Back To Work…[DOT 28/11/22]

Ugh today is going to be painful. My boss was calling me yesterday, which I ignored obviously.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

I’m sure there’s nothing to see here.

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei dies ‘suddenly,’ state says


Khamenei’s niece arrested after calling for foreign governments to cut ties with Iranian regime


World Cup

Stonks! (wow!)

Black Friday online sales top $9 billion in new record

Who can relate?!?

French man wins right to not be ‘fun’ at work

Shut up and take my money!

Have a great day!



    • …I think the part that surprised me is that fuentes is apparently so up-front fascist that the florida retiree with the bad hair tried to make out he didn’t know who the guy was & that he’d only been on the premises because kanye had him in tow when he turned up for a meal…during which he supposedly offered the unpresidented one the VP spot on his ticket to the presidential races

      …that’s a lot to unpack…but too-toxic-for-the-toxic…I can’t tell if that’s unbelievable in the sense that apparently there’s a line after all…or the regular kind of unbelievable in the sense of something coming from the tangerine man?

  1. Hmm, that CNBC headline.  “Black Friday online sales top $9 billion in new record”

    Meanwhile just a few days ago CNBC had this headline: “Retailers are ‘borderline desperate’ as holiday shopping season kicks into full gear, fmr. Walmart U.S. CEO says”

    And in the runup to the election CNBC had these headlines:

    “Inflation to dampen holiday spending, retail trade group forecasts”

    “Holiday shopping season expected to be muted as inflation squeezes shoppers”

    “2 in 5 Americans say inflation will change their holiday shopping habits this year — here’s how to save money”

    “Consumers are cutting back on holiday gift buying amid higher inflation”

    Economic reporting is far too over reliant on polling that has been in denial about its accuracy problems as political reporting. It has as big a problem of propping up unqualified talking heads as authorities. And it is in just as much denial about how much execs, editors and producers create stupid naratives that drive public sentiment until it crashes into reality.

    • …I get what you’re saying…but I’d also maybe note that the black friday figure says it’s for online purchases on a day that (though it may not work out that way for a variety of reasons) is touted as one (or rather more than one these days) when things are available at supposedly steep discounts

      …so it could have gone gangbusters for online merchants but in doing so mostly contributed to the fears of brick&mortar retailers that they wouldn’t get the seasonal influx of sales that a lot of them rely on to insulate their bottom line for leaner periods…I forget the statistics but iirc a lot of shops – particularly small businesses – would be out of business without their version of a christmas bonus…so there is at least a way that those headlines could avoid being mutually contradictory

      …probably not entirely, in practice…not least since black friday was originally a store-based thing & still is for some…so the part where the incessant demand for growth that’s pretty much axiomatic where capitalism is concerned may well demand that people be driven to purchases they might otherwise not make…& the press may very well always have played a role in that

      …but I think it could also be true that people are more than usually concerned about the potentially unaffordable nature of christmas-as-usual this year…& that a lot of businesses are concerned that they may not make enough profit to keep them in business…& that more money got spent online on that particular day than ever before…in so far as those don’t sound like mutually exclusive propositions to me?

      • Except former Walmart guy was also projecting crappy online sales.

        The tell as far as bias in all of these stories is that inflation is a constant in them and high employment is never mentioned. It’s Econ 101 that you can’t talk about consumer spending without talking about both.

        It’s fine for reporters to say it’s an unsettled situation and they don’t know. And the NY Times, which has a mixed record on economic reporting, does a decent job here:

        Sales projections from less panicky, more analytical sources are actually projecting 2022 to be pretty much in line with 2021 even factoring in inflation. But the CNBC types are just hacks.

        • …sure…& as I said before, I do follow what you’re saying…but former walmart guy is “former”…so I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in his projections of something like that…they’re at best third hand in terms of the information he’s basing them off & I could probably find some second hand info on walmart’s sales if I tried & make my own predictions with about as much likelihood of being on the money

          …& the piece about the online sales did mention inflation & may not have said much on the subject of employment…but one of the things about inflation…& arguably the most concerning part to a lot of people…is its effect on the relative cost of living…spend more, get less…& when even those in employment are potentially looking at a real-terms pay cut (even after raises in some cases) & unavoidable expenses like heating & eating going up enough to unbalance some check books…balancing the depth of their seasonal generosity against the shallowness of their pocket leads to (among other things) exactly the thing that the mention of inflation came up in relation to

          Many consumers embraced flexible payment plans on Black Friday as they continue to grapple with high prices and inflation. Buy Now Pay Later payments increased by 78% compared with the past week, beginning Nov. 19, and Buy Now Pay Later revenue is up 81% for the same period.

          …there’s a reason you aren’t allowed to buy stock on the margin any more…& it’s a damn good reason…but I’d argue you can still make reference to a buy-now-pay-later mechanism without necessitating a discussion of the great depression in the same way that you can mention inflation without it being a strict requirement to talk about employment in the next breath…there’s a degree to which all prognosticating about “the economy” is reading tea leaves…so…you could bring employment rates into it…along with people working multiple jobs still struggling to make ends meet…or those broader sales projections that have things staying broadly in line with last year…but then you’d maybe have to start talking about consumer credit & a whole bunch of other stuff…which I guess I don’t expect out of an article as short as most of the ones I’ve seen at CNBC?

    • Honestly, it looks to me like the reporting is intended to reinforce a viewpoint, either held by the journalist or more likely, their bosses. There’s a lot about the media “falling for” false narratives. Case in point:

      The guy who got the midterms right explains what the media got wrong

      The media fell for a false “red wave” narrative.’

      I don’t think they’re “falling for” anything. Any idiot can point out that the 2016 polls sucked, the 2018 polls sucked, and the 2020 polls sucked, so it’s pretty likely that the 2022 polls sucked. Which they did!

      I’m not convinced every reporter on the planet is stupider than I am. Many, yes, but not all. The only reason for willfully reinforcing a demonstrably unreliable “narrative” is that they A. chose to or B. are being told to. I’m pretty sure B is the more likely scenario. After my local paper stopped endorsing political candidates in national races at the behest of their owners, I’ve come to believe that corporate ownership is dictating the “narrative.” And they don’t really care if the reporter looks stupid — so they continue to dictate the narrative election after election.

        • You’re absolutely right. But those forwarded emails reinforce a specific message. Right now they’re still pushing the “inflation” angle because they think it will be a winning message in 2024. You’ll find a whole lot less reporting about the erosion of reproductive rights and how it’s destroying women’s health. Nope, it’s “ZOMG, your Thanksgiving turkey cost $4 more this year! You’re going to have to go dumpster diving for children’s toys this Christmas!”

          • …obviously it’s easier to do with the cartoonishly exaggerated likes of fox “news”…but I think I saw a statistic that post-midterm the time they spent banging the drum about crime was literally halved

            …that carlson fuckwit may be many things…but I don’t think that’s the sort of cue the rest of the channel is taking by looking closely at what the runtime of his show breaks down to…so I’m pretty sure you’re right about the source of those narratives…& the perspective that makes out they’re appropriate priorities?

          • US gas prices are a good example — when they were hitting $5 a gallon, it was apocalypse now for the press, but now that they’re back to inflation adjusted levels in line with much of the 2000s, they rarely get mentioned except in non-factual handwaving doomtalk.


        • Just to add to the lazy journalism: I just saw a disclaimer/explanation video from Flyin Miata about why they stopped producing V8 miatas, because there were several articles on the internet. FM only had ONE phone call to reference check these articles, and it was from Jalopnik.

    • …the story they turned into starship troopers had a conceit whereby the only members of that society who had a vote “earned” it through military service…which in the abstract is a semi-interesting thought experiment but in practice sounds like a fast track to dystopia

      …not sure what he had in mind as a qualification since presumably if he’s running for office he thinks he’s qualified so it can’t be the military thing…& apparently it’s not math-based, either

      …it’s a weird date to pick…assuming he meant to say 1990 he’d be suggesting you couldn’t vote until you were very nearly of age to be a viable presidential candidate…so I don’t know where that leaves people who’ve successfully sought office while younger than that…vote for me because I can’t vote is hardly a winning campaign slogan but absent that you’d have people starting political careers in their mid-30s & the presidency would presumably never again be held by anyone to young to draw a pension

      …but if he didn’t mean 1990…then, what…2000?

      …it’s not as big a difference from the status quo…but it would give him a better shot at winning than he currently has…so I assume someone who has some actual facility with statistics tried to explain to him that older voters favor the GOP & he overcooked it?

      • Maybe Hershel figured his 1990 season with the Vikings?

        As for the Starship Troopers conceit, I see where you’re going at.  Heinlein wanted an electorate that wasn’t completely doing stuff in their own self interest (ie: thinking for the greater good.)  He didn’t realize that authoritarians generally head towards organizations with rigid/unquestioning hierarchies (including the civil service) which really does make them the least qualified/least capable of being a democracy voter block.

        I get the vision and agree that voters should be voting beyond their own selfish reasons for the greater good, but the practical and reality of such as system is just as bad as communism or dicatorship. Democracy, the least worst system.

        • …I don’t know to what extent heinlein thought it was a good idea…he had some janky ideas but it’s always hard to know for sure what an author intended by a particular aspect of their work…so he may have seen at least some of the ways it’s a flawed concept

          …I can sort of see how the idea that those willing to risk their lives for a society might feel like they ought to have a greater say in that society than people who weren’t…but I’m also familiar with phrases like “a military mindset” or “battlefield calculus”…& the idea of pre-emptively dismissing any chance of the people in charge being ones who think of war as the opposite of a solution seems like an obviously terrible way to pick political leaders

          …on the other hand…it is a pretty good thought experiment?

          • It is a good thought experiment.  Being an ignorant kid, I agreed but actual real life experience says Heinlein was completely full of shit.

            Just like Heinlein demanding a military be all teeth and no ass.  I have managers at work who insist on the same.  They keep forgetting that you need people to push the paperwork, to load pallets, to fill magazines, to organize and sort parts, to fix shit, to do all the shit you need to do to make the critical task of war fighting happen.

            See the Russian Army in the Ukraine to see how Heinleins vision of a military with all teeth and no ass works out in real life. A total fucking disaster.

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