Venezuela

Are We Already in a Trade War With China?, Venezuelans Blame Maduro for Food and Medicine Shortages, Russia Wants to Ban Encryption App: Reason Roundup

"We are not in a trade war with China," President Trump tweeted this morning.

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YU FANGPING/FEATURECHINA/Newscom

We're probably in a trade war with China. "We are not in a trade war with China," President Trump tweeted on Friday morning. Most signs say otherwise, or at least show that we're well on our way there.

For instance, China just filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the billions in new tariffs that Trump is proposing. The WTO complaint gives the U.S. and China 60 days to resolve things, after which China may request that a WTO panel adjudicate.

It's also not reassuring that Trump's assertion that we're not in a trade war with China was followed up by this reasoning: "We already lost that war many years ago, leaving us "a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion." (All random capitalization the president's.) "We cannot let this continue!"

It sure sounds like Trump is hoping for another crack at trade shenanigans with China, only with the U.S. "winning" this time. But nobody wins in a trade war (as we've been saying). To quote a recent Sheldon Richman column, "You cannot advocate trade restrictions without also advocating state-bestowed privilege."

Trump has been crowing that even with his aluminum tariffs, "prices are DOWN 4%" and "lots of money coming into U.S. coffers and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!" Here's Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler on that claim:

But alas, even one-time free market cheerleaders like Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow are defending Trump's tariffs, saying this isn't "about trade wars" but "holding to the laws and customs of free trade." Free Markets Through Regulation, or something.

That seems to be the party line from the pro-Trump crowd: We're not restricting trade and raising taxes, we're securing the marketplace. Which sounds an awful lot like the liberal and Democratic justifications for messing with market forces that we've heard so many times before, with a dash of national-greatness conservatism and fear of wily foreigners mixed in.

"This is exactly what the free traders who formerly worked in the White House feared, Trump in a macho pissing match against Chinese President Xi," writes Jonathan Swan at Axios.

Trump has a blunt understanding of leverage and believes the worst thing he can show is weakness. He also believes, as he tweeted, that the U.S. already is so far down on the scorecard with China that he's got nothing to lose.

In any event, our counterparts across the sea seem to be, uh, keeping calm. From Reuters:

A trade war triggered by U.S. tariffs would cause a global recession—and the mere fear of one is already hurting the economy, European Central Bank board member Benoit Coeure said on Friday.

FREE MINDS

Russia wants to ban a popular encrypted messaging app. Russia is moving to block the encrypted messaging app Telegram after it refused to turn over keys to state authorities that would allow them to decrypt any and all user messages. Telegram—massively popular in some parts of the world, including Russia, many of the former Soviet Union states, and the Middle East—just hit 200 million monthly users. A lawsuit filed on Friday in Moscow now seeks to block access to Telegram throughout Russia. Iranian leaders have also been proposing a similar ban.

FREE MARKETS

Venezuelans blame Maduro for deepening humanitarian crisis. A new poll of Venezuelans shows the effects of the ever-growing crisis there for ordinary people:

  • 90 percent say the country's food supply is bad
  • 95 percent of whom say the country's medicine supply is bad
  • 88 percent say life is worse than a year ago
  • 81 percent say the country is currently going through a "humanitarian crisis"

A majority—54 percent—blame President Nicolas Maduro and his policies. Nearly half said is leadership is "very bad" and 24 percent said that it was "bad," while just 0.4 percent said it is "very good" and 9 percent said that it is good.

The March 2018 Atlantic Council poll found that the biggest problem people see is inflation and the high cost of living (34 percent said it is the main problem) followed by food shortages (28 percent) and an array of other issues related to money (together, "personal insecurity," "the economic crisis," "lack of cash," and "economic warfare" were the main concern for 23 percent of respondents). Maduro was named as the main problem by 2.6 percent. Only 0.3 percent had international economic sanctions as a main complaint.

QUICK HITS

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160 responses to “Are We Already in a Trade War With China?, Venezuelans Blame Maduro for Food and Medicine Shortages, Russia Wants to Ban Encryption App: Reason Roundup

  1. “Trump is not launching a trade war in China, he’s launching something bigger.

    Huge, even.

    1. Hello.

      China is a paper tiger. They’re not angels. It’s a nationalistic, communist country with a horrid human rights and environmental record bullying its way around.

      America should absolutely call its bluff.

      This ‘China holds debt’ trope is just a smoke screen. The bottom line is China needs America more than the other way around.

      Back in the 1990s all I heard in university was how Japan was gonna take over America. The more they said it, the more I was suspect. Same crap all over here with China. And China is even weaker than Japan economically.

      I didn’t buy it then and I ain’t buying it here.

      1. China is a paper tiger.

        You may be the only one who believes this. Or at best part of a really tiny group of people.

        1. I’ve said for years that the US would win a trade war with the Chinese if we decided to carry it through to the end, and played hardball. But even I don’t think the Chinese are a paper tiger. A trade war with them would be unbelievably damaging to the economy–in the short run at the very least. Sure the Chinese will suffer more than us, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be getting our nose bloodied.

          I’m skeptical of us winning a trade war with the Chinese though, because the US is riddled with decadence, so I doubt our people have the stomach to swallow the pain and push through to the end.

          1. I’ve said for years that the US would win a trade war with the Chinese if we decided to carry it through to the end, and played hardball.

            And what exactly would we win in the end? For that matter, what would we lose if the Chinese won the trade war?

            1. If we lose then we aren’t making America great again. You don’t want to be a loser, do you?

      2. Yes China maybe a paper tiger, but even a paper cut can hurt all out of proportion to the size of the wound.

      3. And here I thought that private entities traded with each other. I never knew that trade was a game to be won! Hopefully Trump lands on Beijing Ave. so we can complete the monopoly and put hotels on these properties! They’ll pay hugely… hugely.

        1. Hint: China is not a private entity.
          Other than that, good post.

          1. It’s much more private than is being let on here. If China’s economy was truly Communist, why would we even be worried about it?

            American corporations are doing tons of business with and inside of China. This isn’t Cuba or the USSR we’re talking about here.

            Julan Du and Chenggang Xu analyzed the Chinese model in a 2005 paper to assess whether it represents a type of market socialism or capitalism. They concluded that China’s contemporary economic system represents a form of capitalism rather than market socialism because financial markets exist which permit private share ownership ? a feature absent in the economic literature on market socialism ? and because state profits are retained by enterprises rather than being distributed among the population in a social dividend or similar scheme, which are central features in most models of market socialism. They concluded that China is not market socialist nor is it a stable form of capitalism.

            Source

            1. PRC is closer to fascism than communism, actually. Not that there’s much practical difference between the two.

              Those American corporations also have to turn over their IP and massive shares of revenue (not profit) to the PRC.

              1. They typically join into joint ventures with some Chinese companies. They still do it because that’s beneficial to the corporation and opens up markets to their goods and services.

                “Those American corporations also have to turn over their IP and massive shares of revenue (not profit) to the PRC.”
                It’s good that they don’t have to turn over “massive shares of revenue” to the US government. I’d be afraid that if they did we might be considered to be a fascist or communist economy as well.

                1. Actually American companies are required to partner with Communist Chinese government owned entities to do business there and are also required to hand over their technology to that partner as well.

                  It’s how the Chinese are able to virtually ignore any and all patents and how their military has advanced as quickly as it has.

                  1. American companies aren’t required to partner with the Chinese. They only do so willingly because it’s beneficial for them.

                    Do you argue with the assertion above that the Chinese economy is more capitalist than socialist? There are about 4 other studies that concluded similarly just in the wikipedia entry I referenced.

                    1. No, they are required to partner with a Chinese corporations and train them while also providing their technology. Not always, but usually.

                      Article from Yesterday

                      Article from March

                      You can go further back very easily, but you apparently know either very little about the subject or you know far more than anyone else. Which is it?

                    2. And for what it’s worth, it seems like the Chinese like to force the issue when there’s something they want. If it’s something they’ve already stolen, do they really care about stealing it again?

                    3. In short, retards are acting like China is the victim here. They’re not. They’ve had this coming for a long time, and frankly it’s about fucking time if they continue to want our business.

                      Who the does business with a partner that is quite definitely going to screw them over in a few short years, after stealing everything related to their business and products? No one, that’s who, but U.S. companies are salivating all over their own shoes to break into a market with over a billion people in it.

                      That’s why you’re seeing movement on this issue. It’s because U.S. businesses are starting to figure out that they were suckered, so of course they go whining to the U.S. government to save them from their own idiot mistakes. In their defense, our government basically told them to do it as well.

                      Short sighted when one considers that China is actually a global adversary of ours, and to date we let them get away with a lot in the hopes that economics would serve as a leash. They’re quickly figuring out that China has a pretty great idea for how to flip that table long term.

                      Now, I believe in free trade but most people wouldn’t consider what’s going on with China ‘free trade’ so that argument is moot before you even open your mouth on the subject.

                    4. You’re missing the point. They don’t have to do business with China at all. Of course they don’t have to partner with then

        2. I never knew that trade was a game to be won!

          Then you’ve not been involved in many negotiations. My experience has been that people on both sides see things in a “I win, you lose” mentality. And that is in the private sector.

          1. Trade, by definition, is truly a win-win situation. The market sets a price where both buyer and seller decide that they can benefit by transacting at that price. Trade is certainly not a zero-sum game for us to try to win, and it’s only being perceived to be that way because government has to stick their damned authoritarian noses into everything.

            1. This seems pretty naive.

              Trade is a win-win situation when other qualifiers make it so. For example, both parties need to have adequate information about the markets they are engaging in. There needs to be no deception. All sorts of things that are not given in reality, only in the heads of academics who don’t work in the real world.

              1. “Trade is a win-win situation when other qualifiers make it so.”

                Trade is only NOT a win-win situation when one party is driven by force to engage in trade. Do you even believe in markets?

                1. I don’t believe such fairy-tales as the magic power of the market any longer, because experience has dispelled them. Have you never seen transactions that were in fact a win-lose? Do those not exist in the market?

                  Again, I’ll suggest that you have limited experience with such things Leo.

                  1. Your definitions are trash. You sound like those people who say all prostitutes are coerced because no woman would voluntarily trade sex for money. Not only would some women do it, almost every paid job is the same. Very few people enjoy every aspect of their job, yet we put up with the paperwork, stupid hours, commute, and every other aspect because we *voluntarily* chose that trade.

                    No doubt some people come away from trades feeling like they lost, but if that really were the case, they would not have made the trade at all. Pawn shop wouldn’t pay enough for that old watch? Walk away.

                    International trade is just more trade. If you don’t like the terms, if you really would lose more from the trade than from not trading, walk away.

                    Fuck off, slaver. You are not the people involved in their trade. You do not know what they get from their trade. Their trade is their trade, not yours.

                    1. Scarecrow you have completely taken my comments out of context. And you can fuck off for it.

                      The reality is that markets aren’t magical and simply because transactions take place between private parties doesn’t mean that all transactions are win-win. Sometimes people lose. And a lot of people have a mentality of being out to make sure others lose.

                      That doesn’t mean trade is bad or prostitution should be illegal you whackjob.

                    2. markets aren’t magical

                      And no one who supports free markets ever claims that they are. Of course markets don’t always create optimal outcomes. But I think it is fair to say that almost always the parties to a market transaction believe they are benefiting from the exchange.

                  2. Give a specific example of the free exchange of goods and services by free people leading to a “win-lose” situation

                    1. From my perspective, as a seller of professional services, it’s only win-lose if I price a job wrong. My client practically always comes out a winner – it’s why they hire me. I almost always come out a winner, but sometimes things get fucked up and I lose money on a job (i.e. every now and then my costs are too high on a specific job to be profitable; I ask for a fee increase or fire the client if I don’t see future upside).

                      Overall though, of course it’s win-win. Otherwise I wouldn’t be in this business.

                    2. Ska, I think you make my point. Sometimes it’s win-win, sometimes it’s not. Hopefully, on the whole it is more win-win than it isn’t. But just because a transaction takes place doesn’t magically make it win-win.

                    3. Here’s an example that I’ve been witness to: I have a piece of real estate for sale. I price it at the high end of the market. Now you come in, and want to buy it, and we negotiate a price that is at the high end of the market price for land.

                      Now, unbeknownst to you, but known to me, is that this property has a petroleum spill on it… You buy the land, but later find out that it is unsuitable for many purposes until you clean it up. And the cleanup will cost a fortune. And it still may not be suitable for some uses afterwards.

                      I win because I got a price that was way higher than the actual value of the property. You lose because you paid top dollar for property that can’t be used and will cost a fortune to make usable.

                    4. Another example from my experience:

                      I have built up and am running a small retail business. I decide that I’m going to sell because I’m getting on in years and don’t want to run it. So, for a few years before I put it on the market, I start fudging numbers, claiming higher sales than I actually made, better profits, etc. Sure, I pay a little higher tax on it, but the markup on my business is much higher than the small increase in taxes when I sell it.

                      Now you put my business under contract for purchase, contingent on the sales numbers. You come in and look at the numbers for the last 3 years and they look great. So we settle on the price for market value based on those sales. You borrow money to buy it, based on those numbers and purchase.

                      You owe more than the business is actually worth. I win. You lose.

                      But hey, it happened in the free market between private individuals, so it was absolutely good and it had to be a win-win. Because my religion says so.

                    5. So you are describing fraud then.

                    6. And? It takes place in free markets all the time. Or do you think that this magically doesn’t happen?

                      What matters for a transaction to be a win-win is that neither side is coerced, and that information is freely available. In reality, often information is not available or misinformation may be given.

                      And although the second example is fraud, the first is not if you didn’t ask me.

                    7. The first example is most certainly fraud if you are attempting to represent an oil spill as “pristine land”.

                      And yes, fraud happens. But that is not “free trade”. Fraud is a type of theft, because what the fraudster is claiming to be selling is not what is actually being sold. If you want to argue that free trade can’t really be “win-win” because some trade is facilitated by fraud, then this is a categorical fallacy. And, by the way, places you firmly in the Bernie Bro school of economics.

                    8. The problem with this supposition is the idea that trade with Chinese is ‘free’.

                      It is not.

                    9. No, but very little international trade is. And making it less free doesn’t help anyone, except a few particular industries in the short term.

                2. Kivlor was never even close to being a libertarian, Leo. He’s a socon slaver.

                  1. Meh. I’m more of a right-wing reactionary.

                3. For example, Obama care.

            2. If every transaction was truly a win-win situation, then nobody would ever lose money investing in the stock market.

              Your trade that every excahnge is always good for both sides is obvious hogwash.

              1. You have just mined new levels of stupidity, Mikey.

                1. Of course you can’t contradict what I said. Go fuck off and die, you retarded asswipe.

                  Trade and voluntary exchange is good, but the claim that all trades are win-win is clearly false, as I just demonstrated rather easily.

                2. Here we see CMB attempting a takedown of someone who understands the subject better than he Does!

                  Let’s watch.

              2. At the time of the transaction the trade must have been favorable to both parties, otherwise why make the trade? The argument for markets isn’t that every single business venture will always be a winner guaranteed. In fact, the argument for markets is exactly the opposite of that.

                Who are the socialists here? I thought you “right wingers” had this stuff all figure out?

                1. At the time of the transaction the trade must have been favorable to both parties, otherwise why make the trade?

                  This is your error. It doesn’t have to be favorable to both parties for the transaction to happen. It has to be perceived as favorable. Perception =/= reality.

                  1. Okay here is an example for you.

                    Suppose, during the height of the Beanie Baby craze, I pay top dollar for a bunch of cute Beanie Babies. Then, six months later, the fad is over and all of those Beanie Babies are now worth almost nothing. Was my purchase of the Beanie Babies an example of a “win-lose” transaction?

                  2. This is your error. It doesn’t have to be favorable to both parties for the transaction to happen. It has to be perceived as favorable.

                    Yeah, Kivlor is right here. Though I don’t think that many arguing against him actually believe that this isn’t true. Of course people fuck up, or fail to predict the future well, and lose money. All the time.

                    Especially when you are talking about speculative investments, or people starting small businesses, whether it’s a winner or a loser isn’t really the right way to talk about it. People in those situations know there is risk, and that they might lose. But peopel also know that to get big returns, you need to take risks. So someone who invests in a stock, say, and loses money hasn’t “lost” in the sense that they got the short end of the stick in the initial transaction. They got what they paid for. It’s just that what they paid for comes with risk, and they knew it. And when they sell their shares at a loss, they are voluntarily entering into that transaction because it looks like the best outcome to them at the time.

                    This is probably all very obvious, but a lot of people seem to be talking around the issue.

                  3. Care to split any more hairs?

                  4. It also doesn’t have to be favorable to both parties EQUALLY. If a trade benefits the other party more, it doesn’t mean it didn’t benefit you at all.

                2. “At the time of the transaction the trade must have been favorable to both parties, otherwise why make the trade?”

                  Eminent Domain

                  1. Since eminent domain is coercion by definition, it doesn’t take place in a market.

                    1. I disagree.

                    2. “Markets include mechanisms or means for (1) determining price of the traded item, (2) communicating the price information, (3) facilitating deals and transactions, and (4) effecting distribution”

                      Sorry. It’s a market.

                    3. When people talk on this site (and in most places) about markets, they are discussing “free markets”. Free markets lack coercion. No one telling you “You must buy/sell with this person”.

                      Sure, Eminent Domain is a transaction, it happens, and it is almost never a win-win; however, it would be exempted from this entire discussion. You can disagree if you like, but it doesn’t change that this is a coerced transaction in a discussion about markets that bar coercion.

                    4. You had an opportunity to say free market. You didn’t. Then you incorrectly said it wasn’t a market.

                      The rest is you trying not to look like you were wrong and looking like an asshole instead.

                    5. Do you know what pedantry is?

                    6. If I didn’t I could learn about it by reading your comments.

                    7. And…we get it already, you’re an asshole who can’t bear being even trivially incorrect.

                      Go work on that.

                    8. Dude, I have conceded that you are correct. You’re still taking Leo completely out of context, and I’m saying that as someone who disagrees with him.

      4. Et tu, Rufus? Smh.

        1. Someone must have hacked his account.

  2. Legalizing hemp in the U.S. is long overdue.

    It’s always about getting high with you people.

    1. I think technically hemp gets you… medium?

      1. Medium rare. Firm but with a little give.

        1. Warm pink middle. Mmmmmmmmmm

  3. “Maybe abortion should be more like robbing a stagecoach in the 1800’s.”

    Desperate men pulling the reins.

    1. I like to ride up alongside the gurney, guns a-blazin’.

      Yeee-hawwwwwww!

    2. Maybe someone or some group of someones should figure out when a human has natural rights and then have the same definition used for all laws concerning those rights?
      Ie, no double murder for killing a pregnant woman. Assault for intentionally causing a miscarriage. No additional welfare for pregnant women.
      The current rationale for abortion disregards the embryo’s humanity, but in every other area of the law, it is considered a unique homo sapiens.

  4. Trump told reporters that he had no idea about his personal lawyer Michael Cowen making a $130,000 payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election.

    Like his predecessor, he learns of things going on in his orbit from watching the news.

    1. Granted, Trump is probably lying, but aspects of what’s been published on this make me wonder if the Payment and the non-disclosure agreement were arranged by Melania rather than Donald.

    2. If Cohen was lying about making that payment, and it was really made by Trump, then technically Trump is correct.

  5. The ACLU of Louisiana explains why it’s (still) suing over prayer in public schools.

    It’s all over once you let God through the school’s metal detectors.

  6. The WTO complaint gives the U.S. and China 60 days to resolve things, after which China may request that a WTO panel adjudicate.

    The world telling Donald Trump what he can and can’t do? I DON’T THINK SO.

    1. Whatever you do Mr. President, do not jump off the Queensboro Bridge.

      1. If you are going to tell Trump to not jump of something, in the hope that he would do so just to spite you, be more ambitious, pick something taller, like the Empire State building.

        1. Too high profile. A 40m drop to the East River is suitably d?class? for a boy from Queens.

    2. Not sure how PRC is permitted to lodge trade complaints when they blatantly violate international law in nearly every area.

  7. “This is exactly what the free traders who formerly worked in the White House feared, Trump in a macho pissing match against Chinese President Xi,” writes Jonathan Swan at Axios.

    Only Trump could go on China.

    1. Might be your best work to date.

  8. A majority?54 percent?blame President Nicolas Maduro and his policies. Nearly half said is leadership is “very bad” and 24 percent said that it was “bad,” while just 0.4 percent said it is “very good” and 9 percent said that it is good.

    And yet.

    1. And yet he’ll win reelection with 102% of the vote, kulak!

      1. 150% when the Chicago precincts report in.

        1. And the Cuban military, uh, medical personnel.

    2. Yeah, but Sean Penn is in that 9%.

  9. A new poll of Venezuelans

    Obviously this is the fake news Dan Rather warned us about.

    (Link stolen from some other commenter two weeks ago, but it’s still hilarious.)

    1. I have several friends who left Venezuela because of Chavez and his successor Maduro. It’s only become steadily worse there. I could tell you stories that don’t make the news here, worse than what does.

      And the capper is Maduro is so dumb, he makes US leaders look like geniuses by comparison. For one thing, a Columbian friend of mine said people laugh at Maduro in Columbia because he makes grammatical errors in his speeches ? in Spanish, which is his first language. Maduro also likes to claim the CIA assasinated Simon Bolivar. That would require a time machine, of course.

      1. smh, that’s what Robert Mueller is looking for: the time machine!

  10. “Trump is not launching a trade war in China, he’s launching something bigger.”

    The Japanese agree.

  11. The liberal and Democratic justifications for messing with market forces that we’ve heard so many times before, with a dash of national-greatness conservatism and fear of wily foreigners mixed in.

    See? Trump’s completely evil!

    /Democrats

    1. Of course, this makes it a little more obvious that Trump is a Democrat, just not a modern one.

  12. poll of Venezuelans

    Nice band name.

  13. 90 percent say the country’s food supply is bad

    90 percent of BUCS’s porn supply is bad. I don’t see why that makes a difference.

    1. 90 percent of BUCS’s porn supply is bad.

      Hey, sometimes quantity has a quality all its own.

    2. I guess when you’re digging through trash and slaughtering zoo animals it kind of becomes obvious,

  14. About 15 million people tuned in to the Roseanne reboot in its second week.

    About 50 million less people than the network wanted.

  15. Clearly most of our big mofos are either getting an early start to the weekend, or on JournoList assignment somewhere.

    1. Hey, Mikey! Didn’t get a chance to congratulate you on your win. Nicely done.

      1. And he’ll give up the title when you pry it from his cold, dead hands.

  16. “We are not in a trade war with China,” President Trump tweeted on Friday morning. Most signs say otherwise, or at least show that we’re well on our way there.

    As a general rule, it is best to prepare for open war with a nation you are going to engage in a trade war. Trade wars don’t always end in bloodshed, but it isn’t exactly uncommon for that to happen either.

    As it stands, I am concerned with our ability to actually engage the Chinese successfully. Our Navy needs to be scrapped and completely re-organized. The days of the aircraft carrier are done. There’v at least been a few military leaders who have started to acknowledge this fact, but it is not changing doctrines which should have been altered 2 decades ago.

    1. Oh FFS…

      1. Yeah, I was wondering what a racist, anti-trade warmonger is doing on a libertarian website.

        But enough about Palin’s Buttplug, what the hell is Kivlor doing here?

        1. Dude, I’m not saying we should engage in a trade war, or go to war. I’m pointing out that if you’re going to engage in one, then it’s better to be prepared for the real possibility of open hostilities.

          I have zero desire to see us in an actual shooting engagement with the Chinese. I’m a non-interventionist.

          1. Sorry, RT, that was supposed to be a response to Leo

          2. All the more reason NOT to have a silly pointless “trade war” in the first place.

            “When goods don’t cross borders, Soldiers will” – Somebody, apparently not Bastiat

            1. Correlation is not causation. The same conditions may cause soldiers to cross and goods not to cross, the expectation of soldiers crossing may cause goods to stop crossing, and a million other possible explanations. In which case you’re a fool to keep assisting your enemy in preparing for a real war.

              1. Yeah but in this case we’re clearly on the side of causation.

                In reality, our economies are so dependent on each other that the idea of a real war with China is almost unthinkable. Worst case, we end up fighting in some cold war style proxy war. Good luck with that North Korea.

                1. In reality, our economies are so dependent on each other that the idea of a real war with China is almost unthinkable.

                  It is precisely because our economies are so dependent upon each other that a physical conflict would break out. If the Chinese didn’t NEED us, they’d just take the hit. But their economy does need us. For now. They may become desperate if things escalate too far.

                  1. “They may become desperate if things escalate too far.”

                    They’d have to be dumber than you if they think that engaging the US in war would make us buy their goods. Do you even try to apply any logic or reason to any of the positions you take, or do you just believe that everyone else out there is a boogeymen trying to bring down America?

                    1. Wait, weren’t you the one who just said

                      “When goods don’t cross borders, Soldiers will”

                      But now they totes won’t go to war because that would be dumb and irrational? Do you think that the Japanese attacked us in 1941 through irrationality?

                    2. No, the point of the quote is that countries that don’t trade together are move likely to war with each other. Countries that do trade together aren’t likely to war. That’s pretty much in line with my point that “In reality, our economies are so dependent on each other that the idea of a real war with China is almost unthinkable.”

                      What I meant by “our economies are so dependent” is that we buy a crap-load of things from China and they have a crap-load of American currency because of it. They also buy goods from the US, otherwise there couldn’t be a trade war. My assertion is that the only thing that could likely drive us to war is to drastically reduce our trade with China.

  17. Trade war…

    Let’s just call it what it is: competitive stealing.

    Where would we be without it?

  18. The first season of Legion was one of the best things I’ve seen on television . . . ever. First season of Preacher level good.

    The first episode of the second season shit the bed.

    Maybe they’ll make up for it. I don’t know.

    It’s very rare for second acts to top the first. Every once in a while, everybody can’t wait for the next Beatles album to come out, and it turns out to be Sgt. Pepper–but that is soooooooooooo rare.

    Most of the time, you’re disappointed. Oh well.

    I saw they renewed The Sinner for a second season. How do you squeeze a second season out of that? How many times can someone get amnesia and then recover their memories? I thought that was a great series specifically because it had an end from the beginning.

    I heard they put Oprah in Wrinkle in Time. That’s just being in the bubble. If Ayn Rand were writing today, she might have made Fountainhead about the movies or a TV show instead of architecture.

    P.S. The last season of Rick & Morty even sucked. I could see if they needed more time to make Rick & Morty great again, but if you’re just mailing it in, you shouldn’t need any extra time at all.

    1. How many times can someone get amnesia and then recover their memories?

      According to the soap operas, twice a year – – – – – –

    2. I heard they put Oprah in Wrinkle in Time. That’s just being in the bubble.

      As much as I’m dreading the reply, can I ask what the problem is? She’s been in other movies before.

      1. She’s too iconic to be anything but Oprah, for one thing, and for the other, she’s got the Renee Fleming problem.

        Renee Fleming used to be a wonderful soprano. Nowadays, it doesn’t seem to matter what character she’s playing or what costume she’s wearing, she doesn’t even seem to bother trying to become the character anymore. She isn’t playing a character. She’s playing Renee Fleming.

        This as opposed to, say, Anna Netrebko, who while she sings . . . she becomes the character so thoroughly, you almost forget you’re watching an opera.

        When Oprah is on the screen, she’s playing Oprah.

        No one wants to see a great anti-communist, anti-conformist children’s book being reinterpreted as a vanity piece by Oprah. No thanks.

        1. No one wants to see a great anti-communist, anti-conformist children’s book being reinterpreted as a vanity piece by Oprah. No thanks.

          Judging by the fact that it’s made over $100 million, you might be wrong.

          1. Yeah, I don’t want to see it.

            Oh, and the Backstreet Boys sold a lot of records, too.

            The Backstreet Boys sucked.

            1. OK, so you don’t like Oprah therefore nobody should like Oprah. Mostly because she’s Oprah.

              It would be a strange world if everyone was limited to your preferences.

            2. You suck. BSB is the best boy band.

    3. I think R&M just wrote themselves into a corner, weren’t sure how to make it “Rick and Morty” while Rick was constantly on the run from the Galactic Federation, decided to take Rick’s brains up to Mary Sue levels and then repeated the formula of the first two seasons: a lot of random adventures with a bit of build-up to the season finale, which signals a change of some kind that never really pays off (and, of course, one clip show episode).

      The problem isn’t that the last season sucked; the problem is that the end of season 2 promised a Myth Arc and then the show failed to deliver.

  19. We’re probably in a trade war with China

    Yep. Have been for decades. Nothing new here, move along.
    Oh, wait; Trump is going to finally engage the US in the trade war. How refreshing.

    1. If you’re sitting at a poker table and don’t know who the mark is, it’s you.

      1. Yep. The George W. Bushes and Barack Obamas like to think of themselves as poker players, when in reality they’re more like Candyland players who happen to be sitting at the poker table.

        1. Does anybody want to play Candyland with me?

  20. That show about those guys freezing and starving to death and succumbing to Inuit spirit polar bears is basically death porn, but it’s done really well.

    I don’t know why they felt like they needed to add magical realism to the drama–the true story is pretty dramatic by itself–but I guess that’s alright if it’s done well.

    1. I always hate shows where everybody dies at the end. Even if they’re true. There has to be a point.

  21. America added 103,000 jobs in March, slower than previous months and well below expectations.

    103,000 proves we have a very strong economy.

    Unlike when Obama was POTUS and 200,000 jobs were added a month. That is proof of a very weak economy.

    (Wingnut logic)

    1. It’s almost as if minimum and mean are the same statistic in your world.

      1. 2016 was better than 2017 in terms of job creation.

        Just for once I would like to hear a wingnut say “You know, the economy is about the same as it was two years ago” – which it is.

    2. “103,000 proves we have a very strong economy….Unlike when Obama was POTUS and 200,000 jobs were added a month. That is proof of a very weak economy.”

      Seriously? You’re reacting to a single month? Do you have any clue how the jobs report and the markets work? Any clue as to how volatile the jobs report actually is? How many times going forward this month’s number will be revised? Any understanding that there are numbers below the headline number that have significance?

      Nope. Just spouting any talking point that you can find that support your team.

      Here’s an article in the NYT from today that shows some historical perspective:

      https://www.nytimes.com /2018/04/06/business/ economy/jobs-report.html (take out the spaces to make the link work)

      Look at the volatility. It was volatile under Obama, and it’s volatile under Trump. And look at how the wage growth has actually picked up under Trump – not that it’s his doing, it just happens that the labor market finally got tight under his watch.

      But no facts for you, easier to just spout talking point bullshit when it suits your preconceived political opinion. Idiot.

      1. I was parodying a Trumptard, you idiot.

        Even the Orange Idiot himself who said America was a shithole with Obama and it great again now.

        1. Hard to tell because you’re the mirror image of a Trumptard. And you explicitly claimed that the economy under Obama was better than that under Trump, which is not true. The economy is pretty much the same, better in some ways, worse in others, because the recovery from the Near Great Depression is at a different stage of maturity.

          1. I did NOT explicitly claim such.

            In fact I said “You know, the economy is about the same as it was two years ago” – which it is.

            Which it is.

            Learn to read.

            1. “2016 was better than 2017 in terms of job creation”.

              I can read just fine, thank you.

              1. That was in reply to some idiot who said NO FAIR! MEAN MEDIUM AVERAGE!! TRUMP WINS!! TRUMP IS GOD!

  22. “I lost my farming/manufacturing job because Trump is a genius in creative destruction!”

    What with Ann Coulter’s sad day, I think the only thing that would get the goobers to turn on Trump is if he ever let off the racism gas.

  23. Oh, on the question of whether we’re in a trade war with China, two points:

    1) These tariffs haven’t taken effect yet, and it’s unclear if they ever will.

    Talking about things that haven’t happened yet as if they’d already happened makes an ass of you and me.

    2) The market reaction is the best gauge of how likely these tariffs are to take effect.

    Soybeans, for instance, were down 4% the first day after China announced it was targeting (about 50% of) them with a 25% tariff.

    Prices recovered yesterday.

    Here’s the chart:

    http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/…..meframe=7d

    Future through 2019 were up yesterday. They’re back down today.

    http://www.cmegroup.com/tradin…..ybean.html

    Any speculation about the impact or likelihood of tariffs that doesn’t include market figures is suspect, and–for the time being–the market appears to remain mostly skeptical that these tariffs will stand. From what I can tell, the markets are telling us that the tariffs are a risk but probably won’t happen.

    If I believe we’re in a trade war, what difference does it make if the markets disagree?

    1. Do you really think this Trump thing is going to end well? I mean, what’s the point of this?

      1. Did I say it would end well?

        “I mean, what’s the point of this?

        You tell us, Tony. What Trump’s doing on trade is fulfilling the progressive dream! Why would I approve?

        You’re not still pretending to be pro-free trade are you?

        1. I mean, does he pay you? I don’t get it. He doesn’t pay people.

          You know what it is when someone threatens to do something to an antagonist, the antagonist responds with real action, and then it turns out the first someone was either bluffing or lets off like a pussy? Losing a trade war before it begins.

          1. You’re a dipshit.

    2. Didn’t the conservatives constantly rip on Obama for sowing the seeds of uncertainty into the market? They were actually right then. I wonder what has changed?

      1. I don’t know about the conservatives.

        The Republicans know that the midterms are likely to be a referendum on Trump, and like politicians everywhere, they’re saying what they think needs to be said in order to get themselves reelected.

        The progressive leadership chasing Midwestern Democrats out of the party and into the arms of Trump with the social justice, environmental, and other issues is having a profound effect on the Republican party. It’s much like when southern Democrats flooded into the Republican party by way of the Reagan coalition. Suddenly, we went from Mr. Conservative types like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, both of whom didn’t give a damn, really, about what the religious right wanted, to the religious right sort of dominating the party for a lot of years.

        I think we’re seeing something similar happen now. If the union sympathizing, blue collar, Midwest is now a core constituency of the Republican party, yeah, we should expect to see change. That’s why expecting politicians to be principled is so silly. They’re as principled as their constituents. When their constituents change, so do they. They call it “democracy”.

        1. Except Republicans cheat to win specifically because they can’t appeal to a majority of voters with their corporate crony agenda.

          Because dismantling the EPA is all for the common man’s freedom.

          1. “Except Republicans cheat to win”

            While Democrats try to win with principle and integrity. LOL.

            1. Unfortunately.

              1. Past Me, are you this dense or are you just pretending to be this dense or are you super gullible?

                1. A Democrat cheats on his cancer wife, he is disappeared. A Democrat uses a private account to send work emails, she loses an election. They are held accountable and then some. How about just a single Benghazi-like hearing on just a single of the uncountable scandals going on right now in the Trump admin?

                  1. Wow, way to undersell what those Democratic scandals were really about.

                    I’m sure you undersell Republican controversies just as much.

  24. Train Carrying 10 Million Pounds of Poop Stranded in Alabama Train Yard for Two Months

    So, about 1% of the smell that would be in the source of the poop (NYC) if the toilets stop flushing.

    1. Train carrying 10 million pounds of poop was my nickname in…

      Nevermind

  25. “Maybe abortion should be more like robbing a stagecoach in the 1800’s.”

    So, taking valuable contents from a well-designed interior, into a dirty filthy exterior?

    Sounds about right actually

    1. Is this the real chemjeff with a changed name or somebody who likes chemjeff or chemjeff from the future/the past/alternate dimension/other?

      1. Love you too, snookums.

  26. When Trump says that the US is not in a trade war he is wrong. Now if he would have said that the US is not in a new trade war he would have been correct. The Trade War started over a decade ago at a time that China would copy any technology they acquired. That continues to today. Also that stealing also occurred lin computer software also cheating for instance Microsoft out of millions of dollars that they should have had for license of their Windows operating system and office products. Their policies of tariffs on the import of certain products such as cars and steel is very high veris the tariffs of the same products imported into the US.
    So let the war continue until China learns that is more profitable to be reasonable than to export everything at at a tariff advanage. If the US does not win this war then the US will become a secondary nation to be replaced by China as the world leader. But I must admit that we have had a lot of politicians in and out of the government that has helped China. Politicians that has allow China force these favorable trade agreements upon the US and much of the rest of the world.

  27. Could Trump’s threats and threatened tariffs simply be part of his negotiation strategy, designed to produce a better result for the USA.

    After all, he is a highly successful business man, which means he’s a highly accomplished negotiator.

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