State Leader Shall Not Be Elected by Universal Suffrage 5


Lack of Support from Houses of Representatives

A state leader elected by universal suffrage cannot be sure that he has the support of the houses of representatives. Theoretically, voters who have elected a state leader shall elect the leader’s party to facilitate his governance of the country. Often, however, that is not the case especially in the United States. Up to 1994 Democrats controlled Congress for 40 years but in 28 of the 40 years there were Republican presidents.

Why? Theoretically, the philosophy of American political system is democracy. In order to maintain democracy, there shall be the separation of the executive, the legislature and judiciary to prevent any of the three powers grow too great, especially the executive that may grow without limit and become an autocracy.

With the separation of three powers, in the US the power of the state leader, i.e. the president is limited. In a serious national economic depression from 1929 to 1933, quite a few of President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs to save the economy and provide jobs and relief to poor people were overturned by the Supreme Court.

Roosevelt tried to have the Justice Procedure Reform Bill passed by Congress for removal of conservative justices, but Congress would not cooperate.

Why? It is said that the judiciary and legislative wanted to protect the separation of three powers.

Politics Driven by Interests

The true cause is the fact that in a multi-party democracy politics is driven by interests.

Various party represents various interest groups. The strongest group or groups may have the majority votes and have the largest number of representatives in the houses of representatives of the country called parliament, congress or otherwise.

In a parliamentary system, the party or the coalition of parties that has the majority chooses the prime minister as the state leader in power. The prime minister has to work for the interests of the party or coalition of parties so that he will have the party’s or coalition’s support. Otherwise he will face a vote of no-confidence and loses his position. Then another prime minister will be elected if the party or coalition remains the majority. Otherwise, a new election will be held to generate a majority party or coalition, which will appoint its prime minister..

As a result, even if the country is split into various interest groups, a majority can after all be generated to enable the country to have a government supported by the majority in the houses of representatives and empowered to carry out its policies

If a state leader elected by universal suffrage is elected with a substantial majority, his party must have the support of the majority in the houses of representatives. In reality, that was not often the case. In the past, a president is often elected by a substantial majority. Even so, voters would elect a house of representatives and Senate controlled by a party other than the president’s. To restrict the president? I don’t know. Perhaps, voters elect the house or houses of representatives out of some specific interests of theirs while elect the president out of their general interests.

As a result, even the Democratic Party of President Clinton who won election with quite a large majority failed to control US Congress resulting in his failure to have Congress adopt the bill on his health care plan that was one of the most prominent items on his legislative agenda.

Now the United States is a split country. President Trump could only win a mojority of Electrol College vote but lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes. However, he is better than President Jorge Bush Jr., who needed a recount of votes to determine his victory with a marginal majority.

Trump’s Republican Party controlled only the House of Representatives when Trump came to office but lost control of the House in the midterm election. Trump perhaps believes that people supported him and had him elected as he promised to build a border wall between the US and Mexico to prevent entry of illegal immigrants who may take away job opportunities away from American people. That was the desire of grass root who would suffered from unemployment whenever there were some economic difficulties. However, the vested interests that control Congress especially big moneys can make lots of profits by employing the cheap labor provided by illegal immigrants.

Due to the conflicts of interests, Trump was unable to obtain funds for the construction of the border wall from Congress. His dispute with Congress on that issue finally led to the 2018-2019 government shutdown for 35 days.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


Google Gives Cover to Trump’s Lies


If one of the most powerful tech companies can’t call out the president’s dishonesty, who can?

By Greg Bensinger

Mr. Bensinger is a member of the editorial board.

March 21, 2020

President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been a case study in a management style marked by falsehoods and intimidation. Rather than risk inviting his ire, subordinates and fellow Republicans covered for him as he delayed a coordinated response to the coronavirus and it felled nearly 200 Americans.

His political allies haven’t been the only ones to fall into line. Just look at the way the president co-opted Google.

While declaring the national emergency last Friday, President Trump announced that he had enlisted Google to create a broadly available website to help facilitate testing for the virus. He said that 1,700 engineers were working on the site and had “made tremendous progress.”

It sounded ambitious and promising. If only it were true.

What followed were attempts by Google to placate the president and a mad scramble to get done what he’d said it was already doing.

Blindsided by the announcement, Google at first revealed that a subsidiary of its parent company known as Verily was working on a small-scale website initially intended only for health care workers in two Bay Area counties. The Verily site was being developed in coordination with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who was taken with the idea after speaking with Verily’s chief executive, Andy Conrad, The New York Times reported. (It rolled out on Sunday but was immediately overwhelmed by people seeking testing.)

But then Google pivoted and announced it was in fact also working on a new national informational coronavirus website. The saga could have ended there, but Mr. Trump instead lambasted the press for correctly reporting that Google initially had no plans for the website he described. And Google did nothing to correct the record, making itself complicit in his stoking of press mistrust.

Mr. Trump asserted on Sunday that Google’s national site was always the plan, while doubling down on his attack, saying, “I don’t know where the press got their fake news, but they got it someplace.” And he said Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google-parent Alphabet, called to apologize, though he didn’t clarify what he meant by that.

Alphabet refused to confirm to The Times whether such a call even occurred or for what Mr. Pichai would need to apologize. And it declined to discuss the episode further.

It’s not the first time a technology company has bent to Mr. Trump’s will. Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, failed to correct Mr. Trump when he took credit in November for opening a Texas computer manufacturing plant that had been in operation since 2013.

Source: The New York Times “Google Gives Cover to Trump’s Lies”

Note: This is The New York Times’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Angry Trump Now Helpless To Stop Huawei’s Stunning Victory: This Week Everything Changes


Zak DoffmanContributor

AFP via Getty Images

The diplomatic spat between Washington and London continues to spiral us into unknown territory this weekend, with the news that even President Trump’s personal plea to Prime Minister Johnson on Friday evening has not pulled the U.K. back from the brink of its decision to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei into its 5G network.

The Sunday Times reported on January 26 that “Trump’s anger” would cast a cloud over the U.K.’s Brexit week, and that the president had told Johnson “that giving a green light to the [Huawei] deal would be a grave threat to national security.” There was even a suggestion from the U.S. that the two countries might forge an alternative to Huawei. The U.K., though, takes the view that to do so would take too long.

With a U.K. Huawei decision expected on Tuesday, January 28, the intensity around U.S. and U.K discussions is only matched by the fierce debate raging within the U.K. government itself. Johnson’s more hawkish cabinet members are said to be furious at the prospect of being “bounced” into a pro-Huawei decision. According to the Sunday Times, one source sourly suggested that “Huawei is next week’s Chinese virus.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make a last ditch attempt to sway minds in the U.K. this week, but sources close to events believe this is a now a done deal. There is even talk of a choreographed announcement on Tuesday involving Huawei itself. One would imagine that such a spectacle would be highly incendiary to the U.S.

Writing in the Sunday Times, British MP Bob Seely, a candidate to head the foreign affairs select committee, warned that the country may “regret our refusal to say ‘no way, Huawei’,” adding that he fears that “by the time we see the real cost, in the decades to come, it may be too late.”

On Friday, it was reported that Trump’s immediate riposte to Huawei, to significantly tighten sanctions against the company to damage its supply chain further has been thwarted by the Department of Defense, the argument being that such a move would damage U.S. industry and innovation. This led to an angry challenge from leading senators who suggested to the Pentagon that U.S. companies contracting with Huawei was akin to the same being down with KGB subsidiaries during the Cold War.

Now another letter has now been crafted from U.S. senators, this one directed at the U.K.’s National Security Council. The letter says that the Huawei decision is linked to the special relationship between the two countries. While specifically pulling back from trade agreement or intelligence-sharing threats, Senators Rubio, Cotton and Cornyn urge the U.K. to “make the right decision on Huawei,” which they stress would be “in the best interests” of that relationship.

It remains unclear what will actually happen on Tuesday if the U.K. does not take a last minute U-turn on Huawei. Spooks on both sides of the Atlantic are divided as to the actual risks and the practical application of any change to security alliances. What will be more of an immediate issue is other countries around the world, all of which are less capable than the U.K. of mitigating any Huawei risks, using the U.K. decision as an excuse to defy U.S. warnings. If it’s good enough for Washington’s closest ally, they will argue, it’s good enough for us.

Johnson remains in a bind on the issue. It is tricky for the U.K. to completely backtrack on Huawei without incurring significant cost and delays to the critical 5G rollout. At the same time, if he is seen to kowtow to Washington against the advice of his officials, it will play badly domestically—there is no popular uprising in the U.K. against Huawei. And so, it is likely that Johnson is taking a Brexit-like “let’s just get it done,” after which reparations can be made and political concessions offered.

And so all eyes are on what happens post-Tuesday, when absent any last minute shock, the U.K. will confirm the inevitable. Months of lobbying and wrangling will come to an end—at which point the real work begins as everything changes. Much of this work will be political, and the U.S. will need to be seen to act in some capacity to back up the risks they have raised and the mitigating actions they have threatened.

Whether there is any security or trade deal hangover from these events will be the subject of intense speculation in the coming weeks. While it is unlikely to scupper a trade deal, one can assume some impact. For the U.S., such as been the intensity of its lobbying that it cannot simply roll over on the issue—that would undermine its case. But any action could well be limited to the optics around security arrangements and need not interfere in anything commercial.

For the U.K., with the security issue settled other issues will come to the fore. Chief amongst these will be Huawei’s work in Xinjiang, where its technology forms part of the surveillance programs subjugating the Uighur minority. If the U.K. decision turns up the political heat on Huawei to face up to Beijing and back away from all such involvement, then at least something good will have come from this protracted process.

Source: Forbes “Angry Trump Now Helpless To Stop Huawei’s Stunning Victory: This Week Everything Changes”

Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views


Trump’s Most Critical Huawei Threat Just Confirmed In ‘Surprisingly Outspoken’ Interview


Zak Doffman Jan 12, 2020, 05:06am

Contributor

Cybersecurity

I write about security and surveillance.

In comments described by the Sunday Times today (January 12) as “surprisingly outspoken,” the U.K. defence secretary Ben Wallace confirmed “how aggressive the Trump administration has been about Huawei,” confirming the threats that have been issued over ongoing security arrangements as the U.K. nears its decision on whether to allow the Chinese company’s equipment into its new 5G networks. A change to U.S. intelligence arrangements with its closest defence and security ally, the U.K., would be by far the most critical impact from the Huawei fallout.

The rhetoric-driven back and forth between the Trump administration and China’s Huawei has been non-stop for months. What started as a campaign against U.S. allies buying 5G networking equipment from the tech giant has spiralled, and is now threatening the company’s ability to survive in its current shape.

But one aspect of the campaign rises above all others in its potential to impact the relationship between the U.S. and its closest allies. Speculation has been rife as to whether Washington would really undermine intelligence-sharing arrangements with governments that ignore its warnings and allow Huawei into their 5G networks. The U.S. argues that the integrity of that secret data is compromised with any risk it is carried across a Chinese-built network. Huawei says there is no such risk, that U.S. claims it can be used as a collections agency by Beijing are nonsense.

All countries within the western alliance, spanning NATO and a wide range of defence and security collaboration agreements, benefit from some level of U.S. intelligence. But within that wide collective, the Five Eyes are on a different level. A post-war treaty sees the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand share data and intelligence on a near-transparent level. It is an arrangement that is so critical to national security and counter-terrorism, that it’s difficult to overstate.

Wallace told the Sunday Times that President Trump as well as key members of his administration have said “personally to me directly when we met at Nato,” that they have “threatened” to reduce such intelligence-sharing arrangements if the U.K. does approve Huawei. “It’s not a secret,” he said. “They have been consistent. Those things will be taken into account when the government… makes a decision on it.”

Last year, it looked as though the U.K. was set to ignore U.S. warnings and allow Huawei into the “non-core” parts of its network, the outward radio technologies rather than the data-carrying backbone. The U.S. refutes the U.K. claim that it can manage any security risk from this approach. Last year’s decision was taken under Prime Minister Theresa May, her successor, Boris Johnson, is expected to take a harder line.

Dominic Raab, the U.K. foreign secretary has also been engaged in discussions this week with his U.S. counterpart, Mike Pompeo, which are said to have touched on the Huawei issue. Ahead of those discussions, the U.S. position was characterised as a “shot across the bow” for the U.K. ahead of its decision.

On January 11, the Daily Telegraph reported that the U.S. had. dispatched a team of officials to issue a final plea or a final set of threats to the U.K. ahead of that decision, which is expected before the end of the month. Officials from the U.S. National Security Agency, which partners with the U.K.’s GCHQ, alongside others from Trump’s National Economic Council are travelling to meet U.K. officials who, it’s reported, have briefed their government that risks can be controlled. If Huawei is blanket excluded, U.K. officials have made clear that is a political decision.

There is mounting political pressure within the U.S. to enforce restrictions on allies ignoring U.S. warnings on Huawei. Last week, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton introduced a bill to ban intelligence-sharing in such circumstances, warning that governments should not “allow an intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party to operate freely within their borders,” adding that “allies around the world [should] carefully consider the consequences of dealing with Huawei.”

Andy Purdy, Huawei’s U.S. security chief has been heavily critical of some of the “falsehoods” he says are being spread by U.S. officials during such meetings. Purdy would not be drawn on the specifics of the U.K. decision, but said that “what’s really struck me in the last year, is the number of things said by American government officials that are flat out wrong.” He also told me that “after a year this really astounds me, it’s awful, it’s inexcusable,” describing some of the U.S. claims on Huawei’s alleged security risk as “flat out ridiculous—how a U.S. government official can be so flat out mistaken and say things that are so demonstrably false is shocking.”

In his interview with the Sunday Times, Wallace confirmed his “backing” for the U.S. killing of Iran’s Qassem Suleimani: “The intelligence information I have seen,” he said, “under the right to defend yourself against an imminent threat, that would have been met.” He described the changing shape of the military against the changing shape of the threat from Iran, as well as Russia and China—the shifting balance between the cyber and physical domains. That shift has been evident in the Iranian escalation.

Wallace also echoed the comments in recent months on the security risks in the encrypted messaging, as that debate rages on. “That will add to the ability of everyone from paedophiles to terrorists to spread their evil and increase their capabilities,” he said. “That keeps me awake at night. That’s massive.”

Source: Forbes “Trump’s Most Critical Huawei Threat Just Confirmed In ‘Surprisingly Outspoken’ Interview”

Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Trump calls for World Bank to stop loaning to China


December 7, 2019 / 8:50 AM / Updated 3 hours ago

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters while participating in a “roundtable on small business and red tape reduction accomplishments” in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S. December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday called for the World Bank to stop loaning money to China, one day after the institution adopted a lending plan to Beijing over Washington’s objections.

The World Bank on Thursday adopted a plan to aid China with $1 billion to $1.5 billion in low-interest loans annually through June 2025. The plan calls for lending to “gradually decline” from the previous five-year average of $1.8 billion.

Why is the World Bank loaning money to China? Can this be possible? China has plenty of money, and if they don’t, they create it. STOP!” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

Spokespeople for the White House and the World Bank did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The World Bank loaned China $1.3 billion in the fiscal 2019 year, which ended on June 30, a decrease from around $2.4 billion in fiscal 2017.

But the fall in the World Bank’s loans to China is not swift enough for the Trump administration, which has argued that Beijing is too wealthy for international aid.

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Cynthia Osterman

Source: Reuters “Trump calls for World Bank to stop loaning to China”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


In latest sign of trade-war pain, the Trump administration announces tariff relief for dozens of Chinese products


Gina Heeb

Nov. 29, 2019, 12:31 PM

Reuters

  • The US on Friday announced it would shield dozens of products from steep import tariffs it levied against China last year.

  • The move was seen as a way to mitigate domestic concerns ahead of the 2020 elections, but it came at a critical moment in trade negotiations.

  • Thousands of companies have requested relief from tariffs, warning the Trump administration that those measures could eventually force them to raise prices or slash jobs.

The US on Friday announced it would shield dozens of products from steep import tariffs it levied against China last year.

The move was the latest acknowledgment by the Trump administration that its trade policies have threatened to cause financial pain for American companies. President Donald Trump has often downplayed the domestic effects of his tit-for-tat dispute with the second-largest economy, arguing that it’s necessary to win fairer trade agreements.

Lollipops, vacuum cleaners, table lamps, bicycles, outdoor tables, canoes, cots, and more would be excluded from the tariffs implemented on $200 billion worth of Chinese products in September 2018, the Office of the US Trade Representative said. In May, Trump more than doubled the tax rate on those imports to 25%.

Thousands of companies have requested relief from those measures, warning the Trump administration that they could eventually force them to raise prices or slash jobs. But companies and watchdogs have criticized tariff decision-making as lacking transparency.

Joseph Barloon, the USTR general counsel, said that as part of the exclusion process officials determine whether the tariff would “cause severe economic harm to the requestor or other US interests” and ask whether the product is available only from China, is strategically important, or is related to industrial programs there.

The new exclusions were seen as a way to mitigate domestic concerns ahead of the 2020 elections, but they came at a critical moment in trade negotiations.

China threatened countermeasures against the US over the weekend after Trump signed into law a bill that backed pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong, casting doubt on the first part of an interim trade agreement that was announced in October but has still not been put to paper.

“I’m still not sure both sides will reach a ‘phase one’ agreement, but the Chinese authorities are capable of expressing displeasure about the human-rights bills and continuing to negotiate on the trade war,” said Jared Bernstein, a senior economic adviser in the Obama administration.

Last week, both sides expressed optimism that progress could be made before tariff escalations in December.

While there have been clashes over agricultural purchases and tariffs in recent weeks, China outlined plans to bolster its rules on patents, copyrights, and trademarks in a document released Sunday.

The document proposes concrete ways in which the central government would work to tame the provincial officials who are often involved with intellectual-property violations, according to Mary Lovely, a trade scholar at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

“Such an incentive can be effective, although we also know that the evaluation system can be gamed, as has been the case in environmental protection,” she said. “These new guidelines move in the right direction, even as we wait for more specifics to emerge about how these new policies will be carried out.”

Source: market.businessinsider.com “In latest sign of trade-war pain, the Trump administration announces tariff relief for dozens of Chinese products”

Note: This is market.businessinsider.com’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Trade War Cannot Reduce US Trade Deficit but Helps China Grow Stronger


An article on The Hill yesterday titled “Trump already has won the trade war with China” says Trump has already been able to get 90% of what he wants in his trade war with China. However, he would not stop and keeps on tariff rises to hurt US and world economy.

The article lists what trump has or would have got from China if he simply accepted Chinese commitments in the trade negotiations, such as reduction of US trade deficit by Chinese purchase of lots of US energy and agricultural products, protection of intellectual property, prevention of forced transfer of technology, end of government subsidies to industries, ensure of fair treatment for US entities, etc.

What is Trump’s strategic goal?

The article says, “In the U.S., President Trump appears to be holding out for a starkly decisive outcome — equivalent to China’s unconditional surrender — to maximize his political standing for winning re-election in 2020.”

Trump’s problem is his failure to see China’s strategic goal. China would not surrender as it wants Trump to keep on US pressure to facilitate China’s further reform and opening up for transformation from export- and investment-geared growth to innovation-, creation- and consumption-led growth.

Such transformation certainly will slow down China’s economy. US trade war only quickens the transformation while worsen the slowdown. However, such slowdown is but short-term. In the long run the transformation will enable China to achieve better growth later.

To keep exports to the US, China has to move its labor intensive export-oriented enterprises to its neighbors where labor costs are lower.

China has been helping Sri Lanka train workers for employment in Sri Lanka’s vast special economic zone near Hambantota to enable China to move such enterprises to the zone. The port China is building there will facilitate the exports.

Similar zones are being established in Bangladesh and Myanmar since China signed memorandums of understanding with them on the establishment of China-Bangladesh Economic Corridor and China-Myanmar Economic Corridor last year.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is being built and there are also such zones for China to move such enterprises there.

The construction of infrastructures of power stations, roads, railways and ports in those countries under China’s Belt and Road initiative will facilitate such movements.

US tariff hikes will only quicken such movements to avoid the hikes. China will only have the problem of substantial unemployment due to the movements, but the unemployed will blame US tariff hikes instead Xi Jinping’s economic transformation.

On the other hand, Chinese enterprises in those countries will make greater profits due to reduction of labor costs and have greater competitive edge in US market in exporting their products to the United States. As US enterprises cannot compete with them due to much higher labor costs, the US has to keep on importing the products. Its trade deficit will increase instead of decrease. However, China is not to blame as the deficit of trade with China has been switched to that of trade with China’s neighbors.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on The Hill’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/458846-trump-already-has-won-the-trade-war-with-china