Maine Writer

Its about people and issues I care about.

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Location: Topsham, MAINE, United States

My blogs are dedicated to the issues I care about. Thank you to all who take the time to read something I've written.

Monday, May 20, 2019

America is better than this! Protect immigrant children and stop family separations

Separating children from parents has NOT improved border security!

Echo opinion published in The Jamestown Sun, in Fargo North Dakota by State Senator Tim Mathern

It appears the Trump administration said it had ended the  policy of separating families and children at the US southern border. (But, in fact, the culture of corruption in the White House has obstructed information about  what is really going on with the innocent immigrant children who are living in cages.)

Following weeks of heartbreaking news stories and thousands of social media messages, Donald Trump heard what most Americans have been saying since the policy was announced; This is not who we are.

Over 2,300 children, some as young as 3 months old, were taken from their parents and now are in “out of view” detention centers across the country. All of us parents would be distressed by a child being ripped from our arms. In addition, many of these families are fleeing terrible conditions and thought they could find peace in the United States. Instead, they were thrown in a makeshift jail and watched their loved ones dragged away. My education as a child welfare social worker informs me that every child will carry the effects of this trauma for the rest of their lives.

And what was the point? Did it make our border more secure? Absolutely not. Are Americans safer because babies were locked up in “tender age shelters?” No. This policy was about bringing fear and pain to families, and to scare other mothers, fathers and children.

As disappointing as seeing children detained under an American flag is how many elected Republicans fell in line and supported this policy. With our country’s reputation as a safe place on the line, they sided with baby-snatching until the people and religious leaders demanded an end to this cruelty.

We are better than this!


(Mathern, a Democrat who represents District 11 in the North Dakota Legislature, has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Nebraska and has worked for a child welfare agency, Catholic Charities of ND, for 25 years. He has served on human service committees in the North Dakota Legislature for 32 years. )

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George Orwell echoes - a Donald Trump prophesy


George Orwell and Why the Time to Stop Trump is Now

By David Goldfischer, associate professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

OPINION- As evidence of Adolf Hitler’s intentions crystalized in the 1930’s, many politicians who recognized the danger continued to vote against vital defense expenditures. 

George Orwell, reflecting on that and other cases of “ignoring facts which are obvious and unalterable,” concluded: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

Until Germany invaded Poland in 1939, there was room for wishful thinking, regarding Hitler’s plans. Current defenders of the American Republic, by contrast, confront the “obvious and unalterable” fact that an assault has already been launched. The Mueller report puts in front of our noses Russia’s “sweeping and systematic,” interference in the 2016 election, its perception that “it would benefit from a Trump presidency,” its work “to secure that outcome,” and the Trump campaign’s expectation “that it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

As November 3, 2020 approaches, Trump ignores calls to defend the elections and fails to confront Russia, inviting more cyber-sabotage on his behalf. What if he loses nonetheless? Consider a play-script whose author casts himself as defender of the nation against the “globalist elite” and their “deep state” henchmen. 

In Act I, he miraculously outwits their attempt to rig the 2016 election; in Act II he thwarts their attempted coup. Act III completes the plot, as the Democrats manage to fake a 2020 victory, only to face a resolute President who—having forewarned of a final deep state conspiracy to regain power—announces a state of emergency.

Better outcomes are possible, but inaction based on rosy predictions invites deepening danger. Time is passing, as it did in the weeks following President Obama’s discovery of Russia’s attack, and as it did while we waited for Mueller. Investigators continue to investigate what they already know. The Republican conscience does not stir. The Republican base is unmoved. The #fakeBarr “investigation” of the investigators begins. The “coup plot” reverberates across cable news and Twitter. We watch—or don’t—an unfolding illustration of Orwell’s “plain, unmistakable facts being shirked by people who in another part of their minds are aware of those facts.”

Devoted to preserving human liberty, Orwell probed democracy’s vulnerabilities. In Animal Farm, he depicted naïve disbelief in the face of step-by-step descents into despotism; in a 1940 review of Mein Kampf, he showed how ordinary people surrender freedom willingly; in 1984 he depicted how authoritarian control can be strengthened by technologies of mass communication and surveillance.

Orwell did not live to witness the liberal complacency that set in following defeat of the 20th century’s totalitarian movements. Nor could Orwell have imagined the new dangers posed by the cyberage. The treasonous implications of presidential indifference to Pearl Harbor or 9/11 would have been obvious to all. Our “cyber-Pearl Harbor,” by contrast, inflicted grave damage invisibly and non-violently, enabling its perpetrator and chief beneficiary—Putin and Trump—to deny its occurrence. Demagogic big lies can now metastasize through the body politic with lightning speed.

We struggle to understand this latest rise of authoritarian nationalism, envisioning policies that will progressively drive such movements back to humanity’s dark margins. But first we must remove a particular enemy from his position as the most powerful man on earth.

When freedom’s heartland was last endangered, FDR did not await favorable opinion polls to affirm—against the original “America First” movement—that America must fight to defeat fascism. Nor did Winston Churchill, though long ignored, refrain from insisting that his country face the Nazi danger. Those leaders matched Hitler’s faith in the “triumph of the will” with an even fiercer will to defend the liberal democracies.

Today, with America’s “bully pulpit” in the hands of a demagogue, defenders of our 230-year-old Constitution have to win for themselves the constant struggle to face what is in front of their noses. Aware citizens must stand up to insist that aiding and abetting a foreign attack, and depicting as traitors those who rise to “the common defense,” are high crimes that must be stopped and punished. Democratic leaders will not find their voice, nor Republicans awaken to the truth, until they sense the rising tide of mobilized American patriotism.
Everyone able and willing to distinguish facts from lies has witnessed Trump’s brazen cover-up of Russia’s attack. He has never named or denounced the aggressor, while depicting the investigators as traitors who used a hoax to attempt a coup.

The test we face is to stop “shirking” in the face of “obvious and inalterable” facts, to focus fearlessly on the danger rather than allow a parade of doubts and distractions to displace what is “in front of one’s nose.” From 1776 to the fall of the Berlin Wall, believers in human freedom and democratic self-governance have known when to shrug off setbacks and summon their will. 

That time is now.

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Immigrant children in cages - evil Donald Trump humanitarian crises

Shut down detention centers for migrant children!

In the United States of America, in the year 2019, we have a detention center for children made up of tents. It’s on the edge of a swamp in the path of hurricanes. This for-profit child detention center houses 2,200 traumatized children who were separated from their families for the sin of fleeing violence. Its numbers are projected to quickly grow by 50 percent.

On April 8, the national law was broken when three Florida congresswomen were denied entry into the for-profit Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children. 

What are they hiding?

As leaders of a local grass-roots organization, Central Mainers For Change, we decided it is time to shed light on this humanitarian crisis. We urge calls to our elected officials in Washington. Ask them where they stand on this issue?

Then, demand that they go to the detention center so they can see for themselves what is happening there. Hopefully, they won’t remain so silent.

Also, demand that our representatives support the legislation brought forth by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif. The “Shut Down Child Prison Camps Act” – S.397 (Senate); H.R. 1069 (House) – demands that our government shut down unregulated child prison camps for immigrant children, like the one in Homestead, Florida.

We are Americans. As Americans, we know we are better than taking children from their families and putting them in cages and tents.

Mary Dunn and Stryker Adams
Central Mainers For Change
Waterville, Maine

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Teaching Donald Trump how to tell the truth - an Indiana echo opinion


TRUMPISM- For thinking people, refusing to turn over a full Mueller report, about the Trump Russian investigation, his tax filings, business records and telling people not to testify is obstruction of justice, in a free democratic nation, under constitutional law. 
But, if you believe our pathological liar potus, Donald Trumiism, is telling the truth, then here is how you can help him.

Push him to release all the filings, records and full Mueller Report, plus- don’t stop people from testifying. This will rub Trump’s claim of innocence in the faces of the people he calls fake news, elite liberals, corrupt FBI, corrupt CIA, politically guided Justice Department. (In other words, Trumpziism name calling!)

Also, it will prove he’s not guilty of double-digit felonies, he’ll certainly face once he is out of office. You know, insurance fraud, tax evasion, blackmail, corrupt business practices, bribery, election fraud, etc., are all serious crimes with long prison terms for all involved.

Throw in treason with a foreign enemy, and the death penalty is on the table for all involved. So, if you want to see justice be served, then go to your next Trump rally and start chanting “Show them everything.”

From 1985 to 1994, Trump lost well over a billion dollars and only paid income tax two of those 10 years. (IMO tRump is a failed leader and a corrupted creature.)

The real art of the deal is the con (Don the con).

Tim Mahaffey, from Middletown Indiana

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Buffalo New York echo - Trumpziism politics deliberately create confusion

By Staff-  published in The Buffalo News, New York
Published May 17, 2019

The Trumpzi obsession with creating political diversions, is dangerous and hurting the American middle class:
With abortion rearing its ugly head again, you can always count on politicians to stir the pot whenever it looks like their inactivity will bring closer scrutiny by the general public. Throw in race relations, another potential war, and a scandal or two, and you have the makings of an emotionally charged population ready to chew on every new bone they throw us to teeth on.
Trumpziism
Like magicians that skillfully misdirect with one hand while performing their “magic” with the other, we are led to believe these topics are more important and are designed take our attention away from what really should be going on.

Isn’t it about time that we expressed our disdain and called for term limits for Congress? Politicians spend more time attacking one another than working out meaningful solutions. I am not saying that we should clean out the entire forest because of one dead tree, but selective culling through term limits would bring in fresh faces with fresh ideas and perhaps get us past some of the political shenanigans that senior politicians seem to be locked on to.

The latest Washington fiasco is the looming trade war with China. While it is important to protect American interests, you shouldn’t go about it by hurting the very people you are trying to protect. Keep the tariffs where they were on imports and lower the taxes on American-made products and services to stimulate domestic growth. I think that we all know who will ultimately pay for this and it is the American consumer.
Trumziism is evil! 

Not a well thought out plan, and one that, despite all the distractions, you cannot hide the effects of, because if there is one thing that consumers will remember, it is how hard it hurts their (our!) wallets.

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Kansas echo - the world waits it out: Donald Trump

Trump faces a slew of foreign policy challenges all at once- but the world appears to be waiting for administration turnover.

An echo opinion published in the Wichita Eagle by Andrew Malcolm special to McClatchy

Americans are not the only people who are closely following the 2020 presidential contest. And that reality is causing serious and growing challenges for Donald Trump.

A self-proclaimed world-class deal-maker, a perhaps overconfident Trump is confronting not one, not two, but a half-dozen serious foreign policy problems simultaneously. None of these escalating challenges, save perhaps Venezuela, are new. And solving them has stumped all other recent presidents.

But the timing and scale of some are of Trump’s own choosing or making, depending on your view of him. This accumulation of coincidental crises could be intentional or the result of an unorganized administration reflecting its leader’s sometimes impetuous inclinations.

But each one carries important consequences and threats for the nation’s foreign relations, peace and the president’s chances of capturing a second term next year.



In fact, the possibility — some would say likelihood — of a Trump with chronically unfavorable poll numbers joining George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter as one-term presidents seems to be a factor in recent decisions by China and North Korea to back off of previous commitments. Iran also has been willing to stir up more trouble, and the Taliban has dragged out peace talks on Afghanistan, awaiting perhaps a more friendly successor administration.

Waiting out the maximum eight-year life of an American administration unfavorable to their interests is a default option for many foreign governments, especially in Asia where one-man or one-party rule is common. Japan has been successfully employing protectionist trade policies this way for decades.

Last week, as he has long threatened, Trump imposed large tariff increases on Chinese goods when, he said, officials reneged on commitments already agreed to, including protecting intellectual property rights.

“I’m different than a lot of people,” an understated Trump said without admitting that includes many in his own adopted GOP. 


“I happen to think that tariffs for our country are very valuable.” (MaineWriter- another serial lie!)

Few beyond Beijing doubt the need for significant changes in Chinese cyber-espionage and trade

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Dubunk the myths about immigration from The Bush Center

https://www.bushcenter.org/publications/resources-reports/reports/immigration.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjw2v7mBRC1ARIsAAiw349tkdbOq_mpa2XqnVfpBwWTMrWnDA0RgWi71jnv5FaumFfSERBg9FYaAghdEALw_wcB


Thank you to The Bush Center for this analysis:

DEBUNKING IMMIGRATION MYTHS
Immigrants played a leading role in building what has become the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. However, legal immigrants are many times misrepresented or their role in the U.S. economy is misunderstood.


MYTH: IMMIGRANTS ARE TAKING OVER

FACT: Immigrants actually only account for 13.5% of the total U.S. population, which is in line with historical norms.

MYTH: IMMIGRANTS ARE ALL MEXICAN

FACT: 30% of immigrants come from Asia, and currently more are coming from China than Mexico.

MYTH: IMMIGRANTS DON'T WORK

FACT: 72.5% of immigrants believe hard work is how you succeed in America and are responsible for half of the total U.S. labor force growth over the last decade.

MYTH: IMMIGRANTS DON'T HELP THE ECONOMY

FACT: Immigrant-owned businesses with employees have an average of 11 employees.

MYTH: IMMIGRANTS TAKE AMERICAN JOBS
FACT: 
7.6% of immigrants were self-employed compared to 5.6% of native-born Americans and they founded more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies.

MYTH: IMMIGRANTS AREN'T EDUCATED

FACT: Recent immigrants are more likely to have college degrees than native-born Americans and are more likely to have advanced degrees.

Friday, May 17, 2019

William Barr and his fake Senate Judiciary testimony - an echo opinion

Maine Writer question - "When will real justice prevail in American again?" Our US Attorney General is a sick joke.

Barr violated his oath of office to protect Donald Trump. 

Reported in Newsday, an echo opinion published in the Tucson Daily Star, at Tucson.com - Arizona

America needs to hear straight from Robert Mueller

After more than four hours of opaque (aka lies) testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, (Fake) Attorney General William Barr made one thing quite clear.
Fake AG gave bogus testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee
Only special counsel Robert Mueller can give the nation the honest answers it needs to determine whether President Trump’s actions during the Russia investigation were consistent with his constitutional oath to uphold the law. Barr will not.

Mueller, the former head of the FBI, is the only one who can provide a straightforward assessment of his investigation, its conclusions and its aftermath that would have a chance of convincing the American people that the truth is being told. 

Mueller needs to detail why there was no finding of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

Moreover, Mueller is the only one who can explain why he did not make a recommendation to prosecute Trump after citing multiple instances of conduct that would support an obstruction charge. Was it because of a Department of Justice policy not to indict a sitting president or because of a lack of evidence?

Barr's hearing provided more facade than facts, more charade than candor. Instead of true oversight, ugly partisan routines got ginned up again. Democrats pressed Barr hamfistedly on his interpretation of the 448-page Mueller report, while Republicans went back to their (stupid!) song-and-dance routine over Hillary Clinton’s emails.

But Barr’s (fake) performance was even more problematic than the Senate’s. After misleading the public with his initial four-page summary of the Mueller report, and then misleading the public again with his remarks before the report’s release, Barr went three-for-three Wednesday as he attempted to explain his infamous letter, his remarks since, and his decisions. But with each vague, evasive response, Barr showed just how little we should rely on, believe, or have confidence in the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

Sen. Kamala Harris asked him, “Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?”

Barr responded, “Could you repeat the question?” Then he fumbled  (and mumbled) to an answer: “I’m trying to grapple with the word ‘suggest.’” He finally allowed that he had no direct requests from a president who in public has often called for investigations of his political enemies.
So to Barr, his four-page summary wasn’t a summary. In his eyes, Trump wanting to get rid of Mueller wasn’t illegal. But then why did those around Trump, like former White House counsel Don McGahn, refuse to act on Trump’s requests?

After Barr’s dishonest presentation to the Senate, it’s not surprising that he refused to testify Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee. And honestly, there is nothing more he can tell us about Mueller.

Not only do we need the special counsel to provide forthright, complex answers, in proper context, about his investigation of Trump, we also need to know whether, in Mueller’s view, Barr violated his oath as attorney general in service of Trump.

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Donald Trump test of the day - explain how tariffs really work

Donald Trump hasn’t made a convincing argument about #TRUMP_tariffs.  Echo editorial published in The Baltimore Sun.


Instead, he’s been wholly dishonest with the public. Over and over again, he’s deliberately misrepresented how tariffs work, going so far as to suggest the Chinese government cuts a check to the U.S. Treasury. And when his chief economic adviser goes on TV, as Larry Kudlow, and explains that the latest tariff increase affecting $200 billion in Chinese goods will cause the U.S. economy to suffer in the short term? President Trump will have none of it, tweeting, instead, that U.S. GDP was boosted by “Tariffs from China” and that there is “no reason for the U.S. Consumer to pay the Tariffs.” (MaineWriter: OMG.....and we will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it....!)

There can be a case made for imposing tariffs. Those taxes paid on imports raise prices, making those goods less attractive to consumers and, theoretically, giving an advantage to domestic producers. Just as importantly, they give a country leverage on its trading partner. Raise barriers to our exports? We’ll do the same to your imports. With China, there’s an argument to be made that curbing that nation’s worst trade policies (its failure to enforce intellectual property rights and its unwillingness to fully embrace a free market economy among them) requires this level of sacrifice from the American public or the biggest U.S. trade partner won’t change its ways.

Even if Chinese companies partially lower their prices to offset tariffs, consumers are bound to feel the pinch. And as for writing a check to the U.S. Treasury for tariffs? That doesn’t happen. Ever.

American companies buying the goods are the people writing the checks. And they pass along the cost in the former of higher prices to consumers, who ultimately bear the brunt. That’s how it works. That’s how it’s supposed to work. It’s this added cost — this disincentive to buy imported goods — that’s supposed to drive policy change. Meanwhile, China announced Monday that it will impose higher tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods. That’s what Trump trade policy has actually wrought so far.

And while there’s an argument that “both sides pay” in a tariff war — another point made by Trump’s director of the National Economic Council, — but Donald Trump won’t even go that far. His position on tariffs has been consistent — consistently misleading. Now, perhaps this can be ascribed to the usual Trump salesmanship that overstates arguments much in the manner of a high-pressure real estate salesman whose idea of a “fixer upper” is a candidate for condemnation to the rest of us. But what’s especially noteworthy here is that Americans might actually rally around a straight talk description of what’s going on. 

In fact, even those American soybean farmers who have been hit so hard by Chinese retaliatory tariffs might support the White House’s position on China trade out of sheer patriotism, if Trump administration claims bore some resemblance to reality. 

Instead, farmers are getting angry — and increasingly desperate.

It’s one thing to sacrifice for a country that claims to need your sacrifice, it’s quite another to sacrifice to a White House that claims everything is going swell. Add the financial losses of exporters like those farmers with the high cost to consumers (the last round of tariffs having cost $1.4 billion a month, the new round probably much more, according to experts) and you aren’t talking about chump change. Does Mr. Trump think the country won’t notice or that they’ll just take his word for it? What happens when Walmart shoppers notice that prices are much higher? Is he counting on them not putting two and two together?
Make no mistake, we weren’t impressed with this tariff strategy from the beginning. While there is an intellectually honest argument for tariffs, we believe the counter-argument generally holds more weight in an increasingly interconnected global economy. And this White House appears to be especially ill-equipped for a complex and protracted trade war that requires study, patience and a clear strategy, which is hardly the modus operandi of a (failed) leader...Trumpzi.... who makes stuff up as he goes along. Trump is certainly capable of hurting China, but to what end? What would victory even look like? Certainly, a better fair trade enforcement mechanism than China has offered in the past would be great, but what else? We don’t know, but whatever the outcome, this latest escalation is unlikely to bring a swift end to a trade war between two economic powers, neither of which can boast a head of state known for his honesty or willingness to be scrutinized.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Fact checks lies about tarrifs and corporate tax cuts - echo analysis


Chinese say (translated for tRump to read) - "bring it on".

Donald Trump's stupid trade war with China just went from his ill conceived "easy to win", to "5,000 years of hell"....an opinion essay published in The Hive, a feature column in Vanity Fair.


While Donald Trump previously appeared to view tariffs as a negotiating tactic, he now seems to believe they should be permanent. The Chinese say “bring it on.”

The president’s decision last year to slap tariffs on goods from countries around the world and drag the U.S. into a trade war with China hasn’t gone super well for America. 

In fact, the farmers whose profits have been destroyed as a result know this. The manufacturers who have had to lay off employees and move production overseas know this. The consumers who paid $3 billion a month last year to finance the tariffs know it, too. One person who doesn’t? Donald Trump, who lives in his own alternative reality and still thinks this whole thing is going great. On Tuesday, after China responded to the latest round of tariffs with fresh punitive measures of its own, the president claimed that “Tariffs have rebuilt our Steel Industry” (fact-check: false); that “Our great Patriot Farmers will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of what is happening now” (fact-check: false, and weirdly Soviet); and that we will be “moving jobs back to the USA” (fact-check: false again!).

In tweets and other public utterances in recent days, Trump has hailed his tariffs, claiming they have helped power U.S. economic growth, and repeated over and over again that other countries such as China foot the bill, a view even his own economic advisers are uncomfortable defending. 


Moreover, Trump is also displaying a preference for his tariffs over his own deals. Among the major hurdles to a congressional vote to ratify his renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement are the steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump imposed on products coming from Canada and Mexico.

Those tariffs have invited retaliation against U.S. agricultural exports, such as corn and pork, that [is] hurting U.S. farmers. They also have caused senior Republicans like Chuck Grassley,the powerful head of the Senate Finance Committee, to say they will block any vote for Trump’s rebranded NAFTA, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. But Trump has refused to bend unless Canada and Mexico agree to other trade restraints with new investment in domestic steel mills and aluminum smelters, one of the benefits of Trump’s trade wars the president is most eager to tout.


While an obsession with tariffs certainly hurts the U.S. economy—Moody‘s analysts predictTrump’s threat to hit virtually all Chinese goods with a 25 percent levy “would slash U.S. real G.D.P. by 2.6 percentage points”—experts say the never-ending counterattacks would likely be detrimental to the global economy, too, causing a painful economic slowdown that could tip the country into a recession.  

“I’m with most economists and I think tariffs and a reduction in free trade are going to be a bad outcome for all involved,’’ Stephen Gallagher, chief U.S. economist at Societe Generale SA, told Bloomberg. Gary Hufbauer, of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, noted that while it might be easy—if not entirely misguided—to slap tariffs on imports from other countries, it’s a lot harder to take them off, pointing to a tariff that was introduced in the 1960s to protect U.S. light trucks from foreign competition and has never been removed.

Meanwhile, China appears to be in this thing for the long haul. On Tuesday, its state media released a clip effectively saying the country’s been through a lot worse than some bloated real-estate developer with a Twitter addiction.


In a clip from state broadcaster CCTV that went viral, an anchor asks, “After 5,000 years of trials and tribulations, what kind of battle have the Chinese not been through?”

The video, which has been viewed more than 3.3 billion times, underscores how China wants to portray itself as playing the long game in the trade battle in contrast with President Trump, whose re-election next year could be at risk if voters perceive the trade war negatively. Meanwhile, the People’s Daily, the official newspaper for China’s Communist Party, posted a photo captioned, “This, is China’s attitude!” CNBC’s translation of the Chinese phrases in the image reads: “Negotiate—we can! Fight—bring it on! Bully us—YOU WISH!”

And WAIT~ there's even more!

AT&T has cut more than 23,000 jobs since receiving a big tax cut at the end of 2017, despite lobbying heavily for the tax cut by claiming that it would create thousands of jobs. AT&T in November 2017 pushed for the corporate tax cut by promising to invest an additional $1 billion in 2018, with C.E.O. Randall Stephenson saying that “every billion dollars AT&T invests is 7,000 hard-hat jobs. These are not entry-level jobs. These are 7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in ground, hard-hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year.”

The corporate tax cut was subsequently passed by Congress and signed into law by Trump on December 22, 2017. The tax cut reportedly gave AT&T an extra $3 billion in cash in 2018. But AT&T cut capital spending and kept laying people off after the tax cut. A union 
analysis of AT&T’s publicly available financial statements “shows the telecom company eliminated 23,328 jobs since the Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed in late 2017, including nearly 6,000 in the first quarter of 2019,” the Communications Workers of America (C.W.A.) said yesterday.

In 2019, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that, contrary to the administration’s claims that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had resulted in “big bonuses” for American workers, employees had received, on average, an increase of a penny, which they hopefully haven’t spent all in one place.

Fact check summary - Fake Economic Trumpzi propaganda!

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

More letters are calling out Donald Trump's serial lies - Minnesota echo

"Trump eats your soul in small bites...." James Comey

I'm finding more opinion letters to the editors in national newspapers where the writers are calling out Donald Trump as a liar.  Moreover, his lock step Trumpzi cult are enabling the lies.  Like this letter ......

Full crisis mode! -  Minnesota newspaper

Now, with Attorney General William Barr's reputation for integrity in serious question for lying under oath to protect Donald Trump, we seem to have hit full crisis mode in our distrust of anything an elected (or unelected) official says.

Of course, Barr's boss, the president has led the country deep into this morass of dishonesty. The Fact Checkers database has now tallied over 10,000 false or misleading statements made by Trump in 828 days.

Sixty-one of those misleading statements or outright lies were delivered at Trump's campaign (beer hall!) rally in Green Bay, on April 27. One of Trump's most vicious (henious!) lies is that Democrats and doctors conspire to kill newborns.

"The baby is born," Trump said, "And the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby." Did anybody at that Green Bay rally feel uncomfortable with how outrageously Trump slandered both doctors and mothers?

Those who wonder how formerly conscientious public servants like Barr get sucked into the black hole of sacrificing their honor for Trump should consult former FBI Director James Comey's May 1 op-ed in the New York Times, "How Trump Co-opts Leaders Like Bill Barr." (I blogged this Comey column at this link.)

"Accomplished people lacking inner strength," writes James Comey, "can't resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from ... You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values."

In the end, says Comey, "Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites."

Comey's editorial helps explain why politicians Trump has insulted, such as Ted Cruz (whose father Trump scurrilously implicated in JFK's assassination), have become his ardent defenders.

It's going to take a lot more of Comey's kind of truth-telling to crack the shell of lies around this presidency.

Thomas R. Smith, River Falls Minnesota

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More echoes about Trump lies - opinions about "goon du jour"

Truth, lies and Donald Trump

"Goon du jour" - Donald Trump
Virtually every adult on the planet will testify that a big part of growing up was learning how to behave, right from wrong, and truth from lies. Some adults learn these lessons well, others don’t.

According to humorist Will Rogers (and even Mark Twain), politicians often fall into the latter group. Most of us baby boomers remember “Tricky Dick” and Spiro Agnew. More recently we recall the escapades of Rod Blagojevich and James Traficant. Those of us who actually took notes in history class even remember Huey Long and “Boss” Tweed. So, the goons are out there . . . always have been.

The “goon du jour” is Donald Trump. To be honest, “du jour” is probably a bit understated. Trump is the goons’ poster child. Right, wrong, truth, lies . . . let’s “unpack” Trump’s adult behaviors.

1. Trump and his dad engaged in rent discrimination.

2. Trump was charged with money laundering (twice).

3. Trump did business with New York crime families.

4. Trump stiffed subcontractors out of earned wages.

5. Trump defrauded 3,000 Trump University students and the “Trump Foundation.”

6. Trump committed adultery and other forms of sexual misconduct.

7. Trump cavorted with shady Russians (lots of them).

8. Trump leverages the presidency for personal financial gain.

9. Trump tells thousands of lies and falsehoods to the American people.

10. Trump continually bullies, intimidates, insults and threatens people.


Trump never learned how to behave. 

Was it bad parenting? Poor peer influences? A damaged psyche? Who knows; who cares. The guy is 72 years old. He should know better. He is also the president of the United States. That matters, a lot. Republican . . . Democrat. Makes no difference.

Trump is a bad guy. America needs an adult in the White House who knows how to behave.

Stephen Davis  Fairfield, California

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Minnesota echo opinion - impeach those who lie to America


Republican U.S. Attorney General William Barr lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee, run by Republican Lindsay Graham. 


Moreover, Barr lied about what Special Counsel Republican Robert Mueller thought about Barr's "summary" letter, which attempted to exonerate Republican Donald Trump, current occupant of the White House.

In fact, the attorney general's job is to represent the interests of the U.S. people, not whoever's in our White House! 

We the people most definitely need someone who speaks for us. Because corporations and the wealthy took over so much of how our democratic government is run, by using the Republican Party, the people have too little voice these days. It's why so many of us are frustrated.

Donald Trump wants only one thing from anyone he hires: total and complete loyalty. When I lived in New Jersey in the '60s, this was the rule of the mafia; the mob. But, Trump gives no loyalty in return, but is clever enough with his mouth to string people along well past the time when they've hurt their own lives or ruined their reputations.

Moral character or job qualifications mean nothing to Mr. Trump. Do what you want, he tells them.

Trump tried to get out of paying his own attorney, using the White House Attorney Don McGahn instead. 

But the White House attorney answers to the people, not the president, so there is no client-attorney privilege!

No one told Trump, or in his arrogance and hubris he didn't listen, so he ended up telling McGahn a lot of things he wished he hadn't.

A. Martin, Merrifield, Minnesota

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Republicans must face the fact - Russia influenced the 2016 election

"Donald Trump cynically tries to paint everything Congress does as being pure politics, as if it were all some kind of game. But it is not."
Maine Writer opinion- Senator Mitch McConnell has become the Charlie McCarthy dummy who speaks whenever Donald Trump throws his voice.
Columnist Eugene Robinson echo opinion:

National View: Congress can't just shrug, look away- echo opinion published in Duluth News Tribune, in Minnesota.


The escalating war in Washington is not between the White House and Democrats, despite what President Donald Trump may claim. 

Rather, it is between an executive and the people's duly elected representatives in Congress, whose sworn duties transcend politics. 

There's a big difference.

Trump tries to drag everyone and everything down to the basest, most transactional level, which is the only level he seems to know. 

In his telling, it's Democrats who are demanding to see his tax returns, Democrats who want public testimony by special counsel Robert Mueller and former White House counsel Don McGahn, and Democrats who are holding hearings and issuing subpoenas for the sole purpose of persecuting Donald J. Trump.

The president cynically tries to paint the whole thing as pure politics, as if it were all some kind of game. But it is not. An adversarial foreign power, Vladimir Putin's Russia, maliciously interfered with our presidential election in 2016. Trump campaign officials and advisers had scores of unusual contacts with Kremlin-connected Russians, then lied about those contacts. Trump tried repeatedly to thwart any investigation of those contacts and lies, engaging in conduct many legal experts believe clearly amounts to obstruction of justice.

None of this is normal or acceptable, none of it, and Congress does not have the option to shrug and look away. Acting in the name of the nation, the House Ways and Means Committee has the statutory authority — and good reason — to look at Trump's tax returns. Acting in the name of the nation, the House Judiciary Committee has the duty to read Mueller's entire unredacted report and hear from Mueller and McGahn. Acting in the name of the nation, the speaker of the House must decide whether Trump's conduct was so egregious that impeachment hearings should be held.

The fact the House of Representatives is presently controlled by the Democratic Party instead of the Republican Party does not alter its responsibilities — or mitigate its powers.

Most congressional Republicans, shamefully, are shirking those responsibilities — but not all of them. According to published reports, the GOP-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. in an attempt to determine whether he lied in a previous appearance before the panel. Lying to Congress, as former Trump attorney Michael Cohen unhappily learned, is a federal crime that can get you sent to prison.


The Washington Post quoted a source familiar with Trump Jr.'s thinking as saying he is "exasperated" and "thinks they just want a PR stunt." Assuming everyone has the most venal motives is apparently a Trump family trait. Perhaps it genuinely would never occur to the president's son that a Republican senator, of all people, might take his constitutional duties seriously.

It is astounding that more Republicans have not dared speak a word, let alone take any action, to assert the authority of Congress as a coequal branch of government in the face of a presidential power grab. Trump's defiance of wholly legitimate requests for information and testimony is the kind of thing that normally would spark bipartisan fire and brimstone. Instead, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., obediently follows Trump's lead and declares, "Case closed."

In truth, though, the case is still very much open. Trump recently had a telephone conversation with Putin during which, Trump said, the two leaders briefly discussed the "Russian hoax." Trump reportedly did not take the occasion to cite Mueller's voluminous, detailed findings about Russian election interference and warn Putin not to dare do it again. Why on earth not?
Senator McConnell is like a Donald Trump Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist puppet.
Do Republicans in Congress think it's just fine for Putin to try to influence our elections as long as he favors Republican candidates? Or are they so frightened of Trump they're afraid to say anything? History's judgment will be brutal.

The dereliction of Republicans, however, does not obviate the duty of members of Congress who happen to be Democrats. I'm not naïve enough to think the House will proceed with no regard whatsoever for politics and the coming election. But I guess I'm idealistic enough to believe that most members of both chambers — and, I used to think, both parties — do take seriously the fact they have been entrusted to do the people's business and defend the people's democracy.

The framers of the Constitution clearly envisioned a Congress that would stand up to an overbearing, overreaching president. Trump is cheapening and defiling his office. Members of Congress — not Democrats, but representatives of the people — must not follow suit.

Eugene Robinson is a columnist for the Washington Post. 

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