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Trump Unloads On NATO Secretary-General Over Defense Spending.

All I can say is: It's been a long time coming.

The details:

In a stunning public dressing-down of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, President Trump fired off criticisms of the alliance, reiterating his complaint that it is not paying enough for defense and singling out a German oil-and-gas pipeline deal with Russia.

In what was supposed to be a brief photo op ahead of a bilateral breakfast meeting, Trump appeared to catch the secretary-general off guard, launching into the broadside as cameras clicked away and Stoltenberg struggled to get a word in.

"Well, I have to say I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia when you're supposed to be guarding against Russia," Trump said, flanked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO.

"So, we're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries," the president said. "And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they're paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. So, we are supposed to protect you against Russia."

There was a report earlier this week that not even one in twelve of Germany's 128 frontline Typhoon jet fighters are flight-ready, and that not even all of those might be combat-ready. And yet another story, this time in the British press, of German soldiers -- if that's not too strong a word -- training with black-painted broomsticks instead of rifles.

To be clear: That's BROOMsticks, not BOOM-sticks.

As I wrote yesterday at Instapundit:

Ideally, after winning the Cold War, NATO should have thrown itself one hell of a victory party, then promptly disbanded. The former member states could have maintained close military relations in a strictly de facto entente cordiale, but a defensive alliance with no external enemy is a contradiction in terms. That contradiction, plus unwise expansion into Eastern Europe, have given us the worst possible outcome: Provoking Russia while encouraging allied free-ridership.

But we're stuck with NATO now. Had we formally retired the alliance in 1991 when Russia was prone, it would have been seen as magnanimous. If we were to leave NATO now, it would be the biggest geopolitical coup since... well, since the Warsaw Pact fell apart. Only this time we'd be the ones on the losing side.

And so our allies need a good talking to. And they got one.


DEMOCRATS: Calm down, we're not going to ban your rifles.

Also Democrats: Tedra Cobb Tells Supporters She Wants ‘Assault Rifle’ Ban But ‘Cannot Say That’ in Public.

[embed width=400]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GALyezAPwZk[/embed]

What I said.

How Trump's trade war is already costing consumers.

Trade wars are good and easy to win. Unless you're one of those unholy freaks who... buys stuff:

The tariffs enacted last week will push prices higher for tool sets, batteries, remote controls, flash drives and thermostats, the NRF said in a statement last week.

"And students could pay more for the mini-refrigerator they need in their dorm room as they head back to college this fall," the group said.

Tariffs on Canadian lumber are adding about $9,000 to single-family home prices and more than $3,000 to multifamily homes, Randy Noel, chairman of the National Association of Homebuilders said last month.

Some companies can shield themselves, for now, with long-term contracts already in place for materials. Lennar (LEN), a major publicly traded U.S. homebuilder, said on a June 26 earnings call that it's protected by its existing national contracts from most rising costs tied to tariffs, like an increase of "a few hundred dollars per home" in steel bars used to reinforce concrete.

"To a lesser extent, there are some minor increases in products such as garage doors, screws and nails," Chief Operating Officer Jon Jaffe told investors.

Whirlpool (WHR) is hiring 200 more workers and praised the initial tariffs that went into effect in January, citing its long-running battle with Korea's LG.

But by April, the price of washing machines was up 9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May, prices climbed 6 percent. Both are the biggest jumps since the BLS started collecting statistics in 1977, according to the Washington Post.

Buyers in the U.S. will soon see price hikes on computers, phones, thermostats and "everyday items," according to the Information Technology Industry Council, a group that represents tech companies.

Much more at the link, unfortunately.