Gareth Vaughan on Trump rallying scientists, Trump & fascism, the most effective anti-left president, economic warfare, books revived by Trumpism, Dutch, Arab takes on Trump & more

This week's Top 10 is from interest.co.nz's own Gareth Vaughan.

As always, we welcome your additions in the comment stream below or via email to david.chaston@interest.co.nz.

And if you're interested in contributing the occasional Top 10 yourself, contact gareth.vaughan@interest.co.nz.

See all previous Top 10s here.

Yes, it's another Top 10 from me. However, our range of new and returning outside contributors will be back in action from next week.

I contemplated making this one a Trump free Top 10 but I just couldn't do it. Donald Trump's first week as US President has been the big news of the week and it's just too compelling to ignore.

1) Scientists rally to combat Trump

Some American scientists are being spurred into political action by the Trump Administration, The Atlantic reports. They've formed a group called 314 Action. It's named after the first three digits of pi, and is a political action committee created to support scientists running for office. At this stage 314 Action will only back Democrat candidates and is said to have over 80,000 donors and mentors.

For American science, the next four years look to be challenging. The newly inaugurated President Trump, and many of his Cabinet picks, have repeatedly cast doubt upon the reality of human-made climate change, questioned the repeatedly proven safety of vaccines. Since the inauguration, the administration has already frozen grants and contracts by the Environmental Protection Agency and gagged researchers at the US Department of Agriculture. Many scientists are asking themselves: What can I do?

Early signs are promising. In just two weeks, more than 400 people have signed up to the recruitment form on the organization’s site. They include Jacquelyn Gill from the University of Maine, who studies how prehistoric climate change shaped life on the planet. “If you’d told me a year ago that I would consider running for office, I would have laughed,” she says. “I always fantasized about serving an administration in an advisory capacity, but we now have explicitly anti-science people in office and in the Cabinet. Waiting passively for people to tap me for my expertise won’t be enough.

“I think government works better when we have people with lots of professional backgrounds,” says Kate Knuth, who trained in environmental science and served three terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives between 2006 and 2012. “Scientists bring a unique perspective in how they look at data and think about problems. They’re trained to value evidence, and to change their minds in the face of evidence. Right now, in a lot of our governance, we have people who just say this is the way it is, in the face of huge evidence to the contrary. That makes it hard to make good policy.”

2) Is Trump a fascist?

One of the labels Trump's opponents, including some in the media, are giving him is calling him a fascist. So is Trump really a fascist?

Writing in The Washington Post Michael Kinsley says he is.

Not in the sense of an all-purpose bad guy, but in the sense of somebody who sincerely believes that the toxic combination of strong government and strong corporations should run the nation and the world. He spent his previous career negotiating with the government on behalf of corporations; now he has switched teams. But it’s the same game.

So does Chauncey DeVega writing for Salon. His "insurmountable" evidence includes the following:

Donald Trump does not believe in freedom of the press.
Donald Trump threatens his political enemies with violence and/or prison.
Donald Trump uses ethnocentrism, bigotry, nativism and racism to mobilize his voters.
Donald Trump does not believe in standing norms of democratic governance or tradition.
Donald Trump is a misogynist.
Donald Trump is obsessed with “strength” and his own “virility.”
Donald Trump promises “law and order.”
Donald Trump is a militant nationalist.
Donald Trump traffics in conspiracy theories and lies.
Donald Trump admires authoritarians and political strongmen.
Donald Trump’s most recent press conference was modeled on the way Vladimir Putin manipulates Russia’s news media.
Donald Trump has surrounded himself with a cabal that consists of family members and self-interested Cabinet appointees, who — like him — stand to enrich themselves through the agencies they are supposed to administer in the public interest.

However, William Watkins writing for The Independent Institute disagrees.

Trump is undoubtedly a nationalist and protectionist and proudly declared during his inauguration address that he would put “America First.” Inasmuch as nationalism is a critical ingredient of fascism, it is indeed present. But notably absent from the Trump agenda is cartelization of American business, planning boards, or control of economic activity or consumption. Instead, Trump seeks to reduce government regulation, has imposed a hiring freeze on federal agencies, and advocates cutting taxes–the lifeblood of the state.  

While there are many criticisms one can raise about Trump and certain of his policies, fascism is not one of the them.

But does Trump's brow-beating of companies via Twitter override Watkins' point about the absence from the Trump agenda of "catelization" of American business?

3) "He may be the most effective anti-left president in modern US history."

Former Speaker of the House and Trump supporter New Gingrich cannot conceal his glee and excitement at the potential of a Trump presidency. In an interview with Fox News he compares Trump to President Lincoln, describing Trump's inauguration speech as "very patriotic."

The historic importance of his inaugural is that he has stuck to who he is.

He may be the most effective anti-left president in modern US history.

He's anti-P.C., he's anti-left, he's anti-stupidity and he's deeply pro-America," Gingrich said. "Now, which of those values shouldn't make a conservative happy?

4) "The guy perched on the next stool over at the local sports bar."

Last week's Top 10 featured an article from David Cay Johnston who has investigated and reported on Trump and his business activities for nearly 30 years. Among other things he described a Trump answer to a question in an interview as "the kind of nonsense expected from a random blowhard on a bar stool."

Whilst this is clearly a bad thing from Johnston's perspective, it's a good thing for others. Writing for Breitbart News about how Trump won, John Hayward explains.

A good deal of Trump’s reputation for crassness — and a major reason he was able to connect with so many people, to the astonishment of the political and media classes — is his tendency to talk the way normal people talk. He doesn’t use the sterile linguistic discipline of the professional politician. He sounds like the guy perched on the next stool over at the local sports bar.

(Steve Bannon, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker and ex-executive chairman of Breitbart, was Trump's campaign manager and is now Trump's chief strategist).

5) Shut up already.

At The Daily Beast Matt Lewis, a Trump critic, is fed up with liberal celebrities speaking out against Trump. This "Trump Derangement Syndrome" is not helping, Lewis argues.

Here’s the problem: The more Hollywood liberals produce condescending videos, the more pretentious and preachy celebs like Madonna (or replace her with Lena Dunham or Meryl Streep… they’re basically interchangeable) lecture us at rallies and awards ceremonies, and the more protesters with signs and placards with the word “p*ssy” on them—the more I find myself liking Donald Trump. 

And this is saying a lot. I’ve dedicated the last couple of years to speaking out against Trumpism. But if his adversaries are so odious as to drive me (an infamous Trump critic) into thinking maybe he is the lesser of two evils (or, at least, the less annoying!)―what do you think it is doing to working-class Americans?

Lewis has also got some advice for the media.

Something else for all of us to do: Spend some time thinking about people you might not normally rub elbows with—people who go to church on Wednesday nights, people who drive pickups, and people who shop at Wal-Mart. No, you shouldn’t gear all of your coverage toward these Americans; but yes, if you want to remain relevant and credible to them, you can’t ignore them.

6) A declaration of economic warfare.

The Financial Times' Martin Wolf notes China's President Xi Jinping made a speech on globalisation at the World Economic Forum you would have expected to hear from a US president. In contrast Trump's comments on trade at his inauguration you would never have expected to come from a US president. 

Wolf is not impressed with Trump's stance. He sees huge geopolitical consequences.

Beating up Mexico will overturn three decades of reform, probably delivering power there to a leftwing populist. Beating up China may poison an essential relationship for decades. Abandoning TPP may hand a number of the Asian allies of the US over to China. Ignoring World Trade Organisation rules might destroy the institution that provides stability to the real side of the world economy. 

The rhetoric of “America First” reads like a declaration of economic warfare. The US is immensely powerful. But it cannot even be confident it will get its own way. Instead, it may merely declare itself to be a rogue state. 

Once the hegemon attacks a system it created, only two outcomes seem at all likely — its collapse or recreation of the system around a new hegemon. Mr Xi’s China cannot replace the US: that would take co-operation with Europeans and other Asian powers. The more likely outcome is collapse into a trade policy free-for-all. Mr Xi’s vision is the right one. But, without Mr Trump’s support, it may now be unworkable. That would benefit nobody, including the US.

7) "Fake news didn't work."

Drawing on a paper by Hunt Allcott of New York University and Matthew Gentzkow of Stanford University, Bloomberg's Leonid Bershidsky concludes fake news didn't decide the election between Trump and Hillary Clinton. Bershidsky also argues that because most Americans still get most of their news from TV, Trump's attempt to bypass the media by tweeting is unlikely to work. That's because many Americans will hear about Trump tweets on TV, with spin added by their favourite station, and in many cases, with fact-checks added. Maybe. But provocative tweets will still allow Trump to set the agenda and tie up journalists' time.

Allcott and Gentzkow estimated that only 1.2 percent of people actually recalled seeing the average fake story, meaning the average American remembered about 0.92 pro-Trump fake stories and 0.23 pro-Clinton ones. Not only did the average American remember no more than one fake story, but even smaller fractions of them actually believed it. To sway a voter under these circumstances, the academics estimate that the story would need to be as persuasive as 36 campaign ads.

8) Books revived by Trumpism.

Whilst noting George Orwell’s 1984 is currently the best-selling book of any genre at Amazon.com, The Atlantic points out it's always somewhere on the best seller list and argues the recent rise in popularity of other books seems more directly linked to the emergence of Trump as a political leader.

Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here, a 1935 novel about the rise of an authoritarian fascist leader in the U.S., is currently the 26th most-purchased book on Amazon, and its spike on Google Trends corresponds with the U.S. presidential election on November 8. 

John Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent, a 1961 novel about a Long Islander grocery-store clerk who resolves to abandon personal ethics to increase his wealth and status, has also seen boosts in interest that correlate to Trump’s de facto victory in the Republican presidential race in May, the Republican National Convention in July, and the election in November. 

If the links between the events of the recent year and Steinbeck’s last book don’t seem entirely clear, The Atlantic’s review, published in 1961, is illuminating: “What is genuine, familiar, and identifiable [about the book] is the way Americans beat the game: the land-taking before the airport is built, the quick bucks, the plagiarism, the abuse of trust, the near theft, which, if it succeeds, can be glossed over—these are the guilts with which Ethan will have to live in his coming prosperity, and one wonders how happily.”

9) "Please write your own plots and stop borrowing ours."

Karl Sharro, a Middle East commentator at Politico, has written a funny and entertaining article comparing America 2017 to an Arab country. Here's a flavour:

And by the way, speaking of the Army, while we were a little bit disappointed at first that the president doesn’t have a military background, he quickly moved to remedy that by appointing a number of generals to high-level positions within the administration. We are hoping that they will attend Cabinet meetings in their uniforms; there’s something quite reassuring about the leader of the nation being surrounded by military outfits—just consider Saddam Hussein. 

The moment at which we felt real solidarity with the American people, though, was when we started hearing BBC reporters talking to your citizens with the patronizing tone they normally reserve for the Middle East. Correspondents were sent to far-flung corners of the United States to talk to farmers and factory workers to try to understand how they feel and to ask condescending questions. I’m from the British Broadcasting Corporation, are you familiar with the BBC? Where do you get your news from? Do you feel angry? Does religion play a role in how you are voting?. (The only thing missing were pictures of people with blue ink on their thumbs; please consider introducing that practice in the future.) 

And the inauguration, what a spectacular show: protests, riots, tear gas—it had all the necessary ingredients of an Arab revolution. We saw pictures of broken windows at Bank of America, and a limo engulfed in flames. The Black Block apparently made an appearance. Someone burned an effigy of Mr. Trump and an American flag. (OK that was in Canada, but still). We look forward to more of those moments being captured on camera and turned into photo essays in the foreign press.

10) And here's the Dutch having some fun with Trump. Welcoming him in his own words.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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144 Comments

#1. Scientists formed a group called 314 Action named after the first three digits of pi, to assist scientists to run for office. With a wonderful name like that it's clear they don't need it. Given it shows they all live on their very own planet and can have their own scientist exclusive elections.

Given that they only know pi to 2dp, they can't be very good scientists anyway...

Or maybe it was just the zoologists in the group that couldn't remember the next decimal place...

#5. LOL. Liberals are demonstrating "Trump Derangement Syndrome". Yes. After a decade or so of Republicans in both houses acting completely nuts, with one sided irrationality, it seems the anti Trump folk have picked up the same virus.

The success of the Don requires a look at the opposition and it's not a pretty sight. Here's Bill Black (American lawyer, academic, author, and a former bank regulator)
"Particularly in light of the Trump’s election, the logical reaction of the DNC would have been to refuse to take the Wall Street buyout and announce that the New Democrats would never again do Wall Street’s bidding. They would return to the Democratic Party’s historic role as the party that championed the rights of workers. Brazile, of course, ensured that the DNC eagerly took the $20 million Wall Street buyout. The New Democrats not only continue to be for sale (or rent) by Wall Street – they continue to show that they continue to for sale for chump change. The DNC does not need $20 million to figure out why the white working class “abandoned” the New Democrats. They can check out from their local library Tom Frank’s books warning that this would happen and explaining in detail why the New Democrats’ long war against the working class was making it happen."
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/01/bill-black-not-4-sale-corrupt-wor...

And let's not forget that after the GFC, it was a Democrat government that bailed out the banks, not the mum and dad savers who lost their entire retirement savings to bank shenanigans.

I don't think we fully appreciate how deeply the typical American loathes Wall street and all it stands for. The Democratic party has, contrary to expectations, been the first to sell out working class America (as Bill Black has said above) and has a long road to recapture the trust of their forgotten constituents. A bit like our (so called) labour party.

Isn't it ironic that the cancellation of the TPPA by the Trump administration is in alignment with the NZ Green Party position? And in line with Labours position (although it's not clear whether they were for/against or dancing in between). Some interesting convergences between the nationalist position and the Left. That Governments should retain sovereignty rather than large corporations.
.
Hasn't the message for years been that higher interest rates would be better for the economy? But now it's reported as a negative influence on the economy.

More ironically is where are the voices of those lefty TPPA protesters now?
Their key rhetoric was that it should be scrapped. He single handedly achieves this for them.
But no, they are too righteous to thank him. Either that or they have moved onto the next trendy lefty topic...

I am against the TPPA and Nymad I thank him from the bottom of my heart. But isn't it all so Orwellian? No wonder his book is so sought after at Amazon. But when a Leader is described as being antileft when he has policies that favour the workers then I know we are in la la land.

Simple Patricia. The old left right paradigm is not a useful way to work this out.

I fail to see how the protection of workers is exclusively a left wing policy..
It is just as much a cornerstone of capitalism as it is socialism. The only difference is who the burden of protection falls upon.

Germany, for example has strong unions who work reasonably cooperatively with management, for a win-win for both 'left' and 'right'.

True.
That is (leftist) governmental imposition, though. Having intimate knowledge of the German arbeitsplatz, the benefits lie squarely with the unions as a result of this policy.

Contracting there this year for a couple months.

It's a much different world to NZ.
Hope you are in one of the big 6 cities, or thereabouts.

There is no longer a left or right. The world is confused. They don't really understand globalism, and where it is leading us. Environmental issues, gay rights , womens rights, terrorism , racism are all emotive issues that globalist leaders have used to side track us. and in the mean time global corporates are hoarding huge amounts of cash, by basing themselves in countries with little environmental legislation, human rights whilst paying little or no tax.
I get confused when i see celebrities like Bruce Springsteen who championed working class America, vietnam vets for decades coming out against Trump and supporting Obama?

What an insanely weird thing to say about left/right existence, given recent events.

We still have left and right ideology. The policy/rhetoric approaches to, as you mention, environmental issues, gender/sexuality/minority rights really clearly show this.

You get confused as to why Bruce Springsteen, the man who played at Obama's inauguration, supports Obama over Trump? Is it possibly because you also think there is no longer a left/right difference in ideology?
Like I said earlier, protection of workers is not a leftist or right wing policy. The difference is who the burden of protection falls on. Government/tax payers with the left - Capitalists with the right.

Trump does not support veterans. Didn't he decry POWs as losers because they 'got caught'?

Hi Patricia
He claims to have policies that are for workers.That may be about as believable as his repeated pre-election promises to release his tax returns.
You can not possibly describe Trump as left-wing; it is not a given that left wingers are good for workers.Stalin gave lots of workers jobs I suppose, but it might not have been so good for them.
Trump will only do things that are good for him; the rest is a smoke screen.

Mortgage belt - correct. The message has been mixed - for clarity it should have been
- higher interest rates are what the financial system needs (it reflects a world economy in growth mode and the presence of tradeable inflation basically)
- lower interest rates are simulatory (therefore "good") for the economy

If rates cant be raised, it shows growth is dead.

The emergence of Trump is understandable given the pie is shrinking - a complete mindset shift from we all create wealth by more trade ... it recognises that aggregate DEMAND is really the problem - not barriers and tariffs. So they will take a more openly aggressive approach to taking their share of the demand & resources... It parallels (eg) an anti TPPA position such as the Greens but the difference is the Greens seem to assume the pie isnt or wont shrink with less trade...

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Exactly correct Mortgage Belt. "That Governments should retain sovereignty rather than large corporations."
We are constantly urged to increase GDP, grow the economy and the population. Why exactly. We should be asking who will benefit, because the resulting benefit if any does not seem to flow to New Zealanders or New Zealand owned businesses.

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You have got to laugh , we saw people marching up and down Queen Street against the TPP last year .

Trump has canned the TPP and now the same marchers are back on Queen Street street protesting about Trump .

I wonder what their view is on the TPP now ?

It seems some folk just like a good old protest march no matter what the issue is

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Couldn't agree more.

They'll protest over whatever is trendy in the liberal rhetoric that week.

Nynad, have you ever protested, I mean walk the streets and show one and all you are against an issue or want change? Or is that too trendy for you?

Nope. I work.

By all means, protest. Just protest for something in particular. Something that is real issue.
The issue with 99% of the liberal protesters is that they protest non issues, believing righteously that they are 100% categorically correct in everything.
Protesting is about freedom of speech and there is not one single demographic that seeks to systematically suppress that more than the liberal sect.

Any evidence that they're the same marchers? Even if they are, you can disagree with some (or most) of Trump's policies even if you have some common ground, there's nothing unusual about that at all.

Okay , thats a fair comment

The fact is these people have every right to their opinions - rightly or wrongly - if a protest is how they want to express it - good on them. To much inaction has led us to where we are. If the voices are loud and yell for long enough, governments and corporates or whoever they are don't have any choice but to listen.

Yeah, but they are not granted a weekly platform by our MSM to express their thoughts.
That privilege is reserved for right wing hypocrites, such as , Hide, Hosking, and anyone else willing to peddle the same 1990's group think wisdom.

The difference is the reason why people her marched against the TPPA and why Trump has canned it.

People marched because they saw it as giving corporations way too much power over governments and people.

Trump didn't like it because he's protectionist by nature and is wary of big trade deals amongst a lot of countries. He prefers to broker bilateral ones where the US will come out on top. He didn't think the TPPA was in the US' interest.
.
People here probably still have the same view on the TPPA, and will be marchig again, because the NZ government is still looking to go ahead with it

The people marched to further the prerogative of the figureheads/leaders.
If you asked 90% of those people exactly what liberties we were ceding (if any), they would have had no idea.
Your statement "People here probably still have the same view on the TPPA, and will be marchig again, because the NZ government is still looking to go ahead with it" is a reflection of this - based on the ratification clause it contains.

Why would a protectionist make any trade deals? It seems a bit crazy to me...

Trade deals like TPPA are all about defining the level of protectionism. True free trade agreements would be very short - we both agree to no restrictions on trade.

Some of you simply cannot see the wood for the trees, yes Trump scuppered the TPP, excellent, saved us any more angst about it, but can you get your head around this - among other things, one of the major reasons people are/were anti TPP was because it appeared to give far too much power to corporations, especially American, as it was them who sought more and more in it for them. Trump wanted out of the TPP because he wanted MORE for American corporations. Do you detect a subtle nuance here?

"it appeared to give far too much power to corporations"
Good turn of phrase. Sort of supports my notion about the intellectual prowess of the protesters..

What is wrong with the ISDS clause?
It protects investors from the arbitrary decisions of governments - is that really a bad thing?
Turn the tables - would you consider it a bad thing if a NZ based company was allowed to pursue recourse against a foreign government on the basis of arbitrary action?
I also recall in Ryan GM's pieces that the clause is basically irrelevant in the New Zealand context because it shouldn't impact the incumbent system/precedent we have - a solution to a problem we don't have, so to speak. Thus, all it does is make it more beneficial to NZ..

What is wrong with him wanting a better deal for the USA? Shouldn't that be everyone's prerogative - to fight for the best deal?
Why should the USA subsidise everyone else?
The other signatories aren't forced to ratify...If they aren't happy, don't sign. It's as simple as that.

I am sorry, but the TPP and any other trade agreement is supposed to be signed between countries NOT corporations, they need to take their chances just the same as any other business does, I see no reason for them to have special protections to be honest.
There were a few other matters but they are not the subject of today's biffo.
He can demand anything he wants, the problem I have, is does our government have the guts to tell to go *insert expletive* himself.

So, how exactly do trade agreements work if there is no private enterprise to produce any goods to trade?
The agreement wasn't between any companies and governments...
What special protection do they get? That's the point - it is irrelevant in the NZ case.

Your arguments are fast sounding like the biffo rhetoric that first spawned this comment thread.

"So, how exactly do trade agreements work if there is no private enterprise to produce any goods to trade?"

Interesting point, why do Governments sign agreements for something they do not control, and has little to no benefit to the general populace.

NZ has a bunch of free trade deals in place now.
- Do our wages go up?
- Do our costs of living go down?
- What actual benefit do the vast majority of us get from them?

We mainly sell commodities. Trade deals let us sell them cheaper, so we move to volume over quality (value add). Looking at Dairy, Forestry, Fishing, and now fresh water. I don't think I am alone when I say, I am not really seeing the benefits.

Trade deals are generally completed at the behest of a specific lobby group (Read corporate) so someone is obviously making money. Yet that same lobby group (again read corporate) doesn't actually have a vote. So why would we want to join an agreement that only benefits a non-voting entity?

As an aside, I personally believe free trade is the way forward. But actual real free trade to create a united humanity. Not the petty little nation (corporate) to nation (Corporate) things we have now, that seems to only benefit the lawyers.

As Trump explained, bi-lateral deals are more flexible to renegotiate.
Multi deals like TPPA lock many countries in, at the lowest common denominator, with no room to renegotiate.
So, as you say, Noncents, who was going to benefit?

"Multi deals like TPPA lock many countries in, at the lowest common denominator, with no room to renegotiate."

Seriously, do you people ever read anything you seek to argue about?

There is no lowest common denominator in the TPPA. It is completely idiosyncratic in nature due to the comparative production advantages of the signatories.

"There is no lowest common denominator in the TPPA."

Really?

Let's look at wages.
NZ has one of the highest minimum wages on Earth.
So if you were are a company that is now free to use any labour in the TPPA, where are you going to base your factory? office? or headquarters?

Lets look at a random good (We'll call it a widget)
Say a widget is made in China for $1USD and is sold for $15USD in the States and $25USD in OZ.
What price do you think it will be sold for in NZ?

Or maybe I could tell a tale, one that could surely only be make believe.

I call it "Global trade only caters to the lowest denominator: a History of producing in the cheapest country, and selling in the most expensive."

Chapter one: Impact on the people in the most Expensive country (Expenseland)
They used to produce a whole bunch of top quality, well priced goods. But after Global trade came in they found that they lost their jobs as it was cheaper to produce goods in "Cheapistan". Over time more and more goods were produced in cheapistan. Eventually all the people in Expenseland had lost their income and they couldn't afford to survive.

Chapter two: Impact on the people in the Cheapest Country (Cheapistan)
They have a massive population, and are generally living day to day off what they can find. But after Global Trade came in they realised they could "Get ahead" in life. They started working at Factories earning 1c an hour (but hey that was 1c more than they got fishing/hunting/farming for dinner") Soon Everything is produced there as it is just so cheap. But, the locals can't buy the products they are making as more money is gained by selling them overseas. The cost of living soon goes through the roof and the people of Cheapistan can't afford to survive.

Chapter three: Impact on the Corporate entity (WIdget Inc.)
WIdget Inc. makes money hand over fist, abuses the workers (as there are so many of them, competition for a job is fierce). They abuse the consumers by lowering quality, increasing price, and creating contracts that cannot be comprehended by mere mortals (after all Expenseland has no money so they can no longer afford the odd higher quality item for sale). They then take all the plunder to an offshore tax haven.

Chapter Four: Impact on the 1%ers.
They take their tax free spoils and further filter (launder to those of us without expensive accountants) them to then live in the expensive countries where they buy all the good stuff as the customers they once sold to can no longer afford them, and are selling them off at rock bottom prices.

Chapter Five: The masses part one, the Majority (realists)
After being underpaid, and over charged, they eventually say enough is enough. They vote for one of the 1%ers to become president (as only they can afford to run, and he was the only one willing to return the country to "what it was" - even though he is lying - as he has no more control over the other 1%ers (For the sake of this tale, we shall refer to them as Lobbyists.) than he does over his poor yawning son.)

Chapter Six: The masses part Two, the minority (the dreamers)
After being underpaid, and overcharged, they still believe the 1%ers are looking after them. They hold firm, but are slowly picked off minority by downtrodden minority (democracy is great that way). Eventually they either join the realists, or they flee - but where too? The rest of the world is now all the same broke place, and as they are not 1%ers no other country will let them in.

Chapter Seven: yet to be written, but to avoid doubt, this tale is a tragedy, so don't hold your breath for a happy ending.

Chapter One:
So because these people couldn't produce a good competitively, we need to subsidise them?
What's the incentive for productivity?

Chapter Two:
That's not correct; cheaperton is only going to produce export goods it has a comparative advantage in. Unless it is the most god gifted country in the world, that is likely going to not be not a significant amount.

Chapter Three:
Widgerton is a figment of some liberals nightmare.
Name one country who is able to abuse its workers under the TPPA.
Name one competitive company who is able to systematically increase price and lower quality. Give me one example of a non monopolistic/cartel company that is able to do this.

Chapter four:
If you are on the topic of tax free/rent seeking earnings - wouldn't a free trade deal seek to address this, seeing as it operates in good faith to ensure effective taxation is consistent accross borders?

Chapter five:
How are they simultaneously underpaid and overcharged in aggregate for goods?
Unless the country is the Pitcairns, this just isn't a reasonable premise in the case of the TPPA.

Chapter six:
Oh good. This sounds like Marx on a (very tight) budget.

Chapter seven:
Don't write it, unless it is on some whimsical left wing blog, somewhere.

Chapter one. They could produce a competitive good in terms of quality, durability, practicality, and design. They just can't compete on price.

Chapter Two: Cheaperton have an advantage in every good as they have 1% of the Labour costs - across the entire production chain, they also have zero environmental oversight, and little to no worker rights.

Chapter Three: China, China, oh and did I mention China.
The main car manufacturers. Hence all the recalls.
The main banks. They reduce services, yet increase costs.
Could also throw Samsung in there. They charged over a grand for a live hand grenade.

Chapter Four: In Theory, yes. In reality, No.

Chapter Five: How? Dairy workers are underpaid (Often illegally so), they are also overcharged for Milk (based on the Global per litre price). For someone to make money, someone else must lose it.

Chapter six: Groan

Chapter seven: me left wing. Lol, good one. Everyone else I know would tend to disagree. It's the problems with a comments section. You only get a glimpse into what someone is like.

I thought I had gotten away from whimsical first year student musings, obviously not.
It's a C+ at very best, this argument.

You are now arguing over (poor) theory when your other arguments centre around the fact that you believe economic thoery has no practical relationship to real world scenarios.

"NZ has a bunch of free trade deals in place now.
- Do our wages go up?
- Do our costs of living go down?
- What actual benefit do the vast majority of us get from them?"

I've said it before and I'll say it again, you just argue for the hell of it.
Name one medium term period in the past 20 years when our real wages have declined, coinciding with any trade deals. The fact is, you can't. So, this means that either our wages have gone up, costs have gone down, or a combination of both.
Everyone benefits from the performance of the economy and real wage increases.

"Looking at Dairy, Forestry, Fishing, and now fresh water. I don't think I am alone when I say, I am not really seeing the benefits."

Again, are you serious?
Our whole economic position has been underpinned by these things you mention (perhaps sans fresh water).

I don't argue for the sake of it. You just happen to write some nonsense that you never seem to be able to clarify, substantiate, validate, or prove when questioned.

"Name one medium term period in the past 20 years when our real wages have declined, coinciding with any trade deals. The fact is, you can't. "

The fact is I don't need to, I merely asked a question. You have now stuck your hand up, so I can assume you are the expert when it comes to FTAs, so:

a) Did Apple pickers get higher wages as a result of the deal with Australia?
b) Did dairy workers get higher wages as a result of the deal we had with Russia? or;
c) the ongoing deal with China?
d) Did Samsung phones get cheaper as a result of the deal with South Korea?

In short, Are you able to show me one medium term period where wages have grown, or the real price of a good has dropped, as a direct result of a "free trade deal"?

I happen to write nonsense?
Fair point. But don't take the high road and proclaim yourself to be above that same sentiment.

The answer to your points are that yes, income grew as a result of increased trade volume.
It's pretty simple, really. To deny that nominal and effective taxation removal decreases the benefits to the producers is just completely counter-intuitive. Look at the rate at which dairy farm values increased post the Asia trade deals.
You people just can't keep one rhetoric, can you. On the one hand you scorn individualism and capitalism and then you argue that free trade deals are stupid because the effects aren't always visible at the individual level.

"In short, Are you able to show me one medium term period where wages have grown, or the real price of a good has dropped, as a direct result of a "free trade deal"?"
The Eurozone and the ex soviet bloc countries are a perfect example of this.

Nymad , What is the deflator they use to determine "real wages"...??
What is "real" about using the CPI as a deflator..??

In my own research I compare everything with changes in Money Supply growth ...

Anyway...scroll down to fig 8 in the linked doc.

http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/research-and-publications/speeches/2016/speech20...

That's a very fair point.
I am definitely guilty of overusing headline indices.

Can we really expect to be explaining quantity theory on here, though?

"The answer to your points are that yes, income grew as a result of increased trade volume."
Did it? You have not proven any direct link between an FTA and the growth. You have stated your interpretation of two potentially non-related facts. My guess is that Minimum wage increases have just as much to do with it.

"To deny that nominal and effective taxation removal decreases the benefits to the producers is just completely counter-intuitive"
No one is denying the positive impacts to the producers. It is after all the producers that lobby for these agreements. Do the benefits hit anyone else?

"Look at the rate at which dairy farm values increased post the Asia trade deals."
- The milk goes overseas, and we are stuck paying Global market prices for something we produce in surplus.
- The wages are so shoddy, that most farms employ foreign labour to work for them
- The profits go overseas as well, as most farms are now owned by corporates (or the cash is flowing straight through to the big 4 banks in the form of interest repayments)
You are now claiming that overpriced dairy farms are a good thing? I am sensing a John Key moment here.

"You people just can't keep one rhetoric, can you. On the one hand you scorn individualism and capitalism and then you argue that free trade deals are stupid because the effects aren't always visible at the individual level."
That is the same rhetoric. Capitalism doesn't work because free trade deals don't benefit everyone.

Hang on, I just want to clarify, your two examples of a success are
a) The Euro zone
One of the most protectionist economies on the planet. It has a raft of subsidies, tariffs, and complete asinine regulations.
The poor have all immigrated to the countries with the best welfare, the jobs have all gone to the countries with the best tax incentives and/or lowest wages. The masses in all countries are now struggling, and rising up against it as they have not seen any benefits (or did you miss brexit). Most of the economies are in severe turmoil (Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, all of the Eastern European ones) and the whole idea is crumbling around them as I type.

and

b) The Ex Soviet Block - I don't even know where to start on that one. But I have had a great laugh, thanks for brightening up my morning.

ISDS also grants the lawsuits to be tried and settled outside of the normal judiciary system, potentially tying up governments in 'special' courts for years.
Most governments have the luxury of time, or money, to spend on this.
.
The reality will be, that a lot of laws will be changed, or drafted, in favour of corporations' profit, not in favour of the people they are meant to protect, and serve.
.
What capitalism has done in the past 45 years, is channel the wealth to the top 1%. "trade deals"like the TPPA are just another vehicle of doing this.

Oh come on.
That is not the reality.
The reality is actually that the potential for profit/rent seeking is diminished, not increased.

"What capitalism has done in the past 4 years, is channel the wealth to the top 1%."
How so?
The reason for that is not capitalism - it is crappy governmental policy.

Sorry, amended, that should have read 45 years, not 4.
.
and I disagree with you on ISDS

http://thenextturn.com/topic/isds/

4 or 45 years, it doesn't matter, my point still holds. Don't blame capitalism, blame government.

You are welcome to disagree. Just give some some good reasoning as to why.
I just have to laugh when commentators provide links of that calibre.

"The reality is actually that the potential for profit/rent seeking is diminished, not increased."

Can you show any evidence at all to back this absurd statement up.

haha
"absurd statement "
It's logical, really. Perhaps logic is absurd to you, I dunno..

What is the idea of a free trade agreement?
To lower trade barriers and increase commerce, perhaps?
Sounds like a pretty good premise for stimulating competition and reducing rent seeking policy, to me...

As usual your theory is flawless (but is one I personally agree with), but sadly for you the execution in the real world never matches the Theory.

Econ101.
If a good can be sold for $10 and has a $1 "tariff", then if that "tariff" is removed, the good will still be sold at $10 as this maximizes profit with no drop in demand.

In short the corporate entity gets the $1 instead of the Government? No benefit to the end consumer or the worker. Gee I wonder why the corporate Lobbyist fought for a Trade deal.

Now think for a minute what you are claiming?
You are implying that:
- ANZ, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank (ASB), NAB (BNZ) are competitive, and that they are not creaming in record profits? and
- Foodstuffs and progressive are competitive and are not creaming in record profits? and
- Caltex, Z, Mobil, and BP are competitive and are not creaming in record profits? and
- Power Companies, Lines Companies, etc... are all competitive?
- what about Fonterra?

Face it, even the most ardent Free Trade supporter would be struggling to show an example whereby competition has emerged, benefited the consumer, the worker, and seen corporate profits reduce.

Basically if Free Trade was universally beneficial, then everyone would have already done it. The fact a single deal can take decades to seal, and that most are broken before they start suggest the theory is and will always be just that, a theory.

Interesting article. Thanks.

That's not Econ 101.
If you had actually done Econ 101 (which equivalent courses I have taught), you would see that your understanding of the burden of taxation is all wrong. The price will drop and the profit will be maximised relative to the MC and MR curves of the industry and the good elasticity in the market.
A $1 tariff is not footed by one market player, it's burden is weighted by the demand elasticity of the good. So, I don't see how a product, unless it is completely inelastic wrt price, could be sold at the same price when the tariff is removed..

I am not for one minute claiming that the companies you mention are competitive. I am saying that trade deals reduce their ability to be oligopoly or monopoly producers.
Also, don't get caught up in the rhetoric. Record profits <> record margins.

Lol, you probably taught me. I did numerous ECON papers, Got good marks in all of them, but then all you ever had to do was repeat the lecturers own book back to them. Reality, Logic, and differing opinions be damned.

"If you had actually done Econ 101 (which equivalent courses I have taught), you would see that your understanding of the burden of taxation is all wrong. The price will drop and the profit will be maximised relative to the MC and MR curves of the industry and the good elasticity in the market."

Yes, that is the theory. Now step out of the lecture room and look at reality.

I'm sorry, but the above obviously proves that you didn't get good marks in those papers.

do corporations have nationalities in a globalised world or do they just roam around looking for the cheapest labour and lowest tax rates?

Yeah, that's what I said..

up
11

Re media coverage of Trump: NZ news has become unwatchable hyperbole taken straight from the Clinton News Network and similar who still think they control who gets into Government and can't accept they don't control the world!

The only watchable news is now Fox.

The liberal no hopers who found their way onto these left wing propaganda outlets need to either grow up or move on and actually let the news broadcasts broadcast news and not their deranged viewpoint...

And re the Trump Sandwich: we know Trump is the best thing since sliced bread, you're not getting too obsessed are you Gareth?

Yes CJ, the NZ media, seem to have been taken over by a kind of collective madness. It is an interesting phenomenon, almost like a veil has been lifted so that all can see clearly the bias and the opposition. Well, more than bias really.
The NZ media may ultimately influence NZers in the opposite direction as our election looms.

Try RT America - American professionalism. Good watching...!

I think the media's been a little confused by the white house putting out several demonstrable (and bizarre) lies in such a short time. Why are they even wasting their time making up crowd sizes against all available evidence? Why are they talking about 3-5 million illegal votes without any evidence?

The media is used to being able to at least vaguely trust government stats, but now everything is up in the air. Not surprising that the relationship has changed from the previous administration.

To distract people from the real agenda of the tyranny.

Don't look at the media opinions then, just listen to Trump in interviews, listen to his threats and blatant lies, which are apparent to anyone with the collective insight of two newborn insects.
Watch your hero threatening to invade and take Iraq's oil here
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/transcript-abc-news-anchor-david-muir-int...
And then tell me the media is wrong??!!

Poor old peak oilers. "The world has access to more than twice as much oil as it will need between now and 2050, which will dampen the long-term outlook for prices, according to BP.

There was an “abundance of oil” globally and it was “increasingly likely” that some resources would be left in the ground, Spencer Dale, the oil major’s chief economist, said. This would prompt competition, keeping long-term prices below $100 a barrel.

BP’s latest Energy Outlook report, published yesterday, estimates that more than 2.5 trillion barrels of oil have been discovered worldwide and technically could be extracted.

Although the company sees continued growth in oil demand into the 2040s, the rate of demand is slowing because of fuel efficiencies and the drive for greener energy. That means there should still be “enough oil to meet the world’s entire demand of oil out to 2050 twice over”, Mr Dale said.

Faced with this long-term supply glut and the prospect of an eventual decline in demand, lower-cost producers including Opec, Russia and America’s shale drillers, may change their strategy and pump more crude, he suggested."

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/a-world-flowing-with-oil-for-...

What we should be concerned about is that we are consuming the planet to death , in the long run we cannot go on like this because we will at some stage cause an imbalance .

Although , given this cold wet summer , I am becoming increasingly skeptical about global warming

Is it really shrinking?

Scott and Shackleton logbooks prove Antarctic sea ice is not shrinking 100 years after expeditions

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/11/24/scott-shackleton-logbooks-...

Boatman,

so, because you are having a poor summer,global warming is a myth is it? I think you should be embarrassed to read that. Anthropogenic GW does not mean that climate variability has been abolished;it does mean that more of the heat which the earth emits back into the atmosphere is being trapped by our greenhouse gases. Go and do some research;find out about the Stefan-Boltzman and Wein radiation laws,look at the Keeling Curve,find out why Arctic sea ice is retreating inexorably and how this effects the Earth's albedo. Just go and do some work before putting up any more inane posts on a subject you clearly know little or nothing about.

I personally am not sold either way re the whole climate change debate.

Yes the climate seems to be changing (even within my short lifespan). But no real scientific evidence exists before records were kept. So really we have one-two hundred years of knowledge about a 5billion+ year old planet. This change could be normal, fast or even slow, we don't actually know.

But the one thing I do know, is that when the ice melts the sea levels will not raise one iota.

1. This is based on a very simple science experiment anyone can do at home. In fact we did it at Intermediate back in the day.

https://van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/listing.php?id=1650

2. Tectonic events have more sway and in a faster time frame than the oceans. Most recent example is Kaikoura. For more long term examples, look at the Himalayas, Rockies, and the Andes (in fact just check every mountain range and continent on earth.)

3. Some Volcanic events release more CO2 and pollutants into the air in a single eruption, than Man Kind could ever hope to achieve in a whole year. A Taupo or Yellowstone eruption would prove that Mankind is really nothing more than a mosquito fart in terms of "pollutants"

3. No mass extinction event that we know of has been caused by gradual climatic change (even if it did - then we should probably be thankful otherwise we wouldn't be here). The gradual change is usually enough for most species to adapt. The ones that don't, well that's what Darwin was on about.

We as Humans appear to be the worst adapters. Humans are optimized for a specific set of conditions. We think we have "adapted" to suit other conditions, but the reality is we haven't. We have created artificial environments all over the planet. Then when one of these goes wrong (i.e. Nature happens) we moan.

The earth has and will always change.
- Don't want to be killed in an earthquake? don't live on a fault line or in a large concrete building.
- Don't want to be killed in a flood? don't build on a flood plain, next to a river, or in an estuary.
- Water lapping at your toes? move back from the beach.
- Volcanoes? They are pretty easy to identify and avoid. But hey that wont stop us building cities under, on, and around them.

Don't want to live in a desolate wasteland...?
- It's not the smoke from the tractor's exhaust that is killing the Amazon, its the 1,000 acres of forest it tore down to turn in to a farm.
- It's not the cow's fart that is killing Orangutans, it's the fact the cow is fed on mulched up palm forests.
- It's not a 1c change in Ocean that is Killing the Whales, Tuna, or any other species of fish. It is the fact that we catch them and kill them all regardless of whether we actually eat them.
- It's not the change in wind that is wiping out Elephants, it is the wholesale slaughter of them for Ivory.
- It's not the lack of rain that is killing crops/livestock, It's the fact we wasted all the storage capacity "adapting" land that was not suitable for introduced species.

It's actually quite simple, we aren't killing the planet via climate change. We skipped that middleman and did it directly.

And to make sure we make a good job of it, we are polluting the cr*p out of the place as well. We could well be described as a perfect storm

and we all say nobodies perfect. lol.

I did say "could be" still got a bit of wriggle room

Just what we need. A goal.

Maybe I will be alive to see the Planet in it's WALL-E state.

Noncents(Nonsense)

"But the one thing I do know is that when the ice melts,sea levels will not rise one iota". I am sorry to have to tell you that you don't know even that. When sea ice melts there is no sea level increase,but when land based ice melt-you may have heard of glaciers-the seal level increases. Let me quote from the National Snow and Ice Data Center; "At least 1/3rd of the observed seal level rise in the past 100 years has come from glaciers,exclusive of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets".
Globally,glaciers are in retreat and this is happening because its getting warmer. Heat causes ice to melt.
You clearly haven't heard of ice cores. For example,the Vostok core provides accurate climate information going back some 800,000 years. I simply can't be bothered correcting the many other errors in your post.

Yes, it does look likely that there will be oil available for the foreseeable future Profile. Some issues about the costs and practicality of some of the recent discoveries though - Brazil's Libra field for example.

For me it's not so much a single issue but a whole host of problems with no solutions due to over population/consumption as Boatman has pointed out. Almost all of our wonderful planet and fellow creatures and habitats are being destroyed at an alarming rate coincident with the human population doubling over the past 50 years.
I re-read Bill Bryson's superb "A short history of nearly everything" over the Christmas break. It makes you truly appreciate just how incredibly fortunate and the (almost) infinitesimal odds that we are here and alive on this glorious planet. Knowing what we know makes us obliged to treat it and its inhabitants with the utmost care and reverence don't you think.

Yeah not a bad read at all. Refreshing to read someone who admits we don't know everything - unlike most most doomster gravy trainers who do know everything well in advance. His stuff on climate change is bang on.

"Climate is the product of so many variables—rising and falling carbon dioxide levels, the
shifts of continents, solar activity, the stately wobbles of the Milankovitch cycles—that it is as
difficult to comprehend the events of the past as it is to predict those of the future. Much is
simply beyond us. Take Antarctica. For at least twenty million years after it settled over the
South Pole Antarctica remained covered in plants and free of ice. That simply shouldn’t have
been possible."

Have a read of Ausubel if you have the time. It is not all problems without solutions.

The Return of Nature
How Technology Liberates the Environment
http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/journal/past-issues/issue-5/the-ret...
https://phe.rockefeller.edu/docs/Nature_Rebounds.pdf

Cheers Profile, sorry but I don't share your optimism for an engineered technology based solution to global population/consumption overshoot as claimed in the links you provided. While population increases (currently a 60 year doubling time) are projected to decline percentage wise, on a linear scale they are still in a frighteningly vertical ascent right through to 2100. Couple that with projected increasing prosperity and consumption for the world's poorer areas and the human impact will have more than doubled.
What does tend to happen is that the problem has been moved out of sight - massive forestry destruction in the tropics or fisheries moving to extreme locations (Antarctica) for example or the nasty heavy industry and mining has been moved to more desperate countries with even lower environmental standards. The USA might look clean - Mexico or China not so much.
The costs to us (never mind the cost to other life involved) of the loss of natural systems are often unknown and incalculable; just one example: bees are now extinct in large areas of China due to toxic chemical pollution. Fruit trees are now pollinated by hand; an absurdly expensive option to what was provided for free by the bees. Often these natural systems are simply unable to recover even once the abuse has ended. The Grand Banks cod fishery - once considered inexhaustible was ended in 1992 following its collapse. Contrary to expectations it has still not recovered a quarter of a century later! Perhaps we are not as smart as we like to believe and the thought of an engineered solution to many of these problems inspires no confidence whatsoever.
Sometimes you don't know what you've got till it's gone.

The smart way to use technology is to have it support us as we humanely and sensibly reduce our own overpopulation of the planet

Profile - peak Oil is not the full picture. The problem isnt running out of Oil - its running out of demand. If demand falls (read affordability) to too low a level there is no Goldilocks price that can satisfy consumers & Oil co's. BP state there is more than XX barrels that could be technically extracted - that isnt the same as available for use. There are also billions of fish in the sea but it isnt feasible to catch the whole lot. Its looks a lot like PR than reality to me .. - see the trend that current Oil prices are having on the Oil cos.

https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-02-23/big-5-oil-majors-st...

Oil prices can't rise without impacting (already non existent) world growth.

See
https://ourfiniteworld.com/2016/08/08/an-updated-version-of-the-peak-oil...
https://ourfiniteworld.com/2016/12/07/what-has-gone-wrong-with-oil-price...
http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Why-Oil-Prices-Might-Never-Rec...

"The amount of oil (or for that matter, any other resource) isn’t a fixed amount. If the price can be made to rise to a very high level, the quantity that can be extracted will also tend to rise–in fact, by a rather large amount. The “catch” is that wages for the vast majority of workers don’t rise at the same time. As a result, goods made with high-priced oil soon become too expensive for workers to afford, and the economy falls into recession. The result is prices that fall below the cost of production. Thus, the limit on oil supply is not the amount of oil in the ground; instead, it is how high oil prices can rise, without causing serious recession.

Affordability is just fine. The "catch" is getting more and more affordable. Fuel efficiency has more than doubled since the 70's for instance. Proven reserves - which take into account the economics of oil extraction - have tripled to 1.6 T bbl since 1980.

"A long-term real adjusted chart ... shows that the average price (in today's money) since 1861 is $47/bbl. " $53/bbl with todays innovation and efficiency is gift not a burden. Peak oilers just got it wrong simple as that.

No need to catch all the fish in the sea - once the price moves just innovate and start fish farming.

Trouble is as the stocks diminish, the price goes up and our habit is to fish to collapse of stock, from which it is extremely difficult for nature to replace. I sincerely hope you are not advocating this sort of action.

Affordability is just fine?
So why is world growth stagnant and oil cos slashing capex?

5. Agreed.

This one, if it eventuates, is going to be interesting;

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/26/un-funding-alarm-at-repo...

How big are they in the greater scheme of funding?

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/us-pays-3b-un-mor...

And given the early undertones on climate change, I'm guessing they'll also de-fund US Govt contributions to IPCC science/work... a huge gravy train.

I love Trump because he does what he said he will do and he is against political correctness a blight in our society.
Trump is pro Christian and stands up against the worlds ideals.
Trump has a winning attitude and this is what we lack in NZ as their are too many negative people who do not like people being successful and are full of resentment.

Can you confirm Ted whether you are the lovechild of Zac Smith and Dgz?

What happened to the Christian ideal of 'Love thy neighbour' and 'don't judge' and 'turn the other cheek'?
.
before you pull out 'eye for an eye' - know that that line is from the Old Testament, and that the Christ himself declared the old book overwritten by his own gospel.

What ever happened to the protestant work ethic?
"a concept in theology, sociology, economics and history which emphasizes that hard work, discipline and frugality"

Trump doesn't support any of those ethics and he certainly doesn't like work. He hates frugality with all the gold decor he spends too much money on.

Christians were soldiers and in the heat of battle you can not turn the other cheek. Trump loves the Mexicans but does not want the evil ones to break through the walls of Jericho. The Israelites are Gods chosen people and Obama was against and Trump is for Israel.

1) Christians were soldier. - care to back up that statement? When and where? The majority of early christians were women, and they certainly were not soldiers.

https://muse.jhu.edu/book/24850

Early christians were persecuted, yes, but they were not soldiers.

2) Trump loves the Mexicans? Does he? What he's doing and saying seems to point to the opposite. Your reference to Jericho shows you don't know much about christianity. the battle of jericho happened one thousand five hundred years before jesus was born, and it was the Israelites who were the warmongers....because their God had 'given' them land that happened to be inhabited by some other people. How history does repeat itself.....and religion and god are used to justify war....
.
Obama was not against Israel, don't be absurd. Aid to Israel went on unabated, to the tune of billions per year. The only thing Obama required of Israel, is that it adhered to International Law, and stop stealing land of Palestinians, and actively try to broker a meaningful peace.
.
I'm not so sure Trump is FOR Israel as such. Trump is a bully, and drawn to other bullies and so called 'strong men'. So yes, he likes Netanyahu, and Putin.
It'll end up biting him in the proverbial, as those men are only looking to further their own interests, and are quite willing to use Trump to get what they want.
Trump is a political novice, and has surrounded himself with yes-men and ideologues.
The way he's been dealing with the press smacks of a dictatorship.
.

So how come we still have the OT in use in Christianity, overuse, some, me included, would say?

You'd need to read up a bit on jewish and christian history.
.
One line of thinking is that when Jesus said (according to Matthew 5:17-19) that he didn't come to overthrow the law unti all of it had come to pass, was simply using the OT to his advantage.
The OT is the covenant between the Jews and their God, until the messiah comes and makes a new one. Jesus claimed to be this messiah, so it was in his own interest and credibility to not "overthrow' the OT by word, but by fulfilling its prediction.
.
The paradox is ofcourse, that to maintain his validity as the messiah, the broker of the new covenant, is reliant on the OT, where it is claimed that this will come to pass....
.
But of course, the other, more simple reason, is that the OT allows people to do bad and hurtful and greedy things, and what's better than an excuse from God to be your exact low human self?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Covenant

I guess that is where not believing there is a God intervenes for someone like me

same.
.
happy atheist here, in the literal sense of the word.
.
seems to be the epitome of human delusion of grandeur: that the universe was 'created' specifically for us.

#3 Trump is anti-stupidity? Some of the things he's mouthing off about sound incredibly stupid to me, indeed, to the point where I can imagine Dubya cringing

Two words - Newt. Gingrich. Nuff said I would have thought

No, not enough. Too many people still believe in and agree with what he says.

1. Scientists rallied to combat GW Bush too - his presidency saw a sort of re-birth of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) with the release of this report;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_Integrity_in_Policymaking

They revamped and become quite a good source of activism and information;
http://www.ucsusa.org/

OK it is Friday...so here is the topic of concern.

I met a poor bloke who was ranting on Twitter and typing into Facebook and shouting at everyone who he met in the street...all at the same time.

I thought he had gone insane.

He was sweating and seething and crying all at the same time, he could not control his shaking fingers to get his Samsung tablet and his Apple Mac to balance on the car roof properly.

The gist of ramblings was he wanted to know from "anyone" how the hell he could get out of an EBAY purchase.

He seemed petrified.

"I thought I was buying a Cowboy Outfit for my kid he said and I bid a whole $3:50"
.
"Turns out nobody else bid at all and it closes in 5 minutes."

"So how the hell do I get out of the deal, otherwise I shall own the "Republican Party" lock stock and barrel".

Talk about a raw deal....eh...be careful what ye wish for...this Friday.

Im going to re run this, as I last posted it over the holidays. God knows we all need a laugh

That reminds me of the time Dr. Pavlov stopped by the tavern on his way home from the laboratory. He was just taking the first sip of his refreshing beverage when the telephone rang behind the bar. “Damn it,” said Dr. Pavlov, “I forgot to feed the dog!”

"American farmers have purposefully poured out more than 43 million gallons’ worth of milk due to an excessively abundant supply of the dairy product in the county.

The farmers dumped the milk in fields and manure lagoons or used it as animal feed, in the first eight months of 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The massive amount of milk—enough to fill 66 Olympic swimming pools—is the most wasted in at least the last 16 years, according to the newspaper."

http://time.com/4530659/farmers-dump-milk-glut-surplus/

More anti-Trump hysteria. The irony of the Woman's March on Washington being led by a Muslim activist (Linda Sarsour) who has advocated for Islamic Sharia Law & the Woman's March in Germany chanting "Allahu Akbar".

Islam is leading the Woman's March on Washington, Islam is the most anti-women of any ideology in the world today just look at Women's rights in every Islamic country.

Democrats are just digging their own grave even deeper with the extremist candidates for DNC chair wanting to silence the opinions of White Americans & getting much deeper into racial politics. The Democratic party is imploding with Hillary supporters now sobbing like kids to Black Americans working at Starbucks like they're instant victims.

Liberal celebrities physically assaulting people on the street they view as "Nazi's" like Shia Labeouf & others like Madonna thinking of blowing up the White House.

How can Trump who is a former registered Democrat be the most effective anti-Left President?

Bannon is correct that the US media—indeed, the entire Western print and TV media—is nothing but a propaganda machine for the ruling elite. The presstitutes are devoid of integrity, moral conscience, and respect for truth. https://www.rt.com/usa/375271-bannon-trump-media-cnn/ Read the comments in which morons define freedom of the press as the freedom to lie to the public.

Who else but the despicable Western media justified the enormous war crimes committed against millions of peoples by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama regimes in nine countries—Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, and the Russian areas of Ukraine?

Who else but the despicable Western media justified the domestic police states that have been erected in the Western world in the name of the “war on terror”?

Along with the war criminals that comprised the Clinton, Bush, and Obama regimes, the Western media should be tried for their complicity in the massive crimes against humanity.

The Western media’s effort to sustain the high level of tension between the West and Russia is a danger to all mankind, a direct threat to life on earth. Gorbachev’s warnings are correct. http://time.com/4645442/gorbachev-putin-trump/?xid=time_socialflow_facebook Yet presstitutes declare that if Trump lifts the sanctions it proves that Trump is a Russian agent. It is paradoxical that the Democrats and the liberal-progressive-left are mobilizing the anti-war movement to oppose Trump’s anti-war policy!

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/01/27/media-now-political-opposition/

The Media frenzy is at least fully revealing its extreme bias and inability to analyse beyond either trivia or uncritical reporting of selective events.
Muslim women in the Middle East watched the Anti-Trump / Women's march on TV in horror as they watched Muslim Brotherhood type protest/violence/property destruction. They have seen these 'Marches' before to the disintegration of their own countries and societies
http://www.cheriberens.net/womenrsquos-march-towards-islam.html

Cheri Berens from the neo-conservative Christian right, far out, can't you find anything more biased?

Good that you read the article.
Interesting when Muslim women in the Middle East have more insight into the underlying motivations of these marches/protests/violence than their western sisters.

It is complete BS

Oh, look, turns out that we don't have to rely on weird fantasies from extremists, but can just check the Women's March website to see their missions and principles right from source. Human rights, tolerance, non-violence. How terrifying.

https://www.womensmarch.com/mission/

They go on about fake media, news etc then boom! come out with such stuff as that. That woman was nowhere near the march and yet somehow, she is the font of all knowledge. And they wonder why this is not going to go away.

No idea if it was intentional or not, but the pink hats were a smart move. Can't claim the photos as being from any other event that week without a ton of retouching.

Completely unhinged paranoid craziness. Nothing whatsoever to say about the huge peaceful marches on 21st January. Biggest march ever, supported all over the world, sod-all violence or arrests, just a hell of a lot of people standing up for equal rights and decency. Interesting that this is so terrifying to would-be theocrats.

You were protected by the Media from seeing the violence and property destruction and verbal abuse perpetrated by the 'Protestors'. You didn't get an opportunity to see the extremism because that would undermine the CNN etc narrative.

I know a hell of a lot of people who were there, and they all report it as a nice, mellow, suitable-for-kids event. CNN has nothing to do with it. There have been other protests over the past few weeks, so plenty of material for those who want to dishonestly conflate them for propaganda purposes.

Verbal abuse, oh my stars, how dreadful. To the fainting couch with you.

You clearly were protected from seeing your calendar

Excuse me, but do Trump's lies count for nothing? Sorry, I've lost count so I can't give you a number.

The Media are actually more interested in ridiculing and trivia stories.
They ridiculed 18 months ago thinking they were backing their own winner.
They are upping the output of silly nonsense now.

Trump's actions and lies are very, very telling and only a fool would ignore them.

And the Media supplies you with the truth of course. And objectivity.
Funded by those wanting the status quo.

Of course they go OTT if they think someone will click on it, I try as much as I can to filter stuff out. There are a few things I haven't mentioned much, as I am still thinking them through such as the ban on certain immigrants. I can understand where the sentiment for that derives from, but implementing such things must be done with caution.
On the wall, of course the US can erect one, but don't expect Mexico to stump up for it, that is just looney toons stuff, and no-one has asked the question about how the hell do you prevent massive disturbance to the movement of migratory wildlife with a sodding great fence stopping them doing what they have done since the dawn of time. Trump has NOT thought this through he just spouts garbage, gets gullible people all wound up.
Doing stuff, especially big stuff, actually does require some thinking through processes, something that Trump does not appear to have much truck with.
I rely on much of what see of actual video footage of things. MSM generally just leads me to a place where I can look a bit further.
Daesh, as I have said elsewhere will be laughing their lady bumps off, this flailing around like a dying insect in the USA is probably just about exactly what they were hoping to achieve. They have got people afraid of their own shadow, they've got people digging holes in the ground and lining them with concrete for the big day, they've got people like Peter Thiel thinking they can hide from it all in Queenstown.

I agree with you that Trump is unusual, has many faults/flaws etc.
.
The argument was really about the very unusual media activity.
It's almost like they have become unhinged, or injected with some kind of madness.
Read the NZherald, Stuff, & CNN for example, and take a note of all the articles on Trump.
A) there are dozens of them, B) most of them are trivia, silly, nonsense, or very biased.
I think even a Little/Clinton/Sanders etc supporter would acknowledge this phenomenon.
It's just so unusual.

Let me break this to you as gently as I can, Trump is the unhinged one. Oops wasn't that gentle, sorry.

There's a distinct whiff of on-the-fly slogans that haven't been thought through becoming policy, and then being shoved through without going through any reasonable process of checks and balances. Engineers and geologists who know the stretch along the Rio Grande where this ridiculous thing is supposed to go, say pretty much 'good luck', and that it's unbuildable, and that there's a reason why the existing fence wasn't extended that far. Lots of natural barriers like cliffs, and no roads in or out, so to go ahead with it, they'd have to spend tens of billions building whole networks of roads and accommodation and other infrastructure just to get the materials and workers on-site. Migratory wildlife and the environment not considered at all, apparently. And now they're saying they'll pay for it through US citizens paying 20% tax on imports, many of which are vegetables. Not a plan that stands up to examination. Maybe it'll work as a mechanism to pour public money into the pocketses of the corrupt bastards who would get the contract, but as a practical plan in reality it's complete madness. If there are any grown-ups with an interest in actually governing in a sane way, they'll blow it off and spend the money on the deteriorating internal infrastructure.

I also question the wisdom of taking Mexico, close neighbour, major trading partner, nation with extensive family connections in the US, and trying to turn them into an enemy.

Yes, monitor and verify immigrants and remove those who are a risk, give Mexico more support with policing the cartels, but let's do it without gross violations of human rights or blowing tens of billions on a ridiculous white elephant that can't work. Hell, with the terrain out there, it'll cost billions just maintaining it.

They would be better off to take the really problematical issue, drugs, and dealing with that. If they had the stomach for it, the answer is legalization, take the motive for all the crime out of the equation. I am picking Mexican workers will be sorely missed if Trump succeeds here, why he might even p.... himself off.

Exactly. So much of that is driven by demand from within the USA. But again, it has to be done properly, within the law, no human rights abuses or anything else that will make the situation worse.

That's the trouble with us lefties, we have this annoying habit of thinking things through

I worry about them pushing Mexico too far. If, god forbid, the malignant idiocy of this build a wall and make Mexico pay for it scheme goes ahead, what's the logical end-point? I'd say it's a bankrupted, destabilised nation of people with a grudge, lots of weapons, nothing to lose, and extensive cross-border connections. Afghanistan, but right next door. That's worst-case scenario, but entirely possible. Don't know about you, but doesn't strike me as worth a dumb campaign slogan that they could probably walk away from with minimal repercussions from the electorate.

Yep, I definitely see that as a possible scenario, but what I hope happens is that the rest of the world takes up the slack and offers Mexico a bit of support, kind of save Americans from themselves, not they would ever see that. They think they have voted Superman in. Honestly, I just shake my head.

There is a time to make a stand.
You can't worry too much. Just do it.
USA has had enough.

As Obama made serious policy mistakes in Egypt, Libya & Syria etc, the media gave him a free ride, due to his smooth speech making ability & unwillingness to confront the established powers.

This whole thing with Daesh and the Middle East is not going to be sorted easily, they walk among the innocent. If Trump thinks he is going to "deal to them" then he, like all before him, is going to be facing much collateral damage, I can't see a scenario where you say, "Ok all you extremists dudes, you go stand over there, so we can get a good shot at you".
But, I suppose the easy answer is to just convince yourself that none of them are innocent, is that what is happening?

The Media again: Why does the MSM want a war with Russia? They are more hawkish than past or present Administrations.
The Media is now the Opposition, they have become a political party in their own right with entrenched positions.

Nobody wants any sort of war, large scale especially but it would be good to rid the world of the lot, but that is just a leftie dream

Thing is - it's the union of border patrol officers who have the president's ear - more than any other advisor(s), I'm guessing they'll get it right;

https://www.revealnews.org/blog/when-it-comes-to-trump-this-union-is-str...

Think I'll stick with my peeps, the likes of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren et al, voices of reason, people who truly ARE for the people sans all the religious todge.
There Kakapo, I fixed it

Elizabeth Warren, you mean? She is good value, one of the few honest people in there, and has certainly done her bit holding Wall Street's feet to the fire.

Of course I meant Elizabeth Warren, obviously didn't read back through that, did I?

Unless you are actually up here you wouldn't have a clue
Whole article other peoples work copied & pasted with mere trimmings
Dear Gareth
Trump is the Narcissist
Bannon is the Fascist
Have a nice life you surely aren't worth my time

In defence, that is exactly what that article was, just a pull together of various views, for and agin. I don't think many are arguing about your view of Trump and Bannon.

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