Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cup of Korean Coffee

Related: Cup of Chinese Coffee

They both taste the same only flipped over:

"Beneath markets’ calm are signs of growing investor caution" by Landon Thomas Jr. New York Times  August 09, 2017

NEW YORK — President Trump threatened nuclear war with North Korea, and the markets yawned.

While stocks in Asia sold off initially, the main market measures in the United States were off less than half a percent Wednesday as investors stuck to focusing on buoyant economic fundamentals and ignoring the chaos of American politics.

But beneath the calm there were signs that investors — who since the presidential election in November have been conditioned to embrace risk instead of running away from it — are becoming more cautious.

The price of gold, a traditionally safe investment, has been rising, and on Wednesday it continued its march, increasing more than 1 percent on the day.

Gold’s strong move pushed it just barely ahead of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index for the year — up 10.47 percent, compared with 10.43 percent for the S&P, according to YCharts, a data gathering company.

In afternoon trading Wednesday, the S&P 500 was down 0.3 percent, while the narrower Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.36 percent. Earlier in the day, the Nikkei index in Japan closed down 1.29 percent, while the Kospi index in South Korea ended down 1.10 percent. European stocks were also lower, with London finishing down 0.59 percent and Frankfurt down 1.12 percent.

Treasury prices rose, driving their yields, which move in the opposite direction, lower. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 0.02 percent to 2.24 percent.

Gold tends to outperform stocks when the markets are sliding, so it is unusual for such a conservative investment to beat equities when they have been on a tear as has been the case this year.

They set records two days ago!! 

WTF is with the shifting narratives on a daily basis?

What is driving this anomaly, some say, is a recognition that eventually investors will no longer be able to ignore recent headline risks — be it nuclear tensions with North Korea, a trade war with China, or a debt ceiling crisis in Washington.

Why not? Everyone else around here is.

“There has been a Pavlovian response by investors to disregard any piece of bad news or any spike in volatility — and that has been a very profitable strategy,” said Russ Koesterich, a portfolio manager for BlackRock’s $39 billion Global Allocation Fund. “But we do think that there are risks in the world that are not being priced in.”

That's $OP for Wall Street when it comes to CDOs and MBSs.

While few are predicting an actual crash, a growing number of stock market specialists are warning that in the coming months, markets are likely to start reacting more to macro events — such as volatile politics and the realization that central bankers in Europe and the United States are moving toward a more restrictive stance in interest rates and intervening in markets.

That is because the benign market conditions of recent months have been spurred by better economic news — and a very good spate of second-quarter earnings.

Once investors return from vacation, the theory goes, and with no good earnings news to inspire them, they will be more sensitive to headline events. 



That could result in sharper moves downward in stock market indexes.

Another October crash? 

Good thing football will be up and running.

“There are risks,” said Marko Kolanovic, a market strategist and derivatives specialist at JPMorgan Chase, who warned in a recent report about an increase in trading volatility this fall. “China, North Korea, and the normalization of policies by central banks, which has been underappreciated by the market.”

Forget about that other stuff, really. That is the important thing; the endle$$ blowing up of the bubble by keeping the printing pre$$es rolling.

Since 2012, after a sharp rise during the financial crisis, gold, as an investment, has not performed well as investors have chased returns in buoyant stock and bond markets, but while many investors have shaken off scares such as Britain exiting the European Union or political unrest in Washington, the view is taking hold that gold can be a very good hedge against more serious threats like nuclear confrontation in Asia.

I'm sure certain websites I occasionally frequent are crowing about being right while condemning the deplorable straights of the economy and the ma$$ media lies about it.

“There has been a wall of money supporting markets so far,” said Stuart Culverhouse, a market strategist at Exotix Capital in London. “But this time we are not just talking about a macro surprise — we are talking about full-on military action.”

Ah, a phrase of truth and they will use the excuse of world tensions to explain the inevitable $y$temic problem with the boom-and-bust cycles of bankers.



"General Electric Co. will close its manufacturing facility in Rochester next year, and the work will be moved to China. GE announced Tuesday that its plant in the Rochester Science Park will close by June. The Boston-based company did not say how many people work at the facility, but GE officials say fewer than 100 employees will be affected. The Rochester plant assembles electronic boards. GE said the work will be done in China by a GE partner supplier, St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Jabil. Company officials said that workers who lose their jobs will receive severance pay and tuition reimbursement."

Also seeDespite delay, GE committed to new Boston headquarters

Are you $ure?

"Trump edges closer to a trade war with China, thanks to aluminum foil" by Ana Swanson Washington Post  August 09, 2017

Well, I'm not getting that feeling with GE packing up and Starbucks looking to expand.

WASHINGTON — The United States has decided to levy an import tax of up to 81 percent on shipments of aluminum foil from China, penalizing the country for what US trade officials say are unfair subsidies of its products.

The decision could add to mounting tensions between the world’s two biggest economies over trade as the Trump administration moves toward a tougher stance on Chinese trade violations.

I do wonder about the timing when they are trying to get the Chinese to help with North Korea. 

Must feel like another stab in the back to them (fortunately, the blade crumpled, as it was made of foil) and is an incentive to lapse on those recent U.N. sanctions (border guard was looking the other way, just waived truck through with checking).

A preliminary decision issued by the Commerce Department on Tuesday night found the products were receiving financial assistance from the Chinese government. It specifically levied so-called ‘‘countervailing duties’’ on four Chinese companies, ranging from an 81 percent import tax on exports from one firm to a 17 percent tax on another. Chinese companies not specifically named face a a duty of 22 percent on products they export to the US market.

The ruling still awaits a final decision from the department on Oct. 23, as well as a ruling by the International Trade Commission. In the meantime, the Commerce Department will instruct border officials to begin collecting the duties on the products. The measure will cover the kind of aluminum foil commonly used in kitchens, as well as in product packaging, cookware and automobiles. 

Won't that increase prices in the stores?

The Aluminum Association, a trade group, said it was ‘‘very pleased’’ with the finding. ‘‘This is an important step to begin restoring a level playing field for US aluminum foil production, an industry that supports more than 20,000 direct, indirect, and induced American jobs, and accounts for $6.8 billion in economic activity,’’ said Hedi Brock, the group’s president.

The decision is a routine one, as the United States frequently sets duties on imports it believes are unfairly subsidized. But it takes on more importance now that the Trump administration is ratcheting up pressure on Chinese trade practices, said Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute.

‘‘This would happen under any administration. I think what’s interesting and useful about it though is that it does tie into this bigger aluminum and overcapacity issue,’’ said Bown.

The Trump administration has frequently criticized China for flooding global markets with ultra-cheap products and putting competing industries in the United States out of business. Many of China’s industries are owned or subsidized by the state, which means they can continue to pump out products even when it is not profitable to do so, economists say.

Not that the Chinese would be sensitive to bankrupting the government and destroying one-party rule over there.

Trump spoke often on the campaign trail about cracking down on China’s trade abuses. But in the initial months of his presidency, he appeared to be willing to cut the Chinese more slack on trade in exchange for help with diplomacy goals, such as pressuring North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

‘‘I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the US will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!’’ Trump tweeted in April.

In more recent months, however, the president appeared to abandon that strategy, while simultaneously ratcheting up trade pressure on Beijing. The Chinese ‘‘do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk,’’ Trump tweeted July 30.

What's wrong with talking?

The Trump administration has separately been investigating the risk that imports of aluminum and steel pose to the country’s national security. The investigation is being carried out under a section of the 1962 trade law known as 232. If the Commerce Department finds that imports are threatening America’s industrial base, that legal provision would allow the administration to impose sweeping tariffs or other restrictions.

I $uppo$e it is a national security issue; however, why did they let the factories mover there then?

The president and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had said that the first of those Section 232 investigations, into steel imports, would be concluded by the end of June. But the decision has been delayed, in part because of pushback from foreign allies and steel-using industries that might suffer.

I want an investigation into the steel exports to China after 9/11, particularly the steel beams from the WTC area. Rudy was a federal prosecutor, and should have known better than to destroy evidence.

Meanwhile, the United States has tried to use the threat of tariffs to press the Chinese to reduce overcapacity in steel and other industries. But a meeting between US and Chinese trade officials in Washington broke down in mid-July after the Chinese refused to commit to an ambitious request to cut its steel production, according to people who attended the meeting.

I have always been taught that tariffs are against free trade. That's what my his$tory books say.



"The number of international students coming to the United States for high school is leveling off after years of rapid growth, according to a new study released Wednesday, but the United States remains a top study destination for international students, researchers say. Much of the shift has been driven by students from China, and reflects a similar slowdown of Chinese students coming to US colleges and universities, which some experts blame on China’s cooled economy and increasing competition from schools in Australia and other nations....."

The Chinese tit-for-tat?


Now for the lead story of the day (not the  top story), and other above the fold items (cooled down):

"War with North Korea not imminent, officials say, but US would still win" by Peter Baker, Gardiner Harris and Eileen Sullivan New York Times   August 10, 2017

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Senior American officials sent mixed signals on North Korea on Wednesday as President Trump’s “fire and fury” warning rattled allies and adversaries alike, a sign of his administration’s deep divisions as the outcast state once again threatened to wage nuclear war on the United States.

The president’s advisers calibrated his dire warning to North Korea with statements that, if not directly contradictory, emphasized different points. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson stressed diplomacy and sought to reassure Americans, while Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said North Korea risked “the end of its regime and the destruction of its people” if it did not “stand down.”

And what does the admiral have to say?

North Korea gave no indication that it would do so. In a statement late Wednesday, the North Korean military dismissed Trump’s warning Tuesday as a “load of nonsense” and said only “absolute force” would work on someone so “bereft of reason.”

Democrats just rose and applauded. Another ally against Trump.

The military threatened to “turn the US mainland into the theater of a nuclear war” and added that any American strike on North Korean missile and nuclear targets would be “mercilessly repelled.”

The statement also said that the North Korean military would finalize a plan by mid-August to fire four midrange missiles into the waters off the Pacific island of Guam, a US territory used as a strategic base, to create a “historic enveloping fire.”

Earlier in the day, Tillerson, returning from a trip to Asia, said he saw no reason to believe that war was imminent despite the heated exchange of warnings between Trump and Pyongyang.

“I think Americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days,” Tillerson said as his plane stopped on the way back to the United States to refuel in Guam, the very island that North Korea threatened to target with an attack.

Hours after Tillerson sought to ease tensions, Mattis issued a written statement that, while not as colorful as Trump’s comments on Tuesday, was just as firm.

“While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed, and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth,” Mattis said. Using the initials for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he added: “The DPRK regime’s actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.”

I'm sure they are expecting China to ultimately come in on their side.

The two secretaries made their comments a day after Trump warned of “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Now it turns out that Trump’s threatening words were entirely improvised, according to several people with direct knowledge of what unfolded. In discussions with advisers beforehand, he had not run the specific language by them, though he had talked over possible responses in a general way.

He delivered his “fire and fury” threat on Tuesday with arms folded, jaw set, and eyes flitting on what appeared to be a single page of talking points set before him on the conference table at his New Jersey golf resort.

The piece of paper, as it turned out, was a fact sheet on the opioid crisis he had come to talk about, and his ominous warning to Pyongyang was entirely improvised.

The inflammatory words quickly escalated the confrontation to a new, alarming level and were followed shortly by new threats from North Korea, but the president’s ad-libbed threat reflected an evolving and still unsettled approach to one of the most dangerous hot spots in the world.

“I don’t think there is a single policy at work,” said Ellen L. Frost, of the East-West Center, a Honolulu-based research organization. “I’m not even sure that Trump cares about having a consistent policy on any subject.”

Instead, she said, the president’s threat was a play to demonstrate toughness to his political base “followed by more nuanced cleanup operations on the part of Tillerson and Mattis, who are walking a political tightrope.”

And get the war hawks and war-pushing pre$$ off his back. He and his team must act like they want to go to war while working to avoid it at all costs.

Trump remained out of public sight Wednesday at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he is spending most of a 17-day working vacation.

RelatedWhile President Trump was golfing, his ex Marla Maples swam in Walden Pond

But he posted a link on Twitter to a news report on his threat, and followed up by boasting that he had ordered the modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal.

“Hopefully we will never have to use this power,” he wrote, “but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”

The president’s aides are divided on North Korea, as on other issues, with national security veterans like Mattis and Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, on one side and Stephen Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and his allies on the other.

While McMaster and others consider North Korea a preeminent threat that requires a tough response, Bannon and others in the nationalist wing argue that it is really just a subset of the administration’s conflict with China and that Trump should not give more prominence to an unstable rogue operator like Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader.

Bannon’s allies in the alt-right media and activist groups have been waging a ferocious public attack against McMaster, characterizing him as soft on issues like Iran, Israel, and terrorism and promoting a hashtag #FireMcMaster, but in the North Korea debate, like a similar one over Afghanistan, Bannon has been arguing against what his side considers the excessively militant approach of the “war party” of McMaster.

My print version told me Bannon has been frozen out of the Korea thing, and I've stopped believing any accounts of WH intrigue by the NYT, WaPo, or AP. Whatever is going on in there, the pre$$ organs are not to be trusted.

However, if true, it looks like Bannon and his side are the peaceniks on Korea while McMaster and the generals pulled the plug on the Iran war hawks. Nice.

Neither camp advocated language like “fire and fury,” according to the people involved. Among those taken by surprise, they said, was John Kelly, the retired four-star Marine general who has just taken over as White House chief of staff.

Welcome aboard!

What, you think the job was going to be easy?

The president had been told about a Washington Post story on North Korea’s progress in miniaturizing nuclear warheads so that they could fit on top of a ballistic missile, and was in a bellicose mood, according to a person who spoke with him before he made the statement, but according to his advisers, Trump has used “fire and fury” repeatedly in private discussions about North Korea..... 

I'm like that every morning after I finish reading the Globe.


"Trump’s ‘Fire and Fury’ Threat Raises Alarm in Asia" by STEVEN LEE MYERS and CHOE SANG-HUN New York Times News Service  August 09, 2017

Is that what they called a propaganda outlet, a news service?

BEIJING — President Trump’s threat to unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea sent a shudder through Asia on Wednesday, raising alarm among allies and adversaries and, to some observers, making the possibility of military conflict over the North’s nuclear program seem more real.

With North Korea responding that it would, if attacked, strike US military forces in Guam, analysts warned that the escalating statements increased the likelihood of war — perhaps one based on miscalculation, should one side’s fiery rhetoric be misread by the other.

Some played down Trump’s remark Tuesday as simply a warning not to attack the United States, albeit one whose tone was more typical of North Korean propagandists than it was of past US presidents. Officials in South Korea and Japan said that while the situation was tense, it had not reached a crisis point.

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson played down any imminent threat from North Korea, saying on Wednesday, “I think Americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days.”

Still, some in the region said that the danger of war had not seemed as clear and present in decades. What was unthinkable just years ago no longer seems so, they said.

“We’re going to see a confrontation between the United States and North Korea that will be ferocious and strong and bloody,” said Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor of international relations at Renmin University of China in Beijing. He called Trump’s language “explosive,” and said the threat and counterthreat had resulted in a new stage of confrontation.

Across the region Wednesday, analysts reacted with concern and even foreboding about the tone of Trump’s comments, as well as about the unimpeded progress that North Korea appears to be making toward becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, able to strike the United States or other far-off adversaries.

While Trump’s warning that North Korea, if it kept threatening the United States, would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” clearly reflected growing American frustration over the North’s advances, analysts said it was not clear that he had fully considered the implications of such strong language.

That, they said, raised questions about the administration’s strategy, and about whether Trump recognized the price that some of the United States’ staunchest allies, especially Japan and South Korea, could pay for carrying out his threat.

“Trump doesn’t seem to understand what an alliance is, and doesn’t seem to consider his ally when he says those things,” said Lee Byong-chul, a senior fellow at the Institute for Peace and Cooperation in Seoul, the South Korean capital. “No American president has mentioned a military option so easily, so offhandedly, as he has. He unnerves people in South Korea, few of whom want war in Korea.”

Trump’s warning followed a report that US intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has made a nuclear weapon that can fit on the tip of a ballistic missile. Such drastic advances have already led Japan and South Korea to consider deploying new, more powerful weapons to counter the threat, after decades of relying on US military might for strategic security.

Officials in Asia and beyond have grown used to provocative musings by Trump, particularly on Twitter, and they tend to ignore them or to treat them as inaccurate reflections of US policy.

My media doesn't but I do. I watch what he does, or doesn't do, and not what he says.

The South Korean government sought Wednesday to ease concern about the situation, saying that the North’s recent posturing appeared to be aimed at tightening solidarity among its own population and causing its neighbors anxiety.

“The situation has become more serious on the Korean Peninsula,” a senior official at the presidential Blue House told South Korean reporters, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “But we don’t think it has reached a crisis stage yet.”

That's the second reassurance I've seen (sip).


"On A-bomb anniversary, Nagasaki mayor points to growing fears of nuclear bombing" by Mari Yamaguchi Associated Press  August 09, 2017

TOKYO — Amid growing tension between Washington and North Korea, the mayor of Nagasaki said Wednesday that the fear of another nuclear bomb attack is growing at a ceremony marking the 72d anniversary of the US atomic bombing of his city.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged nuclear states to abandon such weapons and criticized Japan’s government for not taking part in the global effort toward a nuclear ban.

‘‘A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not too distant future these weapons could actually be used again,’’ Taue said at Nagasaki’s Peace Park.

Will the U.S. initiate the next World War the way they ended the last?

The bombing anniversary comes just as Pyongyang and Washington are trading escalating threats.

Fortunately, the Globe is calming them down.

The first atomic bomb, used on Aug. 6, 1945, killed 140,000 people in Hiroshima. The bombing of Nagasaki three days later killed 70,000 more.....

Those numbers would be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions now.



"Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, one of President Trump’s evangelical advisers who preached the morning of his inauguration, has released a statement saying the president has the moral authority to “take out” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “When it comes to how we should deal with evildoers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil,” Jeffress said. “In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.” The biblical passage Romans 13 gives the government authority to deal with evildoers, Jeffress said. “That gives the governmentthe authority to do whatever, whether it’s assassination, capital punishment or evil punishment to quell the actions of evildoers like Kim Jong Un,” he said. He said that many pacifist Christians will cite Romans 12, which says, “Do not repay evil for evil,” but Jeffress says that the passage is referring to Christians, not to the government....."

Looks like a false prophet to me, one in league with the devil.

Also seeNorth Korea Frees Canadian Pastor Sentenced to Life of Hard Labor

Trying to split the alliance, how devious, and lest I remind you those Korean nukes can reach Canada, too!

"The prosecutors pointed to numerous problems with the original government witnesses. Police had used the now-discredited practice of hypnotising a witness in order to identify Frederick Clay as the suspect. An investigation also found that the shooter was lefthanded — and that Clay is righthanded. “It’s just a long time coming, to quote Sam Cooke,” Clay, now 53, told reporters. “This is the first time I’ve walked without shackles, so it’s strange.”

Actually, it is not. Nor is the raid on homes, although that one hits a cla$$ not used to it and verges on political per$ecution.

"It’s been more than a decade since the man-cave movement empowered guys to claim basement space for their own, and now the women are making a land grab. Across Massachusetts and the rest of the country, women desperate to be off duty — if only for a cup of tea — are fleeing their homes for backyard sheds....."

It's Armageddon, and I still haven't heard back from Scott Brown's CIA station.

Perhaps you would like to mull these over with your cup of coffee as I did:

The Latest North Korean “Crisis” – Brought to you by.....

Good perspective.

Guam in the Headlines? Why? Location, Location, Location.

"Behind the scenes is a relentless push for global military conflict; the next world war. You see glimpses of this in the actions of the dual national neo-cons and we know where their agenda originated from. These are the same people who were involved in the plotting for 9/11. There is a lot of info out there and certain tireless warriors for truth keep the story being told. There are all kinds of stories out there. Whether they are true I do not know but they make for interesting study......