“We Cannot Erase the Last Four Years”

That’s Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D, MD) lament as he closed the Progressive-Democrats’ case on the floor of the House during Wednesday’s impeachment “debate.”

We cannot erase the last four years.

Though the Progressive-Democrats tried every day of those four years. They and their Obama Executive Branch bureaucrats spied on the Trump campaign and trumped up charges against General Michael Flynn, false charges it took all this time to clear.

They and their Democratic National Committee commissioned a salacious and false dossier in an effort to besmirch a President and to serve as the foundation of an investigation that culminated in finding that President Donald Trump had done nothing wrong.

American Energy

…independence today. Tomorrow, American energy dependence.

Bloomberg is reporting that the US didn’t import any oil at all from Saudi Arabia last week, the first time in 35 years. That’s part of a longer term trend in declining Saudi oil imports over the last six years, especially. See the graph just below.

This trend is a result of the US technology advance of fracking which both drove down the cost of getting the oil (and natural gas) out of the ground and drastically increasing our own oil and gas production—virtually eliminating our dependence on foreign oil and gas and making us net exporters of both.

Sound Money and the PRC

In a Letter to The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, one writer had this on the idea of the People’s Republic of China being a competitor with its renminbi as global reserve currency and its bond market as debt safe haven:

Credible money paired with reduced government spending have long been pillars of conservative rhetoric stateside, and with good reason.

Indeed. However, what the writer elided are the capital risk the PRC poses with its history of limiting or barring repatriation of profit, the economic risk from the PRC’s requirement that foreign companies give up their technologies and intellectual properties to domestic companies as a condition of doing business in the PRC, and the political risk of the PRC’s requirement that companies supply its intelligence community with any information that community “requests.”

Surrender?

Recall that the New York Stock Exchange, pursuant to an Executive Order regarding US investors and People’s Republic of China’s PLA-owned or -controlled companies, had begun the process of delisting China Telecom Corp Ltd, China Mobile Ltd, and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd.

Now the NYSE has walked that back and decided not to proceed with the delisting. Exchange management have chosen to not provide any details or rationale for their, other than that their decision follows “further consultation” with federal regulators. The Exchange’s full statement can be read here; it’s carefully uninformative.

Miami as Financial Center

Financial firms are starting to figure it out: in addition to a better climate and (much) friendlier tax regime, Miami is the place to be for them. I have a thought on one bit of that maybe-migration, the opening statement:

This city has long pitched itself as an attractive location for finance and tech firms, with its tax advantages, flight connections to New York and cosmopolitan flair. Its efforts appear to be paying off.

Investing in the PRC

For good or ill, the People’s Republic of China has decided change the regulatory rules regarding Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s banking activities. The company has lost

almost all its stock-market gains this year, just days after [PRC] regulators signaled a major change in their posture toward the e-commerce behemoth and its finance affiliate, Ant Group Co.

Notice that: the regulatory change does not cover the PRC’s banking or finance industries—it’s explicitly targeted at Alibaba’s subordinate, Ant. The PRC’s

central bank released a harshly worded statement Sunday criticizing Ant’s business practices and instructing the financial-technology giant to shift its focus back to its mainstay—and less lucrative—digital-payments business.

The Willy Sutton Objection

Facebook has joined with Epic Games in the latter’s lawsuit against Apple over how to charge—and who gets to make the charge—for apps installed on Apple’s iPhones. Facebook is doing so to further its feud with Apple over Apple’s decision to give iPhone users tools with which to protect their private information.

Facebook isn’t alone in the beef.

Apple has said starting early next year its iOS 14 operating system will give iPhone and iPad users the option to no longer share personal information that many developers rely on to tailor ads. When users open an app, they will see a message asking permission to track what other apps and websites they visit, their location, and other behaviors.
Apple’s plan has drawn criticism from a range of businesses and trade groups…saying that Apple’s plan was anticompetitive.

Wrong Resolution

Recall that Huawei Technologies Co’s Deputy Chair and CFO Meng Wanzhou is facing US criminal wire and bank fraud charges related to her alleged violations of US sanctions on Iran, which she did on Huawei’s behalf. She’s in the middle of extradition proceedings in Canada en route to getting her here.

Now there’s a resolution in the works: DoJ officials are talking about a “deferred prosecution agreement,” in which Meng would admit her wrongdoing in those cases and then be allowed to return to the People’s Republic of China directly from Canada.

More EU Bad Faith

Finance operations, a key industry for Great Britain but not so much for the European Union, is being excluded from existing Brexit transition negotiations. That much is on the Brits as well as the EU, but the EU is abusing the mutual error.

In anticipation,

European regulators have demanded banks base certain operations currently conducted in London in the EU post-Brexit. … The EU last week committed to rules governing derivatives that will prevent London-based traders at EU banks from continuing business seamlessly after Brexit is completed on New Year’s Eve.

Time to Buy

Ex-President Barack Obama (D), he of the open contempt for ordinary Americans, us bitter Bible- and gun-clinging denizens of flyover country (i.e., the vasty expanse of America that lies between the western coast and the northeastern coast), is at it again.

Former President Barack Obama, in his latest memoir, criticized Americans for liking “cheap gas and big cars” more than they care about “the environment”—even during a catastrophic event like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

And

…many American voters for decades had “bought into the idea that government was the problem and that business always knew better….”