Bits and Pieces – 20170806, Sunday

Commentary: Things get interesting in the Democratic camp: Sorry Joe Biden And Eric Holder, Obama Just Picked His 2020 Candidate And It’s Not You. I can’t imagine that Hillary has thrown in the towel in her quest for righteous affirmation and glory. Biden has made it clear in the past that the world would have been saved if he were president. Saunders is getting old but with the revelations of the backstabbing job the DNC did on him, this cranky old man may not go quietly into that good night of that boneyard of American political ambition. And maybe Americans are not ready for another black president – Obama II.

Stay tuned for the next episode and in the meantime stock up on popcorn. You may need it to survive on if that crazy and mercurial leader with his ICBMs and nuclear bombs tries to launch a preemptive first strike on someone or everyone (Shall We Fight Them All?). Oh – I wasn’t referring to Kim Jong-un.

WWIII: I had stopped reporting most of the news I see on NK since the US pulled back its carrier strike groups. But here’s a thoughtful question so we don’t forget the issue: North Korea or Iran…Where Will President Trump Attack First? The Iran option is interesting because not a lot is reported on this front apart from incidents that Ron Paul notes.

This article confronts the issue head on: Militarization Of Scandinavian Peninsula: Time To Ring Alarm Bells. Snippets referring to stockpiling US assets in caves in Scandinavia have appeared from time to time but this article puts it all together.

It has been noted that trade wars and economic sanctions can be a precursor to kinetic wars. As such, Trump’s threats of a global trade war that keeps popping up may finally be implemented: Trump To Launch Trade War With China On Friday, Beijing Vows Retaliation and Russian PM: “The U.S. Just Declared Full-Scale Trade War On Russia”.

Trump’s myopic idea that reversing the trade deficit will make America great again will be found to be a much more complex issue and one that the attempt to fix may bear too high a price. To understand why, read: Winners And Losers When Trade War Breaks Out Between The US And China. The latter article shows what articles are most involved in the trade deficit, namely computer and electronic technology. True, the US could bring this onshore but ask yourself how? George Friedman provides his analysis of possible Russian response: Russian Sanctions: The Kremlin’s Response.

Corporate America, driven by market forces, moved production offshore. Corporate America will only reshore (I know, it’s not a real word but it’s been used before) if it is economically necessary. I don’t think that it could be forced to by legislation. Large tariffs would have to be imposed on electronic components made offshore to make their manufacture here attractive. However, $5000 iPhones aren’t going to make the public happy. Also, in reshoring new infrastructure has to be created. Abandoned factories are not suitable. New facilities have to built and these will be highly automated. The Chinese are already moving ahead with extensive automation (Apple Manufacturer Foxconn to Fully Replace Humans With Robots). These new factories are not built in a week so tariffs will have the immediate effect of increasing prices in the US while any offsetting price advantage under a tariff regime to local manufacturing will take years to realize.

Finally, George Friedman published a piece today which is centered on the role of nuclear weapons in geopolitics beginning with their development and use in WWII: The Terrible Magic of Atomic Weapons. Of note in this article is the use of economic sanctions by the US as the action that precipitated war with Japan.

Canada Corner: I have earlier covered the woes of Canadian mortgage broker, Home Capital Group. This would be a couple of months ago and the sky did not fall in although the fundamental problems remain with HCG, leaving it crippled and probably operating on a day-to-day basis. Here’s a more in depth look at the company intended to capture the reference and provide bedtime reading for insomniacs only: Exclusive: How the Home Capital Sausages Were Made.

Canada’s economic migrant problem: Quebec Is “Close To Its Limits” As Refugees Flood Across US-Canada Border.

Having just bought and sold a house, I am aware of the amount of money that flows into Ontario provincial government coffers – lots. There is a land transfer tax paid by the buyer and HSt paid on all services including legal and the realators’ commissions. A drastic drop in prices or a slowdown in sales means a significant loss of revenue for the government. For context: Toronto Housing Market Implodes: Prices Plunge Most On Record.

Climate: Ever since Climategate broke in 2009 there have been a number of incidents of researchers and particularly government agencies such as NOAA and NASA misrepresenting and falsifying climate data. A recent criticism noted that every time data is adjusted to make current data consistent with earlier data sets created with different instrumentation and methodologies, the adjustments are always in the warming direction. The latest example comes from Australia: Australia Weather Bureau Caught Tampering With Climate Numbers. Also: Major correction to satellite data shows 140% faster warming since 1998.

Bits and Pieces: Just so you don’t fall asleep on the European banking sector, read: Europe’s Banking Dysfunction Worsens. Since the 2008 banking crisis in the US that threatened to bring down the global financial system, European banks have not significantly repaired their balance sheets. Bank failures in the Mediterranean states are regular. At some point the entire system will fold. In the meantime, you can get a sense of the state of things from this article.

It’s funny that when NATO holds exercises, there is no response in the media: Russia, Belarus Joint Drills Used As Pretext for NATO War Preparations.

While the Democrats agonize over allegations of Russian hacking of the election (whatever that means) their own manipulations starts to come to light: California has 11 Counties With More Registered Voters Than Voting-Age Citizens: Registered Voters 144% of Eligible.

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