Whimsiest of tweets affecting Wall Street

I heard an old  saying repeated last night (1 News) – “When America sneezes the world catches a cold”.

Another saying could now be appropriate – “When Donald Trump tweets Wall street sneezes”.

Wall Street went up when the US and China seemed to come to an agreement to avert more tariff increases, but it has dipped after Trump tweets raised uncertainty.

Bloomberg: China Swings Into Action on Trade as Trump Ups Pressure for “Real Deal”

U.S. President Donald Trump said China is sending “very strong signals” following weekend trade discussions in Argentina, as uncertainty remains over what commitments were made between the two nations.

Beijing will start to quickly implement specific items where there’s consensus with the U.S. and will push forward on trade negotiations within the 90-day “timetable and road map,” the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Wednesday morning in China.

Hours later, Bloomberg News reported that officials have begun preparing to restart imports of U.S. soybeans and liquefied natural gas — the first sign confirming the claims of Trump and the White House that China had agreed to start buying some U.S. products “immediately.”

Global markets cheered the weekend accord on Monday, only to reverse course Tuesday as doubts emerged over exactly what the world’s two largest economies had agreed on.

NY Times: Trump Warns China He’s “Tariff Man,” Spooking Stock Investors

The trade war is back on — at least as far as investors are concerned.

Stocks sank on Tuesday, as President Trump threatened China with further tariffs, just days after the two countries agreed to a cease-fire in their escalating economic conflict. Referring to himself as a “Tariff Man,” Mr. Trump, in a series of tweets, deepened the murkinesssurrounding the trade agreement, while members of his economic team talked down the prospects of a broad deal.

The fear is that a lasting trade war will undermine the global growth at a time when some of the world’s largest economies are already slowing down, and the United States, a standout performer, is also expected to slow.

Stock markets always go up and down, sometimes seemingly for the flimsiest of reasons.

Add to that are fluctuations now due to the whimsiest of tweets.

The worry is that a whopper of a whimsy may precipitate a stock market slide down a slippery slope.

 

China and US resolving trade war, and ‘China needs NZ’

The trade war between the US and China seems to have been moderated after a meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping.

Reuters: U.S., China agree trade war ceasefire after Trump, Xi summit

China and the United States agreed to a ceasefire in their bitter trade war on Saturday after high-stakes talks in Argentina between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, including no escalated tariffs on January 1.

Trump will leave tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports at 10 percent at the beginning of the new year, agreeing to not raise them to 25 percent “at this time”, the White House said in a statement.

“China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” it said.

“China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately.”

The two presidents also agreed to have talks on other contentious issues such as on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfers, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.

Meanwhile here in New Zealand, on Q+A last night, ‘Beijing-based economist Rodney Wigram explains why China needs New Zealand’:

 

GCSB stops Spark from using Huawei for 5G

The GCSB is stopping Spark from using Huawei equipment for their new 5G cellphone network. They won’t give reasons, saying they are classified.

There are concerns that a Chinese owned company be involved in communications infrastructure – but some also have concerns about US technology companies with allegations of CIA back doors.

RNZ: Reasons to block Spark’s 5G rollout ‘classified’

The Minister responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) said the reasons why a Chinese tech company won’t be involved in the rollout of 5G technology here are classified.

The GCSB has turned down Spark’s proposed use of Huawei equipment in its new network because it would raise significant national security risks.

Andrew Little said he was briefed on the decision on Monday but cannot divulge what the risks might be.

“Spark notified the GCSB two or three months ago, GCSB has carried out an assessment on the technology that Spark proposes to introduce and has assessed that technology as posing a national security risk. That assessment was notified to Spark today.”

“Spark have indicated they will have a close look at the reasons for GCSB’s assessment then if Spark wishes to continue with their proposal they then have the option of working with the GCSB on looking at mitigation of [those risks].”

Mr Little said the 5G technology was more sophisticated than older network technology and was not currently in use in New Zealand.

“The principal difference between 5G technology and the conventional 4G and 3G technology is that the conventional technology has an infrastructure core and then peripheral technology such as cellphone towers and the like and they can, in effect, be kept separate but you cannot do that with 5G technology.”

“Every component of 5G technology, every component of the network is integrated and therefore access to one component can lead to access to the entire network.”

He said the GCSB decision was not a complete deal-breaker for Spark’s rollout of 5G.

“Spark has said they are committed to rolling out 5G by the end of 2020, there’s no reason why they can’t stick to that timetable. They have known that they’d have to go through this process… it’s underway and there’s still work to do.”

Ardern won’t condemn China over Anne-Marie Brady

“I wouldn’t want to set any expectation that I’d be generally briefed on an individual’s case… I expect that based on what [police] investigation concludes, that they would act appropriately,” PM Jacinda Ardern says, of the Anne-Marie Brady case.

Jacinda Ardern told us she wouldn’t intervene in how the Police investigated Dr Brady’s complaint. She says she had no reports that national security issues were involved.

 

Can NZ really be ‘a bridge’ between US and China?

I still don’t know. Jacinda Ardern was asked by RNZ how New Zealand can act as a bridge between China and the US. She doesn’t seem to have really answered.

On The Nation in the weekend: Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker

Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker says New Zealand is trying to position itself as the bridge between the United States and China. “We have a bit of a reputation for the honest broker, and it’s times like this that we should draw upon that reputation”.

Chinese influence in New Zealand politics

The issue of political donations in return for political influence and even candidacy has come up in the Jami-Lee Ross saga, even though it now seems that Ross has not come close to delivering on his accusations.

The related issue of Chinese influence in New Zealand (and world) politics has also come up.

I think we have to be careful here separating legitimate engagement in our democracy by registered voters, and alleged influence from China. Chinese New Zealanders (NZ and foreign born) make up about 5% of the population so presumably make up about 5% of the voting population. They have a right to stand for Parliament, to support parties, to donate and to vote, like anyone else here.

But there are concerns about influence from China, and some of these concerns may be reasonable.

Martyn Bradbury posted National looks less like a political party and more like a front for Chinese business interests

As China regresses into a censorship totalitarian state, we need to ask how much influence our largest Political Party is under from Beijing and in whose interest does National rule? New Zealand’s or the People’s Republic of China?

The Woke Left feel terribly anxious about any questions like this as they see it as nothing more than Xenophobia, but when we have this level of influence over a Party and when academics are having their homes broken into, such attempts to shut down the debate and questioning is naive at best and aiding China at worst.

That was just a general swipe (and before facts of the Ross allegations became clearer), but a comment from Iain McClean was more informative.

Yes; our Allies are worried:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/28/new-zealands-five-eyes-membership-called-into-question-over-china-links

An example / insight in how some of this infiltration works.

From Your NZ.org:

https://yournz.org/2018/10/17/open-forum-forum/#commentsrobertguyton

robertguyton
/  October 17, 2018
“Explain the primary role of the United Front Work in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The United Front Work Department of the CCP is an integral part of the Party structure, down to sometimes the lowest levels and coordinated at the very top by a United Front Leading Small Group initiated by Xi Jinping. The Department works to reach out, represent, and guide key individuals and groups within both the PRC [People’s Republic of China] and greater China, including Chinese diasporas. The goals include to have all such groups accept CCP rule, endorse its legitimacy, and help achieve key Party aims. Because United Front Work has officially been extended to those who emigrated after 1979 as well as those Chinese studying abroad, some 50 million or more, United Front Work is now of direct relevance and sometimes concern to an increasing number of foreign governments, notably Australia, Zealand, Canada and the United States. United Front Work abroad is not limited to only these countries though.”

https://thediplomat.com/2018/02/chinas-united-front-work-propaganda-as-policy/

And if we do nothing……? This is heading our way.!!

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-09-19/digital-dictatorship-china-exerts-control-over-population-through-social-credit

I would suggest the same tentacles are within Labour as well.
We need to ‘keep an eye out’.

So we should have concerns about influence from China. If it can be found that political donations are coming from China then we should be concerned (is there any evidence of this or is it just scaremongering?).

But this should not spread out to general attacks on registered New Zealand voters with Chinese ethnicity.

Today in NZ Herald – Tze Ming Mok: Here is the big deal about Bridges’ ‘Chinese’ donations

During his epic Tuesday presser, MP Jami-Lee Ross carefully stated he didn’t think Zhang Yikun did anything wrong by trying to donate money that Ross alleges was illegally separated into legal-seeming bits.

Putting aside whether Mr Zhang (MNZM, gonged by Labour) himself has any links to the Chinese Communist Party, there is no reason anyone who actually is overly close to the Chinese Government would think it wrong to hand over bulky donations to New Zealand politicians, given the embrace of CCP-linked cash by senior figures on both sides of the House for years.

There has been little informed public debate of the scale of such funding, or what it means for the independence of New Zealand’s foreign and domestic policies.

Only one China expert here has spoken out consistently on this, Professor Anne-Marie Brady, infamously subjected to burglaries alleged to be the work of Chinese state operatives. When other local experts publicly equivocate or fail to comment about Brady’s research into the United Front campaign in New Zealand, the public is led to believe the scale of Chinese government influence here can’t be that bad, or at least that the situation isn’t clear.

This chilling effect is harming Chinese people in New Zealand. Many people cannot differentiate Chinese people from the actions of the CCP (I mean hey, many people can’t tell a Chinese from a Korean), but this is made worse when hardly any authorities on the topic will address the issue openly. Concerns can only erupt as xenophobia against the Chinese and “Asian” population.

It’s tragic that only Western countries with openly xenophobic leadership such as the US and Australia, have found the political capital to address China’s influence campaigns.

New Zealand needs to be the unicorn that can resist CCP influence as a way to uphold the rights of its own Chinese populations to political independence. We deserve better than to be trapped between knee-jerk racists and Xi Jinping Thought. Abandoning us to this fate is racism too.

And we should have about 6 ethnic Chinese MPs if they are going to be proportionally represented.

A poll last May showed how Chinese voters intended to vote (compared to how they voted in 2014:

If an election was held tomorrow, who would you vote for?

  • National 73.5% (down from 74.1%)
  • Labour 15.8% (up from 14%)
  • NZ First 4.7% (up from 1.1%)
  • ACT 3.6% (down from5.7%)
  • Greens 2% (down from 2.4%)
  • Conservative 0% (down from 2.4%)
  • Other 0.5% (down from 1.6%

– NZH Rise in Chinese voter support for New Zealand First, survey finds

Note that that was before the swing in support back to Labour after Jacinda Ardern took over in August. Another poll in September 2017:

  • National 71.1%
  • Labour 21.6%
  • NZ First 2.4%
  • ACT 2.4%

National will be back in Government if Chinese voters had their way

So there support seems reasonably fluid.

Law and order, health care and education were the issues that mattered most to Chinese voters according to the poll.

National List MP Jian Yang is believed to be the Chinese MP who would be the one to most effectively serve the Chinese community in the next three years on 44.8 per cent, followed by Labour’s Raymond Huo on 18.8 per cent.

Jian Yang cops quite a bit of flak because of his past in China, but he is verywell supported by ethnic Chinese voters in New Zealand.

 

Analysis of USMCA trade agreement (aka NAFTA 2.0)

While Donald Trump portrayed the new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement as the best in modern history (it should at least be an improvement on NAFTA) it looks largely like pro-trade/globalisation business as usual with some weak tweaks.

Stephen Jacobi:

Despite tweaks here and there, USMCA is unlikely to disturb unduly the extensive integration between the three amigos in North America, except perhaps in terms of the motor vehicle industry where the changes are a little more extensive. Mostly though some of the world’s most competitive supply and value chains will continue as before and that is a good thing for industry, workers and consumers in that part of the world.

Financial Times: Nafta Is Salvaged From Trump’s Wrecking Ball

It could have been a lot worse. When Donald Trump arrived in the White House, it was on the back of frothy rhetoric about the awfulness of trade agreements. He had a special animus against the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, which he called “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere” and which he promised either to change fundamentally or to destroy.

Nearly two years later, Nafta has suffered neither of those fates. Late on Sunday night the US and Canada agreed to revise the deal, clunkily renamed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. To be sure, the agreement is generally the worse for these revisions. The US Congress, which needs to approve the deal, should try to improve it, or at least not impair it further. But thanks largely to the determined effort by Canada to keep the pact alive and functional, severe damage has been averted.

Scott Lincicome (@scottlincicome) via Twitter says the agreement is more for (Trump’s) political purposes than practical trade improvements:

“By no means is this a perfect (even great) update to an old FTA. BUT it’s not devastating, maintains free-ish trade in most goods/services, modernizes, and reduces uncertainty.”

“For the US, it’s a missed opportunity to liberalize further & probably makes us less competitive. But the bigger issue is: was the last 21 mos of uncertainty/hostility worth what’s basically “NAFTA+TPP+minor good/bad changes” when you could have just had TPP (maybe even amended)?”

Seems obvious to me the answer is “no,” especially since we’re now gonna do the same song-and-dance with Japan and will (for now) miss out on the TPP’s much-larger AsiaPac integration (and China balancing – the clear, unstated point of much of this).

Meanwhile, the 232 tariffs/retaliation remain, & POTUS may be emboldened to use more “national security” threats to get “deals” that are worse than what we could’ve had BUT help him politically (at our allies’ & long-term expense). That may be the worst USMCA precedent of al.

2) There’s actually some trade liberalization in this deal! (Crazy, I know) Canada opens its dairy market a little (keyword: a little – 0.34%); the US in exchange opens up a little on dairy, peanuts, & sugar. Good for consumers (though not ideal free trade). De minimis raised too.

3) NAFTA was old and needed updating; this deal – just like TPP (more on that later) – includes new, relatively-uncontroversial “modernization chapters” on things like SMEs, e-commerce, non-tariff barriers, etc. Needed to be done, though one can quibble on the margins.

4) Finally, it seems (see caveat above) the USA’s WORST demands – procurement, mandatory US content, 5-yr sunset, guest worker visas, “seasonal” trade remedies, safeguards, etc – were either removed entirely or softened to the point of being practically harmless.

I imagine the US dropping these demands, perhaps more than anything else, is why the deal (which looked dead) got done. Remove the “poison pills,” and the bad/ugly stuff is annoying but (probably) worth nixing the uncertainty & keeping NAFTA alive.

Now, the Bad:

1) Ex investment, the deal includes (and in some cases even expands) many of the “regulatory” FTA provisions often criticized by free marketers because they are intrusive, costly or even protectionist: labor, environment, IPR, etc. Some like IP go beyond TPP.

Whether you like these things or they’re dealbreakers is really gonna depend on your litmus tests & the specific provisions. For me, I don’t see anything in these chapters (so far!) that makes me hope the deal dies in Congress.

2) The deal doesn’t kill most of the protectionism NAFTA left. Eg, many US/Canada agriculture (even dairy) restrictions; services & investment “non-conforming measures” (incl the US Jones Act, sigh). Big missed oppty to *expand* trade in a once-a-generation negotiation.

It also doesn’t fix NAFTA’s broken dispute settlement system (Grumble: maybe if certain parties weren’t so focused on making the deal more protectionist, arguing about “national security” & tweeting insults, they could’ve fixed this stuff. Bah.)

3) The 232 side letters. Yes, quota levels are so high 232 tariffs might never apply to Canadian/Mexican autos/parts, but cmon: these are still quotas that still contemplate NATIONAL SECURITY tariffs on CARS in the NA supply chain. That’s bad on multiple (law, econ, principle) levels.

And the 60-day “consultations” letters implicitly accept a finding that NATIONAL SECURITY TARIFFS could apply to close allies and integral parts of our industrial base. I get the politics, but, systemically, this stinks. This should be a blanket exemption. Full stop.

Finally, the Ugly:

1) Rules of Origin. The automotive ROO are managed trade on steroids, requiring originating (duty free) vehicles/parts to have high levels of not just total regional content, but also steel/aluminum purchases, & “high wage” labor. Many other onerous regulations.

Libertarian principles aside, this will likely decrease the competitiveness of the NA auto sector, accelerate offshoring of small car production & increase consumer costs. It also creates new precedent for other US FTAs & cements these rules into the North American supply chain.

2) The glaring omission: US steel/aluminum NATIONAL SECURITY tariffs, plus Can/MX retaliation, remain in place. So the pain (for almost everyone) continues, even though Trump got his “trade deal” – wasn’t that the point? I guess not (not yet at least).

BIG PICTURE:

By no means is this a perfect (even great) update to an old FTA. BUT it’s not devastating, maintains free-ish trade in most goods/services, modernizes, and reduces uncertainty. YES, Trump caused the uncertainty, but it’s better than where we were 2 months ago

Some of the worst provisions, moreover, are delayed or just side letters or could be amended in the future (ROO by proclamation in the USA). Seems Can/MX “caved” in that they found a deal they could live with and just wanted Trump to Leave North America Alone. OK.

For the US, it’s a missed opportunity to liberalize further & probably makes us less competitive. But the bigger issue is: was the last 21 mos of uncertainty/hostility worth what’s basically “NAFTA+TPP+minor good/bad changes” when you could have just had TPP (maybe even amended)?

Seems obvious to me the answer is “no,” especially since we’re now gonna do the same song-and-dance with Japan and will (for now) miss out on the TPP’s much-larger AsiaPac integration (and China balancing – the clear, unstated point of much of this).

Meanwhile, the 232 tariffs/retaliation remain, & POTUS may be emboldened to use more “national security” threats to get “deals” that are worse than what we could’ve had BUT help him politically (at our allies’ & long-term expense). That may be the worst USMCA precedent of all.

Stephen Jacobi (Executive Director of the NZ International Business Forum) has a New Zealand perspective in “The greatest FTA ever negotiated”

The deal does have some implications for New Zealand interests though:

  • US dairy farmers will gain some additional access to the Canadian market, not a great deal more than under the former TPP and certainly not enough to bring down Canada’s extensive supply management for dairy
  • Canada will phase out its “special milk class 7” scheme under which Canada was able to supply subsidised milk powder to global markets – that will be welcomed by New Zealand exporters
  • Canada will rein in British Columbia’s scheme to allow sales of BC wine in supermarkets, while imported wines were relegated to speciality stores – this was a WTO dispute in the making and will assist NZ exporters. It remains to be seen whether Canadian restrictions on the distribution of wine in other provinces will be reformed
  • The operation of controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) will no longer apply between the United States and Canada (but will continue between the United States and Mexico)
  • The US has extended the intellectual property provisions of the former TPP which were stripped out of CPTPP.

The latter two elements make it both easier and harder to negotiate a future FTA between the US and New Zealand. While the elimination of ISDS will be welcomed by the NZ Government, intellectual property remains a real sticking point.

Implications for China and Asia/Pacific:

One other provision is potentially hu-uge. The USMCA parties have agreed to consult and potentially withdraw commitments if one of them negotiates an FTA with a non-market economy (read: China). This is unusual for an FTA and calls into question future Canadian and Mexican support for the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAPP) which has been on APEC’s agenda for over a decade.

Trump accuses China of hacking Clinton server, no evidence

Donald Trump initiated circus has tweeted claims from a right wing media source of ‘mixed’ factual reliability that China hacked Hillary Clinton’s server, and has urged the FBI to act or “their credibility will be gone forever!”, but the FBI have responded with this very brief statement:

“The FBI has not found any evidence the servers were compromised.”

Two contrasting headlines:

Fox News: Chinese company reportedly hacked Clinton’s server, got copy of every email in real-time

A Chinese state-owned company reportedly hacked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server, then inserted code that forwarded them a copy of virtually every email she sent or received after that — a revelation President Trump is demanding be investigated.

The Daily Caller reported that the firm operating in the D.C. area wrote code that was then embedded in the server and generated a “courtesy copy” for almost all her emails — which was then forwarded to the Chinese company.

The code reportedly was discovered in 2015 by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), which then warned FBI officials of the intrusion.

A source briefed on the matter confirmed to Fox News the details of the Caller’s reporting, and said that the ICIG was so concerned by the revelation that officials drove over to the FBI to inform agents — including anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok — of the development after it was discovered via the emails’ metadata.

The source told Fox News the hack was from a Chinese company, describing it as a front for Chinese intelligence.

A second source briefed on the matter told Fox News that officials outside of the FBI indicated code on the Clinton server suggested a foreign source was receiving copies of emails in real time.

The hacking report caught the attention late Tuesday of President Trump, who warned that the FBI and DOJ should act or “their credibility will be forever gone.”

NPR had a different angle: Trump Says Without Evidence That China Hacked Clinton Email Server

President Trump tweeted early Wednesday that China was behind a hack of former presidential opponent Hillary Clinton’s emails, in an apparent reference to an article published by the conservative Daily Caller website.

China denied the allegation.

The article, by reporter Richard Pollack, cites two anonymous sources and says a Chinese-owned company based outside of Washington, D.C., “hacked Hillary Clinton’s private server throughout her term as secretary of state and obtained nearly all her emails.”

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia was behind a campaign to influence the 2016 election and was responsible for the hacking of emails of the Democratic National Committee as well as for Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

The subject of the Daily Caller’s article is separate from that hack.

So the allegation seems to be that China hacked Clinton’s email server as well as Russia.

“The FBI spent thousands of hours investigating, and found no evidence of intrusion. That’s a fact,” the Daily Caller quoted Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill as saying. “But in an age where facts are alternative and truth isn’t truth, it’s no surprise that an outlet like the Daily Caller would try to distract us from very real and very immediate threats to our democracy brought by the man occupying the White House.”

“This isn’t the first time we’ve heard similar kinds of allegations,” Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday. “China is a staunch defender of cybersecurity. We firmly oppose and crack down on any forms of Internet attacks and the stealing of secrets,” she added, according to Reuters.

Trump said in April 2017 that it “could have been China, could have been a lot of different groups” behind the hack of Democratic emails that has been blamed on Russia.

Washington also reported on this initially, but followed up a few hours later: FBI pushes back on unfounded Trump claim that China hacked Hillary Clinton’s email

The FBI on Wednesday pushed back on an unfounded claim by President Trump that Hillary Clinton’s emails were hacked by China, saying it had found no evidence that the private servers she used while secretary of state had been compromised.

Trump provided no details about the alleged hacking, but his tweets came shortly after the online publication of a story by the Daily Caller asserting that a Chinese-owned company operating in the Washington area hacked Clinton’s private server while she was secretary of state and obtained nearly all her emails. The publication cited “two sources briefed on the matter.”

Fox News, which is frequently watched by the president, aired a segment on the report Wednesday night, with a guest calling it a bombshell if true.

Asked about the president’s assertions, the FBI provided a statement Wednesday afternoon that simply said: “The FBI has not found any evidence the servers were compromised.”

An FBI spokesman declined to comment on Trump’s call for the bureau to make a “next move.” A spokesman for the Justice Department also declined to comment.

In a July 2016 statement, Comey said the FBI “did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked.” But, he added: “Given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence.”

A lengthy Justice Department inspector general report released in June criticized the latter part of Comey’s statement, saying that while forensics agents could not say with 100 percent confidence that Clinton’s servers had not been compromised, they were “fairly confident” that there wasn’t an intrusion.

Trump’s calls to investigate Clinton and other real and perceived political adversaries have grown louder as the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election continues.

Media Bias/Fact Check on Daily Caller:

These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes.

Factual Reporting: MIXED

Trump has also tweeted over the last few hours:

New Poll – A majority of Americans think that John Brennan and James Comey should have their Security Clearances Revoked. Not surprised!

“The Obama people did something that’s never been done…They spied on a rival presidential campaign. Would it be OK if Trump did it next? I am losing faith that our system is on the level. I’m beginning to think it is rotten & corrupt. Scary stuff Obama did.” DOJ

“Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid for information from the Russian government to use against her government – there’s no doubt about that!”

Tucker Carlson is on Fox.

“Anonymous Sources are really starting to BURN the media.” The fact is that many anonymous sources don’t even exist. They are fiction made up by the Fake News reporters. Look at the lie that Fake CNN is now in. They got caught red handed! Enemy of the People!

When you see “anonymous source,” stop reading the story, it is fiction!

That’s quite ironic given that the Chinese hacking claims made by Daily Caller and Fox were based on anonymous sources.

It seems curious that Fox seems to be getting ‘briefed’ by similar or the same sources as Daily Caller.

Me on Donald Trump:

Factual tweeting: very mixed, very biased towards trump causes and conspiracies.

 

Mixed trade deal and financial news

It is difficult to predict what the longer term effects of all this might be.

Whether trade deals or agreements can be reached between the US and Canada and also with China, and also with the EU, will make a difference. In the meantime, the trade wars over tariffs with US subsidies to compensate will continue to disrupt markets.

Trade war and Trump praise continue

The US-China trade war continues to escalate, Donald Trump claims “some really super” GDP growth and praises himself, but warnings there are from within the US.

USA Today: Trump escalates trade war with 25 percent tariffs on another $16 billion in Chinese goods

The Trump administration announced Tuesday it is moving forward with a 25 percent tariff on $16 billion in Chinese goods, further escalating a trade war with Beijing.

The tariffs are the second round of duties that the U.S. has imposed on Chinese goods in a dispute over technology. An initial round of tariffs was placed on $34 billion of Chinese products on July 6.

More tariffs could be coming soon

President Donald Trump earlier proposed 10 percent tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports. Last week, he instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider more than doubling those duties to 25 percent. Those tariffs could be levied in September, following a public comment period.

The latest round of tariffs comes during a breakdown of trade talks between the Trump administration and Beijing and amid a growing trade dispute that has rattled global markets.

CBA News: Trump predicts GDP growth above 5 percent next quarter

President Trump predicted Tuesday that gross domestic product growth in the next quarter “could be in the 5s” — that is, higher than 5 percent.

Mr. Trump made the bold prediction Tuesday evening before a dinner at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort with leaders from FedEx, Mastercard, Boeing, PepsiCo and other companies.

The president also hailed his own economic and trade policies, saying he is “taking our economy to incredible new heights” in spite of fears of damage from the escalating trade disputes he has provoked.

“You’re gonna see some really super growth,” he promised.

The government reported last month that the economy grew at a rate of 4.1 percent in the second quarter, the fastest pace in nearly four years.

That’s good for now, but risks are also growing, as is US debt.

He acknowledged, “We’re in a little bit of a fight with China” over tariffs, but predicted a “fantastic trading relationship” eventually.

Maybe. Or it could turn to trade and economic custard.

At the end of his remarks, President Trump asked the business leaders to introduce themselves. The introductions began to resemble the scene at many of Mr. Trump’s Cabinet meetings, in which the president’s appointees take turns praising him. Trump jokingly noted that everyone at the dinner appeared to like him.

Trump seems to have a need to keep seeking praise. His oversized ego needs to be continually propped up, usually by orchestrated meetings.

But there are concerns within the US.

Washington Examiner: Trump’s trade war has Indiana on edge

President Trump’s trade policies are sending tremors across Indiana, as voters reliant on the agriculture and manufacturing industries that are the backbone of a thriving state economy brace for the fallout from retaliatory tariffs being slapped on U.S. exports.

Trump’s aggressive imposing of tariffs on foreign imports to negotiate more favorable trading terms for American products threatens to upend a strong Indiana economy that exports $4.6 billion annually in agriculture commodities, according to government figures.

Indiana also is a manufacturing hub that sustains hundreds of thousands of factory jobs. That’s why the Republicans that dominate politics here, and the voters they represent, are growing anxious as the disputes with China and other countries that Trump instigated and, once boasted would be easy to win, show signs of escalating into a full blown trade war.

“The ag community is extremely nervous,” Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, a Republican who oversees the state department of agriculture, said this week in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “It seems to be our president’s modus operandi to push issues to get a agreeable settlement. We are hopeful that that is what is happening here.”

Conceding the initial pain his policies could inflict, the president has proposed a $12 billion federal bailout to keep the agriculture industry afloat during what could be protracted negotiations.

Trump has urged patience, promising jittery Republicans and loyal supporters in farm country that the administration’s strategy will pay big long-term dividends. Conceding the initial pain his policies could inflict, the president has proposed a $12 billion federal bailout to keep the agriculture industry afloat during what could be protracted negotiations.

Republicans are hesitant to criticize Trump, preferring a united front — and hoping to avoid his Twitter wrath — heading into the midterm elections. But privately, they are concerned Trump’s trade agenda and liberal use of tariffs could be a drag on the economy less than 100 days before the vote.

A warning sign: Trump’s Trade War Is Killing American Blue Jeans

It’s the latest gut punch for an industry that had already declined into a shell of what it once was. In the past year, two of the last-standing major denim mills closed, including the biggest: Cone Denim’s facility in Greensboro, North Carolina, that many firms say was the last to make high-end denim fabric in the U.S. on a large scale. Increases in California’s minimum wage also helped drive several apparel factories in Los Angeles to shutter or move to Mexico, adding to a tumultuous year for an industry that’s been just hanging on.

On top of that, free-trade agreements had been pushing blue jean-making overseas for two decades, and now the remaining manufacturers can’t believe the irony of getting hit by a return to protectionism. Major brands, like Levi Strauss & Co., had already largely bailed, shifting almost all of their production to Asia or Mexico.

Another warning sign: South Carolina’s first tariffs casualty: Television factory in Winnsboro closes, lays off 126

A television maker in Winnsboro that uses Chinese components for its assembly operation has announced that increased costs related to tariffs are forcing it to shut down.

Element Electronics’ plant just north of Columbia is the first in South Carolina to close as a direct result of the emerging global trade war, according to a governor’s office spokesman.

Gov. Henry McMaster called the plant’s closure “a sad moment” as it is the only TV manufacturer in the United States. But he also offered cautious support of President Donald Trump’s tariffs strategy, saying that trade around the world needs to be free, open and fair.

“I am hoping that when all the work is done and all the facts are known, that the businesses and industries in South Carolina will not be hurt but instead will prosper,” he said.

Maybe this is just a bit of collateral damage on the way to better trade relations with China. But it could also be an warning sign – not that Trump is likely to take any notice. He seems intent on using threats and disruption to try and drive better bargains, and is confident he will win, but there is going to be losers as well.