amzn hq2?

Just in case, you haven’t a clue of what I’m talking about,  it’s the second headquarters for Amazon.  Right now, Amazon headquarters is in Seattle.  The second headquarters is going to be big.   The New York Times reports:

The winner could get up to 50,000 high-paying jobs and $5 billion in investment, figures that Amazon has dangled in front of local officials, setting off an unprecedented competition to be the second home for one of the internet’s mightiest companies.

The top 20 cities have been announced.   See list at the end of the blog.

When Amazon finally decides, all the mayors will be seated in a room, and Tyra Banks will call out each of them, flash a couple pictures of their city, and tell them why they just didn’t have the right stuff to be the next  HQ2  (i.e.  well, your  airport was ok, but there was just a bit too much crime and your air smells a bit funny, so Pittsburgh you’re out).  I’m joking of course.

Amazon will make each city  beg to be HQ2, so it won’t be Washington, DC.    If they want smart people, they will go for Austin or Boston.  I’m guessing it will be an east coast city, with large international airports.   Toronto would be good in almost every respect, except the weather.  So, the winner in my opinion is:  Atlanta, GA.  A runner up choice is  Raleigh, NC.  Amazon also lists Northern Virginia in the top 20 cities, which is possible.   Yeah, I know there is no city called Northern Virginia, but with Bezo’s billions, Virginia would build one.   These are the compromise choices, half way between New York and Miami.   The sleeper would be Newark, where of course, nobody in their right mind would pick, unless all they cared about is tax breaks and being top dog in the area.  Amazon audiobook division, Audible, is in Newark.

I’m figuring Atlanta is best for executives, who are hoping on flights to Europe, Africa and Asia.  The future is about distribution.    But, just for the record, I think Toronto, Northern Virginia, Raleigh and (oh no) Newark are still in the running.  Newark would kind of being like Tyra Banks picking the ugliest model to be the next Top Model.   It really could happen, but it would be obvious to everyone they were paid off (in tax breaks)  for this choice.

— Update,  just as I posted my choice,  Yahoo – Finance posted their predictions, which were so similar to mine, I think they must have read my blog.   They predicted Washington, DC (not going to happen),  but also Montgomery County, MD which makes a lot of sense as a Miami to Boston compromise and close enough to Washington.

— Update #2,  the paddypower website for gamblers  has Boston, Austin and Atlanta as front runners.  Washington, DC is #4.  My other hunches,  Toronto, North Virginia, Raleigh and Newark are all at the back of the bus.  For Amazon employees, scared to death they could be transferred to Newark, you can rest easy for now.  Pittsburgh and Montgomery County are also in paddypower top 6 bets.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Top cities:  Atlanta,  Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, OH, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County, MD, Nashville, Newark (oh no), New York, Northern Virginia (not a city), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, NC, Toronto (yes, we know it’s in Canada, Amazon can change this!), and Washington.

Advertisements

Trump’s Fake News Awards

Stephen Colbert refers to them as the Fakies.  He was hoping his comedy show would win one of these awards.

Fact checkers have been working overtime, as the White House produces one false statement after another.   It is wonderful to have politifact.com,  factcheck.org and other fact checking websites, drill down on the many statements made by politicians.  Trump now has a historical low rating of 4% true and 12% mostly true statements, so 84% of his statements are Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire according to Politifact.

The media is not 100% accurate.  Mistakes are made.  What really differentiates a mistake from a lie, is whether the news organization corrects itself, in a timely and public manner.    The awards were given out for 9 mistakes which were quickly corrected.  Even Paul Kruger’s  opinion on the future of the economy was rescinded a couple of days later when he changed his mind.  No facts were in dispute, so it is hardly reason for a fake news award.

The White House does push back, as it should, when incorrect information is released.  For example, the tweet from Times reporter Zeke Miller stated  that a bust of Martin Luther King was no longer in the Oval Office, was corrected within an hour.  A picture of the statue was tweeted the same day by the White House.  Another pretty silly mistake was made by Dave Weigel who posted a picture of a Pensacola rally, showing the room to be only partially filled, however the picture was taken before the rally began.  Weigel works for the Washington Post, but this tweet came from his personal account, and was never published in the Washington Post.  But, it qualified for a fakie award – go figure!

Then there is the silly  fish food dumping incident.  CNN broadcast a clip showing Trump shamelessly dumping an entire box of food for the ritual feeding of Koi fish during his visit in Japan.  It was Politifact, which caught the error, after examining the entire video, which shows Trump was only following the lead of the Japanese Prime Minister.   The video clip went viral, but so did a host of retractions very soon afterwards with a clip of the Prime Minister also doing the same thing –  dumping the entire small box.   This clearly demonstrated that Politifact will back the president when the reporting is unfair as occurred in this case.  Koigate and the subsequent retraction all occurred on Nov 6, 2017 with the initial mistake occurring two minutes after midnight from a tweet by a CNN reporter, Veronica Rocha.  Glad to see she survived Koigate and is still tweeting (up to 9600 tweets!) for CNN.

I particularly enjoy Gizmodo’s comment, “In the wide world of media mistakes, Koigate is probably somewhere between a spelling error and posting the wrong hyperlink. But you can be sure that we’ll be talking about Koigate for some time as an example of what’s wrong with the media.” It does qualify as a mistake because they quickly admitted the error.     If Koigate can qualify as one of the top ten mistakes made by CNN in 2017, then you really have to give CNN credit for some pretty accurate reporting.

What the awards actually show, is the mainstream media is very concern about accuracy, and has no problem admitting their occasional mistakes.  In fact, when CNN really screwed up by incorrectly stating Antony  Scaramucci,  had  links to a Russian investment fund supposedly being investigated by the United States Senate.  CNN quickly issued a retraction and forced the resignation of three reporters. CNN  suspended Brian Ross for four weeks, without pay, after the Scaramucci mistake.

CNN also reported that according to their sources,  Comey’s testimony would contradict Trump’s on the critical issue of whether he was under investigation.   He did not contradict Trump’s statements on this issue, and CNN reported their original expectation was wrong.   Their sources were wrong on what Comey was going to say.  So what? Stock analysts make hundreds of wrong predictions every day.

The last Fake Award (#11) is really just a Trump’s attack on the Russian investigation in general.  It reads as follows:

And last, but not least: “RUSSIA COLLUSION!” Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!

The GOP.com website, adds this tweet by Donald Trump:

Well, now that collusion with Russia is proving to be a total hoax and the only collusion is with Hillary Clinton and the FBI/Russia, the Fake News Media (Mainstream) and this phony new book are hitting out at every new front imaginable. They should try winning an election. Sad!

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, appointed by the Trump administration, continues his investigation, as do congressional committees led by Republicans.

The fakies awards missed  their target 11 to 0.   In fact,  if that is the best the White House has,  CNN and the others should feel pretty good.  (“hit me with your best shot, fire away”, Pat Benetar, still a classic).  On petty, silly and absolutely non consequential mistakes, I still find Koigate as # 1,  followed quickly by the Martin Luther King bust as # 2, and the Polish first lady non-handshake mistake  (see link from GOP.com) as # 3 and the Pensacola half empty stadium as #4.   See links.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Politifact: Fact-checking Donald Trump’s ‘results’ from his fake news awards

Washington Post Fact-checking President Trump’s ‘Fake News Awards’

GOP.com The Highly-Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards

Donald Trump and the fish food dump: How early reports got it wrong

Steve Colbert: Fake News Awards (Youtube)

Friends of America

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, held a reception for the “Friends of America” to thank the countries who voted against the UN resolution, condemning President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem.    It was a bit bizarre, as of the 193 members representing almost all of the 7.6 billion inhabitants of our planet, only 9 countries voted against the resolution.   Of these 9 countries,  only 5 have populations over 1 million residents: US,  Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, and Togo (See list  at end of this blog).  Some reception!

If Donald Trump is dividing the world into proper civilized countries, and shithole ones, Guatemala probably would fall in the latter.  The State Department’s Travel Advisory states:

Reconsider travel to Guatemala due to crime. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, carjacking, armed robbery, and murder, is common. Gang activity, such as extortion, violent street crime, and narcotics trafficking, is widespread, particularly in the border regions. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

This is Level 3 advisory.   The top warning  is Level  4 which advises travelers not to visit the countries and if  intrepid travelers ignore this advice,  the State Department suggests having a will prepared prior to travel.  The only other South American countries with a Level 3 advisory (Reconsider Travel) are Honduras and El Salvador.

Personally,  I have nothing against Honduras and Guatemala. I have been several times to Guatemala, and each visit was fantastic.  The other country, Togo, is in Africa, and has been struggling for years due to low prices for its agricultural exports.  It has an astounding dense population of approximately 8 million residents. I was actually surprised at Togo’s vote, with a 20% Muslim population.

So, Nikki’s party invitees of “No Voters” had one wealthy country (Israel), three countries in economic dire straits (Guatemala, Honduras, and Togo) and 4 tiny island states in the Pacific.  Nauru is one of them, which has a population of 13,000 residents,  whose best asset is it’s seat in the UN and a vote that comes cheap.  See link below on Nauru’s recognition of Russia’s breakaway republics in exchange for aid.

It is our President which is dividing up the world, through his travel bans, cuts in aid and policy decisions, to make the US disliked around the world as never before.  He’s been able to sour relations with our close neighbors, Mexico and Canada.

The invitees to the Haley’s reception included all those who  didn’t vote at all or abstained so the total number of invitees was 64.   I can see why – as the resolution was going to pass anyway, and it really had no effect except to embarrass the US.  So, to be a friend of the US doesn’t take much, just sit at home on the day of the vote.   Still, it was a landslide vote against the US.

Usually, when you tell nation leaders that they must support US policies or else, “We’re taking names” comment by Nikki Haley, it is counter productive.  The recent violence in Pakistan, is directed at Trump’s cut off of military aid.  It’s regrettable as we need them as an ally against terrorism.

We seem to be antagonizing both friends and enemies.  We lost the chance to broker some peace settlement between Palestine and Israel,  with our decision to recognize Jerusalem.  South Korea seems to be making inroads to reducing hostilities with North Korea, after we  exchanged increasingly higher threats with North Korea.  The humanitarian crisis in Yemen seems of little importance to Trump.  It is a Iran-Saudi proxy war, and we’ve sided with the Saudi’s.

The Middle East countries are now more divided into the Sunni and Shi’a factions, and doing less to curb real terrorism.  We may eventually undermine the moderates control in Iran,  by President Rouhani, by imposing new sanctions, and threatening to abandon the nuclear agreement.  In doing so, we discourage any deal with North Korea over their nuclear program.  Meanwhile, the State Department continues to shrink under Secretary  Rex Tillerson, with many of the diplomatic posts unfilled.  Yet I consider him one of the best of the cabinet leaders.  I would include Gen.  Mattis at Defense as well.

I would like to have seen a “Friends of the US” reception with leaders from all the continents of the world.   This would require a major re-think of the America First agenda.  We are “Stronger Together”  the slogan of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

CNN:  How each country voted at the UN

Yes votes: 128 No votes: 9 Abstaining: 38 votes Not voting: 21

Tiny Nauru struts world stage by recognising breakaway republics

I’ve often thought about a service on the internet, similar to “Letgo.com” where countries could bid on the UN representatives’ vote. Maybe “Cash4votes.com” would work.  Of course, the country would first have to let the world know it’s vote is up for sale.

Nikki Haley’s New Best Friends at the UN

Hundreds of Pakistani protesters burn US flags after Trump says he is cutting aid to the country because it ‘does not take terrorism seriously enough’

 

Lawsuits against Buzzfeed and Fusion GPS

There is going to be a lot of media coverage on Trump dossier / Buzzfeed / Fusion GPS / Congressional Investigation.  It is way more than this subject deserves.  So why would I want to add to it?  I’ve already posted one blog, with the conclusion that the media in general, has shown incredible restraint in not making the dossier public because the sources of the information were not revealed in the dossier and salacious information on Donald Trump could not be confirmed.

Trump Dossier – Nov 2017

The Trump Dossier could not have affected the elections because the details had not been made public until January 11, 2017 when  Buzzfeed decided to post it on the internet as they have the legal right to under the First Amendment of free speech.   As I reported earlier, they were sued one month later, as follows:

Aleksej Gubarev, chief of technology company XBT and a figure mentioned in the dossier, sued BuzzFeed for defamation on February 3, 2017.

Today,  Michael Cohen,  who is one of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, filed  lawsuits against Buzzfeed and Fusion GPS for defaming him.   Why now and not a year ago when the Trump dossier was first posted on the internet.  The lawsuits are frivolous and will go nowhere.  There is just a one year limit on filing lawsuits after material has been published.    Michael Cohen has strongly denied a visit to Prague in the summer of 2016 and offered a copy of his passport as proof.  However if is possible his passport would not be stamped if he entered by way of other EU countries.   However,  for those who like to  believe the whole Russian scandal is one big witch hunt, and the Democrats did stuff far worse, these lawsuits give Michael Cohen free air time, particularly on Fox News, which is something his boss (Donald Trump) will appreciate.

Stay tuned,

Dave

— There are way too many links on this topic to list here.    One is a bit misleading, from the New York Times, entitled “I’m Proud We Published the Russian-Trump Dossier”  however if you click on the link,  the “We” refers to Buzzfeed, and not the New York Times. It is written by Ben Smith, CEO of Buzzfeed, and is offered an independent opinion piece.   All the mainstream media (CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and many others) and conservative focused media outlets, including Fox News refused to publish the dossier in either print or electronic form.    I believe it is to their credit, that they refuse publication because several of the allegations have no corroboration.

US Jobs and Economic Growth – Cutting through the Trump BS

The US economy was strong in 2017.  Trump’s claim that two million new jobs were added, is right.   Of course,  job growth was good leading up to his inauguration, so he shouldn’t be taking credit for the entire year.

What’s not right, is that the economy was terrible under Obama, and he somehow turned things around.  It was a terrible economy in the last year of Bush’s administration, and aggressive action by both Bush and Obama helped the recovery.  I just go by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to make my point.

Trump’s monthly average gain of 171,250 new jobs doesn’t look too good, nor does the 2 million new jobs stand out against Obama’s administration’s numbers.   The housing bubble (2004 – 2006) produced some high gains, but it all came crashing down in 2008 to 2009.  The stock market made an all time low in March 2009.

It took time for our economy to recover, as there was only a 1 million job gain in 2010.   But,  our economy has proven to be much more resilient than economists were predicting in 2007 to 2009.   The December 2017 labor statistics just came out with 148,000 new jobs, well below the 190,000 estimate.  The stock market continued its rally, based on the concept of a slowing economy  discourages the Fed’s program of gradual rate hikes.  Or another words, some bad news is actually good news to the stock market, just so long as it isn’t terrible news.

I’ve included one link as posted in Yahoo – Finance, entitled “Challenge for Trump: Job Growth is Slowing”  which adds a bit of reality to the whole story.  We likely attributed too much to actions of an administration, as the factors influencing growth (good or bad) may take years to develop.  The housing bubble was at least seven years in the making (includes both the Clinton and Bush administrations).  Also, an unemployment of 4.1% is considered a good number, and attempts to stimulate the economy further puts pressure on wage growth.

So, the chief concern is that inflation will increase more rapidly than wages, so many workers will feel  their spending power reduced.  Not good for retail, and ultimately this could lead to a recession.   In this case, the reduced corporate tax rate will help in reducing debt, not expanding businesses.   So, Wall Street may prosper at least in the short term, as Main Street suffers.

See link:

Challenge for Trump: Job growth is slowing

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Defaming the President of the United States

You have certain rights that President Trump does not, because he is a public figure.   You have the right to sue for character defamation in civil court.   Someone suing must prove the information published  was false and as a result, there was monetary loss.   Further,   the information can’t be in the form of a joke or cartoon, as this is not considered factual information.  This issue arose yesterday, when a new book was published about President Trump, entitled:  “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”   President Trump has threatened the publisher with a lawsuit based on libelous statements.

I ordered by copy today from Amazon:

Michael Wolff:  Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House  from Amazon 

Wikipedia:  Fire and Fury book on Trump

New York Times vs Sullivan (1964)

***  Update:

Did Michael Wolff have access to the White House?

Donald Trump has responded in a tweet saying he had no access to the WH.  Politifact concludes that Trump’s denial is False.

See link below:

Politifact – Access to WH by Wolff

They can’t verify that Wolff had as much contact as he claims,  but he was often inside  the White House.

Stay tuned,

Dave