ZipDialog Roundup for Friday, April 21

Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple

 ISIS terror in Paris’ Champs-Élysées

Comment: Why would Islamic terrorists strike so close to the election, in such prominent spot? What’s the logic?

They surely know it will increase support for the most hardline anti-Islam candidates. They must calculate that such candidates will strengthen their own radical basic in poor, bitter, poorly-integrated areas in France and across Europe. That is, they want to drive a wedge between French Muslims and the rest of the country, hoping the Muslims will then side with ISIS.

The high-profile attack also signals strength to their supporters around the world. They are saying, in effect, that we may be losing their territorial Caliphate in Iraq/Syria, but we can still cause death and destruction to the Infidels. Of course, all non-Muslims and perhaps even Muslims who are not in ISIS are infidels.

Meanwhile, Europe itself is in the midst of a cultural, political, and organizational crisis, besieged on several fronts with no clear leaders and confusion over what to do about Islamic immigrants, Russia, the EU, and Turkey.

 US intel agencies reexaming leaks, could indict Julian Assange and WikiLeaks (CBS)

They are also engaged in a major hunt for the sources of multiple devastating releases of information, some to WikiLeaks, some to news outlets.

 VERY prominent financial exec says there are “some warning signs [in the economy] that are getting darker” (Bloomberg)

The comments came from Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager (over $5 trillion). Fink stressed how much depends on corporate earning and political action in Washington.

The stock market needs validation that U.S. corporate earnings will stay strong and that the policies of President Donald Trump regarding taxes, regulation and infrastructure will advance in Congress in order to move higher, Fink said.

“If we don’t have earnings validated in these higher P/Es [price/earnings ratios] we could adjust downward 5 or 10 percent from here,” Fink said. “If the administration does succeed on some of these items then the market will then reassert itself going higher.” –Larry Fink, interviewed by Bloomberg News

 Fine piece on the Mississippi Delta blues, local food, and other attractions in Clarksdale and points south  (Jackson, MS, Clarion-Ledger)

It comments on the Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood, Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville, and a lifelong favorite of mine, Chamoun’s Rest Haven (Lebanese food) in Clarksdale.

Comment: The omission of Abe’s Bar-B-Q is a serious error of omission that should be corrected immediately by the Clarion-Ledger.

People don’t go to Abe’s for the view or white table cloths. They go for some serious pulled-pork sandwiches.

In other Mississippi news: Gov. Phil Bryant vetoes a budget line-item spending $50,000 on a PR campaign telling people wild hogs are dangerous. His point: they are dangerous, but you should already know that unless you are an idiot. He was more polite.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

 

ZipDialog Roundup for Sunday, April 16

Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple

 North Korea: no nuclear test (yet), failed missile test on day of big celebration  No comment from Trump or top aides. (Washington Post)

Comment: We don’t know if North Korea simply wasn’t ready for its next nuclear test or was pressured by China. Either way, expect Kim Jong Un to continue pushing the envelope in dangerous ways. 

 Sec. of State Rex Tillerson’s stock is high and rising inside the White House. Outsiders have simply missed it  (Politico)

Tillerson has far more White House visits than other Cabinet members, as well as weekly private dinners with Trump.

Politico says Trump admires Tillerson’s skills in managing large organizations (he was superb at Exxon), and that Trump thinks, as executives do, in terms of quarterly results. And Tillerson is finishing the quarter strong, with his guidance on Syria, Iraq, and Russia.

The American Interest has a related article on Tillerson’s rise in what they call “Donald Trump’s Transactional Diplomacy.”

 Him no talk. Elizabeth Warren whines that Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to speak to her  (Washington Examiner)

Comment: Warren, you might remember, refused to shake hands with Judge Gorsuch and led the opposition to fellow Senator Jeff Sessions’ successful nomination to become Attorney General.

 Julian Assange grumpy with CIA after its head calls WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service” (Fox News)

Assange says CIA Director Mike Pompeo is trying to “subvert” his “First Amendment Rights.”

Quick Tip to Assange: Non-US citizens living in London do not have First Amendment Rights. Try a different gambit.

 

 

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦