Lithuania has become the “Taiwan of Europe”. Since WWII, Americans never again struggled with the concept that a problem abroad is a problem at home. This is how we Americans can vote to interfere around the world that we know so little about. We think every squeal from another continent indicates a personal assault on our freedom to watch Netflix.
Europe wasn’t quite there, but not anymore. While Europe watches Lithuania sustain hostile diplomacy from China, Europe is getting the same idea as America. France—oh, the French!—just came to Lithuania’s defense. It’s hard to disagree when the French take sides. They say they aren’t sure why China is angry at Lithuania—okay. But, they make a very good point. China should not have a special group of 17 states it communicates with concerning Europe; it should have all 27. Lithuania was a great opportunity for France to say so. Bravo for French math!
So, now Lithuania is to the EU what Taiwan is to the US; to China, both are bad press.
A recent election in Taiwan’s central city of Taichung gave one more legislative seat to the progressive DPP party—this is the party that doesn’t bow to China’s passive aggression, nor to China’s aggressive aggression.
Yes, that party just got stronger. China won’t be happy. But, what’s new. Just look at Lithuania and do the math.
The theory presented on September 10 and November 19 proved useful enough to predict White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's departure. No one announces in advance that someone is leaving—before the departure, without also announcing a replacement. Nobody cares about a boss whose boss already announced would be leaving. That's how to cripple any malevolent powers of an administrator that can't be quickly unplugged, but needs to go—and do so without raising suspicion that the administrator did anything wrong. Even in his dismissal—not a "retirement"—Kelly fits the bill as the author of the "New York Times essay", right down to getting tossed out in a way that no one would suspect a darned thing.
France is in trouble. The president who snubbed Trump has fallen into disfavor with his own people. This largely comes down to grandiose promises made by socialist agendas that everyone should have known could not deliver because of foresight rooted in hindsight. Socialism never delivers anything but what we see in France now. As for ado about Brexit, there's no point in worrying so much since the queen can decide anyway, if she wants to. That's what the British always tell Americans is so wonderful about the UK's constitutional monarchy. But, acting like this is a problem helps keep the British press afloat.
A Trump campaign payment is now being compared to a situation with 2004 Democratic candidate John Edwards. But, that has three major holes in its boat: 1. The accusation encircles alleged campaign finance violations surrounding the Trump organization's lawyer, Cohen, whose job it was to give legal advice; Trump is not a lawyer, Edwards was. Can a lawyer be witness against the client he advised, or secretly recorded? 2. The Mueller investigation sought to understand whether there was wrongful involvement with Russia and Trump. The Fourth Amendment limits the scope of search and seizure to a probable cause and any seized items must be specified by the warrant in advance. By starting with an investigation between Trump and Russia, but ending with a campaign finance accusation against a candidate accused by the lawyer who advised him, this has gone well beyond the scope that the Fourth Amendment was intended to limit. If courts allow this, it shows how much our legal justice system has wandered from the Constitution. 3. The electorate will want a good explanation for why Hillary wasn't treated this way. The best reason so far would be that the courts have been usurped as a cudgel for political rivals. It's not Trump who needs to be worried about an indictment; it's the legal justice system itself that is about to go on trial.
Police departments are ceasing patrol due to unpopularity with the people, according to an FBI report. France, like Canada and the US 12 years ago, also has new, young president. The new president, Emanuel Macron, who won by more than 65%, ran on a campaign of cutting spending, loosening France’s ever-so-strict labor laws, and protecting the self-employed. Regardless of what you think you know of Le Pen, who lost, French politics aren’t what they seem. The same can be said of the new politics on Capital Hill.
Trump’s budget deal is complex. It angered people, he knew it would, he wanted it to. But, the backlash will also be complex. His two-part Tweet tells it all.
Trump could have used the budget reconciliation rule to pass a budget bill or to repeal Obamacare, which suspends the 60-vote rule over matters of Constitution and budget. Democrats used it to pass Obamacare, which seemed to be misuse of the rule; Republicans didn’t use it to repeal Obamacare. He could have suspended the 60 vote rule, but he didn’t and he hasn’t. He won’t because he wants the 60 vote rule removed—a rule which, more or less, allows “auto filibuster”, so opponents can keep needless discussion going to stop a law from being voted on, without actually having to attend any meetings. It’s a silly rule in the Senate. It’s a relatively new rule in the Senate. The House has no such rule. Thankfully, families and business also don’t have such rules. Trump is playing smart. The best solution to bad rules and laws: rigorous enforcement. He wants his supporters to support efforts to eliminate the 60-vote rule so that, as in the House, a law only needs a simple majority to be passed.
There is still no wall. Obamacare isn’t gone. Some Trump supporters are angry—though, keep watching: They’ll cool off around election time when they see what pops over the horizon.
One very important thing happened: military. China, Korea, and the Middle East are heating up. China is making huge strides with constructing its first aircraft carrier. We needed that military cleanup from eight years of rust. Otherwise it would be the North Koreans vs ISIS jihadists fighting over who gets to keep your women, brainwash your children, and kill the rest of your family—no matter what country you live in. Like it or not, evil or good or somewhere in the vast in-between, the decaying US military is all that keeps people who don’t apologize away from the shores of the people who do. This budget kept that military going.
Yes, it did make other milestones. It was a first: A new president actually influenced the current year’s budget—because we were over-budget from eight years before. Yes, the bill boosted military spending without having to boost non-related programs. And, yes, Trump will be in a better position to threaten with a shutdown later, since the military is finally operational again.
But, the people won’t have it. Trump was supposed to drain the swamp. Where’s the wall? Why is the US spending over $1B on non-citizens in our prisons? Why not fix Obamacare with the same rout that it was created? The people want results now. They will come back to support Trump in 2018 and 2020, but only briefly; and in between, they will get thirsty for a third party. Perhaps that was also part of Trump’s plan in the first place. Let’s be frank; the Republican party likes Trump and his base about as much as Britain liked General George Washington and the American colonies.