Monday, August 3, 2020

Last Call For Retribution Execution, Con't

The Trump regime does whatever it wants to do at this point and nobody in the Senate GOP seems too keen on stopping them.

A controversial Trump administration pick for a top Pentagon post has been placed into a senior role days after his nomination hearing was canceled amid bipartisan opposition to his nomination. 
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata has formally withdrawn his nomination to be the Defense Department undersecretary of defense for policy and has been designated "the official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy reporting to the Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James Anderson," a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement. 
When the nomination hearing for Tata was canceled Thursday, President Donald Trump told aides the plan was to put him in a position he could have without a confirmation hearing, according to a source familiar with the discussions. The role he'll be in now is essentially the deputy of the role he had been nominated for. 
It was previously reported that Trump had a call with Senate Armed Services Chairman Jim Inhofe the evening prior and that the Oklahoma Republican bluntly told the President his nominee was in trouble. 
Tata was expected to face a tough nomination hearing on Thursday before the committee after CNN's KFile reported that he made numerous Islamophobic and offensive comments and promoted conspiracy theories. 
"There are many Democrats and Republicans who didn't know enough about Anthony Tata to consider him for a very significant position at this time," Inhofe said last week. 
A GOP aide to a lawmaker who previously expressed concern about Tata's nomination told CNN that the administration's move regarding Tata "was a matter of when, not if." 
Withdrawing his nomination was legally necessary so he could be placed in a role to perform the duties. 
Steve Vladeck, a CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said in a tweet Sunday the administration's move is "all a naked end-run around" the federal provision that bars Tata from being named to the same position he was nominated for -- unless he's spent 90 days as the first assistant to the position. 
"That clock is now running," Vladeck said.

At this point Trump is now openly steamrolling his Senate GOP protectors because he now knows they will never hold him accountable, and that if he sics his base on them, they will be destroyed. Jim Inhofe must be furious, but he won't do a thing, and if he does, Trump will ignore it.

He's ignoring it just like he's ignoring the Supreme Court on DACA.

The Trump administration announced on July 28 that it will continue to defy a federal court order compelling the full restoration of DACA, the Obama-era program that allows 700,000 immigrants to live and work in the United States legally. By doing so, the administration has chosen to flout a decision by the Supreme Court, effectively rejecting the judiciary’s authority to say what the law is. 
Donald Trump first attempted to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September 2017, a move that would’ve stripped its beneficiaries of work permits and subjected them to deportation. But his administration continually cut corners, failing to explain the basis for its decision and refusing to consider the impact of DACA repeal on immigrants, their communities, and their employers (including the U.S. Army). This June, the Supreme Court ruled that the administration’s actions were “arbitrary and capricious” under federal law and therefore “set aside” DACA repeal. 
To implement that decision, U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm compelled the administration to restore DACA to its pre-repeal condition on July 17. Grimm’s order required the Department of Homeland Security to let DACA beneficiaries renew their status for two years, accept new applicants, and restore “advance parole,” which permits travel outside the country. But DHS did not do that. Instead, the agency maintained that it would reject new DACA applicants. It also declined to accept DACA renewals or reinstate advance parole. 
At a hearing Friday, Grimm tore into Justice Department attorneys for flouting his order. The government’s actions, he explained, created “a feeling and a belief that the agency is disregarding binding decisions” from the Supreme Court. DOJ attorneys insisted that DACA applications were merely “on hold,” or “placed into a bucket,” while the administration decided how to proceed. But, as Grimm retorted, “it is a distinction without a difference to say that this application has not been denied, it has been received and it has been put in a bucket.” The judge once again directed DHS to comply with the law by accepting new applicants and processing renewals. 
Incredibly, the agency has decided to disobey this order, as well. On Tuesday, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf declared that it would not accept new applications and would only grant one-year extensions to current beneficiaries “on a case by case basis.” This tactic will make it easier for Trump to deport DACA beneficiaries if he wins reelection, since their status will expire sooner. The agency will also deny advance parole “absent exceptional circumstances.” This new policy is nothing less than brazen defiance of a federal court ruling. Grimm, and the Supreme Court itself, ordered DACA’s full resuscitation, which requires the acceptance of new applicants and the conferral of two-year renewals. There is simply no legal basis for DHS’s zombie version of the program.

Trump will do it anyway.

Who's going to stop him?

Tales Of The Trump Depression, Con't

How bad is the Trump Depression right now?  It's "Can't even make money selling coffee and donuts as gas stations" bad.

Dunkin' is permanently closing 8% of its United States locations, which amounts to roughly 800 restaurants. 
The company announced the changes in its second quarter earnings, released Thursday. Dunkin' described the closures as "real estate portfolio rationalization" and said the affected locations are in "low-volume sales locations" that only represent 2% of its US sales as of 2019. 
More than half of the closures are in Speedway convenience stores, a change it previously announced in February. These locations are set to be closed by the end of this year. 
Dunkin' (DNKN) also said approximately 350 locations "may permanently close" outside of the US.

It's "Can't even sell Big Macs in a Wal-Mart" bad.

McDonald's is permanently closing 200 of its 14,000 U.S. locations this year with "low-volume restaurants" in Walmart stores making up over half of the closures. 
During its quarterly earnings call Tuesday, the fast food giant said the closings were previously planned for future years but are being accelerated. Officials also shared the continued impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on sales globally. 
"Within a matter of weeks, the McDonald's system made operational modifications across 30,000 restaurants, while closing and then reopening another 9,000 restaurants," CEO Chris Kempczinski said during Tuesday's earnings call. "We introduced new safety procedures in all our restaurants, modified our menus and developed new contactless ways to serve our customers."

Sit-down restaurants are done.  They are taking those jobs with them, millions of them.  As restaurants and bars are shut down again thanks to COVID-19 spikes, with the GOP killing the PPP, the next several months are going to be brutal.

Even in pre-COVID 2020, at least five restaurant chains filed for bankruptcy protection. The fact that COVID-19 wasn’t even on the radar two weeks before the wave of virus-related closures should be predictive of the additionally massive impact of these temporary closures. 
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) helped slow the tide of failures among smaller chains, but for some, PPP money was really just prolonging the inevitable. COVID-19 has provided an additional untimely blow to the casual dining space that cannot transition as nimbly to a takeout-only model. Furthermore, as restaurants start to reopen — potentially more than once as several states have recoiled some of their earlier opening plans — casual-dining restaurants have to deal with reduced seating capacity in addition to a litany of other unfamiliar COVID-related requirements (providing and requiring personal protective equipment, and requiring reservations for seating). 
In the interim, several restaurant companies are renegotiating (or trying to renegotiate) lease terms — most after missing April’s rent payment at a minimum — as well as renegotiating their loan operating covenants. In my experience, banks are more sympathetic than landlords, perhaps because landlords have banks to deal with as well. 
Historically, landlords have generally been unflinching to threats of bankruptcy when dealing with delinquent tenants. Perhaps that will change with the realization that there may not be a lot of new tenants available. Candidly, financing new restaurant growth won’t be very easy from either an equity or debt perspective. 
So where does that leave us today? Some restaurant chains, such as those in the quick-service space, will continue to fare better. For other chains, such as those in the casual-dining space, bankruptcy may be the only option. Other than a fortunate buyer, there are few winners in a Chapter 7 filing.
Equity owners and landlords are on the losing end of this. Even secured creditors usually receive a pittance of their original investment; sales of used restaurant capital equipment were poor before COVID-19, so one can only imagine how abysmal they will be post-COVID. 
For those restaurants with creditors willing to finance a bankruptcy, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing may be the only option. To be clear, a Chapter 11 is expensive — requiring teams of bankruptcy lawyers, “turnaround” management firms, and other professionals who all require secured and expensive payments upfront. 
However, whatever the faults of the process, it is inevitable that there will be an onslaught of Chapter 11 filings for chain-restaurant companies in the balance of 2020 and likely through 2021.

I don't know any nice, friendly way to say this folks. A third of all restaurants will be gone by the end of next year.  Millions of jobs will be gone with them.  It's going to take another dismal jobs report or two where "the V-shaped recovery" myth disintegrates, and the GOP will be dragged kicking and screaming into another COVID-19 package...probably...but by that time it will be too late.

The restaurant business was in bad trouble before COVID. It is a doomed, absolutely doomed business model now in the era of pandemics. The big boys like Mickey Ds will survive, moving to a delivery model with limited seating. The Mom and Pop, hole-in-the-wall local places that you know and love?  Odds are they'll be gone in six months, twelve tops, and they won't come back.

Nobody's going to have the money to eat out anyway.  A lot of damage will be done before a new Democratic Congress and president can be sworn in, and should Republicans remain in charge of the Senate, or God forbid the White House, we'll be referring to 2020 as "the good old days". The best case scenario is that restaurants are bailed out and become massive corporate endeavors, like Yum Brands only with hedge fund money.

Order up.

The check is here, and somebody has to pay.

A Conspiracy Of Dunces

Trump's longest-lasting mess may be the GOP itself, now infested with QAnon nutjobs and conspiracy theorists openly running for office across the nation, as social media like Twitter fights back against them.

Followers of the far-right QAnon conspiracy believe a “deep state” of federal bureaucrats, Democratic politicians and Hollywood celebrities are plotting against President Trump and his supporters while also running an international sex-trafficking ring (an FBI memo released last year warned QAnon’s followers could be possible “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists”).

Forbes confirmed that 14 candidates (first identified by the left-leaning media watchdog Media Matters and Rantt Media) running in 2020 and verified by Twitter have actively supported the theory on Twitter.

Three of the 14—Republican House candidates Alison Hayden, in California’s 15th District, and Nikka Piterman, in California’s 13th district; and Jo Rae Perkins, the Republian candidate for Senate in Oregon—have tweeted about QAnon since Twitter’s July 22 crackdown, while Mike Cargile, a Republican candidate for California’s 35th district, keeps multiple QAnon hashtags in his Twitter bio.

Even as Twitter fact-checks President Trump, many of the tweets about QAnon sent by verified political candidates remain up on its site, without any warning labels. Twitter’s sweeping actions against QAnon removed accounts from its platform and blocked the conspiracy from appearing in its trending section.

After Forbes reached out to Twitter about whether the crackdown would apply to politicians—especially those verified by the platform—Twitter issued Forbes a statement that read: We are constantly iterating on our policies and are evaluating the expansion of this policy to include candidates and elected officials.

The 14 candidates Forbes confirmed citing QAnon include one candidate for the U.S. Senate, Jo Rae Perkins, the Republican candidate in Oregon; KW Miller, an independent House candidate in Florida; and 12 Republican House candidates: Joyce Bentley, Nev.; Mike Cargile, Calif.; Erin Cruz, Calif.; Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ga; Alison Hayden, Calif; Buzz Patterson, Calif.; Nikka Piterman, Calif; Bill Prempeh, N.J.; Theresa Raborn, Ill.; Angela Stanton-King, Ga.; Rob Weber ,Philanise White, Ill.

Buoyed by their verification status, some of the QAnon-supporting candidates have racked up huge followings that dwarf their opponents. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican House candidate in Georgia who has called “Q” a “patriot,” has 45,000 followers—more than 36 times her GOP runoff challenger John Cowan, and presumptive Democratic challenger Kevin Van Ausdal combined. And multiple candidates told Forbes they have had problems getting verified. Allen Ellison, a Democratic House candidate in Florida, told Forbes he was verified only a “few weeks ago” after trying repeatedly to obtain a blue check since March when he originally filled out the required questionnaire. Dr. Carolyn Salter, a Democratic House candidate in Texas, has yet to receive Twitter verification, even though her campaign filled out a form on Ballotpedia on June 15, a website which Twitter has partnered with to verify candidates. Gary Wegman, a Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 9th district, has also not received blue check verification, though Mallie Prytherch, Wegman’s campaign director, told Forbes that the campaign completed the questionnaire and appeared on Ballotpedia around two months ago. Prytherch was also told by Twitter that it would have to wait for applications to be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Twitter doesn't like disrupting accounts that have lots of followers because it reduces their ad revenue, pure and simple.  Look at Trump.

The bigger problem is that more than a dozen Republicans are running on this conspiracy theory, and odds are at least one or two of them will win, as they are running in pretty red seats. And we're going to have to listen to them puke up this nonsense on the floor of the House as they scream at Democrats and other "deep state agents".

The Trumpian insanity will take decades to root out of our politics even if Democrats take control of the White House and Senate.


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