Good and bad news

1. One state has avoided MAGA madness:

A pair of moderate Utah Republicans won primary elections Tuesday for U.S. Senate and governor over far-right candidates who are loyalists to former President Donald Trump, the latest example of how Utah is a rare Republican stronghold that doesn’t fully embrace the MAGA-led GOP.

U.S. Rep. John Curtis, who won the Utah GOP primary for Mitt Romney’s open U.S. Senate seat, and Gov. Spencer Cox still support Trump and many of his policies but have shown a willingness to stake out different positions on issues where they don’t agree.

Curtis and Cox both defeated candidates who beat them at the state party convention earlier this year among delegates who lean far right. But in Tuesday’s primary, when Utah’s more muted GOP electorate gets its say, they easily scored victories.

2. Not too many people are paying attention, but Guyana is about to become very rich.

More broadly, Western Hemisphere production is likely to keep oil prices low in the late 2020s (offshore Brazil, Canada tar sands, fracking in the US and Argentina, etc.)

Venezuelan invasion? As Clint would say, “Go ahead punk, make my day.”

3. It’s weird. I see lots of discussion of Taiwan, but very little comment on the Republic of China:

My point isn’t that the PROC actions in the South China Sea are justified (they clearly are not.) Rather, that’s there is lots of history here that people seem unaware of. Both the ROC and the PROC claim these islands. The ROC occupies the largest one.

4. I really like Taiwan, and hope they come to their senses:

5. The following tweet is referencing the lunatic that GOP voters in Colorado picked as their nominee:

6. According to the FT, money printing in Japan may create supply side inflation:

Next week, Japan will introduce three new banknotes for the first time in 20 years . . . But this is no straightforward or low-cost switch.

It was never going to be in a country that has 3.9mn cash-ingesting vending and ticketing machines, acute labour shortages and government targets for pushing the country towards cashlessness. . . .

With parts and labour costs rising, recalibrating even a small machine can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. Buying a new one can run at anything up to about $14,000 — enough to put real pressure on the economics of the type of small restaurants on which Japan depends.

The only option, restaurant owners have now taken to telling Japanese media, is to raise the prices charged to customers.

7. Biden supporters gave me a hard time when I suggested that Biden was a senile old man:

8. The Brits would know how to handle this problem. But then Great Britain is not a banana republic, is it? The likely Biden loss in November is certainly “overdetermined”. The following (from the FT) is a pretty minor factor, but emblematic of what happens in banana republics:

A case in point: back in 2020, when Trump’s White House distributed stimulus checks to offset the Covid slump, Trump insisted they carried his signature. These branded the handouts with his name in an easy-to-remember manner for voters. When Biden’s White House delivered its own largesse to consumers, he did not follow suit. Big mistake.

Never underestimate the stupidity of voters. Many believe Biden ended Roe v. Wade. Lots believe crime rose under Biden (even though it fell sharply after soaring higher under Trump.) The Democrats don’t seem to understand how to do politics in a banana republic.

9. Disastrously bad? Not by banana republic standards. Trump’s performance would be quite acceptable in Guatemala or the Philippines:

10. Didn’t Newsweek used to be a respectable magazine? It seems like the internet has killed off much of the journalism that I grew up reading. They have a new article claiming that Taylor Swift is not a role model because she is single at age 34. Maybe that’s why you don’t hear much from The Onion any more. Almost all of US journalism is becoming a parody of itself.

At 34, Swift remains unmarried and childless, a fact that some might argue is irrelevant to her status as a role model. But, I suggest, it’s crucial to consider what kind of example this sets for young girls. A role model, by definition, is someone worthy of imitation. While Swift’s musical talent and business acumen are certainly admirable, even laudable, we must ask if her personal life choices are ones we want our sisters and daughters to emulate. This might sound like pearl-clutching preaching, but it’s a concern rooted in sound reasoning.

That seems like something written by a high school student.

Have a nice 21st century!



29 Responses to “Good and bad news”

  1. Gravatar of Brett Brett
    28. June 2024 at 08:25

    2. Guyana is tiny, though, and it wouldn’t take a lot of Venezuelan forces to do a land grab. They should use that oil money to hire some mercenaries to patrol in the border land areas and make it clear that an invasion would be a bloody mess.

    4. Nuclear plants are quite expensive to replace and build even in countries that don’t have US style regulations, but it does seem like a bad choice to increase your dependency on imports when you’re at risk of a conflict where the most likely form will be a de facto blockade.

    One downside is that they’d also be quite vulnerable in a conflict – even if the plants themselves are hardened, the electrical infrastructure connecting them to the power grid might not be. It could be easier just to keep the necessary LNG stored in distributed tanks.

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    28. June 2024 at 08:30

    Brett, If we didn’t allow Iraq to grab Kuwait, what are the chances we’d allow Venezuela to grab Guyana, right in our backyard? In any case, the US is looking for any possible excuse to overthrow Maduro. That would be a perfect excuse.

  3. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    28. June 2024 at 08:37

    Your stock as a political prognosticator is certainly up today. I already felt like the zeitgeist was showing you to be correct in your prediction Trump would win a second term. Until the last 4 or 5 months, I didn’t see where Trump would get new voters, but I began to feel I’d underestimated how much voters want a wannbe dictator. I overestimated their intelligence.

    That said, the election isn’t over yet. Hopefully, Biden will step down and we’ll let someone run who can’t have bad nights like last night.

    Biden is clearly not always so bad, but we just can’t afford a candidate who can reach such lows.

  4. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    28. June 2024 at 09:03

    Michael, I just saw a bit of an interview with Tony Blair. What a contrast with these two candidates. Apparently the world’s richest country, a place containing 330 million people, is unable to find a president that can string together a coherent thought.

    (And to be clear, I’m also totally unqualified to be president. But surely there must be people out there who able to speak like a British politician.)

  5. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    28. June 2024 at 09:25


    Yes, I miss the days of Clinton and Blair. They were bright, mostly rational, had some goals of freeing up markets, and were great politicians. It’s very sad that Blair supported the second Iraq war, however.

    Democrats, can’t seem to win elections, except when cleaning up after Republican disaasters or when they have rockstar candidates. How bad is it when a political party isn’t good at politics?

  6. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    28. June 2024 at 09:47

    I was curious so I clicked through to the Newsweek article, and I thought that it was not bad. The line about her being single and childless seems in there to draw attention, and seems to have worked. The actual argument was that Swift’s persona as an artist is as a constantly jilted lover, with a huge dollop of helplessness. Swift’s success isn’t the product that is being sold; it is her victimhood. I know this because I have listened to way more of her music than I ever wanted to. Swift the musical persona takes no responsibility for her life (clearly unlike the actual person).

  7. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    28. June 2024 at 11:00

    Michael, I feel your pain.

    Lizard, “seems in there to draw attention”

    Maybe I’m old school. I recall when people didn’t think it was a good idea to “draw attention” to themselves with jaw-droppingly dumb comments.

  8. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    28. June 2024 at 12:02

    The job of the media is draw viewers, clicks, etc. so that they can get paid by advertisers. Writers, etc., who don’t have an audience don’t get paid, and there just isn’t really a market for all that many writers whose audience is there for the quality of their writing/argumentation, and there are only a limited number of ad/reader supported organizations that can survive based on quality. Everyone else has to throw out clickbait or find a different career/go out of business or find a wealthy patron.

  9. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    28. June 2024 at 14:43

    If taylor swift is your role model, you’re a big loser than I thought.

    The article is absolutely correct. Going from one lover to the next in your 20s is understandable. Making songs about how you broke up with them is childish. And clubbing in your mid to late thirties is pathetic. There is nothing that screams loser, more than an older man and woman at the bar.

    We’ve all seen them. Not a good look. And no, the fillers and botox you desperately shove into that face of yours wont help. Grow up. Accept aging. Accept responsibility. Get married, have children. Life is more than just sex.

  10. Gravatar of David S David S
    28. June 2024 at 17:25

    I had a grim conversation with a friend today where we speculated on what would happen during Trump’s second term. My friend pointed out how things have fallen completely apart in human history—Weimar Germany, post Soviet Russia, Jonestown, etc….

    Some people are true believers and get nasty when they have power, and most people just don’t want to get in trouble with them. Things could really crumble in the span of four years. Imagining Trump giving the Army an order to occupy Boston to enforce anti-abortion laws or something equally crazy prompts the response “well that would never happen here….”

  11. Gravatar of Todd Ramsey Todd Ramsey
    29. June 2024 at 06:53

    1. What does Right even mean anymore? “Far-right” Trump restricted trade and led the largest Federal budgets in history.

    I’m so old I can remember when the GOP was the party of small government.

    7. What happened to Biden’s 2020 statement that he would be the transition to the next generation? Maybe Dr. (of Education) Jill Biden decided that she rather enjoys the power of the presidency, and reneged on that promise.

    Democrats, get a new candidate today and give us a chance to avoid another four years of Trump. Better yet, make him resign from office and make someone mentally competent the Commander in Chief. Please?

  12. Gravatar of Max Max
    29. June 2024 at 07:43

    I’m convinced at this point Biden sees himself more as the Pope than the President. I’m only being partially facetious.

    Trump did make one surprisingly perceptive take on Biden, that he never fires anyone.

    Seems like a no-brainer and political malpractice for Biden not to have fired Powell in 2022 and use him-justifiably or not-as a scapegoat for letting inflation get out of hand. Then it’d be an easy sell-Trump’s guy let inflation get out of control and my guy is taking care of the problem.

    Finally, how and why Biden and the Dems aren’t hammering home the message that crime actually went up under Trump and has come down precipitously under Biden just shows how screwed we are. These are not complicated messages.

  13. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    29. June 2024 at 07:45

    If the Taiwanese believe that relying on imported energy is a better idea than nuclear power, is their judgment trustworthy? Just a month or so ago the PLA’s Navy practiced a blockade and encircled the entire island.

  14. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    29. June 2024 at 08:09

    If it was Trump vs Romney in Utah, I think Trump would destroy him.

    I don’t know how anyone could morally support the neocons: Romney, Bush, Cheney, etc. All three are a joke. All three are globalists.

    How can you be a libertarian, but support economic zones which is the method by which globalists centralize power? Do you know that some of these economic zones don’t just give MNC’s immense tax advantages, which destroy mom and pop stores, but also permit them to ignore labor law. For example, in Manila, one of the economic zones does not have to abide by Filipino law. Workers basically don’t have any rights.

    These globalists must be brought to their knees, or we will all be living under some form of fuedalism. Soon, Google will provide your daily rations and call it “stakeholderism” courtesy of Klaus Schwab.

    Trump is the only one that can stop them. He’s fearless.

  15. Gravatar of yumenstockle yumenstockle
    29. June 2024 at 08:17

    10. The more usual accusation is that people who say stuff like that are stodgy old conservative boomers. But I guess when you’re a stodgy old liberalish boomer, it feels better to say it sounds like something a high-school student would write.

  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    29. June 2024 at 08:22

    Yumenstockle, Yes, the content is old and stodgy, but the writing style is childish.

  17. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    29. June 2024 at 09:00


    What exactly is a “globalist” to you? People called globalists don’t call themselves that.

    I’ve long called myself an “internationalist”, which may sound like the same thing, but I doubt you understand my perspective.

    I favor a gradual trend toward more international law. This is to the extent that it sets rules of the game for capitalism, to promote a consensus on the rights of countries, companies, individuals, along with property rights and rules of trade. This does not involve wanting to build a one-world government that could oppress national interests or human rights, but instead involves cartels of nations.

    This is similar to the NFL. The NFL doesn’t oppress its members, which are team owners. The owners voluntarily formed this cartel, with commissioner Goodell serving at the pleasure of the owners. The owners decide things collectively, via votes, so there are always owners who do not get everything they want. They nonetheless benefit from net on membership in the league. They benefit from established common rules, a common brand, etc.

    This is why the US set up many of the transnational organizations that exist today, such as the United Nations and WTO. These organizations are far from perfect, but on net, they serve American interests, within a mostly American vision for what the international rules should be. To have any value, other countries must be willing to join these institutions, which means the US has to compromise.

    The oft-attacked WTO sets up rules for international trade by signatories, along with mechanisms for resolving disputes. It favors the American view of what international trade should be, or at least it did when the US was still promoting freer trade.

    The UN, originally pushed by the US, based in New York city, and geting 22% of its budget from the US, is anti-US? Much of the rest of its funding comes from US allies. How can anyone believe it does anything, but support net US interests, on average? That doesn’t mean we like everything the UN does. There are many member states, and we, again, have to compromise at times to incent other countries to participate.

    There are many other international institutions that serve similar interests in various domains.

    We need to return to supporting international law and away from the unilateral bullying of other countries, which increasinly includes even our allies. It was this approach to the world, particularly after World War 2 that made the US the truly remarkable actor on the global stage that it became, doing the most net good any civilization had ever even attempted.

  18. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    29. June 2024 at 19:54

    State propaganda in China says the exact same thing. “You don’t understand the history” is the argument they use to justify their theft. The “It actually belongs to us, here is a fake map we just made” argument is crazy everyone in that region knows it.

    But I’m not surprised Sumner would believe them, because here is a list of hoaxes and brainwashed nonsense Sumner believes.

    1. Suckers & Losers Hoax
    2. Russian collusion Hoax
    3. Mischaracterizing Trump’s “very fine people” comment after Charlottesville as praise for neo-Nazis Hoax
    4. 51 Intelligence Agents Hoax
    5. 16 Economists say Trump will create an Inflation problem Hoax
    6. Drink Bleach Hoax
    7. Trump has Dementia Hoax
    7. Biden is sharp and doesn’t have Dementia Hoax
    8. Couldn’t have possibly come form the COVID-19 lab hoax
    9. J6 Committee Coverup & destroying evidence Hoax
    10. Ivermectin doesn’t work & is dangerous Hoax
    11. Claiming Hunter Biden’s laptop was “Russian disinformation” Hoax
    12. Accusing Trump of inciting violence on January 6th, despite his calls for peaceful protest Hoax
    13. Russian bounties on American troops hoax
    14. Trump’s response to COVID-19 was the reason for Biden’s tyrannical mandates hoax
    15. KC Chiefs’ red and black painted face is racist Hoax
    16. Covington teen kid is racist after Indian man got in his face beating drum Hoax
    17. 2020 election was MOST secure in American history, mail in ballots and machines had no problems – 81 Million Votes for Biden Hoax
    18. Covid Vax protects against infection Hoax
    19. Jussie Smollet “This is MAGA Country” Hoax
    20. Bubba Wallace Garage Pull Hoax
    21. Governor Whitmer FBI Kidnapping Hoax
    22. Chinese innocent weather Ballon Hoax
    23. Steele Dossier Hoax
    24. Russia bombed their own pipeline Hoax
    25. Border Patrol agents whipped migrants Hoax
    26. Trump put kids in Obama’s cages Hoax
    27. Trump had nuclear secrets at Miralago Hoax
    28. “Muslim” Travel Ban Hoax
    29. Cuomo performed best leadership during Covid Hoax
    30. Ghost of Kyiv Hoax
    31. “Al-Bagdhadi was an “austere religious scholar” Hoax
    32. Trump overfed Koi fish in Japan Hoax
    33. Trump tax cuts only benefits wealthy Hoax
    34. Trump mocked a reporter’s disability Hoax
    35. J6 protesters killed a police officer Hoax
    36. Putin inflation price hike Hoax
    37. Trump overpowered Secret Service to grab wheel of “The Beast” from back seat Hoax
    38. Masks prevent Covid Hoax
    39. BLM / Antifa were “mostly peaceful protesters” Hoax
    40. Trump used teargas to clear peaceful protests for Bible photo op Hoax
    41. Kavanaugh gang rape train Hoax

    If you can believe that crap, you can believe anything.

  19. Gravatar of Bobster34 Bobster34
    30. June 2024 at 05:23

    “Dems tame their extremes”

    Normal people on the west coast have experienced otherwise.

  20. Gravatar of kangaroo kangaroo
    30. June 2024 at 06:24

    “Never underestimate the stupidity of voters. ”

    Scott! 🙂 No doubt, you and collectively your academic colleagues are around ~30pts? higher on the IQ distribution than the mean voter. Yet in Galton’s famous experiment, 800 people at a county fair in 1906 – hardly a collection of geniuses – collectively guessed the weight of the ox to within 1%. Yet, collectively, economists can hardly forecast a simple recession and while I’ve never actually followed up on the accuracy of annual or quarterly GDP forecasts, something tells me it’s not within 1%.

    “Many believe Biden ended Roe v. Wade. ”

    They do?? Really?? I guess it’s nto that surprising. But while this is false, it *is* fair to say – figuratively speaking – that Hilary ended RVW. Hilary lost to Trump in an infamous defeat that never should have happened, except that Hilary insisted on compaigning on far left nuttery that lots of people **really hate**, like enforcing gender/racial/etc proportionality in the work place and various quack climate / energy policies.

    Becasue Dems shot the messenger in 2016, the 2024 election still hinges on the same issues. The Hamas attack in Israel finally cleared the way for some people to get the message, and some of the biggest quacks among the Dems were eliminated during the primaries. But if Dems were governing from the center they wouldn’t be worried about losing to Trump.

    I’m optimistic about a Trump win but I’m not convinced a win is “overdetermined”. Here’s what I want to know: Where’s Gavin? Why did and why are Democrats sticking with Biden when he’s almost certain to lose? I’d love to hear your theory on that. You make a lot of good observations.

    Yeah, so I don’t get that. IMO Newsome would smash Trump. All he has to do avoid saying anything substantive and look presidential. He’s younger than Biden and has certified Progressive credentials, but is slightly more conservative so even a better bet than even a competent Biden. My best guess – admitedely not a great one – is that inside the Dem party the contest isn’t between Biden and Newsome, but rather between *Obama* and Newsome. That is, Newsome really is more conservative than Obama/Biden and at the momemnt Obama is dancing the Biden puppet, so Obama doesn’t want Newsome getting in there and moving the needle even slightly to the right – or even to stop it from moving further left.

    Your thoughts?


  21. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    30. June 2024 at 10:41

    Kangaroo, No, Newsom is not more conservative that Biden, although perhaps in the future he will be, when the Dems move to the right. The Dems are too stupid to do the right thing and replace Biden with someone more electable (and that’s not Harris.)

    As you probably know, I’m a big fan of democracy and more broadly of the “wisdom of crowds” idea. I take comfort in the fact that more people voted for Biden (and even Hillary) than for Trump. Trust the crowd over the experts. (And by experts I include “Electoral College”.)

  22. Gravatar of dirk dirk
    30. June 2024 at 20:57

    “Newsweek” is not the same Newsweek magazine that existed from 1933 to 2010, when it was sold by The Washington Post Company for $1 and the assumption of debt. Ownership of the brand name has changed hands several times in recent years, and none of those hands have been involved in legitimate journalism. It’s basically like how one used to sometimes spot “Braniff” branded planes on tarmacs long after the airline Braniff went out of business.

  23. Gravatar of JS JS
    1. July 2024 at 02:13

    Premise: Newsweek printed something I vehemently disagree with.
    Conclusion: Newsweek is no longer respectable.

    Brilliant logic.

    I presume your next step is to label it disinformation and advocate for banning disreputable magazines.

  24. Gravatar of steve steve
    1. July 2024 at 11:42

    Once again, Sara and RIcardo are the only posts on this hideous, wretched blog worth reading.

  25. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. July 2024 at 14:24

    Ricardo, So if all those 41 outrages are hoaxes, does that mean that Trump’s other 250 outrages are all true?

    Dirk, Thanks, I’m not surprised.

  26. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. July 2024 at 14:26

    Premise: JS lacks reading comprehension.
    Conclusion: JS is a typical commenter.

  27. Gravatar of Kangaroo Kangaroo
    1. July 2024 at 20:00

    Scott: The Electoral College? Your going to complain about that? I’m baffled – i mean really flummoxed – that so many supposedly educated people feel justified in complaining about the electoral college because Hilary lost. Here you are saying Trump wants to undermine democracy, while you’re advocating the undermining of democracy. The US has a *constitutional democracy*. It’s not a popular-vote-wins-everyting democracy. Long ago we agreed that there are limits to popular democracy, and we made a constitution outlining them. We did this because, just like markets need some regulation for the invisible hand to work, crowds need some regulation to be wise. The EC is one of those limits.

    The EC is like the bicameral legislature: it balances regional and popular interests. Like it or not, a nation occupies a region and if large swathes of that region, regardless of the proportion of the population within them, oppose or are left out of the government a nation can fall apart. Such a thing has actually happened before. Movies were made.

    In the case of the 2016 election, Hilary’s positive popular margin was slim but her territorial margin was a large negative. I haven’t done the math but it looks like she lost in 65-75% of the land area of the US even on just a state by state basis. Given that her area loss was large compared to her popular victory, it’s appropriate the she lost the election. She simply did not command nearly enough geography. I’d love to see the total land area for Hilary and Trump on a county by county basis. On a county basis, I’d bet Trump won 80% of the country. Just for example, Hilary won Nevada, but she won in only two counties: reno and LV. That’s about 10% of the land area of Nevada.

    The principle of the electoral college is not only sound, not only beneficial, but absolutely essential to maintaining a strong national polity.

    So getting back to the “wisdom of crowds”, it looks like there were two much different crowds voting in the 2016 election: people with an ocean view and people without one. They had vastly differing opinions on who should be president.

  28. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    1. July 2024 at 20:40

    Crowds can become insane. Rwanda is a good example of a passionate crowd. Would you like to be the minority in Rwanda in 1994? Was that butchering an example of “wisdom?”

    And it’s not a constitutional democracy Kangaroo; it’s a constitutional republic. However, I agree with the argument. Those calling for the end of the electoral college either never took the time to read the Federalist Papers or failed to comprehend Hamilton and Madison’s arguments.

    What’s worse is that this ignorance influences impressionable minds who also neglect to study world history. When Sumner makes such comments in a classroom, some 18-year-old becomes his social justice activist (intentional or not)

    We’ve all seen them online, making absurd claims like “The Supreme Court just gave the President immunity to kill everyone.” The Supreme Court never said any such thing. Those at the top who say it are lying, and those at the bottom haven’t read the majority decision; they just parrot party leaders.

    Marxist professors write things like, “I didn’t elect the Supreme Court.” YES, MORON. That’s the whole point. Judges shouldn’t be elected; they’re meant to follow the law, not the whims of the mob. If Hamilton had argued for electing judges, no state would have ratified the constitution. He would have been 0-13. Justice is blind; not in the literal sense because it’s impossible to shed all bias, but it’s the ideal that every good justice tries to emulate. Remove that from the equation and we will be a banana republic.

  29. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. July 2024 at 21:42

    Kangaroo, You said:

    “Scott: The Electoral College? Your going to complain about that? I’m baffled – i mean really flummoxed”

    I stopped reading after the first line. If your reading comprehension is so bad that you thought I complained about the EC, why should I take seriously anything else you say?

    I simply responded to your wisdom of crowds comment. Now you seem to have forgotten what you asked me previously. Perhaps you are as “forgetful” as Biden.

    “Heh Sumner, I thought you believed in the wisdom of crowds”
    Actually, Trump always gets fewer votes.
    “Now your complaining about the EC”
    Wait, didn’t you endorse the wisdom of crowds?

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