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Same old. Same old. Just another crazy week of false starts and new enemies.

They want to negotiate.

They don’t want to negotiate.

The tariffs have cost the Chinese $100 billion.

Correction: They’ve cost us $100 billion.

American companies should get out of China.

I have the power….

But I won’t use it.

The market panics. Then it recovers.

There’s no “logic” to this. My agita goes up and down like a wh*re’s drawers.

I live with the insanity. I don’t panic. I don’t sell good shares. I buy good ones whose prices are on sale. I nibbled at Apple, Roku, Appian Corp (APPN), and Disney. There’s a full list of what I own in the right hand column of my blog. Click here.

Trump recognizes “It’s the economy, stupid.” (So did Clinton.) Eventually sanity will return and growth will return — if we don’t do something really stupid along the way. Like hike tariffs even higher. Make silly threats. And bamboozle everyone with uncertainty.

Figure this: If you sell oodles of your products in China — like Nike, Apple, Boeing, and GM — does it make sense to move out? Can you even?

Useful stuff

+ All communications carriers — from cable to telephone companies — overbill. I’ve been writing that sentence for over 50 years. It still applies. Item: I cancelled a phone line. My latest bill shows they’re still billing me for it. What they promise you — in terms of service — gets delivered. But often not reflected in your bill — unless it’s up. And on and on it goes. My carrier bills are on auto-pay — and are often wrong.

+ You need a hotel. Check out Expedia. Find the hotel you want. Then call the hotel directly. Tell them you’ve checked Expedia. They’ll immediately tell you they’ll beat Expedia’s prices. And they do.

+ Apple’s $159 AirPods blow away my $2,800 Costco Resound hearing aids which have bluetooth and will play music from my iPhone — poorly. Apple’s AirPods are no longer the best wire-free earbuds. Look here.

+ My wife and our daughter recently both left their iPhones on top of their car and drove off. (It’s genetic.) Through the app “Find My iPhone, they were able to find their iPhones — in the bushes on the side of the road and on a highway on-ramp. The bushes phone still works. The on-ramp phone had been run over. But still had enough power to tell us where it was. My daughter was also able to retrieve her wallet and her credit cards.

All this idiocy represents a new business opportunity — a mailbox glued to car roofs?

Want to invest?

How to live to 100 — 15 ways.

Courtesy Readers Digest:

+ Eat more vegetables.
+ Have a sunny disposition.
+ Eat fish.
+ Eat Greekish (salads, etc.)
+ Nap in the afternoon. (My emphasis.)
+ Run/exercise.
+ Eat less sugar. Avoid soda.
+ Lose weight.
+ Get engaged with life.
+ Surround yourself with healthy people.

Read more here.

This is my desk at my country house


Those four screens on the left are driven by that beautiful baby ThinkPad laptop. Stocks on the left. The Internet in the middle. Outlook on the right. To do all this even five years ago would have cost thousands. Now it’s hundreds. And easy to install.

The monitors have dropped in price to $150 or so. The software is free. It’s part of Windows 10. You need cabling and some gadgetry to join your monitors to the laptop. Amazon has oodles of boxes.

No one should be stuck working on one screen any longer. The screen on the far right is a $120 TV set that’s powered via coaxial cable from the bigger TV on the other side of my office.

The stuff is magic

It works on my alligator hands and scaly face.

Most creams are 99% marketing and 1% good stuff. This stuff is cheap and works. Click here.

The terrifying legacy of David Koch

by Ryan Cooper of The Week

David Koch, one of the two infamous billionaire Koch brothers, died Friday at the age of 79. The Wall Street Journal is quick to point out that, in addition funding a vast conservative political network, Koch gave about $1.3 billion of his nearly-$60 billion fortune to various philanthropies. But what Koch may ultimately be most remembered for is helping to seed the climate-change denial movement in the 1990s. Indeed, David Koch was one of the most powerful people in the world over the last three or so decades, and he did his level best to stymie any effort to stop the biggest threat to human society.

The Kochs’ place in funding climate denial is covered well in the recent book Kochland by Christopher Leonard. They were big funders of a key 1991 Cato Institute conference, which mobilized furiously after President George H.W. Bush announced he would support a climate change treaty. They went on to spend gargantuan sums boosting up the handful of credentialed scientists who deny climate change, funding climate-denying “think tanks” and publications, donating to climate-denying politicians (and refusing money to those who don’t), and so on. Greenpeace estimates that between 1997 and 2017 the Koch family spent more than ExxonMobil funding climate denial, and thus established climate-change denial as conservative dogma. While conservative parties in almost every other country have endorsed at least some kind of climate policy; the reason Republicans still do not is to a great degree the responsibility of just two men.

The Kochs were also key players in the successful effort to beat back a cap-and-trade bill in 2010, the closest the U.S. government has ever come to any kind of emissions policy.

The main reason they did all this, of course, was to protect and expand their gigantic fortunes – which were and are heavily based on fossil fuels. (In classic libertarian John Galt fashion, they inherited their money from their father, who was a founding member of the John Birch Society, and made most of their additional money paying other people to dig up natural resources they neither created nor found.) As Jane Mayer writes in a review of Kochland:

Leonard also quotes Philip Ellender, Koch Industries’ top lobbyist, as claiming, in 2014, that the Earth had gotten cooler in the previous eighteen years. In fact, according to NASA, eighteen of the nineteen hottest years on record have occurred in the past two decades. Yet the Koch machine bought its way into Congress and turned climate-change denial into an unchallengeable Republican talking point. Meanwhile, after the cap-and-trade bill died, the planet continued heating, and the Kochs’ net worth doubled. [The New Yorker]

One underrated part of extreme inequality is how it warps the public discourse. In this case, two ultra-rich men with a bottom line to protect were able to spend so much on propaganda, campaign donations, university donations, and so on that they turned the brains in one of two American political parties to rancid tapioca. A nation with an egalitarian income distribution is one in which regular people have a much greater freedom to think.

Today a senile climate change denier is president of the United States, where he (wittingly or otherwise) has done the Kochs’ bidding. Donald Trump has stacked the federal bureaucracy with Koch-style ideologues, cut taxes on the rich, rolled back environmental regulations, and tried to keep as many filth-spewing coal power plants in business as possible. Naturally, he is standing idle while the greatest number of fires ever seen are burning across the Amazon basin – apparently started by ranchers and loggers eager to cash in on the fascist presidency of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro – threatening a catastrophic “dieback” in the rainforest that would release tens of billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In the decades to come, climate change will be the issue that determines the fate of not only American politics but human society. And it will be the issue on which the history books judge everyone, not just David Koch.

Lighten up today




This is me on a gorgeous tennis court in Columbia County yesterday

Photo by Mark E. Johnson, who keeps beating me. Drat!

The 2019 U.S. Open has started. It’s playing on ESPN and ESPN2, with re-runs on The Tennis Channel.

Take a nap this afternoon. Do it.

  • Mike Nash

    I hope Trump does crater the economy!! I don’t invest and neither do most of my friends. I ONLY associate with other Trump supporters by the way, no liberals at all. I love Mr. Trump for building the wall and sending all the nasty foreigners back home.

  • Bruce Miller

    Nice of you to keep that plastic bottom of flavored tums so closed to everything. Must be true about your agita every word you say.