“Putin is potentially America’s most essential, valuable national security partner.”

via Lew Rockwell

U.S. government asserts that Vladimir Putin interfered with the 2016 American presidential election.  Okay, let’s hear how.  How exactly did Russia or Putin interfere? CNN  can’t answer that though their headline promises to.  It’s loose and general accusations flying with threats made by the lame duck president.  How is that not shameful?  “President Barack Obama has vowed the US will retaliate against Russia “at a time and place of our own choosing” for Moscow’s hacking attempts to influence the country’s elections.”  Vowed?  Don’t you mean threatened?

Stephen Cohen by the way is professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at New York University and Princeton University.  So there’s that.

Many of the people pursuing them [the accusations that Russia intervened] are actually trying to stop President-elect Trump’s vow for establishing a new, cooperative relationship with Russia, which I think is essential for American national security.  I’m not pro-Kremlin.  I’m pro-American national security.  But if you can discredit Putin as a war criminal, as a guy who despoiled our democracy, then how will Trump get the traction to go ahead and begin detente.  Detente, cooperation in a time of war, was a Republican policy.

Then he adds this . . .

Can’t remember in my lifetime where when a publication like the NY Times would refer to the man whose been elected of the United States as a lackey of the Kremlin. Where have we gone when a NY Times says that Trump is the Kremlin’s poodle and the Putin’s puppet?  We’re libeling our own president.  It may be that they are absolutely determined to prevent the kind of cooperation with Russia that will make it safer.  Putin is potentially America’s most essential, valuable national security partner.  I am referring in particular to the war against terrorism.

So what does it all mean?  It means that the deep state is at each other’s throats.  It means that all of the military appointments made by Trump will be an attempt by military intelligence to dismantle the CIA.  The “Russia Shaped American Elections” is a push-back from the CIA after Trump appoints so many anti-CIA, military men.  Great assessment from Target Liberty.

 

Jim Lobe on Trump’s Appointments

Excellent assessment on the worrying aspects of Trump’s Cabinet appointments.  Horton writes,

Jim Lobe, a veteran journalist and founder of Lobelog.com, discusses the wacky, conspiratorial worldview of Trump’s national security adviser Michael T. Flynn; the relatively level-headed secretary of defense nominee James “Mad Dog” Mattis; and how a Trump administration will deal with the Middle East, Israel, Russia and China.

The interview is quite good at assessing the different characters surrounding Trump and the White House, in particular, Michael Ledeen.  Ledeen has become increasingly Islamaphobic over the years. Came to the world’s attention when he was working with the Italian military intelligence.  He played a role in exposing the BillyGate Affair.

Jim Lobe has been covering the news in Washington D.C. for a long time.  As Libertarians might say, he’s deep in the heart of the beast.  Perhaps.  But I still liked this interview.

“Wage growth in Mobile County is up 18.5 percent in five years in an area where the cost of living remains remarkably low.”

by Quin Hillyer at the National Review

Foreign-owned corporations are driving its booming economy. When President-elect Trump returns Saturday to Mobile, Ala., famously the site of his first campaign mega-rally, he has a chance not just to revel in an extremely friendly reception but also to learn some lessons from a thriving community. Chief among those lessons is that a more nuanced approach to his “get tough” outlook on trade would better accomplish his own, admirable aims of protecting American workers.

Alabama’s own Senator Jeff Sessions of course has been right to question the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate agreement, and other multi-lateral trade and diplomatic accords, citing their bureaucratic entanglements and threats to national sovereignty. On the other hand, the experience of coastal Alabama shows that trade and cross-national industrial investment works both ways. U.S. workers benefit tremendously from the ability of corporations to let market pressures determine where best to build, operate, and manufacture. If a president goes too far in dissuading American companies from foreign investments, he risks a backlash from foreign businesses that otherwise would be willing to move production to the United States.

Consider the renaissance that in 2015 made Mobile the top-rated “midsized city” for manufacturing growth, according to Forbes.com. Almost all of it was driven by foreign-owned corporations. With 4,200 employees, Austal Shipyards is the area’s largest manufacturer. Its corporate home is Australia. At Brookley Field, where Trump’s private jet landed for his 2015 rally, VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering, whose parent company is Singapore Technologies Engineering, employs 1,500 in Alabama and hundreds more in the Florida panhandle. Also at Brookley, Airbus planes are now rolling off the assembly line as the European corporation quickly ramps up to employing 1,000 full-time workers in the area.

In the northern edge of Mobile County, two steel plants employ, respectively, 1,600 and 1,000 American workers. AM/NS Calvert is a joint venture of companies from Luxembourg and Japan, operating a plant originally built and operated by the German corporation ThyssenKrupp as part of an operation in which U.S. workers use raw materials from Brazil. The other steel plant is run by Outokumpu Stainless USA, a division of a company from Finland.

In coastal Alabama, where, combined, smaller manufacturers employing several thousand Alabamans, many firms rely on raw materials from abroad that would not be economical to import if they were subject to high tariffs. Without the imports, the American jobs would disappear.

Across the state, the foreign automakers Mercedez-Benz, Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai operate large manufacturing centers. Wage growth in Mobile County is up 18.5 percent in five years, in an area where the cost of living remains remarkably low.

We in Alabama believe (and apparently businesses agree) that, despite ranking low on some measures of educational attainment, we can boast a particularly industrious work force. (It’s a cultural thing.) At least as important, Alabama has strong right-to-work laws, comparatively light regulatory burdens, and extraordinarily low property taxes. (We also add other natural advantages such as an excellent port, a strong river-transportation system, and a climate that doesn’t lend itself to winter weather delays — though all that is immaterial from a policy rather than a business perspective.)

One major lesson here is that, with smart internal policies, U.S. localities still can compete for manufacturing and other business development without resorting to punitive measures against foreign “competitors.” So, if we grant that Mr. Trump may have a point that some negotiations require sticks as well as carrots, we nonetheless ought to reserve the bludgeon of punitive tariffs as a last resort — after we have our own labor, regulatory, and tax policies in better order — rather than as a hair-trigger first reaction to any perceived “unfair trading practice” from abroad.

Another lesson the president-elect should learn from Mobile involves tone and temperament. Obviously, Trump’s own brashness has attracted plenty of adherents down here, and his willingness to eschew “political correctness” is in many ways refreshing. But the stories of three Mobile mayoralties show that when it comes to governing, there are times and places for subtler arts. Another lesson the president-elect should learn from Mobile involves tone and temperament.

All three stories involve race relations. The reality is that even as the rest of Alabama was ground zero for some of the worst scenes of the civil-rights wars of the 1960s, coastal Alabama integrated much more peacefully. Then-mayor Joseph Langan, a spry, upbeat, gentle soul, engineered public-conveyance integration through quiet, carefully planned legal action — and Mobile escaped major conflagrations.

Some 40 years later, in a 2005 election presaging Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential run, relatively business-friendly black Democrat Sam Jones—obviously with plenty of white support—defeated a moderate white opponent for mayor when Mobile voter registration was still about 57–43 white-to-black. Eight years later, with voter registration by then 50–50, conservative, white Republican businessman Sandy Stimpson enjoyed significant black support in ousting a Jones administration that seemed to have lost energy.

In all three cases, measured (and nonracial) rhetoric, and constructive tone and actions, achieved more than bombast or bravado.

The perpetually smiling Stimpson, by the way, has run a remarkably successful administration, with a budget now under control, long-delayed public infrastructure projects funded, two upgrades in municipal credit rating, re-possession and better upkeep of abandoned or blighted properties, a city-wide neighborhood-reinvigoration plan, and numerous cultural enhancements. Trump’s critics (myself included) too often missed the part of Trump’s campaign message of a positive, can-do energy (“We’re going to see so much winning, believe me!”); his supporters can only hope that, with his vaunted business acumen, Trump achieves results as fine as Stimpson’s.

Space permitting, much more could be written either about lessons Trump could learn from coastal Alabama—from its record of cooperation, for example, between local environmentalist groups and fossil-fuel outfits—or about how some of his strengths resonate so well with existing attitudes in the region. Meanwhile, conservatives can justly be heartened that Trump seems to be listening to thoughtful advisers on the right, such as David Bossie and Kellyanne Conway, while surrounding himself with a running mate and nominees of the quality of Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions, James Mattis, Tom Price, Betsy DeVos, and Elaine Chao.

Suffice it to say that, if it was in Mobile that it first became clear just how wild and rambling but ultimately successful a campaign Trump would run, then this Saturday’s rally can likewise signal the start of a new, equally successful labor of the Trumpian odyssey.

For Trump to win the election, obviously somebody else had to lose, but as he makes the transition to public service, he can show he understands that governing is different. As coastal Alabama has shown, governing can, at least at times, be a “win-win” game—a collaborative and unifying enterprise in which mutual benefit is the result.

The man will soon be the president for all Americans, even Never Trumpers. It’s time for him to rally us all, so his presidency can go mobile. —NRO contributing editor Quin Hillyer lives in Mobile.

“Expanding feminism means terminating masculinity. Defining men out of existence.”

Here Camille Paglia explains how transgender mania is a sign of cultural collapse.  And I paraphrase . . .

Anyone who collaborates in an intrusion into a developing child’s body and mind, is guilty of child abuse, a crime against humanity.  Because that child is not prepared to make such a decision.  Such decisions about sexual reassignment surgery must wait until one attains a majority, which is age 18.  It has become a fashion.  The transgender definition has become a kind of convenient label for young people who may simply feel alienated . . . culturally FOR MANY OTHER REASONS!!

In the 1950s, they might have become a beatnik.  In the 1960s, they might have become a hippy.  A lot of it—the collaboration of the bureaucratic machinery with it has to do with the assault on masculinity.  Expanding feminism means terminating masculinity.  Defining men out of existence.  Masculinity is by definition toxic.

From day 1 I have loathed the LGBT and its educational wing on high school campuses. How do parents and a community allow their children to be influenced by a sexual organization that advocates for surgical reassignment of their child’s body, that child’s personal property?  Progressives will argue that LGBT is there to defend and protect kids that are “coming out,” as if the most important development in a teenager’s life is his and hers sexuality.  This is how perverse the values in tax-funded schools have become.  Who appointed, or should I say, anointed a gay elect as guardian and protector of a kid struggling with her sexuality?  Is that the purview of campus sponsors or a professional who deals in psychological matters?  “Oh, but these poor kids can’t afford a $150/hour psychologist.”  Then they better learn how behave and toughen up.  Or, why can’t people just leave the kid to negotiate life his own way?  Progressives, ever the violent meddlers, will point to one or two incidents in which kids have been killed, typically reaching for extremes examples on every topic under discussion.  Can’t that person find friends who will protect him?  What about school administrators?  Dare I say isn’t that the most pressing goal of any principal is the safety of his students?  Instead, principals wash their hands of any responsibility and transfer that over to third-party advocacy groups. Parents, too, have washed their hands by transferring parenting to the schools.

Teenagers, with a penchant for unique, personal expression are wont to experiment, if for nothing else to earn approval or get a reaction.  As a result, the experimentation, if not grounded in an awareness of property rights and adequate forms of self-love, can go horribly awry.

In the 90s and the oughts, piercing was popular with high school kids.  Pierced ears, pierced lips, pierced tongues, pierced noses.  It felt like I was working among a tribe sired by Quequeg.  The kids would switch out their piercings.  One day a kid would wear a silver stud in his nose, the next it was wooden.  I saw miniature spikes driven through lips.  Ah, yes, self-expression.  Competition caused styles of self-expression to grow severe.  It was a competition in self-mutilation.

Self-mutilation was self-expression.  Then came prison attire with the boys wearing their pants not around their waist but around their thighs, restricting their legs as they walked. The evocation of shackled chain gang was unmistakable.  It was a race to the bottom with urban kids in the lead.  The ideal goal was to be a povert.  Hell, teachers got in on the act, for they were just better paid students.  When I taught in Hollywood I recall seeing young men walking like penguins, literally, or convicts shackled at the ankles wrestling against physics to put one foot in front of the other.

What had gotten a hold of these kids?  How did poverty and self-mutilation replace good sense and life-enhancing financial goals?

And what has LGBT got to do with it?  In a minute.

Remember rap culture and how it introduced prison attire and prison culture on a population of young men?  Racial and violent rap lyrics dominated hydrolics on old Chevy’s.  Cargo pants were the more pragmatic remnant of that era of the late 90s.  And those living that lifestyle I am sure saw those as a benefit and not some cultural blight.

But along comes LGBT with their surgical reassignment of reproductive organs just to start, introducing a ghoulish procedure to a small segment of the population that already sports a lurid fascination with self-mutilation.  And the school districts, pressured by, well, pressure groups, were obligated to install politically correct action groups.  Perhaps the gravest disappointment has been hearing gays defend the organization for its political muscle against social prejudice.

 

“Free Trade [not Protectionism] is a major reason for Americans’ high standard of living”

Don Bourdeaux on Free Trade v. Protectionism

Watch this first so that you understand free trade versus protectionist trade.

Then read this.  What the hell is Navarro crying about?  He directed a really bad, horribly misleading propaganda piece called Death by China in 2013.  And this from a university professor?  From UCI, my alma mater no less.  Sadly he seems to interview several economic idiots, starting off with a 63-year old gentleman named Tom Danjczek, President of Steel Manufacturers Association.  Could you find a more invested guy on manufacturing than the president of a manufacturing association? I doubt it.  But there are no specifics of how his bottom line is affected or how China undercuts American manufacturers.  Americans, like most people around the globe, prefer, if they can get them, lower prices.  Wal-Mart, for example, has low prices.  Are you really going to shop at Sears or Macy’s or Nordstroms because they’re American and walk past savings in hundreds of dollars just to buy American?  I mean think about what protectionist policies call for–they call for higher prices on consumer goods.  Period.  “Buy American” is a recipe for lowering our standard of living, not raising it.  What this documentary does is encourage Americans to accept higher prices on goods from abroad.

The imagery, too, is terrible.  It opens with a ball rolling into the front door of some Chinese factory, one colored by communism as though America and Americans are being eaten up by communism.  China’s government may be communist, but their markets, the millions of markets, are more free-enterprise than our own.  Where adolescents are cited in violation of city codes for selling lemonade for $0.25 on a neighborhood street corner, the Chinese set up shop almost anywhere unobstructed by city police.

The video makes a misleading statement, “57,000 American Factories Have Since Disappeared” following China’s 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization.  So what? The 57,000 closures weren’t all due to Chinese competition.  How about government regulation that closes factories.  Not all companies flood overseas to China.  They go to other states within the U.S.

Flooding the markets with illegaly subsidized exports?  What the hell?

Then this, “More than 25 million Americans can’t find a decent job.”  What?  By decent, does he mean that Americans can’t find work that keeps up with inflation?  Is this an argument to raise the minimum wage?  For price inflation, take a look at the culpability of the Federal Reserve, not China.  The Federal Reserve is the American agency that floods the market with cheap money and price distortion in the retail markets results.  We should be thanking China, not condemning it.

Then Navarro interviews a teary-eyed college student but no mention as to what major the student earned his degree in.  Nice omission, Navarro.  Keep them rolling.  Not all degrees pay. Cannot always follow your passion.  Plus, there are cheaper ways of getting a degree that students are not told about.  Does Navarro help these kids our or is he just using them to promote his own agenda?  Ah, that was a rhetorical question.

But back to Navarro.  He starts off with a trope:

Bombers, emblazoned with the words “illegal export subsidies”, cross the Pacific and drop bombs on US factories. A naval battery with barrels labelled “currency manipulation” joins the bombardment.

“The Chinese government has used these weapons of job destruction to launch a sustained and devastating attack on America’s factories and jobs,” intones Martin Sheen, the voiceover for the animation.

Ooh, exaggerate much?  And by exaggerate, I mean lie.

Costs go up on goods due to regulation.  Protectionism, which is what Navarro and his documentary calls for, only increases the cost.  As Bob Wenzel says, “Navarro is a quack.” I would have said nutjob, but you get the point.

And why even concern ourselves with Navarro in the first place.  Because that ol’ economic guru, Donald Trump, (and surely I gest) has selected him for the new National Trade Council in the White House.  Scary stuff.  I did not vote for Trump or for Hillary for that matter, but Trump will find a way to destroy this country’s wealth, not expand it.  That’s too bad. Even though I did not vote for him, I was hopeful with some of his talking points, like 1) no nation building, 2) establish friendships with Russia, economic, cultural, and political friendships, and 3) he prefers trade over wars.  Unfortunately, that position is not holding.

Thanks to Robert Wenzel at the EconomicPolicyJournal.