Saturday, August 17, 2019

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They Said It

“We have nothing to fear about a recession right now except for the fear of recession.” — Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan

“The volatility makes a difficult investing environment. It seems to be equal parts people feeling they need to be in motion and people feeling paralyzed.” — Justin Wiggs, managing director of equity trading at Stifel Nicolaus

My take: To paraphrase Jeb Bush and FDR, the only thing we have to fear, apparently, is a Chaos President.

“If you’re an American Jew and you’re planning on voting for Donald Trump because you think he is pro-Israel, you’re a damn fool.” – Tom Friedman

“The only person who won and got what they wanted was Trump. No one else was happy about it.  He goes over the top in attacking them, and Israel goes over the top in responding. And then you force even hawkish Democrats to jump to their defense.” — Aaron Keyak, a Democratic strategist who works with pro-Israel groups, on the controversy involving Representatives Omar and Tlaib

“The obvious winner is Donald Trump, of course, who tweeted after Israel announced its flip- flop that ‘Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!’ Here, nakedly expressed, was his actual goal: Not to protect an American ally from politicians traveling in bad faith, but to yoke mainstream Democrats to their political fringe, as he has been doing, very effectively, for weeks.”

“Joining him in the winners’ circle are Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib. Say Israel had allowed them, per the original plan, to visit. The upshot would have been a week of bad headlines. But Israel has gotten that tenfold anyway, and the congresswomen managed to come out looking like martyrs.”

“The losers? Pretty much everyone else.” – Bari Weiss

“If Israel doesn’t want members of the United States Congress to visit their country . . . maybe they can respectfully decline the billions of dollars that we give to Israel.” — Bernie Sanders

“In our hyperpartisan world, the friend of my enemy is my enemy, and to the extent that Democrats look at Trump as the enemy, if they see Israel or the Netanyahu administration as operating hand in glove, that gives them real pause.” – Democratic pollster and long-time student of U.S.-Israel relations Mark Mellman

“What is the one mantra of the pro-Israel organizations for 30, 40 years? It’s congressional support. Presidents have their own views, but Congress is the core. So to pick a fight with members of Congress, which is going to force half of Congress to rally to their defense, is really foolish.” – Bill Kristol

My take: Although there is understandable hand wringing over this past week’s events, the strong bipartisan American support for Israel in Congress and in the country is not going to be broken by Trump and Netanyahu.  Election politics for both men and intra-Democratic Party tensions suggest more volatility ahead.  But this is one area where the New Normal will almost certainly be overtaken by the Old Normal once new leaders are in place.

“After careful review of all investigative information, including complete autopsy findings, the determination on the death of Jeffrey Epstein is below — Cause: Hanging. Manner: Suicide.” —  New York’s Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson

“We are not satisfied with the conclusions. The defense team fully intends to conduct its own independent and complete investigation into the circumstances and cause of Mr. Epstein’s death.” – Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers

My take: Too much of the information about the circumstances of Epstein’s death is coming out via leaks and written statements.  It is in the public interest for federal, state, and local officials to put out more information more quickly and more transparently. Attorney General Barr, or his designee, needs to step up and become the Norman Schwarzkopf of this public trust emergency.

“If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof that he has gone mad.” —Soren Espersen, the Danish People’s Party foreign affairs spokesman, on Donald Trump’s Greenland gambit

My take: Res ipsa loquitur.

Important to Know

“Civic leaders and law enforcement are bracing for several groups of protesters to take to downtown Portland on Saturday for a planned right-wing rally and left-wing counterprotest that have been advertised for weeks.  Two Florida men with large followings in the right-wing movement are holding an “End Domestic Terrorism” rally Saturday at 11 a.m [PT]. in Tom McCall Waterfront Park.”

“An organizer said he expects up to 1,000 people show up for the event, which seeks to draw like-minded people from around the country as a show of force against self-described anti-fascists, or antifa.”

“Rose City Antifa, Portland’s homegrown, amorphous band of anti-fascist activists, is calling on supporters to turn out in opposition to the rally.” (The Oregonian)

My take: Portland law enforcement has had plenty of time to prepare for this event. Let’s hope this is a day about the First Amendment, denunciations of hate, and no viral video.

“Elizabeth Warren now favourite to win 2020 Democratic nomination.” (Ladbrokes Politics)

My take: What do the Brits know that Mike Donilon does not?

“The next big catalyst for the stock and bond markets will likely come next week when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak [Friday] at the central bank’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole,” Wyoming. (Wall Street Journal)

My take: Powell seems to have largely accepted his role as presidential piñata.  The thin mountain air has sometimes in the past caused Fed officials to make news at this event that they would not commit elsewhere. So brace yourself.

House Democratic Leader Steny “Hoyer personally pleaded with Netanyahu on Wednesday to allow Omar and Tlaib entry.” (Washington Post)

“Even the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful and assiduously bipartisan pro-Israel lobbying group known as AIPAC, has split with the Netanyahu government on its decision. AIPAC typically backs Israel no matter who is in power, but its view is that while presidents and prime ministers come and go, support for Israel in Congress is essential.” (New York Times)

“If Bibi wins, he plans to pass a law banning his own indictment on corruption, and then, when Israel’s Supreme Court strikes down that law as illegal, he plans to get the Knesset to pass another law making the Supreme Court subservient to his Parliament. I am not making this up. Israel will become a Jewish banana republic.” (Tom Friedman)

My take: As I said above, the center will hold – eventually. But for the duration of the run of the Donald and Bibi Show, expect more turbulence.

Top sports story: NFL preseason Week 2 takeaways: Up-and-down night for Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones

Top business story: Trump says Apple is spending ‘vast sums of money in the U.S.’ and he’s having dinner with the CEO

Top entertainment story: Peter Fonda Dead at 79 After Respiratory Failure from Lung Cancer

Big Four


 U.S. Rep. Steve King takes to Twitter to respond to Republican, Democratic criticism over his rape, incest comments

New Hampshire

Soldier-dentist becomes citizen after ACLU suit


A campaign to save Debbie Reynolds Drive

South Carolina

Hate crimes on rise in SC. But there’s no state law against them

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