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“MAGA,” blusters Donald Trump. “Make America Great Again!” America’s ranching families, however, would like Trump to come off his high horse and get serious about a more modest goal, namely Make America COOL Again.

COOL stands for Country of Origin Labeling, a straightforward law simply requiring that the labels on packages of steak, pork chops, etc., tell us if the meat came from the USA, China, Brazil or Whereintheworldistan. That’s useful information, empowering consumers to decide where their families’ food dollars go. But multinational meatpacking giants like Tyson Foods, JBS, and Cargill don’t want you and me having this basic knowledge and power to decide for ourselves.

So, in 2012, the meat monopolists got the World Trade Organization to decree that our nation’s COOL law violated global trade rules — and our corporate-submissive Congress-critters meekly surrendered, repealing the law.

Then came Donald Trump, blustering furiously against world trade scams and launching his Made in America campaign, which included promising struggling ranchers that he’d make restoring the COOL label a centerpiece of his new NAFTA deal. Ranching families cheered Donald the Dealmaker because getting that “American Made” brand on their products would mean more sales and better prices.

Now, however, cheers have turned to jeers, for Trump has issued his new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, ballyhooing it as a “historic transaction.” But wait a minute … Where’s the beef? In his grandiose 1,809-page document, there is not one scrap about restoring COOL, not one word.

Worse than being left out, America’s hard-hit ranching families are actually slapped in the face by Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal, for it allows multinational meatpackers to keep shipping into the U.S. market foreign beef that does not meet our food safety standards! Aside from the “yuck” factor and health issues, this gives Tyson and other giants an incentive to abandon U.S. ranchers entirely.

What’s the matter with Donald and The Trumpateers? Why won’t they stand up for the American workers and business owners who make their products right here in the good ol’ US of A?

Oh, yeah, I know they talk a good game. Trump himself even issued a bold, star-spangled executive order in 2017 promoting the purchase of “American-made goods” produced by American labor. We consumers respond positively to that pitch, generally preferring to buy everything from mattresses to hockey pucks that are manufactured here at home. For example, take Patriot Puck. What’s not to like about this corporation, which literally wraps its hockey pucks in American flag packaging and proudly advertises that they are “the only American Made Hockey Puck”?

Well, sadly, one thing not to like is that the puck-seller’s pitch was a lie. Its product actually turned out to be made in China. It’s not just wrong to engage in such an unfair and deceptive sales scam. It’s a federal crime.

Saddest of all, though, is that when honest competitors and defrauded consumers protested the blatant firm’s deceit, Trump’s Federal Trade Commission appointees proved to be Made in America wimps. Far from standing up for U.S. workers, they coddled the job-stealing culprit. Trump’s Commission assessed no fines, required no admission of the obvious corporate crime, didn’t even make “Patriot” Puck notify customers of its false marketing scam and let it keep all the profits it pocketed from the fraud. Instead, Trump’s regulatory “toughies” insisted that the threat of future fines would keep such outlaws in check.

Seriously? The real crime here is not just that corporation after corporation is being given a pass for mocking our Made in America laws but that our nation’s president is mocking the plight of America’s manufacturing workers by making a spectacle of standing up for them. It’s a shameful political fraud.

One thing we can do to address the injustice of Trump & Company not enforcing Made in America laws and backing down from COOL is to stand with America’s farm and ranch families against their betrayal by Trump and the Big Food monopolists by contacting the National Farmers Union: NFU.org.

Populist author, public speaker and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America’s ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

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