Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Trump's presure on China pays off

The tariffs he announced were just the opening shot on negotiations for a deal.  With Trump in charge, the USA is making all the moves instead of being pushed around by others. There is no certainty what the final deal will be but better access to the Chinese market for American cars is a good bet.  Since America is China's biggest customer, Trump holds all the cards

Last week, China threatened a massive trade war after Donald Trump imposed $50 billion in tariffs on their exports. This week, Beijing’s top economic official has begun to do his best Monty Hall impersonation, according to the Wall Street Journal. After a notably mild first response, China has quietly begun to offer better access to its markets to the US:

China and the U.S. have quietly started negotiating to improve U.S. access to Chinese markets, after a week filled with harsh words from both sides over Washington’s threat to use tariffs to address trade imbalances, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The talks, which cover wide areas including financial services and manufacturing, are being led by Liu He, China’s economic czar in Beijing, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington.

In a letter Messrs. Mnuchin and Lighthizer sent to Mr. Liu late last week, the Trump administration set out specific requests that include a reduction of Chinese tariffs on U.S. automobiles, more Chinese purchases of U.S. semiconductors and greater access to China’s financial sector by American companies, the people said. Mr. Mnuchin is weighing a trip to Beijing to pursue the negotiations, one of these people said.

Rather than go big, the WSJ’s Lingling Wei and Bob Davis point out, China imposed only a nominal set of tariffs after Trump’s announcement. They only impacted $3 billion in imports, less than 10% of the scope of the US tariffs announced by Trump. Those moves signaled an openness to talks, at least in the short run, to resolve any outstanding issues.

That, of course, plays right into Trump’s strategy of casting himself as a master dealmaker, a point which does not seem to bother China. How much can we expect out of a renegotiation, though? China certainly won’t give the farm away over $50 billion in tariffs, but then again, perhaps Trump doesn’t need a dramatically better deal. Even an incremental improvement would be a major win for his aggressive tactics, especially since his predecessors seemed mainly content to complain about China without taking any significant action.

Perhaps we can see a hint of this in South Korea, where negotiators claim they have reached a deal in principle on a renegotiated free-trade agreement:

The United States and South Korea have agreed to settle their differences on trade. The South Korean government said Monday that the two countries had struck a deal on a new version of the free trade agreement that has linked the two economies for the past six years.

South Korea has also secured a partial exemption from President Donald Trump’s new steel tariffs.

While South Korea is politically much closer to the US than China is, their trade practices had also given rise to many complaints. Trump targeted this trading relationship for his aggressive strategy, too, pointing out the annual $23 billion trade deficit with Seoul and their reluctance to open their markets to imports. But how much will we have won from the deal? Automakers will get to sell more cars, but the numbers may not dramatically rise in the near term:



Retired Army Colonel Calls Out Gun-Grabbers — If You Say We’ve Got Blood on Our Hands Then It’s Safe To Say…

On a weekend where protests sparked by the Parkland school shooting crowded out almost every other media story, there was plenty of heated rhetoric going around on social media about the role guns should play in our society. Not all of it was new, and not all of it was wise.

In the midst of the pitched rhetoric, however, one retired Army colonel managed to call out the anti-gun rights side in a perfect way, particularly when he was told that he had blood on his hands.

In a Twitter confrontation, Kurt Schlichter, now a senior contributor at, said that if liberals are willing to lie about individual NRA members “having blood on (their) hands” to score rhetorical points, its likely they’re willing to lie about a lot of other things too — including not wanting to take your guns.

The social media confrontation began when conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt — one of the few luminaries on the right to publicly attend Saturday’s March for Our Lives in Washington D.C. — highlighted a bipartisan bill that he thought Schlichter (who has expressed a lack of trust in the motives of the left, on this and other issues) might be able to support.

Schlichter — who has previously noted that liberal anger hasn’t been directed against the NRA but against originalist conservatives — responded with his issue regarding working with the left on gun control issues.

"You know, when these little bastards tell me I have blood on my hands, especially after how I've served this country and its citizens, they can go to hell."

If liberals are lying about you now when they say you have blood on your hands, it's a fair bet they are lying when they say they don't intend to disarm you, and also when they say that after they disarm you they don't intend to oppress you

Now, whether the Toomey/Coons act is a good idea is rather inconsequential here. What counts is the rhetoric — and the fact that it proves conservatives cannot trust the left on gun control.

In an aptly-titled column called “They Don’t Hate the NRA. They Hate You” for earlier this month, Schlichter outlined why the vitriol being spewed by the left on guns makes cooperation impossible.

“They hate you,” Schlichter concluded. “And you need to act accordingly.”



Citigroup restricts gun sales by business customers

The company said Thursday that it will bar companies that it does business with from selling guns to people under the age of 21 and require customers to undergo background checks for all firearm purchases.

Citigroup (C) also banned its clients from selling high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, a gun accessory that was used by the shooter that murdered more than 50 people in Las Vegas in October.

The news was reported earlier by The New York Times and confirmed by the company.

The rules will apply to Citigroup clients "across the firm, including to small business, commercial and institutional clients, as well as credit card partners, whether co-brand or private label."

The new policy will not prevent Citi cardholders from using their credit cards to buy firearms or ammunition.

The bank says it has "few relationships with companies that manufacture firearms."

Citigroup also said it's prepared to lose business if its clients don't comply.

"We know our clients also care about these issues and we have begun to engage with them in the hope that they will adopt these best practices over the coming months," the bank said in a blog post. "If they opt not to, we will respect their decision and work with them to transition their business away from Citi."

After a mass shooting at a Florida high school last month that left 17 people dead, corporations have taken unprecedented steps to address calls for tighter gun control as federal lawmakers have been unable or unwilling to enact legislation.

Citigroup is the first major bank to announce a new formal policy since the Florida massacre.

Bank of America (BAC) and investment giant BlackRock (BLK) both committed to speaking with gun makers about their policies.

Walmart (WMT) and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) said last month they would raise the minimum age for firearm purchases to 21.

Companies including Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Airlines (UAL), Hertz (HTZ), Enterprise (ETOLF) and MetLife have ended partnerships with the National Rifle Association.

Citigroup's executive vice president, Edward Skyler, said in a blog post Thursday that the decision was "not centered on an ideological mission to rid the world of firearms," but about implementing "common-sense measures that would help prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands."

"For too many years, in too many places, our country has seen acts of gun violence that have resulted in heartbreaking losses," Skyler wrote. "As a society, we all know that something needs to change. And as a company, we feel we must do our part."



This Conservative Millennial Explains Why Trump’s Policies Are Better for Black Americans

Turning Point USA’s Candace Owens spoke to The Daily Signal’s Rob Bluey about why conservative policies are better for the African-American community. Owens appeared at the White House’s Generation Next forum for millennials Thursday. An edited transcript of her Daily Signal interview is below.

Rob Bluey: How did you become a conservative?

Candace Owens: I think for most people, watching Donald Trump run in 2016, something had to wake up inside of you. This is a man who was celebrated by the media. They could not get enough of Trump. You’re listening to rap and hip-hop music, they glorified him. Everyone wanted to end up at Mar-a-Lago. They said they were acting like Trump.

And then the second he won, he became a racist instantly. In that moment, I understood that racism was being used as a theme and a mechanism to control black Americans, and that the black community needed new leaders to sort of see them through that complete lie.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can't be done alone. Find out more >>

Bluey: You’ve made the case that Trump and his policies are better for the black community. Why is that?

Owens: Of course, our conservative policies are better for a black community. If you think of everything that we’ve gone through historically, it is because of Democratic policies that we are worse off today than we were 60 years ago.

For sure, no one would be foolish enough to say that America is a more racist country today than it was 60 years ago. So what happened? LBJ happened, the Great Society happened. Government dependency happened, welfare happened. All of this happened and came from the Democratic Party.

Bluey: When you’re talking to young people at Turning Point USA, what is your message to them?

Owens: My message to them is just that the time is now. President Trump represents the first opportunity for black Americans to get off of, what I refer to as, the ideological slave ship, to step outside of this line—this myth and this illusion—and to understand that we’ve had our power essentially stripped from us.

We continue to allow that by being afraid of racism, which is no longer an actual threat in this society for black Americans.

Bluey: You’re somebody who isn’t afraid to engage on Twitter or in the media. What gives you that courage to stand firm on these principles?

Owens: Honestly, I was born aggressive. I think I came out shouting orders at everyone.

I’ve been really strong-minded from the time I was a little girl, and I hate being told what to think. So propaganda just doesn’t really work on me. I’m not afraid. It takes fearlessness.

You can’t be afraid to be referred to as a “coon” or an “Uncle Tom,” which, by the way, Uncle Tom, for people that actually read the book, was the hero of the novel. That term does not work.

It’s going to take people with some courage to step up and say, “You can call me whatever you want, this movement is happening. You can get on board or you can watch it.”

Bluey: We’re approaching in the next couple of weeks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. How did MLK influence your life?

Owens: The most important thing to understand is that what he wanted was a society where people would not be judged by the color of their skin. Everything that the Democrats are advocating for is for us to only be judged by the color of our skin, by our sex, me as a black woman, they want me to constantly remember that.

You are black, you are a woman, and you cannot exist outside of that. So we need to understand that in many ways, we’ve gone backward from the themes that he was teaching when he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.

His dream is being realized, but it’s not being realized by the Democratic Party right now.



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