Trump’s tariffs set to kill GM jobs

General Motors warned Friday that another wave of tariffs being considered by the Trump administration could force the company to scale back its business and cost American jobs.

In comments submitted to the Commerce Department, the automaker said that the tariffs, if approved, could drive individual vehicle prices up thousands of dollars, stifling demand. Such costs would need to be borne either by consumers or the company.

Last month, President Trump ordered an investigation into whether imported cars and automotive components could pose enough of a national security risk to warrant tariffs of as much as 25 percent. If he goes ahead, it would intensify a global trade war that has engulfed allies and adversaries. In recent months, the administration has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, along with measures targeted at China.

Carmakers, in particular, have been caught in the middle of the trade fight. They rely heavily on metals to build their cars, including parts from overseas. The president’s threat to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement could also hurt the industry supply chain.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/29/business/automakers-tariffs-job-cuts.html

NOW you want civility? Next time you see me, kiss my ass and take cover!!!

Civility?

That’s the card you’re pulling now, Trump supporters?
That’s where you’ve landed?
That’s your go-to play at this stage of the game?
It’s a little late for you to roll that out now, isn’t it?

After voting for a self-proclaimed genitalia-grabber.
After he suggested dissenters at his rallies should be beaten up.

After hearing him call violent nazis “fine people.”
After he bulldozed sacred Native American lands and turned frigid hoses on tribe elders.
After he ignored mass deaths in Puerto Rico and vilified their public servants.
After he began dismantling protections to our planet and shrinking our national parks.

After witnessing Flint, Michigan go without clean water.
After watching exhausted refugee families stranded at airports.
After leveraging religion to justify all manner of discrimination.
After ignoring evidence of a Russian interference that threatens our national sovereignty.

After seeing ICE raids in hospital rooms and workplaces.
After his gross, reckless fabrications about Muslims and Mexicans and immigrants.

After witnessing him work tirelessly to take healthcare from the sick and the poor.
After he vilified kneeling black athletes and badgered their employers into silencing their peaceful protest.

After his unhinged Twitter rants against private citizens and their businesses, against celebrities and political opponents and world leaders.
After terrorizing teenage shooting survivors on social media.
After allowing the radicalized Christian right and soulless NRA gun zealots to shape national policy.
After sanctioning Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka and Jeff Sessions.

After retweeting the toxic filth of Dana Loesch and Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter.
After celebrating while he’s alienated our greatest allies and aligned with malevolent dictators.
After your silence in the face of migrant children being ripped from their parent’s arms and placed in dog kennels.
After digging in your heels for the past two years on every bit of it.

Now you want to pretend to be civilized?
Now want to talk about measured debate?
Now you want to wag your finger at us for being disrespectful?
Now you want to shame us for our supposed lack of manners?
Now you want to gaslight us into guilt and apology—as if we’ve lost our dignity, as if we’ve sacrificed our humanity, as if we’ve bastardized our religion, as if we’re the ones impervious to other people’s feelings.

With all due respect—to hell with your phony civility.

No, you don’t get to play that card. That request is off the table for you.
You lost that moral high ground somewhere between excusing his mocking of a disabled reporter—and celebrating brown-skinned kids in cages.
Your lengthy, sickening body of work over the past two and a half years is the greatest witness of your fraudulence.

You don’t really want civility, anyway. That’s not what you’re asking for. If you were simply asking for that, we wouldn’t have an issue.

You want something else:
You want consent to your abject cruelty. You’re not going to get it.
You want our silence in the face of perversions of justice. It will not be forthcoming.

You want tacit approval for a white Evangelical theocracy. That ain’t gonna happen.
You want to us to quietly witness this President dismantling democracy. We’re simply not going to.
You want us worship your white, angry, American, gun-toting God. We won’t.
You want us to join you in your blind idolatry of a man fully lacking nobility. We won’t be.

You want the steady stream of Sarah Sanders lies, alternative Fox News facts to go unchecked. We’re not giving you that courtesy.
You want us to allow you to perpetuate dangerous false stereotypes of immigrants and young black men and Transgender people. We’re not going to.
You want us excuse your supremacy and indulge your privilege and sanction your President’s bigotry and applaud this Administration’s legislated assaults on marginalized communities. It’s gonna be a long wait, friend.

No, we’re not doing any of that.

What we are going to do, is clearly, repeatedly, and unapologetically oppose it all with everything we have.
We’re going to push back hard against every divisive meme you produce, every incendiary Tweet he manufactures, every human rights atrocity this Administration generates, every effort you make to normalize monstrous behavior or excuse his ramblings.
We’re going to be unflinching, and we’re going to use our outside voices, and we aren’t going to mince words when it comes to the inherent worth of human beings, the affronts on our Constitution, or the hijacking of our faith traditions.

You can call that uncivilized if you’d like, but honestly we don’t give a damn.

Wealthy Russians bribed Trump at inaugural events; Mueller now investigating

Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigators have taken an interest in several billionaires with Russian ties who attended exclusive Trump inauguration events.

ABC News:

These powerful businessmen, who amassed their fortunes following the collapse of the Soviet Union — including one who has since been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department — were ushered into events typically reserved for top donors and close political allies and were given unprecedented access to Trump’s inner circle.

(…)

Matthew Olsen, a former senior national security official who now serves as an ABC News consultant, said their presence at inaugural events is “very concerning.”

“This reflects a Russian strategy of gaining access to our political leaders at a time when they are just forming a government,” Olsen said. “They don’t need to be spies in the James Bond sense. They are powerful people with significant wealth who are in a position to exert influence on U.S. policy makers. And they’re in a position to report back to Russian intelligence services on what they’re able to learn.”

As ABC News notes, The Washington Post reported in January that many rich Russians attended inauguration events, but now ABC News has the guests lists which help add more detail and context.

Several donated enough to the Presidential Inaugural Committee to qualify for tickets to a “Candlelight Dinner” in Washington’s Union Station on the eve of the inauguration, a perk for $1 million contributors, the list of attendees show …

A handful celebrated Trump’s surprise victory at the black-tie “Chairman’s Global Dinner,” an exclusive 500-guest affair held the same night in the Greek-columned Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium whose attendees included close Trump friends, high-ranking campaign aides, and an array of foreign ambassadors and dignitaries. …

According to a source with knowledge of the congressional investigations, at least one oligarch was ushered into Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol for the traditional Inaugural Day luncheon, hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies – an event typically out of reach to donors and even most rank-and-file members of Congress.

Here is who attended what:

Names on the guest lists of the Candlelight Dinner included Victor Vekselberg, the billionaire head of the global conglomerate Renova Group, who was later sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury “for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy,” and his American cousin Andrew Intrater. Late last year, Vekselberg was stopped at a New York airport by federal agents working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and questioned, according to the New York Times. The Times also reported that Intrater was separately interviewed by the special counsel.

Vekselberg and Intrater were seated at the dinner next to Michael Cohen and his family, according to a source familiar with the arrangements. Intrater’s firm, Columbus Nova, later signed Cohen to a $1 million consulting contract …

Leonard Blavatnik, a Ukrainian-born billionaire philanthropist who holds American and British citizenship … appeared on guest lists for both the Candlelight Dinner and the Chairman’s events. His global company, Access Industries, which holds a majority stake in Amedia, Russia’s largest producer of television series, gave $1 million to the inaugural fund.

(…)

Alexander Shustorovich, a Russian-born American music industry mogul with a background in nuclear energy, also donated $1 million to the Trump inauguration and attended Chairman’s Dinner. Nearly two decades ago, the Republican National Committee returned a six-figure political contribution from Shustorovich because of his past ties to the Russian government, according to the Wall Street Journal, which quoted a GOP official saying it wasn’t “worth the trouble.”

(…)

A Soviet-born billionaire Alexander Mashkevitch, who built a metals and mining empire in Kazakhstan, appears on the guest list for the Candlelight Dinner …

(…)

Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak joined numerous other ambassadors on the invite list for the Chairman’s dinner.

(…)

The Trump inauguration brought in more than $107 million, double the amount of President Obama, to finance a week of festivities that was filled with far fewer events than past inaugurations – only three Presidential balls. In May, ABC News reported that the Special Counsel had questioned several witnesses about millions of dollars in donations from donors with connections to Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Full story: Special counsel eyeing Russians granted unusual access to Trump inauguration parties (ABC News)

Catherine Crabill: Proof that you can’t fix stupid

In today’s Rappahannock Record letters to the editor section, is a letter from my favorite flake, Catherine Crabill of Weems, VA.  (June 28, 2018)

The Rapp Record letters section usually has a lot of letters with various topics, many of them political from differing viewpoints.

In Crabill’s letter, she complains that recent letters seem to be “coordinated.”  She then reveals that she was turned away from a “Indivasible.com” (sic) meeting.  In fact, she was not — the Lancaster County (VA) Indivisible welcomed her; she attended the meeting, asked a few questions, left when the meeting ended.

She then goes on to claim there is some sort of evil Democratic Party – FBI – Robert Mueller – Nancy Pelosi scheme to coordinate letters written to a weekly newspaper in rural Virginia.

How is it possible for one person to be so goddam stupid?

Catherine Crabill — my favorite flake. With her tinfoil hat to ward off mind-control rays from the chemtrails.

Stay classy!! Rightwing hero says it’s time to start “gunning down” journalists

Apparently, Milo Yiannopoulos didn’t get the memo about the need for civility in our discourse.

“I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” the far-right provocateur texted a reporter for the New York Observer this week. When the reporter inquired further, Yiannopoulos explained that he had simply issued his “standard response to a request for a comment.”

But this wasn’t simply a toss-off remark. Yiannopoulos appears to be dead serious – that is, he sincerely believes that right-wing assassins should begin taking out targeted reporters. He’s been saying so on a number of forums, and it’s clear that he isn’t being simply “ironic” in the classic alt-right hall-of-mirrors fashion.

Yiannopoulos’ career has been in precipitous decline over the past year, following his sudden rise to media stardom as a leading figure in the alt-right, due largely to his influential role during the “Gamergate” controversy, then as an editor at Breitbart News. However, after an interview surfaced in February 2017 which he suggested sexual relations between adult men and young boys could be beneficial, he lost his sponsorship by the Mercer family, was dropped by his publisher, and resigned his position at Breitbart. Then in October, his close dalliances with white nationalists while at Breitbart (including an evening of karaoke with Richard Spencer) were exposed by Buzzfeed.

Since then, Yiannopoulos has tried to keep his career as an “alt-lite” pundit afloat through a number of ventures, even as his social media profile has risen and fallen. A speech in Arizona was shut down, ostensibly over death threats, causing his followers to plot revenge against his critics. He was also invited to speak to an audience of far-right anti-immigrant activists in Hungary in May 2018. He has spoken at a handful of campuses, including at Cal Poly in April, and also toured Australia in late 2017.

He’s also edged closer to making “ironic” signals in the direction of the racist alt-right, notably by donating $14.88 – an amount identical to the numbers used to signal the overt neo-Nazi faction of the alt-right – to a Jewish journalist who had pleaded for financial help in an online fundraiser.

His most recent venture has involved participating in a “soft coup” in his native England, a takeover of Nigel Farage’s floundering right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) by members of the “alt-lite” brigade. Along with Infowars reporter Paul Joseph Watson, YouTube personality “Count Dankula” (real name: Mark Meechan), and  Carl Benjamin, aka “Sargon of Akkad,” another YouTube personality, the faction wants to “Make Britain Great Again” by taking over the UKIP leadership and making the party a safe space for the like-minded.

When Guardian reporter Will Sommer asked Yiannopoulos about his decision to join UKIP, he responded by email that he “can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight!”

Let’s check out the qualifications

Rod Rosenstein:
-Harvard Law School
-Law clerk to Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg
-United States Attorney for the District of Maryland
-Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice

Jim Jordan:
-Assistant wrestling coach with the Ohio State University

Trump says U.S. Steel opening new plants. U. S. Steel says Trump is lying.

“The head of U.S. Steel called me the other day, and he said, ‘We’re opening up six major facilities and expanding facilities that have never been expanded.’ They haven’t been opened in many, many years.”
— President Trump, roundtable with American workers, Duluth, Minn., June 20, 2018

“U.S. Steel just announced they’re expanding or building six new facilities.”
— Trump, remarks at the White House, June 26

“I’ve been hearing that from steel companies, and in particular from U.S. Steel, where I was with the president, as I said. And he — they’re just talking about opening plants now, and so many things have changed.”
— Trump, roundtable on tax reform, Cleveland, May 5

Here’s a puzzler: Why is the president of the United States announcing the opening of new factories that a major U.S. company has not announced?

U.S. Steel is a publicly traded company, so it is supposed to disclose materially important information. The opening of six major facilities and the expansion of even more would be huge news.

Yet all U.S. Steel has announced is that it will restart two blast furnaces and steelmaking facilities at the company’s Granite City Works integrated plant in Illinois — one in March and the other in October.  The reopening of the first blast furnace was announced in March, resulting in 500 jobs, and the second was announced in June, adding 300. The plant had been closed since 2015.

The Facts

President Trump has a tendency to cite conversations that did not occur quite the way he describes them — if they took place at all. So we were a bit suspicious when he mentioned a phone conversation with Dave Burritt, chief executive of U.S. Steel.

Burritt did take part in a roundtable in March at the White House, and in May the president appeared to reference that meeting.

But then, on June 20, the conversation became a phone call. On June 26, Trump suggested the news was disclosed in a public announcement.

One would think this would be easy to clear up. But the White House did not respond to a query. Burritt also did not respond to an email from The Fact Checker asking him to confirm the conversation.

Meghan M. Cox, U.S. Steel’s spokeswoman, simply offered this response: “To answer your question, we post all of our major operational announcements to our website and report them on earnings calls. Our most recent one pertained to our Granite City ‘A’ blast furnace restart.”

Translation: The president is wrong. But apparently U.S. Steel is afraid to say that out loud.

Cox ignored our question about whether Burritt had had a phone conversation with Trump — and she ignored our follow-up query restating that question. So one can only assume the phone call did not happen.

Wall Street analysts who follow the company are also scratching their heads. They knew of no such expansion.

But Charles Bradford of Bradford Research in New York suggested a possible explanation. He noted that an integrated plant such as one in Granite City is made of five or six parts. There’s a blast furnace, but there is also the production of pig iron, an intermediate product; the continuous caster, which creates large slabs; and the rolling mill, which flattens those slabs to a customer’s specifications.

I’m confused. North Korea is EXPANDING their nuclear production facilities . . .

Trump came back from Singapore announcing peace on the Korean Peninsula and an end to NKorean nukes.  Now we learn the NKoreans are expanding their bomb-grade nuclear production facilities.  What a deal!!

Area of new construction at Yongbyon Nuclear Research Facility, North Korea

Since the end of the Singapore meeting between Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been upgrading the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center used to manufacture plutonium for nuclear weapons. The analysis from the Stimson Center’s North Korea specialists at 38 North used imaging from commercial satellites to show how construction at the site had continued in the days following the agreement signed by Trump and Kim.

New construction includes modifications to the cooling facility for the reactor, a new building near the Experimental Light Water Reactor, and an area of active construction showing trucks and cranes at work. The images, which were captured more than a week after the meeting between Trump and Kim, do not show any sign of work that would indicate North Korea is actively mothballing the facility, but instead show continued expansion. However, 38 North cautions that just because activity continues at Yongbyon, this doesn’t necessarily represent a signal that Kim intends to walk away from commitments that Trump claims to have obtained during their meeting.

Continued work at the Yongbyon facility should not be seen as having any relationship to North Korea’s pledge to denuclearize. The North’s nuclear cadre can be expected to proceed with business as usual.

Though Trump’s immediate statements following his brief meeting with Kim included assurances that America could “sleep sound” and that the threat of nuclear war with North Korea “was over,” none of Trump’s statements seemed to be supported by documents actually signed in Singapore. More recently, the State Department has indicated that, weeks after that initial meeting, substantive negotiations with North Korea are just beginning. With no details yet agreed to, it might be expected that North Korea will continue, or even accelerate, development of facilities and nuclear capabilities.

Kim Jong Un returned from Singapore with a huge boost to his international status, a box full of compliments from Trump, a weakened international commitment to a harsh sanctions regime, the reassurance that the United States would turn a blind eye to any level of human rights abuse, and one of the top items on North Korea’s list of demands for decades: a halt to joint military preparedness exercises by the United States and South Korea. Donald Trump returned from Singapore with a piece of paper bearing Kim’s signature on a deal demonstrably weaker than one signed more than a decade earlier. It’s still unclear if North Korea will provide anything more.

Trump is destroying American manufacturing one deal at a time

As the U.S. attempt to negotiate new deals for trade, Donald Trump’s brutish negotiation style has led our closest allies to try to cut deals anywhere and everywhere except with Trump, a former United States trade representative wrote in the New York Times.

 The euphemism that policymakers are using is “diversification,” but by diversifying them chiefly mean avoiding the world’ largest market. “Diversification is the polite way of saying that America’s friends and allies believe we have become an unreliable partner,” the Times says.

Our trade partners are “fed up,” and have “given up on trying to charm President Trump or persuade him that free trade is good.”

 “South Korea became so frustrated as it renegotiated its six-year-old trade agreement with the United States in the spring that it became determined to turn elsewhere,” the Times writes. “South Korea’s trade minister started a ‘trade diversification’ strategy soon after the agreement was announced.”

Among the examples, when the U.S. pulled out of a trade deal with Canada they cut a deal with New Zealand.

 “These moves are a direct response to the Trump administration’s unreliability and unpredictability, and they are a clear sign that the administration’s trade policy priorities — renegotiating deals and punishing violations — are not working out as expected,” the Times writes.

Mutual dislike of Trump is even uniting old rivals like Mexico and China, which long competed for global industry.

 Now, Mexico’s trade minister has visited China to look at how they can exert “strategic leverage,” to look at “alternatives” to the United States.

The United States will always be a major player, but the world is moving on, the Times writes.

 “There is a danger… in overestimating our negotiating leverage. Trade patterns will shift as our partners look elsewhere. We have spent decades building trust with our allies. We are now squandering it,” the Times writes.