Hold On To Your Avocados
Scott McKay
by
YouTube screenshot

You would think that with a president who wrote a book entitled The Art of the Deal, something like a threat of tariffs against Mexico unless that country begins playing a more constructive role in cleaning up the migrant crisis at our southern border would be seen for what it is.

And you’d be wrong.

It’s obvious that Trump is aiming at the most identifiable, pushable pressure point he can find in order to influence Mexico’s behavior. Imposing tariffs on the Mexicans over the long haul isn’t in his political interest; what’s in his interest is stopping the flood of illegal aliens into the country before that flood inundates the country and turns all of America into California.

The Democrats are acting in their interest, after all. The more low-skilled, uneducated, and dirt-broke immigrants can be brought to our shores and connected to entitlement programs, the more eventual votes that party will receive as the closest thing to a Latin American kleptocrat/socialist party those immigrants will be familiar with. Unbridled immigration, legal or illegal, is the stated aim of today’s Democrats — no matter that their luminaries all sounded exactly like Trump does now a mere decade ago on the subject. They have seen the light, and like leftist parties in Europe they recognize that importing the electorate they want is far more preferable to attempting to convince the current electorate the policies which have made a ruin of every major American city simply need to be writ large and all will be well.

But the five percent tariff threat to the Mexicans, together with Trump’s tariff wars with the Chinese, are only in his interest so far as they are a means to an end which is in his interest. With China, it’s about deflating a hostile nation operating in a predatory and lawless fashion with respect to not just trade balance but intellectual property. Trump knows our current imbalance with the Chinese isn’t preordained, and he wants to change our fate.

And with Mexico it’s about ending the migrant crisis.

The Mexicans have responded to the tariff threat by coming to the table. There is no deal yet on Mexican cooperation with the migrant issue; that was unlikely to be the case in any event. The Mexicans can’t afford to immediately cave to Trump’s demands. That would make for bad politics back home, particularly given the domestic circumstances south of the border whereby the vast majority of territory adjacent to the border containing population centers is governed, all or in part, by the vast criminal syndicates which began as drug cartels. We know that’s not an exaggeration, by the way — it’s the admission of Mexico’s own government and the subject of a major internal discussion in that country.

Trump is making an extremely large ask of the Mexican government, which — let’s face it — lacks the functionality to follow through on the demands he’s making. But he’s going to get something out of those threats, and whatever it is will be better than the current status quo.

Talks continue. Concessions are forthcoming. The Mexicans have already offered to staff up their national guard deployments by 6,000 men and station those troops on their border with Guatemala as part of a shift in national policy toward dissuading Central American migrants from flowing through to our cities and towns.

And the Mexicans did block a caravan of 1,200 migrants from entering at their southern border. So Trump’s threats have already paid off, at least a little.

But the entire political class in this country is screaming about Trump’s tariff threat as though it’s a policy shift. The lobbyists on Capitol Hill and the politicians of both parties are acting as though it’s some great abuse of power for Trump to be using the lever of tariffs in his negotiations.

Well, what else is he going to use?

Ideally, the president would be able to sit down with Congressional leaders and map out a bipartisan strategy for ending the border crisis, and then do a bilateral deal with Mexico to make that strategy a reality.

Fat chance of that. The Democrats have made it clear they want this crisis. And the Republicans are so devoid of understanding of what Trump is doing, or so in the thrall of elements of the business community which have abused their influence in order to get cheap foreign labor, he can’t even count on them.

Here’s an interesting thought experiment. If the Democrats and the NeverTrumpers are so aghast at Trump’s threats — coming as they do after a month in which a staggering 133,000 migrants were apprehended at the border — and if what they disagree with are his tactics rather than the goal he seeks, why isn’t there a serious effort to pass bipartisan legislation giving the president some other lever in which to negotiate with Mexico?

We know that’s not forthcoming, and we know why. Too many of our political class are invested in bringing in either cheap labor or captive voters, and they don’t want anything done about the invasion of our country through its southern border — whether that might be from Africa, Central America, the Middle East or wherever else.

Most of those migrants aren’t Mexicans, you know.

And in case you might have forgotten, this is why Trump won in the first place.

We need a free-speech-friendly alternative to YouTube, and we need it immediately. Steven Crowder is sometimes hit-and-miss on his antics, which isn’t surprising considering how hard it is to be consistently funny (the best comedians do very often bomb), but to deplatform him based on a comment someone might find homophobic, as YouTube did by demonetizing his account, is beyond the pale.

And Crowder certainly isn’t alone in suffering that fate.

Advertisers ought to be flying away from YouTube. Those who don’t, probably shouldn’t be getting much in the way of business from conservatives. But nothing will really change until there are alternative platforms which are of a scale and quality to compete with the offerings of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of the Big Tech giants.

You won’t get that without help, though. Google and Facebook buy up every app they can get their hands on which might someday grow up to compete with their offerings. That’s why it’s a good thing the Trump Justice Department is preparing an antitrust action against Google — those acquisitions will pause while DOJ works its ways, and instead of catching a $50 million payout the next great app builder will have to press on to market — where he’ll make $50 billion by beating the pants off YouTube, or Facebook, or Twitter.

Because the market is ready. When something comparable to Facebook or Twitter comes along which sees its role as a platform, not a publisher, and takes a neutral view toward the free expression its users exhibit (with allowances for the suppression of truly illegal activity, obviously), and that something is capably marketed, the users will come.

A few days ago I started experimenting with Minds, which is a free-speech Facebook alternative. I like it. It’s a bit sparse in terms of users so far (about a million at this point), but the platform is fairly well built and it has an interesting system of rewarding users for their activity within the app.

But Big Tech has such a stranglehold on social media that we’re probably past what the market can do alone. Whether it’s antitrust actions, class action suits or state legislatures chipping away at them, conservatives are going to have to use law and politics to counter what the leftists running those companies are doing.

I’m too lazy to go look up all the quotes from Bernie Sanders praising the USSR and Venezuela over the years. Let’s just recognize as a general matter that he’s done so — copiously.

Which begs the question: how come Bernie Sanders has spent his whole life as a socialist touting a bunch of regimes which aren’t actually socialist? When he now says he’s not talking about authoritarian regimes run by dictators when he flogs socialism at us, does he really believe anyone will give that credit?

Of course he does. Sanders is counting on the stupidity of his voters and the complicity of the mainstream media in not challenging him on his lies.

And so far he’s right.

Then again, there is still time for some enterprising journalist to ask Bernie Sanders if he’s seen Chernobyl.

“Mr Farrakhan is not anti-Semitic and does not preach a message of racial hatred and antagonism.”
— Sadiq Khan, 2016. So you know who Trump was trading punches with earlier this week in London.

A follow-up to last week’s column about the Mighty Mississippi and its efforts to change course and flow down the channel of the Atchafalaya River — at the time that was written the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was to have opened the Morganza Spillway, a flood control structure which allows Mississippi River floodwaters to make their way through the Atchafalaya Basin to the Gulf of Mexico, Thursday.

But since the column’s publication the Corps first postponed the Morganza opening until Sunday, then canceled it altogether.

That has people in South Louisiana, particularly in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas, absolutely freaking out over high river levels and the prospect of levees breaking.

But nobody has more information about the river and its levels, and nobody is better poised to make accurate forecasts as to the need, or lack thereof, to open the spillways than the Corps. So if they don’t think they need to open Morganza, the farmers and crawfishermen who work that spillway can breathe a little easier.

Unless, of course, a levee does break — in which case there will be hell for the Corps to pay and rightly so.

Scott McKay
Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics.
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