Kavanaugh, the Tories, and Brexit

If you haven’t heard the FBI report is in, the Senators will be reading it today (or not, given that a fair number just don’t care), McConnel has called for cloture, which vote will happen tomorrow, and the confirmation vote over the weekend. Good. That doesn’t mean we can relax, in less than five weeks, we vote, and we have the option to continue “draining the Swamp”. Use it.

How about some videos today, they just keep on accumulating.

This week, while we have been immersed in the witch hunt of Brett Kavanaugh, the Tory party in Britain has been holding its annual conference. The Tories are quite reminiscent to me, at least, of our Republicans circa 2012. No, that is not a compliment, no matter what Mitt Romney thinks.

But they are what they are, and what they are is the best chance for the UK to again become a sovereign nation. Three speeches: the first from the Attorney General, who, I know little about except he gives a good speech.

Then there was the Prime Minister.

Meh. It’s a good, well-crafted speech, congratulations to her speechwriters. Does she really believe a word of it? I have no clue. My considered opinion of her is that she is an overpromoted bureaucrat, not really a bad person, but well beyond her level of competence. Not unusual here, either, of course. In fact, not far from my assessment of Barack Obama.  Maybe she missed her calling as a backup dancer for ABBA. In short, far better than Jeremy Corbyn, but Britain needs so much more.

Then there is Boris Johnson.

Well, what can one say, he is neither Churchill nor Trump. But Trump did say when he was in England that he’d be an excellent PM. I think so too. My small ‘c’ conservative friends in England keep talking about UKIP. I’m sympathetic, I like what Batten is doing with the party too. But, and it is a huge but, Brexit needs to happen in six months, and likely without a general election.

That means it is up to the Tories, helped by the DUP. In my opinion, May will not get the job done, not least because she doesn’t want to get the job done. Boris likely would. Yes, he lacks gravitas, whatever that chimerical quality is, yes, his past is checkered, yes he’s a bit of a loose cannon. All are just as true of Trump

So what? The mission is Brexit. The mission is not to have a dignified quiet Prime Minister. Nor is the mission to build UKIP, desirable as that might be.

The Mission for our cousins is Brexit.

To resume their proper place in the world.

My advice to the cousins is to ditch May, now, not next week and put Boris in. Along with a team, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, and others who believe in Brexit, and get the job done. And you know, he was a pretty decent mayor of London, not many other Tories can say that.

Long term, I would support UKIP, because unless the electorate has gone as nuts as our left wing has, Labour has had its day, and an opposition party is necessary.

And since we don’t know all that much about it, how about Jacob Rees-Mogg on the European Union at Oxford.

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Still Winning

Remember the trade dispute with China? From the Wall Street Journal, paywalled, of course, via PowerLine.

U.S., China Plot Road Map to Resolve Trade Dispute by November

Chinese and U.S. negotiators are mapping out talks to try to end their trade standoff ahead of planned meetings between President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at multilateral summits in November, said officials in both nations.

The planning represents an effort on both sides to keep a deepening trade dispute—which already has involved tariffs on billions of dollars of goods and could target hundreds of billions of dollars more—from torpedoing the U.S.-China relationship and shaking global markets.

Scheduled midlevel talks in Washington next week, which both sides announced on Thursday, will pave the way for November.

Just because they are willing to talk, doesn’t make a deal, let alone a good deal. But notice it is the Chinese who want to talk, just like von Drunker couldn’t wait to get over here from Brussels. Amazing the things that happen when one plays to win.

 

Trump as China Diplomat: Suppose His Shock Diplomacy Works? Trump started a tariff war with Beijing. China vowed to retaliate in kind. But Beijing was more vulnerable because China has more to lose—it exports far more than it imports and China indeed violates trade norms of fair pricing and fair access.

A number of commentators, me included, faulted Trump for the incoherence of his moves. But Trump’s blunderbuss approach seems to be harming the Chinese economy and catching the leadership off guard. Whether by luck or design, Trump picked a moment when China’s economy was precarious, due to its heavy reliance on debt, the instability of many of its money-losing enterprises, and its inflated stock market.

Now Chinese President Xi Jinping, who seemed to have consolidated power, is facing criticism for bungling the trade conflict to China’s detriment. With the value of China’s currency falling, some observers are even comparing China to Turkey.

You almost have to feel a little sorry for Xi. The Chinese leadership is skilled at scoping out America’s trade policy, cutting separate deals with multinational corporations, buying influence, and besting Washington at trade negotiation. But how do you play chess when the other guy is playing a schoolyard game that he makes up as he goes along?

Bottom line: China was more vulnerable all along than America’s Wall Street-dominated trade elite was willing to believe, or act on. We might have had a trade policy that looked out for the interests of U.S. manufacturing and American workers—something that Trump’s approach does not deliver—and that did not risk starting a wider conflagration with Beijing, as Trump’s approach does.

But the last several American presidents were too compromised and too wedded to a preposterous, corporate conception of “free trade.” And so America rolled over.

We do need a resetting of the U.S.-China relationship, but a mortally wounded Chinese economy is in nobody’s interest. Yet Trump’s apparent success, flawed as it is, offers one more illustration of how the corruption of ruling U.S. elites created a vacuum that opened the door to Trumpism.

I disagree with the denigration of Trump’s tactics in the article. They strike me as the effect of a master negotiator on small minds, if these analysts were as great as they think they are, they wouldn’t be analysts – they’d be playing for real money, you know, like Trump did.

I’d also say that Trump has done more for the average American worker than anybody, since maybe Reagan, the multinational corporations, well maybe not so much. I can easily live with that, those corporations have done any of us any favors lately, either.

And this.

 Don Surber says that it looks quite different from a Chinese point of view:

To find the news, I read the South China Morning Post, which is worried spitless that the Red Chinese economy will tank like its stock market has.

(Its stocks overall have declined in value by 40% in the last three years. Our stocks are up 33% since we elected Trump. In the eight years from Obama’s election to Trump’s, the Dow rose by 33%.)

The newspaper is running a series of columns by panicked investors and experts.

Aidan Yao is senior emerging Asia economist at AXA Investment Managers.

Yao wrote, “China needs to put its house in order as the trade war goes from bad to worse.”

He pointed out, “In contrast with the progress seen in United States-European Union negotiations, there are no signs of trade talks resuming between the US and China since the breakdown of negotiations in June.”

Surber points out that China made $375 billion last year on exports to the U.S. So they have a lot more skin in the game than we do.

Xu Yimiao is an independent China-based researcher.

Xu wrote, “China should cut its losses in the trade war by conceding defeat to Donald Trump.”

He spared not Chairman Xi’s regime.

“Beijing’s strategy of a tit-for-tat retaliation over tariffs has clearly failed. In fact, this strategy escalated the conflict.”

Reporters Wendy Wu and Kristin Huang wrote, “Did China think Donald Trump was bluffing on trade? How Beijing got it wrong.”

This happens when your intelligence consists of spying on Dianne Feinstein and watching CNN.

Bwhaa-haa-haa! Looks like winning to me!

One of the commenters on Don Sarber’s article linked above, Iapetus, said this:

The genius of Trump is his ability to recognize and leverage the strengths of America, the very same attributes Obama considered to be our nation’s weaknesses. This is what you get when you elect a man of the world as your leader instead of a left-wing credentialed community organizer who had never organized squat.

I believe he is entirely correct. All life is negotiation, especially economic, and one must use one’s strengths to win, or at least break even.

Remember though, talks are just the beginning, even if a very good beginning to rolling back the Chinese threat to us all. It’s only a beginning, but it is a beginning, and that’s far more than any other President has gotten.

Socialism, The Death of Europe, and Assorted Other Idiots

Bookworm hit, if not a homer, yesterday, a triple, and scored on the error. Here, read it yourself. Go there, there’s lots of other good stuff in it.

The Cold War reminds us that socialism is bad. A new poll came out showing that Democrats adore socialism, which they think is better for people than capitalism. This view, of course, means that they’re looking, not at National Socialism (aka Nazis), or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (aka the Soviet Union), or the completely socialists Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka North Korea).

Instead, what it means is that they’re looking at that rosy view of Western Europe from the 1960s through the 1990s. Of course, they’re totally missing the fact that Europe, despite its claim that it was “socialist,” wasn’t socialist at all.

What supported Western Europe’s cradle-to-grave socialism was America. We paid for their military costs and accepted their outrageous tariffs, all to help them to recover from WWII and to prevent them from once again falling into an apocalyptic conflagration. Europe may have art and architecture, but the 20th century proved that it had little in the way of actual civilization.

Anyway, if you know a Leftist stupid enough to think socialism is the answer, this video might (maybe, perhaps, just possibly) help you educate that person (h/t Seraphic Secret):

Emphasis mine.

And that is the plain truth, since World War Two, nobody in Western Europe, save the UK, has made more than a gesture towards their own defense, and since the fall of the Soviet Union, they’ve hardly bothered with that gesture.

Which leaves the question, what could America have accomplished if we hadn’t bothered, what haven’t we attained because we’ve dislocated our economy and our government to provide this welfare to Europe? This is one of the causes of the deep state as well.

Even more, we know well that undeserved aid causes dependency, has this policy perhaps part of the cause of the slow death of Europe that we are witnessing.

Who knows, but it has demonstrably done neither Europeans not Americans any favors. And it needs to end.


In other news: Collusion rears its ugly head. John Hinderaker reports.

First, the Boston Globe organizes a media protest against the Trump administration’s “assault on the press.”

The Boston Globe has been contacting newspaper editorial boards and proposing a “coordinated response” to President Trump’s escalating “enemy of the people” rhetoric.

“We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” The Globe said in its pitch to fellow papers.
***
As of Saturday, “we have more than 100 publications signed up, and I expect that number to grow in the coming days,” Marjorie Pritchard, the Globe’s deputy editorial page editor, told CNN.

The American Society of News Editors, the New England Newspaper and Press Association and other groups have helped her spread the word.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Pritchard said. “We have some big newspapers, but the majority are from smaller markets, all enthusiastic about standing up to Trump’s assault on journalism.”

Ya know, I’d like to have a free press. One not owned by Donald Trump, one not owned by the Democrat Party or the Left (BIRM), not one owned by the Boston Globe. One that thinks for itself. Yeah, I know, that’s a dream, there may be three people in the media who can think their way out of a wet paper bag.

And then there is this, from the same article:

But how, exactly, are educational institutions to avoid “normalizing” or “legitimizing” success?

Trump’s immediate circle and senior appointees…should not be accorded the degree of respect or deference that their seniority and government positions would normally merit. We do not, after all, have a normal administration that can be served honorably.

This means no honorific titles (fellow, senior fellow), no named lectures, no keynote speeches headlining conferences or events. While individual faculty members and student groups should be free to invite Trump appointees to speak on campus, as a rule such invitations should not be issued by senior university officers. And lectures and presentations should always provide an opportunity for vigorous questioning and debate.

No honorific titles? No named lectures? No keynote speeches? Invitations to speak delivered by underlings? The horror! My friends will attest that I am not normally a profane person, but I join a large majority of Americans in saying, f*** you, a**hole.

I can only add, with a razor wire wrapped pineapple, sideways.

A Splendid Little (Trade) War

Well, does anyone really think that President Trump wants a trade war? He has been a free trader (whose business is dependent on the free flow of goods and services) for quite a while. But he’s also a skilled negotiator and knows that whatever you go into negotiations demanding, you’ll get less.

So he announced some fairly draconian tariffs on the EU, and all of a sudden, here is Junker, himself, in the White House making concessions.

But as Melissa MacKenzie points out here, Tariffs get people’s attention.

Maybe, though, President Trump has found a way to make tariffs work: pushing around the Europeans, who, by the way, did not agree to stop the tariffs against American imports. The only solid agreement that came out of today’s negotiations is that American wouldn’t impose further tariffs – for now.

Nice words

What the European Union had to say.

Not a bad start, and with amazing celerity. Not a few in Britain are a bit envious.

That is true, as is the fact that America has been becalmed for better than a decade, and wages have not gone up, forever, although everything else has. That is dependent on this and it is also dependent on stemming illegal immigration, which puts pressure on prices and suppresses wages as well.

If you are noticing the polls, illegal immigration is by far what Americans care about most.

Oh, and by the way, most of us could not care less about Russia, especially in refighting the last election. In fact, we think we made the right decision, and likely will do so again in 2020.

We like Winning! America First!

[And a note] Coming up fairly soon is the reimposition of sanctions on Iran. As I write this, The UK, France, and Germany are looking about for ways to evade them. Not sure I’d be all that sanguine about even steering close to the winds of evading American sanctions these days. Your countries are not too big to fail.

Everyone Is Smart Except Trump

Dov Fischer put an article up at The American Spectator yesterday. It says some things that need saying. Let’s have a look.

Remember the four years when Anderson Cooper was President of the United States? And before that — when the entire Washington Post editorial staff jointly were elected to be President? Remember? Neither do I.

The Seedier Media never have negotiated life and death, not corporate life and death, and not human life and death. They think they know how to negotiate, but they do not know how. They go to a college, are told by peers that they are smart, get some good grades, proceed to a graduate degree in journalism, and get hired as analysts. Now they are experts, ready to take on Putin and the Iranian Ayatollahs at age 30.

That is not the road to expertise in tough dealing. The alternate road is that, along the way, maybe you get forced into some street fights. Sometimes the other guy wins, and sometimes you beat the intestines out of him. Then you deal with grown-ups as you mature, and you learn that people can be nasty, often after they smile and speak softly. You get cheated a few times, played. And you learn. Maybe you become an attorney litigating multi-million-dollar case matters. Say what you will about attorneys, but those years — not the years in law school, not the years drafting legal memoranda, but the years of meeting face-to-face and confronting opposing counsel — those years can teach a great deal. They can teach how to transition from sweet, gentle, diplomatic negotiating to tough negotiating. At some point, with enough tough-nosed experience, you figure out Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” yourself.

Trump’s voters get him because not only is he we, but we are he. We were not snowflaked-for-life by effete professors who themselves never had negotiated tough life-or-death serious deals. Instead we live in the real world, and we know how that works. Not based on social science theories, not based on “conceptual negotiating models.” But based on the people we have met over life and always will hate. That worst boss we ever had. The coworker who tried to sabotage us. We know the sons of bums whom we survived, the dastardly types who are out there, and we learned from those experiences how to deal with them. We won’t have John Kerry soothe us by having James Taylor sing “You’ve Got a Friend” carols.

Yep, you know it, I know it, everybody who ever worked for a living, as opposed to flapping their gums, knows it. Life is swimming upstream, in molasses, in January. It’s a place for tough guys and girls, who know how to fight for what they need, not for effete wankers who think only words matter. I’ve eaten my words on occasion, they were neither palatable nor nutritious, I prefer a USDA Prime Porterhouse although your mileage may vary.

NATO is our friend. They also rip off America. They have been ripping us off forever. We saved their butts — before there even was a NATO — in World War I. They messed up, and 116,456 Americans had to die to save their butts. Then they messed up again for the next two decades because West Europeans are effete and so obsessed with their class manners and their rules of savoir faireand their socialist welfare states and their early retirements that they did not have the character to stand up to Hitler in the 1930s. Peace in our time. So they messed up, and we had to save their butts again. And another 405,399 Americans died for them during World War II. And then we had to rebuild them! And we had to station our boys in Germany and all over their blood-stained continent. So, hey, we love those guys. We love NATO.

And yet they still rip us off. We pay 4% of our gigantic gross domestic product to protect them, and they will not pay a lousy 2% of their GDP towards their own defense. Is there a culture more penny-pinching-cheap-and-stingy than the fine constituents of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization? These cheap baseborn prigs will not pay their fare. They are too cheap. They expect America to send boys to die for them in one world war, then another — hundreds of thousands — and then to pay for their NATO defense even a century later.

And then they have the temerity to cheat us further in trade. Long before Trump, they set up tariffs against us for so many things. If the average American knew how badly Europe has been ripping us off for decades with their tariffs, no one in this country would buy anything European again. We would say, as a matter of self-respect and personal pride, “I no longer will buy anything but American, no matter what it costs.”

That too is obviously and ineradicably true. It is all simply beyond argument. And there is quite a lot more truth-telling in his article, so do follow the link above and read it.

Here’s the bottom line:

What has Anderson Cooper achieved during that period? Jim Acosta or the editorial staffs of the New York Times and Washington Post? They have not even found the courage and strength to stand up to the coworkers and celebrities within their orbits who abuse sexually or psychologically or emotionally. They have no accomplishments to compare to his. Just their effete opinions, all echoing each other, all echoing, echoing, echoing. They gave us eight years of Nobel Peace Laureate Obama negotiating with the ISIS JV team, calming the rise of the oceans, and healing the planet.

We will take Trump negotiating with Putin any day.

Theodore Roosevelt put it better than anyone back in 1910.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

That’s you, that’s me, and that is Trump, and above all that is the America we love.

Telling England (and Europe) the Truth

Getty Pool

Well, the President is now in the UK, after lobbing some American truth grenades around in Brussels. They are needed, and he reflects, as usual, the view of the American on the street.

It is tiresome protecting people who disdain to protect themselves, let alone disregard their own vital interests to pander to corporatists and foreign powers. Yes, I am referring to the Nordstream pipeline whereby Germany spends many billions of dollars to import natural gas from Russia bypassing eastern Europe – which they, no less than the US, are pledged to defend. Although it is unclear how that will work with their seven operational aircraft, less than a hundred tanks, and less than 200,000 service people – less than the Weimar Republic was allowed.

It brings to mind an old American adage:

“We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.”

But really, why should we? Someone said the other day that if Europe was owned by Disney, the sign would say “Yesterdayland”. It’s pretty much true, Europe as we have known it is a dying continent. It may be beyond help. In population, in economics, and yes, in military force.

The UK too tends that way, but not as much. It retains a robust memory of what it once was, and once one gets away from London, is still is, in large part, the land we all knew.

But its politics are broken, even worse than ours were after Reagan and before Trump. Corbyn’s Labour Party, much like the US Democrats, was once the party of unionized labor, now its politics often make Stalin look conservative. It is anti everything that most of us think good, not to mention anti-Semitic and anti-British, and anti-American. But it has largely put a spoke in the wheel of British governance, not because of what it believes, so much as the fear of the party by everybody else.

The Conservatives have slipped to the left as well. Jess often commented that Maggie moved the so-called Overton window to the right, and she was right. No more. The Tories make the US Republican establishment look positively conservative. Nor does it help that many British cannot seem to tell the difference between corporatist and capitalist.

Earlier this week, we looked at the current Brexit deal (here). In short what it does is make the UK a colony of the European Union – the worst of all possible worlds. It means being subject to the rule of one of the most corrupt groups in the world, without even (an ineffectual) vote in the proceedings.

UKIP (The United Kingdom Independence Party) which was the main driver that brought about the Brexit vote, more or less dissolved upon victory, with its former leader Nigel Farage going into radio and such. It seems to have thought its job was done, and the Tory government would carry out the will of the people clearly expressed. That was so optimistic as to be delusional.

It is now quickly gaining members (and the Tories losing commensurately) as what the May government has done sinks in, but it may be too late. There are two ways to forcibly retire the May government. Michael St. George details them here. Both are fraught with uncertainty.

Into this self-created mess, Donald Trump flew yesterday, doing his truth-telling act. He told the Daily Sun, the last semi conservative paper in Britain, that the Brexit deal outlined in the white paper leaves the UK subject to the EU (thus the BRINO moniker: Brexit in name only) and as such we will have to negotiate with the EU rather than the UK. In other words, the promised US-UK trade deal will likely be off. The obvious truth, but it rocked the island.

The President also said that he, like many British themselves, used to love London, but now avoids it. Sensible, since the current mayor, Sadiq Khan is doing his very best to make it still another multicultural ‘third world shithole’. He makes diBlasio look reasonable.

While this was going on, he had a very nice dinner at Blenheim Palace, where Churchill was born, and the gift of the nation to Sir John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough, perhaps the greatest British general since William the Marshal.

Today, he will meet the Queen, which I’d guess he will enjoy, and she just might as well. She’s met every American president since Truman, and some reports say is also a Brexiteer (although as befits her job, a quiet one).

There are protests, of course, in London, encouraged by the Mayor, which have prompted both the US and the Japanese Embassies to advise their nationals to maintain a low profile this weekend. Well justified, yesterday it was reported that the former UK ambassador to the US was badly beaten in the street. The police claim it was a simple robbery attempt.

What Britain needs is a leader that the people can rally around. I, like many others, do like like Jacob Rees-Mogg, but question whether he’s up to the task, or even able to see it in its full dimensions. Trump also said last night that he thinks Boris Johnson would make a great PM. Well, Trump is a pretty good judge, although ‘great’ seems a bit far over the bridge, but in any case, do the Tories have the guts to even try to solve this mess? I have my doubts.

So, today it will be off to Scotland and then on to meet Putin.

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