun in the Potemkin thread.

I've been yammering on for years about the terrible danger posed by there being no agreed basis of fact, no agreed "reliable source".

I was chatting with an acquaintance last week. She's my age, and apparently a lifelong Democrat. She was lamenting the loss of people like Walter Cronkite, who everybody could trust. But it's pretty clear where she's getting her (mis)information now, as she was talking, among other things, about how hard Trump works. Just living in a whole different universe.

That's an interesting article, Marty, and illuminates your point, which is why you should do that regularly.

The thing is sapient, it illuminates some of my point. I tend to not go find links when I am making points about business subjects where I am involved in the decision making process on a day basis. I know why companies are moving out of China because I am in the meetings where the alternatives are being discussed.

I happen to work with an advanced manufacturing research firm that is in the business of helping companies automate, and substantially improve, their manufacturing processes. Very small and very cutting edge but working with textile manufacturers whose clients are as diverse as Lululemon and the us military. Along with Nike and Under Armor.

So I dont think to look up links when talking about things I am a reasonable expert on, understanding that Tim Cook may be a more universally identifiable expert.

I will add that Tim is being a little disingenuous. The top end pay for Chinese workers, even in IT tends to be around 20k per year, which means they aren't the low cost labor market compared to Malaysia, but they are still considerably cheaper than the US.

Foxconn workers average about $400 a month, so the supply chain there is still much cheaper. I don't have a link but Google foxconn wages in china, it just comes up.

The ability to do precision manufacturing no longer exists as a skill set in the US.

You are much closer to this than I am, but my impression is that it might be more accurate to say the ability to do precision manufacturing *at scale*.

But you could be correct, it could be the ability to do so *at all*.

The move from China for those companies that can find the skills for what they make is based on the realization that eventually the US and other countries will have to create an alternative to the workforce in China. Which will take years of investment by governments since Apple obviously wont.

People will take different things away from this.

What I take away is that this:


Which will take years of investment by governments

is what is missing from the Trumpian "America First" noise.

The normal response of a sovereign nation to the kinds of economic competitive pressure we all live with is a rational industrial policy. An analysis of strengths and weaknesses, advantages and vulnerabilities, some reasonable projection about where the world is headed in terms of technology and markets in general.

And then a sensible program of policies to insure that the nation is reasonably well positioned to succeed, economically.

So that people can make a living.

Marty is correct that Apple will not do it. Most industries will not do it. Basically, no industry will do it, unless the conditions are such that it's better for their bottom line to make that kind of investment in human capital than to simply find it somewhere else.

It's an appropriate role for government.

Trump has figured out that a lot of people are pissed off because their livelihood has been offshored.

He doesn't have the skill set to deal with that in an intelligent way. The only skill set he has is turning every disagreement into a pissing contest. Because he knows how to piss. He's world-class at it.

I don't know if we will ever get past our freaking knee-jerk horror of "socialism" and "government picking winners and losers" so that we can arrive at an intelligent industrial policy. My guess is that other actors - states and other municipalities, non-profits, maybe some private actors - are going to have to do it.

But the rest of the world is moving on with this stuff.

The reality is that the cost, as russell points out, for many of the things built in China is no longer the reason things are manufactured there.

It's no longer the only reason, but the point remains that relatively cheap labour in China and elsewhere is an essential part of US companies making money out of US IP. Imposing tariff barriers to stop this is economic madness.

The fundamental problem is that low-skilled people in the US want to be paid several times more than high-skilled people in many other countries. There is no amount of political rhetoric which can make that possible, and nor should there be.

One respect in which Republican values have changed is an increased willingness to promise unicorns, and to believe those promises.

Remember in 2016 when Trump said that we can't compete because American workers make too much money?

And he still won (at least technically).

OK. So watching too much of the convention is bad for one's mental health, but in the following very long (two and a half-hour) clip, if you start at 35.30 you have the ridiculous claims about the superlative Trump response to the pandemic, some of which was played on the news yesterday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7CuyHF_0rY

Then, if you want to see stats on the US v the rest of the world, this is the place to go:

https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

But clearly, the US has the highest number of deaths, and the 6th highest deaths per million of population.

I presume I don't have to include links to Trump saying a) the number of cases in the US was "15, and will soon be down to zero", b) the virus would go away with the warm weather, c) the virus would "just disappear". Ditto, him saying "nobody could have foreseen this".

As a side note I will add this. It's hard to know how many people died in China, and I don't accept the Chinese government's figures. But, seeing how things are there now, it looks certain that they have done a far better job of containment than the US has done. Contrary to McKinney's asinine assertions about our love for the CPC, I would add that I have personal reason to hate and fear their repressive and authoritarian dictatorship, which threatens people and places I have loved since childhood. So no presumptuous and ill-informed sermons on my fellow-travelling, please.

As for all the absurd guff at the convention, and on all Trump mouthpieces, about the magnificent economy, unprecedented job creation etc:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-didnt-transform-the-economy-its-mostly-the-same-as-it-was-under-obama-2019-11-12

For the following one, you have to click through to the graph headed Job Creation by President: Cumulative % Increase, and for anyone who might be tempted to sneer because it is Wikipedia, it is compiled from Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_United_States#/media/File:Job_Growth_by_U.S._President_-_v1.png

The fundamental problem is that low-skilled people in the US want to be paid several times more than high-skilled people in many other countries.

Remember in 2016 when Trump said that we can't compete because American workers make too much money?

The problem is, you can't live in the US on a Chinese worker's wages. So low skilled workers in the US need to make more than high skilled workers in other countries, or they won't eat.

watching too much of the convention is bad for one's mental health

I watched about five minutes of Guilfoyle's speech from Monday night.

What I take away from that, and from most things I hear from people speaking for Trump, is that Trump supporters are extremely frightened people.

Extremely. Like, existentially terrified.

I don't have any insights into how to fix that.

Extremely. Like, existentially terrified.

I don't have any insights into how to fix that.

Well, a good first step would be to have the media outlets which spend all day, every day, stoking that fear cease and desist. Not sure there is a quick and easy way to do that, however. But it seems like a necessary precursor.

GftNC, I wasn't complaining about you, when it is back and forth, I don't mind, it's when someone clearly has someone starts the conversation with a certainty, but doesn't provide anything to reflect on. I feel that I have a reasonably good knowledge of say, Japan when I write about it, but I don't expect people to believe what I say, just because I say so. If things are really such common knowledge, it should be simple enough to say 'I know this and here's something that reflects that'.

Guilfoyle's speech was particularly horrifying, not so much for the content (ridiculous though that was) as for the delivery. If you switched off after five minutes, russell, you may have missed the development of the crescendo, which built and built until the shouted end. As you know, I reject automatic comparisons to Nazism, but the hysteria of her delivery was eerily reminiscent of Hitler. We shall have to wait and see if it was as successful in its appeal to the worst in its intended audience.

Thanks, lj, I'm glad. I'd hate to have to go through that data trawl every time I posted!

If you switched off after five minutes

I think what I watched was more or less the last five minutes. So, things were already turned up to 11.

have the media outlets which spend all day, every day, stoking that fear cease and desist

Not gonna happen. Too much money in it.

Meanwhile, in Kenosha, we appear to be moving into live rounds territory.

That thing that nous talks about, with all the free-lance vigilante violence?

This is that.

You especially have to love it that, two nights running, the RNC has displayed images of "America" which turn out to be stock photos of other countries. (Thailand Monday, and Ukraine and Russia last night.) So hard to get competent staff these days....

As you know, I reject automatic comparisons to Nazism, but the hysteria of her delivery was eerily reminiscent of Hitler.

Still only in the wanna-be league. Barely registered on the Robert-Ley scale.

Maybe a bit of over analysis but I found it telling that the pitch went slightly down on the last syllable, so it did not end in the expected shriek. To me that says that it was a controlled performance with no 'real' rage in it. What was missing was the crowd it was intended to drive into a blind rage.

Btw, Hitler hated speeches without audience (and intensely disliked the telephone for the same reason). He needed to have visual contact with the recipients and the immediate reaction.

Still only in the wanna-be league.

I bow to greater expertise.

It is interesting how broad the spectrum of "Nazi speech" was, far broader than the usual soundbites. And people like Hitler and Goebbels fine-tuned their way of speech to the occasion. And at least in the case of Goebbels we know how much he despised the people he manipulated with his voice (e.g. his merciless mockery in his diary of the crowd at his 'total war' speech where he compared himself to a religious cult leader who could have made them jump out the windows).

Meanwhile, in Kenosha, we appear to be moving into live rounds territory.

That thing that nous talks about, with all the free-lance vigilante violence?

This is that.

WI had an active posse comitatus when I was growing up there and its stealth racism goes deep.

Trump is now sending federal law enforcement there.

I predict: Trump's ratings go up there; the feds spend all their time protecting property and beating on angry and despairing blacks; the boogaloo crowd fades into the countryside and posts "play stupid games, win stupid prizes" memes over pics of the dead protesters.

That's not the science fiction mode, that's just straight-up extrapolation.

Might be a good time for Kamala Harris to pay a visit to Kenosha.

Does what is shown in the link below (taken from an article in Reason) give anyone here a problem? The people being harangued appear to be refusing to raise their fists in support of BLM.

https://twitter.com/rawsmedia/status/1298055028213678082

I predict: Trump's ratings go up there

Highly likely, IMO.

Just total freaking unreasoning madness.

Just total freaking unreasoning madness.

Y'all underestimate how pissed off people get when they see that kind of wanton destruction and no one appears to be doing anything about it. The lack of effective response is associated with Democratic activists, mayors and governors.

People will defend their property. Tell them they can't and re-elect DT.

I suspect, as a matter of electoral expediency, you will hear more from JB and KH in the next several days that sounds a lot harder on protesters than anything you've heard before. The rioting is free political advertising for DT.

Does what is shown in the link below (taken from an article in Reason) give anyone here a problem?

I definitely have a problem with it. For two reasons:
1) I dislike attempts to coerce people into endorsing something that they do not believe in. Or even (as I believe was the case with a couple of these folks) things that they believe in, but they do not wish to make a particular gesture.
2) I dislike the stupidity of someone trying to use coercion to build support for their position. Counterproductive barely begins to describe it.

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