From the volume of bellicose rhetoric in China's state media, you might think Beijing is digging in for a bloody fight to the finish in its trade conflict with the United States. But after the US administration this month jacked up import tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 per cent, and threatened equal tariffs on another US$340 billion, the Chinese government faces a huge problem. The policy responses it is considering are all either impossible, impractical, ineffective or expensive. This leaves Beijing with difficult and limited options.
Hit by a hike in US tariffs China could:
1) respond with equal tariffs (impossible given the trade imbalance);
2) dump US Treasury bonds (ineffective and impractical since China only holds 5% of all treasuries);
3) let the yuan weaken (expensive and devastating to their economy); or
4) give in to Trump and lose face (for Xi, unthinkable).
With no good options, China is not in an enviable position at all.
Democratic leaders in Congress proved the perils of "jumping the shark" this month, which phrase, as most people know, defines instances of desperation. With the many overhyped political moments of the last two years, it is not clear when the partisan shark jump occurred. Soon after the Mueller's appointment, legal "experts" and commentators on air began confidently declaring the crimes of Trump campaign "collusion" were obvious and established, with a finding of criminality as a virtual given.
Yet, Mueller then stated that his investigation did not find that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government. The Russia investigation without criminal Russia collusion was like Geraldo Rivera opening the safe of Al Capone only to find empty bottles.
Democratic members of Congress continue to assure Americans that Trump is guilty of impeachable offenses and that they want to open an inquiry, but without impeachment, Democrats do not even have a shark to jump.
House Democrats are backing away from plans to hold a blockbuster hearing this month with Robert Mueller after talks stalled out with the special counsel and his representatives. read more
Humorist Fran Lebowitz apologized late Friday after telling Bill Maher on "Real Time" that President Trump "deserves" the same treatment that journalist Jamal Khashoggi received at the hands of the Saudi government -- who are widely believed responsible for the Washington Post columnist's 2018 murder and dismemberment.
Twitter lit up almost immediately after Lebowitz's comments, which began with a riff on how she believes Trump should be impeached for the actions detailed in the Mueller report. "Certainly, he deserves to be impeached. I mean, impeachment is just the beginning of what he deserves. Not even scratching the surface of what he deserves," Lebowitz told Maher. "Whenever I think about this and what he really deserves, I think, We should turn him over to the Saudis, you know, his buddies. The same Saudis who got rid of that reporter, you know. Maybe they can do the same for him.'" read more
Zimbabwe's collapse under Robert Mugabe. The fall of the Soviet Union. Cuba's disastrous unraveling in the 1990s. The crumbling of Venezuela's economy has now outpaced them all. Venezuela's fall is the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years, economists say. read more