Heads Up

As the People’s Republic of China responds to President Donald Trump’s tariffs, motivated in part by the PRC’s cyber-theft of American technology and proprietary information and the PRC’s extortion of the same and its demand for backdoors into foreign business’ (including especially American) core software as a condition of doing business in the PRC, buckle up, indeed, as the article at the link above suggests.

The PRC will do far more than this, though, as it attempts to coerce the US in the pursuit of its Warring States strategy.

What Hath Socialism Wrought

This image, from a Deutsche Welle article on Venezuela’s inflation rate—which last month reached 24,571% year-on-year—says it all.

The word drawn on the 100 bolivar note (and yes, it’s a real note, and it’s actually that big) translates to “hungry.”  In the context, it means more broadly, “a widespread, intense, and prolonged shortage of staple foods that a population suffers.”

Hungry indeed, too.  A bit over two pounds of meat cost about 2 million bolivars (or did once, daily inflation is running at 2.4%), or €16.9 or $20, against a surgeon’s monthly salary of not even 6 million bolivars.  Meat, not steak in particular.  That’s some expensive hamburger or shank cut.

Taxpayer Money

This is how the citizens of Missouri are seeing their tax money being used, this time by the University of Missouri.  You remember the U of M, the place where a professor demanded students attack a student reporter because he was covering a student protest.  The place where little discipline was applied to the students who answered the professor’s call. The place where the president and chancellor were forced to resign because they weren’t coddling the snowflakes enough.

Gauntlet Thrown Down

The members of the Group of Seven, just met in Canada last week, were invited to form a tariff-free trade zone by President Donald Trump.

no tariffs, no barriers…and no subsidies.

International trade doesn’t get much freer than that.

Will anyone in the G-7 have the courage to take Trump up on his offer—or to call his bluff, if that’s what they think it is?

Anyone?  Beuller?

Another Obamacare Episode

The Justice Department has declined to defend Obamacare in the suit against it brought by a large number of States in the aftermath of Congress’ repeal of the Individual Mandate penalty tax.  Recall that Chief Justice John Roberts rewrote the law in 2012 to recreate the penalty as a tax in order to preserve the IM as constitutional, and thereby to preserve all of Obamacare as constitutional because of the inseverability of all parts of the law.

With the repeal of the IM’s…tax…that inseverability should doom the rest of Obamacare.

As a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision not to defend the law,

Brexit Failure in the Offing?

Great Britain’s Labour Party is about to offer legislation that looks a great deal like it [emphasis added].

It shall be a negotiating objective of Her Majesty’s Government to ensure the United Kingdom has full access to the internal market of the European Union, underpinned by shared institutions and regulations, with no new impediments to trade and common rights, standards and protections as a minimum.

There’s very little difference between this and Remain.  Labour is suggesting Britain’s abject surrender in the Brexit negotiations with the Moghuls of Brussels.

Australian Trade with the PRC

Australia is finding much of its exports to the People’s Republic of China piling up in PRC ports (Australian wine is the proximate subject of the WSJ piece at the link)—not because the customers no longer want them but because the PRC government objects to Australian policies designed to limit PRC meddling in Australian domestic affairs.

From that, there’s this remark by Rob Taylor, the piece’s author:

Australia faces an awkward diplomatic balancing act in trying to address concerns about political interference while relying heavily on China for its economic well-being.

US Corn Exports

The Trump administration is working on a deal with the People’s Republic of China to reduce the trade imbalance we have with them (whether the trade imbalance really is a bad thing and whether the PRC is working the deal as hard as the Trump administration are questions outside this post).  American farmers would have trouble producing enough to meet their part of the goal, were the deal to go through.

US corn exports could jump from $150 million to about $10 billion annually within a few years if China vastly expanded its quotas and reduced its duties that are as high as 65%, according to one estimate.

The Obama Legacy

Much has been made over the last week, both favorably and unfavorably, of the magnitude of President Donald Trump’s erasure of ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) legacy.

I disagree with that coverage.  Trump has been mitigating, if not correcting, as many of Obama’s errors as he can, but he’s done nothing about Obama’s legacy, which includes the following far from exhaustive list:

  • apologizing to the world for our successes
  • bowing to world leaders, deeply on several occasions
  • alienating our friends and toadying up to our enemies
    • attacking Israel for insisting on defending itself

Encryption/Decryption Race

The political one I mean, not the technological one.  Recall, for instance the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the FBI’s capture of one of the terrorists’ encrypted iPhones, Apple’s refusal to decrypt it (they couldn’t, by their design of the iPhone’s OS), then-FBI Director James Comey’s (yes, that Comey) cynically tear-jerking demand for future such personal device encryption back doors to decrypt at Government convenience, and Apple’s refusal to support development of that.

An expert on the subject—a technological expert I mean, not a political one—thinks he’s solved the problem.  His solution is described in a Wired article.  This expert thinks he has a way of providing Government “exceptional access” to a private person’s (or private enterprise’s) encrypted cell phone (for instance).  His solution, Clear, works this way: