Friday, August 30, 2019

As We Go Dark For #LaborDay2019 Here in the United States....

As we go dark for the labor day weekend here in the United States, we note the following as we remain ever so hopeful about our World as we note this from the World this week-and look forward to the privilege to serve:

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Notations On Our World (Special Thursday Edition): On Europe Right Now


As we went to press, we were assessing the latest move by the UK Prime Minister to by-pass Parliament to force through a No-Deal Brexit.   The European Union is interestingly silent on it as British MP's begin moves to try and stop a deal.   Whether it will mean a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson's Government remains to be seen--what is clear is that battle lines have been drawn as the United Kingdom deals with the looming October 31, 2019 headline.   President Trump--through his Twitter Feed that reflects his thinking--chimed in on the debate with a response for the UK Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn.   This is as there have been dire reports of a no-deal Brexit underscored by this we just received courtesy of the team at the Financial Times as we regularly feature their front page daily on our Twitter Channel:

Meanwhile, back on the continent of Europe, Italy avoided a snap election as the Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement struck a deal to avoid an election with the caretaker Prime Minister Conti asked by the Italian President to form a new Government.      We view it as a good development for the sake of Italy and Europe.   

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Mid-Week Edition): Out & About in our World

A potential meeting between Iran's Rouhani and US President Donald Trump has been the talk of the town over the past few days.    One headline in Iran showed how President Trump went it alone as another headline noted how Iran's Supreme Leader noted how negotiations with the United States is "poison".   For now, both sides have backed off from any meetings in the near future especially as the UN General Assembly is before us.  Israel seems to apparently be left in the cold though based on reporting from Haaretz.

The New York Times' Peter Baker Tweet on the reality was quite telling on how the G7 has lost relevancy as President Trump trashed a former President and was a fervent advocate for Russia to be returned to the fold of the G7: 

As we went to press with this mid-week edition of "Notations",  @Kaltoons released this which provided a sense of the true realities of the State of the Trump Presidency: 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Special W-End Edition): On @POTUS Watch (Network Edition)

The G7 in France has begun.    As we went to press, President Macro of France and President Trump had lunch   Yet, it was quite a week as well as the Tariff wars escalated, President Trump said he was "the chosen one" (and later said he was joking), the Amazon Burnt and Greenland was the topic of discussion. 

Here is a sampling of the discourse over the web this week on our W-End Network edition of @POTUS Watch:

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On @POTUS Watch

It has been an interesting week on @POTUS Watch.  Our team made a selection of the discourse over Twitter we hereby present for this network edition of @POTUS watch:

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Special W-End Edition): On @POTUS Watch W-End

It has been quite a week in the United States as the Debate over Immigration got heated and the United States Got a jolt in light of recession fears--Some of the discourse on this as the #TrumpRecession was trending was noted below: 

On the Foreign Policy Front, The President of the United States urged Israel to bar the entry of two sitting members of Congress.  The US Ambassador to Israel expressed support for the move and Senior Members of the House Congressional Leadership including Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana expressed support for the move--in spite of the fact that Israel had agreed one month before to grant them visas which was welcomed by the US House Democratic Leader and the US Republican Leader which will undermine the Israeli stance on bi-partisanship.     What is also of note is how as Aaron David Miller noted that the BDS movement was given a gift.   

Our team complied a note on the reactions to the move by the Government of Israel that the Deputy Foreign Minister called Moral: 

The Deficit continued to grow as noted by the Washington  Times:

The federal budget deficit hit $867 billion for the first 10 months of the fiscal year the Treasury Department reported Monday.
The deficit, which represents the difference between spending and revenues, is set to exceed $1 trillion for the current fiscal year. The deficit for fiscal year 2018 was $779 billion, which was the largest shortfall since 2012.

The Congressional Budget Office came out with its' long-term Budget outlook as well:


The 2019 Long-Term Budget Outlook in 23 Slides

This presentation summarizes the findings of CBO’s recent report The 2019 Long-Term Budget Outlook. CBO has also provided a narrated presentation highlighting the key aspects of the agency’s extended baseline projections.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Special Edition): On the Protection of Journalists

Our team has made an editorial decision to feature this newsflash courtesy of the team at the Committee to Protect Journalists which will be featured on all our key Virtual Properties for the Week --as we will do our part to not complain but to make things:

Stepping up journalists’ digital safety know-how
CPJ’s Emergencies Response Team released in July an updated Digital Safety Kit to provide journalists with the latest information on how best to protect themselves and their sources through secured digital accounts, devices, and online communications. The kit also provides practical advice to help journalists navigate digital threats like phishing attacks and specific concerns related to crossing borders, when authorities may seek to inspect devices.
Available in English, FrenchSpanish, and Russian, journalists and media organizations may freely use and share the text under the terms of our Creative Commons license. News of the kit was well-received on social media, garnering hundreds of likes and retweets, and was distributed to partners, who welcomed the resource and shared it through their networks. 
Separately, CPJ went to Cúcuta, Colombia, in July with a partner organization to educate Venezuelan journalists on digital safety. Journalists working in Venezuela have been facing rampant harassment both online and offline, and CPJ has been advising individual journalists and media outlets on the ground on how to strengthen digital security practices. The three-day meeting in Cúcuta, a safe location that is relatively easy for Venezualan journalists to reach, was designed to build expertise in a small group of journalists that they can then share with colleagues inside Venezuela.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Notatotions From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On @POTUS Watch ((Network Edition)

It has been quite a few days yet again as the Trump Adminstration announced rules to toughen Residency Requirements and made moves to significantly weaken the Endangered Species Act.   Our team decided to headline the Music Video produced by the Children on the eloquent plea they have laid out to us all to Save the Planet especially as the International Congress of Youth Voices began in Puerto Rico This is as the Jeffrey Epstein killed himself and the President spread conspiracy theories and such was defended by the President's Counselor, Kelly Anne Conway--although the Bureau of Prisons fall under the preview of the Department of Justice under William Barr as he said investigations will continue and declared that victims will get justice.    

As we went to press with this weekly edition of @POTUS here in our Perspectives property, we note this courtesy of the team at the Washington Post:

The team at the Bulwark reflected upon the weekend with the headline from the Bulwark Editor in Chief, Charlie Sykes, on what transpired this week:  

Morning Shots

A deeply abnormal president, our polluted media ecosystem, why the Texas GOP is worried, the Mooch is thrown under the bus, and Trump's "princess of racism."  –Charlie Sykes

Quick Hits

1. This Will Never Be Normal

Pause for just a moment here. Over the weekend, the sitting president of the United States tweeted out an unhinged conspiracy theory about the death of Jeffrey Epstein, essentially accusing the Clintons of murdering him.

It was that kind of a weekend.

"Many seem to have responded with a startled shrug," writes David Frum in the Atlantic. "What do you expect? It’s just Trump letting off steam on Twitter."

So even though Trump just retweeted the comedian Terrence K. Williams accusing the Clinton family of murder, the people who work for Trump may ignore that, too. They know that the president punching the retweet button like an addled retiree playing the slots through a fog of painkillers means nothing. The days of “taking Trump seriously, not literally” have long since passed. By this point, Trump is taken neither seriously nor literally. His words are as worthless as Trump Organization IOUs.

But cosmic joke or no cosmic joke, Donald Trump is the president of the United States. You may not like it. I don’t like it. Mike Pompeo doesn’t like it. Mitch McConnell doesn’t like it. Kevin McCarthy doesn’t like it. But it’s still a fact, and each succeeding outrage makes it no less a fact. Grinning and flashing a thumbs-up over an orphaned baby? Yes, still president. Tweeting that a third-tier dictator has threatened him with more missile tests unless he halts military exercises with a U.S. ally——and that he has surrendered to that blackmail? Shamefully, still president. Accusing a former U.S. president of murder? It’s incredible, it’s appalling, it’s humiliating … but, yes, he is the president all the same....

Neither the practical impediments to impeachment and the Twenty-Fifth Amendment process, nor the foibles and failings of the candidates running to replace him, efface the fact that this presidency shames and disgraces the office every minute of every hour of every day. And even when it ends, however it ends, the shame will stain it still.

This is the world we live in.

Make sure to check out Andrew Egger's take in the Bulwark this morning. 
2. Our Poisoned Media Ecosystem

This piece from the NYT's Charlie Warzel is a must-read:

The dueling hashtags and their attendant toxicity are a grim testament to our deeply poisoned information ecosystem — one that’s built for speed and designed to reward the most incendiary impulses of its worst actors. It has ushered in a parallel reality unrooted in fact and helped to push conspiratorial thinking into the cultural mainstream. And with each news cycle, the system grows more efficient, entrenching its opposing camps. The poison spreads.

Mr. Epstein’s apparent suicide is, in many ways, the post-truth nightmare scenario. The sordid story contains almost all the hallmarks of stereotypical conspiratorial fodder: child sex-trafficking, powerful global political leaders, shadowy private jet flights, billionaires whose wealth cannot be explained. As a tale of corruption, it is so deeply intertwined with our current cultural and political rot that it feels, at times, almost too on-the-nose. The Epstein saga provides ammunition for everyone, leading one researcher to refer to Saturday’s news as the “Disinformation World Cup.”

Read the whole thing.
3. The Denialists

ICYMI: I published a piece on Friday about some of the pundits on the right (Byron York and Marc Thiessen) who have leapt to Trump's defense by denying that his words are responsible for the uptick in domestic white nationalist terrorism.

Byron York wants to make sure we know that Donald Trump did not inspire what happened in El Paso. Just read the killer’s manifesto, he insists.

Even though the president has repeatedly described illegal immigration as “an invasion” of our country, York contends that is unfair and misleading to suggest that Trump motivated the attack. And despite the fact that Trump’s campaign has posted more than 2,000 ads on Facebook that include the word “invasion,” York is here to tell us that the manifesto is not Trumpian at all.

Was the El Paso shooter “inspired by President Trump?” he asks. “It is hard to make that case looking at the manifesto in its entirety.”

York’s agnosticism is reinforced by the snarky whataboutism of Marc Thiessen, who argues in the Washington Post that “if Democrats want to play politics with mass murder, it works both ways.” The killer in Dayton, he writes “seems to have been a left-wing radical whose social media posts echoed Democrats’ hate-filled attacks on the president and U.S. immigration officials.”

So both sides. And, while you’re at it, give Trump a break.

While most conservatives continue to maintain a cringing silence at the president’s behavior, York and Thiessen form a vanguard of denialism. Others are sure to follow and amplify the message, because we know how this works.  An entire cottage industry has arisen on the right denying, for example, that Trump called neo-Nazi’s in Charlottesville “very fine people.” So expect the gaslighting to continue until morale improves.

They are certainly not alone. Predictably, Hugh Hewitt has now joined the gaggle: Donald Trump a racist? Absolutely not, he insists. And, BTW, he continues to blurb bigoted bilge.
4. A Texas Drubbing?

I'm still agnostic on the the prospects of turning Texas blue, but Politico captures some of what Trump has wrought in the Lone Star State.

As bad as it’s been for Texas Republicans lately, some members of the party are warning that 2020 could be even worse.
The rash of recent House GOP retirements is just the latest sign of a state party in distress: In last year’s midterms, Democrats flipped a pair of longtime GOP districts, a Democrat came within striking distance of a Senate seat, and more than 50 elected Republican judges lost their jobs. Democrats also gained ground in state legislative races.
Changing demographics and a suburban revolt against President Donald Trump have turned Texas from a conservative bedrock to a major political battleground, especially for House seats. Once-safe congressional Republicans are facing competitive races for the first time in their careers — a potential harbinger of the GOP’s future in the state if they don’t adapt quickly.
“If the Republican Party in Texas doesn’t start looking like Texas, there won’t be a Republican Party in Texas,” retiring Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), who represents a key swing district, told POLITICO. Texas’ Latinos are on pace to become the largest population group in the state by 2022.
Last cycle was “without a doubt a wake-up call to most elected officials,” said Hurd. “Texas is indeed purple.”

Read the rest here.
5. Do We Have To Take the Mooch Seriously Now?

When he wasn't sending twitter kisses to Kim or peddling conspiracy theories, Trump took time to diss Anthony Scaramucci, who was the president's communications director for about five minutes.

So, yeah, the Mooch is off the team. And now he's telling Axios that Trump may need to go before 2020.

"We are now in the early episodes of 'Chernobyl' on HBO, where the reactor is melting down and the apparatchiks are trying to figure out whether to cover it up or start the clean-up process," Scaramucci said.

"A couple more weeks like this and 'country over party' is going to require the Republicans to replace the top of the ticket in 2020."

Well, fair enough. But before it drops into the memory hole, could we recall that this is the same Mooch who repeatedly offered to carry Trump's cape, which presumably would also include being the mouthpiece for his spin and lies. As recently as May, he was practically begging to get his old job back.

Mooch says he's now seen the light, but everything he describes was blindly apparent all the time he was auditioning to be Trump's lackey. I'm with Tim O'Brien on this one:

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On Our World

Boris Johnson & Donald Trump (Courtesy Financial Times) 
As we went to press, we were seeing reports out of the United Kingdom that the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is gearing up for a snap election and he has ordered his staff to be on a War-Type Footing as he's begun a spending spree to work to mitigate the brunt of Brexit.    The US Secretary of State noted that they would be ready to sign a free trade deal with the UK immediately upon an exit from the European Union.     Our team found the depiction courtesy of the Team at the Financial Times depicting Donald Trump and Boris Johnson as his Butler to be interesting.

In the meantime, Back in the United States, President Trump left for his New Jersey Resort as he noted a "beautiful Letter" he received from the North Korean Leader and supposedly made a "Small Apology" for the recent missile launches as the US and South Korea conducted exercises.    President Trump asked for reimbursements and promised a great future for North Korea although one of the more traditional Republicans noted this:

We also close out this weekend edition of Notations with two additional notations on what had transpired this week as the President also noted that something meaningful will be done on Guns in spite of the non-commitment from the US Senate Majority Leader: 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Notations From the Grid (W-End Edition): On #Iran

Iran and the United States continue to be at loggerheads.    The Economist of London depicted the standoff as the Propaganda War continues epitomized by what was released by US Embassy Baghdad on Iran's Supreme Guide (referred to as the Supreme  Leader in the Western Press):

As this report came out, one of the Supreme Leader's key aides came out and noted how pious a life he led and how he even borrowed money from his Security Team to help pay for expenses.

We will continue to assess the state of affairs over the ensuing weeks.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Special Thursday Edition) : Out & About In Our World...

President Trump and the First Lady visited Dayton and El Paso yesterday.  Our team captured a sampling of the Twitter Discourse in addition of analysis from Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah:

As We Went to Press, we noted this courtesy of the National's Joyce Karam:

We also saw this from Amnesty International: