Sep 062019
 September 6, 2019  Posted by at 9:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Claude Monet Éretrat sunset 1882-3


The Trade War Is Smart Geopolitics (NR)
China’s Growth Is Slowing, but not Because of the Trade War (PIIE)
The Ugly Truth About The Trade War (Alt-M)
Fed QE Unwind Continues Via Sharp Drop In MBS (WS)
Trump Administration Backs Privatizing Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac (MW)
Is Armed Conflict Possible in Today’s Europe? (Spiegel)
Boris Johnson: I’d Rather Be Dead In a Ditch Than Delay Brexit (BBC)
Hong Kong Braces For More Protests As Merkel Calls For Peaceful Solution (R.)
The Pentagon Wants More Control Over the News. What Could Go Wrong? (Taibbi)
Germany Announces Plan to Ban Glyphosate (CD)
Targeting the Tongass National Forest for Amazon-like Destruction (CP)
They Want Him Dead As A Warning (Maurizi)



A bunch of views on the trade war. I’d say take your pick. Something for everyone.

The Trade War Is Smart Geopolitics (NR)

Why is our industrial supply chain located inside of an adversary? Why does our military readiness therefore depend on that adversary? Why are American companies allowed to transfer critical technologies to China in exchange for short-term market access? Why can Tesla build self-driving cars in Shanghai? Why can Google run an AI lab in Beijing after canceling an AI contract with the Pentagon? The free traders have an answer: because the market wills it. But of course, markets have no reason to prefer one global power over another, and there’s no market rule barring a surveillance state from winning the competition. In that competition, our ideological commitment to free trade is nearly as great a handicap as the Soviet Union’s commitment to central planning was during the Cold War.

Free trade with China means allowing its distortions into our market. Refusing to allow our government to “pick winners” by rejecting industrial-policy support to key sectors means that Beijing will pick winners for us. Depending on Ricardian comparative advantage to organize supply chains means, in effect, that we will watch helplessly as American innovations are transformed into growth-boosting industries elsewhere, as firms reap efficiency gains by locating their engineering and management operations next to their manufacturing. Inevitably, the innovation will depart too. A recent survey of 369 manufacturers found that American firms are moving their R&D operations to China not just to take advantage of lower costs, but to be in close proximity to their supply chains.

Some 50 percent of foreign R&D centers in China are now run by American companies, helping China achieve first place in market share for manufacturing R&D. If we remain neutral as to where supply chains are located, “we innovate, they build” will become “they innovate, they build.” China’s rise may be inevitable. But given the danger represented by that rise, America can choose to minimize its risk. It can reduce opportunities for China to erode the long-term competitive advantage of American firms through forced technology transfer and R&D migration, and reduce our dependence on Chinese manufacturing for crucial industrial and military supply chains. In a word: decoupling.

Read more …

China’s problem is the dollar. It’s not dependent on the US for its GDP, but that is a problem in itself. If exports to the US were larger, it would receive more dollars.

China’s Growth Is Slowing, but not Because of the Trade War (PIIE)

First, as is well known, US taxpayers, not Chinese consumers and companies, are bearing the burden of Trump’s tariffs. The president acknowledged as much when he postponed new tariffs on goods (such as toys and consumer electronics) likely to be purchased during the US holiday shopping season. US tariffs on imports from China will likely subtract about half a percentage point from US GDP growth in 2019.

But second, China’s growth began to slow long before the trade war started (see figure). The pace of growth has moderated from the double-digit pace of 2010 to only 6.2 percent in the most recent quarter. As for the assertion that the trade war has accelerated China’s economic decline, the facts show the opposite. As shown in the figure, the pace of the slowdown has moderated since the initial imposition of tariffs by the United States in July 2018. Most of the slowdown is the result of President Xi Jinping’s ill-advised policy choice of allocating credit and other resources to less efficient state firms rather than private firms. Moreover, since 2017, China has reduced the growth of credit overall in order to reduce financial risk at a time of growing corporate indebtedness, a trend that also contributes to slowing growth throughout the economy.

Third, properly measured, China’s dependence on exports to the United States is not as large as some, including President Trump, may think. China’s exports to the United States before tariffs were imposed ran at $500 billion annually, or 4 percent of its $12.25 trillion GDP, which in theory is a significant number. In fact, the percentage is far less. The potential impact of US tariffs on China’s growth needs to be adjusted to measure only value added by China. GDP is measured in value-added terms; US imports from China are measured in gross sales. The value-added share in US imports from China is about one-half, so the direct contribution to China’s GDP from its sales to the United States is approximately $250 billion or only 2 percent of China’s GDP.

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Brandon Smith doesn’t appear to fully agree with PIIE.

The Ugly Truth About The Trade War (Alt-M)

The US only comprises around 18% of Chinese exports. While this is a nice piece of the pie, it’s hardly enough leverage to bring down China’s economy. China would suffer profit losses in certain sectors as well as a recession, but not the kind of crisis that some in the alternative media are predicting. Around 40% of China’s GDP is generated domestically, and 80% of its GDP growth comes from private consumption. For quite some time I have warned that China was shifting its economic model from an export based system to a more self reliant domestic based system, and that this might be an indication of a coming economic war with the US. As it turns out, this is exactly what has happened. Since 2010, China’s domestic market has grown dramatically, indicating that China has no intention of relying on the US consumer as an economic pillar.

The US consumer is almost tapped out. While retail sales in certain areas remain steady and this has been used by the mainstream media and the Fed to promote the idea that the economy is still “going strong”, this is not the big picture. The reality is that US consumption is driven by historic levels of debt. Household debt is now FAR above levels last seen after the last financial crisis, with total debt at $1.2 trillion higher today than its last peak in 2008. The downturn in retail is more obvious in the steady closings of thousands of outlets in 2019 alone. This year has seen a 29% increase in store closings compared to 2018, even though 2018 saw a considerable spike in store shutdowns. Around 12,000 stores are slated to close this year.

So the question is, with the US consumer stretched thin by debt and US retail on the verge of a recessionary plunge, why would China feel threatened by the loss of the American consumer market? They are losing it already by attrition. The truth is they aren’t threatened, which is why, as I predicted last year, the trade war continues unabated despite the fact that so many people argued that China would “quickly fold” to Trump’s demands. I realize this is not what many people want to hear, but it is foolish to get caught up in a farcical mob mentality and ignore the fundamentals in the trade war. If you think that the US is going to “win” based on leverage, you are sorely mistaken. The US is in no better shape economically than China; in many ways we are much worse off.

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Close down the place before it can do even more harm.

Fed QE Unwind Continues Via Sharp Drop In MBS (WS)

In August, the Fed shed Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) at a rate that exceeded its self-imposed “cap” of $20 billion for the fourth month in a row, but added some Treasury securities, with a new emphasis on short-term Treasury bills. Total assets on the Fed’s balance sheet fell by $20 billion, to $3.76 trillion, as of the balance sheet for the week ended September 4, released this afternoon. This brought the balance sheet to the lowest level since September 2013. So far this year, the Fed has shed $314 billion in assets. Since the beginning of the “balance sheet normalization” process, the Fed has shed $700 billion. Since peak-QE in January 2015, it has shed $738 billion:

During the month of August, $70 billion in Treasury securities in the Fed’s portfolio matured and were redeemed by the US Treasury Department. The Fed replaced all those with new Treasury securities. This replacement would have kept its holdings level. Per its new plan to replace its MBS securities with Treasury securities – more on that in a moment – it added about $15 billion in Treasury securities, bringing the total to $2.095 trillion. This was the first monthly increase since the end of 2017, bringing its Treasury holdings back to the level of last July, and just above the September 2013 level:

As part of its new regime to shorten the overall maturity of its holdings, the Fed’s holdings now include $3 billion in Treasury bills (maturing in one year or less), up from zero a few months ago. After “Operation Twist,” which was layered between QE-2 and “QE Infinity,” the Fed had not held any Treasury bills. About four months ago, it started dabbling in them again, but in August it got serious. These T-bills replaced some of the MBS that ran off its balance sheet.

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Trump giveth and the Fed taketh away. End the Fed AND Fannie and Freddie.

Trump Administration Backs Privatizing Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac (MW)

The Trump administration said it would support returning mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private hands, a development that could keep the companies at the center of the housing market for decades to come. The principles announced Thursday represent a major reversal from what leaders of both parties over the past decade promised — to abolish the companies, which guarantee roughly half the U.S. mortgage market. The approach, which doesn’t require approval by Congress, would mark an important win for investors who have been betting politicians wouldn’t follow through on those promises. Treasury officials said they would aim to privatize the government-controlled firms without making it tougher and more expensive for people to get mortgages.

They generally avoided making specific policy recommendations on how to accomplish these goals in a report released Thursday. They said they would work with federal regulators to flesh out the details on how to put Fannie and Freddie on a sounder financial footing as well as to curtail the firms’ roles in housing finance. The process could take years to implement and won’t affect existing mortgages. “Our view is that the government footprint has become too big,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview ahead of Thursday’s report. ”There are people in Washington who are happy to leave this the way it is for another 10 or 20 years, and that’s not us. We feel an obligation to try to fix this.”

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“The direction of European history would seem to have changed – shifting away from convergence and back to delineation.”

Is Armed Conflict Possible in Today’s Europe? (Spiegel)

“The war changed everything.” This statement by the late British historian Tony Judt contains the kernel of modern-day Europe. It was the war that made possible an extended period of peace. Things had to get extremely bad before they could get good again. For the last 75 years, there has been peace on the Continent, with just a few exceptions. Now, this Europe finds itself in crisis. It is no longer the Europe where national thinking is slowly dwindling. It is no longer the Europe that is growing together step by step. It is no longer the Europe in which all countries seem to be committed to democracy forever. The direction of European history would seem to have changed – shifting away from convergence and back to delineation.

What does that mean for the most important of all questions, the question of war or peace? At the moment, it doesn’t look at all as though the long period of peace is going to come to an end. There is no reason for alarm. But if the direction of European history is changing, we should take a close look at what that could mean. Not in the immediate future, but in the long term. History is a snail that persistently crawls along its path. Exactly 80 years ago, the war that changed everything began — on Sept. 1, 1939, with Adolf Hitler’s Germany invading neighboring Poland. Almost six years later, more than 60 million people around the world were dead as a result of the violence, huge portions of the Continent were destroyed, millions of Europeans had been forced from their homes and millions more were plunged into poverty. A state of shock reigned.

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When will he quit?

Boris Johnson: I’d Rather Be Dead In a Ditch Than Delay Brexit (BBC)

Boris Johnson has said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than ask the EU to delay Brexit beyond 31 October. But the PM declined to say if he would resign if a postponement – which he has repeatedly ruled out – had to happen. Mr Johnson has said he would be prepared to leave the EU without a deal, but Labour says stopping a no-deal Brexit is its priority. The prime minister’s younger brother, Jo Johnson, announced earlier that he was standing down as a minister and MP. Speaking in West Yorkshire, Boris Johnson said Jo Johnson, who backed Remain in the 2016 referendum, was a “fantastic guy” but they had had “differences” over the EU.

Announcing his resignation earlier in the day, the MP for Orpington, south-east London, said he had been “torn between family loyalty and the national interest”. During his speech at a police training centre in Wakefield, the prime minister reiterated his call for an election, which he wants to take place on 15 October. He argued it was “the only way to get this thing [Brexit] moving”. “We either go forward with our plan to get a deal, take the country out on 31 October which we can or else somebody else should be allowed to see if they can keep us in beyond 31 October,” Mr Johnson said.

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Mutti? You here?

Hong Kong Braces For More Protests As Merkel Calls For Peaceful Solution (R.)

Hong Kong is bracing for more demonstrations this weekend, with protesters threatening to disrupt transport links to the airport, after embattled leader Carrie Lam’s withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill failed to appease some activists. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel raised Hong Kong with Chinese premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Friday, saying a peaceful solution is needed. “I stressed that the rights and freedoms for (Hong Kong) citizens have to be granted,” said Merkel. “In the current situation violence must be prevented. Only dialogue helps. There are signs that Hong Kong’s chief executive will invite such a dialogue. I hope that materializes and that demonstrators have the chance to participate within the frame of citizens’ rights,” she said during a visit to Beijing.

Li told a news conference with Merkel: “The Chinese government unswervingly safeguards ‘one country, two systems’ and ‘Hong Kong people govern Hong Kong people’”. He said Beijing supported the Hong Kong government “to end the violence and chaos in accordance with the law, to return to order, which is to safeguard Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability”. Protesters plan to block traffic to the city’s international airport on Saturday, a week after thousands of demonstrators disrupted transport links, sparking some of the worst violence since the unrest escalated three months ago. Many protesters have pledged to fight on despite a withdrawal of the extradition bill, saying the concession is too little, too late.

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The Pentagon will protect you from “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks” by publishing “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks..”

The Pentagon Wants More Control Over the News. What Could Go Wrong? (Taibbi)

If there’s a worse idea than the Pentagon becoming Editor-in-Chief of America, I can’t remember it. But we’re getting there: From Bloomberg over Labor Day weekend: “Fake news and social media posts are such a threat to U.S. security that the Defense Department is launching a project to repel “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks,” as the top Republican in Congress blocks efforts to protect the integrity of elections.” One of the Pentagon’s most secretive agencies, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is developing “custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips.”

Once upon a time, when progressives still reflexively distrusted the military, DARPA was a liberal punchline, known for helping invent the Internet but also for developing lunatic privacy-invading projects like LifeLog, a program to “gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees, or does.” DARPA now is developing a semantic analysis program called “SemaFor” and an image analysis program called “MediFor,” ostensibly designed to prevent the use of fake images or text. The idea would be to develop these technologies to help private Internet providers sift through content. It’s the latest in a string of stories about new methods of control over information flow that should, but for some reason do not, horrify every working journalist.

From the Senate dragging Internet providers to the Hill to demand strategies against the sowing of “discord,” to tales of hundreds of Facebook sites zapped for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” following advice by government-connected groups like the Atlantic Council, it’s been clear the future of the information landscape is going to involve elaborate new forms of algorithmic regulation. Stories about the need for such technologies are always couched as responses to the “fake news” problem. Unfortunately, “fake news” is a poorly-defined, amorphous concept that the public has been trained to fear without really understanding.

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Why wait 4 years?

Germany Announces Plan to Ban Glyphosate (CD)

The German government announced Wednesday it had agreed on a plan to phase out the use of glyphosate—the key chemical in the weedkiller Roundup—with a total ban set to begin by the end of 2023. “Way to go, Germany!” tweeted the U.S.-based advocacy group Organic Consumers Association. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed to the plan Wednesday. The proposal, reported Bloomberg, also says that the “government intends to oppose any request for the E.U. to renew the license to produce the weedkiller, according to a release by the environment ministry.” The European Commission, the E.U.’s rules and regulations body, in 2017 renewed the license for glyphosate in the bloc through the end of 2022.

Germany’s environment Minister, Svenja Schulze, framed the new move as necessary to protect biodiversity, and said that “a world without insects is not worth living in”. “What harms insects also harms people,” Schulze said at a press conference. “What we need is more humming and buzzing.” Glyphosate is no longer exclusive to Monsanto’s Roundup, as it “is now off-patent and marketed worldwide by dozens of other chemical groups including Dow Agrosciences and Germany’s BASF,” as Reuters noted. That’s despite the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer’s 2015 designation of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen,” increasing concerns over its health effects, and mounting legal woes for Bayer, which acquired Monsanto last year, as multiple juries have found Roundup to have been a factor in plaintiffs’ cancers.

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Stop calling them conservatives.

Targeting the Tongass National Forest for Amazon-like Destruction (CP)

Alaskan politicians, the governor, Mike Dunleavy, and the two senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, all Republican, convinced Trump to dismantle federal protections of the Tongass National Forest. The Trump administration ordered the Forest Service to approve this process of destruction. In March 16, 2019, the Forest Service designed a 15-year logging project in the Prince of Wales Island that included the opening of 164 miles of new roads in 67 square miles of land and the clearcutting of up to 23,000 acres of old-growth trees – trees several centuries old.

Environmental organizations like Earthjustice, Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Alaska Rainforest Defenders, National Audubon Society, Natural Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Forest Service and the US Department of Agriculture for violating the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws. They pointed out that such massive timber sale from the projected clearcutting of old growth trees was “wasteful, destructive, and a giveaway” to a timber industry contributing less than 1 percent to the economy of Alaska.

In addition, clearcutting 23,000 acres of ancient trees would harm the Alexander Archipelago wolf, flying squirrels, and birds like Goshawk. Why this violent attack on a forest these environmental organizations call the crown jewel of America? The Alaskan politicians, like Bolsonaro of Brazil, have a distorted and selfish vision: satisfy the landowners in Brazil and the timber barons in Alaska. Do these politicians, including Trump, ever think about the real bad effects, ecological and social, of their actions? They must have heard of the inferno in the Brazilian Amazon and its potentially horrific consequences on the planet. They cannot really assume or believe that adding quite a bit more carbon to the atmosphere from logging Tongass would be a good thing for America or the world? Or could they?

The only reasonable explanation of the murky world of Trump and the Republican politicians (of Alaska and the rest of the country) is that they reject science. Certainly, the Evangelicals do. These Christian Republicans support Trump. They make no secret they expect Jesus to rise up, thus signaling the end of life on Earth. This delusion gets scary as high officials of the Trump administration are its fervent believers.

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Long-time Assange confidant Stefania Maurizi talks to Roger Waters.

They Want Him Dead As A Warning (Maurizi)

He is one of the legends of rock famous for his progressive battles. At seventy-six, the Pink Floyd co-founder, Roger Waters, has not given up at all and does not hesitate to call his country, Great Britain, “disgusting” for its treatment of Julian Assange. Last Monday, Waters sang his great classic, “Wish You Were Here” in front of the UK Home Office in London in support of Assange, while the Australian journalist, John Pilger, explained the serious risk the WikiLeaks founder runs of being extradited to the US, and Assange’s brother, Gabriel, described an emotional meeting with Julian Assange. Roger Waters is currently in Venice to present his film “US + Them”. Repubblica interviewed him.

What made you go very public about Julian Assange’s situation? “Clearly, there has been a really powerful and international smear campaign, really since the Collateral Murder video. I have been watching it developing. Assange is the pet hate of Western governments, particularly the government of the United States, because he published evidence that shows the United States to have committed heinous war crimes, crimes against humanity in a big way. This smear campaign against him is all about getting him extradited to the US. They want him dead as a warning: they want to persuade any young person who might be thinking about the work of Julian Assange, or any whistleblower or any investigative journalist, that to pursue the path of truth-telling is extremely bad for your health. The message is: if you tell the truth, we will kill you, watch! The same with Chelsea Manning”.

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Withdrawing the extradition bill is no longer enough:






Home Forums Debt Rattle September 6 2019

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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    Claude Monet Éretrat sunset 1882-3   • The Trade War Is Smart Geopolitics (NR) • China’s Growth Is Slowing, but not Because of the Trade War (PII
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle September 6 2019]

    V. Arnold

    Assange must be one strong SOB to have gotten this far; not to support him is inconceivable…

    John Day

    Mish Shedlock thinks Boris Johnson pulled a faster one than expected. The “Queen’s Consent” is necessary, due to the overly directive wording of the bill that passed, telling Johnson EXACTLY what to do about Brexit extension.
    “The Benn Bill requires Johnson’s approval. What do you think the odds of that are?”

    Dr. D

    “Why is our industrial supply chain located inside of an adversary?”

    Clue phone: someone finally picked up. We don’t have steel, shipbuilding, circuits, or rare earths, which means we are helpless before a military adversary. How long does history suggest that can last?

    “The free traders have an answer: because the market wills it.”

    Well yes, quite so. However, those corporations have a home country. If they would like to maintain their business license there, they cannot be undermining their host’s economy and committing sedition. Ask China. That is exactly how they treat (U.S.) corporations there, and GM, Google say “Yay! Of course we will help the Chinese nation and Chinese military! We love China.” Hey wait: when we ask you to do that here, you say it’s crazy and oppressive. “Well yes, but we hate America, Americans, the Betsy Ross flag, and everything America stands for, i.e. “Freedom’ and Democracy, instead of Authoritarian Fascism.” Duh.

    “Free trade with China means allowing its distortions into our market.”

    Yes, but we don’t have free trade with China. We are open to China, and they are closed to us – a one-way street. “All your base are belong to us.”

    “we will watch helplessly as American innovations are transformed into growth-boosting industries elsewhere,”

    Yes, if you fight a war against an unarmed opponent – and in this scenario WE are unarmed. But like they say: I’m not picking on China, if the U.S. body politic gives the whole nation (that is to say, all MY money and options) to China for tiny bribes like a 10c whore, China should absolutely take them. …And we should then arrest, try, and hang that body politic for sedition if not treason. But that’s China doing the RIGHT thing, it’s US that needs reform

    “First, as is well known, US taxpayers, not Chinese consumers and companies, are bearing the burden of Trump’s tariffs.”

    Like everything written by adults in America, this is false. Here we go, using Denninger’s example: In America, we now have 10% tariffs on $100 shoes. So $110, right? Wrong. The tariffs are on the WHOLESALE price, pre-import. Thanks to the disaster-that-is-globalism, the shoes may cost $20 in Hong Kong. 10% of $20 is $2. So the price has risen to $102. Hardly relevant to any American consumer.

    But wait! It’s not even $102, small as it is. In reality, the businesses in the supply chain look at the pricing: retail says, “hey, can we just hold the price at an even $100? We’re not sure customers won’t change brands.” Wholesaler grumbles and says, “alright, I’ll split it with you.” = $1. Then HE goes back to HIS supplier and says the same thing, and HIS supplier is in China. China is losing jobs to Vietnam and Thailand furiously and has been for years. So they say, “Absolutely, we will cut out prices (profits), $1.75, just keep our lights on and our wheels turning.”

    Cost through to Americans? $0.25 on $100. Are we winning? Yes. And we can keep this up all day, which is why Trump just reloaded another $100B by claiming they are a “currency manipulator”. He did tell them at the beginning, when you’re in a hole as deep as Congress has dug America, all directions are now up. China has had to bail out three mega-banks banks that in Europe would be considered the largest on the continent.

    Sanity check: go to China-Mart, am I wrong, are prices rising? No. I’ve been shocked at the LACK of push-through on prices. …And I thought all you Socialists WANTED corporate profits to drop. Now they have: they’re eating the tariffs and helping the workers. But that’s bad now? Can’t please some people.

    No Peterson, your statement is false. Visit Wal-mart sometime in your life and check your theories against reality. The surprise has been how WELL it’s been going and how little it’s hurt, although it would have been worth it even at the whole cost. …Otherwise, America would cease as a nation.

    “The US only comprises around 18% of Chinese exports.”

    Alt-Market is correct. Besides, as they talk about “adjusting value-added,” “purchasing parity” blah blah, it’s quite difficult to tease out these numbers. However, China was getting hammered long before 2016, and their factories were unmanned “alien dreadnaught” factories installed by Japan with no workers already. Yet, like America, they must have employment or unrest. America’s adjustment is also pressuring the rest of the world, so the OTHER 18% buyers from Europe and Australia are going down. But China needs to BUY MORE OF ITS OWN PRODUCTS. Beyond necessary rebalancing of the world, they work hard and they deserve it. But we know from their production decline, electric use, and bank failures, they’re under enormous pressure. So while the facts are true, the headline impression is not.

    China – being centralized and authoritarian, but also alien to us – believes that the Central powers, the Deep State, the media are all correct. They just have to hold out for the 2020 election, where every DNC candidate plus Joe Biden’s dog can easily beat Donald Trump. Then the DNC can sell out every American worker, every nut and screw, every port and real estate, to China like the last four Presidents did. It seems legit from their perch, but is COMPLETELY WRONG. Trump’s approval keeps rising each month, and is rising among black and Hispanic communities as well. –Some racism. Meanwhile though seemingly impossible, the DNC has found WORSE candidates than HRC, and is again openly destroying the only two that had any chance: Gabbard and Yang. This is while pissing off everyone in America by having a platform that attacks Betsy Ross, comedians, super heroes, and chicken sandwiches.

    They’re the more backwards, fundamentalist, cult-like, lemon-sucking nags and scolds than Dana Carvy’s “Church Lady” ever could be, and Americans don’t like that sort of thing. If anything, at this point I’m sad to say Trump will win by 30% more than last time, and thanks to “the Squad”, win the House too, giving China no reprieve. But you can see their point: China always is patient, and out-waits their enemies.

    “Trump Administration Backs Privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (MW)”

    MarketWatch, ever protecting fakeness, forgets that Fannie and Freddy WERE private. Top front of their stock said in big red letters, “THIS IS NOT BACKED BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT” and will not be bailed out. Americans called in to Congress 1000:1 and shut down the phone lines ordering them not to bail them out. But we don’t have a democracy, so of course they did. So, MarketWatch, WHY WOULD IT MATTER IF THEY ARE “PRIVATE” or not? There are no “Private” corporations in America, all insider companies are a merger of Corporation and State. What’s the quick and handy name for this system of government? You should know it, the term is being used a lot lately.

    “Is Armed Conflict Possible in Today’s Europe? (Spiegel)”

    Ah Spiegel, I wouldn’t know where to start. Yes, after ANY war nations are too exhausted to fight = peace. Always, for 5,000 years, nothing new. For 75 years, as always, they used that peace to overtake and chisel their neighbors, setting the stage for grievances and imbalances that precipitate the new war. Peole’s cultures and Nationalities never went anywhere, and thanks to the attempt to destroy all your neighbors for power and profit, nationalism has been rising since the EU failed to allow even the illusion of democracy in the votes of ’99. Europe was not ‘growing’ together, it was being shackled together against the rather tepid objections and adjustments of the people. Because of all that, Europe, like all over, was not a democracy, and the EU by its own process and structure is absolutely not a democracy in any form. Parliaments have no power over it, and the EU representatives are a student government that can only limply suggest what the bureaucracy should do. Like the vaunted Soviet State, the EU Soviet bureaucracy has all power and control and reports to powers unknown while pretending to work for the people. This is made abundantly clear by their actions of destroying Greece, Italy, Spain, Catalonia, Portugal, and even themselves in Germany, France, etc.

    Therefore, rather than leaving nations and people alone, YOU Spiegel, YOU E.U., have insured the coming war. …And so we shall always warn them, but so it shall always be.

    …But what would it matter, a nation E.U. or a Federal E.U.? You think the U.S. can’t have war, a civil war, because they are “one nation?” Don’t be an idiot. They’re precipitating and insuring a civil war here they’ve been setting up since the ‘60s. Nationality is no preventative for war: not screwing people is. But power-deranged sociopaths can’t understand that. They can’t stop stealing because otherwise how would they get rich? On their own merits? Then Eton and Harvard would have to close.

    “Boris Johnson: I’d Rather Be Dead in a Ditch than Delay Brexit (BBC)”

    I’m not following this, but didn’t Labour prevent all democracy – again – by preventing a snap election? Why? Because as everybody knew, they are against all their own people and districts, and FOR London and the wealthy EU powers, in erasing all sovereignty from these British shores. Just as they’ve said, they are international communists, undermining England for 50 years. …Aaaaaaaaand here we are.

    …And just like our own Democratic Party, back home.

    Anyway, point being, they don’t want democracy, and they don’t want their people. They work for billionaire insiders to destroy all citizens, like everybody else. So if the people really hate Brexit, why not have a vote? Why not try some democracy? You’d clarify your support and get some real power to stop it.

    “The Pentagon Wants More Control Over the News. What Could Go Wrong? (Taibbi)”

    While I understand this, if the Pentagon wants to just ADD speech to the chorus, what’s the harm? Are they not allowed to speak? Does the Pentagon not have a Press Office already? Of course, I would only do this after reversing Obama’s law that allowed the government to use propaganda against their own people. That was in 2012; notice anything different in the pitch and demeanor of news since then?

    P.S, “lunatic privacy-invading projects like LifeLog” is simply Facebook. Yes, lunatics. Yes, government. Yes, spying. Yes, to root out, imprison and destroy reporters and whistleblowers. “Facebook: Just Say Yes to Fascism Stomping on Your Face Forever™”

    Why wait 4 years for Glyphosate? So they can reverse themselves later. But really, if you don’t want food shortages we already have, you’re going to have to allow for system planning and adjustments.

    “Targeting the Tongass National Forest for Amazon-like Destruction (CP)”

    Meanwhile, the people who don’t want this done, in London and San Francisco, haven’t torn up their parking lots and high rises to re-plant the trees that rightfully belong there. I wonder why. Could it be they want somebody ELSE to take the economic bat to the face instead of themselves? I mean, if they care, they CAN, and arguably SHOULD level Nantucket and stop mowing all those yards, spraying all those parking lots.

    “The only reasonable explanation of the murky world of Trump and the Republican politicians (of Alaska and the rest of the country) is that they reject science.”

    Don’t make stuff up. False, false, false. And the GOP doesn’t have a monopoly on being anti-science, from people who believe gender and DNA is something you choose each morning, or that, as discredited, the Amazon “creates oxygen” and is “the lungs of the earth”, or that electric cars magically don’t use coal and nuclear PLUS lithium, or that having destroyed earth, we can pop off to Mars and make it a garden.

    It’s too long to get into, but America doesn’t have any of these “evangelical Christians” anymore, maybe 3%. Every church is still closing, attendance is still dropping fast as ever, and the beliefs of the few remaining attendees are for gay marriage, evolution, and gun control. It’s a coastal elite fantasy that these guys exist, because they didn’t bother to call anywhere, ask anyone, or get ‘facts.’ Same as all these new Nazis, by the way, the same people who voted for a black President named “Hussain.” Twice. Newflash: THEY DON’T EXIST. They’re LYING.

    The Red-hats are hunters and farmers. So they’re idiots about nature while Blue-hairs from Brooklyn know all about it? “Do these politicians, including Trump, ever think about the real bad effects, ecological and social, of their actions?” Yes, they do, which is exactly the reason YOU won’t plant 200-year trees on Staten Island. YOU won’t re-start the old growth that was and belongs there, and only doesn’t re-grow due to YOUR constant effort with every manner of CO2-emitting gas-powered machines. Why? You know good and well your economy and your wealth will be destroyed. So you want ALASKA, rural OREGON, NEBRASKA to be destroyed on your behalf, so you can snoot down your nose and feel both rich AND good.

    …But this is Socialism. WE (meaning ME) decide what WE will do with OUR (meaning YOUR) resources. And WE (meaning Me) always decide YOU take the hit and mine chromium in Siberia, while important priceless educated people like me live in a Dacha on the Black Sea coast, and am sadly force to hob-nob in Swiss shopping trips. You know, “For the People.”


    I’m currently reading Jacques Elull’s book The Technological Society and sadly almost every headline here confirms his descriptions of the trajectory of technique perfectly. I am feeling a little bit hopeless from reading it since I see no way to change the course we are on. Assange is in the way of technique and so gets passified, Trump, Bolsonaro and Johnson are here to let it free to ravage the last natural resources, although Trumps fight with the Fed makes him a contradictory character (probably because of his impulsiveness which contrasts technique), Johnson wants to free technique from the backwardness of Europe which is cintraining things like bioscience proven by the article on Germanys ban on glyphosate, the Fed will win against Trump because the people always chooses the solution of the technicians in the end. Or has something happened that is breaking the steady pace forward by the technosphere? Is there a limit Elull did not forsee? Energy? Nuclear power is soon back in vouge for sure and the march towards the artificial continues unaffected by Trumps and Brexiteers. Is there even a point in resisting? Is there any chance we’ll have a free press when a state controlled one is so much more efficient? How long until people like us visiting The Automatic Earth are silenced, put into concentration camps and passified like Julian or silenced just by having no means of expression left. I guess my belief that resistance is right and worth it is intact but my hope of winning is more or less a thing of the past, a good thing perhaps.


    Always love your posts Dr.D. I don’t always agree but they are thought provoking.


    I second that Neoh. John Day thank you too for your thoughtful posts. Both of you add to this very rich place called TAE.


    I have no motivation to dig any farther.

    NEW On August 20, 2019, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published a Modification of Section 301 Action in 84 FR 43304 introducing another imposition of additional tariffs on products of China with an annual trade value of approximately $300 billion which is referred to as Tranche 4. The tariff subheadings subject to additional duties under Tranche 4 are separated into two lists with different effective dates – Annex A contains the formal Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) language for list 1 and Annex B contains an informal description of the products in list 1. Annex C contains the formal HTSUS language for list 2 and Annex D contains an informal description of the products in list 2.
    On August 30, 2019, in accordance with the specific direction of the President, the USTR published their determination to modify the action being taken in the Section 301 investigation by increasing the rate of additional duty from 10 to 15 percent for the products of China covered by the $300 billion tariff action (Tranche 4). See 84 FR 45821.

    CSMS # – UPDATE: Updated Information on Section 301 Trade Remedies to be Assessed on Certain Products of China; Fourth List of Products Subject to the Section 301 Remedy (Tranche 4)



    Over the years China has supplied trillions of dollars worth of goods to the US in exchange for IOUs [dollars] which can be created at will, basically they are just a few electrons on some computer storage.

    Is this beneficial to China?

    The US treatment of ZTE and Huawei have shown that under no circumstances should China rely on the US for components.

    My question is : in the trade war does China have anything to lose?

    Increasing tariffs means China can stop supplying ‘free’ goods to the US and gives a perfect excuse not to use US components.

    Also, taking into account the military threats from the US, China must realise it can not rely on ANY trade with the US so should be looking at alternatives : BRI.

    60% of the Global GDP is emerging markets. The other 40% [‘the West’] can only really afford to buy goods with debt.


    May I ask: why are fat girls on the sidebar of this blog? I’m mystified. What on Earth would convince you to promote fat women as the next thang?

    I sincerely thought this blog had integrity. And then there was the fat girl side bar invasion.



    What are your thoughts on Trumps connections to Pieter Thiels survelance empire and his support of Neurobehavioral surveilance technology?

    “Given recent reports on the Trump administration’s plan to create a new government agency to use “advanced technology” to identify “neurobehavioral signs” of “someone headed toward a violent explosive act” using data collected by consumer electronic devices, the picture painted by the technology currently being promoted and implemented under the guise of “keeping Americans safe” is deeply Orwellian. In fact, it points directly to the genesis of a far-reaching surveillance state far more extensive than anything yet seen in American history and it is being jointly developed by individuals connected to both American and Israeli intelligence.”

    From Whitney Webbs latest article on Mint Press

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