Patterico's Pontifications


Trump to Unveil Even More Tariffs on Stuff You Buy All the Time

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 pm

If you liked the steel and aluminum tax increase, you’ll love this tax increase!

During the meeting, which hasn’t been previously been reported, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer presented Trump with a package of tariffs that would target the equivalent of $30 billion a year in Chinese imports. In response, Trump urged Lighthizer to aim for an even bigger number — and he instructed administration officials to be ready for a formal announcement in the coming weeks, according to two people involved in the administration’s trade deliberations.

That sent senior officials at the White House, Treasury Department, State Department, Justice Department, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other key agencies scrambling this week to finalize the proposal. Although the details are still in flux, aides said the administration is considering tariffs on more than 100 Chinese products ranging from electronics and telecommunications equipment to furniture and toys.

If you plug it in or put batteries in it, it’s Made in China. And it looks like it’s going to cost more now.

If you missed my posts about why tariffs are bad, trade deficits are good, and we should unilaterally abolish all tariffs, now’s a good time to take a look. (Bastiat makes an appearance in the first post.) The short answer is: when we impose tariffs on China, we hurt ourselves and not China. As pervasive as these tariffs look to be, we’re going to be hurting ourselves a lot.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Brett Kimberlin: Remove My Wikipedia Page

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:17 pm

Someone claiming to be Brett Kimberlin (and who, with the whiny tone, sounds like him) is seeking to have Kimberlin’s Wikipedia page deleted. (Thanks to A. for the tip.) The request is here, and reads as follows:

Brett Kimberlin Wikipedia page violates its own policies.

This page was originally put up by people associated with Andrew Breibart in order to smear me and deprive me of being able to receive funding for my non-profit organizations. Moderators initially removed it because of WP policies regarding living persons. Finally, the Breitbots, led by Breitbart/Sputnik reporter Lee Stranahan, began a pressure campaign to force WP to keep the page over my strong objections. At the time, Stranahan also launched “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin” to further that smear campaign. I eventually sued the whole lot of them in federal court, and more than a dozen settled the defamation/invasion of privacy claims by removing content and paying me money. I do not fit the description of a “notable person” since the crime I was accused of was local and it was 40 years ago. Even the Breitbots I sued were unable to convince any judge that I was a “public figure” under First Amendment analysis. If I am not a public figure, then I should not be deemed notable by WP.

Parts of the WP read like a tabloid with sensationalism and total disregard for my privacy. I have been the subject of a right-wing smear job that lasted years because of my work running a progressive non-profit. Right wingers have used this WP as part of their toolset against me, knowing full well that anyone who considers working with or funding me will consult WP first. If I were living in Europe, I would have a right to be forgotten and left alone for things that happened 40 years ago. Why should I be treated differently in the US? The right wing uses this WP as a Scarlet Letter to whip and shame me in the public square even though I have spent the past 20 years devoting my life to progressive causes, kindness, and justice. Enough is enough.

In short, the entire WP falsely portrays me, my life and my work. The WP relies on dead links, people I sued and won cases against, and asserts that the criminal trial against me was somehow legitimate when it was based on hypnotic testimony that has since been banned from all federal and state trials in the US and Canada. In fact, my case was the last federal case in the country to allow hypnotic testimony.

What is left in the WP after disregarding the above is non-important. Who cares if I was arrested for a marijuana conspiracy 40 years ago? It’s legal now and WP does not have articles on every person who was arrested for marijuana conspiracies decades ago. Who cares if I have been involved in litigation or got arrested as a teenager for perjury? And why in God’s name does WP talk about a perjury conviction that occurred when I was a teenager and was based on things that occurred when I was a juvenile. That juvenile record was expunged yet WP dredges it up and puts it in the first sentence describing my criminal convictions. Have you no shame? Is that what WP thinks is “right?” Is that not an invasion of my privacy? I was a juvenile for God’s sake.

On a final note, recently Twitter, Facebook, Medium and other social media orgs have begun proactively removing fake news, disinformation, bots, trolls and other data from their platforms. Most of this information was generated by Russian operatives and right-wing operatives who use these tactics to harm their targets. As noted above, my WP page was started by Breitbart/Russian operatives to harm me with disinformation, innuendo and smears. This has become abundantly clear of late with Lee Stranahan now working for Sputnik after working for Breitbart when he started the WP page. That alone should be enough for you to remove the page. You guys got “had” by these right-wing smear artists. Now it’s time to make things right by refusing to be their bludgeon any longer.

In short, please delete these pages. I am not able to do so myself because of all the WP coding required and I do not want to give the right wing trolls another opportunity to smear me more.

He has an even longer complaint at the “talk” page for the entry. It contains this gem of a passage:

I am best known to my kids as a terrific father, and to my wife as a devoted husband. I am best known to my employees as a kind and effective employer. I am best known to activists as a passionate and dedicated promoter of progressive causes. I am best known to musicians as an amazing composer, producer, engineer and musician. I am best known to the environmental community as an innovator of green building and design. I am best known in federal court as a victim of smears by Breitbots, and as the victim of a crime I did not commit involving the now banned use of six hypnotized witnesses.

Brett Kimberlin is best known to me as the guy who blew off Carl DeLong’s leg and lost a wrongful death claim to DeLong’s widow.

Interesting that he claims that the people who settled (like Ace of Spades, for example) paid him money. Money that he then used to pursue people like me.

I guess you can’t blame Kimberlin for trying to get his entry removed. He got it removed once before, in 2012. It was restored, but he (or someone sounding a lot like him) tried again later that year. And Wikipedia editors threatened to remove the page after people insisted on including the accurate description of Kimberlin as “a convicted drug dealer, bomber, and political activist.”

Anyway. This time, the Wikipedia editors are not buying it. In comment after comment, they recommend keeping the page, with many calling it “well sourced.” One editor says: “FWIW, I think he is materially misrepresenting the outcome of some of those court cases above.” And another says:

Just his tone of attack on other people makes me want to keep this article. It is well sourced and shows his long standing role as a disruptive litigator. Assuming the claims of forcing bloggers to remove content on him are t[ru]e, it shows that current civil procedures are not as protective of the First [Am]endment as they should be, and also the success of lawfare, the waging of war through civil litigation, where the process become[s] the punishment, and the fact that most people would rather save money than stand for princip[le]s leads to victory.

Wow. Someone really gets it.

Oh, by the way: his lawsuit against me was dismissed, but he still has an appeal pending in the Fourth Circuit. Filed in October 2013 and still alive!

He never repented, he never sought forgiveness, and he still owes money to Carl DeLong’s widow. Yes, I know I already said that. It still bears repeating.

Kimberlin can try to scrub his past on the Internet, but he’ll never succeed. He can try to pretend that he didn’t do what he was convicted of, but the world will never believe.

Hey. At least he’s still alive. Carl DeLong is still dead.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

President Trump: If You Don’t Have A Wall System, We’re Not Going To Have A Country

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Moving toward fulfilling a key campaign promise of a border wall, President Trump inspected border wall prototypes near San Diego today. Trump claimed that “the wall will save hundreds of billions of dollars — many, many times what it will cost.” Whether he can secure the estimated cost of $25 billion from Congress to pay for the wall, remains to be seen. Certainly Mexico won’t be paying. Saying that a massive border wall would be a “first line of defense,” the President looked at eight different possibilities:


According to reports, after viewing the walls, Trump said he preferred the “see-through” walls and claimed that the new versions would “stop smugglers who have the skills of professional mountain climbers”.


Trump also insisted that California political leaders actually want walls, despite what they say in opposition. “The state of California is begging us to build walls in certain areas, they don’t tell you that,” he said.

That was hardly the only shot he took at state leaders and their policies, especially the so-called sanctuary laws that are the subject of a new administration lawsuit.

He said the laws limiting local government cooperation with federal immigration enforcement officers are “the best friend of the criminal…the smugglers, the traffickers, the gang members. They’re all taking refuge.”

Trump also had harsh, yet fitting criticism for “nice guy,” California Gov. Jerry Brown:

“Governor Brown does a very poor job running California,” Trump said. “They have the highest taxes in the United States. The place is totally out of control. You have sanctuary cities where you have criminals living in the sanctuary cities, and then the mayor of Oakland goes out and notifies when [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] is going in to pick them up. … The governor’s doing a terrible job running the state of California.”

Noting that he owns property in the state, Trump said, “The taxes are way, way out of whack, and people are going to start to move pretty soon.”

The Governor tweeted in response:

“Thanks for the shout-out, @realDonaldTrump. But bridges are still better than walls. And California remains the 6th largest economy in the world and the most prosperous state in America. #Facts”

This is particularly rich given that Gov. Brown has come under fire for his idiotic pet legacy project (aka California bullet train), where costs for the project have risen $13 billion from estimates a mere two years ago.

On a side note, last year, California’s Senate passed a bill that would blacklist any California company that helped build the border wall:

Senate Bill 30 will prevent the state of California from entering or renewing a contract with a company that accepts a federal contract related to President Trump’s border wall.

“Senate Bill 30 sends a clear message that we want our businesses to stand with us and support our core values. There is plenty of work to do in the state of California that is going to move us forward,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “It is not enough to simply oppose the wall in theory. Rhetoric can only go so far. It is time for us to act and be courageous.”

The bill’s dimwitted lead author also said – without an ounce of self-awareness (*Hello, $77 billion bullet train boondoggle*):

President Trump’s wall will be a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle dragging down California’s economy, hurting our environment and separating our communities – without making us any safer.

None of the border wall finalists are companies from California.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Was Russia the Reason for Rexit?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

I’m not suggesting Russia was actually responsible for Tillerson’s exit, of course. After all, Russia would never try to interfere with the U.S. President’s pick for Secretary of State!

But perhaps Rex Tillerson’s aggressive response to Russia’s attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia was the last straw for our Putin-loving President.

Let’s review the bidding, including the incident and the different responses from Tillerson and the rest of the administration.

Skripal, recall, was a double agent who betrayed Russia, was convicted of treason, and was traded as part of a swap of traitors. He had been poisoned with a nerve agent that very few possess. Putin is among that very few, and the use of the agent is Putin sending the message that, while he will publicly deny it, he is the one behind the attack.

Theresa May has said it is “highly likely” Russia was behind the attack:

The PM said it was “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the Salisbury attack.

The Foreign Office summoned Russia’s ambassador to provide an explanation.

Mrs May said if there is no “credible response” by the end of Tuesday, the UK would conclude there has been an “unlawful use of force” by Moscow.

May’s only caveat was that maybe Russia lost control of the nerve agent: “Either this was a direct action by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”

Meanwhile, our boy Vlad is just laughing it off, smirking as he responds to questions about it.

For the most part, the Trump administration has been curiously silent about responsibility for the attack. Just yesterday, Sarah Sanders refused to go as far as Prime Minister May, and reporters noticed:

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders stopped short of blaming Russia for a poison attack Monday, shortly after British Prime Minister Theresa May said it was “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the incident in southwest England.

“The attack was reckless, indiscriminate, and irresponsible,” Sanders said at the daily White House press briefing.

But when pressed on responsibility, Sanders said only: “Right now we are standing with our U.K. ally. I think they are still working through even some of the details on that.”

Note that I said that the Trump administration had been silent about responsibility “for the most part.” Guess who wasn’t silent at all? If you said Rex Tillerson, you get the kewpie doll. Yup: Tillerson, uniquely among Trump administration officials, had already placed the blame squarely on Moscow:

“We have full confidence in the UK’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury last week,” Tillerson said in the statement.

He continued, “There is never a justification for this type of attack — the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation — and we are outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behavior. From Ukraine to Syria — and now the UK — Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens.”

The State Department’s position on the attack appears [to] be much stronger than the White House’s response.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the attack “reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible,” but stopped short of blaming Russia.

Unlike Sanders, Tillerson did not mince words:

Speaking to reporters while traveling in Africa, Tillerson said the attack “clearly came from Russia” and would “certainly trigger a response.”

If you believe the White House’s timing, Trump told Tillerson on Friday that he was going to be replaced. If true, that would tend to undercut the notion that the ouster was over the response to Russia’s evident assassination attempt. Prime Minister May’s direct accusation came just yesterday — supposedly long after Trump had made his decision.

Then again, that means the news wasn’t leaked for the entire weekend — an amazing job of secrecy from a White House not known for keeping such things under wraps. And then there’s this:


Also, while May only yesterday directly pointed the finger at Russia, Skripal was poisoned on March 4, and it was immediately evident who the prime suspect was. Perhaps T Rex and Trump were already having disagreements about how to handle it.

This controversy is hardly the only issue Trump has had with Tillerson, of course. Trump has publicly identified the Iran deal as a point of contention, and always lurking in the background was Tillerson’s continual refusal to deny that he had called Trump a “f***ing moron.” The writing has been on the wall for a while.

Still: the timing of all this is, shall we say, interesting. My guess is that we have not heard the last of it.

UPDATE: Tillerson called Trump a “f***ing moron” and not a “f***ing idiot.” I have fixed the post to reflect the correct insult.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:11 am

Thanks to Caleb Howe for the headline.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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