Clueless

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s column from yesterday is astute, to-the-point, and well worth the few minutes it takes to read it.  He hits the nail on the head regarding Trump’s trade ‘negotiations’ with China.

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The Art of the Imaginary Deal

On trade, Trump is a rebel without a clue

Are we going to have a full-blown trade war with China, and maybe the rest of the world? Nobody knows — because it all depends on the whims of one man. And Tariff Man is ignorant, volatile and delusional.

Why do I say that it’s all about one man? After all, after the 2016 U.S. election and the Brexit vote in Britain, there was a lot of talk about a broad popular backlash against globalization. Over the past two years, however, it has become clear that this backlash was both smaller and shallower than advertised.

Where, after all, is the major constituency supporting Donald Trump’s tariffs and threats to exit international agreements? Big business hates the prospect of a trade war, and stocks plunge whenever that prospect becomes more likely. Labor hasn’t rallied behind Trumpist protectionism either.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans believing that foreign trade is good for the economy is near a record high. Even those who criticize trade seem to be motivated by loyalty to Trump, not by deep policy convictions: During the 2016 campaign self-identified Republicans swung wildly from the view that trade agreements are good to the view that they’re bad, then swung back again once Trump seemed to be negotiating agreements of his own. (We have always been in a trade war with Eastasia.)

But if there’s no strong constituency for protectionism, why are we teetering on the brink of a trade war? Blame U.S. trade law.

Once upon a time, Congress used to write detailed tariff bills that were stuffed full of giveaways to special interests, with destructive effects on both the economy and American diplomacy. So in the 1930s F.D.R. established a new system in which the executive branch negotiates trade deals with other countries, and Congress simply votes these deals up or down. The U.S. system then became the template for global negotiations that culminated in the creation of the World Trade Organization.

The creators of the U.S. trade policy system realized, however, that it couldn’t be too rigid or it would shatter in times of stress; there had to be ways to relieve pressure when necessary. So trade law gives the executive the right to impose tariffs without new legislation under certain circumstances, mainly to protect national security, to retaliate against unfair foreign practices, or to give industries facing sudden surges in foreign competition time to adjust.

In other words, U.S. trade law gives the president a lot of discretionary power over trade, as part of a system that curbs the destructive influence of corrupt, irresponsible members of Congress. And that setup worked very well for more than 80 years.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t intended to handle the problem of a corrupt, irresponsible president. Trump is pretty much all alone in lusting for a trade war, but he has virtually dictatorial authority over trade.

What’s he doing with that power? He’s trying to negotiate deals. Unfortunately, he really, really doesn’t know what he’s doing. On trade, he’s a rebel without a clue.

Even as he declared himself Tariff Man, Trump revealed that he doesn’t understand how tariffs work. No, they aren’t taxes on foreigners, they’re taxes on our own consumers.

When trying to make deals, he seems to care only about whether he can claim a “win,” not about substance. He has been touting the “U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement” as a repudiation of NAFTA, when it’s actually just a fairly minor modification. (Nancy Pelosi calls it “the trade agreement formerly known as Prince.”)

Most important, his inability to do international diplomacy, which we’ve seen on many fronts, carries over to trade talks. Remember, he claimed to have “solved” the North Korean nuclear crisis, but Kim Jong-un is still expanding his ballistic missile capacity. Well, last weekend he claimed to have reached a major trade understanding with China; but as J.P. Morgan soon reported in a note to its clients, his claims “seem if not completely fabricated then grossly exaggerated.”

Markets plunged earlier this week as investors realized that they’d been had. As I said, business really doesn’t want a trade war.

Let’s be clear: China is not a good actor in the world economy. It engages in real misbehavior, especially with regard to intellectual property: The Chinese essentially rip off technology. So there is a case for toughening our stance on trade.

But that toughening should be undertaken in concert with other nations that also suffer from Chinese misbehavior, and it should have clear objectives. The last person you want to play hardball here is someone who doesn’t grasp the basics of trade policy, who directs his aggressiveness at everyone — tariffs on Canadian aluminum to protect our national security? Really? — and who can’t even give an honest account of what went down in a meeting.

Unfortunately, that’s the person who’s now in charge, and it’s hard to see how he can be restrained. So the future of world trade, with all it implies for the world economy, now hinges largely on Donald Trump’s mental processes. That is not a comforting thought.Text dividers

Who Knows What Tomorrow Brings?

The stock market is more fragile than a newborn baby or a piece of fine china.  A word, a look can cause market fluctuations, sending analysts to their desks to … well, analyze.  The most recent example is the roller coaster ride the market took this week (and it’s only Wednesday, folks).  Volatility is the buzz word of the week on Wall Street.

Last weekend, during his trip to participate in the G20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Trump announced that he and China’s President Xi Jinping had reached an agreement of sorts.  My own thoughts were that it wasn’t anything more than smoke and mirrors, Trump’s attempt to make it appear as if he had at least done something to justify the cost of himself, his wife, daughter, and son-in-law travelling all that distance on our dime.  The agreement seemed to be a non-agreement, for the only thing they actually agreed to was to try to come to some agreement on trade and tariffs within the following 90-day period.  Big deal.  Whoopee.  They could have done that without announcing that they agreed to do it.  Oh yeah, and Trump also said he told Xi that he wouldn’t add any new or additional tariffs on China during the 90 days.  No doubt that had Xi wiping the sweat off his brow.

Some people are apparently not as cynical about these things as I am, for they took great joy in calling their brokers and saying, “BUY, BUY, BUY!!!”  And thus, the stock market climbed on Monday, enough to wipe out the losses of the previous few weeks … losses that had wiped out the gains from the entire year.

But then, Trump appeared to waffle about the “agreement” with a Tuesday morning tweet …Trump tariff manAnd those same people who called their brokers on Monday, placed yet another call saying, “SELL, SELL, SELL!!!”  And thus was born an all new level of volatility in the S&P, the Dow Jones, and Nasdaq, with two-day losses thus far, more than wiping out Monday’s gains and then some.  You know those playground things, basically a board on a fulcrum that are called teeter-totters, or see-saws?  They go up-down-up-down …teeter-totterThat is what the U.S. economy is on.  Market fluctuations based on anticipation of economic or political events are not unusual.  However, rarely are they as significant and immediate based on naught more than a word or a tweet from a madman!  If … IF Donald Trump were a mentally and emotionally stable leader, one might understand why such a remark would set the wheels in motion for a market tumble.  But, given his rarely-coherent state of mind, his lies and reversals, I cannot imagine why anybody would base financial decisions on one of his multitude of daily tweets.

The internet is having great fun with Trump’s new nickname, Tariff Man …Tariff Mantweet-1

tweet-2tweet-3Once again, Trump has made himself, and by extension all of us, a laughingstock.  But it goes deeper than that.  He is playing a game, the rules of which he is ignorant.  And the stakes, for the average person like you and I, are our 401(k)s, our pensions and retirement plans.  On an even larger scale, he is playing with the economic well-being of not only the U.S., but global economies as well.

Our nation is going through enough turbulence at the moment without the person who should be reliable and steadfast creating so much chaos that the major indicator of our economy is swinging on a pendulum.  I am reminded of a line from a song, Up Where We Belong by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes:  Who knows what tomorrow brings?

Bah Humbug!

Last year on Christmas Eve, Trump tweeted …

“People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again. I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!” – 9:56 PM – 24 Dec 2017

The whole thing about whether people say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” was the most inane thing to begin with, made even more pitifully stupid by Trump’s lies that Obama never said “Merry Christmas”, which was debunked by numerous video clips.  But to the point … Trump claimed last year that he had won the “war on Christmas” that never existed, and that people were happily walking about wishing each other a “Merry Christmas”, which also wasn’t true, for even more people, present company included, were saying “Happy Holidays” in protest of Trump and his inanity. bah humbugThis year, however, almost nobody is likely to have much Christmas spirit or be in the mood to say anything other than “Bah, humbug!” when the word ‘Christmas’ is mentioned, and especially if it is mentioned in conjunction with one Donald Trump.  Why?  A single word:  tariffs.

Here are just a few headlines for you …

  • Coke is raising soda prices because of aluminum tariffs


  • The trade war reaches Procter & Gamble — and into the medicine cabinet


  • Soda, Beer Prices Up As Tariffs Start To Hit Home


  • WALMART SAYS TRUMP’S NEW TARIFFS COULD RAISE PRICES BETWEEN 10 AND 25 PERCENT


  • The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers predicts the average price of a new vehicle will increase $5,800 if the president imposes a 25 percent tariff on imported models.

Trump-xmas-tax-billAnd just in time for Christmas, too!  Doesn’t it feel great to be able to say “Merry Christmas” again?  But … how will you explain to the children that no, they cannot have a new bike this year, or even a new pair of shoes, but how about some nice socks?  The bike will cost 20% more, but that isn’t even the problem, for you simply won’t have any money after you’ve paid more for food, cleaning supplies and medicine, not to mention the price increases at the pump … OY VEY!Charlie-Brown-treeThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report in July trying to hit home just how much every state is affected by retaliatory tariffs from China, the EU, Mexico, and Canada. Several of the hardest-hit areas are in crucial swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, the group said. “The administration is threatening to undermine the economic progress it worked so hard to achieve,” President and CEO Tom Donohue said in a statement.

Even some of Trump’s boot-lickers understand better than he the likely effects of his tariffs:

tax-cuts-rich-xmas-2Senator Orrin Hatch’s Finance Committee is working on legislation to rein Trump in. Separately, Senators Bob Corker and Pat Toomey are still plotting what some have called a “hand grenade” amendment to stop Trump’s offensive.  Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts said that the committee has met with the president about this issue. But Trump is “a protectionist who has his policy wrapped around the rear axle of a pickup. And it’s hard to get out.”

The tariffs could hurt more than consumers who shop at Walmart. They’re expected to impact the effort to rebuild after Hurricane Florence brought damage to the Carolinas. That could be due to the increase in wood prices due to the tariffs, other materials needed for rebuilding were impacted too like sheetrock.

Forbes has an interesting assessment of approximately how much the sticker price of the 20 best-selling cars in the U.S. would likely increase.  Most average $3,000 – $4,000, but some as much as $8,000 – $9,000.  Talk about sticker shock.

tax-cuts-rich-xmasThose of you who saw a bit of an increase in your weekly pay after the December donor tax cuts went into effect … do you think all these price increases on everything from toothpaste, soap, laundry detergent, and paper towels to bikes, cars, and camping equipment will be offset by that tax increase?  Seriously?

Of course, when Trump imposed his latest round of tariffs on China a week or so ago, billionaire Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that “Nobody is going to actually notice it at the end of the day.”  Easy for him to say … his net worth is $2.9 billion!  I doubt that an extra dollar for a tube of toothpaste or even an extra $9,000 for his next car will cause him to so much as bat an eye.  Ross also said that China would not retaliate … they did so the very next day.

But for the rest of us, in addition to price increases in almost every purchasing venue, we will begin seeing job losses, reduced GDP (Gross Domestic Product), an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and yet wages will not increase, or only marginally.  I wonder what Trump will have to say about the economy then?  When you start to feel the pinch, be sure to send Donald Trump a card that says, ‘Merry Christmas’, eh?

Signs of the Times — The Great Divide

The ludicrous-ness of the polarized political climate came to the fore multiple times yesterday and today, but a few things stand out as being beyond belief.  These are the signs of the times we are now living in, folks.


I received a “BREAKING NEWS!!!” update yesterday afternoon from no less than three media outlets.  I thought that surely somebody must have dropped a nuke as I was folding towels and listening to my phone urgently squawking  “bzzzzt … bzzzzt … bzzzzt”.  What, you ask, was the big crisis?

“Trump feels ‘terribly’ for Kavanaugh”

That’s right, folks … Trump spoke at a news conference …

“I feel so badly for him that he is going through this, to be honest with you. This is not a man who deserves this. Honestly I feel terribly for him, for his wife, who is an incredible, lovely woman and for his beautiful young daughters. I feel terribly for them.”

… and it was BREAKING NEWS!!!  It was so damn important that I was dragged away from my clean towels and damn near given heart failure just to hear Trump empathize with a fellow pervert!  Surely there was something more important going on in the world than this?  And today, it is on the front page of every outlet, Trump’s disparagement of Christine Ford and his empathy for poor little Brett K.  The press’ credibility wears thin when they cannot prioritize any better than this.


And then there was this one that hit my inbox no less than four times:

Ted Cruz claims Beto O’Rourke is ‘going to ban barbecue across the state of Texas’

What … did some brain-eating bacteria invade the confines of Ted Cruz’ skull cavity?  It turns out to be a tweet that Cruz apparently thought humorous …Cruz tweetI don’t find it particularly funny, but neither do I find it worthy of top billing in an email.


Andy Kim-1

Andy Kim

In New Jersey, Andy Kim is running on the democratic ticket for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, against incumbent Tom MacArthur.  MacArthur is a Trump boot-licker and the people of New Jersey may be getting tired of it, for the race is tight, with Kim having a 2% lead at present.  Oh … did I mention that Andy Kim is Asian-American?  No, I didn’t, because it shouldn’t be of any importance.  But alas, this is the year 2018 when evidently ‘race matters’.

The New Jersey Republican State Committee thought it would be cute to target Kim in an ad that can only be considered racist …

Andy KimNeed I say more?  Hopefully this perfidy will only serve to increase Kim’s lead.


I have long believed that those who have never struggled to pay the rent, put food on the table or be able to afford to take their children to the doctor cannot possibly understand what it’s like to be poor.  Unfortunately, throughout history, our lawmakers have never done without anything a day in their lives, but never has this been truer than it is today, with the wealthiest Congress and the richest administration in the history of the nation.  So, it should come as no surprise that Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce whose net worth is estimated at $2.9 billion, said this …

Confirmation Hearing Held For Trump's Pick To Become Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

Somebody slap that stupid grin off his face!

“If you have a 10 percent tariff on another $200 billion, that’s $20 billion a year. That’s a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of 1 percent total inflation in the U.S. Because it’s spread over thousands and thousands of products, nobody’s gonna actually notice it at the end of the day.”

Christmas is around the corner.  Were you planning to buy your kid a new bike, or a new kitchen gadget for your mom?  Be sure to let ol’ Wilbur know how much more you paid for it than you would have last year.  Or … more likely for most of us … send him a picture of your son’s face on Christmas morning when he finds some t-shirts and underwear in lieu of the bike he asked Santa for.


Just as I finished writing this piece, an email from political analyst Larry Sabato dropped into my inbox, a portion of which I thought might interest you.

A series of new Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics polls found close races in the key Senate battlegrounds of Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.

The polls, conducted online in English from Sept. 5 to 17 with roughly 2,000 respondents per state (narrowed down to about 1,000 likely voters per state), found the following results for the Senate and gubernatorial races among likely voters in the five states surveyed:

Arizona Senate: Kyrsten Sinema (D) 47%, Martha McSally (R) 44%

Arizona Governor: Doug Ducey (R) 51%, David Garcia (D) 39%

California Senate: Dianne Feinstein (D) 44%, Kevin de León (D) 24%

California Governor: Gavin Newsom (D) 52%, John Cox (R) 40%

Florida Senate: Rick Scott (R) 46%, Bill Nelson (D) 45%

Florida Governor: Andrew Gillum (D) 50%, Ron DeSantis (R) 44%

Nevada Senate: Dean Heller (R) 46%, Jacky Rosen (D) 43%

Nevada Governor: Adam Laxalt (R) 43%, Steve Sisolak (D) 40%

Texas Senate: Beto O’Rourke (D) 47%, Ted Cruz (R) 45%

Texas Governor: Greg Abbott (R) 50%, Lupe Valdez (D) 41%

I found some of these numbers encouraging, especially the Florida governor’s race.


Okay, I could go on and on, but I have ranted enough that I’m feeling the angst and need to get up and do something physical, like punch a wall, or wash some dishes since my landlord still hasn’t fixed my bloomin’ dishwasher!  Have a great afternoon, my friends … and remember, this too shall pass … maybe.light at the end of the tunnel

Keep Your Eye on the Ball …

More than a few times, I have been told that one of the reasons Trump supporters continue to be his supporters is jobs.  When asked in a recent poll what the single most important issue was to most people, the answer was ‘jobs’.  Granted the job outlook has, until recently, looked pretty good, but not as a result of anything Trump has done.  Unemployment was already low and dropping at a steady rate under President Obama.  And now, with his tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs from other nations, that may well be about to change.  Actually, the pendulum is already beginning to swing back.  Consider this …

The following is an excerpt from a story in today’s Washington Post:

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. — When a Mexican company bought Mid Continent Nail Corp. in 2012, workers at the factory here feared it was the beginning of the end. Their jobs, they suspected, would be given to lower-paid workers in Mexico, more casualties of the hollowing out of U.S. manufacturing driven in part by an embrace of global trade.

Instead, Mid Continent’s factory has doubled in size since Deacero’s purchase. The company, facing fewer restrictions on steel exports after the North American Free Trade Agreement, shipped steel into Missouri, willing to pay skilled workers more to take advantage of cheaper energy costs in the United States and a location that allowed swift delivery to U.S. customers.

But … Trump has put 25 percent tariffs on steel imports, bumping production costs and prompting Deacero to reconsider this arrangement. With Mid Continent charging more for nails, orders are down 70 percent from this time a year ago despite a booming construction industry. Company officials say that without relief, the Missouri plant could be out of business by Labor Day — or that remaining production could move to Mexico or another country.

The layoffs have already begun. The company now employs fewer than 400 workers, down from about 500 before the tariffs took effect last month.

The plant may close its doors by Labour Day.  That, folks, is just a month-and-a-half away!  We’re not talking about next year, or in three years … we’re talking about NOW.

Or consider the case of Harley-Davidson, who will begin shifting production for the EU market to its international facilities rather than raise their prices by as much as 31% if they stayed in the U.S.  Typically, when their decision was announced, rather than talk or negotiate, Trump did the only thing he knows how to do:  mock and threaten.  Such helpful, professional behaviour, eh?

Two weeks ago, the CEO of General Motors warned that the company may be forced to cut back production and cut U.S. jobs.  And the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), issued an analysis estimating the price of a typical new vehicle sold in the U.S. would rise by about $5,800 as a result of the tariffs.  Think about that one … nearly $6,000 more to buy a car!

An analysis by Trade Partnerships concludes that …

  • The tariffs, quotas and retaliation would increase the annual level of U.S. steel employment and non-ferrous metals (primarily aluminum) employment by 26,280 jobs over the first one-three years, but reduce net employment by 432,747 jobs throughout the rest of the economy, for a total net loss of 400,445 jobs;
  • Sixteen jobs would be lost for every steel/aluminum job gained;
  • More than two thirds of the lost jobs would affect workers in production and low-skill jobs.
  • Every state will experience a net loss of jobs.

These are but a few examples of the fallout from Trump’s trade tariffs, and the damage is only beginning.  The longer the tariffs remain in effect, the more jobs will be lost AND the more we will see the prices of both agricultural and durable goods rise.  While I do not wish the loss of a job on anyone, I have to ask:  is this what it takes to awaken Trump followers?  Do they have to lose their jobs before they begin to see that virtually nothing Trump has done has been in our best interest?  Will they finally get it when they awaken one morning and realize they have no job, no health insurance and cannot afford food for the next week, let alone a car to go buy that food or look for another job?

Trump’s cabinet were handpicked for their loyalty to Trump, and they received early training in “alternative facts” and “how to spin anything using blatant lies”.  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin learned his lessons well, apparently, for he claims U.S. tariffs and China’s retaliatory actions haven’t dented the domestic economy, as he sought to calm fears from Republicans in Congress that a trade war is hurting American consumers and companies.

Paul Ryan, on the other hand, seems to have remembered his Econ 101:

“We risk having American products locked out of new markets, jobs moved overseas, and a decline in American influence. As our generals will tell you, these agreements are just as important for our national security as they are for our economy.”

It is time for Trump’s followers to wake up and realize that they are the ones who will be hurt most by his policies regarding education, the environment, foreign policy, and the economy.  A number of issues have been forgotten in recent days as we are all concerned with Trump’s horrific behaviour abroad last week, and his apparently slavish adoration of Vladimir Putin, as evidenced in Helsinki on Monday.  Trump has been in a whirlwind of tweets and speeches contradicting his own self at every turn, in a foolish attempt to put some favourable spin on his actions, else distract us from them.  But we cannot afford to take our eyes off any of the balls:  the immigrant children, abuses of power, tariffs, and much more.

Afternoon Snarky Snippets …

Call it mind-bounce, call it angst, call it fed-up-with-Trump syndrome … whatever it is, it is interfering with my ability to settle in on a single topic today, so I decided to vent on a few topics.  Sometimes getting some of the detritus out of the way helps me focus.


First, the good news …

Eight of the boys who have been trapped in a cave in Thailand since June 23rd have been brought out to safety!  Four boys and the coach remain in the flooded cave and it is hoped that they can be rescued tomorrow.  The boys are being kept in quarantine in a hospital to ensure they haven’t picked up any diseases.  rescueI am disturbed, however, by the fact that they have not yet been allowed to see their parents.  It seems unnecessarily cruel to both the children and the parents, and the parents do not even know which boys have been rescued and which remain in the cave. Psychologists already anticipate that the boys are likely to suffer from short-term psychological symptoms.  I am not a psychologist, but just from the standpoint of a human and a parent, it seems that the most important thing at this point would be reuniting the boys with their parents, letting them feel secure in the embrace of their moms and dads.  But what do I know, right?

Anyway, I am thrilled that the eight boys so far have been rescued and seem to be in good health overall, and hope that the other four and the coach will be brought to safety tomorrow.


Scott Pruitt – one final bootlicking …

As we all know by now, Scott Pruitt resigned his position as head of the Environmental Protection Agency last week amid numerous major scandals.  His resignation letter is something to behold, a true work of … I don’t even know the word for it.  Here, in all its glory, is the letter, with my snarky remarkys in blue

“Mr. President, it has been an honor to serve you in the Cabinet as Administrator of the EPA. Truly, your confidence in me has blessed me personally and enabled me to advance your agenda beyond what anyone anticipated at the beginning of your Administration. Your courage (you have GOT to be kidding!!!), steadfastness and resolute commitment to get results for the American people, both with regard to improved environmental outcomes (define ‘improved’, please?) as well as historical regulatory reform (reform = destruction), is in fact occurring at an unprecedented pace and I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the American people in helping achieve those ends.

That is why it is hard for me to advise you I am stepping down as Administrator of the EPA effective as of July 6. It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing (define ‘blessing’?) to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring. However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us (Awwwww, pobrecito).

My desire in service to you has always been to bless you as you make important decisions for the American people. I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence (spare me the bullpoop!!!). I believe that same providence brought me into your service. I pray as I have served you that I have blessed you and enabled you to effectively lead the American people. Thank you again Mr. President for the honor of serving you and I wish you Godspeed in all that you put your hand to.”

PruittDoes anybody else feel ill?  You may notice that he didn’t even mention any of the scandals surrounding him?  Happily, the 14 or so investigations of ethics violations will continue and he remains under the gun.  If it is found that he is guilty of ethics violations, it will be up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to decide whether to prosecute.  Anybody want to guess how that is likely to go?


Even his friends don’t like the tariffs …

Even some of Trump’s closest allies in Congress are unhappy about the trade tariffs he unleashed last month.  Senator Orrin Hatch, a close ally of Trump’s, reportedly said of the tariffs, “I’d like to kill ’em.”  Republican senators say they can’t get the president to comprehend that his tariffs offensive could upend the mid-term elections. Commodity prices in the heartland are sagging, U.S. allies are retaliating with tariffs of their own — and GOP leaders are fretting that the booming economy is about to go into a pre-midterms nosedive.

My response to all that is, “you reap what you sow”.  The republicans in Congress have blindly followed and supported Donald Trump through some of the most abhorrent decisions ever made by a U.S. president.  They have shoved aside their constituents in favour of the upper echelons that Trump so loves.  And so, when it comes home to roost, when the voters in their states finally say “ENOUGH!!!”, I will have not one shred of empathy for these jerks.


The games people play …

Paul Manafort’s trial is scheduled to begin later this month.  Any bets as to whether it will or not?  Thus far, Manafort has asked for a delay and a change of venue.  Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman and a subject of Robert Mueller’s investigation, since he has close and proven ties to a number of Russians, is accused of both bank and tax fraud.

Paul Manafort.In requesting the move and the delay, Manafort’s attorneys cited intense negative publicity surrounding his prosecution by special counsel Robert Mueller. Yes, well???  You play, you pay … eventually.  I am ready for somebody … anybody … to start facing the consequences of this huge criminal scandal that handed the 2016 election to the least qualified candidate imaginable.  I suspect that once the first one falls, the rest will follow.  We may need to build a new federal penitentiary to hold them all!  Frankly, I will be doing the Snoopy Happy Dance in the middle of the street!


And thus concludes my mini-rants for today.  I shall now go clean a bathroom or two and think about preparing supper later on … lemon-chicken, broccoli and wild rice is on the docket for tonight, and I will be teaching Miss Goose how to make the chicken.  Perhaps someday she can fix supper and I can take a nap!  Have a great evening, friends!

Tell Him to Stay Home!!!

statement by aidThe G7 summit, a meeting of the leaders of the world’s seven largest advanced economies, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, is scheduled to start next Friday, June 8th, in Quebec, Canada.  With just a short five days left, one would think that the agenda would be set, yes?  Well, it is not.  Not even close.  I will give you only one guess as to the reason the summit plans remain in chaos.  Think hard, now …

Ugly TrumpYou got it!  None other than Donald John Trump, the one who notoriously acted as a stubborn, unsupervised toddler at last year’s G7 in Taormina, Italy, when after three days of meetings and countless discussions, he refused to reaffirm the U.S.’ commitment to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. In addition, he scolded Germany for its trade practices and lectured NATO members, saying they don’t pay their fair share. But this year is even worse … apparently he has single-handedly blown up the entire agenda!

My humble opinion is that, since Trump has, by his actions, ceded a global leadership role, the summit should be changed to the G6 and Trump considered of no value to the summit.

Initially, the agenda was slated to include such topics as climate change, women’s empowerment, peace, economic growth for all and jobs for the future.  Well, while the other six leaders are in tune with those goals, they are not in keeping with Trump’s “America First” agenda.  The only topic on which Trump did not disagree was ‘women’s empowerment’.  That Trump agreed to this topic is one of life’s great ironies!  Think about it … he calls for de-funding Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of women’s health services in the nation, and froze the equal pay rule, aimed at fighting employer discrimination against women and minorities.  Not to mention that he is currently embroiled in a scandal over paying ‘hush money’ to a porn star after an extramarital affair, and has been accused by … I think the number is up to 19 now … women of sexual misconduct.

As if trying to find common ground for the agenda wasn’t hard enough, Trump’s decision last month to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal left our allies scrambling to try to salvage what was basically a working agreement.  And then, just a few days ago, Trump imposed harsh and unnecessary tariffs on Mexico, Canada and the EU, further angering other G7 nations.  Boy, he sure knows how to make a party fun, doesn’t he?

Then there is the concern that Trump will use the G7 to publicly take Germany to task over its military spending, for it is a known fact that he has no filter and blurts out whatever he is thinking at any given moment.

trump-bully-3The purpose of the G7 summit is to serve as a forum for highly industrialized democracies to coordinate economic, security, and energy policy.  It is a venue where ideas are exchanged and problems discussed.  It is a venue for global cooperation, not for one player to bully all the rest.  These seven leaders are on equal footing … they are each elected leaders of their nations and their interest is in global cooperation to help make the world a more prosperous, safer place.  When one player comes to the table believing that he is somehow superior to the rest, believing that he, somehow is the leader of the group, then nothing good can come out of it.

I seriously think it would be in the global best interest for Mr. Trudeau to call Mr. Trump and rescind his invitation, rename the summit the G6 summit, and move on with an agenda that addresses the pressing issues of the day, starting with climate change.  Let the bully stay at home and spew his hateful bluster here … the rest of the world should not have to contend with him, and when he leaves home, he does nothing but cause us shame and embarrassment anyway.

Where Is The Logic?????

toddler ironingThose of you who have a toddler in the house, let me ask you a question:  Do you allow your toddler to iron the laundry?  No, of course you don’t for he/she would likely get the creases crooked in the pants, and then what would you look like in that next business meeting?  Do you allow your toddler to load the dishes into the dishwasher?  Why no, silly, for half would be turned the wrong way and never get clean!  And would you allow your toddler to cook your supper?  Heh heh heh … only if you like your food to come on a stick!  There are good reasons that you don’t have your little one iron, clean, or cook, and the main one of those reasons is that he has no idea what he is doing when it comes to those things.  Well, guess what?  The ‘man’ sitting on his oversized patootie in the Oval Office is no better than your toddler in that he has no clue what he is doing.trump big butt-2I can tell you what he is doing … he is destroying.  He is on a course to destroy the environment, society, and most recently, the economy.  Yes, that economy that he has wrongfully taken credit for, that economy that he inherited  from the previous administration, that economy that has been, all things considered, pretty darned good.  But, not satisfied with that, he has now begun a trade war, not with our enemies … oh no, to our enemies he is most generous … but he is determined to go to war with our friends!!!

From The Washington Post, 31 May 2018

“President Trump campaigned on going hard after China for ripping off the United States on trade. Yet a year and a half into his presidency, Trump has put more tariffs on longtime U.S. allies than he has on China, his supposed “bad guy” on trade. The Trump administration announced new tariffs Thursday on the European Union, Canada and Mexico.”

tariffs-2Trump has been playing some game that only he understands, threatening the tariffs, then promising exemptions, then threatening again.  But alas, yesterday he decided the tariffs would go into effect at midnight last night.  If any of you republicans think this is a cheer-worthy move, think again.  This was a foolish, foolish move for two major reasons.

First, Canada, Mexico and the European Union (EU) are our allies, our friends, the countries we count on to help in times of trouble, just as we expect to help them when needed.  Friends do not treat friends this way, and the backlash is justified and expected.

The Mexican government said it would target U.S. exports of pork bellies, apples, cranberries, grapes, certain cheeses and various types of steel. Canada said it would slap dollar-for-dollar tariffs on a range of U.S. products, including whiskey and orange juice. And the European Union indicated it would levy taxes on about $7 billion worth of U.S. exports, including bourbon, Harley-Davidson motorcycles and jeans.

Reactions from our allies:

French President Emmanuel Macron called Mr Trump to tell him the tariffs were “illegal”. Mr Trump told Mr Macron there was a need for the US to “rebalance trade” with the EU.

UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the 25% levy on steel was “patently absurd”, adding: “It would be a great pity if we ended up in a tit-for-tat trade dispute with our closest allies.”

Gareth Stace, head of trade body UK Steel, said the tariffs were “no way to treat your friend” and called on the government to safeguard the industry’s 31,000 jobs.

Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, said the US move was “totally unacceptable” and rejected the claim that his country posed a national security threat to America.

The White House received a significant amount of domestic flak, too. Both the steel industry and steelworkers’ unions decried the tariffs. Other manufacturers were no less concerned: One study suggests that the tariffs could kill up to 40,000 jobs in the automobile industry alone.  One of Trump’s own, republican Senator Ben Sasse said …

“This is dumb. Europe, Canada, and Mexico are not China, and you don’t treat allies the same way you treat opponents. We’ve been down this road before — blanket protectionism is a big part of why America had a Great Depression. ‘Make America Great Again’ shouldn’t mean ‘Make America 1929 Again.’”

And Financial Times journalist Ed Luce had this to say …

“Launching a simultaneous trade war against America’s allies and adversaries conforms to no known international rules of logic. It will raise domestic prices, cut U.S. jobs and reduce America’s global influence.”

Even chief bootlicker Paul Ryan was not happy, saying the move “targets America’s allies when we should be working with them to address the unfair trading practices of countries like China”.

tariffs-3The second reason this is a fool’s errand, of course, is that it is a move almost certain to create economic instability both in the U.S. and across the globe.  Remember that extra $5 – $6 dollars the ‘tax cut’ bill gained you on your paycheck?  You will soon be spending all of that and more just to buy the same amount of food and other goods that you bought a year ago.  Prices will rise, and when some cannot afford the higher prices, buying will slow, and when buying slows, manufacturers will cut jobs.  That, of course, is an over-simplified explanation, but you get the idea.

Trump’s stance against globalism is ridiculous, for today’s world is a global world.  Nations must engage in global trade in order to bolster their economies, and in global cooperation in order to ensure their security.  It is no longer the world it was pre-WWII, but Donald Trump has no knowledge, no experience, and no willingness to listen to the experts, so he does not understand international relations or economics any better than your three-year-old understands how to iron the clothes.  The difference is that your toddler will someday learn … Donald Trump will not.