Cooperation, Not Combat

The trade war with China accelerates as the Trump administration’s latest tariffs have been matched. Talks have broken down, and Trump seems to think that the taxes are paid by China, not US consumers. He’s not going to back down anytime soon.

Where does it stop? If the end goal is an even trade between the two nations, it’s not actually possible to accomplish it this way – unless it drops to zero. There are systemic problems in world trade generally and China specifically which create this issue that can and must be worked out. A competent administration would do that hard work and create a world that is much more even all around.

But no, we’d all rather just bully our way to prosperity or something.

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Faith and Deeds

This piece from a year ago is still valid.  

A lot of people are upset about the direction of the nation. Nearly a two to one ration finds that the nation is on the wrong track, according to a Rasmussen poll. That fits with the ongoing controversies sweeping our mindscapes involving protests of various kinds.

A lack of faith in our government should be one thing which unites us. It’s something of an American tradition, after all. Some think it’s involved in vast conspiracies. Some want to stockpile arms against it. Some think it’s just plain incompetent. Some think our history is a complete lie.

No one, anywhere, thinks that government is going to solve all of our problems. No one trusts it completely. No one thinks our taxation system is completely fair. No one thinks that the system always produces justice.

Yet protests about our system or our government are the surest way to spark a highly emotional shouting match that transcends any ability to get anything done. And there may be a good reason.

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Trump’s Minority

So far, approval ratings for Trump are staying in the 35-40% range no matter what happens. We have an identification of his solid base, and it’s quite large. Larger than many of us would like to see, and large enough that removing him through impeachment is going to be traumatic unless something changes.

The media concentrated on economic issues through the election and beyond, but it’s clear that they have little to nothing to do with the situation. They are excuses, code words, and easy answers for the media who assumed we were in ordinary times, but that’s just plain wrong.

So who are his supporters? What motivates them? I’m going to take a stab at this based on what I have seen in the media which appeals to them (ie, Fox Breitbart, et al) and their general response to events. My purpose in doing so is to help us through the coming impeachment, and I do think it’s coming. The nation is divided enough, and if we don’t at least understand each other things are only going to get worse.

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Not-Journalism

Long before there was “fake news” there was the National Enquirer.

It’s not as though obviously false stories written for entertainment, and to make a buck, were anything new. The Enquirer, however, gave the form a brand name. Anyone stuck behind a person with a full shopping cart came to know Bat Boy, Lobster Boy, Bigfoot, and a parade of celebrities doing awful things. It was a chuckle usually wrapped around a sneer – “Who reads this stuff?”

Though this rag was known for publishing nearly anything, what it deliberately didn’t publish turns out to be much more interesting.

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Capital Controls

The currents of the oceans carry warmth to northern latitudes. The jet stream can be ridden by jets carrying travelers to new adventures. In much the same way, money flows around the world in waves which make nearly every aspect of our economic life possible.

That may be coming to a halt soon, however. The climate change that brings us trade wars also shuts down the financial weather systems which move in a predictable bounded chaos. Our ability to predict the economic future, always right in bulk but rarely precise, may be closing down.

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Google “craven”

The battle between the US and China is heating up. The stakes are high, having both pride and money on the line. It’s a classic showdown reminiscent of old times.

It looks like 1995, that is, in that a search engine war is just heating up. This one is between google and baidu, the Chinese search engine that rose to dominate the Chinese market after google pulled out in 2010 rather than comply with censorship laws. Google is reversing that decision in a strategic business operation which will leverage …

… oh, who am I kidding. Google is selling out bigtime and crawling back to China. Wow.

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How Stupid Are We?

It’s nothing but a sideshow. The real story is indeed how much Trump has sold out to Putin and his mafia, and what that group did to get him elected. But as a sideshow to the main circus, The Michael Cohen story unfolding in the press, not a courtroom, is a great test.

We can see in real time just what this particular group of people is made of, and it’s not good. The salacious details, all about affairs and how to cover them up, is attention grabbing. But if there is anything to learn from this it’s that we are, indeed, dealing with a group of gangsters who are largely incapable of telling the truth.

That clarity might be useful when the real story advances to impeachment. More interestingly, we may learn just how the public digests stories like this and what they wind up believing.

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