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Zorro

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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 13,602

Journal Archives

'Decoupling' the U.S. from China would backfire

Opinion by David Ignatius

When John F. Kennedy ran for president in 1960, he claimed there was a dangerous “missile gap” between Russia’s arsenal and that of the United States. But once he took office in 1961, Kennedy learned that the imbalance was the opposite of what he had argued. Instead of the 200 or more Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles that scaremongers had predicted, the Russians had just four.

Something similar may be happening now with the Trump administration’s claims that China poses a military and economic threat to the United States that’s so severe, Washington should begin “decoupling” its economic relationship with Beijing, especially in high-tech products.

President Trump amplified the China scare talk in remarks to reporters on Monday. “They’re building up a powerful military, and it’s very lucky that I’ve been building ours up because otherwise we’d be dwarfed right now by China,” he said. “If Joe Biden becomes president, China will own the United States.”

Trump called decoupling “an interesting word,” and implied he would pursue it in a second term: “Under my administration, we will make America into the manufacturing superpower of the world and we’ll end our reliance on China, once and for all, whether it’s decoupling or putting in massive tariffs.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/decoupling-the-us-from-china-would-backfire/2020/09/08/46880cfe-f1fc-11ea-999c-67ff7bf6a9d2_story.html

Trump, recasting a dubious record, declares himself 'the great environmentalist'

Source: LA Times

President Trump signed a largely symbolic proclamation Tuesday urging Congress to expand a moratorium on oil and gas drilling off America’s southeastern coastline, touting his controversial environmental record in a state in the crosshairs of climate change and electoral politics.

Since taking office, Trump has shredded dozens of environmental protections, dismissed the scientific consensus on climate change and tapped energy lobbyists to lead the agencies entrusted with safeguarding the country’s natural resources, but he dramatically recast his record in an effort to woo environmentally minded voters.

“Number one since Teddy Roosevelt. Who would have thought? Trump is the great environmentalist,” he said before urging Congress to extend a ban on selling new leases along Florida’s Gulf Coast as well as a moratorium along the state’s Atlantic coast and the shorelines of Georgia and South Carolina.

Only Congress has the power to extend the statutory ban on oil leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and lawmakers are unlikely to do so in the eight weeks before the November election.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-09-08/trump-recasting-a-dubious-record-declares-himself-the-great-environmentalist

7 people shot to death at marijuana grow house in Inland Empire, authorities say

Seven people were shot to death over Labor Day weekend at an Inland Empire home that apparently housed an illicit marijuana operation, authorities said.

Riverside County sheriff’s deputies responded at 12:33 a.m. Monday to a reported assault with a deadly weapon in the 45000 block of Highway 371 in Aguanga, an unincorporated community roughly 18 miles east of Temecula.

At the residence, deputies found seven people with gunshot wounds, according to the Sheriff’s Department. Six died from their injuries at the scene, and one woman died after being taken to a hospital, authorities said.

Names and descriptions of the victims were not immediately available Tuesday morning.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-09-08/7-people-shot-killed-marijuana-grow-house-riverside-county

The Electoral College Will Destroy America

And no, New York and California would not dominate a popular vote.

Last week, Nate Silver, the polling analyst, tweeted a chart illustrating the chances that Joe Biden would become president if he wins the most votes in November.

The “if” is probably unnecessary. It’s hard to find anyone who disputes that Mr. Biden will win the most votes. This isn’t a liberal’s fantasy. In a recent panel discussion among four veteran Republican campaign managers, one acknowledged, “We’re going to lose the popular vote.” Another responded, “Oh, that’s a given.” The real question is will Mr. Biden win enough more votes than President Trump to overcome this year’s bias in the Electoral College.

Mr. Silver’s analysis is bracing. If Mr. Biden wins by five percentage points or more — if he beats Donald Trump by more than seven million votes — he’s a virtual shoo-in. If he wins 4.5 million more votes than the president? He’s still got a three-in-four chance to be president.

Anything less, however, and Mr. Biden’s odds drop like a rock. A mere three million-vote Biden victory? A second Trump term suddenly becomes more likely than not. If Mr. Biden’s margin drops to 1.5 million — about the populations of Rhode Island and Wyoming combined — forget about it. The chance of a Biden presidency in that scenario is less than one in 10.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/08/opinion/electoral-college-trump-biden.html

Gross Domestic Misery Is Rising

The recovery is bypassing those who need it most.

By Paul Krugman

Are you better off now than you were in July?

On the face of it, that shouldn’t even be a question. After all, stocks are up; the economy added more than a million jobs in “August” (I’ll explain the scare quotes in a minute); preliminary estimates suggest that G.D.P. is growing rapidly in the third quarter, which ends this month.

But the stock market isn’t the economy: more than half of all stocks are owned by only 1 percent of Americans, while the bottom half of the population owns only 0.7 percent of the market.

Jobs and G.D.P., by contrast, sort of are the economy. But they aren’t the economy’s point. What some economists and many politicians often forget is that economics isn’t fundamentally about data, it’s about people. I like data as much as, or probably more than, the next guy. But an economy’s success should be judged not by impersonal statistics, but by whether people’s lives are getting better.

And the simple fact is that over the past few weeks the lives of many Americans have gotten much worse.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/07/opinion/trump-economy-jobs.html

Trump keeps insulting the military

Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

President Trump is fighting a losing battle against reports of his talk about the military, which he claims to revere but deeply resents. Multiple news organizations, including The Post, have confirmed private comments he made disparaging those who served as “suckers” and “losers.” These and his previous remarks — disrespecting POWs and allegedly telling the wife of a slain serviceman that her husband Sgt. La David T. Johnson “knew what he signed up for” — are consistent with the narcissist’s felt need to maintain an unduly high opinion of himself by diminishing others who have plainly surpassed him in courage and competence. Trump ducked military service; the valiant men and women who went in his place therefore must be denigrated, pitied and scorned. How foolish they went to war for me!

Trump can deny his animosity until the cows come home but he remains unable to articulate real respect for those who have served. Recall the scene in “A Very Stable Genius,” by Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, in which Trump called the service chiefs “a bunch of dopes and babies” and barked, “You’re all losers. You don’t know how to win anymore.” Trump did it all over again at a Monday news conference.

He insisted (contrary to polling) that the rank and file troops are in love with him. However, he declared, “The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies — that make the bombs, and make the planes, and make everything else — stay happy. But we’re getting out of the endless wars.”

In other words, they are bloodthirsty warmongers. The notion that generals want wars reveals his utter lack of understanding of the sacred responsibility commanders have for the troops and the sacrifices their own families have endured. Only a man shamed for having avoided war could imagine that those who serve are bloodthirsty savages.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/08/trump-keeps-insulting-military/

Trump huffs and puffs, but his campaign is built of strawmen

Opinion by Dana Milbank

My head I'd be a-scratchin'
While my thoughts are busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.

— The Scarecrow

President Trump’s man at the post office, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, gives perverse new meaning to the old U.S. Postal Service slogan: We deliver for you.

Thanks to some brilliant reporting by The Post’s Aaron C. Davis, Amy Gardner and Jon Swaine, we now know that DeJoy appeared to use his former business, the felicitously named New Breed Logistics, as an exotic animal in the pay-to-play jungle of political influence peddling. He allegedly left employees feeling pressured to give donations to political candidates, reimbursed them with bonuses, then used the influence he gained to secure favors and appointments for his wife and himself. Now, DeJoy is abusing his new office to help Trump’s campaign.

It’s up to authorities to decide whether DeJoy did something illegal at his former company but, from appearances, DeJoy seems to have been running a classic straw-donor operation. As Davis et al. described the practice, “Known as a straw-donor scheme, the practice allows donors to evade individual contribution limits and obscures the true source of money used to influence elections.”

Perfect! Of course Trump installed a guy allegedly versed in straw donations as his postmaster general. Now, DeJoy is contributing strawmen to a Trump reelection campaign that has all the heft of a house of straw. For it to work, Trump is counting on the electorate displaying a level of brainlessness not seen since Dorothy happened upon the Scarecrow.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/07/trump-huffs-puffs-his-campaign-is-built-strawmen/

Trump is shouting his racism. He must be stopped.

Opinion by Eugene Robinson

For more than five decades, the rule in U.S. politics has been that you’re supposed to whisper the racism, not shout it at the top of your lungs. But President Trump is running the most openly racist national campaign since that of George Wallace in 1968 — a repellent ploy that will do great damage to the nation even if Trump loses.

I hope — and believe — that the most unfit president in our long history will indeed be soundly beaten by Joe Biden. But Trump is intentionally aggravating our racial divisions rather than making even a halfhearted attempt to soothe them. And his Republican supporters and enablers, who see what he is doing but do not call him out, richly deserve to share history’s blame.

Since the killing of George Floyd in May, the country has been rocked by protests demanding a reckoning with centuries of structural racism. In response, Trump has gone beyond denying that systemic racism against African Americans exists. He has taken the position that it is White people who are somehow being persecuted and should feel aggrieved.

Trump’s latest act of bomb-throwing came Friday, when he ordered federal agencies to halt programs to train employees in racial sensitivity. A memo from White House budget director Russell Vought called such training “divisive, anti-American propaganda.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-shouting-his-racism-he-must-be-stopped/2020/09/07/06036768-f13a-11ea-bc45-e5d48ab44b9f_story.html

Four more years of Trump's contempt for competence would be devastating

Opinion by the Editorial Board

President Trump thinks he knows better than anyone, but not because he actually knows very much. His 2016 campaign was run from the gut, under the explicit rationale that “experts are terrible” and that whatever someone with a degree and years of experience could do in any area of government, he could do better relying on instinct. His White House has conducted itself according to this philosophy, to devastating effect.

From debt to taxes to renewable energy to trade to jobs to infrastructure to defense, the president has declared himself the best informed in all the land. What need, then, for a science adviser — a post Mr. Trump left vacant for 19 months? Why worry if more than a third of senior positions in the Pentagon or Department of Homeland Security have no confirmed appointee? Why not drive out most of the workforce of the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service, as the administration did, intentionally, by abruptly moving the agency to the Kansas City region?

The best sort of expert, in Mr. Trump’s view, is the kind with no independent judgment at all. “My function, really, as an economist is to try to provide the underlying analytics that confirm his intuition,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has said. He continued: “And his intuition is always right in these matters.” When a public servant can’t provide those comfortingly confirming analytics, he risks excoriation by tweet and in person, at best, and removal from his post at worst. The West Wing and the Cabinet are in a constant flux of professionals hired, discarded, hired and discarded again: four chiefs of staff, four national security advisers, five Homeland Security secretaries.

The so-called adults in the room in the early days of this term have left and written books about how unpleasant it was to be in that room. Often it didn’t matter anyway, because this president rarely listens and almost never reads. He has been called “unbriefable.” Only once or twice a week does he bother to listen to the intelligence briefings other presidents received daily, and even then he reportedly interrupts with kooky conspiracy theories, or spends his time marveling over a miniature weapon constructed as a visual aid to hold his wayward attention. He takes the advice not of the most qualified, or even most persuasive, person around him but of the person who manages to sneak in the last word.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/07/four-more-years-trumps-contempt-competence-would-be-catastrophic/

Trump thinks the economy is no longer worth his time. We'll all pay the price.

Opinion by James Downie

It’s been a busy weekend for President Trump. With millions still out of work thanks to the pandemic, the president was focused on important issues: attacking the Atlantic for reporting that he called fallen soldiers “losers,” demanding that a Fox News reporter be fired for confirming parts of the Atlantic’s story, revising federal agencies’ racial sensitivity trainings and urging the Big Ten conference to play football this fall.

You might have noticed that list offered nothing for those looking for work. On that front, the president was content to tweet praise about the new jobs report on Friday before turning back to more substantive issues like vandalism at Graceland. The employment numbers were encouraging, to be sure: 1.4 million jobs added, and an unemployment rate down to 8.4 percent. But as The Post reports, “just over half of the 22 million total jobs lost between February and April have not returned,” and new outbreaks and decreasing government assistance could easily derail the slow recovery. Much hard work lies ahead. Another president might hail Friday’s report yet promise to keep working to improve the economy. This one clearly feels the economy is doing just fine and is no longer worth his time.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed that the president’s staff shares his blithe optimism. “The president and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the economic plan is working,” Mnuchin told host Bret Baier, at the end of a week when 881,000 Americans filed for jobless benefits.

“We’ve injected $3 trillion into the economy,” Mnuchin continued. “People thought we’d get [to] 25 percent on unemployment. Fortunately, it never came close to that.” In short, the treasury secretary admits that $3 trillion in stimulus avoided an even greater catastrophe. You might think that’d be a good argument for spending another $3 trillion or so to right the economy, but no: As Mnuchin farmed it, the sticking point with Democrats is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “has refused to sit down and negotiate unless we agree to something like a two and a half trillion dollar deal in advance.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/06/trump-thinks-economy-is-no-longer-worth-his-time-well-all-pay-price/
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