Trump announces US-Mexico Trade Agreement — Wall Street Journal calls bullshit on the whole affair

The business-friendly editors of the Wall Street Journal are decidedly unimpressed with President Donald Trump’s hastily put-together replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

On the editorial page of the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper, the new agreement — involving Mexico but not Canada — was condemned as “notably worse in many ways,” based on what little is known about it.

“The Presidents of America and Mexico announced a new trade agreement Monday that Donald Trump called ‘much better’ than the North American Free Trade Agreement. We’ll reserve judgment until we see the fine print, but on first inspection this is half a Nafta that contains some improvements but is notably worse in many ways,” the editorial began, before warning, “Whether it can pass Congress is far from certain.”

According to the Journal, the good news is that the “U.S. also seems to have stepped back from its demand for a five-year ‘sunset’ that was essentially a backdoor way to dampen cross-border investment. The two parties agreed instead to a 16-year pact with a review period after six years.”

However, Trump’s decision to move forward without major trading partner Canada came under attack.

“The new deal has many problems, however, not least that it excludes Canada,” the editors wrote. “U.S. Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer used the desire of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to sign a deal before he leaves office to raise the negotiating pressure on Canada. Mr. Trump implied Monday that either Ottawa signs on or he’ll slap a 25% tariff on cars made in Canada.”

“Canada handled that threat with prudent restraint, praising the U.S.-Mexico ‘progress’ and offering to rejoin trilateral talks this week,” the editorial praised. “Mr. Trump griped Monday with cause about Canada’s dairy protection, but Canada is right to want to retain Nafta’s Chapter 19 provisions that provide a way to settle trade disputes by a special tribunal.”

The Journal went onto bash the Trump agreement for stripping “current protections from most U.S. investors in Mexico.”

“Countries other than Venezuela are smart enough not to send in the police to occupy a plant or hotel. They’ll use regulation to favor domestic competitors,” the editors wrote, with the warning, “Believe it or not, this was a Trump-Lighthizer demand: They figure that if U.S. companies are more vulnerable to foreign abuse, CEOs will keep their money at home. This is economic nonsense since American workers prosper when their companies prosper—abroad and at home. Why make it harder for U.S. firms to court customers abroad?”

The Journal then pronounced sentence on Trump’s deal by concluding: “The deal announced Monday has moving parts and there is still time to make improvements before it is signed and sent to Congress. We’re glad to see Mr. Trump step back from the suicide of Nafta withdrawal, but on the public evidence so far his new deal is worse.”

After McCain’s death, we see clearly the difference between a statesman and a low-life con man

Though the White House had drafted a statement on the death of John McCain, it was not released. Instead, President Donald Trump tweeted “sympathies and respect” to the family, saying nothing of the contributions of the widely esteemed senator.

Nothing could tell us more about the character of the petty man in the White House than his weekend display. As tributes filled the news media — many from McCain’s political opponents — Trump showed he lacks the common decency required of his office. After years devoted to dividing the country, he could not play the role of political healer, even to honor a man from his own party.
However, in a perverse way, Trump provided a service to the nation. He called attention to the difference between himself and McCain, giving us a chance to reflect on their disparate leadership styles.
Think of this exercise as the political equivalent of the old tale of the tape that newspapers routinely published to predict the outcome of a boxing match.
Courage: McCain demonstrated it in abundance, from his Vietnam war service in his youth to his final battle with brain cancer. Trump, who claimed bone spurs to avoid military service, once tried to show bravery by breaking with his party on gun control but retreated in less than two weeks.
Decency: The senator could scrap, but he avoided the lowest of blows. A prime example was the time he corrected a bigoted voter who attacked his then presidential opponent Barack Obama. “No ma’am,” said McCain. He’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with.” Trump rose to political significance via the racist “birtherism” that questioned Obama’s status as American-born.
Clarity: When McCain sought the presidency the first time in 2000, his touring bus was dubbed the “Straight Talk Express.” Direct and consistent, he always made his views clear to allies and opponents alike. Donald Trump’s word salad speaking style suggests a man who intends to create confusion. It is the preferred approach of a con man.
Service: Coming from a family with a long record of military service, McCain devoted his entire life’s work to improving the lives of Arizonans and Americans at large. Humble enough to admit that he made many mistakes, he never ceased to search for way to contribute to the greater good. Trump devoted himself to the accumulation of self-interested wealth and power. Prior to achieving the presidency, he established no record of service aside from writing checks to charity.
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Honor: The true measure of a leader is how he reacts to defeat. McCain recognized there was no disgrace in losing. Though he lost the White House twice — once to George W. Bush and once to Obama — he reconciled with both and asked them to deliver eulogies at his funeral. Trump, who never seems to get over anything, has so dishonored the presidency that he has not been invited to partake in McCain’s memorial services. He has also attacked McCain on numerous occasions, which may be part of the reason for his exclusion from the memorial.
In boxing, the tale of the tape was used to predict the outcome of an impending match. For Trump and McCain, it suggests how history will regard them in the years to come. McCain’s stature seems fixed and is unlikely to change. Unfortunately, the same is true for Trump.

Trump’s claim that he “terminated” NAFTA is another lie.

President Trump announced Monday that he’s “terminating” the North American Free Trade Agreement, and boasted that he and Mexico just struck “maybe the largest trade deal ever made.”

Actually: Trump can’t unilaterally kill NAFTA; this is only a possible step toward any new trade deal involving Mexico; it’s probably not a good step; and it may not actually lead to any new deal at all.

In other words, it’s precisely the puffery we’ve come to expect from a president who doesn’t understand what his own administration is doing, or doesn’t care.

Trump campaigned on fixing our “stupid” trade deals, including NAFTA. And, at more than two decades old, this tripartite pact with Canada and Mexico does indeed require sprucing up.

The global economy has changed since the early 1990s. NAFTA doesn’t address major industries that barely existed (if they existed at all) when the agreement was negotiated, such as e-commerce. It also didn’t do much for labor or environmental standards.

Indeed, politicians have been vowing to update NAFTA for years.

Back in 2008, Barack Obama also campaigned on a promise to renegotiate NAFTA. He ultimately did, in the form of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The 12-country trade pact included Canada and Mexico among its signatories, and contained extensive language modernizing trade rules (including a whole chapter on e-commerce) and raising labor and environmental standards.

Alas, one of Trump’s first acts in office was to pull out of TPP. Worse, he subsequently lobbed new tariffs in virtually every direction, including at our allies in North America. The fallout from Trump’s trade war-mongering has unquestionably hurt Canada and Mexico, as well as U.S. firms.

But on Monday, Trump proclaimed this front in his trade wars was over. We allegedly have a new deal with Mexico, he said — a bilateral agreement that will replace NAFTA, and leave Canada cowering in fear.

“A lot of people thought we’d never get here,” he declared.

But in truth, “here” is pretty close to where we were before.

There is still no signed Mexico deal. And, unfortunately for Trump, he does not actually have authority from Congress to split NAFTA into two separate bilateral deals.

Additionally, most of what’s in NAFTA is implemented by statute. That means that no matter what Trump says, most of its provisions will live on unless and until Congress actually, you know, passes a new trade law. Which a Republican-led Congress doesn’t seem keen to do, at least if the new law in question is more protectionist than the one we have.

Congress also isn’t the only barrier to ditching NAFTA in favor of separate bilateral trade agreements. Canada and Mexico have each said that any new trade pact that results should include the involvement of all three countries.

In fact, during Trump’s Monday Oval Office event, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said no fewer than four times that he still expected Canada to be part of any final agreement.

He even closed his call by saying: “We’ll be waiting for Canada to be integrated into this process.”

So did the recent round of discussions between Mexico and the United States produce any results?

Sort of. But it’s hard to call it progress.

The United States and Mexico seem to have resolved some of their differences, including on automotive “rules of origin.” These complicated new rules would add burdensome requirements for any cars that could be imported into the United States from Mexico without tariffs.

Based on what we know so far, these requirements would likely require an enormous expansion of the administrative state (not something Republicans usually support), raise the cost of cars to consumers, and possibly reduce the number of cars assembled in North America — which is, of course, the opposite of their intended effect.

In fact, nothing announced thus far suggests the stuff we got Mexico to agree to would help the United States increase car exports to Mexico at all. “For autos, I am worried that the main outcome is a changing of the rules to allow us to trade less with Mexico,” Peterson Institute for International Economics senior fellow Chad P. Bown tells me.

And that’s if the deal actually goes through. Lots of hurdles remain, including within Mexico. The Mexican government has indicated that it wants any new deal signed before its next president takes office on Dec. 1.

That time frame effectively gives Trump exactly four days to get Canada on board since Trump must give Congress 90 days notice for a coming trade deal. If Trump wants to deliver on his campaign promises — and get any sort of trade deal, which he seems to desperately want ahead of the midterms — he’d best stop self-applauding and get back to work.

Trump’s “deal” with North Korea has collapsed

For more than two months since the Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has assured us that Trump’s brilliant strategy was working. We’ve given up nothing, Pompeo said, ignoring the PR coup for Kim and the cancellation of U.S.-South Korea joint exercises. We still have sanctions, he insisted — ignoring the assistance extended by China to Pyongyang. We’re making progress in talks, he assured us.

In July, he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. CNN recounted, “Pompeo would not say publicly if North Korea is still moving forward with its nuclear program. He told [a] senator he’d answer the question ‘in a different setting.’ . . . When Sen. Ed Markey expressed concerns that the US was being ‘taken for a ride’ by North Korea, Pompeo quickly responded, saying, ‘Fear not, senator. Fear not.’”

After visits to North Korea, Pompeo downplayed signs that Pyongyang had never changed its tune. On July 8, the Associated Press reported:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday brushed aside North Korea’s accusation of “gangster-like” denuclearization demands. Pompeo maintained that his third visit to the country had produced results but also vowed that sanctions would remain until Pyongyang follows through on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s pledge to get rid of his atomic weapons. . . . Speaking after meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Tokyo, Pompeo said his two days of talks in Pyongyang had been productive and conducted in good faith.

It is not clear what he was trying to accomplish by all this happy talk. Perhaps he did not want to enrage his boss by revealing that Trump’s nauseating bowing and scraping in Singapore had actually made things worse, demonstrating to Kim that Trump is a fool who can be played while North Korea advances its nuclear program and gets economic relief from China.

So when Trump abruptly canceled the trip after a closed-door briefing on talks from Pompeo, the jig was up. North Korea hasn’t been negotiating in good faith at all. In fact, we’ve gotten zilch for our concession on military exercises and for elevating and flattering Kim. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Mr. Trump’s decision appeared to take State Department officials by surprise. Mr. Pompeo named a new special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, to lead the talks only a day earlier, and staffers were preparing for the trip to go ahead on Sunday as planned.

Mr. Pompeo was in a meeting with Mr. Trump in the White House when the president wrote the tweets calling off the meeting, a person familiar with the matter said. The president made the decision after talking to Mr. Pompeo and getting an update on the state of negotiations, which have been gridlocked since Mr. Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June.

Trump chose to blame China, without explanation. But the fault lies in the White House not Beijing, which has also learned to play the president (e.g. getting a new lease on life for ZTE) and test our fortitude on sanctions. . . . Mr. Trump has long insisted the talks with North Korea were progressing well, and Friday’s tweets were the first indication that progress was going slower than expected.

As recently as last month, Mr. Trump tweeted that the U.S. was having “many good conversations with North Korea-it is going well!”

Well, I guess they weren’t going so well after all.

This is what happens when you flatter a narcissistic, ignorant president. Trying to preserve the image of effectiveness and competence simply delays the inevitable recognition that North Korea never had any intention of denuclearizing. When Trump finally acknowledges reality, he makes both himself and his secretary of state look foolish or dishonest or both. Unfortunately for Pompeo, he’s beginning to resemble his predecessor, Rex W. Tillerson — who allies and foes soon learned didn’t really speak for the president and whom Congress learned not to trust. More honesty and less happy talk to butter up his boss would serve Pompeo well.

Donald Trump is trash

Trump is trash.  If you voted for him, you, too, are trash.  White trash.

Read this:

President Trump nixed issuing a statement that praised the heroism and life of Sen. John McCain, telling senior aides he preferred to issue a tweet before posting one Saturday night that did not include any kind words for the late Arizona Republican.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and other White House aides advocated for an official statement that gave the decorated Vietnam War POW plaudits for his military and Senate service and called him a “hero,” according to current and former White House aides, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. The original statement was drafted before McCain died Saturday, and Sanders and others edited a final version this weekend that was ready for the president, the aides said.

But Trump told aides he wanted to post a brief tweet instead, and the statement praising McCain’s life was not released.

“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!” Trump posted Saturday evening shortly after McCain’s death was announced.

John McCain died and Trump refused to honor his service because McCain opposed Trump in the Senate.  John McCain was a prisoner of war being tortured day in and day out while Trump was getting draft deferments for “bone spurs.”  If you voted for Trump, you are a lowlife, ignorant, shit-for-brains motherfucker who doesn’t deserve to breath.   Go slit your wrists and make the world a better place.

McCain’s death is a problem for Trump

Wall to wall media coverage and then the funeral that he has been banned from attending.

Then, the renaming of the Russell Senate office building from a southern segregationist to an American hero.

For the “look at me” President, this is going to be hard to endure, not to mention whatever happens to come up in the corruption investigations going on on several fronts.

And you muthahfukahs want to know why we consider you “deplorable”

Fox News on Sunday disabled the ability to comment on its YouTube videos about the death of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Over the weekend, scores of commenters at the Fox News website were allowed to trash Sen. John McCain. But those attempting to view videos about McCain on YouTube were notified that the network had “disabled” commenting.

“Comments are disabled for this video,” a notice on each video said.

Fox News continued to allow comments on videos about other topics.

Meanwhile, at least one story on FoxNews.com had accepted at least 3,500 comments in about two hours. Many of the comments wished McCain “good riddance” and declared him a traitor.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t celebrate the life of a man who has done so much evil,” one commenter opined. “He is burning in Hell right now, and receiving the due payment for his evil deeds.”

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Well, well . . . isn’t this special.  All those good christians, all those patriotic Americans who follow Fox are now sliming an honest, decent man.  No wonder these motherfuckers are called DEPLORABLES.

Note to Sarah Palin: Kiss my ass, bitch.

John McCain, one of our last true heroes, died yesterday.  Sarah Palin — McCain’s VP running mate in 2009 — responded in her usual trashy way.

Courtesy of the Daily Mail:

In an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV, Palin, 54, and her husband Todd, 53, reflected on her time as McCain’s running mate during the 2008 presidential election and revealed her frustration over his political hangers-on.

‘I respect his military service. I think it’s unfortunate that he had people around him – and they continued to be around him for a very long time – who weren’t serving him well,’ she said.

‘They certainly weren’t serving the country well with what they were trying to do.’

‘I believe he was told things about what America really wanted or really needed because he’s been in that DC bubble for so many years.

‘I don’t think inherently he necessarily was really connected, so he did rely on people telling him – in polls – telling him and…he went from there.

‘I think that’s unfortunate because he had some strange people around him and..disloyal people, and you know, I don’t say that as like hate speech or griping about it, it’s just a fact they were just some not nice people.’

No, Sarah, the only “not nice people” around McCain were you and your family of Wasilla, Alaska, potheads, thugs, sluts, liars, grifters, bastard grandchildren, and lying sacks of shit.

Chew on these you TeaParty assholes

It’s amazing Hillary is even alive considering she had two strokes, lung cancer, is in jail, gained 103 lbs, falls down constantly, almost died of the flu on 9/11, and only had 6 months to live.

Have you ever noticed that Trump never mentions Rachel Maddow? Of all the journalists he slams, he never utters her name. Why? Because he’s very, very afraid of her.

Mueller is doing to Trump what he did to Enron. He is going brick by brick until the whole organization falls and crumbles. It’s a fun game of jenga.

Betsy DeVos is considering a plan that would allow states to use federal funds to buy teachers guns. They’ll still have to ask parents to donate tissues & glue sticks, though.