~ Featuring ~
China, NAFTA, and the Trade Trump Card
by Lewis Morris  
9th Circuit Court strikes down federal law 
against encouraging illegal immigration
by Sudhin Thanawala
{washingtontimes.com} ~ A U.S. appeals court struck down a federal immigration law Tuesday that opponents warned could be used to criminalize a wide range of statements involving illegal immigration... The law made it a felony for someone to encourage an immigrant to enter or live in the U.S. if the person knew either act is illegal. The law violates the First Amendment because it criminalizes a substantial amount of protected speech, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said. The statute, for example, would make it illegal for a grandmother to urge her grandson to ignore limits on his visa by encouraging him to stay in the U.S., Judge A. Wallace Tashima said. In addition, a speech addressed to a crowd that encouraged everyone in the country illegally to stay here could also lead to a criminal prosecution, Tashima said. “Criminalizing expression like this threatens almost anyone willing to weigh in on the debate,” he said. A message to the Justice Department was not immediately returned...  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/dec/4/9th-circuit-court-s...
Brazil’s Trumpian Turn
{spectator.org} ~ Liberal cranks over the years have hissed that Republicans in the United States win on “God, guns, and gays.”... In Brazil, notes the UK Spectator, they hiss that “fascists” have returned to power on a platform of “beef, bibles, and bullets.” Brazil’s president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, is the “Trump of the tropics,” warns the media. But Brazilians, exhausted by years of failed leftism, don’t appear too worried, according to the Spectator, which noted this telling anecdote: When Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters gave a concert in São Paulo recently and broadcast an anti-Bolsonaro message to his audience, they booed him roundly for a quarter of an hour. He had miscalculated: fans wealthy enough to afford a ticket for his show would be Bolsonaro voters. Brazilians feel that only they can understand the peculiar afflictions of their country and there is irritation that others should see fit to give them a homily. Hard times call for strong measures. The country has made its choice, and it has voted for military discipline over a corrupt leftwing regime with no answer to the gang-violence of its streets. It has been easy to play on voters’ fears: the homicide level in some Brazilian cities is high enough to meet the UN’s criterion for low-intensity civil war. Most of the news coming out of Brazil in recent days sounds promising: Bolsonaro has canceled a climate change summit for next year in Rio, seeing it as costly and an ideologically histrionic waste of time; he has named a foreign minister who forthrightly rejects the pro-abortion claptrap of the international community and dismisses enviro activism as Marxism by other means; Bolsonaro is getting into squabbles with Cuban and Venezuelan commies, signaling that the country will unlatch itself from the region’s vest of suicidal leftism. Naturally, this leaves the Western liberal elite fretful. It had grown accustomed to Brazilian leftism. How dare Bolsonaro’s aides stain the honor of China — that was the ludicrous tone of the media’s coverage of his appointment of a top diplomat who dared to blog that China’s climate change activism is a Marxist crock of the first order, an obvious attempt to goad Western economies into destroying themselves on the altar of idiotic and ineffectual “green” sacrifices. The lefty Guardian harrumphed that “South America’s biggest nation,” with, my gosh, “the greatest and most biodiverse forest on Earth, the Amazon,” has now fallen into the hands of such right-wing cretins as Ernesto Araujo, Bolsonaro’s choice for foreign minister. We are supposed to be very frightened that Araujo considers the greenies “anti-Christian” and useful idiots for anti-Western countries, who peddle a dogma that “has been used to justify increasing the regulatory power of states over the economy and the power of international institutions on the nation states and their populations, as well as to stifle economic growth in democratic capitalist countries and to promote the growth of China.”...  https://spectator.org/brazils-trumpian-turn/?utm_source=American+Sp...
This Little-Known Terror Group Poses 
a Greater Threat Than ISIS in Syria
by James Phillips
{dailysignal.com} ~ The war in Syria is heating up again this week after recently subsiding from the front pages of newspapers... On Sunday, Russia claimed that rebels in northwestern Syria had fired shells filled with chlorine gas near the city of Aleppo. Although the rebels have not demonstrated such a chemical capability in the past, Syria’s Assad regime has repeatedly used illegal chemical weapons to demoralize insurgents and stampede their civilian supporters away from the front. Moscow could use this alleged incident as a pretext to resume the postponed offensive against Idlib province, the last major stronghold of Syria’s fractious rebel coalition. Already, Russia has resumed airstrikes in Idlib for the first time since the Sept. 17 Sochi agreement between Russia and Turkey produced a tenuous cease-fire. Syria’s Assad regime, which is committed to retaking “every inch” of Syria, also escalated artillery attacks on rebel-held towns in southern Idlib. The fragile cease-fire in Idlib, which from the beginning was violated by factions on both sides of the conflict, is on the verge of breaking down. Syrian forces, backed by Russia and Iran, may soon resume their postponed offensive, which would trigger a humanitarian crisis and generate another flood of Syrian refugees...
The Caravan is Heading in The 
Wrong Direction, Panama is South
{thepatriotchronicles.com} ~ There are still more migrants heading this way. Even the MSM has reported that the caravan is mostly comprised of male job-seekers... They have given up on their claim that the migrants are all asylum-seeking victims. We are not going to allow the majority of the migrants in anytime soon and their attack on the border has not sped up the process. “Despite the bleatings of the no-borders crowd, America need not welcome anyone and everyone who barges in. This Republic is less like a catch-all community college and more like a prestigious university that may receive or reject whomever it wishes. If Georgetown, NYU, and Stanford may decide whom to admit, America should be at least as selective. Conversely, if the Left truly hates borders, then its elite educational bastions immediately should open themselves to everyone who can storm in and snag classroom seats.” But the caravan still has other avenues to take. Mexico is still offering opportunities and a ride home if they are not willing to wait. The other option that these migrants should really think about is Panama. “But rather than north, Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Salvadorans should caravan south — to Panama. It’s the wealthiest country between the U.S. and Colombia. So maybe these folks should seek better lives there...  https://thepatriotchronicles.com/news-for-you/the-caravan-is-headin...
Not To Be
{spectator.org} ~ Nationally, what John Neely Kennedy is known for is his status as The Nation’s Most Quotable Senator, and his short cable news appearances have rapidly made him a go-to for sound bites... and hot takes on current events. But in Louisiana, from which he hails, Kennedy has become better known as the likely Republican candidate to right the demographic wrong of 2015, when John Bel Edwards emerged from an unusual set of circumstances to win the state’s gubernatorial race and become the only Democrat governor of a Deep South state. For months Kennedy openly toyed with an entry into the Louisiana gubernatorial race, which will take place next year with a jungle primary in October and a runoff in November. He has inserted himself ubiquitously in state political issues to the consternation of Edwards and his camp, he’s trashed members of Edwards’ administration — for example, after a legislative audit in November turned up $86 million in waste from the state’s Medicaid program Kennedy called the Louisiana Department of Health “lazy” and demanded the resignation of its secretary Rebekah Gee — and he’s gratuitously suggested he would be announcing a run against Edwards. Kennedy even announced a date by which he would be deciding on a gubernatorial run. He gave December 1 as his deadline to decide. And prior to that date his camp put out the word in Republican circles around the state that the other potential hopefuls — state Attorney General Jeff Landry, for example, or state senator Sharon Hewitt, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, multimillionaire businessman Eddie Rispone or Louisiana Association of Business and Industry president Stephen Waguespack — were either unqualified or politically incapable of beating Edwards. Kennedy’s preparations were so complete that politicos around the state had been scooped up for a prospective run. Kennedy even released polling data showing that he would beat Edwards in a head-to-head race. Landry and Waguespack both responded by publicly vacating the race, citing a need for Republicans to galvanize around a single candidate in opposition to the incumbent. But last week Kennedy moved his deadline back, from Saturday to Monday. And amid rumors that he was getting cold feet about running, the Senator then announced Monday morning that his “to be or not to be” deliberations were concluded in the negative. Virtually everyone within the Louisiana GOP seethed over the decision, while asking “Now what?”...   https://spectator.org/not-to-be/?utm_source=American+Spectator+Emai...  

China, NAFTA, and the Trade Trump Card

by Lewis Morris:  During the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce in the “trade war” between the two countries while negotiators attempt to iron out an agreement over tariffs, intellectual property theft, cybercrime, and other matters.

             The move came as the U.S. was prepared to enter another level of escalation by raising tariffs on Chinese imports from 10% to 25%. In return, China will purchase a “very substantial” amount of U.S. agricultural, energy, and industrial products “immediately.” No one yet knows how immediately or how substantial China’s purchases will be, but business and political leaders were optimistic about the developments.
               The Business Roundtable called on the White House to bring in other trading partners to create an international consensus in dealing with China.
               This might be a good idea. China is not known for keeping its word when it comes to trade and protection issues, and it has flouted U.S. complaints about its shady trade practices before. However, if the EU and Japan backed the U.S. in these disputes, the Chinese might think twice about breaking the rules.
               The National Retail Federation said it was a good thing that the administration decided to “give diplomacy a chance.” This was a sentiment echoed by the media and other business groups. What these organizations don’t admit is that Trump had to get tough with China for diplomacy to even be considered an option. Many previous presidents have paid lip service to getting tough with China, only to shrug and go back to business as usual once the TV cameras turn elsewhere.
               Tariffs are not productive in the long run. In the end, they are just another tax that (American) consumers must pay for goods and services. However, Trump recognized that something had to be done about America’s trade imbalance with China, and he used the tools at his disposal to get Beijing to the bargaining table. By doing so, he was really returning fire in a trade war in which the U.S. had effectively unilaterally disarmed. Trump’s moves did enough to China’s economy to get Xi to agree to a truce.
               The tariffs on China are not just about trade alone, which makes it a little easier to appreciate Trump’s actions. He’s using tariffs to put political as well as economic pressure on the Chinese. China has been setting itself up to become a  hegemonic power in Asia, but it’s once superhuman economy has been showing strain and frustrating its plans.
               Trump has exploited this, reminding the Chinese that the U.S. is still the premier power in the world. He has also encouraged the Chinese to lean on North Korea so that  denuclearization efforts will bear fruit. China is the only friend Kim Jung-un has, and going through Beijing to get to Pyongyang increases the likelihood that Trump can get North Korea to give up its nuclear program.
               The China tariff truce wasn’t the only good trade news Trump brought back from Argentina. Leaders of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Mexico’s legislature is expected to ratify the treaty right away. Canada promises to do so after the U.S. Congress passes the agreement.
               House Republicans have been encouraged to pass the treaty before the Democrats take over in January, as it’s unclear what House Democrats will do with the deal. It’s not above sick-Nancy Pulosi to sink it for no other reason than stick it to Trump. Dems have declared that there are provisions in the trade deal that they do not like, but the changes in the new agreement are in line with what would ordinarily please Democrat constituents. But these aren’t ordinary times.
               Meanwhile, Trump suggested that he would formally pull out of NAFTA, forcing Democrats to either take up the new agreement or go back to at least some pre-1994 trade rules in North America. That may be a bluff, but it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that sick-Pulosi wouldn’t call it.
               Democrats have proven time and again that their hatred for Trump supersedes everything. They will do whatever they can to defeat his chances for reelection in 2020. Trashing a favorable trade deal would be just one more stepping stone toward that goal.
               Despite his threat to scrap NAFTA early, Trump claims to be optimistic that he can work out the new trade agreement with Congress. We’ll see.  ~The Patriot Post  


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