The Blazing Saddles Tariff Strategy

There’s a memorable scene (among many memorable scenes) in the Mel Brooks comedy-film classic, Blazing Saddles, in which Sheriff Bart (played by Cleavon Little) receives a hostile reception from the townsfolk of Rock Ridge, who he was sent to protect. Held at gunpoint and heavily outnumbered by citizens who are shocked and mortified by the fact that Bart is black, the sheriff decides he needs to build some quick leverage to negotiate his way out of the situation.

In a flash, he pulls his gun from his holster and holds the muzzle to his own jaw, absurdly threatening to shoot himself if his captors don’t let him go. In other words, he is taking himself hostage.

Even more bizarre is the response the unexpected move gets.

“Hold it, men,” says one of the citizens, nervously lowering his gun. “He’s not bluffing.”

“Listen to him, men,” warns another. “He’s just crazy enough to do it!”

Bart begins switching back and forth between two separate personalities: the hostage and the hostage-taker. As the hostage, he pleads for his life. As the hostage-taker, he issues more threats to pull the trigger. And hysterically, it works. The townsfolk’s sudden regard for Bart’s life, and the perceived peril he’s in, compels them to back down and allow for his escape. He has, in effect, won the standoff.

It’s just the kind of over-the-top slapstick brilliance that one would expect from a Mel Brooks film. And unfortunately, it seems to be the same strategy that President Trump keeps using against foreign trade partners, as a negotiating plank.

The latest example came just yesterday with a presidential announcement on Twitter:

As just about everyone (except for the president) knows by now, the tariffs we impose on other countries aren’t actually paid by those countries. They are instead paid by Americans — specifically the Americans who import goods from those countries. These tariffs are new taxes on U.S. citizens. The Americans who either resell those goods or use them in the production of American-made products (most products made in the U.S. use components from other countries) then have to raise their prices, on American consumers, too make up for the increase in costs.

Reaction to the president’s announcement (from across the political spectrum) came as swiftly as Gene Wilder’s revolvers…

These people are right, of course. Trade wars, by their very nature, cause damage to the countries that wage them. And with Mexico as one of our primary trade partners, there would be an extraordinary number of American hostages taken by this American president, should this wholesale plan of his be enforced.

As Justin Lahart pointed out in the Wall Street Journal this morning, U.S. auto-makers (who are already struggling with the effects of Trump’s trade war with China) would be among the hardest hit.

Now, to be fair, the tariffs would also hurt Mexico’s economy, because fewer American companies would purchase Mexican goods. And in that sense, Trump’s strategy (from a leverage standpoint) is marginally sounder that Sheriff Bart’s. But the belief that their implementation would motivate and equip the often dysfunctional Mexican government to stop illegal immigration over its borders isn’t any less cartoonish than Alex Karras punching out a horse.

In fact, as Scott Lincicome of the Cato Institute suggested, damaging Mexico’s economy would be… well, counter-productive:

While running for office, President Trump regularly billed himself as a master negotiator, but we have yet to see these alleged skills since he has taken office. What we have seen is the president using the power of the federal government to artificially dry up trade markets (at the expense of U.S. producers and tax-payers) while driving up costs for U.S. consumers… all for the purpose of a perceived bargaining chip in a game Mr. Trump doesn’t really seem to understand.

Effective deal-makers don’t repeatedly throw their greatest assets under the bus. At minimum, they perform a cost-benefit analysis before opening any kind of negotiation. With stuff like this, Trump seems more interested in just blowing up the news cycle and letting the chips fall where they may.

If this were a Mel Brooks movie, it would be funny. But this is reality, and these are people’s livelihoods. We have an otherwise hot U.S. economy… It would be great if President Trump could just let everyone enjoy it.

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“Beyond the Pale” and “Terrorists & Heroes”

It’s a wonder to me that there are still people who can listen to liberals and believe a word they say. Whether it’s Obama’s promising that we could keep our doctors and our health plans, Harry Reid’s calling cancer victims liars for daring to disclose the hardships wrought by the Affordable Care Act or Elizabeth Warren claiming to be a Cherokee in order to get herself hired at diversity-crazy Harvard, there are millions of chuckleheads who will happily swallow the swill and insist it tastes just like chicken.

Now we have Hillary Clinton pulling out the crying towel, insisting to Diane Sawyer that she and Bill were not only dead broke when they left the White House, but deeply in debt because of legal fees. I have no idea why she wanted to mention the legal fees inasmuch as they’re a reminder that he needed to hire lawyers because he had perjured himself before a grand jury, which also happened to be the reason he was ultimately disbarred.

I still recall the way that George W. Bush was mocked by Democrats when it was falsely reported that he was unfamiliar with the bar codes at a supermarket. But when Hillary, while explaining her alleged financial woes, says, “You know how it is when you have to piece together mortgages for houses,” the same folks not only manage to keep their mockery in check, but offer her their sympathy.

I mean, perhaps Diane Sawyer and hubby Mike Nichols know what it’s like to buy multiple homes, but it’s not a common dilemma for most of us peons. But, then, neither are $10 million book deals or $250,000-a-crack speaking fees.

Speaking of people suffering from the agony associated with having a tin ear, Obama dismisses critics of the Bergdahl swap by patting himself on the back for liberating five terrorist leaders in exchange for one Army deserter. He does that in spite of the fact that 75% of those polled opposed the trade after the fact, and even such political allies as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) and Obama’s former Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, opposed the deal prior to the trade!

You keep hearing that Obama is playing to his base whether it’s in reference to postponing construction of the Keystone pipeline, expanding the reach of the EPA or wiping his butt with the Constitution. My question is whether or not the actual base includes anyone besides the less than magnificent seven: Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Dick Durbin, Vladimir Putin, the Ayatollah Khomeini and George Soros.

Regarding the treacherous swap, some people, specifically John Kerry, are choosing to play down the fact that Bowe Bergdahl deserted by pointing out that the Taliban tortured him and that he tried to escape. I believe the simple and obvious explanation is that when he abandoned his platoon because, as he put it in an email to his Allah-blessing father — otherwise known as Abu ben Bergdahl to some of us — he hated America and especially the U.S. military, and that therefore young Bergdahl assumed the Taliban would welcome him as the Prodigal Son. When, instead, they treated him the way they generally treat infidels, though short of hacking off his head, it came as a rude wake-up call to the traitorous punk.

Some people used to refer to Barack Obama as the Manchurian Candidate. They were referencing Raymond Shaw, a character created by novelist Richard Condon. In a nefarious plot, Shaw was passed off as a war hero, but was in reality a dupe who had been psychologically programmed to kill in order that foreign and domestic villains might achieve a political end. I think that Bowe Bergdahl, after spending much of his five years in captivity cavorting with the enemy, playing soccer and engaging in target practice, might better fit that description, unless the Army wisely decides to provide him with a one-way ticket to Leavenworth. Short of that, I think we can expect that one day Mr. Bergdahl will be running for the Senate in Idaho.

Not only does Obama trade away five Muslim terrorists in exchange for one deserter, but at the same time he lets a Marine stew in a Mexican jail and rolls out the red carpet for thousands of Honduran and Guatemalan children, who first had to pass through Mexico to reach and then cross our border. I’m just asking, but isn’t it high time we declared Mexico a rogue state and cut off tourism and diplomatic relations, as we did with Cuba?

Finally, Miss Nevada, Nia Sanchez, got into trouble with feminists when she took the occasion of the Miss Universe pageant to say that women need to learn how to defend themselves from sexual assault. It seems the women of NOW were upset because they wanted her to set men straight by telling them that rape is wrong.

On behalf of the male gender, I’d like the ladies to understand we already know it’s wrong. We also know without being told by the likes of Gloria Steinem that killing, stealing and cheating at cards, is also wrong.

Nevertheless, a woman like Ms. Sanchez, who is a fourth degree black belt, has the right idea. When confronted by a rapist, a karate jab to the Adam’s apple or a kick to the groin is a far greater deterrent than a sermon.

Might I suggest to the feminists that their time would be better spent if they stopped picking on people like the admirable Nia Sanchez, who is not only smarter than they are, but looks a heck of a lot better in a bathing suit.

Instead, they should be advising Muslim women to start packing revolvers under those stupid burkas so that they could defend themselves from perverted fathers and brothers whose Koran assures them that Allah smiles on those who prove themselves honorable by stoning to death any wife or daughter who raises the slightest objection to residing in eighth century pig sties.


Somebody will one day have to explain to me why we or the Israelis ever imprison terrorists. If we’re not going to execute them, why capture them at all? Why bother feeding and clothing them until the day comes that the bad guys capture one of ours in order to trade him in for five, 500 or a thousand of theirs? In the case of Israel, they’ve even been known to swap hundreds of jihadists in exchange for a single corpse.

I understand that by simply executing the bad guys, some would argue that we would be fueling their recruitment programs. But we hear that about everything from keeping Gitmo open to airing “Dancing with the Stars.” If we merely order a BLT, we’re told that ten thousand more pinheads have signed up to murder us for disrespecting their dietary laws. For a change, let’s just see if we can kill them faster than they can recruit replacements. I mean, we all know that the human race will never be able to exterminate every last rodent and cockroach, but that’s no reason to stop trying.

While addressing a group of homosexuals, Eric Holder recently attacked the Boy Scouts because they refuse to have openly gay Scout leaders. My question is why is the Attorney General pandering to homosexuals? With all the scandals brewing in Washington, why is he even giving speeches? If he has so much time on his hands, wouldn’t it be better spent trying to hunt up those two years of email messages between Lois Lerner and the White House that the IRS insists have gone missing?

Besides, last year the Scouts were sued and lost a $16 million lawsuit because a Scout master molested one of his charges on a camping trip. I know that gays hate to be lumped with pedophiles, but the sad truth is that while all gays don’t go around molesting young boys, those perverts who do just happen to be homosexual. So unless America’s homosexuals or its attorney general stand ready to indemnify the Boy Scouts against such lawsuits, it’s time they just shut up. If they want to start the Gay Scouts of America, nobody’s stopping them.

Americans often tend to be very naïve. It’s not the worst thing to be, but it can denote a severe degree of stupidity. For instance, whenever some nut pops his cork and shoots up a movie theater or a classroom, his friends, neighbors and relatives, can nearly always be counted on to remark, “Gee, he seemed so quiet and polite,” as if a sure sign of insanity is being noisy and obnoxious.

Naiveté can also be fatal at a time of war. And unless you’ve been living in a cave since before 1978 when the Islamic creeps in Iran took Americans hostage; before our embassies and Marine barracks were attacked; before an airliner was blown up over Scotland; before the Twin Towers were brought down; before Major Hasan killed or maimed over 40 people at Fort Hood; and before the Tsarnaev brothers massacred Boston marathoners; a war has definitely been underway. And saying that you know some perfectly nice Islamic shopkeepers and taxi drivers changes nothing. I’m sure there were some perfectly nice Germans who didn’t care for Hitler, but they still went along for the ride.

When you realize how few Muslims even here in America are willing to speak out against the scum who holler “Allah Akbar” while burning churches, stoning women to death for being Christians or hacking off the heads of so-called infidels, you’ll pardon me if I don’t regard all those soft-spoken shopkeepers and taxi drivers as salt of the earth. For my part, I don’t trust them any further than I can toss the 9/11 Memorial.

Fortunately, there are still heroes among us. A few of them were the former members of Bowe Bergdahl’s Army platoon. In spite of being called liars and even psychopaths by those Obama acolytes who are trying to put lipstick on the swap of five jihadists for one deserter and calling it a sweetheart of a deal, the ex-GIs have stuck to their guns in demanding that Bergdahl be court martialed.

A less likely hero is Donald Sterling. Instead of rolling over and taking whatever the politically correct hypocrites felt like dishing out, rumor has it that he’s hired private investigators to dig up dirt on ex-NBA Commissioner David Stern, current Commissioner Adam Silver and the 29 other team owners.

I, for one, am delighted that Sterling wasn’t wasting his time at all those basketball games, and finally came to realize that the best defense is a good offense.

And if I know anything about professional sports, those investigators are likely to dig up enough dirt on those 31shmucks to fill in the Grand Canyon.

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©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write

Delving Into Foreign Affairs

With so many disasters befalling us domestically, it’s easy to take our eye off all the bloody nonsense taking place outside our borders. And of course let it be understood that when I speak of borders, I’m referring to a concept, nothing more than a notion, and not to anything that actually exists in the real world.

For instance, a Nazi flag has been seen flying over a mosque near the Palestinian village of Beit Omar, on the outskirts of Hebron. But that won’t stop the Jew-haters, both those inside and outside of the rat-infested U.N., from siding with the barbaric Arabs and Muslims against Israel.

That reminds me that the next president who sends the U.S. military anywhere in the world to defend one Islamic sect from another should be impeached on the spot. I am revolted by the number of young Americans who have bled and died in order to protect Muslims. I say if Allah is as great and powerful as these ignoramuses keep insisting, let Allah protect them.

I know that wimps and weasels will say we shouldn’t tar all Muslims with the same brush, arguing for tolerance and multiculturalism. To which, with all respect, I say, phooey. What exactly is it these lunkheads think is being preached in their mosques? The brotherhood of man? The equality of women? A live-and-let-live attitude towards Christians and Jews? To get a proper feel for their level of tolerance and good will, you need only check out the havoc the Ayatollah Khomeini and the mullahs have wreaked in Iran. They’re not exactly the sort of clerics you’d invite over for Sunday dinner. Give these people their head and they’ll chop off yours.

Here in the States, we have race hustlers like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright, all passing themselves off as clergymen. But at least they’re in the minority. And while they should be despised for promoting and justifying victimhood and racial hatred, at least they are not encouraging people like Nidal Hasan and the Tsarnaev brothers to maim and murder innocent Americans.

While on the subject of foreign vermin, why on earth do Americans continue to venture into Mexico? First, there was the ex-Marine who was tossed in one of those cesspools they try to pass off as a jail, and now we have Yanira Maldonado, the 42-year-old mother of seven, being railroaded on a trumped-up drug smuggling charge. I realize she was down there in order to attend a funeral, but I would have advised her, as I advise every other law-abiding American, to just send flowers.

Obama keeps insisting we need to spend more money on our infrastructure. In the meanwhile, the Gang of Eight insists we have to provide illegal aliens with a pathway to citizenship. It’s my contention that they already have citizenship. It just happens to be Mexican.

If they want to get me on board, I suggest they finally get cracking on building that 1,500 mile long fence. That’s the sort of infrastructure we really need, and it’s what the Democrats promised Reagan we would get if he signed the amnesty bill. Well, it’s been 27 years. I figure if anyone, including Marco Rubio, needs to wait another two or three years for us to get that fence built before we start talking about pathways, so be it.

My own suggestion is that we build it with the 350 million tax dollars we annually contribute to Mexico’s economy for no apparent reason.

China wages cyber war on U.S. businesses and our military, costing us $300 billion a year and two million jobs. They are thus guilty of both copyright theft and espionage, and, as always, Obama talks tough and does absolutely nothing to back up his words. So perhaps all the conspiracy theorists are wrong. Maybe he’s not a Muslim, after all. It could be he’s Chinese.

Finally, speaking of he who should be impeached, he recently said, referring to the war on terror: “This war, like all wars, must end.” While it would be nice to be hearing these words coming from jihadists waving a large white flag, coming from the President of the United States it’s just chilling.

Still, one can’t fault Obama when it comes to comedy. I mean, how many guys in his position could say with a straight face that we should cease drone strikes on American citizens; prevent the IRS from targeting conservatives; and shield reporters from government snooping; as if he’s just another schnook on the street, someone like me, who’s merely offering an opinion and has no real say in any of these matters?

Alas, if only we didn’t have to wait another three and a half years for that to finally be the case.

Money, Money, Money & Other Matters

Money has no morality, but that doesn’t mean it should be dispensed by those who share that failing. That is particularly the case when it’s the people’s money, our tax dollars, which are being dispensed.

For instance, since going on a murderous rampage at Fort Hood, Muslim jihadist Major Nidal Hasan has collected $278,000 in salary from the Army. Meanwhile, because his crime was designated “workplace violence,” his surviving victims have been denied various benefits, including Purple Hearts, which would have increased their disability pensions.

More recently, Lois Lerner, the IRS bureaucrat who took the 5th during her congressional hearing, although she insisted she did nothing wrong and told no lies, was placed on administrative leave, a euphemism for a paid vacation.

But compared to what we dole out to other nations, most of whom openly despise us, that’s chump change. We give $316 million annually to Mexico. Ostensibly, it’s to help them wage war on drugs. And we can all see how well that’s going. If it were up to me, I’d make them build a wall on their northern border before giving them another peso.

As for the latest attempt at what congressional schnooks like to call comprehensive immigration reform, why should we want to create a pathway to citizenship for what they insist are 11 million illegal aliens, and what I’m betting is at least twice that many? They snuck in. If someone sneaks into your house, does he get to stay there just because he’s managed to hide out in your cellar or your attic?

I realize that a certain segment of the population known as nitwits will accuse me of being a racist. But first they have to explain how it is racist to resent the Mexicanization of America, but not racist to promote such a policy at the expense of those patiently waiting their turn in Europe, Asia and Africa.

In somewhat related news, in Patterson, New Jersey, the Palestinian flag was raised over city hall after Mayor Jeffery Jones proclaimed May 19th as Palestinian American Day. I’m waiting for Gov. Christie to weigh in on this, but I’m not prepared to wait too long.

Along similar lines, I’m wondering what right we have to force-feed the jihadists at Gitmo. If they wish to starve themselves, how is it our business to interfere? For all I know, it could be an integral part of their glorious religion, along with suicide-bombs, honor killings and clitorectomies.

I would also be interested in discovering why we, who are about 17 trillion dollars in debt, insist on coming up with $531 million for Tanzania; $580 million for Ethiopia; $625 million for both Nigeria and Kenya; $676 million for Jordan; $1.5 billion for Egypt; $1.7 billion for Iraq; $2.1 billion for Pakistan; and $2.3 billion for Afghanistan.

I’d also like to know just exactly when did we adopt Africa and the Middle East. Where was I when the announcement went out? If only I’d known, I’d have sent a card and a couple of baby blankets.

The nation that receives the most money from us is Israel. But at least that’s three billion dollars going to an ally, a democracy with whom we share values, traditions and, perhaps most important of all, sworn enemies.

Assuming my ears weren’t playing tricks on me, Obama recently declared that, for all intents and purposes, the war on terrorism was over. Inasmuch as jihadists were still killing people in London, Boston, Iraq and Afghanistan, the last time I looked, I guess he was acknowledging that, under his leadership, they won and we lost. For a minute or so, I was really depressed. But then I realized the schmuck never tells the truth, and I was greatly relieved.

While on the subject of money, I would like to know why there should be corporate taxes. It’s not just that ours happen to be the highest in the world, which explains why major entities like Apple and G.E. don’t bring their foreign profits back to the U.S. to be used for expansion and dividends; it’s that corporate taxes serve as a tremendous drag on an economy that’s lacked traction for years now.

It’s one thing to tax the earnings of corporate executives and their employees and shareholders, but what purpose is served through taxing a corporation as if it were an individual?

Another tax that should be eliminated is the death or, for those who have a superstitious reluctance to say that word, estate tax. The money that is left by the deceased has already been taxed when he earned it and again when he got a return on his investments. For the tax collector to swoop in like a vulture just because the person has died smacks of grave robbing.

Finally, under the heading of it’s not what you know, but who you’re related to that counts in Washington: ABC reporter Claire Shipman is married to Press Secretary Jay Carney; CNN President Virginia Mosely is married to Hillary Clinton’s former Deputy Secretary Tom Nides; CBS President David Rhodes is the brother of Ben Rhodes, a top Obama advisor and the fellow who helped edit the Benghazi talking points; and ABC President Ben Sherwood is the brother of Obama’s special advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.

I swear there’s more inbreeding among these left-wing elitists than you’ll find in the backwoods of Tennessee. It’s a wonder their kids don’t all have 12 toes and suffer from hemophilia.

Can You Say Chutzpah? Or Should I Say Descaro?

I believe in legal immigration – my father came to this great country in 1924 from Germany and never looked back.  But he came here legally through Ellis Island.

I’m absolutely opposed to illegal immigration and believe it’s despicable that people can break our laws and still benefit from living in this great nation.  I doubt any one of us could illegally emigrate to another country and reap any benefits from that country.  More than likely, we’d be jailed or deported.

I believe every country is a sovereign nation and should enact and enforce its own laws for the protection of its own people.  I am a firm believer in a strong southern border and have no problem with a wall or anything else which will prevent the flow of illegal immigrants into our country.

For decades, our government has been lax in protecting our southern border and has been remiss in failing to enforce our immigration laws.  Because of political correctness and politics, numerous sanctuary cities are permitted to violate federal law throughout this country with impunity.

But when one of our own states enacts a law, which mirrors the federal law, our own government unbelievably sues that state for what it perceives to be discriminatory practices.

Enter Mexican President Felipe Calderón who came to our country in April and criticized the Arizona Immigration Law saying that it “opens the door to intolerance, hate and discrimination.”

Unless you’ve been living on another planet with no access to the internet, you’ve got to know what a violent and corrupt country Mexico has become.  Clearly, she doesn’t give all her people the opportunity to obtain a decent standard of living, causing millions to escape the poverty and cross illegally into our country to achieve, at least, a modest lifestyle.

Corruption and drug-related violence is rampant.  Just this summer, Mexican prison guards let prisoners free and gave them the guns so they could murder others.  This prison-based hit squad was linked to three mass shootings in Northern Mexico.  Mexican drug cartels have placed a $250,000 bounty for the kidnapping or murder of our border patrol agents.  Our own State Department warns about the extreme violence on the border.  Earlier this year, rancher, Rob Krentz, was murdered on his property probably by a drug smuggler.  His family had received numerous threats in the past by illegal aliens trespassing on their property.

Not a week goes by when I don’t hear another report about a homicide committed by an illegal immigrant in this country.  I just read that California has the highest number of serial rapes and murders, sexual homicides, and child molestation offenses committed by illegal immigrants.  The study showed that 2% of illegal immigrants, or 240,000, are sex offenders.  It may not sound like a very big number to some, but why is even one illegal alien who is a sex offender allowed to remain in this country.  We have enough of our own deviants, we don’t need any more.

So when I listen to President Calderón criticize Arizona’s right to protect her citizens but does not see the hypocrisy when Mexico builds her own wall on its own southern border with Guatemala, I have to say to myself, is this chutzpah, or what?   The “official” reason for the Guatemalan wall is to stop contraband from coming into Mexico, but, Mexican Superintendent of Tax Administration, Raul Diaz, admitted: “It could also prevent the free passage of illegal immigrants.”  Can you believe this?

When he was asked whether people from Central America can just walk into Mexico, President Calderón said they needed to fill out a form with their correct name and then authorities check to see if the person has a criminal background.  When asked whether people who “sneaked in” could get a job, he answered, “if somebody do that without permission, we send them back.”  Obviously, Mexico doesn’t have an ACLU looming behind every bodega in Mexico waiting to file lawsuits for civil rights’ violations of every immigrant illegally working and picked up by the police and sent back to their own country.

I guess what really made my head spin was when a coalition of Mexican mayors asked the U.S. to stop deporting illegal immigrants who’ve been convicted of crimes in the U.S. to the Mexican border because they’re contributing to the border violence.  The Mayor of Juarez blamed our deportation policies for his city’s violence saying that of the 80,000 deported to Juarez in the past three years, 28,000 had U.S. criminal records, including 7,000 convicted rapists and 2,000 convicted murderers.  Get this:  the Mexican mayors said the U.S. should fly these convicts to their hometowns, not just bus them to the border!

So, I guess it isn’t enough that we’ve had to absorb upwards of 11 million illegal immigrants, but when our immigration laws are actually enforced, convictions are obtained, sentences are served, and deportations actually take place, we now have to deliver these criminals to their front doors.  Can you say descaro?

I really don’t get this, but if you do, God bless you.