Beltway Insider: Trump/China Trade War, Iran, Reuters Journo’s, UNCC/STEM, Peggy Lipton

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President Donald Trump made good on his threats to increase tariffs on Chinese imports this week, as the two nations stalled on a trade agreement increasing tariff tax 15% on all Chinese goods imported into the United States.

According to Gallup, President Trump's job approval, which was tracked for the month of March ending on April 9, 2019 increased six percentage points to 45% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased by six percentage points to 51%. Ratings are calculated monthly.

Trump Makes Good on China Tariff Threat

President Trump has been building toward this moment for nearly two years, as he has continued to address what he considers the unfair trade practices and deals with many nations including China who imports considerably more than the United States exports.

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"America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our Nation's wealth. The era of economic surrender is over. From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal. We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones. And we will protect American workers and American intellectual property, through strong enforcement of our trade rules," President Donald Trump stated in his 2018 State of the Union Address.

For many this escalation in a trade war is simply an area where the President can posture and appear to look as if he is working for the American worker, especially as Election 2020, will rest on his ability to have met his campaign promises of Making America Great Again.

China, as most understand imports a massive amount of goods, from electronics to shampoo, to the tune of $337billion greater than the United States exports into China. The American consumer can't get enough of the Chinese products, one would say. It also reflects on the collapse for the Manufacturing industry in the United States.

When the Big Three Automakers are shopping in other regions of the world to import America automobiles an examination of the strength of the United States manufacturing sector. When computers, laptops, handhelds, flat screens and every other technologically advanced product is manufactured in china and imported, is it the fault of the Chinese or the United States government.

Another issue, in the talk on manufacturing all technological advancements from alternative energy wind turbines and hybrid automobiles to flat screens televisions, handheld devices, laptop computers, and even United States defense systems, all which call for the use of Rare Earth Elements in the manufacturing. Extremely harmful to mine, with the effects of three-mile island disasters, the China has one of the largest global deposits they have also added a 15 Ton import limit which sharply limits the amount of tech manufacturing.

Perhaps the battle of Trade wars rest in the lifting of the Rare Earth Element import ban which allows American Manufactures to mass produce all things technological.

Iran Send Signals of Possible Regional Attacks

President Trump, who attempted to erase nearly every global deal made during the Obama Administration took aim, one year ago at the Iranian Nuclear Deal, brokered by then Secretary of State John Kerry which called for incremental end to sanctions in exchange for the dismantling of the Nuclear program.

Trump, who has long favored the strong-arm approach when it comes to known enemies and nations who may be concealing intent, decided this week to sign an executive order to impose sanction in with respect to the regime's largest non-petroleum relation sources of export revenue.

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Targeting iron, steel, aluminum and copper, the president said in a released statement, "Today's action targets Iran's revenue from the export of industrial metals—10 percent of its export economy—and puts other nations on notice that allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer be tolerated. Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct. Since our exit from the Iran deal, which is broken beyond repair, the United States has put forward 12 conditions that offer the basis of a comprehensive agreement with Iran."

"In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.  The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces," National Security Adviser John Bolton said.

Jailed Reuters Journalists Freed

"Two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were detained in Myanmar on Dec. 12, 2017. At the time of their arrests, they had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys in a village in Myanmar's Rakhine state. They were freed on May 7 after 18 months in prison," a statement from Reuters read.

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"Today, we welcome the release of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were pardoned by Burma's civilian government.  Jailed for over 500 days since December 2017 for reporting on atrocities against the Rohingya, we are delighted they will be reunited with their families.  We hope that other jailed journalists in Burma will also be allowed their freedom.  A free press, freedom of religion, and the rule of law are fundamental principles for any democracy.  The United States will continue promoting a stable, prosperous, and democratic transition in Burma," The White House Press office said in a released statement.

Two Weeks, Two School Shootings

Over the past two weeks the news channels have been filled with images of terrified students bolting from campuses as an active shooter has taken over the campus and senselessly murdered friends and colleagues. Two weeks in America, two school shootings.

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Examining the tragic events, the shift, one might say, as evening news anchors again bring the horror of the front-line warfare into every living room and device is the determination by victims to stop the shooters, even if the ultimate sacrifice is made.

University of North Carolina Charlotte

On May 1, 2019, the last scheduled day of classes at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, a day which usually begins with jubilation, was interrupted by the news of an active shooter. Pride was replaced with panic when the Office of Emergency Management sent, the "Run, Hide, Fight" message, via text to the nearly thirty thousand students and faculty of the Charlotte Campus.

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For many they did exactly that.

For one student, Riley Howell, who decided fight was the best option to save himself and countless others. So, he did, and died a hero, after tackling the shooter and holding him down, even as he himself was mortally wounded. He held the former student down and has been credited with stopping an out of control situation. 

"But for his work, the assailant may not have been disarmed," Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department said of Mr. Howell, who was shot in the process and among six victims of a mass shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus Tuesday evening. "Unfortunately, he gave his life in the process. But his sacrifice saved lives." The New York Times Reports

In addition to Howell, Reed Parlier, also a senior at UNCC, died in the shooting. Four others were wounded. Parker and Howell both received their degrees in memoriam.

Highlands Ranch, Colorado

One week later, when the news of the UNCC shooting was barely out of the national headlines, the news came across the wire of another school shooting this time in Highlands Ranch, a suburb of Denver, Colorado, and another heroic student, Kendrick Ray Castillo, 18, who gave no thought to his own life and made the ultimate sacrifice to save others.

STEM School Highlands Ranch, a K-12 unified school, in Highlands Ranch, Colorado was on lockdown, as two shooters, a female juvenile and one adult male were randomly firing. The two shooters entered in different areas of the school with the intent of causing mass casualty, killing as many of the 1850 students as possible.

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The male adult shooter targeted his former English class and the female targeted the middle school where seven of the eight students were wounded. There was only one fatality.

"At least three students, 18-year-old seniors Kendrick Ray Castillo, Joshua Jones, and Brendan Bialy lunged at an attacker. The three students jumped from their desks and slammed the gunman against the wall. The shooter fired off several shots as they struggled with him. Castillo was killed in the process, the only student killed during the shooting. Jones was shot twice, receiving non-life-threatening injuries in his leg and hip. Bialy managed to wrestle the handgun away from the shooter during the struggle," Wikipedia reports.

First responders were on the scene in 120 seconds from the first 911 call and stopped what could have another massacre in just under 14minutes.

Time Magazine reports, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler as saying, "if you had suggested to anyone behind me or in this room that within 20 years and 20 miles, we would have dealt with Columbine, the Aurora theater, Arapahoe High School, the shooting of Zack Parrish and four other deputies, we'd have thought you mad. And yet, here we are again."

A hero, a good kid, just the best kid in the world, "John Castillo said the coroner told him his son was fatally shot after he charged at one of the gunmen in the school. "I wish he had gone and hid, but that's not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people," he told the newspaper,"' Time Magazine reported.

Lower Death Toll, Lower Threat

The death toll may be lower, which can cause a complacency to jell as we tell ourselves it isn't that bad, and gun violence is something we must live with, become accustomed to the senselessness and hold our loved ones closer and thank God it was someone else's son or daughter.

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Thankfully only four students in the first five months of the year have died. An improvement we think as we attempt to convince ourselves of this new normal.

Unfortunately, as the government in its determination to distance itself from "real tragedy" and simple gun violence, these school shooting don't even reach the mass shooting criteria. Thankfully. Four individuals' must be killed in any single shooting for the event to receive mass shooting distinction.

Thousand Oaks Mass Shooting Leaves 12 Dead and at Least 15 Injured

For the public's peace of mind, and the international reputation, America must be perceived to be a Utopia. With all its faults, it still has my loyalty. However, to attempt to hide its flaws and deep divides for the sake of reputation and the public's need to feel secure in the government, allows its ills to go unaddressed.

And so here we are again debating the need for common sense gun control. The students at the STEM school in Colorado turned a memorial service into a call for mental health reform, as they and "they" are on the front lines in this war, believe the students exhibited behaviors that should have been reviewed. Warning letters were sent to the administrator who dismissed them and threatened a defamation lawsuit.

And for the STEM School and D.A. Brauchler who in addition to Columbine, referenced the July 2012 shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. that left 12 dead and dozens wounded; the Dec. 13, 2013 shooting at Arapahoe High School in which a heavily armed student fatally wounded a classmate before taking his own life; and the Dec. 31, 2018 killing of Douglas County Deputy Zack Parrish in an ambush that resulted in four deputies and two bystanders being wounded.

Theater Shooter, James Holmes, Formally Sentenced

So back to the debate of common-sense gun reform or maybe those who are on the front lines have found another way campaign as we as a nation don't mind singling out those who are different, gothic, scary or exhibit anti-social behaviors and strengthen preemptive mental health procedures.

Providing schools with a stronger set of mental health indicators and additional mental health providers to address these issues and utilize each individual states mental health laws, such as involuntary mental health evaluations which would have possibly uncovered a red flag in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter who killed 17 students, faculty and staff in February 14, 2018.

Peggy Lipton, Actress, Model, Singer, Mother, Dies

Peggy Lipton, the iconic actress, model and singer, who in the 1970's was part of a trio of hip, youthful crime drama The Mod Squad, died this weekend after a long battle with cancer. She was 72.

Born Margaret Ann Lipton, in New York, after her family moved to Los Angeles she began acting. A former model, she had classic California girl looks and landed the role of Julie Barnes on the ABC counterculture crime drama, The Mod Squad for which she won a Golden Globe for Best Television Actress.

She married music producer Quincy Jones in 1974 and the couple had two daughters, Rashida and Kidada. They divorced in 1990.

Lipton is survived by two daughters, Rashida Jones and Kidada Jones and several nieces.


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