Let's Fix This Country
foreign policy

Unlike Predecessors, Trump Plays Hardball with the Chinese

You would have to be very attentive to lesser items in the media to stay abreast of all that the Trump administration has been doing to barricade the U.S. from China's reach. Whether blocking Chinese products from the U.S. market, or halting the sale to China of
Huawei cell tower

U.S. technology, or expelling Chinese researchers at universities and corporations who are thought to be spies, the pace of these actions has been almost daily.

Trump came to office almost four years ago with fully-formed anger over China's multifaceted thievery of this country's know-how and the passivity of the last two administrations to do anything about it across sixteen crucial years. In July 0f 2017 he tweeted, "I am very disappointed with China. Our foolish past leaders allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade".

And yet the president holds the strong men of other countries, such as China's president Xi Jinping, in awe. Trump forged a friendship with Xi, or so he told us, praising him lavishly perhaps in the belief that flattery would clear the way to impose a one-sided tariff schedule to level the trade imbalance. But Xi retaliated with his own tariffs. Back and forth went threats of further tariffs. Phase one of a trade deal last fall had the U.S. holding back further imposts in return for Beijing buying $211 billion of farm and other products by year end. China immediately fell behind in that pledge such that trade adviser Peter Navarro declared the deal already "over" by June. Before this jousting match began, Trump had said, "Trade wars are good and…

the election

Trump Vilified for Desecrating What Reagan Called “the People’s House”

President Donald Trump's nomination acceptance speech to a crowd of 1,500 on the South Lawn of the White House culminated a week in which a key law that governs the conduct of all government employees was repeatedly ignored and broken. The law — the Hatch Act — prohibits the use of government locations or resources and even mention of job titles when a government employee engages in a political act or speech such as campaigning for a politician or political party. The president has completely trampled the law by using the White House as a prop for his bid for re-election, hosting hundreds of Republican National Convention delegates and Party operatives, with
The entrance

campaign banners stretched across the South Lawn, and outsized "Trump Pence" placards making for a double-take that the White House is just another Trump brand building.

The White House needed to be used, according to an official statement, because it is too difficult to move the president during the pandemic. Off he went to a rally in New Hampshire the day after his speech.

Those on the left were incensed. Watching Trump come from inside the White House escorting the First Lady down a long corridor, making an entrance far more grandiose than his escalator descent in Trump Tower five years ago, this time with the people's house used…

democracy

And Now They’re Sabotaging the Census

President Trump's new postmaster general has decreed policy designed to slow the delivery of mail. The objective is to clog the pipeline so mail-in ballots don't reach their destinations by the deadline. But that is designed only for the coming election, whereas the

Census Bureau has announced a policy designed to affect our democracy for the next ten years. Bureau director Steven Dillingham announced that census-taking would end a full month sooner whether or not it was complete.

One could see what was coming when in June the bureau, an agency that has always been strictly non-partisan and staffed with professionals such as demographers, announced the creation of two top-level positions filled with outsiders, one of whom had appeared dozens of times on television and radio to comment on politics and had written opinion pieces criticizing the case for Trump's impeachment. Before their appointment, the two had worked for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose department operates the Census Bureau. They had been sent to the Census Bureau where staffers said they had asked puzzling questions of why they thought it was necessary to seek out hard to reach residents, by which is meant minorities, low-income…

the economy

Congress Vacations Leaving Pandemic Unemployed with Nothing

Senate Republicans would have none of the Democrats' plan to resume the $600 a week supplement to states' unemployment insurance, partly because It was part of the scary $3 trillion bill the House had passed two and a half months ago. That would be on top of $2 trillion passed in the now distant month of March. The payments ended July 31 and off Congress went on its August vacation.

The one-size-fits-all $600 of the Cares Act blew past any fine tuning for the sake of getting money into people's pockets as fast as possible. That, added to highly varied amounts paid by state unemployment insurance programs, resulted in many workers making more per

week than before the pandemic. Republicans are against perpetuating that is any new bill. They contain that overpayment causes those workers not to return to their jobs or find other work, hobbling the Republican goal to restart the economy.

That illogic makes one wonder who it is we send to Congress. First, what jobs would they be turning down. There are only some 5 million job openings for about 30 million who are now on the unemployment compensation rolls. But even if there was an opening for every…

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the commander in chief

Verifying “Losers” and “Suckers”, a Flood of Corroboration

The article by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic that cites numerous examples of President Trump's disparagement of those who join the military as "losers" and "suckers" became an instant sensation and you've likely already read it, so we won't recite its contents here. We'll pick up with the aftermath and at the end add a couple of items that haven't shown up in the mainstream.

All of Goldberg's sources spoke in anonymity, which deniers supporting Trump took to task. Those in support of the president spoke in the open, whether
Jennifer Griffin of Fox News

to reporters or on television. That is not remarkable. Those backing the president hope to be noticed and earn Trump's appreciation. Most are in his immediate circle: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, adviser Stephen Miller, wife Melania. All refuted what Goldberg wrote, unsurprisingly.

Those in the administration who told Goldberg what they heard spoke off the record knowing they would otherwise lose their jobs, or, if in private sector jobs in revolving door Washington, expected retribution somehow from the revengeful Trump should they reveal their names.

Other reporters immediately set about corroborating what Goldberg had written. The Washington Post found the same sources as Goldberg quotes or other sources who confirmed that Trump had… Read More »

investigations

The Plot to Bury Mueller’s Russia Investigation Backfires

This is Part Two of a special report. For Part One see our front page

Collusion Revisited: August 18th: Trump's 2016 campaign chairman had repeated contact with Russian intelligence constituting "a grave counterintelligence threat" is the finding of the Senate Intelligence Committee in its final report on Russian interference, which also cites extensive contacts between key campaign advisers and officials affiliated with Moscow’s government and intelligence services. This is a severe setback to Attorney General Barr's investigation that seeks to negate any premise for the Mueller probe, an attempt that this and our previous story are reporting.


    
In great haste when Mueller turned in his report on March 22 of last year, Attorney General William Barr claimed to have digested the whole report in only two days for him to rush out his infamous four-page mischaracterization. It stated repeatedly that "no U.S. person or

Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated" with Russians.

Mueller — a Justice employee as special counsel — had adhered to the department office of legal counsel opinion that a sitting president could not be indicted. Barr undercut that by intimating that there was no department policy standing in Mueller's way of the special counsel making "a traditional prosecutorial judgment" about Trump's multiple obstructions; Mueller had simply declined to do so.

Trump, who had for months said “No collusion” countless times,… Read More »

investigations

Barr and Senators Plot to Invert the Mueller Report

Part One of Two

Just before the election, timed for greatest effect, Attorney General Barr will release his special investigator's report in his quest, in the service of President Trump, to invalidate the entire Mueller report. He has often made clear that objective. He has said that "the F.B.I. launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions" and that the Mueller probe that ensued was “one of the greatest travesties of American history.”

Barr had tapped Connecticut's U.S. Attorney John Durham to scour the world to find proof of his theories. As he did with the Mueller findings, Barr is characterizing Durham's investigation before the public learns of it, saying he is “troubled” by what Durham has found. Barr would in fact be troubled only were Durham to find nothing.

There is traditionally a 90-day quiet period before an election during which any new discoveries are put on ice out of concern they could be unfairly disruptive.

Near the end of July, Barr finally appeared before the House Judiciary Committee where Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.) asked him if he would “commit to not releasing any report by Mr. Durham before the November election?” Barr answered, "No". Just as former FBI Director James Comey may have irretrievably damaged Hillary Clinton's presidential hopes by reopening the FBI's… Read More »

U.S. in the World

Is Pandemic the Death Warrant for Globalism?

It's given populist nationalism a boost

For decades the decided world order has been a liberal internationalism of cooperative relations between countries and free markets in which multinational companies flourished. Emerging market countries

attained a prosperity never before seen, and poverty around the world was dramatically reduced.

But developed countries such as the United States saw manufacturing plant closures, millions of jobs moved offshore, the soaring wealth of the multinational ownership class, and working class wages that, dollar-adjusted, have stagnated for decades.

New leaders riding a wave of populism have traded on the growing discontent of the left-behind and have championed nationalism as the answer. In the U.S., Donald Trump won the presidency on an "America First" platform of building walls to stem immigration and tariffs to curtail imports. What could have played into their hands better than a pandemic? The world shut down and closed its borders. "It is a true gift for them", said the head of a Paris think tank. Is globalization finished?

As Covid-19 spread, countries looked to their own needs. Nationalist leaders saw in the steps to be taken to confront the pandemic the opportunity to extend their grip as they issued orders to shut down unessential businesses, dictated what others are to produce, and imposed quarantine on their people. Once assumed, those powers are unlikely to be relinquished.

The process has pit country against country, threatening in an instant the web of collaboration that had become the norm for most of the world. At least 75 governments banned the export of personal… Read More »

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