Not from Aardvark, Not from The Onion

From Politico this morning:

Trump goes to war with corporate America:

The president’s widening trade war is pushing longtime GOP allies to the front lines of a fight against the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump is now at full-scale war over trade policy with some of the Republican Party’s staunchest allies in big business, including executives at iconic American brands such as General Motors and Harley-Davidson who previously shied away from criticizing an often irascible president.

Trump’s approach has created a high-stakes showdown without recent political precedent: A Republican president betting that his populist approach to trade will thrill his working-class base and blow away any short-term economic fallout or reduced political support from the nation’s largest business organizations. His message to corporate America so far: I don’t care what you say, my base is with me.

On the other side, corporate titans and market analysts fear Trump is on the cusp of damaging the American economy — and that he will not recognize the failure of his approach until it’s too late.

“With every successive firecracker that Trump sets off, we see corporate leaders and groups emboldened and ready to go on the public stage to take him on,” said Nancy Koehn, a business historian at Harvard. “This isn’t the natural order of history that large business groups oppose a Republican president. Trump has a from-the-gut sense that his base will be with him come hell or high water. But it’s a very big bet with no certainty of success.”


Divide et Impera, Baby

trade barrieres

So, here’s a clue. If you hate multinational organizations and want one-on-one negotiations with countries you think of weaker, THEN DON’T PISS ‘EM ALL OFF AT THE SAME TIME.

Because, what will they do?


Meanwhile, Gallup reports today that the percentage of us who are “extremely proud to be an American” has dropped to an all-time low.

So much winning.

extremely proud

What’s About to Happen

monopoly man

Anne Applebaum writes,

Ever since it ended, a steady drip of gossip has circulated about last month’s disastrous Group of Seven summit. By all accounts, President Trump behaved far worse behind the scenes than he did in public. There was the gratuitous rudeness, including the moment he threw two Starburst candies onto a table and said, to the German chancellor, “Here Angela. Don’t say I never gave you anything.” There was aggression, as well as ignorance: “NATO is as bad as NAFTA, it’s much too costly for the U.S.,” he said at one point; to others present, he mentioned NATO, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization and the European Union collectively, throwing them together as organizations he dislikes. Later, he added a twist: “The European Union was set up to take advantage of the United States. …

This is the background that you need to understand the emotions around the next NATO summit on July 11-12, as well as the Trump-Vladimir Putin meeting on July 16. For the first time since 1945, Europe is grappling with an American president who has a fundamentally different view of America’s international role. Trump no longer wants the United States to be the West’s central organizing force. He no longer cares about the benefits that role has brought, if he even understands them.

But although Trump’s dislike of U.S. allies has been clear for decades, only now is that dislike shaping into a clear policy: Europeans are bracing for a United States that no longer considers security and defense organizations to be special and inviolable. Instead, Trump sees the American commitments to all of the institutions he despises as bargaining chips, and he is prepared to use U.S. troops in Europe to force Europeans to make concessions on trade and other things. He may use his meeting with Putin for the same purpose: To intimidate the British, the Germans and others worried by aggressive Russian behavior, and to force them to do what he wants, in whatever sphere he happens to care about. Everything is up for grabs. …

Perhaps the Germans will be asked to destroy their car industry in exchange for keeping U.S. troops in Heidelberg. Perhaps the British will be told to bankrupt their farmers in exchange for promises of joint maneuvers. As for smaller countries — Estonia, Lithuania — they are out of luck: They haven’t got many chips to bargain with in this new poker game, and they can be traded away to Putin — if he wants them — at low cost. …

The other risk is that the coming trade wars take a toll, and not just on Harley-Davidson. U.S. multinationals are by far the biggest beneficiaries of the trade arrangements around the world. If American markets are no longer open to European companies, then why should Europe be open to Amazon, Facebook and General Motors? Europeans might decide to impose new tariffs and taxes — or use antitrust legislation to try to break up big American corporations.

Aardvark Asks:

Will the Fortune 500 and the Business Roundtable take this lying down?

I don’t think so.

I think they will finally grasp the enormity of their devil’s bargain.

I think they will come down on The Donald with hobnailed boots.

Poetic Justice


Koch Brothers to Spend Millions Fighting Against Trump’s Trade-War Agenda.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hits Trump Tariffs With Opposition Campaign.

US business leaders warn on impact of Trump tariffs.

‘This would widen the trade war tenfold’: U.S. automakers say no to Trump’s car tariffs.

So how nice it is that Citizens United allows giant corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our politics!

Grieve and Resist

This morning I join Charles Blow in his eloquently expressed grief for our country—or what we had thought was our country. (He could have said—though he didn’t say, in so many words—that half of America’s white people are not a credit to their race.)

He is attempting to weaken our institutions, our protocols and conventions, our faith in the truth, our sense of honor and our respect for the rule of law.

And somehow, many Americans, even those disgusted by what they see, have resigned themselves to this new reality.

In fact, Trump’s poll numbers had been inching up before he created a humanitarian disaster at the border by separating children from their parents.

I guess this is how empires begin to fall. It isn’t necessarily one dramatic moment, but the incessant monotony of assaults on normalcy that slowly shift the ground beneath you, reorienting what is proper and preferable, what is outrageous and what is acceptable. …

Not to mention the fact that those tactics keep his base riled and ready. Trump is like a drug dealer who has addicted his followers to fear and rage and keeps supplying it in constant doses. His supporters have become rage-junkies for whom he can do no wrong.

Let’s be clear about the demographics of this base: While the overwhelming majority of blacks and Hispanics have an unfavorable view of Trump, just as many white people have a favorable view of him as have an unfavorable view of him, according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll conducted last month.

Blow despairs of our situation, and I understand his despair.

But progressives are a mighty army of resistance, and E.J. Dione reminds us that all is far from lost. And we have a new ally of convenience: big business, motivated by crass and cynical economic considerations, is finding that Trump’s delusional blundering on trade is about to bring the house crashing down.

Welcome to the newest member of the resistance, the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Mexico’s Border with Guacamole


IMHO, it’s worth checking out A Princeton sociologist spent 8 years asking rural Americans why they’re so pissed off. The subtitle reads, “Hint: it’s not about the economy.”

And here’s another hint: Hint, it’s not about anything remotely coherent.

The article presents an interview with the sociologist in question, one Robert Wuthnow. The fruits of Professor Wuthnow’s eight years of labor are summarized in this passage:

Wuthnow’s work resulted in a new book, The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America. He argues that rural Americans are less concerned about economic issues and more concerned about Washington threatening the social fabric of small towns and causing a “moral decline” in the country as a whole. The problem, though, is that it’s never quite clear what that means or how Washington is responsible for it.

I tried to buy the book on Kindle, only to be informed that I had already purchased it. (For those of us rapidly declining into senility, that’s a very helpful service that Kindle provides.) I’m going to try to force myself to read the book, and if I do, I will send along a book report.

Meanwhile, even without the graphs and charts and statistical analysis, I think it’s clear that the stated reasons for the Deplorables’ wrath bear only a tenuous relation to the real reasons for their anger, whatever those reasons may be.

They are mad as hell, but also gullible as hell, and latch onto whatever random nonsense they come across, as a reason for their anger.

A case in point is the above post by someone with whom I attended high school. Her name was deleted, to protect the guilty.

The wall in question is not in Latin America but instead in Israel. The actual border between Mexico and Guatemala looks like this. You can wade across it. (So that solves the question of the Mexico-Guacamole border, but what about Mexico’s OTHER southern border, the one with Los Estados Unidos de Salsa Picante? Maybe THAT’S where that big wall is located!)

Mexico border

We Shall Overcome

voters by party

The above data relate to the state of Georgia and were published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on June 29.

And let me take this occasion to offer heartiest congratulations to the stout-hearted progressives here at Happy Acres who hosted an extraordinarily informative session on how to register voters. We will be working to offer voter registration opportunities not only to our residents but also to our several dozen employees, and we’ll be volunteering at other locations as well.

We hope that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice. But, just to be sure, we’ll give it a shove in that direction.