Wondering why a few conservative friends see our former President as “an arrogant buffoon”.
- Our President finally, awkwardly, speaks out against anti-Semitism and the surge in anti-Jewish vandalism here in St. Louis and elsewhere. At The Swash Zone, (O)CT(O)PUS considers the grudging, belated acknowledgement and is unimpressed.
- The case for a strong, everlasting Israel is compelling. We just need to look to a brutal history of ethnic and religious oppression. T. Paine, at Saving Common Sense, could easily make that case, but relies instead on rhetorical slight of hand and anti-Palestinian shortcuts.
It seems that Palestinians in the area have no legitimate grievances. Those who were displaced by the establishment of modern-day Israel, and their descendants, are not really Palestinians because there exist so many Palestinians who live in other areas. Palestine is a region, not a country, therefore, Palestine should be a region, not a country.
T. Paine is an important, very busy, individual. When he finds the time, we can look forward to a more coherent case.
- Jack Jodell at The Saturday Afternoon Post finds President Trump’s boast of an administration running as a fine-tuned machine to be humorous in a macabre sort of way.
- Jon Perr at PERRspectives explains the connection between the Trump tax return cover up and the strange math advanced by Republicans planning more tax cuts for the fabulously wealthy.
- Max’s Dad is on another creative rant, this time about Trumpian RussiaGate.
- Last Of The Millenniums is impressed by the White House attempts, and the FBI’s rejection of those attempts, to interfere with current investigations into Trump campaign collusion with Russia during the Presidential campaign. Covering up is not supposed to be so obvious.
- Dave Dubya analyzes the escalating attacks against mainstream press by the prickly new national administration and finds a longer term pattern.
- The Onion, offers a ticktock account of Donald Trump’s relationship with the Press from 47,891 BC to now.
- We have made it through another Week in Alternative Facts. Jonathan Chait explains how administrative aides are using fake news as a sedative to pull our President back from the more dangerous of his maniacal moods. Visits to the parallel universe soothe his troubled soul.
- Jonathan Bernstein explains how and why Donald Trump can become a greater danger to democracy as the administration weakens.
- Vixen Strangely at Strangely Blogged, catalogs the mystery of creepy, shifting, conservative reaction to Milo Yiannopoulos.
- In The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser, former pastor and current atheist Bruce asks his evangelical readers to count through all the evil sins they and those they know were led into by the newest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
- Oh my living God NO. PZ Myers, reports on a horrible sort of Super Glue substitute for tampons in a product semi-invented by a maniac.
- For Vincent at A Wayfarer’s Notes and a correspondent, separate visits to Walmart become spiritually mystical experiences.
The Trump Cheat Sheet – Losing Heads or Tails
The Trump administration prepares the latest trade scam.
It’s a neat trick.
Count all imports, but not all exports.
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Heads I win, tails you lose.
It would be a neat trick in any enterprise. If you only have to count income and not expenses, your balance sheets will look pretty good.
You want to get a loan? You tell the bank about all the income generated. Doesn’t much matter what the level is. The income/expense ratio will be out of this world.
“Income looks okay,” says the smiling bank analyst. “What is the level of expense?”
“No expenses,” you say.
If you can do the reverse, your taxes will be easy to pay. Report all your expenses, and tell them there was no income.
So no taxes. Wow.
Just try it.
If the bank is run by insane people, they might believe what you say and give you a loan. The government tax agent might laugh for a second or two before the friendly authorities put on the cuffs. There might be a brief tussle with the bank when they want their money back. But the government will win that one, they always do.
Counting only one side of the spreadsheet? Doesn’t quite work that way in the real world. But they’re about to try just that in the strange Schrödinger world of conservative bookkeeping.
Globalization is an uncontrollable force, in many respects. Your cell phone, your flat screen television, probably your computer would all be impossible without international trade. Even your automobile runs on trade. It may be proudly assembled in America, but important parts are made elsewhere.
Most of that is okay with the Trump administration. Has to be. For all the talk about jobs being exported, they won’t worry about trade with Canada, Europe, Russia, and much of Asia. Why other countries are targeted is open for discussion.
Costing us as much as $60 billion dollars a year with Mexico alone in trade deficits.
President Donald Trump, January 26, 2017
Mr. Trump and his top advisors do have a fixation on Mexico, Mexicans, and those Americans who have any Mexican ancestry. The alt right is a euphemism for something on the dark side of the force.
Countries whose citizens have been responsible for death from terrorism in the United States have many things in common. One important thing is that none, none at all, zero, are on Mr. Trump’s list of immigrants to be banned from entry.
The exactitude with which Trump business interests seem to overlay new definitions of national interest includes, but extends beyond, immigration.
Fact is, a substantial part of trade flowing in and out of the United States is layover and service work. “Value added,” they call it. Kind of like the storage facilities you see along the highway, except with a service department in the back. Trade everywhere has always involved safe harbors, even in ancient times. That’s why stopovers on trade routes were the parts of geography where wealth accumulated.
So, much of the American economy involves trade between other countries, with the United States as middleman. The US provides established pathways, infrastructure for travel and storage, and the technology to add value.
Still, a disproportionate amount of that value-added, in-and-out, sort of trade originates in countries toward which Trump and company have a transparent hostility.
They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.
It is not simply undocumented workers who are to be hated. Illegal immigration doesn’t happen because of those fleeing violence or those obeying the eternal desire for a better life of economic opportunity. It is because those who remain in those countries have chosen their worst to send, actually send, to us.
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us.
So the ongoing Trump campaign to eliminate commerce with select countries is justified by the two types of trade: the criminals Mr. Trump informs us are being sent to us by those countries, and the goods and services they are transporting to us in exchange for jobs that rightfully belong here.
But ethnic justification goes only so far. Something has to be done about the economic argument. A lot of trade creates jobs in the United States. The data that measures that is produced by the very government the Trump administration has taken over.
So a new way of calculating trade balance is being considered.
The way it would work is simple. When Mexico produces goods to send to Canada or Europe or pretty much anywhere, and sends it through the United States, the new slight of hand would apply. The imports into the United States would be counted. When they are then exported out of the United States, to their final destination, they would not be counted.
Coming in, they count. Going out, they don’t count.
So the trade deficit with Mexico would suddenly look like it doubled overnight. If it looks scary enough, the administration can tax, inhibit, or prohibit the re-exports, and also other sorts of trade.
It all might actually cost jobs, but jobs don’t seem to be the real aim, except for presentation to the base. The motivation seems to be to hurt countries Trump and his alt right advisors don’t like for ideological and ethnic reasons.
Whatever the reasons for the hostility, changing the calculation is a hidden way of cooking the books. They propose to take a large amount of the import and re-export trade with Mexico and only count one side of the ledger.
If you and I cook the books that way, we’ll get into some serious trouble.
But, the new administration is bringing in new methods of accountability.
It’s heads they win, tails everyone else loses.
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- This week’s Report From an Alternative Reality comes from Robert Schlesinger of U.S. News & World Report.
- driftglass believes he may have discovered what the President means when he boasts that his administration runs like a fine-tuned machine.
- At Crooks and Liars, Frances Langum has found an app that re-prints Trump tweets in a more appropriate medium.
- Green Eagle considers the only strategy by which Donald Trump can revive his hold on power. Watch out.
- At The Moderate Voice Robert Levine explores the deepening mysteries of the Flynn resignation or firing or whatever it was.
- Ted McLaughlin at jobsanger has found a place from which we can see Russia.
- The Big Empty illustrates the Republican strategy in handling Trump scandals.
- Almost the entire universe thinks it was a disaster, but Tommy Christopher, finds a well known admirer who is impressed by President Trump’s last press conference.
- The Swash Zone looks back on the purity of the Jill Stein campaign.
- Mark Bear at MadMikesAmerica has a message for white evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump.
- Last Of The Millenniums uncovers a new conservative Christian movement, alt Jesus.
- Iron Knee at Political Irony explains how illegals are damaging the country.
- With lots of beautiful pictures and a little history, Infidel753 reminds us that there is much that most of us don’t know about Iran.
Elizabeth Warren Joins Another Persister, John Quincy Adams
Elizabeth Warren deserves praise: She “persisted.” Among others who persisted, John Quincy Adams was a true original.
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