CBS News reports that “President Trump starts to rack up wins” and summarizes:
“Congress is likely to. Robert Mueller’s “Russia Squad” is . Judge Roy Moore is favored in Alabama with Trump’s support. The Supreme Court has acquiesced to Trump’s travel ban for now (while it waits for the lower courts to rule). The Supreme Court also offers hope to social conservatives in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, facilitated by Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the bench. The economy is booming. Blue-collar wages are on the rise. Meanwhile, many of Trump’s enemies are still harboring their go-nowhere fantasies of impeachment.”
The Progressive publication HuffPost runs the mournful headline “Sadly, Trump Is Winning” and similarly itemizes the Trump “wins.”
Democratic excuses for stagnation during the Obama administration (supposedly we had entered an inevitable era of “secular stagnation”) have fallen by the wayside.
“Liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman predicted economic ruin with no end in sight under the new president. Specifically, he said that the markets would ‘never recover’ thanks to Trump,” Townhall writes, and quotes White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’ tweet yesterday:
“I’m old enough to remember when President Trump’s election was going to “crash the market.” One year later: market up over 30%, two million new jobs & 1,000 new manufacturing jobs created every day just last month…and now Obama wants credit for the booming Trump economy.”
Pushback time, starring the #MeToo ladies
Predictably this has elicited a pushback. As we and others predicted, the Democrats’ heave-ho of Congressman Conyers and Senator Franken was just the opera’s overture. It was understood when the curtain soon rose, President Trump would be the star villain. Well, it rose this morning, with Megyn Kelly doing the curtain hiking and hosting. The anticipatory Washington Post headline captures part of her motivation: “Megyn Kelly’s dismal ratings rise with focus on sexual harassment. Next up: Trump accusers.”
The President’s defenders haven’t been remiss in some pushback of their own, both in defense of the President and Alabama’s Roy Moore, up for election tomorrow:
- “No One Ever Drowned in Roy Moore’s Car, ” Sen. Edward Kennedy’s sexual sandwiches, his nephew’s acquittal of rape are featured in American Thinker;
- “Voters elected a Democratic teen sex predator in 1984, and it was no big deal” in the Washington Times; and
- “The Clinton Double Standard” in the Jacobin.
Memo: All 45 Democratic Senators voted against Bill Clinton’s impeachment, rescuing the President, a well-documented serial sexual predator.
President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Disaster was predicted by all the Israel haters and the nation’s fair-weather friends. But the threatened uprisings of the “Arab street” have not proved to be of much consequence. And a number of countries have also joined the US in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The bad news: world leaving US behind in trade deals
Our trade correspondent, L.C., reports the following major developments:
Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement
The Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement (JEFTA) has been completed. It took four years to negotiate and had to overcome tough obstacles, but on December 8th Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Council President Jean-Claude Juncker, after speaking by phone, announced that a final text has been concluded by chief negotiators.
The agreement will have repercussions in the US. Until recently it was thought that the US would soon have comprehensive trade agreements with both Japan and the EU. The US had completed talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that at its core was a US-Japan free trade deal and had engaged the EU in talks for a Trans-Atlantic Trade & Investment Partnership. Trump, however, abandoned both.
Among the most difficult issues Tokyo and Brussels worked out were access for dairy (especially cheese and meat) to Japan and autos to Europe. US exporters to those – and many other – sectors will soon be disadvantaged in two huge markets. US agricultural and other interests had earlier expressed chagrin about this prospect, and it remains to be seen whether the conclusion of the new pact will spur even more pressure on the Trump Administration to assure that the existing NAFTA and Korean-US (KORUS) free trade agreements (FTAs) are not disrupted and that serious efforts will be made to find new trade partners.
Political message to Washington
Abe and Juncker, at least implicitly, counterposed the agreement and what it implies to the rise of US unilateralism. Abe told reporters: “Japan and the EU will join hands and build a free, fair and rule-based economic zone, which will be a model of an economic order in the international community in the 21st century.” Juncker called the deal “a powerful political signal to the world, keeping the flag of free and fair trade high.” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, calling it “the biggest trade agreement we have ever negotiated,” declared “It sends a powerful message in defense of open trade based on global rules.”
Also part of the message is that the deal was finalized just before the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference this coming week, where it will be welcomed. As Malmstrom said, “The fact that we manage to finalize this today when we and Japan go to Buenos Aires sends a powerful signal that we can make good trade agreements that are win-win.”
Latin American – EU trade frameworks near announcement
And the impact will be compounded if, as planned, a framework EU-Mercosur FTA is also agreed in time to be announced in Buenos Aires. Mercosur is the common market centered around Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname are associate members.
A major update to the EU-Mexico FTA is also expected to be finalized this month, though not in time for announcement in Buenos Aires.
NAFTA — Trump keeps withdrawal on the table
As NAFTA renegotiation talks plod ahead, the possibility of a unilateral US withdrawal remains on the agenda. In fact, during a December 8th campaign rally in Florida, President Trump repeated his vow to either renegotiate NAFTA as he wants or end it . “We’re gonna hopefully keep NAFTA,” he said. “But there’s a chance we won’t. And that’s okay.”
This prospect is alarming to US agriculture and business generally, who believe the loss of NAFTA would not be “okay.” Their congressional allies are pushing the case for preserving NAFTA.
In Florida, Trump also mistakenly claimed that the US has a trade deficit with Canada when in fact, as Canadian prime minister Trudeau told Trump, it’s Canada that runs a deficit with the US. The problem seems to be that Trump doesn’t understand that a country can have a goods deficit (as the US does with Canada) but still have a trade surplus with that country. How? you ask. Trade is comprised of both goods and services. Eighty percent of US GDP consists of services, and it runs a sufficiently large service trade surplus with Canada that it outweighs the goods trade, with the result that the US has an overall trade surplus with that country.
The President’s erroneous anti-trade rants have made other countries reluctant to engage in trade negotiations with the US at present.
Click here to go to yesterday’s Founders Broadsheet (““Socialism with Chinese chacteristics” is National Socialism (Nazism)”)
hat tip: Eaglebeak and others