Tariffs–Winners And Losers And Economics

Our Trade War With China!  Who’s gonna win and who gonna lose?

With all the words flying around about this legal aspect or another…..the news on our trade war with China takes a back seat…..but I think it needs to be in the forefront……

I found an article that tells the winners and losers in this trade war (I am hoping that you will actually read the referenced article)…..areas of our economy like technology, agriculture, steel, etc……

U.S. companies in everything from computer chips to tractors have said President Donald Trump’s trade wars, including disputes with Beijing and global steel tariffs, have had an impact on them.

Even for some of the expected winners, such as steel companies, the benefits of the president’s tariffs are not entirely clear.

Trump said on May 5 he would raise tariffs on $200 billion (£159 billion) worth of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to agree to a deal.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trade-china-winners-losers-factbo/winners-and-losers-in-trumps-trade-war-with-china-idUKKCN1TK1UM

And yet the markets have not tanked on the bad news for the bigger of our corporations…..

Is this a good thing…… these tariffs?

This “Booming Economy” that we hear about from Trump, the GOP and others is looking a lot like the economy……wait for it……under Obama…..

In some key ways, the Donald Trump economy, on fire last year but slowing this year, is starting to resemble the one he inherited from his predecessor .

There are the rock-bottom bond yields, plodding economic growth and, not to be understated, the Federal Reserve seemingly pulling all the strings, a role that was only exacerbated in the days since the financial crisis and Great Recession and continues to the present day.

Those similarities came into even sharper focus this week, when the benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield fell below 2% for the first time since Trump became president, and the Fed’s indication, if something just short of an outright promise, that it soon will be cutting rates about half a year since its most recent hike.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way: The 2017 tax cut and aggressive moves toward deregulation were supposed to pull the U.S. economy out of its glacial move higher. That happened in 2018, but policymakers and Wall Street pros are growing increasingly fearful that a slowdown if not outright recession is on the horizon, and the Fed is being asked again to ride to the rescue.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/20/the-trump-economy-is-starting-to-look-more-and-more-like-the-obama-economy.html

Oh Snap!  All the comparisons to what Obama did…will this make the list for Supreme Beloved Leader?

Me thinks this news will not see the light of day.

There is other news that is missed by the MSM……some economists are predicting a crash is coming…..but can Trump hold it off until after the election…..

If he times it right, Donald Trump might set back the Democratic Party for a generation or more; if he misses, he’ll go down in history along with Herbert Hoover as the guy who brought the nation an economic disaster.

Back in 2007 and early 2008, many of us were convinced that an economic crash was coming, and that George W. Bush and his Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, and Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan, knew it.

And we also thought that they were doing everything they could to hold it off so it would happen after the 2008 election, so if a Democrat was elected they could say the crash was because people were “worried about the incoming Democrats,” and if McCain won it would be his problem, not Bush’s.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/18/can-donald-trump-hold-economic-crash-until-election

What do you think?

Would a crash change your mind on voting this time around?

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A Call To Democracy

Once you got past the lies spread by our president you may heard about the protests going on Hong Kong……

Hong Kong citizens marched for hours Sunday in a massive protest that drew a late-in-the-day apology from the city’s top leader for her handling of legislation that has stoked fears of expanding control from Beijing in this former British colony, the AP reports. Nearly 2 million of the city’s 7 million people turned out, according to estimates by protest organizers. Police said 338,000 were counted on the designated protest route in the “peak period” of the march. A week earlier as many as 1 million people demonstrated to voice their concern over Hong Kong’s relations with mainland China in one of the toughest tests of the territory’s special status since Beijing took control in a 1997 handover. Well after dark, crowds gathered outside the police headquarters and Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s office.

On Saturday Lam suspended her effort to force passage of the bill, which would allow some suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China. The move did not appease Hong Kong residents who see it as one of many steps chipping away at Hong Kong’s freedoms and legal autonomy. In a statement issued late Sunday, Lam noted the demonstrations and said the government “understands that these views have been made out of love and care for Hong Kong,” adding: “The chief executive apologizes to the people of Hong Kong for this and pledges to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public,” it said. Not enough, said pro-democracy activists, who demand that the Lam administration retire the proposed amendments and not bring them up again for passage at a later stage.

Now the MSM and its pundits are telling the world about the ruthlessness of the Chinese government…how they are doing they can to dash any hopes of a democracy movement….

How nice!

And yet people trying for their democratic rights elsewhere are ignored by the MSM…..take the state of Israel as an example…..they do all they can to subvert the movements in the West Bank and Gaza

You know I have hard time seeing a group of people with rocks as the aggressor in that situation….rocks against airstrikes, artillery, tanks etc……and the Palestinians are the aggressors…..and that is how lies get started.

It Is About “Rare Earth”……

Not the rock group from the 70s (Get Ready and Celebrate)….I am referring to those minerals that are a major component in some electronics….and guess who has control of much of these elements?   Wait for it……..China!

Rare Earth Minerals?  What the Hell is that all about?

Many applications of REE are characterized by high specificity and high unit value. For example, color cathode-ray tubes and liquid-crystal displays used in computer monitors and televisions employ europium as the red phosphor; no substitute is known. Owing to relatively low abundance and high demand, Eu is quite valuable—$250 to $1,700/kg (for Eu2O3) over the past decade.

Fiber-optic telecommunication cables provide much greater bandwidth than the copper wires and cables they have largely replaced. Fiber-optic cables can transmit signals over long distances because they incorporate periodically spaced lengths of erbium-doped fiber that function as laser amplifiers. Er is used in these laser repeaters, despite its high cost (~$700/kg), because it alone possesses the required optical properties.

Specificity is not limited to the more exotic REE, such as Eu or Er. Cerium, the most abundant and least expensive REE, has dozens of applications, some highly specific. For example, Ce oxide is uniquely suited as a polishing agent for glass. The polishing action of CeO2 depends on both its physical and chemical properties, including the two accessible oxidation states of cerium, Ce,3+ and Ce4+, in aqueous solution. Virtually all polished glass products, from ordinary mirrors and eyeglasses to precision lenses, are finished with CeO2.

https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2002/fs087-02/

Plus the Rare Earth Minerals are used in our military……

A lack of these minerals could force a national security risk……and that would increase the use of the military (cause and effect)…….

I would say the possibility of a war with China is more so than with Iran.

Thoughts?

And now they, China,  have issued a threat over the Trump tariffs……

Facing new trade sanctions and a US clampdown on its top telecommunications company, China issued a pointed reminder Wednesday that it has yet to unleash all its weapons in its trade war with the Trump administration. Chinese state media warned that Beijing could cut America off from exotic minerals that are widely used in electric cars and mobile phones. The threat to use China’s rich supply of so-called rare earths as leverage in the conflict has contributed to sharp losses in US stocks and sliding long-term bond yields, the AP reports. The nationalistic Chinese newspaper Global Times warned that China has plenty of ways to retaliate against the United States, including the threat of cutting off supplies of rare earth minerals. China last year produced 78% of the world’s rare earths, according to researchers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

If the US fails to exercise restraint, it will see that “China is far from running out of cards, and we have the will and determination to fight the US to the end,” the paper’s editorial said. China has used rare earths as a cudgel before. Five years ago, the World Trade Organization slapped down China’s attempt to restrict the export of rare earths during a dispute with Japan, rejecting its claim that it just wanted to conserve supplies. Scott Kennedy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, however, says the threat has lost much of its power. First, users of rare earths have stockpiled the minerals for a “rainy day,” he says. Second, they also have figured out how to “use less rare earth to achieve the same results” in products like lasers and magnets. And third, different minerals and chemicals are increasingly being used as rare earth substitutes.

Not to worry……we have troops in a country that is sitting on about $1 trillion (that is trillion with a “T”) worth of rare earth minerals……

Afghanistan, a country nearly the size of Texas, is loaded with minerals deposited by the violent collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began inspecting what mineral resources Afghanistan had after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power in the country in 2004. As it turns out, the Afghanistan Geological Survey staff had kept Soviet geological maps and reports up to 50 years old or more that hinted at a geological gold mine.

https://www.livescience.com/47682-rare-earth-minerals-found-under-afghanistan.html

That is right…out longest war EVER is in a country that is loaded with rare earth minerals……could that explain why we are hanging on in the spot?

It is not like we have never fought a war for a resource……think OIL……

Wassup in Africa?

There is one continent that the western world seems to dismiss as often as it can….like it does not matter…..but it does.

For instance….China is heavily invested in Africa…..the problem is their presence is having a negative effect…..

On a sticky morning on the slopes of Mount Kenya, Solomon Wambogo Munyua sprinkles water on the long and sturdy green shoots of the garlic crop he planted in January.

His farm is just one-eighth of an acre, perched on the humid mountainside in the fertile East African Rift Valley, over which glacier-capped peaks loom.

It isn’t an easy existence, and his concerns include issues ranging from transportation costs to the low prices paid for produce.

But these complaints are dwarfed by a new challenge farmers such as Munyua feel powerless to fight: imports of Chinese garlic flooding into the Kenyan market.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/china-s-relationship-africa-illustrated-garlic-tensions-n994486

That is a great example…….

But China is not alone….Russia seems to be back in Africa……

Russia’s recent activities in Sudan and the Central African Republic have been the subject of intense speculation.

That’s because along with renewed economic ties, private Russian military contractors are reported to have been active in both countries.

This is particularly sensitive in Sudan, where there have been widespread, often violent anti-government protests.

Moscow has been increasingly turning its attention to sub-Saharan Africa, developing trade, security and defence links.

So, what do we know about Russia’s activities in Africa, and how extensive are they?

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-45035889

Russia is on the rise in Africa……

Six African Heads of State will be among global leaders and foreign dignitaries to eye-witness the official ceremony inaugurating the newly elected Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, scheduled to take place on May 7 in Moscow.

The importance of this ceremony is that Putin will continue to keep the symbols of power – the national seal, the national flag and a specially bound copy of the Constitution after taking the oath of office as President.

 
I bring up the two situations with two of the biggest competitors of the US because I would like to know what the US has in store for Africa……

Africa is not likely to emerge as one of US President Donald Trump’s foreign policy priorities. But the continent is almost certain to be affected by the fallout from his hardline foreign policy views, his strong anti-Muslim pronouncements, his vow to eliminate Islamic terrorism, and his “America First” economic policies.  And the prospects are probably bleak for any bold new development initiatives targeted at Africa like those rolled by his predecessors Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Over the past two decades, US Africa policy has enjoyed strong bipartisan congressional support from both Democrats and Republicans working together. But without a strong commitment to Africa in the White House or Executive Branch under Trump, the major programmes that have defined US policy in Africa for the past two decades will probably struggle to sustain the previous funding levels and state support.

https://africanarguments.org/2017/02/01/trumps-africa-policy-unclear-and-uncertain/

Newsweek offered n small look at what the Trump Africa Agenda will look like……

The U.S. faces an ever-connected, dynamic, and often dangerous world. Nowhere are the obstacles and opportunities presented by these conditions more evident than in U.S.-Africa policy.

Despite offering little insight into this foreign policy thinking during the campaign, the president-elect will enter office facing a number of serious challenges to U.S. interests in Africa, but also an unprecedented chance to deepen a partnership with the fastest-growing continent in the world and advance American security and economic interests.

The following priorities should be of particular interest to the Trump administration:

https://www.newsweek.com/three-priorities-donald-trump-africa-521375

As usual the US seems to care little for the Africa nations….only what can be pulled from their natural resources…..(see map to help one understand)……

We Have Been Warned!

It seems, it has been reported, that China has warned the US about sailing into the disputed waters in the South China Sea…..yes I said WARNED!

China said on Monday that it has warned two US ships sailing near disputed islands in the South China Sea to leave the area.

The move comes amid heightened tension between Beijing and Washington over trade tariffs, sanctions and Taiwan.

Warships in the South China Sea

  • US guided-missile destroyers Preble and Chung-Hoon traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs.
  • The reefs form part of the Spratly Islands, a region of the South China Sea over which China claims sovereignty.
  • The Foreign Ministry said the US vessels entered the waters without Chinese permission.

‘Infringed on Chinese sovereignty’

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press conference that China “is strongly dissatisfied and is resolutely opposed” to the US operation.

https://www.dw.com/en/china-warns-us-after-warships-sail-in-disputed-south-china-sea/a-48614428

Interesting turn of events……usually the US is the country warning others with our might and now the shoe is on the other foot.

China is expanding and the Pacific is their “backyard”…..

On September 30th 2018, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy Type 052C destroyer Lanzhou maneuvered dangerously close to American guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur as it patrolled the South China Sea. Lanzhou came within 50 meters of Decatur’s bow, sounding collision warnings on the bridge as radio calls went unanswered. Chinese skippers typically shadow U.S. vessels in these contested waters, but this behavior was uncharacteristically aggressive.

Decatur was conducting what the U.S. calls a freedom-of-navigation operation  near Gaven Reef in the hotly-contested Spratly Islands.[1] These operations demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s ability to transit international waters under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea—a treaty the U.S. recognizes even if it has not ratified it.[2] China, which is a party to the law of the sea convention, claims adherence to its letter but often violates its spirit with excessive maritime claims.[3]

 
Things are still tense in the South China Sea….maybe the US should focus on this instead of issuing more tariffs that will make any situation worse……this situation will be tense and will be watched……hopefully calmer intentions and/of rhetoric will prevail.

Closing Thought–02May19

I am not a big fan of the use of mercenaries to do our bidding in the implementation of our foreign policy…..that said the biggest merc has been Erik Prince and his Blackwater (among others) and now he has a new patron…..China……

Blackwater founder Erik Prince’s new company is reportedly operating in Iraq, a country from which his former company was banned for killing civilians.

A subsidiary of Frontier Services Group (FSG), a security and logistics company Prince founded in Hong Kong, has set up shop in Basra, Iraq, BuzzFeed News reported Saturday, citing official documents. The subsidiary, the Dubai-based Frontier Logistics Consultancy DMCC, has officially registered as a foreign company with Iraq’s Ministry of Trade, an official document from last year shows.

In March, Prince told Al Jazeera that he hoped to see FSG supporting oil operations in countries like Iraq. Their subsidiary is operating out of Basra, which is located in the oil-rich southern region.

https://www.businessinsider.com/blackwater-founder-erik-princes-new-company-operating-in-iraq-report-2019-4

Now here is where my problem arises……if China is fronting him the cash and he has access to sensitive info….will he share it with his masters? Does that not mean he needs to register as a foreign agent? Has he done so?

News has come out that Prince is offering a merc army to fight against Maudro……

Erik Prince – the founder of the controversial private security firm Blackwater and a prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump – has been pushing a plan to deploy a private army to help topple Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicholas Maduro, four sources with knowledge of the effort told Reuters.

Over the last several months, the sources said, Prince has sought investment and political support for such an operation from influential Trump supporters and wealthy Venezuelan exiles. In private meetings in the United States and Europe, Prince sketched out a plan to field up to 5,000 soldiers-for-hire on behalf of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, according to two sources with direct knowledge of Prince’s pitch.

One source said Prince has conducted meetings about the issue as recently as mid-April.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-erikprince-exclusi-idUSKCN1S608F

Keep in mind that Prince has offered up a merc army to takeover in Afghanistan…..

This is a despicable person in my opinion……plus I would not trust this toad as far as I can spit him.

I think Prince is a crimminal….and I apparently am not the only one who thinks this……

The chairman of the House intelligence committee is making a criminal referral to the Justice Department for the founder of the security firm Blackwater, with Adam Schiff alleging Erik Prince lied to his committee in 2017. Prince testified to the panel that a meeting in the Seychelles islands with a Russian with ties to Vladimir Putin was a chance encounter. He said, “I didn’t fly there to meet any Russian guy.” That’s directly contradicted by the special counsel’s report on the Russia investigation, which says the meeting was set up ahead of time and that there were communications about it with Trump campaign adviser Steve Bannon. Questions have long surrounded the mysterious meeting, reports the AP, which has more:

Prince met with Kirill Dmitriev, who headed a Russian sovereign wealth fund, as Trump was preparing to take office and the Russian government was seeking contacts with the incoming administration. Dmitriev reported directly to Putin, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Prince told Mueller’s investigators that he had briefed Bannon on the meeting, but Bannon told them they never discussed it. The report says investigators couldn’t iron out the “conflicting accounts” by reviewing communications, in part because text messages between them were missing. Phone provider records showed that Bannon and Prince had exchanged dozens of messages, including two that Prince sent within hours of the meetings with Dmitriev, but the investigators could not find the messages on their phones. Prince denied deleting messages and Bannon said he did not know why the messages were missing. Schiff said Tuesday there is strong evidence that Prince, a prominent supporter of President Trump, “willingly misled” the intelligence committee as it probed connections between Trump’s campaign and Russia. “The evidence is so weighty that the Justice Department needs to consider this,” Schiff said.

One potential wrinkle, from the Washington Post: Schiff and his committee do not yet know what Prince’s arrangement with Mueller was. If the men arranged a deal that saw Prince give information “under the condition it not be used against him, then being able to prove” Prince lied in his congressional testimony “might be problematic,” says Schiff. The Justice Department didn’t have immediate comment on the referral. Prince is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

To use a meme of our Dear Beloved Supreme Leader…..

Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up!

Any thoughts?

China Versus Taiwan

Let me say from the onset that I am by no means an expert in Chinese affairs…..but this is something that has been boiling for 5 decades or longer.

For over 50 years there have been two Chinas…Mainland and the island of Taiwan….and in all that time they have been at the others throat.

But why have they been hating each other all that time?

Let me make this situation as simple as possible.

Now that you know why the hatred is there and simmering just below the surface of geopolitics….

In the first week of 2019, as China grabbed headlines for landing a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, a New Year’s Day editorial in the nation’s official military newspaper told its readers that “war preparations” should be a top priority for the year. The following day, President Xi Jinping offered a forceful reminder of what Beijing considers its most likely focus of conflict to be: Taiwan.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apps-taiwan-commentary/commentary-will-china-go-to-war-over-taiwan-idUSKCN1P11IT

And to help with the understanding of this situation….a short video may help…..

Taiwan is an ally of the US and if push came to shove with China I think the US would side with Taiwan and act accordingly….even if it meant going to war.

In his opening speech of 2019, and his first ever on the subject of Taiwan, the Chinese president Xi Jinping was characteristically uncompromising. Forty years after Beijing agreed to stop its daily shelling of the Taiwanese islands of Quemoy and Matsu, and launched a policy of commercial seduction, relations have coarsened. Addressing an audience of military and party officials and his country’s wider public on 2 January, China’s nationalist president-for-life signalled his impatience with the status quo, refused to rule out the use of military force and warned “foreign powers” against intervening in what Beijing regards as a domestic matter. For any Taiwanese viewer, it was a chilling moment.

https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/observations/2019/01/china-and-taiwan-s-dangerous-face

With that said there has been a study that does not think the US could win a state vs state war with China……

One of the first things one learns as an infantry platoon leader is that he who tries to secure everything with his soldiers on the battlefield usually ends up securing nothing. Unfortunately for U.S. national security, this old maxim appears to have been forgotten at the strategic and political level by some of America’s brightest minds in the defense community as evidenced in a recent report.

The November 2018 study Providing for the Common Defense, issued by the National Defense Strategy Commission, a congressionally-mandated blue-ribbon panel led by former U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman and retired U.S. Navy Admiral Gary Roughead, recommends that the United States should spend more on its armed forces and reinforce its global military presence lest Washington be confronted by a national security emergency at a period when the nation is at a “greater risk than at any time in decades.”

https://thediplomat.com/2018/12/would-the-us-really-lose-a-war-with-china-and-russia/

I know that everyone thinks the US is the bees knees but is it possible that we could not win a state vs state war with China?