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10 July 2018



‘comparative advantage’

I've never been comfortable with the idea.

Let's say you country has *no* comparative advantage. An example might be a resource poor (or resource depleted) Third World country with a poor ability to self organize and an inferior work ethic to, say, the Chinese.

In the long run, you merely transfer ownership of your few capital goods, land, etc. to those with all the cards. I don't see how this is desirable.

Sub-saharan Africa is interesting in that they have a another variant of the imbalance. You swap manufactured goods (and loans) for ownership of natural resources and basically produce one product well...a mass of humanity.

The great trading empires were quite successful with very strict trade policy, both de facto and de jure.

The value of purely free trade just doesn't seem too obvious to me, unless perhaps you are measuring purely for the gross amount of economic activity among all parties.

George Rebane

Scenes 735am – Good points. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that we’ve cracked the code on the economic aspects of international trade. Most certainly if there is to be a multi-party agreement to somehow find a satisficing solution (optimal solutions are damn near impossible), then some form of ‘principled negotiation’ (q.v. Harvard Negotiating Project) should be used. (Perhaps Trump sees a trade war as a path to such a negotiation.) In the olden days trade by imperial diktat was easier because kingdoms/empires were almost always self-sufficient, and engaged in trade mainly for discretionary needs. And while your sentiment about trading with states that hold no or “few cards” may be touching; it is the cold and eternal reality of geo-strategic Darwinism that such states have always been and will continue be vanquished, and what little resources they have will be put to (better?) use by the conqueror who will see the result as most “desirable”. As a closer to home example, I note that neither you nor I have taken the trouble to contact the current representatives of the Maidu and Chumash to arrange for the return of our properties to their former brutally vanquished owners.

Todd Juvinall

I think all this Trade War stuff is actually a Trump, long-term strategy. Same with NATO and other issues about money and economics. All the left does is think for today. Trump is looking out for America over the next few decades. How long can America foot these bills and not go under? So while most are thinking short term Trump is actually saving the country long term by getting parity on trade and making NATO countries pay their way.


"...while your sentiment about trading with states that hold no or “few cards” may be touching;..."

Don't get me wrong here, I'm thinking in terms of the decisions a state makes concerning it's own relations. Many states may be better off internally by closing their borders to some or all trade.

Another interesting variant that comes up now and again (in Africa, naturally) is the destruction caused by donated money and goods. Even things that are free aren't free. A kind of NGO WMD.

It all becomes a form of game theory of course, and it's hard to avoid the notion of trade as merely being a form of war by other means.


As a side note, and spoken strictly as an amateur, my own bias is to understand via analogy. History strikes me as a stronger tool than economics.

Economists, especially the highly vaunted op-ed writers like Saint Krugman, appear little better than witch doctors. Too trivial a model mixed up with two parts political bias.

Of course, if they knew what they were doing, they'd all be bond traders.

Bill Tozer

Don’t think anyone is too comfortable with a trade war. The risk is it could sink the economy. Have always considered Trump’s speil since early on about NAFTA being the worse trade deal in history as how he feels and deeply believes. The talk about breaking up NAFTA and going with bi-lateral agreements certainly got Justin and Mexico’s attention. A threat to break the ice jam. They have a sweet thing going, and it is in their favor. Heck, Justin told Trump Canada stood with the US as friends and allies during World War 1, World War 2...... as it that is the reason to keep the trade agreements exactly as they are.

“The US always pays for the ride, always pays others’ bills, that is what the US does”...was the consensus of the recent G-6. Trumps said no mas.

How this all shakes out is yet to be written. Trump definitely believes ‘ we hold all the cards, the Art of the Deal and give it time, folks” as per his recent rally in Fargo, ND. Probably said the same thing in Great Falls, MT.. We are getting screwed, folks.


George Rebane

It was OK and magnanimous for the US to pay others' bills when we were the world's rich good guy rebuilding the world with a small debt-to-GDP ratio. Now all that has changed. The world is rebuilt, and our D2GDP is greater than 100%. Time to rethink things, which is what Trump is doing in his inimitable way.

Don Bessee

Who we are dealing with, show no mercy -




Don Bessee

Drill baby drill means less and less leverage over us -



Paul Emery


Fox Political Editor Dumps on Trump

Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt had a colorful way of describing President Donald Trump’s trip to Europe this week.

Stirewalt told anchor Shannon Bream that Republicans in the U.S. Senate “will not stop Donald Trump from undermining NATO” nor will they be able to prevent the president “from realigning U.S. foreign policy to be more favorable towards Russia.”

“He is going to do it,” Stirewalt predicted.


Todd Juvinall

I cannot stand him Paul Emery, he is part of the swamp.


"Wow"- Punchy 853am

Every time Punch sees a non-conforming view emanating from Fox News, he acts surprised.

NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR... they don't seem to have a problem keeping their ducks in a row.

Paul Emery

You're right Gregory. Amazing that even Fox has dumped Trump except for the evening bablers that appeal only to the hard right.

Paul Emery

My oh My Trump is back in the pits in the RCP consensus poll. Down by 10.


Todd Juvinall

Paul Emery really has no clue about diplomacy or future planning. Limousine liberal

Todd Juvinall

Only 4 down on Rasmussen which is the accurate poll. That is what it has been for a long time.

George Rebane

re PaulE 958am - We should not be amazed that those of the Left do not accept FN as being a center-right news outlet that nevertheless gives a comprehensive picture and related broad-spectrum commentaries on what's happening. This is totally contrary to what we see in the lamestream which omits whole swaths of news topics that don't fit their ideological narrative. E.g. yesterday's NPR Morning Edition, for some unfathomable reason, totally omitted reporting the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh in its morning newscast.

As I've pointed out before, that is why so many leftwing RR readers think that I'm the originator of or the only one espousing conservetarian views that, in fact, are shared by many (sometimes millions of) others. Part of the progressive uniform-of-the-day is to wear the obligatory blinders so as to filter out the more complex nuances of the realworld.


,,,kudos to NPR for not babbling on about Kavanaugh,,,it is old news,,,just a simple pick by trumpski off a list he was told was ok to choose from by his puppet masters,,,

,,,mainstream news talks every little thing to death,,,

,,,there will be plenty of time during the confirmation hearings to report the blow by blow,,,

George Rebane

M 1059am - According to your (current?) lights, is Trump the puppet or the master? From comments on these pages by you and yours, there seems to be a confusion on this as witnessed by your flip-flops. Will a Schumer, Pelosi, Perez, or ... resolve the issue for you anytime soon? Inquiring minds would like to have this settled.

Paul Emery

That's your view Todd and your response was predictable. Lets see, weren't you the strong supporter of the so called unskewed polls in 2012? Hmm-how did that turn out Todd? Here's a link to refresh you.

" Chambers' official Electoral College prediction ended up being much more tame than other conservatives, including Dick Morris. Chambers predicted Romney would win 275 electoral votes to Obama's 263.

But he said he probably won't go back to "unskewing" polls next time. He actually thinks conservative-leaning pollsters like Scott Rasmussen have a lot more explaining to do. "


Lets continue this, if you have anything to say, in the sandbox.


George, everyone knows the Federalists give trumpski his Supreme's grocery list.


,,,in other news,,, why would NATO members ramp up defense spending when the '''rent check''' is not due to until 2024???

trumpski is only saber rattling for the meathead base,,,

#brainwashed by Trump!!!


George Rebane

M 1136am - Was my 1110am question too confusing?

re your 1140am - the "rent check" was due upon adoption of the 2% minimum, and was only later extended to 2024 when most of the NATO countries did not respond. BTW, as I've demonstrated here for years, and having talked directly to many Germans about this, I'm part your "meathead base"

Paul Emery

Yeah M He just makes things up as he goes along without any research or background. Makes us look like idiots. What a way to conduct foreign policy


Posted by: "M" | 11 July 2018 at 11:40 AM

trumpski is only saber rattling for the meathead base,,,

Do I prefer saber rattling to what would have been Hillary Clintons endless adult diaper shuffling and stacking....for her.....well for you dugski?


Todd Juvinall

Should we rely on Paul Emery for foreign policy?


Posted by: Paul Emery | 11 July 2018 at 11:47 AM

Makes us look like idiots.....

Uh Punch.....you got this covered nicely all by yourself!


George, you did not answer the '''rent check'''question. Are you confused as to what trumpski's motivation is when he harangues NATO members year after year about their fair share?

#Brainwashed by Trump


George,,,puppet master or puppet??? That is the question. Is he beholden or trying to curry favor with the Federalists, with Putin???

We do know he is the master of infotainment.

Don Bessee

More bad news for the Mullahs -



George Rebane

M 1227pm - Unfortunately, I answered the question completely. It seems that our conversation has ended.

re your 1232pm - I take that to mean that you know not of what you speak when you switch between calling Trump master and puppet.


Punchy 958AM

You misunderstood my 946am! Was that intentional? Fox Snooze is not a monolithic, one opinion fits all channel, yet you are continually "wowed" by the audacity of one commenter or another being off the reservation.

There's textualists in them thar hills. Two in the first two years of Trump, with Ginsburg not getting younger in the meantime. It's looking good for the words of the Constitution to being primary to SCOTUS rulings for the next generation.

George Rebane

"NATO Secretary General Praises Trump For Leadership — Says He AGREES With Trump On Spending"

Todd Juvinall

Yes I heard that too. Now get Merkel to pony up.

Don Bessee

The truth will set you free brutha!

A former NATO secretary-general doesn't think President Trump's complaints are unfounded.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former prime minister of Denmark who headed up the defense alliance for five years, tweeted support for Trump on Wednesday, saying the American president "has a point" with his gripes about the organization.
"German taxpayers reluctant to pay for the southern Eurozone should understand why U.S. taxpayers question paying more for Europe's defense," he wrote, defending Trump's demands that other NATO members increase their defense spending.




,,,all quiet on the Western Front,,,

trumpski is bragging he worked over NATO members and they agreed to really up their contributions,,, by how much you ask???

,,,well,,, up to 2% which is the amount agreed to under George Bush back in '06!!!

,,,and NATO contributions have been increasing for the past 6-7 years!!!

,,and the local circle of confused ones are ecstatic that trumpski is really telling them like it is,,,

,,,you cannot make this stuff up!!!


re: M@7:01AM

Maybe they can buy better broom handles from here on. I expect the money was all spent buying energy from Putin.



I can't see the problem if they can get the US to pay for everything. They need to spend more money on colonists in any case.

Bill Tozer

M @ 7:01
A measly “2%” would be a vast improvement. All we are saying is that countries live up to their agreements and....drumroll please.....and.....treat us like the way be have generously treated them. Or, to make it simple, Don’t Tread on Me.

“Why does Germany by design run up a $65 billion annual trade surplus with the United States? Why does such a wealthy country spend only 1.2 percent of its GDP on defense? And if Germany has entered into energy agreements with a supposedly dangerous Vladimir Putin, why does it still need to have its security subsidized by the American military?

Canada never honored its NATO security commitment. It spends only 1 percent of its GDP on defense, rightly assuming that the U.S. will continue to underwrite its security.

But in 2016, red-state America rebelled at the asymmetry. The other half of the country demonized the red-staters as protectionists, nativists, isolationists, populists, and nationalists.

However, if China, Europe, and other U.S. trading partners had simply followed global trading rules, there would have been no Trump pushback — and probably no Trump presidency at all.

Had NATO members and NAFTA partners just kept their commitments, and had Mexico not encouraged millions of its citizens to crash the U.S. border, there would now be little tension between allies.

Instead, what had become abnormal was branded the new normal of the post-war world.

Again, a rich and powerful U.S. was supposed to subsidize world trade, take in more immigrants than all the nations of the world combined, protect the West, and ensure safe global communications, travel, and commerce.

After 70 years, the effort had hollowed out the interior of America, creating two separate nations of coastal winners and heartland losers.


Interesting side note: Any nation that is using copious amounts of energy and fossil fuels is doing so because of a growing economy, healthy manufacture sector, and enriched standard of living for its citizens. Which brings us to Germany. With all the billions Germany has thrown down the rat hole with their massive fields of green solar hectares and wind energy, why does the nation need and depend on sooooo much oil from the Mob Boss Putin???

As Al Gore would say, with all this Global Warming going on, we need more ICE.

Bill Tozer

NATO? Trump is trying to strenghten NATO and bring it up to readiness, not weaken it.

“Sorry, Trump is right. The real embarrassment is that Germany, one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, spends just 1.24% of its gross domestic product on defense — in the bottom half of NATO allies. (The U.S. spends 3.5% of GDP on its military.) A study by McKinsey & Co. notes that about 60% of Germany’s Eurofighter and Tornado fighter jets and about 80% of its Sea Lynx helicopters are unusable. According to Deutsche Welle, a German parliamentary investigation found that “at the end of 2017, no submarines and none of the air force’s 14 large transport planes were available for deployment due to repairs,” and “a Defense Ministry paper revealed German soldiers did not have enough protective vests, winter clothing or tents to adequately take part in a major NATO mission.” Not enough tents?

To meet its promised NATO commitments, Germany needs to spend $28 billion more on defense annually. Apparently, Germany can’t come up with the money, but it can send billions of dollars to Russia — the country NATO was created to protect against — for natural gas and support a new pipeline that will make Germany and Eastern European allies even more vulnerable to Moscow.

Sadly, Germany is not alone. Belgium, where NATO is headquartered, spends just 0.9% of GDP on defense — and fully one-third of its meager defense budget is spent on pensions. European NATO allies have about 1.8 million troops, but less than a third are deployable and just 6% for any sustained period.

When Trump says NATO is “obsolete,” he is correct — literally.

This is not a new problem. I was in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and vividly recall how, when it came time to take military action in Afghanistan, only a handful of allies had any useful war-fighting capabilities they could contribute during the critical early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom. At NATO’s 2002 Prague summit, allies pledged to address these deficiencies by spending at least 2% of GDP on defense and investing that money in more usable capabilities. Instead, defense investments by European allies declined from 1.9% of GDP in 2000-2004 to 1.7% five years later, dropping further to 1.4% by 2015.

© 2018, The Washington Post Writers Group


,,,trumpki’s soviet style trade war victim subsidies selectively handed out by the ag komisars are now funded by the taxpayers,,,
,,,LaMalfa can sleep peacefully now,,,



re: BillT@2:14PM

It's not just the money in Germany.


I suppose they need to spend all their money importing people from Africa and the Middle East in order to build the Vibrant Reich.

I'm still not sure what NATO is protecting against, it's an instrument of policy that is obsolete at this point. Simply throw together an EU army and cook up some mutually beneficial treaties with them. Even if the Russians were particularly aggressive acting, and they sure have been pushed hard by NATO, it isn't like they have the population or economy to push to the Channel.


re: "M" @ 7:39AM

You know, that's a good point. 'Crickets' Emery has mostly been on the Russian bandwagon while "M" is on the mainline. You guys need to get your decoder rings out and figure out what the tactical outrage o' the day is. It's not as effective if everybody isn't on the same page.



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