40 thoughts on “News/Politics 4-7-18

  1. Immigrants in Italy. I have always had a soft spot for Sri Lanka ever since I determined it was the beautiful country where William Holden went for rest and recovery before he was sent back to Burma in The Bridge on the River Kwai.


  2. This is all true, but it does tend to keep the wimps away.

    If you are not familiar with him, Jay Caruso is the latest in a long line of fine conservative columnists at the Dallas Morning News.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ricky. I used to live in Fort Worth.
    I remember checking anti freeze when the temperature was 84 degrees.
    Bad weather was coming from Oklahoma.
    In those days, everything bad came from Oklahoma, especially football.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chas, The bad weather still comes from Oklahoma and they still steal our football players. However, we have made peace with the Okies and welcome them when they come here. As my Grandmother would say, “They are like us.”

    The Okies see Dallas as a modern-day Sodom, so you could see how they would fit in well in Fort Worth.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And here’s the type of immigrant story the NYT ignores. It doesn’t fit their agenda.

    Angela built this.


    “The German Interior Ministry has reported a significant rise in the number of Islamist extremists living in the country. Officially classified as Salafists, or radicalized Muslims, their number has crossed 11,000 for the first time.

    Five years ago the intelligence agencies had placed their number at 5,500—almost half of the present size. Those figures have been on an upward swing since German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the country’s borders to migrants in the autumn of 2015.

    The latest revelations should come as a wake-up call for the Merkel government which has spent millions of euros in ineffective de-radicalization programs aimed at young Muslims. This year German government has earmarked €100 million for ‘de-radicalizing’ the growing number of potential jihadis in the country.

    Cities of Berlin and Hamburg were emerging as major Islamist strongholds, the latest data suggested. The German weekly DER SPIEGEL reported:

    The Salafists scene in Germany has grown significantly in past five years. According to the Federal Interior Ministry, around 11,000 people hold allegiance to this ultra-conservative version of Islam.Their numbers have doubled since 2013. At that time the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution [Germany’s domestic spy agency, or BfV] had estimated their number at around 5,500. […]

    It has been noted that smaller federal states, such as Hamburg or Berlin, have seen a higher surge in the number of Salafists compared to the larger ones, the newspaper TAGESSPIEGEL wrote quoting security experts. Meanwhile, 898 Salafists live in Hamburg, TAGESSPIEGEL reported citing domestic spy agency (BfV). More than half of them (434) are classified as jihadis and therefore considered violent.

    The Islamist scene in North Rhine-Westphalia [Germany’s most populous state] is dominated by women. Police there have been monitoring dozens of female Salafists. Work is underway to prepare a list of banned mosques in the state.

    Federal Criminal Office [the German equivalent of the FBI] has classified around 760 people as dangerous Islamists—those considered capable of carrying out acts of terror by the law enforcement. More than half of them are currently in German and 153 are serving prison time. [Translation by the author]

    Around 1,000 German jihadis had left the country to join the ISIS. The collapse of the Islamic Caliphate in Syria and Iraq has forced hundreds of them to come home. Instead of taking measures to block their entry into the country, Merkel’s government is planning to bring back the wives and children of German ISIS fighters who are currently being held by the Iraqi or Kurdish forces. Merkel’s government has justified this decision by claiming “humanitarian considerations” and “Germany’s duty to protect its citizens,” the German public broadcaster DEUTSCHE WELLE reported.”


  6. Sure Ricky, because the US was doing so well before Trump. 🙄

    But I’ll give you a chance to convince me you’re right.

    First, tell me why Trump is wrong about this.


    “”Well, fellas, we’ve already lost the trade war,” the president said. “We don’t have a trade war. We’ve lost the trade war because for many years, whether it’s Clinton or the Bushes, Obama, all of our presidents before, for some reason it just got worse and worse. And now it’s $500 billion in deficits and a theft of $300 billion in intellectual property. So you can’t have this.”

    The president said the stock market might take a bit of a hit in the short term — and it has — but the country will be stronger in the long run, he insisted.

    “Now we could — the easiest thing for me to do would be just to close my eyes and forget it,” Mr. Trump said. “If I did that, then I’m not doing my job. I’m not saying there won’t be a little pain but the market’s gone up 40 percent, 42 percent — so we might lose a little bit of it — but we’re going to have a much stronger country when we’re finished. And that’s what I’m all about. We have to do things that other people wouldn’t do.””

    And then, explain how it is that you think the US was “winning” before Trump and not having trade disputes with China. Because the numbers show we’ve been getting our @#$%$ kicked. You seem OK with that. Why?


    “The U.S. trade deficit increased to a near 9½-year high in February as both exports and imports rose to record highs, but the shortfall with China narrowed sharply.

    The Commerce Department said on Thursday the trade gap rose 1.6 percent to $57.6 billion. That was the highest level since October 2008 and followed a slightly downwardly revised $56.7 billion shortfall in January.

    The deficit has now risen for six straight months. The goods trade deficit was the highest since July 2008 and the surplus on services was the lowest since December 2012.

    Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade gap widening to $56.8 billion in February from a previously reported $56.6 billion in the prior month.

    Part of the rise in the trade deficit in February reflected commodity price increases. The politically sensitive goods trade deficit with China fell 18.6 percent to $29.3 billion. The deficit with Mexico surged 46.6 percent in February.”


  7. AJ @ 12:01 Read Free to Choose by Milton Friedman or take a freshman macro-economics course at a local junior college. The economics of free trade is not intiuitive. It takes a little study.


  8. One of the keys to beginning to understand how free trade benefits both countries involved in trade is to understand The Law of Comparative Advantage. Again, this is not intuitive. We spent several days on the topic in my Introduction to Macro-Economics course at SMU. Friedman’s amazing talent was that he could understand a subject in tremendous depth, but communicate it to neophytes much better than most professors.



  9. Let me recount my own history to explain what I mean when I say the economics of free trade is not intuitive.

    1. When I was 17, I agreed with Trump that free trade gives us “winning” countries and “losing” countries. If you had a trade surplus with a country, you were a “winner” and if you had a deficit you were a “loser”. This is an intuitive position. The 17 year old Mr. Hogg probably believes this.
    2. After my first year of college I understood that free trade made both countries involved richer.
    3. After reading Free to Choose, I understood how small interest groups within countries use tariffs to make themselves richer while making the majority of the citizens of that country (primarily consumers, but also workers in industries that use imported raw materials or parts) poorer.


  10. Tariffs are taxes. That’s a simple fact. It’s a tax that similar to others govts can use to “pick winners” as Republicans used to say or influence policy, the market, and consumption as a socialist would say.

    Now I have no problems with taxiation as a tool the state can use. It’s just being used wrongly here. It’s being used to protect inefficient industries or industries that barely exist.

    Alternatives do exist. You could use taxes to limit carbon emissions to protect the the environment. Taxes could be levied on distance travelled to encourage local industry and limit pollution. You could tax luxury goods to limit conspicuous consumption. Or you can be a traditionalist and protect new industries; tech and alternative energy.

    The Europeans and Chinese are very specific in their response. They are levying taxes to punish and as such focused on particular brands; Jack Daniels, Harleys, Levis, etc. These hit particular states and more importantly politicians harder than others. They understand America is like Trump it no longer produces stuff, it’s a brand. And they along with Trump are hurting the brand. The US exports more Jack and Harley they export a brand, they export mass pop culture. This is what Trump endangers.


  11. The US produces and exports a lot of food to go along with that bad pop culture. In their retaliation, the Chinese are targeting US agricultural exports to make rural Trumpers squeal.


  12. You didn’t really answer my questions. All you did was tell me Friedman’s the guy you listen to on the subject. There are other opinions out there, who disagree. On paper it sounds good, but reality doesn’t match. Big business and Wall St. benefit, which I’m sure would make Friedman happy, but the American worker, taxpayer, and small businesses, not so much.


    “The Other Side of the Trade Deficit Debate
    Let me offer an explanation of how trade deficits are supposed to work. When imports and exports of a country are in balance, all trading countries benefit. Each country specializes in what it does best — exchanging its most competitive products for products it could not produce as cheaply as the trading country.

    Normally trade deficits are self-correcting, because as the deficit grows the country’s currency is supposed to decline in price in the world market. This makes exported goods less expensive and foreign goods more expensive, which brings trade into balance.

    But this is not happening because we allow our trading partners to manipulate their currencies.

    Still, trade deficits must be financed. A country simply cannot run a trade deficit unless private or government investors are willing to finance it. To finance the trade deficit, our trading partners (particularly China) loan us the money to pay for the deficit by buying U.S. bonds and other government assets, which enables us to buy more of their imports.

    The conservative pundit’s are supportive of trade deficits. They make the case that trade deficits are good for the economy, good for consumers, and create jobs. Let’s look at these questions one at a time:

    GDP GROWTH – Contrary to what the free-trade supporters say, the trade deficit does affect GDP growth. In 2014, our imports were $2,850.5 billion and our exports $2,345.4, leaving a deficit of $505 billion. This subtracted 1.02 percentage point from GDP growth.

    Federal Deficit – Some people hate the federal deficit but ignore the trade deficit, even though they are related. Trade deficits and surpluses are added to or subtracted from the Federal Deficit. Since we have been running trade deficits since 1971, they are added to the Federal deficit annually, making it worse.

    Wage growth and living standards – U.S. living standards have fallen for most of the middle class. Since 1967, the median household income has only risen from $42,000 per year to $51,000 per year, a gain of $9,000 in 45 years. The median household income reached a high point of $56,080 in 1999, but has fallen $5,063 to $51,087 in 2012.

    The decline of middle-class income also has resulted in the decline of the share of the nation’s total income going to the middle class. The U.S. Census Bureau shows that middle class income reached a high of 54% in 1968 and declined to 45.7% of total income in 2012.

    Working people have seen a precipitous decline in living standards and income over the last 40 years. The reasons for this decline in living standards include the growing gap between the rich and poor, the shift to a service economy, weakened bargaining position of workers, corporate decisions to move production overseas, and the trade deficit.

    Job loss – An article by the Economic Policy Institute makes a strong case that trade deficits are related to the loss of jobs. It asserts that between 2000 and 2007 3.6 million manufacturing jobs were lost. After the Great Recession, between 2007 and 2014, another 1.4 million manufacturing jobs were lost. Overall manufacturing lost about 5 million jobs since year 2000 during a time of increasing trade deficits.

    Up until the late 90s, trade deficits were relatively small “never exceeding $131 billion annually, and they never exceeded 1.7% of GDP.” After 1998, trade deficits began rising sharply and peaked at $558.5 billion in 2006 (or 4.1 percent of GDP). In 2014, the trade deficit was still $505 billion. The author of the EPI study concludes “Thus, the growth in the manufacturing trade deficit was responsible for all, or virtually all, of the 3.6 million manufacturing jobs lost between 2000 and 2007.” He concludes that, during the period from 2007 to 2014, the trade deficit accounted for 72% of 1.4 million manufacturing jobs lost.

    Consumer Benefits – One of the rationales for running deficits is the claim of how much the American consumer is saving because of cheap imports. However, when you look at the reduction in household income and the decline of living standards of the middle class, it is obvious that saving on cheap imports has not been enough.
    Who are the losers?
    As I see it, the losers of the ongoing policy of financing trade deficits are small and midsize businesses, American workers, taxpayers, manufacturing, and the economy in general (America is now debtor nation). Continuing to run trade deficits has led to de-industrialization and the loss of millions of jobs

    Who are the winners?
    The winners are the multinational American companies and Wall Street who aggressively invest all over the world. By spending a lot of money lobbying they have kept Congress from passing any law that would negate currency manipulation or to develop a plan reduce our trade deficit.”


  13. Actually the US was doing quite well before Trump came. Since about 2010 the economy had been improving, the stock market was steadily climbing upward and employment numbers were slowly improving.

    A sign of the improvement was the growing trade deficit after a slight decline around 2008. Americans had money again, they felt confident and were buying stuff again. And since consumer goods are made elsewhere the defecit here.

    A deficit or surplus does not indicate winner or losers. It’s not like the US govt has to pay the Chinese govt at the end of the fiscal year. The existing deficit is simply because the US has more consumers than the Chinese market. The vast majority of Chinese cannot consume Chinese products so they must trade. US manufacturers have enough consumers at home and with a large internal market don’t need an export market. Hence the deficit.

    The real danger is American industry becomes complacent, doesn’t seek efficiencies or new markets. This is on the corporation not the govt nor should the govt support corporate laziness with tariffs protection. This is precisely what happened to many American industries…they became complacent and outdated, for example using ancient equipment and methods. A specific example is the auto industry. I it took them decades to recover from the beating they receives from the Japanese in the 1980s simply because they were still manufacturing as if it was 1948. This is the ineffencies tariffs tend to protect. Essentially you will be paying a tax to let corporations sit back and collect a profit with no effort.


  14. Ricky. Correct. The tax on soybeans is a deliberate hit on Iowa Republicans. Other countries have an in-depth knowledge of domestic US politics (not just Russia). The Chinese know Iowa is a swing state with every Congress seat, except one, decided by about 1-2%. So this is desugned to make them nervous.


  15. AJ Good point on the currency manipulation. If the Chinese let their currency float it would rise in value making their stuff expense lowering the trade deficit. It would also enrich the Chinese people who can then provide a domestic market for their own industry. For some strange reason, the Chinese would rather benefit the US consumer. Why ruin a good thing?

    The rest of your article makes some unsubstanuated claims. GDP and trade deficits may correlate but you can’t tie causation a monetary figure to it. Thats far to simplistic.

    How and why are trade deficits added to the federal deficits? That needs to be explained because that makes no sense.

    The decline of the middle class and trade deficits are correlated but the latter did not cause the other. The decline of the middle class is complex and even your author hints at other causes. I could also list a few; change in taxiation policies, decline of private sector unions, deregulation, deckine of govt support in health and education, etc.


  16. AJ, You have to realize that Trump did nothing on trade until the last few weeks. He pulled out of the TPP, but that was before that entity was ever formed. He mouthed off about NAFTA, but made no changes. The market rose several thousand points after Trump was elected while he maintained the trade policies of Bush and Obama. As soon as Trump began to announce tariffs, the markets began to collapse. Investors are not economically illiterate.

    Your question about “winning” told me that you need a little work on the basic economics. In trade, there are not “winning” countries and “losing” countries. Countries don’t kick each other’s ##%. That is demagogic Trump jibberish. You have to take the time to learn the basic economics.

    As I said, it takes some study. For example, I didn’t fully understand the Law of Comparative Advantage until we used real examples (a lawyer and his secretary), real skills (drafting and typing) and real numbers (value produced per hour) in my college class. When we did that, I had an “Aha!” moment like the first time the double entry accounting system (with debits and credits) made sense to me.

    The economics of free trade is not controversial. Liberal and conservative economists agree that trade helps both countries involved. That is why the vast majority of countries have sharply increased their international trade in the last 40 years.

    You can buy any Introduction to Macro Economics textbook, but I recommend Free to Choose. It is shorter and more user-friendly. I think you might enjoy taking a college course. It was one of my favorites, and helped me understand when politicians were being honest and when they were being demagogues.


  17. To show how much liberal and conservative economists agree, Milton Friedman himself would have given HRW an “A” for his first paragraph @2:12.


  18. “He mouthed off about NAFTA, but made no changes”

    Hogwash, as I’ve already shown you once this week.

    Please try to pay closer attention. I just linked this 2 days ago. As you are well aware, negotiations like NAFTA take time, but he is doing what he said, renegotiating it, and has been for 9 months.

    An announcement should come soon, and the Canadians seem to like it too.


    “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled Thursday he saw a strong chance of reaching a deal with the US and Mexico to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    “We have a high chance of reaching a win-win-win deal for Canada, the United States and Mexico,” Trudeau told reporters.

    “With the pressures of the elections in Mexico, and the US elections, if we could announce something at the Summit of the Americas, that would be great,” he added, in reference to the April 13-14 gathering of regional leaders in Peru.

    Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland headed to Washington to meet with her counterpart, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who on Wednesday met with Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo, to try to reach an agreement in principle on NAFTA.

    The trio are to get together for a working dinner Thursday evening, according to public broadcaster CBC, and hold talks on Friday.

    Freeland said negotiators in seven rounds of talks since last August had made “some good progress” in overhauling the 24-year-old trade pact.”


  19. And I love how you just keep assuming you’re the only one who has ever read an economics book.

    Is the air thin, up there on your high horse, Sir?



  20. Never read Friedman but if we’re creating a reading list I would suggest Piketty’s Capitalism. A quicker read which mentions how Asian countries correctly used tariffs, is Ha Joon Chang’s 23 Thimgs They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism. Those of you who don’t like free trade will like the latter.


  21. So here is what has happened on NAFTA. Trump has done a lot of mouthing off as I indicated. As I noted, nothing has been changed. The US has made some idiotic Trumpian proposals (the most ridiculous dealt with automotive content). Canada, Mexico and affected US industry groups have been working hard to maintain the status quo. As AJ’s article indicated, Trudeau wisely expressed optimism that a deal could be reached though the sides remain far apart. Trudeau’s plan seems to be to provoke no public fights and assume Trump will forget about renegotiations even as he was completely uninvolved in the recent Omnibus Budget Bill. This plan seems particularly wise since Trump is likely to be distracted by Mueller, fights with his staff and Cabinet, battles with companies such as Amazon, Stormy Daniels and other “ladies”, re-election, etc.


  22. Poor Michael Cohen has been left in an awkward position.

    It seems his primary role was as Trump’s Minister of Disgruntled Mistresses with authority to pay each unhappy lady up to $150,000.


  23. My guess is they will tinker with it; update some obscure language, mention new technologies etc. Trump will of course crow he won a great deal thereby killing the deal with Mexico and Canada as it would be politically impossible to pass something Trump endorsed.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. We were discussing this last night.

    Ironically, had Trump refrained from the dumb threats of tariffs, I think his stock market numbers would be about as good as Obama’s.


  25. HRW, Your prediction on NAFTA sounds reasonable. I just remembered one of the big issues. On this one, Trump is actually on the side of US companies. We want to maintain the right to make Canadians and Mexicans fat.


  26. Very good, Debra!

    This is as pro-life an article as may ever have been written by a New York Times columnist and that was not even its primary focus.

    From Williamson to Douthat including Mona Charen, David Brooks, Bret Stephens, David French, Rod Dreher, Bill Kristol, Russell Moore, Jonah Goldberg, Tom Nichols, George Will, Charlie Sykes and others, the NeverTrump conservatives of today are the best and brightest group of political, religious and social commentators I have seen together at one time in my lifetime. You can add Charles Murray on sociological research and Scott Lincicome on trade, and there is no reason for any conservative to be ill-informed about any issue. Sadly, very few Americans read substantive articles any more.

    One of the real strengths of this blog has been the sharing of articles. We may not like each other’s sources. We may strongly attack them and each other for trusting them. That is fine and fair play. However, I thank A J for providing the forum for the sharing of ideas and knowledge.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. @6:52 True enough, Ricky. However you should bear in mind that many of us do read substantively, are reasonably educated on the issues, and still come to differing conclusions. Sharing information and demonstrating good faith in discussions are indeed blessings;–)

    And yes! Many thanks to AJ!

    Liked by 4 people

  28. So on a very personal note, our sister paper the Denver Post is rising up in light of the devastating newsroom cuts by our hedge fund owners (we’re owned by the same folks) who are wiping out so many local news sources across the country.

    The Post is under order to cut 30 more positions on Monday, on top of already a frankly ridiculous number of cuts. (The papers are still profitable.)

    In our case, we’ve lost 10 newsroom employees just since October under orders by the owners — and we were small then. In our own individual newsroom, we’re down to 5 reporters covering more than a dozen diverse cities within our boundaries, including a good slice of L.A. And that leaves us having to essentially combine with all 11 of our regional group newspapers in socal into essentially one paper still with different mast heads, with only some ‘zoned’ local stories from each paper. It’s a far cry from the extensive coverage we all were once able to provide our local communities, covering city councils, school boards, crime, development, politics and features.


    from the Post’s editorial:

    … The cuts, backed by our owner, the New York City hedge fund Alden Global Capital, also are a mystery, if you look at them from the point of view of those of us intent on running a serious news operation befitting the city that bears our name. Media experts locally and nationally question why our future looks so bleak, as many newspapers still enjoy double-digit profits and our management reported solid profits as recently as last year.

    We call for action. Consider this editorial and this Sunday’s Perspective offerings a plea to Alden — owner of Digital First Media, one of the largest newspaper chains in the country — to rethink its business strategy across all its newspaper holdings. Consider this also a signal to our community and civic leaders that they ought to demand better. Denver deserves a newspaper owner who supports its newsroom. If Alden isn’t willing to do good journalism here, it should sell The Post to owners who will. …

    Yes, for years now, large media chains have struggled to responsibly downsize newsrooms. But some have done so less responsibly than others.

    Here in Colorado, Alden has embarked on a cynical strategy of constantly reducing the amount and quality of its offerings, while steadily increasing its subscription rates. In doing so, the hedge fund managers — often tellingly referred to as “vulture capitalists” — have hidden behind a narrative that adequately staffed newsrooms and newspapers can no longer survive in the digital marketplace. Try to square that with a recent lawsuit filed by one of Digital First Media’s minority shareholders that claims Alden has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars of its newspaper profits into shaky investments completely unrelated to the business of gathering news.

    Coloradans feel the insanity of it in their bones. And what a sad history.

    Yes, other media chains and operations haven’t been spared the same market realities Alden faces. The transition from print to digital publication is a challenging one.

    Another factor: Critics on both sides of America’s ever-widening political divide heap blame for the loss of readership on claims — too many of them credible — that newsrooms have lost sight of their responsibility to be truly objective. Such criticisms help fuel spectacularly successful social media companies, which also reap profits from links to traditional newsroom offerings.

    Another regrettable result of the fracturing of newsrooms has been the rush by political interests to lavish investments in echo-chamber outlets that merely seek to report from biased perspectives, leaving the hollowed-out shells of newsrooms loyal to traditional journalistic values to find their voice in the maelstrom.

    Still we take the moment to acknowledge fundamental truths. When newsroom owners view profits as the only goal, quality, reliability and accountability suffer. Their very mission is compromised. The course correction that needs to come for the benefit of communities across the land depends on owners committed to serving their readers and viewers and users.

    We get it that things change. We get it that our feelings are raw and no doubt color our judgment. But we’ve been quiet too long. …

    Liked by 2 people

  29. ________________

    … The Post, which serves a city of some 700,000 residents, has a weekday circulation of an estimated 170,000 and 8.6 million unique monthly visitors to its website. It has won nine Pulitzer Prizes, including in 2013 for its coverage of the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Alden Global Capital took control of the paper in 2010 after acquiring its bankrupt parent company, MediaNews Group, and runs it through a subsidiary, Digital First Media.

    … Digital First Media is among the biggest newspaper chains in the country, with more than 90 newspapers including The Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minn.; The Mercury News of San Jose, Calif.; The Orange County Register; and The Boston Herald. The company has aggressively cut resources in its quest for profit, with recent staff reductions at several of its papers, including The Mercury News and The Herald.

    Alden’s strategy follows a pattern: It typically buys newspapers at a bargain — it purchased The Herald for roughly $12 million — before cutting costs.

    “This is the problem with people who bought newspapers on the cheap, thinking they were buying at the bottom,” said Alan D. Mutter, who teaches media economics at the University of California, Berkeley. “The revenue cataclysm continues and probably can’t be reversed.”

    Until 2009, Denver was a two-newspaper town, with The Rocky Mountain News in competition with The Post. By taking its case to its readers, The Post is hoping to avoid its rival’s fate.

    “We were a pretty good newspaper for a real long time,” Gregory L. Moore, who resigned as the Post’s editor two years ago after a 14-year run, wrote in one of the pieces that went online Friday. “I will miss it if it is gone.”

    Liked by 4 people

  30. One more and I’ll be quiet 🙂



    … “Being there” is the precise value we lose when we lose local reporters. Talented and dedicated local journalists dig into stories; they research and analyze and set up interviews and consider the different perspectives from which a story could be perceived or told. That all happens before they write, rewrite, revise, and rewrite. Their words aren’t the mindless emotional outburst most prevalent on social media “newsfeeds,” but the product of hard work and perseverance in a true craft. When they do it right — and more often than not they are far closer to right than wrong — local journalists paint the tapestry of the world where we actually live.

    National media and independent bloggers simply cannot replace local journalists. I know that for a fact. When I worked as a senior research analyst on the communications team for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign, we were always ready to handle questions from the national chattering-class media. They were predictable and often superficial. Often we had prepared statements and fact sheets to feed them before they even asked a question. We knew we could drive their story and the only question was whether we could do it better than the other campaigns.

    But we feared the local New York City reporters. They knew Giuliani and retained the institutional knowledge of his time at City Hall. And when they didn’t know the story firsthand, they knew who did. Half the time we were playing catch-up to the local reporters. Nothing terrifies a political communications team more than realizing a reporter knows more about your candidate than you do.

    As the Rocky Mountain News and Colorado Statesman disappeared and journalists like Bartels, Tim Hoover, Joey Bunch and Joe Vaccarelli — to name but a few I came to know — left The Denver Post without replacements, they left more than empty desks. They left a hole in our ability to understand and reflect on our world as a collective citizenry. That’s a trend we all had better hope reverses course sooner than later. …

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Like school in the summertime….

    No class.


    “A middle-aged man died after being pulled from a four-alarm blaze on the 50th floor of the Trump Tower in New York Saturday evening.

    The unidentified 67-year-old man was unconscious and unresponsive when he was removed from the Midtown skyscraper and rushed to Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital. He was initially listed in critical condition, but pronounced dead later in the evening, according to the NYPD.

    Flames and smoke were spotted billowing and debris raining down from the 50th floor of the Trump Tower around 5:30 p.m.

    Besides the one fatality, four FDNY firefighters suffered non-life-threatening injuries — two of them burn-related, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said during a press conference.”

    “As all this terror and tragedy was occurring, the #Resistance cheered.

    Singer David Crosby tweeted something so tasteless, it was quickly deleted. Too bad many of us know how to take a screen shot.

    Others offered their sick, twisted theories that President Trump was destroying records ahead of a showdown with Muller.

    The glee at the tragedy was not confined to Twitter, either.”


  32. Ouch.


    “Party Rebels Unite to Unseat Merkel

    Merkel’s Christian-Conservative detractors want the party to focus on family values, curb mass migration

    Barely a month into her fourth term as German Chancellor, Angela Merkel is facing an open rebellion within her party. Around 100 politicians belonging to her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) have published a list of demands urging the Merkel-led conservative alliance to return to its Christian values.

    The rebel group, backed by several influential Christian-Conservative politicians including the country’s Health Minister Jens Spahn, wants to reverse Merkel’s open doors policy for migrants and seeks to dethrone her from the party leadership. “One of the goals of the movement is to remove Merkel as the head of the Union at a party conference in the autumn,” Germany’s state-run DW News confirmed.

    The German newspaper reported the contents of the policy paper entitled the ‘Conservative Manifesto’, alluding to the Karl Marx’s communist pamphlet published 170 years ago. The full document, however, was not available on the group’s website. Germany’s leading public broadcaster ARD outlined the demands made in the manifesto:

    The document calls upon the [CDU] party to change the centrist policy. It attacks CDU party chief Angela Merkel’s refugee policy. The manifesto was issued by the ‘Union of Values’ comprising of politicians from the CDU and CSU parties.

    Among their concrete demands are the quick and decisive deportations [of refugees] and the end of the dual citizenship [mainly offered to German nationals of Turkish origin]. They also emphasized the importance of marriage and family as well as the principle of “father, mother and child” as the basic foundation of the society. (…)

    Around 100 participants heartily applauded the welcome address of the Minister of Health Jens Spahn. The CDU needs groups like the ‘Union of Values’ and the awareness of a wise liberal conservatism, CDU politician said in his written address. [Translation by the author]

    Last September Merkel led her party to its worst election outcome since 1949. With 33 percent of the vote, she managed to form a coalition government with her main rival the Social Democrats. Despite forming this ‘Grand Coalition,’ as the German media like to call it, she holds only a wafer thin majority in the German parliament. Merkel’s weak hold on power makes her vulnerable—even to a tiny band of party rebels.”


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