Showing posts with label international affairs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label international affairs. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Quotes of the Week


“Seven months into his presidency, Donald Trump is deeply unpopular. In Gallup’s latest poll of presidential job approval, he’s down to 34 percent, a level unseen by most presidents outside of an economic disaster or foreign policy blunder. In FiveThirtyEight’s adjusted average of all approval polling, he stands at 37 percent. And yet, few Republican lawmakers of consequence are willing to buck him or his agenda, in large part because their voters still support the president by huge margins. What we have clearer evidence of now is why. From polling and the behavior of individual politicians, it’s become harder to deny that people support the president not just for being president, but for his core message of white resentment and grievance—the only area where he has been consistent and unyielding.” [Journalist Jamelle Bouie writing in Slate, 1 September 2017]

“You heard Caleb, North Korea? The twerp wants you to take personal aim at his bedroom.” [Asher Wolf tweeting about young Australian warmonger Caleb Bond, 3 September 2017]

Monday, 21 August 2017

This Is The Face Of The Greatest Threat To World Peace in 2017


NOTE: This post will be updated throughout 2017

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.” [United States President Donald John Trump, Associated Press, 8 August 2017]

NORTH Korea has retaliated to Donald Trump’s warning of “fire and fury like the world has never seen” by threatening a missile strike on a US Pacific territory frighteningly close to Australia.
The reclusive state announced it was “carefully examining” a plan to attack Guam, just hours after the US President issued an apocalyptic warning following reports North Korea had produced a missile-ready nuke.
Kim Jong-un plans to fire intermediate range ballistic missiles at the Micronesian island, which is situated in the Western Pacific 4447 kilometres north of the Australian coast, according to state-run media. [news.com.au, 8 August 2017]

"The people of our country are safe. Our allies are safe. And I will tell you this: North Korea better get their act together or they're going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world.....Maybe it wasn't tough enough. They've been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years. And it's about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries." [United States President Donald John Trump, doorstop announcement, 10 August 2017]

"The Bible gives President Trump the moral authority to use whatever force necessary including assassination or even war to take out an evildoer like Kim Jong-un and I think most Christians understand that." [Pastor Robert Jeffress, personal spiritual adviser to Donald Trump speaking on Fox News, 10 August 2017]

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said Trump in recent days has been restless to share his thoughts on what she termed “one of the juiciest, newsiest periods of his presidency.” [The Washington Post, 10 August 2017]

“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.” [U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Twitter, 11 August 2017] 

The S&P500 fell 1.5% and volatility spiked over tensions between US and North Korea
Gold rose to a two-month high and is predicted to soon top $US1300 if tensions grow [The Sydney Morning Herald at 4:38pm on 11 Aug 2017]

NORTH KOREA has warned Australia it has committed a “suicidal act” by pledging its allegiance to the US and sending defence force members to join military exercises with American and South Korean forces.
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull last week told 3AW that an ANZUS treaty would be invoked and Australia would send troops to the aid of the US “if there is an attack” on the ally.
“In terms of defence, we are joined at the hip,” Mr Turnbull said.North Korean news agency KCNA has since reported that Australia’s allegiance to the US and its decision to take part in a military drill in South Korea was a “suicidal act”. [news.com.au, 21 August 2017]

“I worry about frankly, you know the access to nuclear codes. If in a fit of pique he decides to do something about Kim Jong Un there is actually very little to stop him.  The system, the whole system’s built to ensure rapid response if necessary. So there is very little in the way of controls you know over exercising a nuclear option. Which is pretty damn scary”
[James Clapper, national security analyst & former US Director of Intelligence, CNN Tonight (@CNN) 23 August 2017]

“Military action would certainly be an option.  Is it inevitable?  Nothing is inevitable.  It would be great if something else could be worked out.  We would have to look at all of the details, all of the facts.  But we've had Presidents for 25 years now -- they've been talking, talking, talking -- and the day after an agreement is reached, new work begins in North Korea, continuation on nuclear. So I would prefer not going the route of the military, but it’s something certainly that could happen.  Our military has never been stronger.  We are in a position now -- and you know the new orders.  You see the new numbers just like I see the new numbers.  It’s been tens of billions of dollars more in investment.  And each day new equipment is delivered -- new and beautiful equipment, the best in the world, the best anywhere in the world, by far. Hopefully we're not going to have to use it on North Korea.  If we do use it on North Korea, it will be a very sad day for North Korea.”  [United States President Donald John Trump, White House press conference, 7 September 2017]

We will respond to the barbaric plotting around sanctions and pressure by the United States with powerful counter measures of our own.” [North Korea government representative, Third Annual Eastern Economic Forum in Russia, 7 September 2017] 

'We've been kicking the can down the road, and we're out of road. For those ... who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option.' [White House National Security Adviser HR McMaster report quoted by Sky News, 16 September 2017]

‘Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK.' 
 [North Korean state agency report quoted by Sky News, 16 September 2017]

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.  Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” [U.S. President Donald John Trump, speech at 72nd Session of United Nations Assembly, 19 September 2017]

"The speech made by the US president in his maiden address on the UN arena in the prevailing serious circumstances, in which the situation on the Korean peninsula has been rendered tense as never before and is inching closer to a touch-and-go state, is arousing worldwide concern.

"Shaping the general idea of what he would say, I expected he would make stereo-typed, prepared remarks a little different from what he used to utter in his office on the spur of the moment as he had to speak on the world's biggest official diplomatic stage.

"But, far from making remarks of any persuasive power that can be viewed to be helpful to defusing tension, he made unprecedented rude nonsense one has never heard from any of his predecessors.

"A frightened dog barks louder.

"I'd like to advise Trump to exercise prudence in selecting words and to be considerate of whom he speaks to when making a speech in front of the world.

"The mentally deranged behavior of the US president openly expressing on the UN arena the unethical will to "totally destroy" a sovereign state, beyond the boundary of threats of regime change or overturn of social system, makes even those with normal thinking faculty think about discretion and composure.

"His remarks remind me of such words as "political layman" and "political heretic" which were in vogue in reference to Trump during his presidential election campaign.

"After taking office Trump has rendered the world restless through threats and blackmail against all countries in the world. He is unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country, and he is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician.

"His remarks which described the US option through straightforward expression of his will have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.

"Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy the DPRK, we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.

"Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say.

"As a man representing the DPRK and on behalf of the dignity and honor of my state and people and on my own, I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the U.S. pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying the DPRK.

This is not a rhetorical expression loved by Trump.

"I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue.

"Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.

"I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire." [Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kim Jong-un, quoted in The Independent, 22 September 2017]

The Pentagon says B-1B bombers from Guam and F-15 fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan, have flown a mission in international airspace over the waters east of North Korea.
The U.S. says it’s the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula that any American fighter or bomber has flown this century.
Defense Department spokesman Dana White says in a statement that the mission shows how seriously the U.S. takes what he calls North Korea’s “reckless behavior.”
His statement says the flights are a “demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message” that President Donald Trump “has many military options to defeat any threat.”
White says “we are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies. [Associated Press, 24 September 2017]

“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!” [U.S. President Donald J. Trump, tweet, 24 December 2017]

US President Donald Trump has declared war on North Korea, Pyongyang says, adding that it reserves the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down US bombers even if they are not in its air space.
"The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country," Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York.
"Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.
"The question of who won't be around much longer will be answered then," Mr Ri added in a direct reference to a tweet by Mr Trump on Saturday.
In response, the Pentagon said it would be providing Mr Trump with "options" on how to deal with Pyongyang.
"If North Korea does not stop their provocative actions, you know, we will make sure that we provide options to the President to deal with North Korea," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning said. [Representatives of North Korea and United States of America, ABC News, 26 September 2017]

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Political Videos of the Month


"Вот эти тебя обижали?": Путин и Трамп обсудили на встрече журналистов pic.twitter.com/cWZQA8HjSC
— Дмитрий Смирнов (@dimsmirnov175) July 7, 2017

Russian President and autocrat credited with ordering the murder of journalists Vladimir Putin joking with US President Donald Trump about the journalists Trump hates.

PUTINDid these people hurt [offend] you?
TRUMPYes [indecipherable]
[Dimitri Smirnov, Special Corps of Komsomolskaya Pravda. Journalist in Kremlin pool]

What did we learn about @realDonaldTrump at this #G20@CUhlmann explains. #Insiders pic.twitter.com/TGOXdiFWhB
— Insiders ABC (@InsidersABC) July 8, 2017
[ABC political editor Chris Uhlmann]

* Click pic.twitter.com links to view videos.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Pictures that tell 1,000 words - Part Three


US President Donald Trump at the Group of Twenty (G20) Hamburg Summit in Germany, 7-8 July 2017

Alone again, naturally.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Trump's America reaches dangerous toxicity levels


The United States of America is becoming a nation to fear.

If the checks and balances within its political structure continue to fracture and the propaganda narrative that those who oppose the Trump Regime are 'evil' grows in volume and intensity, then a destabilised, disintegrating America gone rogue lurching across the international stage is likely to injure us all.

US President Donald J. Trump at a Washington faith rally on Saturday, 1 July 2017

National Rifle Association of America call to arms against citizens who oppose Trump

Somehow this scenario doesn’t seem so farfetched anymore:


Business Insider, 3 May 2017:

TIMOTHY SNYDER: So, it’s really important, I think, to accept the logic of our constitutional structure. The logic of our constitutional structure is not that Americans are great. The logic of our constitutional structure is that Americans are people and people have weaknesses.

When the framers of the Constitution were setting up our system, they weren’t thinking about how wonderful we were gonna turn out to be, which is a good thing because we’re not always so wonderful. They were thinking about the structures that would be needed to preserve a Democratic Republic overtime. So the right mood is always scepticism. The framers of the Constitution were worried that someone might come along at some point who could be elected president. This was precisely their worry, who didn’t have concern about the rule of law or about democracy. We are now in that situation.

Up until now, there is nothing in Mr. Trump’s words or in his actions which would convince us or which would even suggest that he cares even a little bit about democracy or about the rule of law. On the contrary, there are plenty of things he said like referring to judges as “so-called” judges, referring to journalists as enemies of the people, talking about “America First” and indulging other kinds of nostalgia for the 1930’s, which suggests he doesn’t like democracy at all. His admiration tends to be limited to foreign tyrants.

So we need to be sceptical about ourselves and we need more than sceptical about him. What I would say is that our institutions were set up for a moment just like this one but they will only protect us if we enliven them and if we support them.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Deducing cause and effect on a thin-skinned American president


CAUSE?


EFFECT?

The Guardian, 11 June 2017:

Donald Trump has told Theresa May in a phone call he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supports him coming.
The US president said he did not want to come if there were large-scale protests and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold for some time.
The call was made in recent weeks, according to a Downing Street adviser who was in the room. The statement surprised May, according to those present.
The conversation in part explains why there has been little public discussion about a visit.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Liberal Party's rednecks predictably make hay with Trump's anti-science rampage


This was what was displayed on the Prime Minister of Canada’s official website immediately after US President Donald Trump had announced his government’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

Ottawa, Ontario
June 1, 2017
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement in response to the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement:
“We are deeply disappointed that the United States federal government has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth. Canadians know we need to take decisive and collective action to tackle the many harsh realities of our changing climate.
“While the U.S. decision is disheartening, we remain inspired by the growing momentum around the world to combat climate change and transition to clean growth economies. We are proud that Canada stands united with all the other parties that support the Agreement. We will continue to work with our domestic and international partners to drive progress on one of the greatest challenges we face as a world.
“This is not only about the huge economic opportunities of clean growth and the need to address the pressing threats of climate change. This is about an ambitious and unshakeable desire to leave a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet for our kids and for generations to come.
“We are all custodians of this world, and that is why Canada will continue to work with the U.S. at the state level, and with other U.S. stakeholders, to address climate change and promote clean growth. We will also continue to reach out to the U.S. federal government to discuss this matter of critical importance for all humankind, and to identify areas of shared interest for collaboration, including on emissions reductions.”

This is what the Prime Minister of Australia’s official website looked like on the morning of 2 June 2017:
Not one word from Malcolm Bligh Turnbull as he cowered behind closed doors wary of offending both the climate change deniers in his own party and the US president – he left any initial  remarks to the Minister for Environment and Energy.

It wasn’t until later on 2 June that a lukewarm statement was delivered during a doorstop interview in Singapore aimed not at Trump but at his own political opponents at home :

Well the President's announcement is not a surprise. It was a very core campaign commitment of his - It is disappointing. We would prefer the United States to remain part of the agreement. We are committed to the Paris agreement. We are on track to meet our 2030 targets of a reduction in emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels. And, I should say we are doing well. Our emissions, whether measures against by head of population or by, against GDP are the lowest they've been for 27 years.
The important thing is to ensure that we maintain energy supplies that are affordable, that are reliable, secure and that we meet our emissions targets and we are on track to do just that. That's our commitment, our energy policy is grounded in economics and engineering. Not in ideology like the Labor Party’s.

That pause between Trump’s announcement and Turnbull’s response allowed the Liberal Party’s merry band of luddites enough airtime to show support for Trump’s position.

This group contained Senator for Tasmania Eric Abetz, Senator for Queensland Ian Macdonald, MP for Dawson (Qld) George Christensen and MP for Hughes (NSW) Craig Kelly

Which was probably what the hypocritical, pro-coal Member for Wentworth intended to happen all along

Something people in the electorates of these parliamentarians should perhaps keep in mind when they go to vote at the next federal election.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

President Stupid makes a video about the Paris Agreement and the French reply


The cognitively impaired, monosyllabic President of the United States of America.....

https://youtu.be/CmiEUVVaFzs

The French........

Friday, 2 June 2017

In May 2017 Trump lumbered across the international stage dragging his knuckles in the dust


This is Donald Trump front and centre at every NATO photo opportunity……



This is how he gets there…….
Trump putting his right hand on the right arm of Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and pushing himself ahead.

Not content with a single display of adolescent dominance Trump went for the gorilla grab with French President Macron......
These bully moves perhaps reflecting his reaction to the cool reception his policy stance received……

Politico, 26 May 2017:

In Europe, where he’s attended group meetings with other world leaders — first in Brussels at the European Union and NATO and now at the G-7 summit in Sicily — Trump has appeared less at ease.

While he avoided any major gaffes or serious diplomatic breaches, Trump’s lack of rapport with European leaders raises serious questions about his ability to effectively team up with critical U.S. allies.


“Like when there's a new strange kid in the class nobody likes,” said a senior EU official who was briefed on the closed NATO meetings in Brussels. “You behave civilly when teachers [media] watch but don't spend time with him in private because he's so different.”

Raw Story, 25 May 2017:

President Donald Trump on Thursday delivered a speech at NATO headquarters in which he did not explicitly endorse Article 5, which outlines a policy of collective defense among all members of the alliance.

While this might seem like a small oversight to casual observers, Brookings Institute fellow and top foreign policy scholar Tom Wright said Trump’s refusal to endorse Article 5 has rendered his entire foreign policy trip a “failure.”

“The White House told the NYT yesterday Trump would finally endorse Article 5,” he wrote on Twitter. “The fact that he did not is astonishing and shows that someone in the White House or [Trump] himself took it out. This will come as a huge shock to NATO members.”

Wright went on to say that Trump’s trip can now be considered “close to a disaster” unless he explicitly fixes things by endorsing Article 5 later on Thursday. He also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “will be thrilled at Trump’s refusal to endorse Article 5,” which he described as “unimaginable under any other president.”

The New York Times, 25 May 2017:

Instead of stressing an Article 5 commitment, Mr. Trump used his remarks at the NATO headquarters to criticize the other leaders assembled behind him for not contributing 2 percent of their countries’ gross domestic product to their defense. The allied nations have agreed to do so, but have often fallen short.

“Two percent is the bare minimum for confronting today’s very real and very vicious threats,” Mr. Trump said. “If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today.”

The president said he had been “very direct” with the leadership of NATO about what he said was a failure on the part of many nations to pay their fair share. “Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying,” he said.

Earlier, Mr. Trump, a blunt critic of the European Union during his campaign for the White House, received a chilly reception from his European counterparts as they began meetings in Brussels, clashing over tradeclimate and the best way to confront Russia.

The Washington Post, 26 May 2017:

During a meeting Thursday with European Union officials in Brussels, Trump allegedly said, “The Germans are bad, very bad,” according to Germany’s Spiegel Online, which cited unnamed sources in the room. He continued, the outlet said, by saying: “See the millions of cars they are selling in the U.S.? Terrible. We will stop this.”……

Asked about Trump’s alleged comments, Germany’s deputy government spokesman, Georg Streiter, said in Berlin on Friday that “a trade surplus is neither bad nor evil; it’s the result of the interplay between supply and demand on world markets.”

Yahoo! 7 News, 27 May 2017:

Taormina (Italy) (AFP) - A summit of G7 leaders on Friday failed to make progress on narrowing differences between the United States and its partners on climate change, hosts Italy said.

With President Donald Trump still reviewing the US position, Washington is resisting intense pressure to commit to remaining within the framework of the 2015 global accord on curbing carbon emissions.

"The question of the Paris climate accord is still hanging," Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni told a news conference after the leaders held talks on the issue.

Gary Cohn, Trump's economic advisor, said the president had told his colleagues that he regarded the environment as important.

"His views are evolving, he came here to learn," Cohn said. "His basis for decision ultimately will be what's best for the United States."

The optics in Israel were not good…….
An obviously puzzled Israeli Prime Minister as Trump exits.

Even his ceremonial visit with the Roman Catholic pontiff did not appear to go well……..


Monday, 29 May 2017

Pictures that tell a 1,000 words - Part Two


Left to Right: 
Ivanka Marie Trump, Melania Trump (née Melanija Knavs), 45th U.S. President Donald John Trump with 266th Catholic Pope His Holiness Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio), Apostolic Palace, Vatican City, 24 May 2017

The Pope's enthusiasm for this official visit is apparently underwhelming.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Pictures that tell 1,000 words


 Left to right: Ivanka Trump, Managing Director International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, German Chancellor Angela Merkel caught by a photographer as Ms. Trump states that her father U.S. President Donald Trump has a long history of advocating on women's issues

Friday, 28 April 2017

A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump


Reuters, 19 April 2017:

(Reuters) - A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.

They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies [en.riss.ru/], after the election.

The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin’s office.

The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government but was not addressed to any specific individuals.

It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven officials said.

A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election. For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.

The current and former U.S. officials spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the Russian documents’ classified status. They declined to discuss how the United States obtained them. U.S. intelligence agencies also declined to comment on them.

Putin has denied interfering in the U.S. election. Putin’s spokesman and the Russian institute did not respond to requests for comment.

The documents were central to the Obama administration's conclusion that Russia mounted a “fake news” campaign and launched cyber attacks against Democratic Party groups and Clinton's campaign, the current and former officials said.

“Putin had the objective in mind all along, and he asked the institute to draw him a road map,” said one of the sources, a former senior U.S. intelligence official.

Trump has said Russia’s activities had no impact on the outcome of the race. Ongoing congressional and FBI investigations into Russian interference have so far produced no public evidence that Trump associates colluded with the Russian effort to change the outcome of the election.

Four of the officials said the approach outlined in the June strategy paper was a broadening of an effort the Putin administration launched in March 2016. That month the Kremlin instructed state-backed media outlets, including international platforms Russia Today and Sputnik news agency, to start producing positive reports on Trump’s quest for the U.S. presidency, the officials said.

Russia Today did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Sputnik dismissed the assertions by the U.S. officials that it participated in a Kremlin campaign as an “absolute pack of lies.” “And by the way, it's not the first pack of lies we're hearing from 'sources in U.S. official circles'," the spokesperson said in an email.

Pro-Kremlin Bloggers…..

The report said Russia Today and Sputnik “consistently cast president elect-Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional media outlets."…..

Cyber Attacks

Neither of the Russian institute documents mentioned the release of hacked Democratic Party emails to interfere with the U.S. election, according to four of the officials. The officials said the hacking was a covert intelligence operation run separately out of the Kremlin.

The overt propaganda and covert hacking efforts reinforced each other, according to the officials. Both Russia Today and Sputnik heavily promoted the release of the hacked Democratic Party emails, which often contained embarrassing details.

Five of the U.S. officials described the institute as the Kremlin’s in-house foreign policy think tank……..

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Trump postures and Fox News attempts to deny it assisted


Carl Vinson Strike Group departs Singapore for the Western Pacific on 8 April 2017 according to the US Government.

So how 'presidential' did that make Donlad J. Trump appear?

Well.......................

Fox News on 10 April 2017


Fox News on 11 April 2017

Fox News in denial on 18 April 2017 of its part in disseminating Trump's 'fake news' 


America, Fox News and Trump are both having a lend of you.

And a worried world has noticed…….

Daily Kos, 19 April 2017:

In South Korea, Hong Joon-pyo ... said: “What Mr. Trump said was very important for the national security of South Korea. If that was a lie, then during Trump’s term, South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says.”​

Monday, 13 February 2017

Make no mistake - Trump is placing all national economies in jeopardy once more


In the midst of The Great Depression (a decade long severe global economic downturn triggered by the 1929 Wall Street stock market crash) the U.S. Government enacted the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act which tightened banking and financial sector regulations.

At the urging of the same financial and banking sector in 1999 a bipartisan agreement saw the introduction of the Financial Services Modernization Act which repealed large parts of the Glass-Stegall Act and the Bank Holding Company Act.

In the wake of another crisis generated by the American sub-prime mortgage melt-down, aptly titled The Global Financial Crisis, the U.S. Government in July 2010 enacted the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to reimpose stricter regulations.

Now we hear that Donald Trump is moving to roll back the Dodd-Frank reforms. In particular the Volker Rule against banks using depositor funds for speculative bets on their own account and from acquiring or retaining ownership interests in, sponsoring, or having certain relationships with a hedge fund or private equity fund - practices thought to have exacerbated The Global Financial Crisis.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 February 2017:

US President Donald Trump moved to chisel away at the Obama administration's legacy on financial reform, announcing a series of steps to revisit the rules enacted after the 2008 financial crisis and setting the stage for a showdown with Democrats over the future of Wall Street regulation.
After a White House meeting with the executives, Mr Trump signed a directive calling for his administration to identify potential changes to provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, crafted by the Obama administration and passed by Congress in response to the 2008 meltdown….


Most Australian families have memories of The Great Depression which hit this country hard and all will be able to recall the ripple effects from The Global Financial Crisis, so it is not unreasonable to fear that what this erratic and ignorant American president does in relation to U.S. banking and financial sector legislation has the potential to send the world spinning into yet another American-generated global economic crisis.

Forewarned is forearmed and this time around everyone would be wise to closely follow reputable newspapers and economic commentators to see which way the wind blows as the United States once more enters dangerous waters.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Fitch Ratings Inc: The Trump Administration Poses Risks to Global Sovereigns


According to the Australian Dept. Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) the United States ranks as Number 1 in the Top 20 countries with direct investment in Australia [ABS catalogue 5352.0, May 2016 & UNCTADstat database, October 2016].

In 2015 Australia direct investment in the U.S. was led by manufacturing, and the finance/insurance sectors and U.S. direct investment in Australia is led by the nonbank holding, mining, finance/ insurance companies, and manufacturing sectors. [Office of the United States Trade Representative: Executive Office of the President, 2017]

So international credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings Inc’s media release of 10 February 2017 may raise some concerns:

Fitch Ratings-London-10 February 2017: The Trump Administration represents a risk to international economic conditions and global sovereign credit fundamentals, Fitch Ratings says. US policy predictability has diminished, with established international communication channels and relationship norms being set aside and raising the prospect of sudden, unanticipated changes in US policies with potential global implications.

The primary risks to sovereign credits include the possibility of disruptive changes to trade relations, diminished international capital flows, limits on migration that affect remittances and confrontational exchanges between policymakers that contribute to heightened or prolonged currency and other financial market volatility. The materialisation of these risks would provide an unfavourable backdrop for economic growth, putting pressure on public finances that may have rating implications for some sovereigns. Increases in the cost or reductions in the availability of external financing, particularly if accompanied by currency depreciation, could also affect ratings.

In assessing the global sovereign credit implications of policies enacted by the new US Administration, Fitch will focus on changes in growth trajectories, public finance positions and balance of payments performances, with particular emphasis on medium-term export prospects and possible pressures on external liquidity and sustainable funding. US positions on some countries may change quickly, at least initially, but any potential rating adjustments will depend on consequent changes to sovereign credit fundamentals, which will almost certainly be slower to materialise.

Elements of President Trump's economic agenda would be positive for growth, including the long-overdue boost to US infrastructure investment, the focus on reducing the regulatory burden and the possibility of tax cuts and reforms, assuming cuts don't lead to proportionate increases in the government deficit and debt. One interpretation of current events is that, after an early flurry of disruptive change to establish a fundamental reorientation of policy direction and intent, the Administration will settle in, embracing a consistent business- and trade-friendly framework that leverages these aspects of its economic programme, with favourable international spill-overs.

In Fitch's view, the present balance of risks points toward a less benign global outcome. The Administration has abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, confirmed a pending renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, rebuked US companies that invest abroad, while threatening financial penalties for companies that do so, and accused a number of countries of manipulating exchange rates to the US's disadvantage. The full impact of these initiatives will not be known for some time, and will depend on iterative exchanges among multiple parties and unforeseen additional developments. In short, a lot can change, but the aggressive tone of some Administration rhetoric does not portend an easy period of negotiation ahead, nor does it suggest there is much scope for compromise.

Sovereigns most at risk from adverse changes to their credit fundamentals are those with close economic and financial ties with the US that come under scrutiny due to either existing financial imbalances or perceptions of unfair frameworks or practices that govern their bilateral relations. Canada, China, Germany, Japan and Mexico have been identified explicitly by the Administration as having trade arrangements or exchange rate policies that warrant attention, but the list is unlikely to end there. Our revision of the Outlook on Mexico's 'BBB+' sovereign rating to Negative in December partly reflected increased economic uncertainty and asset price volatility following the US election.

The integrative aspects of global supply chains, particularly in manufactured goods, means actions taken by the US that limit trade flows with one country will have cascading effects on others. Regional value chains are especially well developed in East Asia, focused on China, and Central Europe, focused on Germany.

Tighter immigration controls and possible deportations could have meaningful effects on remittance flows, as the US has the world's largest immigrant population. World Bank data confirm that the US and Mexico share the world's top migration corridor and have the largest bilateral remittance flows. Relative to GDP, remittances are even larger for Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, all of which receive most inflows from the US.

Countries hosting US direct investment, at least part of which has financed export industries focused back on the US, are at risk of being singled out for punitive trade measures. The list of these countries is potentially long, since US-based entities account for nearly one-quarter of the stock of global foreign direct investment. Countries with the highest stock of US investment in manufacturing are Canada, the UK, Netherlands, Mexico, Germany, China and Brazil.