“‘Many are the strange chances of the world,’ said Mithrandir, ‘and help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the Wise falter.'”
Mithrandir (Gandalf), in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Simarillion.
This week greets the first anniversary of Donald J. Trump’s historic election to the presidency.
Historic? Yes. Trump is first first non-politician–or former general–ever elected to the nation’s highest office. The Manhattan billionaire was one of 17 candidates for the Republican nomination and it’s very safe to say that among the GOP establishment, Trump was the least popular member of this group.
But among the unpolished masses–the folks that Hillary Clinton dubbed “Deplorables” a year later–Trump was their champion. House Speaker Paul Ryan said after Trump’s upset win over Clinton, said that the president-elect, “Heard a voice that no one else heard.”
Clinton, on the other hand, was clearly the choice of the Democratic Party insiders, and that point was driven home last week by Donna Brazile, the interim DNC chair when Trump scored his upset win.
Trump was branded a racist when he said that Mexico was sending “rapists” and “criminals” over the border and he vowed to build a wall at the Mexican border. Was he wrong to say that? Yes. But Trump revealed a glaring hypocrisy among the Republican Party. The GOP’s idea of “getting tough” on illegal immigration was to talk tough about illegal immigration. And suddenly, the emerging Trump base learned, here was a candidate who will do something about illegal aliens–who yes, not only take away American jobs, such as in food service, but also drive down wages.
Barack Obama waxed eloquently–he’s good at that–about the plight of the laid-off workers at a Maytag refrigerator plant in Galesburg, Illinois–the manufacturer shifted that work to a factory in Mexico, both in his memorable keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and in Audacity of Hope. Trump vowed–and vows–to stop the exodus of blue collar jobs to south of the border. After eight years of President Obama in charge, whose response to these job losses was to offer retraining to workers for scarce jobs in “green industries,” Trump’s message resonated. While Clinton doubled-down on green failure.
Last week Rush Limbaugh praised Trump’s making an issue during the campaign of China cheating on trade deals and its currency manipulation “China is ripping us off on trade,” Trump screamed. At the time El Rusho saw it as too esoteric of a topic for presidential campaign. But the “weak” understood while the “wise” faltered.
And the Deplorables of Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan–many of whom voted twice for Barack Obama–went with Trump last year.
The United States commenced bilateral trade negotiations with Canada more than 30 years ago, resulting in the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force on January 1, 1989. In 1991, bilateral talks began with Mexico, which Canada joined. The NAFTA followed, entering into force on January 1, 1994.
Considering the changes in technology and global markets that have taken place during the past 23 years, it’s not unreasonable to take a second look at the treaty.
One provision designed with that objective is a “sunset” clause that would force Nafta’s expiration in five years unless all three countries act to renew it, said people briefed on the plan.
Other proposals, these people said, would weaken or eliminate the mechanisms aimed at settling disputes between the three countries and curbing the unilateral threats and sanctions that frequently roiled trade ties in earlier years.
None of the U.S. proposals would alter the specific trade terms that have spurred a quarter-century of commercial integration between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, such as tax-free trade across borders.
The Trump administration’s goal appears to be to reduce the incentive to outsource by watering down the pact and reduce its influence on American companies through measures such as undoing the current policy of treating the three economies – Canada, U.S, Mexico – as one, narrowing the amount of U.S. federal spending to the same dollar amount as the trading partners (“dollar for dollar”), and requiring that some products contain not just a certain level of Nafta-regional content, but U.S.-specific content.
This goal goes hand-in-hand with the administration’s deregulation strategy to improve U.S. manufacturing. And, as the WSJ said in the above article, “None of the U.S. proposals would alter the specific trade terms.”
Since the new round of talks starts today, this of course does not mean that is what NAFTA will look like at the end.
However, I would love to see – if only once – an international treaty with an actual sunset clause.
A woman can dream.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog
I used to follow French politics in the 1990s, when one of the PBS affiliates in Central N.J. used to broadcast the France2 evening news, straight-up with no subtitles. Even back then there were reports of no-go zones in the banlieues, and on the marauding gangs of “youths” who burned hundreds of cars on New Year’s Eve (the number keeps increasing every year).
Somewhere along the way Jacques Chirac decided this was not good PR for the country (and probably for himself re: the kickbacks story ), and established France 24 for overseas consumption. Voilà, English-language news with features on the countryside, fashion and wine replaced dreary France2 reports.
Macron is the country’s political establishment’s designated heir. We’ll see how it all turns out.
The website refreshed and a story about the declining ratings of the Kardashians’ TV show disappeared, which as Martha Stewart says, “it’s a good thing.” If the Kardashians/Jenners depended on my support, they’d still be working at the IHOP.
On the left column there’s a pseudoscience story, Swearing increases physical strength… If that was true, two women I know would be able to clean-lift 400 lbs with each arm while outlasting a marathoning Kenyan. Maybe men contain themselves when I’m around, but the two worst ever potty mouths I’ve heard are women.
Mexico’s immigration laws have been revised recently but historically the country does not tolerate foreign nationals who are not legally in the country to hold jobs or seek public assistance in any form. If memory serves, you also must also be in good health, own a certain amount of assets and not upset the “equilibrium of the national demographics” in order to be accepted as a resident.
Additionally, it is against the law for foreigners to opine on the country’s politics (and it is also the case in most Latin American countries).
Browsing through Drudge reminds me of a friend who lived to a very advanced age (she never admitted it, but she was 99 when she died). When asked what she attributed her longevity to, she replied, “I never pay attention to the news.”
Now, if you will excuse me, I’ll work on my strength and endurance over the weekend . . . without swearing.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes in U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.
Mexico has blamed the United States for everything since before the “Last Spike” went into the ground. It continues to do so to this day.
Just this week, Mexico’s foremost living historian Enrique Krauze posited in the New York Times that the U.S. has three original sins: Slavery, racism, and “the aggression against Mexico and the plundering of its territory.” Because of that, Krauze says, all Mexicans should be free to live in the U.S., without restrictions.
Popular culture supports this blame game. The Netflix series Ingobernable (Ungovernable) has the CIA kill the president of Mexico when he was about to declare the end of the “war on drugs” after blaming the U.S. for every Mexican death it caused. Ingobernable (starring real-life drug lord El Chapo’s friend Kate del Castillo) ought to be named Unwatchable.
The country’s foreign policy reflects its blame game: The Diplomad writes from experience,
I also have long considered Mexico a major threat to America. I have dealt with Mexican diplomats at the UN, the OAS, and in Central and South America. They are first rate. They are patriotic, well-trained, dedicated, and hard working. They, almost to a man and a woman, are also possessed with a deep, deep animus towards the United States. At the UN and the OAS, for example, Mexico, in my experience, played the role of opponent to whatever we sought to do. They not only consistently voted against us, they collaborated with our opponents on resolutions and projects antithetical to our interests, and, for example, refused to oppose Cuban and Venezuelan human rights violations. They rarely passed on an opportunity to stick it in our eye.
Mexico had a major role in fostering guerrilla groups in Central America during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, backing off only when it became a hindrance to the NAFTA deal with the United States, and when some of the groups began operating in Mexico.
“If [Russia] intervened in the United States, there’s every reason to think that Mexico is a target for attack,” said [Sen. Armando] Ríos Piter [of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD)], who recently launched an independent presidential bid.
. . .
Ríos Piter said Mexico is a natural target for Russia, as the country is expected to become a top-five economy over the next half century.
Mexico may well become a top-five economy, yet Ríos Piter conveniently forgets that remittances from the U.S. generate more than Mexico’s oil or tourism industries. No blame there.
Call me a cynic, but to my jaundiced eye, Ríos Piter may be laying the groundwork for his third-ranked party losing the presidency again – after all, some still refer to their candidate who lost the 1997 election as the “legitimate president of Mexico.”
Mexico’s biggest cement maker said it would be willing to provide supplies for the US border wall proposed by President Donald Trump, ending months in which the company declined to comment on the potential project.
Cemex SAB would offer a price quote to any contractors looking to buy cement for the barrier, Chairman Rogelio Zambrano told Reforma newspaper. With plants on both sides of the border, Cemex would be well positioned to compete for building-materials contracts.
. . .
Cemex climbed 4.3 per cent to 17.74 pesos at 11:18am in Mexico City after advancing as much as 4.6 per cent for the biggest intraday gain in a month.
As of the writing of this post, Cemex is trading at US$9.o1, still going up.
While this may sound rather ironic or humorous depending on how you look at it, it illustrates private enterprise in the form of a multinational corporation responding to a business opportunity, which in turn creates value for its stockholders.
In other news, unless you’ve been in a sensory deprivation cell for the past couple of weeks, you must have heard the Democrats generically impugning any contact with Russians, but only if it’s by a Trump supporter.
The latest is the allegation that Jeff Sessions committed perjury. Andrew McCarthy, who has years of experience as a very successful prosecutor, finds the charge meritless.
Illegal immigration flowing from Mexico into the United States is controlled by the cartels, directly or with the cooperation of coyotes, as InSight Crime reports,
Most coyotes have a clear incentive to have at least some relationship with the drug traffickers, even beyond the need to pay protection fees. Coyotes have intimate knowledge of the terrain and the US authorities on the other side of the border, so they have highly sought-after skills for gangs slipping drugs into US cities. Many specialists in moving drug shipments across the border originally learned their trade working as coyotes.
Typically, however, they do not operate as members of a given gang. Instead, they are independent entrepreneurs who will work with the traffickers opportunistically.
People from other countries who are caught traveling through Mexico illegally are vulnerable to extortion, kidnapping and violence, as a group of 90 Cubans stranded in Mexico held in a detention center allege.
Rather than work towards better conditions, Mexico’s ruling class, which has failed to protect its own citizens from the cartels’ deadly human trafficking business, are offering to backlog U.S. courts,
Mexico has zero tolerance for illegal immigrants who seek to work inside Mexico, happen to break Mexican law or go on public assistance — or any citizens who aid them.
In Mexico, legal immigration is aimed at privileging lawful arrivals with skill sets that aid the Mexican economy and, according to the country’s immigration law, who have the “necessary funds for their sustenance” — while denying entry to those who are not healthy or would upset the “equilibrium of the national demographics.” Translated, that idea of demographic equilibrium apparently means that Mexico tries to withhold citizen status from those who do not look like Mexicans or have little skills to make money.
Where’s the outrage?
When will Mexico’s ruling class extend to their fellow countrymen the basic housing, education or welfare they come to seek in the U.S.?
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.
If there has been a worse afternoon for the Hillary Clinton Campaign I haven’t seen it.
First you have both have Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both invited to Mexico by the president…
..and only Trump accepts making Trump look presidential and Hillary look like she’s ducking.
Then you have the Press gathered to see the joint statement after the meeting anticipating fireworks after Trump’s meeting with Mexico’s president with the MSM covering it live hoping for fireworks…
…and the Mexican president not only shows respect for Donald Trump, says he can work with Donald Trump but explicitly states and affirms the right of the US to control its border.
But even so you have Donald Trump speaking next and the MSM was ready for him to put his foot in his mouth, insult his host in his own country in public or make some rowdy statement…
…and instead you get calm measured words that don’t back off one bit from his positions. He looked presidential and diplomatic. totally destroying the carefully crafted media image the media has advanced.
Then you have the press conference if Trump didn’t make himself a fool during his statements the media asking him questions would manage to do so…
…and Trump answers them cleaning and directly without a misstep.
It was in every way a disaster for the left. Instead of a blithering bombastic racist idiot that they pretend Trump is, the American people saw live a diplomatic, determined and debonair leader with a history of making big deals with important people all over the world. And that doesn’t even take into account that Hillary hasn’t held a press conference since forever.
It caught the entire media by surprise. So much so that the meme being advanced on every network was “Trump didn’t discuss Mexico paying for the wall.” The fact Mexico agreed to the right of securing the border or acknowledged the advantages to Mexico for securing said border wasn’t news only that Trump did not force this issue in his very first meeting with the Pres (an action that he would have been condemned for as being “undiplomatic if he had btw).
In short for the next several days the entire media will be dedicating themselves to making sure that they advance not the actual words said by Trump & the President of Mexico but their spin of it because the actual video is devastating to Hillary Clinton and her palace guard of Press.
If Donald Trump wins this election this is the day he does it.
I’ll share the last word with Jorge Ramos
What a weak and shy response by Mexican president @epn. Trump leaves without giving an apology & won’t change at all his immigration plan
Donald Trump’s perfomance at his dual statement cum brief press conference with Mexican President Enrique Nieto on Wednesday should put shivers in the Hillary Clinton camp even more than the new L.A. Times poll numbers showing a sudden bounce for Trump.
Trump was a hundred percent presidential in his performance, showing that he was not about to put his foot in his mouth on the global stage as easily as Hillary’s supporters are hoping. All this is occurring with her email/foundation metastasizing. This election is not over.
And he knows who to blame for this
Ever since Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon have joined the campaign, Trump has performed nearly flawlessly. This can’t be entirely accidental.
Many polls have shown that large numbers of voters do not believe Trump is qualified to be president. After the session, the Trump campaign was quick to tout the trip as evidence that he is ready for the Oval Office.
“Mr. Trump’s trip to Mexico is an impressive display of his ability to serve as our nation’s president on day one,” said deputy communications director Bryan Lanza in a statement. “This shows Mr. Trump’s commitment to strengthening our economy as well as our relationship with our neighbor, Mexico.”
Pena Nieto invited Clinton to visit, too. If she does, she will of course receive the kind of respectful, official treatment that she deserves. But Clinton, as a former secretary of state, has videos of zillions of photo ops showing her as a major player on the world stage. Trump had none. Until today.
As far as the MSM is concerned, this is bad very bad!
Update 4: The Wall Street Journal sees an angle I missed:
There is, quite simply, no good time for Mrs. Clinton to face the campaign press corps. Except now.
Had the long-awaited news conference been held Wednesday, the questions would be overwhelmingly negative…Yet this was her best opportunity–because any bad news would be largely overshadowed.
Why, because it would have been Trumped!
By scheduling a last-minute trip to Mexico City to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto ahead of what his campaign is billing as a major immigration speech in Arizona, Mr. Trump has guaranteed the media focus will remain on him.
Advantage Trump again!
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“I have to say that we are not, I am not going to pay for that f***ing wall,” Fox said during a live interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network on Friday morning, repeating the phrase that made waves when he used it a day earlier.
This time however, the expletive went uncensored as a visibly stunned Bartiromo gasped.
“I am not. And he should know that. And I am not going to apologize,” Fox added.
But that was back in February Cruz had won Iowa and while Trump had done well in Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina the idea that Trump would someday president let alone the the GOP nominee was something the conventional wisdom said was not possible.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox who famously told Jorge Ramos in February that he was, “not going to pay for that [Trump’s] fucking wall,” has now apologized to Trump and invited the presumptive GOP nominee to Mexico.
The former Mexican leader addressed Trump in a Tuesday interview with Breitbart News, stating, “If I offended you, I’m sorry. But what about the other way around?” That evening on The O’Reilly Factor, Fox said, “I think it’s very important to invite Donald Trump to come to Mexico and to learn about the real Mexico that I would think is totally different.”
Oddly enough while this story is getting some traction at Hotair and even at The Hill when I did a search of CNN for the string “Vicente Fox” here was the result:
Nothing newer than April 12th, Mr. Fox’s statement and Mexico’s apology and invitation may as well have not happened.
Now one doesn’t have to have supported Mr. Trump in the primary to recognize that the sudden reversal of Mexico on Trump is newsworthy, that it speaks to his electability and that it further suggest that a policy of strength might just be more effective in protecting US interests than an apology tour. For example my magnificent seven writer Fausta wrote about this on her blog as she absolutely detests Donald Trump.
But apparently you DO need to be a person outside of the MSM married to both supporting Hillary Clinton and in backing illegal immigration in order to find this story newsworthy.
Update: I have a funny feeling that the MSM will not be so circumspect in reporting this:
Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox has taken to Univision to call on Mexicans able to vote in the United States to vote against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, just hours after ostensibly “apologizing” to him.
Less than 24 hours after what Fox himself told Mexican radio was really only a strategic apology, Fox was back to form on Univision, condemning Trump and launching an anti-Trump GOTV campaign.
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I had lunch with my pastor on Tuesday and the subject of Pope Francis came up.
One of the things he noted is that Francis tends to talk like a pastor counseling an individual in a specific situation rather than like a theologian making pronouncements on the faith.
The problem with this approach being that if you have the international media looking to spin your every word for the sake of drawing eyeballs and clicks not to mention pushing an agenda such pronouncements will likely not bear any resemblance to what you are actually trying to convey.
Yesterday was a great example.
I was driving to pick up a doctor’s note for my sick wife (Between my illness, being laid off and my wife’s illness February has been a bad month for me) and I turned on the radio and heard first CBS & then Rush Limbaugh, talk about the Pope and Donald Trump and the Pope and Contraception and did a double take.
Now if you are a faithful Catholic who is not familiar with the media’s regular attempts to spin everything the Pope says and does you might find yourself talking to your pastor this weekend and asking what’s going on? Is the pill OK to take now? Is the border fence considered a mortal sin?
However if you are a regular reader of the this blog you likely decided to do what I did, wait till you got home and look to see if John Allen vatican reporter extraordinaire reported on this and try to find the actual text of the various exchanges.
Lucky for Catholic everywhere Captain Ed Morrissey was on the job because at 4PM yesterday the Ed Morrissey show was coming on and lo and behold along with Salma Zito and our favorite Yid with Lid he had Mr. John Allen as a guest.
Phil Pullella, Reuters:Today, you spoke very eloquently about the problems of immigration. On the other side of the border, there is a very tough electoral battle. One of the candidates for the White House, Republican Donald Trump, in an interview recently said that you are a political man and he even said that you are a pawn, an instrument of the Mexican government for migration politics. Trump said that if he’s elected, he wants to build 2,500 kilometers of wall along the border. He wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, separating families, etcetera. I would like to ask you, what do you think of these accusations against you and if a North American Catholic can vote for a person like this?
Pope Francis:Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as ‘animal politicus.’ At least I am a human person. As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people. And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.
and here is the question on the Zika virus and contraception:
Paloma García Ovejero, Cadena COPE (Spain):Holy Father, for several weeks there’s been a lot of concern in many Latin American countries but also in Europe regarding the Zika virus. The greatest risk would be for pregnant women. There is anguish. Some authorities have proposed abortion, or else to avoiding pregnancy. As regards avoiding pregnancy, on this issue, can the Church take into consideration the concept of “the lesser of two evils?”
Pope Francis:Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil. On the ‘lesser evil,’ avoiding pregnancy, we are speaking in terms of the conflict between the fifth and sixth commandment. Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape.
Don’t confuse the evil of avoiding pregnancy by itself, with abortion. Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem. You kill one person to save another, in the best case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no? It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned.
On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, or in the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these two mosquitoes that carry this disease. This needs to be worked on.
As you can see, in context this sounds a whole lot different that it has been spun. For example his giving “The Benefit of the doubt” to Donald Trump and his comparison of Abortion to Mafia murder apparently were not considered all that newsworthy.
Moreover if the media had bothered to actually cover the Pope in Mexico, as John Allen did, they would know that he was very hard on a particular group of people. The Catholic Bishops:
There’s yet another constituency in Mexico right now feeling rather thoroughly judged by the pontiff, and, for the record, found not altogether up to snuff: the country’s roughly 170 Catholic bishops.
In a remarkable 4,500-word address to the bishops on Saturday, one of the most developed and detailed speeches of his papacy, Francis laid out a vision of the kind of prelate he believes the Church needs today — and left little doubt that it’s not always the kind of shepherd it actually has.
During five days in Mexico, Pope Francis excoriated government elites for denying their people justice and peace, told bishops to do more to alleviate their flock’s suffering at the hands of drug traffickers and corrupt officials, and pointedly avoided the pomp of Mexico City in favor of more humble settings.
While popes often offer gentle criticism on visits abroad, Francis seems to have gone even further in hectoring his hosts this trip. Observers said the pontiff clearly feels that both the Church and the government have failed Mexico’s people.
“The pope literally believes that the devil is on the loose in Mexico, sowing death, misery, and resignation, and he believes that the state, the Church and the drug dealers are complicit,”
I suspect that last critique of Mexico’s government is something every single GOP candidate would agree with, including Donald Trump.
Too bad nobody in the MSM is interested in either reporting his words in Mexico or his words in context in this case. I guess it doesn’t generate enough clicks.
And I suspect my pastor is going to have to explain this to more people who come asking again.
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