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  • Investors Parse Mixed Signals Ahead of Retail Earnings November 18, 2019
    Retail earnings are in the spotlight this week, and some analysts are confident that they will exceed expectations—adding to what’s already been a strong year for the sector.
  • U.S. Stocks Tick Higher in Quiet Session November 18, 2019
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite set another trio of closing records. But with few major economic and earnings reports on the calendar, the stock market’s moves were relatively muted.
  • Ford's New Mustang Drags on the Street November 18, 2019
    Mustang purists aren’t very happy about their beloved pony car becoming an SUV, and an electric one at that. Investors don’t seem all that impressed, either.
  • AmEx Is Paying Up to Get Businesses to Accept Its Cards November 18, 2019
    American Express is offering bonuses ranging from less than $10,000 to about $450,000 to businesses that start taking its cards, an effort to catch up with rivals Visa and Mastercard.
  • Natural-Gas Prices Fall on Milder Weather November 18, 2019
    Natural-gas futures tumbled 3.3% to $2.599 per million British thermal units amid predictions of moderating temperatures next week, after a frigid start to November drove prices up earlier this month.
  • Madrid Stock Exchange Attracts Interest From European Rivals November 18, 2019
    A bidding war for the Madrid stock exchange looked likely as one rival European exchange made a bid and another stated its interest in the Spanish bourse, in the latest push for consolidation among trading venues.
  • Will Hyperloop Prediction Be Hyper Wrong? November 18, 2019
    A Boeing executive’s estimate of the viability of the Hyperloop may go down as famously incorrect.

Newes From America on Twitter

Boo!

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Happy Halloween, the one time of the year that adults are allowed to dress up in costumes, get drunk, eat tons of candy — and it’s all for the kids! This year, Halloween is especially scary because today is also the very day that the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump got impeached. It was a rough week for the president*, starting with the humiliating chorus of boos from the ‘swampy’ Washington Nationals fans, who exorcised the latest Curse of the Trumpino with their throaty disapproval of The Donald and the bad vibes that followed him to the ballgame last Sunday night. The week then featured an honest-to God Ken Burns-esque American hero standing up to the White House, testifying to Congress, thus sinking the final nail in the Trump coffin, after Trump World besmirched the character of this American hero, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.

After Donald Trump’s most presidential moment in office in his measured and decisive blow against the Syrian airfields last year, after a chlorine gas-attack, I noted that then-US Press Secretary Sean Spicer (currently working as an, um, flamboyant contestant on a TV game show) hadn’t “Let his boss down” as he groveled at the podium saying exactly what Trump wanted him to say. Do you remember that idiotic statement, attributed to the press secretary (as opposed to the latest idiotic one the so-called ‘Press Secretary’ blathered) put into their mealy-mouths, again, by their boss Donald J. Trump? Spicer said back then that Bashar al-Assad was even more evil than Hitler, who never gassed his ‘own people’ or women and children. The utter contempt for history at the time was mind-numbing. Just before the World Series game last Sunday, our president* had his second-most presidential moment in office, however this time his track record is so widely-known (and without a real press secretary to soften his idiocy) that what Trump did was no surprise to anyone, as Trump torpedoed yet another A1 good-news story by blathering crazy, stupid, fake shit when all he had to do was go to the podium and say what he was supposed to say. In comparison to former President Barack Obama at the podium after the Bin Laden raid, Trump sounded like a lunatic. Trump thought the good news would insure him cheers from fans, local Washington DC baseball fans, enjoying a Sunday night game in October at Nationals Park.

The weather was a balmy 80-degrees so fans were totally pumped to watch their ace, Max Scherzer go up against the Astros at home in game five of the World Series, however DC fans didn’t count on The ‘Curse of the Trumpino,’ which recently laid ravage to the New York Yankees, eliminated by those aforementioned, plucky Houston Astros (Yankees suck!). Scherzer was scratched from the lineup almost the same time the White House announced Trump would attend the game, Scherzer struck with neck spasms at the very thought of the nightmare spectacle. The Nationals were screwed the moment Trump said that he was going to the game and the fact that he was lustily bood by the crowd was as predictable as the Sun rising. Just to make sure he was as much of an dimwit as he could possibly be, Trump took along the insufferable asshole Representative Matt Gaetz to the game with him instead of his own kids. He also took along wounded veterans as human shields (who were just as heartily cheered when shown on the Jumbotron), but the second his big-boned face appeared on the screen almost the entire crowd stood up and bood and also began chanting something I did NOT expect: “Lock Him Up.” I’m fond of remembering some of my dear, departed mother’s ‘home-spun’ sayings and one in particular comes to mind here: “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

As a Red Sox fan, baseball in 2019 wasn’t consuming all of my waking hours from March through October this year because the Red Sox weren’t very good, however since 2004 the Red Sox have won four world championships and I now know that my team is no longer cursed. Years such as this one, I’m usually reduced to cheering for any team that beats the New York Yankees, but the Nationals had karma on their side after their fans took over. The Red Sox, cursed for 86 years before the drama of (Trump-supporting) Curt Schilling’s bloody sock, the Sox were afflicted by the original ‘Curse of the Bambino,’ laid on their heads as soon as owner Harry  Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919 to get money to produce the pitiful Broadway flop, No, No Nanette and even though Curt is a total MAGA knucklehead, I still love him because he helped reverse the curse. The last time a team from Washington won the World Series was 95 years ago and even though the Astros were a great team this year, the Nats were on a mission, not to mention the National’s other ace, phenom Stephen Strasburg, MVP of the series was waiting in the wings. There have been many takes on the boos and ‘lock him up’ chants last Sunday but one of the best was by local guy Steve Almond in his commentary on WBUR, Boston University’s awesome college radio station, where he cringed a little (as I did) after the scary chants:

The way to rid ourselves of Trump is not to revile him, but to deprive him of the oxygen that sustains him: our attention. To the extent possible, we have to turn away from our desire for emotional revenge. We should focus on the ongoing impeachment inquiry not because we hate Trump, but because we cherish democracy and want to protect the rule of law. We should pressure senators to convict Trump not for being a “human scum,” but because he has so blatantly abused the office of the presidency.

Our last president, faced with partisan rancor, was fond of telling crowds, “Don’t boo — vote!” Given the threat Trump poses to free and fair elections, this exhortation no longer feels sufficient. As citizens of good faith, we have to focus on the candidates we plan to support in 2020, and the actions — beyond merely voting — required to bring them into power.

Last night, the Nationals won game seven of the World Series in Houston, Texas in a reversal of bad mojo brought on by Donald Trump and their improbable, come from behind championship run on the road is one for the books. In booing our president*, Nats fans reversed their curse and they also made red hats cool again in the process — as long as they sport a script ‘W’ for Washington, the District of Columbia — our nation’s capital and the home of the World Champion Washington Nationals.

 

John Underhill
October 31, 2019

 

Kenneth, What is the Frequency?

 

In a strange incident in 1986, Dan Rather was roughed up by a couple of well-dressed goons as he walked home near the corner of 88th Street and Park in New York, with one of them repeatedly asking, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” The newsman made news himself because the louts, instead of calling the celebrity CBS reporter by his given name, Dan or even Daniel, referred to him as ‘Kenneth.’ This was just weird enough to make the national news. The brouhaha died down and the incident was quickly forgotten until 1994 when a band by the name of R.E.M. out of Athens, Georgia recorded the hit song, “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” off their album Monster, which is why anyone remembers the story. The reason Rather came to be asked the strange question by the nutty duo is quite weird and stupid and tragic, and I’ll get into that later in the post, but it’s when we hit the ‘stupidity curve’ as a culture, where schizophrenic news cycles and the the weird shit that we see today has hit the fan every day, week and month since.

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The Square, Circled

Harvard Square 1974

Rock ‘n’ Roll was in transition in the late 1970s and back in the old days, all the good new music, as usual, was coming from African-American artists and I was totally into ‘black music’ and listening to DJ Antoine and the Quiet Storm at the end of the FM dial on WMBR 88.1, MIT’s awesome college radio station (helping nerds be cool for over fifty years). I remember one of my best friends back then, Mike, who had relatively mediocre taste in music and was kind of dim, had adopted Bruce Springsteen as his very own (as many of our friends have through the years) walling Bruce off and jealousy, weirdly attacking anyone who didn’t like Springsteen as much as he did. Many years later I found out that my stupid friend Michael was actually right about Bruce after all and that I was the dumb one. A note here about my last post (trying to keep these to a minimum) about using mean and pejorative terms on this here blog such as stupid, dumb, moron, imbecilic, Trump Cuck, etc. I’m sorry if they offend anybody and I’m sorry that I use these bad words, but I just can’t help myself, so I sincerely apologize to Mr. Broidy that I called him ‘fat’ in (every) reference to him, however I’m not sorry that I called him sleazy. Watching Aidy Bryant on Saturday Night Live recently, I thought to myself that this funny and delightful (pleasantly plump?) woman probably doesn’t like that word ‘fat’ very much and even when I’m insulting Elliot Broidy, I shouldn’t be calling him that bad word. I should say he’s big-boned. A big-boned, sleazy scumbag. “There I go again” as Ronnie Reagan used to say.

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King Leer

Confidential Magazine

Any reading of the recent drama caused by AMI CEO David (Johnson) Pecker should be called ‘business as usual,’ but I highlight Time Magazine’s March 11, 1957 article Gutterdammerung about the so-called “King of Leer,” Robert Harrison, the publisher of the National Enquirer of the 1950’s, Confidential Magazine, the grandpappy of ‘catch and kill,’ yellow journalism and what passes today as the ‘gossip’ business. Jeff Bezos’ recent dick pics aside, the entry of the Russians, UAE and Saudi Arabia into what we might call ‘American culture’ is a trend that is currently being reversed with vigor — and when you mess with the bull, you get the horns (Gavin de Becker on line one). This I know because I tried to cancel my Amazon Prime subscription. Don’t even try it, folks. It’s just too good of a deal. Just don’t make me ‘subscribe and save’ for razor blades, Uncle Jeff, please? Anyhow, Donald Trump has been ‘in the room’ for ALL of this recent shit (believe you me) and speaking of being in the room, as Trump leered over his desk as Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal were paid off with six-figure sums, in this equation, one of two suppositions is true: either Donald Trump is being extorted, or Donald Trump is extorting. That is a fucking fact. Let’s start with Michael Cohen.

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A Metaphor America

George Washington

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA! 2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. JUST CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE, GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR OUR COUNTRY!

It’s probably not gonna be a fantastic year for me, I fear. The above Tweet© is our President’s New Year’s statement to the nation, where he advises us all to just relax, bend over and enjoy the reaming he intends to administer to us all. The year started out well enough, although with Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Fox News conspiring to lock the American people out of 25% of their government (apparently, all run by the dedicated hard work of Democrats, according to The Donald), in Trump’s bizarro-world, our slow motion dismantling of democracy should be something to enjoy, not fear. Donny also tells a seven-year old back on Christmas Day that Santa is a fiction, so here Trump chooses to reveal the first kernel of truth as president in two years — in one of the few places that we actually want our president to lie — when talking to a seven-year old on Christmas Day about the legend of Santa Claus.

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The Spy Who Came

The Daily BeastPhoto Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Donald Trump has the power to make me a liar. I said in a post a few months ago, Cheaters Never Prosper that Trump will become our third president to suffer a Senate trial, but I gave a hint of how I think Trump might actually sum up his presidency by noting that Richard Nixon wasn’t ‘impeached’ because he avoided all the unpleasantness at showtime by resigning. I’m sure Donald Trump would’ve thought it insulting to suggest that he resign after his first hundred days, as I did in my post 100 Crazy Nights, but I’d bet he’d take that bargain in a heartbeat now, because that was before we knew about the smokin’ hot Russian spy with an assault rifle: Maria Butina, y’all.

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Consent of the Governed

Fox’s Steve Hilton will tell you that Trump is valiantly fighting elitism from within his own White House, finally getting rid of the swamp creatures (no, not Ryan Zinke, or 81-year old Wilbur Ross, currently missing from the G20, they’re not elites!) folks like Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster and Rex Tillerson and the other elitists that have finally been rooted out (as RINOs). Unlike Steve Hilton, he’s a real, average Republican. His story is the American dream, so get the fuck out of the way. More the British dream, actually, but who’s keeping score, observing that Steve grew up just outside of London. His family fled Hungary after the 1956 Revolt and they landed comfortably just outside Heathrow airport, the very place they would find employment. Steve didn’t have a father in the house after the age of five, however, but his dad was a professional hockey player, so he wasn’t exactly living hand to mouth. Educated in London, Hilton went to Stanford University and then went to work for David Cameron of the Conservative Party of Britain, one of the most singularly elite men on the planet Earth. No elitist himself, Hilton worked very hard and has amassed over $4 million for his considerable effort, according to wikinetworth.com. A dedicated public servant in government for most of his illustrious career, he proves that anybody can be successful and rich, as long as they’re not some snooty elitist (while being the godparent of a Prime Minister’s eldest child). I believe I’ve worked just as hard as Steve, perhaps not as intelligently or ‘non-elitely,’ and yet I have significantly less than $4 million in my bank account, so this ‘elite’ thing hasn’t paid off as well for me, so maybe Steve actually has a point. Make sure to visit the Millenial’s coolest place to fund their favorite candidates (and Steve’s BIG money maker) Crowdpac!

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Watch Out Now

Loose Lips
On November 6th, America returned the Democrats to House leadership, yet the Senate remains in the grip of the Republican Party after Donald Trump called Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum a ‘Thief’ and also sent the military into The South to save fearful Texans, à la The Alamo, from 1,500 or so itinerant migrants now chilling somewhere near Cancún. Before all the votes are counted and Jerry Nadler has a chance to choose his (oversize) House Judiciary chair, Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a guy named Matt Whitaker. This guy, the new Attorney General or ‘Top Cop,’  was last seen as a CNN analyst posting an op-ed, Mueller’s Investigation of Trump is Going Too Far. Whitaker, who Trump apparently never met (or did, or didn’t?) once prosecuted an eagle-scout Democratic State Senator in Des Moines, Iowa named Matt McCoy (now a County Commissioner) because McCoy ‘extorted’ $2,000, over two long years, from some poor victim. It turns out that the two grand was a legitimate bill for services rendered, which the client had disputed. For this, McCoy was read The Hobbs Act, but really, he was railroaded into an unjust prosecution — which has taken McCoy over ten years to repay legal fees — and oh yeah,  Mr. McCoy, without a hint of scandal in over twenty years of public service, is also gay. In fact he was the first openly gay member of the Iowa Legislature. After going after the gay Democrat, Whitaker left the Justice Department and began working as a consultant for a phony company that bilked dozens of suckers out of $26 million of their hard-earned money. This is the man who Donald Trump picked to run the Justice Department — a hatchet man.

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Pretenders to the Throne

With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement that the vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court will take place tomorrow, I have to remark to myself how far we’ve come as a nation. It seems like just yesterday in American history that anti-Catholic bias and ‘Irish Need Not Apply’ was the norm. When Donald Trump’s daddy Fred Trump was arrested at a Klu Klux Klan Rally on Memorial Day, 1927, the organizing leaflet that was passed around in Jamaica, Queens beforehand warned that “Native-born Protestant Americans” were being “assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City.” “Liberty and Democracy have been trampled upon,” it continued, “when native-born Protestant Americans dare to organize to protect one flag, the American flag; one school, the public school; and one language, the English language.” We’ve come a long way. Today, even being an angry, drunk Irish-Catholic isn’t disqualifying for a seat on the highest court in the land.

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The Fifth Columnist

Guernica

There’s an old saying in politics that when your opponent is burying themselves, stay the hell out of the way – if anything, hand them a shovel. As our president has been writing his political epitaph this summer, I’ve been reading a lot of books and working on my tan, yet I’ve been roused from my torpor by another stupid outrage by our So-Called President* – the half-staff / full-staff / half-staff bullshit that took place after the death of John McCain – yet another example of how Trump is utterly unsuited for leadership. Senator John McCain died facing down cancer like all adversity in life, with honor, dignity and courage. John McCain was, by any calculation, an American hero and Donald Trump’s pettiness is only heightened in contrast to this great man’s service to Country. McCain quoted his hero in his autobiography written with Mark Salter, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations (2018) where the only man who could live up to this hero’s life was a fictional character:

‘The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it,’ spoke my hero, Robert Jordan, in [Ernest Hemingway’s] ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls.‘ And I do, too. I hate to leave it. But I don’t have a complaint. Not one. It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make a peace. I’ve lived very well and I’ve been deprived of all comforts. I’ve been as lonely as a person can be and I’ve enjoyed the company of heroes.

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RSS The Wall Street Journal

  • North Korea Rebuffs Latest Trump Advance November 18, 2019
    North Korea rejected the idea of another nuclear summit that “gives us nothing,” after President Trump had urged North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by tweet to “act quickly, get the deal done”—and closed with, “See you soon!”
  • Iran's Revolutionary Guard Threatens Action Against Protesters November 18, 2019
    Iran’s top paramilitary force threatened to crack down on Iranians protesting a rise in fuel prices, as Tehran struggles to counter U.S. sanctions that are crippling the country’s economy and posing a risk to the government.
  • Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon Accelerates, Agency Says November 18, 2019
    The pace of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has accelerated during the past year, the country’s space agency said, as the government of President Jair Bolsonaro promotes economic development in the vast rainforest region.
  • U.K. Politicians Pitch Their Plans to Brexit-Fatigued Business Leaders November 18, 2019
    The U.K.’s political leaders pitched to Brexit-weary business executives ahead of next month’s national election, presenting radically different plans to resolve the country’s tortured exit from the European Union and fire up the national economy.
  • Hong Kong Police, Protesters Strain to End Campus Standoff November 18, 2019
    A standoff between protesters and police at a Hong Kong university extended into a second night, with police keeping the area on lockdown while refraining from using the lethal force they had threatened, as increasingly militant antigovernment activists battled back.
  • Trade Flows Set to Stay Weak, Says WTO November 18, 2019
    Global flows of goods across borders are on course to grow at the weakest pace since the financial crisis, according to the World Trade Organization, as trade tensions and rising tariffs continue to weigh on exports and imports.
  • Europe's New Jobs Lack Old Guarantees---Stoking Workers' Discontent November 18, 2019
    Unemployment in Europe is at its lowest level in a generation. Yet workers complain about jobs without benefits or stability. “They’re garbage jobs.”

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