Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Last Call For The Abolition Position

Doug Mataconis has some hard truths for Dems about "Abolish ICE" and the midterms as only a quarter of Americans agree with getting rid of the agency.

Polls like this would seem to reinforce the argument I made late last week when I observed that rallying around the calls to abolish ICE could end up backfiring on Democrats. Yes, there is some support in the poll for this kind proposal among Democrats and one can make the argument that it is useful as a slogan to rally the base in advance of the elections, but even there support for the idea falls far short of being a majority. The more important numbers for Democrats to look at, I would maintain, are those that show majorities of both Republicans and Independents opposing the idea. This gap leaves Democratic candidates in anything other than a deeply blue state or district in danger of being tarred with the argument that their party is supporting ideas such as “Abolish ICE” that, according to Republicans at least, would mean weakening the Federal Government’s ability to enforce immigration laws and sounds as if they are essentially advocating for an end to the enforcement of immigration laws. That’s exactly how Trump and Republicans are framing the debate right now, of course, and if they succeed then Democrats could find that they’ve given Republicans a potent weapon come November.

ICE under Trump is an abominable weapon being used freely against immigrant families, and it's only a matter of time before it's unleashed against Americans.  But right now Trump and the GOP can deflect that by saying "Dems are for illegal immigration, we're against it."

The issue isn't ICE as much as it is the fact that ICE is controlled by Trump.

"Abolish ICE" isn't a position that's going to help Dems politically, even if you can make the case that it's morally right.  The reality is that it's another windmill to tilt at when the problem is Trump.

Trump Trades Blows, Con't

Trump's trade war has shifted into the scorched earth phase as today he planted a 60-day time bomb that will blow up in the faces of Republicans just in time for the midterm elections to heat up.

President Trump escalated his trade war with China Tuesday, identifying an added $200 billion in Chinese products that he intends to hit with import tariffs.

The move makes good on the president’s threat to respond to China’s retaliation for the initial U.S. tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods, which went into effect on Friday, and would eventually place nearly half of all Chinese imports under tariffs.

Administration officials said the tariff fight is aimed at forcing China to stop stealing American intellectual property and to abandon policies that effectively force U.S. companies to surrender their trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market.

“These practices are an existential threat to America’s most critical comparative advantage and the future of our economy,” said Robert E. Lighthizer, the president’s chief trade negotiator.

Trump’s latest action will hit consumer products such as televisions, clothing, bedsheets and air conditioners, which were spared from the first import levies on Friday. But the new tariffs will not be imposed until the end of a two-month public comment period.

“This is where a painful situation gets more painful,” said Phil Levy, a former White House economist in the George W. Bush administration.

The current $34 billion in tariffs are going to hurt farmers and automakers especially, but the $200 billion coming August 30 will jack up prices for Chinese imports across the board and will quickly start damaging retailers and consumers everywhere in the US.

Early reaction to the president’s action was unfavorable. “Tonight’s announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Beijing has vowed to respond in kind to any U.S. trade action. But China only bought about $135 billion in U.S. goods last year, meaning it will run out of American products to tax before it matches Trump’s latest move.

Chinese officials are expected to retaliate in other ways, hitting U.S. firms in China with unplanned inspections, delays in approving financial transactions and other administrative headaches.

“The Trump administration is gambling that by wielding such a big club, it will force China to back down,” said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “That is almost certainly a serious miscalculation. China is far more likely just to find other ways to hit back in kind.”

The president has repeatedly described his resort to tariffs — which are paid by American importers — as a lever to extract negotiating concessions from U.S. trading partners.

A few rounds of talks with Chinese leaders this year made little progress, however, and no plans for additional meetings have been made public.

If these tariffs go through, the economic damage will be far higher than $200 billion.  Trump figures he can bully the Chinese in the same way he's bullied the EU, Canada, and Mexico, but the difference is the Chinese don't have to worry about the political fallout and they won't back down now

China fired back at President Donald Trump’s latest tariff barrage, saying it won’t back down in the trade war that was started unilaterally by the U.S.

China “never yields to threat or blackmail,” Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said in written comments to Bloomberg on Wednesday. “The U.S. side ignored the progress, adopted unilateral and protectionist measures, and started the trade war.”

When Americans start getting laid off by the tens of thousands and the economy goes south within a matter of months, Trump won't be so lucky.

Unfortunately, neither will the American people.

One Day In Louisville Makes A Hard Bevin Humble

Louisville, Bluegrass setting
And the city don't know that the city is getting.
The creme de la creme of the chess club
In a show with everything but Rand Paul!

Time flies doesn't seem a minute
Since Matt Bevin insulted the chess kids in it,
All change, don't you know that when you
Play at this level there's no ordinary venue...

Gov. Matt Bevin said in a promotional video featuring the West Louisville chess club that some people might be surprised by the connection between the club and the neighborhoods it draws children from, unleashing a barrage of criticism on social media.

"I'm going to go in and meet the members of the West Louisville Chess Club," Bevin said in the video. "Not something you necessarily would have thought of when you think of this section of town."

Bevin made his comments in a promotional video published online Tuesday. In the video, he took a tour of Nativity Academy, an independent private school in Phoenix Hill. The club often plays in locations around the city.

Also: Matt Bevin bashes Andy Beshear but won't say he's in governor's race

“Governor Bevin met with the West Louisville Chess Club to showcase an important program that is encouraging sportsmanship and character building among Kentucky’s youth,” Bevin’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn said in a statement. “It is disappointing that some are trying to shift the focus away from the incredible accomplishments of these talented kids.”

The West Louisville Chess Club "primarily targets" young children who live in the West End of Louisville, according to Lyndon Pryor with the Louisville Urban League.

The Louisville Urban League, located in the Russell neighborhood, is a partial source of funding for the club.

Councilman David James, who represents District 6 in Louisville, was present at the event where Bevin filmed the promo. James said it is a sign of Bevin's deteriorating relationship with the state's African-American community.

"It was just an obvious move by the governor to take photos with the African-American community," James said. "To perpetuate a stereotype of the African-American community like that is unbelievable."

As a black Kentuckian who likes to think that he plays chess fairly well, I have to say that Bevin perpetuating a stereotype of black Kentuckians is completely believable, because 1) he's a Republican and 2) he's a rather racist asshole, but I repeat myself.

Yes, his running mate, Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, is Kentucky's first African-American elected to statewide office.  And she's been as silent on Bevin's cartoonishly bad racism since the day she was sworn in.  Frankly I haven't heard a peep from her on this "deteriorating relationship" in 30 months, and she seems pretty eager to get out from behind Bevin's shadow and get out of here, so why should she start caring now?

Considering Bevin seems to regularly engage in behavior where when he's not checkmating himself with obvious blunders like this, he's flipping the board over like an angry toddler and making sure nobody wins, and I remain convinced there's a significant chance that he may not run for re-election next year.


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