Apple CEO Tim Cook and President Trump toured a Texas computer factory to tout US manufacturing

President Donald Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook toured a Texas manufacturing facility on Wednesday, getting a glimpse of a factory used by Apple to assemble the Mac Pro desktop. The tour was a public symbol of Trump’s close relationship with Cook, and also provided an opportunity for the president to showcase a leading American company that’s manufacturing in the U.S. as Trump struggles to put into place the first piece of a U.S.-China trade agreement. “I would always talk about Apple, that I want to see Apple building plants in the United States, and that’s what’s happening,” Trump said in a brief conversation with reporters after the tour. “And Tim Cook is someone I greatly respect.” The relationship between the two men has been cultivated over the past few years through dinners, meetings and Cook’s membership on key presidential advisory councils. Cook and Trump were joined by White House advisor Ivanka Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, while in Washington, D.C., the House Intelligence Committee continued its impeachment hearings. Trump touched on the hearings in the briefing with the media. The plant toured on Wednesday, operated by Flex, assembles the Mac Pro, a high-end computer that starts at $6,000. A previous model of the computer was made in the same facility starting in 2013. Apple doesn’t own or operate its own manufacturing and instead contracts with companies like Flex. A Flex spokesperson declined to comment. During the tour, Trump posed with an engraved metal plate reading, “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in USA,” a reference to the Apple slogan that used to be printed on iPhones. For Apple, the relationship with Trump enables the iPhone maker to communicate at the highest level its position on several trade-related issues, including tariffs. As part of Trump’s trade war with China, a 15% import tax will start to affect iPhones in December. “The nice part here is you don’t have to worry about tariffs,” Trump said on Wednesday. “When you build in the United States you don’t have to worry about tariffs,” Trump said. He repeated that he’s “looking at” whether to exempt Apple from tariffs on Chinese imports. Apple doesn’t break down its Mac sales by product line, but it’s among the company’s lowest-volume computers and the only one to be assembled in the U.S. Apple shipped 218 million iPhones in 2018, with the vast majority assembled in China. The Mac Pro is “an example of American design, American manufacturing, and American ingenuity,” Cook said. In June, Apple announced a new Mac Pro design. The company didn’t specify where it would be manufactured, but the Wall Street Journal reported that it would be assembled in China. Earlier this year, Apple applied for tariff exclusions for 15 parts needed to assemble the computer. When 10 out of the 15 exclusions were granted in September, Apple said it planned to manufacture the Mac Pro in the same facility in Texas that was used for the previous model. The Mac Pro computer will go on sale in December. “We thank the administration for their support enabling this opportunity,” Cook said in a statement at the time. Apple also announced on Wednesday that it will begin construction on a planned Austin campus that could have the capacity for as many as 15,000 employees.

Dow scores 100th record close under Trump

Stocks closed on record highs Tuesday helped by a batch of positive retail earnings, a new record for Disney and more positive developments on U.S. – China trade talks. Tuesday’s record close was the 100th since Trump took office. Investors scooped up more Disney shares, lifting the Mouse House to a new record after the research firm Apptopia said the Disney+ app has been downloaded 15.5 million times and is averaging 25.6 million sessions per day over the past week. Uber and Lyft shares gained despite the City of Chicago announcing a congestion tax on ride-hailing services. Uber was hit hard Monday after London pulled its business license. On the earnings front, Best Buy reported better-than-expected third-quarter results as store sales rose 2 percent from a year ago, driven by strength in appliances, headphones, tablets, services and computing. The electronics retailer also raised its full-year outlook for earnings and revenue. Dick’s Sporting Goods soared after reporting a top and bottom-line beat and raising its outlook for the rest of the year. The sporting goods retailer said e-commerce sales climbed 13 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, shares of Dollar Tree tanked after the discount retailer said it expects fourth-quarter earnings to take a hit due to tariffs. And more positive trade developments also helped drive the gains after President Trump told reporters the U.S. and China are “in the final throes” of reaching a deal. The comments came after China said earlier in the day that its top trade envoy and other senior officials spoke by phone with U.S. negotiators. China’s commerce ministry said Vice Premier Liu He and other senior officials spoke with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Another stock market record high in this Trump economy!!  Excellent!!   For more, click on the text above.     🙂

Trump grants clemency to 2 Army officers accused of war crimes, restores rank to Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher

President Trump has granted clemency to two Army officers accused or convicted of war crimes and restored Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher to the rank of chief petty officer after he was docked a pay grade after being convicted of posing for a photo with a dead Islamic State (ISIS) fighter, the White House announced Friday. Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance could be released from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as soon as Friday evening, six years after being found guilty of second-degree murder. Maj. Matt Golsteyn, a former Green Beret, will have the murder charge against him dropped. “Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance, an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, and an order directing the promotion of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward R. Gallagher to the grade of E-7, the rank he held before he was tried and found not guilty of nearly all of the charges against him,” the White House said in a statement Friday night. Lorance was six years into serving a 19-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth for ordering his soldiers to open fire and kill three men in Afghanistan. Lorence’s supporters say he killed Taliban fighters. Nine members of his unit testified against him, saying the men were innocent. Gallagher, a 15-year SEAL whose case garnered national attention, was found not guilty of murdering an ISIS fighter in Iraq in 2017 but was convicted in July of a lesser charge of posing for a photo with the dead ISIS prisoner’s corpse. His punishment included a reduction in rank from chief petty officer to 1st class petty officer, which would have cost him about $200,000 in retirement funds. His family and defense team were fighting to have his rank restored. “There are no words to adequately express how grateful my family and I are to our president, Donald J. Trump, for his intervention and decision,” Eddie Gallagher said in a public statement Friday night. “We would also like to thank the American people for their unwavering support during this very difficult time for my family and I — we can never thank you enough.” “I truly believe that we are blessed as a nation to have a commander in chief that stands up for our war fighters, and cares about how they and their families are treated,” he said. “Our military is the best in the world, and with steadfast and supportive leadership — like we have in this president, our fighting force will only get stronger,” Eddie Gallagher added. Golsteyn was charged with premeditated murder in the 2010 death of a suspected Taliban bomb maker. His trial was expected to begin next month. It was the second time the Army investigated the 2010 case after an initial probe didn’t find sufficient evidence to bring charges. A second investigation was opened in 2016 and Golsteyn was charged in December 2018. He faced life in prison if convicted and was stripped of his Special Forces tab and Silver Star award for valor. Golsteyn was charged with murder after telling Fox News’ Bret Baier in 2016 that he was concerned that if he released the suspected Taliban bomber, he would strike again. At one point, Baier asked Golsteyn if he’d killed the Taliban bomber. “Yes,” Golsteyn replied. His family had called the case a “complete set-up,” a “farce” and a “kangaroo court.” Trump had tweeted on Oct. 12 that he was reviewing Golsteyn’s case. “Matthew is a highly decorated Green Beret who is being tried for killing a Taliban bomb maker,” the president wrote. “We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill! Matt’s wife, Julie Golsteyn, had said at the time that the president’s tweet had given their family hope. “I don’t know how much more ridiculous it can get,” she added. “Matt was cleared and then their story changed. It is so rigged.” Fox News’ Pete Hegseth first reported earlier this month Trump was expected to take “imminent” action in the cases. Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Friday night, “The Department of Defense has confidence in the military justice system. The president is part of the military justice system as the commander in chief and has the authority to weigh in on matters of this nature.” Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he had met with the president and discussed the cases. “I offered — as I do in all matters — the facts, the options, my advice, the recommendations and we’ll see how things play out,” he told reporters at the Pentagon at the time.

MAJ Matt Golsteyn definitely was given the shaft by his leadership.  And, as a former Army Major myself, who also served in Afghanistan, I’m glad to see President Trump intervene on his behalf, and grant him a full pardon/clemency.  Excellent!    🙂

Michigan teen with vape-related illness undergoes double lung transplant

A 17-year-old boy in Michigan is believed to be the first patient to undergo a double lung transplant as a result of irreversible damage done to his organs via vaping. In a press conference on Tuesday, surgeons at Henry Ford Hospital said that without the transplant he would have died. “Our teen patient would have faced certain death if it were not for the lung transplant happening,” Dr. Hassan Nehmeh, a thoracic surgeon and the hospital’s thoracic surgical director, said at the news conference. On Sept. 6, the then-16-year-old, who was not identified due to the family’s request for privacy, was admitted to Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit, where he was treated for suspected pneumonia. When his condition worsened, he was transferred to Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where he was placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine to help his lungs heal. His condition continued to deteriorate, prompting his medical team to contact the lung transplant team at Henry Ford Hospital and begin coordinating his transfer. On Oct. 3, three doctors from Henry Ford placed a portable ECMO machine in their personal car and drove to Children’s Hospital of Michigan. After the youth was switched to the mobile machine, paramedics transported him via ambulance to Henry Ford. There, he went on the transplant waiting list. Nehmeh said the teen’s lungs were firm and thick with damaged tissue that had no chance of healing. The medical team declined to comment on what type of vaping products the teen had been using, or for how long he had been using them. “This is an evil I have not seen before,” Nehmeh said. On Oct. 15, the teen underwent a double lung transplant; he has since been taken off a ventilator and is mobile in the hospital but faces weeks of recovery. Dr. Lisa Allenspach, a pulmonologist at the hospital, read a statement from the family that repeated the request for privacy. They did express the hope that the details of the teen’s ordeal would dissuade others from picking up the vaping habit. “We are here today to beg the public to pay special attention to the steps that were taken in this case,” said Dr. Nicholas Yeldo, an anesthesiologist at the hospital who has advocated for smoking cessation aimed at teens. “Without the heroic measures, in this case, this young patient would have died there is no doubt about it. I beg of you, this was not just the unlucky one. This is happening way, way too much for us to turn our heads to this.” The medical team repeated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics about the deadly dangers of vaping; there have been 39 fatalities nationwide, and over 2,000 instances of illnesses. “This is a senseless disease process and preventable death,” Nehmeh said.

This is a cautionary tale worth passing along to those teens who vape.

Mexican cartels poisoning US national parks through hidden pot growing operations: report

Mexican cartel members – who for years have carried out large scale, hidden pot-growing operations in U.S. national parks in California – are poisoning water and wildlife through the use of illegal pesticides banned by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new report published Tuesday. Two Mexican nationals and suspected cartel members were arrested in September during a raid on an illegal marijuana operation hidden beneath the thick tree canopies in California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Authorities found 8,656 growing marijuana plants and 232 pounds of processed marijuana, Monterrey, Calif.’s KQMS reported. About 3,000 pounds of trash, including discarded clothing, propane tanks and spent cans of insecticide, in addition to three miles of plastic irrigation pipes and open bags of fertilizer were also discovered at the site, suggesting the operation had been in use for years, National Public Radio reported. “The true crime here is the fact that they’re killing off basically America’s public lands, killing off the wildlife, killing off our water,” Kevin Mayer, a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement assistant special agent in charge, told NPR. “This is stuff that, you know, it’s not going to repair itself.” Though California’s national parks have been plagued by illegal pot-growing operations in the past, some of which were operated by hippies, the cartel operations are usually larger scale, well organized and use heavy-duty, illegal poisons to more vigilantly protect their cash crop from rodents and insects. Wildlife ecologist Greta Wengert, who was called in to survey the operation after September’s raid, told NPR she discovered gallons of concentrated carbofuran at the site. Carbofuran is banned by the EPA, European Union, Canada and Brazil for all legal purposes. It is produced in the U.S. by Pennsylvania-based FMC Corp and exported to Mexico, India and other nations. “It is incredibly toxic,” Wengert told NPR. “A quarter-teaspoon could kill a 600-pound black bear. So obviously just a tiny amount can kill a human. It remains in an ecosystem for a long period of time.” She said she’s detected these deadly toxins in cannabis plants, native vegetation, water, and infrastructure. Exposure to these chemicals can prove deadly for humans and wildlife alike. A California coalition – made up of environmentalists, law enforcement agents, politicians, wildlife ecologists and members of the legal cannabis industry – have joined forces to clean up the pollution caused by illegal cartel operations, according to NPR.

Wow..   Consider the irony here…  The next time you see someone smoking pot, tell them they’re hurting the environment.  When they go, “huh?”…point them to this article.   🙂

Opinion/Analysis: Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stall tactics hurt America’s economy

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if for one brief shining moment in Washington, Congress put good policy over politics — and passed a bill that would benefit American workers, investors and businesses? We haven’t had a true bipartisan victory in Washington for seemingly ages, but we are tantalizingly close to getting there. This would be the passage of the U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA). Both parties want this modernized version of NAFTA to pass. It is the legacy of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. But this latest modernized trilateral trade deal for North America hasn’t happened yet because of an endless parade of stall tactics by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She is blockading a vote of the 435 members of the House of Representatives. The odds are very favorable that Democrats and Republicans would provide enough yays to pass it and move it on to the Senate where the trade deal would be approved by a wide margin. The whispering campaign on Capitol Hill is that Mrs. Pelosi is worried about giving Mr. Trump a “win,” so she’s inventing flimsy excuses for endlessly delaying a vote. Her strategy might have some credibility if she had credible objections to this modernized trade deal, which was carefully crafted by Donald Trump with trade negotiators from our neighbors Canada and Mexico. First, Mrs. Pelosi said she wanted more worker protections in the trade deal — but this bill actually has stronger job and wage protections for American workers (some of which I think go too far) than the old North America Free Trade Agreement. Mr. Trump insisted on those broader labor protections for the auto and other blue-collar workers in many of those Midwestern states that have seen middle class job losses. She continues to broach the idea of attaching a pension bailout bill to the trade deal. That pension bill has nothing to do with trade. It would also potentially cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars of costs to bailout mismanaged labor union pension funds. This is Mrs. Pelosi’s way of throwing a wet kiss to the union bosses as payback for their support in helping her become Speaker. An even wilder idea is a scheme by Democrats to force Mr. Trump to allow the United States back into the Paris Climate Accord — a $100 billion tax on Americans — as the ransom for passing USMCA. These are obvious poison pills and the speaker knows it. Mr. Trump would never allow the U.S. into the climate treaty and many fiscally-conscientious Republicans would withdraw their support for the USMCA if they were forced to endorse these new giant taxpayer liabilities for obese pensions. Then there is Mrs. Pelosi’s ploy to reopen the trade deal to repeal the hard-won patent protections for American pharmaceutical companies. Mrs. Pelosi is acting as if this were a giant “giveaway” to the U.S. drug companies that will raise prices for American consumers. She has it all wrong. This provision of the trade deal actually protects America patent rights for 10 years when made-in-America drugs and “biologics” are sold in foreign countries. The USMCA — expertly negotiated by Mr. Trump’s lead trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer — actually forces Mexican and Canadian citizens to honor our patents and pay more for American drugs. This could in the end mean lower prices for these drugs here in the United States because our two neighbors would pay their fair share to cover the billions of dollars of research costs to bring to market new life-saving drugs. Mr. Trump should be applauded for getting Mexico and Canada to agree to live by the same patent protections that we require here in America. Why would Mrs. Pelosi object to a provision that effectively curtails foreign freeloading off the medical R&D investments of American firms? Why should foreigners get special discount deals on our patented drugs that are not similarly available to American patients? Mrs. Pelosi’s cynical strategy to change the USMCA would bust the trade deal wide open and kill it. Trying to renegotiate a trade deal that has been years in the making is like putting toothpaste back in the tube. Opening up one section of the law makes every section negotiable and brings us back to square one. The victims here would be American farmers, ranchers and hard-hat manufacturing workers. The economic benefits of the USMCA have been estimated by the U.S. International Trade Commission to be almost $60 billion in higher exports each year and some 175,000 new jobs. Passage of this law would put added pressure on China to pass its own trade deal with the Trump administration. Mrs. Pelosi should put America first by putting the political games aside and bringing USCMA to a vote urgently. Democrats won back the House in the 2018 elections by promising Americans that they could govern the country. Obstruction is not governing and blocking free trade deals is no way to keep the Trump economic boom going. I hate to think that may be the point of her political tactics.

No kidding!!  Thanks to economist Stephen Moore for calling out Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on her shameless, and shameful, politics that are just hurting everyday Americans. Stephen Moore is an economic consultant with Freedom Works and served as a senior economic adviser to Donald Trump. His latest co-authored book is “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy.”

Thousands of migrants sent back to Mexico under Trump policy have given up their asylum claims: DHS

Thousands of migrants returned to Mexico under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy have given up their asylum claims, with many of them returning home, according to statistics included in a new assessment of the policy released this week by the Department of Homeland Security. The policy, known formally as the Migrant Protection Protocols, sends migrants seeking asylum at the southern border back to Mexico for the duration of immigration proceedings. It is a cornerstone of the administration’s efforts to end “catch and release,” by which migrants are released into the U.S. while their cases are heard. Hearings have been held in border towns such as Laredo, Texas, where temporary courtrooms have been set up by the border and migrants are put in front of a judge via video conference. So far, the administration has returned more than 55,000 migrants to Mexico. The assessment describes the policy as an “indispensable tool in addressing the ongoing crisis at the southern border and restoring integrity to the immigration system.” It says that it has completed almost 13,000 cases as of Oct. 21. The new assessment, significantly, cites estimates from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that approximately 20,000 migrants are currently being sheltered in Mexico near the U.S. border as they still seek entry to the U.S. The assessment says that number, though, suggests “a significant proportion of the 55,000+ MPP returnees have chosen to abandon their claims.” The report notes that the work of the International Organization of Migration, supported in part by the U.S. government, is helping migrants return home for free if they choose to do so. It says that as of October, almost 900 migrants have participated in that program. The statistics put some meat on the bones of what officials have been saying for months, specifically that many of those in MPP — particularly those who do not have a legitimate asylum claim — realize that they will not be released into the interior and then just return home. Those returning migrants may then dissuade others from making the journey, reducing one of the “pull factors” bringing people north illegally. “We’re now sending the message that, if you’re coming here as an economic migrant, you’re not going to be allowed into the United States,” Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, who has called MPP a “game-changer,” told reporters this month. “That’s driving a lot of people to return.” The MPP policy has been one of the most effective parts of the administration’s crackdown on asylum seekers and illegal immigration, but also one of the most controversial. Critics claim that migrants are being sent into camps with squalid conditions, and are also at risk of violence from cartels. “Not only does this policy do nothing to protect either migrants or U.S. interests, but we have grave concerns about its legality, recent efforts to expand it, and the dangerous conditions it forces asylum seekers to endure while waiting for their cases to be heard,” said a letter from two dozen Senate Democrats sent in August to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan. But administration officials have said that it allows for cases to be processed expeditiously, with initial hearings normally within a few months. “MPP returnees with meritorious claims can be granted relief or protection within months, rather than remaining in limbo for years while awaiting immigration court proceedings in the United States,” the assessment says. In terms of the interests of American citizens, the administration has claimed it has been key in the sharp decline of migrant apprehensions at the border, which have fallen by more than 60 percent since the highs in May. MPP was initially set up in January, but was expanded over the summer amid a new agreement with the Mexican government established in June. The U.S. has been seeking to continue to expand the policy since then. This week, DHS announced that it had also begun processing migrants under MPP in Eagle Pass, Texas — bringing to six the total number of ports of entry where MPP is underway. “We are confident in the program’s integrity and ability to adjudicate asylum claims quickly and with all due process, McAleenan said in a statement. “We have already seen individuals granted asylum, and many more fraudulent or non-meritorious cases closed. MPP has been – and remains – an essential part of these efforts.”

Clearly the MPP is helping.  But, it’s not enough by any means.  As many of you already know, here at The Daily Buzz, we have been, for over five years, calling on first the Obama Administration, and now the Trump Administration, to BUILD THE WALL NOW!!!…and put U.S. Army National Guard troops physically ON the border with Mexico, where they should remain until that wall/fence is finally built above, and below ground (to prevent tunneling)…however long that takes.  Simultaneously, we need to be deporting illegal aliens already here by the hundreds of thousands (and yes, you read that correctly), paying particular attention to known gang members, convicted criminal aliens, and those already judged by an immigration judge to be deported…regardless of age or gender.  To do anything less is NOT in America’s national security or economic interests.  Period.  In addition to those two basics, we welcome policies like the MPP and legislative initiatives at the state and federal level, like Kate’s law, that help to address this illegal immigration crisis that is crushing our country’s infrastructure.