Thursday, December 12, 2019

USMCA: Agreement reached on NAFTA trade deal replacement

Great news!  Once again Trump delivers

The US, Mexico and Canada have finalised a trade deal that will replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). Representatives from the three countries signed the pact in Mexico.

They met hours after Democrats in US Congress said they would support the deal after the White House agreed to strengthen the labour and environmental rules.

The three countries had concluded their talks more than a year ago. But the deal needs approval by legislatures in the three countries before it can move forward.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared the revised pact "infinitely better" than the deal the three countries announced last year.

US President Donald Trump, who had accused the Democrats of holding up the deal, also declared victory. The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will be "the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody - Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions - tremendous support," he tweeted.

Talks started in 2017 and the three countries agreed to terms last year. Among the most eye-catching changes were new rules that require a higher share of North American-made parts for a vehicle to qualify for tariff-free treatment.

Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, were also pushing for changes to strengthen enforcement of labour and environmental rules, and provide more flexibility governing drug pricing.

On Tuesday, Democrats said they had reached an agreement with the White House on new provisions and were planning to support the deal in a vote. "There is no question, of course, that this trade agreement is much better than Nafta but... it is infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration," Ms Pelosi said.

Democrats' decision to advance the deal, known as USMCA, gives Mr Trump a victory on one of his signature issues, trade. But it also serves to undercut criticism by Republicans that the Democrats are too focused on impeachment to govern.

The US business community said news that the deal would move forward was a relief and urged Congress to bring it to a vote quickly. Canada and Mexico are two of the US's biggest trade partners.

"Farmers have been struggling in the face of bad weather and unpredictable trade policy," said Angela Hofmann, co-executive director of the lobby group, Farmers for Free Trade. "Passing USMCA will guarantee that our farmers' closest and most important markets, will remain free from tariffs and red tape."



Trump DEMOLISHES Impeachment Narrative on Ukraine

Shortly after Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced the Democrats' two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, the president responded with a blockbuster tweet demolishing the central claim in the impeachment narrative.

Nadler explained that Democrats were impeaching Trump for "abuse of power." He accused the president of having "solicited and pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election, thus damaging our national security, undermining the integrity of the next election, and violating his oath to the American people."

Trump responded to this directly.

"Nadler just said that I 'pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 Election.' Ridiculous, and he know that it is not true. Both the President & Foreign Minister of Ukraine said, many times, that there 'WAS NO PRESSURE.' Nadler and the Dems know this, but refuse to acknowledge!"

Indeed, shortly after Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, "nobody pushed me" on the July 25 call. Zelensky later insisted that there was "no quid pro quo" regarding an alleged exchange of U.S. cash for politically-motivated investigations into Joe Biden's son Hunter.

In September, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said, "I think there was no pressure" on Zelensky in the call.

While Trump did hold up military funding for Ukraine after Congress had approved it, he appears to have done so because he was suspicious of foreign aid and because he did not yet trust the incoming Ukrainian president. Trump released the funding after many meetings between Trump officials and Zelensky's administration — and without any public announcement into investigations of Hunter Biden or Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.

Furthermore, it is arguably in the United States' interest to ask Ukraine to investigate these matters — the son of an American vice president secured a position on the board of a notoriously corrupt energy company while his father was the Obama administration point person on Ukraine. Furthermore, Joe Biden later pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who happened to have been investigating the company his son worked at — and he threatened to revoke funding for Ukraine if the prosecutor was not fired!

The Democrats are impeaching Trump for applying pressure when there was no pressure. Nadler even tipped his hat to the Trump-Russia collusion narrative while announcing the articles of impeachment! Make no mistake: this impeachment is an effort to kneecap Trump for 2020.



In a Blow to Political Correctness, Trump Praises Salvation Army

America isn’t the only thing making a comeback under President Donald Trump—so is Christmas! The candidate who vowed, “We’re gonna be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” delivered on that promise again in a big way Thursday night. Thirty feet of big, to be exact. In front of the giant spruce, the president made it very clear that this event wasn’t about illuminating the tree—but shining a light on the real reason for the season.

In a speech that no one would mistake for former President Barack Obama’s, the president talked about the wise men coming to worship Jesus:

"Christians give thanks that the Son of God came into the world to save humanity. Jesus Christ inspires us to love one another with hearts full of generosity and grace … As one grateful nation, we praise the joy of family, the blessings of freedom, and the miracle of Christmas"

His words were a breathtaking departure from Christmases past, which were full of nothing but the pageant of political correctness.

To millions of Americans, Trump hasn’t just tapped into the frustration they feel about Christmas, but the mockery of the values they hold dear. And he took another moment to prove it, intentionally recognizing the Salvation Army for its important work—despite the left’s latest attacks over its Christian roots.

"Joining us today are David and Sharron Hudson of the Salvation Army. Each year, through their Angel Tree program, the Salvation Army brings new gifts to more than 600,000 children. David and Sharron are an inspiration to us all. And, David and Sharron, thank you very much for being with us. Thank you"

After Chick-fil-A walked away from the group and the Cowboys almost lost their halftime show over the Red Kettle campaign, it matters that this president made a point of standing alongside the nonprofit. The message was subtle but clear: He isn’t caving to the cultural bullies, and Americans shouldn’t either.

For the Salvation Army, the support couldn’t come at a better time. As Rich Lowry points out, the red kettles that used to be a sign of charity and goodwill are suddenly a symbol of liberal controversy:

“It takes a perverse worldview not to have fond feelings about this tradition, which is spectacularly successful on its own terms, raising almost $150 million a year.” But then, the left has never let “sentimentality interfere with their dictates.”

If you think that volunteering for an organization that is raising funds to provide food and housing, among many other services, for the needy is an inherently praiseworthy act, you haven’t been following the woke left-wing activists cutting a swath through American culture. Any institution, no matter how storied or how generous, is subject to a punitive campaign of social ostracism that is often highly effective. In today’s environment, what seems preposterous one moment is inevitable the next, and after one target is ground into submission, another is quickly found.

Fortunately, Trump doesn’t believe in surrender. And he’ll go to the mat to guarantee that Christian organizations like this one can continue serving Americans—for the same reason he’ll keep fighting the war on Christmas: because no one should ever have to compromise their faith in a country like ours.



AG Bill Barr Just Issued a Translation of the DOJ IG Report & It’s a Red-Hot Rebuke of ‘Intrusive’ Spying on Trump

The Department of Justice Inspector General’s (IG) report into the FBI lying to the FISA Court to get warrants to spy on the Trump campaign is 433 pages. It took AG Bill Barr one paragraph to translate what all of it means in the real world. Oh, and don’t pick it up because you might burn yourself.

"The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source. …[T]he malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process"

Because the IG has no right to subpoena and can’t lock anyone up, he can only refer people for prosecution. Currently, most of the people who conducted the abuse have been fired and were out of the purview of the IG.

The IG report, however, found that officials lied and omitted helpful information to Trump campaign officials who were being spied on, but couldn’t determine if the malfeasance was politically motivated.

U.S. Attorney John Durham is looking into why the Trump spying case was hatched by people clearly pulling for Hillary Clinton to win the election.

Durham also issued an extraordinary statement today, saying:

"Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.
The Durham investigation may be the final word on the Obama administration spying scandal into the campaign of a political rival"

The Durham investigation and IG report releases are the chief reasons why the Democrats have rushed the impeachment hearings to get ahead of the damning news of Democrat political chicanery and potential lawbreaking in the 2016 election.




THE GREAT REVEAL: House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment Tuesday against President Donald Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress (Associated Press)

"WE'RE GOING TO GO WITH IT": Democrats, White House reach agreement on revised NAFTA trade pact (Los Angeles Times)

"WE DO NOT AGREE": U.S. Attorney John Durham objects to IG findings on Russia probe origins in stunning statement (Fox News)

GEE, WHAT COULD DURHAM BE OBJECTING ABOUT? FBI Director Christopher Wray announces "40 corrective steps" in response to failures detailed in Horowitz report (National Review)

MEASURE TOTALS $738 BILLION: Lawmakers reach deal on massive defense bill, eye Russia, Turkey, China (Reuters)

A $12 BILLION DISPUTE: High Court justices to hear ObamaCare case with billions at stake (The Hill)

DECLINED WITHOUT COMMENT: Supreme Court leaves in place Kentucky abortion law mandating ultrasounds (NBC News)

TRENDING BLUE: Virginians prepare for a Second Amendment battle (National Review)

"CATCH AND RELEASE IS OVER": Border apprehensions drop for sixth month in a row (The Daily Signal)

"SOCIAL CREDIT SCORE": China set to roll out Orwellian mass-surveillance tool (The Washington Times)

POLICY: How to lower student-loan defaults: Simplify enrollment in income-driven repayment plans (Manhattan Institute)

POLICY: The strategic case for supporting Ukraine (The American Interest)


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


No comments: