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Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday Morning And The Markets Are Telling Us A Lot

It's just before the opening bell on Wall Street as I write this.  The Dow futures are up about 240 points.  In the commodities markets, there is a meteoric rise in soybeans.  The best way to say this is that the markets are very pleased with the outcome of the latest talks between China and the USA.

Think about it.  Six months ago, there were no real restrictions on Chinese good and services and no special tariffs on them either.  President Trump and his administration announced since then a series of proposed tariffs and major restrictions on some Chinese businesses because of Chinese theft of American intellectual property.  Democrats like Chuck Schumer went berserk when that happened and warned that the President was starting a trade war.  Schumer kept saying that President Trump did not understand trade and would lead us to economic ruin with his moves.  Now, the tariffs are on hold on both sides, China has agreed to buy something like an extra $200 billion in US goods this year and into the future, and the President is "considering" whether or not to reduce but not eliminate the sanctions on one major Chinese telecom company.  Schumer is now outraged at the "weakness" shown by the President in considering reduced sanctions on that company.  You have to admire Schumer's "flexibility".  First, it was a terrible thing to put the sanctions on the Chinese company, and just a few months later it's a terrible thing to consider relaxing the same sanctions.  The only thing consistent in those views is that Schumer opposes whatever Trump does without giving the matter much thought.

We were also told by other Democrats that the American farmer was going to pay the price for Trumps tariffs.  The focus was on soybean growers and hog farmers.  Those also happen to be two areas in which the Chinese are going to vastly INCREASE purchases from US sources now.  Looks like it worked out ok in the end.

The media won't say it, but this is a great result for the USA.  We have to listen to the markets for confirmation.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Next Chapter

Here is a tweet from the President this afternoon:
I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!

The Instant Gun Control Outrage

The shooting at the high school in Santa Fe, Texas has brought out, once again, the instant gun control outrage brigade in full force.  For example, senator Chris Murphy of my own state of Connecticut has been tweeting non-stop about the shooting and about the need for gun control.  He claims to be outraged, but that's nothing new.  If you follow Murphy on Twitter, you soon realize that being outraged is his natural state, or at least that is what he says.

But let's take a deeper look at what we know so far about Santa Fe.

1.  The shooter wasn't on anyone's radar as a possible threat.  This is not like the Parkland shooting where the shooter had been reported to local police 40 times and the police did nothing.  The kid who shot up the Santa Fe school was just another student in the high school there.  There was nothing that indicated that he might become a mass murderer.

2.  The shooter didn't use anything that might be described as an assault weapon.  He had a hand gun and a shotgun, nothing more in the way of firearms.  He did build some bombs, but they never were set off.  That means that an assault weapons' ban or a ban on bump stocks or large magazines would have had no effect of preventing this tragedy.

3.  The guns the shooter used were not obtained by him legally.  They weren't his weapons; they belonged to his father.  The kid took them from his family home (it's not yet clear how he got them.)  The father, however, had purchased the guns legally.  He went through background checks and all the other stuff that is required for the purchase.  This means that no strengthening of background checks or other preliminaries to a gun purchase would have made any difference in Santa Fe.

4.  There are no proposed gun control measures, short of confiscating all guns, that would have had any chance at all of preventing the massacre in Santa Fe.

When you consider the actual facts, you realize that today's gun control debate is based upon a phony premise.  Nothing under discussion would have made any difference for those kids in Santa Fe.  The idea that "something has to be done" is not enough unless and until the people who chant that mantra tell the rest of us what exactly should be done.  Then we need to have a rational and calm discussion, not the nonsense that passes for debate in which each side screams at the other and the facts get ignored.

Senator Warner Gets The Talking Points Mixed Up on CBS

On Face The Nation this morning, Virginia Democrat senator Warner get his talking points mixed up.  He went on at length about how outrageous it was that the President and the Republicans wanted to disclose the name of the CIA/FBI asset who was embedded into the Trump campaign by the Obamacrats in 2016.  That was so yesterday!

Remember, when news of the spy planted by the CIA/FBI in the Trump campaign first broke, it was then confirmed by the New York Times and the Washington Post.  The papers, however, refused to disclose the name (Stefan Halper) because they claimed it might endanger his life.  The papers already knew the name because sources at the FBI and/or CIA had leaked that name to them.  The position, however, led to a surge of Democrat/media complaints that the GOP was seeking to "out" an American espionage agent.  Of course, the WaPo did mention that the guy was someone with dual UK/US citizenship who was an Oxford professor and who had worked in three Republican administrations.  Anyone with access to Google could figure out the guy's name in under a minute, but they were "protecting" him from the evil Republicans.  Warner, in his appearance today, continued with this silly position.

There were two problems with Warner's gambit, however.  First, the name of the guy has been plastered all over the place in the media.  Even the Washington Post now discloses the name.  It's a little late for outrage, particularly since Warner had no basis to claim that the name came from congressional Republicans or the White House.  Second, Warner started his discussion by denying that he had any knowledge of any fact that would lead him to conclude that the Obama CIA/FBI planted an informant into the Trump campaign.  Get it?  Warner has no reason to believe that there was a spy for the Obamacrats illegally placed in the Trump campaign, but he's outraged, outraged to learn that Republicans want to make the spy's name public.  Huh?

The reality of the moment is that Obama and the leadership of the intelligence agencies under Obama have been caught violating the law and using the powers of the federal intelligence agencies for spying on an opposition political campaign.  It's a heinous crime.  There are no talking points that will change this.  The Obamacrats well know this, but they are still trying to lessen the disaster they now face.  It won't work.  In particular, it really won't work if the fools in the senate like senator Warner can't even keep their talking points straight.

I surely hope that those like Brennan, Clapper and Comey get what they so richly deserve.  America's intelligence agencies should never again be used to spy on opponents for political advantage.

Reminds Me Of The Definition Of "Is"

During the Lewinsky days of president Bill Clinton, he tried to justify something that he said by quibbling about the definition of the word "is".  It was one of his lowest moments because it showed him desperately trying to cover up a lie, and the whole nation could see it for what it was.  Now we have a similar situation with the disclosure that the Obama FBI and CIA planted an informant inside the Trump campaign in 2016 without there being any evidence of wrongdoing by those in the campaign.  Indeed, it appears that the Obama intelligence agencies planted a mole in the Trump campaign to spy illegally on the Republicans and even to plant information inside that campaign.  Today the new "is" comes from the New York Times which has been the cheerleader for nearly two years in the Russia-Trump collusion story.  Embarrassed by the disclosure of the illegal activities by the leadership of the CIA and FBI as well as the Director of National Intelligence under Obama, the Times now says that the person or people that were planted inside the Trump campaign were there to "investigate" and not to "spy" on that campaign. 

Think about it.  The New York Times is actually trying to justify this mess by saying the FBI/CIA was investigating and not spying.  Is that correct?  Investigate has about 20 words listed as synonyms on, and guess what, one of them is "spy".  "Investigate" is defined as to carry out research to discover facts or information about something.  "Spy" is defined as to secretly try to get information about something, usually for a government.  In other words, to spy is to investigate secretly.  So, was Stefan Halper, the Obama CIA/FBI plant inside the Trump campaign there secretly?  Of course he was.  It has taken a year and a half for word of the spy to come out.  For the last week, the New York Times has been arguing vigorously that his name had to be kept SECRET because identifying by name might endanger him.  Certainly, no one told the Trump campaign that there was a mole placed inside of it by president Obama and his intelligence agencies.  IT WAS A SECRET.  So the silly distinction by the NY Times of investigating rather than spying is wrong.

One would normally think that the Times would be embarrassed to make this ridiculous argument.  Surely, the editors of the Times understand that this guy was a spy.  So why are they doing this?  Again, the answer is clear:  they have no other justification to offer for Obama's domestic spying on political opponents.  What else could they say?  Obama's DNI Clapper came up with the crazy statement that it was a good thing that the FBI and CIA planted an informant in the opposition political party's campaign.  That is never going to fly.  Americans recognize what is best described as new secret police with a political agenda as something alien to basic American values.  What the Obama CIA/FBI did is more akin to something coming from the KGB or the Gestapo than the American government.  It's an outrage that threatens people's basic rights; it's not a good thing.  There's no other excuse.  The Times is going with denial.

But here's the real news for the Times.  It isn't going to work.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Big Boost IN Chinese Purchases from the USA

Remember where things were just a few months ago?  The mainstream media, the Democrats and the "experts" were telling us that trade war with China would be the result of President Trump's trade policies.  That would be followed, or so we were told, by a world-wide recession as the two largest economies contracted as a result.  They were wrong it seems.

It is being reported that the USA and China have reached an initial agreement to reduce the US trade deficit with China.  All that we know for certain is that the Chinese will dramatically increase their purchses of agricultural product and energy from the USA.  Numbers haven't been announced, but the figure of $200 billion per year has leaked.

Think about that for a minute.  If China buys an extra $200 billion from the USA over the next 12 months, that will increase the US GDP by more than 1%.  That will mean something like a million new jobs.  It will mean greater prosperity for America's farmers and energy producers as well as for the countless firms that support these industries.  In short, it's a big, big deal. 

We don't know yet what, if anything, the USA is giving to China in return.  It may be that the sanctions on the Chinese telecom firm ZTE will be reduced as President Trump is considering.  It may also be that something else will be swapped.  We will have to wait and see what the deal actually consists of. 

It seems that what actually happened here is that Trump was correct.  It's a lot easier to win a trade war when you have a huge trade deficit.  China's companies risked losing a huge market for their goods.  For American companies, there would have been pain, but it would have been next to nothing compared to what the Chinese would have had to endure.

Once again, the "experts" were just wrong.  I bet they're getting tired of losing.

It's Hard To Believe, But The Democrats Are Nominating Ned Lamont For Governor

Remember Ned Lamont?  He's the guy who got the Democrat nomination for senator in 2006 when Joe Lieberman was the incumbent and then lost to Lieberman in the general election when Joe ran as an independent.  Lamont followed up that loss with an attempt to be nominated as governor in 2010.  In that race, Lamont was trounced by the current incumbent Dan Malloy.  It seems, however, that two rather crushing losses are not enough to keep Lamont out of the political races.  He is now about to be nominated for governor by the Democrats.  It's an astounding choice.

The choice of Lamont as the Democrats' nominee presents a rather perplexing question:  Isn't there someone new who might actually make a positive difference as governor in the Democrat party?  Are the Democrats so stuck in the past that they have to turn to a loser who made his name by opposing the Iraq War and who hasn't done much of anything since then?  It sure seems as if that is the case.  The main opposition to Lamont came from Susan Bycewicz who then dropped out to become the candidate for Lieutenant Governor on the Lamont ticket.  If you don't remember Susan, let me remind you that she was a candidate for Attorney General until she was struck from the ballot because she did not have the legal experience necessary to hold the office of Attorney General.  She's another non-entity electoral failure.

Right now, the state of Connecticut is in terrible shape.  Our people are leaving.  The economy in the state is stagnant.  Job growth in the state is among the lowest in the nation.  There is a looming long term budget shortfall that requires either much higher taxes or lower expenditures.  Governor Malloy has gone for eight years during which his answer to every problem has been simple:  tax more, spend more.  The concept of spending more wisely has not even been seriously discussed during Malloy's time in office.  If nothing changes, the state will go past the tipping point.  Connecticut, which has one of the highest levels of personal income in the nation will start to fall dramatically.  Malloy's plans would just spend us all into poverty.

The answer is surely not Ned Lamont.  I've looked at his campaign web site.  His election to governor would be like replacing Malloy with another Malloy who uses a different name. 

The people of Connecticut have to work together to put our state back on track.  In other words, Lamont has got to be defeated.