Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
🦅 U.S. NEWS
What the Health: Bernie Sanders undergoes procedure for artery blockage
2020 contender Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign announced Wednesday that he underwent a medical procedure to insert two stents after a blockage was found in an artery. Why it matters: the 78-year-old candidate will be canceling all campaign events “until further notice,” but is “conversing and in good spirits” according to Senior adviser Jeff Weaver. The news comes one day after the campaign announced a $25.3 million fundraising haul for Q3, the biggest yet among the wide Democratic field. Big picture: media outlets and their corresponding pundits routinely question the health of opposition candidates. A headline from the left: “Trump Is Not Well”, The Atlantic. A headline from the right: “Biden’s debate performance renews questions of health”, The Hill’s opinion section. – Axios / The Atlantic / The Hill
October Spooks Stocks
U.S. stocks fell sharply for a second consecutive session as worries intensified about slowing U.S. manufacturing activity that could foreshadow a possible economic downturn. The Dow specifically dropped more than 800 points in two days and the S&P 500 fell below its 50-day moving average, a key technical indicator. Why it matters: Stock indexes were nearing record-high levels, until October and the fourth quarter began. Drivers: the drop came after reports show slowing in September for both manufacturing and hiring. The disappointing economic reports also come as President Donald Trump faces a push for impeachment by Democrats. What’s next: there’s a bunch of economic data being released today, but all eyes will be on the September employment report tomorrow. The economy is expected to have added 145,000 jobs, above the 130,000 last month. If this happens, expect markets to turn green and end the week flat. – WSJ / CNBC
Full House: US households are growing
For the first time in 160 years, the number of people living in the average U.S. household is increasing, according to the Pew Research Center. By the numbers: This decade looks set to reverse the trend of diminishing households, which saw numbers drop from 5.79 people per household in 1850, to 2.58 in 2010. Why it matters: this is not good news for the economy. Rising household size reduces the demand for housing, resulting in less residential construction and less demand for home appliances and furniture. In general, it leads to a less vigorous housing sector – fewer apartment leases and home purchases, as well as less spending related to housing, such as cable company subscriptions and home accessories suppliers. With that said, it can be a boon for families with extra income earners under the one roof. – LI / Pew Research Center
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
U.S. to Tax European Wine, Whiskey, Cheese and Other Goods
The Trump administration said Wednesday that it would impose tariffs on European aircraft, French wine and cheese, Spanish olive oil and other goods starting Oct. 18, after the World Trade Organization granted the United States permission to tax as much as $7.5 billion of European exports annually. What you need to know: The tariffs are part of a long-running complaint over subsidies given to European plane maker Airbus and are intended to allow the United States to recoup some of the losses American plane maker Boeing sustained because of Europe’s unfair trade practices. – New York Times
Iraq imposes curfew, cuts internet as major protests turn violent
Iraq’s government shut off internet access, imposed curfews and deployed elite forces to secure key facilities on Wednesday amid widespread protests aimed at toppling the country’s regime. Immediate Impact: Five people were killed and more than 200 were wounded in the largest display of public anger against Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s year-old government. Why it matters: Any power vacuum in Iraq, should the government be toppled, could prove challenging for the region, given Baghdad’s status as an ally of both the United States and Iran, who are locked in a political standoff. – Euronews
Brexit: New UK plan for Northern Ireland to stay in single market
The British government published new proposals on Brexit—in particular, the notorious Irish backstop. The plan, outlined in a seven-page document, would see Northern Ireland stay in the European single market for goods, but leave the customs union – resulting in new customs checks. The Northern Ireland Assembly would get to approve the arrangements first and vote every four years on keeping them. The European Commission said there had been progress but “problems” remained. – BBC
A Race to the Bottom: E-Trade cuts commissions to zero along with rest of brokerage industry
Zero is now the hottest number in the online brokerage industry. What’s happening: retail brokerage firm E-Trade announced Wednesday it will drop commission fees on online U.S. stock, ETF and options trades. The move comes within a week of Interactive Brokers, Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade all dropping their commission fees. Why it matters: Shares of all the brokerage firms have been getting hit this week on fears that a lack of commission revenue will hurt margins. Elsewhere: Vice Media acquired Refinery29 in a $400 Million Deal on Wednesday. The consolidation will help the online publishers scale in the face of falling digital advertising rates. Lastly, Tesla stock slid after the company missed third-quarter delivery expectations. Context: Tesla shares have lost 27% this year, contrasting with gains around 15% for the S&P 500 index. – CNBC / MarketWatch / Yahoo News
Track reduces use of new ‘crotch cameras’ after backlash
With cameras in the starting blocks peering up the legs of athletes into their eyes, television viewers have been taken closer to the action than ever before at the world championships. Here’s the thing: the cameras have been a little too up close and personal for some athletes. What’s happening: there is increasing backlash against intrusive camera angles being dubbed “crotch cams.” The German track and field federation has even made an official complaint about them. Big picture: these cameras were meant to attract new viewers to capture what was being called the “explosion of energy” from athletes who were only previously seen from above or the side of their heads. Elsewhere: MLB saw attendance decline for the fifth straight year, falling to the lowest mark since 2003. It’s not a problem though, it’s actually all part of the plan Deadspin’s Neil deMause writes. Keep reading. – AP / Deadspin
Microsoft is officially getting back into the smartphone game with the Surface Duo, a foldable Android device
Microsoft is officially back in the smartphone game with the long-rumored Surface Duo, a folding smartphone that runs on Android, which will go on sale during the holiday 2020 season. Why it matters: Rumors have been flying about a Microsoft smartphone for years after the company sunsetted its own mobile operating system. Some other big announcements include Windows 10X, the Surface Neo, Pro X, Surface Earbuds, the Surface Pro 7 and the Surface Laptop 3. Big picture: The tech industry is feeling the pain of an unprecedented backlash over its business practices and broad impact on society, but original tech giant Microsoft has managed to stay mostly above the fray. This allows the company to focus on releasing new products and services with limited distractions and any resource-sucking trials. – Business Insider / Axios
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1995: O.J. Simpson acquitted
At the end of a sensational trial, former football star O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the brutal 1994 double murder of his estranged wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. In the epic 252-day trial, Simpson’s “dream team” of lawyers employed creative and controversial methods to convince jurors that Simpson’s guilt had not been proved “beyond a reasonable doubt,” thus surmounting what the prosecution called a “mountain of evidence” implicating him as the murderer.
Today I learned that one of the reasons the gloves didn’t fit O.J. Simpson is that he stopped taking medication for his arthritis which led to his hands becoming swollen.
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
After a funeral home invited the public to a veteran’s service because he had no family, more than 1,000 people showed up to mourn him. The honor guard silently folded an American flag as members of the military, countless veterans and locals watched.
If there are two places that have an obvious affinity for whiskey, it’s the United States and Scotland. According to research by Bank of America Merrill Lynch Americans drank 462 million liters in 2014. With that said, a small island is making millions of bottles and scooping up top industry awards. That brings us to today’s trivia question:
How did Taiwan become a global powerhouse in whiskey production?