Wrecking Ball: Trump vs. Obamanomics

London’s Daily Mail reported this.
There are fundamental philosophical problems with all economic statistics. They are objective measures. But people are not the same. They do not agree on the relevance of the measures. Climate, free trade, health care, immigration, foreign policy — the 45th US president has set about undoing just about everything done by the 44th.
All new presidents, of course, break with their predecessor once in the Oval Office, especially if they come from a rival political party.
But what is striking is how systematic the hammer blows to Obama’s legacy have been.
And rather than throw his weight behind new policies or projects, Trump has shown a willful desire to unpick, shred and erase everything his predecessor accomplished.
This is an accurate assessment. Trump has gotten nothing through Congress, but by the powers that are invested in the presidency, he is getting rid of Obama’s programs.
Trump is not consistent ideologically. He is very consistent politically. He doesn’t like Obama’s legacy. He is going to shred it. Because so much of Obama’s program was done through executive orders, it can be repealed by executive orders. This is what Trump has begun to do.
The most important thing that he has done so far is to destroy the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That monstrosity is not going to come back. This program had been part of the American establishment’s goal for at least a decade, and it really goes back to the original goals of the Trilateral Commission from its origin in 1973. In one fell swoop, he ended it.

This post was published at Gary North on October 17, 2017.

Vital: The real Dreamers are elite corporations

This isn’t one of the big trade deals everybody knows about.
This one was launched during the glorious Obama years:
The (South) Korea Free Trade Agreement.
Signed, sealed, and delivered by Obama in 2011 with his assurance that it would create 70,000 American jobs.
His assurance was on the level of his promise that, under Obamacare, you would be able to choose your own doctor.
Four years later, in 2016, this was the outcome of the Globalist Korea Free Trade Agreement, as reported by Public Citizen:
‘…the loss of more than 102,554 American jobs.’
Oops. Slight miscalculation.
‘U. S. goods exports to Korea have dropped 10 percent, or $4.5 billion…’
Sorry about that.
‘U. S. imports of goods from Korea have increased 18 percent, or $10.8 billion…’

This post was published at Jon Rappoport on September 17, 2017.

World War I and the Triumph of Illiberal Ideology

Just over a century ago, in August 1914, the major European nations plunged their peoples into one of the most disastrous conflicts in history. The First World War claimed at least seventeen million lives, destroyed the social and economic fabric of Western Europe, and played a vital role in the expansion of state power around the world. It is therefore difficult to exaggerate its importance.
The causes of the war are too many and too complex to discuss in a short article (however, for those interested, the late Ralph Raico provides a fascinating overview here). I will discuss only one general problem that helped fuel the catastrophe: the ideological shift that occurred in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries away from the liberal philosophy of laissez-faire and laissez-passer and toward autarky, protectionism, nationalism, and imperialism. Mises, himself a veteran of the First World War, identified these latter ideologies as joint causes of numerous conflicts. Furthermore, he repeatedly warned that war is a necessary outcome of abandoning economic freedom, which is inextricably tied to the spirit of liberalism and its philosophy of peace:
Aggressive nationalism is the necessary derivative of the policies of interventionism and national planning. While laissez faire eliminates the causes of international conflict, government interference with business and socialism create conflicts for which no peaceful solution can be found. While under free trade and freedom of migration no individual is concerned about the territorial size of his country, under the protective measures of economic nationalism nearly every citizen has a substantial interest in these territorial issues. (Mises, 1998 [1949], pp. 819-820)

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on August 14, 2017.

Russia’s Real Endgame

Russia’s Putin has never taken his eye off the ball. His ambition is not global hegemony or European conquest. Putin seeks what Russia has always sought: regional hegemony and a set of buffer states in eastern Europe and central Asia that can add to Russia’s strategic depth.
It is strategic depth – the capacity to suffer massive invasions and still survive due to an ability to retreat to a core position and stretch enemy supply lines – that enabled Russia to defeat both Napoleon and Hitler. Putin also wants the modicum of respect that would normally accompany that geostrategic goal.
Understanding Putin is not much more complicated than that.
In the twenty-first century, a Russian sphere of influence is not achieved by conquest or subordination in the old Imperial or Communist style. It is achieved by close financial ties, direct foreign investment, free trade zones, treaties, security alliances, and a network of associations that resemble earlier versions of the EU.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 25, 2017.

In Victory For Merkel, G20 Reach Compromise On Trade But Trump Holds Out On Climate

World leaders meeting at the G-20 summit in Germany have agreed on almost every aspect of the joint communique, where in a victory for Merkel they vowed to fight protectionism and secure fair trade seeking to defuse President Donald Trump’s threats of unilateral measures the WSJ reported; they have so far failed, however, on a compromise position in the section on climate where the United States is pushing for a reference to fossil fuels, European Union officials said according to Reuters.
In the end it was “all against Trump”: as the WSJ puts it, “securing Mr. Trump’s support for the G-20 communiqu, to be released later Saturday, as the president threatens to undermine the international order with his ‘America First’ policies, is emerging as a rallying cry as the two-day gathering in Germany draws to a close.“
For the head of the global diplomatic “resistance” against Trump and the so-called new “leader of the free world” Angela Merkel, the summit was an opportunity to show off her diplomatic skills ahead of a federal election in September, when she is seeking a fourth term in office. She treated the leaders to a concert at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie on Friday night, where they listened to Beethoven while their aides began their all night slog to work out a consensus on trade that had eluded the leaders.
The communique comes after weeks of fears that Merkel, this year’s G20 president, might fail to achieve an agreement in the face of the disputes generated by Donald Trump by his criticisms of free trade and international cooperation and, especially, his decision to pull out of the Paris climate change accord, which the other 19 G-20 states support.
The consensus statement was drafted after “marathon meetings” resulted in compromises on deploying defensive measures for balanced trade and a recognition of the U. S.’s split from the other G-20 members on climate change. The officials said aides had worked until 2 a.m. to finalize the G-20 communique, overcoming differences on trade after U. S. officials agreed to language on fighting protectionism.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 8, 2017.

‘The Discord Is Obvious” – Merkel Slams Trump Ahead Of G-20

Ahead of next week’s G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, chancellor Merkel had some fiery words about her two least favorite topics: Donald Trump and Brexit. In a speech to lawmakers in Germany’s lower house of parliament on Thursday, Merkel said that ‘the world has become less united’ and acknowledged that discussions at the G-20 meeting in Hamburg on July 7-8 ‘will be very difficult.’ Quoted by Bloomberg, Merkel said that ‘the discord is obvious and it would be dishonest to paper over the conflict.”

The unexpectedly confrontational posture comes as Germany is set to host world leaders including President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who are expected to hold their first head-to-head meeting in Hamburg, although the details have not yet been ironed out. Also present will be China’s Xi Jinping and Merkel’s nemesis, Turkey’s president Erdogan, with the meeting taking place “amid a global shake-up that threatens much of the international order on issues established since World War II. On the agenda for the meeting are free trade, climate change and migration.”
If recent G-20 summits are any indication, next week’s meeting is likely to end in confusion and even more fingerpointing, with little in terms of consensus and even shorter communiques.
Aware of the upcoming dissensus, to use a word coined by Deutsche Bank, Merkel took a swipe at Trump’s ‘America First’ rhetoric, saying that nations turning to isolation and protectionism are making a serious mistake and showcased a renewed ‘spirit of unity’ in the European Union after the U. K. decision to exit.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 29, 2017.

Stratfor Worldview’s 2017 Third-Quarter Forecast

Based on the principle that transformative world events are not random, but are in fact predictable, Stratfor develops decade, annual and quarterly forecasts. These forecasts are built upon Stratfor’s geopolitical methodology, our framework for identifying and forecasting the fundamental trends shaping the international system. Below are the global trends highlighted in Stratfor’s forecast for the third-quarter of 2017. The complete forecast is available at Stratfor Worldview.
The US Exits Stage Left?
When world leaders gather in Germany for the approaching G-20 summit, they will no doubt make a slew of assertions – some alarmist, others justified – about a US retreat from the global stage. Talk of leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping stepping in to fill the void and uphold global governance on major issues such as free trade, climate change, and security can be expected. But there is an underlying reality to that narrative that should be kept in mind.
Simply put, those hoping to fill the United States’ shoes in leading the world still have their own existential threats to contend with at home. Germany and France are buying valuable time with their electorates to try to repair the European Union and make an example of the United Kingdom’s departure, but the bloc’s members still have vastly different visions of what European integration should look like and how nationalism might fit in. China, meanwhile, is not a globalist power with a model of governance to offer the world; it is a fiercely nationalist power with global clout, caught between the compulsion to operate as a market economy and the imperative to centralize political power under the ruling Communist Party. None of these countries come close to matching the US military footprint or the country’s ability to shoulder the burden that comes with superpower status.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 06/26/2017.

The “World’s Policeman” Retires On Disability

Ever since the end of World War II, the United States, rightly or wrongly, but most of the time, wrongly, has fancied itself as the world’s policeman. Even a disastrous and costly military intervention in Southeast Asia did not deter the United States from acting as the chief arbiter of what governments were in and which were out as evidenced by Central Intelligence Agency interloping in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Angola, Haiti, and Colombia. Two military interventions in Iraq and a U. S.-led military campaign directed against Yugoslavia were not enough to pry the United States from its self-appointed role as the chief global cop. In fact, American neoconservatives continued to fanaticize about the United States leading the world into a post-Cold War new American century.
The United States under Donald Trump now resembles a disabled policeman who was forced to retire on disability after being injured, not in the line of duty, but by engaging in self-destructive piques of bravado. The United States has abandoned internationalism as witnessed by Washington’s withdrawal from the free trade Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Paris climate agreement. The United Kingdom’s decision to depart the European Union in the Brexit referendum has put the final nail in the coffin of Britain’s status as a minor superpower.
Until another nation steps forward to claim the title of chief world cop, the world will be subjected, as coined by the New Testament’s Book of Matthew, to wars and rumors of wars.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.

If You Don’t Like Immigration, You Should Love Free Trade

Immigration restrictions and trade restrictions are often two policies that go hand in hand. Donald Trump, of course, provides an instructive example of a politician who has won elections while promoting both policies.
Usually ignored, however, is the fact that trade restrictions work contrary to to the goal of immigration restrictionism. That is, by restricting the movement of goods and services across borders, trade protectionists are creating the very conditions that are likely to increase incentives for workers to emigrate from low-wage areas into higher-wage areas. That is, if goods and services can’t move across borders, then people are more likely to move in order to reach those goods and services.
The More Immigration Is Restricted, the More Important Free Trade Becomes As to the matter of immigration itself, we’ll leave that to other articles on this site – and there are plenty of them – to explore the matter. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that the Congress passes a variety of highly-restrictive anti-immigration laws – and a large portion of the population is fine with it.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on April 7, 2017.

Fake News: The Unravelling of US Empire From Within

Setting the Stage of the Press-President War.
US ruling ideology and Washington power have become unstuck as never before. A war of opposing certitudes and denunciations is waged day to day between the long-ruling US corporate media and the White House. Both continuously proclaim ringing recriminations of the other’s ‘fake news’. Over months they both portray each other as malevolent liars.
US bully pulpits are now beyond show disagreements and successful media inquisitions of the past. Slanderous accusations long confined to vilifying the designated Enemy have crept into accusations of the President himself. ‘The Russians are coming’ is returning as the final recourse of smear to stop deviations from the global program of hugely profitable enemy hate and perpetual preparations for foreign war.
The ruling big lies of the US money party and corporate globalization have divided into opposing camps. The Press and the President denounce each other non-stop on the public stage, while US dark state agents take sides behind the scenes.
Fake news is the medium of battle.
Tracking the Real Fake News Built into Corporate Globalization
Beneath the civil war of official narratives, cognitive space opens for truth long suffocated by ‘the Washington Consensus’. Even the US-led G-20 has recently agreed not to automatically condemn ‘protectionism’ as an economic evil. The battle slogan of transnational corporate rule over 30 years has been quietly withdrawn on the global stage.
Is the big lie of ‘free trade’ finally coming to ground?

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on MARCH 28, 2017.

Ukraine Has Lost Billions On The Trade Agreement With The EU In Year One

The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between Ukraine and the European Union, which came into force on 1 January 2016, was aimed at helping the East European economy to recover; however, the results after the first year fell far short of Ukraine’s expectations. The former Soviet Republic lost 2.2 billion more than it lost in 2015 on trade with the EU. While imports from the EU have surged, exports have barely grown.
As Polish media reports, the European Union has flooded Ukraine with goods, which is contrary to the aim of the free trade agreement: the document assumed the asymmetric openness of the markets in Ukraine’s favour.
According to the Eurostat data, EU’s exports to Ukraine grew in 2016 by 17.6%, from 14bn to 16.5bn, whereas Ukraine’s exports to the EU increased by 1.9%, i.e. from 12.8bn to 13bn. As a result, Ukraine’s trade deficit with the EU has surged from 1.2bn to 3.43bn!

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 7, 2017.

Economic Globalization Is Not Political Globalization

Globalization has fallen into disrepute. More and more people are rejecting it outright as unfair and as a source of all sorts of evil – including economic crises and migration.
This kind of blanket condemnation of globalization however is a huge problem. The reason for this becomes apparent if one considers the fact that globalization has two dimensions, an economic and a political one.
Economic globalization is synonymous with the cross-border division of labor. Today, no country produces solely to satisfy its own needs, but instead also for producers and consumers in other countries. And each country makes what it knows best, relatively speaking.
Economic globalization, with free trade being a natural component, increases productivity. Without it, the poverty on this planet would not have been reduced to the extent it has been over the past decades.
From the very outset, political globalization has nothing to do with economic globalization. It aims to direct and determine all relations between people on the various continents by way of authoritarian rule. The decision about what is being produced and consumed as well as where and at what time isn’t to be found by the free market, the division of labor and free trade, but instead by an ideological-political creative force.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on February 27, 2017.

‘No Real Drop’ in Net Migration – Claims New ‘Brexit Think Tank’

21st Century Wire says…
A new report has emerged from a think-tank suggesting that Brexit voters may not see the decline in immigration that they voted for.
‘Global Future’ estimates that total net immigration could fall by no more than 15% annually, after Brexit. Future free trade deals with non-EU countries suggests even this reduction could be wiped out altogether.
More on this report from The Guardian…
Theresa May’s attempt to reclaim control of UK borders after Brexit could reduce annual migration from the EU by just 50,000 – one-sixth of the current overall annual figure, according to new research.
The projection of a ‘vanishingly small reduction’ is one of the first attempts to estimate how likely labour market demand, and the government’s planned new controls, could reduce the number of migrants coming to the UK. Reduction in immigrant numbers has been repeatedly cited in polls as the chief reason voters backed leaving the European Union.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on FEBRUARY 15, 2017.

British Government Publishes 77-Page Brexit “White Paper”: Main Highlights

The British government published its long-awaited White Paper on Brexit, which formally lays out its strategy for the U. K.’s exit from the European Union. The 77-page document was presented in the House of Commons on Thursday by David Davis, the minister in charge of Brexit, and was also published online. The publication comes after pressure from MPs across the House of Commons, and was released just one day after British House of Commons lawmakers voted in favor of a bill, which if passed fully through parliament, would allow Theresa May to begin the Brexit.
The White Paper lays out the government’s 12 “principles” including migration control and “taking control of our own laws”. Brexit Secretary David Davis said the UK’s “best days are still to come”, outside the EU. Alternatively, Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, told the Commons there was “nothing” in the white paper to resolve the position of UK nationals living in other EU countries. And he said the paper failed to guarantee MPs a “meaningful” vote on the deal eventually obtained by Mrs May, rather than a simple choice to take it or leave it.
In the paper, the government delineates its goals for its negotiations with the EU, as announced by Prime Minister Theresa May last month. These include withdrawing from the EU single market and customs union and negotiating a new free trade agreement.
It also says reaching an early deal on the rights of EU nationals in the UK and British expats in Europe has “not proven possible”, saying the government wants to secure an agreement with European countries “at the earliest opportunity” during the formal talks. And it says the government will “keep our positions closely held and will need at times to be careful about the commentary we make public”, with MPs offered a vote on the final deal.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 2, 2017.

Britain Needs Trump for Smooth Brexit

At the Washington joint press conference with Prime Minister May held on January 27th, President Trump told the watching world, ‘Brexit is going to be a wonderful thing.’ The meeting did much to clear the way for Britain to stand alone and enter trade with the United States without the European Union (EU). Their talk of a U. S. – UK free trade agreement could do much to ease the fears of some key English Members of Parliament and counterbalances the fears that Britain will be punished by a bitter EU. The positive meeting occurred at a fortuitous moment. Only four days prior, the UK’s Supreme Court had ruled that Parliamentary approval must be specifically obtained before Her Majesty’s Government can sign trigger negotiations to exit the EU. May’s speech to Republican Members of Congress on January 26th and her responses at the joint press conference made it clear that there were three central strategic aims for her visit. The first was to re-establish the ‘Special Relationship’ which had been downgraded deliberately under Obama to the disadvantage of both countries. First coined by Winston Churchill in 1946, The term ‘Special Relationship’ grew from the countries’ shared culture and implied the closest economic, political, diplomatic and military cooperation. The President’s reference to it as the ‘Most Special Relationship’ together with his immediate acceptance of an invitation to make a State visit to Britain this year should keep the momentum. Second, May wanted Trump’s expressed reassurance that he was not intending to abandon NATO but to strengthen it by ensuring that all members abide by their agreed defense spending and force levels. In addition, May suggested calls for a NATO commitment to fight terrorism and cyber warfare. Trump affirmed her position readily. This will reassure many European nations, most importantly Germany.

This post was published at Euro Pac on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

Three days in and Trump has already kept one pledge

On Trump’s third day Trump is one up on the Establishment. Can this last?
I am not a Trump booster. I am a scorekeeper.
On the third day of his presidency Donald Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacificic Partnership (TPP). Based on this we must assume he will also deep-six the Trans-Atlantic Partnership.
Trump and his advisors regard the Pacific and Atlantic partnerships as trade deals like NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement that sent American jobs to Mexico at the expense of Americans.
However, the most strategic part of these agreements is that they make global corporations immune from the laws of the countries in which they do business if those laws adversely impact the profits of the global corporations.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on January 24, 2017.

Leading Economists Experience a Panic Attack in Chicago Over Lost Credibility

1. There are experts who study complex systems: pilots, surgeons, civil engineers
Then there experts who often blown smoke: like economists
— Chris Arnade (@Chris_arnade) January 9, 2017

Over the weekend, America’s leading economists gathered in Chicago for their annual AEA conference. The mood perfectly encapsulates the state of affairs of a profession that is more to blame for our current predicament than any other.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
CHICAGO – The nation’s leading economists are suffering an identity crisis as many of the institutions they helped build and causes they advanced have come in for public scorn and rejection at the ballot box.
The angst was on display this weekend at the annual conference of the American Economic Association, the profession’s largest gathering. The conference is a showcase for agenda-setting research, a giant job fair for the nation’s most promising young economists and, this year, the site of endless discussion about how to rebuild trust in the discipline.
Many academic economists have been champions of free trade and globalization, ideas under assault among rising populist movements in advanced economies around the world. The rise of President-elect Donald Trump, with his fierce rhetoric against elites, in particular, left many at this conference questioning their place in the world.

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Jan 9, 2017.

Trump: what dangers does he face from Globalists?

As I keep emphasizing, Trump achieved two great things in his campaign for the presidency: he stopped Hillary Clinton from occupying the Oval Office, and he ran against big media, helping to further destroy its reputation.
From here on, we shall see.
How many compromises will the new president permit? How many will he seek?
To put it another way, how many covert victories will arch-Globalist David Rockefeller and his associates pile up? They are, of course, aware that Trump has promised to kick the can of Globalism down the road, stop the excesses of ‘free trade,’ and bring stolen jobs back to America. What actions will they take against Trump?
Here’s a lesson from the past, about a president who put a brief dent in David Rockefeller’s master-plan. Let’s look at Richard Nixon and a different version of Watergate, the scandal that toppled him.
On the mega-corporate front, the plan for world control remains the Rockefeller template. ‘Free trade.’ This plan was advanced, ceaselessly, for 40 years until, on January 1, 1995, the World Trade Organization was fully formed and took charge of criminal rules of global commerce: the crowning moment for global corporate predators. No more tariffs.

This post was published at Jon Rappoport on Dec 3, 2016.

The Details Behind Trump’s Deal With Carrier Revealed

In light of today’s visit by President-elect Trump to Indiana to take credit for saving some 1,100 Carrier jobs from being offshored to Mexico, a recurring question is what was the Trump quid to Carrier’s pro quo to get the deal done.
As reported yesterday, Carrier did issue a press release, perhaps to confirm that it hadn’t merely caved to Trump team pressure, when it said that “the incentives offered by the state were an important consideration” adding that “this agreement in no way diminishes our belief in the benefits of free trade and that the forces of globalization will continue to require solutions for the long-term competitiveness of the U. S. and of American workers moving forward.”
As we further noted, shortly after the deal, questions emerged as to what the motive behind Carrier’s decision may have been. “Was Carrier pressured into doing a deal that was not in the best interest of shareholders of its parent, United Technologies? Was strongarming involved? Did Trump make a major concession as part of a political deal or did Carrier simply bend over backwards to appease the President-elect?” Overnight, The Hill similarly focused on the nuances of the deal, adding that fiscally conservative groups are staying quiet about the deal for the time being. “But if it turns out that Trump and Pence have offered any special concessions to Carrier – either at the federal level or the state level, given that the vice president-elect is still the governor of Indiana – then those free-market groups are likely to cry foul.”
‘The particulars of this agreement haven’t been released, but our position on corporate welfare is well-known and that has not changed,’ said Brent Gardner, chief government affairs officer at Americans for Prosperity. The group is the major grassroots organization within the network of conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2016.