Sunday, March 18, 2018
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Sunday News: “This Could Destroy China”; SNL on Kim/Trump; “The Porn...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, March 11. Don't forget to set your clocks ahead...

Thursday News: “Stormy vs. POTUS”; “The Worst People”; Trade War Looms;...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, March 7. Mueller gathers evidence that 2017 meeting was...

Thinking Through the North Korea Crisis (Second Installment)

This series will be appearing in at least two newspapers in the VA-06 region. This is the second installment of a series whose purpose is...

Thinking Through the North Korea Crisis (First Installment)

This is the first installment of a series of three pieces that will be running shortly in one or more newspapers my area of...

Impeachment Delayed is America Imperiled

It looks to me increasingly likely that the Trump presidency will end with his removal from office through impeachment (despite the effort of the...

Saturday News: Corrupt, Incompetent Trump “risks diplomatic blowup in Asia”; Sarah...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, December 3. Also see President Obama's weekly address, which...

Hillary’s Waterloo Is Along the Road to Damascus

Hillary Clinton photo 130904Hillary_Clinton_zpsf69a494b.jpg This has to be a particularly uncomfortable moment for Hillary Clinton. She was an architect of this Syrian dilemma by omission and commission. Her team has been hoping we would ignore that. The statement that was released on her behalf was nuanced for deniability. Like her vote on Iraq, spineless.

"Secretary Clinton supports the president's effort to enlist the Congress in pursuing a strong and targeted response to the Assad regime's horrific use of chemical weapons."

There is no escape for this pretender this time. And it really doesn't matter that the situation in the Middle East is the culmination of a decade or more of national arrogance that overlays a crumbling economic foundation. Ms. Clinton bought a permanent stake in this when she cast her vote at that very important moment supporting George Bush's war. When she had an opportunity to redeem herself and demonstrate her moxie as Secretary of State, she didn't.

There have been too many missteps to count regarding Syria alone. And throughout this period, her understudy, Susan Rice, now the National Security Advisor, was completely ineffective in her role as Ambassador to the United Nations. Every bit of this has Hillary's signature all over it. And this will weigh her down throughout her campaign for 2016.

The Russian reset is part and parcel of this situation; Hillary owns that. At a time when Clinton's State Department team was sending out feelers to Assad's opposition, inviting representatives to meet with our Ambassador to Syria, we were handing Assad's benefactor a trump card. Unexpectedly, as the opposition transitioned to the use of organized violence, something happened to change Hillary's opinion of Assad and to cast him as a reformer. No wonder the Russians and their client read the tea leaves the way they did. Meanwhile, Senator McCain was allowed or maybe even encouraged to traipse around the region as though he had any ability to discern the situation on the ground. But that fit with Hillary's penchant for wanting to have it both ways. The United States could be seen supporting both sides.

Rachel Maddow’s Take-down of Mitt’s Minimal Foray into Foreign Policy.

Mitt Romney is so incompetent in the area of foreign policy, he mostly just doesn't talk about it. It was absent altogether from his acceptance speech. It has surfaced only minimally on other occasions, notably to make outrageous statements about the Arab Spring.

This week Rachel Maddow presented some really important information about Mitt's foreign investments as they relate to his foreign policy. Rachel's done some excellent shows of late. But this video demonstrates how she drives me crazy.  She is a brilliant woman. So, someone must have told her to dumb things down, to talk painfully slowly, to take nineteen minutes to explain something that can take much less. We have a limited amount of time to inform the public about what's wrong with the GOP argument. This will not do.

So here 'tis abreviated:

* 2005: CNOOC tried to take over Unocal, a California oil company.  This was blocked by the US Interagency Committee on Foreign Investments, headed by the US Treasury Secretary.
* Then it tried to by a Canadian oil company,, which drills in our Gulf Coast, within US territorial waters.

IKEA, Stihl, Others Staying Without Handouts

Without gifts from the Governor or a phone call while he was in town, they're still here. McDonnell's European itinerary ignored business partners. Apparently his concept of trade is soybeans, timber, and wine in exchange for German autos. Potentially a long-term barter arrangement is in the cards; never industrial expansion.

Bent on turning Virginia into an agrarian backwater where oversimplified mantras can survive in the protective bubble of isolation, Governor McDonnell continues to push products for which there is plenty of demand and very little justification or opportunity for increased production. And even if the demand justifies expansion, the number of middle class jobs that could be created remains at the margin. Raw materials rather than manufactured goods seem to be the order of the day...skipping the entrepreneur and any hope of value added. See McAuliffe's efforts to turn raw timber into finished, high demand wood pellets.

McDonnell’s Incompetence Saved Tarnish of Corruption

McDonnell's failed trade mission to China, an expensive effort at personal aggrandizement that netted two jobs (in Shanghai) may have had a blessing in disguise. After all is said and done, his bumbling attempt to conduct economic diplomacy saved him from an association with Bo Xilai's venal Chongquing administration.

With no trade success to report during last year's trip, much of the press coverage of McDonnell's boondoggle was filled with other issues like Virginia's own Republican Delegate Phil Hamilton scandal. The Governor never managed to meet with officials in the municipality that was to be the focus of his visit to promote Virginia tourism, wines, or anything he could claim as an accomplishment. Just as well, these fellows play for keeps, way out of the league of an international neophyte.

'You cross me - never come to China, you'll never get out of jail'. Gu Kailai, wife of Bo, warning a British businessman attempting to start up a tourism venture.

There were so many missteps, it is difficult to fix a cause for the failure. McDonnell's front man for commerce, Jim Cheng might have been one reason for the failed effort to engage. As a practical matter, Cheng's close ties to Taiwan aren't the bona fides the Chinese look at good naturedly. Whether it was that or McDonnell's inept planning, they dodged a bullet. An association with the disgraced Bo would not curry favor with the likes of Hu Jintao, China's leader himself, who is said to have been the subject of Bo's wiretapping. All of this could have been avoided by leveraging State Department resources in China. Or it easily could have been poor relations with staffers in China that set things headed downhill.