China Will Not Help US With N Korea

TrumpWithRoss

Regardless of a trade war with China, they will not help us with N. Korea.  Indeed, China does have some sway over N. Korea.  Indeed, China has used that to play us many times over.  For most of Trump’s first year in office, he held off on his campaign promise to implement tariffs on China to reduce our astronomical trade deficit.  (China exports 4 times as much to US, as we export to China, year after year.)  This was because China was promising to convince N. Korea to agree to a nuclear deal.

However, China accomplished nothing during that time as Trump was holding off on the tariffs.  Yet, when Trump started making plans to follow through with his promise, suddenly N. Korea came to the negotiating table and a deal was made.

Despite this, Lyle J. Goldstein with the National Interest claims that Trump must now chose between a trade war with China, and the N. Korean deal.  Where exactly has Mr. Goldstein been this last year?  Trump already tried that!  It didn’t work!  So he went forward with the tariffs, and now we have a N. Korean deal.  It’s not complicated.

Despite this glaringly obvious reality, it’s likely that Mr. Goldstein is not the only one who will make this claim.  If this deal does fall apart, don’t be surprised when most of mainstream media ignores the facts presented above and blames Trump’s tariffs.

After all, this is the same mainstream media that ignored decades of terrible trade policies that have empowered China, only to blame Trump leaving TPP for the rise of China.

China is the greatest geopolitical threat to our superpower since the fall of the Soviet Union.  And what makes China a particularly unique threat is their remarkable ability to get many of our politicians and opinion leaders to shill for them.

What Trump has accomplished, however, is getting them to play their N. Korean card.  It was a big card, a scary card, but now it’s played, and China can’t take it back.  We now know that China has far too much to lose from a denuclearized N. Korea to ever let that happen, despite what they say.  But we also know now that there are no N. Korean consequences to standing up to China.

Trump can’t denuclearize N. Korea, and China wouldn’t even if they could.  If anything is going to get N. Korea to denuclearize, it will be S. Korea.  It’s a long shot, but maybe, just maybe, S. Korea can work out some kind of loose unification, and with that, just maybe, a loosely united Korean state could see the gradual extension of freedoms to N. Koreans and effectively pacify the threat.  N. Korea would still be a nuclear power, but they’d be no more a threat than S. Korea.  We can only hope.

Further Reading:

From Fareed Zakaria of all people!  Trump is Right: China’s a trade cheat If you have access to Wapo.  If you are not subscribed to them, I recommend opening them in a browser you don’t normally use.  You get 2 free articles, but it won’t notice you’ve used your two if you open it in a different browser, like Internet Explorer if you normally use Chrome.

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Why Anti-Trump John Pavlovitz is being “Tone Policed”

John Pavlovitz

To read John Pavlovitz’s blog post, you’d think the country was just fine and dandy, and the government generally respected the Constitution and tried to serve the people – until Trump came along!

He complains that his Trump supporting friends are “tone policing” him by asking him to be more constructive rather than just raging against Trump.  He then seeks to justify his rage with a list of points, complaining that these Trump voters are giving Trump a free pass.  I’m going to go through them piece by piece.  He actually does have a few good points…a few.

Mr. Pavlovitz complained, “I haven’t heard a peep from them privately or publicly over the past eighteen months:” and then proceeded to his list.  I’ll start with the ones we more or less agree upon, and then work my way down.  (My comments are in direct response to Mr. Pavlovitz)

Not when he said protestors at his rallies should have been roughed up.

Fair enough, though I’d point out that many Trump supporters faced threats of violence entering those rallies, and when Trump cancelled one rally due to threats of violence, he was mocked.  Trump’s opponents aren’t so innocent.

 Not when Elizabeth Warren was silenced and persisted.

 I’m with you on this one.

 Not when kneeling black NFL players were called sons of bitches.

I’m with you here too!  They are kneeling, not making some obscene gesture.  I support Kaepernick and what he’s trying to do.  And guess what?  Trump is actually planning to meet with him and Kanye West to discuss race relations.  Yes, Trump should’t call them “sons of bitches”, but at least he’s open to reconsidering his position after some reflection.  Maybe Kanye’s gettin’ through to him?

 Not when Evangelists offered public prayers for predatory Alabama senators.

That was a low point for the Evangelicals.  I’m so glad Doug Jones won!

Not when the vile Access Hollywood video surfaced. 

 Right, the private conversation between Trump and two other people where Trump bragged about how because he was rich and famous, women LET HIM grab them.  It’s disgusting, but it’s also his personal life.

Not when refugees were stranded at airports.

I’m sorry things are so tough for people on the other side of the world.  But where were you when Obama was bombing the crap out of Libya?!  Where were you when Sec. of State Hillary Clinton was sending weapons to dangerous rebel groups in Syria?!  You know, the very place these refugees are coming from?  Why do you think Syria has a refugee crisis in the first place?  Because of Trump?  (But there I go deflecting, right?)

Not when they were bulldozing Standing Rock burial grounds.

What did Trump do that was any different from what Obama was already doing?  I realize the Republicans used to blame Obama for problems that began during the Bush era, but two wrongs don’t make a right.  Or do they?


Not when Sally Yates was unceremoniously terminated.

Right, right, right.  It’s fine to dig into every detail of Trump’s relations with Stormy Daniels 11 years ago, but looking into whether he was wiretapped by the FBI?!!!!  A travesty of justice to even suggest such a thing!  Gimme a break!

Not when Nazis and racists in Charlottesville were called “fine people.”

First off, Trump did not call “Nazis and racists” “very fine people”.  All you have to do is listen to his entire statement.  He said there were others there that were not involved with the white nationalists, who just wanted to support the statue of Robert E. Lee, and it was them that Trump called “very fine people.”

Not when tens of millions lost healthcare under the cover of night.

I’ll believe that you weren’t deliberately dishonest in the last one, but not this time.  No, repealing the individual mandate is NOT “tens of millions” losing “healthcare under the cover of night.”  He didn’t take away anyone’s healthcare.  He took away a tax burden, a penalty for not buying healthcare.  I, and tens of millions more, now have the freedom to choose whether or not to buy healthcare.  My body my choice, right?

Not when he tweeted taunts at North Korea.

 This is what you’re outraged about?

Not when the #MeToos were victimized a second time.

 Not sure what you’re talking about here.  I can only speak for myself, but I’m cautiously optimistic about #metoo.  I don’t want it to turn into a witch hunt, but as the father of a daughter, I’d like her to grow up in a better world where women who are harassed or worse can stand up for themselves and get justice…so that this happens far less often.

We’re not as blind as Pavlovitz thinks

Nothing moved them to say anything, nothing burdened them enough to rouse them from their silence, nothing offended their sensibilities significantly enough to merit even a whisper.”

Many of us do criticize Trump on issues when we think it’s called for.  I was very critical of Trump for his tweet that he was banning transgender persons from serving in the military.  We’re just taking Trump with a grain of salt, rather than being absolutely for him, or absolutely against him.  I’m sure Pavlovitz knows some pro-Trump fanatics who really would support Trump if he killed a man in the street, but few of us fit into that category.

But we’re also weighing the alternative, and keeping things in perspective.  The only thing unprecedented about Trump is his tweets and rhetoric.  None of his actions are any more shocking than what you can find in previous administrations, except his trade policies, which are long overdue!  (Thank you Trump for finally doing something about our crippling trade deficits!)

Many of us #eventrumpers, the kind of people who voted Obama and then Trump, we haven’t forgotten that it’s possible to disagree with good people.  Having a different political view doesn’t make you the devil.  Sadly, Trump Derangement Syndrome has the effect of making anyone who voted for Trump appear to be a demon from the 9th circle of hell.

Trump’s Tariffs Bring Jobs

AmericanIndustrialLandscape

This will be a chronicle of news stories of how tariffs are bringing back American jobs.  I will add any news story from a reputable source that shows how any tariff in America (particular from the Trump administration, but not limited to it) have brought back the jobs.  If you have any such stories, please share the link in the comment section, and as long as it is a reputable news source, I’ll add it to my chronicle (and happily share a link to your cite upon request).  The purpose here is to arm the people with information.  Stories like these will be reported in media, usually local, but then forgotten and ignored by national media, so I want to arm us with facts that we can use to persuade our misguided fellow Americans who are still drinking the free trade koolaid.

 

US Steel to fire up another blast furnace in Illinois, hire 300 workers, according to marketwatch.com

Republic Steel Restarting Lorrain Factory, Adding 1000+ jobs following Trump’s Steel Tariffs, from WKYC (CBS) Channel 3 in Cleveland, OH

This Snopes article refutes the claim that Harley Davidson is closing a Wisconsin factory because of tariffs.  (Liberals like Snopes, so throw this at them if they blame Trump for Harley Davidson downsizing.)

Aluminum Worker Thanks Trump For Tariffs, From White House’s Youtube Page.  (I first saw this on DC Whispers)

US Jobless Claims Decline to Lowest Level Since Jan. 1973 , a Bloomberg article published March, 29, 2018; weeks after Trump implemented the steel and aluminum tariffs and announced plans to hit China with about $50 billion in tariffs.

Trump’s Tariffs Could Work“, from Thom Hartmann, a real progressive with integrity.  No wonder MSNBC doesn’t want him.

Why Trump’s China Tariffs Aren’t Crazy” In Yahoo Finance, by Rick Newman.  While this article criticizes the steel tariffs, it’s generally supportive of the more recent tariffs on China.

Sources on the harm of “free trade” are getting harder to find, as they get buried under a barrage of neoliberal propaganda and cherry-picked studies from well funded think tanks.

The High Cost Of The China-WTO Deal” by economist Robert E. Scott with the Economic Policy Institute.  This economist explains the harm that had already been caused by “free trade” up until 2000, and argues against the “free trade” being pushed by Clinton in 2000.

 

I’ll scour the internets for more.  Send me anything you have.  I do realize there’s a trade-off, that tariffs can also cause some retailers or dock workers to lose jobs, but I contend that it is a net gain when we have a massive trade deficit.  Mainstream media makes a fortune on retail advertising, and retail thrives on overseas sweatshops.  Inevitably, mainstream media will be very favorable to “free trade” and will try to frighten us with talk of “trade wars” and by only focusing on the jobs lost, not those gained by tariffs.

A little about me: this issue is very near and dear to me.  At 11 years of age, Ross Perot ran for President for the first time in 1992.  For the first time in my life, I got really excited about politics and a presidential candidate.  I walked the neighborhood talking to people and encouraging them to vote for Perot.  At the core of Perot’s message was to protect America’s manufacturing sector, so that we would maintain a strong tax base, and not bury ourselves in debt.  Had we listened to Perot, I don’t think we’d be over $20 trillion in debt now, and the Great Recession of 2009 would have just been another minor business cycle recession.

We Should Be Relieved That Trump Used Note Cards

TrumpsNotecards

Ask yourself this.  In a room full of students and parents of shooting victims, including a man who just lost his 18-year-old daughter – Do you want THE Donald Trump speaking to them off the top of his head?

The Trump presidency warrants many criticisms.  Probably more than anything, Trump is criticized for what he says.  He speaks carelessly off the cuff, he offends people, and rather than apologizing, he doubles down.

When I saw the snippets on the morning news of Trump’s conversation with these parents and victims, I sighed in relief!  Trump actually spent more time listening than talking.  He was sensitive (yes, Trump!)  He chose his words carefully.  Even when it came time for the most controversial part, when he proposed arming school teachers*, he proposed this about as tactfully as anyone could.

So how does a man like Trump manage to conduct himself professionally in such a sensitive situation?  He does exactly what Obama did for every one of his great, optimistic speeches – he plans his words.  Obama used the teleprompter, while Trump used good old fashioned note cards.  A teleprompter wouldn’t have been practical in that setting anyway.

Yet for some reason, Washington Post’s Aaron Blake has a problem with this.  In Wapo’s Analysis section (though this would have been more suited to Opeds), Blake claims that Trump’s note cards show a lack of empathy.**  Now, if I had a history of saying horribly insensitive things on the spot, and I wanted to show empathy; I’d be sure not to say anything on the spot, and furthermore, to show that I put some serious thought into what I would say.  If I had a history of over-talking people rather than listening, I’d show empathy by forcing myself to not fall into that bad habit, and instead, I’d listen for a change!

I know it’s a disappointment to those who enjoy sensationalizing every careless word that comes from Trump’s mouth, every awkward hand gesture, every golf game, and every socially awkward appearance he makes with Melania; but Donald Trump actually handled himself well this time.  Like it or not, Trump will almost certainly be our President until 2021, and possibly until 2025.  Wouldn’t we rather him do whatever he needs to do to conduct himself professionally and presidentially, than continue to speak off the cuff just because it makes for entertaining news?

But don’t worry Mr. Blake.  This is Trump we’re talking about.  Maybe next week he’ll insult a girl scout, or bump into an old lady with a walker or something.  You can go to town on that.

 

Note(s):

*For the record, I think arming school teachers is a recipe for disaster, and definitely oppose making this a national policy.  I’m mainly worried that in a chaotic classroom, a teacher might forget to lock it, and the wrong student will get a hold of it.

**Though Wapo published this article, they placed a video at the front of it showing clips from Trump’s meeting with these students, and you’ll see a very different Donald Trump in those clips than the one portrayed by the article that follows.  It seems Blake is alone (or in the minority) on this issue at Wapo

***Note that I don’t fault Wapo simply for publishing this article, though as I not so subtly hinted above, I think it belongs in Opeds.

Trump Creepin’ on Clinton? Gimme a break!

Ermagerd!  He’s so creepy!

To my fellow travelers on the Trump Train, here’s how we should deal with this absurd claim that Trump was creeping on Hillary in that second debate.

Donald Trump is married to the beautiful, intelligent, exotic Melania Trump.

donandmelaniatrump

Yeah, Hillary Clinton’s got nothin’ he wants!  Boom!  I’m out!

 

How did America remember what “socialist” means?

BernieSandersfromMSmithArticle

I’m used to boomer generation “conservatives” equating socialism with communist dictatorships.  The boomers lived most of their lives during the Cold War era in constant fear of the communist menace.  I expect better from my fellow millennials, however, particularly the well-educated.

Marion Smith, Executive Director of “Victims of Communism” , has written an ignorant piece of red bait for Politico called “How did America forget what socialism means?”   If I were to write something with that title, I’d argue that decades of fear during the Cold War era, combined with manipulation by right-winged pundits had caused the boomer generation to forget what socialism means and instead equate it with the Soviet Union, as though Soviet style communism was the inevitable result of any attempt at a socialist economy.  As I’ve explained in one of my educational podcasts , Socialism actually can refer to a wide variety of economic systems so long as the means of production are publicly owned and the public decides the distribution of wealth.  Socialism can be anything from total communism to a community of farmers who have decided to collectively organize and share the fruits of their labor.

Mr. Smith’s article shows a picture of Bernie Sanders on the front, and then goes on to discuss the horrors of dictatorial communism, including that of the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba in particular.  His organization, “Victims of Communism”, does an excellent job of documenting the horrors that continue in Cuba.  At no point in this article, however, does Smith explain how this is in any way caused by socialism more broadly, or that it has anything to do with Bernie Sanders.  It pretty much amounts to, Cuba is socialist.  They do horrible things to people.  Bernie Sanders is also socialist.  Therefore…

It reminds me of Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016 Obama’s America” where D’Souza spends an hour or so cherry picking details like how Obama Sr. was a Kenyan revolutionary.  Many of those Kenyan revolutionaries were communistsObama Jr. loves his father and cried over his grave.  Obama must be a communist!

The kind of socialism advocated by Bernie Sanders is not Soviet style, nor Cuban.  He advocates the kind of Democratic Socialism professed by nations in northern Europe like Denmark.  If you want to criticize Bernie Sanders by criticizing Denmark’s economy, or the economies of other such systems in northern Europe, that’s fair game.  But Sanders advocates nothing close to the kinds of dictatorships seen in these countries that identify as “communist”, such as China, Cuba, etc.  Besides, China’s system would be more accurately described as “authoritarian capitalism” .  75% of China’s economy is privately owned.  The corporations exploit workers and make enormous profits, while being backed by the authoritarian “Chinese Communist Party”.

Smith is so disappointed that most of our millennial generation has “forgotten” the meaning of socialism.  By this, he means that we don’t have the same knee-jerk reaction to the word “socialism” as the half of the boomer generation with 24/7 Faux News echoing through their homes.  But these millennials haven’t “forgotten” what socialism means.  The boomers forgot.  The millennials are remembering.  The boomers on the right are still fighting the Cold War.  Someone really should inform them that the Berlin Wall came down.

I’m forgiving of the old.  They are set in their ways, and their worldview has been shaped by experiences that I’ve only read about in textbooks.  But for Mr. Smith, there’s no excuse.