As I have repeatedly predicted, the Chinese are continuing to swamp President Trump with his own rhetoric. For the third time since these tariff “negotiations” started, as a deadline approached, the Chinese have played POTUS with the promise to purchase stuff they would need anyway.
AND it won’t be the Chinese negotiators who do the buying. It is companies in China who have gotten the green light to buy these items unencumbered, if they wish.
That point is made all the more interesting by the fact that the Chinese insisted the promise not be written down. Stupidly, or perhaps out of desperation, the Trump administration rolled over and pissed on itself. They removed the threatened December tariffs and cut back on old tariffs.
What did we get in return? Well, for one thing, we get to pay higher corn and soy prices. An unanticipated spike in sales will lower supplies and raise prices. Beyond that, the much-praised Phase One deal yielded exactly nothing for us. As usual, when the government tips the scale on anything, only the targeted populations, this time farmers, benefit. The rest of us have to lump it. It is a broad-brush, net zero.
Why? Let’s review.
First, as I have stated repeatedly, the Chinese do not want a deal. They CERTAINLY don’t want any kind of a deal that is binding and commits them to end their criminal activities vis a vis the theft of intellectual property and the forced surrender of technology. China simply will not agree to that unless the West and the Pacific Rim develop the sack needed to SHUT DOWN all trade with China.
The theft issue is enough to cease trade with the Chinese entirely. The technology transfer problem is the fault of the cronies who sleep with the ChiComms like whores. They don’t care that in the long-term their companies will be nationalized by the ChiComms. They know they will make personal billions in the interim and future layoffs will occur amongst the employees they don’t give a shit about. Who cares if the Chinese then dominate the industry later. The cronies got their cut.
Don’t agree? Look at the 5G situation. 90% of Chinese domination in that sector is courtesy of crony whores from the West, especially big tech in the US. Thanks, Google. Thanks, Facebook. Good job, Amazon and Tesla! So much for your tree-hugging, planet loving, “liberal” titans of tech.
Secondly, even if we stipulate that the whole tariff war was a good idea (It’s not. It’s remarkably stupid and ILLEGAL.), Trump et al went about the wrong way about it. The obvious reason the Chinese don’t want to make a deal is because they don’t need to right now.
We don’t have anyone but the Mexicans watching our back against the ChiComms. By impulsively pounding everyone at the same time with tariff talk, Trump disunified the West. He weakened the position of the West and the US in face of China. That’s why we had to back down on Huawei. NO ONE is willing to help, because our friends and enemies alike are busy fighting off our tariffs as well.
The smart way to do the tariff move would have been to first leave Europe out of the battle for now. Invite them to do battle with Russia and China at the same time, agreeing on low hanging fruit to tariff and stick it to China all at once. They could have started with Huawei as a team.
Sadly, because Europe meekly demurred from dealing with Huawei’s threat, we were left hanging. It was announced last week the company can continue “for 90 more days” (yeah right) to bid on contracts with OUR GOVERNMENT! THIS INCLUDES THE DO goddamn D. That’s right boys and girls. ChiComm, inc. (not to be confused with Chicago Communications) will continue to build electronics for our government and military!
(WAIT. Didn’t B. Hussein Obama, peace be upon him, come from Chicago? Maybe…well…nah.)
If, in the course of his presidency (4 years or 8) Trump gets the criminal regime (Xi’s, not Obama’s. Obama’s is gone.) to codify in law that they have forsworn theft and corporate coercion as standard business, I will declare my read of all of this as wrong and will publish a detailed and sincere apology.
Today’s foreign affairs headline reflects, in microcosm, our status as the “world super power.” We are no longer that, of course. We are an international train wreck. Specifically, what your are about to read is why I put chapter 16 in Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore. More generally, realities like what you’ll see below are why I wrote the book.
Let me preface by saying that precious few who read this will come away with the intended message. The reason for that is simple. Folks who read political/social commentary tend to lean in one strong direction or another. In today’s childish political environment that mostly equates to the two camps of I-LOVE-EVERYTHING-ABOUT-TRUMP (ILEAT) or TRUMP-IS-THE-ANTICHRIST (TITA). Both camps are brain damaged and rarely capable of real discourse.
The ILEAT believes that POTUS is a genius. No matter how stupid or immature his comments or tweets, they are convinced the gaffes are really signs of an underlying genius that only ILEAT members have the gift to understand. They believe he authored the tax reduction and actually “cured” us of Obamacare. He did neither. They believe that a wall, because he told them so, was going to solve out illegal immigration problem. It won’t. But don’t tell ILEAT that.
This cadre also believes that Donald Trump really is the greatest dealmaker of all time. A dealmaker he may be (there is doubt about who actually negotiated his deals in civilian life) but that hasn’t served him well so far in his international dealings and that is what we will discuss here.
And let’s face it, 1600 words is nothing. But for the average voter right now it’s considered a tough slog.
Look at North Korea, Hong Kong, Europe, China, Iran. They are taking advantage of Trump’s overtures to gain legitimacy. In the case of North Korea and Iran it is ONLY in Trump’s talk of making deals with them that they have even the pretense of legitimacy. But… in order to make the “beautiful, beautiful” deals the Donald claims are on the horizon, he needs people on the other side who want to make a deal. So far, none of them do, so they string him along with hints of deals and short, meaningless “negotiations”.
On the TITA side you have the idiots who think everything wrong with the US, especially foreign affairs, is the fault of Donald J. Trump. This is even more absurd than the former group.
Whether you agree with Trump’s approach or not (I don’t) there is one truth that can only be denied by the most credulous and ignorant: He is at least trying to move us back onto the world stage and regain some power and prestige.
Generations of politicians before him, both legislative and executive, have slowly ground away our position in the world mostly through a combination of incompetence, cowardice and cruelty. I’ll explain how that is still true today. Trump’s immediate predecessor actually took sides AGAINST America’s interests from his infamous apology tour through his standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the mullahs, against his own people, to guarantee Iran nuclear weapons by 2024.
Trump may be flailing from scheme to scheme, but he is at least trying. I will also credit him thusly: I think much of what we have seen of our policies throughout the Middle East are the result of advice going to Trump from advisors who have no greater concept of success there than he has.
So, with all that said, why write the article at all?
Someone has to say it.
One other caveat: This is not intended as an argument for or against new adventures in foreign lands. It is a critique of our existing ones.
The morning headlines announced Trump’s reversal of his December reversal of his previous announcement that we were leaving Northern Syria. Back in December, when he first blurted out that we were leaving the region it became immediately clear that he was acting on impulse and had not sought the advice of the Pentagon or the Joint Chiefs. When they had a collective conniption, Trump quickly said we would stay to protect the Kurds (loyal allies) from Turkey’s clear intention to wipe them out. This morning? Meh…not so much.
From Korea to Iraq and Afghanistan we can now add Syria to the list of places where we wasted American and foreign lives for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. In most cases, we have then left those who fought by our side to be broken by the enemy, as is now the case with the Kurds.
The poor, pathetic Kurds. Three times in three decades we sought their support in our ham-handed dealings in Iraq, and now Syria. Three times they took our side asking that we be there for them, if not to help them gain the independence they sought, then at least to keep them from being overrun by their enemies. And now, again, we have failed them.
Remember, it was Bashir al-Assad, emboldened by Barack Obama’s fecklessness, who decided to break from his father’s harsh but pragmatic style and start to crush his opponents overtly. Obama’s repeated lack of response (no law said he had to respond) left a power vacuum too tempting for Russia to resist. Assad had made too many domestic enemies. Seducing him was a cakewalk for Putin.Â
In regaining a foothold in the Mediterranean not enjoyed since the 70’s, Russia made a cold calculation to let ISIS run free in northern Syria. Their presence there and in Northern Iraq, on real estate we paid for with blood – more than once – was icing on the cake for both Putin and Assad. They knew our position in Iraq was severely diminished thanks to Obama’s intentional destruction of the previous Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Even the sorry, corrupt government in Iraq at the time knew Obama didn’t care how many American lives were lost there when he sent Joe “Duh” Biden to “renegotiate” (SOFA) less than a month before it expired.
This set the stage for Iran to become the dominant force over the area we had fought for.
With the US busy in Iraq, Assad could continue to gas villages sympathetic to his internal enemies. If we moved against Syria, we would be the aggressors, on paper anyway.
This Christmas, let your family and friends know just how cool you really are!
Po River Furiture
And the situation didn’t improve with age. Obama played paddy cake with ISIS and Putin for the final years of his presidency. His obsequious use of the term ISIL (even ISIS didn’t use the self-aggrandizing term for themselves anymore) throughout made it even more distasteful to watch.
The Trump administration reinvigorated W’s limited war practice to just barely rid Iraq and part of Syria of ISIS. Now, with the help of Turkey, ISIS is reconstituting as we speak.
The only locals who actually fought effectively through all this were the Kurds.
And so we come full circle. This is the same Turkey who will roll right past our people in the region and try to stomp the remaining Kurdish forces there into a fine paste. The Donald is making tough noises about this, “I’ll wreck your economy” and such. But that is for domestic consumption. If Turkey respected Trump they wouldn’t be sheltering ISIS or pushing into Syria to kill Kurds. They are doing both.
This post isn’t about whether we should involve ourselves in these places. That ship has sailed. The fact is, under an endless succession of post-Vietnam yes-men, we ARE there. We have once again wasted American lives and not pushed the contest to an advantageous outcome.
The few reading this who understand how the world actually works, get it. But the others?…
To the TITAs among you: Did Trump’s predecessors do any better? While I disagree with his approach to our present situation, I would contend POTUS is doing as well or better than any of his predecessors since WWII. That’s a REALLY LOW goddamn bar.
To the ILEATs; However we feel about Iraq (I don’t think we needed to go there) what of our actions since?Â All those Americans killed and injured taking territory – in the case of some cities, more than once. Did they do it so Iran could take control of two thirds of the fucking country? And the guys who fought ISIS, was that so the nut bags could take cover in Turkey and come back later? How do we sum this up? Was it all just a fucking gesture? Do we now get to “harrumph” everyone and walk away having accomplished nothing, or worse leaving the field to a happier, healthier enemy (Iran)?
Iâll answer all those questions for you. No, Trump’s predecessors have done no better. They were all gullible enough to think limited war is a good idea. (Some jerkoff in the last 20 or so years came up with the term asymmetrical warfare as a synonym for limited war. It sounds so POWER POINT!) And yes, we are going to treat the sacrifices, both ours and those of our enemies, as a vapid gesture and we are going to walk away.
Thank you TITAs and ILEATs. Thanks to all who think war is good or bad based on who is president at the time. And of course, thanks to the governing class. Because of you, we WILL do this all again after we finally absent ourselves from Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s because many reading this are hopping mad right now â not at the situation, but at me – and you are incapable of learning.
All the other foreign debacles I mentioned at the outset will play out just as well. Some of that will be Trump’s fault. But his predecessors teed all of it up, especially in the cases of China and North Korea.
I wrote this before leaving town for the holidays. But check out the update at the end. I love being right!
Let’s pretend we’re Puritans and we’re irreparably offended by Roy Moore, et al!
A good holiday read this year might be The Crucible: A play in four acts by Arthur Miller. Yes, the original play is a great read. It beats the movie all the hell. And it couldn’t be more timely.
People who do not understand economics, and there are far too many in this country, usually fail to realize what happens to the value of their money when worthless dollars are injected into the economy. Whether on a small scale by counterfeiters or a large scale by the government trying desperately to keep Wall Street afloat, flushing money with no underlying value into the system cheapens the currency and hurts everyone but the Federal Reserve and the cronies or criminals who will profit directly from the circulation of the funny money.
The same holds true with just about every other aspect of your life. When there is too much of something or false versions of something flood society, the real thing loses value. Sometimes the real thing becomes the object of contempt.
So in an age of me-too-ism, where hoards of people try to inject themselves into high-visibility narratives, the experience of real people with real problems becomes cheapened.
In recent weeks we have seen a gully wash of sexual harassment claims made public by people trying to gain notice by riding on the backs of people who have real harassment grievances.
We hear stories every day from people coming out of the woodwork to tell us what happened to them way back when. Some are real. Some indicate real trauma, if the activity involved was unwanted.
But many are of the type we hear from a handful of women trying to get some mileage out of some me too stories.
Barbara Boxer recounts a story about a fellow member of congress in the 80’s who said, “I’d like to associate with the gentle-lady (Boxer),” In a joking and suggestive manner. Please remember that Boxer is an attractive woman. In the 80’s she was HOT.
So what are we to make of this? Was it harassment? Of course not. It was a joke and one can safely assume meant as a compliment. And it happened thirty-some years ago. If Boxer considered it harassment what are we to say about her strength as a person. It seems she wants us to feel sorry for her because she is just a girl.
In a world where sexual harassment charges have become a cottage industry even before fat Harvey hit the headlines, are we to assume that Barbara Boxer was too weak to bring this capital offense to light? Of course not. She is putting forward this story because she wants to gain some political cache while all this SH talk is still percolating. So she takes a joke, which she in all likelihood laughed at, and is now touting it as trauma.
This is actually the message, both direct and indirect, that we are being sent. If a woman says she was harassed or assaulted sexually we are to believe it without question. If we don’t we are no better than the accused. And in this reinvigorated age of penny ante sexual offense, the accused has no assumption of innocence. The accused is guilty and that is that.
I would ask why? Are we obliged to believe something because the person making the claim wants to be believed? Is that the reasoning process?
The justification, we are told, is that coming out with such allegations is a brave act.
I would submit that to approach your organizations chain of command, as a lone accuser, in a timely manner with accusations about someone you see every day or actually work for is brave. There are hoops to jump through. Despite assurances, we’ve seen that companies or government organizations are not always honest brokers in these situations. Hell, Fat Harvey’s company had a schedule of financial penalties they would charge him every time he got caught begging women for sex. THAT is NOT an organization with a desire to see its employees protected from abuse. That is a company with incentives to support the abuser.
It is NOT brave to be recruited by the media or bottom dwellers like Gloria Allred and to smear politicians or anyone in exchange for 15 minutes of fame. I’ll deal with the veracity of claims against Conyers, Moore and Franken in a bit. But true or not, to come out and claim offense, years after the alleged incident, to the public, surrounded by cheerleaders, at a time that JUST HAPPENS to be the most damaging to the accused is not brave. It is underhanded, vindictive and questionable on its face.
The stories presently swirling around many male celebrities have sweeping degrees of credibility. In the case of poor John Conyers (D-MI) things do look bad. It seems his odd predilection for walking around his office in his skivvies was well-known [1.See what I mean about organizations not REALLY being interested in helping the actual victims of harassment…or even embarrassment] throughout Capitol Hill. AND he’s paid settlement money [stolen from us] to hush his accusers. We have to chalk him up as guilty.
The stories around Al Franken (D-MN) show him to be sophomoric and kind of pathetic. If true, some of the claims do rise to at least smarmy. The original accuser, who I tend to put the most trust in, had pictures. Franken’s response to her was at first dismissive. Then when the pictures came out, Al was suddenly somber and contrite. He would restage his contrition, always fine-tuning his remarks again and again. But his tone was always somewhat smug and self-important, even while trying to pretend he was sorry.
His non-resignation resignation speech was an exercise in deflecting, projecting and chest beating.
But as is almost always the case with these high profile smack downs, out from nowhere we get the ones who WANT to pile on. The last one I heard piling onto Franken said when he posed for a picture with her at an event YEARS AGO, he put his hand ON HER WAIST and squeezed twice. On her waist? Is the waist a sex organ? Is it depraved when mooning for political photo (the attendees are always the ones to request a picture) to throw an arm around the people you’re posing with? And squeezed how?
The complainant in this case said a hand on her waist made her feel diminished, less human. She also said she won’t allow her husband to touch her that way in public. Wow! She sounds like loads of fun! She also sounds like she is piling on. Oh yeah…uh…me too! Me too! He assaulted me!
As for the original accuser, Leeann Tweeden, I think my wife hit the nail right on the head. Little troll with a permanent Joker smirk on his face wants to “rehearse” a stage kiss with hot lady. Hot lady finally gives in. Little troll, desperate to feel attractive lays a killer lip lock on hot lady. Hot lady is, of course, annoyed with the little troll. She also finds out he posed for pictures while she slept, pretending to grope her boobs. There was no groping, but again, even the accuser at the time considered it all adolescent behavior. It was probably the subject of many a demeaning giggles and gossip over the ensuing years.
But in the age of “all men suck” and “I want some too” it all went from Isn’t Al gross? to I was abused and damaged for life.
My wife said that if it had been an A list star for whom Tweeden felt a physical or romantic attraction, the whole “rehearsal” would have seemed cute and sexy, [sigh] impetuous! But it was the little troll, so he needed to be punished.
The Roy Moore Story: In A Class of its Own
In most states, it is legal to marry at 16 with parental consent. In Hawaii that age is 15. In Alabama and Utah it’s 14.
So right off the bat, we can dispense with the whole child abuse thing regarding Moore. We may think a 30+ year old man pursuing teenagers is kind of pathetic, but it doesn’t automatically rise to the destruction of someone 40 years after the fact.
In the case of one of Moore’s accusers, the mother of the girl in question encouraged her to pursue the relationship. One can safely assume mom thought gittin’ daughter hitched up to a lawyer might not be so bad.
Eliminate Yearbook Lady.
Before I break down this circus I’ll say this: When a politician comes at you waving a bible or any holy paper and says vote for me, assume first that you are being played. Moore is a Southern political stereotype. He is smarmy and disingenuous. His whole religious schtick is laughable. I can’t believe how easily people still fall for that crap. But if he says he’s a Christian and wears a cowboy hat, I guess that’s good enough for Billy Bob.
…Beverly Young Nelson, likely recruited by Gloria Allred for fun and profit, has stunk to high heaven from the start. Her overly rehearsed statement, read from a script, was an outlier from the beginning. The narrative is in no way similar to that of the other accusers. It sounded completely contrived. Then after insisting twice in that press conference that the inscription in her yearbook was entirely from the hand of Moore, we find out Nelson added the cute little notations. So in the court of law and the court of common sense we are permitted to dismiss her and Allred entirely out of hand.
As for the others, whether Moore made a play for them or not, my question is where the hell have they been for the past 40 years? Where were they when Moore was elected to the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court? In that position he has a much more direct effect on people’s lives than the 535 jackasses we have working on Capitol Hill. Why didn’t these brave troopers speak up then about his antics from 38 years ago? Where were they with Moore’s Ten Commandments circus stunt? He clearly knew it would spark a shits storm, it always does. He did it for political mileage. Why didn’t these women call him out as a hypocrite then, while he was making national headlines?
The answer is obvious. Roy Moore was not running for a precariously balanced Senate yet. So there was no press or political operatives snooping around hoping to create a story. Opposition research led to some stuff that was ripe for the pickin’ in the age of Fat Harvey. And voila, you have a 38-year-old story that is treated as if it were serious and happened last week.
If you are truly so puritanical as to be offended by this, so be it. But I expect to see the same people rallying against child marriages, parental consent or not, because to get to that point with a young girl, we all know there has to be some he-in’ and she-in’ going in before hand. If that is sexual assault or child abuse, there can be no child marriage. Period. If you are not ready for this fight, spare me your faux offense.
We hear congressmen saying if Moore wins the ethics committee will immediately launch an investigation. About what? The allegations are 38 years old. And as we have demonstrated here, this is none of the Federal Government’s business. They have absolutely no bearing on Moore’s ability to legislate.
Besides, until Congress comes clean about who paid tax-payer dollars to hush up sexual harassment accusers, and what these congressmen did to those who were paid, they have no ethical authority to investigate anything of a sexual nature.
But as I said earlier, it is stories like these that will cause bosses, coworkers and potential mentors to hold people at arm’s length. When someone is legitimately accused of sexual abuse, stories like these will cheapen the charge, cause eye-rolls and give organizations even more incentives to circle the wagons against REAL accusers.
And no, we don’t have to believe anyone just because they said something. Certainly we don’t if the story is years old and timed to damage someone at a key moment. I couldn’t care less if Franken and Moore slid into a sinkhole together. But when we treat petty complaints like these as if they were the equivalent of REAL abuse, we hurt women.
Update: Well, well! It turns out that I had it exactly right. Gloria Allred and Lisa Bloom (Mama Sleazebag and Baby Sleazebag, respectively) have been COLLECTING DONATIONS from liberal suckers to pay women to make sexual assault and harassment allegations against high-ranking conservatives. To have suspected it bothered me. To learn it was true infuriates me. These “crusaders for women’s rights” have done more damage to the position of women in society than anything Franken or Moore could ever dream of.
And just to make it all even sleazier, these two wretches were schlepping donations to do this! They’re both richer than god. They could have bankrolled these “offended” women if they really believed their complaints. And when many turned out to be duds, Allred and Bloom claim to have returned “some” of the donated money. What skanks!
Expect to see more of this in coming elections. Hey, when you don’t have real issues to pursue, why not make a mockery of a real issue?
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