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Trump lies. That makes negotiating NAFTA impossible: Neil Macdonald

 

The best course for Canada is to ignore his childish posing and vigorously pursue other trading partners

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Neil Macdonald · CBC News · Posted: Sep 05, 2018 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: September 5
Normally, trade negotiations are a poker game in which nothing is real until it's signed. Under Trump's leadership, any eventual deal might be no more real than the education all those poor suckers paid for at Trump University. (Denny Simmons/Evansville Courier & Press via Associated Press)

It's almost sad watching good journalists trying to report on this sewage backup of a negotiation in Washington.

Because we are trained to think inside the box, to respect (even genuflect to) authority and processes, most mainstream media reporting has treated the NAFTA talks as a serious endeavour in a rules-based world: a give-and-take among three countries searching for a deal that satisfies the national interest of each.

We actually need that to be the case. In such a world, we can develop sources, tease out bits of information for our audiences, relate opinions from sober experts deeply versed in the minutiae of international trade law, and civilly discuss the progress of the negotiations, the outcome of which, after all, is vital to our economy.

So deep, in fact, is Western journalism's reverence for institutions that we find it almost impossible to call a national leader a liar, even when the lies are repeated, manifest and proven. Yes, of course presidents and prime ministers occasionally misdirect, or misconstrue reality, or even ignore clear facts or evidence, but promiscuous, ignorant, constant lying? No. Our systems, our democracies, are better than that.

Put that together with our need to feed the news cycle, our need to believe in the watchdog role we treasure, and the vicious, feral intellect currently occupying the Oval Office, and you have the unmoored spectacle now going on in Washington.

No intention of compromise

Take, for example, the reporting of President Donald Trump's supposedly off-the-record remarks to Bloomberg News journalists at the White House, which were promptly leaked to the Toronto Star last week.

Any NAFTA deal, Trump told Bloomberg, must be "totally on our terms." His administration has no intention of the slightest compromise, he said, and he meets all Canadian disagreements by bluntly threatening further crippling tariffs on automobiles and parts made in Canada. Having divided Mexico and Canada to conquer them, he intends to bludgeon both nations with an American-made baseball bat until they cower under the sheer force of American power.

This was instantly taken as significant, a glimpse of Trump's real agenda, a sign of what Canada's earnest, progressive leadership is up against. Reaction was sought from the Canadian negotiating team, which took it stoically. Ink was wasted on Trump's public fuming about being betrayed by "dishonest" Bloomberg reporters.

Just about the only one who refused to be taken in was Daniel Dale, the Star correspondent in Washington who broke the story.

Dale, of course, has the advantage of knowing who leaked the quotes to him (quite possibly Trump's own officials). He's also unafraid of calling Trump a liar, and has in fact made a name for himself chronicling the president's contempt for truth.

In his scoop, Dale noted an important caveat:

"Trump, of course, is known for both dishonesty and for bragging about his own greatness, and he regularly utters dubious boasts about how he is supposedly dominating the feeble people on the other side of the bargaining table. When he claimed to have made no compromises, it is possible he was making a false claim to impress the Bloomberg journalists."

Remember, this was a straight-up news story, not an opinion or op-ed piece. Dale is a scholar of Trump's mendacity. He knows that even when Trump lies, he might be lying.

Bravo. Bravissimo. Remember, this is the same president who has boasted about inventing a U.S. trade deficit with Canada, just to confuse poor silly hapless Justin Trudeau on the phone.

Just about nothing Trump says about the NAFTA talks is true or real, and that singular reality should routinely precede all reporting on the matter. As former Canadian trade negotiator Gordon Ritchie puts it: "It's all bullshit. It's all complete, utter bullshit."

When he threatens to cancel the trade treaty, it's nonsense. He has to convince Congress to do that, and it's not even likely he can. When he complains about huge, awful, unfair Canadian tariffs, it's exactly what Ritchie said – the original free trade agreement eliminated all tariffs between the two countries, with the exception of dairy, eggs and poultry, which account for a fraction of one per cent of U.S. imports. (Trump's punitive tariffs against Canadian steel and aluminum, of course, are illegal and wouldn't withstand a NAFTA or World Trade Organization challenge, not that Trump would give a toss).

When he gripes about Canada's protection of its dairy industry, he conveniently ignores America's own protectionist agricultural subsidies.

To Trump and his fans, treaties are just things that hurt America's greatness. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

When he threatens to impose further massive tariffs on Canadian automotive products, he's actually talking about eliminating tens of thousands of American jobs in the interconnected auto industry. As Ritchie puts it, "first out of the bankruptcy gate would be General Motors."

That said, there are no happy truths to cling to, either. There would be no guaranteed reversion to the original free trade agreement, as some have assured us, if Trump actually does convince his poodles in Congress to abolish NAFTA.

And even if the "dispute settlement mechanism" survives Trump's attempts to kill it, the U.S. government has ignored its verdicts in the past anyway. To Trump and his fans, treaties are just things that hurt America's greatness.

Reality is fog. All we really know is that our once greatest ally and close partner has elected as its leader a cheapjack liar who deserves no respect or credence whatever, least of all from serious journalists. Any administration statement should be reported with the liar asterisk.

It's so weird in Washington that we don't even know if his trade officials and negotiators actually speak for him. Again, remember: this is a president under investigation, who is currently trying to convince Americans that his own attorney general is running a rogue justice department.

 

Two long running, Obama era, investigations of  two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff......

 
 

Normally, trade negotiations are a poker game in which nothing is real until it's signed. Under Trump's leadership, any eventual deal might be no more real than the education all those poor suckers paid for at Trump University.

The best course for Canada is to ignore his childish posing, remember all his lies, and vigorously pursue other trading partners. An oil pipeline to Pacific tidewater would help a great deal, but that's another matter, isn't it?

This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. 

 

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NYT op-ed raises more questions about Trump's mental fitness

A closer look at the day's most notable stories with The National's Jonathon Gatehouse.

Newsletter: A closer look at the day's most notable stories

 
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Jonathon Gatehouse · CBC News · Posted: Sep 06, 2018 2:30 PM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago
 
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U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the anonymous New York Times op-ed column during a meeting with sheriffs at the White House on Sept. 5. (Reuters/Leah Millis)

Welcome to The National Today newsletter, which takes a closer look at what's happening around some of the day's most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.

TODAY:An anonymous op-ed published in the New York Times has sent Washington into chaos, while questions around Donald Trump's mental fitness to be president resurface

 


Trump's turncoat fears

The one quality that Donald Trump prizes above all others is loyalty

 

But he has never been a big believer in reciprocating it — in his business dealings, career as an apprentice-firing reality TV star, politics or even his personal life.

Such ruthlessness led him to the very pinnacle of American life. 

And now, it is seemingly being repaid in kind.

An anonymous editorial from a "senior official in the Trump administration" published yesterday afternoon by the New York Times has gone off like a bomb in Washington.

It details an in-house "resistance" to the snap decisions, tantrums and "amoral" inclinations of a president who it says, "continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic."

Trump's "instability" is so profound, the author suggests, that there were "early whispers within the cabinet" about invoking the 25th Amendment, a constitutional mechanism to remove him from office. It's an idea that was shelved for fear of creating a national crisis. 

That revelation, however, must be adding extra urgency to the president's attempts to root out the unbelievers within his inner circle

For while the process of removing a president from office is complex, it doesn't take that many people to trigger it. 

The 1967 amendment, which was meant to address questions of capacity raised by the assassination of John F. Kennedy four years earlier, can be kick-started with the signatures of the vice-president and "a majority of principal officers of the executive departments" — which in Trump's case would mean eight of his 15 cabinet secretaries — on a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate.

After that, things get messy. 

The vice-president would be temporarily invested with all the powers of the presidency. But if Trump objected, Congress would need to debate and ratify his removal by a two-thirds majority within 21 days. A scenario that could easily turn into a nightmare in the highly charged and highly partisan U.S. political climate. 

The amendment has never been used before, but it has been seriously considered. 

In early 1987, Ronald Reagan's closest aides, worried by the then-president's detached and depressed behaviour following the Iran-contra scandal — he wouldn't read his briefing notes and only seemed interested in talking about the past — circulated a memo discussing whether or not they needed to have him removed from office

(Years later, the president's son, Ron Reagan, wrote a memoir in which he outlined his belief that his father was displaying the early signs of Alzheimer's disease during his second term.) 

Nor is the New York Times op-ed the first time that people have suggested that the 25th Amendment might come into play during Trump's presidency. While promoting his book Fire and Fury earlier this year, Michael Wolff said people in the West Wing bring up the amendment "all the time" when discussing the president's erratic behaviour. 

Democrats in Washington have been openly expressing concerns about Trump's mental fitness for over a year, going as far as to summon a noted Yale psychiatry professor to Capitol Hill for briefings on the case to have him removed from office. And more than 70,000 mental health professionals have signed a petition expressing concern that Trump manifests the symptoms of "a serious mental illness." 

Trump's rage over the anonymous editorial has set off a race among his cabinet confidants to deny that they are the doubter in the midst.

But what is clear is that the list of people Donald Trump can trust is shrinking by the day. 

And it may not even include himself. 

 

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Just another piece of satire on a long and growing list of fables pushed by the NYT; is it any wonder they're a failing 'news' organization?

 

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Trump Signs Order Authorizing Sanctions Against Countries that Interfere in U.S. Elections

 
The order states, “The assessment shall identify, to the maximum extent ascertainable, the nature of any foreign interference and any methods employed to execute it, the persons involved, and the foreign government or governments that authorized, directed, sponsored, or supported it. The Director of National Intelligence shall deliver this assessment and appropriate supporting information to the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security.”
 

The order also instructs the Attorney General and the Homeland Security Secretary to issue a report of the findings to the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of Defense.

It’s more than Russia here that we’re looking at…

After those reports, according to Fox News, “the Treasury and State Departments would decide on the appropriate sanctions to impose on the potential actors or countries. The order, according to administration officials, is broad in terms of who and what can be sanctioned.”

While Russia has been at the center of U.S. election meddling, Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats stressed that many different “sources” have targeted American elections.

“It’s more than Russia here that we’re looking at,” he said. “We have seen signs of not just Russia, but from China, and the capabilities potentially from Iran and even North Korea.”

 

https://saraacarter.com/trump-signs-order-authorizing-sanctions-against-countries-that-interfere-in-u-s-elections/

 

 

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36 minutes ago, Fido said:

can Canada bring in sanctions on the people that interfere in our elections?

You would first have to have a ruling government that’s not complicit.

Tides foundation...aka Soros

 

https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/millions-in-foreign-funds-spent-in-2015-federal-election-to-defeat-harper-government-report-alleges

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Edited by Jaydee
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It's amazing I think that we've been forced to endure two years of bs investigations into claims that Trump colluded with the Russians to take the election away from Clinton when it's now perfectly clear that all the anti - election colluding went on between the Democrats and the DOJ and yet there's no action being taken bt the US AG  ... Where and why is Session's hiding; is it possible that he's been a closeted denizen of the swamp from the beginning that was selected to protect its interests just in case Trump won? 

 

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The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, hitting its lowest level in nearly 49 years and pointing to robust labor market conditions.

US weekly jobless claims drop to near 49-year low

 

https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/us-weekly-jobless-claims-drop-to-near-49-year-low

 

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Ask a Teacher who also collects food stamps how their job is working out.  Just because you have a job doesn't mean you can pay the bills.

 

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Having a job is a good start for anyone Boestar.

Getting better wawcon comes with time and effort on the part of the employee.

Government creates the environment, which Trump et al are doing a mighty fine job of btw; wawcon should be left to the workers, not legislators. 

 

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PW

The trailer is compelling!

If you've been fortunate enough to find a link to the show, I sure would appreciate receiving it.;

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On 9/15/2018 at 11:11 AM, DEFCON said:

Having a job is a good start for anyone Boestar.

Getting better wawcon comes with time and effort on the part of the employee.

Government creates the environment, which Trump et al are doing a mighty fine job of btw; wawcon should be left to the workers, not legislators. 

 

What planet are you from?  Are you even paying attention or just blindly believing the propaganda you are being fed?  Open your bloody eyes.

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Boestar ... save yourself from the wolves that are poisoning your mind!

Stop relying on the CBC, CNN and all those other fake news outlets as if they're credible sources of factual information.

If they're able to get your side to believe Trump is responsible for hurricanes, I'll bet it won't be long before they have you believing the world's flat too.

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DEFCON.  You have no idea what or where I get my news and information from.  I know what the lies are and I have a pretty good vision of what is going on in the world let alone the US.  It just seems that there is a certain group of really gullible people in the world that are totaly missing whats going on.

Let me give you a hint.  If its on TV, Thats not the news story.  I keep saying you need to pull back the curtain.  

I would suggest some reading but I am sure that would be too much effort but lets just say Life imitates art in this case.

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