More Tariffs On The Way

Closing Thought–20Jul18

Our Dear Leader has decided that his newest round of tariffs will be the auto industry…….seeing how his other tariffs have been so successful and widely loved…….

Having tangled with China on trade and angered US allies with steel tariffs, President Trump is primed for his next fight: autos. Trump’s latest plan is to consider slapping tariffs on imported autos and auto parts—a move he says would aid American workers but that could inflate car prices, make US manufacturers less competitive, and draw retaliation from other nations, the AP reports. The action has also begun to provoke a backlash among members of Congress. On Thursday, manufacturers, suppliers, car dealers, and foreign diplomats will line up to testify at a Washington hearing to try to head off auto tariffs.

After the hearing, the Commerce Department will decide whether to label imported vehicles and auto parts a threat to America’s national security and whether to recommend tariffs to the president. In announcing the auto investigation in May, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had said, “There is evidence that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry.” Yet even General Motors and other companies that build cars in America are opposed. They rely on imported parts that would be subject to the tariffs, thereby raising automakers’ costs. “There is no automaker that has 100% exclusively US-sourced parts,” says Brian Krinock, Toyota’s senior vice president for North American factories. “It is a global business with global operations.”

He, Trump, fired the first shot earlier when he put luxury German cars on a list to be banned…..and now this…..

Nothing more fun than a trade war…..nothing is more effective than a trade war (that is sarcasm)……

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue belittled American farmers on Wednesday.

“It’s a little bit like weight loss,” Perdue said of the tariffs that are damaging the bottom line for lots of red state, U.S. farmers. “It’s going to be good to get there but it is a little painful in the meantime.”

Perdue referred to Trump’s reckless tariffs as “trade disruptions we’re experiencing,” as if they weren’t specifically manufactured and imposed by the Trump administration. His remarks echoed Trump’s dismissive rhetoric about how trade wars are “easy to win.

“Wait a minute, ‘Trade disruptions we’re experiencing.’ That sounds very passive,” stressed Axios editor Mike Allen, as he interviewed Perdue. “In fact, it’s your president, it’s your administration, that’s disrupting trade.”

Trump has also suggested it’s the patriotic duty of U.S. farmers to bear the burden of an unnecessary trade war.

“They want to hit the farmers because they think it hits me — I wouldn’t say that’s nice,” Trump said of China, as it readied its response to Trump’s sweeping tariffs. “But I’ll tell you, our farmers are great patriots. These are great patriots. They understand that they’re doing this for the country,” he added.

“We’ll make it up to them. And in the end, they’re going to be much stronger than they are now.”

(shareblue.com)

So far the only people that see any benefits for these trade things are the President and his Boyz…..the rest of the economic sector does not see the same benefits as Our Dear Leader.

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SCOTUS And Dark Money

I have always dislike the fact that in state politics our judges are picked by voting….that leaves these candidates open to lobbyists and donors that can demand from them…..

Our Dear Leader gets to pick yet another Judge for the Supreme Court……judges that should be referees…judges that should have no partisan stands….judges that should be politically neutral…..but in the last few decades our judges for the high court are more and more partisan in their stands….this makes activist judges and it does not matter who the president is……

In recent elections money is considered as a person….so money pours into these nominations……blame Citizens United……and now we have another judge for the Supreme Court……

This is an op-ed from the Valley News….I apologize but I posted the whole op-ed to be sure that my readers had a chance to see what I am going on about…..

Editorial:  Dark Money Now Infects Judicial Selection

Before President Donald Trump tapped Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, the dark-money spigots were already beginning to open. As politics increasingly defines judicial nominations, confirmation battles for major judgeships are looking more and more like political campaigns, with shadowy groups pouring cash into national advertising and lobbying initiatives while keeping their donors and spending decisions opaque.

This deprives Americans of information about who is backing nominees to some of the most powerful seats in the land, and it increases the likelihood that judges and politicians will feel pressure to make decisions that partisan spending networks demand.

Top on the list of major outside spenders is the Judicial Crisis Network, which pledged $7 million in 2016 for a pressure campaign to block Obama high court nominee Merrick Garland, plus $10 million the following year to help Neil Gorsuch get confirmed to the seat. The network has already announced it would spend $2.4 million on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Like many big outside spenders, the Judicial Crisis Network is a registered 501(c)(4) nonprofit, a designation in the tax code created to benefit civic groups such as volunteer fire departments that has become a major vehicle for hiding political money. An analysis from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics found that the network’s major donor has been the Wellspring Committee, which has links to a married couple that organizes conservative dark-money groups.

The Judicial Crisis Network is far from the only conservative outside spender active in the Kavanaugh fight. Americans for Prosperity, a group tied to the Koch brothers’ network, has promised a seven-figure effort. The Great America PAC and Great America Alliance, the latter a 501(c)(4), have pledged $5 million, in part because the groups’ strategists see the nomination battle as a way to rally Republicans before November’s midterm elections.

Liberal groups are also participating in the independent-spending frenzy. Demand Justice, a relatively new organization working against Trump judicial nominees, has promised to spend $5 million. The group is set up such that its funding is arguably even more opaque than the nonprofits against which it competes. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Demand Justice’s fiscal sponsor is the Sixteen Thirty Fund. The fund did not respond to questions about its donors.

Congress should close the loopholes that enable organizations clearly created for big-money partisan politics to benefit from tax-exempt status and to disclose little information. Though this is primarily an issue involving political campaigns, it is clearly an increasing problem in judicial selection, both in places where judges are directly elected and where they are chosen by elected officials.

But the prospect for reform is dim. In the days when the corrupting power of money in government was an issue Congress appeared interested in addressing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other opponents of cracking down argued that spending restrictions were unwise but that everyone could agree to the second-best policy of requiring donor transparency.

Now that transparency is the only thing lawmakers might conceivably demand, McConnell and his allies have opposed it.

Dark money is the bane of democracy…..time to get busy and get rid of this enemy of proper government…..Dems are just as guilty as thee Repubs….they all have a master that they report to…..that needs changing!

We no longer have 3 branches of government….Executive, Legislative and Judiciary…….now we have two branches Legislative and Executive with the Judiciary being a branch of the Executive…..our check and balances is slowly being eroded away.

Where Is That Health Care?

Enough international stuff now let us turn to the domestic…..

We all are well aware that the GOP has been having a stroke until they could get rind of the ACA (Obamacare for the slow amongst us)……now that they have successfully crapped on the health care how is the new and improved health care doing?

President Donald Trump handed an influential business advocacy group what should have been a historic lobbying victory when he recently rolled out new rules encouraging small businesses to band together to offer health insurance.

Trump, who’s touted the expansion of so-called association health plans as a key plank in his strategy to tear down Obamacare, even announced the rules at the 75th anniversary party of the National Federation of Independent Business last month, claiming the group’s members will save “massive amounts of money” and have better care if they join forces to offer coverage to workers.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/19/trump-health-care-better-cheaper-693362

So he LIED!….but that is some how okay because he can appoint judges…..that is a pathetic way of looking at our nation.

Let’s look at the way that health care can be fixed….well sort of…..

Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” was Donald Trump’s now famous pronouncement on the issue. The Congressional Republicans were struggling too. Not only did they fail to reach a legislative solution, but, even worse, they were confused about where to even search for a solution. All told, health care begins to look insoluble. But is it really that complicated? Actually, no.

Some progressives claim that they have an easy solution, one that proceeds from their belief that more government it is often the answer: Medicaid or Medicare for all.1 What is the easy solution of classical liberals? There are two sets of reforms: one on the demand side and one on the supply side. On the demand side are a surprisingly simple combination of out-of-pocket payments, a new type of event-based health insurance, traditional care-based health insurance for some, and, perhaps, judicious subsidies. A later article will deal with reforms on the supply side.

https://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2018/HooperHendersoncure.html

That is a lovely article but sadly for them Medicare For All is the easiest answer and the best answer….but if you need it explained yet again…..

Democrats across the country are running on three simple words, recognizable to every American: Medicare for all.

“There’s no more popular brand in American politics than Medicare,” says Adam Green, co-founder of the lefty Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC). “Our hope is that Democrats wrap themselves in the flag of Medicare in 2018.”

In Democratic primaries around the country, Medicare-for-all candidates are winning — from Kara Eastman in Nebraska to Katie Porter in Orange County, California, to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Bronx, the message is resonating.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/7/2/17468448/medicare-for-all-single-payer-health-care-2018-elections

Need more info?

http://www.medicareforall.org/pages/Home

On This Day In The Middle East

You guys know how I like to drop some history some of the time…well today in 1974 was a memorable day in Middle East history……Turkey invades Cyprus……Greece and Turkey fight to a stalemate…..

In July 1974 a chain of events resulted in Turkey invading Cyprus under the pretext that it was a peace operation to bring back peace and stability to the island. The outcome of this invasion has been far reach and still impacts the island and its inhabitants today; it also impacts Turkey and the wider global powers too.

The outcome of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus has resulted in Turkey recognising the independence of the north of Cyprus from the south, but no other country doing so. To find out more about this Turkish invasion of Cyprus read on.

http://www.thefinertimes.com/War-in-The-Middle-East/the-turkish-invasion-of-cyprus.html

The island is still divided between Greek and Turkish interests…..but there is some movement to a peaceful end…..

https://legationes.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/the-greco-turkish-animosities/

https://lobotero.com/2018/02/21/turkey-gets-cocky/

Your history lesson is done for the day…now that did not hurt right?

Mines That Litter The Diplomatic Field

I realize that most people are trying to wrap their heads around just what the deal is with Dear Leader and Putin…but there is another situation that should not be ignored.

Even the most moronic of Trump supporters has got his mind full of the Kim-Trump “summit”….most seem to think that some sort of peace deal is inevitable simply because the two men met and complimented each and that is all it takes to end 70 years of hostilities…..to that way of think I say….you are dreaming moose brains!

I wrote a couple of posts after the “summit” had taken place describing what could happen as the process went forward…..5

https://lobotero.com/2018/06/13/what-are-the-summit-successes/

https://lobotero.com/2018/06/14/peace-in-our-time-4/

The negotiations to rid the Korean Peninsula of the threat of nukes could hit several land mines in diplomacy……

A denuclearization deal with North Korea is more within reach than anyone could have thought possible a very short time ago. Thanks to the tireless diplomatic work of Moon Jae In of South Korea and the unexpectedly adept diplomatic work of Kim Jong Un of North Korea, a joint statement between North Korea and the United States exists and the impossible is suddenly under way.

Those who dismiss the the joint agreement as vague and vacuous and light on detail forget how far the language of the joint declaration has traveled since Trump’s first “fire and fury like the world has never seen” attempt at diplomacy. They also commit the error of comparing the joint statement to history’s final agreements rather than to other first meetings. The diplomacy may also have more content than the joint statement reveals, since some steps seem to have been negotiated that have not yet been made public.

https://original.antiwar.com/Ted_Snider/2018/06/27/the-three-landmines-that-could-kill-the-korea-deal/

There are NO guarantees that this will be a successful diplomatic effort……we can wish them well….but it will be up to the diplomats working behind the scenes to make it a success.

But we should not put too much in the denuke basket?  Why?

Bill Clinton offered oil and reactors. George W. Bush mixed threats and aid. Barack Obama stopped trying after a rocket launch.

A decades-long cycle of crises, stalemates and broken promises gave North Korea the room to build up a legitimate arsenal that now includes purported thermonuclear warheads and developmental ICBMs. The North’s latest announcement stopped well short of suggesting it has any intention of giving that up.

A look at previous negotiations with North Korea and how the currently planned summits took shape:

International Update–2018

There are so many things happening in the world that it is difficult to write about it all….so IST tries to do an update when events out run the time we have to post…..

The Horn of Africa is always a busy place and an important spot to keep an eye on…..

Ethiopia and Eritrea have set aside their long standing animosities….and are trying to work together…..I wrote about some of this before……

https://lobotero.com/2018/07/11/ethiopia-a-rising-star/

There is more about this situation……

Ever since Ethiopiaannounced in early June that it will fully accept the terms of a 2000 peace agreement with neighbouring Eritrea, the pace of normalisation of relations between the two countries has been truly stunning.

First, a high-level Eritrean delegation made a visit to Addis Ababa on June 26 and kickstarted the talks on ending the decades-long conflict. Only a couple of weeks later, Ethiopia’s reformist new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made a landmark visit to Asmara and met the Eritrean president face-to-face. 

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/eritreans-happy-peace-wary-afwerki-promises-180709094420940.html

Eritrea has pulled troops back from its heavily militarised border with Ethiopia as a “gesture of reconciliation”, the pro-government Eritrean Press agency said on its Facebook page.

There was no immediate confirmation from the government in Asmara, but the move would be consistent with rapidly improving ties between the Horn of Africa neighbours, whose 1998 war killed tens of thousands and led to two decades of military stalemate.

(reuters)

For a couple of years I have been watching the situation developing in the Caucuses……

https://lobotero.com/2016/05/16/regional-conflict-brewing-in-azerbaijan-armenia/

https://lobotero.com/2018/06/05/between-the-two-seas/

Hostilities run deep in this region and are ever threatening conflict in the making……

Azerbaijan has sharpened its threats of war against Armenia in an apparent attempt to ratchet up tension over Nagorno-Karabakh, the territory that both sides claim.

Verbal threats toward Armenia are nothing new for Azerbaijan, a state for which the phrase “bellicose rhetoric” has become something of a journalistic cliché. But Baku’s rhetoric in the past has tended to couch military threats in the conditional tense, a last resort if diplomatic negotiations fail. Increasingly, however, the military option is being portrayed as the only one.

“The developments unfolding in the world confirm that the international law does not work,” Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev tweeted on June 28. “If it did, Azerbaijani lands would have been freed from the invaders long ago.”

https://lobelog.com/azerbaijans-saber-rattling-grows-louder/

And then there is Syria and yes it is still a complete mess……

Sen. Lindsay Graham, a prominent Republican voice on national security and international policy, spoke out last week during a visit to the Middle East warning Turkey against further military involvement in the Syrian civil war. After meeting with Turkish President Erdogan, Sen. Graham cautioned the NATO ally—“You don’t want any further incursions in Syria by the Turkish military, you’ll get yourself in a quagmire.”

In a world filled with hyperbole, political spin, and fake news, it is rare to hear such an accurate and evidence-based statement as this. The civil war in Syria, raging for more than half a decade, has been a sterling example of a ‘quagmire’ in the geopolitical context since its inception. Even before the fighting started, Syria was one of the most complicated and volatile states in the Middle East.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/07/17/yes_syria_is_still_a_mess_113614.html

That is the round-up…..I hope you guys find it informative.