16 thoughts on “News/Politics 9-13-19

  1. Austin, Texas is determined to be the first city to fund abortions….

    In a round about way…..


    “The answer is Austin, Texas. The first city in the United States to fund ‘logistical services’ for women to get an abortion with tax money is Austin, Texas. The taxpayers’ money will not directly pay for abortions – that would violate state law – so on Tuesday the Austin City Council did a go-around of state law.

    The city council voted in favor of an item in the 2020 budget that distributes $150,000 to assist low-income women with logistical services in order to help them get abortions. These services include transportation, daycare, travel, and counseling. Since Texas law doesn’t allow abortion clinics to be funded in the state budget, this is how Austin will go around that obstacle. The Austin councilwoman who sponsored the resolution said restrictions on abortion doesn’t represent Texans’ values. That will be news to many Texas women.

    Councilwoman Leslie Pool, who sponsored the resolution, says as Republicans in Texas chip away at abortion rights, it is important to make sure that all women have ‘access to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion.’

    “Here we are at Austin City Hall, a mile away from the state capitol, and yet we couldn’t be farther apart on our values when it comes to expanding access to the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion,” Pool said. ” It’s a shame that as the years go by, more restrictive laws go into place, chipping away at Roe v. Wade and women in our community have less access to abortion care. This proposal will make sure that Austinites who need an abortion can access that care.”

    The action seems to be in response to Senate Bill 22, a new state law prohibiting local and state government from giving taxpayer dollars to abortion providers and their affiliates. That law went into effect on September 1. Planned Parenthood was given a sweetheart deal on rent for its east Austin clinic by the city. The rent was set at $1 per year. Senate Bill 22 was partially in response to that deal.

    This action by the Austin City Council is being called a political stunt by opponents. Donna Campbell, the Texas State Senator who is the primary author of Senate Bill 22, said she will be working with the Texas State Attorney General on this development. Campbell is an emergency room physician.

    The pro-abortion crowd denies that the City Council’s vote was about Senate Bill 22. It’s a “creative way” for those seeking abortions to have access, you see. It’s a decision based on what the community “needs”.”


  2. Democrats dream of a nation without Republicans.


    “The Divine Right of the Democratic Party”

    “Some progressives do not think we have two legitimate competing political camps. They think the U.S. is suffering from an infection: the Republican party.”

    “Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times has a dream, a dream in which about half of the American people are deprived of an effective means of political representation, a dream of one-party government in which the Democrats are the only game in town — “Dare We Dream of the End of the GOP?” her column is headlined — which also is a dream of visiting vengeance upon those who dared to vote for their own interests as they understood them and thereby schemed “to stop the New America from governing.”

    That quotation is from a new book by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg bearing the title R.I.P. G.O.P. Greenberg himself has a new column in the Times on the same theme. “The 2020 election will be transformative like few in our history,” he writes. “It will end with the death of the Republican Party as we know it . . . [and] liberate the Democratic Party from the country’s suffocating polarization and allow it to use government to address the vast array of problems facing the nation.”

    We might understand the Goldberg-Greenberg position as “the divine right of Democrats,” who apparently have an eternal moral mandate to rule for reasons that must remain mysterious to those outside the ranks of New York Times columnists.

    Goldberg and Greenberg should at least try to take seriously their own metaphor: polarization.

    The American polity, like a magnet, is polarized because it has two poles, for which the Republican and Democratic parties are rough proxies. Why does the United States have two political poles? Because it has two major political tendencies. Goldberg and Greenberg write of polarization, but they do not believe in it. They do not understand the United States as having two legitimate competing political camps but as suffering from a kind of infection in the form of the Republican party, which inhibits the normal and healthy — meaning Democrat-dominated — political life of the United States. They believe that something they call the “New America” has an unquestionable natural moral right to rule and that the Republican party is not a competing pole but a blockage. To write as Greenberg does that the Democratic party is to be liberated by the practical elimination of the Republican party, and hence able to operate unencumbered, is to embrace not only the end of the GOP but the end of ordinary political opposition.

    It is not beyond imagining that the Republican party should decline into corporate incoherence and irrelevance: Its leadership is self-serving and feckless, and many of its subdivisions (including many state and local Republican-party units) are corrupt to varying degrees, and too often stupid where they are not corrupt. (This is not a universal condition; some of them are both corrupt and stupid.) But imagine the GOP being vaporized tomorrow by the political equivalent of a kind of neutron bomb in reverse, eliminating the infrastructure and real estate but leaving the people. What would be left behind? For one thing, there would remain an American electorate that was almost evenly divided (+/- 2 percent) about whether Donald Trump or Hillary Rodham Clinton would be a more desirable president — with the pro-Trump side comprising a majority of the people in a majority of the states. It would include a country in which there are more Americans who believe that immigration should be reduced than who believe it should be increased; in which a large majority of the population supports restrictions on abortion and more than 80 percent support a ban on late-term abortion; it would include a country in which work requirements for welfare benefits are overwhelmingly popular; it would be a country in which about half of the people still oppose the Affordable Care Act.”


  3. And The Moron of the Day Award goes to…. 🙂


    “Illegal Immigrant Invites ICE To Town Hall. Is Shocked To Find He’s Being Deported”

    “This is one of those heartwarming stories that only comes along once in a while and is too good to not share. It takes place in Houston, Texas and features local businessman Roland Gramajo. The father of five has been operating his own business in the city for the past fifteen years, also serving as a vocal activist in support of the Guatemalan community, providing help with translations and locating legal services where required.

    Recently, Mr. Gramajo sought to open the lines of communication on immigration matters further by hosting a town hall. He invited members of the community, elected officials and even representatives of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to share their stories and work on finding solutions. Shortly after the town hall took place, however, Mr. Gramajo received an unpleasant surprise. (NY Times)

    In August, Roland Gramajo, a Houston businessman and celebrated advocate in the local Guatemalan community, helped organize a town-hall meeting to quell fears about recent federal immigration raids.

    He invited community activists from across the country. He also invited members of Congress. He even invited officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to talk about what rights people had and didn’t have if they were confronted by the authorities.

    But three weeks after the meeting, it is Mr. Gramajo who faces deportation. He was arrested near his home last Thursday, a move that has stunned his family and rekindled concerns that the Trump administration is targeting advocates as part of its crackdown on illegal immigration.

    If you click through to the Times article, you’ll see that I wasn’t trying to mislead you about this story. That’s how they told it. In fact, you have to work your way down several paragraphs before finally locating the following biographical information. “Mr. Gramajo had been staying in the country illegally — raising his five children, running a business in Houston and helping fellow immigrants with translations — without contact from ICE for about 15 years.”

    The crux of the Times coverage focuses on suspicions that ICE is “targeting activists” who are “helping” (illegal) immigrants. But let’s face the facts here. Dude…you’re in the country illegally and have been breaking the law by operating a business for a decade and a half. And then you decided to throw a big shindig and you invited the office of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

    It’s true that ICE doesn’t put a high priority on people without serious criminal records, but when you just throw it in their face like that you can’t expect them to ignore the law. Were you expecting a merit badge or something?

    This is one of those stories like the ones you read in the local police blotter about the criminal who decides to rob the diner by sliding down the grill’s exhaust vent in the middle of the night, only to get caught in the grease trap and has to be rescued by the cops. Maybe you expect me to feel bad about laughing, but… sorry, not sorry. This was just hilarious.”


  4. An interesting read.

    The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America


    “After a painstaking investigation into the Trayvon Martin shooting, I have produced a film and written a companion book, both called The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America. Only after I started the project did I realize I had stumbled onto the most spectacular case of identity fraud in modern American judicial history. Thanks to the folks at American Thinker for allowing me to reveal it here for the first time.

    I had originally set out to produce a documentary about the rise of 2018 Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum. The more I looked into Gillum’s success, however, the more need I saw to investigate the unanswered questions of the criminal case upon which Gillum built his career.

    I had followed the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the subsequent trial of George Zimmerman from afar and, like many others, I had grave concerns about the lynch mob mentality that drove the case.

    With his dying breath, Trayvon Martin made a final, desperate request of the man who shot him, “Tell Mama ‘Licia I’m sorry.” I was the first person in the media with whom George Zimmerman shared Trayvon’s last words.

    Upon hearing Zimmerman reveal this, I had to rethink the direction of a documentary. As with Citizen Kane’s dying “Rosebud,” I was convinced that if I could decipher the meaning of Trayvon’s last request, I could find my way to the heart of the case, maybe even to the dynamic behind Gillum’s rapid ascent.

    By examining Trayvon Martin’s 750-page cell phone records which included 3,000 photos and 1,500 contacts, I got to know Trayvon in the last months of his life. I learned he was neither the rocket scientist the media made him out to be, nor was he a thug. Trayvon was a good kid with many friends and family that loved him. “Mama ‘Licia” was one person Trayvon loved most. I learned what it was he was “sorry” for.

    At the end, Trayvon was a very troubled teenager. I came to see his life as a series of betrayals, one more crushing than the next. His pain played out in reckless behaviors such as fighting, gun dealing, and heavy marijuana use. On the day of his death, Trayvon feared one more betrayal, this from the girl he knew as “Diamond,” the girl who had stolen his fragile heart, the girl with whom he was on the phone up to the very minute he died, the girl who would emerge, in various forms, as the “star witness” in the case against George Zimmerman.

    Indeed, it was 16-year-old Diamond Eugene’s recorded phone interview with Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump and ABC News that prompted George Zimmerman’s arrest and the subsequent 2013 trial.

    In my quest to find this mystery girl, Diamond Eugene, I found myself being pulled down a mysterious side road, a dark one. To understand Gillum, to understand Florida, to understand Trayvon, I would have to travel this road of many unexpected turns. At the end of it, I would discover, was hard evidence of an epic and ultimately lethal deception, a stunning witness fraud that divided America.

    After speaking with Benjamin Crump, for any number of good reasons, Diamond Eugene refused to “follow the script.” She refused to speak with the state prosecutors or bear false witness against George Zimmerman under oath.”


  5. Every military member in the US has stood a fire watch a one point or another. It’s standard procedure. All sailors know the need for a fire watch. Someone dropped the ball.

    And a phone charger may have played a roll as well.


    “The Coast Guard has issued a safety bulletin following the California boat fire that killed 34 people, recommending that commercial boat operators limit unsupervised charging of cellphones and other electronic devices.

    A brief, preliminary report on the Labor Day fire that destroyed the dive ship Conception near Santa Cruz Island was issued Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board, but it did not address the cause of the fire. The report did note that three crew members said they knew of no mechanical or electrical issues with the boat.

    The report said that all six crew members were asleep when the fire broke out. Boats like the Conception, which caught fire around 3 a.m., are required to have a crew member keep watch at night.

    A lawyer representing Truth Aquatics, the company that owned the boat, disputed that part of the report.

    “We do have witness testimony that seems to contradict the notion that the entire crew was asleep,” attorney Douglas Schwartz said in a statement. “We do know that one crewmember checked on and around the galley area at around 2:30 a.m., approximately 30 minutes before the fire broke out.”


    “Boat operators also should “reduce potential fire hazards and consider limiting the unsupervised charging of lithium-ion batteries and extensive use of power strips and extension cords,” the bulletin said.

    “The intensity of the fire surprised people,” Peter Goelz, former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, told USA TODAY. “If it was being fed by lithium batteries, that might explain it.”


  6. Politics, Chicago style.


    “Illinois Supreme Court selects chief justice married to indicted Chicago Alderman at center of huge federal probe into political corruption

    There is jaw-dropping indifference to the appearance of corruption in Springfield, Illinois. It’s hard to figure out what was on the minds of the justices of the Illinois Supreme Court when they chose Anne Burke to be chief justice for the next three years. Illinois voters elect their supreme court justices to ten-year terms on partisan ballots. Once elected, justices face a yes-or-no vote every ten years, so maybe they feel so secure in their state’s deep blue status that they can flaunt the appearance of corruption with no consequences. But for anyone concerned about the legitimacy the court enjoys in the public mind, it is an odd choice of leadership. Illinois Policy explains why:

    As Chicago’s longest serving alderman faces prison time, his spouse will become the state’s most powerful judge.

    The state’s high court justices on Sept. 10 elected Justice Anne Burke to chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, succeeding former Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier. (snip)

    Burke’s rise to chief justice comes while her husband, 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke, faces a 14-count indictment on federal corruption charges. In January, federal prosecutors accused the alderman of attempting to extort the owners of a Burger King franchise in his ward by withholding a remodeling permit in order to pressure them to hire his private law firm to handle their property tax appeals.

    Ald. Burke stepped down from his private law practice in August, after City Council voted unanimously to approve Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s ethics reform package, which included stricter restrictions on local leaders engaging in conflicts of interest.

    Being married to a “controversial” (let’s call him that because he hasn’t been convicted of anything) figure at the center of a huge federal corruption probe isn’t Chief Justice Burke’s sole problem that ought to weigh on the minds of her colleagues:

    Justice Anne Burke saddled the Illinois Supreme Court with Chicago’s political baggage in January 2018 when she and Ed Burke held a fundraiser at their home in support of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s unsuccessful mayoral bid. Ald. Ed Burke’s extortion charge the following year involved the allegation that he coerced the Burger King franchise owners to contribute to Preckwinkle’s campaign, pressuring the then-candidate to distance herself from the alderman and return the $116,000 raised at the event.

    In January 2019, Preckwinkle told the Chicago Tribune that it was Anne Burke — not her husband — who arranged the fundraiser, despite Ed Burke’s name appearing on the event invitation. But the Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits judges from endorsing or raising funds for political candidates. Political consultant Jeffrey Orr — the son of former Cook County Clerk David Orr — filed a complaint against Anne Burke alleging judicial misconduct. The Illinois Judiciary Inquiry Board in April cleared Burke of any wrongdoing without explanation.

    A prima facie violation of ethics rules cleared without explanation by an official body reeks of the stink we associate with Illinois politics. And yet the other justices overlooked it.”


  7. Started with a monologue in Spanish, held at an historically black college, with promises of free stuff for all! Paid for by the evil rich, of course.

    Panderpalooza 2.0 launched last night.



    “Andrew Yang Plans To Give Out $1,000 A Month to 10 Families. That May Be a Violation of Election Law, Experts Say”

    “Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang plans to announce at the debate in Houston tonight that his campaign will give 10 additional families $1,000 per month for a year, according to prepared remarks provided to TIME.

    But the gifts, which are meant to highlight the cornerstone campaign proposal Yang has dubbed the Freedom Dividend, may be a violation of federal election law, some experts say.

    “It’s time to stop trusting politicians and start trusting ourselves – so I’m going to do something unprecedented tonight,” Yang’s prepared remarks say. “My campaign is now going to give a Freedom Dividend of $1,000 a month to 10 American families for an entire year, someone watching this at home right now.”

    The gift money is meant to highlight Yang’s plan for the federal government to give people $1,000 per month month. A campaign aide said the recipients will be randomly selected.

    Since New Year’s Eve, Yang has been giving monthly checks of $1000 to a New Hampshire family month out of his own pocket. He’s since selected recipients in Iowa and Florida. Now he plans to disburse the money from campaign funds, a move experts say may violate federal election law.

    “Handing out money to individuals for their own personal use would seem to be a violation of campaign-finance law,” says Erin Chlopak, director of campaign finance strategy at the Campaign Legal Center and a former FEC attorney. “It’s hard for me to envision how taking campaign funds and just handing it out to individuals would not violate the personal use prohibition.””


  8. Biden gets heckled, and has a problem with his teeth.



    “Left-wing protesters interrupted 2020 presidential front-runner Joe Biden while he was speaking at the presidential debate Thursday night.

    At the end of the debate, the moderators asked each candidate to explain a professional setback they experienced and how they were able to overcome it. The first candidate to be offered the opportunity to answer this question was the former vice president.

    As Biden began to speak about how he dealt with his family tragedies, protesters interrupted him, chanting: “Three million deportations.” One of the protesters wore a shirt that said “No human being is illegal on stolen land” on the back, another: ‘Defend DACA.” DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the policy that allows some illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation.”


  9. Gregg Jarrett: Malevolent McCabe’s appointment with justice is imminent

    🙂 🙂 🙂


    “Andrew McCabe is one step closer to a reckoning with justice.

    The Department of Justice correctly rejected the equivalent of a Hail Mary appeal from McCabe’s lawyers that he not face criminal charges for lying. U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu has recommended moving forward against the fired former FBI acting director. Presenting the case to a federal grand jury is likely imminent.

    Lest we forget, McCabe has helped put people behind bars for lying. He should be held to the same legal standard.

    In a scathing condemnation of McCabe last year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general – a neutral investigator appointed by former President Barack Obama – concluded that McCabe “lacked candor” on four occasions when questioned by federal agents about leaking information to a reporter.

    A lack of candor, mind you, is a polite way of saying McCabe lied – not once, but four times.”


  10. More on the case of Jimmy Aldaoud.

    “When immigration authorities arrested Aldaoud in May, they put him on a commercial flight to Najaf instead of Baghdad. A city of 1 million people south of the Iraqi capital, Najaf is one of the holiest cities for Muslim Shiites, and a center for anti-American hostility. U.S. forces fought a major battle at Najaf during the 2003 invasion. Revered Shiite leader Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim was killed there in a 2003 car bombing, sparking the country’s Sunni-Shiite insurgency.

    Aldaoud, who did not speak Arabic, arrived in Najaf without a passport or other documents, with only a little insulin, and no community. There are no Assyrian or Chaldean Christians in Najaf. He lived on the streets, unable to navigate checkpoints or government services without identification. In a video message sent to family and friends in Detroit just before his death, he said he was sick, out of insulin, and had been beaten for sleeping on someone’s property.

    Besides questions about why he was sent to Najaf, attorneys involved in the Aldaoud case told me U.S. authorities did not have to send him to Iraq at all. A third country had agreed to accept Aldaoud—but U.S. officials refused.”



  11. Sorry Kizzie,

    I have little sympathy for a criminal who invaded the home of US citizens while a guest in our country, as well as breaking numerous other laws. And I could care less what his paid activist of a lawyer says. He’s not a reputable source.

    He was offered help in Iraq when his story broke. He refused it. This ain’t a good example to make the case against deportations with.


    “An ICE spokesperson in Detroit said that Aldaoud had “an extensive criminal history“ that involved at least 20 convictions from 1998 to 2017, and had twice been ordered removed from the U.S.

    The convictions included assault with a dangerous weapon, domestic violence, theft of personal property, and breaking and entering, according to ICE. A POLITICO search of court records showed Aldaoud served 17 months for a home invasion in 2013.



    “Jimmy Aldaoud’s Baghdad Banishment
    It was story that could either evoke tears or sneers, according to which way it was framed. There was the poor Jimmy version:

    Life was already a struggle for Jimmy Aldaoud. He had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and battled depression and diabetes. He got into trouble, frequently landing in jail or on the street in and around Detroit, where he grew up.

    Then, in June, he was deported to Iraq, and life got even more difficult. He had never set foot there before, his family said. He did not understand Arabic. He did not have enough medicine.

    Then there was the bad Jimmy version:

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Detroit said in an unsigned statement that Mr. Aldaoud, whose name is sometimes spelled Al-Daoud, was ordered removed from the United States in May 2018 after at least 20 criminal convictions over the previous two decades, including assault with a weapon, domestic violence and home invasion. While awaiting deportation, he was released in December with a G.P.S. tracker, but he cut it off, the agency said. Local police arrested him in April on a larceny charge, and he was finally deported on June 2.

    The New York Times story about Jimmy Aldaoud led with the poor Jimmy piece, burying the bad Jimmy piece nine grafs down in the article, long after the story ended for Jimmy.

    Mr. Aldaoud, 41, died in Baghdad on Tuesday, after days of vomiting blood and begging to return to the United States.

    Was this story an idiosyncratic indictment of our treatment of immigrants? No and yes, as Jimmy’s story, his “exile” to his “home” country of Iraq, reflects a gaping hole in our immigration policy and treatment of immigrants. But it’s hardly idiosyncratic. It’s utterly normal, and it’s been going on for decades.

    Dealing with both sides of the story, however, reflects not merely a conflict, where people can pick a side based on whether they prefer to focus on poor Jimmy or bad Jimmy, even though that’s the way the New York Times chose to present the story. If we’re to be modestly honest about it, Jimmy Aldaoud was not the poster boy for a desirable contributing immigrant, the one that the passionate talk about when they cry tears for parents snatched off the streets as their weeping children are left to watch.”


    “Of course, Iraq is a nation too. When Jimmy’s plane landed in that country, foreign to all but Jimmy’s ancestors, it could have embraced its son and helped him. And indeed, as he was a Chaldean Catholic in a Muslim country, there was help in the offing.

    Shortly after the video was posted, the Rev. Martin Hermiz, the spokesman for Iraq’s Christian Endowment, found Mr. Aldaoud’s cellphone number and called him to ask if he needed help.

    “He said, ‘No — if anyone wants to help me, let Trump know my situation here in Iraq so maybe he can have mercy on me and bring me back to America,’” Father Hermiz recalled, adding that Mr. Aldaoud also turned down an offer to stay in a church, saying he wanted to live alone and pay his rent himself.

    By refusing aid, was Jimmy Aldaoud making a political statement or just another really poor choice in a life of really poor choices, to the extent the mentally ill make choices at all. While the New York Times presented Jimmy Aldaoud’s death as an indictment of Trump, ICE and harsh immigration policies, it was hardly so simple.”


  12. And where were all these “concerned family members” during Jimmy’s rein of criminal mayhem? Why were they not assisting him with his needs? Where was his “Christian community” the World article speaks of? Why didn’t they help? When he was deported, why didn’t they help?

    I guess Mindy never asked……

    I checked, you can in fact wire money and send packages to Iraq. Cash or insulin could have been provided. These family did nothing to help prepare for what the obvious conclusion to this was gonna be, which was deportation.


    “All currently reside legally in the United States, points out Dass, and currently are productive residents with a 20-30 year history of living in the United States. Yet any could be removed by ICE like Aldaoud, without notice, and sent to Iraq, where they have no ties.”

    You can’t act surprised and say it was without notice since he had a deportation order for years. And on top of that he got caught up and received a second deportation order due to yet another interaction with law enforcement investigating yet another crime by him.

    This was a long time coming, since 2010 at least.

    Mindy allows emotion to cloud her piece and her judgement. Which is exactly what the activist lawyer wants when he uses a guy like this to score points for his open borders goal. He’s using the sympathy of the Christian community to further his cause. As Mindy’s piece shows and he admits, they don’t all turn out this way. But they don’t tug at the heart strings the way poor Jimmy’s does, so the lawyer shut down that talk without any specifics. Odd, no?


  13. We don’t know how the family may or may not have tried to help him. Since he had no papers, and didn’t speak the language, he may not have been able to access any help sent to him in Iraq.

    As for his crimes, I think it possible that his mental illness was at least partly to blame for some of that.

    But to me, a big point of that article is that another, safer country was willing to take him, but our officials refused that option, and that he was dropped into a particularly unsafe part of Iraq.


  14. Okay, for some reason, I only saw your second comment at first, to which I responded. Then I saw your first comment, which had more information. But even that article included: “. . .to the extent the mentally ill make choices at all”. Schizophrenics are often paranoid, which could explain why he refused the priest’s help.


  15. More blinking from China.

    Pork and Beans.


    “China To Add Pork, Soybeans To Tariff Exemption List Ahead Of Talks”

    “As Democrats on stage at the presidential debate took their shots at Donald Trump’s trade strategy with China, it looks as though it has begun producing some results. In a surprise move, Beijing announced that it would roll back tariffs on key agricultural products ahead of next week’s initial trade talks. China had targeted pork and soybeans in order to put pressure on Trump through his rural voter base, but appear to have reversed course:

    China will exempt some agricultural products from additional tariffs on U.S. goods, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said Friday, in the latest sign of easing Sino-U.S. tensions before a new rounds of talks aimed at curbing a bruising trade war. …

    “China supports relevant enterprises buying certain amounts of soybeans, pork and other agricultural products from today in accordance with market principles and WTO rules,” Xinhua said, adding that the Customs Tariff Commission of China’s State Council would exclude additional tariffs on those items.

    China has “broad prospects” for importing high-quality U.S. agricultural goods, Xinhua reported, citing unnamed authorities.

    Part of this is motivated not so much by trade pressures but domestic problems at home. As Reuters notes, a swine-flu epidemic has forced domestic pork prices to skyrocket. China can’t produce enough to meet demand, and the last thing they need right now is more unrest at home to go along with the uprising in Hong Kong.

    However, extending that to soybeans might be more of a trade-war blink:

    China is also expected to step up purchases of soybeans, historically the most valuable U.S. farm export which China has largely avoided buying since the trade war began last year.

    Before the announcement of additional tariff exemptions, Chinese firms bought at least 10 boatloads of U.S. soybeans on Thursday, the country’s most significant purchases since at least June.

    One has to wonder whether that reflects production problems at home, too. Either way, it will make American farmers happy, while at the same time taking the pressure off American negotiators. China’s concessions now go deep into the heart of their leverage in those talks.”


    It’s about the long game, and the idea of decoupling isn’t appealing to the Chinese.


  16. Once again, Roberts is unreliable. Just like with ObamaCare.


    “Report: John Roberts Initially Sided With Trump In The Census Citizenship Question Case — Then Changed His Vote”

    “It wouldn’t be the first time he’d — allegedly — joined with the conservatives in a case boiling with political repercussions only to think better of it and swing around to the liberal position. Everyone’s heard the stories by now about Roberts supposedly wimping out in the ObamaCare ruling seven years ago, initially agreeing with Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito that the individual mandate was unconstitutional and then getting cold feet. Result: A tortured and dubious majority opinion upholding the constitutionality of the mandate as a tax. Rumors swirled within days of the decision that Roberts had switched his vote because he feared the Court would be attacked as a partisan institution if the five Republican appointees joined to kill Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

    But Roberts pays attention to media coverage. As chief justice, he is keenly aware of his leadership role on the court, and he also is sensitive to how the court is perceived by the public.

    There were countless news articles in May warning of damage to the court – and to Roberts’ reputation – if the court were to strike down the mandate. Leading politicians, including the president himself, had expressed confidence the mandate would be upheld.

    Some even suggested that if Roberts struck down the mandate, it would prove he had been deceitful during his confirmation hearings, when he explained a philosophy of judicial restraint.

    It was around this time that it also became clear to the conservative justices that Roberts was, as one put it, “wobbly,” the sources said.

    No one outside the Court knows why or even whether Roberts switched his vote. But the perception of him ever since among righties is that, ironically, for all his concern about the Court being perceived as “politicized,” his alleged switcheroo is one of the most glaring examples of judicial politicization in American history. If Roberts is casting his votes based not on the merits of the parties’ arguments but on how he thinks partisan critics are likely to react then politics is guiding his deliberation. Not in a straight-line “Republican appointee must vote Republican” way but in a circuitous “Republican appointee occasionally must vote Democratic to preserve perceptions of institutional integrity” one.

    Did it happen again in the controversial ruling earlier this summer about Trump’s power to include a citizenship question on the forthcoming census? That decision resembled the ObamaCare ruling in that both were written by Roberts and both began with arguments for the conservative position. The individual mandate is unconstitutional as a function of Congress’s Commerce Clause power, Roberts agreed in 2012; the president does have the power to add citizenship questions to the census, he conceded this past June. But, he went on to say in the ObamaCare decision, the mandate is valid as a tax. But, he went on to say in the census decision, the Commerce Department appears to have been deceptive in its reasons for wanting to add a citizenship question to the census. In both cases, it seemed as if Roberts was persuaded by the logic of the conservative view before conveniently finding an argument that allowed him to avoid joining in what would have seemed like a highly partisan decision.

    And now here comes CNN citing sources familiar with the Court’s deliberations for the claim that Roberts switched his vote in that case too:”


    It’s Comeyesque….


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