Sorry to interrupt this very happy day, but it looks like we may be in for a wee smidge of economic turbulence. Yesterday morning, President Arty McDeals played Game of Sycophants while dribbling onto a giant poster of himself emblazoned with the words, "Sanctions Are Coming." Just hours later, Apple halted trading of its shares to announce that its first quarter expected profits will be down substantially. Seems that sanctions are already here, and they're taking a huge bite out of the American economy. Trade wars are good and easy to win!

Despite Donald Trump's constant insistence that the Chinese are paying when we sanction their imports, here on Planet Earth, it is actually American importers coughing up the cash and then passing the additional cost on to consumers. Do you see Xi Jin Ping ranting about American farmers paying for a new Great Wall through the yuuuuge soybean tariffs enacted by his government in response to American levies? No, you don't! Because President Xi is not A IDIOT. And also because Chinese pig producers can simply buy their soybeans from Brazil instead, leaving North Dakota farmers with silos full of rotting legumes.

But since the Chinese economy is heavily dependent on exports to America, Chinese consumers currently have a lot less money to spend buying iPhones. Or as Tim Cook puts it,

China's economy began to slow in the second half of 2018. The government-reported GDP growth during the September quarter was the second lowest in the last 25 years. We believe the economic environment in China has been further impacted by rising trade tensions with the United States. As the climate of mounting uncertainty weighed on financial markets, the effects appeared to reach consumers as well, with traffic to our retail stores and our channel partners in China declining as the quarter progressed. And market data has shown that the contraction in Greater China's smartphone market has been particularly sharp.

Since Apple halted trading yesterday, its shares are down more than 10%. Turns out that undermining the Chinese economy and calling them a bunch of rapacious thieves is a bad way to get them to buy more of our stuff. Who knew!

Never fear, because White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett is here to reassure the markets with a promise that the losses will be spread across all major sectors. So cheer up, Apple!

It's not going to be just Apple. I think that there are a heck of a lot of US companies that have a lot of sales in China that are basically going to be watching their earnings being downgraded next year until we get a deal with China. And that puts a lot of pressure on China to make a deal.


Hassett's argument goes something like this: America is the indispensable market, and if we can just crash the Chinese economy, they'll eventually knuckle under and start buying cars from us while simultaneously accepting slave wages to assemble the cheap electronics we've come to love. Then Apple and Ford's share prices will soar, and Americans can still buy infinity shit without forcing corporations to increase wages. Hooray!

Let's see, if you multiply A by the square root of B and carry the one you get ... a great, steaming pile of BULLSHIT!

Leaving aside the implicit assumption that China will remain the world's workshop for all eternity, Hassett's gleeful predictions that the American bull market will go on forever under Donald Trump's wise and temperate guidance (LOL) are already provable bullshit. GDP growth continues to slow as we get over the sugar rush from the Republican tax boondoggle. No WALL will exempt us from the global slowdown, and no matter how much the MAGA loons refuse to believe it, the law of gravity still applies in US America.

Politico reports, as the Chinese and American economies soften, they each run out of ammo to fight.

"I think personally that the trade war is coming to an end and there is really nothing Trump can do about it," Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group, said in the latest edition of the POLITICO Money podcast. "If you have the United States and China both with very weak economies, the negotiation around trade just evaporates. Neither party has any negotiating power left. They both have to stop what they are doing."

We're not immune from a global recession, and unlike China, our farmers can vote. The Chinese Communist Party can withstand a lot of economic pain, but two more years of moderate economic slowdown will tank the GOP in 2020. And no amount of insane grinning from Kevin Hassett can change that.

Okay, that's enough economy talk for one day. Please to enjoy the obligatory Trade War Happy Face picture of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross pretending to enjoy his regular lunch of canned soup and domestic beer from a Capitol Hill bodega.

Nothing to fear, kids, we're in good hands!

[Apple Letter / NYT / Politico]

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Five Dollar Feminist

Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.

Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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