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Expat Files – 02.24.17

#1- When your rough Spanish really kicks into high gear:
There are unpredictable good a bad things that happens when you finally start understanding bits and pieces of what’s being said around you. How and when that hallelujah moment of clarity finally does happen comes differently for all of us clueless expats. Even so, after that it’s not “damn the torpedoes” full speed ahead either. Confidence will build and then overconfidence will disappoint along with some noticeable backsliding…

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Alternative Visions – Trump’s Grand Strategy – 02.03.17

Jack Rasmus describes Trump’s grand strategy that is now beginning to take shape–economic, social and foreign elements, noting how the Trump strategy reveals great similarities with Nixon in the 1970s and Reagan in 1980s. Trump is Nixon-Reagan on steroids. Rasmus reviews similarities with Nixon and Reagan in Trump’s current attack on US trading partners in Europe, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Germany, Australia and soon China—comparing them with Nixon’s New Economic Program in 1971-72 and Reagan’s 1985-86 attacks on Japan and Europe with the Plaza and Louvre accords. Trump is not against Free Trade, but for bilateral free trade instead of Clinton-Obama multilateral free trade. Trump’s protectionism is tactical. The goal is to advance US corporate interests vis a vis foreign competitors, just as Nixon and Reagan did. Rasmus describes Trump Grand Strategy to date as: Congress drives deregulation of ACA and Dodd-Frank and then focuses on corporate-investor tax cuts. Trump meantime paves the way with Executive Orders, while using EOs to attack immigrants, domestic and foreign; Trump goes slow on major foreign policy changes involving Russia, middle east and Asia, while aggressively attacking immigrants, law and order, proposing election reform and advancing religious groups’ interests. Strong similarities between Nixon, Reagan, and Trump on policies involving defense spending, social program cuts, deficits, strong dollar, attacking the liberal media, undermining unions, massive deregulation, cutting pensions and social security, promoting police and law and order attacks on protestors, and domestic spying and surveillance. (Next week: France and the Future of Europe)

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PAUL STREET – The Empire Has No Clothes

Harsh realities have long mocked United States “elites’” ritual description of their nation state as a benevolent beacon and agent of freedom, democracy, and justice at home and abroad.  The mythology doesn’t square with stark disparities and oppressions inflicted by the nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money, class, race, and empire. The many dark truths about America behind the …

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Economic Update – “Trumponomics Exposed” – 01.29.17

“Updates on Basic economy airfares, Trump-May delusions, drop in US union membership, Trump’s attacks on Mexico and TPP, elite colleges vs state schools. Major discussion of (1) what ‘capitalism’ means and (2) fake ‘jobs’ policies.”

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Robert Reich – Six reasons why Trump’s wall is even dumber than most of his other ideas

At his turbulent news event last Wednesday (I won’t dignify it by calling it a news conference), Trump reiterated that he will build a wall along the Mexican border. “It’s not a fence. It’s a wall,” he said, and “Mexico will pay for the wall.” Here are 6 reasons why Trump’s wall is an even dumber idea than most of …

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Elizabeth Mack , Andy Henion – AFFORDABLE WATER IN THE US: A BURGEONING CRISIS

If water rates continue rising at projected amounts, the number of U.S. households unable to afford water could triple in five years, to nearly 36 percent, finds new research by a Michigan State University scholar. Elizabeth Mack said a variety of factors, ranging from aging infrastructure to climate change to population decline in urban areas, are making residents’ ability to …