February 1, 2021

Posted by orrinj at 1:09 PM


Trump's trade war on China was a failure in every possible way (Dion Rabouin, 2/01/21, Axios)

 "The trade war with China hurt the US economy and failed to achieve major policy goals," a recent study commissioned by the U.S.-China Business Council argues, finding that the trade war reduced economic growth and cost the U.S. 245,000 jobs.

Last year, the U.S. trade deficit widened to its largest on record. In the fourth quarter, the U.S. goods trade deficit hit its highest share of GDP since 2012 and the U.S. current account deficit jumped to its highest level in more than 12 years in the third quarter.

Foreign direct investment to the U.S. fell 49% in 2020 -- outpacing the overall global decrease of 42%.

These trends had all been moving in this direction since 2017, and were accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic as Trump refused to remove tariffs despite their strain on businesses.

The big picture: "The tariffs forced American companies to accept lower profit margins, cut wages and jobs for U.S. workers, defer potential wage hikes or expansions, and raise prices for American consumers or companies," analysts at Brookings noted in August.

The other side: China's trade surplus last year hit a record $535 billion, up 27% from 2019. Exports rose 21.1% in dollar terms in November year over year and 18.1% in December from a year earlier, touching an all-time high.

For the full year, the trade surplus with the U.S. was $317 billion, 7% higher than in 2019.

Foreign direct investment to China rose 4% to $163 billion.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Merrick Garland's 'flawless' work in Oklahoma City crucial in white supremacy fightThose who know the attorney general nominee from the 1995 case say the US could have no better ally in the battle against extremism (Tom McCarthy, 1 Feb 2021, The Guardian)

The message was a stark one. "America is in serious decline," the person wrote. "Is a civil war imminent? Do we have to shed blood to reform the current system? I hope it doesn't come to that! But it might."

It reads like an entry on a message board popular with the insurrectionists who broke into the US Capitol on 6 January - expressing a sentiment at once shocking and shockingly routine in 2021 America.

But the words are from 1992 America, written in a letter to a newspaper by Timothy McVeigh, who three years later would carry out the Oklahoma City bombing, the deadliest incident of domestic terrorism in US history. An anti-government, white supremacist army veteran, McVeigh set off a truck bomb underneath a day care facility in a federal building, killing 168 people including 19 children.

The attack spawned the largest criminal case in US history. With conspiracy theories threatening the public trust even in those relatively innocent times for the truth, and the contemporaneous murder trial of OJ Simpson having fed widespread disillusionment with the American justice system, federal prosecutors knew that they would be working under a microscope.

But the lead prosecutor dispatched by Washington to Oklahoma a day after the bombing, Merrick Garland, demonstrated a particularly honed sense for what the investigation required and how to deliver it, according to former colleagues.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The State of Myanmar (Ben Jones, May 2020, History Today)

When independence came in 1947, the Burmese inherited a military state and the legacy of authoritarianism has persisted. In 2018, two journalists, who had reported on the extra-juridical execution of ten Rohingya men by the Tatmadaw and Arakan villagers, were sentenced to prison under the Official Secrets Act, a law dating from the British era. 

By the 1960s, as democracy collapsed into dictatorship, the concept of the taingyintha, or 'national races', became central to political discourse. The idea of taingyintha was a blatant attempt at nation-building, pushing the idea that the country's many ethnic groups were a unitary whole. The word appeared in books, speeches and the 1974 constitution, yet its efficacy has been debatable. Since the end of the Second World War, the country had been carved up into multiple arenas of civil war, mainly along ethnic lines. That these wars persist highlights that the unity in diversity rhetoric failed to win hearts and minds. Despite the multicultural rhetoric, Burma was a state virtually monopolised by the majority Bamar ethnic group, whose language, Burmese, was, and is, the official language. Both military leaders such as General Ne Win and pro-democracy leaders such as Aung San Suu Kyi called for integration, but spoke from a position within the dominant culture and were thus unable to recognise what other ethnicities were calling for, such as the right to teach in their own languages.

Where the military is the exclusive Deep State, the democrats who take over have to crush that military immediately.

Sadly, the generals are just aping Donald, claiming the election was fixed. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The Trump White House was behind the decision to have a march to the Capitol: NYTimes report (Sarah K. Burris, Jan. 31st, 2021, Raw Story)

Among the revelations in the bombshell New York Times report about the final 77 days of Donald Trump's presidency was that MAGA organizers for the Jan. 6 rally never intended to march to the U.S. Capitol.

While the president tweeted that the Jan. 6 event would be "wild," organizers saw their efforts overpowered by Trump's insiders.

"The rally had taken on new branding, the March to Save America, and other groups were joining in, among them the Republican Attorneys General Association," The Times reported. "Its policy wing, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, promoted the event in a robocall that said, 'We will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal,' according to a recording obtained by the progressive investigative group Documented."

Allies of Steve Bannon, Jennifer Lawrence and Dustin Stockton were working with Women for America First, founded by Amy Kremer and run by her daughter Kylie Jane Kremer.

"Mr. Stockton said he was surprised to learn on the day of the rally that it would now include a march from the Ellipse to the Capitol," said The Times. "Before the White House became involved, he said, the plan had been to stay at the Ellipse until the counting of state electoral slates was completed."