THE TOPICS OF EPISODE EIGHT

NEWS PERTAINING TO THE ACTIVITIES OF THE WHITE HOUSE

  • Trump announces new steel and aluminum tariffs.
    • US executives warn that the tariffs could damage the strengthening US economy.
    • Manufacturers who use aluminum and steel to produce cans, cars, refrigerators, and additional goods warn of shortages, price surges, and trade barriers on US exports levied for retaliatory purposes. Executives complain of a lack of specific detail regarding the plan for the new duties.
    • Trump imposes a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on imported aluminum.
    • The president of the German Steel Federation, Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, said that the EU must act to end the new tariffs or the European steel industry “is going to be left footing the bill for American protectionism.
    • Trump immensely harmed his own infrastructure plan by instituting the new tariffs.
    • Tariffs, industry groups say, will diminish prospects of American energy independence as the price of building steel pipelines will rise sharply.
    • Goldman Sachs economists said that Trump’s new tariff plan doesn’t rely “on any economic argument and instead imposes trade restrictions on national security concerns.” They also added that “This could lead to other trading partners taking similar actions and could ultimately weaken the international trade conventions like the [World Trade Organization] rules.”
    • Economists fear an international trade war.
    • Trump’s chief economic advisor, Gary Cohn, will resign from the White House after 14 months. The announcement marks Cohn’s failure to dissuade Trump from the tariffs. Cohn also tried to dissuade Trump from leaving the Paris climate accord, another issue he was on the losing side of.
    • Trump signed act to levy new tariffs on Thursday.
    • After intense lobbying and pressure from Congress, Trump moderated his plan. Canada and Mexico are now exempt,” and Australia, which Trump called a “great country” and a “long-term partner, will likely also be soon.
  • Trump plans to meet Kim Jong Un for nuclear talks
    • Trump breaks with the formalities of negotiation and avoids using lower-ranking officials to contact the government first.
    • The talks were spurred by a de-escalation between the two halves of Korea following the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyongyang.

NEWS CONCERNING OTHER AMERICAN AFFAIRS

  • The Justice Department is suing California over three of it statutes that protect sanctuary city systems and undocumented immigrants because they say it violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
    • The Supremacy Clause says that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”
  • Climate change lawsuit advances
    • The Ninth Circuit Appellate Court ruled that the case termed Juliana vs. US can move forward for trial after the White House attempted to prevent the case from beginning, alleging it could not on legal grounds.
    • The case is filed by teenagers seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. They claim that the government’s lack of regulation on climate change is unconstitutional because it denies them a stable climate and will cause flooding and harm to natural resources.
    • They use the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Ninth Amendment’s protection of unenumerated rights to make allege constitutional protections.

NEWS CONCERNING THE POLITICAL ACTIVITIES OF EUROPE AND ITS NATIONS

  • Populism disrupts electoral outcomes and party activities in Europe.
    • A new pact was announced in Germany this week. It will form a coalition joining the center-left Social Democrats and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own conservative Christian Democrats.
    • Anti-establishment votes accounted for half of Italy’s parliamentary elections. Distrust towards immigrants, fiscal constraints, and politicians in general bolstered support for the 5 Star Movement and other populist Italian policies.
  • A former English spy and his daughter were found comatose from poisoning on a bench in Salisbury, England this week
    • Sergei V. Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, 33, were targeted with a rare nerve agent.
    • Skripal spied on Russia.
    • His death was likely carried out by agents from Russia.
    • It is unclear how England will respond to the likely Russian aggression.

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