Wilbur Ross: Always Look On The Bright Side Of The Coronavirus

Deadly virus is great news for the US economy!

The SARS-like coronavirus has spread rapidly in China. The death toll is now at 170 people, and almost 8,000 people are infected, including 7,711 on the Chinese mainland. It's very unfortunate -- unless you're an absolute ghoul like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in which case this is all great news for the US economy.

The commerce secretary was on Fox Business this morning, boasting to host Maria Bartiromo that it was "physically impossible" for the US to experience a recession this year. The American economy has no corporeal form, so this seems a safe bet. The topic turned to the coronavirus, and Bartiromo mentioned how "you could see the Chinese economy come to a halt." Did that threaten Ross's cheerful outlook on the global economy? Not at all, the old Grinchy Claus hissed. The coronavirus will deliver economic gifts for America we don't want to miss!

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foreign policy

John Bolton, Bill Barr Just *Hate* All Those Favors Trump Does For Dictators!

And one of them might say so out loud!

The Bolton details just keep on coming. Last night, The New York Times reported that the former national security adviser and the nation's top prosecutor both agreed that Donald Trump was improperly using Justice Department criminal investigations as negotiating chips with foreign leaders, promising to interfere in prosecutions as a gift to whichever despot he was crushing on at the moment.

John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, privately told Attorney General William P. Barr last year that he had concerns that President Trump was effectively granting personal favors to the autocratic leaders of Turkey and China, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Barr responded by pointing to a pair of Justice Department investigations of companies in those countries and said he was worried that Mr. Trump had created the appearance that he had undue influence over what would typically be independent inquiries, according to the manuscript. Backing up his point, Mr. Barr mentioned conversations Mr. Trump had with the leaders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Xi Jinping of China.

While this latest revelation isn't directly related to the Ukraine shakedown scheme, it's of a piece with Trump's view of law enforcement as just one more political tool a country's leader wields in his own interests. Much like the $391 million of congressionally allocated defense aid which Bolton says Trump withheld to force Ukraine to announce a prosecutorial inquiry into Trump's political opponent Joe Biden.

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Trade War

Trump Accepts Promise Of Six Magic Beans, Declares Flawless Victory In China Trade War

Trade wars are good, and easy to win. You betcha.

President Arty McDeals got rolled. AGAIN.

Donald Trump bumbled us into a stupid trade war with China, and now he's so thirsty for a deal he's holding up a blank piece of paper and demanding a grateful nation pay tribute to his unparalleled negotiation skills. But he's not going to go through with his plan to ruin Christmas by slapping a 25 percent tariff on literally everything under the tree, so .... PLEASE CLAP?

"Many structural changes." UH HUH. Feels like we've seen this movie before, right?

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Trump Gutted Cyber Defenses, Now The FBI Needs YOU!

Only You Can Prevent Russian Fuckery In 2020.

As the Trump administration tells Americans not to worry about the creepy Russians knocking on our back door, the FBI has launched a video series to help 2020 candidates up and down ballot. The videos' messages seem to confirm everything the Trump White House and congressional Republicans say isn't happening -- that Eurotrash dudes are still trying to screw with US elections. Strangely, the FBI's videos come just as the administration forces out the very super nerds whose sole mission is to protect the White House from cyber threats.


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Trade War

Donald Trump's Very Excellent China Trade Deal Which Does Not Exist

If this guy tells you today is Monday, seek a second opinion.

When it comes to trade deals, the devil is in the details. Coincidentally, the devil is also in Donald Trump, so when he tweeted on Saturday that he'd just reached "by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country," the media was skeptical. After all, he promised that a deal with China was on the horizon back in May. In August, he lied about a call from Chinese trade officials who he claimed were desperate to get back to the negotiating table. And then again in December he claimed to have a deal in pocket only to see it vanish into thin air.

So naturally news outlets wised up this time and insisted on seeing the plan before they ran with a story congratulating President Arty McDeals on another flawless victory.


Screenshot: New York Times

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If You Don’t Stop And Look Around, You Might Miss The Impeachment. Your Sunday Show Rundown!

When the best you've got defending you on the Sunday shows is Ron Johnson and Jim Jordan, your prospects are not looking good.

The long-awaited Trump impeachment is speeding up! Mark Zaid, one of the attorneys for the Ukrainium One whistleblower, has stated he is now representing " multiple whistleblowers. The announcement of a second whistleblower -- the second intel whistleblower, on top of the IRS whistleblower who already existed, and who is being described as "an intelligence official with first-hand knowledge" (NOT "hearsay," Lindsey Graham!) of some of the allegations outlined in the original complaint, threw a wrench on ALL the talking points of Trump's ardent defenders, to the point that nobody from the White House even showed up for the Sunday shows. But a couple of idiots from Congress did!

It was perhaps most difficult this week for GOP Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Appearing on NBC's "Meet The Press," OshKosh M'Gosh Johnson was asked about what he told the Wall Street Journal about how EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland told him Trump was doing quid pro quos with Ukraine and basically extorting the nation for electoral assistance in exchange, but don't worry, Donald Trump told him that's a damn lie and Donald Trump always tells the truth.

It did not go well for Johnson.

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Trump Declares Victory In All Trade Wars, HEREBY ORDERS Stock Market To Rise

So easy to win.

This is no way to run a railroad. Even when he's overseas, humiliating us all at the G7 meeting in France, President Thirsty Bitch found time to fan the flames of a Chinese trade war, while simultaneously taking credit for ending the trade war by signing all the agreements! That train is never late.

On Friday, China announced it was doubling tariffs from five to 10 percent on $75 billion of American imports, such as soybeans, beef, pork and crude oil, starting in September. Duties on American vehicles and car parts will increase from five to 25 percent on December 15. That's in addition to its already planned ban on all agricultural imports from US America.

Naturally, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was dispatched to CNN to discuss what sounded like it could be his browser history, saying, "They signal once again to the American public that China wants to buckle our knee so that they can keep having their way with us." And Donald Trump tweeted out that Chinese President Xi Jinping is an enemy of America, perhaps an even greater enemy than Jay Powell, the man Trump himself appointed to run the Federal Reserve. So, you know that Xi is a bad hombre!

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Trade War

Larry Kudlow Is Bad At This

It's the Sunday Show Rundown, starring Larry Kudlow!

Today's edition of the Sunday Rundown will focus on CNN's "State Of The Union" with Brianna Keilar, which featured the triumphant return of Trump's economic advisor and reverse Midas, Larry Kudlow.

After last week's very reassuring denials of the possibility of a recession, a reporter asked Trump at the G7 in France about his retalitory tariffs on China:

QUESTION: Do you have second thoughts about escalating the war with China?

TRUMP: I have second thoughts about everything.

It seems this existential despair answer (or simply that Trump doesn't actually know what "second thought" means) sent the White House went into spin mode, insisting Trump regrets not raising the tariffs HIGHER instead.

So naturally, Keilar began the interview with Kudlow by asking what Trump meant. After Kudlow basically went with the approved story, Keilar asked him to clarify this week's Trump royal decree to American businesses regarding China:

KEILAR: He also said he's no longer planning on forcing U.S. businesses to leave China. So, it does seem as if he is softening on this issue broadly.

KUDLOW: Well...

KEILAR: You disagree with that?

KUDLOW: Hang on, if you -- well, a little bit. […] Regarding the larger point, OK, so he -- what he said last week in the tweet is, he can't order business. He's not ordering business. There's no emergency powers being invoked right now.

KEILAR: Well, he said he has the authority to do that.

KUDLOW: He merely said -- he may. As I said, there's nothing right now in the cards. Ultimately, we do have such authority, but it is not going to be exercised presently.

Nothing to see here, folks! Just a Trump Administration official floating the idea he'll use "emergency powers" to seize control of businesses. I mean, it's not like he has declared a bullshit "emergency" to go around the Constitution already. What's it called when the government controls the means of production again? You know, that thing Republicans are always falsely accusing others of?

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Totally Real News Outlet 'Epoch Times' Loves Trump, Falun Gong, Heterosexual Healing, And Just Floating Right There Up In The Air

Hates Deep State and Doctors.

It never fails. Every single nasty, illegal accusation Republicans hurl at Democrats is something they themselves are up to their eyeballs in. They might as well confess to running a pedophile pizza parlor right now. Donald Trump is derping about Google illegally boosting Hillary Clinton's vote totals by 16 million based on some bullshit survey of 95 people, so of course there's an actual fake news outlet spending millions of dollars to pump insane QAnon and Spygate lies into America's bloodstream and boost Donald Trump. That train is never late!

NBC's Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins have a bonkers story out today on the conservative "newspaper" Epoch Times. Regular readers of Your Wonkette will already be familiar with this fine publication, both for its bizarro Spygate theories postulating that Donald Trump is constantly on the verge of doing LOCK HER UPS to the entire Deep State, and because it routinely produces highly selected excerpts of leaked House Intelligence transcripts, which it absolutely, positively does not get from Devin Nunes.

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Larry Kudlow Says We Are In No Way Gonna Have a Recession Soon

It's Your Sunday Show Rundown!

After years of Trump coasting on the economy he inherited from the Obama Administration, the Dow Jones fell more than 800 points last Wednesday. Economic indicators from Germany, Trump's trade wars with China and others, Trump tax cuts for the rich and an inverted yield curve (which historically has been a warning sign of an impending recession) are combining into a bad sign for the "successful" "businessman" who's hitched his wagon so close to the economy. So much so that it prompted the White House to send out their economic duo of Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro to every single Sunday show.

Let's first focus on chief economic advisor and world's saddest Penguin cosplayer, Larry Kudlow.


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Stock Market Sick Of Winning

Because you need a good tariffsplainer!

How many times during the 2016 election did Donald Trump promise that he would solve every complex, intractable problem very quickly with his bigly masculine hands? From the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to healthcare, from urban violence to Afghanistan, President Arty McDeals swore that he alone could fix it. Generations of presidents had failed because they were weak, but he was strong and virile, so world leaders would cower before him, and America would be respected again.

Only it didn't work out that way, because hard problems are actually hard. And nowhere was Trump's bombast more ridiculous than his vow to wipe out our trade deficit with China. Because Xi Jinping isn't some concrete contractor from Canarsie who's going to take an 80 percent haircut on his bill because he doesn't have a choice. He's the leader of the most populous country on the planet, which is the US's largest trading partner, and happens to own $1.2 trillion of US debt. He's got an iron grip on China's economy and its media. And there's no way on Mao's red earth that he's going to roll over because some orange-haired loon offers him "the most beautiful chocolate cake" at Mar-a-Lago while simultaneously threatening to destroy the Chinese economy.

The problem is, Donald Trump only has the one play. All he knows how to do is act like the craziest bastard in the room and keep upping the ante in hopes the other guy folds. Which is how we find ourselves here, with the stock market posting its worst day of the year yesterday after China devalued its currency and vowed to halt all American agricultural imports. And, okay, the stock market isn't a perfect heuristic for the wider economy, but a 767-point drop in the Dow is a pretty bad sign.

So, what exactly are we looking at here? Well ...

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National Politics

Stable Genius Wows Stock Market By Tweeting Us Into A Trade War


Attention Walmart Shoppers, and literally everyone else in US America! Almost everything you buy is about to get just a little bit more expensive since President Impulse Control decided to impose a 10 percent tariff on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports. Hooboy, are we tired of winning yet?

The message was delivered in the usual manner, and without informing our Chinese negotiating partners in advance.

Making diplomacy great again! Trump prefaced his announcement by speculating that China and Iran had simply decided to wait him out, "drooling" at the prospect of being able to "rip off our beloved USA like never before" if a Democrat wins in 2020. But it wasn't all bad -- at least he managed to wait until Mnuchin and Lighthizer were back from negotiating with their Chinese counterparts in Shanghai before losing his shit and blowing up the deal on Twitter!

Trump spent months mollifying the big money market guys by promising that a great new trade deal with China was just around the corner. Wowed by his steely acumen and giant manly hands, China had promised to start buying massive quantities of US agricultural products. Or was it a vow to get serious about preventing intellectual property theft? Wait, maybe they were going to execute all the fentanyl smugglers.

Oh, whoops! Apparently it was NONE OF THEM, KATIE.

And that asshole is still out there swearing up and down that the Chinese pay all the tariffs and we'd all be so much richer if we just cut out China entirely and started making our own running shoes in America again.

Which is all well and good, except here in America wages are stagnant and people who can afford to eat, and pay rent, and shell out for health insurance, and still buy a pair of $15 American-made socks are thin on the ground.

China has not yet announced what its next move is, but safe bet it will be retaliatory tariffs. Which the Chinese will pay if they want our stuff, just as we pay to import Chinese goods. Because SHUT UP YOU DEMENTED LOON, THAT IS HOW TARIFFS WORK. Except the Chinese can just turn around and buy their soybeans from Brazil and Russia, who are only too happy to pick up the slack in the market. And then American taxpayers can pick up the tab for that one, too, since there is no way on God's green earth that the GOP is going to blow off Iowa farmers during a presidential year, especially with Joni Ernst on the ballot.

Let's see how the markets looked for the day.

Graphic via CNN Money


Oh, hey, remember that fun time on Wednesday, barely 24 hours before the Stable Genius had his tariff temper tantrum, when the Chairman of the Federal Reserve announced that he was cutting interest rates because we're in a trade war and no one knows whether it's going to peter out or blow up the entire economy because some idiot with no impulse control can't stay off Twitter? (We might be paraphrasing. A little.)

Once more with feeling now ... TRADE WARS ARE GOOD, AND EASY TO WIN.

[Bloomberg / NYT]

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Just The Feds Subpoenaing Mar-A-Lago For Info On The Chinese Massage Parlor Maybe Spy And Definite Trump-Access-Seller. NO COLLUSION!

And no influence peddling. And no straw donors. And no foreign money. And no

Do the Trump kids do anything besides rant on Fox and deflect subpoenas these days? Do they even have a job besides sitting on top of Daddy's money pile and whining about how it is NO FAIR that Republicans get investigated for doing crimes? Well, since they're not busy, the FBI's International Corruption Squad would like a word with young Uday and Qusay. The Miami Herald (which has been en fuego of late!) reports:

Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., this week sent subpoenas to Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's private club in Palm Beach, and Trump Victory, a political fundraising committee, demanding they turn over all records relating to Republican Party donor Li "Cindy" Yang and several of her associates and companies, the Miami Herald has learned.

Yang, the massage parlor entrepreneur who got caught flogging package tours to hobnob with the House of Trump to Chinese nationals, is under federal investigation for influence and access peddling. She's also suspected of illegally funneling foreign money to political donations, hence the subpoena to the RNC-linked Trump Victory committee.

Over the past year, Yang advertised at least eight Trump-related events to Chinese clients. Five of those events gave proceeds to Trump Victory — the committee dedicated to raising money for Trump's re-election. Two of the campaign fundraisers were hosted at Mar-a-Lago, and the others at various venues around the country, including one at Cipriani restaurant in New York City.

It's simply incredible how many of Cindy Yang's friends are day spa receptionists with a spare $5,400 lying around to donate to Republican political campaigns. In fact, we ourselves find it literally impossible to credit. And yet, the Herald has the names of several massage parlor employees who were able to max out their donations to Trump, giving $5,400 in the primary and then another $5,400 in the general. Nothing suspicious here!

You know what would make this story even better? A Chinese government link.

Oh, lookie here! Among the subpoenaed individuals and entities were:

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GOP To Farmers: Be Grateful You Aren't Dead. Yet.

Art of the Deal? REALLY?

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is a humble man of the people who enjoys hearty proletarian fare in his trusty lunchpail when the bell rings down at the plant. So you can believe him when he tells you that ramped up tariffs on Chinese imports should only add a few cents to the price of that delicious tallboy. Take it from Uncle Wilbur, kids! Trade wars are good and easy to win. Enjoy your soup, poors!

Besides which, as Donald Trump has repeatedly assured us, it's really China that pays the tariffs. So, if you think about it, Budweiser is getting richer off the increased price of the beer can, and the US government is taking in all that extra cash from China, so it's KA-CHING all around. (If you figure out where these numbers came from, let us know. We asked Mr. Google, and he said Trump pulled 'em out of his giant, orange ass. Ditto if you figure out WTF tariff income has to do with GDP.)

Except in China, where there are apparently no more people to buy anything.

China will be retaliating, of course, increasing tariffs on $60 billion of US imports. And unlike Trump, they're being strategic about which goods they hit. Donald Trump may think he's going to apply pressure equally to a billion Chinese people, but China aims to kick Iowa, Texas, and Louisiana squarely in the nuts with levies on soy, beef, and natural gas. But don't worry, kids, because Poppy Trump will just enact a new round of tariffs on everything China exports, and then they will immediately fold and give us what we want. China's government is currently celebrating the end of the Century of Humiliation by the West, but they'll definitely cave to an orange buffoon dripping desperation for a win before his own electoral campaign. Totes!

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National Politics

Mar-A-Lago: It's Not A Bribe, It's Membership Dues

All about the Benjamins.

Being president is HARD. It's a constant tension between serving the American people and selling your saggy orange ass to every Ivan, Chang, and Harry that bellies up to the bar waving a couple crumpled dollar bills. But Donald Trump is up to the challenge. He only gets to keep a little of the $3.4 million each of his 22 visits to Mar-a-Lago (so far) cost the American taxpayer, so he has to supplement that golf cart money with people willing to fork over thousands of dollars to be in his spray-tanned presence. It's kind of like selling access to the Lincoln Bedroom, but for the Loehmann's crowd.

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Chinese Spy (?) Finds Out The Hard Way You Have To PAY THE DOORMAN If You Want To See Mr. Trump

No one gets in for free!

Big round of applause for the Secret Service, Wonkers! They caught the Chinese Hamburglar trying to sneak into Mar-a-Lago on Saturday during the president's "working vacation." Okay, fine, actually the receptionist caught her. But after that, the Secret Service totally snapped into action and arrested that random Chinese lady with four cellphones, two passports, a laptop, and a malware-infected thumb drive, who showed up without a bathing suit and announced she was going for a swim.

According to a criminal complaint filed Monday in the Southern District of Florida, Yujing Zhang presented her two passports to the Secret Service agent at the Mar-a-Lago perimeter and said she was a relative of a club member with the same surname. Which is kind of like showing up at a bar mitzvah and claiming to be a friend of the Cohens -- your odds are good.

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