You guys, Trump broke up with China!

A short while ago, Trump lost his shit on Twitter in a way that is tanking the DJA:

Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years. They have stolen our Intellectual Property at a rate of Hundreds of Billions of Dollars a year, & they want to continue. I won’t let that happen! We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far….

….better off without them. The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP. Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing..

…your companies HOME and making your products in the USA. I will be responding to China’s Tariffs this afternoon. This is a GREAT opportunity for the United States. Also, I am ordering all carriers, including Fed Ex, Amazon, UPS and the Post Office, to SEARCH FOR & REFUSE,….

….all deliveries of Fentanyl from China (or anywhere else!). Fentanyl kills 100,000 Americans a year. President Xi said this would stop – it didn’t. Our Economy, because of our gains in the last 2 1/2 years, is MUCH larger than that of China. We will keep it that way!

I’m sure everything will be fine.

End Timeline (Open Thread)

Didn’t expect Charlize Theron to turn up in today’s Armageddon-infused Twitter trends, but so be it:

This Trump madness is all just so damned exhausting.

Let’s expand our universe of topics. Anyone read a good book, seen a great movie, discovered a new band or heard a hilarious joke lately? Also, I’m in a “show hole” since the end of Years and Years and Big Little Lies, not to mention still suffering Game of Thrones withdrawals. Any recommendations?

This is an open thread that is not limited to the above topics. Feel free to discuss anything, even The Beast.

The Parkland Peace Plan

As predicted last week, Trump is already caving on his latest feint toward gun safety legislation after promising to “look very strongly” at universal background checks and red flag laws in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton massacres — this despite the fabled moderating influence of Ivanka.

The NRA is at its lowest ebb in decades. Board members and employees are running from the organization like Trump White House lackeys fleeing a process server. Even a Fox News personality called out the epic corruption of the NRA’s Trump-scale tacky-grandiose chief Wayne LaPierre last week. So this cave is the latest data point on Trump’s crap negotiating skills.

My husband is famously bad at negotiating. Our daughter and I still tease him about walking into a Ford dealership several years ago, clapping eyes on his future truck and exclaiming, “Oh my GOD! I LOVE it!” right in front of the salesman. We were fleeced most thoroughly soon after, of course, and the mister is no longer permitted to even ATTEND major purchase events.

But the mister is steely-eyed and canny at the long table in comparison to the credulous fool in the White House, who has handed over our economic fate to China’s Xi, been pantsed by tin-pot dictators worldwide and sports Vladimir Putin’s brand on his ass. In that context, it’s no wonder the weakened sociopaths at the NRA were able to vaporize Trump’s mealy-mouthed resolve to “look very strongly” at new gun safety regulations with a single phone call.

Luckily, the March for Our Lives group, founded by Parkland massacre survivors, isn’t waiting around for Trump to nut up. This morning, they released an ambitious gun safety proposal: A Peace Plan for a Safer America. Here are its main points:

1. CHANGE THE STANDARDS OF GUN OWNERSHIP: Advocate and pass legislation to raise the national standard for gun ownership: a national licensing and registry system that promotes responsible gun ownership; a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and other weapons of war; policies to disarm gun owners who pose a risk to themselves or others; and a national gun buy-back program to reduce the estimated 265-393 million firearms in circulation by at least 30%.

2. HALVE THE RATE OF GUN DEATHS IN 10 YEARS: Mobilize an urgent and comprehensive federal response: declare a national emergency around gun violence and announce an audacious goal to reduce gun injuries and deaths by 50% in 10 years, thereby saving up to 200,000 American lives.

3. ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE GUN LOBBY AND INDUSTRY: Hold the gun lobby and industry accountable for decades of illegal behavior and misguided policies intended to shield only themselves; reexamine the District of Columbia v. Heller interpretation of the Second Amendment; initiate both FEC and IRS investigations into the NRA, and fully repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

4. NAME A DIRECTOR OF GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION: Appoint a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) who reports directly to the President, with the mandate to operationalize our federal goals and empower existing federal agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – agencies that have all been structurally weakened by the gun lobby. The National Director of GVP would begin by overseeing a down payment of $250 million in annual funding for research by the CDC and other federal agencies on gun violence prevention.

5. GENERATE COMMUNITY-BASED SOLUTIONS: Fully fund targeted interventions addressing the intersectional dimensions of gun violence, including community-based urban violence reduction programs, suicide prevention programs, domestic violence prevention programs, mental and behavioral health service programs, and programs to address police violence in our communities.

6. EMPOWER THE NEXT GENERATION: Automatically register eligible voters and mail voter registration cards to all Americans when they turn 18. Create the “Safety Corps,” a Peace Corps for gun violence prevention. The younger generations are disproportionately affected by gun violence. They should have a say in how their country solves this epidemic.

It’s a smart plan that frames gun violence as a national health issue that reaches far beyond mass shootings. And it focuses on political mobilization, which is critical. It also signals that the Parkland group possesses political savvy that morons like Trump, his dingbat daughter and wastrel son-in-law can’t begin to match. Unlike those clowns, the Parkland kids are building on the past work they’ve done nationwide and swinging for the fences when opponents are at a weak point.

Senator Murphy of Connecticut sees hope (The Post):

“My hope is that they focus like a laser on youth turnout,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said of March for Our Lives’s 2020 efforts, after reviewing the proposal. “The election is over the minute young people decide to turn out. The only reason that Trump would get reelected is if young people stay home. The issue of gun violence is one of the only issues that truly motivate young people to shake off their indifference and aversion to voting.”

Democrats, who in the past would at least nod toward gun owners and do photo ops while hunting, are embracing gun control with greater urgency than they have in any election in recent memory, a sign that they are sensing movement among voters. During the 2018 midterms, when Democrats recaptured the House majority, nearly 70 percent of registered voters said gun policy was “very important” to them, ranking the issue ahead of taxes and immigration, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

This is what we’ve lacked — a sense of urgency to match that of the gun nuts. But thanks to the gun nuts’ maximal resistance to commonsense positions backed by 90% of Americans — and the insane among that group’s limitless appetite for mass murder — the pendulum might finally swing toward sanity, and perhaps a lot further than seemed possible even a couple of years ago.

You can read more about the plan, sign the petition and donate to March for Our Lives here.

Plutocrats on the Run

Well, this is interesting (The Post):

Group of top CEOs says maximizing shareholder profits no longer can be the primary goal of corporations

The organization representing the nation’s most powerful chief executives is rewriting how it views the purpose of a corporation, updating its decades-old endorsement of the theory that shareholders’ interests should come above all else.

The new statement, released Monday by the Business Roundtable, suggests balancing the needs of a company’s various constituencies and comes at a time of widening income inequality, rising expectations from the public for corporate behavior and proposals from Democratic lawmakers that aim to revamp or even restructure American capitalism.

“Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity,” reads the statement from the organization, which is chaired by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

Staying ahead of the mobs and pitchforks is a good strategy! They’re hoping to convince us we don’t need something like the Accountable Capitalism Act — corporate titans have realized the current system leaves out some constituents (i.e., everyone but themselves and fellow rich people) and will henceforth play nice out of the goodness of their hearts. I don’t believe it for a second.

Meanwhile, Trump just waved a magic wand and solved wealth inequality:

As of now, disbelieving the evidence of your own eyes and ears isn’t enough — you have to add fictional zeroes to your personal bank account totals too. No doubt there are people who are stupid and/or brainwashed enough to believe even this gigantic whopper, but I think we’re seeing a preview of the central flaw in the “Keep America Great” campaign argument.

In 2016, Trump could lie about what he was going to do. In 2020, he has to pretend that he did all this shit that he didn’t do. I’m no expert political analyst, and God knows I don’t want to underestimate the stupidity of tens of millions of our fellow citizens again. But that seems like a tougher sell to me.

Profit is So Last Century

WeWork, which owns and operates co-working spaces (in other words, they are a commercial property management company), just filed for an IPO, and it doesn’t look great:

Among the disclosures in the filing, WeWork reported a net loss attributable to the company of $689.7m in the six months ending 30 June 30, compared with a loss of $628.1m a year earlier.

In the same period, revenue more than doubled to $1.54bn.

The company also did not give a time frame for becoming profitable as it continues to invest in expanding its operations.

WeWork’s $700m loss is nothing next to Uber’s $5.2 billion loss for the last quarter, of course, but WeWork’s pitch to investors doesn’t include the extra frosting on the shit cake (self-driving cars, food delivery, scooters, etc.) that Uber uses to divert attention from their utter failure as a business.  WeWork just owns buildings and rents space in them, something that’s been done forever at a modest profit.  The only thing new about WeWork is that they rent office space by the day, week or month, and they serve coffee and fancy snacks in the break room.  Glory fucking hallelujah.

I wonder how bad the next recession is going to be after this ridiculous bubble pops.