Saturday, October 12, 2019

Last Call For Trump Trades Blow, Con't

Singapore has knocked the United States out of the top spot in the World Economic Forum's annual competitiveness report
The index, published on Wednesday, takes stock of an economy's competitive landscape, measuring factors such as macroeconomic stability, infrastructure, the labor market and innovation capability. 
Singapore pushed the world's largest economy down to second place this year, with the Asian city state scoring top marks for its infrastructure, health, labor market and financial system. 
And while the United States lost out to Singapore overall, "it remains an innovation powerhouse," the report said. 
Singapore and Vietnam put up strong performances this year partly thanks to the US-China trade war. 
The report noted that the two Asian economies "appear to be benefiting from global trade tensions through trade diversion." Vietnam jumped 10 spots from last year to rank 67th out of 137 countries. 
US imports from Vietnam rose by 36% in the first five months of this year, as companies have been shifting manufacturing from China to Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries to avoid steep tariffs. 
The trade war hasn't been a clean win for Singapore, which is heavily reliant on exports and counts China as its biggest trading partner. 
Singapore slashed its forecast for GDP growth in August, after reporting a big drop in economic activity in the second quarter of this year. It's heading for its weakest annual growth since the 2009 global financial crisis. 

So despite Singapore's economy clearly suffering, it's still more competitive than the US because the US suffered more under Trump.

It's a job only the most overrated businessman in America could accomplish.

Never Trump, For Your Narrow Definition Of Never

Tom Nichols wants Trump to lose, but maybe Trump's not such a bad guy after all if Dems don't shut up about those awful gays, or something.

Dear Democrats:

We’ve been together for a while now. It’s platonic, and probably always will be, as we share a home together as friends ever since I left the Republicans. But I appreciate our new relationship, and that’s why I’m comfortable telling you here that I’m worried about you.

We don’t agree about everything; still, we get along pretty well, you and I, centered around the daily understanding that Donald Trump is a dire threat to the United States. That’s why I’ve been comfortable in my public commitment to vote for the Democratic presidential nominee, come hell or high water. You’ve mostly responded to this by…

Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? I feel like you’re not doing your part here.

We take our walks together and we discuss the importance of getting rid of Donald Trump. And yet, when we both leave for work in the morning, it feels like only one of us is really, truly serious about that.

When we watched the LGBTQ town hall on CNN recently, we had very different reactions. This is the event, you remember, where Beto O’Rourke said he’d punish religious institutions for refusing gay marriage, and where Kamala Harris started by informing us of her pronouns, and then Chris Cuomo, after a mild and dopey joke, had to go on Twitter the next day and apologize for making light of it. This is where Elizabeth Warren fielded a question about traditional marriage by with a sneering, smug insinuation that the only people who would ask her about that are men who can’t find a woman.

You thought it was great. You saw a ringing defense of LGBTQ rights and a reaffirmation of what Democrats stand for.

I saw it and thought: Are these people insane? Are they trying to lose the election?

So Nichols has gone from Republican to "independent" with a healthy appetite for scolding the Democrats for not being Republican enough.  Better drop them gays, Dems, or Jake and Linda out in Middle America will vote for Trump just to punish you!

Well if that's the case?

Jake and Linda can go take a long walk off a short elitist coastal city pier.  If you're seriously arguing that reminding voters that Democrats aren't the party trying to relegate LGBTQ+ Americans into permanent second-class status, and you're going to be a bigot and vote for Trump, that's not the Democrats' problem.

"Don't hand issues to culture warriors" warns Nichols, as if Republicans haven't come across the idea of attacking Democrats for supporting or being LGBTQ+ folks, or they've magically forgotten somehow.

Nichols states his case plainly.

We pledged over two years ago to join hands on this one issue. But now I worry that in your zeal to win the Woke Twitter and college campus primary, you will simply make the same mistakes you made in 2016. Your nominee will crush it in the bi-coastal race to be the Honorary Governor of the New Californiork Republic. Blue cities everywhere will welcome you as liberators. And Trump will laugh at you every day from Washington.

This election could be a landslide if the public focuses on Trump’s abuses of power, his offenses against the Constitution, his insane foreign policy, his barely contained megalomania and narcissism. I support your efforts to impeach him, but that’s likely to fail, and it is well within your — our — power to remove him at the ballot box when that happens.

But if you can’t get to 270 electoral votes, you’re going to have to live with me as the grumpiest roommate you ever had. You can count on four years of me letting the tub get grimy, leaving my dishes in the sink, and not speaking to you.

Because if Trump wins again, it’s going to be your fault

Go screw yourself, Tom.  If Trump wins again, it's the fault of the people who voted for him.

Outfoxed And Out At FOX

FOX News State TV anchor Shep Smith got tired of being the last news guy at the propaganda network, so Friday was his last show. CNN Media correspondent Brian Stetler lays out the tale:

Last month Shep Smith decided that he had simply had enough. 
With President Trump actively distorting the truth and many of his own colleagues helping him do it, the Fox News star prided himself on anchoring a newscast that countered the network's pro-Trump opinion shows. 
The way Smith saw it, he was making sure that accurate information was getting on Fox's air. 
"I wonder," he told a Time magazine reporter last year, "if I stopped delivering the facts, what would go in its place in this place that is most watched, most listened, most viewed, most trusted? I don't know." 
But he reached a breaking point. Sometime in September, according to a well-placed source, he went to Fox News management and asked to be let out of his long-term contract. Tensions with the opinion shows were getting to be too much. 
In late September, 8 p.m. host Tucker Carlson mocked Smith for standing up for his friend and colleague Judge Andrew Napolitano after the judge was called a "fool" by one of Carlson's guests. The network's lack of a vocal defense for Smith following the incident bothered him and the whole episode factored into his decision to leave, according to a person familiar with the matter. 
But that episode was just one of many skirmishes that weighed heavily on Smith. 
Executives at the network leaned on him to stay, but to no avail. On Friday afternoon he announced his departure on the air, then exited the building immediately, clearly emotional about saying goodbye to his television home of twenty years. 
Smith was a Fox News original. He didn't change over the years -- the network changed around him. 
For months I have been working on a book about Fox News in the Trump age. Staffers have been confiding in me about the challenges of covering the news inside a network that is increasingly defined by sychophantic pro-Trump personalities like Sean Hannity.
Staffers on the news side unanimously point to Smith as a role model. 
But "it was clear he wasn't happy, on air and off air," one of the staffers said after Friday's stunning resignation announcement. 
Two other staffers also said he'd indicated he "wanted to leave" -- meaning that he was not forced out by management, as some outsiders immediately speculated on social media. 
"I think it probably just got to be too much," one of Smith's allies inside Fox News headquarters said.

I don't really have much sympathy for anyone who chose to spend 20 years at the GOP's propaganda arm and suddenly realized they were never taken seriously by their own employer as a news anchor.  At best, Shep Smith was a beard, a mask to give FOX's right-wing noise machine credibility.

But that credibility, the last shred, I guess, is gone along with him.  There's zero doubt now that FOX News exists to further the GOP fascist stranglehold on this country and its people.

As with all the Never Trump converts, all I have is scorn for them.  You knew the damage you were doing, and you'd keep doing it as long as anyone other than Donald Trump was the face of the party.

Deportation Nation, Con't

The one thing that Trump's impeachment implosion has really put the kibosh on in the last month is the regime's plans for mass deportations of thousands, maybe millions.  The Trump regime suffered another legal blow in the courts on Friday over his plan to declare refugees and poor immigrants as "public charges" in order to justify refusing them public services and eventually ejecting them from the country.

Federal judges in New York and California on Friday ordered a nationwide block in cases challenging a Trump administration policy that would make it far easier for the government to deny legal status to immigrants who use or are deemed likely to use public assistance. The rule was set to go into effect next week.

Judge George B. Daniels, of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, ordered preliminary injunctions Friday afternoon in two related cases against the administration’s new “public charge” rule that could have denied legal permanent residency and other forms of legal status to many immigrants in the country who are deemed likely to use public assistance.

Daniels wrote in the decision explaining the order in a case announced by the New York attorney general's office in August that he found good cause to grant the motion because the plaintiffs in the case had sufficiently demonstrated their legal claims and that plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm if the rule went into effect.

"Overnight, the Rule will expose individuals to economic insecurity, health instability, denial of their path to citizenship, and potential deportation," he wrote.

"It is a rule that will punish individuals for their receipt of benefits provided by our government, and discourages them from lawfully receiving available assistance intended to aid them in becoming contributing members of our society," he wrote.

"This rule would have had devastating impacts on New Yorkers and our nation, and today’s decision is a critical step in our efforts to uphold the rule of law," New York Attorney General Letitia James said on Twitter.

That rule blockage has now led directly to another result: the sudden departure of one-time ICE boss and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security since April and the fourth person to serve in that post since the Trump presidency began, submitted his resignation to the White House on Friday, President Donald Trump announced Friday. 
"Kevin McAleenan has done an outstanding job as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security. We have worked well together with Border Crossings being way down. Kevin now, after many years in Government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector," Trump said. "Congratulations Kevin, on a job well done! I will be announcing the new Acting Secretary next week. Many wonderful candidates!" 
A source familiar with McAleenan's thinking tells CNN that the acting secretary felt he had accomplished all he could given the political realities of today -- specifically the unlikelihood that any legislative deal on immigration will happen in an election year. 
Moreover, with the numbers of undocumented immigrants apprehended or turned away at the border coming down for the fourth consecutive month -- 52,546 in September, a 65% drop from May -- the lack of crisis is dissuading members of Congress to act and compromise. McAleenan also has two young daughters and a wife with whom he wants to spend more time. 
The announcement has been planned for weeks, sources close to McAleenan say, and has nothing to do with the Ukraine scandal in which Trump and several other Cabinet officials are currently enmeshed. 
A source close to the process told CNN that White House officials tried to talk McAleenan out of resigning. 
In a statement posted to Twitter, McAleenan thanked Trump for the opportunity to serve and department employees for their work. He said he would strive to ensure a smooth transition.

I believe that McAleenan's departure "was in the works for weeks".  I even believe he didn't have "anything to do" with the Ukraine scandal.  What I don't believe is that he left because he "felt he accomplished all he could."

The Trumpies were on a roll on the deportation train, and the federal injunction will probably be decided in Trump's favor like the Muslim ban was should it get all the way to SCOTUS.  But McAleenan didn't want anything to do with it...because he clearly doesn't think the Trump regime is going to be around much longer.

No, he bailed on a sinking ship, and everyone knows it.
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