Trump sending treasury secretary to China as trade tensions mount

President reiterates plan to impose tariffs of up to $100bn more on Chinese goods

Donald Trump has said he is sending treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin to China for talks as the two countries deal with tensions over trade and intellectual property.

Trump said during a White House news conference with President Emmanuel Macron of France that the US and China were “very serious” about trade issues and reiterated his plans to impose tariffs of up to $100bn more on Chinese goods.

Related: Trump plays down US-China trade war concerns: ‘When you’re $500bn down you can’t lose’

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John Whitehead: “Is The US Government Evil?”

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

Is the U.S. government evil? 

You tell me.

This is a government that treats its citizens like faceless statistics and economic units to be bought, sold, bartered, traded, tracked, tortured, and eventually eliminated once they’ve outgrown their usefulness.

This is a government that treats human beings like lab rats to be caged, branded, experimented upon, and then discarded and left to suffer from the after-effects.

This is a government that repeatedly lies, cheats, steals, spies, kills, maims, enslaves, breaks the laws, overreaches its authority, and abuses its power at almost every turn.

This is a government that wages wars for profit, jails its own people for profit, and then turns a blind eye and a deaf ear while its henchmen rape and kill and pillage.

No, this is not a government that can be trusted to do what is right or moral or humane or honorable but instead seems to gravitate towards corruption, malevolence, misconduct, greed, cruelty, brutality and injustice.

This is not a government you should trust with your life, your loved ones, your livelihood or your freedoms.

This is the face of evil, disguised as a democracy, sold to the people as an institution that has their best interests at heart.

Don’t fall for the lie. 

The government has never had our best interests at heart.

Endless wars. The government didn’t have our best interests at heart when it propelled us into endless oil-fueled wars and military occupations in the Middle East that wreaked havoc on our economy, stretched thin our military resources and subjected us to horrific blowback.

A police state. There is no way the government had our best interests at heart when it passed laws subjecting us to all manner of invasive searches and surveillance, censoring our speech and stifling our expression, rendering us anti-government extremists for daring to disagree with its dictates, locking us up for criticizing government policies on social media, encouraging Americans to spy and snitch on their fellow citizens, and allowing government agents to grope, strip, search, taser, shoot and kill us. 

Battlefield America. Certainly the government did not have our best interests at heart when it turned America into a battlefield, transforming law enforcement agencies into extensions of the military, conducting military drills on domestic soil, distributing “free” military equipment and weaponry to local police, and desensitizing Americans to the menace of the police state with active shooter drills, color-coded terror alerts, and randomly conducted security checkpoints at “soft” targets such as shopping malls and sports arenas. 

Secret human experimentation. One would also be hard-pressed to suggest that the American government had our best interests at heart when it conducted secret experiments on an unsuspecting populace—citizens and noncitizens alike—making healthy people sick by spraying them with chemicals, injecting them with infectious diseases and exposing them to airborne toxins. The government reasoned that it was legitimate (and cheaper) to experiment on people who did not have full rights in society such as prisoners, mental patients, and poor blacks. 

For instance, there was the CIA’s Cold War-era program, MKULTRA, in which the government began secretly experimenting on hundreds of unsuspecting American civilians and military personnel by dosing them with LSD, some having the hallucinogenic drug secretly slipped into their drinks, so that the government could explore its uses in brainwashing and controlling targets. The CIA spent nearly $20 million on its MKULTRA program, reportedly as a means of programming people to carry out assassinations and, to a lesser degree, inducing anxieties and erasing memories, before it was supposedly shut down. 

Sounds like the stuff of conspiracy theorists, I know, but the government’s track record of treating Americans like lab rats has been well-documented, including its attempts to expose whole communities to various toxins as part of its efforts to develop lethal biological weapons and study their impact and delivery methods on unsuspecting populations.

John Lennon was right: “We’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends.”

Unfortunately, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Just recently, for example, a Fusion Center in Washington State (a Dept. of Homeland Security-linked data collection clearinghouse that shares information between state, local and federal agencies) inadvertently released records on remote mind control tactics (the use of “psycho-electronic” weapons to control people from a distance or subject them to varying degrees of pain).

Mind you, there is no clear evidence to suggest that these particular documents were created by a government agency. Then again, the government—no stranger to diabolical deeds or shady experiments carried out an unsuspecting populace—has done it before.

After all, this is a government that has become almost indistinguishable from the evil it claims to be fighting, whether that evil takes the form of terrorism, torture, drug traffickingsex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity.

For too long now, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American Peoplethe American people have been persuaded to barter their freedoms for phantom promises of security and, in the process, have rationalized turning a blind eye to all manner of government wrongdoing—asset forfeiture schemes, corruption, surveillance, endless wars, SWAT team raids, militarized police, profit-driven private prisons, and so on—because they were the so-called lesser of two evils. 

No matter how you rationalize it, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

So how do you fight back?

How do you fight injustice? How do you push back against tyranny? How do you vanquish evil? 

You don’t fight it by hiding your head in the sand.

Stop being apathetic. Stop being neutral. Stop being accomplices.

Start recognizing evil and injustice and tyranny for what they are. Demand government transparency. Vote with your feet (i.e., engage in activism, not just politics). Refuse to play politics with your principles. Don’t settle for the lesser of two evils. 

As British statesman Edmund Burke warned, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing.” 

It’s time for good men and women to do something. And soon.

100 Migrants From Infamous “Caravan” Prepare For Border Crossing After Arriving In Mexicali

Despite President Trump’s threat to make stopping migrants from Central America a condition of a revised NAFTA agreement, the second part of a caravan of migrants arrived Tuesday afternoon in the border state of Mexicali, Buzzfeed reported, after refusing the Mexican government’s offer to let them stay in Mexico. 

The migrants, who arrived following a bus trip from the city of Hermosillo, located in the Mexican state of Sonora, are expected to be followed by as many as 500 more Tuesday night and Wednesday – setting them up for a showdown with national guard soldiers and ICE agents who have been instructed to stop them from entering the country.

While media attention to the caravan has dropped in recent weeks, the Trump administration has been keeping a watchful eye on the caravan’s progress. Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said Monday that her agency was monitoring “the remnants” of the caravan.

“If members of the ‘caravan’ enter the country illegally, they will be referred for prosecution for illegal entry in accordance with existing law,” Nielsen said in a statement. “For those seeking asylum, all individuals may be detained while their claims are adjudicated efficiently and expeditiously, and those found not to have a claim will be promptly removed from the United States.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also issued a statement Monday, saying the migrants and “their smugglers” had ignored the willingness of the Mexican government to allow them to stay in Mexico.

“Our nation has the most generous immigration system in the world, but this is a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system. There is no right to demand entry without justification,” Sessions said in a statement. “Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is essential to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens. But, as President Trump has warned, the need to fix these loopholes and weaknesses in our immigration system is critical and overdue.”

Unsurprisingly, the expanded federal border enforcement has drawn the ire of immigrants rights groups, who are accusing the federal government of ignoring asylum laws.

“The efforts of US officials to tarnish asylum seekers as criminals are cynical fabrications that ring hollow,” the statement said, attributing the comment to Erika Guevara Rosas, the group’s Americas director.

Officials of Pueblos Sin Fronteras, the volunteer group that organized the caravan, have said throughout the journey that migrants have the right to ask the US for asylum and that the United States must grant them the opportunity to do so.

Tristan Call, an organizer with Pueblos Sin Fronteras, said the US is trying to punish people who have a right to ask for asylum.

“The United States is punishing them so they won’t be able to get asylum,” Call told reporters outside Hotel del Migrante, a migrant shelter in Mexicali. “They’re punishing the most vulnerable people. These are people who the last thing they saw was their home in ashes. The last thing they saw was a funeral.”

Alex Mensing, an organizer with Pueblos Sin Fronteras, said the right to refuge is established in US law.

Some in the migrant caravan have already moved on to Tijuana, their final destination in Mexico before they attempt the treacherous crossing. Nearly all of the caravan’s members – who once numbered more than 1,000 – are fleeing violence in Central America. Many are from Honduras, where gangs control virtually every aspect of daily life.

Migrants

Despite the long journey, one family beamed with excitement while speaking with a New York Times reporter, expressing their excitement that the US border fence was only miles away.

“Well, this is incredible,” said Bryan Claros, 20, a migrant from El Salvador who was traveling with his younger brother, Luis, and their stepfather, Andres Rodríguez.

From where they were standing, on the broken sidewalk outside the Hotel del Migrantes shelter, they could see the steel border fence two blocks away and the tops of lamp posts and buildings on the other side, in Calexico, Calif.

They had fled El Salvador because of a gang’s death threats, they said, and were planning to apply for asylum when they crossed into the United States from Tijuana. Organizers had encouraged participants to seek asylum at Tijuana rather than Mexicali because it was easier to arrange for volunteer lawyers.

“We’ve almost arrived in the United States,” Mr. Claros said, smiling broadly at his brother. But then he considered the legal road ahead, and his smile faded.

The group of migrants set off from Tapachula, Mexico on March 25 and moved north en masse by foot, or by hopping on buses or stowing away on trains.

In its early days, the group was the largest migrant caravan on record, according to NYT. Of the ones that remain, organizers of the caravan expect between 100 and 300 to petition for asylum.