In 2018, most companies realize that associating with Nazis and/or white supremacists is not good for business. In 2016, after alt-right Web site the Daily Stormer declared New Balance sneakers the “Official Shoes of White People,” the retailer told the press that, as a company with “thousands of employees worldwide from all races, genders, cultures, and sexual orientations,” it “does not tolerate bigotry or hate in any form.” Last summer, British clothing company Fred Perry issued a statement seeking to distance itself from the Proud Boys, a group fond of its polo shirts that promotes “anti-racial guilt” and “closed borders,” telling the Canada Broadcasting Company, “We don’t support the ideals or the group . . . it is counter to our beliefs and the people we work with.” A month later, after images of “Unite the Right” members marching through Charlottesville carrying Tiki Torches emerged, the company issued a statement on social media saying “Tiki brand is not associated in any way with the events that took place in Charlottesville and are deeply saddened and disappointed. We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way. Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard.” The statements and the decisions behind them were kind of no-brainers! If a group of neo-Nazis came out and said JPMorgan was the bank of choice for white supremacists, it’s all but a certainty the company would put out a statement distancing itself with the organization, just like Apple would probably do the same if a similarly inclined group declared MacBooks the “The Official Laptops of White People.” Virtually all corporate executives understand that being linked to hate groups is a losing proposition. And then you have Facebook C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg:

Zuckerberg says Facebook won’t ban Holocaust deniers or conspiracy theorists like Infowars because doing so would go against Facebook’s principle of “giving people a voice.”

In a wide-ranging interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher published on Wednesday, the 34-year-old C.E.O. discussed Facebook’s approach to tackling hoaxes and misinformation, and defended his company’s decision not to delete hoax peddlers’ posts or ban them outright.

Specifically, the Facebook chief told Swisher that the thinking behind allowing groups that claim the Holocaust never happened to publish those beliefs on its platform comes down to one of the company’s “core principles” of “giving people a voice, so that people can express their opinions.” He unfortunately elaborated: “The approach that we’ve taken to false news is not to say, you can’t say something wrong on the Internet. I think that that would be too extreme. Everyone gets things wrong, and if we were taking down people’s accounts when they got a few things wrong, then that would be a hard world for giving people a voice and saying that you care about that.” (Never mind the fact that Web sites like Infowars are more than likely intentionally spreading fake news, and denying the Holocaust isn’t the same thing as accidentally confusing one of the Olsen twins for the other.) What about banning a person or group that cooked up a plan to hurt someone else? Oh sure, Zuck and Co. would totally take that down. “We’re not gonna let people plan violence or attack each other or do bad things,” he added. But back to why the boy billionaire wants to make Facebook a safe space for Holocaust deniers who are just doing their best:

It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent. I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly. I’m sure you do. I’m sure a lot of leaders and public figures we respect do too, and I just don’t think that it is the right thing to say, “We’re going to take someone off the platform if they get things wrong, even multiple times.”

What we will do is we’ll say, “O.K., you have your page, and if you’re not trying to organize harm against someone, or attacking someone, then you can put up that content on your page, even if people might disagree with it or find it offensive.” But that doesn’t mean that we have a responsibility to make it widely distributed in News Feed.

As you can probably imagine, the content of the interview didn’t go over super-well with just about anyone outside of the Adolf Hitler Appreciation Society, leading Zuckles to pull a Trump and clarify what he meant, telling Swisher in an e-mail, “I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that. Our goal with fake news is not to prevent anyone from saying something untrue—but to stop fake news and misinformation spreading across our services. If something is spreading and is rated false by fact checkers, it would lose the vast majority of its distribution in News Feed. And of course if a post crossed line into advocating for violence or hate against a particular group, it would be removed.”

In other words, I think Holocaust deniers are just as bad as the next guy, but I’m not going to do something crazy and kick them off Facebook. We will, however, make sure their posts don’t go viral, and isn’t that punishment enough? They’re good kids, they try hard.

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Trump threatens to go nuclear on the E.U.

At present, the U.S. is not on the best of terms with its longtime allies, probably on account of Donald Trump’s decision to hit them with steel and aluminum tariffs, trash the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, claim that Germany is “totally controlled by Russia,” and describe the European Union as America’s “foe.” But on Wednesday, realizing that alienating half the globe hasn’t been working out that well for him thus far, and that rational negotiations will probably go further than over-the-top threats, the president took the first step toward mending fences.

Just kidding, of course, that would obviously never happen:

President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened “tremendous retribution” if his meeting with European Union officials next week doesn’t yield what he considers a fair auto-trade deal.

The White House said this week that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker would visit the White House on July 25 to “discuss a wide range of priorities, including foreign and security policy, counterterrorism, energy security, and economic growth.”

Mr. Trump has repeatedly threatened tariffs on imported automobiles and auto parts—on top of the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed earlier this year—if European leaders don’t make trade concessions.

The threats are not only concerning to Europe but to U.S. dealers, parts suppliers, and auto manufacturers, who told Trump in an open letter: “Raising tariffs on auto and auto parts would be a massive tax on consumers, who buy or service their vehicles.” The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has said the tariffs could create a “domino effect” that would hit American workers and, ultimately, the broader economy. In other words, they’re a no good, very bad idea which we assume means Trump will implement them as soon as possible.

Report: Semi-reasonable White House economic adviser has come around to completely insane way of thinking

When Larry Kudlow was hired as Trump’s second National Economic Council director, there was some worry about the fact that he’s made a career of being wrong about almost everything. Still, the one thing people clung to was the fact that as a life-long proponent of free trade, he would try to counter the views of guys like Peter Navarro, who thinks such policies lead to infertility, spousal abuse, and divorce, and believes military confrontation with some of our trading partners is necessary. But now that slim hope is dead, per Axios:

Larry Kudlow this morning said at a CNBC conference that he’s come around to the same line of economic thinking as former philosophical foe Peter Navarro. After first giving some lip service to generally opposing blanket tariffs, Kudlow stated that “the president is doing exactly the right thing here” and that China’s “local party leaders” are similar to “Mafia dons”

The Trump administration will tackle the deficit when the mood strikes

Now’s not a good time, check back later!

The Trump administration expects annual budget deficits to rise nearly $100 billion more than previously forecast in each of the next three years, pushing the federal deficit above $1 trillion starting next year.

The revisions, which went largely unnoticed when the White House submitted its annual update to Congress last week, reflect the cost of federal spending increases agreed to earlier this year and higher interest payments.

The budget proposal released in February showed annual deficits totaling $7.1 trillion over 10 years. The latest revisions increase these cumulative deficits by $926 billion, to $8 trillion.

Trump “used to talk about creating such great economic growth to reduce the deficit, now you see a budget acknowledging a massive run-up due to policies he has supported,” Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told The Wall Street Journal. “Their policies are not [paired] with a single recommendation to start making [the deficit] better.”

In related news, last month Larry Kudlow claimed that the deficit was “coming down rapidly.” Apparently, not so much!


Jim Chanos Denies Getting Inside Tesla Tips After Musk’s Tweets (Bloomberg)

Bernanke, Geithner, Paulson Voice Some Concern About Next Crisis (Bloomberg)

Don Jr. and Eric Trump racked up nearly $250,000 in Secret Service costs in one month, watchdog says (Politico)

Morgan Stanley caps buoyant Wall St earnings season (*Financial Times&)

Warren Buffett finds an ‘elephant’ in Berkshire’s own backyard (CNBC)

Whatever Happened to Trump’s Infrastructure Boom? (Bloomberg)

Wall-Street Bull Covered in Sex Toys, Ridden by ‘Vladimir Putin’ (Huffington Post)