Jim Tankersley at the Washington Post tells us that Republican support for "most favored nation" status with China has done more damage to American manufacturing than NAFTA did -- and helped bring about Donald Trump. It sure is a good thing Larry Summers took to this very same newspaper all those months ago to tell us we better support the TPP because China is too powerful. The last paragraph, which describes "free" trade advocates pointing to "a recent Gallup survey that shows near-record enthusiasm for trade," should have pointed out more explicitly that one can very easily be "pro-trade" without being "pro-'free' trade," or "pro-bad trade deals."
Ho hum, Dean Baker catches the New York Times flogging a Citigroup study suggesting that public pensions will constitute an untenable burden on world nations. And surprise, surprise, it has scare numbers: ZOMG 78 TRILLYUNS OF TEH DOLLURZ ALMOSTZ TWICEZ TEH NASHUNUL DEBTZ!!!! But that number represents 20 nations' public pension obligations over the rest of the 21st century, which will go on for another 84 years. And it also represents some four percent of those nations' estimated GDP over the next 80 or so years, meaning that GDP number is $2 quadrillion. Every time some bankster squeals about "underfunded pensions," you should pretty much count on scare numbers coming. And have I mentioned that emotional manipulation is evil?
Steve Vladeck, writing at the Just Security blog, finds Judge Merrick Garland's record on detainee treatment a bit wanting. Judge Garland has "never ruled for a detainee on the merits in a Guantánamo habeas case" (emphasis in original), and that covers more than a dozen Guantánamo-related cases. Why, even one of Mr. Bush's favorite judges, J. Michael Luttig, ruled against our government's detainment of Jorge Padilla at a critical point in 2005, and that probably scuttled his chance to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court! Mr. Vladeck tells us, essentially, that it's worse that Judge Garland defers to the government in detainment cases than that he rules consistently against detainees -- though he also says "the Court is too far gone" on a lot of national security cases for him to make that much of a difference if he were less deferential.
Even George Will finds Senate Republicans' blocking of Judge Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court "indefensible." His column is a morally-forceful laugh-line fest pretty much from start to finish, so much so that I'm willing to overlook that he praises Judge Garland for pretty much the same things for which Mr. Vladeck criticizes him. But consider how many of today's "conservatives" consider Mr. Will a dinosaur -- and how many of them would actually call him a dinosaur without realizing the irony of doing so. I used to find such things amusing; now I don't, and I don't know whether that's because I've matured, or merely because I've gotten old.
Finally, we learn one actually fairly compelling reason why Donald Trump might not be President: that he would have to, in Greg Sargent's words, "improve on Mitt Romney’s advantage over Barack Obama among blue collar whites by double digit margins, which is an astronomically high bar" in Rust Belt states that he could make competitive. I'm inclined to accept the force of that analysis -- but I also feel compelled to remind everyone that Election Day is over seven months away and a lot can happen in the interim, and that the "liberal" media, those expert buriers of memory, may well remain Mr. Trump's biggest asset.