Leaked Trump Draft Bill Would Ditch WTO Trade Rules

The Trump administration has drafted legislation that would allow the U.S. to ditch World Trade Organization rules and give President Donald Trump tighter control over U.S. trade policy, according to Axios, which published the leaked draft.

The proposed “United States Fair and Reciprocal Trade Act” would give the president unilateral power to renegotiate with individual countries or apply tariffs, bypassing international WTO rules for collective negotiation.

The leaked draft emerged a few days after Axios reported that Trump has repeatedly told White House officials that he wants to withdraw the U.S. from the WTO. “The WTO is designed by the rest of the world to screw the United States,” Axios’s source quoted Trump as saying.

The proposed legislation is far from a done deal, according to other media reports and the White House itself. A CNN source said the draft is just the “beginning of a conversation” on trade. Axios reported that “most officials involved in the bill’s drafting … think the bill is unrealistic or unworkable.”

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Axios that Trump has asked for ideas on how to address “the unfair imbalance of tariffs that put the U.S. at a disadvantage.” She said the main people involved haven’t yet met to review the draft legislation.


Source: Leaked Trump Draft Bill Would Ditch WTO Trade Rules


Far-right voices are frothing about a looming civil war – ThinkProgress

The backlash to the Trump administration caging immigrant children has led to store owners asking White House officials to not eat in their restaurants and to protesters publicly confronting those supporting Trump’s policies. Now, voices on the far-right are increasingly unified in their only solution to the matter: civil war.

While several far-right figures have been speculating about a looming U.S. break-up for some time, recent rhetoric is a marked escalation from even a few months ago, when certain historical illiterates were only calling for an “amicable divorce.”

Now, according to increasingly shrill analysts — and even certain members of Congress — a fratricidal war is the only potential fix for the United States’ domestic tensions.


Source: Far-right voices are frothing about a looming civil war – ThinkProgress

How family separations caused Trump’s first retreat – and deepened his bunker mentality | US news | The Guardian

Portraits of the slave-owning presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson loomed over the Resolute desk, daylight reflecting off its polished surface. Donald Trump sat in a burgundy leather chair, flanked by two of his most loyal lieutenants. Mike Pence wore a grey suit and red tie, Kirstjen Nielsen was dressed in deep blue. Press secretary Sarah Sanders rested her hand on one of two cream sofas at the centre of the Oval Office. Their expressions were grave, the atmosphere sombre.


Source: How family separations caused Trump’s first retreat – and deepened his bunker mentality | US news | The Guardian

Trump Team Admits President Dictated Trump Jr. Letter Despite Prior Denials

If all this is true, it beggars belief why Trump is still where he is.

The US legal process does appear to be very confusing.

Surely time can’t progress much more without some substantial arrests and prosecutions or the whole process withdrawn.


Dictation_using_cylinder_phonographIn yet another contradiction from the Trump legal team, the recent letter to Special Counsel Robert Mueller included the notable admission that Trump “dictated” the statement that is at the center of the obstruction investigation.  Previously, Trump lawyers, particularly Jay Sekulow, categorically denied that Trump had drafted the letter.  Once again, these are continuing unforced errors produced by either a failure of attorney-client communications or a lack of due diligence. Either way, it is an example of how much of his investigation has been fueled by sheer blunders.

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Supreme Court deals defeat to workers’ rights, upholding arbitration for individuals only – Chicago Tribune

A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that businesses can prohibit their workers from banding together in disputes over pay and conditions in the workplace, a decision that affects an estimated 25 million non-unionized employees.

With the court’s five conservative members in the majority, the justices held that individual employees can be forced to use arbitration, not the courts, to air complaints about wages and overtime. Four dissenting liberal justices said the decision will hit low-wage, vulnerable workers especially hard.

While the complaints in Monday’s decision involved pay issues, the outcome also might extend to workplace discrimination and other disputes if employee contracts specify that they must be dealt with in one-on-one arbitration.

Workers who want to take action against sexual harassment, pay discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and racial discrimination “may now be forced behind closed doors into an individual, costly – and often secret – arbitration process,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.


Source: Supreme Court deals defeat to workers’ rights, upholding arbitration for individuals only – Chicago Tribune

The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a commercially run venture, NASA document shows. : Washington Post

The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a kind of orbiting real estate venture run not by the government, but by private industry.

The White House plans to stop funding for the station after 2024, ending direct federal support of the orbiting laboratory. But it does not intend to abandon the orbiting laboratory altogether, and is working on a transition plan that could turn the station over to the private sector, according to an internal NASA document obtained by The Washington Post.

“The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time – it is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform,” the document states. “NASA will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit.”


Source: The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a commercially run venture, NASA document shows. : Washington Post

It’s an ill hurricane that blows nobody good

What a tangled web they weave and those that suffer are the people of Puerto Rico.

There is more than a hint of corruption, which appears to start with the Governor of Puerto Rico, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and others. The Trump administration should, if they were concerned for the residents of Puerto Rico, a state of the US, look into this as there appears to be a serious fishy smell or hint of corruption. Trump himself could gain some credibility by having this investigated, but will he.

Phil Ebersole's Blog

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has canceled its outrageous no-bid $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings, which, among other things, forbid federal and Puerto Rican authorities to audit its labor costs and profit and had no penalties for failure to meet project deadlines.

But questions remain: Why was the contract granted in the first place?  And what is PREPA going to do next to restore power?

The whole thing reminds me of the contracts for reconstruction of Iraq.   After the invasion, American and other foreign companies were given lucrative, no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq’s electrical systems, other public utilities and physical infrastructure.   Well-qualified Iraqi companies and workers were cut out of the process.

The result was that a lot of government contractors made a lot of money and very little reconstruction took place.   I can see the same thing happening with Puerto Rico—maybe a little less brazenly…

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Trump Administration Demands Information On Over A Million Visitors To Anti-Trump Website

Surely, unless this website is committing some form of criminal acts, the information regarding who is visiting should not be disclosed, especially to any source under the influence of Trump. It it is disclosed then these visitors will be targeted. This would be a destroyer of freedoms.


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Trump is ignoring the Minnesota mosque bombing. We know why | Moustafa Bayoumi | Opinion | The Guardian

The response to the bombing shows the administration is more than willing to sacrifice different segments of the American public to keep itself in power

Source: Trump is ignoring the Minnesota mosque bombing. We know why | Moustafa Bayoumi | Opinion | The Guardian

Trump’s children become bigger liabilities for the White House, complicate damage-control efforts: The Daily 202 from PowerPost

— Trump yesterday defended Donald Jr.’s sit-down with a Russian attorney during last year’s campaign, saying “zero” improprieties occurred and “most people would have taken” the meeting.

“My son is a wonderful young man,” the president said during a news conference in Paris.

“He’s a good boy,” the president added during a gaggle on Air Force One. “He’s a good kid.”

In fact, Don Jr. is 39. He’s the same age as the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, who was standing next to Trump when he gave that quote. Both kids/boys/young men — whatever he wants to call them — were born in 1977.

Don Jr. pulled his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, who is 36, into a meeting with someone he was told had dirt on Clinton from the Russian government. Then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is 68, also attended.

A youthful indiscretion this was not.

It’s also a reminder that you don’t have to be young to be stupid.

Perhaps most importantly, though, Trump’s spirited defense offered a window into how much more complex dealing with the Russia scandal is for the White House when multiple members of the president’s family are now implicated.

Source: The Daily 202 from PowerPost