Well, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index tried to close in the green today, but failed. The next few weeks — and even months — may get ugg-ly for investors.
The 10-Year US Treasury Bond’s rate closed at an all-time low today: 1.310%. So: many investors are putting their money into these bonds to seek safety from the stock market sell-off, driving the rates down.
‘Have you visited China in the last three months?‘ inquired the check-in person at the doctor’s office of me, yesterday. ‘No, I have not’, said I, not sure what they would have done if I answered that I had been.
They need to add many more countries to that question, soon. Even the 2020 Summer Olympics is now said to hang in the balance, and it may be canceled altogether if the spread of the COVID-19 virus is not under control by May.
The US still has by far the most billionaires in the world (585, compared to China: 373, Germany: 123, Denmark: 6, South Africa: 6, if Elon Musk is counted in that 6).
So are billionaires to blame for income inequality? Are they, indirectly so? How does one stop a country’s economy from producing billionaires? (Probably something like a marginal tax rate of 90% above $5 million of annual income).
Anand Giridharadas (political commentator, TIME Editor at large), says this 2020 Presidential election in the United States will be a referendum on wealth and capitalism, that has gotten a little out of control/ completely out of control, in the United States of America.
It sure looks like it’s going to be Bernie Sanders that will go up against Trump in the 2020 Presidential election, after his run-away win in Nevada’s primary on Saturday. With 60% of the votes counted there, he has 46%, and Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren follow, each with less than 20% of the vote.
Now there are #PleaseNotBernie hashtags starting to appear on Twitter posts, similar to the #NeverTrump movement in 2016.
Well, about that, writes opinion columnist Ross Douthat in the New York Times:
“A world where Sanders is on track to get a clear delegate plurality in late March is probably a world where he gets a majority by May .. which means that the long game of delegate accumulation and superdelegate machination is probably irrelevant, and the only question is whether it’s possible to unite a not-Sanders vote across the first three Tuesdays in March.
To quote an ancient NeverTrump proverb: ‘Good luck with that’.”
Here’s a yard sign put up by a Bloomberg supporter here in my neighborhood. I also saw ones for Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Mayor Pete, but none for Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar.
There was yet another Democratic presidential primary debate last night, and Mike Bloomberg appeared on stage for the first time. Alas, he seemed ill-prepared for the incoming attacks from Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders (for his lavish spending of his own money on his campaign, and the toxic work environment women had to deal with in the days when he still ran his financial services company).
Does he still have a shot at the candidacy? The Nevada caucuses on Saturday should be a good indicator. Front-runner Bernie Sanders escaped mostly unscathed, Elizabeth Warren put in a strong performance, and Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar had a few heated exchanges. Joe Biden was not really engaged by the other candidates: not a good sign. It probably means that they no longer see him as a threat.
It was another beautiful day here in Seattle.
I wanted to get a clear view of Mt Rainier, and the observation deck of the Water Tower here in Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill was a good place to go to get that. And hey, no entry fee: it’s free of charge.
I followed some of Bernie Sanders’s stump speech that he gave in the Tacoma Dome tonight. A seasoned campaigner, he has it down pat, of course: denouncing income and wealth inequality, the corporate owners of the media, and advocating for free healthcare, college education, and so on.
‘And by now, the Democratic establishment should be getting nervous as well’, he also said. (I think they are very nervous. I like most of what he says, but I’m kind of nervous as well). As he left the stage, Neil Young’s ‘Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World (1989)‘ played.
The Wikipedia entry for the song explains its background: ‘The lyrics negatively reference the George H. W. Bush administration, then in its first month, quoting Bush’s famous ‘thousand points of light’ remark from his 1989 inaugural address and his 1988 presidential campaign promise for America to become a ‘kinder, gentler nation.’ The song also refers to Ayatollah Khomeini’s proclamation that the United States was the ‘Great Satan’ and Jesse Jackson’s 1988 campaign slogan, ‘Keep hope alive’. The song was first performed live on February 21, 1989, in Seattle with The Restless, without the band having rehearsed it’.
Department store Macy’s will close some 125 of its 600 stores over the next three years, and the one in downtown Seattle is among those.
I went there just to check it out the store one last time last week, and lucked out. They sold my favorite type of Levi’s jeans for a 40% discount, and still had one in my size.
Geld wat stom is, maak reg wat krom is. – Afrikaans saying.
Rough translation: Money that’s mute, makes right what’s blight.
I did not even mention ex-New York mayor Mike Bloomberg in the Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic primaries. He was not on the ballot there, and is still a shadow/ dark horse candidate for President.
But Bloomberg (78) is one of the wealthiest men on the planet (net worth: $60 billion). His strategy is to skip the early states, and make a splash on Super Tuesday (Mar. 3). From there, pull all the levers he can, using vast sums of money, to gain the nomination. (He is already running ads on TV and social media).
It might just work, in spite of (completely valid) objections: Bloomberg would essentially buy the Democratic nomination with an onslaught of TV ads, social media campaigns, and out-of-pocket contributions to charities and organizations in turn for their support. (A fine line, that he knows how to toe, since that’s what he did to get elected as Mayor of New York for the third time).
.. that is what Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett’s longtime business partner, said of the US stock market today.
‘The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq close at record highs as coronavirus fears ease’, says Yahoo Finance. Well. The fears may have eased, but is the global economic impact of the virus really known? As always, only time will tell for sure.
The New Hampshire primary election for the 2020 Democratic nominee for President, went largely as forecasted. The top two candidates are the same ones as in Iowa (Sen. Bernie Sanders & Mayor Pete Buttigieg). Neither are from the so-called political establishment. Former Vice-President Joe Biden came in a distant 5th. Ouch.
Next up is Nevada (Feb. 22), South Carolina (Feb. 29), and a whole bunch of States on Super Tuesday, March 3.
The pundits still see 78 year-old Sanders as most likely to become the Democratic Party’s nominee, but man! is he the one to beat Trump?
Sanders has a fervent and devoted following, but in the General Election he’s going to take relentless and withering criticism for being a democratic socialist. His detractors (Republicans, Trump, corporate America) will shorten it to ‘socialist’ and paint him as an evil destroyer of the American dream. No matter that the American dream is dead*.
*Over the last 50 years in the United States – A child’s chance of earning more than his or her parents has plummeted from 90 to 50 percent; Earnings by the top 1 % of Americans nearly tripled, while middle-class wages have been basically frozen for four decades, adjusting for inflation; Self-inflicted deaths — from opioid use and other drug addictions — are at record highs; Nearly one in five children in the US are now at risk of going hungry; Among the 35 richest countries in the world, the US now has the highest infant mortality rate and the lowest life expectancy.
I ran into Tally the inventory robot in the grocery store last night. I think it’s a good thing — letting a robot do the labor-intensive and repetitive process of physical inventory checking.
‘Yes, but does the store not have a count of the SKUs* on the shelf in its database, anyway? one might ask. The store does, but human shoppers take items off the shelf and misplace it when putting it back, or – rarely, I hope – steal it. Or employees could unpack items in the wrong location, or forget to remove sale prices, and so on. So there are always discrepancies between the SKU count in the database and the physical count on the shelf.
Wow .. the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is making a lot of trouble in mainland China, and especially in Hubei province. The whistleblower doctor that sounded the alarm originally, Li Wenliang, has passed away in Wuhan. He was only 34.
The local authorities in Wuhan have bumped up the number of new makeshift hospital beds from 26,000 to 36,000. More people have also tested positive in that cruise ship under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan. There is a severe shortage of facemasks in China (the cheap ones are not very effective, but I guess it gives the wearer a psychological boost).
So far – outside of China – the spread of the virus seems to be contained, though. Even so, courtesy of the Port of Seattle website ..
Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
Avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home when sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid non-essential travel to China.
Check-in with your airline if you have questions about your travel itinerary.
While not protective against the coronavirus, it’s not too late to get an influenza vaccine, since flu season can last into spring.