ZipDialog Roundup for Friday, October 13

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

◆ Very good economic news, twice over

Overall, a very strong report across multiple economic sectors, despite the hurricanes.

The retail sales report is closely watched because it provides an early read on consumer activity each month. Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of the economy.

U.S. economic growth likely slowed in the July-September quarter as the hurricanes shut down thousands of businesses, people were forced to miss work, and power was cut to millions of homes. Analysts forecast that the economy expanded at a 2% annual pace in the third quarter, down from a 3% gain in the April-June quarter.

Yet the economy is expected to rebound in the final three months of the year as rebuilding and repair work accelerates. –USA Today

Comment: Very good news, indeed. To keep it going, especially as interest rates rise and the job market gets tighter, the administration needs to keep reducing regulations and get a tax cut through Congress.

Trump refuses to certify the Iran Nuclear Deal, saying it is not in America’s best interests

He made a strong speech, which included an itemized list of Iran’s lethal attacks on Americans and its sponsorship of terror throughout the Middle East.

The hardest immediate blow to Iran was Trump’s decision to label Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist entity. That’s important because the Revolutionary Guard is the regime’s enforcer and controls a huge chuck of the country’s economy.

Next up: Congress has to determine whether to impose sanctions on Iran.

If it does, then the US effectively withdraws from the multilateral “Joint Agreement.” But who knows what Congress will do, especially with Trump’s latest personal foe, Bob Corker, as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?

As expected, the other signatories to the agreement didn’t like Trump’s decision.

No improvement in the horrific California wildfires. Death toll above 30 and expected to rise (Los Angeles Times)

15 fires have burned over 200k acres so far.

Trump hits Obamacare with a double whammy, ending subsidies to private insurers and urging competition across state lines

Without subsidies, the insurers will likely stop providing policies to lower-middle-class consumers. The poorest are not affected because they are on Medicaid. The better off are not affected if they have employer healthcare plans.

Whether insurers can operate across state lines will depend on whether state regulators allow it. Right now, they don’t.

Conservatives are furious at Mitch McConnell and establishment Republicans for the very slow pace at which Trump appointees are approved (Daily Signal)

Comment: The pace is extremely slow. Trump has been slow to put forward nominees in some areas. The Democrats have opposed everything, tooth and nail. And the Republicans have refused to change any rules to speed things along, giving free rein to the Democrats’ delaying tactics. Since many establishment Republicans oppose Trump, the delays may be just fine with them.

But rank-and-file Republicans and many donors are not happy. They especially want to see judicial nominees moved along expeditiously.

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ZipDialog Roundup for Wednesday, October 11

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

◆ The devastation–human and material–keeps growing from California wildfires

 

Stand and Deliver: Goodell send letter telling NFL players he wants them to stand during anthem(ESPN)

No specifics on how the league plans to ensure it or act toward players who do not stand.

Comment #1: ESPN broke into their political coverage to cover this sports story.

Comment #2 re Trump vs NFL kneelers: ZipDialog predicted

(a) the league would cave after seeing the fans’ and advertisers’ reactions,
(b) Trump was politically smart to make this an issue; most people respect the flag, and ALL his base does; and
(c) when Trump won on this issue, he wouldn’t be shy about saying so.

 Horny Harvey and Hollywood Hypocrisy

Harvey Weinstein’s Behavior Was ‘Worst Kept Secret in Hollywood,” says actor (Fox News)

Comment: Now that he has been destroyed, the powerful people and institutions will finally speak.

I completely understand why the weak and vulnerable kept quiet; they are victims. But the powerful and well-entrenched who knew about this have no such excuses.

 The next phases of the Weinstein story, as I see it

Comment: Here are some obvious angles. The question is whether the media wants to investigate, given that they are directly implicated, along with their powerful friends:

  • Democrats who were close to him will have to defend themselves and offer stories about their ignorance (some true, some false)
    • Many are now saying they are “shocked, shocked” to find out this about Mr. Weinstein. Gimme a break.
    • Why did Hillary, Barack, and all the others wait five days after the NYT broke the story before commenting?
    • Why did all the late-night comedians (except John Oliver) maintain radio silence, as Saturday Night Live did? They will jump on Weinstein’s figurative corpse now, but where were they after the story broke?
  • The media will be all over the Weinstein story but they will downplay or ignore the media’s complicity or the Democrats role in it (just as the conservative media will harp on it)
    • The NYT, the most MSM of MSM outlets, deserves lots of credit for breaking the story. But they need to explain why they didn’t dig further a decade ago, when they first had the story. Lots of women were harmed in the intervening years.
  • What about the media outlets, like the NYT and NBC, that had the story and didn’t run it?  What about the gossip sites like TMZ? Why didn’t they investigate this well-known rumor?
  • What about the others sexual harassment and exploitation in Hollywood? Will the media investigate or wait for Gloria Allred? There have been rumors for years about pedophilia, but no real reporting.

Henry Kissinger meets with Trump. What’s that about?

Comment: Kissinger  has made one of the most sensible and serious proposals about working with China to resolve the North Korean crisis. He is also the most trusted intermediary to broker a deal between Beijing and Washington and to carry back-channel messages between the two. (Kissinger’s proposal was contained in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, subscription)

My guess: Trump listened to Kissinger, said “great, if Xi is willing to do it. But if he won’t or it doesn’t work, tell him the US will act unilaterally in a wide variety of ways that the Chinese won’t like.”

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Hat Tip to

◆ Randy Helm for pointing out that the NYT deserves credit for breaking the story

ZipDialog Roundup for Tuesday, October 10

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

◆ Massive Wildfires across Northern California. Blazes in Sonoma’s wine country have not been contained(New York Times)

At least 10 dead so far, 1500 buildings destroyed.

Comment: There are other fires in Southern California. Together, they challenge the state’s ability to respond.

 Tennessee’s centrist Republican Senator, Bob Corker, doubles down on his accusations against Trump

The New York Times broke the news and did an in-depth interview with Corker, whose attacks on Trump are as personal as DJT’s angry tweets at Corker. The Times’ latest article is here.

Comment: Corker’s attacks are important for three reasons

  • First, according to NYT reporters, Corker’s criticisms are merely the public voice of what most Senate Republicans say. Steve Bannon has said the same thing: establishment Republicans hate Trump and want to sink his agenda.
  • Second, since the Democrats oppose every Trump legislative initiative, he only chance to pass legislation is to hold together a narrow Republican majority. Now, Corker and McCain seem determined to oppose Trump. Add Rand Paul, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski to that grouping and you fall well short of 50 votes. (And most legislation will require 60.)
  • Third, Corker, as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is privy to the highest-levels of US intel and diplomacy. He has recently said that Trump could be leading the US into World War III.

The husband-and-wife team indicted in the Democratic Congressional IT scandal have now turned on each other (Daily Caller)

The indicted husband-and-wife team of former IT aides to Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz sat directly across from each other at the defendants’ table in federal court Friday in Washington, D.C., but refused to look at each other.

Even as they are co-defendants in a U.S. case, Imran Awan’s own wife, Hina Alvi, has become the latest person to accuse him of fraud, filing papers against him in Pakistani court, according to Pakistani news channel ARY.

Awan, his wife and two brothers — all previously on the payroll of House Democrats — became subjects of a Capitol Police investigation last year after investigators concluded they were submitting falsified invoices for equipment and had transferred “massive” data off a House server. After he was banned from the House network, Awan left a laptop with the username RepDWS in a Capitol Hill phone booth.

Although The Washington Post has reported that investigators found that Awan and his relatives made unauthorized access to a congressional server 5,400 times, Wasserman Schultz has said concern about the matter was the stuff of the “right-wing media circus fringe.” –Daily Caller

Comment: Whenever the defendants turn on each other, the prosecution benefits.

What do we need to know?

  • Were the Democrats’ confidential information shared with outsiders, including foreign actors?
  • Why did Debbie Wasserman Schultz stick by her accused aide for so long? Did he have anything on her?
  • How deep and wide does this scandal go?

Comment #2: Mainstream media has shown zero interest in this massive scandal.

Today’s “WTF” story

Comment: No matter how fearsome your school’s mascot, I’m betting that “Radioactive Wild Boars” is scarier.

The University of Arkansas should really consider upgrading their Razorback symbol.

 

 

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