Thursday, 3 August 2017

I, Too, Know a Keynesian When I Hear One!

After promising that the Great Again US of A would have a "physical, tall, powerful, beautiful Southern border wall", costing $US21 billion paid entirely by the rapists tough hombres South of the border, period, no buts, no ifs, end of the story, it turns out now that this was the very, very, very great talk between the mighty The Donald and México's El Presidente, Enrique Peña Nieto.

The Donald:

The only thing I will ask you though is on the wall, you and I both have a political problem.
My people stand up and say, 'Mexico will pay for the wall' and your people probably say something in a similar but slightly different language.
But the fact is we are both in a little bit of a political bind because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall — I have to. I have been talking about it for a two-year period, and the reason I say they are going to pay for the wall is because Mexico has made a fortune out of the stupidity of US trade representatives. (…)
Some people say that the business of drug trafficking is bigger than the business of taking our factory jobs. So what I would like to recommend is — if we are going to have continued dialogue — we will work out the wall.
They are going to say, 'who is going to pay for the wall, Mr President?' to both of us, and we should both say, 'we will work it out'. It will work out in the formula somehow. As opposed to you saying, 'we will not pay' and me saying, 'we will not pay'.
Because you and I are both at a point now where we are both saying we are not to pay for the wall. From a political standpoint, that is what we will say.
We cannot say that anymore because if you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that. I am willing to say that we will work it out, but that means it will come out in the wash and that is okay. But you cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall. (…)

El Presidente:
You have a very big mark on our back, Mr President, regarding who pays for the wall. This is what I suggest, Mr President — let us stop talking about the wall.
I have recognised the right of any government to protect its borders as it deems necessary and convenient. But my position has been and will continue to be very firm saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall.

Me: Evidently, either El Presidente is a tough hombre, or he did not get what The Donald said. :-)

The Donald:

But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that. You cannot say that to the press because I cannot negotiate under those circumstances.

El Presidente:

I understand you well, Mr President. I understand this critical point and I understand the critical political position that this constitutes for your country and for you, Mr President. Let us look for a creative way to jump over this obstacle. It does not mean that this is not an important issue — this is an important issue. (…)

The Donald:

Okay, Enrique, that is fine and I think it is fair. I do not bring up the wall but when the press brings up the wall, I will say, 'let us see how it is going - let us see how it is working out with Mexico'. Because from an economic issue, it is the least important thing we were talking about, but psychologically, it means something so let us just say 'we will work it out'. And if you want to do that, then we will go back to the negotiation table with Jared and Luis.

Me: Plenty talks and negotiations, for a matter that was settled, John Wayne-style, period.


I, too, know a Keynesian when I hear one, I can also smell bullshit. The two things often come together.

There was at least one Keynesian there.:-)


  1. Behold The Donald playing 4 dimensional chess.

    1. :-)

      They call that demagoguery.

      The Donald never considered the bloody wall really that important, which didn't stop him from selling it to the public as super important.

      He never really expected the tough hombres to pay for the wall, which didn't stop him from selling to the public the idea.

      The point is to sell trifles, trinkets to the public, pretty much like the Conquistadores exchanged mirrors, beads, old clothes, for gold from the Indians.

      I don't want to sound obsessive, but try this old post:

      Keynes' "National Self-Sufficiency".

    2. Why didn't he sell a crackdown on employers of illegal migrants? More effective than a wall, but too mundane?

      Spitting on Mexico is perhaps the most valuable trinket he could have given these bigots. And they bought it!

    3. Why didn't he sell a crackdown on employers of illegal migrants?

      That's a very good question.

      Another good question is why nobody mentions that The Donald's wall-building inspiration comes straight from Bibi Netanyahu and the Gaza wall? The Donald spoke with El Presidente about that.

      Incidentally, El Presidente himself may not be a saint either.

      The Narco and the Prez

  2. Because his base doesn't like Jews?

    Who paid for Israel's wall would have been the next uncomfortable question.

    Mexican politics has been described as a family affair, literally. It's also a devoutly Catholic country. No shortage of saints. Even the drug lords and criminals have saints they can pray to!

    1. Because his base doesn't like Jews?

      Who paid for Israel's wall would have been the next uncomfortable question.

      While granting that some of his supporters are racist, of the anti-Semitic/white supremacy variety, it's not clear that fits his entire base. Whatever their attitudes towards Asians, blacks, and hispanics, it's not evident all his supporters dislike Jews, Bob.

      Breitbart, for instance, seems quite openly pro-Zionist. I think that's no mere posturing: there are Jews in The Donald's inner circle and among his gazillionaire mates. More telling, he is not universally feared in Israel. Quite to the contrary, he and Bibi get along mightily well. Likud voters like him, too.

      Which brings me to another thing. Jews aren't universally immune to racism or to bigotry in general.

      For that matter, in his talk with El Prez The Donald himself claims the Cuban community's support. I don't know about the exact figure he quoted (84% of the Cuban vote, I think), but I believe him on that. There are plenty right-wing extremists among Latin Americans living in the US. They, like Jews, aren't immune to bigotry.

      No, I'm thinking more about anti-Trump gentile liberals and liberal Jews feeling too reluctant to highlight the connection The Donald-Israel. The financing of the Gaza wall, for instance.

      Speaking of which:

    2. What connection would be highlighted?
      The wall was paid for by Israel (read: American taxpayers). The wall was built to stop suicide bombers. How many suicide bombings have illegal immigrants carried out?

      The Great Wall of China would be a better comparison in terms of scale and purpose. But we live in a world of 7.5 billion people with improved transportation and communication networks. We should have outgrown the need for enormous walls.

      Trump's base is more extensive than racists and bigots. It includes rural poor who hate affluent city dwellers, and affluent voters who hate the poor. Trump is no ideologue.

    3. What connection would be highlighted?

      Well, that liberals (Jews and gentiles, it makes no difference) refrain from criticising Israel for things they find objectionable in others, particularly in The Donald and his followers.

      Take the wall, for instance. Israel claims they built the wall to stop terrorists. Prima facie, that's reasonable. The Donald claims, as he indeed does, that his wall is to stop rapists and drug traffickers. There isn't much difference between terrorists and rapists and drug traffickers, is there? Why isn't The Donald's claim acceptable?

      Okay, one might object, but the wall The Donald wants will also hurt other people, innocent people, who aren't rapists and drug traffickers. Right? Well, exactly the same thing applies to the Israeli wall: it, too, hurts innocent people who aren't terrorists.

      Why is The Donald's wall terrible, but the Israeli wall isn't? Why liberals keep quiet about the Israeli wall?


      Another thing is the "terrorism" label. That's a problematic label and I'll explain why with an example that's often ignored. I think it's an ideal example because both the perpetrators and their victims represent countries currently united in their fight against terrorism.

      During their struggle for independence from the British Mandate in Palestine, there were Israeli terrorist groups: the Irgun Zvai Leumi and its even more radical offshoot, the Stern Gang, for instance. Those people bombed the King David Hotel, where the British Army had their headquarters; they kidnapped and executed Red Cross captives.

      In my book, that would make them terrorists, no?

      Well, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, two veterans from these groups, never wer prosecuted for that and, instead, rose to become PMs. That I know of, nobody (HM's government included), went out of their way to call them terrorists.

      The point is that if political violence is to be condemned as terrorism (as I believe it should) the condemnation should be universal, not reserved to the current bad guys only.

      Among the defenders of capitalism, however, there are many who rail to no end against relativism. Still, when it comes to terrorism, they forget all about the ills of relativism: now it's all about motivations, it's all relative. The good guys (their proxies) can commit acts which objectively are terrorist, but it's all relative to their motivations: they are good, therefore, they aren't terrorists.

      That's the difference between terrorist and freedom fighter. In this case, relativism is cool.

    4. The difference is there's no evidence that illegal migrants are committing crimes at a higher rate than other groups. I've seen studies that claim the rate is lower. Whereas suicide bombings are politically motivated, illegal immigration to the US is economic. Migrants cross the southern border to work in agriculture, meat packing and other menial occupations. Employers have benefited from this for decades.

      Who would Trump's wall hurt? The local wildlife.

      If there were a program for migrant workers, they would use it to enter the US legally and earn income for their families back home. Nobody wants to risk their life sneaking across a desert. If there were a crackdown on employers, so that the opportunity to work in the US dried up, then they wouldn't cross the border in the first place.

      Israel's wall and their preexisting checkpoints control the movement of Palestinians to Israel and internally, from one occupied area to another. The latter is not comparable with Mexico/US. The Israeli occupation harms all Palestinians, with the exception of collaborators.

      The terrorism label is applied for political and ideological reasons. The UN recognizes the legitimacy of armed resistance against occupying forces: