“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Trump is doing what the EU does not have the stones to do

What the Germans Really Think

How the Chinese Do It

Why the Chinese Do It


  1. There are no safety or environmental standards in China. All the costs involved, while paid in the west are ignored in China. Thus the absurdity of The Paris Accord where China was exempted from most of it.

    1. Ash Wed Mar 07, 04:32:00 PM EST

      hey, if you need steel for something and supplier A is willing to sell it cheaper than seller B, why pay more?

    2. China Ramps Up Communism Injections on US Campuses...
      'Strings-attached funding' to coerce censorship...
      Military alarmed by 'weaponized capital'...

    3. Pictures of smog in Beijing -


      Lordy, lordy.



    4. So, will you support environmental regulations forcing US steel production to be clean?

    5. You will oppose the Trump administrations gutting of the EPA?

    6. Depends on the meaning of 'gutting'.

      I'm fine with Trump gutting the EPA's ability to designate my little season creek as a waterway, and then demand that if I build a dam on it for the ducks and some fish that is over 10 feet tall I have to go through paperwork hell with the EPA, and they can deny me.

      It's that kind of little picky crap that gets me about the EPA.

      I don't see anything wrong with the EPA having a say in clean coal operations.

      Balance and reason in all things, Ash.

    7. By any reasonable judgment my little seasonal creek is not a 'waterway'.

      Also a damn on it would be good for stopping erosion during the runoff times.

  2. Flynn forced to sell his house to pay his legal bills


  3. x weeks into the Turkey-led assault on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, young men and women are leaving the fight against the Islamic State group in droves to head west to help.

    Kurdish militia have formed the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance that has successfully expelled IS from much of Syria with the backing of a US-led military coalition.

    But as news of the battle in Afrin reaches them, the fighters have become reluctant to hunt down jihadists in their last hideouts in Deir Ezzor province.

    "We're preparing to head to Afrin," SDF fighter Roshavam Qamishlo told AFP on Saturday. The enclave "needs us now more than ever."

    Promises Made - Promises Broken

    1. You don't pay your blog gambling debts.

      Promises Made- Promises Broken

  4. Cultural Suicide

  5. "A witness cooperating with Mueller has told investigators the meeting was set up in advance so that a representative of the Trump transition could meet with an emissary from Moscow to discuss future relations between the countries, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters."

  6. .

    Here is the Trump Swamp worse than the Old Swamp

    The Denizen's of Trump's 'Drained Swamp', Hundreds of Ex-Lobbyists and D.C. Insiders

    © REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

    U.S. President Donald Trump points to a member of Congress as he arrives to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018.

    When the Trump administration took office early last year, hundreds of staffers from lobbying firms, conservative think tanks and Trump campaign groups began pouring into the very agencies they once lobbied or whose work they once opposed.

    Today we’re making available, for the first time, an authoritative searchable database of 2,475 political appointees, including Trump’s Cabinet, staffers in the White House and senior officials within the government, along with their federal lobbying and financial records. Trump Town is the result of a year spent filing hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests; collecting and organizing staffing lists; and compiling, sifting through and publishing thousands of financial disclosure reports.

    Here’s what we found: At least 187 Trump political appointees have been federal lobbyists, and despite President Trump’s campaign pledge to “drain the swamp,” many are now overseeing the industries they once lobbied on behalf of. We’ve also discovered ethics waivers that allow Trump staffers to work on subjects in which they have financial conflicts of interest. In addition, at least 254 groups affiliated with Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and at least 125 staffers came from prominent conservative think tanks, many of whom are on teams to repeal Obama-era regulations.

    Drilling down even further, at least 35 Trump political appointees worked for or consulted with groups affiliated with the the billionaire libertarian brothers Charles and David Koch, who also have a network of advocacy groups, nonprofits, private companies and political action committees. At least 25 Trump appointees came from the influential Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank founded in 1973, and at least two came from Heritage Action, its related political nonprofit. Heritage says the Trump administration, in just its first year, has enacted nearly two-thirds of its 334 policy recommendations.

    We also found — for the first time — dozens of special-government employees, or SGEs, who work as paid consultants or experts for federal agencies while keeping their day jobs in the private sector. This rare government gig allows them to legally work for both industry and the Trump administration at the same time. Under the Obama administration, Huma Abedin, the longtime aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, benefited from this policy while
    simultaneously working at the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and a corporate consulting firm, drawing scrutiny from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Government Accountability Office...

    The article continues in like kind at great length.

    Despite everything we have seen, Trump's base still thinks he is working for them.


    1. " In addition, at least 254 groups affiliated with Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and at least 125 staffers came from prominent conservative think tanks, many of whom are on teams to repeal Obama-era regulations."


      What's wrong with that?

      ...esp given that you're OK with Mueller hiring Hillary lawyers!

  7. Perhaps Quirk or Ash can explain this in a way more easily understood for a moron like me:

    Goldenberg: Well, it's an exciting time. For my company, tariffs are a good thing, but I wear a lot of hats, as you and I have discussed. I think this is the kind of thing, what's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. So when we talk about manufacturing, just to give a primer and take it back a step, traditional big steel mills where the steel is actually made, this is very, very good for Big Steel. There's manufacturers, and that's where we get into a tricky part. I sell into what we call nonresidential construction. So that's big-box stores and what you see in your community. Those prices on the goods that I sell the companies who manufacture product have gone up 30 percent overnight.

    Ryssdal: Wow.

    Goldenberg: And they will continue to rise. They will continue to rise.

    Ryssdal: Are your clients coming to you, and saying, "Lisa, you're killing me here. I can't pay this. I'm going to have to pass this on to my customers"?

    Goldenberg: Absolutely. Hundred percent. And when Wilbur Ross goes on television talking about the price for a can of Coke, I honestly — he's a guru, and I highly respect him in what he does. I have no idea of what he's talking about. I'm charging manufacturers 30 percent more in the last two weeks, and I will continue to raise that number. I will be in the market. I'm a warehouse, but I'm also a trader, so I pass on not all, but most of it as soon as I can, of the increase, "it" being the increase.

    1. It's late, and perhaps I'll get more of it after coffee tomorrow, but:

      I woulda thought they wouldn't pass it all on in pursuit of greater market share etc, among other things.

      Obviously I'm missing several somethings here, in addition to a few screws.