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Trump Signals He’s About to Blow His Foot Off

2017 March 30
by Ian Welsh

As Matt says:

The people who care about this include the marginal voters who put Trump over the edge to victory. If this is true? Wow.

I thought Obama’s bungling of the economy and breaking promises would cost him re-election and it didn’t, instead it cost Democrats 1,000 state seats, multiple Governorships, and the House and Senate. So perhaps Trump will slide on this and download the damage to Republicans.

Mexico threatened to hit American corn, which some think is what caused Trump’s retrograde action to the rear. The funny and sad thing is that American corn devastated the Mexican economy after NAFTA. Millions of farmers lost their land and had to go to the slums (and cross the border to America.) Meanwhile American companies bought up the tortilla manufacturers, downgraded the nutrition of the corn based foods and increased the prices: The result was that Mexico had fewer farmers, more slum dwellers, and worse food that cost more. (GDP might have increased.Forcing subsistence farmers into slums can show up as increased GDP as they have to pay for what they used to grow.)

Mexico would be better off out of NAFTA, quite specifically because of corn. Rolling back the clock on agriculture would be hard, but not impossible, and breaking up foreign owned companies would be good for Mexico if done correctly.

If Donald bails on a big NAFTA renegotiation, he’s not just screwing his supporters, he might well be hurting Mexicans too.

Funny. Sad, but funny.

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47 Responses
  1. Willy permalink
    March 30, 2017

    That plays great before the election. Now we don’t care, right?

  2. Adam Eran permalink
    March 30, 2017

    The corn thing is particularly egregious. One might have figured shipping subsidized Iowa corn down to Mexico might put small subsistence corn farmers out of business (there are compensations built into NAFTA, but naturally only the large farmers claimed them). And while corn is arguably the most important food crop in the world, and those little subsistence farmers were growing the obscure varieties that kept the diversity in the corn genome alive, they weren’t making any money for Monsanto!… and that’s the point.

    Meanwhile, the decline in Mexican real incomes was 34% (which is saying a lot in a country where half the population gets by on less than $4 a day) [source: Ravi Batra’s “Greenspan’s Fraud”].

    One has to return to the Great Depression to see a decline of that magnitude in the U.S. Of course that provoked no great migration…unless you count the Okies.

    One other more recent decline on that scale: The U.S.S.R. withdraws its petroleum subsidy for Cuba. Just FYI, agriculture in the U.S. burns 10 calories of petroleum for every one calorie of food it grows. The average Cuban lost 20 lbs.

    Meanwhile, between 1798 and 1994, the U.S. has been responsible for 41 changes of government south of its borders. More recently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blessed a Honduran coup that replaced the democratically-elected government with a military junta. The democratic government had the temerity to try to raise Honduras’ minimum wage from 60¢ an hour (the nerve of those people!). Thirty thousand unaccompanied minors from Honduras made their way north to avoid the chaos there.

    Gosh! I wonder why all those economic, political and military refugees make their way north…!?

  3. realitychecker permalink
    March 30, 2017

    The beatings will continue until morale improves.

    Or the People find their spine. (Hint: Those spines will NOT be found in the “safe spaces.”)

  4. StewartM permalink
    March 30, 2017

    I”m sure whatever transpires, it will be YUUGE.

  5. March 30, 2017

    Ian, you always seem so surprised every time you discover Trump is a phony and a con man again.

  6. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    March 30, 2017

    Artist Michael D’Antuono has painted a 48″ square oil painting entitled, The Elephant in the Room.

    Speaking of Trump blowing things… 😈

  7. different clue permalink
    March 30, 2017

    @Adam Eran,

    Dumping petrochemical GMO shitcorn on the Mexican market was a key weapon designed by the NAFTA negotiators precisely in order to bankrupt millions of Mexican corngrowers precisely in order to drive them off their land and into the city slums and especially into the “Pacific to Atlantic” belt of maquiladoras along the MexAm border. That was a key goal of President Clinton when he and the Free Trade Treason Caucus within the Democratic Party conspired with the Republican Caucus to get NAFTA passed.

    Apparently Clinton was not as brilliant as his Rhodes Scholar past would suggest, or he might have understood that when he achieved the further Free Trade Treason law known as MFM status for China . . . that all the slavery-seeking investors would move to China instead of into all the maquiladoras that Bilderberg Bill envisioned with his NAFTA. So millions of NAFTAstinian refugees came north to America instead.

    Since Mulroney of Canada is equally responsible along with Reagan of America for negotiating NAFTA into play to begin with, it seems only fair that Canada should accept a million NAFTAstinian refugees into Canada.

    Since one of Trump’s Three Very Biggest Promises was to stop and perhaps even reverse the policy of Clintonite Shitobamacrat Trade Treason Agreements, his betrayal of THIS promise will attract some real attention among those voters in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania who voted for Trump precisely and specifically to save themselves from another term of Clintonite Trade Treason. It is in these “fringe” areas that Trump is losing popularity fastest. A very interesting article at Naked Capitalism suggested that if Berniecrats move fast and hard enough, they can begin purging and burning all traces of Clintonite Traitor Filth out of the local Democratic Party structures in these areas.

  8. March 30, 2017

    The Question is not when normal people understand this, it is when 50% of people in most states understand this. 35% is not quite enough.

    There is no God but sod, and Lombardi is his prophet.

  9. Joe permalink
    March 30, 2017

    Nafta, Shafta. Greed has total control now, I’m afraid there is less and less worth fighting for in the U.S.A. It may just be worth waiting for it to completely implode and start again. Problem is U.S.A is like a stupid bull in a china shop blaming and violently lashing out at the other in a desperate attempt to avoid self examination. The ability to disregard the obvious desperation and lack of concern for human needs is astonishing. The cities are filling up with Chinese blue tarp favelas. San francisco the great white beneficiary of the big money greets me with beggars who demand and schizophrenics yelling at something unseen, working the shift after the bankers go home. The culture has been wallmartized and the middle class is what we would have called poor thirty years ago. The amount of mental illness is off the charts the returning iraq, afgan, Serbian and other war vets with ptsd is incredible. They will be damaged and dysfunctional for the rest of there lives in many cases. The people will pay them twice what they can earn working a decent skilled job.They will get a check for there service to exsist in a state of hiding. They will still have there pride. They weren’t used they fought for freedom.I’m forty five years old i have worked since i was fifteen in the U.S.A. I have lived in cities and the rural town of the west. I am an immigrant i am ready now to try somewhere else before i get too old.

  10. Peter permalink
    March 30, 2017

    It doesn’t take much to send the pearl-clutchers into a frenzy, first Trump is too extreme and now too moderate so they drag up a generation old injustice inflicted on the poor Mexican corn grower. I think they have moved on, perhaps it’s time others did also. The small producers and ejidos, commonly held farms, still produce part of the crop even though NAFTA increased migration from the farms to the cities.

    Today Mexico produces about 25 million tons of maize and 100% of their maize for human consumption is produced in the country with about 12 million tons of animal feed imported from the US. The Mexicans have the climate advantage for producing fruits and vegetables and 60% of their exports go to the US. We have the advantage in grain production with Iowa alone harvesting three times the corm produced in all of Mexico.

    There were winners and losers from NAFTA along with capitalist penetration of their markets and other negatives but it’s done and I doubt that either Canada or Mexico would easily negotiate away any of the advantages they gained from that treaty. I don’t know what these changes that are proposed will produce good or bad but the copyright provisions should keep Canada from becoming a CD piracy haven.

  11. StewartM permalink
    March 30, 2017


    First you tell us we should support Trump because he was against TPP-style free trade agreements. Now you tell us we should support Trump because he’s for TPP-style free trade agreements.

    It is you, not us, who are being inconsistent, other than “we should always support Trump” no matter what he does, or how complete his betrayals.

  12. March 30, 2017

    So I have to give Peter some credit for his consistency. He has a very specific goal, which is to ensure that “Clintonism” does not return to power. Consequently, supporting Trump no matter which way it turns out the wind is really blowing is not stupid, if that’s how one has set one’s goals.

  13. Billikin permalink
    March 31, 2017

    Obama cost the Democrats all those elections? I rather think that the Democrats helped a lot with that. The ’08 elections had the Republicans talking to themselves. The Dems blew their advantage.

  14. Ché Pasa permalink
    March 31, 2017

    The Peters long ago became self-parodying performance art. Take them for what they are: entertainment.

  15. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 31, 2017

    Peter, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re a clone of James Baker. You reflect his rhetoric and sentiment to a Capital T. It’s uncanny. It’s clever because it’s intelligent, rational, reasonable and cogent, but none of that makes it accurate once you peel back the onion.

  16. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 31, 2017

    Obama had the Mandate to transform the Democratic Party into FDR’s vision for it, but instead he was always an emissary for Corporate Interests. Obama was always a stooge for The Rich.

    Hey Jimmy, when do I get to be guest on your show? Have your people call my people and we can hook up. It’ll be a blast. I like the cut of your jib if you’re indeed as genuine as your appear to be.

    FDR’s Letter To Corporate Democrats Will Blow Your Mind

  17. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 31, 2017

    I’m fairly certain Trump is going to be impeached or he will be forced to resign like Nixon. The Media is like a dog with a bone and the last time they were like this, to this degree, was in the run up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It was non-stop coverage until it happened. The Media Frenzy presaged it.

    I called it a year before it happened, the invasion & occupation of Iraq, based on The Media Frenzy that telegraphed it. The Media is like a quarterback with tunnel vision and I’m the Safety. I know where the QB is throwing the ball and I’m going to be there before the receiver gets there to pick it off.

    Trump is going down and Pence will be the President. It’s the New & Improved way to be President without getting elected, as if The Donald was really, truly “elected.”

    Loopholes. America loves Loopholes. America isn’t a Nation of Laws, it’s a Nation of Loopholes.

    Fuck the Electoral Process. These Trying Times call for increasingly clever measures. Sure, it’s convoluted, but what isn’t these days? Just as Orange Is The New Black, Convoluted Is The New Simple.

    The Power Behind The Throne

  18. March 31, 2017

    Cheap food, subsidised even, is an attack on every country’s social and economic structure.

    It is designed to create cities and cheap employees.

    Oceania uses it and has done for centuries! Irish Famine. Indian Famines …

  19. Willy permalink
    March 31, 2017

    I’m wondering what Trump’s motivation for being there is. I’d assume his populist supporters thought he already had enough money. If it’s the power, why would any sane person want to subject themselves to such public hair-greying stress and scrutiny when there are other big machines out there to drive?

    It’s starting to look like a matter of time before 538 fires up the impeachment charts. Why would anybody want to risk that kind of public humiliation? Does Obama have an explanation why he so obviously spoke one way then acted another? I cannot for the life of me imagine how I’d have to be, to be able to face those same hopeful people that cheered me at my rallies, knowing I that I was going to let them down, knowing at the end of the day they’d see me as just another bullshitting asshole. Is it really that much fun to be able to con good and decent people?

  20. Willy permalink
    March 31, 2017

    Whenever somebody ignites a little flame, Peter seems to enjoy pissing on it, then walking away. That may be his entire motivation.

  21. Peter permalink
    March 31, 2017


    Dragging this NAFTA outline over to compare with provisions if the dead TPP, as some kind of proof of betrayal, is a cheap partisan shot trying to manipulate people not inform them. The Clintonites are fixated on proving that Trump is just like them, a backstabbing breaker of promises. As usual they have to define how issues are viewed and project their assumptions as being facts. One concession they did make to sell this meme is that Trump actually killed the TPP which is new because they have fought giving him credit for that achievement.

    I don’t recall what provisions of the TPP Trump commented on if any but he did state that he thought it was a bad deal for the US overall and killed it. Trying to project the assumption that because he rejected the whole TPP he must have rejected all of its provisions is simplistic BS.

    Trump is a republican businessman and his voters support US business interests, for the most part, so his including business friendly provisions on intellectual property, digital trade and the behavior of state owned companies in these proposals is no surprise. When the WSJ tried to include the environmental and labor provisions in the TPP smear they just looked ignorant. Those provisions have been in effect in side agreements for decades so the TPP got those ideas from NAFTA.

  22. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 31, 2017


    Trump is a republican businessman and his voters support US business interests….

    The love & support is not mutual, though, and that proves that Trump’s “voters” are moronic, idiotic rubes & dolts. U.S. Business Interests, as if there is such a thing since it’s all global now until it can’t be any longer due to resource constraints, do not support Trump’s “voters.” Trump’s “voters” are as easily snookered as Obama’s “voters” and Clinton’s “voters.” America is a nation of people, collectively and regardless of their respective ideologies, who are incapable of thinking critically and for themselves, and so, they are fooled again and again and again and again………

  23. Willy permalink
    March 31, 2017

    “NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country.”

    “The Clintonites are fixated on proving that Trump is just like them, a backstabbing breaker of promises.”

    If this is self-parodying performance art, then I have been entertained.

  24. Morongobill permalink
    March 31, 2017

    Moronic, rubes and dolts, eh?

    Takes one to know one.

  25. Willy permalink
    March 31, 2017

    They’re just not experienced, or able to make sense of their experiences. For most it takes either an unusual amount of discipline, or a really bad experience, to get past the haze of fear and hope type emotions.

  26. March 31, 2017

    I remember when Peter was praising Trump’s calm leadership on the health care bill.

    Pretty funny stuff.

  27. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 31, 2017

    True (versus Free) Willy. Also, there is a false sense of safety & security in not knowing. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, when in fact it can hurt you very much and does. As well, people, when they’re baffled or confused or angry, look for easy answers and what do you know, there are a million pundits ready to give them the quick & easy answer and save them the time of having to do the thinking for themselves. As well, realitychecker mentioned that The Machine delivers all manner of coerced distractions to preclude and mitigate any form of independent, objective, critical thought & analysis, and so, time and time again, people apply the same ineffective approach to solve problems that just keep getting worse and they can’t for the life of them figure out why it doesn’t work. Sitting in a cubicle or attending useless meetings for 8 to 10 hours a day and then sitting in traffic for another 3 hours doesn’t give you allow for the focus you need to navigate this miasma, so people rely on the Rachel Maddows and Rush Limbaughs and all the myriad Talking Heads of The World to do their thinking for them and the result is self-sabotaging insanity.

  28. Buzzard permalink
    March 31, 2017

    If Trump’s support was in fact due to post-industrial economic distress, then this NAFTA action (or inaction) should drive his poll numbers down to Nixon-in-1974 territory, and open up all kinds of negative possibilities regarding his (and the Republicans’) medium-term future. Of course, this requires there being an effective opposition party, which the US doesn’t have right now.

    But somehow I suspect that as long as Trump continues to make the right xenophobic, homophobic, and racist noises, his popularity with his supporters will barely drop, and maybe even rise.

  29. different clue permalink
    March 31, 2017


    At least the pearls I clutch are fact based and reality based. And no legal or treaty work of man is ever permanent. NAFTA can always be abrogated and the status quo ante forcibly restored. We will just have another round of winners and losers. Only abrogating NAFTA would create more winners in the lower class and more losers in the upper class. Which sounds like a winner to me.

  30. different clue permalink
    March 31, 2017


    You are no doubt right about Trump’s core supporters. Those are not the droids I was looking for. I was referring to a very small number of people in what Michael Moore calls the “Brexit States” . . . people who voted for Obama, often twice. But were not prepared to vote for Trade Treason Clinton to infest the White House yet again.

  31. Hugh permalink
    March 31, 2017

    Not sure where the bottom is but last I saw Trump’s support level was 35%. This is a result I think of the relentless attacks on him in the media, but more importantly his inability to accomplish much of anything. He appears unable to stay focused on issues important to his supporters, put together effective policies or legislation, or execute them. His supporters wanted a doer, not a Tweeter.

  32. Buzzard permalink
    March 31, 2017

    Given the godawful healthcare bill he threw his full support behind, his executive orders, his budget proposals, and his projected tax “reform” plan — none of which are any good for ordinary Americans — I’d say the less he “accomplishes”, the better. His golfing weekends are the best part of his regime — he hurts us least when he’s in Florida.

    Oh, and NOBODY outside of telecom execs likes the rollback of the FCC’s Internet privacy rules. If Trump somehow takes a principled stand and vetoes that bill, his numbers will rebound. But he won’t.

  33. Willy permalink
    March 31, 2017

    FCC internet privacy rules – be yet another smoking gun.

    I chuckle whenever RC talks about all the snowflakes cowering in their safe spaces. It isn’t the courage of the individual (been there done that failed miserably), but the integrity of the group that gets the courageous individual to step up.

    Everybody does their own risk analysis. A few of the foolish do get maimed, incarcerated or killed (or in my case, fired). But they weren’t very good at it, were they? The hero in the tenement knows that if he rallies to the aid of the screaming victim, he could be severely damaged. So he prefers to avoid a direct confrontation. But if enough of the other witnesses have got his back, and he’s sure of this, his risk analysis calculations will change. Heroes need the integrity of the group to ‘want’ to do their thing.

    That’s why I try to not deride anybody who has a few personal agendas differing from mine. At least not too much.

  34. different clue permalink
    March 31, 2017

    Meanwhile, here is some copy pasted material from Lambert Strether of Corrente and Naked Capitalism . . . about the Trumputin conspiracy theories.


    New Cold War

    “What Devin Nunes Knows” [Kimberly Strassel, Wall Street Journal]. Why Nunes left his cab:

    Around the same time, Mr. Nunes’s own intelligence sources informed him that documents showed further collection of information about, and unmasking of, Trump transition officials. These documents aren’t easily obtainable, since they aren’t the “finished” intelligence products that Congress gets to see. Nonetheless, for weeks Mr. Nunes has been demanding intelligence agencies turn over said documents—with no luck, so far.

    Mr. Nunes earlier this week got his own source to show him a treasure trove of documents at a secure facility. Here are the relevant details:

    First, there were dozens of documents with information about Trump officials. Second, the information these documents contained was not related to Russia. Third, while many reports did “mask” identities (referring, for instance, to “U.S. Person 1 or 2”) they were written in ways that made clear which Trump officials were being discussed. Fourth, in at least one instance, a Trump official other than Mr. Flynn was outright unmasked. Finally, these documents were circulated at the highest levels of government.

    To sum up, Team Obama was spying broadly on the incoming administration.

    Mr. Schiff’s howls about Mr. Nunes’s methods are bluster; the Republican was doing his job, and well.

    It would be interesting to know if this was still going on. And from the other side of the aisle:

    View image on Twitter
    RETWEET if you want a complete #Russiagate primer in just THREE Twitter threads (attached).
    10:13 PM – 27 Mar 2017
    4,043 4,043 Retweets 2,856 2,856 likes
    Readers, those of you who can endure tweet storms and clicked through, what do you think of these three?

    “The Senate Intelligence Committee turned down the request by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s lawyer for a grant of immunity in exchange for his testimony, two congressional sources told NBC News” [NBC].

    “Russians used ‘Bernie Bros’ as ‘unwitting agents’ in disinformation campaign: Senate Intel witness” [Raw Story]. You knew this was coming, right? The story is just as sloppy and misleading as the headline. For example: “Over time the anti-Clinton online faction became known by the nickname ‘Bernie Bros.’” Note lack of agency in “became known”; #BernieBro was in fact propagated by Clinton supporters. And then there’s this: “‘Senator, I think what they were trying to do was drive a wedge within the Democratic Party between the Clinton group and the Sanders group,” said [Retired Gen. Keith Alexander — former director of the National Security Agency]. “And then in our nation between Republicans and Democrats.’” Where to begin? Can Alexander really mean that Sanders and Clinton supporters wouldn’t be in conflict if it weren’t for the evil Russkis? Or Republicans and Democrats? I hope when Alexander analyzes Lower Slobovia he does a better job.”

    That’s from today’s most recent Water Cooler entry over at Naked Capitalism.

  35. different clue permalink
    March 31, 2017

    And here’s another little copypaste from further down that entry which shows why all of Clinton’s supporters are getting so trapped-rats-in-the-basement panicky.

    Realignment and Legitimacy

    “Bernie Sanders visits Boston for three sold-out events Friday” [Boston Globe]. “‘The guy, who is not even a Democrat, is being treated like a rock star in deep-blue Kennedy Massachusetts, and it’s because he is a rock star,’ said Erin O’Brien, chairwoman of the political science department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. ‘It speaks to the vacuum that Hillary Clinton left. She never had the same kind of passionate support that Bernie Sanders had.’” “This guy”? “Rock star”? Really? More from O’Brien:

  36. Peter permalink
    March 31, 2017


    Good C&P comment where we see what really dangerous pearl-clutchers are up to. Nunes’ clever public call for information on the Trump Tower spying seems to have given the source protection and allowed him to bypass the gatekeepers at the IC blocking the release of these bombshell documents. Keeping them out of the sweaty hands of the Clintonites is just icing on the cake.

    The report that the senate committee is refusing to give Flynn immunity is telling. They know he has nothing to help their cause and they wanted only for him to be stripped and forced to run their gauntlet. With enough low blows he might slip and then they could trump up some charge to wave at the cameras.

    If Bernie starts biting off the heads of live chickens at his shows I might call him a rock star. Short of that it looks more like a sheepdog show with the Clintonite/Berner losers gathering to remember something that never was.

  37. Hugh permalink
    March 31, 2017

    So the White House leaks info to Nunes so he can then make a big deal about publicly briefing the White House about it. This is a riff on Cheney’s henchman Scooter Libby leaking made up Iraqi WMD intel to Judy Miller. So that when she wrote her stories in the NYT, Cheney could claim them as corroboration of his own pro-war position.

    This is all theater, kabuki. It is meant to muddy the waters and equalize all positions, as in “Some people say the world is flat while others say it isn’t. Opinions differ.”

  38. Peter permalink
    March 31, 2017


    Snowflake misinformation makes for confusion in this drama but Nunes didn’t enter the WH the night he received this information and he briefed the president the next day. Trump may have information on this spying gathered by his private security people but this is from the source, the intelligence community who’s administration was blocking its release and are barely on speaking terms with Trump.

  39. Hugh permalink
    April 1, 2017

    Thank you, Peter, for making my point. With Nunes, it’s like the old joke. The wife of the philandering mayor is asked if she believes her husband’s story. And she replies, “Which one?”

  40. James Wheeler permalink
    April 1, 2017

    Ian, I think its a bit too early to make a judgement on Trump’s trade plan.

    As the WSWS website notes;

    “US President Donald Trump signed two executive orders on trade policies yesterday that represent a significant escalation in the “America First” trade war agenda of his administration.

    The first order commissions a report, to be released in 90 days, on a country by country, product by product, investigation into trade practices that contribute to the $500 billion US trade deficit with the rest of the world. The second calls for an investigation into the better collection of antidumping and countervailing duties imposed on imports by the US.”

    A Le Pen win in May will strengthen the forces within the developed world which wants to end the current framework of globalisation and the circles around Bannon that want to go down the end of trade trade.

  41. realitychecker permalink
    April 1, 2017

    To whom it may concern:

    Type less. Think more.

    Or, if you prefer:

    Think more. Type less.

  42. Willy permalink
    April 1, 2017

    Howz that been working out for you?

  43. different clue permalink
    April 2, 2017

    Questions arise as to whether Donald Trump actually knows how to read very well, or even at all, necessarily. See this you tube.

    ” Houston, we have a problem.”

  44. Willy permalink
    April 2, 2017

    Trump admitted to having read Art of the Deal. But I believe this was only after Tony Schwarz made him do it.

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