Tariffs and the Art of the deal German-style

As I wrote last week this is more of a tariff tiff than a war.

You announce a number — $50B, $200B in tariffs — it doesn’t matter. It’s just a number to begin negotiations.

Wednesday morning news broke that the German ambassador was about to announce that the EU would abandon all import tariffs for cars between the European Union and the US provided the Trump Administration drop its 25% border tax on all EU car imports.

See its all negotiations and never really gets implemented. It’s the Art of the Deal so to speak. Finally, America has someone who does not bow to pressure from other countries that have enjoyed decades of favorable treatment selling into the US market.

This has everything and nothing to do with President Trump. Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush could have done this. They couldn’t because they took the money of the multi-national corporations and the globalist free traders who demanded that the US come out on the losing end of most trade deals as a way to pay back for our other sins.

Enter Trump. No ties that bind to these factions. Knows a thing or two about negotiations and plays hardball with them. As I wrote earlier, do you think any country would forgo its ability to sell into the US over tariffs or import taxes?

Of course not. I think I hear China working the abacus to figure out its new proposal right now.

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There was more than Bill and Loretta in on that Phoenix tarmac meeting: source

On Tuesday I had lunch with a friend who is in the know on most things Washington and Wall Street.

We meet every so often when he is in town, but today he made a special trip to Midtown to talk. It started out as all our get-togethers do, but quickly turned serious.

“Listen, I need to tell you something on deepest background,” he uttered for the first time in our history of speaking. “This shit is getting real.”

I did not mutter a word, figuring he had this conversation rolling around in his head for sometime, so I would just let him play it out and hold any questions to after he said his piece.

“Trump’s team has all the goods on the Obama White House and it will rock the world. I have second-hand knowledge of some of it and it is scary that what I know and where it could lead.”

As he said that the waiter came for a drink order. He ordered a double Macallan 21-year-old scotch, which he never has had before. I had water, because it looked like I would need all my wits when he was done.

He continued, “Do you remember the story of Bill Clinton meeting Loretta Lynch on the tarmac in Phoenix? he asked.

“Sure, I’ve heard some in the FBI where in hot water over probing that event,” I said.

“Brother, you ain’t heard the half of it,” he countered.

“The NSA has the total transcript of the conversation — the whole conversation.”

“Well that makes sense since they can use any smart phone as a microphone,” I joked.

“Do you know who else was in on that meeting?” he asked me.

“I assume Hillary to issue the quid pro quo on the Supreme Court seat for Lynch,” I countered thinking I would show how much I knew on the subject.

“That’s not the half of it, brother. Obama in the Oval Office was on that call.”

“What? Are you shitting me,” I blurted. “What did he say?”

“I don’t know the full transcript, but I was told it was a full-court press on Lynch.”

“So I’m guessing he didn’t contribute to the conversation on the grandkids?” I said and we both laughed and he took a long draw on his Macallan as a sense of relief came over him.

“How will this come out?” I asked. “It sounds like Obama was meddling in North Korea over the weekend, that does not sound like a man who is scared something big may come out.”

“Listen brother, this is multiple pay grades above us, so I have no idea how it plays out.”

That ended our talk on the subject, although I tried to engage him further and all he would say is, “I think we should talk after the 4th of July.”

As an aside, It is my hope that President Trump is well protected with no questionable public appearances coming up in the future.

QAnon primer for the unawakened

A phenomenon began last November — on the less traveled area of the Internet —  is purported to be posting information from a White House insider on how the swamp is being drained.

The postings on 4Chan.com and then 8Chan.net, where Anons — no one has an identity — decipher the cryptic postings of this alleged Trump Administration inside called QAnon.

To prove his/her/them provenance, QAnon has released images of post Presidential Executive Order signings and photos purportedly taken from Air Force One. The identity of this poster has been speculated with no definite person tied to the postings, however its presumed to be someone with a military intelligence background, from the use of cryptic language in the postings.

QAnon posted images and text hinting at the North Korean disabling its nuke program months prior to the news hitting mainstream media. Also uploaded information on the President Trump’s upcoming meeting with North Korea’s leadership well before news broke.

The avid 8Chan community — identified as The Great Awakening — spend countless hours deciphering the postings, researching what is called “bread crumb” drops from Q to get the behind the scenes initiatives being done in the White House.

Another topic that is full of bread crumbs is the Mueller probe and the FBI. Q has posted numerous times:

TRUST SESSIONS. TRUST WRAY. TRUST KANSAS (Pompeo). TRUST HOROWITZ. TRUST HUBER. Q

Some of the earlier Q posts said Mueller’s probe would go nowhere and pointed out how Mueller working with Hillary Clinton on the Uranium One deal with Russia. This still needs to be played out further in the media, which Q says the team above will uncover.

Q lists the dozen or so top Justice and FBI officials that have been forced out or left the agencies over the last 6 months or so. q has also posted about how they know their hidden communications, whether it involved saving drafts in a shared Google Mail account as lovers Lisa Page and Peter Strzok did.

Strzok, Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence and Page, attorney with the FBI‘s Office of the General Counsel, are now both cooperating witnesses to the Huber investigation.

A Q post from mid-April states that war is ugly and dangerous as reports came out that former national security advisor H.R. McMasters’ father died in a Philadelphia nursing home. Four weeks later a nurse was charged in the elderly McMasters death.

The FBI spy ring within the Trump campaign also came out of Q posts well before President Trump told the world about it.

Some of the most intriguing posts involve images of people in awkward poses either with questionable people or location. Sen. John McCain poses with Syrian fighters, A younger Barack Obama in Muslim garb and Obama in numerous shots with a young girl named Maggie Nixon.

Where Q gets these pictures is unknown, but due to the nature of the images you assume they are not available on Google images.

In early April, Q posted that the Pope will have a terrible May. Fast forward a month and Pope Francis announces that he may retire as Pontiff very shortly.

For further study in QAnon you can find all his posts at https://qanon.pub/? or https://qanonposts.com/ to get a sense of what is going on.

Weinstein’s new best friend may be Manhattan DA’s office

Harvey Weinstein will turn himself in to the NYPD Friday morning for arraignment on two counts of rape. One in the first degree and the second count to rape in the third degree stemming from two women’s allegations.

Weinstein will only be charged with two counts on Friday despite over 80 woman having come out with charges that the former film mogul violated their human dignity with lecherous acts.

The man who almost singlehandedly empowered woman to begin the #MeToo movement (along with Bill Cosby) will only be charged on two felonies for now.

There are two thoughts that come to mind after spending many years seeing how the District Attorney’s office and the NYPD works.

One: The want to get him into the system. Take your two strongest cases before a judge. Have him booked. Take his passport since he has the means to be a flight risk and put up a large bail request.

Two: Once booked, now you can request all the information you need to make further charges. Financial, business and travel records are all available due to charges. It’s no longer a fishing expedition, it’s a criminal case.

So when the criminal trial comes up and it will be in NYC, not California, the charging document may look more like a small telephone book and not the two-count indictment that will be presented this morning at Manhattan Supreme Court.

One other interesting aspect comes out of today as well. Weinstein, facing a life in prison, may become a bit more chatty with the Manhattan’s DA office on what he knows about a host of other people.

You have to know Weinstein was a large contributor to all things Democratic. From Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to a host of other national political contenders and state office holders.

What he has witnessed, been told about and/or funded may be of interest to the authorities. And that’s where this could become very interesting.

Happy Memorial Day to all and take a moment to think about all the young men and woman who laid down their lives for us over this holiday weekend.

 

Opioid abuse decimated US workforce: Paper

Where have all the workers gone? That’s the question baffling economists and social scientists for the last decade.

As the labor participation rate for Americans continues to slide lower, a Princeton professor beliefs he has found a contributing factor: Opioid abuse.

“Labor-force participation is lower in areas of the US with a high rate of opioid prescriptions, and labor-force participation fell more over this 15-year period in areas with a high rate of opioid prescriptions,” Alan Krueger wrote in the paper.

Krueger, the former Obama White House economist is not the first to propose this theory of a generation of workers lost to the epidemic of over-subscribed pain killers.

However, in an early version of this paper, Krueger showed data that nearly 50% of America’s between 25- and 54-years old not in the workforce were taking pain killers.

His paper cites the  post-recession decline in the labor-force participation rate—which stands at 62.9% in August, according to the Labor Department data. This number has fallen from 66% in December 2007 and a peak of 67.3% in early 2000.

Many have attributed the decline to aging Baby Boomers retiring, however the data shows that the 60 and older workforce has remained somewhat static as older workers retirement funds were decimated in the 2008 market rout.

It’s also a point to make that as the next generation has fallen out of the workforce, older workers need to stay on since there are little in the way of replacements to fill the job.

While Krueger says the data is not all in yet, he suggests that a further look into this epidemic is warranted, since there may be a cause and effect. “It’s certainly something that deserves serious attention,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

As an aside, I have written on this subject in the past. I see it as a chicken and egg problem. Which came first the loss of a job or the drug abuse?

I maintain that the job loss or fear of it came first. Under Obama, many out of work workers filed for disability for workplace injuries in order to get benefits.

The number of Americans on disability skyrocketed after 2007-2008. Since many claimed pain as the result of the injuries, opioid use also soared. Once hooked, it is very difficult to get off the drugs.

While this is not addressed in the paper directly — as I mentioned earlier the author worked in the White House at the time — I contend that there is also a cause and effect there, with the major drug companies only too happy to churn out millions of pills for the government to pay for through its Social Security disability insurance program.

The real pain is the lost generation of workers and the bill other Americans will have to pay for years.