2

Trump Strikes Trade Deal With Mexico

 

 

Chalk up another victory for the blue collar billionaire:

US President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced a new US-Mexico trade deal on Monday, completing a major step toward the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

The deal is the result of five weeks of intense one-on-one talks between the Trump administration and Mexican officials.

It’s not final, since Canada is still involved in the NAFTA process, but Trump said the US and Mexico could move forward with a bilateral agreement if the Canadians drive a hard bargain.

Here’s a rundown of the major changes in the agreement. It would:

  • Require that for a car to move between the US and Mexico without being subject to tariffs, 75% of the car must originate in a NAFTA country. This would be up from the current 62.5%.
  • Establish that 40% to 45% of a car or truck’s content must be made by workers earning more than $16 an hour. This is a push that could help the US retain more auto work. US auto unions have been fighting for such a change for some time.
  • Strengthen rules of origin for “chemicals, steel-intensive products, glass, and optical fiber” goods. Similar to autos, this would strengthen the requirements for goods to move across the US-Mexican border tariff-free.
  • Toughen rules for textile supply chains to push countries toward producing more apparel domestically.
  • Strengthen enforcement mechanisms for intellectual property violations and protect intellectual property. For instance, the deal would set the minimum for copyright protections at 75 years.
  • Establish a zero-tariff level for digital content such as e-books and software, as well as strengthen distributor and consumer protections for digital goods.
  • Mexico would raise its de minimis shipment value level to $100 from the current $50. (A de minimis shipment value is the threshold at which a business has to pay duties on goods moving across the border and are subject to more stringent security checks.) Small US businesses or persons shipping goods worth $100 or less to Mexico would not be subject to tariffs and would face simpler customs checks.

Go here to read the rest.  Not coincidentally the stock market reached a record high yesterday.  Go here to read all about it.  For an unsophisticated loud mouth boob, as his critics portray him, Trump is showing himself to be an excellent steward of the economy, possibly the best since Reagan.  Well played, Mr. President, well played.

21

Why Trump?

Salena Zito gets it:

 

This new conservative populist coalition is not the fluke the political class hoped it was. Donald Trump did not cause it, he is just the result of it, so no matter what he does, it continues. It is predicated on them, not him.

The coalition is a strike at not just tone deafness in both Congress and the White House but also high levels of incompetence, negligence and shoddy performance at agencies, as well as inept social services, a bloated and incompetent bureaucracy, endless wars and multinational agreements and treaties that don’t benefit average people.

These voters knew who Trump was going in, they knew he was a thrice-married, Playmate-dating, Howard Stern regular who had the morals of an alley cat. They were willing to look past all of that because of how institutions had failed their communities for three consecutive presidencies.

Right now the value of Trump to the Trump voter is he is all that stands between them and handing the keys to Washington back over to the people inside Washington. That’s it. He’s their only option. You’ve got to pick the insiders or him.

Go here to read the rest.  I might add that Trump supporters, and I find myself somewhat reluctantly in that category, understand what a weaponized instrument the law has become.  Members of the ruling elite, a prime example being Hillary and Bill Clinton, can get away with any crime, while an outsider who is a threat to the system, and Trump, ironically an insider for most of his career, is now the archetype of an outsider for the “Swamp”, will face endless attempts to take him down for any infraction, no matter how minor.  The system in Washington is corrupt and completely rigged, and Trump has shattered the curtain to reveal that fact to all sentient citizens of this great land.

7

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Neil Steinberg

 

 

Before going, I felt squeamish at being in the crowd scene at a party for the man who kicked open the Pandora’s box of American fears. Almost afraid. But hearing him, I better understood his appeal. He has a vulnerable charm, at times a humanity. He pandered shamelessly to his audience.

“We need steel,” he said. “We need steel plants. And to see an old, big monster plant like this re-opening — that is an honor. I look at the faces of you people; I could be one of you. I like you guys. I could be one of you.”

That struck me as either sincere or an amazing facsimile. The workers, for their part, couldn’t give him a standing ovation because they never sat down.

I left the hall thinking: Donald Trump is going to be re-elected in 2020. The Democrats don’t have anyone who can touch him. Bank on it. Don’t hate me for being the one to tell you.

Neil Steinberg, reporter, Chicago Sun Times (July 26, 2018)

It used to be said by Confederates of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, the greatest Confederate cavalry commander of the Civil War, that his commission as general was signed by Jefferson Davis and the Lord God Almighty.  Forrest, who was semi-literate, with virtually no education, and no military experience, rose from Private to Lieutenant General in four short years.  He had a natural talent for War that would have remained hidden, but for the War.  Trump has a natural talent for politics akin to Forrest’s talent for War.  Such men can tear up the rule books that guide the professionals in their fields, and achieve results deemed near impossible.  The late Ronald Reagan and Trump are two very different men, but, like Reagan, Trump came to politics late in life, and, like Reagan, he has a great natural political prowess constantly underestimated by his opponents, and that is his greatest strength as a politician.

7

Trump the Deal Maker

Amazing how Trump, whom his critics paint as the greatest boob in history, gets results where other presidents either didn’t try or failed:

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he struck a preliminary deal with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to ease trade tensions and avoid a full-blown trade war with the European Union.

“This was a very big day for free and fair trade,” Trump said during a hastily scheduled joint appearance in the White House Rose Garden with Juncker, hailing a “new phase” of trade relations with the EU.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average spiked by almost 140 points after the news broke, ending the day nearly 0.7% higher.

The EU agreed to import more American soybeans and liquefied natural gas, Trump said. Both sides will work to decrease industrial tariffs and adjust regulations to allow US medical devices to be traded more easily in European markets. He said the two leaders were working towards a goal of “zero tariffs, zero barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.”

Go here to read the rest.  Theodore Roosevelt used to say, “Speak Softly and carry a big stick.”.   Trump seems to be saying, “Speak Loud and get them to the negotiating table.”.

 

Well played Mr. President, well played.

10

Jobless Claims Lowest Since 1969

 

Back in 69 I was twelve years old, Paul VI was Pope and Richard Nixon was President.   Jobless claims are now at the lowest level since December of 1969.  Of course back then the nation had a population of 205 million and we are now a nation of 325 million.  As I confirmed this week, President Trump has a capacity to annoy me with some of his nuttiness in foreign affairs, but when it comes to the economy, he is presiding over the best one in my life time.   Take a bow Mr. President, you have earned it, and a lot more Americans are earning due to your economic policies.

9

Seven Days in May Was Not a How to Manual

 

 

 

Democrat Congressman Steven Cohen (D.TN) has called for a military coup to topple President Trump:

 

 

 

Life imitating Art.

 

 

What is it with liberals and coups?  Recently, including the obviously deranged Congressman, several liberals, including entertainer? Sarah Silverman, and Obama era Pentagon bureaucrat Sarah Brooks, have  been calling for/predicting a military coup against the Trump administration.  Such fools have no concept of our military where the officers are trained from day one of their careers in the essential fact of civilian control of the military.  If the impossible ever happened and some rogue faction of the military ever did move against Trump, the shots fired in such a coup attempt would merely be the opening shots in Civil War II.  Liberals have often fantasized about a conservative military coup against the government of the United States, perhaps most famously in the novel and film of the Sixties entitled Seven Days in May.  From current calls for a military coup emanating from the portside of our politics, such concerns about a conservative coup apparently were a case of the left projecting upon the right what the left would be tempted to do if confronted by a civilian government they viewed as a menace.

 

Hard to believe that it is more than half a century since the film Seven Days in May (1964) was released.  Directed by John Frankenheimer with a screenplay by Rod Serling based on a novel published in 1962, the movie posits a failed coup attempt in the United States, with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General James Mattoon Scott, played by Burt Lancaster, being the would be coup leader.  Kirk Douglas plays Scott’s aide Marine Corps Colonel Martin Casey who, while agreeing with Scott that President Jordan Lyman’s nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets is a disaster, is appalled when he learns of the proposed coup, and discloses it to the President, portrayed by Frederic March.

The film is an example of liberal paranoia in the early sixties and fears on the port side of our politics of a coup by some “right wing” general.  The film is unintentionally hilarious if one has served in our military, since the idea of numerous generals agreeing on a coup and keeping it secret, even from their own aides, is simply ludicrous.  Our military leaks like a sieve, and general officers almost always view each other as competitors for political favor, rather than as co-conspirators.

Ironies abound when the film is compared to reality:

The film is set in the 1970s.  Richard Nixon, the arch bogeyman of liberals, negotiated SALT I with the Soviets in 1972, with not a murmur from the military.

Rather than a war mongering military opposed by a pacifist President, in 1964 LBJ, the great liberal hope, was gearing up the war in Vietnam, in the face of a fair amount of skepticism by admirals and generals.

The film received encouragement from the Kennedy administration, JFK, having read the novel.  When asked by a friend if such a coup as depicted in the novel could happen, Kennedy replied:

“It’s possible. But the conditions would have to be just right. If the country had a young President, and he had a Bay of Pigs, there would be a certain uneasiness. Maybe the military would do a little criticizing behind his back. Then if there were another Bay of Pigs, the reaction of the country would be, ‘Is he too young and inexperienced?’ The military would almost feel that it was their patriotic obligation to stand ready to preserve the integrity of the nation and only God knows just what segment of Democracy they would be defending if they overthrew the elected establishment. Then, if there were a third Bay of Pigs it could happen. It won’t happen on my watch.”

While the film was in production a coup against a civilian government by that country’s military did happen, President Diem of South Vietnam being murdered in the process, and JFK helping to instigate the coup.

The film itself isn’t bad, Lancaster, Douglas and March giving fine performances.  An interesting artifact of Cold War liberal paranoia in an entertaining package.  It should not be regarded by liberals suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome as a how to manual.

7

Democrats Bring the Crazy

Perhaps the most salient feature of the Trump era is how crazy he makes most Democrats:

Why is this?  Democrats during the Obama years kept telling themselves that they were now the majority party of the future, thanks to demographic change, even as they lost control of Congress and became the weakest at the State level that they have been since before the New Deal.  When Hillary lost, Democrats suddenly woke up from their Obama trance to a hostile political environment.  Their reaction was to go hard left and to attempt to shout down any voices within their party that told them this was madness.  They are aided and abetted in this trek over the cliff by the entertainment industry and academia which are also captives of the hard left.  We shall see how this strategy works for them in November.  Thus far the Democrat lead on the generic Congressional ballot has plummeted from a high of fifteen points, and now stands at three points.

9

Trump Knows a Bad Deal When He Sees It

President Trump killed the Iran deal today which was a good deal for Iran and its program of gaining nuclear weapons, and a terrible deal for the US.  This minor league Munich agreement was Obama’s desperate attempt to have a foreign policy legacy, and I am pleased that Trump has ended this bizarre appeasement of the mullahs:

 

 

That the Iranians have been cheating cannot be doubted:

 

 

The sad thing about all this is that most government officials knew that Iran was cheating and they didn’t care.  Trump does.

7

Fishing Expedition

Federal District Court Judge T.S. Eliss III, a Reagan appointee, gave Special Prosecutor Mueller a hard time in Court today by stating the obvious:

 

“I don’t see what relationship this indictment has with anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate,” U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in the Eastern District of Virginia said.

At a tense hearing at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, the judge said Mueller should not have “unfettered power” in his Russia probe and that the charges against Manafort did not arise from the investigation into Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

“It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special counsel has unfettered power to do whatever he wants,” said Ellis, who was appointed to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan.

Manafort is facing charges in both Virginia and Washington. The Virginia case charges him with offenses including tax and bank fraud.

The other case in Washington accuses him of conspiring to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent when he lobbied for the pro-Russia Ukrainian government.

 

None of the charges relate, however, to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign or possible collusion with Russia. Trump has denied any collusion.

Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing has argued that the charges must dismissed because the FBI investigation dates back to 2014, and therefore did not arise from Mueller’s probe.

The bulk of Friday’s questions by the judge were aimed squarely at Michael Dreeben, the deputy solicitor general who is currently working in Mueller’s office.

 

Go here to read the rest.  There never was anything to the allegation that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.  Mueller has thus been on  a fishing expedition for more than a year and a half in which he prosecutes former members of the Trump campaign in hopes that, in return for leniency involving offensives unrelated to the Trump campaign, they will reveal something criminal about Trump.  This stinks to high heaven and Judge Ellis realizes that.

16

Our Obscene Age

In regard to President Trump, as faithful readers of this blog know, when he ran in 2016 I long refused to support him.  It was only in September of 2016 that I reluctantly supported him after his pledge to pro-life organizations to be a pro-life President.  I have generally been, much to my surprise, pleased with his performance as President.  However, there remains much to legitimately criticize about him:  including that he has been a serial adulterer, a complete pig around women in general, and that he is rude and crude.  These are factors that his critics often cite, usually the same people who supported Hillary Clinton, who has spent much of her life protecting her husband Bill from well founded allegations of sexual assault, up to, and including, rape, and who carried on an affair with an intern in the Oval Office.  In his personal behavior, sadly, President Trump is reflective of our obscene age.  Evidence of this was on full display at the White House Correspondents’ dinner last night, a function which President Trump wisely, breaking with tradition, does not attend.  At that dinner a featured speaker was “comedienne” Michelle Wolf of The Daily Show.  Go here to read about her “performance”.  Strong, strong language advisory as to the video below:

 

The next time we have people clutching their pearls about some crudity of the President, recall the above video of congealed partisan hate, vulgarity and obscenity.  If they are the same people who would have loved the above video, hypocrisy is the least of the charges that can be laid at their doors.

20

1.3 Trillion Monstrosity

I thought the Republicans controlled Congress and the Executive but I must have been mistaken.  Surely no Republican Congress could have passed a spending bill that, in the words of Senator Ted Cruz (R. TX):

“The disastrous elements of this bill are almost too numerous to list.

“It continues to fund Planned Parenthood, a corrupt organization whose horrifying abortion practices should preclude it from receiving taxpayer dollars.

“It continues to fund sanctuary cities, which are defying the law and making Americans less safe. Instead of rewarding sanctuary cities, we should be passing legislation like Kate’s Law, a bill I introduced that would put criminal illegal aliens in jail so they cannot prey on innocent Americans.

“It fails to provide sufficient funds to properly secure our border, let alone build the wall that is necessary.

“It tells federal agencies that they can spend taxpayer dollars to study the ‘causes’ of gun violence, a mandate that – make no mistake – will be abused by future liberal administrations to manufacture evidence to try to violate law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

“It funds the Ex-Im Bank, a classic example of corporate welfare that has doled out over $100 billion in taxpayer-guaranteed loans, primarily to a handful of giant and well-connected corporations.

“It fails to reduce funding for the EPA, which under Obama administration zealots, killed thousands of jobs and dramatically strayed from its core mission of ensuring clean air and water.

“All of these measures amount to piling even greater debt onto the backs of our kids and grandkids, all because we are incapable of living within our means.

This terrible bill passed Congress yesterday.  The President, who I thought was Donald Trump but who obviously must be someone else, announced that he would reluctantly sign the bill.  Representative Nancy Pelosi (D.CA) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D.NY) have announced themselves as gleeful over the bill, and well they should be.

 

10

President Trump and the Art of the Deal

One of the bizarre features of much of the criticism of President Trump is how completely wrong-headed it is.   For example, most Leftist sites on the internet depict Trump as a maniac eager to start a war.  How they will deal with this should be amusing:

 

President Donald Trump agreed on Thursday to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un by May after Kim pledged to refrain from further nuclear tests and move toward denuclearization, according to South Korean officials.

The surprise announcement was made by South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong in a short statement outside the White House. The White House later said no firm timetable was set.

Chung said that in recent talks with South Korea, Kim Jong Un “expressed eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”

A senior administration official said the sentiments from Kim were conveyed verbally to Trump during a briefing in the Oval Office at the White House on Thursday, denying the existence of a physical letter from the South Korean envoy to the president, which was reported earlier.

The White House confirmed that Trump would accept Kim’s invitation to meet, but a senior administration official told reporters on a call after the announcement that “at this point, we’re not even talking about negotiations.”

“What we’re talking about is an invitation by the leader of North Korea to meet face to face with the president of the United States,” the official said. “The president has accepted that invitation.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  One of the keys to understanding Trump is that he views himself as a master negotiator.  Virtually everything he does is an attempt to drive his adversaries to the negotiating table where he thinks he can prevail.  This really should be obvious, but the Left and the Media have had precious little inclination to examine Trump dispassionately, and that lack of such analysis has helped Trump throughout his career.  Much of what Trump does I suspect is an attempt to cause his adversaries to misunderstand him.  Trump fans believe that he is a genius always playing fifth dimensional chess.  I don’t believe that, but I do think he is sharper than most of his critics and adversaries, and that has worked to Trump’s advantage, time and time again over a very long career.

 

11

State of the Union: 2018

President Trump will be giving his first State of the Union Address tonight, and it should make for good television.  Some of the lamest members of the House Democrats have pledged to stay away, thus elevating the tone of the proceedings.  Other female Democrat members of Congress are attending, but wearing black to protest Trump not having castrated himself or something.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will not be attending, speaking in Rhode Island instead.  Her old friend Justice Scalia would have agreed.  He thought the Justices should not be props at the State of the Union address and hadn’t attended one for more than 20 years prior to his death in 2016.

As for the speech, it will probably touch mainly on three main topics:  the economy, the economy and the economy.  The number of times a President mentions the economy in a State of the Union address is usually a pretty good barometer of how the economy is doing, and Trump has a fair amount to crow about.  If his usual mode for set piece speeches is followed, Trump will give a pretty good speech, and all the headlines tomorrow will be about what Trump tweeted a few hours after the speech.

Use the comboxes to comment on the speech as it is being given.