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
Foreign Flags, Facts and Figures: Only about a third (32%) of Spaniards say they are satisfied with how Spain’s democracy is working. The country has an election coming up this Sunday. Tuesday, the Indian capital of New Delhi entered its 10th consecutive day of hazardous air pollution. And lastly, the EU doles out $65 billion in agriculture subsidies every year. The thing is, a lot of that is going elsewhere.
🦅 U.S. NEWS
The Elephant in the Bloom: Michael Bloomberg Preparing to Enter 2020 Democratic Race
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, is taking steps to enter the 2020 presidential race as a Democrat, one of his advisers said, months after saying he wouldn’t run. Here’s how the announcement played out across the board:
- From His Supporters: “If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist,” Howard Wolfson said.
- From His Detractors: “We don’t need another billionaire buying his way into this election” Montana Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate, Steve Bullock tweeted. Fellow candidate Bernie Sanders wrote, “The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared.” Last but not least, Elizabeth Warren tweeted: Welcome to the race, @MikeBloomberg! If you’re looking for policy plans that will make a huge difference for working people and which are very popular, start here (then she linked to “A Calculator for The Billionaires).
The Takeaway: The billionaire and well-connected moderate could pose a “grave and instantaneous threat” to Joe Biden, who is struggling with fundraising and has faced questions about his sharpness, per the New York Times. Bloomberg could also appeal to a certain subset of conservatives. For both Republicans and Democrats right now he seems to be the elephant in the room.
China Claims Tariffs Will Go, but Others Express Doubts
Beijing’s announcement that the U.S. and China have mutually agreed to roll back tariffs lifted financial markets, adding to optimism that the 18-month trade war is beginning to wind down. But others expressed caution, the Wall Street Journal writes.
- Michael Pillsbury, a Hudson Institute expert who advises the Trump administration, said he believed the statement from China’s Commerce Ministry “may represent wishful thinking on the Chinese side more than a specific agreement.”
- Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said China has mounted a “sophisticated influence operation” to make tariff rollbacks part of any deal.
Why it all matters: there is growing pressure on the Trump administration to reach a concession with China as President Trump faces possible impeachment by the House of Representatives and a 2020 re-election campaign.
Senior U.S. Diplomat Deposition Released
Yesterday a transcript of an Oct. 15 closed-door deposition was released which featured statements from a top U.S. diplomat, George Kent. Left-leaning outlets began their coverage of the transcript by focusing on Kent’s words about President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Outlets on the right led with Kent’s statements about Hunter Biden. Here’s a sampling of each:
- From the Washington Post: “George Kent criticized Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, for engaging in a smear campaign against the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.”
- From Fox News: “George Kent told House investigators that he raised concerns about Hunter Biden’s lucrative service on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company — but was told that it wasn’t appropriate to discuss the matter because of the health struggles of Biden’s eldest son, Beau.”
Why George Kent Matters: Kent is scheduled to testify in an open session next Wednesday as part of the House’s first public impeachment hearings.
🤝 A MESSAGE FROM: OUR.NEWS
Pro Tip From Tag The Flag: If you’re having a hard time trusting what you read online then consider downloading Our.News. Why they Matter: Our.News makes it easier for anyone to make a quick determination between real and junk news, by attaching non-partisan Nutrition Labels to every news story. Free for consumers, these labels provide full transparency, self-service fact-checking, and news rating tools for all news online.
🌎 WORLD NEWS
More than a thousand mourners, family members and friends of prominent local clans came together yesterday to grieve over the loss of the young children and mothers killed by suspected Mexican cartel gunmen. Expert Voices: geopolitical intelligence firm, Stratfor, writes that eliminating these cartels will not be easy and that a counterinsurgency effort may be the only option. The criminal groups operating in the mountains of this region are firmly entrenched and have access to extensive resources. In fact, analysts say these gangs control as much as a third of Mexico’s territory. By the way: This wasn’t the first time the religious group and the cartel had come into contact. In July 2009, cartel gunmen abducted family member Benjamin LeBaron from his home in Galeana and executed him. – WSJ / StratforNATO alliance experiencing brain death, says Macron
President Emmanuel Macron of France has described NATO as “brain dead”, stressing what he sees as waning commitment to the transatlantic alliance by its main guarantor, the US. Interviewed by the Economist, he cited the US failure to consult NATO before pulling forces out of northern Syria.
- Macron’s remarks drew a swift rejection from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said “NATO remains a critical, perhaps historically one of the most critical strategic partnerships in all recorded history,” according to Reuters.
For Context: Trump publicly criticized leaders of NATO nations at a May 2017 summit for failing to boost their military budgets. The U.S. spends more on its defense budget than all the others combined — and the topic is expected to come up again during a London summit in December. – BBC / Fox News
Events celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s demise this week are tempered by soul-searching about continued rifts in society the Washington Post writes. What’s happening: Although economic divisions between East and West have narrowed, the East still lags behind. And political and psychological divisions, which until recent years had been written off by some politicians as issues of the past, have become increasingly obvious, especially within the generation raised after reunification and without memory of the communist state that preceded it. Why it matters: only 38 percent of East Germans think reunification succeeded, according to a government report released in September. That drops to 20 percent among those younger than 40, who experienced East Germany only as children or not at all. Keep reading. – Washington Post
Sears and Kmart store closings: 51 Sears, 45 Kmart locations to shutter.
As the holiday season approaches, the parent company of Sears and Kmart has secured a $250 million lifeline and announced plans on Thursday to shut 96 more stores. Why it matters: Sears was once one of the biggest retailers in America. But Sears’ last profitable year was 2010. Big picture: Sears and Kmart have closed more than 3,500 stores and cut about 250,000 jobs in the past 15 years. – CNBC / USA Today
Stephen A. Smith rakes in almost $8M per year on new ESPN megadeal
Stephen A. Smith’s new five-year contract will make him ESPN’s highest-paid sportscaster with an annual salary that will approach $8 million per year Andrew Marchand of the New York Post writes. For context: This will move Smith past Mike Greenberg’s $6.5 million, which was ESPN’s previous known highest salary. Though he is somewhat polarizing, one thing that can’t be denied is that he works hard. Keep watching: Stephen A. Smith on his work ethic, NBA. – NY Post / Yes Network
Uber may have to pay Waymo to use its self-driving tech
Uber has admitted that it may either have to come to a licensing agreement with Waymo or make design changes to its autonomous vehicle technology, Reuters reports. Background: in February 2018 Uber reached a settlement with Waymo after the Alphabet-owned company sued Uber over alleged theft of its intellectual property. As part of the settlement, both companies agreed to employ an independent software expert to ensure that Uber’s autonomous vehicle technology had not misappropriated Waymo’s intellectual property. Now, the results of that expert analysis are in, and Uber is warning that it might not be good news for the company. By the way, if you received an inexplicable, out-of-the-blue text message from one of your contacts on yesterday morning you’re not alone. – The Verge / Quartz
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Presidents are Elected and Re-Elected
On this day, John F. Kennedy becomes the youngest man ever to be elected president of the United States, narrowly beating Republican Vice President Richard Nixon. He was also the first Catholic to become president.
A little less than one hundred years earlier, in 1864, Abraham Lincoln was reelected on this day. With his re-election, any hope for a negotiated settlement with the Confederacy vanished.
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
Yesterday’s top tag: nm, just thinking about freedom n’ stuff, you?
Veterans Day is this upcoming Monday. Have you ever heard of “The Final Salute”?