April 2, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 6:53 PM


Algeria's Bouteflika quits after protests (SBS, 4/02/19)

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has resigned, succumbing to a groundswell of pressure after weeks of protests against his 20-year rule.

The ailing 82-year-old leader announced he was standing down in a statement carried by state news agency APS on Tuesday, shortly after the army chief of staff demanded action to remove him from office.

Posted by orrinj at 6:00 PM


Trump's aides warn him border shutdown would be disastrous (NANCY COOK and ANDREW RESTUCCIA, 04/02/2019, Politico)

President Donald Trump's senior economic aides are scrambling to impress upon him the potentially dire economic costs of his threat to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Both Kevin Hassett and Larry Kudlow, the president's top economic advisers, have shared papers and data with Trump over the last 36 hours, illustrating the way economic growth could slow down even if the president shut down the border for just one day -- not to mention the effect on the flow of goods, raw materials and the U.S. supply chain.

Inside the White House, officials frantically spent the day searching for ways to limit the economic impact of shuttering the border, according to two senior administration officials and one Republican close to the White House. One possibility involved closing the border to cars but allowing commercial trucks to continue to pass through. Officials stressed, however, that no final decisions had yet been made.

Publicly, Republican leaders expressed their own dismay at the threats, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called potentially "catastrophic."

Posted by orrinj at 5:58 PM


Democrats mock Trump over healthcare delay, prepare for 2020 battle (Susan Heavey, Susan Cornwell, 4/02/19, Reuters) 

Democrats mocked President Donald Trump on Tuesday for pushing back his promise of sweeping healthcare reform until after the 2020 election, and said they were happy to make it a central campaign issue. [...]

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said he told Trump on Monday that the party was not about to restart work on comprehensive healthcare legislation, noting they were unable to pass a plan when they controlled both chambers of Congress in the first two years of the Trump presidency.

"I made it clear to him we were not going to be doing that in the Senate," McConnell told reporters.

Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in November elections after campaigning heavily on healthcare.

Posted by orrinj at 5:54 PM


Chicago Police Department Says Murders Down 30 Percent, Shootings Down 17 Percent Through March  (CBS, 4/01/19) 

Police said burglaries, robberies, and car thefts also are at a 20-year low.

Johnson said violent crime has been going down in Chicago for the past three years, and pointed to the creation of new "strategic decision support centers," which the department began installing in district stations in 2017. The so-called "nerve centers" are equipped with ShotSpotter gunshot detection systems and other high-tech crime-fighting tools.

"Since we initiated the strategic decision support centers in 2017, we're down about 50 percent in terms of gun violence overall," Johnson said.

Posted by orrinj at 12:44 PM


White House spokesman twice calls Puerto Rico 'that country' in TV interview (John Wagner April 2, 2019, Washington Post)

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley twice referred to Puerto Rico as "that country" during a television appearance Tuesday in which he defended a series of tweets by President Trump lashing out at leaders of the U.S. territory.

Posted by orrinj at 12:35 PM


Healthcare Once Again Tops List of Americans' Worries (JIM NORMAN, 4/01/19, Gallup)

Fifty-five percent of Americans worry "a great deal" about the availability and affordability of healthcare, topping Gallup's list of potentially worrisome issues for the fifth straight year. A majority of Americans have said they worry a great deal about healthcare in each of the 18 years the question has been asked since 2001, more than twice as often as any of the other 12 issues most often measured.

Posted by orrinj at 4:14 AM


Germany's crime rate fell to lowest level in decades in 2018 (Deutsche-Welle, 4/02/19)

The crime rate in Germany has fallen for the second year in a row, according to the 2018 crime report that was published on Tuesday. [...]

The Federal Criminal Police Agency (BKA) detailed the number of reported criminal acts for 2018, including the following takeaways:

5.56 million criminal acts were recorded in 2018 -- down 3.6 percent from the previous year.

Posted by orrinj at 4:13 AM


God is an SJW (yOSEIF bLOCH, APR 2, 2019, tIMES OF iSRAEL)

The most prominent speaker was House Minority Leader, Republican Kevin McCarthy, whose latest campaign called out three Jewish billionaires and warned "We cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to BUY this election!" I could have sworn there was a hubbub recently about antisemitic tropes...

Of course, the sitting Republican president of the United States suffered no ill effects after telling Jewish Republicans: "You're not going to support me because I don't want your money. You want to control your politicians, that's fine."

Then, once he was in office, he told his guests at the White House Hanukkah Party about how much the Second Couple loves Israel: "And they go there and they love your country. They love your country. And they love this country. That's a good combination, right?" Hm, dual loyalty much?

Then there was the Dinner Chairman, Rabbi Yechezkel Moskowitz, who declared that the worst antisemitic attack in American history was not the result of anti-immigrant hysteria fueled by white supremacy and encouraged by the president. No, it was the fault of Torah Trumps Hate, an organization of progressive Orthodox Jews. "The Pittsburgh shooting as horrifying as it was, was in my opinion a sad but direct result of their actions." In fact, progressive Jews should be defined as moserim, collaborationist traitors marked for death, according to Moskowitz. (He later retracted that part of the accusation, as McCarthy deleted his tweet. Yay?)

Now, it shouldn't shock me how quickly "All Antizionism is antisemitic" morphed into "Only Antizionism is antisemitic." As an American-born Orthodox Jew, I have watched that pernicious idea bloom over the last four decades. But hey, that's just politics, right?

Unfortunately, it no longer is. Far more disturbing than Moskowitz, McCarthy or Messiah ben Fred, is the report that the term tikkun olam was booed at this event.

Posted by orrinj at 3:59 AM


One Month In, 'Jexodus' Group Has Trump's Support - And Not Much Else (Aiden Pink and Jenny Singer, April 2, 2019, Forward)

A little over a month after being promoted - twice - by President Trump, the right-wing Jewish advocacy group formerly known as "Jexodus" has changed its name and slowly begun its programming.

Now known as "The Exodus Movement," the group's leader, 23-year-old activist and model Elizabeth Pipko, has a shiny new website and two events lined up already - at Yeshiva University and a Republican women's club in Boca Raton, Florida. Pipko has also made the rounds on conservative TV shows and podcasts, and has so far been promoted by Eric Trump's wife Lara in addition to the president.

However, the organization has been criticized for being a so-called "astroturf" organization founded by a longtime Republican operative, and having little grassroots support in a largely-liberal community - and indeed, the cover image on their social media pages is not a supporter but rather a stock photo model. The organization's Facebook and Twitter pages only have around 6,000 combined followers.

Jews have consistently voted for Democrats in the last few elections - with a 79%-17% Democratic split in the 2018 midterms, according to an exit poll commissioned by the left-wing Israel group J Street.

Posted by orrinj at 12:03 AM


Trump Lives by Ratings. He Won't Like This One. (Annie Karni, April 1, 2019, NY Times)

[M]r. Trump may not like how his brand is faring in one important metric: his "E-Score," a number compiled by E-Poll Market Research that is not publicly available, but which marketing executives, network television stations and advertisers rely on to figure out which personalities appeal to audiences -- and which do not.

Like the Q Score, which measures the appeal of celebrities, the E-Score calculates awareness and appeal of individuals in the public eye. But it also tracks how individuals score on more than 40 personality and physical attributes.

In terms of those attributes, Mr. Trump was most often described as "aggressive" (48 percent) and "mean" (38 percent), according to his scores from December that were obtained by The New York Times. He also scored high for being "insincere," "confident" and "creepy." But he scored between 0 and 4 percent for the attributes of "sexy," "impartial," "handsome" and "physically fit."

About 29 percent of people described Mr. Trump as "overexposed." And his overall strong positive appeal is 14 percent, compared with an overall strong negative appeal of 39 percent.

Among adults over the age of 55, Mr. Trump consistently held more positive appeal than among those who are younger. Mr. Trump also consistently held more positive appeal with men than with women, across all age groups.

Posted by orrinj at 12:01 AM


Trump's threat to close border stirs fears of economic harm (CEDAR ATTANASIO, April 1, 2019. AP) 

Politicians, business leaders and economists warned that such a move would block incoming shipments of fruits and vegetables, TVs, medical devices and other products and cut off people who commute to their jobs or school or come across to go shopping.

"Let's hope the threat is nothing but a bad April Fools' joke," said economist Dan Griswold at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia. He said Trump's threat would be the "height of folly," noting that an average of 15,000 trucks and $1.6 billion in goods cross the border every day.

"If trade were interrupted, U.S. producers would suffer crippling disruptions of their supply chains, American families would see prices spike for food and cars, and U.S. exporters would be cut off from their third-largest market," he said.

While the Deep State has stopped most of Trumpismj, he has been able to impose record taxes and regulations unilaterally.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Trump Got No Bump From Mueller. He Should Worry. (Jonathan Bernstein, April 1, 2019, Bloomberg)

On March 22, the day Mueller's report was delivered, FiveThirtyEight estimated that Trump's approval rating was at 41.9 percent and his disapproval at 52.9 percent. By March 31, he had inched up to 42.1 percent approval and stayed flat at 52.9 percent disapproval. [...]

Here's why that's bad news for Trump. His approval rating is the second-worst of any president on record after 801 days in office, which is where Trump was on Sunday. Only Ronald Reagan, at 41.1 percent, was worse. Trump is dead last in disapproval rating. No other president was over 50 percent. He's also last in net approval (that is, approval minus disapproval) at -10.7.

Trump's numbers have been unusually steady. His poor rating, and his low ranking among the 13 presidents of the polling era, isn't a temporary fluke caused by recent bad news. It's just where he always is. He's been net negative since the earliest days of his presidency, and his disapproval has been over 50 percent for two years now. In fact, he's been last in disapproval for all but about a month of his presidency. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Trump punts health care until after 2020: Just last week the president had seemed to go all in on a new effort to wipe out Obamacare. (QUINT FORGEY and JOHN BRESNAHAN 04/01/2019, Politico)

President Donald Trump signaled Monday that congressional Republicans would wait until after the 2020 elections to vote on a GOP replacement for Obamacare -- putting off a presumably savage legislative battle on a hot-button campaign issue until after his re-election bid.

He's the Washington Generals.