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Kavanaugh Nomination Stalls After Allegations

Flake calls for no Kavanaugh vote until accuser is heard. MarketWatch: “A vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation was thrown into doubt Sunday after Sen. Jeff Flake said he’s currently “not comfortable voting yes” following accusations from a California professor that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her as a teenager. Christine Blasey Ford publicly came forward to the Washington Post on Sunday and detailed her accusation. ‘I thought he might inadvertently kill me,; she said. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.’ After her story was published, Flake, an Arizona Republican and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Politico: “If they push forward without any attempt with hearing what she’s had to say, I’m not comfortable voting yes. We need to hear from her. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. Flake said the committee should not vote until more is heard from Ford. “For me, we can’t vote until we hear more,” he told the Washington Post on Sunday. Republicans control the Judiciary Committee by an 11-10 advantage, so Flake’s vote is crucial for Kavanaugh’s advancement A spokesman for Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Sunday that Grassley is seeking to set up calls with Ford and Kavanaugh before Thursday’s committee vote.”

Trump Ratchets Up China Trade War

Trump has decided to impose tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. WaPo: “President Trump has decided to impose tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, two people briefed on the decision said, one of the most severe economic restrictions ever imposed by a U.S. president. An announcement is expected to come within days, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss internal plans. The new tariffs would apply to more than 1,000 products, including refrigerators, air conditioners, furniture, televisions and toys. These penalties could drive up the cost of a range of products ahead of the holiday shopping season, though it’s unclear how much. Apple said recently its Apple Watch, AirPods, Mac mini and a variety of chargers and adapters would be caught in the tariff war. ‘Our concern with these tariffs is that the U.S. will be hardest hit, and that will result in lower U.S. growth and competitiveness and higher prices for U.S. consumers,’ the company said in a letter to the U. S. Trade representative. ‘The burden of the proposed tariffs will fall much more heavily on the United States than on China.'”

Government Shutdown Averted?

Trump’s shutdown decision. Axios: “President Trump expects to sign his first package of spending bills late this week. That ‘minibus’ will fund the Energy and Water, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch Appropriations bills for 2019. But the really important package is the Defense, Labor and Health and Human Services minibus that could pass the Senate as soon as this week. It’s the largest spending bill and the first time the Defense Department has been funded properly, and on time, since 2008. Once the DoD package is signed into law, this year will have the most spending bills enacted on time since 1996. This bill also matters because attached to it will be a continuing resolution (CR) to fund all the agencies not covered by regular spending bills, keeping the government open until Dec. 7. Bottom line: That CR will reveal that Trump won’t get his wall money. He’ll get the $1.6 billion he requested in his first budget, but nowhere near the $25 billion he once hoped for, or the $5 billion he asked for. Republicans agree almost unanimously that a shutdown would shatter their fragile holds on each chamber. For now, they have to pray the president sticks with the plan.”

‘Freedom Cities’ Gain Traction

The crackdown on sanctuary cities gives birth to ‘freedom cities’. NBC: “f Attorney General Jeff Sessions is waging war to dismantle sanctuary cities, imagine how he feels about ‘freedom cities.’ Austin, Texas, became the latest major city to declare itself a “freedom city” in June, when the city council passed resolutions instructing the city’s police officers to arrest fewer people for minor crimes like possessing a small amount of marijuana and driving without a valid license, as well as taking steps to protect undocumented immigrants. ‘Freedom city policies are basically an expansion of the old sanctuary city policies,’ said Austin Council member Greg Casar, who helped write the resolutions. ‘They pick up where sanctuary policies were cut off.’ Sanctuary city policies, like Austin used to have, were a defiant effort by progressive urban cities with large immigrant populations to reject cooperation with federal government-led efforts to round up undocumented immigrants. But after a crackdown on sanctuary policies by the Justice Department, and by conservative state legislatures, like the one in Texas, blue cities were forced to find another way forward. The newest solution has been “freedom city” policies, which unlike sanctuary initiatives, create new ways for city officials to comply legally with federal rules and state laws, while still protecting undocumented immigrants. For example, under a strict Texas law called SB 4, police officers can ask people they stop about their immigration status. One of the ‘freedom city’ resolutions passed by Austin, however, instructs police to also inform people they stop that they may refuse to answer those questions.”

Verizon Breaks Up With ALEC

Verizon leaves right-wing legislative group over support for anti-Muslim activist. The Intercept: “ight-wing activist David Horowitz has enjoyed broad influence in the Republican Party. Horowitz is known for his acidic commentary and advocacy, describing all Palestinians as ‘Nazis,’ smearing former President Barack Obama as a secret Muslim, and claiming that the anti-lynching memorial in Alabama is an example of ‘anti-white racism.’ His extremist brand of politics, however, is finally turning into a liability for his GOP allies. On Wednesday, former Rep. Ron DeSantis, the GOP nominee for governor of Florida, ducked questions from reporters about his regular appearances at Horowitz-organized donor retreats. Now, Verizon is cutting ties with an influential business alliance, the American Legislative Exchange Council, over the group’s decision to host Horowitz as a featured speaker at the ALEC summit in New Orleans last month. ‘Our company has no tolerance for racist, white supremacist or sexist comment or ideals,’ Verizon spokesperson Richard Young said in a statement to The Intercept. The decision is a blow to ALEC, which has counted the telecommunications giant as a major donor for three decades. The relationship between Verizon and ALEC goes back to 1988, when Verizon lobbyist Ronald Scheberle served as the chair of ALEC’s board.”

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