Cooperation, Not Combat

The trade war with China accelerates as the Trump administration’s latest tariffs have been matched. Talks have broken down, and Trump seems to think that the taxes are paid by China, not US consumers. He’s not going to back down anytime soon.

Where does it stop? If the end goal is an even trade between the two nations, it’s not actually possible to accomplish it this way – unless it drops to zero. There are systemic problems in world trade generally and China specifically which create this issue that can and must be worked out. A competent administration would do that hard work and create a world that is much more even all around.

But no, we’d all rather just bully our way to prosperity or something.

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When a Republic Dies

For those who find it difficult to process the daily blowtorch of news, it has come down to one fairly obvious event that inflames everything else: this is what it looks like when a republic dies.

There has been warning along the way. The parallels with Rome have been clear and the utter dysfunction of government manifest constantly. Decency died a long time ago, and the vulnerable have suffered as pawns for years before it culminated in the destruction of families for pure political sport.

But the warnings fell on ears deafened by the trumpets of war, incapable of caring the slightest bit for the republic itself. So that brings us to a time when it is obvious that we have one, maybe two last chances to save the centuries old birthright, a republic enshrined for the purpose of protecting freedom.

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Not-Journalism

Long before there was “fake news” there was the National Enquirer.

It’s not as though obviously false stories written for entertainment, and to make a buck, were anything new. The Enquirer, however, gave the form a brand name. Anyone stuck behind a person with a full shopping cart came to know Bat Boy, Lobster Boy, Bigfoot, and a parade of celebrities doing awful things. It was a chuckle usually wrapped around a sneer – “Who reads this stuff?”

Though this rag was known for publishing nearly anything, what it deliberately didn’t publish turns out to be much more interesting.

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Judgment Time

Sometimes it is best to judge a nation by its worst moments, not its best. Only through trials do we learn the strength of its commitment to law, its character, and its compassion for healing. My nation is only beginning that test.

After the conviction of Trump’s campaign manager and new accusations by his personal lawyer, the end is coming quickly. As a wannabe mafioso, Trump has always surrounded himself with gangsters. While none of them wanted to be the first to “rat” to the authorities, there will now be a rush to not be the last. It’s typical behavior, and we can expect it.

Lost in all of this is the future of our Republic. How will we get through this? What will come after our darkest hour? Like all history not yet written, it’s up to us. But make no mistake – history, and the world, is watching.

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“Winning” A Trade War?

When things become chaotic, the need for original sources on the ground becomes even more important. Without direct accounts of what’s happening everything comes down to some kind of spin applied at a distance. Writers don’t always deliberately set out to misinform, but a world changing constantly is a world where information at a distance is probably outdated at best.

The problem with original sources is that they can be very hard to understand. Leaving aside other languages and pretending that google translate can handle that adequately, everyone has a different perspective. Every culture has its idioms and biases. Some things simply do not translate well.

Here is just one example of a “nearly original” source and how to read it.

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Google “craven”

The battle between the US and China is heating up. The stakes are high, having both pride and money on the line. It’s a classic showdown reminiscent of old times.

It looks like 1995, that is, in that a search engine war is just heating up. This one is between google and baidu, the Chinese search engine that rose to dominate the Chinese market after google pulled out in 2010 rather than comply with censorship laws. Google is reversing that decision in a strategic business operation which will leverage …

… oh, who am I kidding. Google is selling out bigtime and crawling back to China. Wow.

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Inflation is Hip

Inflation is certainly surging, it remains to be seen how much of a problem that is. What we do know is that some regions of the nation, particularly cities where businesses have embraced technology, are surging ahead quickly. Some a bit too quickly.

In a nation already divided, the success of some cities is only accelerating the divide. If they become too successful their high cost may ultimately slow growth. But for now, the benefits of the recovery are heavily centered on a few places.

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