August 7, 2019
This past Friday, I (executive editor Buck Sexton) had the formative experience of appearing as the lone conservative on one of the more liberal political TV shows, Real Time With Bill Maher, and we had a great time (at least I think so). Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson sat across from me and no, she gave me neither life advice nor healing crystals.
Despite Maher’s overwhelmingly liberal studio audience, the show had one heckler get in the middle of things – and he just happened to be a Donald Trump supporter. A story about the interruption made the top of the Drudge Report the next morning. I guess it believes the only bad press is no press.
After the show, I managed to retreat to a few watering holes in Manhattan Beach for some much-needed R&R among California’s beautiful (though mostly liberal) locals. That tranquility didn’t last long. The harsh reality of the real world came rushing back.
Over the weekend, the country was hit with news of two terrible mass shootings that killed at least 41 and wounded dozens more.
The shooter in in El Paso, Texas, left behind a manifesto laying out his hateful, white-nationalist ideology. The second shooter committed his evil act in Dayton, Ohio, and – as we go to press – it appears that he supported extreme Leftist ideologies, like Antifa and anti-police movements, as well as politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
The media has turned this into a political food fight, with prominent pundits and even some Democratic presidential candidates going as far as saying that Trump’s rhetoric is responsible for the El Paso attack. Mainstream papers and networks are much more muted about the Dayton shooting, for reasons that are readily apparent. It’s not part of their “Trump causes violence” narrative.
Once again, the overwhelming focus after a tragedy is on scoring political points instead of coming up with credible, bipartisan solutions to address mass shootings and gun violence. Banning assault weapons has been tried before, and all the statisticians will tell you this had no appreciable effect on gun violence.
But we are in the start of a presidential election cycle, and politicians are already in full demagoguery mode.
Meanwhile, as the country tries to recover from tragedy, the markets were rocked on news that China has devalued its currency and is gearing up for a long fight with America over its unfair trade practices.
There was also a somewhat ominous tone behind this quote from the Wall Street Journal:
China is not just preparing for a protracted trade war, but also an escalating conflict.
In response, the Trump administration has imposed more punishing tariffs on Chinese imports and labeled the country a currency manipulator.
Everyone is asking what’s next. What about China dumping U.S. Treasury bonds on the market as a punitive measure? The move would be dangerous for the Chinese economy but when a strongman like Xi Jinping feels cornered, the unthinkable can become plausible.
One thing is for sure: Neither side seems likely to cave to the other, which means that it may be time to strap in and get ready. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
Now here are a few things we’re reading…
Watch Buck talk Trump, presidential candidates, and more with Bill Maher and the guests from Friday’s show.
“We must recognize that the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize, disturb minds, and perform demented acts,” Trump said. “We must shine the light on the dark recesses of the internet and stop mass murders before they start.”
President Trump claims trade wars are easy to win, but that boast looks worse than ever amid the financial carnage from his latest threat of tariffs on Chinese goods. His trade war has now become a currency war, which raises the potential economic harm to another level.
And the weirdest thing we’ve read today…
The 526 denticles look like they could be a collection of deep-sea gems or scraps of geodes harvested from volcanic rock – a swirling array of smooth beads laid out with elegant precision on a turquoise mat. The majority of them are just a few millimeters long, which explains how they all fit inside the mouth of a child who had more than one tooth for each week he’d been alive.
And let us know what you’re reading at [email protected].
Executive Editor, American Consequences
With P.J. O’Rourke and the Editorial Staff
August 7, 2019