Support for tariffs, but not trade wars

A UBS poll of 300 business owners shows that 88 percent believe that China engages in unfair trade practices, and 71 percent approve of additional tariffs being imposed on that nation.  But 49 percent think that a full-blown trade war with China will hurt America’s economy.

Another UBS poll of 501 high net worth investors shows that 92 percent think that China engages in unfair trade practices and that 59 percent approve of further tariffs, but 74 percent think a trade war would hurt the U.S. economy.

One way to parse those results:  Business owners and investors think that President Trump’s policies are justified, but require delicacy.

More trade:  Mr. Trump’s truce with Europe means he can double down on China, but Beijing says that pressure won’t work.  And Sono’s I.P.O. reveals a trade war is a new risk to going public.

Enough is enough, Mr. Mueller

The intense ongoing confrontation between Special Counsel Robert Mueller and President Trump is harming the entire country.  People are taking sides and are despising each other, the stock market is wary, and foreign governments are sensing potential weakness.

Mr. Mueller must understand that unless there is demonstrable evidence of serious coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian government agents during the 2016 election, the case is not worth pursuing.  Going after “obstruction” or other after-the-fact allegations is garbage.  Nitpicking or contriving criminal activity at this level does the nation grievous harm.

On the other side, it is only fair to let Mr. Mueller state his case.  To shut down this investigation would be a major mistake and would severely damage the country.  But Robert Mueller should understand that his staff is not a wrecking crew.  He has a responsibility to present strong evidence of serious wrongdoing or walk away with a detailed explanation of his investigation.

If Mr. Mueller is truly a patriot, he will wrap up his now 14-month probe before the midterm election.  If he cannot accomplish that, he should explain why.

Do the right thing.  Don’t hurt the country, Mr. Mueller.

Israel has more to worry about than Hamas

Tom Friedman of the N.Y. Times tells us that the Israeli situation is fraught with the consequences of a three-partner marriage.

Hamas has adopted an intractable, inflexible attitude of protest in the Gaza Strip and Israeli P.M. Bebe Netanyahu has taken the same approach to expanding settlements in the West Bank.

This is where that third person in the marriage comes in:  Mother Nature—i.e., demographics and ecosystem destruction.

In March, Reuters reported from Jerusalem:  “The number of Jews and Arabs between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River is at or near parity, figures cited by Israeli officials show, raising questions whether Israel can remain a democracy if it keeps territory where Palestinians seek a state.”

There are now about 2.7 million Palestinians in the West Bank, 2 million in Gaza, and 1.84 million Israeli Arabs, for a total of about 6.5 million.  That is roughly the same as the number of Jews living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.  If current birthrate trends continue, the Jews will likely become a minority, with all of the negative governing consequences that will entail.

And then there’s this:  Repeated Hamas rocket attacks that led to an Israeli blockade of building supplies, electricity shortages due to intra-Palestinian feuding, and Hamas’ regular use of building material to dig tunnels to penetrate Israel have led to a critical shortage of infrastructure in Gaza, particularly sewage treatment plants.  So Gazans now dump about 100 million liters of raw sewage into the Mediterranean  daily, explained Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of EcoPeace Middle East, which promotes peace through environmental collaboration.

Because of the prevailing current, most of that sewage flows northward to the Israeli beach town of Ashkelon, the site of Israeli’s second-biggest desalination plant.  Eighty percent of Israel’s drinking water comes from desalination, with 15 percent of the nation’s drinking water coming from the Ashkelon plant.  But now Gaza’s waste is floating into Ashkelon’s desalination plant, and the plant has had to close several times to clean Gaza’s gunk out of its filters.

“So this idea that we can just get out of Gaza, throw away the key and forget about it is a total illusion,” said Bromberg.

Moreover, the renewable extraction rate for Gaza’s underground aquifer is about 60 million cubic meters of rain water annually, noted Bromberg, but Gazans have been drawing about 200 million cubic meters a year for over a decade, “so the aquifer has gotten drained and seawater has seeped into it, and many people are now drinking water that is both salty and polluted with sewage.”

Gazans now spend 20 to 30 percent of their income trying to buy clean water, he said.

In a few years, the next protest from Gaza will not be organized by Hamas, but by mothers because typhoid and cholera will have spread through the fetid water and Gazans will all have had to stop drinking it.  “Then you could see two million coming to the border fence with Israel with empty buckets, begging for clean water,” said Bromberg.  “We’re heading in that direction.”

The plan to divide fails, now a plan to secede prepares

Tech millionaire Tom Steyer’s plan to divide California into three states got enough signatures for the ballot, but the coast said, “it doesn’t qualify.”

Now a group of Native American activists have been given the go ahead to gather signatures for a ballot measure that would have California secede from the U.S. and establish an independent nation of Native Americans in the central part of the state.

Anyone else have any ideas on what to do with California?

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