Vassar Bushmills

“Trade War” is a term the enemies of Donald Trump use to denigrate his proposals for restoring a balance to American trade policies.

Only it’s not “trade war” but trade brinkmanship, which, as it was first used to define JFK’s strategy against the USSR in his years in the White House, were intended to prevent a war, not execute one.

I’m actually old enough to remember those days, and the term’s use so know it’s not unlike the principle’s laid down by Donald Trump in his best seller Art of the Deal.

JFK’s use of the term vis a vis the USSR and Khrushchev was not unlike Reagan at Reykjavik in ’86 or Trump-Putin at Helsinki only a few days ago. In each case the American president, out of the hearing of the media, laid all their power cards on the table, making it clear to the other side we could not be matched. Out of sight of the kibitzers this could be done by allowing them to save face, and go home and give it some deeper thought. Khrushchev brought the missiles out of Cuba, Gorby threw in the towel as he knew they could not match our economy in developing our Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), and likely Putin got the same message, for of three Russian versions, 1962, 1986 and 2018, his position is weakest. Yep. Weakest.

Trade issues with the European Union and China are essentially no different; known strengths versus known weaknesses.

All of China’s plans for regional political hegemony are based on the success of their economy, and most of that would go up in smoke if America quit buying their stuff. The sheer size of our market dwarfs all others.

(There are dozens of fatal flaws in the Chinese internal management system and the way they did their book that made them vulnerable to even regional competition, with US private sector support, which I first set out to prove in 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall which directed me elsewhere. In Asia I liked working with local entrepreneurs but found American partners impossible. The American manufacturing ethos has since changed, so if I were to midwife relationships today, I’d look for American small business entrepreneurs who are a little more hands-on.)

China cheats and has for years. It’s in their nature to cheat, but since they know they do, they don’t want to go to war or take great risks over it, once caught. Their economy is still a fraction of ours, and ours has weathered far more economic storms than they have. They know Trump can plunge them into recession while denying the American consumer very little in buying choices, only, maybe for just a little while, at higher prices.

The idea of trade brinkmanship is to open and close a door in short order, a few weeks or months, a year, tops.

The Chinese would get that quickly.

Europe is different, for they are trying to support a two-tiered system of government that eats up more of their GDP than ours by a wide margin (and we’re pretty bad).

Euros aren’t cheats as much as they are cheap. They look for the free ride. They have their hand out, but not as a request but from a sense of entitlement. We see this sort of attitude all over America now, thanks to our many entitlement programs. But this sort of ingratitude began in Europe and their government class. (Let’s be clear, this in not about their people but their government management class.) Many countries never paid much, and some not any, of the loans we gave for reconstruction after WWII. In their best French, they often promised to repay, but always there were more pressing needs, such as needle parks in Amsterdam, my favorite. Since 1945 they have lived under the security of the American nuclear shield, America paying the far larger portion of their national defense, while they still cheat on the paltry percent they are promised to pay. And their bureaucracies continue to grow in leaps and bounds.

But for America, they would have been beggared by 1960. But they would not have bred themselves out of existence, and may even still have a few churches open for business. And no Muslim rape gangs.

Unlike China, Europe’s trade deals were designed to protect their bureaucracies and their status as a kind of nobility of civilization which actually ended a century ago. The EU actually believes that once the European cultures are no longer able to reproduce themselves, say 5o years or so, and the Continent has been engulfed by the rabbit wing of Islam, that somehow the EU management holdouts in Brussels will be allowed to maintain control.

Their entire vision of the future is of a Globalist Shangri-La, although I’m not sure where their high castles will be located. Could be Montana, or maybe Mars.

Globalism or cartelism, call it what you may, is the elephant in the room about trade. Much of the trade problems that Trump sees, and what has effected all those lost American jobs and factories to Mexico and other places, are part of a larger vision of cartelists about keeping America as an open-bordered job market that would benefit those top tiers of world corporations who believe they can manage the world’s problems better than the world does already.

Beyond the Left, Trump’s proposals tweak the designs of many on the (putative) economic right, many even calling themselves conservatives.

There actually is a realm where leftist and rightists are joined at the hip, and that is their dream of dominion over roughly 80% of the other people, of whom neither think very highly of, but about whom, the Constitution was all about.\

While Left and Right have a different vision of the design of globalism (it’s an evolving process) I’ve always referred to it as fascist-in-aspect, for one does not have to look far to understand why Marxism went from being dressed in plain uniforms made of brushed burlap to $1000 business suits with just fabulous creases, in just under a century. Even Bernie Sanders found unimaginable comfort in a mansion-dacha by the lake.

You already know how this novel ends. You also know that the 80% of the people most effected will have no say in this new world order. At least the that’s the general area where some conservatives and Leftists agree.

The Facts About the Individual Mandate Repeal and the Increase in Premiums

The Daily Signal by Doug Badger

It turns out sabotage might be overrated.

A new study by the Center for American Progress argues Congress’s repeal of the individual mandate and a proposed Trump administration rule that would expand the sale and renewal of short-term policies will have a devastating effect on 2019 premiums. These acts of “sabotage” mean 40-year-old non-smokers will pay an average of $970 more in premiums in 2019, beyond the increases that would have occurred in their absence, according to the study.

In all, CAP estimates premiums for that demographic will rise by an average of 16.4 percent because of these two policies, on top of an underlying trend of 7 percent, for a total average 2019 premium increase of 23.4 percent.

But a comparison of the CAP “sabotage” estimates with preliminary 2019 rate filings in cities in 17 states compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests CAP vastly overestimated the effects of these policy changes on premiums. In 13 of the 17 cities, total requested premium increases are less than the statewide increases CAP attributes to these policies. The table below compares the Kaiser data on the 17 cities with the statewide premium effects CAP ascribes to these two policies.

2019 Premium Changes for Benchmark Plan for 40-year-old non-smoker
N=17 City Average Requested Increase Statewide CAP “Sabotage” Effect
Colorado Denver 6% 18.3%
Connecticut Hartford -4% 16.5%
DC Washington 21% 13.6%
Georgia Atlanta 10% 19.5%
Indiana Indianapolis 3% 19.6%
Maine Portland 9% 15.9%
Maryland Baltimore 36% 10.0%
Michigan Detroit 0% 12.2%
Minnesota Minneapolis -8% 11.1%
New York New York City 16% 8.8%
Oregon Portland 7% 9.1%
Pennsylvania Philadelphia -24% 19.2%
Rhode Island Providence 8% 20.7%
Tennessee Nashville -11% 18.1%
Vermont Burlington 28% 12.2%
Virginia Richmond 7% 19.1%
Washington Seattle 12% 13.6%

For example, CAP predicts that repeal of the mandate and rules changes on short-term plans will increase average 2019 premiums in Colorado by 18.3 percent. But according to a Kaiser analysis of preliminary rate filings, premiums in Denver will rise by just 6 percent. That pattern held for all but four of the cities included in the Kaiser analysis.

There are, of course, caveats to the data. First, the figures shown in column 3 are rate requests. They have not been approved by state insurance commissioners and are likely to change between now and the time of their approval (likely in September).

Second, Kaiser has examined rate filings for selected cities. CAP is estimating statewide premium effects. In some instances, these differences are small. Rate increase requests statewide in Colorado average 5.94 percent, and the rate request for Denver is 6 percent. Premiums in Detroit are expected to remain unchanged next year, and statewide rates are expected to rise by an average of 1.4 percent.

In other cases, the differences are more significant. Philadelphians, for example, may see substantial premium relief in 2019, but premium increases for Pennsylvania as a whole are projected to average 4.9 percent. Insurers in New York are seeking rate hikes that average 24 percent, compared with the 16 percent for New York City.

Generally speaking, preliminary filings in most states for which data are available do not suggest the sorts of increases CAP attributes to GOP policy changes. As we have seen, the study estimates repealing the mandate and relaxing federal regulation of short-term plans will raise premiums by an average of 16.4 percent above a medical trend of 7 percent, for a total average increase of 23.4 percent.

So far, Kaiser has identified only two states (Maryland and New York) reporting premium increase requests that average 24 percent or more. The final rate increases in Maryland are likely to be far less. The state has received a waiver to operate a reinsurance program that is budget neutral to the federal government. State regulators expect the waiver to dampen premium increases.

That leaves New York, which attributes nearly half the increases insurers are seeking to repeal of the mandate. New York is unique in this respect. Regulators in other states have not suggested that federal policy changes will cause double-digit premium increases. California, for example, is reviewing requests to raise premiums by an average of 8.7 percent, a figure that Covered California said would have been 5 percent had Congress not repealed the individual mandate.

Preliminary rate filings thus suggest CAP is mistaken when it predicts repeal of the mandate and a change in federal policy on short-term coverage will induce massive premium increases.

Moreover, as noted in a previous piece, the focus on projected increases in premiums for benchmark Silver plans overlooks some fairly significant benefits of these policy changes. First, the proposed rules on short-term policies will offer many consumers an affordable alternative to Obamacare plans. For them, the new policy will produce substantial premium decreases.

Second, the Urban Institute study on which the CAP analysis is based estimates that 1.7 million people who otherwise would have been uninsured will gain coverage in 2019 if the administration finalizes the proposed rule on short-term policies.

Finally, millions of uninsured people no longer will face the threat of IRS tax penalties. For theoreticians who support the mandate, this may be bad news. Those at risk of tax penalties for making rational economic decisions not to buy costly policies they don’t want will take a different view.

Democrats will nonetheless blame Republicans for the coming round of Obamacare premium increases and at least some polls suggest this argument will resonate among independent voters. After an exhausting eight years defending a deeply flawed and unpopular law, they now are happy to saddle Republicans with that burden and blame them for Obamacare’s myriad problems. The preliminary data suggests rate hikes won’t be as high as feared, but premiums will rise, creating a political opportunity for Democrats.

Republicans may want to rethink their decision to abandon Obamacare repeal. Since voters will hold them accountable for the law’s unpleasant consequences, it might be better to take the offensive against the law, instead of accepting blame for its failures.

Permission to republish granted by The Daily Signal.


Socialism in Venezuela | Serial (video)

An outstanding video by Glenn Beck on the illusion, revelations, pain and suffering under socialism in Venezuela. Definitely worth sharing with the useful idiots in one’s life.

Published on Jul 11, 2018 by TheBlaze

Venezuela has been the Utopian bastion held up by the Left for decades as the example of what could be. It turns out, what could be, never was and the unravelling is in full force.

Forum: Are Sanctions On Countries trading With Iran Wise Policy?

Every Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Are Sanctions On Countries Trading With Iran Wise Policy?

Don Surber:Yes. Given that the Iranian protests are in their second month, there is a chance for a regime change. Women are doffing their headgear, and drivers are parking their trucks. The Grand Bazaar in Teheran shut down. 40 years ago, merchants in the Grand Bazaar backed the Iranian Revolution. Now they seem to want a regime change.

The only influence the United States has is in commerce. President Trump wisely is avoiding too much public support, and I doubt we are doing clandestine operations, as well. Why risk being associated with the rebellion? Any conection betwen us and them will end the revolution. The one thing we can do is not trade with Iran, and tom punish those who do.

This is the latest sign that the New World Order failed. Brexit, Trump, Macron, AMLO in Mexico, and now this. There are many other examples of regime changes because the old order failed The People.

Patrick O’Hannigan:I wish I could be more original on this question than to say that I agree with Don, but — I agree with Don!

Deterrence does not have to be exclusively in the military realm. The sanctions game (and it is a game, of sorts) amounts to “Leave the gun –Take the cannoli” writ large.

Rob Miller
: Oh, I think it’s imperative. Iran’s economy is in free fall. No one wants the rial, inflation is rampant and the prices of food and other necessities is skyrocketing. That’s a big part of what’s behind the protests. Iran will not be able to continue to financially afford adventures abroad in Yemen, Syria or Lebanon for too much longer, and even Iraq’s kingmaker Muqtada al-Sadr is inching away from Iran somewhat. This will get even worse once Trump’s sanctions on countries buying Iran’s oil and natural gas take effect. Iran also my not have the funds needed to continue to be Hamas’s pay master along with Erdogan. The EU, BTW are looking like they’re reluctantly going along with the sanctions. They need our markets far more than Iran’s, and their choice will boil down to paying Putin’s atrocious prices or buying U.S. LPGD.

I also think our President and his team members are making a mistake by NOT informing the American people what a hideous regime this is…how it brutalizes its own people, the corruption of the Ayatollahs, and that Iran is not in any sense a ‘democracy. They need to explain that Iran has been in a state of war with America since 1979. They need to tell the American people that Iran never actually even signed th eso called ‘Iran Deal.’ They need to remind the American people about Iran’s complicity in 9/11, and how the rhetoric of both Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamanei focus on the Twelver Sect’s open embrace of apocalypse as a necessity for the Hidden Imam to return to rule the world for their brand of Islam.

The days of Iran’s despotic regime aren’t over yet. That won’t happen until the Army turns. But this is a great way to get the ball rolling.

I’m going to be so original that I’ll say I agree with both Don and Patrick! Honestly, I’d love to add some unique, wonderful insight, but I think they said it all.

What I will tack on, because I’m petty, is that one of Obama’s most significant failings as president happened early in his administration when he refused to give the Green Revolution any moral support. As we know now, the self-centered Obama had his own grand dream of “solving” Iran and was content to let people die in the streets rather than risk losing the halo he envisioned for himself.

Laura Rambeau Lee:I must say I agree with everyone, also. Sanctions hit them where it hurts most and can often lead to cooperation where and when we need it.

Well, there it is!

Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the ‘net. Take from me, you won’t want to miss it.

Mexico’s Election And What It Means

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or Amlo as he’s colloquially known is Mexico’s new president, having won a landslide victory on July 1st in Mexico’s election. Obrador is essentially a far left populist. A former mayor of Mexico City who twice ran for president and lost, in 2006 and 2012, Obrador won the presidency because of outrage over the corruption of incumbent President Enrique Peña Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the conditions in what is rapidly becoming a failed state.The conditions of poverty, corruption, and high crime as well as their governments inability to deal with these problems is what caused Mexicans in desperation to vote for Amlo, their first leftist president since 1934.

Given that Mexico shares a 2,000 mile border with America, this development is worth looking at.

Many observers are warning that Obrador is a radical and will turn Mexico into Venezuela north, leading to even more illegal migration into the U.S. That is by no means outside the realm of possibility.

Victor Davis Hanson declared last week that Obrador is “anti-American” and will push the idea that Mexicans have a “human right” to illegally enter the United States. Again, quite possible.

But there’s another factor worth considering; Obrador has a limited ability to control any of these factors.

The cartels all but run the country on the basis of their enormous profits from drug sales, human trafficking, extortion, enforced prostitution, kidnapping for ransom and other unsavory activities as well as their willingness to resort to the most extreme violence if they’re disobeyed or crossed. A common cartel tactic is to offer judges, politicians and law enforcement a choice of ‘silver or lead,’ co-operation and acceptance of a bribe or death.

And the cartels have branched out. Aside from the above, they now make money from fuel theft, illegal fishing, mining, and logging.Many Mexicans, especially in rural areas, are often have to work for the cartels if they’re going to have any employment, period.

The big problem isn’t Obrador, but that Mexico is becoming ungovernable—a failed state. And we’re already experiencing the effects, and then some as the violence and crime spill across the border. It will only get worse unless we adopt some very protective policies.

Actually, from what I know of him, Obrador and President Trump might even get along relatively well. Both have larger than life personalities and both men described the initial conversation when President Trump called Amlo to congratulate him on his victory as friendly. Amlo supposedly even offered Trump a deal involving increased cooperation in border control and curbing illegal migration in exchange for U.S. financing of development projects for Mexico’s economy.

The problem, of course is that the Mexican government has no real control over illegal migration nor is it in Mexico’s interest to stop it even if it did. Illegal migrants send to Mexico almost $40 billion dollars a year, as well as money these migrants get from social welfare benefits and what amounts to outright tax fraud in many cases. It also has another bonus, as a social safety valve where the American taxpayers foot the bill to take care of the needs of people Mexico is unwilling to.

Presidente’ Obrador has very few cards to actually play, unless he turns out to be a man of extraordinary courage with ability to defeat the cartels. Given that this is unlikely, America’s policy towards Mexico has to be based on the realization that it is a failed state, unfortunate as that is.

That means the border wall, increased border security, selective repatriation to Mexico of a significant number of illegal migrants here and a realistic, closely controlled guest worker plan somewhat similar to the bracero program of the 1950’s, with perhaps a number of H1-B temporary work visas for more skilled, non-agricultural workers. And of course. fighting the cartels and their allies here in America and cooperating with Mexico to give them whatever help we reasonably can to regain control over their country again.

Rob Miller







Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com, Yediot and other publications.

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