Joad watch: Those Joads were real conservatives, not like the whiny white working class of today….

Says George Will:

Joad watch here at Zingy is a function of my family origins, as I have described before, being meaningfully “Joad-ian”. IE, some of my peoples were in the1920’s and 30’s compelled by economic circumstances to leave the farms and come to big city Minneapolis / St. Paul. Just like the Joads leaving OK and going to CA eh… Really, I think that’s truthfully analogous, that’s the big thing of the time I think Grapes of Wrath describes.

Will thinks that is conservative behavior because it’s the self-reliant / self- responsible thing to do when your economic chips are down out in the country… And that this self-reliance is not what the underemployed Trumpkins are doing these days when they cheer on Trump and his protectionism.

I don’t disagree, but I kinda think ‘trade’ was merely additive to a few other things that got Trump elected. And that trade may not have been as important as the culture war stuff.

Anyway…ideologically I remain in support of free trade as it goes out of fashion here with Republicans. At this moment, I am not really intrigued why it is going out of fashion with Republicans. It is what it is, an intuitive populist instinct. What I do wonder at is how it was that Democrats got hoisted on the petard of free trade. Thing is, trade barriers are a tax to nudge / shove commerce in various directions, and for the sake of some kind of economic equality no less. Democrats love that kind of tax. But they haven’t loved it on trade. That’s a dissonant thing.

Trump is not an energy investor

…we’re to understand that Trump has / had an investment ‘stake’ in DAPL right, and this has the superficial potential for conflict of interest or self-dealing…

Well, it does seem he liquidated his stakes in Energy Transfer and Phillips 66… so there’s no conflict now. But thing is, a tangible ‘conflict of interest / self-deal’ here, one manifested in reality, would by definition have to be made by an extraordinary act that serves / benefits Trump fairly uniquely.

This isn’t that, could not be that. If it comes to pass that Trump enables DAPL after Obama has hamstrung it, that’s just acting in accord with Republican ideology on energy. Which is to say, the act is not extraordinary and the act serves something far greater than Trump. So it’s not self-dealing.

But maybe the bigger fallacious thing here is this trope-ish picture we’re painting of Trump as ‘oil company investor’.

The story there sizes up Trump’s ETP and Phillips 66 holdings as being in the high 6 or low 7 figure range at various points… I looked up, I was curious…. The ETP partnership shares trade on the NYSE pretty stable such that the annualized dividend is about 12%, ie, pretty high. People, understand this: Trump is liquid asset poor generally, and what he does have in cash is managed opportunistically. I’m telling you, he was in these particular investments to be shareholder of record on quarterly dividend distribution dates, and then he got out. His disclosure docs happened to capture that investment as a matter of timing one time, but I’d bet he doesn’t really give a rip about ETP or Phillips 66. He has no long term interests in oil and gas that would benefit from policy manipulation.

Trump’s impending corruption, pt II

So we’re speculating that Trump’s future level of corruption is wind farms not going up by his golf courses and his children being aggrandized…

The tales of Clinton corruption that were persuasive in the last year were say the Russian uranium deal, the Moroccan ‘visit’ for cash, and maybe say Bill’s no work job for Laureate U that probably served to keep federal regulators away from that company:

Add to that, you had Chelsea getting $1M/yr jobs she wasn’t qualified for and her husband getting tens of millions for a hedge fund that he wasn’t qualified to run..

Those examples are, I think, qualitatively equivalent to what we might expect the Trumps to indulge in. They are qualitatively equivalent to “I’m POTUS, don’t put wind farms by my golf course”. If not even more compelling examples of non-cash bribe indulgences

This kind of stuff didn’t disqualify the Clinton’s, so…. I’m not persuaded it’s a big deal.

It remains that I think Trump is a bad person of little wisdom, and things could go somewhat ‘bad’ in the next four years. But it won’t be because of a new tolerance for ambient corruption.

The hypothetical Trump corruption / self-dealing / kleptocracy assumption….

…is, I would grant, a sensible guess in the abstract. EG, we all know as truth that Trump is greedy, venal, and amoral…. so it follows that we can assume he will use the Presidency to enrich himself.

I have my doubts that’s actually a good assumption, even with Trump being an awful man. I mean, what’s he going to do, take bribes? No one ‘takes bribes’ in DC, the era of the suitcase full of cash has passed into history.

The other worry is what, special interests are going patronize his businesses, ie, rent his hotel rooms? Meh.

Hypocrisy discernment: MSFA board and its suites at US Bank Stadium

The inherent hypocrisy is supposed to be say the functionaries of the peoples’ party (DFL) indulging themselves in the very expensive suites at US Bank Stadium, this indulgence on the public dime….


MSFA gets a couple suites at the stadium as a function of they being proprietor. That’s sensible. How is that not sensible?

Mondale, Kelm-Helgen and the other board members get access to the suites on game days, and they don’t have to buy tickets… It’s incorrect to understand that as a perk or privilege. It’s these people’s job to maintain an expertise on any and all operational details of the building. Anytime they are there on game day, they are adding to their expertise. So their presence on game day is totally understandable as ‘work’. You don’t make people pay to ‘work’.

Hodges doesn’t work for the MSFA, but it’s totally reasonable that she go there and check the scene out as part of her mayoral duties, with the seating a courtesy of the of the MSFA. Doesn’t matter if she was against the stadium or not. And no, you don’t need to be sure to ding her husband $200 at that point to keep things egalitarian. He can be a guest too, that’s fine.

You get some more peripheral governmental figures into the suite on game day (like the city attorney noted) and lobbyists…. I accept Ted Mondale’s explanation that they are building inter- bureaucratic alliances, awareness, and doing some cross selling, etc. This is not actually fanciful.

I think it’s fine Ted gets his father in as a guest, and Walter doesn’t pay (they shamed him into paying…).

At the point board members’ children and their friends are getting the suites on Sunday, I think that will inevitably be spotted and outed as an abuse. Doesn’t seem like it’s happened yet.

Big thing is, suite access isn’t inherently worth $300 a Sunday afternoon or whatever. It’s worth that because of NFL football, and it’s the Vikings who own the suite revenue stream on game day. So it’s not the public who gets shortchanged here, it’s the Vikings. They’ll get by.

Discernment: its not hypocrisy, or whatever the Strib wants to ininuate, though they did succeed in shaming some people into writing ‘reimbursement’ checks.