Is Trump team incompetence and ignorance of foreign trade processes pushing the US into a trade war with Europe?

 

The current U.S. president appears to be jaw-droppingly ignorant of foreign trade processes. European leaders have been aghast at his slow grasp of details. German Prime Minister Angela Merkel reportedly had to explain that it would be legally impossible for Germany to set up trade agreements directly with the U.S. (since Germany is part of the European Union) eleven times before he is said to have grasped that schoolkid fact).

And the ignorance and confusion apparently doesn’t stop with Trump. he Washington Post, notes that Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro appears profoundly confused about Germany’s monetary goals:

Trump’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, seems to think that Germany wants a weak euro. In fact, German officials have spoken out consistently against the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing policy that is helping hold down the euro’s value.

The analysis suggests that while Trump and his team are largely clueless, that doesn’t mean they’re automatically wrong about everything — though they don’t appear to have the operational competence to address the extremely complex trade, savings, and investment relationships at the heart of the issue.

Monkey Cage

Merkel: The US can’t be counted on by its allies under Trump

Sadly, I think it’s obvious she’s right.

From abrogation of long-established treaties, to providing the top secrets of US allies to their — and our — adversaries, to a constant barrage of lies, disinformation, and misinformation — Donald Trump and his team of willfully ignorant incompetents have turned the current US administration into a betrayer of allies and a traitor to our national ideals and principles.

Newsweek: ANGELA MERKEL SUGGESTS GERMANY CAN’T COUNT ON THE U.S. UNDER TRUMP

H.R. McMaster doesn’t know anything about it — except that Jared Kushner’s attempt to set up a Russian-controlled communications backchannel between the Trump team and the Kremlin is nothing to worry about.

Remember when national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, had a shred of credibility left? Looks like, instead of him imposing discipline on the Trump team, the Trump style has turned McMaster into one of them…

Even though he suggested it was all nothing to worry about, he ALSO claimed that he knew nothing about Jared Kushner’s efforts to set up a secure backchannel communication with Russia using their facilities — a communication channel specifically designed to prevent US intelligence agents from being able to monitor it: “it’s not something that I’ve in any way been involved with or that I have any knowledge of.”

Got that? He doesn’t know ANYTHING about it — but he can assure you it’s NOTHING to worry about. Thanks, H.R. Great work keeping the country safe and free.

Washington Post: Trump adviser: ‘I would not be concerned’ about a Russia back channel, irrespective of Kushner

Neither one nor the other… but both.

I have come to the conclusion that one cannot back Trump unless he or she is both mentally and morally deficient.

A cynical smart person would be able to see how much he lies, how often he breaks promises, and would have investigated his business and other dealings — that’s just smart self-interest. Having done so, they would realize that his ‘business acumen’ is largely PR puffery — had he merely invested all the millions he was given and loaned by his father in index stocks, it’s estimated he would be considerably wealthier. His supposed business acumen lags the market.

A person of lesser intellect and insight but with a sense of common decency might fall for his promises and lies — but would not be able to ignore his bigotry, his cruelty to the weak and different, or his toxic vulgarity.

Police and society

We’ve been confronted with some very ugly realities about the performance of police of the decidedly difficult and dangerous tasks we’ve set for them.

Individual humans will err, of course. But it appears that these problems are SYSTEMIC — and systemic problems need to be taken up by society as a whole, going beyond mutual blame games and scapegoating, and looking for new solutions that actually work.

Because it’s clear that we are moving farther away from the goals we have, as a society, set for ourselves.

Independent thought and unitary thoughts

Any thought that appears independently without corroborating observations, corollary conclusions, or peripheral considerations should be suspect, seems to me. If it just ‘pops into your head’ it may well have been put there to achieve someone else’s ends.

I came to the conclusion back in my wild and wooly twenties that sorcery, marketing and politics were all part of the same game.

From a while back…

As I joked when I watched my own Faceback ‘look-back’ vid, a sort of one minute, whirlwind,  robo-Ken Burns impressionistic bio vid created from one’s Facebook images posted since joining and accompanied by sweeping, valedictorious music,  I feel like I’m at my own memorial service.

But — let me roll back a little…

Back in the ’90s I had the idea of doing multimedia memorials, vids, photo albums, music, writings, etc, and putting them on CDRs for distribution to families and friends at services — and that did come about done by pros — but I had in mind a desktop app that would let normal people create them — or create their own ‘life stories’ as they went along. But, of course, THAT’s a lot of work. I don’t mean the developing — I mean, Joe or Mary Sixpack sitting down and updating their cyber-diary.

But I didn’t count on the cross pollination of existing social media (the oldest form of online activity, with dial-up BBs preceding the WWW by more than a decade) with the not-quite-post-me-gen phenom of blogs to create the new social media pioneered in various ways by the second social media generation: Mp3.com (sharing, BBs, personal publishing), Friendster, MySpace, which then gave way to the third: Facebook.

With a critical mass of friends and social contacts, the dreary work of autobiography (which tends to produce the kind of long, involved, ultimately boring writing I specialize in) was supplanted by something more like everyday social life: banter, personal and family news sharing, civics discussions, personal op-ed and jeremiads, and a dash of self-promo and self-branding.

Capture enough of that and you have the raw material for something like my original cyber-memorial idea, but even better, since it forms a sort of meta-snapshot of the subject’s life.

Anyhow… this grieving father wanted to share his son’s look-back vid with family and friends, but FB’s rules, interlaced with a variety of federal and other laws seemed to not permit it and his entreaties via email and normal channels got nowhere.

In desperation, he posted a heart-rending off-the-cuff minute and a half vid explaining the situation and asking his friends and their friends to share it.

It worked. Thanks, Facebook, for doing the human thing.

Father Shares Deceased Son’s ‘Look-Back’ Video

 

It can be tough to watch a tough guy fighting back tears, but I found the grieving father’s video profoundly moving.