Trump effect: Factory orders climb despite media hyperventilating about tariffs

Orders at U.S. factories for durable goods rose in June despite constant media reports fretting over President Donald Trump’s negotiating tactics on trade.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that durable goods – items meant to last at least three years, like appliances – rose 1 percent in June. Excluding transportation manufacturers, orders were up 0.4%, the fifth straight monthly gain.

Trump is using tariffs to force trading partners back to the negotiating table as their unfair trade practices have resulted in the loss of good-paying American manufacturing jobs over the past few decades. Yesterday, officials from the EU met with the Trump administration. Trump then announced that Europe had made concessions on trade that would allow them to negotiate towards free trade.

Europe had disengaged from trade talks with the Obama administration and without the threat of new tariffs on automobiles would likely have been able to continue unfair trade restrictions against American goods.

Canada and China are still holding out despite the threat of increased tariffs while Mexico has signaled that it is ready to hammer out a deal with reciprocal trade policies.

Orders for most manufactured goods remain healthy, evidence that the trade spat has yet to restrain the American economy.

U.S. embassies under seige as protests spread

American diplomatic facilities around the globe are being attacked and set fire as protest grows over everything from the Pope’s visit to Lebanon to the killing of Al-Qaida’s second-in-command. Despite the Obama administration’s condemnation of the an American-produced youtube video trailer that displays the Islamic prophet Mohammed in a negative light, the protests seem to be largely-fueled by the recent publicity the video has received. The video was released in July.

Lebanon: Protesters set a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant ablaze in protest to the Pope’s visit to Lebanon. One protester has been killed and 25 wounded in clashes with police.

Sudan: Protesters broke into the German embassy, removed the German flag and replaced it with the now-familiar black, Islamic religious flag. The embassy is now reportedly on fire. At least one protester killed.

Libya: U.S. Ambassador, staff member and two former Navy Seals killed at Consulate on 9-11 and Consulate burned down. Four people have been arrested in connection to the attack, but Libyan officials say that the suspects are not directly connected to the killings.

Yemen: Hundreds of protesters storm the U.S. embassy in San’a. One protester shot and killed by Yemeni security forces.

Iraq: Protesters in the Sadr City district of northeast Baghdad carried banners and pictures of radical Shiite and anti-American cleric Muqtada

Egypt: Egyptian security forces pushed protesters back to Tahrir square on Thursday after four days of protest at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Thursday’s protests included crowd-thrown fire bombs and rocks.

Afghanistan: An hour-long protest of the youtube video was held in the Nangarhar province. The Afghan government has indefinitely blocked the entirety of youtube to prevent further violence.

Syria: Hundreds gathered in protest of the American government’s failure to prevent the production of the youtube video and the film it portrays. Buses and cars carrying protesters are now heading to the U.S. Embassy outside of Khartoum.

India: Thousands are holding protest in the Kashmir region. Protesters are calling President Obama a “real terrorist” and chanting “Down with America. Down with Israel.” Five top separatist leaders have been put under house arrest.

Fire near/at U.S. Embassy in Tunis

Tunisia:Fire reported near U.S. Embassy in Tunis. 3 dead, 28 wounded after protesters attacked the embassy.

U.K.: American flag being burned among hundreds of protesters at American embassy in London.

Oman: Protest occurring in front of U.S. embassy.

Sinai Peninsula: U.N. Peacekeeping forces attacked by anti-American protesters.

Mauritania: U.S. Personnel told to avoid embassy and BMCI bank area due to large anti-American protest.

Streaming Movie Review: Precious Cargo

Whether you’re a cord-cutter or just use streaming services to find movies you somehow missed, Hanna takes on the onerous task of watching movies that may be good on the free screen but perhaps only because they’re free.

Precious Cargo is a 2016 straight-to-small-screen widget from the Oasis films factory of mediocre movies. Granted, Oasis did manage Lone Survivor and … um .. well, everything else is pretty much a b-movie action film streamer’s dream – free, fast-action, bad dialogue and full of b-list hot guys, hot women and lots of fast cars and exploding stuff.

The movie is kind of a budget version of the Ocean’s series. Gang of criminals trying to rip off a crime boss/casino magnate. It’s the same idea with more gunplay and less wit.

Bruce Willis got top billing despite making little more than cameo appearances as Eddie the crime boss who just shows up to threaten people by phone or in person. His appearances are odd if you’re trying to take the movie seriously but they add – albeit little – depth to the plotline.

Lead man Jack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is a criminal that specializes in stealing from international weapons dealers and thieves with the backing of his marksman companion Logan played by Jenna B. Kelly (Extraction.)

The film starts out presenting an oddly constructed love triangle between Jack, the girl-next-door Jenna (Lydia Hull) and his maniacal ex-girlfriend Karen (Claire Forlani) who spends the entirety of the movie getting Jack into dangerous heists that she is unable to complete on her own.

The center plot is Jack pulling in cohorts and compatriots to magically complete dangerous heists that Karen is unable to complete on her own.

Karen’s failed jobs and ambitions put Jack and Logan in the sights of Eddie (Bruce Willis) who, while barely in the movie, is a ruthless opponent who knows Karen all too well.

Full of car/boat chases, a virtual cornucopia of gunfire, and a  generous topping of stuff blowing up, this Oasis offering matches up with its predecessors: Extraction, Arsenal, and a plethora of similar films that have some cast members you’ll recognize from Precious Cargo.

The film is one I would have hated if I had spent ticket+popcorn and soda to see, but as an action film fan and a streaming service addict – this one gets the rating of couch worthy on Hanna’s scale of Streaming Movie Reviews.

Couch Worthy: If you’re just looking for something to watch that won’t break the bank, these movies do the trick. Grab some chips, plop on the sofa and light these up to relax and blow a few hours.

Trump Administration Pushes Back On Media Report Claiming ‘ZERO New Walls’ Built

President Donald Trump’s administration is pushing back on a media report that claimed no new walls had been built along the southern border with Mexico.

The Daily Mail published a story on Thursday that said the Trump has built “ZERO new walls despite claiming otherwise for months,” citing a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman Roger Maier.

Maier told the British publication that the “first new wall project, where no barrier currently exists, is anticipated to start in April.”

A senior administration official took issue with the Daily Mail’s framing. Building walls where there were gaps or only small or ineffective non-wall barriers before is, by definition, building new walls, that official told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday.

Maier also released a statement to TheDCNF on Friday, stating that the administration has built “new border wall,” where non-wall barriers had previously existed.

“CBP has built and continues to build new border wall along the Southwest border. To date, CBP has built 38 miles of new border wall system in San Diego and Calexico, California, Santa Teresa, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas,” Maier said.

“This new wall provides new capability by replacing ineffective or dilapidated infrastructure, such as Normandy-style barriers designed only to stop vehicles, not people on foot. This ongoing construction is part of about 115 miles of new border wall system underway using FY2017 and FY2018 funding. FY19 funding also provides for about 55 miles of new border wall,” added Maier.

The disconnect between the Daily Mail’s story and the Trump administration’s position hinges on whether replacing non-wall barriers with walls counts as “new wall.”

TheDCNF has reached out to Daily Mail reporter David Martosko, the author of the story in question, for comment.

CBP released a video on Monday showing that the agency had built two miles of “bollard wall” in CBP’s El Centro Sector in California, “immediately west of the Calexico Port of Entry.” That project replaced old fencing with the “bollard wall.”

60 Percent Of US Packages Come From China. Trump Is Moving To Change That

 

by Evie Fordham

Roughly 60 percent of all packages shipped into the U.S. come from China, but that could change if the Trump administration completes the process it began Wednesday to leave a 144-year-old multilateral shipping treaty.

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) treaty sets shipping rates that let Chinese companies shipping to the U.S. pay approximately one-fifth the amount that U.S. shippers must pay to ship domestically, reported USA Today.

The U.S. could renegotiate the rates, but it will start the approximately year-long exit process from the UPU Wednesday, unnamed “senior officials” said according to USA Today.

“People are getting hurt in this country by an unfair system,” one official told reporters on a conference call according to CNBC.

Critics of the treaty are excited to see the U.S. so close to withdrawing.

The treaty “contributes significantly to the flood of counterfeit goods and dangerous drugs that enter the country from China,” the National Association of Manufacturers said according to CNBC.

The withdrawal talks are another step in the U.S. and China’s trade war. Tensions have been escalating since July, when the Trump administration levied tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. China did the same to U.S. goods.

The UPU’s imbalanced rates were meant to help businesses in Asia and Africa grow but have let Chinese businesses flood the U.S. with goods that are often shipped free, reported The New York Times. The UPU was established in 1874 and has 192 member countries.

Companies like San Francisco-based Wish.com could suffer if the U.S. withdraws. People in the U.S. can buy ultra-cheap goods — like $4 bikinis, $29 camera drones and $1 spoons — directly from Chinese sellers and manufacturers through Wish, reported The Atlantic. Wish earned its $8.5 billion valuation through its ability to ship Chinese goods to the U.S. on the cheap.

Supreme Court Allows Trump To Temporarily Enforce Trans Ban

The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will allow President Donald Trump to temporarily enforce an order barring transgender individuals from serving in the military.

As is typical of orders of this nature, the Court gave no reason for its decision, though Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan noted their dissent.

The Trump administration first petitioned the Supreme Court to decide directly on the legality of the trans-soldiers ban, after federal trial judges in California, Washington, D.C. and Washington state issued orders prohibiting its enforcement. The plaintiffs in those lawsuits argue the policy violates a range of constitutional rights including the First Amendment, equal protection, and due process.

The government said the Court’s intervention was necessary because the lower court decision “require the military to maintain a policy that, in its own professional judgment, risks undermining readiness, disrupting unit cohesion, and weakening military effectiveness and lethality.”

Subsequent to that request, the Department of Justice filed a second petition proposing an alternative: in the event the Court denied the first request, the administration suggested that the justices allow enforcement of the ban while litigation continues in the lower courts. The Court granted that request Tuesday.

The president abruptly announced on Twitter that the military would not permit trans personnel to serve in the military. Thereafter, former Defense Secretary James Mattis convened a panel of military experts to conduct an independent review of the subject. Their findings served as the basis of Mattis’ February 2018 memo which implemented Trump’s request.

That memo provides that individuals with a history of gender dysphoria — a clinical term referring to anxiety triggered by the conflict between one’s biological sex and the gender with which they identify — may enlist provided they are willing to serve in their biological sex and have not suffered gender dysphoria for a continuous three year period prior to recruitment. Active personnel who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria may continue to serve provided they do so in their biological sex.

This is breaking news. This post will be updated

Congress Puts A Carbon Tax Back On The Table After It Failed In 2018

A pair of U.S. congressmen from Florida are making a renewed bipartisan push for carbon tax legislation that failed to gain traction in 2018, The Washington Examiner reported.

Reps. Ted Deutch, a Democrat, and Francis Rooney, a Republican, are planning to reintroduce a bill Thursday that would place a $15-per-ton tax on carbon emissions in 2019. The tax would rise by $10-a-year increments until it hits nearly $100 per ton.

“I am supportive of a carbon fee as a non-regulatory, revenue-neutral and market-driven incentive to move toward natural gas and away from coal, and to support emerging alternate sources of energy,” Rooney told The Washington Examiner. “This bill provides a method of ensuring that any fees are rebated back to the public.”

The pair of legislators, who co-chair the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, partnered with other lawmakers to introduce an earlier version of the same bill in November 2018. That bill did not come up for a vote and died after the new session of Congress began.

The proposal is revenue neutral, or does not create another source of tax revenue for the federal government to tap into and divert for other causes. The money collected through the proposed carbon tax would be redistributed in equal amounts back to American families.

The tax would hit large carbon producers hardest, such as coal mines and oil refineries, and trickle down to manufacturers, automakers and other industries. It would also hit Americans in the form of higher energy costs and more expensive goods. The carbon tax rebate received by families is supposed to counter the increased price of energy.

Carbon tax proposals suffered a string of defeats last year at the national and state levels. Several carbon tax bills in the House and Senate failed to gain significant support and a carbon tax ballot measure in Washington state, meant to test the popularity of similar climate change tools, failed despite significant environmental and political backing.

Carlos Curbelo, a former U.S. representative from Florida, lost his bid for re-election in 2018 after leading the push to take up carbon tax legislation.

Carbon taxes, as a policy tool, sit in limbo between the general agendas of Republicans and Democrats. Conservatives say the policy hits impoverished and low-income families hardest by making goods more expensive while failing to effect any significant change. Environmentalists and Democrats usually tend to support government mandates to combat climate change.

‘League’ tops worldwide box office while ‘Coco’ takes #1 at home

Justice League topped global ticket sales this weekend for the second time with $112.9 million bringing its running total to $481.3 million. Disney/Pixar’s Coco debuted at number one in the U.S. with $40.7 million but has been playing globally for about a month during which it has pulled in $153.4 million.

The top 12 worldwide films, by ticket sales:

  1. Justice League – Warner Bros. – $112.9M
  2. Coco – Disney – $79.7M
  3. Murder On The Orient Express – 20th Century Fox – $30.2M
  4. Thor: Ragnarok – Disney – $27.8M
  5. Daddy’s Home 2 – Paramount Pictures – $27.1M
  6. Wonder – Multiple – $23.6M
  7. Manhunt – Multiple – $11.6M
  8. Swindlers, The – Showbox / Mediaplex Inc. – $10.5M
  9. Paddington 2 – Multiple – $9.1M
  10. Bad Moms Christmas, A – STX Entertainment – $9.0M
  11. Star, The – Sony – $6.9M
  12. Explosion (Yin Bao Zhe) – Multiple – $4.9M

Top 12 U.S. films, by ticket sales:

  1. Coco – Disney – $49.0M
  2. Justice League – Warner Bros. – $40.7M
  3. Wonder – Lionsgate – $22.3M
  4. Thor: Ragnarok – Disney – $16.8M
  5. Daddy’s Home 2 – Paramount – $13.2M
  6. Murder On The Orient Express – 20th Century Fox – $13.0M
  7. Star, The – Sony – $6.9M
  8. Bad Moms Christmas, A – STX Entertainment – $5.0M
  9. Roman J. Israel, Esq. – Sony – $4.5M
  10. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – Fox Searchlight – $4.4M
  11. Lady Bird – A24 – $4.0M
  12. Man Who Invented Christmas, The – Bleecker Street – $1.3M

How gun free zones and liberal policies contribute to mass shootings

Aaron Alexis was allowed to walk into a Navy Shipyard last week and systematically execute 12 people because his prior arrests for gun possession were never prosecuted and his cries for mental help were never addressed.

Instead of prosecuting Aaron Alexis on two separate crimes involving a firearm our politically correct judicial system instead issued him two get out of jail free cards. In addition, the mental health professionals who were supposed to recognize the warning signs instead gave him the benefit of the doubt and never shared their findings with the appropriate agencies who could have determined his mental status.

How did this man pass multiple background checks and evade multiple arrests involving firearm use and possession? Why did Aaron Alexis choose the Navy Ship Yard to perpetrate his crime? What drove this young man to commit this heinous act?

The Democratic Party will have you believe that this shooting was a result of too many guns in too many hands. They will have you believe that a complete ban on guns is the only answer to preventing these acts. They will blame it on Right Wing Extremists, the Second Amendment, and the National Rifle Association. They will give you every single excuse under the sun except for their own failed liberal policies.

What they won’t tell you is the truth.

In 1993 former president Bill Clinton issued an order forbidding members of the military and their civilian contractors from carrying their own personal firearms on military bases. Since this ruling at least 25 military personnel have been murdered as a result of this policy. I bet you never heard this on ABC, NBC, CBS, or CNN did you?

Since 1950, almost every single public shooting in the United States in which more than three people have been killed have taken place in what are commonly known as “gun free” zones. The main reason this tragedy occurred was due to Bill Clinton’s 1993 draconian policy on gun control.

Let’s take a look at some mass shootings that took place in gun free zones.

The last mass shooting on a military base happened only four short years ago. Nidal Hasan shot 13 people to death in Fort Hood, Texas in what is the worst mass shooting on a military base in history. Once again, Fort Hood was a gun free zone.

Last December Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot to death 26 people, including 20 children. Once again, there were no faculty armed on school grounds essentially making the school another easy target in a gun free zone.

James Holmes, who shot to death 12 people last year in a Colorado movie theatre did so by seeking out the one theatre out of seven in the metropolitan Denver area that was in a gun free zone.

In 2007 Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho shot to death 32 students in the worst mass shooting in United States history. Once again, Virginia Tech was a gun free campus with a complete ban on firearms on school property even for security guards and those that possessed a legal concealed weapons permit.

In 1999 two students who attended gun free zone Columbine High School in Colorado murdered 12 of their fellow classmates before turning their guns on themselves.

There are many other incidents of mass shootings that took place in gun free zones but for sake of time I can’t list them all. The fact is that gun free zones kill innocent victims. The people that commit these crimes are well aware that they will not meet an armed resistance which is exactly why these cowards choose these locations.

If military personnel were allowed to carry personal firearms on base these shooters would have thought twice about committing these crimes. If colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and even movie theatres were not in gun free zones than most of these tragedies would not have occurred.

The reality is not all shootings can be prevented. But allowing more law abiding citizens to carry firearms will decrease the amount of mass shootings. If plain clothed officers were allowed to patrol schools and carry a firearm it will make these places less of an attractive target. We need more guns in school not less guns in school. We need more guns on military bases not less guns on military bases. We need more armed citizens at movies theatres, restaurants, shopping malls, etc.

The biggest deterrent to fighting crime is not creating the environment that entices it. Most criminals will take the path of least resistance which is why gun free zones are so deadly. If more law abiding citizens were armed there would actually be less mass shootings. As Robert A. Heinlein once said, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his or her acts with their life.”

If you like this article you will love my radio show. Please tune into the The Grit and Grace Show live every Tuesday and Thursday nights from 8-10pm CST or anytime right here: www.blogtalkradio.com/gritgraceradio

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Navy to Commission Littoral Combat Ship Charleston on Saturday

The Navy will commission its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Charleston (LCS 18), during a 10 a.m. ceremony Saturday, March 2, at Columbus Street Terminal in Charleston, South Carolina.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina will deliver the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Charlotte Riley, wife of former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, is the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Mrs. Riley gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

“The future USS Charleston is proof of what the teamwork of all of our people – civilian, contractor and military – can accomplish together,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “This ship will extend the maneuverability and lethality of our fleet to confront the many challenges of a complex world, from maintaining the sea lanes to countering instability to maintaining our edge against renewed great power competition.”

The name Charleston has a long and storied history in the U.S. Navy. The first Navy ship to bear the name Charleston was a row galley that defended the coast of South Carolina during the Quasi-War with France. The second Charleston (C-2) was a protected cruiser that received the surrender of Guam during the Spanish-American War. The third Charleston (C-22) was a St. Louis-class protected cruiser that performed escort and troop transport duties in World War I. The next Charleston (PG-51) was an Erie-class patrol gunboat that earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one battle star for her service in the northern Pacific during World War II. The fifth Charleston (AKA-113/LKA-113) was an amphibious cargo ship that served during the Vietnam War.

The future USS Charleston is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The ship will be homeported in San Diego, Calif.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin, Marinette, Wis., (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

The ceremony, using hashtag #USSCharleston, can be viewed Saturday morning on the Navy Live blog.