Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Last Call For Trump Goes Viral, Con't

The Federal Reserve gave into Trump's screaming of DO SOMETHING and cut interest rates by a half-point today, and the markets immediately took it as a sign that markets are now somewhere between "unrestrained panic that Trump in charge during a pandemic" and "Is it 2008 again?"

The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates on Tuesday in an emergency move to shield the world’s largest economy from the impact of the coronavirus, as Group of Seven finance officials pledged unspecified “appropriate” policy moves.

The Fed said it was cutting rates by a half percentage point to a target range of 1.00% to 1.25%. The decision was unanimous.

“The fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong. However, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity,” it said in a statement.

President Donald Trump said a half point cut was not enough.

After a record 1,200+ point rise Monday, the Dow basically gave most of that back Tuesday

Stocks had initially jumped more than 1%, but then dropped as traders worried whether pumping more money into financial markets would address the central problem - a drop in business activity as workers and consumers stay home.

“The rate cut underscores the magnitude of the problem that the global economy is facing,” said Peter Kenny, founder of Kenny’s Commentary LLC and Strategic Board Solutions LLC in New York.

“Normally, markets would welcome a rate cut, and they were hoping for it. Now that we’ve got it, the question is, what’s next?”

The 10-year Treasury yield fell below 1% for the first time ever as nervous investors moved money out of the stock market.

The S&P financials index tumbled 3.7%, reflecting banks’ difficulty in making profits in low-interest rate environments.

Wall Street on Friday had its biggest weekly decline in more than a decade as growing cases of the flu-like virus outside China fanned fears of a global recession.

The reality is setting in that the Trump regime will not only not be any help at the federal level against COVID-19, but that Trump himself will continue to spread misinformation in order to cover his own ass.

No wonder then the markets are in freefall with the death toll up to nine and growing.

It's About Suppression, Con't

In 2018, then Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, now Governor, alleged that Democrats hacked the state's election information database in order to "steal" the 2018 election in the state.  Today, the state's Republican attorney general closed the case because Democrats didn't do anything, and there was no evidence whatsoever to support Kemp's claims.

Georgia investigators found no evidence to support Gov. Brian Kemp’s allegation just before Election Day in 2018 that the Democratic Party tried to hack election information, according to a report released Tuesday by the attorney general’s office.

The attorney general’s office closed the case that Kemp had opened when he was secretary of state, overseeing the same election he was running for. Kemp made the hacking accusation two days before the election.

Kemp, a Republican, defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams by about 55,000 votes.

No election information was damaged, stolen or lost, according to the attorney general’s report. Nor were any crimes committed by the person who reported vulnerabilities with Georgia’s election registration websites to the Democratic Party and an attorney who is suing the state.

Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Nikema Williams said Kemp made “outright lies” to attack his political opponents and help his election.

“More than a year after the sitting secretary of state leveraged baseless accusations against his political opponents, we’re finally receiving closure on an ‘investigation’ that has been a sham from the start,” said Williams, a state senator from Atlanta. “As we have since well before these outright lies came to light in the first place, Georgia Democrats will continue to do everything in our power to fight back against voter suppression.

A spokeswoman for Kemp said his office did the right thing by asking law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and GBI, to investigate.

“We appreciate the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and attorney general’s office for investigating a failed cyber intrusion before the November 2018 election,” said Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for Kemp. “More importantly, we are grateful that the systems put in place by Brian Kemp as Georgia’s secretary of state kept voter data safe and secure.”

The report from the office of Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican, found that there were some vulnerabilities with the state’s online voter registration systems. Those issues were corrected by contractors for the secretary of state’s office.

However, the vulnerabilities were different from those alleged by Richard Wright, the Georgia resident who called attention to them, according to the report. Wright had said that anyone could download state voter registration information and any voter's registration card.

Wright was wrong when he claimed that election systems weren't secure, Broce said. She said Wright refused to cooperate with the investigation.

“While the evidence in this case properly gave rise to concerns that were appropriately addressed by law enforcement, the investigation did not reveal any evidence to support the criminal prosecution of Mr. Wright,” according to a memo from Senior Assistant Attorney General Laura Pfister. “Therefore, I recommend closing the file at this time.”

The vulnerabilities under Kemp's run as Secretary of State get fixed, he gets to remain governor after alleging massive election fraud two days before the vote, and he gets away with it in a close race with Stacey Abrams.

If Abrams had ended up winning, bet your life Kemp would have "found evidence" that the Democrats had "hacked" the election.

Another #MeToo Moment

Over the weekend, GQ political reporter Laura Bassett published her own #MeToo moment about Matthews.

In 2017, I wrote a personal essay about a much older, married cable-news host who inappropriately flirted with me in the makeup room a few times before we went live on his show, making me noticeably uncomfortable on air. I was afraid to name him at the time for fear of retaliation from the network; I’m not anymore. It was Chris Matthews. In 2016, right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump, Matthews looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?”

When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. “Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.”

Another time, he stood between me and the mirror and complimented the red dress I was wearing for the segment. “You going out tonight?” he asked.

I said I didn’t know, and he said—again to the makeup artist—“Make sure you wipe this off her face after the show. We don’t make her up so some guy at a bar can look at her like this.”

Again—Matthews was never my boss. I’m pretty sure that behavior doesn’t rise to the level of illegal sexual harassment. But it undermined my ability to do my job well. And after I published a story about it, even though I didn’t name him, dozens of people reached out to say they knew exactly who it was. Many had similar stories.

A fellow cable-news pundit, who doesn’t want to be named for professional reasons, said Matthews invited her on to talk about misogyny in the Republican Party, telling her that he planned to draw a comparison to the ’60s ad-men show Mad Men. Right before going on air, he turned to her and asked “whether Joan’s proportions are real,” referring to the body of a curvy character on the show, before seamlessly transitioning into a supposedly feminist segment. She was shaken, like I was. (At the time of publication, MSNBC had not yet responded to GQ with comment on either incident.)
In fact, Matthews’s whole modus operandi seems to be inviting smart women onto his show, flirting with them or otherwise making them uncomfortable before or while the camera rolls, asking them a question on air and then immediately interrupting them to tell them why they’re wrong. He repeated this playbook with Warren this week. The fact that this kind of behavior has not lost him his primetime cable-news show in the year 2020—even aside from his egregious “Bill Cosby pill” joke and the sexual-harassment allegation against him—speaks to how far the #MeToo movement still has to go to change the standards for what kind of attitudes toward women in the workplace are acceptable and even rewarded.

There is a worthy journalistic line of inquiry Matthews could take about nondisclosure agreements and the role they play in muzzling women and upholding abusive power structures. Instead of exploring that, Matthews attacked Warren's clarity on whether she believes another woman’s corroborated testimony. He seems constitutionally incapable of probing these hyper-relevant topics with anything approaching intellectual curiosity or open-mindedness. In that way, he's also unfit for his job.

Beyond the question of Matthews’s employment, there is the decision of keeping a man with this flagrant bias as the anchor of a major cable-news evening show. His position affords him the ability to affect public opinion, both sweeping away documented behavior of male presidential candidates and casting doubt on corroborated women’s accusations against those men. Having a news anchor who calls women “she-devil” and treats their assessments with infantilizing suspicion while conducting post-debate interviews builds in a major disadvantage for female candidates. And that’s downright irresponsible.

Last night, Matthews did the right thing and quit, on air.

I don't think he was given a choice.

Nor should he have been.


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