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U.S. Escalates Trade War With China

US and China escalate trade war as total sum levied reaches $100bn. The Guardian: “The US and China have escalated their ongoing trade war by implementing 25% tariffs on $16bn worth of imports on both sides, bringing the amount levied to a combined $100bn since July. Beijing began implementing the new tariffs on Thursday, when the US said it would begin collecting extra duties in retaliation for what it claimed were unfair Chinese trade practices. The latest round of tariffs comes as Chinese and US officials are due to meet in Washington for talks that few expect will bring an end to months of tit-for-tat threats and tariffs. The White House claims China steals foreign companies’ intellectual property or forces them to give it up, and that industrial subsidy programmes unfairly benefit Chinese businesses. The latest round of US tariffs target electronics, plastics, chemicals, semiconductors and other goods from the ‘Made in China’ industrial plan to upgrade Chinese manufacturing capabilities. The US trade representative’s office is holding public hearings this week on a proposal for more tariffs of up to 20% on an additional $200bn in Chinese goods. The US has threatened tariffs on all $500bn worth of Chinese exports to the US, an amount Beijing cannot reciprocate. US exports to China last year were worth about $130bn.”

Damage To U.S. Economy From Trade War

U.S. economy expected to slow, damaged by trade war. Reuters: “U.S. economic growth will slow steadily in coming quarters after touching a four-year high in April-June, according to a Reuters poll of economists, who expect President Donald Trump’s trade war to inflict damage. Boosted in part by $1.5 trillion of tax cuts passed late last year, the U.S. economy expanded at an annualized rate of 4.1 percent in the second quarter, its strongest performance in nearly four years. But the latest poll of more than 100 economists taken Aug. 13-21 showed they expect the U.S. economy to lose momentum and to end next year growing at less than half that rate. The U.S. economy was forecast to grow 3 percent in the current quarter and 2.7 percent in the next, a slight upgrade from the previous poll. But the short-term boost to growth from tax cuts was expected to wane. Economists trimmed their growth projections across most quarters next year leaving the outlook broadly unchanged and vulnerable to the trade conflict with China.”

Calls for SCOTUS Vote Delay After Trumpworld Convictions

Trump aides’ felony convictions spur calls to oppose Kavanaugh nomination. Yahoo News: “In the words of Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Tuesday’s legal developments are a “game-changer” for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Democrats quickly seized on the guilty plea by President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen and the guilty verdicts in the case against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort as fresh justification for their long-shot bid to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Schumer’s rationale is based on an article Kavanaugh authored in 2009 for the Minnesota Law Review in which he argued that presidents should not be subject to legal proceedings while in office. ‘I believe it vital that the President be able to focus on his never-ending tasks with as few distractions as possible. The country wants the President to be ‘one of us’ who bears the same responsibilities of citizenship that all share. But I believe that the President should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office,’ Kavanaugh wrote.

The Illegitimacy Of The Roberts Court

The unprecedented illegitimacy of the Roberts Court. ThinkProgress: “There’s never been a member of the Supreme Court like Neil Gorsuch. Sure, there have been plenty of white men. There’s been no shortage of Harvard grads on the Supreme Court. And Gorsuch is only the latest in a long line of judges who believe that Charles Dickens’ novels describe a kind of capitalist utopia. But Gorsuch literally has less democratic legitimacy than anyone who has ever sat on the nation’s highest Court. That’s the first in a series of bracing facts laid out by Trinity College political science professor Kevin McMahon in a new paper published in the Chicago-Kent Law Review. Last year, for the first time in American history, ‘the United States Senate confirmed a nominee for the High Court appointed by a President who had failed to win the popular vote with the support of a majority of senators who had garnered fewer votes—indeed far fewer votes— in their most recent elections than their colleagues in opposition.'”

L.A. Teachers Vote On Strike

Los Angeles teachers vote on whether to authorize a strike. ThinkProgress: “On Thursday, Los Angeles teachers begin voting on whether to authorize a strike. While an authorization doesn’t mean that the strike will take place right away, if the union chooses to strike, it would be the first since a nine-day strike in 1989. It may also be the biggest action since 2009, when thousands of Los Angeles teachers called in sick after hearing about possible teacher layoffs. The voting process will end on August 30. The teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), says it has been at an impasse with the Los Angeles Unified School District for some time. Teachers are asking for smaller class sizes, reductions in standardized testing, a 2 percent bonus, 6.5 percent salary increases and a $500 stipend for materials and supplies, according to California News Wire Services. Teachers are also interested in expanding charter school accountability, spending more money on ethnic studies and bilingual education, and creating school climate and discipline plans, according to a recent open letter from the union.”

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