By Robert A. Vella
Donald Trump’s arrival in France yesterday for the G-7 meeting highlighted a growing disconnect between world leaders and the increasingly unhinged U.S. president. As his impulsive trade war with China escalates towards some foreseeable tragedy, central bankers are reaching the limit of their powers to contain his bull-in-a-China-shop approach to global economics and international relations. At home, Trump’s madness has spurred a second Republican challenger to his reelection campaign; and, it comes not from a moderate like Bill Weld who has already announced his candidacy, but from a far-right conservative firebrand who regrets enabling a president he now describes as a “child.” Hong Kong police, under intense pressure from China, are using water cannons and other weapons against the massive pro-democracy protests which have been paralyzing the former British colony for weeks. A six-month old baby migrant girl is in critical condition after being detained by the U.S. Border Patrol. Fresh evidence and a civil lawsuit are further exposing racial bias in the U.S. criminal justice system. A new public opinion poll reveals deepening pessimism among Americans. The Democratic Party has once again warned its presidential candidates about participating in unsanctioned climate change debates. Authoritarianism, you see, is not just for Republicans.
A crazy day
The series of economic and financial developments on Friday was a strange, bewildering, exhausting microcosm of why the global economy is at risk of a meltdown.
It showed the odd interplay at work between the Chinese government’s actions in the escalating trade war with the United States, the sober-minded global central bankers who have limited power to deploy and an American president whose public pronouncements often appear driven by grievance more than strategy.
President Trump arrived in France on Saturday for a meeting of the Group of 7 industrialized nations, having set the stage for fireworks and confusion. In one dizzying day, he had seemed to be searching for whom or what to blame for economic troubles, first using Twitter to call his own Federal Reserve chief an enemy of the United States and then to urge American companies to stop doing business with China.
It became clear in real time how the risks of an escalating trade war and the fraying of longstanding financial and political ties could quickly outpace the ability of central banks — the normal first responders to economic distress — to do anything about it.
Turnabout of a Trump supporter
Conservative firebrand former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh announced Sunday with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” that he’s launching a long-shot Republican presidential primary challenge against President Donald Trump.
“I’m running because he’s unfit; somebody needs to step up and there needs to be an alternative. The country is sick of this guy’s tantrum — he’s a child,” Walsh said.
“I helped create Trump,” Walsh told Stephanopoulos, “and George, that’s not an easy thing to say.”
The former Illinois congressman-turned-radio host was once a fervent Trump supporter who’s become a fierce critic of the president. Walsh is just the second Republican to jump into the primary behind former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who announced back in April but has yet to gain serious traction.
HONG KONG, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Hong Kong police fired tear gas and water cannon amid running battles with brick-throwing protesters in driving rain on Sunday after violent clashes a day earlier in which police fired tear gas for the first time in more than a week.
At least six petrol bombs were thrown by protesters, some of whom took off down narrow side streets. The water cannon, which had not been used in years of anti-government protests, could not follow.
The Chinese-ruled city’s MTR rail operator had suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering but the protesters, calling for democracy for the former British colony, made it to a sports stadium in the vast container port of Kwai Chung, from where they marched to nearby Tsuen Wan.
A baby’s life
- A 6-month-old baby girl is in critical condition at a children’s hospital in Corpus Christi after she and her father crossed the Rio Grande into Texas on Thursday and were apprehended by US Border Patrol agents.
- A spokesperson for the US Customs and Border Protection told Insider in a statement on a potential death in custody that the baby and her father were first apprehended three miles west of the Roma, Texas Port of Entry at 1:30 AM, and medical staff at a processing center determined the girl needed hospital care at 9:20 AM.
- CBP officers first transported the baby and her father to a regional children’s hospital in Edinburg, Texas, after which she was transported to the Driscoll Children’s Hospital via medivac helicopter, and her father was driven there to join her by CBP officers.
- Five migrant children have died in federal custody in recent months, including a 16-year-old boy who was found dead after contracting influenza at the same processing center the 6-month-old and her father were transported to on Thursday.
When the police arrested a suspect in a series of bank holdups in Portland, Ore., they took his mug shot and prepared to show it to witnesses in a photo array alongside images of five similar-looking men.
But there was a problem: The suspect had at least a half-dozen facial tattoos, but according to surveillance video and bank tellers, the robber had none.
This was nothing a little Photoshop could not fix.
The police used editing software to remove the tattoos from the picture of the suspect, Tyrone Allen, and presented his revised face to four tellers, at least two of whom identified him as the bank robber. Prosecutors in Portland said Mr. Allen may have applied makeup before the robberies and that investigators simply mimicked the possible disguise.
Court records and interviews with police departments across the country show this was not an isolated episode of officers airbrushing aside a discrepancy.
The dark secret of America’s death penalty – the blatant and intentional racial bias that infects the system, distorting juries and throwing inordinate numbers of African Americans on to death row – will be laid bare next week in North Carolina.
Some of the country’s top capital lawyers will gather on Monday at the state supreme court in Raleigh. Over two days, they will present evidence that capital punishment is so deeply flawed and riddled with racial animus that it makes a mockery of basic principles of fairness and equal justice.
The court’s seven judges will be asked to address a simple question. Will they allow men and women to be condemned to die despite powerful evidence that prosecutors deployed racially discriminatory tactics to put them on death row?
Pessimism in America
The poll finds that 70 percent of Americans say they feel angry “because our political system seems to only be working for the insiders with money and power, like those on Wall Street or in Washington.” Forty-three percent say that statement describes them “very well.”
Majorities of adults who are under 35 (68 percent), seniors (64 percent), poor and working class (71 percent), high-income (64 percent), white (67 percent), black (73 percent) and Hispanic (64 percent) all say they are not confident that their children’s generation will be better off.
Americans also express some ambivalence about “changes in American society and the country becoming more diverse and tolerant of different lifestyles, languages, cultures and races.”
Forty percent call those changes a step forward, while 14 percent call them a step backward. The remainder — 43 percent — say those changes are “some of both.”
The poll also offers a glum view of race relations.
Six-in-ten describe either a lot or some tension between people of different races in their state.