In this edition of the Monday Night Brief: The trade war between China and the U.S. escalates, The Supreme Court presides over a monopoly lawsuit for Apple, Omarosa joins a gender pay discrimination lawsuit against President Trump and a discussion about Lindsey Graham’s hypocrisy.
The Trade War Escalates
Tensions escalate as China has responded in kind to the U.S. tariffs by providing new tariffs of their own. The new tariffs will be slapped on anything from swimsuits to beer. The move is in direct response to President Trump’s move to increase tariffs on goods shipped to China last Friday.
Trade talks have stalled in the recent weeks as Chinese officials walked back on key points of a trade deal between the two countries. The president threatened new tariffs ahead of a meeting that both governments would have in Washington on Thursday. When nothing could be brokered, the president issues his response.
Many economists have pointed out that the only people who have been paying for these tariffs are the American people and companies that benefit from good we receive from the rival country. The president’s stance on China and trade with them has been praised by people on both sides of the aisle, most notable Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
While I have stated in the past that I think this is good for our country, I will pause for a second to ask how far is President Trump willing to take this? China is certainly no ally to us but what good does a trade war do if the only people who are suffering from it are our own? Something does need to be done about China and their theft of our progress but perhaps there are other routes that could be taken.
The Supreme Court is letting an anti-trust lawsuit against Apple and it’s IOS app store proceed upholding an early decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Apple Vs. Pepper. The lawsuit states that Apple could be sued by its users if they jacked the prices of their apps up. The Supreme court also rejected a motion from Apple that iOS users aren’t their customers and instead the app developers are.
What was Apple Vs. Pepper? According to The Verge: “Apple v. Pepper claims that by requiring iOS users to buy apps through its official App Store and charging developers a 30 percent commission, Apple is adding a mandatory fee that developers logically pass on to customers. “A claim that a monopolistic retailer (here, Apple) has used its monopoly to overcharge consumers is a classic antitrust claim. But Apple asserts that the [iOS users] in this case may not sue Apple because they supposedly were not ‘direct purchasers’” writes Kavanaugh. “We disagree. The plaintiffs purchased apps directly from Apple and therefore are direct purchasers.”
In a statement released by the company, Apple defends it’s app store and the system its created saying in full:
“Today’s decision means plaintiffs can proceed with their case in District court. We’re confident we will prevail when the facts are presented and that the App Store is not a monopoly by any metric.
We’re proud to have created the safest, most secure and trusted platform for customers and a great business opportunity for all developers around the world. Developers set the price they want to charge for their app and Apple has no role in that. The vast majority of apps on the App Store are free and Apple gets nothing from them. The only instance where Apple shares in revenue is if the developer chooses to sell digital services through the App Store.
Developers have a number of platforms to choose from to deliver their software — from other apps stores, to Smart TVs to gaming consoles — and we work hard every day to make our store the best, safest and most competitive in the world.”
Personally, I think that this lawsuit is a good thing. Companies like Apple, Amazon and Disney have been cornering markets unchecked for far too long. The government has been letting these organizations grow so long that it’s starting to look a lot less like a free market and a lot more like three companies running everything in the U.S. I think the Supreme court got this right and at the very least Apple should become more transparent with their practices.
Although I think all of said companies should be broken up completely.
Omarosa Joins Lawsuit
On Monday, former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman filed documents to join a lawsuit filed against President Trump for gender pay discrimination. The original lawsuit, filed by Alva Johnson, another former Trump staffer during his campaign alleged that the candidate kissed her without consent and paid her less than other male staffers.
In statement given to Vox on the matter Newman says: “After nearly 20 years inside the Beltway, working for two White Houses and countless political campaigns, I’ve never witnessed such egregious violations as I did during my time under the leadership of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.”
Newman served as the director of African American Outreach for Trump’s campaign in 2016. While Newman isn’t joining the sexual misconduct part of the lawsuit, she is claiming that female Trump staffers were paid nearly 20 percent less than male staffers.
“I believe that Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. paid me and other similarly situated female employees less than male employees who performed the same or similar job duties under similar working conditions,” Newman wrote in the filings which were placed in Florida.
She even went as far as to provide an economist’s analysis of payroll data taken from the Trump campaign and found that there was a significant gap in pay between men and women.
I mean, come on. What can be said that hasn’t already been said about the mess of presidency this is. I hope Omarosa and Alva Johnson get their justice, but I don’t think they will. This is just based off of what we’ve seen so far from the administration and their many many stone walling tactics with congress.
It’s getting harder and harder to navigate through all the scandals this president has racked up.
Lindsey Graham’s Hypocrisy
Finally, to top it all off.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) this week advised Donald Trump Jr. to ignore a subpoena issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee, a republican led arm of the Senate. The committee had planned to ask Trump Jr. about his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 – which could lead to a perjury charge.
“If I were Donald Trump Jr.’s lawyer, I would tell him, you don’t need to go back into this environment anymore,” he said to Fox News on Sunday. “You’ve been there for hours and hours and nothing being alleged here changes the outcome of the Mueller investigation.”
So, Graham is now betraying his own party to protect the Trump’s wrongdoing.
This is the same senator that said former President Richard Nixon was subject to impeachment proceedings when he refused a subpoena by congress during Watergate. This is the same senator that said former President Bill Clinton should have been impeached because he lied to congress.
What a hypocrite you have to be, to say all of this and then willfully ignore the same wrongdoing from the president today. Graham signed a deal with the devil when he decided to contradict his own statements and defend President Trump. If this presidency sinks, Graham will no doubt go down with it.
We talk a lot about the legacies that these men and women are leaving behind when they’re voted out of office. We should start talking about Graham and his legacy, how will he be remembered for his service to his country? When it comes to what I think about Graham and what he’s done in the last few months, it’s clear.
He’s destroyed it.
That’s it for this weeks briefing. If I’ve missed anything or didn’t cover something you would like to talk about, please leave a comment below. Also, next week there will not be a briefing as I will be on vacation so have a great two weeks and I’ll see you again on May 27th.