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Wall Street Journal columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady decries “the Biden-Trump trade war with Mexico.” Two slices:

American politicians on both sides of the aisle seem eager to conflate Chinese EV production in Mexico with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. The idea is to denounce anything made in Mexico, as if the U.S.’s southern neighbor and one of its largest trading partners is an enemy.

This is a sop to Big Labor and to the grievance brigades in swing states who pine for the protectionism of the 1980s. It’s also dishonest and dangerous and threatens to drag the U.S. economy back into the destructive 1930s era of the Smoot-Hawley tariff.


Slumping China is hungry for export markets where it can be competitive. But in the near term that probably doesn’t include the U.S., which is already violating WTO rules with a 27.5% tariff on autos from China—25 points above the “most-favored nation” rate of 2.5%.

Mr. Trump says he’s ready to make it 100% on China cars made in Mexico. The Commerce Department has launched an investigation into what it calls the “national security risks of connected vehicles, specifically PRC-manufactured technology in the vehicles.” In following up on the news from Mexico last week, Reuters reported that “a White House spokesperson said [President Biden] will not let Chinese automakers flood the market with vehicles that pose a threat to national security.”

I don’t know about you, but I can think of a lot of ways that China can spy on the U.S. and a car, which is today a computer on wheels, is hardly required. This is raw protectionism. It’s bad for the innovation and competition that is good for Americans and none of it has anything to do with the USMCA.

The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal rightly applauds Columbia University removing from its campus the “Gaza solidarity encampment.” A slice:

It is hardly surprising that the most progressive cities have seen the most protests. No surprise, either, that among those arrested at Columbia Thursday was Barnard student Isra Hirsi, daughter of anti-Israel Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.). An unbowed Ms. Hirsi tweeted that, in addition to Columbia’s divestment from Israel, she and her fellow protesters are demanding “FULL amnesty for all students facing repression.” Naturally.

Ms. Hirsi and the other protesters are fully entitled to express their view that Israel is pursuing genocide in its war with Hamas. But what the country saw Thursday at Columbia wasn’t about free expression. As President Shafik pointed out, the protest was about disrupting campus life for everyone else and creating “a harassing and intimidating environment for many of our students.” It’s the same for protests designed to prevent others from commuting to work, catching a flight or getting to class.

Ricardo Gomes reports on Elon Musk’s defense of free speech in Brazil.

Bill Shughart understandably criticizes the Department of Justice’s antitrust persecution of Apple. Two slices:

Put another way, 30 to 35 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, as the DOJ defines it, is served by Apple’s competitors, the two most “meaningful” being Google (parent Alphabet) and South Korea’s Samsung Group. Meaningful indeed.

Apple is not a monopolist as economists understand that concept because it does not control anything close to 100 percent of the antitrust-relevant smartphone market. Apple may be big, and the iPhone may now dominate U.S. smartphone shipments, but large market shares today do not guarantee future market supremacy.


And those rivals, Google and Samsung, are no shrinking violets needing protection by the Justice Department’s antitrust lawyers, who apparently think they know better than smartphone buyers and sellers what the market should look like today and tomorrow. Antitrust law enforcement processes have morphed over the past few years into an ersatz industrial policy that pays lip service to consumers’ welfare but ignores consumers’ choices in favor of indulging the preferences of bureaucrats.

Scott Sumner notes some “anti-Chinese roots of American public policy.” A slice:

Today, American politicians continue to blame the Chinese for corrupting our youth.  China is supposedly to blame for America’s fentanyl epidemic–as if we have no agency.  Not because China exports fentanyl to America, nor because they export fentanyl to Mexico that is re-exported to America.  Rather they are blamed for exporting chemicals that can be used elsewhere to create fentanyl.  As viewers of Breaking Bad are well aware, Americans are quite capable to creating illegal drugs without any help from the Chinese. And prison sentences have generally been longer for drugs preferred by African-Americans (crack cocaine) as compared to drugs preferred by white Americans (powder cocaine).  Racial bias has always been a factor in the war on drugs.

Here’s Jeff Jacoby on the new PBS documentary on the late William F. Buckley, Jr. A slice:

The same combination — ideological clarity, polemical skill, and joy — characterized everything Buckley did. “The Incomparable Mr. Buckley” recounts his support for Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign, his own quixotic but influential race for mayor of New York in 1965, his 30-year run as host of TV’s “Firing Line,” his bestselling Blackford Oakes spy novels, and — his towering achievement — the landslide election of Ronald Reagan, who always credited National Review for turning him into a conservative.

The film dwells, understandably, on the most grievous failing of Buckley’s career: his early and strenuous opposition to the civil rights movement. In 1957, National Review published “Why the South Must Prevail,” an odious editorial that argued that as long as whites were “the advanced race,” they were entitled to “prevail, politically and culturally,” over Black citizens.

Unmentioned in the documentary is that Buckley and National Review completely reversed their position on civil rights over the next decade. More than once Buckley acknowledged that he had been wrong. As Tanenhaus has noted (though not in the film), Buckley greatly admired Martin Luther King Jr. and was an early advocate of a national holiday to honor him.