Flip-Flop in China

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Those who thought that with Trump in Asia for twelve days things would slow down a bit in DC had it wrong.  There was a slew of news that ranged from the bad to the bizarre for the president.  It turned out that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who can easily perform as Yoda at a Star Wars convention and is not the billionaire he claims to be, has not completely divested himself, but is still involved in a company that does regular business with Putin’s son in law.  Before the House Intelligence Committee Carter Page gave a performance that would have qualified as stand-up comedy but for the fact that he was sitting down.  It revealed multiple contacts with Russian dignitaries in 2016 about which he had reported back to the Trump campaign.  Trump’s former bodyman Keith Schiller testified before the same committee that in 2013, when Trump was in Moscow for the Miss Universe Pageant, a Russian associate offered to send five women up to Trump’s room.  Schiller declined the offer but couldn’t tell if Trump had hosted nightly visitors anyway, making the least believable part of the Steele dossier a lot more plausible.

In Virginia and New Jersey Democratic candidates for Governor soundly defeated their GOP opponents, with in Virginia a surprising margin of victory and unexpected success in down ballot races.  It was obvious that these elections had been a referendum on the president’s performance, and that Trumpism had been rejected by a new coalition that brought especially young and female voters to the polls.  The Maine electorate voted for expanding Medicare, and the enrollment in Obamacare that the Trump administration had tried to sabotage by cutting almost all funding for outreach exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.  During the week we were also painfully reminded of Trump’s darkest side:  the president had personally pushed CIA Director Pompeo to investigate the theory that the Democrats had hacked themselves, thus abusing US intelligence resources to absolve the Russians, and there were strong indications that via the Department of Justice Trump was trying to get revenge on CNN for what he perceived as ‘fake news,’ by making CNN’s sale a condition of the merger of AT&T and Time Warner.

Meanwhile in Asia Trump first played golf with the Japanese prime minister, then peddled one of his golf courses in a speech to the South Korean parliament, and finally declared in China that he no longer blames that country for taking advantage of the US, possibly remembering that he himself is taking advantage of China by having his neckties and Ivanka’s pumps produced there.  He now blamed previous US administrations and complimented the Chinese with their smarts.

Back in the US Republicans in Congress with help from the White House produced a tax bill that raises taxes for the working poor and cuts taxes for the non-working stinking rich.  According to Paul Ryan’s convoluted logic passing anything, even a bill that a large majority of Americans rejects, is better than passing nothing, and there will be a high price to pay for that mistake.

The upcoming election for Jeff Sessions’s former senate seat in Alabama became a lot more interesting when the news broke that holy man Roy Moore, the GOP candidate, has a history of pedophile adventures, although this disclosure may go the way of the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape.

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