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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:13 pm 
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Yeah, there is a good chance that the new judge will be in by November. The filibuster has been eliminated for judicial appointments, so the Democrats have no say and won't be able to stall. I doubt that the Republicans will collapse into infighting though, they have been dreaming of this moment for a generation. Any conservative nominee with a pulse will do. Even if Trump nominates his personal chauffeur, they will fall into line or risk the wrath of their primary voters.

If the new judge goes in before the election, the Republicans could either show up in celebratory enthusiasm, or stay home out of complacency. The Democrats could either get really mad and motivated, or get depressed and stop trying. It's hard to say.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:42 pm 
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I suppose at this point the most interesting question is whether Trump has been a Russian asset since the 80s or if it's more recent. Mind you, the same question could be asked of the GOP; though the decade in their case would be more recent.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:38 am 
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"Interesting" is the understatement of the century. If you stop to think about it, it beggars belief; the American president the willing patsy of a foreign dictator.

The alt-right's been pushing an alliance with Putin for at least a couple of years now (a position I'm sure Russia's propaganda arm does much to promote). They imagine Russia as a reactionary utopia: largely white, Christian, conservative, patriarchal, homophobic, intolerant and nationalistic. They think this makes Russia a better ally than soft, secular, weak Western Europe that they believe is going to be completely overrun by Teh Evil Muslims in a couple of decades anyway. So now we've got ideological Russophiles like Stephen Miller serving a president who very likely owes Russian oligarchs vast sums of money.

Probably the Chinese are kicking themselves that they didn't get in on the action first.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:34 am 
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On a sidenote i think the EU and Canada are doing the trade war escalation totally wrong. They style themselfs as the reasoable players, who want to avoid an escalation.

But Trump relies soley on the empathy and social intelligence of a bully and a con man, so if someone wants to avoid an escalation, he will escalate more.

They should rather send out a message like "Great, we always wanted a trade war, we just were too civilized to actually start one. So theese are our countertariffs and just dropping your tariffs alone is not enough to make us drop ours, we want something else as well for that". Like for instance Canada could demand Alaska, because that would make maps more tidy. They just should have a plan what to do, if Trump gives them Puerto Rico instead.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:03 am 
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From what I've heard, Canada, the EU and China have been much more intelligent about targeting their tariffs to hurt America (and specifically Trump supporting states) than the US has targeted its tariffs. Most of the other countries' tariffs focus on finished products made by red states, whereas the Americans have illogically targeted parts and machinery... Ones which American manufacturers need. So they are shooting themselves in the foot.

The other countries are hoping that red states turn on Trump if they bleed enough money. Which is smart, but probably puts entirely too much faith in the ability of Trump voters to connect cause and effect.

I mean over 70% of Republicans still support Trump's Russia policy after his arse kissing of Vladimir Putin.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:39 pm 
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I am not talking about which tariffs make sense, Trump obviously does not care about that. And as much as it might hurt the US or certain demographics or industries in the US in the long run, in the short run it's about what impresses Trump.

What i am talking about is posturing. If you reluctantly make some credible threat to a bully, a typical bully will keep escalating. If you can express "You just made my day punk" well, you can draw a hankie and the bully most likely backs down.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:41 pm 
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arcosh wrote:
On a sidenote i think the EU and Canada are doing the trade war escalation totally wrong.


That's only true if they want to make Trump back down.

By and large, what a democratic government wants is to be re-elected. Which means that their public stance is (mostly) done in consideration of their country's voters. Do they want to look like reasonable people to their voters, or do they want to look like a bigger bully than Trump to their voters? By and large, I imagine that they want their voters to think that they are reasonable people and thus a reasonable choice for re-election.

And considering Kea's point - about how well they're targetting their tariffs - I imagine that they're reaping a fair amount of side benefits as well (encouraging people to make their own stuff instead of importing finished products helps keep unemployment down, and then when next election rolls around they can smugly point out the excellent employment figures when they say "Vote us in again!").

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:09 am 
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More local production's a long term benefit, CCC; right now a trade war will depress output because supply chains cross borders too freely. Though the EU is certainly seeing production flee the US to the EU in order to avoid their tariffs, and it's unlikely too much will go the other way.

Just FWIW, Corporate America is not with Trump on this one; don't count on the base being in the dark when they lose their farm because they can't possibly cover the leverage they took on based on higher soy prices (or their industries equivalent). No one is quietly shifting production overseas; they're making a point of blaming Trump.

Oh, and the New York State tax people have opened in investigation into whether or not the Trump Foundation violated NY tax laws. Since it pretty much did, and doing so is a matter of criminal law, this should be fun. On top of that his company is so badly run that I hear they've started to miss real estate tax payments. Way to improve your negotiating position.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:50 am 
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The cognitive dissonance is gonna be strong in soybean country this November. I find it eminently possible that farmers will blame Trump for the trade war and vote for Republicans anyway. Said Republicans will promise to intercede with Trump on their behalf. Just like how Kansas never threw the Republicans out of office for destroying their state budget, they just had less extreme Republicans take over. It probably doesn't matter what farmers in deep red parts of Arkansas think though, the key thing is the Democrats need to win the turn-out game in the competitive states.

I suppose we can just be glad that Trump's mercantlist advisers are so incompetent that they don't even know how to trade war properly.

Anyhow. The Russian spy they caught infiltrating the NRA sounds like something out of a bad 80s movie.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:00 am 
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CCC wrote:
arcosh wrote:
On a sidenote i think the EU and Canada are doing the trade war escalation totally wrong.


That's only true if they want to make Trump back down.

By and large, what a democratic government wants is to be re-elected. Which means that their public stance is (mostly) done in consideration of their country's voters. Do they want to look like reasonable people to their voters, or do they want to look like a bigger bully than Trump to their voters? By and large, I imagine that they want their voters to think that they are reasonable people and thus a reasonable choice for re-election.

And considering Kea's point - about how well they're targetting their tariffs - I imagine that they're reaping a fair amount of side benefits as well (encouraging people to make their own stuff instead of importing finished products helps keep unemployment down, and then when next election rolls around they can smugly point out the excellent employment figures when they say "Vote us in again!").


Strong man tactics against scary outsiders are generally something, that people like. Some like them outright, some consider them as something that feels good, but is counterproductive.

Now if you usually are reasonable, but use them just once against a specific outsider, you can stay on the good side of both sides. So i suppose getting a little unhinged in the trade war could be quite popular.

And i doubt that a lot of jobs are going to the EU or Canada. I suppose the primary beneficiaries will be developing and third world countries. Like IIRC Harley Davidsons did move production intended for europe to Indonesia.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:54 pm 
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The thing with trade wars is that it's not in anybody's interest for them to escalate. Tariffs might protect certain industries but they also inflict widespread economic damage. A country may benefit from threatening them to push their opponent to back down, but actually implementing multiple rounds of retaliatory tariffs is like shooting holes in each other's boats; eventually you both sink. So I understand why world leaders don't want to act too aggressively by making unrelated demands; Trump is crazy enough to escalate even further.

Changing the subject, here is an article on the Christian fundamentalist right's fascination with Putin. Not just regular garden variety fundies, but powerful Washington fundies who believe Jesus was a strongman. They believe it is their duty to implement Christian theocracy worldwide by making alliances with dictators like Putin, whom they admire as a model of strong Christian leadership.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:17 am 
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Kea wrote:
The thing with trade wars is that it's not in anybody's interest for them to escalate. Tariffs might protect certain industries but they also inflict widespread economic damage. A country may benefit from threatening them to push their opponent to back down, but actually implementing multiple rounds of retaliatory tariffs is like shooting holes in each other's boats; eventually you both sink. So I understand why world leaders don't want to act too aggressively by making unrelated demands; Trump is crazy enough to escalate even further.

<snip>


That is true in the vast majority of cases, where leaders use trade wars or the threat thereof to reach specific goals. Trump is the exception however in my opinion. He is a bully, who pushes boundaries until people are mad enough to do crazy things.

Thats why he treats autocrats so well. They rely on "be carefull not to provoke me, or i might do something crazy, thats bad for both of us" as tool to stay in power.

Thats why he badmouthed Harley Davidson for moving their production, but is aprearently fine with other industries, that have their jobs abroad. Harley cited the sanctions as reason, which he percieves as "caving in" and thus thinks, "if they cave in under preassure, i should apply preassue". Other companies sell it more as "thats our business strategy, and if you give us trouble with it, say goodbuy to more of your taxdollars, because then we move more abroad". That he sees as a position of strength, and thus he tries to appease them.

And he more then any other leader needs to have a public victory. If someone who acted strong/crazy gives up demands, that is perfect. So it is IMHO wise, to make crazy threats and demands, just so you can take them back later.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:53 am 
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Looks like the Europeans have declared a truce with the Trump administration instead. They've agreed to buy more American gas in return for cancelling some of the tariffs. Though I don't know how that works - how can governments make sure private firms buy more American stuff? Give them a tax rebate for doing so? I fully expect this agreement to collapse within the month, just like all the others Trump apparently makes. They're only good until his next hissy fit.

In more disturbing news, some Republican Congresscritters are attempting to impeach Rosenstein for not giving them the documents they requested in full knowledge that he couldn't give them to them because they concern active investigations. So now they say he's stonewalling. The impeachment doesn't have the votes to get far, but might just give Trump the excuse he needs to fire Rosenstein. Of course, he won't be able to keep that lie straight for more than 5 minutes either.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:40 am 
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It seems like nobody has an idea, how the EU buying more US gas and soy is supposed to work in practice. I also have not yet seen any information on how much would be "more" enough.

And it seems what has been reached is essentially a cease fire. There will be no new tariffs, and there are promises to review already existing tariffs and for future trade.

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 Post subject: Re: Trump.
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:23 pm 
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I read an explaination for soy:

Because of Chinese tariffs on US soy, many Chinese soy buyers will switch to Brazilian soy. The increased demand for Brazilian soy, US soy will be more interesting for EU soy buyers. So as long as the US-China tradewar keeps going, the EU will fullfill it's promise, without actually doing anything.

For gas, there are some projects to improve the capacities of some ports to receive gas. That is not because it's ecconomical to get gas by ship, but to become less dependent on Russia. Given US gas will have to come by ship, the EU is kinda facilitating the possiblity to buy US gas.

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