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Today is the first day of the Trump trade war. He unilaterally declared war on $34 billions of Chinese goods, and China is retaliating. Market indexes are pointing down. American farmers are heavily dependent on the Chinese markets, where they sell over $25 billions of soybeans, chicken and other products. There are also many other sectors which are dependent on trade with China.

If this Trump strategy creates a recession it will mean that he will be an ineffective lame duck President in the last two years of his term. The Republicans will lose control of the House, and perhaps the Senate as well.

The elections of 2008 are a case in point. I was active in the Presidential campaign of John McCain. However, when the Great Recession hit in 2017-2018 it doomed his chances. I talked to some people in the McCain campaign and said we had to do something! McCain had publicly admitted that he did not understand the economy very well.

I called my friend Will Ball, who had given up his job to work full time in the campaign, and said that McCain should announce that he would appoint Mitt Romney to serve as his Secretary of Treasury and Economic Czar.

Unfortunately, that advice was not taken. McCain was defeated by Barack Obama, who served two full terms. I then worked pro bono with my friend Congressman Collin Peterson to address the issues in what became what was known as the Dodd-Frank Act.

For quite a long time I kept on the coffee table in my office the book “This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Foley” by Carmen Reinhardt and Kenneth Rogoff.

In recent years  readers of the Washington Post have enjoyed the columns of two greate columnists, George Will and Charles  Krautammer.

Both were greate conservatives, and they complemented each other. However, we have lost Krauthammer. He died of cancer. George Will  wrote a moving tribute

to him. He recalled that his book "Things That Matter was worth reading and rereading. I agree. I had bought it when it came out in 2013, but I went back 

and read it again. His timeless wisdom can help guide us through the hperpartisan and polarized period our nation is going throught.

I cannot recall any case in which former First Ladies have been moved to speak out on an issue. However, Laura Bush was so appalled by the separation of small children from their parents that she penned this opinion piece in the Washington Post.

“ Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso," she continues. "These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history."

Mrs. Bush who  championed childhood education and literacy programs, blasts the current immigration situation unfolding in the headlines and on television news channels as not representative of the values of the United States.

"Americans pride ourselves on being a moral nation, on being the nation that sends humanitarian relief to places devastated by natural disasters or famine or war," she writes. "We pride ourselves on believing that people should be seen for the content of their character, not the color of their skin. We pride ourselves on acceptance. If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place."

Bush calls for "good people at all levels of government who can do better to fix this." She also invoked the name and memory of her mother-in-law, former first lady Barbara Bush, who died in April. Barbara Bush was also an advocate for children while her husband, George H.W. Bush, was in office. In one particularly memorable moment during her tenure almost three decades ago, Barbara Bush spent time with babies who had HIV/AIDS, picking them up and holding them.

"My mother-in-law never viewed her embrace of that fragile child as courageous. She simply saw it as the right thing to do in a world that can be arbitrary, unkind and even cruel," writes Bush. "She, who after the death of her 3-year-old daughter knew what it was to lose a child, believed that every child is deserving of human kindness, compassion and love. In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis? I, for one, believe we can."

Bush's op-ed came on the heels of current first lady Melania Trump's spokeswoman issued a statement saying that she hated to see children separated from their parents at our borders.

Since Donald Trump has been President he has lurched from one battle to another. He has insulted our best allies and trading partners such as Canada. He has conducted an on again off again trade war with China.

This is disturbing because China’s 1.4  billion people constitute 20 percent of the world population. They are the world’s largest food importer, especially of soybeans. The farm areas in middle America cast their electoral votes solidly for Trump and they stand to lose the most in Trump’s trade war with China.

Hillary Clinton won almost 3 million more popular votes than Trump, but lost handily in the electoral college.  She had only 227 to Trump’s 304.

As bad as this is, the top one percent of our population in income and assets should be worried.  In having dinner with friends at our local club, I have have found that most of them have supported and still support Trump. They are among the top one percent. They have the most to lose in Trump’s crazy trade wars.

I am happy to say that the friend who is wealthier than all of them does not support Trump.

Michael R. McLeod

It is not  just the national elections that have become more bitter and uncivil than ever  before.

I have noticed that the television ads on local stations are worse than I have ever seen. Positive ads have given way to bitter personal attacks on one’s opponents—their honesty, and anything that can be dug up. When Donald Trump uses these tactics on a daily basis, it is not surprising that lesser candidates do the same.

Gone are the days when John F Kennedy and his brother Bobby inspired young people to go into public service. I can still remember JFK ‘s words “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. These noble statements inspired a new generation of young people to get into public service. I hope that some day we can try to elevate our national dialogue again.,

Michael R. McLeod