Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,

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good morning, it's 7 april 2017

Yes, Trump has shown now that he knows he can completely disrupt the news cycle - and take everyone's eyes off whatever they were looking at - by bombing someone.

While I will be covering that, I will not let this particular mission succeed. Let's start with Gorsuch.

"Gorsuch heads for confirmation as Senate tears up own rules" and "Gorsuch heads for confirmation as Senate tears up own rules" are two versions of the same story. McConnell was blaming the Democrats for "unprecedented" behaviour towards judges today and I just wanted to punch is smarmy little prune-pit face through the monitor. What a fucking bastard. The ability to spew that kind of unmitigated bullshit - how does anyone not just want to hit him?

"House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes recuses himself from Russia probe," while continuing to insist that everybody is lying about him and it's all baseless. I'm sure they're all hoping this goes away for a while as Trump bombs Syria; I was wondering whether you'd get the North Korean war or the Middle East war first, and I guess now we know.

You're already getting calls to "rally around" Donald Trump. FUCK. THAT. If you do that I don't even know what you're doing reading this. I'm sure though that the "CIVIL WAR" (Wherein "Steve Bannon Calls Jared Kushner a ‘Cuck’ and ‘Globalist’ Behind His Back") will be quelled at least a little, even if "Inside the White House, paranoia and unrest among top staff" continue to be a fair degree of the norm. All of the focus on it will vanish, though - unless we keep it up. See also: "Donald Trump Just Started a War He Cannot Win," which is not about Syria, but about GOP infighting - particularly between the neofascists and the Liberty Caucus.

"Top Democrats Are Wrong: Trump Supporters Were More Motivated by Racism Than Economic Issues" is why nothing has budged Trumpist and Republican support. It'd be even more interesting if they queried about misogyny. But nobody wants to talk about that, do they?

"Trump: We've had 'one of the most successful 13 weeks' in history" - today marks the 11th week - and again the jokes write themselves.

No one would be surprised by "Cutting Off 'Fly-Over' States, Trump to Axe Amtrak for 220 Cities." Also high speed rail projects in California are defunded. And I don't know what, specifically, is at the root of Trump's obsession with coal, but "Bureau of Land Management Changes Website Homepage to Coal Bed Photo" kind of sums it up, doesn't it? At least it wasn't the EPA.

Economically, regarding the summit, we had this article beforehand: "Why Trump wants the U.S. to act more like China." Just another reminder: the GOP never believed in any of its supposed principles. None of them. Not a one.

So, finally, let's get to Syria.

The racist and misogynist pro-rape Mike Cernovich: "#SyriaGasAttack was sponsored by deep state" - the conspiracy network is on it. But it started in Russia, then moved into white supremacist circles. Russian Troll Army? Perhaps. They knew the US was going to bomb.

The bombing, of course, was definitely not their idea. One of the few things that gets both parties all excited is bombing a bunch of people, and earlier yesterday, "Hillary Clinton: US should 'take out' Assad's air fields" set the tone. And several hours later, "U.S. Launches Missiles at Syrian Base After Chemical Weapons Attack." The usual cheerleading and calls to "rally behind President Trump" are flying, and again: FUCK THAT AND FUCK ANYONE WHO SAYS IT. You can see the Now He's Presidential rehabilitation going even in the CBC's "Missile attack on Syria a 'win-win' for Trump, say some analysts" and "McCain, Graham applaud Syrian airstrikes," but no - he's still the same dickbag he was yesterday.

I'm not sure how much the New York Times knows about "What We Know and Don’t Know About the Missile Attack on Syria," because some of their "things we know" have been directly contradicted elsewhere. I imagine that it'll be updated, however. We do know that Putin - unsurprisingly - is unamused ("U.S. missile strikes at Syria base 'in violation of international law': Putin")
but that's part of the point of doing this, so how much of that is real and how much is show? No idea. ABC news the Syrians may've been ready for this, in "Eyewitness says Syrian military anticipated U.S. raid."

Finally, let's close on fascism in the workplace: "Having a job in America means being subjected to continuous, intimate surveillance." And that isn't going to change any time soon. The four-year war won't begin to be enough for that, because I don't believe for a second that the Democrats would make meaningful fights against it. Quoting from the article, the attitude is basically, ""If you didn't want your employer to know about sensitive, private information, you shouldn't have a sensitive, private life, mumble mumble mumble" (recent corollary: "if you don't want to be in the FBI's giant, illegal face-recognition database, just don't have a face")."

Things just got really nasty. The two-year and four-year wars are now well underway. Good hunting.

----- 1 -----
Gorsuch heads for confirmation as Senate tears up own rules
ERICA WERNER | Associated Press | April 7, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is headed for confirmation after Republicans tore up the Senate's voting rules to allow him to ascend to the high court over furious Democratic objections.

Democrats denounced the GOP's use of what both sides dubbed the "nuclear option" to put Gorsuch on the court, calling it an epic power grab that would further corrode politics in Congress, the courts and the United States. Many Republicans bemoaned reaching that point, too, but they blamed Democrats for pushing them to it.

"We will sadly point to today as a turning point in the history of the Senate and the Supreme Court," Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York declared on the Senate floor Thursday.

"This is going to be a chapter, a monumental event in the history of the Senate, not for the better but for the worse," warned Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a senior Republican.

The final confirmation vote on Gorsuch is expected Friday, and he should be sworn in soon to hear the final cases of the term. He was nominated by Trump shortly after the January inauguration.

----- 2 ------
Senate Republicans Deploy ‘Nuclear Option’ to Clear Path for Gorsuch
By MATT FLEGENHEIMER | The New York Times | APRIL 6, 2017

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans changed longstanding rules on Thursday to clear the way for the confirmation of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court, bypassing a precedent-breaking Democratic filibuster by allowing the nomination to go forward on a simple majority vote.

In deploying the so-called nuclear option, lawmakers are fundamentally altering the way the Senate handles one of its most significant duties — a sign of the body’s creeping rancor in recent years after decades of at least relative bipartisanship on Supreme Court matters. Both parties have likewise warned of sweeping effects on the future of the court, predicting that the shift will lead to the elevation of more ideologically extreme judges if only a majority is required for confirmation.

Senate Democrats in 2013 first changed the rules of the Senate to block Republican filibusters of presidential nominees to lower courts and to government positions, but they left the filibuster in place for Supreme Court nominees, an acknowledgement of the sacrosanct nature of the high court. That last pillar was knocked down on a party-line vote, with all 52 Republicans voting to overrule Senate precedent and all 48 Democrats and liberal-leaning independents voting to keep it.

The Senate then voted 55-45 to cut off debate — four votes more than needed under the new rules — and move to a final vote on Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation Friday evening, with a simple majority needed for approval.

----- 3 -----
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes recuses himself from Russia probe
By Karoun Demirjian | The Washington Post | April 6, 2017

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) temporarily recused himself Thursday from all matters related to the committee’s ongoing probe into Russian interference in the presidential election, as House investigators look into ethics charges against him.

The House Ethics Committee released a statement Thursday saying it had “determined to investigate” allegations that “Nunes may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or other standards of conduct.”

Nunes denied the charges as “entirely false and politically motivated,” blaming “several leftwing activist groups” for filing complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics. Nunes said his recusal — which only applies to the committee’s Russia investigation — would be in effect while the House Ethics Committee looks into the matter, noting that he had asked to speak with that committee “at the earliest possible opportunity in order to expedite the dismissal of these false claims.”

In the meantime, Nunes said, Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.) will take the lead on the Russia investigation, with assistance from Reps. Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.) and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) — who also sits on the Ethics Committee.

----- 4 -----
Steve Bannon Calls Jared Kushner a ‘Cuck’ and ‘Globalist’ Behind His Back
Donald Trump’s two closest aides are fighting “nonstop” and often “face-to-face,” officials say — and it’s even uglier in private.
Asawin Suebsaeng | The Daily Beast | 04.06.17 4:44 PM ET

Donald Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon has called the president’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner a “cuck” and a “globalist” during a time of high tension between the two top aides, several Trump administration officials told The Daily Beast.

The fighting between Kushner and Bannon has been “nonstop” in recent weeks, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. It’s been an “open secret” that Bannon and Kushner often clash “face-to-face,” according to senior officials.

One official said Bannon has lately complained about Kushner trying to “shiv him and push him out the door” and likened him to a fifth column in the White House.

“[Steve] recently vented to us about Jared being a ‘globalist’ and a ‘cuck’…He actually said ‘cuck,’ as in “cuckservative,’” the administration official told The Daily Beast.

“Cuckservative,” a portmanteau of “cuckold” and “conservative,” has become a favorite slur on the right, used like a sexually and racially charged version of “RINO,” a Republican In Name Only. “Globalist” is a term typically used by nationalist, pro-Trump right-wingers against political opponents; however, the term has also come under fire for at times carrying anti-Semitic tones. (Kushner is Jewish.)

----- 5 -----
Inside the White House, paranoia and unrest among top staff
By Kevin Liptak, Gloria Borger, Jamie Gangel, Jeff Zeleny and Jim Acosta, CNN
CNN | Thu April 6, 2017

(CNN)In the West Wing, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon occupy some of the most coveted real estate. Priebus, the chief of staff, enjoys the only outdoor patio in the White House. Bannon is mere steps from the Oval Office.

But as President Donald Trump approaches the closing stretch of his first 100 days, with controversies far outweighing accomplishments, both men have no idea whether their time in those powerful rooms is nearly up.

As Trump tries to recalibrate, he is eager to move past a string of disappointments that have left him frustrated, mistrustful of Washington and historically unpopular. One person who speaks with the President privately said he has begun asking friends: "What do you think of my team?"

----- 6 -----
Top Democrats Are Wrong: Trump Supporters Were More Motivated by Racism Than Economic Issues
Mehdi Hasan | The Intercept | 2017-04-06

IT ISN’T ONLY Republicans, it seems, who traffic in alternative facts. Since Donald Trump’s shock election victory, leading Democrats have worked hard to convince themselves, and the rest of us, that his triumph had less to do with racism and much more to do with economic anxiety — despite almost all of the available evidence suggesting otherwise.

Consider Bernie Sanders, de facto leader of the #Resistance. “Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and deplorable folks,” he said at a rally in Boston on Friday, alongside fellow progressive senator Elizabeth Warren. “I don’t agree.” Writing in the New York Times three days after the election last November, the senator from Vermont claimed Trump voters were “expressing their fierce opposition to an economic and political system that puts wealthy and corporate interests over their own”.

Warren agrees with him. “There were millions of people across this country who voted for [Trump] not because of his bigotry, but in spite of that bigotry” because the system is “not working for them economically,” the Massachusetts senator told MSNBC last year.

Both Sanders and Warren seem much keener to lay the blame at the door of the dysfunctional Democratic Party and an ailing economy than at the feet of racist Republican voters. Their deflection isn’t surprising. Nor is their coddling of those who happily embraced an openly xenophobic candidate. Look, I get it. It’s difficult to accept that millions of your fellow citizens harbor what political scientists have identified as “racial resentment.” The reluctance to acknowledge that bigotry, and tolerance of bigotry, is still so widespread in society is understandable. From an electoral perspective too, why would senior members of the Democratic leadership want to alienate millions of voters by dismissing them as racist bigots?

----- 7 -----
Trump: We've had 'one of the most successful 13 weeks' in history
By Jordan Fabian - 04/06/17 - The Hill

President Trump on Thursday insisted he’s had “one of the most successful” starts as president in U.S. history, dismissing the chaos and stalled legislative agenda that has marred his first 100 days in office.

"I think we’ve had one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of the presidency,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One.

The president cited positive numbers on job creation, negotiations on presidential aircraft prices and his planned military buildup.

Trump’s first weeks in office have been anything but smooth.


Friday will mark 11 weeks since Trump was inaugurated as president.

----- 8 -----
Donald Trump Just Started a War He Cannot Win
The president’s latest misstep is more than just senseless. It’s self-destructive.
by T.A. Frank | Vanity Fair | 6 April 2017

Sometimes the most obvious analysis is also the right one. A case in point: last week, Donald Trump tweeted out attacks on the Freedom Caucus, a group of anti-establishment Republicans in the House, for defying his wishes and killing a health-care bill put forward by House Speaker Paul Ryan. “We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!” Trump urged. Trump aide Dan Scavino followed that with a tweet about going after disloyal Republicans in the primaries. Now, to the amateur observer, this looked like senseless self-destruction. To the more seasoned observer, however, it also looked like senseless self-destruction. Really, to any nonpartisan observer, seasoned or unseasoned, animal or human, it looked like senseless self-destruction. So maybe it was. That Vice President Mike Pence has met with members of the Freedom Caucus and sounded apologetic is surprising only because Donald Trump doesn’t like apologies or apologizers. So what do we make of all this?

First, let’s be clear on why Trump’s attacks on the Freedom Caucus are bizarre. While Trump fights with people all the time, all of his opponents up until now have been ones that his core supporters were happy to see him thrash. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Lindsay Graham, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, Rosie O’Donnell, George Will, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Vicente Fox, CNN, The New York Times, MSNBC, The Washington Post—all of these were fat establishment targets, and every cry of pain they produced was nourishment for Trump’s fans. While Trump often went too far—throwing out unfounded allegations against Obama, attacking Heidi Cruz, belittling John McCain’s war service, etc.—his supporters were required only to forgive his means, not his ends. But the Freedom Caucus is a fellow rebel against the establishment. Its brand is likewise one of draining the swamp. Millions of Freedom Caucus supporters are Trump supporters. This is no attack on a common foe but an attack on a friend.

Political fights with people on your own side aren’t always damaging in themselves, to be sure. Trump might well be able get away with waging hidden war against the Freedom Caucus, as long as the official line were one about spirited, friendly debate. (The tell-all stories in Politico wouldn’t matter.) Trump could even get away with waging open war against establishment Republicans, as long as it were on an issue on which Republican voters sided with Trump, like the border wall. But Trump cannot get away with waging open war against the Freedom Caucus, the very Republicans whose rebellion he claims to champion. For the first time, thousands of Trump’s fans are being forced to choose between representatives they know and trust and a president whom they don’t yet fully know and can’t yet fully trust. Worse, the president is effectively telling them to side with Paul Ryan, the man who represents everything they were resisting when they picked Trump. So it’s madness, and Trump is without the credibility to pull it off. The members of the Freedom Caucus have track records. Trump doesn’t. He cannot win this fight. He can only lose supporters.

----- 9 -----
Cutting Off 'Fly-Over' States, Trump to Axe Amtrak for 220 Cities
President's so-called "skinny budget" will eliminate all federal funding for Amtrak's national train network
by Lauren McCauley, staff writer | Common Dreams | 6 April 2017

In addition to slashing funding for the arts, education programs, climate change research, and worker protections (among many other things), another lesser known casualty of President Donald Trump's "morally obscene" budget proposal: Amtrak.

The president's so-called "skinny budget" will eliminate all federal funding for Amtrak's national train network, meaning 220 cities will lose all passenger service, the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) warned this week.

"It's ironic that President Trump's first budget proposal undermines the very communities whose economic hardship and sense of isolation from the rest of the country helped propel him into office," said NARP president Jim Mathews.

"These working class communities—many of them located in the Midwest and the South—were tired of being treated like 'flyover country,'" Mathews continued. "But by proposing the elimination of Amtrak's long distance trains, the Trump administration does them one worse, cutting a vital service that connects these small town economies to the rest of the U.S.."

----- 10 -----
Bureau of Land Management Changes Website Homepage to Coal Bed Photo
by Avalon Zoppo | NBC News | 6 April 2017

Only 75 days into office, and Donald Trump has already begun rolling back environmental protections. Now, his administration is rebranding one government website in a move that better reflects its commitment towards prioritizing coal in policy decisions.

The Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the Interior Department, recently quietly changed its homepage website photo to a large bed of coal.

The photo was first posted around 6 p.m. on March 31, agency spokeswoman Kristen Lenhardt told NBC News on Thursday.

Before the switch, the website showcased a picture of two people wearing backpacks while standing atop a grassy mountain.

----- 11 -----
Mike Cernovich: #SyriaGasAttack was sponsored by deep state
on Twitter | 6 April 2017

"The guy recently getting praise from Kellyanne Conway and Don Trump, Jr., has now moved on to saying the Syria gassing was a hoax." [Images at link. Also, reportedly, the first #SyriaGasAttack tags claiming this came out of Russia and then moved to white supremacist circles. That's pretty much the Russian White Nationalist Troll Army path. Is that in response to Trump's letting them know the attack was coming? Possibly.]

----- 12 -----
Hillary Clinton: US should 'take out' Assad's air fields
By MJ Lee and Dan Merica, CNN
Updated 10:16 PM ET, Thu April 6, 2017

(CNN)Hillary Clinton called on the United States to take out Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's Air Force on Thursday, days after a chemical attack killed more than 70 people in the war-torn country.

"Assad has an air force, and that air force is the cause of most of these civilian deaths as we have seen over the years and as we saw again in the last few days," Clinton said in a speech at the "Women in the World" summit in New York City. "And I really believe that we should have and still should take out his air fields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them."

The former secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee against Trump in 2016 reiterated her support for a no-fly zone over Syria and more direct support for protesters.

"I still believe we should have done a no-fly zone," she said, in a slight knock against former President Barack Obama, whose Cabinet she served in. "We should have been more willing to confront Assad."

----- 13 -----
U.S. Launches Missiles at Syrian Base After Chemical Weapons Attack
by Courtney Kube, Alex Johnson and Hallie Jackson | NBC News | 7 April 2017

The United States launched dozens of cruise missiles Thursday night at a Syrian airfield in response to what it believes was Syria's use of banned chemical weapons that killed at least 100 people, the U.S. military said.

Two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea, the USS Ross and the USS Porter, fired 59 Tomahawk missiles intended for a single target — Shayrat Airfield in Homs province in western Syria, the Defense Department said. That's the airfield from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired the banned weapons.

The Pentagon said people were not targeted, and there was no immediate word on casualties. U.S. officials told NBC News that aircraft and infrastructure at the site were hit, including the runway and gas fuel pumps.

"Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children," President Donald Trump said in remarks from Mar-a-Lago, his family compound in Palm Beach, Florida.

"It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons," said Trump, who called on other countries to end the bloodshed in Syria.

----- 14 -----
Missile attack on Syria a 'win-win' for Trump, say some analysts
Strike will allow U.S. president to deflect attention from domestic crises and regain moral high ground
By Matt Kwong, CBC News Posted: Apr 07, 2017

The impact in Syria came at around 8:45 p.m. ET. The impact globally likely won't be known for hours and days. Not until the sun comes up and the dust lifts near the Shayrat airbase in the civil war-scarred country's west, where more than 50 Tomahawk missiles struck Thursday night at the directive of U.S. President Donald Trump.

For now, Mideast and security experts say, it appears the tactical retaliatory strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — the first direct American military assault on Assad since the civil war began in 2011 — was a one-time attack, ordered a day after Assad unleashed a suspected sarin gas attack that killed an estimated 70 people and was denounced as a war crime by human rights groups.

But even in the fog of war, it could be a clarifying moment for Trump, a president who has over the course of the last two days reversed the non-interventionist doctrine that has been a hallmark of his foreign policy position since his campaign for president.

----- 15 -----
McCain, Graham applaud Syrian airstrikes
By Rebecca Kheel - 04/06/17 - The Hill

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) applauded President Trump for launching airstrikes in Syria on Thursday, saying he “confronted a pivotal moment” unlike former President Barack Obama.

“Unlike the previous administration, President Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action,” they said in a joint statement. “For that, he deserves the support of the American people.”

Trump on Thursday ordered missiles fired at a Syrian air base in response to a chemical attack officials say Syrian President Bashar Assad launched that killed more than 70 civilians.

The decision to take military action against Assad is a dramatic escalation in U.S. involvement in the 6-year-old civil war, which the U.S. military has never directly intervened in. It was also a notable departure for Trump, who has said he didn't want to pull the U.S. deeper into the conflict.

----- 16 -----
What We Know and Don’t Know About the Missile Attack on Syria
ROBIN LINDSAY and DAVE HORN | The New York TImes | APRIL 7, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump ordered a barrage of missiles to strike an airfield in Syria on Thursday evening in response to the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria. Here are some things we know — and don’t know — about the president’s actions.

----- 17 -----
U.S. missile strikes at Syria base 'in violation of international law': Putin
Trump orders strike in response to chemical weapons attack but Russia deems it an 'act of aggression'
The Associated Press Posted: Apr 06, 2017 9:33 PM ET

The United States fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria Thursday night in retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians, U.S. officials said. It was the first direct U.S. assault on the Syrian government and Donald Trump's most dramatic military order since becoming president.

The strikes hit the government-controlled Shayrat airbase in central Syria, from where U.S. officials say the Syrian military planes that dropped the sarin gas Tuesday had taken off. The 59 Tomahawk missiles launched from the USS Ross and USS Porter in the Mediterranean Sea hit Syria at 3:45 a.m. local time.

Trump said Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad "launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians using a deadly nerve agent," in a recorded statement released after the cruise missiles became public knowledge.

"There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council," Trump said, calling it a "targeted" airstrike.


A Kremlin spokesperson said Russian president Vladimir Putin sees the airstrikes as an act of "aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law," with a similar statement issued from Iran.

A Russian parliamentarian said they would call for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday.

Britain, Australia, Israel and Saudi Arabia expressed support for the military action, with France saying it was informed ahead of time that the U.S. would act.

----- 18 -----
Eyewitness says Syrian military anticipated U.S. raid
By HAIDER NEWMANI and Alex Hosenball | ABC News
Apr 7, 2017, 12:02 AM ET

Syrian military officials appeared to anticipate Thursday's night raid on Syria's Shayrat airbase, evacuating personnel and moving equipment ahead of the strike, according to an eyewitness to the strike.

Dozens of Tomahawk missiles struck the airbase near Homs damaging runways, towers and traffic control buildings, a local resident and human rights activist living near the airbase told ABC News via an interpreter.

U.S. officals believe the plane that dropped chemical weapons on civilians in Idlib Province on Tuesday, which according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights killed 86 people, took off from the Shayrat airbase.

The attack lasted approximately 35 minutes and its impact was felt across the city, shaking houses and sending those inside them fleeing from their windows. Both of the airport's major runways were struck by missiles, and some of its 40 fortified bunkers were also damaged.

Local residents say the Russian military had used the airbase in early 2016 but have since withdrawn their officers, so the base is now mainly operated by Syrian and Iranian military officers. There is also a hotel near the airport where Iranian officers have been staying, though it was not clear whether it was damaged.

----- 19 -----
Why Trump wants the U.S. to act more like China
By Ana Swanson | The Washington Post | April 6, 2017

For years, American politicians and business leaders have demanded China approach its economic policy in a manner more similar to the United States. They have pushed the nominally communist country to cut support to its state-run enterprises, drop barriers against foreign goods and level the playing field between Chinese companies and their foreign competitors.

But as President Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Mar-a-Lago this week, he may take a markedly different approach: threatening that the United States will soon act more like China.

Trump's campaign tapped into deep skepticism about free trade, and as president he's promising to govern with an "America first" economic nationalism that includes using government resources to help domestic industry and leveraging trade policy to help insulate American businesses from foreign competition. It's an approach that sets Trump apart from traditional Republican allies who have championed free markets and looks surprisingly similar to the Chinese tactics Americans have criticized in the past.

“Mr. Trump seems to want to move the U.S. toward China’s approach, rather than move China toward the U.S. approach of open trade and globalization,” says Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade at Cornell University. That represents a shift in strategy from the past, when U.S. leaders aggressively proselytized the benefit of open markets, even if they didn't always wholly achieve them at home.

“He seems to want the U.S. to be more like China than China to be more like the U.S. And I’m not sure that’s the best path for the U.S. to go down,” Prasad says.

----- 20 -----
Having a job in America means being subjected to continuous, intimate surveillance
Boing Boing | Cory Doctorow | 9:51 am Thu Apr 6, 2017

It started with companies sneaking their own certificates into the devices you used so they could spy on you private communications, even those with HTTPS-based encryption.

The first generation of this snooping began with the desktops you used at the office (but also used to access your personal webmail and social media); then came snooping on company-issued phones and laptops you took home with you; now snooping via software you must install on your own devices if you want to access your workplace accounts.

At first, the argument for this snooping was that people just shouldn't use workplace equipment for personal things (nevermind that these gadgets came home with you, and that no one, not even the Director of the CIA and the Vice President of the USA can remember to switch devices for personal business).

Then, once this stuff started to creep onto devices that you owned through BYOD default installations, the argument faded away, and became something like, "If you didn't want your employer to know about sensitive, private information, you shouldn't have a sensitive, private life, mumble mumble mumble" (recent corollary: "if you don't want to be in the FBI's giant, illegal face-recognition database, just don't have a face").

Now, employers are fining employees who refuse to wear junk-science fitness trackers (that is "offering health insurance discounts" to people who "opt in" to wearing them). They're requiring fingerprints to use the vending machines. They're handing out badges that listen to everything you say and tell you how your conversational style is affecting your co-workers. And hey, Congress just voted to allow your boss to force you to get a full genetic test!

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Tags: fascism watch, politics
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